VENUE: NOW Arena (Hoffman Estates, IL)
COMMENTATORS: Jim Ross, Excalibur, & Tony Schiavone
It’s the final AEW Dynamite before the big All Out PPV on Sunday. What will AEW do to sell everyone on its biggest show ever (almost) last minute? Let’s find out! I’m pretty sure a CM Punk appearance goes without saying.
- 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)
- Santana & Ortiz vs. FTR (***3/4)
- Orange Cassidy vs. Jack Evans (*1/2)
- Brian Cage vs. Powerhouse Hobbs (***)
- Tay Conti vs. Penelope Ford (**3/4)
- Jurassic Express & Lucha Brothers vs. Young Bucks & Good Brothers (**1/2)
Santana & Ortiz vs. FTR (Dax Harwood & Cash Wheeler) [w/ Tully Blanchard]
These two teams have been feuding since May, their match in July cut short due to a very real and GROSS injury to Wheeler’s arm thanks to an errant piece of metal on a ringpost. Nasty stuff. Santana & Ortiz got the Dead Presidents makeup on, so you know they mean business, FTR out wearing Midnight Express-style gear out of respect for the late great “Beautiful” Bobby Eaton.
Santana and Harwood wrestle it out to start, both men jockeying for position. Santana escapes a side headlock, Harwood drops him with a shoulder tackle but Santana pops right back up and connects with a chop. Harwood chops back and we’ve ourselves a shootout! Both men attempt hip tosses and get tied up in the ropes, brawl breaks out and FTR get sent to the floor. Santana & Ortiz survey the situation and follow up with stereo tope con hiros. FTR get sent into the barricade, Santana springs off Ortiz’s back and connects with a cannonball. Ortiz tags in and goes back to wrestling, taking Harwood to the canvas with a fireman’s carry into an armbar. Wheeler gets a blind tag and sends Ortiz into the…well it was supposed to be the post but they didn’t get all of it so Wheeler sends him into a different post. FTR goes to work on Ortiz’s left arm, Harwood stomping it and applying a top armbar. Wheeler rips off a top turnbuckle pad, Harwood uses it to further hurt Ortiz’s arm. Ortiz blocks an exposed buckle shot and drops Harwood with a kick, Wheeler quickly tags in and cuts off the ring. Santana ducks a cheapshot, Ortiz levels Wheeler with a lariat.
Santana gets the hot tag and it’s clothesline/back elbow city for FTR, leading into THREE AMIGOS on Wheeler as the crowd goes nuts. Santana further plays homage, hitting a Frog Splash for the 1…2…Harwood kicks out. Santana & Ortiz hit a combo wheelbarrow cutter, Santana hits a German suplex and Ortiz covers for the 1…2…Wheeler pulls him off and gets clotheslined by Santana. Harwood kicks out of an O’Connor, Harwood hits him with a European and Harwood hits a Brainbuster, the same move that won FTR the match at Fight for the Fallen, for the 1…2…Ortiz kicks out and we’ve got a “THIS IS AWESOME” chant from the NOW Arena. Santana breaks up a double suplex with a spear, Ortiz rolls Wheeler up for the 1…2…not yet. Ortiz clubs Wheeler down, Santana tags in and they hit a double inside out slam for the 1…2…Wheeler kicks out! Harwood shoves Santana off the buckles, Wheeler puts Ortiz in a Gory Special into a slam for the 1…2…Ortiz with the shoulder up! Santana tries to interrupt the Power Plex, FTR hit the Big Rig for the 1…2…Santana connects with a flying clothesline on Harwood who lands into Wheeler to break it up! Hot damn. Santana with a cutter, Ortiz with a lung blower, Santana with a superkick, both men hit a double inside out suplex and Santana covers Wheeler for the 1…2…3!
Santana & Ortiz defeated FTR via pinfall (13:32)
- JON’S THOUGHTS: Excellent way to open the show and the match I think they wanted to have at Fight for the Fallen until things got derailed. Love when Santana & Ortiz come out in the Dead Presidents makeup, sh*t fires me UP. Too bad they didn’t get shuffled into the All Out spot that Andrade/PAC vacated this would have been a great way to open the PPV. (***3/4)
–Daniel Garcia and 2point0 hype Garcia’s match against Darby Allin on Friday’s Rampage, Garcia vowing to hurt Allin enough that he won’t make it to All Out.
