Arena: Cable Dahmer
City: Independence, MO
Previous Rating: 852,000 overall; 0.27 in 18-49 demo
It’s Wednesday night, it’s Dynamite. Let’s go.
We opened to a concerned Hangman stood near an ambulance as Excalibur revealed that both Bucks had been attacked. Kenny Omega was there too with Don Callis. Page hopped in to ride to the hospital, leaving Omega behind to get ready for his match. Though the two didn’t interact at all.
What happened? Who did it?
Always nice to start a show off with questions you need answers to. And refreshing to boot, AEW rarely begin with angles like this.
Taz said they knew what we knew, all three announcers briefly touching on the situation as Orange Cassidy’s music hit. Excalibur emphasized that they would update us when they could.
Orange Cassidy, Sting & Darby Allin vs Kip Sabian, Butcher & Blade
Backstory: Cassidy & Allin were attacked by B&B after beating them at a house show
Smart to make what happens at your house shows seem important.
The babyfaces were all popular before what seems a decent-sized and lively crowd. None more so than the veteran Sting.
Realize Cassidy isn’t everyone’s favorite. You have to appreciate his commitment to character: in brethren with his partners, he’d ‘painted his face’ by drawing a shabby ‘O’ and a ‘C’ on his cheeks.
Loud freshly squeezed chant as Orange launched a Punch, missed, Kip ducked behind, headlock, Cassidy got free, armdrag – Kip landed on his feet, Orange ended up outside, Sabian did his dumb fake the dive only to moonsault back into the ring spot then went for his pockets.
Causing Cassidy to rush back in, fling him out then find his own pockets, running through his hands-free routine until Kip tagged the Butcher. Cassidy did the same to Sting. The Butcher yelled at him, threw forearms, no effect as Sting got on top with a flurry of his own until Butcher raked the eyes.
But missed a splash in the corner, Stinger did not, death lock on its way until the heels all hit the ring to break it up. A B&B suplex left Sting down as Sabian scaled the ropes; Sting pulled Cassidy’s roll-away routine.
Tag to Allin, the pace quickening, code red, count of two. Penelope hopped on the apron, hair now purple like her husband’s, allowing Blade to interfere and get the tag.
A Butcher bomb brought us back, Darby kicked out at two, Sabian in, Allin knocked B&B off the apron, they promptly ran around to block the tag to Sting, infuriating the crowd.
Until the tag to Cassidy: diving cross body, tornado ddt, kip-up, Butcher ran through him via clothesline, B&B hit a combo neckbreaker, Sabian got two though the crowd wouldn’t have bought the pin if Orange were buried under a house.
Sabian kept playing to the crowd, allowing the tag to Sting, who hit Cassidy’s kicks, slowly beating his chest a la Orange until properly firing up, eventually hooking the Scorpion Deathlock as both B&B threw shots which didn’t register.
Finally freeing their partner, they went after Darby, who hit a springboard double back-elbow, was taken out by Kip, who was taken out by Cassidy, continuing his momentum into a tope to take out Blade, Allin did the same to Butcher, leaving Kip to eat a Scorpion Death Drop and the loss.
Sting looked noticeably slower here. Though was still very popular with those in attendance. As were all of the babyfaces. Fun enough opener.
As the other two celebrated, Allin was glued to the Double or Nothing banner. Excalibur had briefly brought up the Four Pillars segment from last week; seems the title match isn’t going to bridge the gap but take us to the ppv itself.
They replayed scenes from the Bar Mitzvah, wisely omitting all the ‘shoot’ crap. Clips of all four guys vowing to become/retain the champion(ship): Guevara said he’d vowed since episode one to be champ, Perry that he had more wins than all of them, Allin that he’d beaten Perry and Guevara, a cake-covered MJF ranted that they all sucked.
A slower, more-deliberate pace to the show so far as they take time to emphasize the important issues. Including pushing the main event of Omega/Vikingo.
WINNER: Orange Cassidy, Sting & Darby Allin
Gunn Club vs Top Flight, Tag Titles
Backstory: the Gunns insulted the Martins on Rampage
Top Flight’s music played as Excalibur promised that if we didn’t know who Vikingo was, we will after tonight. And shared a text from Brandon Cutler – at the hospital with the Bucks – accusing the BCC of being the perpetrators. The masked man noted that unfortunately they had no way to verify this.
