VENUE: UW-Panther Arena (Milwaukee, WI)
COMMENTATORS: Jim Ross, Excalibur, & Tony Schiavone
AEW Dynamite this week features the debut of CM Punk on the flagship show, less than a week removed from his all-timer of a debut at AEW Rampage: The First Dance. The Tag Team Title Eliminator continues as well as The Varsity Blondes take on The Lucha Brothers, Brock Anderson tries to defend the Anderson family honor against Malakai Black, and Orange Cassidy gets his hands on Matt Hardy.
- AEW WORLD CHAMPION: Kenny Omega
- AEW WOMEN’S WORLD CHAMPION: Dr. Britt Baker, D.M.D.
- AEW TNT CHAMPION: Miro
- AEW WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS: The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson)
- Orange Cassidy vs. Matt Hardy (***)
- TAG TEAM ELIMINATOR – SEMI-FINALS: Varsity Blonds vs. Lucha Brothers (**1/2)
- Red Velvet vs. Jamie Hayter (**1/2)
- Jon Moxley, Eddie Kingston, & Darby Allin vs. The Wingmen (***1/4)
- The Gunn Club vs. The Factory (*3/4)
- Brock Anderson vs. Malakai Black (SQUASH)
Orange Cassidy vs. “Big Money” Matt Hardy
Hardy comes out without his crew so Cassidy has Chuck Taylor and Wheeler Yuta go to the back to keep things fair. Cassidy “kicks”, Hardy “deletes”, Hardy stops a superkick and puts his hands in his pockets, PULLING OUT MONAAAAAY. Cassidy dropkicks Hardy, sending the money flying, Cassidy grabs a 100 dollar bill and puts it in his pocket. Hardy blocks a suicida and connects with a Side Effect on the floor, then bends Cassidy over the ringpost. Back in the ring Hardy connects with three belly-to-back sooplays then stops to pick up the cash that he left all over the ring. Smart move. Hardy mocks Cassidy’s lazy kicks and drops an elbow for the 1…2…Cassidy kicks out. Hardy continues working the back with clubbing forearms and a vertical suplex, then picks Cassidy’s pocket to get the 100 dollar bill back. HA. Cassidy kicks out of a lateral press, Hardy applies a double wristlock and stops an escape with a knee to the kidneys. Cassidy stuns Hardy with buckle shots but can’t hit the Beach Break due to his hurt back, Hardy connects with a high-angle Splash Mountain for the 1…2…Cassidy kicks out! Hardy tries to rev up for the Twist of Fate but Cassidy keeps rolling away to stop his momentum. Hardy finally goes for it, Cassidy tosses him out to the floor and this time successfully hits the suicida followed by a flying crossbody back in the ring. Cassidy counters a sidewalk slam with a tilt-a-whirl DDT for the 1…2…Hardy kicks out AND HOLY SHIT HE IS BUSTED THE F*CK OPEN, CHRIST. Apparently Cassidy landed on his face during the DDT spot. Cassidy shoves Hardy off the buckles, puts his hands in his pockets, and hits a SWANTON. Cassidy mocks the “DELETE” chant and goes for the Twist of Fate, Hardy counters and connects with an elbowdrop to the lower back for the 1…2…Cassidy kicks out. Cassidy counters the Twist of Fate and hits one of his own for the 1…2…Hardy spasms out and Cassidy immediately revs up for an Orange Punch. Hardy ducks the leap and goes for the Leech, Cassidy counters into a roll-up, hands in pockets, for the 1…2…3!
Orange Cassidy defeated Matt Hardy via pinfall (TIME NOT RECORDED)
- JON’S THOUGHTS: Didn’t hear a bell so I didn’t keep time, but it took about 15 minutes of time entrances and all. Match itself was really good, way better than I thought it was going to be because I had no real investment in it. That’s on me for doubting Big Money Matt. (***)
–Malakai Black offers Brock Anderson a way out later tonight by taking a loss and apologizing to him. Black says if it goes any differently, he will take it out on Brock, Arn, Cody, Dustin, or anyone else in the Nightmare Family.
