Arena: Wolstein Center
City: Cleveland, OH
Last Week’s Rating: 957,000 overall; 0.30 in 18-49 demo
That’s the second-worst demo since moving to TBS. Tonight’s rating could be crucial ahead of the next tv deal: Moxley’s among their biggest draws and if Punk’s not the biggest, he’s damn close.
It’s Wednesday night, it’s Dynamite. Let’s go.
Taz, Excalibur, Schiavone and JR welcomed us as the show continued its recent trend of opening with a promo segment. Heel Chris Jericho being sung to the ring never gets less stupid.
Jericho called Garcia one of his favorite people, the youngster making his way to the ring still looking pensive, as if he’d not yet made up his mind. Instantly, a heavy ‘you’re a wrestler’ chant kicked-up. Jericho said they could sort things out; all it’d take was an apology.
‘You knew how special it was for me to share the ring with my hero… and you ruined it!’
Loud boos from the crowd as Jericho called the youngster a sports entertainer. ‘You’re a wrestler’ kicked-up again as the vet insisted Garcia call himself a sports entertainer. Queue the Dragon.
Who told Garcia he could be what he wanted but he agreed with the people: ‘you’re a wrestler’. The youngster claimed he couldn’t choose. As he went to leave Jericho grabbed him, Garcia instinctively shoving his mentor down, prompting a ‘You deserve it!’ chant. Good stuff from the crowd.
Garcia left the vets to go at it via microphone. Danielson asked who Stu Hart would pick as the better wrestler. Or Owen. Jericho responded: ‘You want Lionheart vs the Dragon? You got it, at All Out’. Then warned Danielson to watch his back, Jake Hager attacking immediately, laying Danielson out to end the segment.
Jay Lethal vs Dax Harwood
Backstory: Wardlow having prbs w Lethal etc; FTR got involved a couple of weeks back
Hopefully Dax’s shoulder’s better since he’s been picked to rep the Pinnacle crew here. He came alone, to a rapturous response from a lively crowd. Lethal too left the lackeys behind.
A shoulder block, dropdown, hiptoss combo was answered via a pair of armdrags by Lethal, the two wrestling to a stalemate as loud ‘FTR’ chants started. Hiptoss into a cartwheel into a dropkick by Lethal, Dax responding with a wicked chop, beginning an exchange so loud it hurt your ears.
The chops continued, to the delight of the crowd, Dax looking for 10 punches in the corner, Lethal countering with a Russian legsweep from the top to bring the break.
Lethal was up top as we returned, Harwood cutting him off, looking for a superplex but Lethal countered with a front suplex then was met with a shot to the bread basket as he leapt from the buckle. High-angle Germans followed from Dax, Lethal trying to fight out but finally being dropped with a third release-German.
After rolling through, Jay went for the Figure 4 but Dax escaped. A Lethal Combination bought a two before Dax was sent outside and hit with a tope. Brought back in, the leglock applied, Harwood fought to the ropes, Lethal going back to it, Dax countering first with a sharpshooter attempt, then a cradle for 2. While looking for Lethal Injection, Dax blasted Lethal with a slingshot Ligerbomb for a very close call.
After an excellent sequence of submission attempts, counters and roll throughs, Dax finally got the sharpshooter but Dutt appeared on the apron. A springboard cross body from Dax started a series of quick 2 counts. Back to the chops and strikes, Harwood had Lethal in trouble but Lethal grabbed the trunks, rolling up Harwood for 2.
This made Dax look stupid.
Dutt then got on the mic. Said he’d agreed to the six-man but never said who’d be fighting. The Motor City Machine Guns’ music played, though they never appeared. Guess that’s the match for All Out.
I’m so sick of this act. Dutt has go-away heat with me, he’s a cartoon. And I just don’t see what they see in Lethal. He’s good in the ring; so’s most of the roster. To me, he’s not in the same league as Harwood. This is beneath FTR. Not to mention Wardlow. Should be very good in the ring though.
WINNER: Jay Lethal
Schiavone was with a tearful Thunderosa, who said she felt she was letting us down but had to vacate the title due to injury. Hoped Toni won the title at All Out, where there’ll be a 4-way. Later we were told the participants: Hayter, Shida, Storm, Britt.
Billy Gunn vs Colten Gunn
Backstory: The Gunn Sons turned on their dad last week, Billy threatened to spank them
HUGE pop for the Acclaimed as their music hit, accompanying Billy to the ring. Running through his kid with a shoulder block, Colten headed for the outside as the ads arrived.
Just as we returned, Austin grabbed Billy’s leg, Colten taking advantage with a clothesline. Though not for long, Billy continuing to dominate but feeling concern as Colten stayed down. Meanwhile, Hathaway and Austin attacked the Acclaimed on the outside, Colten taking advantage with a low blow and a Colt 45 for the win.
Two bouts, two bouts of interference. You don’t need to watch this.
Post-match, the Ass Boys continued to beat on Billy ‘til the tag champs’ music hit. Running-off the Boys, they helped Billy to his feet and warily eyed the Acclaimed.
