This week’s AEW Dynamite featured Darby Allin vs. Andrade El Idolo, CM Punk in action against Max Caster and Jon Moxley facing Jay Lethal as well.
It’s Wednesday night and you know what that means. Jim Ross welcomed us to the show along with Excalibur and Tony Schiavone on commentary.
CM Punk made his entrance to a thunderous ovation for the first match of the night. Punk has a record of 14-1 in AEW and the one loss wasn’t clean to MJF. Max Caster made his entrance with his tag team partner Anthony Bowens from The Acclaimed. Caster did a pre-match rap referencing the Will Smith slap at the Oscars as expected and then he trashed Punk a bit. Anyway, Punk was smirking at the jokes.
CM Punk vs. Max Caster (w/Anthony Bowens)
They exchanged some holds in the first minute or so with neither guy getting the advantage. Caster had some tape on his left shoulder. Punk was running the ropes, Caster caught him and hit a rib breaker. Caster whipped Punk sternum-first into the turnbuckle and another whip into the turnbuckle. Punk came back with a double axhandle, an atomic drop and a suplex. Punk went for a running knee, Caster moved and Punk hit the turnbuckle. Caster fought out of GTS attempt, a chop and a Fisherman’s Buster for a two count. Caster went up top, Punk met him there and chopped Caster a few times. Punk hit a hurricanrana off the top followed by a knee strike and a bulldog out of the corner. That’s a combo that Punk has been doing for a long time. Punk went for a springboard attack, the referee didn’t see Bowens interfere even though it was obvious and Caster hit a leg drop to Punk’s back for a two count. Caster went up top, he jumped off with the elbow drop, Punk moved and Punk capitalized with a piledriver followed by the Anaconda Vice submission with Caster tapping out. It went about seven minutes.
Winner by submission: CM Punk
Analysis: *** A good match with Punk getting the obvious win. They continue to put Punk in matches where he’s beating guys that he is obviously going to get the win against. The matches are always going to be good, but there isn’t much doubt about who is going to win. The Acclaimed guys are great as a team. I just think AEW books them in singles matches on TV far too often because it’s just a way for a singles wrestler to beat one of them.
CM Punk was interviewed in the ring by Tony Schiavone with the fans cheering for Punk. Tony mentioned Punk making the gesture for the title belt. Punk made the belt gesture motion while asking the crowd: “What does this mean?” Punk said he doesn’t know who the champ’s going to be in the future because it might be Adam Cole baybay or he may be looking at some Cowboy Shit. Punk said that there’s more grey in his beard, there will be more scores and before Punk’s time is over AEW, he will be World’s Champion.
Analysis: I believe that. Punk is a main event talent that is performing at a high level and getting huge reactions. Punk is going to get the AEW World Title at some point this year, I think.
Maxwell Jacob Friedman was interviewed with FTR and Smart Mark Sterling was around with photos of Wardlow. MJF said that The Pinnacle are going to get some wins starting tonight with FTR against Billy’s Kids. Next week, Shawn Spears is going to beat Shawn Dean. Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler were there with Dax saying he was friends with Wardlow and so is Cash. MJF told FTR that Wardlow used to talk shit about them. MJF ended it saying when you’re in The Pinnacle you’re always on top.
Analysis: The Pinnacle as a group hasn’t been featured that much in recent months. Perhaps that will change going forward. Funny line by MJF saying that Wardlow used to talk shit about them. MJF is a good liar.
Jay Lethal entered the arena for singles action. Jon Moxley made his entrance in the back part of the arena wearing a “Blackpool Combat Club” sweatshirt.
