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A quiet but powerful episode of AEW Dynamite

Pro Wrestling

A quiet but powerful episode of AEW Dynamite

That’s right, ladies: Don Callis is hot now.

After an insurrection, an impeachment, and an inauguration, AEW’s only answer for fixing their ratings problem in the face of the Three I’s of the Apocalypse is “Pretty” Peter Avalon.

It’s going to be a good one, y’all!

Hangman” Page & Dark Order (Silver, Reynolds, & Cabana) def. TH2 and Chaos Project

Remember this episode in ten years when AEW Champion Brodie Jr. gets called out by Dr. Luther at the close of Dynamite Legends Night.

The show opened with the Dark Order bringing out a birthday cake for -1 and getting the crowd to sing “Happy Birthday” to him. After the song ended, however, Dr. Luther made his presence felt (as if we weren’t already feeling it 24/7) by coming down the ramp with Serpentico and telling Brodie Jr. that he and the Dark Order looked stupid.

If you recall, Brodie Jr. once said on Dark that Dr. Luther looks stupid. Masterful storytelling from AEW once again.

TH2 came down to brawl with Dark Order and Hangman came to make the save, showing the amazing solidarity that exists between Dark Order and Hangman. Then, during the match itself, Hangman, Cabana, and the Beaver Boys showed excellent chemistry with three- and four-man combos that absolutely stunned, especially with the SPICY move that ended the match.

Then, it was time for the big question. John Silver took to the mic, flattered Hangman — as one does — got down on one knee, and asked Hangman if he wanted to join the Dark Order. Hangman said that he couldn’t, then confetti shot out as the words “HE SAID YES!!” appeared on the Khan Tron.

I laughed. Then I cried.

Hangman’s the realest character in wrestling right now, as his storyline can’t be fixed in the bombastic way that wrestling does it. He can’t immediately become happy because that fans would cheer for him and the Dark Order. He thinks he’s damaged goods. He’s not over his ex. And until he finishes bearing that cross, he’s unable to do the right thing for himself.

So, last night, all he could do was grab a beer from Stu and head up the heel tunnel.

Does Sting actually say anything? No, but yes!

Tony Schiavone stood in the middle of the ring and said, “This is Sting!”, then the Stinger came out, then Darby came out, then Sting started to talk, then Taz interrupted, then the segment ended with a match being made and only one small change being made in Sting and Darby’s story.

But you already knew that.

I think there’s a bit of a tradeoff here, because whereas a lot of fans have expressed that Sting’s entrance is cool even if his story sucks, I think his story just got a lot more interesting while his entrance has lost a lot of its charm. It was incredible the first two times, but last night especially, it’s become the Canadian Destroyer of entrances. #JustAEWThings.

But, like I said, the story is getting better, and that’s for two key reasons. First, Sting whispered in Darby’s ear before Darby spoke. It’s obvious that Sting is Darby’s dad (or mentor or whatever), but at least SEEING it is something.

More than that, though, we’re now barreling right for Sting’s first cinematic match.

Taz not only challenged Darby to a street fight with Team Taz, but “both [those] bitches.” We heard that Sting may be doing some cinematic stuff with AEW, and as tempting as it may be to just envision Darby doing a regular deathmatch in the streets, I envision this being a lot like the Boneyard match, with UnderSting beating up the Taz Club. Undertaker didn’t have a friend at WrestleMania last year, but I guess I’ll just go ahead and claim that Darby is his Nathan Jones.

The Young Bucks assault Don Callis

Let’s address the elephant in the room: Don Callis is hot now.

Or, at least, that’s what the painting he commissioned for Kenny Omega’s (very belated) birthday implies. But, of course, there’s more to the segment.

The Young Bucks go through plane-hopping Alex Marvez and Michael “Virgil” Nakazawa to chat with their best friend, but instead, they got Don Callis, who tried to pay them not to be Omega’s friends anymore.

Not only did they not take the money, but they attacked Don off camera, causing friction between the Elite later on in the night when Omega discovered Callis with a black eye.

Cody Rhodes def. Peter Avalon

I really did believe that Peter Avalon was going to pin Cody last night, and that’s a real testament to AEW’s booking.

Pretty Peter entered to his banger of a theme song, then Cody entered to his poorly chopped together Snoop Dogg remix theme. Then, right after the bell rang and Cody hit a Cross Rhodes, Jade Cargill’s music hit for the first time and…I THINK it might slap? It’s certainly better than Cody’s.

Avalon hit the Greco-Roman Dick Kick and tried to capitalize on Cargill’s distraction, but because he and his opponent are on direct opposite ends of the power rankings in AEW, Cody remained competitive despite being down a groin and a knee.

Avalon lost the match after Cody threatened to punch him in the face, making Avalon hide away from the punch and tap out preemptively. It was a pretty funny finish, which makes up for the fact that AEW are cowards for not having Avalon go over there.

Jon Moxley def. Nick Comoroto

Fun fact: Nick Comoroto has a lot more O’s in his name than I imagined.

The match itself wasn’t too much to write home about, though Nick was protected well for a jobber. He even got choked out by Moxley, a move usually saved for guys he thinks were real challenges (much like Shida pinning you with the knee versus the Falcon Arrow if you were a tougher opponent).