IN-RING SEGMENT: CM PUNK
“Cult of Personality” hits, bringing Chicago’s favorite son CM Punk to once again soak in the adulation of his home audience. Still seems really happy to be back, still weird to see him in a good mood. Punk asks the crowd if they’re sick of him yet because this is really too good to be true and is going to enjoy it while it lasts because in a few days this could end for him. Punk says he’s nervous about Sunday, having not wrestled in the past seven years, and the crowd chant “YOU STILL GOT IT” even though he hasn’t wrestled yet. Punk has a promise to make to the crowd but before he can finish his sentence Daniel Garcia & 2point0 (Matt Lee & Jeff Parker) attack Punk until Darby Allin & Sting make the save. Allin hits a Coffin Drop, PUNK HITS A GTS ON PARKER and the two stare each other down ahead of All Out. Parker gets tossed out, Sting gets on the mic and admits he always wanted to share a ring with Punk, giving him “mucho” respect. Woof what an old white dude thing to say. Sting says it’s felt good to watch “Go to Sleep” and “Coffin Drop” to see in front of his eyes. Sting vows to stay in the dressing room for Punk/Darby at All Out, letting them battle mano y mano.
- JON’S THOUGHTS: I’ll admit I fist pumped seeing Punk hit a GTS again. So cool. I didn’t think he was going to get physical at all ahead of All Out but goddamn he gave Garcia & 2point0 the shine huh? Smart move on AEW’s part to mix it up and not have Punk another “great to be here” promo. I am so amped up.
-ALL OUT HYPE: Kenny Omega [c] vs. Christian Cage for the AEW World Championship. Much is made of Christian already pinning Omega for the Impact World Championship, giving him momentum heading into the PPV.
-EARLIER TODAY: Schiavone sits down with Maxwell Jacob Friedman aka MJF, not hiding his disdain for the man during the intro. MJF talks about Chris Jericho’s four decades of evolving to stay on top and admits he’ll be forever etched in the Mt. Rushmore of pro wrestling; however when MJF’s career is done he’ll take his place. MJF continues on, Schiavone checking his watch waiting for this to end, talking about how Muhammad Ali went from the greatest boxer of all-time to a shell of his former self and Jericho is on the same downward spiral. MJF calls Jericho an addict for the spotlight which is why he’s putting his career on the line and MJF will have the pleasure of ending his storied career.
-LAST WEEK: Orange Cassidy beats Matt Hardy after busting his nose open.
–Orange Cassidy gets attacked before his match by Matt Hardy, referee Bryce Remsburg banishes him from ringside.
Orange Cassidy vs. Jack Evans
Matt Hardy attacks Cassidy before the bell and gets thrown out from ringside by referee Bryce Remsburg. Bell rings and Evans goes right on the attack with spin kicks and knee strikes. Cassidy dodges a series of strikes from Evans, spiking him with a tilt-a-whirl DDT for a two-count. Evans escapes to the floor to avoid an Orange Punch, Cassidy connects with a tope suicida instead (damn near landing on his head in the process), followed by a crossbody in the ring for the 1…2…Evans kicks out, Cassidy follows with a Michinoku Driver for the 1…2…Evans kicks out again. Jim Ross can’t believe Taka Michinoku has a move named after him, having never watched his work in Japan I guess. Cassidy and Evans trade off waistlocks as the crowd goes wild, the two fight on the buckles as the show moves to picture-in-picture. The battle continues for way longer than expected, Evans finally hits a German suplex followed by a corkscrew splash for the 1…2…Cassidy kicks out. Cassidy surprises Evans with an inside cradle for the 1…2…3! WHAT THE HELL THE MATCH ENDED DURING THE BREAK?!?