Jon Moxley vs. Jay Lethal
The fans were loud as they chanted for both guys. Moxley got a couple of side headlock takeovers. Lethal went for a submission, Moxley kicked out of it and tossed Lethal out of the ring, but Lethal went back in the ring rather than fight on the floor. Moxley slapped Lethal in the face, Moxley put his hands behind the back and they exchanged forearms. Moxley with a chop, Lethal with a kick to the chest and Moxley bounced off the ropes with a shoulder tackle. Moxley with a German Suplex followed by a corner clothesline. Moxley with punches as they battled by the turnbuckle, they were standing on the top rope and Lethal shoved Moxley off the turnbuckle to crotch Moxley across the top rope. Lethal hit a suicide dive into the barricade. They went to a picture in picture break.
They returned with both guys selling after some hard shots to the body, they each ran the ropes and did a cross body collision spot. Moxley and Lethal exchanged strikes again, Lethal got in a few jobs and harder chops. Moxley with a running forearm, Lethal blocked a clothesline, but then he ran the ropes and Moxley crushed Lethal with a huge clothesline for a flip bump from Jay. Lethal punched the knee to avoid a piledriver, then Lethal hit the Lethal Combination ending in a flatliner for a two count. Lethal went up top, Moxley charged, Lethal jumped over and Moxley wanted a move, but then he was selling the knee again. Lethal with a kick to the head, Lethal went for the Lethal Injection off the ropes, Moxley with a sleeper and Lethal turned it into a two count. Lethal rocked Moxley with a kick followed by a brainbuster. Lethal went up top and connected with an Elbow Drop since he does a great Macho Man impression, so that got a two count. I’m stunned that the crowd thought that was it with a big reaction to it. Lethal was frustrated with the referee Paul Turner for the way he counted. Moxley countered Figure Four Leglock attempt with a tight cradle for two. Moxley hit the Paradigm Shift for the pinfall win after 12 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Jon Moxley
Analysis: ***3/4 An action-filled match with both guys doing a nice job of selling (a problem for some people in AEW) throughout the match while delivering a clean finish as well. Moxley is awesome, Lethal has always been very good as well, so it was a nice mix of styles during a fresh matchup. The fans bought into Lethal possibly winning with the top rope elbow although I doubt everybody bought into that. Moxley winning in a decisive manner was the right way to go.
Post match, Moxley wanted a handshake. Lethal was frustrated about losing, but he did shake Moxley’s hand. The fans liked that since they are both faces.
A video aired about Marina Shafir dominating matches on the AEW Youtube shows. It was about 20 seconds. Pretty basic. She is married to WWE’s Roderick Strong and they have a son together in case you don’t know.
The announcers went over what’s coming up with FTR vs. Gunn Club up next.
FTR entered for tag team action and they are my favorite team in AEW. They are the AAA Tag Team Champions. They are wearing FTR guy NWO colors likely to pay tribute to the late, great Scott Hall. The Gunn Club aka Ass Boys were next with daddy Billy Gunn joining them. Maxwell Jacob Friedman also showed up to join commentary to support his FTR buddies.
FTR (Dax Harwood & Cash Wheeler) vs. Gunn Club (Colten & Austin Gunn)
They are both heel teams in theory, but FTR are faces in a lot of ways. Harwood started with Colten with not a lot happening, so Austin tagged in and fans were chanting “Ass Boys” at Billy’s kids. MJF didn’t like when Excalibur mentioned CM Punk’s name. Austin worked over Wheeler with forearms, Austin ran the ropes and Wheeler hit two arm drags followed by a dropkick. Wheeler with a chop on Colten and Harwood tagged in with an elbow drop. Wheeler tagged in with a double ax to the arm of Austin and then Austin went to the floor, so Wheeler chopped him. Colten grabbed Wheeler’s foot, which led to Billy decking Wheeler with a huge punch while on the floor. Gunn Club took over from there as they went to a picture in picture break.