WINNER: Colten Gunn
Schiavone was with the main event: United Empire and Death Triangle. What? That suggests something fishy with Mox/Punk, which they’ve barely mentioned. Pac and Ospreay went back and forth on the mic, nothing in particular of note.
Britt Baker vs KiLynn King
Backstory: We were shown clips of the two brawling on Dark
King is from Ohio, which brought a brief pop. Britt dominated early, leading to ‘Pittsburgh sucks’ chants. King took advantage with a superkick but was dropped face-first into the buckle as she followed up.
Exchanging strikes in the middle, Baker missed with the Curb Stomp, allowing King to fight back with a German, then a cazadora facebuster for 2. No-one bought it. Very quiet crowd as Britt hit a pair of thust kicks, then the Curb Stomp, stopping to apply the glove and then the Lockjaw, even writing ‘DMD’ in the air before doing so. Couldn’t have made King mean less.
Getting the mic, Baker said she’d wrestled her whole title reign with a broken wrist ‘because that’s what a champion does’ (making Rosa look pretty bad in the process). Which brought out Storm. Who was attacked by Hayter as she made her way down. Then we were reminded that Hikaru Shida was alive as she chased off the heels. I’d legit forgotten she used to be champ ‘til JR mentioned it. What a women’s division.
For the second week in a row, a complete non-event of a women’s match. They have to start putting on meaningful matches if they want the division to have any respectability.
WINNER: Britt Baker
Schiavone was with Swerve in our Glory and the Acclaimed. The champs said they thought the Acclaimed were worthy contenders. The Acclaimed agreed. Seems that’s our tag title match for All Out.
CM Punk vs Jon Moxley, AEW World Title
Backstory: Mox has been interim (sorry Jon!) champ since Punk’s injury in May, now… there can be only one
Is it possible that all of this has been an elaborate storyline leading to a Punk turn? Subtly, every single guy he’s faced in the past year has hinted at him being a snake: Eddie, MJF, Hangman, Moxley. Either they all speak truth, or it’s a ‘the clues were there all along’ heel turn the intricacy of which hasn’t been seen in a very long time.
Moxley made his way to the ring accompanied by Regal, the crowd behind him. There’s been a suspicious lack of mention of this match thus far. But maybe I’m just paranoid. Punk’s music hit, the crowd booing lightly as he emerged.
Genuine big-fight feel as the contenders were announced, JR doing a great job putting over Moxley. Punk was mostly booed but certainly had his constituents among the crowd.
An hour remained as we got going, dueling chants providing the backing music. After a long lock-up, Moxley snapped, dealing a ton of blows to Punk in the corner. Back to his feet, Punk pushed Moxley across to the opposite corner. Moxley hit a headbutt, Punk responding with a round-kick to the head but collapsing, holding his just-repaired foot, allowing Moxley to strike: King Kong Lariat, hammer and anvil elbows, Death Rider, another, 1, 2, 3.
All over in minutes.
Doctors attended to Punk as Moxley clutched both belts. Mox left through the crowd, Punk up the ramp with help, including from Ace Steel.
Now the speculation begins. Is this an angle? Is Punk leaving? Still injured? Whatever it is, it’s intriguing.
WINNER: Jon Moxley, new Undisputed Champion
Christian was backstage with Tony, arm in a sling. Said he’d given Jungle Boy one last chance to sort things out. Even at less than a hundred percent, he’s better than JB. Challenge accepted; match made for All Out.
A ‘pissed off’ Ricky Starks came to the ring. Last year when he broke his neck, Hobbs checked on him every week. He trusted him. Thought they were friends. Hobbs was Britt Baker’s bodyguard ‘til he met Starks. But Hobbs still targeted his neck, tried to end him. ‘Bring your $5 ass to Chicago and fight me at all out.’ Starks was intense and emotional but it never quite connected as it should’ve.
‘Best in the world, my ass!’ bellowed Jon Moxley after some ads. The people who write him off, ‘they don’t matter’. He’s the answer to every problem. ‘I am professional wrestling’, not just some guy but the guy. My time is RIGHT GOD-DAMN NOW!’ Moxley remains almost untouchable on the mic, not to mention the best champion in AEW history. Hopefully this isn’t some BS run.
Quick package of Kenny Omega’s return last week.
Death Triangle vs Will Ospreay & Aussie Open, R1: Trios Tourn
Backstory: Pac took exception to Ospreay’s claim to be Britain’s best
Can. Not. Wait. For this one.
Don Callis joined on comms to ‘scout’. Death Triangle came out as a unit, unfortunately meaning we were deprived of the Lucha Bros entrance music. Best Friends were in the front row.
Fenix and Ospreay began, Ospreay landing on his feet out of both a flying head scissors and a cutter. An amazing sequence, beyond words. At least mine.
A brawl ensued as all six entered, double cutter from Fenix to AO, high back body drop on Ospreay from the other two, nasty landing for the Brit, all culminating with stereo topes from the Triangle. Back inside, Rey didn’t scrape a 1 with a pin attempt, tagging in Pac who chopped Ospreay out of his boots, before Penta tried to better it.
