As of late, MJF has taken issue with the idea that he’s “good for 25.” He believes that he is the future of AEW and professional wrestling as a whole, but he’s also the present, someone who can easily hold the AEW World Championship and not feel out of place.
And as much as I love to hate the guy, he has a point. But here’s a thing he wouldn’t like to hear: the same goes for a lot of guys in AEW.
I’m not saying that Sammy Guevara, Jungle Boy, Darby Allin, Ricky Starks, Wardlow, Will Hobbs, and the Factory could all win the premier prize in AEW tomorrow without raising a few eyebrows. However, I do think that many of them will be serious contenders for that top spot in the not-too-distant future, and folks like Hangman Page and Riho are right there alongside MJF as youngsters who have proven to be worthy of the top spot in their divisions.
AEW has historically done well with highlighting the strengths of their young roster and using veterans to further achieve that goal, but with the show being bookended by two showcase matches and featuring a great Women’s Championship match with a similar future focus, I think this card is something that wouldn’t be too out of the ordinary in the year 2026.
So, without further ado, let’s hit three consecutive topes to the outside and dive into another edition of AEW Dynamite.
Hangman Page def. Ricky Starks
Page and Starks are two interesting competitors in AEW because they don’t have super flashy movesets the same way that the Elite and other competitors do. One is a man who hits Hanson-esque lariats (though admittedly isn’t afraid to hit a moonsault or two), while the other is a former NWA star. This match was grounded and brawly, and it worked really well for that.
Reversals were the name of the game as Starks had Page scouted all the way throughout. Lariat attempt? Duck. Deadeye attempt? Powerbomb reversal. Another lariat? Spear.
Page got occasional runs of offense such as when he finally hit an avalanche fallaway slam, but Starks still mostly outsmarted Page until the very end. In the final stretch, Starks tried to run for the ropes, but Page wrapped an arm around his neck and pulled him back in a move reminiscent of Brian Kendrick’s Captain’s Hook, only Page also reached back and grabbed Starks’ leg while choking him. Starks tapped, as the only way Page could beat him was by pulling out something Starks couldn’t scout.
After the match, Taz distracted Page on the mic while Hook jumped the cowboy from behind. Brian Cage came out to help with the beatdown, but the Dark Order came out to stop Team Taz.
Penta El 0 M def. Trent?
First, I love that Justin Roberts actually said “Trent?” with the question mark.
Second, Penta has new theme music! It’s kind of the same thing as the Lucha Bros/Death Triangle music, but I liked when SAnitY did that, so I accept it here too.
And third, this match was nice to see as Trent’s first match back, but it wasn’t really anything out of the ordinary from an in-ring perspective. Trent played the big man role with stiff clotheslines. Penta was quick with his rope maneuvers and backbreakers. For the most part, it’s that latter half that controlled the match, as Penta was a step ahead of Trent for the first half of the match.
Trent’s big comeback came in the form of an apron piledriver — revenge for Penta’s attempt at an apron package piledriver — but before Trent could fully capitalize, Alex Abrahantes grabbed the mic and told Trent that he sucks, his friends suck, and his mama sucks.
This enraged Sue’s Baby Boy so much that he grabbed a chair and chased Alex into the ring, but Rick Knox wouldn’t let him get do anything with the weapon. Penta superkicked the hell out of Orange Cassidy when he tried to mess with Alex himself, and then Penta put Trent away with the Fear Factor.
Promo Break: The Pinnacle
Jim Ross asked the Pinnacle to respond to Jericho’s “Immortal Promo” from two weeks ago, and boy did they.
MJF started by making some coy remarks about Jericho’s scarf digs, but the promo really took off when Wardlow took apart Jericho’s promo itself, saying it wasn’t “immortal” because it wasn’t perfect. Jericho stumbled when it came time to talk about Wardlow, and that’s because he KNEW he messed up the moment the name “Wardlow” came out of his mouth.
Then, MJF retook the driver’s seat and tore down Jericho’s character, saying he surrounds himself with Bs and only wrestles As so that he can maintain his flailing image. Jericho has used the likes of Moxley, Omega, Hangman, Cassidy, and now MJF to try and rehabilitate his image, and while Jericho says MJF should stick to beating the Nakazawas and Cutlers of AEW, MJF has already beaten Jericho. What does that say?
An amazing promo from both men, and you could actually see the rest of the group getting hyped in the background.
After this, we got a well-produced hype package for Shida vs. Conti that was a sort of truncated version of their Road to Dynamite video. Great stuff, and it got me hyped to think Conti may have this.
Hikaru Shida def. Tay Conti to retain the AEW Women’s World Championship
Conti did not have this, but she put in an amazing effort. These two women put on a grappling clinic in the ring full of smart twists, reversals and submissions. It’s not the easiest match to recap since every move played off the last for the first half, meaning I’d kind of have to go over it beat for beat, but the gist is that Shida had Conti on lockdown for a long while, and Shida got cocky. And aggressive.
Yes, Shida played the heel in this match, but it was only so much. A few stomps here and there, some stronger strikes, her typical taunts. The real big move came when she dropped Conti lumbar-first onto the turnbuckle and sent her to the outside of the ring, then immediately jumped back onto her without letting her recover.
