AEW Dynamite tonight comes to us from Rogers Place in Edmonton, AB. After last week drawing 809,000 & 0.24 in the 18-49 demo. Second-lowest audience of 2023; lowest demo in three years.
If you had a friend you trusted, and he tried to kill you with a cinder block, would you ever even consider tagging with him?
To address that, Renee was with Keith Lee & Darby from earlier today. Allin challenged Lee to ‘pull your head outta your ass’ and basically suck it up in the upcoming match. Lee called him ‘ballsy’ and ‘stupid’, smiling as Allin left.
Taz thought this was an attempt to drive a ‘wedge’ between Lee & Swerve. I thought it was a weak ass attempt to try explaining why on earth Lee wouldn’t just crush Strickland on sight.
Though it was at least an attempt. And Excalibur did recap the whole cinder block thing. They even replayed it as Strickland made his entrance. Honestly not sure if that makes it better or worse, probably the latter.
Strickland clearly didn’t think there was the slightest chance of any scrapping since he patiently waited for his former partner on the ramp.
Lee ignored Swerve, but didn’t so much as give him a dirty look. Still no brackets btw.
Keith Lee & Swerve Strickland vs Darby Allin & Orange Cassidy (Blind tag tourn)
Backstory: Swerve & Lee have been pseudo-feuding since the Boer War
Lively crowd as Lee and Darby got to it – Allin slapping Lee, the big man launching Darby into space with a beal out of the corner. Then looking for his finish, the cameras missed something for the second time already, Darby got the tag to Cassidy while we were shown a replay.
Cassidy did all of his deliberately weak offense, to ‘Holy S’ chants. Lee responded by double chopping him to the mat. Crowd oohing and aahing. As Orange begged off, got the pockets, took another double chop and collapsed into Lee like he was sleeping on his chest.
The crowd laughed. It was amusing, but this is supposed to be a tournament to get a tag title shot. And one partner tried to murder the other. Comedy in wrestling’s great, but there’s a time and place. AEW never seem to find it.
Allin back in, no budging Lee on a Coffin Splash, a second rocked the big man, to his knees, Swerve came in to launch off Lee’s back for a heel kick, pace quickening as Swerve went to work on Allin, slipping behind him to hit his diving elbow to the back of the head.
Allin selling his leg after a bad landing, being whipped corner to corner, crashing through the ropes to the floor, the fans chanting his name as the ads arrived.
Bright start helped by energetic fans.
Back to Lee helping Swerve superplex Allin, those two fighting outside with Orange trapped in a bearhug inside. Swerve and his goons pulled the steps down onto Allin, ‘trapping’ him.
Orange slipped free, launched a tope to Swerve, was caught outside by Lee but slipped behind to grab a sleeper, his legs around the big man’s waist. Lee simply marched him up the steps into the ring, the same steps Darby was trapped under.
Pretty creative. But boy those steps looked awfully light when they were pulled onto Darby.
Cassidy looked for a tornado and stundog, Lee blocked both, too strong to be budged, until Cassidy got stundog at the second attempt, holding Lee in place for Allin to hit a code red, the crowd wild. As Swerve looked to break up the pin via frog splash, Allin moved, Swerve hit Lee. And laughed.
Why the hell are they wrestling together?
Strickland flung Orange to Lee, Lee flung him back, Swerve drilled Lee via roundhouse, again mistakenly. Orange took out Lee with a tornado ddt through the ropes, Allin pinned Swerve (who else!) with the Fuller Leglock.
Fun match, terrible booking.
In a tournament so prestigious we don’t even know who the winners are facing. Despite it first being announced about a month ago. RIP the tag division.
Aside from Swerve probably being a better heel than a face, he, Lee & the tag scene would be better off if they’d just remained together.
Winner: Darby Allin & Orange Cassidy
Nick Wayne video package narrated by Darby. Who was trained by Nick’s father, Buddy.
Allin talked about finding out Buddy was dead and punching the window in his car. Deciding that he was going to watch over the youngster. They showed footage of Allin giving Nick his contract.
As they played a highlight package with Allin talking him up as a competitor. Allin thinks he’s ‘ready’.
To Tony Schiavone waiting to greet Jungle Boy in the parking lot. Who emerged from a car in shades and an open shirt. He’s not a thug from New York, he and Hook will do things in a ring, ‘like professionals’.
He was about to ask Tony Khan for that match when Hook ran up on him. Perry managed to free himself and sprint back to his car as it too sprinted away.
