AEW Dynamite is owned by All Elite Wrestling, Tony Khan, Shahid Khan, and TBS
We’re back with another week of Dynamite action that you probably forgot about already given that I’m still about two weeks behind! Then again, this DOES have the confrontation between MJF and CM Punk that we were waiting months to see, so perhaps the memories are still a bit fresh in your minds! Was this a fantastic blowoff to a fantastic feud, or were we all just setting ourselves up for disappointment? Let’s find out!!
Jon Moxley Vs. Wheeler Yuta
Yuta is accompanied to the ring by Orange Cassidy and Danhausen
I still have no idea who this Danhausen guy is, but it hardly matters as he’s not much of a factor here. For the most part, it stays focused on Moxley and Yuta with only the occasional interaction with Orange Cassidy to foreshadow a future match between him and Moxley. As I’ve said before, AEW doesn’t typically do squashes with their named talent, and so Wheeler Yuta gets plenty of offense here with a Manhattan Drop, Step Up Enziguri, and Corner Splash combo giving him a decent hope spot in the middle of the match, and this forces Moxley to roll to the apron. The two start fighting on there, but it’s clear that whatever Yuta throws at him, Moxley can not only take it but dish it back with twice as much force and so he manages to hit a DDT on the apron that sends Yuta to the floor. This is when he spends time to confront Orange Cassidy while Danhausen does some sort of finger magic thing, and it gives Yuta enough time to land a Top Rope Splash onto Moxley, and this leads to a German Suplex into a bridge that gets Yuta a two count. The two go back and forth for a bit with Yuta managing to turn a Paradigm Shift into a slam on Moxley, but Moxley once again brute forces his way to having the upper hand. He locks in a Rear Naked Choke to stop Yuta’s momentum and knocks him to the floor with a King Kong Lariat. A Paradigm Shift soon follows and that’s all she wrote as Yuta stays down for the three count which gives Moxley the win. It wasn’t a bad opener, but it wasn’t anything special either. Moxley seems to be easing back into his role here at AEW with basic matches, but it looks like we’ll be moving towards something bigger soon enough because…
Bryan Danielson sneaks his way into the ring while Moxley is celebrating and the two stare each other down for quite a while, letting the crowd milk the moment for all it’s worth. Bryan then starts to talk and lets him know that he doesn’t want to fight Moxley; rather he wants to JOIN FORCES WITH HIM! Yes, he wants someone like Moxley with his old-school sensibilities and decades of experience to be at his side as he corrects the AEW ship! No longer will millennial losers like the cowboy or the dinosaur hold title belts, because Danielson and Moxley will take some genuine talents that are stuck on the undercard and turn them into proper champions! It sounds like an enticing offer, and while the crowd still sees Danielson as a Heel, they are quite happy with this idea. Moxley gives some comically quizzical looks which probably means he’s gonna say no, but Danielson is giving him some time to think about it. If I was him though, I’d ask Chris Jericho how that all worked out when he tried to get Moxley to join the Inner Circle.
Brandi Rhodes is in the ring and, unlike Cody, is embracing her total Heel persona as she eggs on the crowd to boo her more. This is a weird segment that only gets weirder when Dan Lambert comes out to heckle her and the crowd is on his side. When exactly did Lambert, the misogynistic old school wrestling guy who’s trying to gatekeep the new guys out of the business, turn into the good guy? I don’t know, it seems like everyone in the Rhodes family gets a strange reaction from the crowd and it makes things confusing when they pair them up against legitimate Heels; meaning that the crowd is telling HER to Shut The F**k Up while Lambert is calling her a prostitute. It’s all just low rent Jerry Springer nonsense and the only thing of value here is that Paige Van Zant MIGHT have a few matches at AEW as she runs down to attack Brandi at the behest of Lambert. That should be interesting at least, especially if Lambert is gonna keep showing up like this.
Speaking of loudmouths with poor interpersonal skills, Matt Hardy is very disappointed in Private Party and is chastising them for losing the Tag Title match last week. Still, he works hard for his subordinates and has already set up Kassidy to challenge Sammy for the TNT title on Rampage. Hey, it’s more than Andrade has done since merging with the group as gets mocked by Hardy for not signing Darby Allin yet. It’d be nice if the formation of a Super Group like this would translate to a positive shift for all involved, but so far the needle hasn’t moved an inch either way since Andrade joined the team and he really should be in more matches if he’s not going to do much to affect the storylines.
