This week’s AEW Dynamite featured the Blind Tag Team Tournament, Kenny Omega facing Wheeler Yuta and more.
I want to thank our new writer “All Elite” Gino for reviewing AEW Collision for us on TJRWrestling. I don’t have time on weekends for it and all of the other shows I review are enough for me. Gino is doing well at it and you can check out the July 1st Collision review in case you missed it.
It’s Wednesday night and you know what that means. Excalibur, Taz and Tony Schiavone were on commentary.
There was a backstage scene from “moments ago” with Darby Allin and Keith Lee being interviewed by Renee Paquette. Allin tried to motivate Lee saying he knows that Lee doesn’t like Swerve, so maybe Lee could take out Swerve during the match or just have Lee dominate and win 2 on 1. Allin told Lee to pull his head out of his ass and take it seriously or sit on the apron and cry about it. Allin was trying to motivate Lee and Lee said it was ballsy…stupid but ballsy.
Blind Eliminator Tag Team Tournament: Orange Cassidy & Darby Allin vs. Keith Lee & Swerve Strickland
Lee and Swerve are former AEW Tag Team Champions, but they broke up a while ago. Allin slapped Lee in the face. Lee tossed Allin all the way across the ring. Orange tagged in for his comedy spots with Lee. After thinking about it, Lee hit a two-handed chop to the chest. Lee with another hard chop to the chest. Allin tagged in, Lee caught him and Orange hit an Orange Punch. Allin and Orange staggered Lee into the turnbuckle, so Swerve tagged in with a jumping kick. Swerve hit a forearm, back kick and Swerve hit a diving uppercut in the back. Swerve did a hard whip into the turnbuckle, which saw Darby bump to the floor leading to a break.
Lee tagged in with a Powerbomb on Swerve, who superplexed Allin at the same time. Lee was smiling about it. Lee applied a bearhug on Orange while Swerve trapped Allin under the steel steps at ringside. Orange broke free with a dive onto Swerve on the floor. Orange was on Lee’s back going for a sleeper, then Lee walked on the steps and Allin was screaming in pain. Back in the ring, Orange hit a Stundog Millionaire on Lee and Allin hit a Canadian Destroyer in Canada. Swerve did a 450 Splash off the top, Orange moved and Swerve laughed about it as he hit Lee. Swerve and Lee mistimed a double team move with Swerve hitting a jumping kick on Lee to knock him out of the ring. Orange jumped off the top with a DDT and Orange hit a suicide dive into a DDT on Lee on the floor. Allin pinned Swerve with the Last Supper pinning move. Lee may have been legal there, but it’s AEW. They don’t seem to care. It went 11 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Darby Allin & Orange Cassidy
Analysis: ***1/2 It was an entertaining tag team match with Tony Khan’s favorite wrestlers getting the win. The story was that Swerve and Lee kept on messing up with Swerve splashing and kicking his own partner by accident twice because they aren’t friends anymore. There were some clever spots with Lee and Orange since Lee is willing to sell for smaller guys. I wasn’t surprised by the result. Lee looked good in spots, but AEW still doesn’t use him like a top guy or anything close to that.
Post match, Lee touched knuckles with Allin and the back of the hand with Orange.
There was a video package about Nick Wayne with Darby Allin talking about how he was trained by Buddy Wayne. Nick is Buddy’s son. Buddy died suddenly several years ago when Nick was a teenager that was getting into the ring learning to wrestle. Allin said when Buddy died, Darby made a promise to look over Nick. At 16, Nick was offered an AEW contract for when he’s 18 years old and now he’s 18 years old, so we will see Nick’s debut soon. To be continued.
Analysis: Nick is good from what I’ve seen, so it will be interesting to see how AEW uses him. Later in the show they said Nick is facing Swerve Strickland next week.
There was a truck arriving at the building and it was “Jungle Boy” Jack Perry, who ran away from Hook last week. Jack said if you want to handle this, they will handle it like professionals in a match. Jack wanted a match for the FTW Title. Hook was there to attack Jack, who went back in the car and then the car drove off.
