A wise man named Videogamedunkey once said that, when it comes to review sites, you often can’t tell what the site’s “true opinion” is because they have so many writers. Well, with these AEW reviews, I can confirm that you are NOT getting the congregated opinions of AIPT’s wrestling crew, because there are some hills that I die on alone.
I have my inoffensive takes, like how KiLynn King is a hire that AEW needs to make immediately, if not six months ago. I have my jokingly divisive takes, like how I’m AIPT’s resident Shawn Spears mark. And then I have takes where it seems like I am fully alone.
Today, I wave the flags of deathmatch wrestling and Nick F’N Gage alone.
Last night’s Dynamite was a very fun show, with an incredible main event, the surprising (but welcome) debut of a veteran, and Orange Cassidy dying twice via Sting and the Blade. The Omega and Hangman storyline was furthered; Britt Baker got to remind us how over she is; and for the second week in a row, an unsanctioned or otherwise unaffiliated championship changed hands on AEW TV!
There’s a lot of “objectively” good stuff to shout out from last night’s Dynamite, but even for moments that could be seen as unsettling, heatless, Murder-y, Death-y, and/or Kill-y, I’ve got the positive take for you.
Unless it’s one of three small moments, but we’ll get to those.
So, grab your valet and hide behind her because it’s time to dive into this week’s episode of AEW Dynamite!
Chris Jericho def. Shawn Spears
The result was never in doubt, and yet I still fully believed that Spears had won. This is actually a recurring theme throughout the night: the obvious winners kept eating nearfalls, and my heart can’t take it.
This match’s story was built into the stipulation: Spears could use a chair and Jericho couldn’t. Though there’s a reality where Spears could MAYBE out-wrestle Jericho, he didn’t even try last night because our favorite Chair Pervert kept trying to go for his favorite weapon at every opportunity.
While you could imagine how the first 50% of the match went, the crucial moment was Tully distracting the ref while Jericho made Spears tap to the Walls. Spears tapped a few times and was almost caught tapping once Guevara came out to stop Tully, but instead of losing, Spears bonked Jericho with a chair, hit him with a C4, and got a 2.9 count.
Chairs became Spears’ undoing as Jericho red-caped Spears’ metaphorical bull and sent him flying into a chair that Spears had wedged into the corner. One Judas Effect later, and Jericho had passed the first of his five Labors.
MJF left the commentary booth and told that Jericho that he bent the rules, but next week, there will be no rules, and that fact favors Jericho’s opponent. Jericho’s second trial is against DEATH MATCH LEGEND NICK GAGE.
And if you read that wrong and think this has anything to do with national treasures…you’re still right.
Because of the recent season of Dark Side of the Ring, some folks are reasonably worried about letting a wildcard like Gage in the ring on TNT with a treasured veteran wrestler, but even knowing Gage’s rocky past, I’m still over 50% certain Jericho will be okay. It’s going to rule.
MDK All Day.
After this, Miro said that there have been multiple TNT Champions before, but even though he’s defending his title at AEW Homecoming, there will never be another TNT Champ. This is the Word of the Redeemer.
Doc Gallows def. Frankie Kazarian
Though it took me years to appreciate Kazarian the way I should — and I’ve never appreciated Gallows in the ring until, well, last night — I think this match was pretty enjoyable. Frankie trying to wrestle his way around his much larger opponent was interesting to watch, and he did a great job handling both Good Brothers’ shenanigans at once, though the numbers advantage did cause his end.
Kaz may be good at stopping an unfair beatdown, but by spending a second taking out Karl Anderson, he opened himself up for a double chokeslam from Gallows and a pinfall defeat. After this, Anderson and Gallows continued beating Kazarian down as Omega and Callis entered the ring.
Omega told off Kazarian for being a thorn in the Elite’s side for months, and he told his goons to beat Kaz down like they’ll do Hangman next week, but Hangman came out for the save! Only, this time, the Good Brothers were ready and did get a lot of shots in.
Once again, the Dark Order came out for the save, and this time, Reynolds and Silver both made their presence felt as they hit half of their fast-paced tag combo on Anderson before Hangman finished it with a lariat.
Next week, it’s the Elite vs Hangman, Uno, Stu, Silver, and Reynolds!
After this, Team Taz announce that they’re throwing a party for Ricky Starks, and Brian Cage says he loves celebrations. Cage is a WCW Power Plant worker sent 20 years into the future.
Darby Allin def. Wheeler Yuta
This match freaking RULED. The two sneakiest, most wily wrestlers in AEW spent a whole match trying to get quick pins on one another, and I ate up every second of it.
Darby came out in rib tape to sell last week’s match, and thus, 90% of the attempted roll-ups (which were, in turn, 90% of the match) were from Wheeler Yuta, and I bit on a LOT of those nearfalls. The biggest moment, however, came from Orange Cassidy’s interaction with Sting.
Orange did his usual and raised his hands before placing them in his pockets. Sting noted this move, and in response, HE initiated Orange’s signature shin kick back-and-forth. After both men went for the lazy shin-superkick, Sting meekly beat away at his chest, all while Darby watched from the ring, annoyed.
Yuta nearly pinned Darby off of this distraction, but after a kickout and a little more grappling, Darby suddenly hit his Stundog Millionaire and a Coffin Drop for the victory.
After the match, though, The Blade came out and knocked out Orange with his brass knuckles.
