Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (11-24-2021) – Thanksgiving

AEW Dynamite is owned by All Elite Wrestling, Tony Khan, Shahid Khan, and TNT

We’re back with more Dynamite action, and I guess this would count as one of those special episodes they like to do?  It doesn’t have a cool name like Grand Slam or the upcoming Battle of the Belts, but they did put in the effort to add Thanksgiving as a subtitle and a nice fall background to the big screens!  Is this a fun collection of matches that we will all be thankful for, or will it put us to sleep faster than the tryptophan in turkey?  Let’s find out!!

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The show is supposed to begin with a CM Punk match, but they only get as far as his entrance before MJF throws everything off track.  Coming out before QT Marshall’s music can play, MJF not only taunts Punk with a promo, but the two of them proceed to take twenty minutes to talk and talk and talk!  Now to their credit, it’s all good stuff!  MJF starts by giving Punk a backhanded compliment about his Pipe Bomb promo being the highlight of his career (insinuating that he will never be that good again), and proceeds to dress him down for his run at AEW and whatever else he was up to before returning to wrestling.  He mentioned that CM Punk wrote some comic books which I HAD to look up as soon as I heard that, and while we sadly don’t have the Punk equivalent of those incomprehensible WARRIOR comics, he did in fact write a Drax the Destroyer series for Marvel.  Perhaps I’ll check that out someday, but regardless of that, Punk responds by saying that he’s disappointed in MJF and makes fun of his silly name; looking as if he’s unfazed by the barrage of hate from MJF, but I get the feeling it’s starting to get under his skin.  They go back and forth for a bit with Punk being compared to John Cena and MJF being compared to the Miz, but by the end of this, neither side has given up any ground.  Punk is willing to fight him at the moment, but MJF is willing to let this run out a bit longer and just walks away; much like how Punk walked away from him last week.  I think MJF just coming out and picking on a new Baby Face every few weeks is starting to get repetitive, but so far it’s at least more engaging for me than I found his feud with Darby Allin was.  Points for that at least, but we’ll still need to see where all this is going.  Anyway, what were we doing before we were so rudely interrupted?  Oh right!

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CM Punk Vs. QT Marshall

QT is accompanied to the ring by Nick Comoroto and Aaron Solow

Considering the guy got preempted for a full TWENTY MINUTES, he puts up a much better fight than I expected him to.  Punk starts the match in full control with a series of Power Slams that turn QT’s spine into jelly, and the dude’s own backup can’t even do their job effetely as Nick grabs Punk’s boot (which does absolutely nothing) which immediately gets them BOTH tossed out by the ref!  Solow didn’t even do anything, and yet he’s being pushed around by the refs who, I will remind you, are some of the most ineffectual refs in wrestling!  None of this points to QT having much of a chance here, and yet he gets a good knee shot and lands a few blows which don’t exactly turn the tide in his favor, but gives him enough momentum to start gloating to the crowd.  It goes back and forth for a bit as Punk fights back with a Back Body Drop and a Flying Clothesline from the apron only for QT to regain control with a Pop-Up Elbow Strike and a Liger Bomb for a two count.  It’s a turn of events so unexpected that JR comments on how Punk is not on the ball this match and I’m not sure that’s quite what the crowd came to see, but eventually Punk gives them what they want with a few big moves to get them going before landing a Flying Elbow from the top rope.  With QT dazed and confused, Punk signals for the GTS, scoops him up, hits the knee, and gets the pin to win the match.  I feel like this would have worked better for me if QT didn’t get as much offense in here and they kept it quite a bit shorter.  It’s nearly a fifteen-minute match that comes off the heels of a twenty-minute promo, and while I’m sure there are plenty of Punk fans who can’t get enough of the guy, having him on screen for a full uninterrupted half-hour felt a bit excessive. 

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We cut to Jurassic Express and Christian Cage who are being interviewed by Tony Schiavone in the back, and Cage is giddy about the wins he and the Jurassic Express have gotten over the last few weeks; especially now that the latter is the top-ranked tag team at AEW.  With the momentum on their side, Cage is confident that his buddies can win the title which would be an interesting upset, but I don’t think the Lucha Bros have had a strong enough run to cut it short.  Then again, if it’s not working out then ending it now instead of dragging it out might be better in the long run, and they can always win them back later to start fresh.

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Eddie Kingston is in the back eating a piece of sheet cake and drinking a cup of coffee which I can only assume is his Thanksgiving tradition.  He tries to send a holiday message to Jon Moxley and his family when 2.0 and Garcia come in to interrupt.  They feign sympathy for him and his friend Moxley, but it’s all a ruse as Garcia throws the coffee in Kingston’s face and the agents have to come in to break up the brawl!  Kingston better come into their match on Friday with a THERMOS full of coffee; that’s all I’m saying!

