VENUE: Daily’s Place (Jacksonville, FL)
COMMENTATORS: Jim Ross, Excalibur, & Tony Schiavone
This week’s Dynamite features the AEW debut of Brock Anderson as he teams with Cody Rhodes against QT Marshall & Aaron Solow of The Factory. Also on the show Darby Allin takes on The Men of the Year in a self-imposed Handicap Match, Jake Hager fake fights Wardlow in an MMA-style cage match complete with octagonal ring, and Matt Jackson teams with The Good Brothers to take on Eddie Kingston, Penta El Zero Miedo, and Frankie Kazarian in the main event.
- AEW WORLD CHAMPION: Kenny Omega
- AEW WOMEN’S WORLD CHAMPION: Dr. Britt Baker, D.M.D.
- AEW TNT CHAMPION: “The Best Man” MIro
- AEW WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS: The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson)
- MMA-STYLE CAGE FIGHT: Jake Hager vs. Wardlow (NR)
- HANDICAP MATCH: Darby Allin vs. Scorpio Sky & Ethan Page (**1/4)
- Orange Cassidy vs. Cezar Bononi (*1/2)
- Cody Rhodes & Brock Anderson vs. QT Marshall & Aaron Solow (**1/2)
- Julia Hart vs. Penelope Ford (**1/2)
- Eddie Kingston, Frankie Kazarian, & Penta El Zero Miedo vs. Matt Jackson & The Good Brothers (**3/4)
–Jake Hager (w/ Chris Jericho) and Wardlow (w/ Shawn Spears) are shown walking backstage. After the usual Dynamite intro the show then cuts to Daily’s Place where an octagon has been set up in place of the usual wrestling ring.
MMA-STYLE CAGE FIGHT (TAZ ON COMMENTARY)
Jake Hager [w/ Chris Jericho] vs. Wardlow [w/ Shawn Spears]
Hager laid out this challenge two weeks ago, which Wardlow accepted last week. This is a faux-MMA fight so it’s going to be broken up into three five-minute rounds, and the only way to win is by submission, KO, or referee stoppage. Apparently Hager is 3-0 in actual MMA fights which is news to me. I prefer my combat sports to be fake and interesting. Also MMA PPVs are crazy expensive, what am I made of money?!?
Hager and Wardlow take a feeling out route, throwing some strike attempts at each other to see how the others react. Hager connects with a right hook and walks away in a show of disrespect. Hager connects with a kick to the leg and rushes in for a double leg but Wardlow straight POWERS OUT and Hager flies to the canvas. Hager responds with a double leg takedown and backs off, daring Wardlow to come at him. Hager takes Wardlow down once again, Wardlow kicks him away and they separate. Wardlow catches a kick and drops Hager with a right hand, then presses the attack and throws him to the canvas for some ground & pound but Hager escapes the mount and they separate, Hager a little surprised at what just happened. Wardlow dazes Hager with a series of strikes and a Superman Punch off the cage, Hager tries to create separation but Wardlow keeps at it with a series of jabs but Hager gets saved by the bell.
Wardlow charges but his knee hits nothing but cage, Hager grabs a waistlock but Wardlow wrestles him to the canvas with a wristlock. Hager backs into the cage, Wardlow throws some more bombs and goes for a cross armbreaker but Hager rolls through and goes for one of his own. Hager transitions into a triangle choke, Wardlow breaks it but Hager gets behind and grabs an Ankle Lock. Wardlow escapes and catches a kick, POWERBOMBING HAGER INTO THE CAGE FOLLOWED BY A HURRICANRANA. Now THIS is an MMA fight I can get into. Wardlow tries for something, Hager turns it into a triangle headlock (the same move he’s won his other MMA fights with). Wardlow slides out and counters with a fireman’s carry, Hager escapes and brings him back to the canvas with a urinage, locking the triangle headlock back in (I’m not going to look for its actual name). Wardlow tries to fight but fades and the ref calls it.