Moxley’s promo after the match was more of what we got last week, as he addressed Omega and The Elite. Hearing the former Dean Ambrose say “Bullet Club” makes me feel things, but the main takeaway is that he sees the Young Bucks as enemies.

He also challenged all comers from Mexico, Japan, and IMPACT just like Omega did, so it’ll be interesting to see who answers his challenge.

(KENTA. Please.)

Hardy Party def. Sydal & Top Flight

After Lance Archer and Eddie Kingston almost came to blows backstage, we moved on to a tag match that kind of epitomizes all six guys in the match. Matt Sydal put on a showcase but ultimately lost. Top Flight showed off their natural talent while also getting one REALLY SCARY botch in there, with Darius landing on the back of his head on a moonsault. Matt Hardy continued to prove that he’s one of the greatest character actors in wrestling. And Private Party showed that they’re growing a lot right in front of us, both in-ring and as characters themselves.

Top Flight have taken Private Party’s old spot as the undercard flippy babyfaces right as Private Party’s act moves toward heel territory. It’s cool seeing them interact here in the early stages of their career, and in a few years, I feel like we’ll look at this match (as sloppy as it may be) as the first match between two teams who will take over the world, in the same vein as a Motor City Machine Guns vs. Generation Me match.

And as a 22-year-old black dude, it’s cool saying that about other guys who look like me and are around my age.

A quiet but powerful episode of AEW Dynamite

Before we can talk about the end of this match, I need to do a quick Surprise IMPACT Wrestling Review and mention how they debuted as the clear bad guys on IMPACT the previous night. The catch is that everyone from AEW is a heel in IMPACT, but even before Jerry Lynn cheated to help Private Party win on IMPACT, they were still being aggressive like Money Matt wanted.

On Dynamite, the two of them fought mostly like faces until the end, where Isiah Kassidy brought out a steel chair and struck Dante Martin with it. Marq Quen looked surprised for a moment, but then both men put on the SLIMIEST smirks and pinned Dante with all the exaggerated swagger of a black teen.

I LOVE that Private Party’s characters are growing. It’s so great.

Even the title and thumbnail are about the men. Come on.

Penelope Ford (w/Kip Sabian, Miro, and Charles Taylor) def. Leyla Hirsch

It’s 9:25. You know what that means. Just to keep score, last week’s entrances for the women’s match started at 9:28, though the week before that was at 9 on the dot.

The match was solid, though the main story of it was that Chuck “Charles” Taylor was being bullied around by Miro before and after the match. For the ladies’ efforts, they certainly made the most of the time they were given, and Hirsch especially reminded me why she is one of my favorite wrestlers on the roster — despite not actually being signed.

Ford got a quick pin on Hirsch to end the match, but I think Sabian or Hirsch botched the ending, as instead of pushing her foot off of the rope so that she looked strong, it looked to both me and JR as if he placed her foot there. I thought for a second that Sabian was pulling a Ric Flair and screwing his managing client out of a match.

The post-match promo was less fun than I hoped. Miro told Charles to tell Orange that Miro is his best friend now, and after he did so, Orange stood there, stoically. It just didn’t work for me, dog.

Miro’s in such a weird spot. In the ring, he’s stunning. When he’s just standing there and dressing like a star, he’s stunning. I even like the idea of Charles Taylor. But something is off and it’s distressing.

Right after that promo, Callis and the villainous members of The Elite beat down Pentagon Jr., which reminded me that we can totally get a Death Triangle vs Omega and Good Brothers match soon. It’s wild how much storyline relevance PAC and the Lucha Brothers have right now.

MJF and Jericho def. Sammy Hager and Santana & Ortiz

I don’t even know anything about Van Halen (sorry; I’m a 22-year-old black kid, as we’ve already discussed), but I still popped for Sammy Hagar showing up on video to hype up his team. That being said, when MJF and Jericho entered to new mashup music — bringing Jeri-Show flashbacks with them — it became obvious which way this was going.

The star of this match was Jake Hager AGAIN, who popped off like Moose did on Sunday and just big-manned everyone there. He booted Jericho when he tried to cheat with the bat. He cold-cocked MJF when he tried to cheat with the Dynamite Diamond Ring. I’m starting to realize that maybe five out of the seven Inner Circle members work well as babyfaces.

There was a lot of neck destruction in this match (subliminal messaging for Kota Ibushi, I assume) as MJF took a wicked poisonrana from Guevara, and Jericho landed on his own head trying to hit a Lionsault. Lots of fun and danger all around until the finish, as MJF stole a pin over the Spanish God.

Santana and Ortiz are no longer “the” team of the Inner Circle and it’s because MJF pinned Sammy Guevara while holding onto his tights. That’s going to sting for a long while.

And to finish this review, I want to leave you with the realization that I finished Dynamite with: MJF is doing to the Inner Circle exactly what Cody (and Adam Cole) did to Bullet Club on Being the Elite, so I guess it’s clear who’s booking this storyline.

But rest assured: The Inner Circle is not fine.

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