The match returned with Wheeler still the face in peril I guess and he hit a belly to back suplex on Austin. Colten tagged in to prevent a tag leading to Colten hitting a corner splash followed by a dropkick for two. Wheeler avoided Austin tagging in, so Harwood tagged in with punches for both Gunn boys. Harwood with a running dropkick on Colten and Harwood hit a stiff lariat on Austin for a two count. Harwood battled Austin on the apron with a suplex and Colten tripped up Harwood while holding the foot. That drew a two count. Wardlow was shown arriving in the building and he beat up some security guys including a Powerbomb on a guy that didn’t break a table. Wardlow entered in the upper deck part of the arena and he kicked down some security guys. He punched some other guys. They stopped showing the action in the ring while there were about ten security guys that got control of Wardlow. Back to the ring, Harwood got a rollup on Austin for two and Billy was on the apron. Billy tried to help his son, the referee was right there and then Wheeler got back in for the Big Rig double team finisher for the pinfall win after 12 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: FTR (Dax Harwood & Cash Wheeler)
Analysis: **3/4 It was a solid match. The FTR guys worked as faces that whole match with Wheeler as the face in peril until Harwood got the tag leading to the win. The Gunn Club guys are pretty good as working as heels getting in the cheap shots and getting heat from the crowd. I just don’t think anybody really takes them as threats in a match like this. It’s another match on this show with an obvious result. I liked the finish a lot with Wheeler helping Harwood leading to the Big Rig double team move for the win.
After the match, MJF got into the ring with FTR and they were shoving MJF’s hands away from trying to hug them. Harwood told MJF that they are friends with Wardlow and they didn’t like that. MJF raised their hands.
A video aired about Powerhouse Hobbs and Keith Lee exchanging words. Hobbs told Lee that he (Hobbs) will beat Lee on Rampage this Friday and Lee told Hobbs to bask in Keith’s glory.
Chris Jericho was standing by with the Jericho Appreciation Society group with Jericho saying they were the revolutionary force in sports entertainment (a WWE phrase). Jericho claimed that everybody wants to be part of the group like dirt sheet writers, fans and lowly wrestlers want to be part of the JAS, but it’s only the five of them. Daniel Garcia said that they future endeavored Silver & Reynolds while taking out Kingston, Santana & Ortiz. They were looking around for Kingston, Santana & Ortiz, but when they opened a curtain, those three guys were there. That led to Kingston fighting Jericho from the back and into the ring with Kingston biting Jericho’s face at one point. Kingston nailed Jericho with a spinning back fist. Kingston got a hold of Garcia leading to a running kick from Santana. Ortiz sent Matt Minard into the steel steps. Kingston sent Garcia into a chair on the floor. Santana went up top, Angelo Parker threw him down and Hager tossed Ortiz into the turnbuckle. Hager hit a huge powerslam on Kingston and Minard sent Ortiz into the steel steps. Parker and Hager hit their own version of a Street Sweeper double team move. Jericho beat on Kingston with the aluminum baseball bat. Jericho took off his belt, so he whipped Kingston with it. Jericho hit Kingston with a Judas Effect elbow. The JAS boys celebrated to end it.
Analysis: A dominant attack for the heel stable as they continue to look strong to try to establish them as a threat. I mentioned last week in my review that it was obvious based on the promo that they did that Kingston, Santana & Ortiz were coming back this week. Sometimes there are fights in AEW where they are broken up within a matter of seconds. Other times there are fights like this win that goes on for like ten minutes with nobody out there to try to break it up. It’s a lack of consistency, but that’s what happens in AEW.
Jade Cargill, the TBS Champion, and Smart Mark Sterling got to pick her next opponent. Sterling wanted it to be Leva Bates, Cargill didn’t like that and they picked Marina Shafir instead. Why do they get to pick and not the booker Tony Khan? Nobody tries to answer that.
Bryan Danielson made his entrance while his mentor William Regal joined commentary. Wheeler Yuta from the Best Friends group was the opponent. Bryan is 16-2-2 in AEW.