Britt Baker def. Nyla Rose to retain the Women’s Championship
I’m going to address the elephant in the room: the crowd had no idea how to respond to this match. Though Baker is clearly a heel, the crowd is still behind her and will even cheer her over clear babyfaces like Shida. Turning Nyla into a tweener for this feud was a weird move, because the crowd switched between booing and apathy every time Nyla did anything. I can’t blame the crowd for not caring about Nyla as much as they did Baker, though I can blame them for screwing up a definite 2-count and claiming, “that was 3.”
There’s also another elephant in the room: this match got sloppy. There were a few roll-up spots after the break where it looked really contrived, and it wasn’t a good look for either lady (though many people online pinned a lot of it on Nyla).
Now, with both of those notes made, I do still think this match was really enjoyable. Nyla being the only person to beat Britt this year gave her credibility, and there were multiple spots where I thought Nyla was our new champion. Britt could NOT get her Lockjaw on, and Nyla wasn’t going down after curb stomps, superkicks, or any of Britt’s other impact moves.
Nyla hitting a DVD followed by her rope-hanging knee was nail-biting, and she hit a whole Beast Bomb, only for Britt to kick out. Britt eventually tried to cheat it by pulling an Eddie Guerrero (to spite Vickie) and get Nyla DQ’d for “hitting her with the belt,” but Nyla switched the belt back to her, leading to that Beast Bomb nearfall.
The match did end via a final Lockjaw, and the crowd was finally into it by the end, but this whole thing was a journey in the best and worst ways. I think the only reason this isn’t an automatic rewatch is because the crowd was so dead through the middle.
Promo Break: FTR, PnP, Andrade, & Death Triangle
We got highlights from a press conference for Santana & Ortiz vs FTR. Santana cut an amazing promo about his family and his struggles, but before he could make any sort of point, AEW cut the interview and went straight for Harwood’s retort. Hopefully they release the full press conference, because (potential hyperbole incoming) that was the worst production job this side of AEW’s exploding ring fiasco.
We then saw Andrade make his huge announcement, which was that he’s switching from Vickie Guerrero to Chavo Guerrero, who was nice to see. Death Triangle came out to answer Andrade’s “challenge,” but Andrade told them (in Spanish so that PAC can’t understand) that what he really wants is for Penta and Fenix to work for him instead of PAC. After Chavo translates, PAC says they don’t work for him and that they’re a team, and as the trio tries to get physical with Andrade, Chavo pulls his client out of the ring.
That second promo is also the second thing I wasn’t crazy about on the night: it was just kind of awkward. Not bad — just a bit off from all four men who weren’t Chavo.
Orange Cassidy def. The Blade
The Blade assumes he’s won via forfeit once Orange’s music hits and he doesn’t come out — since, you know, he got punched with brass knuckles earlier — but Orange does enter the ring and is that scary, speedy Orange Cassidy we’ve only really seen with guys like Jericho, PAC, and Miro.
This match seemed like it was going to be one-sided because of how fiery Orange was, but the earlier beatdown caught up to him and he couldn’t capitalize on his big moves. Realizing this, the Blade applied a MORE savage beatdown on him, peaking with the sickest powerbomb I’ve ever seen as Blade powerbombed Orange from the second rope onto the top turnbuckle and down to the floor.
Orange recovered, meaning Bunny and Blade went for the brass knuckles again, and though Kris Statlander tried to stop it, Blade still grabbed the knuckle dusters only to get hit with an Orange Punch. Orange pinned the Blade, stole his knucks, and hit a second Orange Punch to (I think) end the feud.
Christian Cage has a promo after this about fighting the Hardy Family Office next week, and apparently there’s a QT Marshall promo afterwards as well, but I didn’t even see that, so I can’t count it as a third “not good” segment.
The last “not good” thing was Jericho announcing that he’s going to be the Painmaker next week with Nick Gage. I guess that’s fun, but the face paint doesn’t scream “hardcore match,” and the fedora is a fedora.
Lance Archer def. Jon Moxley to become IWGP US Champion!
Some story-setting: Bullet Club member Hikuleo (son of Haku; brother of Tama Tonga and Tonga Loa) was at ringside earlier in the show, and it was announced that the winner of this one faces him next week.
Foolishly, I thought, “Dang, Mox is defending this belt four times on Dynamite!”
But that was before Archer and Moxley brawled into the crowd, and Archer hit Moxley with a fan’s whole body, and Moxley stabbed Archer with a fork, and Moxley hit a Death Rider on the exposed concrete at ringside, and Moxley bit Archer’s forehead, and both men stabbed each other with the fork some more, and Archer PUNCHED A TRASH CAN LID INTO MOX’S FACE, and Moxley punched Archer in the nards, and Archer bodyslammed Moxley onto the top of two chairs in the worst way, and Moxley put two barbed wire boards on top of two tables, and Archer stabbed Moxley with a fork before chokeslamming Moxley through said boards and tables.
Both men put their careers and lives on the line for this one, and for one Lance Archer, the gambit paid off. He’s now a two-time IWGP US Champion, winning it the same way he lost it. This match was a mile a minute and got a bit hard to watch at times, but with all said and done, it fits comfortably alongside all of Dynamite’s other amazing main events in 2021.
I was very happy with this show, and I cannot wait for next week’s show. Someone is going to die, and hopefully it’s me of excitement and not Jericho of Gage.
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