Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (03-02-2022)

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

We’re back with another episode of Dynamite, but it’s not just any episode!  It’s the Go Home show for the Revolution PPV, and they’ve been working their butts off to make it as big a show as they can!  Will AEW stick the landing on their final Dynamite before the big show?  Let’s find out!!

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Tony Khan has a big announcement!  Who did he sign THIS time!?

The two Tonys (Khan and Schiavone) are in the ring because TK has some big news for the world of wrestling which is that he bought Ring of Honor!  What does that mean, aside from it no longer being a product of the despicable Sinclair Broadcast Group?  I have no idea.  As far as I know, all the wrestlers who were under contract are no longer there, and he presumably got the rights to the archives but he didn’t say anything to that effect here.  AEW already has three hours of TV wrestling and countless more through their online shows, so will he leave ROH to be its own thing, or will it somehow be folded into the AEW brand?  There are a lot of questions that will need to be answered in the next few weeks, but for now, it’s a big celebration, and what better way to kick off this new acquisition than with a Ring of Honor rematch?  The very first main event of the very first Ring of Honor show was a three-way with Bryan Danielson and Christopher Daniels where neither man won as they were defeated by Low Ki, and tonight they are both here to settle that score!

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Bryan Danielson Vs. Christopher Daniels

I may not know the history of ROH, but Daniels is a fantastic wrestler, and seeing him go up against Bryan is a matchup I didn’t think I’d get to see since Daniels signaled his retirement a year ago.  Things start off nice and respectful with a handshake and some solid technical wrestling, but Daniels clearly has the crowd on his side with chants of Fallen Angel and this does not sit well with Bryan.  Since ego seems to be his prime motivator these days, he starts getting a lot more aggressive in his offense which only forces Daniels to kick things up a notch.  He hits a Leg Lariat that forces Bryan to roll out of the ring and Daniels follows it up with a Baseball Slide and a Springboard Moonsault.  Bryan tries to fight back with the Yes Kicks and a bunch of strikes, but Daniels regains control quickly with a Blue Thunder Bomb and an Iconoclasm for a two count.  Seeing the end in sight, Daniels goes for the Angel’s Wings but Bryan finally hits his stride and manages to turn it into a German Suplex, and the two start going back and forth with their big moves.  Daniels tries to hit the Best Moonsault Ever, but Bryan’s technical wizardly proves to be the deciding factor as he catches Danielson on his landing and transitions to the Triangle Sleeper.  Daniels tries to escape, but Bryan’s mighty thighs squeezing the life out of him as well as a series of elbow strikes to his head is enough to knock Daniels out which gives Bryan the win.  It was a good match and I’m glad to see Daniels again, but much like last week, this was more of a setup for the post-match angle than anything else.  Bryan feigns respect towards Daniels but then starts stomping on his head and calls out Moxley; saying that he’s gonna be the one with his head kicked in next!  Moxley’s music hits and he makes his way to the ring where he says that he’s glad that Danielson is better than ever and more violent than ever, but he is darn sure that Bryan is not gonna be kicking his head in on Sunday!  Through sheer force of will, he will go right through Bryan and slay the American Dragon!  He wants Bryan to take a shot at him right now but he will save it for Sunday and just walks away.  The ROH announcement feels a bit out of place given how close we are to the PPV, but this was a good angle to build us closer to their match on Sunday.  Who knows!  Maybe there’ll be an invasion or something and the Revolution PPV will end with a giant ROH brawl!

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Casino Tag Team Royale

If the traditional Battle Royale from last week wasn’t to your taste, we now get a Casino Style Battle Royale with staggered entrances instead of everyone being in the ring at the same time.  Not sure what makes this one Casino though since the playing card gimmick isn’t used here, but it should be an interesting fight regardless!

Opening Teams: FTR and Top Flight

Oh hey, Darius is back!  We haven’t seen that guy in over a year, right?  It’s not going to be easy to catch up to Dante’s meteoric rise, but he puts forth a solid case for himself as he and his brother bounce around the ring and leave FTR utterly befuddled.