Conti did fight her way back into things and even got a believable near fall off of a Tay-KO, but after a few more backbreakers and a wicked Crunchy, Shida hit the Katana for the 3-count.
It was an amazing match from both women, and I’m really pulling for Shida to finally enter a packed arena as Women’s Champion as she so desperately wants, but that’s in jeopardy now. Post-match, Britt Baker came out, brought the rankings up, and played-up the fact that she’s now #1 in the rankings after Conti’s loss.
Promo Break: Miro, Jericho, Ogogo
Miro is still frustrated that Kip is avoiding him after the Arcade Anarchy match, but it’s no matter. Miro just wants gold now, and whether you’re hanging with sleazy Impact guys or are going through an emo phase, he’s going to crush you.
Jericho and the Inner Circle come to the ring after this and cut a worse version of their last promo. “Pineapple,” “My Jerk-off Friend,” it’s all here, only now he calls Excalibur’s Jacksonville Children’s Choir the “Inner Circle Squad.” Barf. The promo started run-of-the-mill but got better after Santana’s nice little segment as Jericho stopped playing to the crowd and instead just got red-faced and pissed at the Pinnacle, and next week, they’re going to have a parlay with both factions to discuss war plans. Not war games plans, mind you, for legal reasons.
Finally, Anthony Ogogo cut another promo where he crapped on America for no reason while the full-American Factory just watched in horror. This relationship will always get a pop out of me, but it’s the only thing that got a pop out of me here because…
QT Marshall def. Billy Gunn
You can’t make me talk about this match. QT beat Billy with the Diamond Cutter after Ogogo interfered. Other stuff happened, but you don’t care either.
Post-match, QT went to bludgeon Billy with a wooden chair, but Dustin came out for the save with a bullwhip. Nick Comoroto came out to help his boss, but Dustin hit him over the head with the wooden chair — only for it to burst over Comoroto’s head while he no-sold it. I lied earlier: this got a pop out of me too.
I actually like how they’re building up Ogogo and Comoroto (and Solow is there too), but this match was just a boring watch.
Promo Break: The Elite, Mox, & Kingston
The Elite Trailer from Impact is here! Callis, Omega, Nakazawa, Cutler (on camera duty), the Bucks, and the Good Brothers are all aboard and hyping themselves up for Omega’s PPV match against Rich Swann this Saturday (the ONLY TIME it was mentioned in the past like two months of their storyline), but they were interrupted by a honking horn outside.
Mox and Kingston drive their truck directly into the Elite’s trailer and start bashing it with a pipe while cracking jokes the whole time. Only problem was that the Elite weren’t actually in that trailer (or at least not at the moment), so Mox and Kingston called them mean names and left. A nice segment, though a definitely missed opportunity for some more Impact synergy.
I can’t wait for Rich Swann to show up next week as AEW World Champion and the whole crowd’s confused.
Christian Cage def. Powerhouse Hobbs
Team Taz are banned from ringside because of their shenanigans earlier in the night (proving that AEW management has better security than Regal in NXT), but Hobbs doesn’t really need it. He’s a whole powerhouse. He throws Christian around with no remorse.
Christian’s faster and smarter than Hobbs, but Hobbs is just more athletic, and it seems like not only is Hobbs always getting the better of him, but everything that Christian does hit doesn’t have much of an effect, even including a big frog splash.
The rookie’s downfall was, of course, a rookie mistake, as he started to put together an Oklahoma Stampede in the corner that would have won him the match, but he stole Christian’s taunt while he had the advantage, leaving Christian just enough time to hit a Killswitch out of nowhere for the win.
A smart way to make both men look strong, progress Christian’s big story, and make great use of a ring general. Hobbs looked great in there.
Darby Allin def. Jungle Boy to retain the TNT Championship
Like Shida earlier in the night, Darby had to go up against a babyface that the crowd would’ve been elated to see win. So, on a whim, he melded a bit into the heel role on the night.
It wasn’t right away, as both men were friendly rivals early on. They could reverse a few of each other’s moves, but they were also both so fast offensively that they ended up still getting each other with big moves. At one point, they even tackled each other over the barricade. Jungle Boy got the better of Darby during this stretch, though, constantly finding ways to lock Darby back in the Snare Trap.
Jungle Boy’s barrage continued in the form of three consecutive dives to the outside, but he lost all momentum when Darby hit him with a risky apron Coffin Drop. Jungle Boy almost lost via countout but was helped up by Luchasaurus, causing a brawl to the back between the dino and Sting.
Darby escaped yet another Snare Trap by gouging Jungle Boy’s eyes and eventually finished him off with the Last Supper, ending an ultra-competitive match.
Post-match, Scorpio Sky and Ethan Page attacked both men but particularly the TNT Champion, and as Lance Archer came out to save Darby, the heels still almost got the better of them both. Sting came out to firmly stack the odds against them, though, and as Sky and Page fled with scraps of victory, Sting and Lance Archer stood tall as a unit while Jake Roberts watched in the background.
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