It was short but this was better promo work from Perry. Character has potential.
They replayed the story so far re: Cole and MJF. Then cut to their weekend together.
Max was late to the gym, Cole working out an hour before he arrived, Max wearing his ‘Better than you bay bay’ tee. MJF trusted Cole to spot him, Cole played on his phone instead. There was no payoff, Max just put the weight back down when he was done.
Then spotted a plus-size dude working out. Cole wouldn’t let Max tell fat jokes, until they agreed he reminded them of Tony Schiavone, laughing and pointing at one another like ‘good one’.
Cole then tried to lift the same weight as Max. Easily doing more reps as the champ looked bemused.
Bemused being the operative word. Again, there is definitely a place for comedy, the world title feud is not it. And no babyface should not have a single thing in common with the guy the announcers put across as about the most reprehensible human being on the planet.
Wasn’t awful but wasn’t anything special. Didn’t seem to have a purpose. Certainly didn’t make me want to see them fight.
Acclaimed & Billy Gunn vs Bollywood Boyz & Blade
No idea why Blade’s with these guys. If they explained, I missed it. Gunn started, threatening to pull his shorts down and getting rolled up for two.
Now this match is a fitting place for a little comedy.
Caster in, back body drops and slams to all three heels. Scissor Me Timbers, Scissoring, seemed it was about to be over but no they’re going through a break instead.
Caster got the Mic Drop shortly after we returned. A ‘great trios victory’ per Excalibur. It’s amazing we’ve never seen that trio before since they’re such reputable opponents.
They were celebrating when Harley Cameron appeared on the screen. Stone-dead silence in the crowd. Next Wednesday, she’s going to debut her own music video. The silence continued, barely broken by a handful of boos. Until Billy took the mic to give her the ol’ ‘We got two words…’ treatment.
Last time Cameron tried to rap the show was held up ten minutes by the fans. And next week it ain’t taped.
Winner: Acclaimed & Billy Gunn
Footage of Eddie Kingston defeating Kenta today for the NJPW Strong title. Excalibur said it was a ‘lifelong dream’ of Kingston’s. Eddie’s very genuine celebration made this seem a better title than pretty much anything in AEW.
Cut to a Moxley promo package. Talking Kingston. They’ve both got everything they want out of this business. So why’s Eddie so mad?
It pisses Mox off how much Kingston complains about the young kids and how they have no work ethic. Whereas the BCC help train youngsters and look forward, not back.
‘Eddie, answer your phone’
Are the BCC heels or not!? Because generally the guy who talks up the younger generation and is appreciative of what the wrestling business has given them ain’t a heel.
Blood & Guts will be 5 vs 5. Each team has a guy TBA before the match itself. Not a fan of that. The feud is Elite vs BCC. Adding too many guys outside of that waters it down.
Especially since Danielson missing out means BCC have only three of the five. I’m not counting Takeshita as BCC since that’s not been made official. Though he does have a place in this match and feud so that’s fine.
Cut to Matt Hardy being deemed worthy of finding out live who his tag partner in the weird tourney is. ‘Jeff’ said RJ City. Matt’s dumb so he assumed it was his brother. It’s Jeff Jarrett of course. ‘I hate Jeff Jarrett!’. Don’t we all.
That’s on Rampage. Their opponents? Who the hell knows, we didn’t stick around to draw them.
Yuta package pushing the main event. Yuta said he already beat Omega and he’s the favorite. And will take out Kenny before Blood & Guts.
Words and message = good. Delivery so-so.
Chris Jericho out to a total babyface reaction as they showed what’s been going on between he and Sting.
‘You guys are loud here tonight!’ Is anyone actually a heel?
Though they are loud tbf. Very good crowd.
Jericho said things haven’t been going well and it might be time to make some changes. He said Alberta is the perfect place to be ‘reinvigorated’, back where he started his career. He named a bunch of local places and driving through them reminded him of the passion he had when he was younger.
‘Wrestling still is everything to me’. He feels ‘invigorated’, ‘resurrected’. It’s time to become the greatest version of himself ‘EEEVER’.
Weird music interrupted. It was Don Callis.
Decent amount of boos and a ‘F you Callis’ chant. Getting louder as he took the mic. To say he was hearing that Jericho needed a change. Louder.
It was six years today Callis called Jericho to ask if he wanted to face Omega in New Japan. Louder. With that match, they changed wrestling history. Without ‘my idea’, neither these people or Jericho are here right now
Jericho said he couldn’t hear him due to the boos. Then recalled eight years ago when Jericho helped him get back into the business. The commentators noted ‘the egos on these two’.
