Much ado is made about Darby Allin, Jungle Boy, MJF, and Sammy Guevara, and rightfully so. While it’s clear that AEW’s hotseat has been set up for Hangman Page since the beginning, these four men are absolutely slated for turns at the top of the heap. And last night, all four of them were present for big moments on the show!
However, this episode wasn’t about them.
Tony Khan went on Busted Open Radio Wednesday afternoon and gave glowing reviews of Wheeler Yuta, Daniel Garcia, and Wardlow, despite only one of the three being signed with AEW. And last night, those three men — plus one incredibly talented Martin brother — went into Dynamite with something to prove.
At this point, there are no less than 83 men and women that fans can point at and say, “That wrestler is the future of AEW!” but now, it’s looking like we’re going to need to start branching out to folks who don’t even have full-time contracts with Khan and Co.
Grab your Tier-2 contract and hit a straight-legged hurricanrana to the outside as we dive into another week’s edition of AEW Dynamite!
The Elite def. Dante Martin & The Sydal Brothers
After an opening monologue from MJF and Wardlow where MJF brought up Wardlow’s previous failure against Cody in February 2020, we kicked things off with a match that featured three of the performers who excite me the most in all of wrestling — and I’m not even talking about AEW’s world or tag team champions.
The first half of this match was very much a Sydal Brothers tag match, starting up with a fast-paced rally between Matt and Matt before getting their younger brothers involved. Mike Sydal was hitting splits and doing Matrix bends to avoid clotheslines, and after getting hot-tagged in, Matt Sydal delivered a beautiful flurry of kicks and knees to both Young Bucks.
As for Kenny Omega, Dante Martin was his man, but the younger half of Top Flight proved to be more slippery than expected. In succinct fashion, Dante Martin:
- Landed a flip out of a dragon suplex with ease,
- Leapt way over Omega’s head from the bottom rope (with one leg),
- Jumped two Nick Jacksons high from the second rope,
- Dove onto Omega on the outside and dove back in above the second rope, and
- Springboard hurricanrana’d Omega on the outside.
Martin got some near falls on Omega and even reversed a One-Winged Angel when the crowd was certain he was through, but in due time, Omega V-triggered him to death, hit the OWA, then rolled him over for a three-man BTEV Trigger for the finish.
An amazing match.
Christian Cage and the Jurassic Express call out the Elite
Christian comes out and acknowledges that he will officially be facing Omega at All Out (which garnered boos, CM Punk chants, and Yes chants from the crowd), and Christian got the crowd on his side quickly after this announcement by using Philly slang and calling Don Callis a “jag off.”
After Callis told Christian that he’s down 10 to 1 (don’t count), the Jurassic Express arrived. Undeterred, Don asked if Christian really thought Omega would face Christian in Pittsburgh, but Christian says that, according to Tony Khan, Omega WILL face Christian in the first ever match on Rampage, only this time, it’s for the Impact World Championship.
The faces started to leave to Christian’s music, but Jungle Boy cut it off by saying that he and Luchasaurus also have a match against the Young Bucks next week. This prompted Jungle Boy’s music, which Kenny also cut-off, asking, “Are you guys chanting ‘Whoa-oh-oh-ohohoh-WHOA-oh-ooooh,” or “No-nonono-noooooo?”
After this, we get two promos from AEW’s two most intense men. Malakai Black is up first, taunting Cody for having “one foot in the grave” and warning Cody that Black will take everything away from him until he realizes he’s arguing with God. Miro follows this by saying that Tony Khan’s made it so that, if his next opponent beats him on Rampage, Miro will not only lose the TNT Championship, but the other guy will get an AEW contract.
That other guy? Master of the Tornado DDT, Fuego Del Sol!
Darby Allin def. Daniel Garcia
Garcia beat the paint off of Allin in this one, and I think I’ve discovered the most frustrating thing in the world: getting your leg kicked out of your leg, then lying on the ground as Jeff Parker taunts you from ringside.
2.0 consistently involved themselves in this match, making an already tough opponent tougher for Darby as they had an advantage on Allin and the “fake” Sting. Any time Darby would pick up steam, 2.0 would distract him just long enough for Garcia to get the advantage with a hard hit or deep submission, and Sting couldn’t keep up.
Following a long submission where Garcia locked up Darby’s arm and stomped on his head, Darby slowly got to his feet, ate a chop, and hit Garcia with his backpack stunner and a Coffin Drop to finally put him down after a hard contest.
2.0 attacked Darby after the match, but Sting finally fended them off now that it’s 2-on-2, setting up their tag match for next week.
After this, Death Triangle try to figure out what their plans are for Andrade. Penta says he wants him first and almost says HORRIBLE Spanish swears, but PAC cuts him off and says they need to focus on the tag belts. As for Andrade, Death Triangle don’t know him, don’t like him, and don’t know why he’s obsessed with them, but it stops now.
This was so scary that I apologized to my TV.
Hardy Party def. Cassidy, Taylor, and Yuta
While Orange Cassidy really only has to show up and will get cheered by the crowd, he put a surprising amount of work into making last night’s match hilarious. He used his “roll out of the way” move on Hardy, tried for the same second-rope move before giving up and body splashing from the first rope, and then going, “That was two,” when Hardy kicked out at one.
Though Orange had some fun stuff in this one, the first chunk of this one was mostly what you could expect from the other five men. Chuckie T solidly wrestled for his team when Orange wasn’t putting Hardy’s hands in his pockets, Private Party flipped around and squealed a bunch, and when it came time for a hot tag, Wheeler Yuta jumped in to be a techy guru.
Unfortunately, all of the Best Friends lost their focus when Nyla Rose attacked Kris Statlander at ringside, then Jack Evans attacked Orange Cassidy. Taylor did take out TH2 at ringside, but after Hardy threw Marq Quen’s body at Taylor, it left Yuta alone to take a Twist of Fate and lose the match for his team.
