AEW Dynamite tonight comes to us from the Stockton Arena in Stockton, CA. After last week drawing 855,000 & 0.28 in the 18-49 demo.
To sum up WrestleDream: great wrestling; bad creative, welcome to year five of AEW.
Excalibur started the lying early: ‘we are absolutely loaded’. There are two matches announced. Two.
Before we cut to Kenny Omega & Chris Jericho backstage with Renee. Lot of blather about four years and the promotion patting itself on the back. They were saying nothing so Edge interrupted to a big pop. He said he plans on being here for the eighth and twelfth anniversaries.
Told Jericho he was glad to see him. Omega said it was nice to meet him and that Copeland ‘had me on the Edge of my seat’ Sunday (decent line, crowd laughed). If Edge needs anything he’s there for him. Edge told them to deal with Callis who he’s never liked.
Jericho and Renee then bantered awkwardly. This was several minutes tv just to tell us Edge is here. And a strange way to do it.
Rey Fenix vs Nick Jackson (International Title)
Backstory: Jackson won a triple threat last week to gain this shot
Matt accompanied Nick to the ring; Penta and Alex likewise. They really talked up Fenix’ physical condition. Crowd hot.
Then began working an armdrag the same way they did Sunday, Fenix headlock takedown, Nick kipped up, reset. Fenix shoulder block, nothing doing. Nick tried one, same result. Fenix swept the legs, ducked and dodged until the pair exchanged overhands. Fenix clearly getting the better. He countered a powerbomb into a sunset flip for two. Nick got two of his own.
Fenix began selling his back, rolling to ringside where Penta looked concerned. Nick ran over, hit an axe handle to the back and tried a sunset bomb off the apron. Fenix fought it off and landed an armdrag but was sent to the barricade back-first before sending Nick into the crowd as the latter ran at him. Nick avoided a barricade-walk punt, hit a hurracanrana outside then flung Fenix back in.
Rey slipped on the buckle and took a backstabber, again in agony with his back. Again leaving the ring, he avoided Nick’s apron punt, Jackson belted the ringpost then had his leg swept, landing head-first on the apron.
Break. Fenix is clearly still hurting; this is not the warp speed you might expect from these two.
Nick gamengiri in the corner, bulldog blocked, Nick superkick, Fenix kipped up, took another, both down, both kipped up, Nick with a roundhouse kick, both dropped; crowd to their feet.
Fenix hit a superkick of his own, Nick crumpled into the ropes, avoided a Fenix baseball slide, missed his apron moonsault and sold the foot he’d hit the post with earlier. Though rebounded to catch Rey with a ringside cutter.
Both to the apron, Nick hit his vaulting facebuster, spiking Rey for a near fall. Crowd chanting for Fenix, some for Nick. Who signalled BTE Trigger, Rey popped up, shook his head, Nick looked for a springboard armdrag, blocked again – like it was Sunday, Nick landed a roundhouse, hurting his foot again in the process, went to the top, Fenix met him, Nick hit a cutter with both on the top rope.
For another near fall.
Rey missed a wild swing, Nick a shot to the back and poisonrana, cool destroyer after both fought around the ropes. Fenix kicked out again. Nick beckoned Rey up, hit two running knees, BTE Trigger, Rey kicked out again.
Blocked a superkick, set Nick’s leg on the middle rope, drilled it with a superkick Rey hit a rope walk punt, glided back up top, gorgeous frog splash, 2.9. Springboard spin kick in the corner, he looked for the Fire Thunder Driver he beat Mox with, Nick rolled through into a pinfall, Fenix reversed his weight back to retain.
Didn’t expect Nick to win but doesn’t seem Rey’s long for this title given he’s clearly legit hurt. This was probably really good. Whenever I watch Bucks/Bros matches, love em; whenever I cover them, I’m just scrambling trying to keep up and don’t really take anything in.
So it’s probably worth watching.
Winner: Rey Fenix
We rushed away to replay Roderick Strong pleading for help from Cole last week (audio was really low. That’s four years of audio gaffs to celebrate!).
Cut to Cole outside Strong’s house. I’ll do my best but this is almost impossible to hear, it’s like being underwater listening to a conversation above you at poolside.
A bunch more really lame comedy with Cole chasing Strong around the house on a scooter with Strong in his wheelchair. Cole asked what the emergency was. I couldn’t hear what Strong said. He finally said ‘that’s what best friends do’ then Cole did a bunch of household chores while in pain. As some dance music played and the heels just watched. Strong said what Cole did was ‘awesome’.
Cole said he had to go get surgery. He was leaving when Strong yelled his name from a yard away and said he still needed his help.