Bryan Danielson vs. Wheeler Yuta
Bryan got in a forearm shot to the ribs. They did a submission spot locking hands on the ground while Bryan also delivered some knees to the body. Yuta fought out of that, Bryan applied a leg submission and Yuta got to the ropes to break the hold. Bryan with a hard slap to the face, then a shoulder tackle and repeated kicks to the body. Bryan charged, but Yuta was ready with a dropkick. Yuta locked up the legs in a submission leading to Yuta bridging back and even folding his arms to taunt Bryan a bit. Bryan got to the ropes to break the hold. Bryan sent Yuta to the apron, Yuta jumped off the top and Bryan kicked Yuta in the ribs.
The match returned with Bryan unleashing some chops and Yuta fought back with chops. Bryan with uppercuts, Yuta countered with a backslide pin and Bryan hit him with a forearm. Yuta with a German Suplex for two. Bryan with a hard kick to the back followed by a Dragon Suplex for a two count. Regal said he was impressed by Yuta. Bryan worked over Yuta with elbows to the chest, but Yuta came back with a counter leading to his own barrage of elbows to the chest. Bryan with an armdrag, then he ran under the arm of Yuta and Bryan came back with the running knee strike to knock Yuta down. Bryan went for a stomp to the face, Yuta spit on him, then Bryan stomped on Yuta and Bryan hit a Gotch-style piledriver. Bryan applied the LeBell Lock for the submission win. It went about ten minutes.
Winner by submission: Bryan Danielson
Analysis: ***1/2 The usual great TV match from Bryan with Yuta holding his own against a veteran opponent. I’m impressed by the technical skill of Yuta as a guy that’s in his mid-20s and he’s going to keep getting better. Yuta put up a fight, but it was a dominant win by Bryan by the end of it. I liked Yuta with the spit too because it showed how defiant he was, yet Bryan was relentless and got the win.
A video aired about Darby Allin’s past with Andrade El Idolo over the last few months and now they will finally have a match.
Let’s Hear from Adam Cole and Friends
Adam Cole made his entrance with the AEW World Title that he stole from “Hangman” Adam Page and ReDRagon had the AEW Tag Team Titles that they stole by Jungle Boy & Luchasaurus. The three men taped their names over the nameplates on the title belts that they stole. They had balloons in a box, so the balloons were let out of the box.
Cole claimed that Adam Page and the Jurassic Express are not there tonight. Cole said that they didn’t steal the titles because the titles belong to them. Cole said that they need a new era, they need a new crew to run the show and they are the three best wrestlers on the planet. Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish spoke about how people don’t think they deserve the titles while Kyle claimed to drink too much champagne. Fish said that he would put their resume up against anybody and claimed they are the three baddest dudes that this company has to offer bar no one.
The music of “Hangman” Adam Page hit as the AEW World Champion drove up in a Tesla that had some horns on the front of it. Page went into the ring to go after the heels with punches. Page sent Kyle and Fish out of the ring. Page with a fallaway slam on Col, but then Kyle and Fish saved Cole from a Buckshot Lariat. That led to Jungle Boy, Luchasaurus and Christian Cage showing up to make the save. They cleaned house. Christian sent Cole back into the ring, Cole ducked a Buckshot Lariat and Page gave Cole a back body drop over the top to the floor. The champions Page and Jungle Boy/Luchasaurus celebrated getting their titles back.
Analysis: This wasn’t that interesting to me. The “steal the title” gimmick is lame and it’s just a way to get some cheap heat. We’re supposed to believe that grown men think stealing titles means they are the champions? It’s lame. It’s probably leading to more matches between these guys, so just set something up and move on.
Thunder Rosa, the AEW Women’s Champion, was interviewed on the stage by Tony Schiavone. Thunder said that she’s the new AEW Women’s Champion and proud to be a Mexican champion. Thunder said that she fought her way to the top of this division. Thunder said that she wants to be the face of all of women’s wrestling. Thunder claimed that pillars get knocked down, but foundations remain standing while saying she’s a foundation in this company. Rosa had a message to Nyla Rose saying she is there to fight, so it didn’t matter if she had to wrestle Nyla because she wants to wrestle the best in the world.
