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Dynamite TV report for 05/22/2024

Venue: Mechanics Bank Arena, Bakersfield, CA

*****

The intro package was tied in with Mad Max or something.  Don Callis joining on comms again.  Probs just for the following:

Orange Cassidy & Will Ospreay vs Trent Beretta & Roderick Strong

Backstory: Orange/Trent & Will/Strong are feuding

Excalibur called Ospreay ‘nominally’ part of the Callis Fam.  Callis corrected him: ‘contractually, you mean.’  The babyfaces played up the contrast between high-energy Ospreay & ‘lazy’ Orange to entertaining effect.

Unfortunately both babyfaces’ anchors were out next.  What the hell happened to Adam Cole btw?  Couldn’t he stand up over a month ago?  Where is he?

The music stopped and man this place got quiet.  Clearly very few fans here.  Trent and Cassidy raced to brawl outside as the other two got it on inside.  Until each face took flight onto the opposite heel.

Two minutes in, the Kingdom are already on the apron.  Allowing Strong to backbreaker Ospreay before tagging Trent.  And the heel team are already arguing.  Strong back in, Ospreay grounded the entire time, crowd rallying, Ospreay responding until a Strong kick to the face got one.  Before Strong grabbed a headlock once more.

Ospreay continuing to struggle against undercard heels.  As he has for a month.  Until finally backdropping Strong and crawling for the tag.  Orange knocking Trent off the apron, meeting Strong there, running Roddy into the buckle.  Then heading upstairs until being crotched by Beretta.

Allowing Strong to hit a gutbuster across the top rope.  Before Trent went for a piledriver on the stairs.  The announcers treated this like a dire situation despite Cassidy no-selling it last time.  The heels nailed Cassidy twice more outside, bringing the break.

Ads.  You cannot sell something as meaningful when you didn’t portray it as so.

Cassidy looking for the tag, shotgun dropkick, instead of kipping up he scooted over with his hands in his pockets to make the tag, looked ridiculous.  Ospreay in with fire, shots and running forearms, double handspring kick to both heels.

The heels again immediately took back over, Trent slipping behind to German Ospreay.  And the crowd died.

Strong hit a knee to the gut, series of forearms, pancake, two.  Ospreay slipped behind, avoided a corner rush, Nando’s kick, tag to Cassidy before powerbombing Roddy, sky twister from the middle, Orange falling elbow, near fall.

Trent grabbed Cassidy’s boot, Strong hit an enziguri with Orange atop the buckle, Ospreay raced in to save his partner, landed on his feet as Trent attempted an avalanche German, Orange diving ddt to Trent.  Ospreay hit his floatover into an enziguri on Strong, Cassidy tornado ddt, Trent drove Ospreay into the pin to break it.  Kingdom on the apron again, Callis up to grab Cassidy’s boot to save him from End of Heartache, allowing stundog and an Oscutter.

Ospreay took out the Kingdom on the ramp, Wardlow came from backstage to lay him out with a lariat.  The heels took advantage, Strong pinned Orange with End of Heartache.  Action was good; spent most of this match groaning at the ridiculous interference.  The Kingdom left Ospreay bloody, Strong held the belt in his face.  Trent had Orange in a crossface or something.

Vastly overcompensating for such weak heels by having them both dominate and win the match.  The bad guys here felt like a team the faces beat before they face the real stars at the ppv.

Winner: Trent Beretta & Roderick Strong

The Bucks backstage.  They called Darby Allin a prick and said he’s barred from the building.  They handed photos of him to security.  Matt put him over as basically indestructible then yelled at the security guards.

Sonjay Dutt came in to hype Satnam Singh facing Danielson.  Matt said he’d rather Singh hurt Danielson than beat him.  Sonjay was so cartoonish you couldn’t take a thing he said seriously.  So standard fare.

Entertaining from the Bucks.  Nice job putting Darby over.

*****

BCG out.  Rather than focus on their beating down Pac on Collision, Excalibur made a joke about the other announcers not being at the original DoN.

White took the mic and put over each of them in order.  Then did ‘Gunns up!’ and the crowd cheered and joined in.  Then addressed a guy who ‘felt himself burning in the heat of the Switchblade spotlight.’  He jokingly kept asking whether it was pronounced ‘Pac’ or ‘Poc.’