Colten’s outfit was spectacularly bad.
Loud ‘Ass Boys’ chant as we got going with Austin and Dante, the former wagging his finger at the prospect of any kind of aerials, then being taken down via springboard armdrag, his brother eating a ground-bound one as he tagged in.
Darius in as Top Flight sent the champs outside via clothesline. Back to where we started with Dante and Austin facing off, the Gunns raked the eyes to bring the break.
The commentators have done a nice job so far of emphasizing storylines but focusing on the matches once they start.
Dante dived over a lunging Austin to tag Darius as we came back, the older brother running through both Gunns with lariats and elbows, a German, standing Spanish fly, count of two. Colten took out Darius via cross body after a slow sequence, Darius drilled Austin with a sit-out side-slam, Nose Dive ready, Colten grabbed the boot but was taken out via Darius dive.
Leaving Dante to smoothly vault from one apron to the other, going straight up into the Nose Dive, Colten saved the belts at 2.9.
The Kingdom attacked Darius on the outside. And were punished via a Dante senton. Though this allowed the Gunns to hit the Big Rig for the win.
In about the only offense they got all match. Guess that’s the point.
Even an on-the-way-up team like Top Flight seemed well above the champs’ level.
The Kingdom fled through the crowd. Top Flight pursued them, leaving the champs alone as FTR’s music hit to a big pop.
Colten called them ‘losers’ (the Outcasts must be furious), Austin said there’s nothing FTR can offer them. He kept hysterically ranting to reiterate this, turning down all FTR’s offers until Dax promised that if FTR lost, they’d quit AEW.
‘Deal’ said the Gunns before spitting in FTR’s faces and fleeing.
Playing off fans’ real-life fear that FTR are leaving should guarantee they’ll be invested in the match, at least the ones who know. And any match involving the Gunns needs all the help it can get.
WINNER: Gunn Club
Footage of Taya Valkyrie winning on Rampage with a move identical to Jaded. Cargill, who now seems officially back with Mark Sterling, was with Renee. Sterling revealed a cease and desist order banning Taya from using Road to Valhalla. Leila grabbed it and offered to deliver it ‘personally’ on Rampage.
In amongst this, Jade said all the same stuff she always does, including the swears.
I’m a sucker for banned moves, and allowing Taya to keep getting the best of Leila to build the match is smart.
Renee then couldn’t even keep a straight face (on purpose) as she announced that Stokely’s debut was next. Even Jade laughed at the absurdity.
Hook vs Stokely Hathaway, No DQ
Backstory: After being thrown into a match with Hook, Matt Hardy turned the tables by vowing that if he lost, Hook would get a match with Stokely: he lost
Hathaway came out to pseudo-Deep Cover dressed in what it might look like if the Nation of Domination ran a dojo.
Hook’s crowd response was noticeably cooler than it’s been in the past.
Stokely needed a hug from the referee. Then grabbed the mic to announce that he was not medically cleared and was retiring, handing Justin a ‘doctor’s note’ which was clearly a crumpled receipt with ‘I’m sick!’ written on it.
Stokely fled through the crowd, Hook pursued and dragged him back to the ring. Stokely threw a diving shoulder; Hook didn’t budge. The heel was then snatched into a shoulder-capture suplex and dumped on the mats at ringside as Hook started looking for toys. Setting up a guardrail, the camera panned backstage where the Firm were looking on, Ethan Page concerned that ‘we didn’t practice any hardcore’.
This act is growing on me.
Stokely blinded Hook with a fire extinguisher, proclaiming to the camera ‘‘I ain’t a killer but don’t push me’ – that’s 2pac’.
Then went for a Hail Mary chair shot, which Hook blocked, hit a bunch of his own to Hathaway’s back then snapped him against the guardrail via throw before locking in Redrum for the quick win.
Backstage, Matt Hardy was manipulating Ethan Page, telling him he was the man who can beat Hook and avenge Stokely.
They pushed the main event once more, along with Mox/Grayson and Adam Cole’s segment coming up next. And showed Tech N9ne at ringside.
Excalibur pushed the debut of the behind-the-scenes show next week as Cole made his entrance. Even Schiavone put over Cole as a performer.
