Some weeks, you leave a wrestling show only wanting to talk about one thing. This is one of those weeks for me.
That’s not to say this was a one-moment show by any means; in fact, I would wager that this Dynamite is in any fan’s top 15 episodes, which is a pretty hard list to crack. The best parts of the show pre-9:40 p.m. were all promos, though, and there’s no way my typing can do justice to an MJF promo or the banter between Jon Moxley and Eddie Kingston.
I won’t leave you high and dry, though — we’re absolutely going to go over the full show, but just know that with each word I type about Angelico, I’m really just thinking about Britt Baker’s bloody visage.
So, without further ado, let’s Fire Thunder Driver off the apron and into another week of AEW Dynamite action!
The First 7/8ths of Dynamite
The show opened with Penta El 0M vs Cody Rhodes (which caught me off guard because, without looking at the screen, I could have sworn Fenix was entering), and it was a Pretty Decent Affair.
This match suffers from the same problem that Santana & Ortiz vs the Young Bucks did a few weeks ago where, even if the match was exactly as solid as you would expect, the payoff was a deflating babyface roll-up victory. Cody got the pin over Penta right after getting his arm “broken” (in Lucha Underground kayfabe), but Penta got his heat back by further attacking the arm post-bell.
The Nightmare Family came out to help Cody, then QT came out in his Nightmare Family jacket and just kind of stared from the ramp. I got horrifying chills thinking QT was about to join Death Square.
The next two segments are short-ish and sweet-ish. Up first, the Young Bucks talk about how Fenix beat them both in singles competition but is still no match for them as a tag team — clearly forgetting All Out 2019 — and then Don Callis antagonizes them. He tries to pull a Karl Anderson on them and gas them up about how cool they were in New Japan, admits that he faked their attack on him, and asks them why there weren’t bad enough to actually attack him.
Then, Jade Cargill obliterated poor “Mean Girl” Dani Jordyn in a match that I honestly don’t even remember happening. Squash match or not, though, still sound the alarms: we got two women’s matches in one night, players! And this one even furthered Jade’s story as she and Red Velvet swung at each other at ringside post-match. KiLynn King ended up pulling Red Velvet away from an ass-beating. God bless KiLynn King.
Quick Detour: The Pinnacle
Next up was the opening address of MJF’s new stable, the Pinnacle, and we’re actually going to have to slow things down here.
MJF’s character is a total leech, and he’s willing to betray any and everyone to get to the top. Fortunately for the people at his side now, he feels he’s actually at the top now — the Pinnacle, as Tully Blanchard put it.
After Tully’s opening tirade, MJF took to the mic and put over every member of the stable, talking about how Tully is the greatest mind in the business, Wardlow is the greatest enforcer a man could ask for, Shawn Spears is a criminally underrated psychopath, and FTR are the only grand slam tag team champions to ever do it.
But before that, he made sure to state that he never did like Jericho. He said that pretending to like Jericho was no walk in the park, “…which is something [Jericho] could do more often,” and explained that the jokey, dance-y part of MJF’s character over the last six months was all put-on because that’s the kind of hokey crap that Jericho is into. Jim Cornette can breathe a sigh of relief.
The plan was always to separate Guevara from Jericho and tear the Inner Circle apart, but it was never for MJF to take over the Inner Circle. In order for MJF to be the star of the show, he needed to get rid of the current top dog. Now that he’s at the top, these six guys are about to be thicker than thieves and see tons of success.
First off, I love a classy Horseman-style stable and I totally get why Triple H wanted to lead Evolution so badly. The Pinnacle already rival the Hurt Business for the coolest stable in the biz, and it’s only been a week.
And that being said, MJF made a point to say that he’s currently 24 years old and still has 25+ years to go. (Heck, 25 years from now he’ll still be younger than Jericho currently is.) If the Pinnacle is here to stay, MJF’s legacy is just going to skyrocket over these next few decades. God, that’s so cool to think about, and it’s also so nerve-racking to think of all of the horrible things he’s going to do.
Back to the Show
Though my favorite parts of the night were the blow-off main event and the inception of MJF’s new faction, I think the best running segments on the show are absolutely Moxley and Kingston’s promos together. Last night’s topic: Googly-Eye Gallows and Chad 2 Badd. I’d go into more details, but you know what they say about dissecting jokes and frogs. Just know that “Mad King” Eddie Kingston compared Gallows to Forky from Toy Story 4.
The next match was Bear Country & Jurassic Express vs Hardy Party & BBB, and though it was a serviceable match, it was kind of a let down for me because I didn’t walk away understanding why Butcher, Blade, and Bunny were there.
Though this week’s episode of Being The Elite played up the odd couple nature of Private Party and the world’s most fashionable kinky meat salesmen, this match kind of played out like every other Hardy Party match only with Butcher and Blade beating the hell out of Luchasaurus at ringside. The ending saw Private Party hit Gin & Juice on Marko Stunt, tag in an antsy Matt Hardy, and watch him pin Marko with the Twist of Fate. Okay.
