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AEW Dynamite had CM Punk, and that’s the whole show

Pro Wrestling

AEW Dynamite had CM Punk, and that’s the whole show

Content warning: bloody North Carolina boys, threats of baptism, and a Gunn Club match.

A common response when people first complained that Christian Cage vs Kenny Omega shouldn’t headline All Out was, “If CM Punk is on it, Kenny Omega could literally wrestle a mop and the show will sell.”

Well, CM Punk is on this show, and for our troubles, we get a main event with Brock Anderson and a black hole match of the Factory vs Gunn Club. The highest profile match could be argued to be the one with the Wingmen in it, though the maybe-please-probably-not finale of the everlasting Best Friends vs HFO feud is also in that conversation.

This show was uninspiring on paper before showtime, but AEW has delivered with weaker cards in the past, so maybe this week’s edition would be the same?

Without further ado, grab an ice cream bar and read along as we dive into another week’s edition of AEW Dynamite.

Orange Cassidy def. Matt Hardy

I really slept on this match when it was announced, recognizing that it was one of the “big name” matches on the show but not really caring about the rivalry or, if I’m being honest, current Matt Hardy. It seems I’m alone on that latter point, though, because starting this show with two men who are incredibly over did wonders for this program, and the crowd played into both men’s schticks wonderfully.

And you’d be surprised to hear this if you didn’t watch the show: this match was BLOODY.

It started with a lot of crowd play. Orange did his lil’ kicks. Hardy did “Delete” taunts. Orange put his hands in his pockets. Hardy put his hands in his tights and pulled out wads of cash. Orange dropkicked Hardy, and then money was everywhere, including in Orange’s pocket.

These two men gave us a really solid match where all of the shenanigans made sense. Hardy went for the Twist of Fate but Orange kept rolling away from it. Orange went for one of his own, but Hardy would obviously know the reversal. But before the net big moment, Orange’s tilt-a-whirl DDT ended with him landing on Hardy’s head, and for the rest of the match, Matt’s face was a crimson mass and bloody patches slowly appeared all over Orange’s arms, face, and jeans.

After the DDT, Orange did the Hardyz taunt and hit a hand-in-pockets Swanton Bomb, followed it up with Delete chants, and (after struggling to weaken Hardy more) hit a Twist of Fate for a two-count. It took Orange’s new “pinfall finisher” of a double-leg cradle with his hands in his pockets to put Hardy down, and as JR put it, “Matt Hardy got out-wrestled by Orange Cassidy for three seconds.”

Following this match, Malakai Black told Brock Anderson that if immediately leaves the ring, takes a count-out loss, apologizes to Black, and leaves with Arn, and thinks about what he did (okay, Dad), Black will let this slide. If Brock does any of those things wrong, Black will attack the entire Nightmare Family.

Chris Jericho addresses his loss to MJF

Jericho comes out and says that he’s been replaying that tap-out loss to MJF on repeat in his mind for the past week, and while people have been asking, “Why does that matter? You’re Chris Jericho!” his response is, “It matters BECAUSE I’m Chris Jericho!”

Just like after the Inner Circle lost at Blood & Guts, Jericho cannot let a feud die unless he wins (or it’s against monsters like Jon Moxley and Orange Cassidy), so he says he will be chasing down MJF and attacking him in the back until it’s all over. But “over” may come sooner than later because Jericho is challenging MJF to a match at All Out, and if Jericho loses, he doesn’t think he deserves to wrestle in AEW again. If he loses, that Rampage commentary booth will be his home.

MJF says the correct thing, which is that he has nothing to prove in beating Jericho a fourth time and would have said no if literally any other stipulation was there. But being known as the guy who made Jericho tap is neat. Being known as the guy who retires Chris Jericho? MJF becomes an instant legend.

At All Out, Jericho vs MJF is on. It’s The Final Chapter. Career vs, uh, Bragging Rights.

(This is the second match at All Out that happened recently on TV, but that’s an article for another time.)

After this, the Varsity Blonds say that the Lucha Bros are probably the toughest opponents they’ve ever had, that they’re going up against two guys who are family, and that the Blonds are family, blood or no blood. JR seconds this, saying this is the biggest match of their careers. The Varsity Blonds fought the Young Bucks for the Tag Team Championships three months ago, but okay.

The Lucha Brothers def. the Varsity Blonds

This was a solid, 50/50 match between two teams who couldn’t shake each other long enough to get a real sustained run going. Fenix would put together some high-flying moves but would get caught and slammed by Garrison. Pillman would do something neat like a running headscissors and soon find himself on the receiving end of a superkick from Penta.

