Arena: NOW Arena
City: Chicago, Ill
Last Week’s Rating: 1.049,000 overall; 0.34 in 18-49 demo
We comin’ from the south, south, south, south, south, south, south-side of the Chi’.
Hear me out a second if you will. This Punk thing is ALL a big angle, crescendo-ing with Colt helping him win the belt as he turns heel and they fooled us all along. An absolutely loopy idea. But it’s fun to conjecture.
It’s Wednesday night, it’s Dynamite. Let’s go.
The strains of Wild Thing welcomed us to the show, along with JR, Taz, Excalibur. The new champ wasn’t booed as much as might have been expected, but there’s still time. Like, as soon as the music stopped. A cluster of ‘Moxley’ chants fought through the ‘CM Punk’ chants.
‘They’re still wipin’ your boy off the mat!’
Moxley said that he tests people, finds out what they’re made of; Punk wanted a way out: ‘owww my foot hurts’. Still a good number of cheers, dueling chants.
Said he was sorry Punk wasn’t what any of us wanted him to be. Mox went out of his way to remind the fans Punk’s from Chicago. Almost as if they’re worried about the reaction.
Mox revealed an open contract for Sunday which he left in the ring.
‘Anybody, anytime, anyplace, I mean it!’ Light MJF chants. Called himself the ‘embodiment of the sport of professional wrestling.’ More cheers. ‘Wrestling Jon Moxley may be bad for your health. Whoever you are… you’ve been warned.’
Almost untouchable on the mic.
JR then called Sunday ‘All In’. Whoops. Just as Ace Steele came out and grabbed the contract.
Jericho backstage with Tony. Said Stu and Owen might appreciate Danielson’s abilities a little more but would ultimately respect Jericho’s accomplishments. Daniel Garcia interrupted, pledging his allegiance to Jericho and giving him a pep talk for Sunday.
Bryan Danielson vs Jake Hager
Backstory: Hager blindsided Danielson last week during a seg. w Jericho, will face latter @ ppv
Jericho and Regal joined on comms. Regal called Excalibur a small pea he’d like to gobble up. Hager came out with Jericho to the latter’s music. Methinks he might lose.
Both circling warily, Danielson aimed kicks at the legs, keeping the big man at bay until he was flung via hiptoss, then snatched up only to lock-in a front chancery, using the momentum to send Hager outside, striking with a tope but caught as he came off the apron and dropped through the table at ringside.
Nasty looking fall, though Hager was very careful to land BD on his back. A suplex on the outside followed, the big man in control as we progressed back into the ring, Hager landing heavy shots to the face, trapping BD in the corner, break time.
Perched up top as we returned, Hager still laying in shots to the grill, Danielson flying with a dropkick as Hager talked with the ref. Crowd hot. Shot to the stomach, Yes! kicks, culminating with a wicked shot to the head for a count of 2.
Hammer and anvil countered by Hager, BD looking for the juijikitami, Hager countering again into ground and pound, then a powerbomb before landing more shots in g&p. Hooking in the Lebell Lock, Danielson looked for the submission but Hager reversed into the ankle lock, Danielson back into the Lebell Lock, crowd begging for a tap, Hager reaching the ropes to loud boos.
Nice sequence of counters.
After ducking a clothesline, Danielson struck with the Busaiku Knee for the victory. Nice to see him win with that for a change. Excellent opener with lots of smooth transition wrestling. A receptive crowd certainly helped.
2.0 hit the ring but the BCC fought them off, Claudio ragdoll-ing Switchblade. After fighting their away to the back, Jericho was left with a cornered Danielson, and a chair. Garcia came down to take it away, distracting Lionheart, allowing Danielson to plant Jericho with another Busaiku Knee.
WINNER: Bryan Danielson
The Wingmen were in the ring as we returned. Did they come back from ads too early? Ryan Nemeth with more promo time in a company where so many talented people can’t get screen time. Ironically, yet another new talent interrupted, W. Morrisey, to almost no reaction. Despite running through all four, the crowd were still pretty non-plussed. Can’t blame them. Stokely Hathaway offered the big guy his card.