Callis agreed that the two make history when they align. And Callis was recently betrayed by a ‘coward, punk’ Kenny Omega. His new family will be based on trust. So he wants the greatest of all the time, the man who beat Omega, his best friend ‘Chris Jericho’.
‘Will you join the Don Callis family?’
Incredulous, Jericho said he doesn’t join factions, he creates them. He has a one-word answer – ‘Maybe’.
Jericho walked off.
Just totally confused by most of these characters’ alignments. At least there’s hope the mouldy JAS will end. Would be intriguing if I wasn’t wondering what the hell Jericho’s supposed to be. Guess it still is. Though if he joins, that instantly demotes Takeshita.
Over an hour in now, not much action.
Punk/Joe package. Punk vowed to change history and win. Joe said Punk’s never beaten him and ‘nothing changes’. Punk promised to win – ‘tell me when I’m tellin’ lies.’
Ending a two-decade-long streak with one week’s build is such short-term thinking. Almost the definition of it.
They then pushed Starks/Hobbs and showed Joe taking out Roderick Strong.
On whom Renee was trying to get a medical update. Doc Sampson said he’s not too bad but they’re going to be careful given Strong’s history.
Strong, wearing a neck brace and looking anything but, said he felt ‘great’.
Adam Cole walked in to ask how Strong was. But got a text from MJF about ‘hitting that double clothesline tonight’.
And had to go since his match was next. Roddy seemed confused. Yep.
MJF & Adam Cole vs Matt Menard & Butcher (Blind tag tourn)
Backstory: The AEW champ & the man pursuing him just happened to be drawn together in the only part of the tournament bracket shown on tv
Max asked them to stop his music mid-way through so Cole could get the big entrance. Max did the Rick Steiner run-around-and-slide-under-Cole’s-legs thing as the latter ‘bay bay’d.
That was funny.
They were facing Butcher and Matt Menard who didn’t get an entrance and maybe got mentioned by the announcers? Hell of a tournament btw. G1 take notes.
Max worked as a pseudo babyface against the heels, while taking shortcuts like poking the eyes and seeking leverage from Cole on an abdominal stretch. Starting a ‘do it’ chant until Cole briefly did provide said leverage.
Menard got Max stuck in the heels’ corner, they worked him over while he tried to get the hot tag to Cole. At least with Max I know it’s all an act and he’s decidedly a bad guy.
Still stuck on the wrong side of the ring, Max screamed in a Butcher abdominal stretch. The match partying like it’s 1970 so far, dominated by that move. Right on cue, MJF briefly slipped free but was dragged back into the hold, screaming for Cole to help him.
Btw, he wrestled in the ‘better than you bay bay’ tee.
After illegally freeing himself, even the announcers who normally despise Max talked up him ‘making the crawl’ like he was a big babyface. Good guy announcers should not be that dumb. Prime JR would have called it out as BS. As would Kevin Kelly.
Cole in, lariats, pump kicks, knee strikes, things speeding up, neckbreaker across the knee, Max distracted Cole by begging for the tag so they could hit the double clothesline.
Cole rebounded to fight off both guys, missed a Panama sunrise, thrust kick, Menard down, being readied for the Boom. Cole ignored Max’s shouts for the clothesline and took the win himself.
Max was pleased to have won, wrapping Cole in a big hug.
Crowd really into Cole’s flurry along with he and Max as an act. The latter took the mic to ask if there were ‘any devil worshippers in the house?’ Sparking an ‘MJF’ chant.
Then asked if there were any fans of someone with a ‘super cool name’ before asking Cole to ‘do the thing’. Cole did the Adam Cole bay bay as Max briefly said they should’ve used the clothesline. Before asking Cole to hang-out again this weekend. The crowd chanted ‘yes’.
Cole agreed too.
About to leave, Cole was stopped by MJF so he could yell ‘Happy Birthday’, start a chant, unleash streamers and bring out a cake and party hats etc. Max put a hat on a less than enthusiastic Cole.
Max began to sing happy birthday. Unamused, Cole cut him off. Max said there was one more thing, starting a ‘make a wish’ chant. And was prepping to shove Cole’s face in the cake when Cole turned the tables.
Then ate icing off Max’s face, noting it was good cake. ‘With sincerity’, Cole thanked Max for all the birthday stuff. ‘Thank you my friend’. This genuinely was said sincerely.
