AEW is a wrestling promotion that prominently features the likes of Kenny Omega, Chris Jericho, Jon Moxley, The Young Bucks, and so many other well-established stars in the wrestling world. So, how is it that I walked away from last night’s Dynamite thinking about Griff Garrison and Anthony Bowens?
It’s not that those main eventers weren’t putting their all into the show. Omega had one of the best interactions of the night with Orange Cassidy; Moxley and Kingston had a really fun tag match; Jericho’s promo was another reminder that he is a top 3 all-time promo, do not “at” me; and The Young Bucks won a fun, throwback main event championship match.
But Matt Sydal’s the one who consistently impresses me with his moves. Serena Deeb’s intensity stayed in my mind all night. Max Caster’s rap was so funny that I almost missed the match because of the tears in my eyes, and when my eyes DID clear up, I saw Anthony Bowens killing it.
What I’m saying is, AEW has Favorite Wrestler Energy because, on any given night, a different wrestler can hold that top spot in my heart with a segment or match or two.
To better understand this, grab your favorite episode of Oral Sessions with Renee Paquette as we dive into another edition of AEW Dynamite!
Christian Cage def. Matt Sydal
These two men went out there and proved that they are two different levels of fluid.
Sydal’s offense and defense are everything. You go for a backdrop and he’ll somehow turn it into head scissors. He’ll sweep your leg and hit a standing mariposa right onto you. You’ll think that he’s too far away from you to hit any move when, suddenly, homie just caught you with an arm drag.
Christian is better at taking offense at this point in his career. He sells everything, whether it’s your move, his move, a kickout. Everything seems to take effort, and more than just straining to move, he’s also always thinking. It’s not about the number of moves. It’s about hitting the one.
This match wasn’t crazy, but rather a back and forth that fits those two descriptions. Sydal hit and reversed a lot of moves, and he kind of beat the hell out of Christian. But after about ten minutes of barely getting a word in, Christian got his knees up during a mariposa and immediately hit the Killswitch for the victory.
Though Sydal talked crap before the match, he’s just a respectful man, so as soon as he got pinned, he crawled up to his feet, shook Christian’s hand, and bowed.
Speaking of respectful, (Team) Taz.
Ricky Starks returned and said that he’s not going anywhere (even if he’s shoot injured), and he brought Hook, Hobbes, and Cage out to destroy the men in the ring. Hangman came out, thrust a glass of whiskey into Starks’ hand, and went for the save — only to get demolished by Cage.
A fun little match followed by a fun little interaction. A great start to the show.
Promo break: Varsity Blonds, Mox & Kingston, and The Acclaimed
Garrison and Pillman got some time to establish who they are on TV since they’re main eventing now. Pillman says that people assume he had an easy path to wrestling because of his father, but all BPJ ever knew was the Dark Side of the Ring, so he never wanted to wrestle. Garrison, meanwhile, remembers The Bucks letting him run their merch table in 2018 and remarks on how they’ve changed so much since then. Also, Julia Hart was there, a two-time (two-time!) national champion.
Mox and Kingston were hilarious, as per usual, trying to figure out The Acclaimed. Kingston landed on “the rapper and his friend.” The Acclaimed were a bit more high-effort, talking about the Lunatic Cringe and reminding their opponents that The Acclaimed are higher in the rankings.
Moxley & Kingston def. The Acclaimed
Caster brought this upon himself after saying Kingston looked like a box of Newports (insert audience laughter) and that Renee was hitting him up for some Oral Sessions (insert audience “ooh!”). By the time Bowens said “A-E-DOUBLE—”, Moxley had already punched the rapper’s friend in the face.
The first half of this match was Mox and Kingston delivering stiff offense and toying with the youngsters, but as the commercial break neared, the Power of Heel kicked in and The Acclaimed took over. Bowens showed off a surprisingly deep grappling move set during this, and when break came back, he had Kingston in quite the leg hold.
Toward the end (which was paced really well, strangely like an NJPW tag), The Acclaimed tried their bluffing strategy where Caster blatantly gave the legal Bowens a chain in front of the ref, then tried to bonk Kingston with the boombox during the distraction. Mox cut this off, though, hitting Caster with the box himself and putting Bowens away with a wheelbarrow Paradigm Shift as a unit.
New tag moves! You love to see it.
After this, Alex Marvez BAMFed into a room with Jericho and Dean Malenko to get the scoop on Stadium Stampede. The post-Marvez interaction where Jericho told Dean that he forgot a few holds was cute.
Promo break: Page, Sky, Darby, and The Pinnacle
Page and Sky were interviewed by Schiavone in the ring. Sky talked about how he grew up watching Sting, but as a grown man now, he’s telling Sting to stand down. Page says that Miro’s a worthy champion, but he does want some blame himself for Darby’s loss. In response, Sting and Darby went for their signature attack: Sting enters from the ramp and Darby attacks from behind.
Next was The Pinnacle’s dinner table promo, which (despite my love for Deeb, Sydal, and the Blondes on the night) was definitely the best moment of the show. While Wardlow and Spears tried to get wine wasted, MJF freaked out about the juvenile sense of humor of their opponents. He rightfully called “The Pineapple” and “My Jerk-Off Friend” horrible jokes and said that the jokes were done at Double or Nothing. Dax jumped in and said that The Pinnacle wants to move on and get gold, but they’re stuck with Jericho. For now.