A total babyface, Cole got a great response from the crowd, emphasizing how great he felt and how much he’s looking forward to returning to the ring. Starting to talk about who he might face, he was interrupted by Daniel Garcia’s music as the air left the room.
Dressed like an early-00s boyband member, Garcia said that he’s become a veteran and locker room leader since Cole left. As locker room leader he’s here to welcome Cole back and put him in his place. He then ran through all the guys he’s beaten in the past year, including Bryan Danielson (which is a major hole in AEW’s storylines, they should care more that Danielson’s gone home and we should be getting some sort of update).
Garcia then noted – probably accurately unfortunately – that he’s had more main events than anyone else during that period. But had to collect himself after passionately calling himself ‘one of the best pro wrestlers’. Before asking ‘What makes you so special?’
‘When they ring the freakin’ bell, that’s what makes me so special’ returned Cole with more charisma in his first line than Garcia’s mustered over his short career. Cole said the people Garcia hung with were holding him back. Then said Garia was on for next week. But promised that next week would be a statement that one of the best in the world is back. He hoped Garcia knows what he’s in for.
I’m so so bored of Daniel Garcia and his mini-turns. Not excited for this.
Alex Marvez butted-in to Omega’s locker room where he and Callis were arguing. Omega said he should’ve gone with his best friends, Callis couldn’t understand his concern: ‘I sent Nakazawa’. (Not sure if it was meant to be, but funniest line of the night.)
Callis downplayed the Bucks’ injuries – ‘might be the best thing that ever happened to us, it allows for focus… those kids’ll be fine in a few months’ before going into promo mode, hyping that the God of Pro Wrestling is back in tonight’s main event. As a downcast Omega hung his head in the background.
This was superb.
Not only portraying Omega as a real person for the first time in eighteen months but sewing the seeds that he’s off his game, that he might lose… and that Callis might be the one behind the attack on the Bucks.
Taz talked about how clearly torn Omega was, sympathizing with the spot he was in. As the Bucks’ possible attackers made their way to the ring.
Jon Moxley vs Stu Grayson
Backstory: Mox & the BCC sent Evil Uno to a local medical facility last week
If they want the BCC to be heels, they have to scrap Wild Thing. You might have a tough job getting Moxley booed anyway; this almost guarantees he won’t be.
As does having him face-off with the Dark Order. At least outside Canada.
Grayson flew at Moxley, backing him to the corner with charging shoulders, throwing chops, beating on the back. Until Mox came back, grabbing a headlock after a takeover, quick covers with the arms pinned bagging a pair of ones.
After what seemed a slight miscue, an obviously annoyed Moxley flung a chair at Grayson which he clearly intended to miss but get close enough to send a message.
Back inside, Grayson threw more chops in the corner, following with knees to the gut until being snatched into a saito suplex and barged off the apron into the barricade as the break beckoned.
With wrist control, Mox was stomping Stu’s head in as we returned, Grayson fired back with a leaping lariat then threw H&A elbows and launched a springboard twisting-senton. Up to the top, Grayson took aim at Yuta and Claudio via moonsault, paying for it when Moxley hit him with a tope. Grayson fought back, back to the top for a 450 which just about landed.
Setting up Nightfall, Moxley countered out into the Bulldog Choke, driving knees to the head, s-grip choke, Grayson just about raised his arm in time to avoid the stoppage loss then ran Moxley into the buckle to free himself.
Mox thought Paradigm Shift, Grayson slipped out to hit a backflip-kick, back to the top, he was cut-off, clubbed and raked across the back, Moxley hitting an avalanche Death Rider to bag the win.
The Dark Order hit the ring instantly to prevent Mox locking in a choke as he’s been doing lately after victories.
WINNER: Jon Moxley
Renee with Ricky. Starks is sick of talking, so challenged Juice to come find him on Rampage. Starks’ frustration was a little over the top here after just one brief attack.
Another QTV segment.
The Australian woman has discovered a hot new prospect called Rey Fenix, cueing footage of Hobbs beating him last week. They basically mocked fans by pointing out that Fenix’ own brother didn’t come out to help and that Abrahantes needs to work on ‘character development’ (said in a baby voice).
Then matter-of-factly announced that Aaron Solo has ‘stolen Wardlow’s identity and frozen all his accounts’ as Solo said ‘oopsie’. Not making any of that up. ‘He even lost his house and car’.