IN-RING SEGMENT: THE FUTURE OF JERICHO
“Judas” kicks out and the AEW faithful sing Chris Jericho to the ring, one week removed from losing to MJF via submission in the Final Labor. Jericho says this has been a huge week for AEW and everybody has been celebrating…except him, due to how things ended last week. Jericho talks about how obsessed he’s been about losing, and tapping to boot, saying that it’s bothering him so much BECAUSE he’s Chris Jericho. He’s always strived to be better, saying he’s done whatever he can to stay on top is because he HAS to. Jericho calls his desire to beat MJF a worm in his brain and until this ends he’ll just keep attacking him any chance he gets. Jericho has a proposal to end things and calls MJF to the ring.
Jericho waits a second then continues on, proposing one final match at All Out on September 5th and says if MJF beats him he will never wrestling in AEW *agayne*. Okay he said it without the Canadian inflexion but I was being nostalgic. MJF finally makes his way out, wearing an “MJF: 3, JERIBLOW: 0” shirt, calling Jericho’s whole thing embarrassing. MJF says he sees right through Jericho; the reason he keeps coming back is because he needs a rub from the fastest and youngest rising star in the history of pro wrestling history. MJF accepts Jericho’s proposal, finding the idea of ENDING Jericho to be too good to pass up.
- JON’S THOUGHTS: Good segment, adds another big match to All Out. The idea of Jericho being on commentary full-time is HORRIFYING though so if anyone wants to help me bribe MJF to throw the match let me know.
–The Varsity Blonds says they may not be blood but they’re family and they want to challenge the Tag Team Champs in a steel cage at All Out. Where did they get all those lockers?
TAG TEAM TITLE ELIMINATOR: SEMI-FINALS
The Varsity Blonds (Brian Pillman Jr. & Griff Garrison) [w/ Julia Hart] vs. The Lucha Brothers (Penta El Zero Miedo & Rey Fenix] [w/ Alex Abrahantes]
The Young Bucks come out to watch the match, flanked by Brandon Cutler and The Good Brothers.
Garrison catches a crossbody, Fenix escapes his grasp, Garrison blocks an armdrag attempt, Fenix nips out of the way of a kick and they reset. HELL YEAH. Penta (still doing his Joker thing) and Pillman tag in, the latter doing a little roll himself to show off. Crowd is pro-Lucha Brothers though, poor guy. Apparently this is the same arena as WCW SuperBrawl II which featured Pillman’s father vs. Jushin Liger in one of the most influential matches of all-time. Hell yeah. Penta catches a charging Pillman with a superkick, Pillman superkicks back followed by a step-up rana. Pillman plays to the crowd, Penta makes him play with a sling blade followed by a ROUGH open-hand slap to the chest as the match goes picture-in-picture. Varsity Blonds take control, Garrison slowing Fenix down with a chinlock. Penta gets the tag and lays into both Blonds with chops, Blonds drop him with a double shoulderblock that mostly Pillman hits.
Pillman slows it back down, working Penta’s arm over as the show returns to full-screen. Penta floats over Pillman, then they do an awkward roll spot that leads to a DDT. Woof. Fenix tags in, stuns Pillman with a kick, then follows up with a springboard dropkick, a springboard spin kick knocking Garrison off the apron as well. Fenix measures Pillman, connects with a rolling cutter for the 1…2…Garrison makes the save. Penta tries a piledriver on the apron, Pillman dropkicks him off the apron, Fenix pulls Pillman out and Lucha Brothers level the Blonds with stereo superkicks, Fenix following up with an assisted splash. Garrison throws Penta into the post, Pillman counters a rana with a powerbomb for the 1…2…NOT YET. Garrison flies in with a springboard elbow strike, Pillman covers for the 1…2…Penta makes the save and drops Garrison with a superkick. Superkicks drop Pillman to his knees, STEREO THRUST KICKS, ASSISTED PACKAGE PILEDRIVER and Fenix covers for the 1…2…3.
The Lucha Brothers defeated The Varsity Blonds via pinfall (8:26)
- JON’S THOUGHTS: That odd DDT spot aside this was a good match. I love The Varsity Blonds and hope a U.S. Tag Team Title is created at some point they’d be a great fit for it. Lucha Bros can kinda coast on their natural ability but it’s entertaining. Someone give Penta a different comic to read though. (**1/2)
Jurassic Express (Jungle Boy, Luchasaurus, & Marko Stunt) enter the ring to face The Lucha Brothers, Bucks & Good Brothers try to cause some chaos and get dropped for their troubles. Too bad.
