Arena: Keybank Center
City: Buffalo, NY
Last Week’s Rating: 1.020,000 overall; 0.35 in 18-49 demo
In the last two weeks:
- Wardlow’s stated his unhappiness with his role & contenders
- Ditto FTR
- Ricky Starks about how the locker room used to be closer
- Malakai Black asked for his release (& got it?)
- The biggest name commentator openly questioned the point of the PPV main event
And that’s before we even get into Sunday’s post-show.
My take – Punk was pissed that his homecoming was spoiled by the recent rumors. Yes, he still got a good reaction, but it wasn’t nearly as strong as it had been; Moxley wasn’t completely booed and MJF was cheered as his next opponent.
Hopefully, they get control before things get worse. We don’t want this company going the way of so many others.
It’s Wednesday night, it’s Dynamite. Let’s go.
Excalibur welcomed us as we went straight to a recap package covering MJF’s return, Tony Schiavone and Taz joining as loud ‘MJF!’ chants rang out before Tony Khan appeared to light boos, informing us that both the world title (cheers that Punk had been stripped) and trios titles had been vacated, so tonight’s six-man will be for the latter belts.
A Grand Slam Tournament will decide the new World Champion: Moxley & Jericho advancing to the semi’s where they’ll meet the winners of Allin/Guevara & Hangman/Danielson respectively. All are former World or TNT champions, the winner will be crowned at Grand Slam in two weeks. Tony promised us a great night of wrestling tonight. To give the guy his due, he was very composed here in difficult circumstances.
Somewhat ironically, MJF’s music hit, coming out in a Bills jersey, throwing himself against the rails among the fans, Jericho-1996 style. Good amount of cheers, some boos. Playing to the crowd he announced that ‘Everything I said, I was just kidding, I love AEW guys!’ Started an AEW chant as Excalibur doubted his motives. ‘Round of applause for yourselves!’ Great stuff.
Playing the disingenuous babyface is a great idea.
‘I’m better than Moses! I’m better than you…’ the crowd finished the chant as he held the mic up.
Here comes Mox. ‘You, you are absolutely fulla crap.’ MJF instantly ‘turned’, calling the Bills the worst team etc., wiped his ass with the jersey. Admitted he’d use the AEW title as a bargaining chip, threatening to take it to a ‘real wrestling company’ (wouldn’t have gone there) and the only Khan ‘worth a damn’.
Slapping the mic away, Mox said this wasn’t the time or the place, he wasn’t in the mood. ‘You need to leave right now or I will make you leave.’ Moxley chants. MJF couldn’t get his shirt off, hilarious stuff. Fronted for a bit, then bailed.
‘I’m pissed off, I am embarrassed…’ continued Moxley, talking about how the title meant something to him, the people in the back, the fans, heroes during the pandemic, representing the dream and vision of when this all started and they wanted to show the world ‘what wrestling could be… slaying demons, EVERYTHING I love about this business.’
Admitted that he was supposed to be on vacation ‘ ‘til about two days ago’, put over all the other contenders, emphasizing the strengths of all the guys vis-à-vis him. ‘I want the ball… this is time to be a legend’.
Taz said he had goosebumps. He’s not alone. Absolutely fantastic.
Very good start to the show. All of the stars highlighted and on display; titles on the line. Couldn’t have done better.
Death Triangle vs Best Friends, AEW Trios Titles
Backstory: Cassidy interrupted Pac on Sunday, match made
Interesting timing for this one, with Orange walking out on the Best Friends Friday & Pac seeming just a little heelish this past Sunday. Now the titles are on the line, Death Triangle would be the way to go: credible, top-class talents.
Excalibur explained that Dark Order aren’t in this title match due to Alex Reynolds’ injury. Nice continuity.
Dismissively, Pac wouldn’t even face-off with Cassidy, tagging in Penta. Dueling glove-off/sunglasses-off spots, things jolting to life, Penta drilling Orange with a kick as he tried to roll through, Cassidy responding with a headscissors, blasted by Pac as all six entered, Death Triangle clearing the ring, preparing for dives, all backdropped to the outside, Cassidy flung on to them by the Best Friends as the ads arrived.
