AEW Dynamite tonight comes to us from the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas, Nv. After last week drawing 814,000 & 0.28 in the 18-49 demo. That ties the second-lowest viewership this year.
Sounds like Punk’s back in.
Orange Cassidy vs Kyle Fletcher (International Title)
Backstory: Fletcher laid Cassidy out two weeks ago
Man, if only you could bet on who was opening Dynamite, we’d all be millionaires.
They showed footage of Fletcher attacking Orange from behind a couple weeks back. Sounds like a small crowd here, not a ton of atmosphere as Fletcher flew at the champ with a brutal knee strike immediately into a sheer drop for two.
Cassidy looked for the Punch, to the apron, Fletcher knocked him off then smacked him against the barricade via tope. Taking him back inside for a lariat and another two.
Orange headed outside for a break, Fletcher headed upstairs, stayed there for ages for some reason and was shoved off to crash back-first onto the apron. Cassidy following up with a tornado ddt to the apron which they shouldn’t have shown a replay of. Wasn’t the best.
As the ref’s count reached nine before Fletcher squeaked back in. Another Punch missed, thrust kick blocked, Cassidy smacked via one of Fletcher’s for yet another two.
Before launching strikes from the mount. Delayed vertical, Cassidy up there a good thirty seconds before being brought crashing down as Fletcher bagged another close count heading into the break.
Slower than you might expect so far. Lot of stalling.
Back: to a stundog millionaire, tornado ddt, two slaps of the mat. Cassidy to the apron, knocked off again then hauled back in and onto the buckle. Where he fought the Aussie off, coming off with a cross body but caught into a modified Michinoku Driver for another close call.
Cassidy dead weight, playing possum, beach break countered, Fletcher with a big right to the mush, another, to the corner, running kick to the head. Cassidy simply recovered to hit a brainbuster. A few weak ‘freshly squeezed’ chants with both down.
Struggling to their feet, Cassidy threw his weak punches, ducked a kick, hit a superkick, Michinoku Driver; Fletcher countered a pin up into a tombstone, hauling him straight back up for another. Cassidy kicked out.
To the top once more, Fletcher hit an avalanche Michinoku, Cassidy just kicked out. Looked like it hurt Fletcher at least as much as Orange. Can’t be a fun landing.
Propping himself up via the ropes, Orange ate a leg lariat, Fletcher looking for his hammerlock into a piledriver; Cassidy blocked it, firing up, Orange Punch ready, Fletcher hit a thrust kick, looked for the piledriver again, Cassidy snatched the legs to snag a win via cradle.
Hard to get into this because of the total lack of atmosphere. A bit stop/start for me. Albeit with some big moments.
Winner: Orange Cassidy
Ricky Starks with Renee. He didn’t ‘snap’ last week, he was in ‘full control’. He’s sick and tired of Bullet Club Gold… so he’s entering himself in a battle royal. The Black Jack one for the International Title. Robinson and White attacked, setting Ricky across a crate and smacking him with a chair.
Jay said he might be done with them but they aren’t done with him. Then spouted the massively-overused ‘make your life a living hell’ thing.
First of the Pillars promos. Jack Perry. He’s driven the route to Las Vegas so many times. Long ago he came when he first started to wrestle. Then last year with Christian.
Every time he makes that drive, he’s ‘a little bit different’. But the feeling he gets from being in the ring never changes: gives him purpose, lets him live the way he chooses. When he wakes Monday and drives back, he’ll do it as the new champion.
Short, maybe could’ve been fleshed out a little bit but pretty good. Perry’s always better pre-taped.
They showed Karen Jarrett’s return and the attack on FTR by Jarrett etc. last week. As FTR headed to the ring. Cash took the mic to acknowledge that the heels have outsmarted them ‘every step of the way’. But they’ve also ‘been lucky’. (Which is it?)
And they won’t outsmart them Sunday.