Schiavone asked Hathaway about the cards, Stokely got annoyed as a very loud ‘Tony!’ chant broke out. Schiavone much more over than the new act.
Ospreay interview. Don Callis interrupted, kissed Ospreay’s ass before passive aggressively reminding the Brit that last time he faced Kenny in a tag he was pinned via One-Winged Angel.
Toni Storm & Hikaru Shida vs Britt Baker & Jamie Hayter
Backstory: The 4 will compete for the interim Women’s Title @ All Out
Hayter came out to Britt’s music; Shida to Storm’s: guess we know who the real contenders are.
Hayter and Shida kicked things off, the Brit running through the Japanese until Hayter was drilled via a nasty looking headscissors. Quick tags in and out from the faces until Jamie escaped, grabbing a tag as Britt came in, eating a bunch of elbow strikes to the face until the other heels tripped Storm. And you know what that means!
Back from the break, Hayter countered a double-team suplex into one of her own, Britt coming in with a neckbreaker, was rolled up for 2 by Shida but struck back with a thrust kick. After missing a curb stomp, she blasted Shida with an elbow and went for the glove, letting Shida land a dropkick before dropping Hayter off the apron. Allowing Toni to hit Sweet Cheeks Music on Britt, transitioning into a swinging ddt off the apron, rolling Britt back inside where Shida finished her off. Shows what I know!
Good, pacy match from what we saw. Crowd dead as usual for the women.
WINNER: Shida & Storm
Kip Sabian/Pac package, no pun intended. Kip said last week was a masterplan. Pac will be the first to ‘embrace the change’. Seems they’re wrestling for that belt they debuted at the last ppv that we never see. I used to like Kip, and Pac’s awesome but this just doesn’t feel like an angle with anything behind it.
Miro package. Called God a ‘coward’ for making a pact with the devil to take him out. Allin joined, saying the other HOB members didn’t need Malakai as much as he needed them, soon they’ll realize it. Sting joined briefly: ‘enemy of my enemy’ and all that. Effective.
Cult of Personality hit as a reticent, almost embarrassed CM Punk came out, hands in pockets. Discussed his injury in detail, stopping to address a heckler in the crowd. Said he’d come back too early but it wasn’t the first time he’d been ‘beat-up in Cleveland.’
His foot is 100%. But it’s a ‘new 100%’ and he’s not sure it’s good enough anymore. Felt like he’d let the fans down, along with his dog and his little sister in the front row. Seemed like he was giving up until interrupted by Ace Steele. Steele apologized for interrupting the ‘promo’. Sigh.
Steele said Punk had always been an underdog, that they were family and you don’t let family down. He then slapped Punk and insisted he sign the contract as the crowd chanted ‘CM Punk’. Pretty sure there was an F-Bomb in there.
Firing up, Punk said they hadn’t found the guy man enough to beat him, and Moxley wasn’t either. Walking through the crowd, Moxley style, he played to the locals. ‘One pulse’ ran them through. ‘I, We, are Chicago’. He then signed the contract.
This all seemed very rushed, a brief slap making him almost change from one person to a totally different one. Not to mention corny and somewhat desperate in how much it played to the locals.
JR sit-down with Christian and Jungle Boy. As ever, the nice, polite wrestlers agreed to no physicality. The vet reiterated that he’d beat JB even at less than 100%. Jungle Boy said this was the real Christian, to which he agreed. On Sunday Christian’s going to have to ‘fight Jack Perry’. If Jack’s better, why not fight as him all the time?
FTR & Wardlow vs Silas Young, Ren Jones & Vic Capri
Backstory: The faces will face Lethal & the MMG Sunday
Christian was very good here, but the brevity was necessary due to JB’s lack of verbal/acting skills. Still very bland. Again, the insider/’this is real’ stuff totally takes me out of it.
