Arena: Target Center
City: Minneapolis, Min
Last Week’s Rating: 938,000 overall; 0.32 in 18-49 demo
After two years Covid finally caught me, so apologies if this isn’t as lucid or detailed as I’d like it to be. Take care out there.
It’s Wednesday night, it’s Dynamite. Let’s go.
Darby Allin vs Brody King, Coffin Match
Backstory: Brody attacked Darby at a signing; emptied him from the title contender battle royal
JR, Taz, Excalibur & Tony Schiavone greeted us as the lights dimmed, leading Brody King out, Darby attacking out of the darkness to a raucous response and loud chants of ‘Darby!’ Blood was out next, from King’s forehead due to Allin’s spiked skateboard. A wild avalanche-code-red brought the first attempt at ending the match but the big guy was dead weight.
Darby was laid out; blood was pouring from Brody as the break beckoned.
Crashing through a table, King missed with a splash as we returned, the smaller guy scrambling into the ring just as the lights went out once more, the other HOB members appearing, Buddy Matthews drilling Darby as the ‘Sting’ chants began, then propping him on a table in the corner, Brody smashing through with a vicious cannonball.
As Matthews opened the coffin, Sting was inside. This was dumb. Sting let his partner get battered by three guys just to surprise them for a bit. Taking out Matthews, he threw his bat to Malakai, who dropped it and left.
Recovering, Darby struck King with a suicide dive but was dropped onto the stairs, the pair fighting onto the apron as Allin choked Brody out with a chain, leading to him plopping into the open casket at ringside. A nice re-mix of the battle royal finish.
King was again painted as a monster; Darby being dominated but slipping by.
I can take or leave Darby. My interest tends to depend on his opponent and the style of match. If you like the blood & guts, maybe you liked this, but between the interference and interruptions, this wasn’t anything special.
WINNER: Darby Allin
Mox promo. ‘This championship is about pain, and how much you can endure.’ ‘If your fighting spirit doesn’t break, your body will.’ Short and very good.
Jericho response. Once again, vowed to ‘stretch the shit’ out of Mox. To say the least, Jericho was not seen as a heel. Good job making the main event seem big.
Lucha Bros vs Andrade El Idolo & Rush, Tornado tag
Backstory: Since Rush arrived, the pair’ve been trying to remove the Bros’ masks
Now this, this is a match worth tuning in for. La Faccion were out first with new, collective music. The ad for next week’s trios match made them seem the likely winner.
Penta was not ‘Oscuro’, at least for this week. Rapid start, highlights including a wicked knee from Rush, breaking down into singles between he and Penta, the latter striking with a thrust kick, tripped as he attempted a dive, Rey making up for it with a tope, then another to Andrade as Penta got a 2 on Rush with Made in Penta.
Stereo topes from the heels brought the break. Andrade’s still wrestling in a t-shirt, for what it’s worth.
Post-break, a flurry from the Bros: Fenix with the rope-walk tijeras, double thrust kick, splash off Penta’s shoulders onto Andrade for 2, uno-dos-tres-kicks, stereo dives which matched those done by the heels. Incredible, rapid offense from both. Rey’s balance is otherworldly.
Andrade got the knees up on a Fenix frogsplash, Penta saving his bro from the El Idolo ddt, Andrade heavily booed as he struck with double knees in the corner, ate a springboard thrust kick, powerbomb from Rush, cutter from Penta, all four down. A well-earned break.
A crazy destroyer on the apron from Penta to Andrade followed, the Bros looking for Fear Factor out there on Rush, but Andrade recovered to make the save. Rush tied Penta to the ropes by his mask; JR was just an asshole about the mask thing.
After unmasking himself to break up a pin at 2, Penta lay down, covering his face. Left alone, Fenix was hit with a very violent Bull Horns, then a Hammerlock DDT. You don’t kick out from that.
Other than the slight quibble about how quickly El Idolo recovered from that destroyer on the apron, this was wild fun. Without doubt, I’ve missed stuff, so check it out.
