Too much happened on this show, and I know this because they cut “Kaze Ni Nare” short for the main event. With characters to introduce, stories to kickoff and prolong, and showcase matches to be had, this was a beefy episode. Let’s cut this preamble short.
A Powerhouse will catch you if you fly through the ropes, so be careful as we dive into another week’s edition of AEW Dynamite!
Malakai Black def. Dustin Rhodes
Like with previous opponents, Black went straight for Dustin’s legs with some really stiff kicks, hobbling the man as quickly as he could. Though Dustin didn’t have the move scouted enough to block it, he did fight through the pain better than Cody, brawling with Black until both men were ringside.
One thing Dustin definitely didn’t have scouted was Black’s previous use of the timekeeper’s table, as Black took advantage of a rocked Dustin by back suplexing him through the table. While the ref checked on Dustin at ringside (not counting Dustin out, I might add), Black went into the ring and removed the turnbuckle pad.
Dustin got back into the ring, but he couldn’t get out of second gear. He went for the powerslam, but Black was holding onto the ropes (though Dustin did get him moments later). Dustin also couldn’t get that Canadian Destroyer he’s become so fond of. And, when he went for a 10-count punch in the corner, Black escaped and kicked the crap out of his thigh again, then hit a running knee for two.
Black rolled out, pulled out Cody’s retirement boot from under the ring, and tossed it at Dustin, who got fired back up and finally hit his Destroyer, but only got two. Black tried to recover in the corner, but Dustin went for a Stinger Splash—only for Black to roll through Dustin’s legs and send him face-first into the exposed turnbuckle. One Black Mass later, and Malakai Black defeated a very bloody Dustin Rhodes.
This match reads well on paper because the story was there, but their chemistry was not. That missed powerslam spot looked weird because it seemed like Dustin did it for no reason, Black sold an uppercut too early, and the Black Mass landed low on Dustin’s back. Still, the records will have Black beating a man with an 8-1 record prior to this match.
After this, the Lucha Brothers celebrated their tag title win and said they’re ready to take on all comers. Penta spoke a lot of Spanish, and it sounded pretty cool to my gringo ears.
Then, Eddie Kingston said that Miro ruined what was a good, man-to-man match with that kick to the balls, then said that God doesn’t have favorites: rain will come down on all men, the just and the unjust. Miro then said that Kingston couldn’t take Miro through Hell because you can’t burn a man this hot; Miro will offer Kingston’s broken bones to his wife and Kingston’s soul to his God.
CM Punk addresses Sunday and the future
Punk comes out and thanks Darby, Sting, and the fans. He says he didn’t know if he had what it took, but after Sunday, wrestling is like riding a violent bicycle. Now, Punk is going to enjoy the main event that is a Gotch-trained legend vs a local maniac, and he also calls out Linda Pillman — sister of Brian Sr. and the woman who raised Junior — and tells her that she is an angel.
Punk basically says, “How about that Ruby Soho, huh?” then does the same for Adam Cole and Bryan Danielson. He says after beating Darby, his wife, April, asked him, “Who’s next?” Punk says he wants the fans to decide who’s next, and as they give their muddled answers, Taz gets on the mic and gives Punk an earful.
Though Punk warns Taz that he better never interrupt him again, Taz says that he’s not buying the sudden tough guy act and tells Punk to keep the names of Team Taz out of his mouth. Punk says that he never mentioned a single Team Taz guy (I concurred), but Taz says Punk said some stuff on social media, as Punk trashed Team Taz in passing on one of those apps with stories.
Punk—the button-pusher he is—then immediately tells Taz to send Starks, send HOOK (the dream match), or send Hobbs: “Beat me if you can. Survive if I let you!” And, as someone who flips out if someone so much as wears black and orange, Taz obviously didn’t take too kindly to the gimmick infringement.
After this, Santana & Ortiz say in a video package that beating FTR reinstates that they are THE BEST, and they’re shifting their focus back toward being the top of the tag division.
Following that, Ruby Soho is with Tony Schiavone, but before she can get too deep into the interview, Britt Baker and Co. interrupt her. Ruby says that Britt gives herself so many nicknames (the Role Model, the Face of the AEW Women’s Division, the Baddest B*tch on the Block) to hide what she doesn’t have, then says that this is Ruby’s block now. Britt says that the most important nickname is “AEW Women’s Champion,” and that since Ruby’s new nickname is “The Runaway,” Ruby should run away to catering like she did for four years. Britt avoids physical conflict, but Ruby tells Tony that she will get his girl.
Powerhouse Hobbs def. Dante Martin
In an excellent showcase of AEW’s younger stars (no need to use Colten Gunn and Brock Anderson), Hobbs took his Punk-based aggression out on Dante Martin, who started things off with a few nice flips before getting body blocked to death.
