The following events all happened in one episode of AEW Dynamite:
- Kenny Omega yelled “69 me, Don!” before getting attacked by Christian Cage
- Maki Itoh performed her full entrance song while her teammates experienced a gang beatdown
- Audio from an NBA game played throughout Ethan Page’s singles debut
- Lance Archer started a feud with Sting
- The first women’s main event in Dynamite history was announced
- Penta El 0M reminded the world that he can and will break arms
- Four face turns
- One heel turn
- One Kevin Owens-style already-heel heel turn
- “The Horsemen” are back, baby
Coming off of a stellar pay-per-view that was one botch-of-the-century away from a solid A+, the AEW roster needed a stellar show to get their mojo back. Did this frenzied blitz get the job done?
Let’s break those thoughts down as we tornillo our way into another week of AEW action!
Rey Fenix def. Matt Jackson
To the surprise of no one, watching Matt Jackson wrestle feels like watching one half of a Young Bucks match.
This was a pretty fun high-flyer match, though if you make the obvious comparison to 2019’s Nick Jackson vs Fenix match, this sequel isn’t quite as good. Part of that comes down to personal preference; I think Nick’s half of the Young Bucks style was flashier, whereas Matt’s half appears to be the one that bastardizes the Canadian Destroyer.
The crux of the match came when Fenix went to dropkick Matt but accidentally caught Nick at ringside. In response, Matt slid out of the ring and actively superkicked PAC, drawing boos from the crowd. Back in the ring, Matt attempted a tombstone, but it got reversed into a sit-out Fenix Driver for the 1-2-3.
It’s interesting seeing the Young Bucks slide more into a Cody Rhodes role for their division as they begin to face people who are more positively received by the crowd than them, even if the Young Bucks aren’t heels themselves. The crowd cheered for Santana & Ortiz over the Young Bucks once, but if the Bucks make a habit out of facing PAC and the Lucha Brothers, they’re DEFINITELY not going to be the fan-favorites.
Revolution Botch Excuse #1: Moxley and Kingston
All throughout the opening match, JR ensured the audience that Eddie Kingston was going to talk after the match to explain the end of Revolution and the “thing that was on every fan’s mind.” This seemed for a moment like they might just hype up Kingston’s face turn and move on, but they did actually have Kingston and Moxley address everything that went down in a pretty sufficient way.
First, Kingston explained his selling. He blamed it on an anxiety attack the level of which he hadn’t felt since he was in a jail cell being yelled at by guards. This excuse was like a step too “extra” for me, but I’ll take it.
Then, Kingston went to explain the botched pyro, stating that he thought it was a prank on Kenny Omega and Don Callis’s part, which addresses one large portion of the fan theories. Moxley, on the other hand, cut in to say that he really did think Omega was out to kill him (addressing the original match stipulation and promos), but he figured Omega was just really bad at it.
After some really funny back-and-forths between these two real-life friends about ACME explosives, eyebrow make-up, and Timbs, we had two solid explanations for what went down and a great promo to boot.
Cody Rhodes def. Seth Gargis
Congrats to Gargis on a TV match, but it was a powerslam and a Figure Four to end things. Now LET’S TALK ABOUT PENTA!
Tony Schiavone entered the ring post-match to interview Cody about the severity of his shoulder injury, but it got interrupted by a voice that we haven’t heard much on AEW TV. The camera cut to Penta El 0M at the Spanish commentary booth as Penta grabbed a mic and dragged Alex Abrahantes along as his translator.
Alex killed it in this role, and it was SO GOOD to get the swagger of Penta on full display as he sauntered to the ring and talked about how Cody’s lucky Penta didn’t focus on him during the ladder match — otherwise, Cody wouldn’t be able to hold his own daughter. As a result of antagonizing the Rhodes family, a pull-apart brawl started.
I wondered how hard AEW was going to push a singles Penta now that his stablemates are clearly in the top tag story, and I think there’s not much better they could do than give this specific man a feud with a one-armed EVP.
Best Friends call out Miro/Kip; Archer calls out Sting
Just going to tie these two together since they were so short.
Chuck Taylor and Orange Cassidy cut a promo in an arcade, begging for one last match against Miro and Kip Sabian with the stakes at their highest. Not only will there be a bunch of arcade cabinets around ringside, but if Best Friends lose, Taylor is Miro’s butler forever.
After this, Sting came out to address what’s next for him after the Darby and Team Taz match, but he was cut off by Lance Archer and Jake Roberts. Archer had a pretty reasonable complaint about how AEW isn’t making time for him, so he decided to steal Sting’s time. No match was made between the two, but I imagine it will end up being a “Spin the Wheel Make the Deal: Coal Miner’s Glove” match where Archer avenges his mentor.
Ethan Page def. Lee Johnson
This has been a rough few weeks for AEW production botches. After Bleacher Report screwed AEW with the women’s tournament and AEW screwed themselves with the end of the Exploding Barbed Wire Deathmatch, now it was TNT’s time to mess with AEW by airing feeding in audio from the start of an NBA game all throughout this match.
Highlights on the night included Page cutting a picture-in-picture promo that was inaudible over the NBA crowd noise and Page throwing Johnson off the top rope to the tune of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” The match itself was kind of just “a wrestling match,” acting as a showcase for Ethan Page and giving the pair some back-and-forth until Page could hit his Ego’s Edge.
