Arena: Charleston Coliseum
City: Charleston, WV
Last Week’s Rating: 972,000 overall; 0.33 in 18-49 demo
A big night with All Out on the horizon. Presumably we’ll see developments between Punk and Moxley, along with the start of the exciting trios tournament, not to mention the likely return of Kenny Omega.
It’s Wednesday night, it’s Dynamite. Let’s go.
The strains of Cult of Personality welcomed us, along with JR, Excalibur, Taz. Much like Friday, the show starting not with a match, but a face-to-face. LOUD ‘CM PUNK!’ chants, hot crowd.
Punk has two pieces of business. One important. One not-so. There’s a local wrestler he’d like to challenge. ‘Hangman Page, you want that rematch? You got it. Right here, right now, let’s go.’ No Page. Punk called it ‘coward shit’ and that the coming apology should be as loud as the disrespect.
Moving on, called himself ‘the AEW champion’. Mox meanwhile is the ‘third best guy in his own group, a reoccurring theme in his career’. (So… AEW could only get the third best guy?) Continued to run-down Moxley while repeating ‘Tell me when I’m tellin’ lies.’ Before moving on to Eddie Kingston: ‘Third best Eddie…second-best Kingston’ he’d been in the ring with.
Finally, Mox came out. So far, this was a bit of a letdown. Delivery was good but it felt forced and FAR too ‘inside’.
Moxley mocked Punk and his pipe bombs, called himself ‘the heart and soul’. Punk replied that ‘you can be the heart and soul, I’ll be the dollars and cents.’ Mox fired back: ‘We both know you only came to AEW ‘cause you ran out of money.’ (Again, this is the loser company people go to if they have to?)
Lastly, Punk fired-off with: ‘If I touch you now I’m just afraid you’ll bleed all over me’. That was a pretty good line. Fists flew, not great-looking ones, staff out to break it up to loud boos. There was a very simple story here based around who the real champion is and they overcomplicated it. Disappointing. Though crowd were hot for it.
Hobbs w Schiavone. The big man had become tired of Starks hiding behind him, nor was he done with the Factory.
Bryan Danielson vs Daniel Garcia, 2 out of 3 falls, Guest timekeeper: Ricky ‘the Dragon’ Steamboat
Backstory: Youngster beat BD (w/ help) in their last outing; calling self ‘Dragon slayer’ since
Jericho joined on comms. Emphasized what they’d done to Danielson as the latter shook with Steamboat.
Beginning on the mat, the pair wrestled for control, Danielson firing in the odd shot to the face. ‘Yay/Boo’ kicks to the face with both in a leglock ended with Garcia dismissively kicking BD back into the corner, following up with a slap to the face as the break was upon us.
Stiff ‘Yes!’ kicks with chants to match welcomed us back, running dropkick in the corner, to the top for the hurracanrana, Garcia rolling through for a count of two. A hard exchange of strikes led to Danielson flipping out of the corner, Garcia firing back with a double-underhook suplex and a juji-katami (thanks Taz).
After missing a jumping knee off the apron, the vet was dropped via belly-to-back on the outside. Hammer and anvil elbows continued the assault back inside, the crowd booing, the youngster searching for the Dragon Tamer (Sharpshooter), Danielson countering, Garcia flipping it back into a piledriver, then locking in the Dragon Sleeper. Danielson passed out.
First Fall: 1-0 to Daniel Garcia via Dragon Sleeper
Barely meeting the ref’s count, Danielson struggled to his feet, Garcia swarming with a flurry of kicks in the corner. Then firing European uppercuts and heavy chops as the vet appeared out on his feet.
More of the same as we returned, the youngster stomping away as we were shown Danielson being ddt’d on the concrete during the break. Fighting to his feet before a roaring crowd, Garcia quickly countered, again going with the Dragon Sleeper, throwing elbows to the face of the bleeding vet. Who, out of nowhere, snuck a three-count with a cradle.
Second Fall: 1-1, Bryan Danielson via cradle
Missing with a dropkick in the corner, Garcia was left hanging upside down. BD went to work with kicks before climbing to the top, releasing the youngster to the mat with a German, the crowd again roaring its approval. A missile dropkick followed, momentum with the veteran as he flew for a tope suicida, then sending the youth into the post on the outside before working the shoulder with the same weapon. Presumably ahead of a possible LeBell Lock.
Despite this, Garcia was first back inside, Danielson squeaking in at 9. Another break.
The Dragon Tamer was locked in upon our return, the pair fighting in and out between that and a LeBell Lock. A busaiku knee from Garcia brought two slaps of the mat. Hands clasped, a flurry of forearms brought the Dragon to his knees before fighting back up, Garcia wilting under the vet’s flurry.