This was diabolically bad. Excruciatingly bad. Cole’s actual surgery might be more fun than this. It might have been a plus not being able to hear it. Totally unfunny, corny as hell and Cole looked like a moron since it was so obvious he was being used. But AEW don’t know how to do subtlety.
Griff Garrison vs Wardlow
Justin introduced Garrison’s ‘opponent’. No-one recognized Wardlow’s music at first which says a lot. Got a decent pop when he came out and a few reflexive ‘Waaardlow’ chants. He then beat a jobber with the Powerbomb Symphony via ref stoppage then left through the crowd. To no follow-up. No mission statement. So, what he’s been doing for at least two years.
They replayed the show-closing angle of WrestleDream – Nick Wayne turning, Sting coming out, Edge driving a car (they’re clearly very proud of that part) then coming out to save the day.
Callis and Takeshita with Renee. Callis said the company’s shaken to their foundations by Guevara beating Jericho so the medical people have said Sammy’s not good to go tonight. But there are no shortage of young athletes who want to show what they can do. Per Ospreay’s recommendation, Kyle Fletcher will partner Takeshita (few boos at that reveal).
Callis said he has what it takes to win the war.
They replayed the Cole/Strong thing since the audio was so bad. Strong had bought him a scooter. The #1 contender for the world title acted like a kid on Christmas at this.
The ‘emergency’ was they needed him to move furniture. The Kingdom can’t do it cause they don’t know anything about interior design. I caught the rest of it the first time so you can piece it together.
I’d rather have watched two Jeff Jarrett matches than watch this twice. Seriously.
We returned to Butcher, Blade & Kip Sabian at ringside.
The Acclaimed vs Butcher, Blade & Kip Sabian (Trios Titles)
Backstory: None whatsoever
The Acclaimed made their entrance; Caster made penis jokes about B&B’s bald heads then said Sabian looked better with a box on his. Excalibur announced in passing, after the match started, that this was for the titles.
The Acclaimed beat the heels round ringside, then scissored, then the heels came back and all six brawled round ringside. The Acclaimed politely stood still so Sabian could hit a moonsault onto them at ringside.
They then called for a break a little too early as the production snafus continue four years in.
Back to Caster tagging Bowens – chops and discus lariats for all three heels, snapping jabs, thrust kicks, over the top legdrop to Sabian, Butcher broke the pin. They ran through next Tuesday’s lineup so I was noting the matches; they finished as the match did. The Acclaimed won, Bowens pinning Sabian. Presumably via Arrival and Mic Drop. In just a few minutes.
This show absolutely sucks so far. Good god. You seriously do not need to see a second of it outside of that opener, big bunch of filler.
Winner: The Acclaimed & Billy Gunn
Final installment of Toni Storm: Portrait of a Star. Storm was breathing heavily by the window. City said she’s been wrestling 14 years. She snapped at this because time doesn’t matter. Grabbing him by the collar she talked about friends falling by the wayside and she can’t sleep at night worrying about what’ll happen next, the matches and ppv’s are all rolls of the dice.
City interrupted to yell ‘You’re not even old’. She had a revelation and kept repeating ‘I’m Timeless!’ with her arms out. A graphic then said ‘Timeless Toni Storm Premieres Tonight’.
Well, they finally got somewhere with this. She has a new moniker to fit her character.
Danielson after WrestleDream. Fighting back tears he said he’s never wrestled like that. He’s upset because there wasn’t a definitive best wrestler since he had to knock Zack out to beat him. Sabre had a few comments to the same effect – nothing was proved, Danielson had to resort to striking. It was a really good package then just abruptly ended in what seemed the middle of it. Weird.
Much better than anything they did ahead of the ppv. They have their package good to go if and when there’s a rematch.
Of course there was no time to put over what an amazing match that was, there’s another segment to get to.
Then Hangman talked about his match with Swerve. His arm’s messed up and he needs to go back to the drawing board.
They replayed the MJF/Jay White segment from last week and the assault on White at the end of the show by a guy in a devil mask. MJF claims his mask was stolen from his locker room.
Juice Robinson’s music hit and he came out with the Gunns. Austin asked who’s ready for storytime? Colten faked an ankle injury. Austin said they weren’t here to make fun of Cole they were here for MJF. They made fun of Max’s ‘tofu’ line last week – ‘that was the best he could do in twenty minutes’.
The crowd were dead as this continued. Colten said Max couldn’t breathe with the Switchblade. Robinson yelled for Max to get his ass out here. He was saying Max wasn’t a man when MJF’s music hit. He came out to a nice pop. But remained at the top of the ramp.