Orange Cassidy defeated Jack Evans via pinfall (5:53)
- JON’S THOUGHTS: Jack Evans has been wrestling for TWENTY-ONE years? Jesus christ man, time is a motherf*cker huh? Match was…well it happened. The standing switch trade-off was pretty fun. (*1/2)
Matt Hardy rushes the ring, Wheeler Yuta & Chuck Taylor run in to help, the rest of HFO (The Blade, Angelico, & Private Party) attack the faces, then finally Jurassic Express (Jungle Boy, Luchasaurus, & Marko Stunt) run out and make the ultimate save.
-ALL OUT HYPE: Miro [c] vs. Eddie Kingston for the TNT Championship. Kingston is going after Miro’s neck and the championship. They are going to walk through Hell together.
-ALL OUT HYPE: Jon Moxley vs. Satoshi Kojima
Jim Ross welcomes Chris Jericho to the ring for Ross’ first in-ring interview since joining AEW. Jericho opens with something he hasn’t said in a long time: “Welcome to Chicago…is…JERICHO”, the city he started his main event run over 20 years ago thanks to Jim Ross. Ross asks Jericho why he’s putting his AEW in-ring career on the line on Sunday; Jericho vows to get to that but before puts over the similarities between MJF & himself. Jericho says the only thing MJF has over him are three victories, then puts over AEW as the hottest wrestling company in the world today as they celebrate 100 episodes of Dynamite. Jericho is taking the chance with his career because he wouldn’t be able to live down going on without having beaten MJF. Jericho tells MJF if he wants him out of the ring he’s going to have to be the best he’s ever been but that’s not going to happen because he’s Chris Jericho. Jericho says MJF doesn’t have what it takes and doesn’t have the balls to get rid of him.
- JON’S THOUGHTS: Solid, fiery promo from a man who can still dial in when he needs to. No goofy nonsense, just rage and I like that he wove in his egocentric “I GOT THIS” with little seeds of doubt.
-ALL OUT HYPE: CM Punk vs. Darby Allin. Allin talks about how Punk was his favorite wrestler at 15 and he got into wrestling right when Punk left, and took offense at being the first on his list instead of the last. Allin will beat Punk in Chicago on Sunday…or die trying.
“The Machine” Brian Cage vs. Powerhouse Hobbs [w/ Hook]
Cage attacks Hobbs during the latter’s entrance, throwing him into the barricade as Taz chides Cage for not being a team player on commentary. Cage rolls Hobbs in, bell rings, Hobbs quickly rolls out and Cage gives chase. Hook gets in Cage’s face, distracting him and giving Hobbs the opening to connect with an elbowdrop. Hobbs escapes a Drill Claw and just bodies Cage back to the canvas. Hobbs remains in control as the show moves to picture-in-picture, splashing Cage in the corner and talking all manner of inaudible trash. Cage floats over Hobbs and connects with a running European uppercut followed by a kick, Hobbs blocks a German attempt and blasts him with a crossbody. HELL YEAH.
Back to full screen as Schiavone announces that Britt Baker has news about a BIG free agent signing (baybay), which he will talk with her about after this. Cage hits Hobbs with a flatliner, both men run into each other with lariats, Cage connects with a series of kicks followed by an Exploder suplex. Cage hits the Euro/kick/German suplex and shoots the half for the 1…2…Hobbs kicks out. Hobbs surprises Cage with a spinebuster for the 1…2…Cage kicks out and Hobbs takes WAY too much time talking around, giving Cage the chance to recover and throw him across the ring. Hobbs bails to the apron, Cage suplexes him back in. Hook distracts the ref, Hobbs pushes Cage into Ricky Starks’ FTW Championship and Hobbs hits a Greetings from Asbury Park-looking thing for the 1…2…3!
Powerhouse Hobbs defeated Brian Cage via pinfall (7:23)
- JON’S THOUGHTS: BIG MEATY MEN SLAPPIN’ MEAT. Good stuff here, loved seeing them throw bombs. Also might be the first time I’ve ever seen Hobbs win a match? Cool. (***)
–Malakai Black has given “Big Shotty” Lee Johnson seven days to atone for getting involved last week on Dynamite but he hasn’t. Black will make Johnson suffer and place coins on his eyes so he can pay the boat man when he sends him to Hell. LAME.