Garcia though was ‘playing possum’ as he rolled through and began Danielson’s-own stomps to the head. Until Danielson again turned the tables, locking in a triangle, the youngster trying to fight out into the piledriver as he’d done earlier, losing his grip, throwing punches which became weaker and weaker as he slowly faded, Danielson responding once again with the LeBell Lock, vicious elbow strikes, the LeBell Lock sinched in tighter as the youngster finally had enough.
Vicious and violent, this was an on-the-mat clinic and if that’s your jam, you’ll love this. Didn’t grab me in the same way as last week’s main event, but that’s a matter of taste. Very good action portraying the youngster as almost Danielson’s equal.
Garcia was still struggling, crawling and slapping at Danielson even after the bell, not willing to admit defeat. Just as it seemed the pair were going to shake, Jericho attacked until Garcia pulled him away to a loud pop from the crowd. ‘You’re a wrestler’ chant from the crowd as Jericho left and Garcia had a dilemma on his hands.
WINNER: Bryan Danielson, 2 falls to 1
Tag champs and Private Party w Schiavone. Apparently, Private Party are now ranked #5. Boy, that’s convenient. Not to mention makes it seem exceptionally easy to climb the rankings. Swerve and Lee still dismissed them as worthy challengers, as should we all.
After a break, Tony Nese was emerging. Not for long, Moxley striking from behind. ‘Let’s do it right now!’ Punk came to fight but the pair were again separated by a mass of men, including the BCC.
Jericho with Schiavone. Gave Garcia a pass for tonight but asked whose side he was on: they’d find out next Wednesday. Ricky Steamboat interrupted, saying Danielson was the better mentor for Garcia. One of 2.0 grabbed Steamboat by the collar and received a stiff strike.
Gunn Club vs Varsity Blonds
Backstory: Stokely Hathaway trying to recruit the Club; Billy’s being tough on his boys
The Ass Boys theme-music is a guilty pleasure of mine. A very quick Colt 45 brought the win. Did the Blonds piss in Tony’s cereal? Despite being about the same age as Billy’s boys, they’ve gone from being positioned well above them to literally below.
Afterwards, Billy got on the mic, praising the victory, saying this was the best part of his career, working with his kids. So you knew what was coming. The Ass Boys attacked until the Acclaimed ran them off.
‘Scissor Me, Daddy Ass!’
Pairing these three up again is smart, they’re crazy fun. Billy sure got-over his offspring abandoning him.
WINNER: Gunn Club
A ranting, over-the-top promo from Sonjay Dutt, Jay Lethal and Satnam Singh followed, ending with the big man challenging Wardlow to powerbomb him. It’s about time.
Death Triangle promo. Pac addressed Will Ospreay, disagreeing about him being the best out of Britain. Between the accent and cold, matter-of-fact intensity, this was great. Gave that match next week extra stakes and a big-match feel.
Jungle Boy was out next, referring to ‘that shirt’. Presumably the ‘Christian is a p***y’ one. Challenged the vet for All Out, which he should accept, unless the shirt was true. Christian declined, saying things were getting out of hand with Luchasaurus suspended after last week.
Praised JB, heeled on the crowd, got in the ring and said he wanted to ‘fix this, Jack’. Jungle Boy attacked, the pair fought around ringside until the youngster basically snapped, repeatedly ramming Christian into the ring steps.
FTR & Wardlow promo. ‘Nobody messes with the Pinnacle’. ‘Anybody and everybody gets powerbombed’. Match made for next week.
Toni Storm vs KiLynn King
Backstory: Storm is no1 contender
Rosa was shown watching backstage.
Despite a dead crowd, this one started very well. Quick and hard-fought, King striking with a leaping knee, missing with a dive, Toni searching for the swinging ddt off the apron but King using her strength to block, dispatching Storm into the ringside railings as the ads arrived.
A Fisherman’s suplex for two saw the crowd getting behind Toni as King struck with two kicks before hauling Storm out of the corner for a spinebuster and a two of her own. Responding with a release German, Sweet Cheeks Music walloped King in the corner, leading to a swinging ddt and the win.
Thunderosa looked rather displeased, clapping as if Shawn Spears were coming out.
Hard to understand why AEW insist on these matches with very obvious endings. Despite good action, the crowd didn’t buy King whatsoever: silent for all of her offense. While Storm is basically no1 contender by default and would’ve benefitted from beating someone with more credibility.
WINNER: Toni Storm
Andrade, Rush, Dragon Lee vs the Bucks &…, R1: Trios Tournament
Backstory: Mystery partner for Bucks after Hangman turned them down
After the Bucks handed Justin a piece of paper, he launched into a long intro to a very loud pop at the announcement of Omega’s name. Kenny wasn’t alone, Callis by his side as he joined the guys on comms, announcing the plethora of surgeries Omega had undergone in the past year.