–Andrade El Idolo and Chavo Guerrero Jr. discuss the former’s match with PAC at All Out.
-Kris Statlander is challenging for the Women’s Title at All Out, apparently. NEWS TO ME.
Red Velvet vs. Jamie Hayer [w/ Dr. Britt Baker, D.M.D & Rebel]
Hayter debuted at the end of the first Rampage, attacking Velvet on behalf of new friend Baker, and Velvet is out for revenge.
Velvet connects with a dropkick, Hayter brushes it off completely and connects with a fallaway slam followed by a STIFF forearm. Hayter falls to the floor, Velvet GETS ALL OF A TOPE SUICIDA GODDAMN followed by another, Hayter tosses Velvet into the post and Baker gets involved as well with a whip into the guardrail. REAL AWKWARD SILENCE as the show takes a sec to go into picture-in-picture. Velvet fights back with forearms, Hayter backdrops her to the apron then drops her with a big ol’ elbow to the face. Easy as that. Hayter continues the attack, throwing Velvet into the guardrail like she was trying to put her through it and now the commercials are full-screen so nevermind I guess, the f*ck.
Back from break Velvet and Hayter throw bombs at each other, Hayter drops her with rapid-fire strikes. Velvet surprises Hayter with a series of clotheslines and a shove. Velvet follows up with a cazadora into a facebuster, Baker climbs the apron. Baker gets dropped from the apron, Velvet misses a moonsault by a lot and Hayter drills her with a lariat for the 1…2…3. Nice save.
Jamie Hayter defeated Red Velvet via pinfall (5:36 shown)
- JON’S THOUGHTS: Hayter looked like a monster. Respect. Match was good, they recovered well from that moonsault at the end. I feel like Velvet did something similar at Rampage so maybe that’s just how those moonsault
Kris Statlander stops a post-match attack, Baker escapes Statlander’s finisher and Statlander holds up the Women’s Championship as a possible future.
–The Dark Order are standing by backstage. Evil Uno says all units have their obstacles, bringing up the fact not everyone came out to support Uno and Stu during their match. Alex Reynolds tells Uno it’s on him that Hangman has not talked to them in weeks. Uno loses it and quickly apologizes, Reynolds angrily storms off with John Silver following behind.
IN-RING SEGMENT: CM PUNK’S DYNAMITE DEBUT
Tony Schiavone introduces his guest: C…M…PUNK! As expected he gets a crazy reaction and chants and all that jazz. Punk and Schiavone shake hands, two men once broken by the pro wrestling business now reinvigorated by it. Aw man now I’m getting emotional about it.
Schiavone asks Punk what brought him back, Punk says he can’t hear him and starts laughing. Schiavone asks again what one thing was brought Punk to AEW. Punk names some of the members of the AEW roster, but before them there’s one guy: Darby Allin. Punk says he has all the same questions: can CM Punk still go and be The Best in the World? If the answer is yes, it begins with Darby Allin, someone who would’ve been his favorite wrestler when he was 15 years old. Punk says Allin is not the biggest or strongest but he’s got heart and says that All Out is proving the haters wrong and proving himself right. Punk says hi to his beautiful wife at home and that…concludes things.
- JON’S THOUGHTS: More name dropping from Punk putting over some AEW stars, which I dug. He’s very clearly still soaking it all in and may need some time to get snapped back into wrestling mode but man I’ll listen to this dude talk whenever he wants. I hope and Moxley spar at some point.
–Miro forgives Fuego Del Sol, but will find Eddie Kingston and hold his head under water because he’s the Redeemer. Miro demands AEW bring him The Mad King before he burns the place to the ground. YES DO THIS.