Quick tags left Fenix back in with Ospreay as the break beckoned.
They still were as we returned, Aussie Open grabbing Rey from the outside, Ospreay flying with a Sky Twister Press to the other two on the outside before being flung by Aussie Open into Rey in the corner for two slaps of the mat.
Quick double teaming from the Aussies left Mark Davis on top, Fenix in trouble, in need of a tag as Fletcher came in, dropping Fenix via a loose bodyslam before the Aussies botched a botch, failing to hit each other as planned before replaying the sequence correctly. Penta arrived to the party with a cross-body, a pair of slingblades and a crucifix bomb though AO were quickly back in control via double-team. Right in front of the ref.
Finally, we were treated to Pac and Ospreay as we returned, the Bastard dropping Ospreay with a snap German as he rebounded out of the corner, following up with a deadlift, Fenix walking the ropes, kicking Ospreay into the suplex. With Pac in control, he was hauled outside by the Aussies, leading to they and the bros brawling inside, the Brits coming back in with stereo double-poisonranas, clearing the ring, mirroring one-another as they landed, staring a hole through each other. Spectacular.
Teeing off in the middle, Pac took over with vicious kicks to the mid-section, then another snap German but Ospreay sprung right-up into an Oscutter, both men down as the count began. Stumbling up at 8, a wobbly Ospreay landed a stiff chop, flung Pac into the corner, Pac slipped out, taking Ospreay to the top floor for a wicked avalanche brainbuster as the final break began.
Pac, Fenix and Ospreay were all atop the buckle as we came back, Ospreay landing on his feet again after a hurracanrana from the top, before finally being dropped via a Fenix cutter. Time to fly: the Bros each landing dives to the outside, Pac a Black Arrow on the inside, Ospreay getting the knees up for a very close 2, the Stormbreaker countered via headscissors by Pac for another 2, Penta using Davis’ back as a platform to drill Fletcher with a destroyer. Breathless.
Pac was again caught coming off the top but countered back into a swinging ddt. Looking for another Black Arrow, Ospreay was pulled outside by Aussie Open, Pac responding with a moonsault off the ringpost to the outside which took far too long to set up.
We were then shown ‘Kip Sabian’. Pac pulled the box off but it wasn’t him, Kip attacking from behind. Apparently the ref didn’t see it?
Davis then struck Fenix with a lariat, Penta was dropkicked off the apron, allowing the Aussies to hold Fenix in place for an elevated Oscutter and the victory. Again, like the fact that these trios are displaying triple-team finishes.
Kenny’s music hit as the Elite came out, Kenny still heavily taped. Big response from the fans. Heading to the ring, Omega was grabbed by Callis as Aussie Open held the ropes open, Ospreay beckoning him inside as the show signed off.
Presumably, next week’s match against the Elite will be the start of Ospreay/Omega heading towards Wrestle Kingdom (possibly Arthur Ashe if NJPW allows it?). Callis certainly spent some of his time on commentary talking about how Ospreay has been emulating and idolizing Omega (he’s been using both the V-Trigger & One-Winged Angel in Japan).
This was a wild match. Ospreay’s an otherworldly athlete and there were some breathtaking sequences. As a fan, you loved it; as a notetaker…
WINNER: United Empire
- Dark Order (John Silver, Alex Reynolds & …) vs House of Black, R1: Trios Tourn.
- Dustin Rhodes vs Claudio Castagnoli, ROH World Title
- Jade speaks (just a guess but she’ll tell Tony to ‘cut the shit’???)
- Sammy Guevara & Tay Melo vs Ortiz & Ruby Soho
- Wardlow vs Ryan Nemeth, TNT Title
- Elite vs United Empire, Trios Tournament Semi-Final
- Bryan Danielson vs Jake Hager
- Storm & Shida vs Britt & Hayter
Added to All Out:
- Jericho vs Danielson
- Hayter vs Shida vs Storm vs Britt, AEW Womens Title
- Swerve in our Glory vs the Acclaimed, AEW Tag Titles
- Christian vs Jungle Boy
- Hobbs vs Starks
- Motor City Machine Gunns & Jay Lethal vs FTR & Wardlow
Honestly, not sure what to make of it. The Main Event was wild, athletic fun which set-up another big clash next week. The opener was good but I’m beyond caring about Jay Lethal. And everything in between was just there.
The majority of the card was established for All Out, most of which has been well-built but, and this is a big but (I cannot lie), all of the key titles were underemphasized:
- Wardlow’s barely been seen, isn’t defending his title at the PPV but is defending against an absolute joke of a contender on Friday
- The tag title match has no build, the champs have done nothing of note and the Acclaimed have not been portrayed as any sort of serious threat
- The women’s situation is a mess
- Lastly, most importantly, the AEW title match was – deliberately? – underplayed both before and afterwards. Moxley cut a fantastic promo post-match, but there was no mention of a new, undisputed world champion either subsequently or as we left the air.
- United Empire vs Death Triangle
Thanks for reading.