A heavy clothesline from Wardlow led to a crisp snap-suplex from Cash. After laying in heavy chops, Dax tagged both guys in for the Big Rig, then the Powerbomb Symphony.
Hardly worth putting the trunks on.
WINNER: FTR & Wardlow
Straight back from break, Moxley stomped down the ramp with no music. ‘If that’s what your boy wants, that’s what he’ll get.’ ‘If you’ve still got a miracle left in you, you better find it fast.’ Vowed to show the difference between a pretender and a real champion. Seemed like they cut him off with his music.
Still some cheers for Mox. They’ve really gone all out (again, no pun intended) to make sure Punk’s the babyface here.
Dark Order were with Tony: Evil Uno said he’s replacing Vance in the tournament. Andrade interrupted, offering Uno money and a contract if he’d take off the mask and join them. After rejecting the offer, La Faccion beat-up and tasered Uno. Excalibur wondered about Uno’s status going forward.
Wheeler Yuta vs Dante Martin vs Rey Fenix vs Rush
Backstory: All 4 competing in Casino ladder match @ ppv
Sploosh, as Pam might say. This one should be spectacular.
Regal again on comms.
Splitting into pairs, Yuta and Rush with a nice exchange in the ring, Yuta looking for the Octopus but fought off, then blasted with a snap powerslam. Leaving Fenix and Dante in the ring, where the youngster countered out of Gory Special into a Sunset-Flip-Bomb, absolutely amazing. A Hurracanrana from Fenix in response. Both got counts of 2.
Taking to the air, Fenix blasted Rush with a tope con giro in the aisle, Dante following with a tornillo onto all three but met with a headbutt by Rush as he flew back into the ring, the Mexican then flying himself, again taking out all three.
Because you’ve GOT TO GIVE the heel an advantage heading into the ads.
Returning to a release German from the top, Dante collided with Fenix as he landed in a crazy spot. Straightjacket piledriver got Rush a 2. Lots of Rush chants here. Dante then planted Fenix with a sit-out slam for another 2; Fenix responding with a chest-breaker off the shoulder, then nailing Rush with his rebound back-heel kick, sending him to the outside.
With Dante looking for the Nosedive, Yuta intervened, Fenix diving onto Rush outside. Perched up top, Yuta missed as Dante rolled out of the way, leading to Yuta utilizing a beautiful counter from out-to-in off the apron, into a Seatbelt pin as the BCC youngster claimed the victory.
Loooove me a match where you can’t predict the winner. And this was breathless to boot.
WINNER: Wheeler Yuta
Silver & Reynolds backstage with Tony. Reynolds said if they had to take on 3 guys, they would, just as Hangman arrived. Nice response from the Chicago crowd, somewhat surprisingly. Page will join the Dark Order boys Friday in the tournament.
The Elite vs United Empire, Trios Tourn. Semi-final
Backstory: Omega & Ospreay have been ‘feuding’ online for months, the latter’s begun stealing Kenny’s moves & they had a confrontation last week
The crowd seemed to have quieted since the opener, perhaps due to the long spell of interviews/packages. This appeared to wake them up.
During the intro, Justin listed all of Kenny’s accomplishments as compared with Ospreay. I do love Omega’s music, it feels Big Match. The Canadian still had the compression shirt but no shoulder sling.
Ospreay attacked immediately, the two getting in each other’s face. Good god these two are fast. Stiff chops led to Ospreay bulldozing Kenny into the corner as the tag teams came in, the Bucks sending the Aussies to the outside.
Omega hurled more chops but Ospreay put the burners on, following him into the ropes, sending him over the ropes as the Bucks struck Will with a double team but were caught diving onto Aussie Open, allowing Ospreay to land the Sky Twister Press to the outside.
All were brawling; Ospreay backdropped onto the ramp as the ads arrived.
Wild opening sequence. Crowd loving it.