Analysis: The promo was fine, but nothing that special. Thunder is a better wrestler than she is a talker.
The FTR team of Harwood and Wheeler talked about how they do take things seriously because this is what they love to do. Wheeler said that they are going to be ROH Tag Team Champions on Friday and then become AEW Tag Team Champions for a second time. Harwood said he’s tired of waiting, so he’s issuing the challenge to the Young Bucks to see who is the greatest tag team of all time. Interesting challenge.
Analysis: The first Young Bucks/FTR match was outstanding, so I look forward to seeing it again.
The Bunny entered for singles action. Toni Storm was up next as the opponent with Toni making her debut. Good reaction from the crowd. It wasn’t a huge pop, but pretty solid I think. Tony tried to claim the fans were becoming unglued. It really wasn’t close to that, but the announcers lie.
Analysis: Toni Storm is a good addition for AEW. I don’t think she’s a huge difference-maker, but a talented veteran to have on the roster. With that said, I expect AEW to use her well for a few months, but will it last? Look at Ruby Soho. She has barely been on TV for a few months and is on the Youtube shows only. That’s not good.
Owen Hart Cup Foundation Women’s Tournament Qualifying Match: The Bunny vs. Toni Storm
Storm with a running elbow followed by a suplex for two. Storm charged, Bunny moved out of the way and Storm managed to come back with punches. Bunny with chops, a knee lift and Storm bounced off the ropes with a dropkick. Toni sent Bunny to the apron, Bunny came back with a knee to the ribs and Toni bumped from the apron to the floor. Bunny with a running clothesline on the floor leading to a picture in picture break.
They exchanged strikes from a standing position, Bunny did a back rake and Storm hit a forearm to the head. Storm hit a running clothesline. Storm blocked a kick leading into a headbutt. Storm hit a running hip attack in the corner, a running kick and a Fisherman’s Suplex for two. Bunny sent Storm into the ropes, then Bunny got a hold of Storm and Bunny hit a Death Valley Driver for a two count. Storm got a hold of Bunny by the ropes, Bunny with a back elbow and two superkicks for two. Storm avoided a move leading to a German Suplex and the Storm Zero piledriver finished it after eight minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Toni Storm
Analysis: **1/4 An average match with Toni getting the win in her AEW debut. That was never in doubt. The crowd was barely reacting to them towards the end of the match. I like The Bunny, but they never seem to push her that much. I think they could have booked this in a way to make Storm look more impressive.
Nyla Rose and Vickie Guerrero did an interview talking about Thunder Rosa. Rose said she’s a foundation of the company since she has been there since day one. Rose said that Thunder seems to have a deathwish, so Rose will be her genie: “Abra cadabra, bitch.” Alrighty then.
Next week on AEW Dynamite:
* Men’s and Women’s Owen Hart Foundation Tournament Matches
* Tables Match: The Butcher & The Blade vs. The Hardys. That should be an easy Hardy win.
This Friday on AEW Rampage:
* Young Bucks vs. Top Flight.
* House of Black vs. Fuego del Sol, Evil Uno & Stu Grayson.
* Hear from Scorpio Sky, Dan Lambert & Paige Vanzant.
* Jamie Hayter vs. Skye Blue.
* Hear from Kris Statlander.
* Powerhouse Hobbs vs. Keith Lee.
The main event of Darby Allin vs. Andrade El Idolo was next.
Andrade El Idolo made his entrance with Jose The Assistant. Darby Allin was up next with the legendary Sting, who went to the back.