–QT Marshall, flanked by The Factory, calls Paul Wight out to the ring to laugh in his face. Marshall sends his goons after Wight, who shoves them all away then connects with right hands and CHOKESLAMS. Aaron Solow tries a flying nothing and gets swatted out of the air. Out come The Gunn Club (Billy, Austin, & Colton Gunn) to even the odds…even though they really don’t need to. Marshall tries to enter the ring with a chair and gets knocked to the floor. Marshall bails to the ramp and BILLY GUNN ATTACKS WIGHT WITH A CHAIR WHILE HIS SONS LOOK ON. Oh okay. The Gunn Club leave, The Factory hold Wight up so Marshall can hit him with a Diamond Cutter and stand tall. Anywaaaaaaay.
-Schiavone is with Dr. Britt Baker, D.M.D., Rebel, & Jamie Hayter. Baker announces “Reba” and Hayter will be in the Women’s Casino Battle Royal and makes a blockbuster announcement: she has re-signed a lucrative contract with AEW, part of which includes a handicap match against Kris Statlander on Rampage ahead of her title defense on Sunday.
Tay Conti vs. Penelope Ford [w/ The Bunny]
Ford aligned herself with The Bunny last Friday on Rampage, helping her win against Conti thanks to some good ol’ brass knuckles.
Conti wastes no time, hitting both with a crossbody from the apron. Conti rolls Ford in, bell rings, Ford gets thrown around judo-style. Conti connects with a knee strike and a series of forearms into a backbreaker-ish (they didn’t get all of it) for a two-count. Conti drops Ford with a pump kick that pops the crowd and covers for the 1…2…Ford kicks out. Conti springs to the top, Ford shakes the ropes and sends her crashing to the canvas. Ford covers for the 1…2…Conti kicks out and show moves to picture-in-picture. Ford continues the attack, dropkicking Conti in the back and sending her to the apron after bending her in half. Ford measures her, and hops over the buckles, connecting with double knees and stopping for a moment to gloat to the crowd along with The Bunny…and the commercials are full-screen so brb, I guess.
Ford misses a back handspring splash but dodges a pump kick and hits a corner spear. Conti dodges a kick, springs to the top, and hits a flying crossbody followed by a pair of clotheslines and a Judo throw into a Black Hole Slam for the 1…2…Ford kicks out! Ford regains control, Conti escapes the Muta Lock and counters into a Calf Slicer but Ford makes it to the ropes. Conti drills Ford with a pair of with a trinity of pump kicks, Ford counters out of the DD-Tay and connects with a Gutbuster for the 1…2…Conti kicks out! Bunny distracts Conti, Ford tries to take advantage but gets shoved into her new bff and Conti rolls her up for the 1…2…3!
Tay Conti defeated Penelope Ford via pinfall (7:05 shown)
- JON’S THOUGHTS: Rough start but they were killing it by the end. Solid stuff. (**3/4)
Ford & Bunny attack Conti after the bell until the returning Anna Jay runs in to scare them off, reuniting with her best friend! Excalibur announces that Jay will be part of the Women’s Casino Battle Royale at All Out. Heck yeah.
–Alex Marvez interviews Thunder Rosa backstage about the Casino battle royale. She’s QUICKLY interrupted by Nyla Rose, Jade Cargill, Vickie Guerrero, & Smart Mark Sterling. Rosa tries to attack them but the DAMNED NUMBERS GAME and all that. Sterling says there’s no sense to doing this right now and there’s more money in doing this on Sunday.
-ALL OUT HYPE: Chris Jericho vs. MJF; if MJF wins, Jericho will never wrestle in AEW again.
