AEW Dynamite tonight comes to us from CFG Bank Arena in Baltimore, MD. After last week drawing 863,000 & 0.28 in the 18-49 demo.
The international ticket sales are good but 18-49 demo’s down about 20% through the same period last year; even more among males. Per a Torch report.
A good start, Excalibur immediately hyped tonight’s main event, which’ll decide who faces MJF at DoN.
Adam Cole, Orange Cassidy, Bandido & Roderick Strong vs JAS (minus Jericho)
Backstory: Strong’s debut after saving Cole from a JAS beatdown last week
Before Dynamite started out the way it always does. WWE have twenty-minute promos; AEW have Orange Cassidy. Bandido came out with him, shades on. A nice, quick way to give some shine to the newcomer.
And despite my own reservations, the crowd here were pleased to see Strong, who got a nice pop and ‘Roddy’ chants.
Signing Strong is just the perfect example of too many guys. He’s good in the ring; so’s the whole roster. There’s a laundry list of guys who could’ve benefitted from the tv time he’s enjoyed already. Younger guys, with potential, charisma and mic skills.
The JAS have new mumble-rap music. And like a good heel, Jericho only came out once that wall of flesh was between he and Cole. Wearing that t-shirt of black-eyed Britt Baker.
Realize it’s a high standard, but my default in these situations is what would Stone Cold do? And he damn sure wouldn’t have stood there while the crowd sang Vince McMahon’s music like Cole did.
The Ocho’ll join on comms. Immediately calling Cole a coward once more. Great stuff.
Strong and Garcia got us going, stiff lockup through two rope breaks, stiff chops following as Cole tagged in, stomping a mudhole in Garcia in the corner. Then doing the same to Parker after pump kicking him as he entered. Aggressive here before tagging Bandido, who missed off the top but hit a snap powerslam, a cheap shot from Menard bringing in all eight as they got to sluggin’.
After splitting into pairs and brawling around ringside for several minutes, Bandido took out Hager & Garcia via tope con hiro. As Cole finally realized he could just go attack Jericho but kept being cut off by the other JAS.
Back in the ring, after both 2.0 had individual suplex attempts countered, they tried a double team one, only for Bandido to counter that too. Nice booking as the break beckoned.
Hager working over Cassidy as we came back, the face in the wrong corner as Garcia went to work. Walking over his back as the quick tags continued, Hager grabbing a bear hug against the backdrop of Jericho continuing to rant against that ‘coward’ Cole.
After the heels knocked all three tag options off the apron, Cassidy ducked, dodged and stundog millionaire’d his way to tagging Strong, who ran through the heels with catch-suplexes and backbreakers. Even taking Hager down with snapping enziguris and an Angle Slam.
Looking good before triple teaming got the better of him, Cole and Bandido apparently still falling in a parallel galaxy after a single punch off the apron. Leaving Cassidy his only option, who walked right into the Dragon Slayer until Cole finally returned with superkicks for all, everyone taking out everyone until Cassidy bagged two via beach break with the first pin of the match.
Stinging slaps from Garcia were returned by deliberately weak strikes from Cassidy, Hager dragging his teammate to safety only for Orange and Bandido to take to the air. As a Strong knee strike and tag to Cole led to the Boom and the win.
Fun, non-stop action to begin the show. The right guy got the win and they subtly continued the story of Cassidy taking a beating every week.
Cole immediately sprinted the ramp to pound Jericho from the mount. Until security separated them. That’s more like it.
All in all, strong opening segment.
Winner: Adam Cole, Orange Cassidy, Bandido & Roderick Strong
Renee backstage with Perry and Darby, to ask how they felt about teaming tonight. Managing to avoid the term ‘co-exist’ because she’s great.
Perry said they had some things in common: both here since day one, both have worked hard and neither’s main evented a ppv. Following up nicely, Allin emphatically stated that they were going to win tonight just like one of them will leave with the gold at Double or Nothing. ‘Cause tonight, it’s showtime.’
Great. Love it.