The Acclaimed and Daddy Ass are in action up next.
There were videos about Adam Cole and Maxwell Jacob Friedman training in the gym together. While MJF needed a spot lifting weights, Cole was looking his phone instead of spotting him. MJF saw a fat guy in the gym, so he made a fat joke. Cole and MJF agreed that the fat guy reminded them of…Tony Schiavone. Poor Tony. Cole easily lifted the weight that MJF lifted, so MJF was stunned by it.
Analysis: I assume we are getting MJF against Adam Cole at All In, but since that’s on August 27th we have to sit through these bonding segments since they are in the Blind Tag Team Tournament. There were some funny lines.
The Acclaimed – Max Caster & Anthony Bowens and “Daddy Ass” Billy Gunn vs. The Blade and The Bollywood Boyz – Harv & Gurv
The Acclaimed did a pre-match rap. Billy knocked down Blade with a shoulder tackle. Caster tagged in to knock down Blade. The Acclaimed trio cleaned house including the leg drop from Bowens followed by a scissoring celebration. They went to a picture-in-picture break.
Bowens made the hot tag with some strikes on Harv and Gurv while also chopping Blade. Bowens hit a leg drop to the back of Gurv. Billy hit a Full Nelson Slam on Gurv. Caster tagged in with a Mic Drop elbow off the top on Gurv for the pinfall win after about seven minutes.
Winners by pinfall: The Acclaimed – Max Caster & Anthony Bowens and “Daddy Ass” Billy Gunn
Analysis: *1/2 It was just a random match to put over The Acclaimed because I guess they needed a win. Half of it took place during the commercial.
There was a video featuring Harley Cameron of QTV complaining about The Acclaimed while reminding them that they got their asses beat. Harley said she’s going to show her music video next week saying that will show she’s the most talented musician in AEW.
Billy Gunn said he’s got two words for her: “Suck it.”
Analysis: I guess this is a rivalry that we’re supposed to be excited about. I like The Acclaimed. I just don’t think a rivalry with QTV is that interesting.
They showed a video of Eddie Kingston beating KENTA winning the NJPW Strong Openweight Champion. Eddie was emotional and was hugged by his best friend Homicide after winning the title.
Analysis: It was treated like a big deal because Eddie finally won a title in NJPW. It helps that NJPW has titles for the NJPW Strong brand so that he could win one. There are so many titles between NJPW, NJPW Strong, AEW and ROH these days. It’s hard to keep track of who has what.
Jon Moxley was featured in a video talking about how he’s known Eddie Kingston since 2009. Moxley said they accomplished what they wanted to in this business. Moxley didn’t like how Eddie complained about the next generation. Moxley said they built the next generation. Moxley told Eddie to answer his phone.
Analysis: This was taped last week because Moxley was wrestling in Japan.
The Blood & Guts match on July 19 featured The Elite with four guys against four guys on the Blackpool Combat Club, but there will be 10 guys in it. Bryan Danielson is out for the BCC due to his broken arm injury and Kingston is out for The Elite side because he’s wrestling in the G1 Climax Tournament in Japan.
Analysis: The obvious partner for The Elite is Kota Ibushi. They’ll find some heel to join the BCC guys.
Matt Hardy was shown at the tumbler with Renee Paquette and RJ City. Matt was already picked, so RJ City read the name: Jeff Jarrett. Matt and Jeff are teaming together on Rampage in the Blind Tag Team Tournament. Matt said he hates Jeff Jarrett.
Wheeler Yuta did a promo claiming he was going to end Kenny Omega tonight. The announcers pushed that he got a win over Omega in a tag team match, which is true.
Let’s Hear from Chris Jericho
Chris Jericho made his entrance for a promo with the Edmonton crowd cheering a bit and singing since he grew up in Winnipeg. Jericho is known as one of the greatest Canadian wrestlers ever. Jericho also started his career in Alberta. The fans sang the “Judas” song for Chris. Jericho soaked up the ovation for a bit as the fans chanted “Jericho” for him.