Before the next match, Dasha interviews Christian Cage more or less to make up for next week, and he made his mission statements clear: 1) to defeat Kenny Omega and become AEW Champion, and 2) to out-work everyone. He also made it clear that he doesn’t expect to waltz into the title scene. He’s going to beat as many people as it takes to become #1 contender.
After that, Moxley/Kingston vs Good Brothers kicked off with Gallows and Anderson attacking Kingston during his entrance, probably to hide the fact that they would be losing the championships between the taping of this episode and its airing. (Fun fact: Gallows and Anderson actually taped their Sacrifice tag title loss to FinJuice in February, so they’ve been paper champs for a long while.)
Outside of the picture-in-picture portion, a lot of the match was Mox fighting off Gallows and Anderson on his own with Kingston acting like a Dragon Ball Fighterz-style assist. Moxley hit a Paradigm Shift on Anderson but had the pin broken up by Gallows; then Mox ended the match by catching Anderson with a small package, much to Christian Cage’s delight.
We get the requisite post-match brawl, Kenny coming out with a chair, and the heels going over by smashing Kingston’s knee inside a chair, but then the Young Bucks come out to save Moxley and refuse an apologetic Too Sweet. The Elite is fractured, Mox is angry, Kingston is hurt, and tension’s just high all around.
Now, as I’m sure you could guess, Tony Schiavone interviewed Sting. This time, though, Darby was there to announce that he wanted to be more of a fighting champion and pay tribute to Brodie by giving the Dark Order his first open challenge slot. This later wrapped up when Evil Uno didn’t allow -1 to take a shot (boo) and instead offered the match to John Silver.
Jake Roberts and Lance Archer came out to dunk on Sting for reasons, then Team Taz came out to do the same, and just when my eyes were about to roll out of their sockets, Brian Cage suddenly turned face. He snatched the mic from Taz, put respect on Sting’s name, and walked out on his stable. Interesting choice, but the group was getting a stale and needed this kind of shake-up.
Finally, Rey Fenix vs Angelico totally happened. It was a fun match that gave Fenix a record-padding win, but I feel like it could have been more memorable if Angelico got more offense. There’s no need to put him over right now, but his style is so unique in American wrestling that an extended bout with Fenix is pure gold.
Finally, the Main Event:
Miro and Scorpio Sky have promos, but I’m done with the pretenses. Let’s talk about this main event, BABY.
So, with this being a taped show, AEW didn’t have to run into the problem of over-hyping something that could go wrong. Everyone who was in attendance that night has been giving rave reviews of Baker vs Rosa for the past few days, and it was a type of hype I hadn’t felt since NXT was taped in 4-episode blocks.
This match wasn’t just a blowoff for one of the biggest rivalries the AEW women’s division has seen up to this point; it was a whole event, where all of the division was watching. Shida watched from the back in her power suit. Jade watched coyly from the upper seats. All of the Dark girls and Austin Gunn got hyped at ringside.
The two leapt straight into their brawl, and as expected by both Rosa and the viewers at home, it was functionally a handicapped match. Thunder Rosa quickly got Rebel out of the ring, however, but this distraction allowed Britt to get the upper hand throughout the early stages of this match.
Now, here’s the thing: I kind of forgot women wrestlers can bleed on purpose.
That sounds stupid, I know, but when a lot of your fandom relies on WWE 2K games that actively don’t let women do cool stuff, I genuinely didn’t process that “light’s out match” meant these two were going to bust each other open. So, when Britt Baker curb stomped Thunder Rosa onto the steel steps and Rosa’s head began leaking like a character from Overgrowth, I was floored.
While Rosa got a little drenched, it was her returned fire on Baker (via a ladder-assisted meteora in the corner) that really got the red sea flowing, as Baker quickly transitioned from bratty know-it-all to Carrie in the blink of an eye. Her crimson mask and her eye shadow and her looks into the camera and the aggression as she put on her glove for the Lockjaw or brought out the bag of tacks was just so intense, and she really laid her shots in, too. It sucks that Rosa gets overshadowed in this regard since she’s always on-point, but this was Baker’s star-making performance because it was her first big coming-out match since the early-pandemic Shida match. For Baker, red does equal green.
Baker brought the tacks in, but Rosa was too ready for it, even after Rebel tried to run distraction and went through a table. Rosa powerbombed Baker into a bed of thumbtacks for a 2-count. Baker got the Lockjaw in but was rolled into more thumbtacks. Finally, Rosa hit the Fire Thunder Driver off the apron and through a table for the 1-2-3.
What a brutal match, and the perfect choice for AEW’s first women’s main event. This is their Lita vs Trish moment, and both of these women are bigger stars after this. Dear Lord.
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