As they returned to the commentary booth to show where Cole had charged Jericho through some of the set. Before cutting backstage where an enraged Cole was being dragged out of the arena by security, still shouting abuse at Jericho. Who was yelling that Cole was dangerous, as Britt showed up to slap Jericho across the face, the vet hitting the deck as Baker called him ‘Bitch Jericho’ while herself being dragged away.
More good stuff. This is exactly what I wanted last week. It felt heated and wasn’t over the top. Moreover, it didn’t leave Britt as the damsel in distress whose man got revenge for her. She’s tough in her own right.
‘Get him out of here’ yelled a dazed Jericho, while laying on the floor clutching his face. Just stellar heel work.
To the BCC for a promo. The start of which we couldn’t hear because – drink at home – of a production snafu. Danielson repeated Bret Hart’s best there is, was, will be phrase before ranting against the egotism. The nerve that someone could believe no-one would ever better them. ‘I am better than that legend ever was.’
He’s the best in the world today, and if he’s not, it’s one of the men alongside him. But in the future, there will be wrestlers better than him because of the BCC paving the way today.
And that’s the difference between them and the Elite. They want to push people (to be better than them) so that AEW gets better and better. And they’ll do anything to make that happen.
Mox reiterated this – they’re blades looking for iron to sharpen them, the Elite should be thankful because the BCC are making them better. The Elite used to be innovative, cutting-edge, perhaps not anymore. Before hyping next week’s match – ‘Mox & Omega, that just hits different doesn’t it’.
Their past matches may aswell have been a decade ago because he’s so much different, so much better and they’ll find out what ‘2023 Kenny Omega is really all about’. Promising to leave ‘one hell of a mark’ (making a slashing gesture to insinuate this would be literal).
Mox was great, super job pushing next week’s main event and making it seem like a fresh one because they’re ‘different’ now. As for Danielson’s part, guess criticizing Bret=auto heel but the rest of it wasn’t necessarily the most boo-able.
Also makes you wonder if the Hitman’s making an appearance on the Canadian tour, though he was never actually named.
Saraya vs Willow Nightingale
Big one for Saraya, interesting to see where she’s at six months into her comeback. Willow’s pop easily outdid the heels’ reaction. Many among the crowd clapping along as she made her way to the ring. Shame she’s losing again.
The former Paige immediately left the ring, Willow backed down from the other Outcasts and was blindsided by a Saraya dropkick. Bad case of DBS there. Aggressively, Saraya fired away in the ring but was quickly run over by Nightingale, who hit a middle rope dropkick as ‘Let’s go Willow’ played.
Chops in the corner and a big running clothesline begat more chops as Soho took the ref and Toni grabbed Willow’s leg. Literal sigh.
Saraya took advantage with knee strikes before dumping Willow outside, right in front of the sharks Ruby & Toni, which the ref clearly saw but decided to follow Saraya across the ring instead. Poor guy must have a crush.
You know what followed. This act is essentially the J’s with vaginas. The interference is so endemic, so expected, that it’s eye-rollingly meaningless.
Saraya fought free of Willow, a very loose inside cradle bagged two for Nightingale; Knightcap did the same for Saraya. Toni was on the apron before Willow had even finished a running DVD, Soho was dragged in on the other side then pounced back out, Toni too hit the deck, Saraya used the distraction to hit Goodknight to win.
And still doesn’t look a shadow of her former self in-ring. Poor Willow.
Afterward they started beating on Willow until Hikaru Shida finally returned to get her revenge. Or not, the brief pause giving it away as she hugged the heels. Preparing to spraypaint Willow as Britt & Jamie slipped behind the heels, Shida spraying Saraya in the face as the Originals got the better of the Outcasts.
Got me there.
Shida then blasted through Saraya & co. with her kendo stick. It’s about time they tied up that story. She then spray-painted ‘AEW’ across them. Bad match; very nice angle. Though when the swerve is that there’s not a swerve, there are too many swerves :).
‘I’m back!’ she yelled into the camera as the faces left together.
This might not be on your drink at home list. The House of Black appeared on Dynamite! Throwing their titles down, they said some in the company get away with murder while some are punished for following the rules.