Next Up: The Acclaimed

They spend a good chunk of their time having Max rap which seems like a sound strategy, and they land a few moves on Top Flight before FTR start to overtake them.

Next Up: The Dark Order (Alan Angels & Preston Vance)

Unlike The Acclaimed, they jump right in and start fighting whoever they can which is a less cautious strategy but definitely more exciting to see.  Dax gets some shots in on Angels while Preston Vance tries to eliminate Cash in the corner with no success.

Next Up: The Butcher & The Blade

The Blade almost takes out Alan Angels, but ultimately it’s FTR who get the honor as they manage to shove Alan Angels off the ropes which is the first elimination of the match.

Next Up: The Varsity Blondes

I was kinda rooting for these guys to win, but they don’t seem to have much of a chance; especially since they cut to commercial the moment they entered the ring and Pillman Jr even gets eliminated while we’re still at break!

Next Up: Bear Country

Speaking of guys who aren’t going to win, we’re STILL in the middle of the commercial when these guys make their entrance.  We only come back in time to see…

Next Up: Proud N Powerful

They go right for Bear Country and manage to eliminate them both while Max Caster is eliminated by Dante Martin.

Next Up: Best Friends

The Best Friends trade blows with Santana and Ortiz, but aside from that and Griff Garrison getting eliminated by Anthony Bowens, there’s not much else happening.  A few more dramatic eliminations would probably pick things up a bit!

Next Up: The Dark Order (Evil Uno & Stu Grayson)

Oh look, it’s Stu Grayson!  Haven’t seen him in a while!  Well with another Dark Order team in the ring it seems to have energized Preston Vance who eliminates The Blade who is soon followed by The Butcher as he’s tossed over by Stu and Uno.

Next Up: The Young Bucks

We cut to commercial just as the Bucks get in the ring so not much happens here, except…

Next Up: The Wingmen (Ryan Nemeth & Peter Avalon)

WHAT!?  My favorite team ever is in this and they come in during the commercial!?  They even manage to land a few good moves; not that anyone could see it with the itty-bitty corner screen!  No one gets eliminated at this time and we come back to see…

Next Up: Gunn Club

The ring is starting to get PRETTY full right now, but thankfully the Gunn Club spend more time arguing with the crowd than wrestling and are immediately eliminated.  Thank you two for your efforts to improve social distancing, though I don’t think it’s gonna amount to much as they are soon replaced by…

Next Up: Brock Anderson & Lee Johnson

Thankfully this is as full as the match gets as there are quite a few eliminations.  Not by Brock and Lee though who spend most of their time out-wrestling the Wing Men; instead, it’s spread pretty evenly among the rest of the teams.  Preston is fighting with Bowens who goes for the mask, and just like in his match against Ricky Starks, this proves to be his downfall as he tries to adjust it as Bowens kicks him out of the ring.  He’s soon followed by Chuck Taylor, Stu Grayson, and sadly enough, The Wingmen who get thrown over by Evil Uno and Nick Jackson.  I’m sad that the best team ever is now out of the match, but at least Uno got an elimination.

The Final Team: 2.0

With no one else to come in, it’s time to start clearing the ring for the main event, so Brock Anderson, Lee Johnson, Anthony Bowens, 2.0, and Proud N Powerful are all eliminated at various points here.  The last two eliminations worth talking about are Uno and Trent who are fighting on the apron when Danhausen shows up and puts a curse on Uno!  With Uno distracted, Trent hits a Half-and-Half Suplex on the apron and Uno falls to the ground which I found very sad, but I got a semblance of secondhand revenge when Matt Jackson eliminates Trent not long after.

With that, we are down to our final three teams; The Young Bucks, FTR, and Top Flight.

