Dynamite started with a cold open for Jon Moxley vs Yuji Nagata, so who am I to buck the tradition? It’s Blue Justice! Ren Narita! Rocky Romero! Wild Thing! Oh my God, this show’s start was so wild that I no-joke watched the first few minutes near teary-eyed.
I had a long chat with my good friend Tony Khan way back in the day and told him that, if I ever see two bad episodes of AEW Dynamite in a row, I’m ditching American wrestling forever and becoming a fan of joshi wrestling. Looks like Mayu Iwatani has to wait because this week’s episode pulled out all the stops.
Two huge title matches that could go either way! A third title match with an obvious outcome but whatever, it’s Yuji Nagata! The Orange Cassidy vs PAC rematch! Thunder Rosa!
Was it the best episode of AEW Dynamite? I think the argument would be there if not for one promo. Was this my FAVORITE episode of Dynamite, all things considered?
Well, I think the argument would be there if not for one promo.
Wave your American flags in the middle of the ring as we dive into this week’s episode of AEW Dynamite!
Jon Moxley def. Yuji Nagata to retain the IWGP United States Championship
This was a New Japan match.
Lariats, chops, and stiff kicks, baby! That’s the name of the game! None of the moves were flashy, and in fact, it looked like inflicting the moves was almost as painful as taking them (though maybe that’s just because Nagata is 53). All things considered, this match wouldn’t have been out of place on a Destruction card at all.
The story of this match was, “Hit me, old/young man!” As Moxley is a big white man, it is Japanese law that his lariats are immediately upped to Match Finisher Status, so a lot of this match was just Mox hitting various clotheslines against the poor man.
On Blue Justice’s end, Nagata got a couple of strong submissions in — including the Nagata Lock — and busted Mox open. However, Nagata is still a NJPW Dad, so the match didn’t go too long, ending pretty suddenly with a Death Rider (notably not the Paradigm Shift).
Like I said earlier, the cameos from Rocky and Ren sealed the deal for me even before the bell rang, and watching Mox, King, and the US Title come out to Onita’s music was a huge moment.
You love to see it.
You hate to see it.
Cody came out to the ring and addressed Anthony Ogogo’s attack from last week. Because Ogogo made it a US vs UK thing, Cody instantly went into American Dream mode. It’s a classic. But the tone was just so…OFF, man.
He brought up the last election and basically called it wacky. He brought up kneeling for the flag as a punchline. He brought up his soon-to-arrive biracial daughter and talked about how she’s going to be black and white and shunning neither, which is a great message even if it got muddled by its surroundings.
He brought up the fact that he’s “always” been proud to be an American.
I’m not going to get into it. But this promo would have landed flat for me before June of last year and is now infuriating in the year of our Lord 2021.
Did Cody cut this promo with all of the grand gusto he usually brings? Of course. Is it neat that he is adopting the American Dream moniker now? Sure. Did he make this feud with Ogogo personal and set the stakes high for Double or Nothing? Totally. It’s a battle of ideals rather than just a battle between a young guy and an up-and-comer or a battle between two rough-around-the-edges stables.
Did Cody Rhodes cut a promo that was tired, poorly timed, and made me want to click away from the TV faster than I ever had for this show? Yes.
After May 30th, I hope I never hear the USA chant again. It sets the wrestling business back 30 years.
The Young Bucks def. SCU to retain the Tag Team Championship
This match was good before Nick Jackson superkicked Daniels’ head into the turnbuckle. From that point on, it was GREAT.
The Young Bucks are as cohesive a unit as ever and are the tag team champions because of it. SCU only put their career in jeopardy because Daniels felt like he was holding them back. This match played into that well, as Kazarian was on another level last night, whereas Daniels was slowly picked apart by the Jacksons.
Daniels getting his head kicked into the turnbuckle lead to him bleeding all over ringside while Kazarian fought valiantly in the ring, alone. After minutes of fending them off (including hitting a Styles Clash to reverse a hurricanrana from Matt), Kaz finally suffered a straight-up tombstone from Matt (no flip needed) and was about to be pinned until Daniels finally made his return, dodging a Nick superkick and hitting an Angel’s Wings on him.
For a bit, SCU regained the advantage they had earlier in the match, but Matt eventually got control of Daniels and even hit the “I’m sorry; I love you” superkick on him for a huge two-count. However, after a blast of cold spray to the face and a bonk on the head with the can, Daniels was finally put down with a BTE Trigger, and SCU ended.
Backstage, Moxley and Kingston trashed the Elite’s locker room in defiance, while Kaz and Daniels hugged each other goodbye in the ring.
PAC vs. Orange Cassidy ends in double knockout
Congrats, ladies and gentlemen! We have our first “f*ck finish” in Dynamite history! Bullet Club really is here!
After a promo where Christian Cage and Matt Sydal both announce that they’re in the Casino Battle Royale at Double or Nothing, we make our way to the ring for a rematch of the biggest meme match in AEW’s short history: Orange Cassidy vs. The Bastard, PAC.
PAC is immediately done with Orange and crushes his sunglasses, but Orange responds by skipping all of his goofing around and hitting PAC with a Beach Break for an early two-count.