Chris Jericho said that it’s a bittersweet reaction for him because he’s had some big losses in his career of late. Jericho said maybe it’s time to re-evaluate some things. Jericho said this is the perfect place to do that because this province is where he started his pro wrestling career. Jericho said down the road in Calgary was where he trained with Stu Hart. Jericho mentioned having his first match about an hour from here. Jericho said he drove up and down the highway while mentioning some local spots, which drew cheers. Jericho said he remembered what it was like when he first started wrestling when wrestling was everything to him. Jericho said that wrestling still is everything to him. Jericho said he feels resurrected. Jericho said it’s time to be a better Chris Jericho and maybe the best version of Chris Jericho ever….and here comes Don Callis.
Don Callis made his way down to the ring with the fans booing him while Taz saying it was tremendous that Don was hated. There were “F**k you Callis” chants.
Callis said that Jericho was saying he needs a change. Callis said that it was six years ago today when he called Jericho to ask if he wanted to main even the Tokyo Dome against Kenny Omega. Callis mentioned their 34 years of friendship and said that match changed the course of wrestling history. Callis said without that match, these people aren’t here right now and Callis took credit.
Jericho said that in 2015, Callis was out of wrestling and Jericho said he helped Jericho get back in the business. Jericho said he got Callis into AEW too. Jericho took credit for Callis being there.
Callis spoke over the loud boos saying that when he works with Jericho, they make history. Callis talked about how he was betrayed by Kenny Omega, so he had to create a new family. Callis said that when he thinks about trust, he thinks about the man that beat Kenny Omega in AEW and he thinks about his best friend of 34 years, Chris Jericho. Callis said he was there to ask Jericho one question: “Will you join the Don Callis Family?”
Jericho asked Don if he was seriously being asked to join Don’s faction. Jericho said that he doesn’t join factions, he creates factions. Jericho took a while to deliver an answer and said: “Maybe.” That was it. Jericho left.
Analysis: That was a long promo just to set up a “Maybe” reply from Chris Jericho. I thought Chris did a nice job of pandering to the crowd with more of a babyface promo instead of the usual heel promo. I’m not sure if this is going to lead to Jericho going face, but it could lead to something like that. It felt like Sammy Guevara was going to go face against Jericho, so I’m not sure where that’s headed. We know Jericho tends to do what he wants in AEW and he likes long term stories, so we’ll see how it goes in the next few months.
A video aired about CM Punk facing Samoa Joe on Collision this Saturday in the Owen Hart Cup semifinals. They did the typical confident promos. Punk said he’ll beat Joe for the first time and he’ll win this whole damn thing. Punk: “Tell me when I’m telling lies.”
There was also a video about Powerhouse Hobbs facing Ricky Starks in the Owen Hart Cup semifinals in a match that’s also on Collision. They didn’t feature comments from either man.
Analysis: I think CM Punk will win the Owen Hart Cup tournament. No comments from Hobbs and Starks make them look like lesser competitors.
They replayed Samoa Joe’s cheap attack on Roderick Strong after Joe beat him on Collision.
Roderick Strong was being checked on by Dr. Sampson. Strong was in a neckbrace. The doctor said that they need to be cautious. Adam Cole walked in saying he’s worried about Strong. Cole read a text from MJF about doing a double clothesline spot in their match. Cole said he had to go for his match.
Analysis: We are to assume that Roderick Strong has a serious neck injury, so they flew him from his home in Florida all the way to Edmonton to just get checked by a doctor? That’s a long flight or two or three.
Maxwell Jacob Friedman was up first as the AEW World Champion joined by his tag team partner Adam Cole. MJF was sucking up to Cole a lot and doing the Cole mannerisms during the entrance.