When Allin got to the ringside area, Andrade hit a twisting dive over the top to take out Allin on the floor. Andrade whipped Allin over the table at ringside and into the barricade. Andrade sent Allin onto the table although there was not enough force to break the table. Andrade slammed Allin so that Allin bumped onto the ring apron. Andrade charged, Allin moved and Andrade hit the steel steps. Allin used the skateboard to jump onto Andrade’s back. Allin tried to jump onto Andrade, but Andrade caught him in a suplex position and put Allin in the crowd. Andrade picked up Allin and launched him onto the edge of the steel steps. Andrade went into the ring with Allin following him. Referee Bryce Remsburg asked Darby if he wanted to start the match, Darby said yes and it began.
Analysis: It’s a way to weaken Allin before the match started in order to tell a story before the bell rang.
Andrade El Idolo vs. Darby Allin
Andrade with a boot in a corner followed by a hard whip into the turnbuckle. Andrade with another whip into the turnbuckle. Andrade hit a running knee attack in the corner for a two count with Allin getting his hands on the ropes. Allin with a jawbreaker, but then Andrade came back with a back body drop with Allin taking a rough landing there. That led to a PIP break.
Allin was fighting back with punches, but Andrade got a kick to the gut. Andrade went for a power move only for Allin to counter it into a Code Red for a two count. It’s a sunset flip Powerbomb, so it was a really cool counter. Andrade charged, Allin got boots up and then Andrade crushed him with a running kick to the head. Allin came back with some slaps, Andrade with slaps and they kept on slapping eachother in the head. The fans were cheering. Andrade decked Allin with a hard slap leading to both guys bumping to the mat like they were knocked out or dazed after that shot. Andrade wanted to use his belt, Andrade tripped him up to send him into the turnbuckle and Allin hit a flipping Stunner for a two count. Allin charged, Andrade caught him with a backbreaker and that only got a two count. Andrade set up Allin on the top rope, Andrade with a hard chop and Allin got on Andrade’s shoulders leading to a crucifix bomb slam off the top. Allin with an armbar on Andrade, Jose tried to help Andrade, but then Sting attacked Jose from behind. The Butcher and The Blade ran out to ringside to take out Sting, so Allin jumped off the top on Butcher and Blade. Back in the ring, Andrade caught Allin with a rollup into a Buckle Bomb and Andrade hit a Hammerlock DDT for the pinfall win. It went 11 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Andrade El Idolo
Analysis: ***1/4 A very good match with Andrade on offense for most of it while Allin did a great job of selling as usual. That’s a rare win for Andrade because I don’t remember the last televised win for him. He needed that one even though it was cheap since Allin had to take care of Butcher and Blade on the floor. I’m just glad that Andrade won a big match while Allin should be fine even after a loss.
Post match, Butcher and Blade went after Sting and Private Party joined in on the attack against Sting. The Hardys duo of Matt and Jeff Hardy made the save to a huge pop. Matt hit Marq Quen with a Twist of Fate in the ring. Jeff went up top and hit a Swanton Bomb on Quen. The Hardys celebrated in the ring with Sting while Allin was still down in the ring.
Analysis: It was fine for a post match save to put the babyfaces over and end the show on a happy note.
Three Stars of the Show
- Jon Moxley
- Bryan Danielson
- CM Punk/Jay Lethal
This Week: 7.5 out of 10
Last Week: 7.5
The three main event level guys CM Punk, Bryan Danielson and Jon Moxley all got wins against wrestlers that are clearly levels below them, so it’s obvious who is going to win the matches. With that said, the matches are almost always given time and usually pretty good because they typically get around ten minutes or more. Andrade beating Darby Allin was a good thing to me because Andrade rarely wins televised matches. It was a bit cheap, but it worked.
I’m happy for Toni Storm landing in AEW. I assume they’ll use her for a few months, but they often forget about people like how Ruby Soho is rarely on TV in the last few months. There was an initial pop from the crowd like “I have heard of her” but then they got quiet during the match.
I think from an in-ring standpoint it was a very good show. In terms of storylines, angles, promos and stuff like that, it was just okay. I wouldn’t call it some overwhelmingly great episode or act like it’s amazing every week like the announcers do.
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