Dax said Jarrett broke a million guitars and still ‘ain’t relevant’ so he attached his name to the best tag team in the game. But they’re not ‘a couple rejects from TNA’. So Jarrett better get a call ready to the ‘Queen of the Mountain’. Not his ‘bitch of a wife’, but Dixie Carter.
As Mark Briscoe headed to the ring. Cash warned him not to let the heels make him look stupid. FTR will ‘go to hell and back’ for him. Briscoe said they were ‘blood brothers’ yet asked why Dax piledrove him. Dax apologized. Briscoe slapped it away. Dax tried again, Briscoe paintbrushed him.
This is dumb af. The heels used Mark’s peace-offering to spit at FTR and shove him right into a blinded Dax. Does he not possess a screen of any type? Why isn’t he questioning who shoved him?
He then shoved and slapped all of the heels waiting for him on the ramp. Except Lethal. Who he called his ‘boy’, but he’s getting ‘tired of this bulls***’.
Did enjoy Dax cutting down Jarrett. Did you know I’m not a fan?
Sammy’s turn. Live with Renee. She relayed a message from Max that the same financial offer was there for Sammy to lay down. Sammy said ‘hell no’. He’s ‘not for sale’. People (ex-employers) have always tried to buy him out of his dreams by offering promotions etc. to set aside his wrestling dream. But then he’d have to live in the real world. But now he’s in the real world. He’s serious. And he’ll take Max’s title.
Got a little confusing at the end but a largely good babyface promo. Question is, is he really a babyface?
House of Black vs Blake Christian, Metalik & AR Fox (House of Black Rules, Trios Titles)
Can’t wait to see which stip. the contenders pick. A trio we’re all so familiar with after racking up wins and displaying an unbreakable bond as a unit. (They chose tags not being necessary.)
I miss Malakai’s music so much. Such a cool entrance. On the subject, the challengers made theirs via picture-in-picture.
They’ve got rid of the total blackout and had some lighting in addition to the ringlights this time.
Brody King caught Christian and spiked him with a slam, holding him for Malakai to boot in the face. The Dutchman blocked a bunch of kicks then swept the leg. Taking Christian to the apron where he dropped him via knee strike. Christian landed on his feet out of a German, Metalik in, landing off the top into another knee strike.
Metalik hit a pirouette dropkick from the ropes then he and Christian took flight onto Black and Buddy. AR Fox readying a third but being cut off by Big Brody, audibly yelling ‘Oh s***!’ when nothing worked, popping Taz at the desk. Finally, Brody was dropkicked outside by Fox where all six brawled.
Fox hit his implosion senton onto the other five (hopefully his longtime teammates won’t hold it against him). Julia was unmoved.
Matthews avoided a 450, Fox a lariat then was hit with the Stomp, into an inverted clover leaf. He got the ropes but there are no breaks. Malakai intercepted a Metalik save into a kneebar. And King snatched Christian out of the ring into his apron sleeper, dropping him to ringside after the victory.
AEW did their usual job of making should-be squashes go much longer than needed. Could hear a pin drop other than for the odd flashy move.
If there’s to be a trios match at DoN, seems it’ll be on the pre-show.
Winner: House of Black
Video package recapping the Elite/BCC feud mixed with clips from last year’s anarchy in the arena. Nice clip package but aren’t they going to tell the story of the Elite for those who haven’t watched every single show for three years? Or even as a reminder for those who have? To put across the significance of the friends being brought back together by the brutality of the BCC?
Backstage with the Club.
Danielson said the first objective was to take the ROH tag titles. Number two is to ‘end the Elite’ Sunday. Mox said they were the best in the world. He doesn’t say it lightly or for any reason other than because he believes it. They make fans part with their money and ‘do the job the way it’s meant to be done’.
At this level, only one thing matters, can you ‘deliver when it counts?’ This Sunday’s gonna count and the BCC will ‘take aim and fire’, mimicking Omega’s goodbye/goodnight finger-guns.