And said most people when they see BCG coming, they run.  But Pac stood and just stared at them.  Then stuck his ‘ugly bastard nose where it doesn’t belong.’  Then begged them to make him care.  So they did.

After starting well, White was losing the crowd here by keep going to the ‘pac/poc’ thing.

As Pac appeared on the screen.  He said they’d woken him up a bit.  But 3:1 isnt exactly fair.  So he introduced ‘my amigos, mi Hermanos…’ the lights went down, Death Triangle appeared on the ramp.  That Pac’s a fast mover.

Schiavone’s overhyping is something else: ‘great moment in AEW (history).’

Death Triangle beat the crap out of the heels and sent them packing.  White took the mic to challenge them for the trios belts Sunday.  The mic was really reverberating because the place is so empty.

Love Death Triangle, three of my favorites, but we’ve seen them in this role so many damn times.

Katsuyori Shibata vs Hook vs Bryan Keith (FTW Title Eliminator)

Backstory: Winner faces Jericho Sunday

Jericho and Bill out on comms.  Jericho acting oblivious and overly nice with the other announcers was very amusing.

Over thirty minutes in, they’ve yet to mention Swerve.

Shibata stormed Keith and was beating him down in the corner when Hook broke it up.  Keith briefly took advantage but was snatched into Redrum.  Cue triple jawbreaker.  Shibata threw both guys all over the ring.  Hook took Keith down then Shibata hit him with an STO.

Ads.  Feels incredibly flat.

Back to Shibata breaking a Keith pinfall.  Shibata hit running boots in the corner to both.  Then dropkicks.  Before throwing Keith out of the corner and getting two until Hook broke the pin.  Then hit a t-bone.  Shibata is really the only guy the crowd have remotely cared about here.

Hook got Redrum on Keith from atop the buckle, Keith slipped out, hit diamond dust but took an immediate PK from Shibata.  Who hit a neckbreaker off the shoulders before applying the figure four after staring at Jericho.  Hook got Redrum at the same time, Keith tapped.

Very predictable loser.  Everyone was confused about what happened for some reason.  The crowd booed and chanted ‘Let them fight.’  Loudly.  Jericho took a mic and played to the crowd.  He said both guys winning made his job harder but he’s proud of them.

Then warned them that he’s just getting started as champ.  Tony Khan texted Schiavone that it was official.  The crowd reaction throughout the match and particularly to the finish said everything.

Winner: Katsuyori Shibata & Hook

Mercedes/Willow package showing highlights of their match in New Japan and Mercedes being carried from the ring.  Then Mone’s debut in Boston.  And contrasting Willow wrestling with Mone doing acting and similar.

Finishing with last week’s very good angle and Willow’s killer line.

Nice package.  Might be the most interesting match on the card.

*****

The Bucks and Okada pimped the Bucks’ new Reeboks in a deliberately kitschy ad.

*****

Mox/Takeshita package trying to compensate for the total lack of hype for that.

Not much to it because there isn’t much to work with.

Konosuke Takeshita vs Matt Sydal

Backstory: NONE

Takeshita wrestling his fifth Dynamite match this year.  And only his third since January 10th.  Harley Cameron has had three in the past three weeks.

Excalibur said that if Takeshita beats Mox Sunday he earns an IWGP title shot ‘whether Moxley is champion or not.’  Hmm…

Takeshita battered Sydal until the vet countered blue thunder into a rana and got a flurry until running back into the best blue thunder in the biz.  Crowd very quiet again.  Callis told him to end it.  He nailed a big forearm then pinned Sydal with one arm.

Him appearing and wrestling regularly would be far more beneficial than sporadically crushing a guy everybody beats.  He nailed a release German after the bell then stomped away.  Until Wild Thing kicked through the speakers.

The announcers said Takeshita wanted to draw out Moxley and his expression said the same.  Mox entered the ring with a mic but simply nailed Takeshita in the head.  Crowd chanted loudly for him.  About the first truly over wrestler since the opener.

He told a prone Takeshita he’d see him Sunday.  Kinda seems like Take’s winning given getting laid out like that right?  Especially when combined with insinuating Takeshita’s actually going to wrestle a different IWGP champ.

Winner: Konosuke Takeshita

The Bucks again addressed Darby backstage.  They said they knew he was nearby and reminded him he was banned.