After the match, Page (obviously furious that Shaq personally put a hit out on his match) kept stomping on Lee Johnson while manager QT Marshall watched at ringside. Dustin Rhodes came out for the save, then stared daggers at QT as the apple man left the arena.
Next, we got a quick promo of Hangman hanging with the Dark Order and playing with his only new purchase: a lawnmower. The gang decided to celebrate by going for ice cream, driving off on the lawnmower and leaving Five behind.
Revolution Botch Excuse #2: The Super Elite
Christian Cage was set for an interview, but Kenny Omega’s music hit instead as Omega, Callis, Gallows, and Anderson came out in style. Once in the ring, Callis cut an ECW-style promo about AEW’s PR department and how they’re blaming Omega and himself for the botched pyro. Instead of a defense, Callis said he could neither confirm nor deny it.
Omega said that he would have loved to vaporize Moxley but was content with embarrassing him, and embarrassing Kingston was the cherry on top. Kingston came out to shut him up, but the boys were unintimidated. Callis said he fired Kingston from IMPACT because he squanders his moments; Omega gave Kingston 10 seconds to leave, then set off the same countdown timer from Sunday; and both Callis and Omega acted out the final shot of Mox and Kingston at Revolution following the out-of-nowhere “69 me, Don!” quote.
Omega played one hand too many by allowing Kingston to get a free shot on him, so Kingston knocked him out, got jumped by Gallows and Anderson, but was saved by Moxley, setting up that match for next week.
Then, while the two teams brawled, Christian Cage finally came out and faced off with Canada’s new golden boy. Omega pretended to offer a handshake before trying to steal a punch, but Cage ducked it, set-up the Killswitch, and watched as Callis saved Omega and the two went up the ramp.
I’ll admit that I never expected or even WANTED Omega and Cage to face off, but I’m far from upset about this direction. It should make for some great promos when Cage finally speaks.
Shida, Mizunami, & Rosa def. Rose, Baker, & Itoh
Maki Itoh made her Dynamite debut a memorable one as she entered third for the heel team and just kept singing even as the face team attacked her partners before the bell.
As much of an intro to Itoh this match was, it played out more as a showcase for the face team. Shida and Mizunami hit all of their big spots, then Rosa spent the last stretch of the match going at it with Itoh until she finally caught her in mid-air and hit her with the Fire Thunder Driver.
I didn’t really like that Baker and Rebel got the better of Rosa in a post-match brawl again (it personally takes the sting out of a victory to me, plus I just wondered where Rosa’s friends were), but because it set up next week’s main event of a light’s out unsanctioned match between Britt Baker and Thunder Rosa, I’ll allow it.
After this match, Matt Hardy announced that he’d hired Butcher & Blade & Bunny. It’s a lateral move for the team.
Darby Allin def. Scorpio Sky to retain the TNT Championship
I was worried about this match because it was one that neither man could afford to lose, and I figured that if Sky did come up short, it would result in an abrupt heel turn. None of the outcomes excited me in theory, but in execution, it turned out well.
The match itself played off of Sky’s more aggressive, opportunistic attitude from the Revolution ladder match while also incorporating the smart wrestling he picked up from being in SCU. If Darby went for a special move, Sky was on top of it, and there wasn’t much the champ could do that Sky wasn’t prepared for.
Darby going for a suicide dive? That’s a cutter from Sky. Darby going for a Coffin Drop? That’s a powerbomb from Sky. Ironically, while none of these could put Darby away, it was the single moment where he was a step ahead of Sky that ended the match, as Sky went for a TKO but got caught in a small package for the loss.
Sky then turned heel, as I feared. Darby slapped Sky on the back as a sign of skater boy respect, but Sky snapped and locked Darby in a deep heel hook to capitalize on an earlier injury from the match. After letting him go, Sky looked remorseful for half a second, then smiled.
I’m going to go into this one cautiously optimistic. As much as I hate when “creative has nothing for you” turns into a sudden heel turn, I do have to recall that Sky did initially make it big as part of a heel SCU. If he brings back the worst town he’s ever been in, I’m back on board.
The Inner Circle War Council
I don’t think this went how anyone expected.
Jericho and MJF announced that there were going to be changes to the structure of the Inner Circle, and it looked like they were about to announce the big move just before Sammy Guevara’s music hit.
After yelling for Jericho to listen to him, Guevara played a video on the Khan Tron that showed MJF, Hager, and Santana & Ortiz planning to overthrow Jericho. After the video ended, MJF told the Inner Circle to get Jericho and Guevara, and at this point, it all seemed like the route that most fans expected.
But then, the original Inner Circle banded together to try and kick a crying MJF out of the group, now as good guys (which makes sense as we’ve been on the verge of a Santana & Ortiz face turn).
Then, MJF said he’d actually been creating his own Inner Circle and the lights went out, allowing for 15 seconds of speculation (my guess being Dynasty from MLW) before Wardlow, FTR, Tully, and Shawn Spears appeared in the ring.
These six men beat the HELL out of the Inner Circle, using bats, chairs, handcuffs, glass bottles, drops from high places. In this one attack, they were already more intimidating than the Inner Circle has ever been, and I’m very excited by what this new force is going to bring to the table.
It looks like AEW’s response to a production botch was just keeping up with good shows, though I wonder how they’ll make up for this week’s production botch and if we’ll get another big one next week. My money’s on Golden Girls audio during Cody vs Penta.
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