Still not sure they’re actually supposed to be heels. One of Mox’s points was the BCC give fans value for money. Anyway, otherwise effective promo putting over the stakes of Sunday’s match.
Max’s promo will of course take place in-ring. He walked over to throw Schiavone’s drink all over him before heading there. Where he essentially said he wants the other three to die (Sammy to stick his tongue in a light-socket etc.) when discussing the odds being stacked against him Sunday.
Unlike ‘some of your favs’, the four of them are truly ‘homegrown’ and have beaten the best in the biz. Put on the best matches and moments. ‘Goddammit, we are AEW!’ Big cheer. But he doesn’t want to be anymore. He’s bored of the place, sick of the lack of competition and the lack of respect from AEW fans.
‘Tony Khan knows that’. And also that his contract’s coming up. Suggesting this is the reason he’s having to face three other men. Khan desperately hoping someone will take the belt from him. Otherwise he’ll take it and go home. But when it comes to the other three, ‘none are on the level of the Devil’.
At least he didn’t mention WWE I suppose.
Darby Allin interrupted. Dressed head to toe in black. Max said he was busy. Allin said he’s lost a lot in his life but never his mind. He’s always known what he wants and where he’s going. The life he has isn’t meant to be spent cleaning toilets, it’s meant to be spent as a pro wrestler. He was sleeping in his car until AEW ‘saved my sanity’.
The company lets him live the way he lives. Skateboarding with Tony Hawk and climbing Mount Everest. He’s not a puppet. Wants to be the face of AEW and to do that he has to become AEW Champion. Sunday ‘he’s taking that championship… and might even do it with a headlock takeover’.
Similar question as with the Elite – have they explained the meaning of that line to anyone who doesn’t watch every week?
Cue a low blow. As Sammy Guevara ran Max off. Until Perry trapped him on the ramp, dropping him via lariat. Perry held the title as the other two looked on from the ring with Max on his back.
A good job making it clear Max has the odds against him contrasted with some more lame ‘shoot’ stuff.
Wardlow and Arn package. Wardlow said Christian’s mouth was big enough to shove a ladder down. Arn put across the things the big man could do with it. Not enough.
Taya Valkyrie vs Lady Frost
The commentators put across that things could be very different when Taya faces Jade with her finish legal.
Stiff lockup, Taya using her strength to ram Frost head-first to the mat and attempt an early pin. Frost hit a tejeiras but was crushed in the corner: snapmare, sliding lariat, count of two.
Crowd almost silent once more.
Valkyrie hit a big chop in the corner, missed a spear, ate a kick to the head but absolutely smacked Frost out of her boots via a blistering lariat.
As Jade and her crew hit the ramp.
Frost hit a handspring senton in the corner, headed to the top, came off with a tornillo but was then planted via spear. Both women down.
Taya came back with a sit-out slam for two. Then stomped Frost into the mat. Before snatching her into a backbreaker then Road to Valhalla for the win.
Again, a ‘squash’ that went too long. Against a genuine competitor, she could have gone this long and the victory might’ve seemed hard-won; against someone we never see, not so much.
Winner: Taya Valkyrie
Tony Khan’s latest announcement. AEW Collision will begin June 17th from the United Center in Chicago (sounded like a mix of booing, cheering and ‘CM Punk’ chants from those in attendance).
So things have been worked out. As reported earlier today.
Alex Marvez with Hangman. To ask what the status of his friendship with Kenny and the Bucks was. He said he and Kenny were never really friends like he was with the Bucks. But they are family. The BCC took something from all of them. The price the Club has run-up is ‘too high’ and ‘this Sunday, you’ll pay it in blood’.
Again, a very good promo effective in promoting the match. But not explaining the backstory or its significance.
Cole and Jericho’s contract signing. Schiavone there to oversee it. Roderick Strong accompanied Cole – nice to see a babyface not be stupid and bring backup. Since Jericho brought the whole JAS (minus Sammy and the ladies).