Then, Spears went nuts and tried to kill the waiter for not giving him his drink before the others. It was terrifying. The Pinnacle rules.
Hikaru Shida def. Rebel
It’s 8:46. Time for a — hold on!
So, this match was bad (obviously), but it told a story. Rebel played into her fake injury and tried to gain sympathy from the ref while doing jumping jacks for the crowd. Shida, meanwhile, was out for blood, pulling on a latex glove to put a Lockjaw on Rebel in front of Britt Baker.
Baker didn’t let this happen, but it didn’t stop Shida from putting a Stretch Muffler on Rebel to give her a real leg victory and score a victory. Baker attacked her after the match and held up the title — a bad omen.
Promo break: Omega, Cassidy, Inner Circle, & Jade
After last week’s show, Omega and Callis visited Orange Cassidy in the trainer’s room and gave him a contract he could sign to forfeit the triple threat match due to injury. He can get his one-on-one later, but as an EVP, Omega wants Orange to — oh, wait, Orange is slowly ripping the paper in half. It’s okay. Callis has another copy. Orange just needs to think about it.
The Inner Circle then went to the ring and one-by-one explained why they’ll fight The Pinnacle. Ortiz and Guevara’s promos happened, I guess, and Hager actually got “Hager!” chants, but the star here was Jericho, who once again said that The Pinnacle needs to kill the five of them to get rid of them.
Finally, Jade Cargill and Mark Sterling talked about why he’d make a better manager than Vickie or Hardy. She’s mad he interrupted her, but she’ll think about it.
Serena Deeb def. Red Velvet to retain the NWA Women’s Championship
Dude, Serena beat the snot out of her.
It’s as offensively (un)balanced as the opening match, except here, Red Velvet’s comebacks felt less like control and more like gasps for air. But Serena wanted to prove that her injury was nothing, and a dominant win like this (which she almost got in the first minute) did just that.
Deeb kept going for the Detox (Deeb-tox?) and Serenity Lock, and the latter got it done as she bashed Velvet’s knee into the mat until she finally couldn’t withstand this third submission attempt. Velvet survived a commercial break and hit a moonsault among other moves, but this was Deeb’s match through and through.
I really like this new side of Deeb, and I hope she isn’t a heel because of it. I need someone to just be intense for a match without verbal insults or smarminess afterwards.
After this, PAC cut a promo on The Elite. He sure is in this storyline, huh?
Anthony Ogogo def. Austin Gunn
Ogogo punched Gunn in the liver so much that blood sprayed out of Gunn’s mouth and onto Ogogo’s face. This wasn’t a match; it was a massacre. Pray for Austin’s health.
Genuinely, though, because this match was a bit of a scramble followed by three liver punches and a pop-up KO punch, I have no clue how Ogogo vs Cody will even look. Only bet I can make is that Cody will blade at some point—and I’d go double or nothing on that one.
(Did I do it? Did I make a good casino joke?)
Promo break: SCU & Miro
Marvez asked Daniels about his “That might be all” tweet, but Daniels just bypassed him, whispered in Kazarian’s ear, and left. Kazarian told Marvez about how much Daniels means to him as a professional and as a friend, and he says that whatever decision Daniels makes, he’s earned it.
Miro then came out and thanked Jesus for giving him the strength to body Darby Allin. In a promo that was equal parts hilarious and terrifying, Miro began looking forward, saying that before he fights Archer, he’s defending the title against some poor soul (who we later learned to be Dante Martin) next Friday on Dynamite. Jake and Archer came out to call Miro a Bulgarian B*tch, but Miro said that Archer’s a bad monster since he has this old man hold him back. Next time they face off, Jake needs to stay away from Miro because “there’s not enough yoga in the world to save your life.” Miro is a star.
The Young Bucks def. The Varsity Blonds to retain the Tag Team Championship
This match was from the ’80s.
The Blonds have always had very old school offense, but The Young Bucks added to the schtick with classic heel moves like tripping to get back in the ring and being sent back over the ropes via a clothesline. The Blonds were pretty dominant early on, running on pure babyface tenacity, and The Bucks oversold it all in the best way.
But the Power of Heel compelled them all, and during the commercial break, The Bucks figured their opponents out — only for Garrison to get a hot tag and run through them upon the return to full screen.
The match came down to a full 3-on-3. Matt gets the Sharpshooter. Cutler distracts the ref. Nick shoots cold spray in BPJ’s eyes. Garrison stops the submission. Nick distracts the ref. Cutler gives Matt cold spray. Julia Hart snitches to the ref. Cutler gives Matt more cold spray, but this time he sprays Hart instead of Pillman, and without further distraction, he finally puts Pillman down with the Sharpshooter.
After the match, Mox and Kingston scare off Callis and Cutler, choke out the Bucks and steal their Js. Throwback wrestling followed by a televised mugging. AEW does it all.
This isn’t an all-timer, but it may go down in history as one of the more underrated episodes of Dynamite. Really fun episode all around.
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