Cash Wheeler and Dante Martin start things off as Cash catches Dante in one of his jumps, but as he throws Dante over the ropes, Dante tightens his legs around him and takes Cash along with him in an impromptu Hurricanrana.  While Dax is standing there flummoxed over this, Matt Jackson is setting up for the Superkick.  Dax sees it coming and tries for a Powerbomb, but Matt Jackson reverses it and sends Dax to the apron where Red Dragon come out to… distract him I suppose?  They don’t try to attack him or anything, but Dax does turn around to look at them which allows the Bucks to hit him with a Superkick Party and eliminate him from the match.  It’s down to the Bucks and Darius; the latter of whom manages to eliminate Nick Jackson in a botched Meltzer Driver attempt, but his confidence gets the better of him as he throws matt Jackson over the ropes and turns around assuming he won when Matt Jackson actually held on.  Matt eventually drags him back to the apron and they start trading blows back and forth; punch after punch after punch!  Matt is finally done playing around hits the low blow which is apparently legal in this match type, and follows with a Super Kick to knock Darius off the apron; eliminating him and winning the match for his team!  This was a decent improvement over the Battle Royale on last week’s show as the staggered entrances add a lot to the pacing and excitement, and even if Red Dragon and The Bucks are chummy now, they will be facing each other along with Jurassic Express on Sunday which is just yet another interesting match to look forward to on Sunday’s show.

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Jericho cuts a promo on Eddie Kingston to try and establish some more Heel cred, but it still feels a bit forced; especially when Proud N Power show up and give him a fist bump.  Apparently, they’re all good now, which is an odd thing to throw in the middle of a feud where he’s positioned as the cocky bad guy, but whatever; I’m still looking forward to the match!

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Therapy Session with CM Punk – How does MJF REALLY feel?

CM Punk comes out in a somber mood and starts talking about MJF.  He believes that what MJF said last week about being bullied and being upset at CM Punk’s retirement was true, but his sympathy runs a bit dry when he sees what MJF has done since then.  He punched out Dean Malenko, he said awful things about the families of many of the wrestlers here, and so much more that would need to be addressed before he can be taken seriously.  Still, every journey starts with a single step, and he’s willing to let MJF take it if that is what’s truly in his heart.  He calls out MJF, tells him that he’s been there too, and offers his hand.  MJF hugs him and it looks like a beautiful moment of change for the seemingly unreachable MJF… but then MJF kicks him in the balls and calls out his cronies to beat him up.  Well so much for that!  Not only does MJF take a shot to the balls and a stomping from The Pinnacle, he gets a dog collar wrapped around his neck and is effectively hung over the ropes while MJF calls himself THE DEVIL!  I kind of wanted them to hold off on this until the match itself and have Punk try to fight his way back from such a terrifying beat down, but it works here at somehow making MJF even more hateable than he already was.  Sting, Sammy, and Darby come out to make the save, but CM Punk is already a bloody mess which may hurt his chances on Sunday, but I’m sure it also lit a fire under his butt to teach this upstart punk a lesson!

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Britt Baker & Jamie Hayter Vs. Thunder Rosa & Mercedes Martinez

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

I never like it when they give away a match right before the PPV.  Even if it’s as part of a tag match, it feels like we’re just wasting all that anticipation because they are impatient or can’t think of a better way to build it up.  It seems to me that the obvious solution is for Mercedes Martinez and Jamie Hayter to have a match with Baker and Rosa on the sidelines, but we have the match that we have so how does it turn out?  It’s okay I suppose, but it really does give too much away and has one of the more baffling finishes I’ve seen going into a big PPV match.  Mercedes does get some time in here to work her issues out on Jamie Hayter, but Rosa is in this just as much if not more, and ends up taking the spotlight away.  Martinez does get a Hot Tag after the commercial break, but Baker tags in pretty quickly and she and Hayter manage to overwhelm Martinez.  Rosa eventually gets back in the match and is facing off directly with Baker which was supposed to be one of the reasons to see the PPV, and if that wasn’t eye-rolling enough, the finish is just jaw-dropping as Rosa… beats… Baker… clean in the middle of the ring.  Yes, the AEW Women’s Champion eats a Death Valley Driver and a Thunder Fire Driver before getting pinned by her opponent on Sunday.  She doesn’t even kick out right after the three count; she is DEAD in the middle of the ring!  I don’t know, perhaps this is where I find myself stuck in the old ways, but it just seems to undercut the urgency and gratification of the match if we get to see a version of it play out on free TV.  For all intents and purposes, the PPV match is the re-match, and while there are ways to make that work, a re-match is usually not as interesting as the first one!  Perhaps they can pull it off on the PPV and it will be just as exciting despite seeing Baker get pinned like this, but I just couldn’t believe what I had seen or begin to imagine who thought it was a good idea.