Jake Hager defeated Wardlow via referee stoppage (10:00 total)
- JON’S THOUGHTS: Well that was certainly a couple of dudes pretending to have an MMA fight, huh? I appreciated them throwing in some wrestling stuff to keep it interesting but this is very much not my sh*t. AEW presented it well though, I guess. (NR)
Jericho enters the cage to celebrate with Hager, Spears attacks from behind and a brawl breaks out. MJF runs in and blindsides Jericho, ripping off his elbow brace and wrenching in the Salt of the Earth armbar as Jericho taps. Dean Malenko of all people shows up to break things up. MJF tries to compose himself but can’t and PUNCHES MALENKO OUT as the commentators bring up Deano’s various health issues. Now that the damage is done out Sammy Guevara comes to make a symbolic save. Couldn’t have bothered to come out like a few minutes earlier, dude?
–Penta El Zero Miedo, Frankie Kazarian, and Eddie Kingston are backstage to talk about their six man tag team main event. Kazarian says he’s hungry for revenge and thirsty for retribution, vowing to lay The Elite in a pile of their own despair. Whatever man, save it for your screamo band.
–AEW Rampage, their newest weekly show, debuts August 13th. Yeah alright.
-Backstage promo from most of Team Taz (Taz, “Absolute” Ricky Starks, Powerhouse Hobbs, & Hook). Taz wants to air out the problems within Team Taz right now, telling Starks that his thing with Brian Cage needs to end soon. Hobbs says they left him hanging but they’re supposed to team. Taz challenges Hangman Page to meet Hobbs next Saturday on Dynamite.
Darby Allin vs. The Men of the Year (Scorpio Sky & “All Ego” Ethan Page)
Allin made it clear that he wanted to go this one alone, telling his friend/guardian angel/papa(?) Sting to stay home when discussing it last week. Sky & Page have absolutely no problem with this, as they love beating up Allin so here we go with a handicap match.
Allin sticks and moves to start, throwing Page around with hip tosses and armdrags, flummoxing his opponent. Sky tags in, Allin brings him to the canvas with a drop toehold and rolls him up for a two-count. Page runs in catches a mini-Coffin Drop, holding him so Sky can connect with a strike. Allin sends the Men of the Year into one another and hits a springboard Coffin Drop, covering Sky for the 1…2…Sky kicks out, Allin cinches into a headlock. Page gets the tag and sends Allin flying with a shoulder tackle, Excalibur brings him their long pre-AEW history. Allin slips out of Page’s grasp and applies a backpack sleeper, Page breaks it in the corner and throws him full force into the other. Men of the Year remain in control as the picture-in-picture commercial break begins. It’s more of the same outside of a few hope spots.
Show returns to full screen, Men of the Year take turns brutalizing Allin’s spine with backbreakers. Allin almost gets the surprise win with an inside cradle but Page kicks out. Page tries for another backbreaker, Allin flips out and counters into a Scorpion Death Drop, the crowd chanting “DARBY!” to try and wake him up but unfortunately there’s no one in. Sky tags in, Allin tags HIMSELF in and finds a second wind to wreck em both, hitting a Code Red on Sky for the 1…2…Page breaks it up and throws him to the canvas. Page & Sky get distracted with the ref, Allin zip-ties Page’s legs together (?!?) and pushes him out to the floor. Allin knocks Sky out with a stunner and follows up with the COFFIN DROP for the 1…2…PAGE PULLS ALLIN OUT AND INTO THE GUARDRAIL. Page cuts the zip tie off thanks to a well-placed toolbox under the ring and sends Allin into the post so hard you can hear the DING. Page tags in for real, Allin escapes a superplex attempt and forearms him to the canvas. He goes for a Coffin Drop, Sky trips him up and Sky peels him off and hits the Ego’s Edge for the 1…2…3!