Schiavone said they’ve all agreed to no physicality. Actually didn’t mind that since they haven’t used the line for months now – less is more. Cole snatched the contract, signing immediately; Jericho chilled with his feet on the table as Cole grabbed a mic.
To say it took him a long time to figure out why Jericho did what he did. Jericho believes he’s invincible and AEW should be lucky to have him. They’ll find out how invincible he is Sunday when Cole beats the hell out of him. Since it’s Unsanctioned, the blood won’t be on the company’s hands, ‘it’ll be on mine’ – nice line.
Then saying it was taking everything he had not to leap at Jericho right now. So instead he’s going to tell him what he’ll do to him Sunday. They’ll find out if he can walk, talk, write – because Cole’s going to break his legs, mouth and hands – ‘so hurry up and sign the paper bitch!’.
This was excellent.
Pausing, Jericho had them replay Britt’s beating to try and provoke Cole. Nice way to organically remind us of what started everything. Jericho vowed to knock Cole’s teeth down his throat, Cole knows he can’t beat him. Finally signing, he said they outsmarted Cole since there are no rules and it’s 5 on 2.
Cole said that’s why he made a phone call to a local guy he’s idolized – ‘homicidal, suicidal, genocidal’. … The hell??? Well, random moment of the night’s taken.
Sabu looked good considering everything you hear about his health. He clocked Menard with a chair to the face as the rest of the JAS bailed. The crowd chanted ‘Sabu’.
Hayter/Storm package. They focused on Hayter’s shoulder. Storm is going to ‘rip it off the bone and eat it’. ‘Kay then. That match needed MUCH more than this to heat it up. Not even close.
Daniel Garcia vs Roderick Strong
Backstory: Cole’s friends vs Jericho’s
These two remained out there after the previous angle. The rest of the guys headed backstage.
Stiff grapple to a rope break, Garcia concentrating his attack on Strong’s arm until the vet snatched a headlock takeover. Up into a chop battle, Garcia losing quickly as he plummeted to the mat.
I was distracted by Excalibur announcing that Aussie Open are All Elite – they’ll be on Collision. (Mark Davis is injured at the moment – unlikely he’ll be good to go for the first few shows).
Break. A Collision ad aired, highlighting Thunder Rosa and Miro.
Strong was in trouble as we returned, Garcia stomping his head to the mat repeatedly, posing to ‘dance’ in between. Sparking a ‘you can’t dance’ chant, leading to Garcia doing more of it and having a suplex countered as a result. That was fun.
Big dropkick from Strong, running knee strike, big twisting slam for two. Up onto the shoulders, Garcia slipped free but ran in to be planted with a leg-capture backbreaker. Into the corner, Garcia avoided another knee strike and bagged two out of a rollup.
Strong hit a knee to the mid-section, Garcia came back with overhand chops and a Rock Bottom for another two. Then a very smooth roll through into the Dragon Tamer, right in the middle; Strong twisted over and kicked his way free, hit a gutbuster then Death by Roderick for the win.
I continue to be baffled by Tony Khan’s belief in former Adam Cole affiliates who can’t talk.
Good, hard-hitting match though while it lasted.
Winner: Roderick Strong
Footage of Willow Nightingale defeating Mercedes Mone (who was all over this clip) for the New Japan Women’s Strong Title. Never heard Willow speak before – comes across as very likeable – acted as if even she couldn’t believe she won.
(In case you didn’t know, Mone broke her ankle mid-match so they changed the finish)
Fair play to them for acknowledging and making a ‘thing’ of this. Also a nice excuse to put Sasha on your show of course.
Lucha Bros vs Claudio Castagnoli & Wheeler Yuta (ROH Tag Titles)
Backstory: Claudio beat Rey in a match where the winner got a shot at the other’s title(s)
Bobby Cruise was back announcing. Danielson joined on comms after accompanying his guys to the ramp. He made a William Regal reference – saying ‘it’s a pleasure to be out here with you Man in the Mask’.
Damn, I’ve missed the Bros. Hopefully they’ll be rescued from ROH with the new show debuting.