Jurassic Express (Jungle Boy & Luchasaurus) & Lucha Bros (Penta El Zero Miedo & Rey Fenix) [w/ Alex Abrahantes & Marko Stunt] vs. The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) & The Good Brothers (“Big LG” Doc Gallows & “Machine Gun” Karl Anderson) [w/ Don Callis & Brandon Cutler]
Callis joins commentary as Gallows & Luchasaurus throw bombs to start the match. Gallows splashes Luchasaurus in the corner and lays into him with a series of jabs. Luchasaurus fights back with strikes of his own and a vertical suplex that almost sends Big LG’s ankles into the ropes. Nick Jackson tags in as does Fenix and as expected the speed of the action RAMPS UP. Young Bucks and Lucha Bros catch each other with superkick attempts, Gallows & Anderson run in and tip the balance in The Elite’s favor. Matt Jackson mocks Penta, Jungle Boy trips him and Penta connects with a Sling Blade as the show goes picture-in-picture. Jungle Boy tags in, Penta throws him on top of Matt for the 1…2…not yet. Jungle Boy goes for a rana, Nick turns it into a powerbomb on the apron and once again The Elite are in control.
Jungle Boy fights off The Elite as the show returns to full screen, finally escaping to make the tag to Fenix. Fenix superkicks the sh*t out of Anderson and Nick Jackson followed by a spinning springboard armdrag to a standing ovation. Penta tags in and superkicks Nick, Fenix hits an Attitude Adjustment and Penta connects with a flying double stomp to the jewels for the 1…2…Matt breaks it up. Nick superkicks Penta, Penta superkicks back, Young Bucks and Lucha Bros wipe each other out leaving only Luchasaurus standing. Lucha gets the tag, planting Anderson with a release German. Gallows runs in, Luchasaurus shoves him out to the floor. Nick tries a springboard, Lucha goozles him and sends him flipping into Matt & Gallows on the floor. Jungle Boy launches off the back of Luchasaurus with a Torneo, Lucha drops Anderson with a chokeslam followed by standing moonsault for the 1…2…Anderson gets the shoulder up! Cutler blinds Penta with his cool spray, Good Brothers hit the Magic KIller on Fenix for the 1…2…Luchasaurus makes the save! Gallows tosses Lucha into the post and tags in Nick, Fenix hits a double back handspring cutter on both Bucks. Bucks catch a crossbody attempt and turn it into a Meltzer Driver for the 1…2…3!
The Young Bucks & The Good Brothers defeated Jurassic Express & The Lucha Brothers via pinfall (10:13)
- JON’S THOUGHTS: Rey Fenix f*cking rules so much. Match was fine. Felt like a Thunder main event. (**1/2)
Kenny Omega makes his way to the ring, flanked by Michael Nakazawa holding the World Championship. Omega has dyed his hair jet black for extra douchiness. Elite continue attacking everyone, Good Brothers putting Luchasaurus through a table with a Magic Killer as Omega cheers on the house mic. Omega trash talks Jungle Boy, Christian Cage runs out and spears Omega but that’s short-lived because THE DAMNED NUMBERS GAME Y’ALL. Cutler hands out a whole lot of kendo sticks, Omega tells Callis to “let ‘er rip” and the cage descends from the top of the NOW Arena. The attack continues as Dante Martin, Frankie Kazarian, and others try to get in. Marko Stunt makes it to the top but Cutler sprays him in the face and he has to retreat. Lucha Brothers get handcuffed to the ropes and the Bucks lay into him with superkicks, Omega tells Nick to calm down so they can get Christian, hitting a BTE Trigger.
- JON’S THOUGHTS: Next to no build for Omega vs. Christian until the very end, which part of a larger Elite beatdown that went on WAY too long. That cage is MASSIVE though and I can’t wait to see somebody fly off of it on Sunday.
Not the most exciting of shows, especially one that’s leading into AEW’s biggest show ever, but there were a few good promos and FTR vs. Santana & Ortiz kicked all of the ass. CM Punk getting physical in a ring for the first time in seven years was cool to see too but honestly unless you’re already invested I don’t see this making anyone more apt to buy the PPV on Sunday. Nothing bad but nothing really stuck out. Also no real love about it being the 100th episode? Weird.
- FAVORITE MATCH: Santana & Ortiz vs. FTR
- FAVORITE MOMENT: CM Punk hits a goddamn GTS