AEW Blind Tag Team Tournament: Maxwell Jacob Friedman & Adam Cole vs. The Butcher & Matt Menard
This is the Blind Tag Team Tournament. The Butcher and Menard were being called “Magic Meat.” MJF was wearing a “Better Than You Bay Bay” shirt and elbow pad.
Menard did some brief offense that led to him celebrating, so MJF did an eye gouge. MJF did an abdominal stretch near the ropes, but Cole didn’t want to cheat. After about 20 seconds, Cole did it. Menard hit a hiptoss on MJF across the ring. Butcher got in some cheap shots in MJF when the referee wasn’t looking.
Butcher and Menard did the abdominal stretch cheating spot. MJF did a low blow to Butcher while the referee wasn’t looking. MJF was overacting while Menard trapped him in an abdominal stretch. MJF managed to tag in Cole, who knocked Butcher off the apron and hit forearms on Menard. Cole hit a neckbreaker on the knee. Butcher into the ring illegally, Cole kicked him and threw Butcher out of the ring. Cole hit an enziguri kick on Menard and a superkick on Butcher. Cole superkicked a charging Menard. MJF shouted about a double clothesline but Cole hit Menard with a Boom knee to the head for the pinfall win after nine minutes.
Winners by pinfall: MJF & Adam Cole
Analysis: ** Easy win for the guys that are pushed over the guys that are barely on television. MJF was the face in peril and Cole made the tag for the decisive victory.
MJF and Cole celebrated with MJF picking up Cole in excitement, so Cole tried to calm him down.
The AEW World Champion MJF asked the crowd if we had any “Devil Worshippers” in the house and the fans cheered. MJF asked if we had fans of the guy with the super cool, over name and Cole did his “Adam Cole bay bay” move leading to the fans doing it. MJF wanted them to do the double clothesline and Cole tried to calm him down. MJF suggested having another Bro Session with Cole. The fans chanted “yes” to that, so Cole said sure why not? The fans cheered. MJF said “Happy Birthday” and then some streamers filled the ring. MJF led the crowd in “Happy Birthday” chants. There were a bunch of guys that walked out with a cake, party hats and other things. It was not a big cake. MJF said they were there to celebrate Cole, who turns 34 years old today. MJF showed off his vocal skills by singing “Happy Birthday” in an interesting way. Cole said he appreciates the party hats, streamers and the song. MJF told Cole to make a wish. MJF told the camera that he’s going to shove Cole’s face in the cake. Cole avoided it and shoved MJF’s face into the cake. Cole said it was good cake. Cole told MJF he means this with all sincerity and he thanked Max for doing it. The announcers wondered if they might actually get along.
Analysis: The story continues to be that MJF is being nice to Adam Cole because he doesn’t want to have to face Cole, who nearly beat MJF when they had a match. By being nice to Cole, MJF is trying to make Cole not want to face him. Everybody can see that MJF isn’t really being genuine, but the wrestlers and announcers have to play it like they have no idea what’s happening. Anyway, there were some funny lines from MJF in the promo. I guess when MJF attacks Cole in a month or whatever, we are supposed to be shocked by it. Just remember that.
Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D. was interviewed by Renee Paquette. Britt said she didn’t care if Ruby Soho likes her or if anybody likes her. Baker said you can never take Britt’s pride because Britt will always be the face of this division. Britt had the Owen Hart Cup Foundation belt with her saying she beat Ruby in the finals last year. That match is next.
Chris Jericho was about to be interviewed by Renee Paquette with Daniel Garcia & Sammy Guevara. Garcia said they need Jericho, but Jericho said that they need to be able to branch out on their own and they can’t be with Jericho forever. Renee informed Garcia & Sammy that they are a team in the Blind Tag Team Tournament. Jericho told them to show what they can do together. Garcia and Sammy touched knuckles.
Analysis: So two guys who have teamed before who are part of the same stable are in a “random” tag team tournament? Shocking. The creative team really isn’t that “creative” when it comes to coming up with unique teams in the Blind Tag Team Tournament.