The Men of the Year defeated Darby Allin via pinfall (11:59)
- JON’S THOUGHTS: If there’s one person on the AEW roster who could pull off a handicap match win it’s Darby Allin and there were moments there where I thought he was going to actually get it done. Love that there’s a wrestler who still creates believable hope spots for me in this day and age. Match felt longer than it needed to be but it was alright overall. (**1/4)
“Freshly Squeezed” Orange Cassidy [w/ Chuck Taylor, Trent?, & Kris Statlander] vs. Cezar Bononi [w/ “The Hollywood Hunk” Ryan Nemeth, “Pretty” Peter Avalon, & J.D. Drake]
Bononi grabs Cassidy by the denim jacket and throws him into the corner, laying in a series of clubbing blows to his much smaller opponent. Bononi puts Cassidy’s hands in his pockets and tosses him across the ring with no way to protect himself. Cassidy falls to the floor and The Wingmen work on giving him a makeover (spray tan, hair gel, etc). Cassidy tries to mount a comeback, Bononi catches him in mid-air and connects with a big boot, Cassidy spills back to the floor and the Wingmen put a flashy jacket on him and brush his hair before rolling him back in. Cassidy drops down, Bononi trips over him and falls to the floor (THE DROP DOWN WORKED AS INTENDED?!?). Best Friends give Cassidy his glasses and toss him into the Wingmen on the floor. He got a TON of air on that one. Cassidy goes for a Diving DDT, Bononi catches him, Cassidy counters a suplex with a stunner followed by a spinning DDT. Nemeth climbs the apron, Taylor distracts him and he gets dropped with an Orange Punch. Drake runs in, Statlander pokes him in the eye and he gets dropped with an Orange Punch as well. Cassidy escapes a Pumphandle Slam and knocks Bononi out with a third Orange Punch for the 1…2…3.
Orange Cassidy defeated Cezar Bononi via pinfall (4:07)
- JON’S THOUGHTS: The non-wrestling stuff was kinda funny but this felt like something that should’ve been on Dark or Dark Elevation or Dark Power Hour or whatever. Bononi has apparently been wrestling for like six years but you would not know it, that dude comes off like they found him a week ago and stuck him in a wrestling ring with no instructions. Just a real clumsy-looking wrestler, but he keeps getting matches against big AEW stars so maybe they see something in him I don’t. (*1/2)
Avalon clutches a knocked out Bononi while crying out to the heavens. Okay that made me laugh.
–Alex Marvez accosts Jungle Boy as he enters the arena but before he can be interviewed they’re interrupted by Kenny Omega, Don Callis, and Michael Nakazawa on a golf cart. Omega tells Jungle Boy that he embarrassed him last week, so this week he’s challenging him to a Street Fight. Jungle Boy says he’d personally beat him next week for the championship as signed, Omega sweetens the deal by offering him the first shot for free. Jungle Boy falls for the bait and gets hit from behind by Nakazawa, Omega goes on the attack as Callis commentates. Jungle Boy starts to overpower him, Nakazawa pulls him off and Omega/Callis escape on the golf cart as Omega vows to get him next week.
- JON’S THOUGHTS: Dorky as f*ck but I laughed so I’m cool with it. Omega backs up his goofy nonsense in the ring so I can deal with him geeking out like this. Makes him extra hateable too. Jungle Boy probably won’t get the win next week but I can already tell I’m going to fall for some of those hope spots. Bring it on, I like being invested.
-After a commercial Alex Marvez is standing by with Matt Hardy, Private Party, The Blade, & The Bunny. Hardy says Christian Cage breached their (handshake) contract and he’s dealing with the repercussions of it. Christian Cage interrupts and charges, Blade catches him and locks Christian up. Hardy says he’ll give Cage an out to retire and go home, and gives him a check to fund it. If Christian keeps coming for him though Hardy vows to end his career permanently.
“The American Nightmare” Cody Rhodes & Brock Anderson [w/ Arn Anderson] vs. The Factory (QT Marshall & Aaron Solow) [w/ Nick Comoroto]
This is Brock’s in-ring debut for AEW and MY GOD you can tell he’s an Anderson. Little skinnier but he’s got that look, plus he’s rocking the “BA” on his trunks like Arn used to have “AA” which is a great touch. The Rhodes and Anderson families notoriously hate each other and have since the 80s, but looks like the new generation are getting along FOR NOW. Dustin Rhodes must be in the back biting his tongue clear off wanting to let his younger brother find out for himself. Side note Nick Comoroto might be the coolest-looking motherf*cker on the AEW roster; he looks like a buff Andy from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure crossed with “Dr. Death” Steve Williams & a caveman. Give him all the championships right now, dammit.