The Triangle were on top as we came back, Fenix tagging in Pac, Trent trapped in the corner, an exchange of chops, Trent fighting free via a stomp to the chest as Pac ran at him in the corner. Cassidy in, rolled under then double-hurracanrana’d the Bros, kipping up but wiped out by a vicious elbow from Pac.
As he stomped away in the corner, Danhausen and Abrahantes got into it, culminating in a straight punch to the testicles from ‘Hausen. Pac blasted him with a pump kick, paying for it as Cassidy hit a tope suicida, diving cross-body, swinging ddt for a close near-fall, the first of the match.
Taylor tagged in, ducking Penta, flinging Rey into him in the corner, Penta responding with a Backstabber, the Bros landing a double-team wheelbarrow splash for 2.
(Excalibur announced the rematch for the tag titles at Grand Slam: SioG vs Acclaimed.)
The Friends hit a half-and-half on Fenix, hugging away before Trent drilled Rey with a swinging ddt, the latter responding with a leaping cutter, everyone in, Cassidy landing a German on Pac, Penta Made in Penta on Cassidy, Trent dropping him, Fenix missing the rebound hook kick, caught by Trent but Pac kicked him into a Code Red for another close call. Could’ve been the finish.
With Trent in trouble, Cassidy landed the Orange Punch to Penta, Trent the Awful Waffle, Pac breaking things up at 2.99. Hectic sequence: All three Friends caught with thrust kicks running in, triple Canadian Destroyers, Penta hit the Fear Factor, Fenix the tornillo, Chuck Taylor laid-out in the ring, Black Arrow, we’ve got new champs.
Very good opening match with the right result.
WINNER: Death Triangle
Dark Order w Tony. Jose the Assistant, Andrade etc approached Ten, wanted him to work for him. The rest of the DO told them to ‘do one’ as we say in England. Ten remained silent.
Quick video recap of the women’s title match, Jamie Hayter leaving as Britt shouted after her that she was sorry.
Toni Storm vs Penelope Ford, Eliminator Match
Backstory: Penelope gets a title shot if she wins
Penelope came out with Kip, box and all.
Lock-up, headlock takedown, counter, Penelope flipping to her feet, roll-up for 1. Another mat exchange, Toni wrenching on a headlock, smashing through with a shoulder block, Ford offering a handshake and kick to the gut, Toni a series of heavy dropkicks, missing with the hip attack but drilling Penelope through the ropes with another dropkick.
Toni in trouble as we rejoined, Ford missing in the corner, kicked in the face, uppercut in the corner by Storm and a wicked-looking hip attack. Toni countered a suplex into a ddt for the win. Didn’t see much of it, decent enough.
It seems like the crowd have been quiet for the matches but it might just be not many fans in a fairly large arena.
WINNER: Toni Storm
2.0 promo package. I know for a fact that Angelo Parker is an entertaining guy. His character however, as with his partner, incredibly one-dimensional. Addressed Action Bronson, tag-match coming at Grand Slam vs him and Hook.
The Acclaimed came out to big cheers, Swerve’s music interrupting their intro, very much playing the heel as he referred to their ‘corny rap jokes.’ ‘I actually have a joke for y’all, the Acclaimed as tag-team champions.’ An impassioned Billy Gunn cut him off: ‘This ain’t your house no more, this is Daddy Ass’s house!’ Bowens vowed to bring home the titles.
They’re not wasting time with Grand Slam.
Jericho, Sammy and the ladies joined Tony. Sammy’s jacket was brilliantly terrible. Jericho called himself the Best Wrestler Ever, the Best Sports Entertainer Ever, or BWEBSEE (‘BeeWeeBeeCee’), telling Schiavone to hashtag it as the announcer repeated it incredulously. No idea how either kept a straight face.
Vowed to beat Danielson again next week because it’s his belt, ‘AEW is my company, and this is my f’in locker room and no one is taking that away from me, EVER!’.