WINNER: La Faccion Ingobernables
Bucks were with Brandon, entering the Dark Order’s dressing room. Thanked Page for last week, apologized for their behavior, asked Hangman to be their trios partner next week. He turned them down, saying the Order had had his back when the Bucks didn’t and that the Bucks’ partner should be ‘someone who’d never turned their back on them’. It seemed amicable and that the Bucks were babyfaces.
Luchasaurus vs Anthony Henry
Jungleboy joined on comms. Didn’t last long, Fossilizer for the win.
Christian appeared on the screen, JB made a beeline for him but they were once again separated by security, all of whom Luchasaurus obliterated as Christian escaped.
Miro promo. Julia Hart appeared, Miro said that only one woman could touch him, then that, the ‘warpath leads directly to the House of Black.’ Miro/Malakai at All Out? Yes please.
Mark Henry was with Hobbs, QT approached him. Wasn’t much to this.
Jay Lethal etc. were out next, Dutt stating that they ‘weren’t done’ with Wardlow. Wardlow, on his way to ‘beat all three of your asses’, was joined by FTR. Which makes sense, the Pinnacle and all that. The heels took a powder. Sneaking back in, Lethal ate a Big Rig. Seems we’ve got another six-man.
JAS w/ Schiavone. 2.0 again shouted a lot, about how they’d celebrate later when Jericho won. Garcia again taunted Bryan Danielson. Anna again ‘lost it’, attempting to choke-out Rebel, who happened by. They’ve GOT to stop Anna Jay acting. Because she can’t. Garcia’s brief promo was good; the rest, awful.
Ricky Starks vs Aaron Solo
Backstory: Starks blew off his ex-partner Solo, QT & co., on Friday
The Factory were ejected early when Kole Carter grabbed Starks’ foot. A swinging ddt off the ropes from Starks led to a Roshambo attempt but Solo countered briefly with a hurracanrana, only for Starks to land a Spear for the quick win.
After, Comoroto ate a spinebuster until Solo attacked from behind. Starks headed through the crowd to avoid a beatdown. Backstage, Hobbs was smashing stuff.
Other than size, Starks has it all. Never hurts to give an up-and-comer a televised win.
WINNER: Ricky Starks
Gunn Club w Lexi. Stokely Hathaway tried to interrupt; Danhausen succeeded, tag match on Rampage.
Best Friends & Cassidy were interrupted by some dudes (one of whom they later told us was Ari Daivari), who wanted Orange to drop Trent and Chuck and join him. Orange wasn’t interested.
Jade Cargill vs Madison Rayne, TBS title open-challenge
Backstory: Jade challenged Madison on Friday after Madi beat Leila Gray
Shoved down and patted on the head to start, Madison struck with a dropkick from the top, then a hurracanrana on the outside. But after being distracted by Kiera Hogan, was drilled with a spear on her way back in.
Returning to Jade getting a two-count, a slow, awkward sequence led to a hanging neckbreaker from Rayne and a badly botched Blockbuster. Kiera again got on the apron, right in front of the ref and ate a pumpkick from Jade, as did Rayne. Jaded was next. 1,2,3.
Post-match, Athena attacked but Hogan dragged Cargill to safety.
Totally get that they’re trying to build a star in Jade. For reasons that are beyond me, she’s very over. But after 18 months, still incapable of having a decent match. Lacking both build and intrigue, this wasn’t good.
WINNER: Jade Cargill
ThunderStorm w Tony. Toni’s the no1 contender after Statlander’s injury.
Jon Moxley vs Chris Jericho, AEW Title
Backstory: Long-term: BCC & JAS clashed for months; short: Jer challenged Mox 2 weeks ago
Regal joined on comms.
Jericho came out alone, to ‘Lionheart’ music in his old ring gear, with his old mannerisms. It’s cool when AEW does stuff like this.