Britt Baker entered with the Owen Hart Cup belt that she won last year. The graphic said that Britt Baker is 8-4 in 2023. She has only wrestled 12 matches in six months? That’s a light schedule. Ruby Soho had AEW Women’s Champion Toni Storm and Saraya with her.
Women’s Owen Hart Cup Tournament Quarterfinals: Ruby Soho (w/Toni Storm & Saraya) vs. Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D.
Baker went for an armbar and Ruby bailed to the floor to regroup. Baker hit a shoulder tackle and a Slingblade. Baker was trying for some DDT or something and Ruby stumbled through it, so they messed that up. Baker was getting yelled at by Storm and Saraya on the storm, so Ruby did an STO trip on the floor.
Baker got some offense going with a twisting neckbreaker. That looked a lot better than the move that they messed up earlier. Baker put the glove on the right hand and Ruby went for No Future kick, but Ruby avoided it. Ruby got a rollup for two. Storm grabbed Britt’s foot and Ruby hit a Saito Suplex on Britt for two. Ruby went up top, took way too long, missed a foot stomp and Baker hit another superkick. Baker hit a complicated backslide pin for two. Baker went for the Lockjaw, but Saraya distracted the referee and Ruby threw Britt’s head into the ceremonial Owen Title. Ruby got a two count out of it. Ruby went for the Lockjaw submission, then Saraya and Storm pulled Ruby out of the ring and got Ruby out of it. Baker knocked down Storm and Saraya on the floor. Ruby got a victory roll on Baker, then she sat on top and Ruby held Storm’s hand for the leverage. The referee missed the cheating. Ruby got the win after about ten minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Ruby Soho
Analysis: **1/2 Just an average match with a lot of interference to give Ruby the cheap win. I liked the nearfall spot with Baker’s head hitting the title and Ruby nearly winning, but then Britt kicked out. This is another example of AEW babyface women look dumb because they never have help at ringside and it allows The Outcasts to constantly cheat for finishes. It leads to some repetitive endings to these matches. That DDT spot they tried looked bad too. Anyway, a cheap win for Ruby is fine.
After the match, Sky Blue appeared to have a staredown with Ruby because they are meeting in the semifinals.
It’s Kenny Omega facing Wheeler Yuta in the main event up next.
Wheeler Yuta of the Blackpool Combat Club made his entrance with an 11-6 record in 2023. The graphic mentioned that Yuta pinned Kenny Omega in the Anarchy in the Arena match at Double or Nothing. It was a cheap win due to Konosuke Takeshita, but the announcers still had to try to put Yuta over as a threat.
Kenny Omega was up next with 16-1-1 career singles record on Dynamite. That’s not a lot of singles matches on Dynamite. Omega was given a big pop since he’s from Winnipeg so obviously the Canadian crowd was going to show him love. Omega has his right shoulder taped up.
Kenny Omega vs. Wheeler Yuta
Omega hit a back body drop for two. Excalibur pointed out that Omega lost his last two singles matches in AEW to Will Ospreay and Jon Moxley in the steel cage. The steel cage loss was cheap because Don Callis turned on him, but they like to leave facts out to make a point. Omega got a boot up to stop a charging Yuta leading to Omega leaping over Yuta with a bulldog. Omega did a rolling senton, but then he sold a neck injury. Omega went for a moonsault, Yuta got the legs up and Yuta hit a dropkick. Yuta hit a missile dropkick off the top. Yuta hit a suicide dive that sent Omega crashing back-first into the barricade. Yuta worked over Omega on the floor with a neckbreaker. Omega fought back from the apron with a roundhouse kick to the head. Yuta delivered a neckbreaker across the top rope. Yuta stood on Omega’s neck while Omega’s head was across the steel beam by the turnbuckle. They went to a picture-in-picture break.