They returned to their seats in gorilla to see Swerve casually occupying them.  They all played cool while implying tension.  Matt asked if he’d seen Darby, Strickland crumpled up the mugshot, said he hadn’t and nonchalantly asked them to hit his music.  The Bucks yelled at a guy to do so.

Nice job making the champ seem a cool rebel.  Be nice if he’d been mentioned even once in the prior hour.  Again he’s straddling the middle of the card.  So presumably Danielson’s on last transitioning into a big schmozz and Mr. Allin breaking the rules.

Swerve got a nice reaction coming out.  They showed all the Patriarchy’s attacks on him over past weeks.  Wayne out wearing a ‘Christian is my Father’ tee.

Swerve Strickland vs Nick Wayne

Backstory: Wayne bloodied Swerve by breaking a photo frame over him last week; and promised on Collision to stand by himself here

Which he threw at Swerve.  Who wiped it on his crotch and threw it back.  They jawed, Wayne bailed outside.  His shoulder is covered in tape again.  He kept dodging Swerve until being caught, Swerve removing his belt and whipping him, crowd chanting ‘one more time,’ champ obliging.

Swerve flung Wayne back in from the apron, nailed a kick, was elevated to the apron and run into the buckle, Wayne targeting his cut from last week.  Then hitting a punt from the apron.  Swerve caught a Wayne moonsault only for the youngster to counter back into a tornado ddt at ringside.

Nice transition into the ads.

Strickland running back elbow in the corner, snapmare out, Wayne again gouged the cut to block a brainbuster but was caught and belly to backed against the apron from the middle buckle.  Then hit with a Stomp off the apron to the floor.  Before being flung back in.

The plaster on Swerve’s cut has come loose.  He yelled at Wayne through the ropes then went for a Stomp off the top.  Wayne got his boot up and got two.  Then a rollup for the same with his feet on the ropes.  Superkick, code red for the same again.

Wayne went back to the corner and talked trash, setting up a House Call, Swerve blocked it into a backbreaker across the knee and off the shoulder powerslam before disingenuously saying ‘I am sorry’ and nailing a House Call of his own to win.

Was just thinking how good this all was when Swerve was made to look dumb yet again.  Turning his back for two seconds and being laid out by Luchasaurus.  Though this time Swerve fought him off and recovered, which Cage hadn’t seen as he looked after Wayne.

Swerve sprinted after him, nailing Saurus with a House Call on the way.  The cameras followed them backstage, Cage did his usual, carjacking a guy and fleeing.  Except this time he was blocked in by Nana.

That’s a very nice touch.  Like it.

Allowing Swerve to drag Cage out through the window and beat the crap out of him, slamming him against anything in sight until Cage climbed onto the roof of the car trying to escape.  The feed went black briefly before Swerve nailed a ddt on the roof.

Nana then brought a chair out as Cage slipped to the bonnet.  But recovered just in time to avoid a conchairto.  And ran away.  Swerve and Nana dapped it up.

Very strong match and angle.  Short, but the best action on the show so far and Swerve looked strong afterward.

Winner: Swerve Strickland

Kyle O’Reilly vs Malakai Black

Backstory: O’Reilly tried to save Copeland from a HOB beatdown

Got to hear Malakai’s kickass theme which is a rare treat.  O’Reilly got a tepid reaction.

Fists up like boxers, they circled each other, aiming tentative kicks into a grapple.  Break in the ropes.  Very refreshing start.

Back to it, again very tentative, Malakai countered a wristlock before a series of kicks and shots ended with synchronized knees to the gut, both dropping.  Black headlock, whipped off, shoulder tackle for barely one.  Then a vicious shin kick before Kyle tripped Malakai during a springboard.

Then lined up a roundhouse but was legswept by Malakai before both went back to the leg kicks.  Taz talked genuinely about how much he liked this.  As Black sent Kyle out through the ropes with a big kick.

Ads.  Really enjoying this.  Very different.  Crowd quiet but it seems like they’re really watching.

Back to grappling on the mat now, to their feet, Black waistlock, Kyle countering into a wristlock but being kicked clear, hit with a back elbow, Kyle blocked a suplex with a knee to the head, armdrag takedown, running forearm in the corner, release German, stomp and rolling elbow strike.

Near fall.