A good thirty minutes of tv time remained as the match started, the challenger flipping off the champ, who responded in kind. Out-wrestled early by the vet, Jericho locked-in various holds as Moxley struggled. After escaping, they exchanged chops and Mox landed a kick to the spine. Jericho answered by ripping Mox’s earring out, then landed a ‘vintage’ springboard dropkick, knocking the champ off the apron.
The obligatory blood was flowing when we returned, the champ draped in the corner, exploding with a lariat, a variety of strikes and uppercuts, but Jericho was once again a step ahead, hitting a double-underhook backbreaker, then landing a Lionsault to a big pop and a two-count.
Each slipped in and out of holds, then exchanged Germans, as Mox was drilled with strikes in the corner and Jericho continued the hits, heading up top for a hurracanrana and a count of just-about-two.
An homage to Bret Hart followed via a figure-4 around the ringpost, though Mox locked-in a crossface the second Lionheart returned inside. Fighting out, Jericho twisted the champ over into the Lion Tamer, on the brink of passing out as the final ads arrived.
A wild crowd was cheering Mox on our return, as he scraped his way over to the ropes to finally break the hold. Attempting another springboard dropkick, Jericho was swatted to the outside, then hit with a Macho Man double-sledge to the outside, straight into ground and pound. ‘THIS IS AWESOME’ rang out as Mox again went high with Jericho back in the ring, a Codebreaker meeting him as he landed for a count a 2 & 2/3.
As Jericho removed the buckle pads, Sammy Guevara flung-in Floyd, the bat bringing another extremely close count. After sending Mox into Aubrey, he was blasted with the Judas Effect. From which no-one’s ever kicked out, but Mox did. Just.
Bringing in the belt, Jericho missed, going face-first into the exposed buckle, Mox locking in the Bulldog Choke, a bloody Jericho slipping out and once again into the Lion Tamer as the crowd roared its approval. Breaking free, the champ laid in heavy shots, squeezing hard with the choke as both bled heavily. Finally, Lionheart could take no more, tapping out as Moxley retained.
Immediately, Sammy & Hager hit the ring. A mass brawl between JAS, the BCC, Kingston & Ortiz erupted. With Jericho poised to strike Mox with the belt, static hit the airwaves, Punk fighting his way through all the heels, leaving just he and Moxley in the ring to square-up, the latter once again raising his middle finger, Punk hopping happily on his injured foot as the show ended.
This was a masterpiece. It felt like a classic, old-school title fight from which both guys emerged stronger: Jericho dominating but no matter what he did, unable to put the champ away; Moxley like he’d overcome a more-than-worthy challenger.
WINNER: Jon Moxley
• Bryan Danielson speaks
• So does Hook
• So do Swerve & Lee
• Erick Redbeard & Danhausen vs Gunn Club
• Parker Boudreaux vs Sonny Kiss
• Orange Cassidy vs Ari Daivari
• Sammy Guevara & Tay vs Dante Martin & Skye Blue, AAA mixed titles
• Andrade, Rush & Dragon Lee vs Bucks & Mystery Partner (So looking fwd to this. It’s poss it’ll still be Hangman, though Tony Khan has long insisted he was waiting for Kenny’s return to debut the trios titles)
• Toni Storm vs KiLynn King
• Bryan Danielson vs Daniel Garcia, 2 out of 3 falls
Trios tourney, first round:
• Death Triangle vs Will Ospreay & Aussie Open
• Andrade El Idolo, Dragon Lee, & Rush vs Young Bucks & …
• House of Black vs Dark Order
• Trustbusters vs Best Friends
This was one of the best AEW shows in months. There wasn’t a ton of wrestling, but that had its benefits. Number one, it allowed stories to develop building to both the trios tourney and the ppv. Number two, by the time the main event arrived, it’d been a long time since any real action, meaning the crowd were ready for some. And boy did they get it.
Moreover, the stars are slowly returning: first Danielson, now Punk, presumably Omega’s next.
• Moxley vs Jericho
• Lucha Bros vs La Faccion
Thanks for reading.