Then announced an ‘open house’ where ‘any three individuals’ can team up for a title shot. At least applying a twist to this over-used gimmick via House Rules:
- 20 second count-outs
- No rope-breaks
- DQ is enforced but the challengers choose what that constitutes (I think, this part was confusing)
House of Black on tv and something to make their matches different. I’ll take it.
Trios Battle Royal
Competitors: Rey Fenix, Penta & Vikingo (heart emoji); QT, Hobbs & Solo (turd emoji); Acclaimed & Billy Gunn; Dark Order; Butcher, Blade & Kip Sabian; Varsity Athletes & Ari Daivari
There are surely two teams tops who can win this right? They aren’t actually going to give it to QT? In that vein, those three were the only teams who got a televised entrance. Both face teams very popular with the crowd.
Uno eliminated via Hobbs & co. Tony Nese via Fenix rope-walk punt. Josh Woods via Vikingo hurracanrana. Alex Reynolds via QT. QT & Solo via Lucha Bros, the heels grabbing their feet from the outside so Hobbs could eliminate them in not the smoothest spot.
As with the tag battle royal before Revolution, there was heavy booing when the Bros were gone. Vikingo was then caught and thrown out by Hobbs too. Almost silencing what’d been a hot crowd.
The Acclaimed then ole’d Hobbs out of there. Leaving them to face off with Butcher & co. And Silver’s still in. B&B scissored. The crowd still flatter than flat outside of that since their favorites are gone.
Butcher got rid of Silver. Leaving Gunn & Bowens vs B&B & Kip. Gunn saved himself from a triple team elimination as Bowens got rid of Blade but lost a 2-on-1 fight with the other two. Gunn saving him from elimination. Stereo Fameassers led to the faces winning.
Really had my heart set on Lucha Bros & Vikingo vs HOB. So this was a massive disappointment both in-ring and in the booking.
Winner: the Acclaimed & Billy Gunn
Renee with Sammy. She wondered about he and MJF getting along tonight. Again without resorting to cliches. Max tried to rush in all friendly; Guevara was having none of it. Feigning tears, Max said he’s had back pains from carrying the company and had a flare-up. And was afraid of being seen to be weak. Made me chuckle.
Sammy kissed him on the forehead, promoing that we were looking at the winners tonight and the main event at the ppv. Max joined in, starting to say Sammy was going to lay down for him ‘like a little b… like my best friend!’, distracting Guevara by saying he’d had a mash-up theme made for them tonight. As they hugged to end the seg.
Sammy looked really dumb here. But he is a heel.
Omega backstage with Callis. Who quickly interrupted to talk about the cut to his forehead. The one that reminds him every day what the BCC did to him. Mox might have the ‘heaviest hands’ in wrestling but against ‘this brain’ (himself) ‘and that talent’ (Omega) he’ll ‘lose every time’.
Before calling him a ‘sick, twisted, narcissistic sociopath’ and that ‘it’s all gonna come to an end, when you meet the God of Pro Wrestling’.
Omega said the cage gave Mox the advantage, he might make Omega bleed but ‘everything comes to an end in Detroit’. What the BCC have done to them all made it personal and it ends next week.
Was hard to tell here whether Omega was going for the distant, serious look or staring a hole through Callis for interrupting him. Particularly when Don was calling Mox ‘sick, twisted’ etc as if dude, that describes you perfectly.
I smell a big Von Erich style twist next week. Possibly Callis helping Mox win.
After promising the whole Elite would promo, the Bucks were nowhere to be seen.
Wardlow vs Logan LeRoux (I think, he never got a graphic)
Lame rear-back punch, Symphony, win. As the commentators went on about the effect Arn Anderson’s had. Which is true. Before Arn, Wardlow never beat enhancement talent quickly.
While out of breath despite the short match, Wardlow insisted he hadn’t broken a sweat and demanded Luchasaurus come out and face him right now for the title. Cage said the match wasn’t gonna happen. Especially in Baltimore. Because the title shot’s not for Luchasaurus, it’s for him. Laughing as he walked away.