TiA from the crowd who are growing into the match.  Kyle now aiming kicks with Black on the mat, the latter back up, forearm exchange, straight shots and legkicks until a Kyle double leg into the mount.  Looking for an armbreaker, Malakai clasped his arms together to block, Kyle transitioned very smoothly into an ankle lock.

Malakai screaming in pain until clambering onto one leg, nailing an elbow strike, knee strike, brainbuster, near fall.  Kyle got another flurry until each hit a roundhouse, Malakai faked a front kick, Kyle covered up, Black then nailed the End to win.

Totally understand if you see this as a stereotypical ‘good match.’  But this was really cool.  So different and realistic.  Though didn’t exactly establish Black as a heel.

The lights went down and Brood-like red lights flickered as Black looked confused.  Then got a bloodbath.  I yelled ‘NO!’  You never, ever, want to remind fans of the New Blood WCW stuff.  The ‘blood’ did at least hit Malakai.

Copeland appeared on the screen and told Black to be careful what he wished for.  Black stumbled backstage covered in ‘blood.’

Winner: Malakai Black

Package for AitA.  Including Darby’s return last week.  And the Elite putting a hit on Team AEW.  Which they haven’t really mentioned tonight; certainly haven’t explained it properly for those who didn’t watch Collision.

*****

They replayed Storm stripping behind Deeb’s banner Saturday.  Even the announcers didn’t really know how to put it across.

Toni Storm & Mariah May vs Harley Cameron & Saraya

Backstory: Cameron has sort of, somewhat, been feuding with Toni and May

Storm’s still draped in said banner.  Continuing her baffling booking, she’s facing two very clear heels here.  They said the ‘blood’ had been cleaned from the ring.  Taz sounded genuinely pissed and said it’d got all over him.

The only positive part of Saraya being on tv meant we got to hear her theme.  At least until she immediately started yelling.

Harley and May worked a headlock to silence.  Until May landed a forearm.  Harley hit a kick from the apron but was swept by May into her running shotgun.  A lot of AEW’s less experienced women noticeably don’t hit the ropes aggressively.  Including Harley.  But not Mariah May.

Saraya was tagged in but pointed toward Storm.  They circled before teeing off.  Yay/boo.  The heel champion the ‘yay’ of course.  Until a Thesz press then tag to May.  Who Storm slammed atop Saraya.  For barely one.

May tagged right back out.  May either couldn’t lift Toni (in storyline) or they got their wires crossed, before Toni slammed her atop Saraya again.  May nailed Saraya with a running boot, the ref was really, really dumb even by AEW standards and Harley attacked May from behind.

Ads.

May flurry of rights to Harley, tag to Storm who ran wild like a total babyface until headbutting Harley down and posing to cheers.  Nice flurry.  She and May hugged before setting the heels atop the buckle, both heels countered for sunset bombs which weren’t exactly synchronized.  Or smooth.

Both faces then smooched the heels before hitting their finishes.  Storm hit another Storm Zero to pin Cameron.  Be really nice if AEW gave May and Toni stronger tv opponents in terms of ring work.

Serena Deeb appeared from behind with a chair, taking out the heels to boos.  While smiling.  She then nailed Toni with her shoe.  Before putting her in a half crab through a chair.  Making it seem they’d switched roles for the third time(?) during this feud.

Winner: Toni Storm & Mariah May

BCG backstage.  The Gunns challenged the Lucha Bros for Collision.  Nice promo.

Bryan Danielson vs Satnam Singh

Backstory: Presumably this continues the Elite pinching pennies by sending renowned losers after Team AEW

Somewhere Vinny Mac is finally watching Dynamite.  Actually yelled ‘What!?’ out loud when I saw this.  Might be a referendum on Singh.  Like when AJ couldn’t get a match out of Omos.  Thankfully there isn’t much time left as Danielson makes his entrance.

‘Remember…’ started Excalibur, ‘FTR aren’t here tonight.’  How could we remember?  You haven’t mentioned it yet!  The implication is BD’s all alone with Darby banned.

Singh has a robe like Jeff Jarrett’s.  Under which he’s wearing a tee.  Looks ridiculous.

They went face to face.  Before Danielson teed off until being shoved clear and booted down.  Danielson just shouldn’t be selling for this guy for a second, but is.  You cannot expect audiences to just accept guys who haven’t been on tv for months and months as threats.