Just no idea what to make of this. It was tremendously entertaining. MJF’s just phenomenal at working a crowd. Yet it was still weird. When Foley and Rock did this sort of goofy stuff, the world title was elsewhere.
Clearly the story is going to be that Cole continues to out-think Max. MJF thinks he’s suckered Cole in like he does everybody else but really Cole is playing him. I hope anyway.
As above, didn’t make me want to see them wrestle. It made me want to see them hang out at a theme park or something.
Winner: MJF & Adam Cole
Britt with Renee. Baker didn’t care what Ruby or anyone said about her. But Soho lied last week about taking everything from her. There are two things no-once can: her pride since she’s always the face of the division. And being the first ever Owen tournament winner.
Britt’s just sorry they have to meet in the first round since she’s going to win the whole thing again and that means Ruby’s bowing out early.
Renee with Jericho, Sammy and Garcia. Garcia wasn’t happy about Jericho maybe joining Callis. Jericho emphasized he’d only said maybe and that it was time the other two flew by themselves.
Renee revealed that it just so happened Sammy and Garcia had been drawn together in the tag tournament. Jericho said this was a perfect opportunity for them. Garcia offered a fist bump. Sammy paused briefly but reciprocated. Though like last week didn’t utter a word.
Footage of Britt and Cole winning the Owen last year. About the first time we’ve seen that since they did.
Britt Baker vs Ruby Soho (Owen Cup)
Backstory: Winner faces Skye Blue in the semis
Britt came out alone vs the other three.
The match beginning with her working the arm, down into a pin for a quick two, Soho up into a headlock, Britt took her down into an armbar, Soho fled outside. Baker targeting the arm early ahead of Lockjaw.
Ruby back in, Baker back to the arm via hammerlock, to a headlock, Baker into the ropes, shoulder block, slingblade, then something went awry as they looked for a suplex/ddt and Soho bailed outside.
Britt followed and jawed with Toni and Saraya, right in front of the ref, allowing Ruby to strike from behind.
It bears repeating – in Outcasts’ matches, everyone looks dumb except the people who are supposed to. Crowd dead for most of this so far as the ads arrived. Allowing us to hear Saraya’s non-stop shouting.
Britt threw a forearm, another, further flurry, big lariat, another, neckbreaker: she’s clearly losing this one, absolutely dominant.
Very slow sequence into a pin attempt for two.
Glove out, ‘DMD’, Soho looked for No Future, Britt blocked it, looked for the stomp, got rolled up, popped up to have her boot grabbed by Toni, Saito suplex for two. A few loose boos among the silence.
Soho missed a stomp off the top, ate a thrust kick, sloppy backslide by Britt, into Lockjaw, right in the middle. Here come the Outcasts onto the apron (wrote that ahead of time), they hit Britt with last year’s Owen title, No Future, Britt kicked out.
There was a pop as she kicked out, the fans into Baker; the heels not at all.
Ruby got a neck crank, Baker kicked off the ropes into Lockjaw, Toni and Saraya dragged Ruby out of the ring to safety. ‘This is too much’ said Schiavone.
Baker went out, took out Toni and Saraya, tried a victory roll, Ruby countered and Toni gave her leverage to bag the pin.
Bet none of us saw any of that coming right? Another highly prestigious tournament. It’s no wonder Tony Khan likes these so much.
Skye Blue appeared right behind Ruby but did nothing. Just as she hadn’t bothered helping Britt since AEW’s booking isn’t creative enough to allow for any babyfaces to bring backup.
It’s a conundrum they just can’t overcome.
A poor match, crowd didn’t care a lick about the heels. And an entirely predictable finish.
Winner: Ruby Soho
Kenny Omega vs Wheeler Yuta
Backstory: BCC vs Elite continues
Much like Saturday, it’s on this to somewhat save a poor show with little good action and a bunch of confusing character placement.
Barely any reaction for Yuta, who as a solo act is not yet at main event level. His heel presence is improving though.
Again like Saturday, Omega’s music brought a smile despite the rest of the show. Huge pop for Kenny, his shoulder covered in tape as he slapped hands with most of the front row.
Yuta immediately attacked from behind, to the corner, stiff chops and forearms, this already has an intensity lacking all night. Omega returning fire, the crowd into it as he smashed through Yuta in the corner, stomping him to dust.