His two little brothers will be in action: Sammy vs Darby will be Friday on Rampage, while Garcia’s gonna beat Yuta tonight. Sammy wasn’t listening, caught up in how sexy they all are.
Like during the pandemic, Jericho has a knack for knowing when to lighten things up.
Wardlow vs Tony Nese, TNT Title
The only thing of note was the big guy nearly losing Nese on the first ‘bomb. Could’ve been nasty. Two more, foot on the chest. Eins, zwei, drei.
Smart Mark was next until Josh Woods pulled him to safety. Getting on the mic, the big guy said it was time to remind everyone that ‘this is Wardlow’s world!’ Assumed there’d be some sort of attack by a next opponent here.
Hangman Adam Page vs Bryan Danielson, Grand Slam 1st rnd
Backstory: Winner will face Jericho in the semi’s. Their third meeting, Danielson’s never won
Don’t know how this doesn’t main event. Fair enough trying to feature the young guys but the World Title really needs propping up after a messy few months. En route, both paused to stare longingly at the belt.
A tentative start, both guys working for control, each attacking the arm. After dismissively slapping Page on the chest, the Dragon bailed to the outside, hooking a headlock as he returned, trying a shoulder block which didn’t budge the bigger Page but working him to the mat, stomping on the calves. A stinging exchange of chops in the corner led to Yes! kicks, Hangman caught with a boot but knocking the vet to the outside via springboard lariat.
Danielson was ready for the vault to the outside though, hammerlocking Page’s shoulder, running it into the post as the break beckoned.
Back just in time to see the Dragon continuing his work on the shoulder, a stiff kick to the back followed, the younger guy in trouble, trying to fire back with chops but the shoulder was too weak, though not too weak to drop BC with a fallaway, spilling him to the outside, this time landing the vault to the outside into a cross body block.
Back inside, a DVD earned Page a count of two. Continuing his work on the shoulder, Danielson followed-up with running dropkicks in the corner, countering a Page powerbomb into a hurracanrana, kick to the spine, two slaps of the mat as Jericho was shown watching backstage.
More hard kicks with Hangman on his knees ended with a blast to the temple, Page down, BD to the top, Page quickly to his feet, hard shots and chops ending with a fallaway from the top. Really wish Page would leave that one alone/for special occasions, he lands so damn hard on his knees. Another two count, Danielson sensing the Buckshot, again heading outside for a breather. Another break
Literally head-to-head as we returned, both launching more chops against already-red chests. Uppercuts from BD, Page missing a clothesline, Danielson flipping out of a powerbomb but drilled at the second attempt as the match sped up a bit. Perching the Dragon on the buckle, the vet ducked underneath, blasting Page as he hung upside down, hammer and anvils atop the buckle as he set-up the avalanche back suplex only for Page to flip out, beckoning the vet to his feet as he set-up the discus lariat, hitting with the off-arm when Danielson blocked the first attempt.
After a count of two, BD reversed the pin into the LeBell Lock, Hangman powering out, flinging Danielson into the ropes where he skinned the cat, rebounding back inside, ducking the clothesline, double-underhook back into the LeBell Lock, even blocking the nose, Page fighting out again, driving knees to the veteran, both gasping on their knees.
Fighting up, Page threw clotheslines lacking their usual punch due to his shoulder, rolling elbow exchange, Page capturing Danielson out of the Busaiku Knee into the Dead Eye for a close two. Missing with a Moonsault, Danielson hit the knee, Page falling to the outside, snatching BD out of the air on a dive, driving him into the apron, to the top, Ourihara Moonsault, Buckshot time. But Danielson was ready, ducking, hooking an O’Connor Roll for the pin. Excellent finishing sequence.
A small but definite section of the crowd booed Page throughout. Presumably, Jericho dismissing him earlier is part of a storyline of Page being overlooked because he’s come across as anything but a former champ since losing the belt. The BeeWeeBeeCee was shown watching backstage.
This seemed a little slow at times, very good when the pace picked up, definitely not helped by the lack of atmosphere.