Then talked about hacking into ‘some Observer’ to start a beef about hotels. Sigh. (If you – quite understandably – didn’t know, there was something of a controversy this week after it seemed like Meltzer said AEW didn’t pay for cars and hotels for their talent, which AEW does do.)
Finally, they announced that Hobbs had just called, there’d be another open challenge on Rampage.
It’d be wise if Hobbs continued to be absent for these segments.
Which are hideously uninteresting, unfunny and unentertaining. They basically seem to serve as a way for AEW to vent against complaining fans and j*** themselves off. Because every second of this precious tv time was entirely wasted. Excepting the announcement of Hobbs’ title defense. Which could’ve been done in seconds.
Marshall recently got into a Twitter war with a reporter who dared suggest Wardlow’s been badly booked over the last year. If they can’t even acknowledge that, it doesn’t bode well.
Toni Storm vs Skye Blue
Backstory: Blue is an AEW original, that’s that s*** the Outcasts don’t like
It feels like we’ve seen this before. If not the actual match, certainly the premise of heel beats on Skye Blue.
The Outcasts wore matching sunglasses. Saraya was noticeably not flipping-off fans after being fined for saying ‘t***’ last week amid a general warning about shaming fans.
Straight to a fight, Toni attacked early as she often does, Blue fought back with elbow strikes, hit a knee to the face then a hurracanrana off the apron. But was clobbered with a haymaker and driven to the floor with a hip attack as Ruby and Saraya attacked. Saraya screamed ‘this is our house’ because it’s Wednesday.
Storm threw a chop against the ringpost, missed a second, but Blue was understandably distracted by the other heels getting right in her face in full view of the ref.
A series of hair-mares saw Blue in the ascendancy, diving cross body, tejeiras, step-up knee strike, low roundhouse, count of two. Blue looked for Code Blue, slipped off the back, hit a thrust kick but ate a Thesz press then tornado ddt as Storm bagged a close two.
The crowd were pretty into Blue here, not so much the heels.
Storm readied the hip attack, Blue avoided it, hit Code Blue, Soho got on the apron for three hours, Blue bagged another two via roll-up. But Storm popped up to hit a shotgun dropkick, a brutal hip attack, German suplex, Storm Zero, victory.
This was better than might have been expected. The best Blue’s looked in a while. The crowd involvement helped.
They were readying the spraypaint when Riho’s music hit as she and Willow Nightingale ran the heels off with a pipe.
The image of tiny, smiley Riho with a pipe was very amusing.
WINNER: Toni Storm
Backstage, Stu Grayson was with the doc having his arm looked at as the BCC appeared, Moxley choking out the Canadian.
Kenny Omega vs El Hijo del Vikingo
Backstory: Two years in the making, Vikingo’s accused Kenny of ducking him so come to his turf to take him on
AEW have reached a place where pretty much everything is overdone: open challenges, eliminators, title matches and of course dream matches. I’ve made it pretty clear that I’m a ‘less is more’ guy and believe any real ‘dream match’ should have more than four days’ hype.
But in this case, they’ll probably use this match to build to a return in AAA as part of the repairing relationship between the two companies. And it’s clear Omega’s about to be involved in a storyline with Hangman and the Bucks.
Moreover, now the match itself has a story because of that. Is Kenny’s head in the game? It makes the outcome much harder to predict; the match more fun as a result.
Vikingo got a nice response from the crowd. Music and entrance fit the character. Excalibur gave us a good, quick background as they explained he and Omega were supposed to face-off in December 2021 until Omega’s injuries.
Omega had his customary long intro which noted his winning record over Vikingo. Over twenty minutes tv-time remained as he made his entrance.
But didn’t even make it to the ring, the Mexican blasting him with a tope then soaring over the ropes with another dive, springboard dropkick, the two brawling in the corner as the crowd chanted ‘Kenny’ and the bell finally rang.
Ending a run of 504 days without a singles match on Dynamite for the former champ.
Vikingo somersaulted over the ropes after being whipped toward the buckle, appearing behind Omega to blast him with enziguris to the back of the head then hit an implosion hurracanrana (a somersault into a hurracanrana from a standing start on the buckle) running corkscrew kick, knee strike through the ropes, Omega slumping to the mats at ringside; Vikingo following up with a shooting star off the apron.