Anderson ducks a clothesline, Solow charges and Rhodes comes in to cool things down and give him a brief coaching. Anderson brings Solow to the mat with a wristlock, using a heel trip and hair pull to bring him to the canvas. Solow drops Anderson, Anderson immediately hops back up and stomps th warm, forcing Solow to tag out to Marshall. Marshall calls for Rhodes but immediately runs for it and tags Solow back in when it happens. Solow blocks an armdrag and connects with a double stomp to the back, Factory taking control and using quick tags to work Rhodes over. Rhodes fights out of the corner, flipping out of a suplex attempt and making a tag to Anderson who knocks Solow off the apron. Anderson wrecks Marshall with a series of snap shoulders to the midsection followed by a stalling backdrop. Solow runs in, Anderson connects with a gutwrench suplex…and turns right into a spinebuster from Marshall, staring down Arn before covering for the 1…2…not yet. Factory work on the younger Anderson as the PiP commercial begins.
Show returns to full screen in time for Anderson to dodge a corner splash. He goes for the tag but in comes Solow who gets thrown to the floor. He has the last laugh though, distracting the ref so he misses the tag to Rhodes; Cody protests, allowing The Factory to hit an inverted 3D for the 1…2…Anderson kicks out! Marshall goes for a Cross Rhodes, Anderson reverses into a DDT. YEEEEAH. Anderson makes the tag and Rhodes runs in like a house of fire, connecting with a powerslam on Solow and a hip toss out of the corner to Marshall followed by a flying headscissors and clothesline to the floor. Solow tries to attack, Rhodes picks the ankle and traps him in the Figure Four but Solow grabs the bottom rope like he life depends on it to force a break. Rhodes reverses something from Marshall (I looked away) into a Canadian Destroyer, Solow catches him with a kick and covers for the 1…2…Anderson makes the save. Marshall runs in, Rhodes throws him out and makes the tag to Anderson. Rhodes attacks Marshall on the ramp, Solow goes for a facebuster but Anderson picks the legs and rolls him up for the 1…2…3!
Cody Rhodes & Brock Anderson defeated The Factory via pinfall (10:06)
- JON’S THOUGHTS: Having lived through Erik Watts and David Flair, I had the bar set very low for Brock Anderson but he was even better than I was expecting. He was a little awkward in places but his shoulder attacks and DDT were on point and he made a great babyface in peril for his team. I didn’t realize how much I missed seeing an Anderson in a wrestling ring and now I hopes he sticks around…long enough to turn on Cody because it’s his destiny. (**1/2)
–Lance Archer and Jake “The Snake” Roberts send in a promo from whatever destroyed home they hang out in. Roberts admits he cannot control Archer and has no choice but to go along as best he can with him and his white-hot rage.
–Jim Ross sits down with Andrade El Idolo (taped earlier), who makes his intentions known to challenge for the TNT and World Championships, as well as teases a surprise that he and Vickie Guerrero are working on sharing in the future. All of Andrade’s responses are subtitled which feels a little disrespectful but maybe people have a harder time understanding him through his accent than I think. Sounded totally fine to me.
–Alex Marvez interviews Hangman Page who’s with his bffs The Dark Order. Page accepts Powerhouse Hobbs’ challenge for next week but he’s far more interested in hanging out with his friends and drinking beer. Marvez brings up the World Title match scheduled for next week but he sidesteps the question and hypes up his Dark Order buds instead, leading an “UNO!” chant.
- JON’S THOUGHTS: Page sidestepping any talk about Kenny Omega or the World Championship is FASCINATING. His departure from The Elite apparently still hurts to even bring up despite having some distance away from it. That’s cool. Well not COOL but I like what AEW is doing there.
Julia Hart [w/ Brian Pillman Jr. & Griff Garrison of The Varsity Blonds] vs. Penelope Ford
The Varsity Blonds would be a LOCK for U.S. Tag Team Champions if AEW had such titles in their company (maybe they should, since they have like fifty other shows in the works). I dig them a lot, and the addition of a legitimate cheerleader turned wrestler rules. Isn’t Ford “married” to Kip Sabian? What happened to that guy? Did Miro murder him while I wasn’t watching regularly?
Ford wrestles control at the start, taking Hart to the canvas with a side headlock. Hart counters with a headscissors, Ford flips out and grabs another side headlock. Ford plays to the boos from the crowd, Hart takes advantage with a dropkick and crossbody, forcing Ford to take a powder. Ford trips Hart and spins her into a forearm followed by a slingshot double stomp to the midsection ON THE APRON. Ford keeps the offense going as the show moves to picture in picture.