WINNER: Bryan Danielson
Jungle Boy package. Vowed to take ‘years off (Christian’s) miserable life’ when he returned and that he’d carried Luchasaurus for years, busting his ass to make them champions. Okay, this is more like it, finally some life and some fire. Maybe these pre-done packages are the way to go. ‘Sometimes you can move on from your past, sometimes you have to destroy it.’
Stokely Hathaway and his collection of nobodies were on the ramp as we came back: ‘Everyone wants an explanation…’ The signing of Morrissey is baffling. He might be bigger than Archer and Malakai; he’s not as good in the ring, on the mic, nor does he have the presence or charisma. This is an example of how the company ended up in the mess it did Sunday.
After a stage-hand tried to tell them they were low on time, they beat him up. MJF was kept far away from these guys, as he should be. I could have virulent diarrhea and not find a **** to give about this group.
Fantastic promo from Dax hyping his match against Claudio on Friday.
Daniel Garcia vs Wheeler Yuta, ROH Pure Championship
Backstory: Jericho has vowed that none of the JAS will be at ringside after DG didn’t come out to celebrate his victory Sunday
Westside Gunn rapped Garcia to the ring, hyping the crowd, both Buffalo boys. Regal joined on comms, as he had the previous match, along with Caprice Coleman. Excalibur explained the rules of the Pure Title.
Loud ‘Garcia’ chants as we kicked off, an exchange of headlocks ending with Wheeler being dropped via shoulder block, Yuta then attacking the leg, Garcia transitioning out, a shoving contest seeing us start from the top, locking up around the ring, neither able to break the deadlock until the ropes did it for them as they spilled outside.
Returning to a step-up enziguri from Yuta, the youngster landed a beautiful flying elbow from the top, count of two. A rope-break was used by Garcia during the break. A rapid chop exchange ended with Yuta still on top, working the arm, Garcia snapping, paintbrushing Wheeler, following up with a backthrow, clothesline in the corner, blasting Wheeler again as Yuta staggered out.
A step-under led to Yuta landing consecutive Germans, Garcia unable to break the grip until reversing, landing three of his own, the pair continuing to exchange standing switches and land Germans, several minutes in total, ending with a devastating one from the top, Yuta crashing down in sickening fashion. Final break.
Both were flat on their back as we came back, scrambling up, vicious slap exchange fighting up from their knees to their feet, Garcia dropping Yuta as the ten count began. Another Garcia chant the backdrop as Wheeler just made it up in time, Garcia immediately seeking the Dragon Slayer as Jericho cheered him on from backstage.
Getting the rope break, Yuta tee’d off with a closed fist and was issued a warning. One more and he’d lose the title. Hoisting Garcia onto his back, Garcia rolling out into a deeeep Dragon Slayer as the crowd came to life as they hadn’t since the opening segment. Yuta reversed into a crossface, Garcia struggling in the middle, locked in a seatbelt pin but kicking out at two, the local locking in the Dragon Slayer for the third time, Yuta trying to crank on the neck to break the hold but finally forced to concede, tapping to the new champ.
Now, the JAS had vowed not to appear; Bryan Danielson had not. Observing the handshake, the Dragon snatched the belt away, only to apply it to the youngster’s waist, bringing an irritated, worried Jericho to the ramp.
WINNER: Daniel Garcia
- Sammy Guevara vs Darby Allin, 1st rnd Grand Slam Tourn.
- Serena Deeb vs Madison Rayne
- Claudio vs Dax, ROH Title
- Jericho vs Danielson, Grand Slam Tourn. Semi
- Moxley vs Guevara/Allin, ‘’
- Hook & Action Bronson vs 2.0
- Acclaimed vs Swerve in our Glory, AEW Tag Titles
- AEW World Title tournament final
This was exactly what was needed after a dreadful few months: emphasis on the company, emphasis on the title, emphasis on the guys who are there, big speeches from two of the biggest stars backing the company and a whole lot of good wrestling with a mix of established and up-and-coming.
- Depends on your taste: didn’t think anything was ‘can’t miss’ but also enjoyed every match
Thanks for reading.