The match continued with Yuta still on offense, but Omega got his knees up to block. Omega got some momentum going with a neckbreaker style move. It was hard to pay attention to the match since Excalibur was plugging about 25 matches over the next week. Okay so not that many, but it’s distraction. Omega with a Polish hammer and a fisherman’s buster for a two count. Omega charged, Yuta avoided it and Yuta hit an Angle Slam-style move for a two count. Yuta went up top, was obviously not going to hit anything and Omega hit a superplex for a two count. They exchanged forearms, Yuta did an eye poke and Omega hit a chop. Yuta came back with a German Suplex. Yuta hit another German Suplex. Omega used back elbows to break free followed by Omega kicking Yuta into the turnbuckle. Omega went for a corner splash, Yuta caught him and Omega broke free with a knee to the spine. Omega hit a Snapdragon Suplex two times in a row. Yuta countered a move into a two count. Omega came back with a V-Trigger knee. Yuta countered a One Winged Angel and he did the Seatbelt pin attempt for two. Omega hit a massive Powerbomb and the V-Trigger knee for two. Don Callis walked out to ringside, so a bunch of short security guys were there. The referee left the ring and never saw Konosuke Takeshita in the ring. Takeshita hit a Blue Thunder Bomb on Omega that the referee never saw. Yuta hit a splash off the top for two. That’s a great nearfall. Yuta went up top, Omega punched him there and Omega hit a One Winged Angel for the pinfall win after 16 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Kenny Omega
Analysis: ***1/2 I thought it was a really good match with Omega showing off just how great he is when he has to sell an injury for the majority of the match. I though they might go nearly 20 minutes without having Yuta get a nearfall that was believable, but when Omega kicked out after the Blue Thunder Bomb by Takeshita and the splash from Yuta, that was a great nearfall. With that said, it was obvious this match was just about giving Omega a singles win after losing to Will Ospreay at Forbidden Door less than two weeks ago.
After the match, Claudio Castagnoli and Konosuke Takeshita attacked Omega with some basic kicks. The Young Bucks and “Hangman” Adam Page ran out for the save. They sent Takeshita out of the ring. The Young Bucks hit the BTE Trigger knee on Claudio. Hangman was going for a chair shot, but Dark Order went into the ring and grabbed the chair from Hangman. The show ended there about 3 minutes past the top of the hour.
Analysis: That ending felt rushed even with the show going past the top of the hour. The Dark Order guys are mad that Hangman isn’t hanging out with them anymore, so they prevented the attack. During Excalibur’s rundown of matches he mentioned The Elite against Dark Order on Rampage, so I guess if we care then we should watch that. It would be nice if AEW did more to enhance the rivalry between The Elite and BCC. It’s okay, but I don’t think it’s that interesting of a story that you can say is captivating the audience at home.
Three Stars of the Show
- Kenny Omega
- Darby Allin & Orange Cassidy
- Wheeler Yuta
This Week: 7 out of 10
Last Week: 7
2023 Average: 7.45
The episode was okay all around, but not that interesting overall. The first and last matches were definitely the highlights. Kenny Omega sold really well during that main event with Wheeler Yuta, who isn’t a big name, so I think some fans might be less interested. I thought the matches overall were not as strong as the better episodes of Dynamite. Clearly, the Blind Tag Team Tournament done to further the MJF/Adam Cole story with Max being nice to him to try to get Cole to avoid facing MJF somehow, but we know that’s probably going to be the World Title feud whenever MJF defends the title again.
There was a lot of talking this week. The MJF and Cole thing just kept dragging to me. I thought Chris Jericho had a fun promo that was mostly a babyface style since he’s in the province where he learned to wrestle. Some guys on the show that could use some promo time are The Elite, yet none of them spoke. Let’s hear about how excited they are about the Blood & Guts match or something along those lines.
Lastly, do we really need three tournaments going on at once? The Men’s & Women’s Owen Hart Cup and the Blind Eliminator Tag Team Tournament where the winners get a Tag Team Title match. By doing multiple tournaments at once, it just makes them feel less important. Three tournaments at once is just silly.
Thanks for reading. Go Toronto Blue Jays. You can contact me using any of the methods below.