Dante dared to do a suicide dive despite being warned about what happens when he gets too flippy, so Hobbs caught him and threw him into the turnbuckle at ringside before spending the whole commercial break torturing him. Hobbs overextended himself, however, using his exposed knee to try and break Dante’s ribs but hitting the canvas hard instead when Dante rolled out of the way.
Dante proceeded to jump all around a hurt Hobbs and jumped over HOOK (!) when he tried to block Dante’s tope from the apron, but after trying to hold Hobbs down in the corner, Dante found himself on the receiving end of a spinebuster out of nowhere for a pinfall loss.
Promo Break: Lambert, Hardy/Orange, MJF
Dan Lambert and the Men of the Year got some cheap heat and said nothing we haven’t heard before regarding a match against Archer and “Someone.”
Then, Matt Hardy said that he wants to shave Orange Cassidy’s head after last Sunday. After listening to his advisor, Chuck Taylor, Orange had some chilling words for Hardy: “Whatever.”
Finally, MJF got some cheap heat on Cincinnati and then complained that we were going to complain about it being cheap heat. He then dumped on Linda Pillman and on Pillman Jr.’s sister, prompting the Varsity Blond (singular) to come out and get cheap pops from his hometown. Wardlow protected MJF from Pillman getting too close, but MJF asked if he was going to be as much help as he was on Sunday and forced Wardlow to stay in the corner. Wardlow obliged, but after MJF said he was going to do what Melanie should have done and abort Pillman, Pillman beat the snot out of MJF and Wardlow took his sweet time before putting a stop to it. Griff Garrison comes out and gets decked like a TJP approaching a Neville, but rather than try and finish Garrison off with the Dynamite Diamond, MJF and Wardlow dipped as Pillman covered his teammate.
Ruby Soho def. Jamie Hayter
Another match let down by weird chemistry, the story of this one was “Ruby shows off her whole move-set but has to do it between breaks to sell for a powerhouse.” The only problem was that the timing for both sides of that coin got a little wonky.
Soho and Hayter locked up, but Hayter did that big shove of hers that always makes her opponent stumble while trying to sell it because she shoot pushes them too hard. Then, when Soho did her knee-trapped turnbuckle-driver move, Hayter fell a bit too fast and it looked like she would’ve hit her head regardless of what Ruby did. And then, the part people will talk about the most: Soho went for what was probably supposed to be an inverted Frankensteiner, but they lost their balance and Hayter ended up turning sideways and landing face first instead of spiking backwards.
BUT, all things considered, I think I still liked this match despite the glowing flaws. Ruby sold every move of Hayter’s like it was death. We got to see Ruby’s rapid corner superkicks and a sweet tornado DDT where she sprinboarded off of the top rope with her back. And they made it look like Hayter could have won if Soho didn’t have her lariat scouted with a perfect finisher, as Soho grabbed Hayter’s arm and whipped around for what was once known as the Riott Kick (Excalibur wasn’t here to tell us what it’s called now).
Baker and Rebel jumped Soho after the match, and Riho came down to help — as she tries to Eddy Kingston her way into this storyline since she did NOT get eliminated from the Casino Battle Royale — but the 3-on-2 advantage was still too much until Kris Statlander evened the odds, setting up their trios match on this week’s Rampage.
Spears & FTR def. Silver, Uno, & Grayson
After Evil Uno put the paws on Alan Angels on this week’s AEW Dark, the Dark Order is evn more fractured than ever. Still, they tried to band together against the Pinnacle, but the fact that Uno ragdolled Five, allowed Hangman to get jumped, and sent Alex Reynolds away all weighed heavy on the mind of John Silver.
Silver started in the ring with Spears, but Grayson tagged Silver out. As soon as Silver was on the apron, he tagged himself back in, then got shoulder blocked by the larger Spears. In retaliation, Silver body slammed Spears, unwilling to be big-manned like that.
When Silver got control of Spears, he was conflicted about tagging in Grayson, and as soon as he did so, Spears sent Grayson to the Pinnacle corner and FTR started to beat on him until Grayson tagged Uno in, and the pair of Dark Order members who ARE on the same page took down Spears. With momentum on their side, Uno actively tagged in Silver, and the two showed solidarity by throwing up the Claw.
Soon, though, Silver was on his own as the well-oiled Pinnacle trashed Grayson & Uno before Silver could get a hot tag. Silver did well to hang with all three men, but FTR hit Silver with a double flapjack into a C4 from Spears for the win.
After the match, Uno got in Silver’s face and the Dark Order came to blows as Silver shoved Uno, Grayson bodied Silver, and Angels tackled Grayson and punched away at him, all while Anna Jay and Tay Conti (who told the Dark Order to get it together before the match) watched on from the ramp.