Crowd chanted loudly for him. He did his ‘Devil has arrived’ line. He said the ‘Ass Boys’ and ‘Talentless Taint’ were throwing accusations around. Juice made a fist and said his taint was rock hard. Max confirmed he’s a fan of the Rock by saying we were gonna have one of the loudest duelling chants of all time: ‘Ass Boyssss/Talentless Taint’. The crowd duly picked it up.
He listed all his accomplishments after four years – throwing Jericho off a Cage, whipping Cody, injuring children with a dodgeball and nearly getting them kicked off tv by calling his boss an f’ing mark. He’s honest about his past cause he’s our scumbag.
Finally he got to the point – insisting he didn’t attack White aka ‘tofu’ (that name is not his best work). He challenged the heels to a ‘Stockton Streetfight’ then headed to the ring, removing his clothes. All three heels fled as Max entered the ring, White appeared behind – Bladerunner.
The announcers said BCG ‘played the world champ… like a flute’. The heels celebrated. The crowd chanted ‘tofu’; White left with the title belt.
From the top of the ramp, White took the mic to say he’s better than what Max is used to dealing with. Max saying it wasn’t him might as well be a confession. Unlike everyone else, they use their brains. They know MJF is a liar, a gutless coward and the company needs a champ that lives up to the name ‘Elite’. And that’s not Max. If MJF wants to prove him wrong, he should put his title on the line at Full Gear.
And if he does, he’ll fail. They did their ‘two words… Gunns up’ thing. Max took the mic ‘Nah, Tofu’ (seriously, the dude just took your title and challenged you and you insist on continuing with that lame nickname?) – he has two words for White, ‘you’re on’.
It took twice the time it needed to but got there in the end. Nice angle with White laying out Max, White was good on the mic, much better than last week. MJF spoke for too long again, particularly given 90% of the content was lame, playing-to-the-audience comedy which the crowd admittedly seemed to like.
Renee with Orange Cassidy and Hook. They came close to winning the tag titles. Hook said Cassidy should be getting the International Title match next week instead of Mox. Cassidy sarcastically said that wasn’t true since Mox had been champ a whole three weeks and he’d been champ for months so…
Almost seemed heelish.
They’d been eating chips as usual so Excalibur made an inside joke about Renee only eating ketchup chips rather than playing up the angle for the company’s secondary title. Ha ha.
Chris Jericho & Kenny Omega vs Kyle Fletcher & Konosuke Takeshita
Backstory: 2/3 of a rematch from Sunday’s show where the heels won after interference
So it’s just over an hour into the show and what I had assumed would be the main event is up. They haven’t even told us any other scheduled matches so no idea what’s left. (Of course it’s Copeland, which they haven’t done a good job of pushing. At all)
That painting of Callis & Fam in the Last Supper on their entrance vid is wonderful. Callis joined on comms. Schiavone was disgusted by the painting, Callis said some people compared him to ‘Da Vinci’ (FYI, he’s called Leonardo, Vinci is where he’s from since he was a bastard).
Jericho and Takeshita started off, the Japanese smashed through the vet via shoulder block, Jericho threw chops, Takeshita fought back with rights until Jericho struck back with his own shoulder.
Kenny in, chops in the corner, crowd chanting his name as he worked over the youngster. Quick tag back out, Takeshita blocked a Jericho suplex until Kenny came in for a double. Jericho did his cocky pin for one.
Back to Jericho landing a Lionsault to Fletcher, crawling for the tag, Omega with hammers for both heels, Fletcher snatched into You Can’t Escape but did – Omega placed Fletcher on the middle rope, hit the first part of YCE to Takeshita into a backstabber on Fletcher, Takeshita fought out of a snapdragon with a vicious back elbow, Fletcher hit a half and half to Kenny then thrust kick to Jericho as he came in to help.
They set the faces in opposite corners and blasted both with running boots then hit stereo blue thunder bombs for a two count. Very nice work.
Omega blocked a gut wrench, and a kick, catching Fletcher into a snapdragon, tag out to Jericho, in with chops in the corner, ten punches punctuated via ‘rana from the top, Takeshita walloped him with a lariat, Omega took him out via V-Trigger, Fletcher him via pair of thrust kicks and brainbuster. Before collapsing, all four down, crowd clapping.
From their knees, Jericho and Fletcher threw chops, yay/boo rights, to their feet, both thought lariat, both down.
Jericho landed an enziguri to Fletcher, crawled for the tag, Kenny in, fist fight in the middle, bit slow actually, finally upping the speed, Fletcher winning with a flurry until a knee strike, powerbomb, roll through, V Trigger bagged a near fall in a very fluid sequence.