Was actually hoping for this. Not a fan of ‘Saurus, sick of Wardlow in big-man matches and Cage will get a much better contest out of him.
The J’s and etc went to visit Mark Briscoe. To help on the farm as they continued to manipulate him. Jarrett was about to sing ‘With My Baby Tonight’ when Briscoe’s dad turned up and the heels scarpered to dance. Father Briscoe warned him to watch his back.
As the heels announced they’ve got Mark a match on Rampage and Lethal challenged FTR for the titles at DoN. Lethal asked Mark how he’d beaten FTR, revealing the real purpose of their visit.
I’m totally not the audience for this in any way. All I’ll say is that the Lucha Bros better have something to do at the ppv if this is FTR’s competition.
Ricky Starks vs Juice Robinson
Backstory: A match supposed to happen weeks ago before Juice and the debuting Jay White attacked Starks 2-on-1
Straight to a lockup, Spears slapped Juice down then ran him over via lariat, sending him outside before launching him to the barricade. Until Robinson gouged the eyes. Heels cheating without interference, I see you Juice!
An attempted back drop was countered by Ricky onto the mats at ringside. Before Juice turned the tables via whipping him into the steps. Ricky down as the announcers again plugged All In. As Starks came back via introducing Robinson to the ringpost then slamming him from the steps to the floor.
Snapping lefts from Juice left Ricky reeling before rebounding off the ropes into a leaping lariat. Both guys down, Starks hopped to his feet to backdrop Juice once more, charging elbow in the corner, tornado ddt, count of two. DDT nearly ended very badly.
A suplex followed, to the top, Juice got the knees up. Both down once more. Light duelling-chants from a crowd quieted by a lack of quality matches and in-ring promos.
Robinson hit a hurracanrana from the top, then a lariat, another count of two. Robinson wildly looking for Juice is Loose, Ricky countering via rollup, Robinson popping up to hit a thrust to the throat, looking for JiL again, Starks fought free, hit the ropes, ducking under a leg lariat to hit a Spear on the other side.
Before polishing Robinson off via Roshambeaux.
Jay White attacked immediately. Shawn Spears not here tonight. Starks slipped out of a Bladerunner, readying Roshambeaux as Juice pulled his pal to safety and the heels fled.
Decent enough. Crowd not really into it.
Winner: Ricky Starks
Video recapping the whole Hardy/Firm feud.
Perry and Darby backstage ahead of the match. They, perhaps too aggressively, shoved each other in a psyche each other up way. Darby heading off, leaving Perry alone as MJF came in.
Max repeated what he’s said previously about Perry going to the top if he drops the ‘goody two shoes’ act. The pair could run the company. Pointing out how Sammy’s benefitted from allying with him. And Perry’s ‘twice the wrestler’ Guevara is.
All Perry has to do is betray Darby, a man he doesn’t even like. Saying that Perry’s not title material anyway. He offered Perry a ‘spot next to the throne’.
Slapping his hand away, Perry said he wanted the crown. As Darby came back in. Perry was vague when asked what MJF wanted. Sewing the seeds of doubt as Darby ignored a fist bump.
This was nice work creating doubt ahead of the main event without making the faces behave like assholes. Even if a simple explanation could’ve prevented the issue. With Max the master manipulator. The story telling tonight much crisper.
Sammy Guevara & MJF vs Jack Perry & Darby Allin
Backstory: If Perry & Allin win, they’ll be added to the title match at DoN
Darby handed his skateboard to a kid in the crowd. He and Perry continued a vibrant discussion as the promised mash-up played (Max’s music with Sammy’s lyrics), bringing the united heels to the ring.
The crowd remained quiet as the heels took a page from the New Age Outlaws, playing Rock, Paper, Scissors for the right to start. Sammy won, starting off with a headlock then running through Perry before the face hit his springboard armdrag, kipping up as Sammy crawled for a hug in the corner.