Promo Break: The Women’s Division, Tully, Pillman
In a hype package for the Women’s Casino Battle Royale, everyone tells their own story. Anna and Tay say they got sidetracked by Penelope and Allie; Penelope and Allie say that TayJay are obsessed with them. Jade Cargill says that she can’t trust none of these b-words (Nyla). Nyla says that the match once again proved that she’s the most dominant force in the women’s division. Thunder Rosa (complete with sad trumpet music) says that she’s heartbroken to have lost after getting so close.
Tully Blanchard says that he is a real leader for his men and says that, when he compares himself to Sting, it’s night and day. Tully leads Spears and FTR to success, while Sting is just forming a parasocial relationship like he always does. Next week, Shawn Spears is going to beat up Darby Allin.
Finally, Brian Pillman is with Griff Garrison in the infirmary and says that he asked Tony Khan to book him in a match with MJF at Grand Slam. The Acclaimed come in and say that Max Caster also politicked his way into a match and will fight Pillman this week on Rampage.
The Elite Town Hall, ft. Bryan Danielson
Apparent sell-out Tony Schiavone trashes MJF and then introduces “the greatest faction in professional wrestling” in the same breath as the Elite come out to their BTE music. Don Callis takes the mic from Schiavone before he can finish his first question and plugs the PWI 500, which ranked Kenny Omega as the best wrestler in the world earlier in the day. After saying they have a plan to get back the Tag Team Titles, Nick Jackson says they also got their best friend back as Adam Cole comes out.
Adam Cole’s first order of business is to tell Tony Schiavone that, if he ever looks at Britt Baker the wrong way, he’s going to slap the glasses off his face. Cole then proceeds to call Schiavone a nerd thrice and berate him for taking too long to leave the ring.
Cole puts over Omega, the Young Bucks, and himself (and absolutely not the Good Brothers, Cutler, or Nakazawa), and he says that with this line-up, the Elite is complete. He also announces that he’s making his AEW in-ring debut next week, but for now, he’s giving the mic to the champion.
Omega says that one thing he despises is being interrupted, and as he tries to explain further, Bryan Danielson’s music interrupts him. Omega sends the Elite out of the ring and asks for Bryan to come in alone, and while Omega tries to run Bryan down on the mic, Bryan snatches the mic out of his hands.
Bryan asks the fans if they want to see Bryan vs Omega, and they chant, “Yes!” Bryan notes that Omega is mouthing that that’s not how it works around here, but Bryan says Omega’s only saying that because he knows that his “greatest wrestler who’s ever lived” schtick doesn’t work if Bryan proves that Omega’s not on his level.
Omega goes to strike him but ends up in 2/3rds of a LeBell Lock, so the Elite come in and kick the crap out of him. But for the first time in a while, the Elite are equally numbered and thoroughly run out of the ring by Jurassic Express, Christian, Kazarian, and Bryan, who stand tall.
Jon Moxley def. Minoru Suzuki
THEY CUT KAZE NI NARE TOO EARLY.
Salt aside, this match was good for how short it was, but “how short it was” is QUITE the caveat. With a show full of long promos and a bunch of matches, this match got nine minutes including a commercial break.
Moxley and Suzuki forearmed each other like at All Out and got some face rakes in. Mox wanted to make Suzuki bleed and Suzuki wanted to choke Mox out, and between these objectives, they got into headbutting matches that neither man came out better for.
When Moxley did his patented Strong Style Forehead Bite, Suzuki responded by doing the same, but Suzuki ended up gushing blood from this bite wound. Undeterred, Suzuki would not go down as Moxley repeatedly hit him with lariats, so Mox hit him with the Dirty Deeds for a one-count (which got a muted crowd reaction).
Suzuki choked Mox once more and went for the Gotch Piledriver, but Mox refused to go up, punched Suzuki twice with a closed fist, and finished him off with the Paradigm Shift. The final two minutes of the show were then spent with Moxley entering the crowd and celebrating in his hometown.
Theme songs aside, this whole segment really could have used more time. The extended crowd celebration wasn’t epic for Moxley’s character since commentary didn’t let it breathe, so a minute of that could’ve gone into the match itself (or the entrance) while Moxley raged in the crowd post-show.
All-in-all, this was a middling show with sort-of-high highs (great backstage promos and the tease of Danielson vs Omega) and a couple of lows (poor chemistry, a rushed main event, and the random announcement of Cody Rhodes vs Malakai Black at Grand Slam with no build up for the rematch). Though I rewatched this show for the review, I doubt I’m going to watch it a third time, and if you missed this one, you don’t need to rush to go back to it.
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