As Excalibur noted Omega looked out of sorts and the crowd went wild chanting TiA & AEW.
Continuing the rapid assault, Omega was flung back in as Vikingo hit a springboard 450 off the middle rope (it genuinely looked like he just hung in the air, as though he’d hit ‘pause’). Another enziguri ended the assault as the bigger Omega fired back with heavy chops, snapping jabs and a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Aggressively, he hauled Vikingo up into a brainbuster from which the Mexican quickly kicked out as Excalibur again talked about Omega’s mental state.
Clubbing blows to the back were followed by Vikingo being flung into the barricade as the former champ grabbed the lumber. The ref tried to talk sense into him as they went to break teasing a table spot.
Back inside, Omega remained on top until being hit with a spinning headscissors, bringing both to the apron where a chop fight broke out until an Omega big boot was followed by a monkey flip onto the hardest part of the ring.
Motioning toward the table, Omega grabbed the Mexican by the neck, preparing a snapdragon. Vikingo slipped out, enziguri, to the top – a dragonrana taking Kenny off the apron to the floor.
Setting Omega atop the buckle, the two fought up top, Kenny setting up a powerbomb which Vikingo quickly turned into a hurracanrana, right to the apron, phoenix splash from-out-to-in after starting with his back to the ring. Very close two.
Spinning kick to the gut, springboard hurracanrana ready but caught into a powerbomb, Omega immediately following with a v-trigger for a close two of his own. Before dragging a limp Vikingo up into a snapdragon, another v-trigger, up onto the shoulders, OWA ready, Vikingo slipped out then hit a ‘swan-diving reverse hurracanrana’ per Excalibur. All I saw was just the most insane display of athleticism.
Before positioning Omega on the table at ringside and running into a springboard 630 from out to in, smashing through both Kenny and the table. Taz was very legitimately asking the Mexican to be careful before that dive.
Both guys struggling to their feet, they slid in just before the count reached ten, Vikingo quickly bagging a two count, the crowd rabid. Fighting up from their knees, Vikingo was getting the better with a spin-kick until another v-trigger dropped him dead.
Before, in a move with made Rey Fenix look slow, the Mexican rebounded off the ropes to blast the former champ with a sunset bomb from which Omega just barely kicked out. Rolling to the apron, Vikingo headed back to the top, Omega moved out the way of a 630 senton, coming up into another v-trigger, up into the One Winged Angel for the 1,2,3.
Both of these guys, Vikingo in particular, had a lot to live-up to here. The company put a ton of pressure on them by hyping this the way they did. And yet these guys easily met those expectations. Vikingo’s a pleasure to watch; a nightmare to document. Twenty minutes went by in five.
Several minutes remained as the match ended, Omega showing respect to the younger man after victory as Schiavone hit the ring. Just beginning to humbly wonder if he could continue doing ‘this kinda stuff’, Omega was blindsided and stomped down in the corner by the BCC.
As sirens played over the loudspeaker. No, it wasn’t Scott Steiner, it was Hangman Page. Driving an ambulance, weapon in hand, a loud ‘cowboy s***’ chant echoing as his music hit and Page marched to the ring and the BCC thought better of hanging around.
As Excalibur reminded us that he and Omega were tag champs, Don Callis pretended Page had knocked him down, Kenny came-to, Callis pointed at Page and the two bickered. Omega left with Callis to end the show.
Don’t mind that for now, but if next week they still believe Page took out Callis, it’ll be stupid. Presumably, it actually leads to them breaking from Don.
Clearing the way for Blood & Guts. The only question being whether Bryan Danielson returns to join his BCC brethren as their fourth.
WINNER: Kenny Omega
Next Rampage (starts SATURDAY @ 10pm eastern):
- Powerhouse Hobbs vs Penta, TNT Title
- Taya Valkrie vs Leila Grey
- Brody King vs Jake Hager
- Ricky Starks challenge for Juice Robinson
- The Acclaimed vs the Kingdom
- Adam Cole vs Daniel Garcia
- More TBA on Rampage (not a fan of keep doing this, less than half of Dynamite’s viewers watch this show)
An excellent episode of Dynamite, built around a show-long storyline involving a lot of top talent and featuring solid action until building to a spectacular main-event which linked to said show-long storyline.
This is more like it.
- Kenny Omega vs Vikingo
Thanks for reading.