The result shocked me, and it was nice to see women’s stuff appear outside of a Baker promo or Q3, but aside from Orange’s shenanigans early on, this match was just “fine.”
After this, Andrade is asked about Death Triangle, but he’s only really mad at PAC. Chavo says Andrade will deal with PAC at All Out.
Also, Santana & Ortiz tell FTR in another video package that next time blood gets spilt, they need to “wrap that sh*t” up and keep fighting. No one told Santana that they lost, huh?
Kris Statlander def. Nyla Rose
This match was really good and really short. It didn’t feel short the way that a squash match feels short; it just felt like a lot happened in maybe five minutes.
Nyla attacked Kris before the bell, and the two were wailing on each other from there. Soon after this attack, Nyla lost the advantage, and Kris hit her pendulum standing moonsault off the apron and onto Nyla outside the ring. Kris and Orange shared a thumbs-up, to which Vickie responded by shrieking in Orange’s ear, killing him.
Nyla then got the jump on Kris and set her up on the ropes for her diving knee, but Kris leaned forward, got in a handstand, and hand-walked toward the center of the ring, only for Nyla to spear her upside down. Nyla set Kris up on the top turnbuckle instead, but Kris reversed it into a powerbomb, then hit an Area 451 Splash to get a surprise win over her.
I really enjoyed this match, even if it was paced like an episode of Marvel’s What If…?
Promo Break: Bucks, Baker, Brian
The Young Bucks cut another basketball promo and say that beating Jurassic Express next week will be as easy as a layup. Nick goes for said layup, but Luchasaurus blocks it, passes to Jungle Boy, and watches JB dunk on the Bucks, all while wagging his finger and saying, “Not in my house!” The Bucks cry foul, but Cutler says it was all ball.
Britt Baker comes out and cuts the most crowd-pleasing yet character-neutral promo of her career, unable to commit to full face or heel for Pittsburgh. Red Velvet’s not beating her in “Brittsburgh” (allegedly), and Baker is going to make easy work of her in front of her hometown on Rampage. Red Velvet attacks her after she’s gotten her catchphrases out, which gets a weird reaction from the crowd because they kind of boo her but know they’re not supposed to, so they sort of “Ooh” her.
Finally, Ricky Starks says he’ll face Brian Cage in the ring with no backup, but Cage says he knows Starks is lying because his lips are moving. This just in: Cage is all about that bass.
Gallows & Anderson def. Dark Order to retain the IMPACT Tag Team Championships
This is the exact same match as the previous one: pre-match attack from the eventual loser, followed by a pretty good match but on fast-forward.
Stu and Uno consistently put together solid runs, but they’d also consistently get shut down by an uppercut from Gallows. The Elite boys tried to cheat using Cutler at ringside, but Cabana bopped him on the nose and let Kazarian clothesline him to death again, cold spray going everywhere.
While Grayson put his working boots on and hit a bunch of crazy power moves on both Good Brothers, Uno hyped up the crowd, almost making me believe they’d become champions when near falls came moments after the crowd got red hot. But alas, Gallows threw an IMPACT tag belt into the ring while the Dark Order were going for Fatality, and he used this ref-distraction to nut Grayson on the top rope, get rid of Uno, and quickly hit a Magic Killer on Grayson for the three-count.
After this, we got a hype package for Leyla Hirsch’s match against NWA Women’s Champion Kamille at NWA Empowerrr later on this month. Then we got a continuation of the horrid “QT and Schiavone are mad” angle where the Factory attacked Tony’s son Chris at ringside, only for Paul Wight to come out and chokeslam Aaron Solow for a BIG pop. Aren’t I clever?
Chris Jericho def. Wardlow
Jericho didn’t look too great out there, with Wardlow literally having to carry Jericho through the match. There was one moment where Wardlow went for a powerbomb and Jericho started to go down too early, so Wardlow hiked him all the way up and spun around before finalizing the bomb. Excalibur expertly covered this by calling it an attempted Frankensteiner, but it just wasn’t the greatest look for Jericho, even if he put Wardlow over strong by letting him kick out of a Codebreaker at 1.
Wardlow put a beating on Jericho, but like Gage, he was hired to hurt Jericho, not just beat him. Wardlow hit his F10 not too long into the match and had Jericho dead to rights, but he kept up the assault and tried to make Jericho a Casualty of War, only for Jericho to catch Wardlow’s knee and lock in the Walls. While Jericho faced the ropes, though, MJF gouged his eyes, breaking up the submission.
MJF tried to cheat too hard, though, and got caught by Aubrey as he tried to give Wardlow the Dynamite Diamond. While Aubrey dealt with that, Jericho hit Wardlow with his bat and a Judas Effect to pin him and earn a match with MJF.
Shawn Spears attacked Jericho post-match, and his opponent for next week, Sammy Guevara, came out for the save, but Spears and Wardlow kept them both down, only for Hager to run out and send the Pinnacle packing.
MJF had one last stipulation for Jericho’s match with him next week, though: Jericho cannot use the Judas Effect, and he cannot enter to “Judas”, either. The fans can’t sing him his energy next time.
MJF has learned nothing from Moxley.
This was a fun episode of Dynamite, even if the last three matches all seemed really fast. It’s also exciting to know that we don’t have to wait a week for more AEW; we’re getting the next big show in two days’ time.
The Christian vs Omega stuff is the only “worrying” aspect of the show at all (even QT vs Wight will be a fun squash), as in-arena crowds want a different direction and online fans wonder about the double-championship-match booking. But I’ll give AEW this: it always feels like they have a full story in mind, and by Friday, we’ll see how it plays out.
The Rampage Era of AEW really has begun.
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