Fletcher now struggling in the ropes, Takeshita in looking for a deadlift German; Omega countered, V-Trigger in the ropes and snapdragon sending Takeshita outside, Fletcher attacked from behind, Omega slipped free, Fletcher stumbled into a Codebreaker from Jericho, up into a OWA for the win.
Callis – who’d been talking all match about how much he loved Fletcher – immediately yelled ‘that kid screwed me’. Such a great heel. He yelled at Omega and Jericho from the top of the ramp; Will Hobbs attacked from behind. Callis smiled broadly as Powerhouse nailed Jericho with a spinebuster then flung Omega over the barricade into a pile of chairs.
Then choked Omega under a guardrail as Takeshita beat Jericho round ringside. Hobbs flung Omega back to ringside as the announcers called back to Callis promising to win the war. Excalibur explained the Bucks were at the hospital after Nick’s match and Hangman’s not here (nice work explaining why there’s no backup).
They tied Omega to the top rope with tape, Jericho tried to throw his body in front of Kenny but Hobbs nailed him with a chair to the gut. Hobbs wailed away on Omega who they never really secured in the ropes, his left arm was already free. Hobbs and Takeshita held Omega for Callis to hit a chairshot right to the head. This is a desperate company right now to risk Kenny’s long-term health in an attempt to get an angle over.
Callis stomped on Kenny some more then they left. Pretty much every segment so far has gone far too long. This too could have been cut in half.
Quite like the addition of Hobbs, though Takeshita already has the size to be the group’s ‘muscle’. It’s vital they follow up on this and he doesn’t disappear from tv like he usually does. Notable lack of reaction when he came out.
Winner: Kenny Omega & Chris Jericho
Max was getting a massage backstage when the Acclaimed snuck up behind and Caster took over the massage. MJF snapped on Caster for stalking him and ran him off – he and Renee talked about Caster’s obsessive and weird tweets (got no idea and they didn’t explain). Then he said he needed to talk to Adam Cole, tried calling, no-one answered.
I’m on the brink of just not caring how this all ends at this point. It’s been going for ages, feels like it loses momentum every week, it’s dominated by goofy comedy and Cole looking a complete idiot since it’s so obvious Strong’s playing him.
The only person who’s acted like a serious world champion/title contender tonight is Jay White.
Samoa Joe package – suited, booted, cigar and whisky. He has all the comforts since he’s been a champion everywhere. He needs to regain his hunger. And has – he’s focused and ready to become AEW Champion. And ‘when I’m hungry, I always manage to eat’.
J’adore. Well that makes two dudes serious about the title. Glad Joe hasn’t fallen by the wayside.
Toni Storm vs Skye Blue
Backstory: Storm’s debut as ‘Timeless’
Storm had her black and white entrance, her lipstick and makeup were a total mess, she danced round the ring to her music, shook the ref’s hand then suckered Blue into a short-arm lariat. Hairmare to the corner, another across the other side. She posed and looked crazy/drugged-up again.
Blue fought back with a hairmare and dropkick to the corner, to the apron, she landed a forearm but was caught and hip attacked off it. Storm then pitched to the break from the apron – ‘very, very important sponsors’ – I guess a play on the way they used to knowingly put over products on old tv shows. She was saying something about ‘tits’ as we went to break. One way to maintain an audience.
Blue slipped out of Storm Zero for a roll up, flurry of rights, headscissors, step-up knee in the ropes, snapmare, low enziguri, Blue sent to the apron, roundhouse to Toni, cross body back in off the top, count of two. Storm came back via sky high for two of her own, glaring at the ref when he failed to count three. ‘Howwww dare you!’.
Blue used it to strike with a thrust kick for 2.9. Storm hugged her leg, flipped her round into a snap German, did a wacky ‘vogue’ pose, hip attack, Storm Zero, win.
Pretty good. Storm wasn’t as over as in New York.
Winner: Toni Storm
There are about ten minutes left as they mentioned Copeland’s next before running through the Rampage lineup.
Renee was with Stokely Hathaway. Who’s on the ROH board or something. He said Kingston will have to do commentary for a #1 contenders match on Rampage.
The ‘Rated R Superstar Adam Copeland’ was out next to a nice pop. He ran the gauntlet slapping hands at ringside. Schiavone joined him in the ring to welcome him to AEW. Copeland said Schiavone was the soundtrack to his childhood. He jokingly heeled on Schiavone and told him to leave the ring. And started to talk but was interrupted with ‘Adam’ chants. He’s never heard that before and liked the sound of it.