Show returns as Hart tries to mount a comeback, rolling Ford up for the 1…Ford rolls through and connects with a clothesline-ish. Hart escapes a front chancery and lays into Ford with a series of kicks; Ford catches one and cracks Hart in the jaw, following up with a fireman’s carry into a gutbuster. Ford decides to take a risk but takes too long playing to the crowd and misses the moonsault; Ford dodges a split-legdrop and CINCHES IN A DEEP AS F*CK MUTA LOCK for the submission win.
Penelope Ford defeated Julia Hart via submission (5:40 shown)
- JON’S THOUGHTS: Eyyy this was pretty awesome, Ford’s Muta Lock f*cking RULED. I totally believe Hart would want to tap and get out of that as quickly as possible. This is the first time I’ve ever seen Julia Hart wrestle and she’s pretty damn good already despite being relatively new (and only 19, thanks for reminding me of HOW MY LIFE HAS BEEN WASTED). Effortlessly likeable too, I found myself cheering for her despite not knowing who she is. That’s a superpower right there. (**1/2)
Ford keeps the hold applied, only letting go when The Varsity Blonds rush in. TNT Champion Miro comes out and asks Ford where Kip Sabian is (THANK YOU). He then “comes to Ford’s aid” by attacking Griff Garrison. Pillman attacks Miro with a springboard forearm and referees have to separate the two, while Ford walks off unconcerned with whatever is happening.
- JON’S THOUGHTS: Miro injured Ford’s husband and then came out to fight “for her honor” because Sabian couldn’t? That’s top-tier bully psycho behavior and I LOVE IT. What a smarmy sh*t move, trying to weasel his way into Ford’s life now thinking that because he’s big and strong that he’s automatically better and gets whatever he wants. I honestly thought that whole thing was dead now that Miro is a dominant champ but looks like they’re keeping threads of that alive…and also building future title matches as Pillman is DEFINITELY getting a shot at Miro now.
–Tony Schiavone is standing by with Dr. Britt Baker, D.M.D. and Rebel backstage. Before the interview can start in comes Vickie Guerrero to interrupt. Guerrero says she wants the Women’s Championship around her client Nyla Rose’s waist. She challenges Baker, Baker tries to brush her off but Guerrero reminds her that Tony Khan owes her a favor for bringing Andrade to AEW. Guerrero sets up a match: Baker & “Reba” against Rose…and HERSELF. Guerrero walks off, Baker & Rebel laugh their ass off and walk away. Match is scheduled for June 30th when AEW returns to Wednesdays. Also announced for June 30th: Miro vs. Pillman for the TNT Champion and the long-awaited battle between MJF & Sammy Guevara. Hell yeah.
-VIDEO: A look at FTR and Santana & Ortiz leading into their long-awaited meeting on next week’s show.
-LAST WEDNESDAY: Tony Khan announced that AEW Dynamite will take place at the Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York on September 22nd. Wrestling in a tennis stadium, that’s ridiculous and as a tennis fan I love it. Never thought those two worlds of mine would collide.
–”Smart” Mark Sterling and Jade Cargill are standing by to announce a partnership with the Toronto Four Seasons Hotel. Use code “thatbitch” or whatever. Sterling says Cargill is still focused on wrestling, intent on keeping her undefeated streak in-tact across all shows. Because she’s that bitch you see. K.
Eddie Kingston, Frankie Kazarian, & Penta El Zero Miedo [w/ Alex Abrahantes] vs. Matt Jackson & The Good Brothers (“Big LG” Doc Gallows & “Machine Gun” Karl Anderson) [w/ “The Invisible Hand” Don Callis]
Kingston, Penta, & PAC defeated Brandon Cutler & The Young Bucks on last week’s show, which turned into a post-match brawl with The Good Brothers and Frankie Kazarian getting involved leading to this six-man tag team match main event. Kazarian is running an “Elite Hunter” gimmick, looking for revenge on the group for some reason (I know they ended his team with Christopher Daniels, but I don’t know what happened after and did not bother reading about it yet).