Max and Darby in as the crowd began to wake. The pair circling, straight to a series of headlock takedowns from Max, Darby responding with a cradle for two and a springboard armdrag of his own before countering another headlock takeover into another pinfall for two.
Max heading for a hug in the corner too. He and Sammy going outside to talk strategy.
Really nice start, light-years ahead of anything since the opener.
Sammy demanded Perry come in to face MJF. The champ insisting Perry pulled his hair, the crowd booing as Max narrowly avoided knocking Guevara off the apron, before ducking, allowing Perry to do so.
Stiff chops to MJF followed before a tag to Darby led to double-teaming and another two count for Allin. As Sammy got Darby’s attention with a nice to the back from the apron, allowing Max to blast him from behind then take him to the heels’ corner.
Guevara in, using Max’s scarf to choke Darby as the ref talked to Perry. They were caught at the second attempt. And presumably weren’t supposed to be since the ref ignored and counted a cover anyway. Sammy going right back to the chinlock.
As Perry marched round to confront Max, forcing the ref to intervene outside as Guevara went back to the scarf-assisted choke until Allin turned the tables, choking Guevara via Burberry, doing the same to Max, leaving him down outside after an over-the-shoulder stunner.
With Darby desperate to tag, Max pulled Perry off the apron as the ads arrived.
Allin was still stuck in a hold – an abdominal stretch – as we returned, the match having really slowed down during several minutes of chokes and rest-holds. The heels using the ol’ hold hands for leverage ploy, the ref finally spotting it, kicking the hands, Darby finally free, making the crawl but cut off by Max, then both heels until diving between them for the tag.
As Perry came in off the top via cross body. Back elbows and a diving clothesline to both heels followed, then four suicide dives across opposite sides of the ring, culminating in a plancha onto Max. As Sammy avoided one himself only to be blasted by Darby’s best tope in the biz.
And flung back in to eat a tiger driver as Perry got two.
To the top, Max grabbed the boot, allowing Guevara to hit a Spanish fly from upstairs, tag to the champ who fired shots from the mount before quickly tagging Sammy back in, an attempted rocket launcher missed, allowing the tag to Allin.
Code red to Sammy, another planned for MJF who caught Allin mid-way, steering him back up into a Razor’s Edge. Looked great. Blind tag to Perry who immediately snatched the Snare Trap, Sammy down outside but breaking the hold just in time via stomp.
The heels starting a clap with the faces on the outside, Max of course stopping short as Guevara took flight onto both. Before sending Perry in to be planted via capture implant-ddt. Two slaps of the mat.
Guevara in, to the top, senton, Max tagged himself in to steal the pin. An unhappy Sammy pulling the same stunt as the heels argued. MJF slapped him, Sammy responded via thrust kick, Perry hit his running elbow smash only for Darby to tag himself in as Perry hit the ropes.
Perry only just avoiding being squashed himself as Darby came off the top via Coffin Drop to bag the win. If you wanted Perry to be taken seriously, he could’ve done with taking the pin here.
The faces bickered as Max fled up the ramp with his belt. Throwing a tantrum as the graphic announcing the four-way appearing on the screen behind him.
More story than action, though it had its moments.
Winner: Jack Perry & Darby Allin
Next Rampage (6.30 Eastern):
- Hardys, Hook & Isiah Kassidy vs The Firm, Firm Deletion at the Hardy Compound
- Mark Briscoe vs Preston Vance
- Jade Cargill vs TBA
- Lucha Bros & Vikingo vs QT, Aaron Solo & Will Hobbs
- Jon Moxley vs Kenny Omega, Steel Cage
- Daniel Garcia vs Orange Cassidy (Garcia did a lot of the damage to Cassidy tonight), International Title
- FTR promo
- Adam Cole, Orange Cassidy, Bandido & Roderick Strong vs JAS
- Jericho, Cole, Britt angle
- Mox’s promo
- Shida’s return angle
- Really made the main event seem important by pushing it throughout, beginning immediately the show started
- Lucha Bros’ booking (though may be rectified on Rampage)
- After a strong start, the show got very flat between Shida’s return and the main event
Appreciate you reading. Have a good week.