Biting the forehead, Yuta sought the advantage, it didn’t last – into a back body drop and big backbreaker for two. ‘Let’s go Kenny’ chant as Yuta again worked him over in the corner, Omega got the boots up, Kintaro crusher, you can’t escape, he slipped and held his shoulder whole rolling through toward the buckle.
Allowing Yuta to get back on top, missile dropkick, Omega outside, Yuta pursuing him via tope, Kenny’s already injured upper torso smacking into the barricade, the heel beginning to target it, flinging Omega into every barricade.
Was Demar DeRozan in the crowd? Because a little girl was shrieking as Yuta slipped back in to break the count. The crowd chanting ‘Kenny’ again, willing him back inside.
To the apron, he fired forearms, Yuta cut him off, Kenny came back with a kick to the head then blocked a suplex until being elbowed in the back of the head and dropped face-first across the top rope.
Then placed Omega’s head against the middle buckle, putting all his weight on it to a flood of boos as the ads arrived.
Like the story so far. Omega well on top until his very physical match with Ospreay caught up to him. Only complaint is the way that began: the crowd thought it was a botch. Because it looked like one. Briefly sucked the air out.
Yuta still on top, Omega knees up to block a senton, buying time. To his feet, snapping jabs, the momentum swinging, crowd behind him until being elbowed across the head and neck once more.
Omega snapped back to hit a leaping forearm, big axe handles, rolling forearm, fisherman buster, count of two. Crowd counting along. V-trigger ready, missing, Yuta another shot to the back of the head, Samoan drop/Olympic slam, kickout at two.
Yuta to the top, Kenny cut him off thinking superplex, crowd roaring again as he delivered a huge one. Yuta just kicking out, dragged to his feet, Omega beckoning him to bring it, forearm exchange until Yuta poked the eye, Omega coming back with a chop, sending Yuta into the ropes as he rebounded into a duck under, German with a bridge, nearly three.
Another following, Omega landing right on the back of his head. Until blocking another by running Yuta into the buckle, flurry of elbows, Yuta back with more chops and forearms until being kicked away back into the corner.
Omega looking for a splash, caught into another German, shaking loose, shoving Yuta away into the ropes, the youngster rebounding into a v-trigger to the back, snapdragon, another, Omega signalling one more, Yuta fighting hard, slipping under into a roll-up for two.
Popping up to be blasted with another v-trigger, OWA ready, Kenny struggling to get him up, Yuta escaping into a Seatbelt pin, kickout at two and 2/3, Yuta right back on offense, thinking hurracanrana, caught into a powerbomb instead, then rolled through into a brutal v-trigger for another exceptionally close count.
Things about to end – goodbye/goodnight – as Don Callis hit the ramp, security swarming, Takeshita sneaking behind, blue thunder bomb, Yuta off the top via splash, kickout at 2.9!
Yuta back to the top, Omega desperately grabbing the boot, weird punch that looked like a low blow but wasn’t really anything, OWA off the top, 1, 2, 3.
Absolutely fantastic match. Yuta was the first proper heel on the show, intense and severely dislikeable as he took cheap shots and targeted a weakness. And Kenny was about the most popular babyface all night.
Claudio was straight out to attack, he and Takeshita beating down the Canadian, Yuta still down after the OWA. Until the Bucks and Page flew down with chairs to another big cheer.
They gave Castagnoli a BTE Trigger as the show clearly ran out of time, Page readying a chair shot as the Dark Order appeared behind him.
The faces getting the better of that after Omega winning was a little excessive. The heels need some heat going into Blood & Guts.
Winner: Kenny Omega
- FTR vs Juice Robinson & Jay White (Eliminator match for tag titles (This is not part of the Eliminator tournament – confusing I know))
- Willow Nightingale vs Athena (Owen Hart Cup)
- Will Hobbs vs Ricky Starks (‘’)
- CM Punk vs Samoa Joe (‘’)
- Ruby Soho vs Skye Blue (Owen Cup)
- Nick Wayne vs Swerve Strickland
- Komander vs Chris Jericho
- The opener was fun if you can ignore the booking
- Cole and MJF’s chemistry in an entertaining segment
- Omega vs Yuta
- Swerve and Lee teaming – I’ve said enough above
- Swerve taking another pin – the list of guys on AEW’s roster with his charisma, mic skills and in-ring is short indeed
- This eliminator tournament is a complete joke – no brackets, no explanations, the titles themselves a total afterthought
- An awful lot of tournament matches & matches with no build the last two weeks and heading into next – it feels like they’re just trying to get a show out there
- QTV lives
Appreciate you reading. Have a good week.