Bell rings and Kazarian immediately attacks Anderson, laying in a series of rights as Machine Gun tries his best to cover up. Kazarian catches Anderson with a back kick followed by a lariat and stares daggers at Gallows and Jackson. Penta, who is wearing Joker-inspired gear, tags in but gets dropped by Anderson. Jackson tags in, Penta fights off a double backdrop attempt and hits a sling blade on both men back to back. Kingston tags in and holds Jackson in a camel clutch so Penta can connect with a kick to the head. Kingston continues the assault, hitting a corner buckle shot that Jackson sells like HBK at SummerSlam 2005. Jackson dodges a Backfist and tags out to Gallows. Kingston ducks a clothesline and staggers Gallows with a shoulder tackle, finally taking him down with a flying shoulderblock. Anderson pulls Kingston out and connects with uppercuts, Kingston fights back with eye pokes and biting and the match quickly turns into a six-man DONNYBROOK as the show switches to picture in picture. Brandon Cutler shows up at some point to get involved and The Elite go on the offensive wearing down Kingston.
Back to full screen as Anderson lays into Kingston in the corner, Kingston briefly having come back with some well-placed chops. Good Brothers lift Jackson and he connects with a battering ram kick for the 1…2…not yet. Jackson lays into Kingston, who absorbs and asks for more as he gets to a vertical base. Kingston lights Jackson up with chops, Jackson rakes the eyes but Kingston fights through and connects with an overhead belly-to-belly suplex. Kazarian gets the tag and connects with a flying forearm on Anderson, legdrop on Jackson, and an arm wringer on Gallows. Kazarian hits a springboard legdrop on Anderson and covers, leg hooked, for the 1…2…not yet. Kazarian counters a spinebuster with a Cross Face Chicken Wing (YESSSS), Gallows breaks it up. Kazarian knocks Gallows off the apron with an enzuigiri, Anderson drills him with a spinebuster and both are dazed. Jackson tags in but so does Penta who hits a diving crossbody followed by a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Penta ducks a shot from Gallows and knocks him off the apron, ducks a clothesline from Jackson, then flattens The Good Brothers with a tope con hiro. Back in the ring Penta plants Jackson with a springboard (from the bottom rope) DDT for the 1…2…Jackson kicks out. Kingston gets the tag, trio take turns wrecking Jackson in the corner. Penta hits the Fear Factor on Jackson, Kingston follows with a backdrop driver, Kazarian finishes it off with a double underhook sit-out faceslam for the 1…2…Gallows makes the save. Anderson misses in the corner, Penta rolls him out and hits a superkick for the 1…2…Anderson kicks out. Anderson catches Penta with a neckbreaker and tags in Gallows. Good Brothers clear Kingston and Kazarian off the apron and hit Penta with an inverted 3D, Jackson comes off the top with a flying elbowdrop and Gallows covers for the 1…2…Penta kicks out. Anderson tags in, Kazarian breaks up a Magic Killer attempt and sends Gallows to the floor. Jackson superkicks Kaz out of the ring, Kingston hits a suplex on Jackson, Anderson knocks Kingston out with a running kick, Penta hits Anderson with a backstabber. Penta climbs the buckles, NICK JACKSON appears and sprays him in the eyes, Anderson comes off the top with a flying neckbreaker for the 1…2…3!
Matt Jackson & The Good Brothers defeated Eddie Kingston, Frankie Kazarian, & Penta El Zero Miedo via pinfall (14:05)
- JON’S THOUGHTS: Was not super into this one until after the final commercial break where things kicked up a notch. Lots of fun in the back half, screwjob finish as expected by The Elite, a good match overall to end the show as The Elite continue outsmarting everybody (or having a lot of friends, either or). (**3/4)
The Elite celebrate their win on the ramp to close the show.
A more subdued AEW Dynamite this week; the in-ring action was solid if mostly unremarkable (faux-MMA is almost as dull as real MMA) but Penelope Ford killed it with her cool Muta Lock and Brock Anderson had a much better than expected debut in AEW. A wheel-spinner of an episode but pretty good nonetheless; in WCW times this probably would’ve been an episode of Thunder. I wonder what this Rampage show is going to be.
- MATCH OF THE NIGHT: Julia Hart vs. Penelope Ford
- MOMENT OF THE NIGHT: Hangman Page’s very obvious brush off of Alex Marvez’s World Title question. Just real cool character stuff to me.