A four-way brawl broke out – the Bros sent the Club outside then smashed them with dives over the ropes then from the top rope. Penta hit Made in Penta but the pin was broken up. As Danielson said the LB’s were the best he’s ever seen them, contrasting this with Kenny Omega.
Claudio cut-off Fear Factor with a big uppercut to Penta and lariat to Rey. Penta fought back, Rey hit his rope-walk punt, this time Yuta blocked Fear Factor, allowing Castagnoli to smack Rey with an uppercut as he came off the top.
After dominating early, the champs were in trouble – Rey stuck in a cravate, getting rid of Yuta via back drop but Claudio blocked the tag to Penta after blind-tagging his way in. To grab the Big Swing, Yuta chiming in with a dropkick – nice teamwork.
Ricola Bomb ready, Fenix countered out into a kind-of sunset bomb/destroyer, finally allowing the tag to Penta who came in off the top via cross body, hit a thrust kick with Yuta uside down in the corner, hurracn to CC and a powerbomb to the knees on Yuta for a very close two.
He went to break Yuta’s arm, Claudio made the save, Fenix in, rolling punch to Yuta, uno, dos, tres kicks, Rey was grabbed into a military press but Penta kicked the Swiss in the gut, forcing him to drop Fenix into a splash onto Yuta. Always love those spots.
Preparing Penta to hit a destroyer to Claudio off his brother’s back, Fenix bagging another close call with a piledriver. An animated crowd chanting ‘zero miedo’ as Castagnoli shoved Penta off the top and annihilated Rey with an uppercut before propelling Yuta off the top via splash to bag another two.
Danielson was very entertaining as he fluctuated wildly between praising and admonishing Yuta.
Yuta choked Rey in the ropes, Claudio hit a shot to the face with the ref’s back turned, Abrahantes hit the apron, Rey hit a thrust kick, Penta came in illegally, readying Fear Factor as the Bucks appeared from beneath the ring to grab Claudio’s legs to stop him breaking up the pin.
The Bucks headed through the crowd as the Lucha Bros celebrated. Mox hit the ring, he and Danielson jawing with the Bucks who were in the crowd. Moxley grabbed a mic to suggest the Bucks take some pics with the fans and Facetime with their families while they still can. Promising Sunday would be the ‘wildest, most violent match’ in AEW history (actually makes me less interested).
If people think they’ve gone too far, if they’re ‘squeamish at the sight of blood’ this isn’t for them. Mic Drop. Maybe I’m totally wrong, but that’s almost a call for casual fans not to watch isn’t it? I certainly don’t watch wrestling for blood. I want to see a kick-ass match without chunks of flesh all over the ring.
Winner: Lucha Bros
Next Rampage (‘Check your local listings’):
- La Faccion Ingobernables vs Acclaimed & Billy Gunn (So they might add make the match vs HOB after that, be cutting it fine though)
- Britt Baker & Hikaru Shida vs Nyla Rose & Marina Shafir
- Ethan Page & the Gunns vs TBA
- Best Friends vs Big Bill & Lee Moriarty
Added to DoN:
- Ricky Starks is in the Battle Royal
- Sabu ‘Special Enforcer’ for Cole/Jericho (because an Unsactioned Match wasn’t gimmicky enough; neither apparently was one ‘special ref/enforcer’ being on the card)
- Cole/Jericho angle – Cole was phenomenal here
- Strong vs Garcia
- Good job of making it seem like the odds were against Max (if a little strange considering he’s a heel) and they certainly promoted the hell out of that match
- At least this week’s crappy interference allowed the good guys to win
- Talk about matches for the sake of matches – it’s easy to see why ratings aren’t doing well, there’s no hook to tune in for these
- Really not a lot of in-ring – they could’ve at least had the HOB & Taya in competitive matches beating ‘somebodies’
- Way too much ‘shoot’ stuff from MJF
Appreciate you reading. Have a good week.