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Wardlow Vs. Cezar Bononi

Wardlow is accompanied to the ring by Shawn Spears

Oh my gosh, they got Bononi back!  I mean he doesn’t get to do much other than making Wardlow look good, but still!  He and The Wingmen are always fun whenever they show up, and Bononi takes those three Powerbombs like a champ!  Once Wardlow gets the pin, Spears goes after Bononi with the chair only to be stopped by Wardlow.  Unhappy with being denied his moment in the spotlight, Spears gives Wardlow the stink eye before backing down because Wardlow is in fact twice his size.  Still, Wardlow is far from the king of this pride as there’s a segment later on where MJF belittles him and Wardlow’s ever so minor clapback earns him a slap in the face.  We’ve been here before so I wouldn’t call it a certainty, but it looks pretty likely that the MJF/Wardlow situation is about to come to a head at the PPV.

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Hangman Adam Page, John Silver, and Alex Reynolds Vs. Adam Cole & Red Dragon

Oh look, another match that we’re giving away before the PPV!  This one admittedly does a better job of it with the two guys not interacting as much and one not pinning the other in the finish, but it still feels a bit off seeing Cole and Page in the ring like this right before their title match.  If nothing else though, it does make Page look like an utter BEAST as he manages to tear apart Red Dragon all by himself whenever he’s in the ring.  The same unfortunately can’t be said for Silver and Reynolds who get their moments (Silver more so than Reynolds) but are mostly on hand to either give backup or receive beatings.  For the most part, it goes back and forth with Red Dragon doing most of the work, Cole getting some cheap shots in where he can land them, and Adam Page looking unstoppable.  He gets a hot tag towards the end and hits O’Reilly with a Sit-Out Powerbomb, but he gasses out pretty hard after hitting O’Reilly with a lariat.  Seeing his opportunity, Cole tags in and goes after Page only to realize that the champ was playing opossum and has Cole right where he wants him!  The two start trading shots and it turns into chaos as everyone rushes into the ring!  Alex Reynolds ends up tagging himself in after Page eats a pretty nasty Knee Strike, but even though he’s less hurt than Hangman, he doesn’t stand a chance against Cole.  After a Knee Strike of his own and a High Boot, Reynolds eats a Super Kick from Cole that knocks him to his knees and he eats a Boom Knee Strike that ends up being more than enough for Cole to get the pin and win the match.  It doesn’t end there however as Cole keeps attacking Reynolds after the bell so Hangman goes after him only for Red Dragon come in and overwhelm him.  Fish and O’Reilly duct tape Hangman to the ropes which leave him helpless as they proceed to destroy Silver and Reynolds right in front of him!  Adam Cole underestimates the Hangman once again however as he starts taunting him and gets way too close!  Hangman fires off a head butt to the surprise of Cole who gives him a Superkick and drapes the title belt over Hangman’s shoulder.  While Hangman may have been tied up and beaten at the end of this, he can at least hang his head up high that Cole still doesn’t know when to quit and got a nice taste of humiliation; something Cole should think about instead of bragging as the episode comes to an end!

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Unlike last week where the action felt secondary to the post-match angles and whatnot, this one did a better job of using the matches to tell stories and giving us a lot of fun action to make this episode stand in its own right.  That said, I wasn’t exactly thrilled with a lot of the decisions they made here as having two of the PPV matches more or less play out on this show feels like a waste of all that anticipation.  You can do angles where the wrestlers interact or even fight with each other, but sanctioned matches mere days before the big show?  Yeah, that just didn’t sit right with me and may have dampened my enthusiasm for at least one of those matches.  Still, if you’re not gonna be able to see the show on Sunday, then this was a great episode of Dynamite to hold you over while everyone else talks about what they’re gonna see this weekend!

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