Dragon Lee offered handshakes to all of the Elite; only Nick reciprocated, the pair starting off with an incredibly athletic exchange, Matt tagging in for a double-team bulldog/dropkick combo and a hurracanrana as Matt pointed-to then tagged-in Kenny to a loud ovation.
Punches in the corner followed stiff chops, Omega wrestling in a compression shirt as he slightly botched You Can’t Escape, into a tag, selling the idea that he wasn’t fully healed. Rapid triple teaming followed involving Omega’s Kintaro Crusher. Isolated in the corner, Dragon Lee fought out, tagging in Andrade to square off with Kenny as Jose hit the apron and Rush struck from the blindside leading into the break.
After exploding with the best comeback in the biz, Nick Jackson tagged Matt for locomotion Northern Lights until Rush intercepted, the Bucks looking for a double suplex, until finally all six were in and Omega helped the Elite raise a triple suplex, culminating with a step-up dive to the outside from Nick as the crowd exploded.
Both the action and the commentators were emphasizing Kenny struggling at points, with the Elite dominating to such a degree that you began to question the outcome.
Matt dropped the elbow for two before Andrade ran wild, landing a knee in the corner as Dragon Lee got a two-count of his own, all three tagging in as the trio crushed Matt in the corner, before hitting triple dropkicks: Matt in trouble as the final break beckoned.
Propped in the corner as we returned, Rush booted him in the face, then posed, eating a kick from Nick with only Omega and Andrade left standing, waiting for tags.
In they came, Omega striking with double axe handles, a stiff kick to Rush, enziguri, the opposition queuing for snap-dragon suplexes, the crowd applauding once more as Kenny grabbed at his ribs. The Bucks reversed a double whip into doh-see-doh superkicks, Matt bucklebombing Lee into dual enziguris from Nick and Kenny. A Superkick Party was broken up at two by Andrade, stereo dives from the Bucks followed.
All five down outside with Kenny left alone as the Terminator Clap began, until Lee grabbed the leg from outside, Omega struggling on his left knee as it was again grabbed by Jose, before being dragged outside, held atop the railings as Dragon Lee smashed right through him with a Fenix/Darby-level tope con giro right into the front row.
Bagging only a two-count by the time theyd dragged him back in, Andrade was grabbed by Nick heading to the top, only to be hurracanrana’d off the ropes by Lee, leading to the double-jump moonsault by Andrade, the ref very close to three as Kenny kicked out. A follow-up Hammerlock DDT saw Matt shove Rush into the pin just in time with the crowd catching its breath, slightly nervous of an Elite loss.
Which is when Omega struck with a vicious knee out of nowhere, then smashed Dragon with the V-Trigger as the Bucks asked for the tag, ‘Kenny’ chants starting-up again as the former champ looked for the One-Winged Angel, just about hooking it as he slumped into the winning pin.
Post-match, Andrade & Rush attacked Dragon Lee just as the show ended.
This built into a hell of a match. For those who say these guys don’t have any psychology, the match-long story involving Kenny clearly coming back too soon, combined with the intertwined Hangman story, did more than enough to make you question the outcome.
And, as I’ve said before, if you can make me question the outcome, that’s all I ask. Throw in an eruption of wild moves before a receptive crowd; for the second week in a row, you’ve got one hell of a main event.
WINNER: The Elite
• Swerve in our Glory vs Private Party, AEW tag titles
• Hook vs Zack Clayton, FTW title open-challenge
• Best Friends & Orange Cassidy vs Trustbusters, R1: Trios Tourn.
• Penelope Ford vs Athena
• Claudio speaks
• Death Triangle vs Will Ospreay & Aussie Open, R1: Trios Tourn.
• Dax vs Lethal
• Punk vs Moxley, AEW World Title
Added to All Out:
• Thunderosa vs Toni Storm, AEW Women’s Title
As happened last week, the in-ring here was to a minimum. But that only added emphasis to what wrestling there was. And what wrestling there was, was excellent, interspersed with angles, both of which told stories as we head toward All Out.
Will Kenny insist on wrestling hurt and cost the Bucks? Will he succumb just before the final, leaving Hangman to fill in, reuniting with his friends? Or will Page be scrapping once again for the AEW title? My bet’s on the second option, Punk and Moxley battling to a draw next week, leading to a rematch at All Out.
But like any good story, it leaves the audience asking questions. The only way to find the answers? Tune in next week.
• Danielson vs Garcia
• Elite vs Andrade, Rush & Dragon Lee
Thanks for reading.