We returned to Mark Davis running through the Bucks with a double clothesline, then dropping both with a double slam, culminating with a double team cutter from the top as Fletcher came in, Kenny making the save at 2.
Matt countered a double-team into a hurracanrana before tagging in Omega to face off with Davis: lightning-quick dropkick to the knee, Kintaro Crusher, Snapdragon suplexes on both Aussies, then countered Ospreay, the Brit returning the favour, landing on his feet out of a Snapdragon in another amazing display of athleticism. He then took flight for a Space Flying Tiger Drop but Kenny wasn’t there when he landed, sneaking behind to finally drill him with a Snapdragon on the outside.
Headed to the top, AO caught Omega, dropping him via delayed superplex for a 2 broken up by Nick Jackson. The Aussies have looked excellent in this. Ospreay ragged the compression shirt off, revealing bandages underneath, immediately targeting said area as the final break beckoned. Boy my fingers need it.
Nick was running through the ‘best comeback’ as we returned. This is crazy.
Headed topside, a 450 was met by Ospreay’s knees as he drilled Nick with a Snapdragon and did Omegas ‘bang’ pose. Bringing in Kenny, who ducked an enziguri, Ospreay flipping out of a backbreaker into Liger Bomb for 2. United Empire set Nick up for the raised triple-team Oscutter but Nick countered out into a cutter of his own. Omega hit a pop-up pbomb, Superkick Party from the Bucks, Davis broke it up, just.
After an escalera from Nick, Ospreay hit an Oscutter as he attempted the Meltzer Driver, coming in from off camera, taking to the top, 450 package-piledriver for 2.9999999999 as the crowd gasped. Kenny came in with a knee strike, another Superkick Party, Fletcher wobbling to his feet, Elite Superkick Party from all 3.
Omega set-up for the V-Trigger on Fletcher but Ospreay blasted Omega with a V- Trigger of his own. The Bucks, Nick in particular, helped Kenny hit an Indytaker, then a V-Trigger which the camera showed going nowhere near Fletcher’s face, One-Winged Angel, 1, 2, 3.
Kenny fell to one knee after the match, Ospreay looked disconsolate as he sat on the ramp, collecting himself.
I need a drink after recapping that.
If you don’t like the Bucks/Kenny and lack of selling etc. bugs you, you probably wont like this, but you’d still have to appreciate the speed and athleticism on display here. Absolutely incredible.
WINNER: The Elite
– Dark Order & Hangman vs Best Friends, Trios Semi-Final
– QT vs Ricky Starks
– Tay Melo & Sammy Guevara vs Ortiz & Ruby Soho (no, you’re not reading last week’s review)
– Wheeler Yuta vs Daniel Garcia, ROH Pure Title
Added to All Out:
– Casino Ladder Match participants: Claudio Castagnoli, Andrade El Idolo, Rush, Dante Martin, Rey Fenix, Penta, Wheeler Yuta & a ‘Joker’ (aka MJF) (‘Follow that!’ as Shawn Michaels used to say)
– CM Punk vs Jon Moxley, AEW World Title
– PRESHOW – Eddie Kingston vs Tomohiro Ishii, Hook vs Angelo Parker, Pac vs Kip for the All-Atlantic Title
A familiar story of late. Excellent tentpoles with nothing much in the middle. Moxley was great but the Punk segment was lame. Perhaps I’m alone in that but I like slow-building progression in my stories, not ‘I’m sad… wait, no I’m not because someone slapped me’.
At least it plays into last week’s finish but I had higher hopes for what they’d do here. It also didn’t seem like the crowd were as into Punk as they’ve been previously. But maybe it was just a smaller audience.
They also crammed a ton of stuff in, meaning not much of it had any impact.
Long story short: watch the wrestling, skip the promos and packages.
• Danielson vs Hager
• Elite vs United Empire
Thanks for reading. Won’t be with you Friday so enjoy the ppv if you’re indulging.