Death Triangle (Penta El Zero M & Pac) Vs. Knights of the Black Throne (Malakai Black & Brody King)
Penta is accompanied to the ring by Alex Abrahantes
Seriously? Knights of the Black Throne? What, did Malakai Black steal my middle school notebook to come up with that? If that wasn’t goofy enough, Pac starts this match with the blindfold on which I’m pretty sure would keep the ref from starting the match, but it turns out he’s freaking Daredevil and dodges all of Malakai’s moves before knocking his head off with a Sliding Drop Kick! Oh wait, Pac can actually see and it was all a game to get into Black’s head. I mean I guess you can’t argue with the results as Death Triangle gets a big lead out of it, but all the trickery in the world can’t stop Brody King from smashing Pac in the spine with his meaty fist which allows the Heels to get the heat during the commercial. For the most part though, this is Death Triangle’s match to win as they come back strong after the commercial with Penta throwing out a bunch of Sling Blades and Pac landing that awesome rebound German Suplex that sends Black halfway across the ring. Black and Pac in particular end up having some great back and forth exchanges with their striking styles fitting very well together, but then the finish happened, and it left me feeling more than a little disappointed. Pac and Penta are working over Black and set up for the Fear Factor, but Brody King knocks Pac off the turnbuckle. With Pac out of the way, Black escapes the hold that Penta has him in and spits mist in Penta’s eyes. Once again, this proves to be a death blow and Black and King hit Dante’s Inferno to get the pin and win the match. I really liked seeing all four of these guys in the ring, but the mist is starting to feel overdone; especially given how long they’ve been milking both Pac’s and Julia’s eyesight issues.
Ruby Soho Vs. Nyla Rose
Rose is accompanied to the ring by Vickie Guerrero
Despite Nyla Rose being the obvious Heel here, Ruby attacks before the bell to try and get an early lead. I guess it’s better than Baby Faces getting completely blindsided by obvious sucker punches from Heels, but I still feel like this kind of thing should be the exception rather than the rule. It’s ultimately a moot point however as Rose Swiftly overpowers her. Even after missing a Leg Drop and eating a Running Knee from Soho, she still barely seems to flinch at the offense that is thrown at her and hits some devastating moves that keep Soho on the defensive. Soho finally gets an edge when they start fighting on the apron, and she picks Rose up on her shoulders. She can’t do much more than drop down which drops Rose onto the apron, but that was still an impressive feat and nearly gives Soho a fighting chance. I say nearly because Vickie starts to interfere which gives Rose enough time to recover and hit the Spine Buster. Hey, I consider this to be perfectly fair given that Soho got the cheap shots in at the beginning, and she’s not out quite yet as Soho manages to escape a Beast Bomb attempt to hit the No Future Kick, but even that’s not enough to get the win as Vickie puts Nyla’s boot on the ropes during the pin attempt. This was an attempt so blatant that if I was Ref Aubrey I’d end the match there as a DQ, but Soho goes after Vickie which gives Rose an opening for a cheap shot. She tries for a Beast Bomb on the top turnbuckle, but Soho escapes and goes for another No Future Kick… but Soho whiffs it; leaving her vulnerable on the mat. Rose takes this opening to hit a Senton from the top rope and follows up with a Beast Bomb to get the pin and win the match. I thought this was a good match with both women showing some impressive moves (especially that Senton from Nyla), but I can’t say I loved the idea of Vickie cheating so blatantly followed by Rose looking like a fool for missing the kick. Soho’s pretty popular right now and I’d much rather her either failing at her best than doing something goofy like this.
The Gunn Club are in the back hassling Jungle Boy and eventually throw him outside into the snow. Luchasaurus and Christian Cage come out to chase them off, but you’d think they’d be moving as a group backstage to avoid this very obvious outcome!
Hopping Mad Cowboy – What bug got up Adam Page’s butt!?
Tony Schiavone calls Adam Page to the ring to talk about his upcoming title defense against Lance Archer. This isn’t just any match though, but a Texas Death Match! A match in which Archer was able to strip Jon Moxley of his IWGP US title only a few months prior! Despite this, Page is not scared and he just wants to fight! In fact, he wants to fight RIGHT NOW and calls out Lance Archer to face him here in Chicago instead of next week! Dan Lambert and Jake Roberts come out to try and heckle him to back down, but Archer has no interest in waiting and runs out to put a hurting on the cowboy! The two brawl for a bit, but Archer comes out on top and hits a Blackout Slam that sends Hangman through the timekeeper’s table. I’m curious why Hangman is so fired up here and I’m wondering if there are any concerns about his credibility; hence why they are putting him in a DEATH MATCH on his third title defense. Archer is definitely a good guy for a Baby Face to overcome given his size and brutality, but we’ll have to wait until next week to see who comes out looking better for it.