Singh hit a sloppy suplex.  Then in a very AEW moment, Sonjay tried to clear the announce desk and it just collapsed.  So they had to skip Singh trying to chokeslam Danielson through it.  Danielson hit a knee attack from the apron then a running leg lariat against the barricade.  Until being caught and chokeslammed on the apron.  To tepid boos.

Dude should not be taking bumps like that on his neck.  Singh then tried to pin Danielson with one boot.  This has gone more than long enough now.

Danielson hit a low blow with the ref’s back turned, the big guy shook off a busaiku, popping right back up, but then took a bunch of yes kicks.  As Schiavone talked about what an amazing night it’d been for the third time in five minutes.

Singh put Danielson on his shoulders, Danielson hit H&A to free himself then got the LeBell.  But still wasn’t allowed to win.  My god.  The goofy, aging pack of geek heels broke the hold.

Then beat down Danielson after Singh punched through an attempted BD guitar shot (who are they trying to get over here?  Good god it’s been years, just give up on Singh will you?).

The Bucks came out and paid the heels.  As Jeff Jarrett occupied the camera in the final minutes before a ppv, pounding on Danielson in the corner.  The Bucks sent the other heels backstage then readied an EVP Trigger.  As a ‘CM Punk’ chant briefly started.

Danielson ducked the Trigger and was beating up the Bucks when the coin dropped.  And Jack Perry attacked from behind.  So the main takeaway here is that the Bucks are less dangerous than Jarrett and etc., who Danielson could not fight off.

Okada nailed the Rainmaker.  They dragged Danielson up the ramp.  And prepared to fling him off through a table.  As a car arrived on the screen and Darby got out clutching a gun and dapped up Tony Khan who dropped him off.

So why is Tony fine to drive and hanging out near the arena but not botherering to actually try to take back his show?  Darby came out with a flamethrower which he did nothing but fire up in the air.  For ages.  Danielson flung Nicholas off through a table.  He had a nasty gash on his hip.

This was utterly ludicrous.  And totally failed to put across that Jack Perry is wrestling for the first time since August, failed to emphasize that it was Darby’s first match in months.  It’s Okada’s first ever AitA, how will he adjust?  They just ignored the plot for special effects.

Basically an action movie with lots of CGI explosions but bad acting, a hole-filled story and starting with the protagonist being beaten down by a bunch of actors no-one’s ever heard of.  Capped perfectly by Nick screaming ‘NOOOOO!’ repeatedly in cartoonish, OTT fashion.

A total f’ing mess.

Winner: Bryan Danielson via DQ

 ________________________________________________________________

Next Collision:

  • The Gunns vs Lucha Bros

Double or Nothing:

  • Shibata & Hook vs Jericho (FTW Title)
  • Death Triangle vs Bullet Club Gold (It isn’t for the titles yet but might be…)

Next Dynamite:

  • Casino Gauntlet, winner gets an AEW Title shot at Forbidden Door, they emphasized that there would be ‘international’ wrestlers here (this was just thrown out during the women’s match, a world title shot should never get merely a throwaway line)

Thumbs Up/Down

  • Swerve/Wayne and the subsequent angle
  • Guy banned from building is generally a good way to get someone over – builds anticipation, builds sympathy and makes them a rebel (woulda been nice if they’d explained why he was banned, even if it was just a BS reason)
  • Black/O’Reilly
  • Again a largely enjoyable show, at least until the final segment

*****

In two minds about Mercedes/Willow – should possibly have been featured more but can understand the idea that it’s hard to top last week’s angle

 *****

  • The limits of Strong/Trent were on full display in that opener, they’re just nowhere near the required level for ppv opponents
  • On a show with far too many nothing-happening heels getting the better of popular babyfaces
  • If you’re trying to establish Jack Perry as somebody, then it should matter he’s wrestling Sunday for the first time since August
  • Bloodbaths and flamethrowers on the same show, are they going to feature juggling and high-wire acts during the matches next?

Appreciate you reading.  Hope you’re having a good week.

Paul Hemming
Paul Hemminghttps://h00kedon.weebly.com/
Paul Hemming got into AEW during the pandemic, lives in Liverpool, England, and is a huge Liverpool fan, Playstation player and history lover.

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