It felt like a match about hitting the One Big Move, as Penta’s attempt at an apron piledriver got stumped by a triangle dropkick from Pillman, meanwhile the Blonds hit their finisher but backwards (with Pillman hitting a forearm and Garrison doing a springboard move), and it didn’t pay off because it wasn’t RIGHT.

There was a sloppy moment where Penta tried to do that move where he victory rolls through one opponent, hops onto the other, and hits a DDT, but Penta didn’t get enough momentum in the roll and stumble. Aside from that, though, the Lucha Brothers’ experience gained them this win, as they recollected after the failed finisher attempt from the Varsity Blonds, hit superkicks in stereo on a kneeling Pillman, and then hit the Magic Killer-esque version of their piledriver finisher to finally win the match.

After the bell, the Elite — who’d been watching from the stage — came down to start trouble with the Lucha Brothers, but the combined might of the Lucha Bros and Jurassic Express — who’d been watching from ringside after their Rampage victory — sent the Elite packing.

Before the next match, Andrade El Idolo and Chavo Guerrero cut a nothing promo about how PAC is good and Andrade is good but one has to be great at All Out.

Jamie Hayter def. Red Velvet

The immediate good thing about Hayter is that the crowd absolutely doesn’t want to cheer her. Though the crowd went nuts for Britt Baker during Hayter’s entrance, the crowd firmly planted itself behind Velvet and against Hayter once the bell rang.

It was a fun mix of styles as the natural ragdoll style full of dizzy bumps and suicide dives of Red Velvet was the perfect foil for Hayter’s combination of power moves and heavy strikes. It’s clear that Hayter was a big wrestler in Japan just because of how hard she hit Velvet, and in return, Velvet actually hit what I’d say is the hardest strike of the match with a cold back elbow.

The first sloppy move of this match was when Hayter threw Velvet into the ropes so that RV could hit a rebound lariat, but she stumbled a bit getting into the second rope. This kicked off a really nice comeback, though, as Velvet kept a surprising control on Hayter, but after a distraction by Baker and a straight up MISS when she went for a standing moonsault (the second sloppy move), Hayter hit a backbreaker and a sick running lariat to put Velvet down for the three-count.

Baker and Rebel tried to continue the beatdown on Velvet, but Kris Statlander ran out to save her again, and without the element of surprise this time, Rebel and Hayter weren’t able to take Statlander out, and Baker had to scramble to get away from Statlander with her head intact.

So, Jamie Hayter talks cool, looks cool, has cool entrance music, and has a cool wrestling style. Noting that she wrestles like a hybrid of Thunder Rosa and Kris Statlander, Hayter is immediately in my top five AEW women.

After this, the Dark Order talked about how strong they are after weeks of in-fighting, but Alex Reynolds scoffed when Evil Uno mentioned them being there for each other, saying they weren’t there for Hangman. Colt says that was what Hangman wanted, and Uno says that if Reynolds really has a problem, he needs to step back into John Silver’s shadow where he belongs.

My heart hurts. I don’t like seeing them fight, even if I’d go nuts for a (friendly) Uno/Grayson vs Reynolds/Silver match.

CM Punk!

Tony Schiavone’s much-anticipated interview with CM Punk got, obviously, the pop of the night upon Punk’s entrance. When Schiavone asked his first question, CM Punk’s response was simply, “I can’t hear you, Tony,” as the crowd continued to chant Punk’s name.

When asked to explain what brought him back more than anything, Punk said it was Penta El 0M, it was Rey Fenix, it was Brian Pillman Jr., it was Jungle Boy, and at All Out, it’s Darby Allin. Darby is reckless; Darby is the guy who would be his favorite wrestler if Punk was 15; Darby’s the guy who makes Punk ask, “Can I still go?” and he’s the guy Punk wants to prove himself against.

Punk is retiring the “Voice of the Voiceless” nickname because this place has a voice and the people in the back listen, but he is out to prove that he’s still the Best in the World, and when he asks himself if he can be the Best in the World, the crowd responds, “Yes! Yes! Yes!”

To which Punk says, “That’s somebody else’s schtick, and you might just need to be a little more patient.”

So, uh. He “hinted” at THAT.

And, with a shout-out to his wife, April, Punk left Milwaukee with the crowd very much still in the palm of his hands.

After this, Miro threatened to brutally baptize Eddie Kingston, saying that even though Fuego did sin by losing his match and still getting a contract, the Mad King is the original sinner.

Darby, Mox, & Kingston def. the Wingmen

We were robbed of Ryan Nemeth’s entrance music, and Tony Khan will be receiving a letter from my lawyers.