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Gunn Club (Billy & Colton) Vs. Bear Country

Gunn Club are accompanied to the ring by Austin Gunn

Bear Country get the jobber entrance which is not a good sign, but then again, their entrance is pretty weird and doesn’t really fit their theme, so a glass half full situation I suppose.  The Gunn Club try to cheap-shot them before the bell rings, but Bear Boulder manages to lift Billy Gunn and just toss him aside which forces him to roll out and he has to be saved by both Colton and Austin.  This gives Bear Bronson time to get in the ring though and as soon as Colton returns, he starts tearing him apart.  With the big spots for both of them, I was kind of getting into it and was expecting Bear Country to have a decent match for once, but then Austin trips Bronson from the outside which allows Colton to hit the Colt 45 to get the pin and win the match.  It’s not over yet, however, as Sting comes out to Darby’s music!  Austin doesn’t care what this is all about and rushes at Sting for all it’s worth, and with PERFECT timing, Darby comes out of the tunnel at full speed and the two clash right before Austin was to tackle Sting, who by the way didn’t flinch!  The rest of the Gunn Club leave to see after Austin while Sting and Darby gloat in the ring, and I guess Bear Country have gone to collect their checks.  For how short it was, it was probably the most I’ve enjoyed a Bear Country match and I kind of wanted it to go on a bit longer.  Heck, considering how long the CM Punk match was, they could have shaved a few minutes off of that to give her!  Yes, in case my reputation for wrestling know-how wasn’t already suspect, I do think they should have taken time away from a CM Punk match and given it to Bear Country.

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Fish and Cole are kvetching in the back about how much the last few weeks have sucked for them, and the Best Friends come around to rattle their cages.  Not all that interesting as Cole is still just kind of a guy who’s THERE without a big storyline or feud to work through, and there’s no real follow-up from Fish for the way he left him in their last match.  A much better angle is what we see next which is Team Taz, Dante Martin, and Lio Rush who are in a conference room to discuss Dante’s recent offer.  To the surprise of to the audience as well as Lio Rush, Dante signs the document and is now a part of Team Taz!  See, that’s a segment with genuine consequences for lots of people instead of just two groups throwing barbs at each other!  Still, it seems like an odd choice to have a guy with such Baby Face energy go Heel, but then I’ve been wrong before about this kind of thing before.  I thought that about the Gunn Club, and I for sure thought that about Will Hobbs, so am I wrong once again about Dante Martin?  I guess we’ll have to wait and see, but it’s definitely an attention-grabbing swerve!

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Thunder Rosa Vs. Jamie Hayter – TBS Tournament Quarter-Finals

Hayter is accompanied to the ring by Britt Baker and Rebel (Not Reba)

Hayter hasn’t exactly stood out since she re-debuted as Baker’s muscle, but she has had some good matches and this is one of them.  Certainly not the highlight of the TBS Tournament, but she and Rosa have a very good back and forth fight.  Hayter gets an early lead when she tosses Rosa out of the ring, but then Rosa tosses Hayter into the barricade and it devolves into a brawl from there.  Rosa tosses her back into the ring, gets stomped a few times on the follow-up, and fights back with a series of gut punches.  Rosa nearly takes full control of the match with a Drop Toe Hold and a Drop Kick to the spine that leads to more brawling outside, but she goes for a Cross Body from the apron and is caught by Hayter who drives her back first into the post.  Hayter gets the heat as we start the commercial and we return as the fight goes to the top turnbuckle.  Rosa knocks Hayter off and follows up with a Missile Drop Kick which puts her firmly back in control, and she gets a two count after some work in the corner.  Hayter fights back with a Back Breaker for a two count of her own, and the two start slugging it out until Hayter goes for a Suplex which Rosa escapes.  Using this opening, she hits a Russian Leg Sweep and rolls through to lock in the Peruvian Necktie submission which is where the match turns into a Shakespearian Tragedy!  Rebel (Not Reba) gets on the apron to distract the ref and Baker runs in to break up the submission to save Hayter from tapping.  Rosa goes to confront the champ but is grabbed by Hayter who holds her in place as Baker goes for the Thrust Kick.  Rosa escapes at the last second and it’s Hayter who eats the Thrust Kick.  In the confusion, Rosa throws Baker into Rebel (Not Reba), and Rosa finishes off Hayter with a Cazadora into a Roll Up!  It was certainly a good back and forth brawl between these two women, but the ending is what really sealed it as Baker’s arrogance gets the better of her again, and this seems to signal some dissension in the ranks as Hayter is NOT happy with what happened.  Hey, a feud between Baker and Hayter would probably be the most interesting program of her title run so far!