Jericho is upset at Santana & Ortiz for being jerks in their last match and starts trying to massage his ego by talking about how much better he is than Eddie Kingston. It’s a bit sad, honestly, to see him act so insecure here, and I’m wondering if this very uncool looking (and kind of desperate) promo is a sign that this is not going to be resolved anytime soon and that we’ll have a legit feud on our hands.
CM Punk Vs. MJF
It’s somewhat surprising that MJF comes out alone given his penchant for cheating and it only becomes more puzzling as CM Punk proceeds to WHOOP HIS BUTT for the first part of this match! It’s almost unfair how much damage Punk is dishing out to MJF who tries to leave within minutes of the start of the match because of how much his butt is being kicked Punk is not about to let him escape that easily however and drags him back to the ring to continue his relentless assault! MJF finally gets a breather when he dodges a charge from Punk that sends him shoulder-first into the turnbuckle, and MJF gets the heat during the commercial. Punk’s arm is pretty badly hurt by all of this, but he eventually regains control with a series of strong moves; somewhat undercut by Punk’s injury, but more than enough to keep MJF under his thumb. Even when MJF manages to get a good move in like when he manages to unbalance Punk long enough to hit a Superplex from the top rope, it’s still not enough to seriously hamper the offense as Punk immediately follows that with a Pepsi Twist. Seeing the writing on the wall, MJF uses Ref Remsberg as a human shield which stops Punk in his tracks, and it gives him an opening to use the tape on his arm to start choking out Punk! Remsberg doesn’t see ANY of this of course, and only manages to look back at them after MJF hides the tape behind his arm (making it look like a proper choke instead of one with a weapon), and this strangulation proves to be enough for MJF to knock out CM Punk and win the match. Well, that was a bit disappointing, especially given that we’ve still got almost half an hour left on the show, but wait! Remsberg sees the tape on the floor after he’s already called for the bell, and instead of calling for MJF to be disqualified, he just restarts the match. Fortunately, CM Punk woke up JUST as that was announced, but imagine if he didn’t! Would we just let MJF pin the unconscious body of the guy he unfairly knocked out!? Punk at least comes back strong with a quick roll-up for a two count and an unholy offensive assault that sends MJF ping-ponging around the ring, but after the arm injury, being revived from unconsciousness, and now a problem with his knee starting to affect his performance, it’s not quite the same as it was before and MJF is starting to gain some ground. For nearly twenty minutes, the two throw everything they have at one another, and yet both are just too tired to follow up on any of it. MJF keeps trying to work over the arm and knee, but Punk just keeps shoving him off. Punk hits the Pepsi Plunge (basically a Pedigree from the top rope), but MJF just rolls out of the ring before Punk can cover him. Back and forth like this as both eat immense amounts of damage but neither can seal the deal. MJF looks to be in somewhat better shape however as he manages to eat a Roundhouse Kick and a Top Rope Elbow Drop from Punk and still manages to kick out at two. Still, this is a fight that could go either way and so Wardlow comes out to make the odds a little less even. OR IS HE!? He gets up in Punk’s face, but he doesn’t do anything and eventually steps back; tacitly approving of his assault on MJF. Still, this has left CM Punk a little paranoid and instead of finishing off MJF, he keeps looking over at Wardlow to see if he tries anything. This proves to be Punk’s undoing however as MJF cold clocks him with the Dynamite Diamond Ring and stashes it away before the ref can see it. He goes for the cover and gets the pin to win the match! Looking at the replays, the announcers realize that Wardlow handed the ring to MJF during the stare-down with Punk, so it looks like Wardlow is still firmly in camp MJF as his boss celebrates in the middle of the ring as the episode comes to an end.
There were things I didn’t like about this show, mostly to do with the finishes, but that main event was strong enough to overcome whatever shortcomings there were here! With the next PPV not too far away, it’s good that they are setting the groundwork for big angles there with Moxley and Danielson working towards something, the fracturing of the Inner Circle, and not the least of which is probably going to be a rematch between Punk and MJF. After seeing how much this match kicked butt, I’m sure the fans are gonna want to see sooner rather than later, and you can count me among them! Just maybe have a ref who will ACTUALLY enforce the rules for once? Please!?