The three semi-capable Wingmen wrestled, so this match wasn’t a COMPLETE squash, but it went pretty bad for the true four pillars of AEW. JD big-manned Darby but was quickly kicked out of the ring. Nemeth tried to chop Kingston but died the moment he got chopped back. Bononi threatened to beat up Kingston, but Moxley came in and helped Kingston knock Bononi over.

After the break and an avalanche Code Red to Drake, Kingston and Moxley got distracted beating up Peter Avalon at ringside and allowed Bononi to throw Darby around some. Mox and Kingston put a stop to that, but Nemeth brought a chair in the ring, ready to throw the match away. Nemeth couldn’t even do that right, because the two brawlers waylaid him, allowing Darby to hit his stunner and coffin drop on Drake.

Darby didn’t have much time to celebrate, though, as Daniel Garcia attacked him right as the ref raised his hand.

Promo Break: Conti/Allie, FTR, Omega/Christian, Moxley

We got more info on competitors in the Women’s Casino Battle Royale, and while Marvez tried to interview Tay Conti, Allie came in and tried to hire her away from the Dark Order and into the HFO. Tay ripped the contract up and referees BAMF-ed into the room to stop the ensuing brawl.

FTR are re-formed and are ready to take on Santana & Ortiz again next week, regardless of how hurt Cash still is. I was too distracted by the promo because they showed THAT HORRIBLE SKIN-PULLING CLIP AGAIN, WHY?

Christian Cage interrupted Don Callis and Kenny Omega’s trash talk by playing a clip from this week’s Road to Dynamite where it was revealed that Callis fired a young Christian in favor of a 10-year-old Omega. Christian says it confirms that Callis is still a Carny P.O.S., but Callis says this makes him no different than Bill Watts, Verne Gagne, or Vince McMahon, but rather than an Erik Watts or Greg Gagne, Callis has Kenny “By God” Omega. Christian says he can’t believe Omega’s still letting himself be manipulated, Omega asks, “You think you know me?” and Callis says that Omega is going to prove what we all know: Christian is second best. A brawl ensues, Kazarian saves the day, and Omega/Cutler vs Christian/Kazarian is set for this week’s Rampage.

Finally, Mox says he got a package back from Tokyo and only one match contract got signed: Satoshi Kojima. Moxley says this is a treat for the Chicago fans because they can see a legend, but Mox has no respect when that bell rings, and he’s going to break this crazy old man’s throat.

Gunn Club def. The Factory

QT and Co. got a jobber entrance and I was instantly confused because, like, isn’t this QT’s story? So, Comoroto goes in and is the star of the Factory like always, and he’s beating down a Gunn, and then Solo (down a W) comes in and gets beat down by a Gunn, and then QT comes in and beats down a Gunn, and then QT taunts Paul Wight because he’s on commentary, and then QT GETS PINNED BY COLTEN, THE WORST GUNN.

Why does the Factory suck SO MUCH? Why can’t they beat Dustin Rhodes or Colten Gunn? They don’t get real heat and they’re not endearing like the Wingmen. They’re NOT going to beat Paul Wight, and while it’s cool Wight gets a match, what does he get out of beating the biggest losers in AEW? This is the worst.

Dan Lambert is on TV next, telling us “mindless millennials” that we’re watching dumpster fire wrestling, and for the shortest second, I was with him. He says we support skinny geeks like Sammy Guevara, weirdos like Darby Allin, and lazy men like Orange Cassidy because lazy and weak support lazy and weak. Lambert’s going to show us real men like MMA fighter Scorpio Sky and Karate Man Ethan Page.

Malakai Black def. Brock Anderson

Brock hits Black with a double-leg takedown and looks strong at first, but one blood-drawing knee strike from Black rocked Brock. Black destroyed Brock in the corner, dragged Brock by his hair, and tried to bait Arn into throwing in the towel, but Arn didn’t do it and Brock came back with a few forearms to the quads. Black took note of Brock’s tenacity, hit him with Black Mass, and ended the match pronto.

Black brought a chair into the ring to threaten Arn, then put the chair down and tried to hit Black Mass again, only to see Arn straight-up block it. Black kicked Arn in the nards, hit him with the roundhouse, and then left the ring as Lee Johnson came out to challenge Malakai Black next.

This show was pretty okay. Most of it was good, but none of it blew me away, and one moment actually made me furious about something I wouldn’t typically care about, so while I wouldn’t say this was a net-negative, it’s not as easy a win as most weeks. The future is bright as we barrel toward All Out in a week and a half, but for now, this was just a show with some matches and a few really good promos.

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