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Alex Marvez is interviewing Jericho in the back, and you know something is going to happen because Marvez is our universe’s Loki variant!  Sure enough, Daniel Garcia and 2.0 photobomb the interview because they’re still high on throwing coffee in Kingston’s face, and Jericho snaps at them for being so rude while also pointing out that Matt Lee has a square head.  Now that must of hurt, but Jericho makes it clear that it won’t hurt nearly as much as what will happen if they pull this stunt again because if they dare to interrupt Le Champion while he is getting interviewed, he’s gonna knock their teeth out.  2.0 and Garcia back off for now, but this is far from the end of things!  While it may not have been the most violent bit of misfortune that Marvez has conjured up, it’s still a match-up that I am very interested in seeing; assuming Garcia isn’t outright murdered by Kingston on Friday!

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We get a very tense and awkward “Friendsgiving” with Baker, Rebel (Not Reba), and Tony Schiavone.  The reason why is glaring considering who isn’t in attendance, but Baker brushes away the fact that she cost Hayter her match against Thunder Rosa and assures us that EVERYONE is thankful that she still has the AEW Women’s Title!  Speaking of which, Tony reluctantly announces a non-title match between Baker and Riho on Rampage, and you may be wondering why this has been booked.  Well, all the way back at the All Out PPV, there was controversy over the fact that Riho was not actually eliminated in the Casino Battle Royale match.  AEW has finally decided to address this and if Riho wins the non-title match, she gets a title shot.  Baker is obviously not happy, and despite Tony imploring her not to shoot the messenger, she blames it on him and he’s disinvited from Baker’s Christmas party.  In her defense though, he PROBABLY could have picked a better time to break the news!  Does he hand people pink slips at the birthday parties too!?

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Bryan Danielson Vs. Colt Cabana

We don’t get enough Colt Cabana at AEW, do we?  He had a decent storyline going with Brodie Lee before his tragic death and it just seems like no one has had an idea for him since then.  Sadly they don’t give him much to do here either, though it IS possible that this match was cut a bit short.  It starts off with some good back and forth action as Danielson goes for submissions but Cabana fights his way out pretty easily.  However, it doesn’t take long for Danielson to get control with some REALLY hard strikes.  Cabana tries to fight back and even does his Dusty-esque punch combo, but Danielson ends this pretty easily after he dodges a Flying Apple and hits him with a Release German Suplex.  It goes on for a bit longer and Cabana gets one more spot where he lands a Moonsault from the top rope, but he only gets a two count and Danielson regains control with a series of stomps to the face.  Now I said that this match could have been cut short, and this is the reason why as those stomps end up SHATTERING one of Cabana’s teeth which Danielson seems to realize and so he transitions into the Labelle Lock.  Instead of putting up any resistance (or even selling the move), Cabana taps out immediately and they play up the lost tooth as Danielson relishes in picking up the pieces and showing them to the camera.  As far as I can tell, this was real and Cabana did not spit out a fake tooth.  Whether or not this cut the match short though has not been made clear, but it certainly felt way too short for a match that took place in Cabana’s hometown and ESPECIALLY given that the Punk/Marshall match was at least twice as long.  Either way, I wasn’t a fan of this match and someone getting hurt or losing a tooth just takes another point off in my book.

With the match over and Cabana having to go to a dentist, Danielson cuts a promo where he feigns shock at how much things have changed since he came to AEW.  It’s not because he’s turned into a jerk though!  Oh no, it’s because the fans are FICKLE, and that he’ll keep doing this to Dark Order members until his inevitable match with Hangman Adam Page!  Not realizing that he said the magic words, Danielson is SHOCKED as Adam Page comes out; not just to the roar of the audience and not just carrying his title belt, but he’s dressed to fight and promises that Cabana will be the last member of the Dark Order to feel his wrath as he’s ready to finish things right here and right now!  Danielson deflects by calling him a coward for challenging him AFTER the match, but then gets insulted that Page offers him the first shot.  He takes the shot of course with a slap to the face, but he bails almost as soon as it starts when Hangman sets up for the Buckshot Lariat.  They’re building this storyline up very well, but I’m wondering if they’re moving too fast with it as I’m not sure how Danielson or Page can justify any more Dark Order matches with Page so definitely throwing down the gauntlet.  Perhaps the Dark Order will insist on facing Danielson, but after Cabana’s tooth exploded, I can’t exactly see that being a reasonable decision for them to make.