The rest of the match followed like an abridged version of their Revolution 2020 match, only Orange has since gone through character development via Jericho and is starting to show off how great of a wrestler he really is. The two were going at it with great lucha moves from Orange and a huge Liger Bomb from PAC, but the match screeched to a halt once that very powerbomb knocked Cassidy out.
And that’s why I’m not going to crap all over the finish. They had to call an audible because Orange was legit injured at the moment, so Omega came out, bonked PAC, and caused a triple threat match.
It was a scary moment, and I’m glad to hear from the gang at Fightful that Orange is okay now. Not sure if the triple threat itself was always the plan, but I’m excited to see it.
After this, we get an update on how the Elite feels about their locker room (they’re mad; see you at Double or Nothing), and we also get an update on how Adam Page feels about Brian Cage (he’s unimpressed; see you at Double or Nothing).
Pinnacle Appreciation Night ends with a Bubbly Truck
The Pinnacle cut the requisite gloating promo. Imagine what MJF would say after beating the Inner Circle and topping the ratings. Yeah. He said that. (Though you may not have been prepared for him to pin the TSN ratings on Shawn Spears. That was fun.)
My favorite tidbit of the promo was one that wasn’t the focus, but Tully mentioned how he’d brought out the five finest women in all of Jacksonville for the Pinnacle. Dax waved them off and pointed at his ring. Spears, ignoring his very famous wrestler girlfriend, ogled the women with no remorse. Absolute savage.
The festivities were interrupted by honking as Guevara, Ortiz, and Hager came out on a truck of A Little Bit of the Bubbly as they 1) insisted upon a rematch as they did earlier in the show, and 2) tried to get revenge for the Pinnacle injuring Jericho and getting Santana arrested for stabbing MJF with a fork.
MJF said no because, dude, they just had a War Games match, but then Jericho returned with his arm in a cast and said some stuff, leading Guevara to spray a little bit of the bubbly all over the Pinnacle as they flopped around like heels do. After the spray ended, MJF accepted their challenge but added a new wrinkle.
The Pinnacle will face the Inner Circle at Double or Nothing in a Stadium Stampede match, and if the Circle loses, they disband forever.
I honestly don’t know which way they’ll go with this one, but it did feel weird to follow up their Blood & Guts encounter with a markedly less dangerous match and to set it up with wacky bubbly shenanigans. Maybe that’s just me; the crowd loved it.
Women’s Block: Baker promo, Cargill promo, Thunder Rosa def. Jazmin Allure
It all happened in one chunk, and I basically blinked and missed Rosa vs. Allure, so I guess we’re covering it all in one go.
JR interviewed Britt Baker about her match with Hikaru Shida, and Baker put Shida over. She’s been champion for a year, in a tough year. She beat Baker last time they fought. Shida is tough, but Baker is the “baddest bitch on the block” and is meant to dethrone Shida because Shida’s the one who created this monster.
Up next was Rosa vs. Allure, which happened. It’s cool that Rosa got to wrestle one of “her girls” on TV, but it was a bunch of fluff and corner spots until Rosa hit a shoulder breaker followed by her finish. Next.
Finally, Jade Cargill talked about how “Smart” Mark Sterling returned to ask to manage her on Elevation this week, but she hasn’t accepted his or anyone else’s offer yet. She just wanted to make it clear that, regardless of who represents her, Jade’s her own boss.
Baker’s interview started at 9:30 and Jade’s ended before 9:38. Women’s Wrestling!
Miro ate Darby Allin and is now TNT Champion
Before we get into the murder, let’s talk about how amazing Darby Allin’s pre-match promo was.
Darby did his typical big match move of shooting a black and white video from home, and this time he went back to Seattle to clear his head after getting injured. He said he remembers who he is out there, and in general, he knows who he is.
Does Miro, though? He came in saying he was going to be revolutionary now that he’s unchained, but instead he’s a part-time gamer, a part-time best man, and a full-time joke. Who is Miro?
Well, Miro is the TNT Champion now, and it was a rough time for Darby.
Miro threw Darby around the ring for a long while before the bell rang, and as soon as it did ring, he hit a superkick on Darby for a 2.8 count. Throughout the commercial break, it was a lot of Miro hurting Darby and Darby not quitting.
Then, when Sting looked like he might help, Ethan Page arrived at ringside and distracted him, allowing Scorpio Sky to chop block his leg from behind.
Miro ignored all of this and kept beating Darby down, but Darby did eventually hit a string of Stundog Millionaires and rocked Miro after senpai Sting finally returned to ringside to give his kouhai some inspiration.
There were a lot of near falls, but “near” means it didn’t happen. Miro tanked it all and hit a spine-bending Game Over to finally put Darby down, and the ref called it after the now-former champ passed out.
Sky, Page, Sting, and the Dark Order brawled post-match, but the big deal was Lance Archer coming out to stare down Miro, likely setting up their Double or Nothing encounter.
Yes, please. Everybody dies, indeed.
Anyways, I hated Cody’s promo but Yuji Nagata was there, so I give this show an 8.5/10. SCU later.
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