In 2011 he was told he’d never wrestle again but in 2023 he’s stood in an AEW ring. There are a few reasons why he came. To start, the AEW title would look good around his waist, there are a lot of people ‘Adam Copeland’ would like to wrestle – he said he’s never referred to himself in the third person before and after hearing it, wont again. He listed Moxley, Omega, Miro, Hobbs, White and Robinson as guys he’d like to wrestle.
They’re all new challenges and the fans are helping make it happen. The main reason he came here is cause he sat down with his family and asked his kids what he should do. Should he retire? But his nine-year-old said ‘You should go have fun with Uncle Jay’ – Christian Cage – so he’d like to call out Cage to tell him the real reason he’s here
He waited. ‘C’mon…Jay c’mon’. (Eugh – is he Jay or is he Christian?) He finally came out. Excalibur explained to younger fans that these two began their careers together.
Copeland said they’ve been friends for forty years and Cage might wonder why he took out Nick Wayne and Luchasaurus Sunday. And it’s because he sees Cage like this, looking like more of a ‘dick’ than usual (they bleeped that). He still loves Cage despite his actions. But he saw him standing over ‘Sting… Sting… Sting!’ he said incredulously. The dude Cage wanted his hair cut like when he was a kid, a man who’s been around four decades – who’s made people ‘feel’ for four decades.
But he also did it cause he knows Luchasaurus and Wayne will drop him after sucking all the info they can from him. But also ‘I’m here because it’s time. It’s time. For the first time properly in over twenty years, to team together again’. To face teams like FTR, the Bucks, to show a new generation of fans why they’re one of the best teams of all time.
So he’s out here ‘hat in hand’ to ask Cage to end their careers together as a team. A ‘one more time’ chant started. Cage asked for the mic, held his arms out, they hugged, then Cage said ‘Go fuck yourself’ (I assume, they bleeped most of it again). And left. To boos. Copeland looked disappointed. The crowd chanted ‘asshole’. Loudly.
From the top of the ramp. Cage reminded him what he’ll be up against Tuesday. Luchasaurus came out with Nick Wayne to no reaction. They stood either side of Cage. Wayne, dressed in a sweater, honestly looked like a fan who’d snuck onstage.
They stared each other down and tried to make that match a big deal for next Tuesday as the show ended.
To get it out the way quickly, hated the reference to ‘Uncle Jay’. Why wud he ‘have fun’ with a despicable heel? It’s very hard to blend character and reality like that. It was also difficult not to get TNA vibes from the company’s fourth anniversary show being headlined by Edge and Christian. It was notable how little reaction there was for the AEW guys when they came out.
So it’s important Copeland is used to elevate current talent so that when he does finally hang them up, there are people to replace him. He certainly seems like a guy who wants to do that.
And was so relatable and likeable and seemed like a person rather than someone playing a character. Lastly, making fans want to see E&C back together from the get go is a good idea. Provided they have a plan of where to go and how to execute it. It shouldn’t happen anytime this year. And should be part of re-establishing the tag belts as something capable of headlining the show.
Next Collision (starts 7pm Eastern):
- Toni Storm vs Kiera Hogan
- FTR vs Big Bill & Ricky Starks
Next Dynamite (Title Tuesday):
- Swerve Strickland vs Bryan Danielson (#1 contender for TNT Title)
- Adam Copeland vs Luchasaurus
- Saraya vs Hikaru Shida (Women’s Title)
- Rey Fenix vs Jon Moxley (International Title)
- Powerhouse Hobbs vs Chris Jericho
- Jay White vs Hangman Adam Page (Yes please)
- Kenny and Jericho vs Takeshita & Fletcher
- Jay White’s attack on Max & Samoa Joe’s pledge to take MJF’s belt: wrestlers actually wanting to win the world title, what an idea! (Edge too at least mentioned it, as should every wrestler who debuts)
- Copeland’s likeability and the tease of reuniting with Christian
- Didn’t begin to feel like an anniversary show – no hype and nothing big – in fact a lot of filler and importantly, not a single mention of the show’s past – no highlights, nothing
- Cole/Strong ‘skit’
- A ‘Title Match’ that wasn’t even announced as such until after the match began. How the hell are we supposed to take championships seriously?
- MJF insisting on the ‘tofu’ thing after being laid out by the challenger. He clearly wants to be the Rock. Well, the Rock would crack jokes up to a point. But not after someone attacked him, because that’s business time, time to be too pissed off for clever lines, time to sell the match
- A lot of needlessly long segments
Appreciate you reading. Have a good week.