Jon Moxley, Eddie Kingston, & Darby Allin [w/ Sting] vs. The Wingmen (“Hollywood Hunk” Ryan Nemeth, JD Drake, & Cezar Bononi) [w/ “Pretty” Peter Avalon]
Allin outpaces Drake and tags Kingston, Nemeth tags in as well and shows off some gyrations. Nemeth chops Kingston and poses, Kingston chops back and drops him in one shot, Nemeth quickly tagging out to Bononi. King tries to drop Bononi with shoulder tackles but he doesn’t move, Mox tags in and helps King take him down. Mox clears off the other Wingman, Kingston throws a chair, and the show goes picture-in-picture. Bononi overpowers Moxley, throwing him shoulder-first into the guardrail. Drake tags in and connects with an inverted atomic drop, Bononi follows with a running boot and Drake covers for the 1…2…Moxley kicks out. Nemeth and Drake double-team Moxley, Nemeth covers and Kingston rips him off WITH RIGHTEOUS FURY. Nemeth applies a headstand hammerlock. Mox breaks out, Bononi tags in and slows it down with a chinlock as the show returns to full screen.
Moxley breaks out of the hold and goes for a suplex, Bononi powers out and clubs him down with a forearm to the back. Mox escapes a slam and connects with a back suplex. Drake tags in, Mox drops him with a forearm shiver and Kingston gets the tag, throwing him around with a uranage. Nemeth runs in and gets decked, Drake connects with a backbreaker and climbs the buckles, Mox BITES DRAKE, Allin tags in and hits an avalanche Code Red! Avalon trips Allin, Sting backs him up in Mox & Kingston’s willing arms, commencing in a beatdown. Back in the ring Mox & King clear Bononi out of the ring, Nemeth grabs a chair but gets quickly dispatched as well. Back in the ring Allin connects with a stunner followed by a Coffin Drop on Drake for the 1…2…3!
Jon Moxley, Eddie Kingston, & Darby Allin defeated The Wingmen via pinfall (7:38)
- JON’S THOUGHTS: Super f*cking fun man, Allin & company having the time of their lives beating up the goofy Wingmen who were AWESOME as well. I loved it. (***1/4)
Daniel Garcia runs in and gets in some cheapshots on Allin before getting chased away by Sting & Kingston.
–Tay Conti’s interview is interrupted by The Bunny, who offers her a contract to join the HFO and leave The Dark Order. Conti rips it up and they throw bombs before officials separate the two. Conti will be in the Women’s Casino Battle Royal during the All Out Buy-In on September 5th; winner gets a Women’s Title shot.
–Dax Harwood gives an update on Cash Wheeler; the nerves in his arm aren’t firing right but they still have one more match in them. Wheeler shows up and says they will not stop until they get their pound of flesh.
Schiavone is standing by with Kenny Omega, Don Callis, Brandon Cutler, and Michael Nakazawa. Callis takes the mic and starts yelling, only to be interrupted by Omega’s All Out opponent (and Impact World Champ) Christian Cage. Cage takes it to a video about his past with Callis (Callis booked him in his first televised match then FIRED him after). Cage calls Callis a “carny piece of sh*t”, Omega says the only thing that video proved was he was a better athlete at 10 years old than Christian was at 20. Callis says favoring family over talent makes him just like Bill Watts, Vince McMahon, and others; this isn’t Erik Watts though it’s KENNY BY GAWD OMEGA. Christian isn’t sure what’s weirder: manipulating a 10 year old Kenny or that an adult Kenny is still letting it happen. Omega pipes in with a “you think you know me”, Callis strips his jacket off and tells Christian at All Out he’ll know what he’s been his entire career: second-best. Christian attacks, Nakazawa and Cutler help THE NUMBERS GAME before being chased off by Frankie Kazarian, the Elite Hunter.
- JON’S THOUGHTS: I have no idea what that video sh*t was about, I assume that was a BTE thing or whatever. Goofy segment to push a match that is VERY overshadowed right now.
–Jon Moxley says only one guy in Japan signed his open contract to walk through the door: Satoshi Kojima. Moxley says Kojima must have a death wish and that’s fine because once the bell rings he’s trying to end someone. September 5th will be Kojima’s public execution.
- JON’S THOUGHTS: For some reason I thought they were building to a bigger match. Don’t get me wrong Kojima is fine, but in 2021 that’s kinda low on the NJPW food chain. I could’ve sworn Tanahashi got mentioned at one point.