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Cody Rhodes, Pac, and The Lucha Bros Vs. Andrade El Idolo, Malakai Black, and FTR – Eight-Man Tag Match

The Baby Faces are accompanied to the ring by Alex Abrahantes and Arn Anderson while the Heels are accompanied by Jose and Tully Blanchard

For me, a six-man tag is the magic number and anything more than that starts to feel excessive, but this one gets REALLY close to making it work!  What I like about it is that it is structured very tightly with little room for dawdling or padding.  The tags in and out are more akin to an elimination match because they are infrequent and signal a change in the match rather than a continuous back and forth exchange, so when one person tags out you’re not going to see them for a while and the person tagged in is going to take up the spotlight.  The only slight issue with this is that there’s not much of a hot tag because even when someone is getting overwhelmed, they are still the focus as opposed to whoever is on the apron, but it’s a small drawback compared to everything else this match gets right.  It starts with Cody and Dax who have a solid exchange, but Cody dodges a Slingshot Suplex and responds with a Kitty Kat Uppercut and a Power Slam which earns him the lead as well as a decidedly mixed reaction from the crowd.  It’s such a split crowd that Cody throws his belt out to them but the person who got it just threw it back into the ring which was an interesting thing to see and something the crowd popped HUGE for.  Cody is kind of like a dopey sitcom step-dad who is well-meaning but is CLEARLY out of his depth and far from earning the respect of the kids, so when Pac tags himself in to thunderous applause from the audience, all he can do is sheepishly stand on the apron.  Dax manages to tag in Cash who fights Pac over control of the wrist until Pac tags in Penta who lands that Missile Drop Kick to the nuts spot; something that you’d THINK wouldn’t be legal in the match, but they get away with it and Penta gest a Super Kick on Cash.  Fortunately for the Heels, Cash manages to get a big Clothesline which allows him to tag in Andrade who immediately goes for the pin and gets a two count.  Andrade’s impatience continues as he tries to just bowl over Penta with a flurry of offense, but Penta manages to escape and tags in Pac and then Rey so the three of them as Death Triangle can land a Super Kick Party and a Basement Drop Kick Jamboree on Andrade which somehow is not enough to keep him down for the three count.  Feeling left out, Cody tags himself in and tries to finish off Andrade who IMMEDIATELY gets him to the opposite corner where all the Heels start stomping him.  Black has tagged in as he wants to finish off Cody himself, but Cody escapes and makes it to Rey in the corner.  The match turns into a free for all as all four of the Heels go after Rey.  He fights them all off, even a distraction attempt from Tully, but Black turns the tide in his favor with a Back Heel Trip which starts the heat during the commercial.  The match basically devolves into chaos by this point so the tight structure of the first half goes away as everyone starts hitting big moves.  A shame if you ask me, but the moves ARE fun to see and it ends with Cody going for a Super Kick on Andrade only to miss and hit Pac instead.  The crowd is not happy about this, but in Cody’s defense, what was Pac doing standing right behind Andrade in the first place!?  Cody tries to redeem himself with a Suplex on Andrade, but Andrade escapes and drops him with a Back Breaker which is yet another mark against him as far as the crowd is concerned.  Andrade rushes as the dazed Pac, but he wakes up long enough to grab him into a Belly to Belly Suplex and throws him into the turnbuckle which was a pretty amazing spot and means that everyone is down.  Since no one else is using the ring, Tully and Arn get in and square up to each other which… I mean I said it was a bad idea when they did it a year ago and time has not made this idea any better.  Thankfully it’s all for a gag as Jose tries to get in on this action and so Arn and Tully just punch him in the face.  FTR get in the ring to back up Tully, but then The Lucha Bros come in and take them out and the old guys retreat without ever hitting each other or taking a bump.  After all that, it’s time to put things to an end, so Pac goes up top to land the Black Arrow on Andrade to finish the match.  Before he can land the move though, Black runs up and spits black mist in his eyes which causes him to fall off the turnbuckle and Andrade lands the El Idolo.  Black lands a Roundhouse Kick on Cody to keep him from breaking up the pin attempt, and sure enough, Andrade gets the pin to win the match right as the episode comes to an end.

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Despite how verbose my explanation of everything in this episode was, I don’t have a lot to say here.  Sure, plenty of things happened and even the matches that should have been short were given a lot of time and angles, but none of the matches truly connected with me, and most had kind of awkward finishes; even really good matches like the Eight Man which was great for the most part but kind of just devolved into moves and shtick by the end of it.  Probably the most exciting thing to me was the Eddie Kingston segment; not just because he had a VERY delicious-looking piece of cake, but he infuses a lot of emotion and can generate a lot of buzz for his matches just with the right look on his face!  Perhaps that won’t be as good as some of the matches we got here, but it’s definitely the match I’m most excited to see for the week!

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