The Gunn Club (Billy, Austin, & Colton Gunn) vs. The Factory (QT Marshall, Aaron Solow, & Nick Comoroto]
Paul Wight, Marshall’s All Out opponent, joins commentary for this one, excited to get his boots back on to wrestle once again. Comoroto charges, Billy tosses him out to the floor and stuns Solow with a right hand. One of the Gunn kids tags in and shows off, Marshall stops that with a clothesline from the apron and points at Wight. Factory continue working this Gunn kid over as the show moves to picture in picture. I’m not paying much attention to be honest.
Back to full screen in time for Comoroto to slam Austin. Solow tags in, Austin hops over and makes the tag to Colton. Clotheslines to everyone in The Factory, corner splashes and dropkicks as well why not? Comoroto stops the string with a shoulder tackle, Billy tosses him out and they take one another down with a double clothesline, Marshall hits Colton with a backbreaker/Flatliner combo and points at Wight some more. Wight stares Marshall down, Colton surprises him with an inside cradle for the 1…2…3!
The Gunn Club defeated The Factory via pinfall (5:50)
- JON’S THOUGHTS: Billy Gunn gets paid to hang out with his sons, that’s cool. Nick Comoroto looks like a man worth building a company around. This match was whatever. (*3/4)
–Dan Lambert continues talking Boomer trash while flanked by Scorpio Sky and Ethan Page. I know it’s heel shtick but as soon as someone says “Millennial” and “safe space” I tune right out.
-NEXT WEEK: Santana & Ortiz vs. FTR, Brian Cage vs. Powerhouse Hobbs, Jim Ross interview Chris Jericho, Tony Schiavone sits down with MJF.
-THIS FRIDAY ON RAMPAGE: Tay Conti vs. The Bunny, Jurassic Express vs. Jurassic Express in the Eliminator final, and Christian Cage/Frankie Kazarian vs. Kenny Omega/Brandon Cutler. Kenny I know he’s your friend but you can do better, c’mon.
-EARLIER TODAY: Arn Anderson is interviewed about his son’s match with Malaki Black. Arn says Brock is in over his head but he’s an Anderson and has guts. Arn says good doesn’t always conquer evil and Brock will have to pull everything out of his guts to make it work.
Brock Anderson [w/ “The Enforcer” Arn Anderson] vs. Malakai Black
Anderson attacks Black right at the bell, Black connects with a knee strike and a series of rapid-fire strikes. Ref forces Black out of the corner, then spins around the ref and connects with more jabs. Black grabs Brock by the hair, Arn wants to throw in the towel but Brock tells him not to. Arn throws the towel down and Black demands he throw it in. Brock works the quads, Black stops that with an Exploder suplex and hey Brock is bleeding a tiny bit. Black knocks Brock out with a spinning kick, crowd chants “ONE MORE TIME” while Arn looks on in sadness. Black stares and makes Arn look at the damage, then covers for the 1…2…3.
Malakai Black defeated Brock Anderson via pinfall (2:26)
- JON’S THOUGHTS: Malakai bringing the goofy theatrics to AEW. The squash stuff was cool, I found the acting kinda lame but it worked I guess. (SQUASH)
Black grabs a chair, Arn tells him to get rid of it and they’ll fight. Black tries a kick, Arn blocks it so Black kicks him in the nuts instead then lays him out with a roundhouse kick. Lee Johnson of the Nightmare Family comes out to check on The Andersons, Black leaving the ring and inaudibly jawing at the camera to conclude the episode.
Having to follow up CM Punk’s return on Friday was going to suck no matter what, but AEW did themselves no favors by having what felt like a Dark+ episode of Dynamite. Not saying it was unwatchable but they had a lot of heat coming from Rampage and maybe should’ve followed it up better with something a little more high-profile. What was here was pretty good though, the All Out card is looking pretty stacked to say the least and I’m terrified it’s gonna be 8 hours long or something.
- FAVORITE MATCH: Mox/King/Darby vs. The Wingmen
- FAVORITE MOMENT: Orange Cassidy knocking the money out of Matt Hardy’s hands then stealing a 100 dollar bill for himself; Hardy stealing it back later in the match.