Blessed and Highly Favored: AEW Dynamite Recap and Review

Or: 10 Nifty Men's Grooming Tips

Saturday’s Notable Happenings on AEW Dynamite:

  • Jungle Boy challenged Kenny Omega for the AEW World Championship in an excellent match—undoubtedly the match of young Mr. Perry’s life and arguably Omega’s finest defense since winning the title in December.
  • Konnan went so hard on Tully Blanchard in a dueling promo, AEW should fund Tully’s ensuing therapy sessions; Konnan received a spiked piledriver from FTR for his trouble.
  • “Hangman” Adam Page and Powerhouse Hobbs had a banger of an opening match, where Hangman got his head busted open so bad it looked like he gave himself a Kurt Cobain Kool-Aid dye job
  • After beating Bear Bronson with a low blow and his finishing move, “All Ego” Ethan Page challenged Darby Allin to a COFFIN MATCH. Darby has yet to respond but we all know how that’s going to go: with an impressionistic black-and-white short film!

To start the show, Chris Jericho received an entrance for his evening gig at the commentator’s booth. It’s obviously just an excuse to get everyone at Daily’s Place to sing “Judas” one last time before AEW goes back on the road, but I’ll take it.

AEW

AEW Tag Team Championship Eliminator Match: Eddie Kingston & Penta El Cero Miedo def. The Young Bucks

The Young Bucks entered Daily’s Place rocking the most ridiculous facial hair, taking their stunting to a ridiculous extent. Tony Schiavone exclaimed they looked like porn stars even though it has been at least 30 years since adult film stars rocked facial hair so obscene. Matt and Nick Jackson gained the early advantage after an opening fracas, and Brandon Cutler—with his equally ridiculous Rip Hamilton face guard gimmick—spraying cold spray on them for … moral support, I guess? On the better end of the facial hair spectrum, Eddie Kingston rocked a solid summer beard and fought as gruffly as such a beard would suggest. Slowly but surely, the Bucks are regressing to their past lives as the atomic shitheads of 2011 PWG, spamming Randy Savage taunts and posing superfluously mid-match. Kingston ate some of their shots in a short-lived comeback which was cut right off by the Brothers Jackson kicking him in the back of the legs. 

With smeared lipstick, Penta eagerly awaited the hot tag after a big superplex from Kingston and received it, rolling through and around the Bucks to bring the pain, ending with a corkscrew Code Red and a loooooong two-count. Nick sent the momentum back in their favor by launching more than halfway across the ring to hit a hurricanrana with his legs across Penta’s waist. Nick sneakily kicked Penta low and the Bucks hit the Lucha Bros’ finisher, but Kingston broke the count. The Good Brothers arrived at ringside as Kingston nearly fought out off Jackson brothers by himself, and then provided the distraction while Cutler mistakenly sprayed Matt in the face with cold spray—with Frankie Kazarian coming out to even the odds. A Fear Factor and a spinning back fist later and Kingston and Penta won the match and earned their title shot against the Bucks.

Backstage Segment: Christian Cage offered Jungle Boy a few platitudes about showing the world he’s a main eventer and almost becoming world champion (“I don’t believe in win or lose, I believe in win or learn”)—which all still felt quite disingenuous to me—followed by Luchasaurus thanking Christian for having Jungle Boy’s back. And for that, Luchasaurus has his back now.

AEW

Tony Schiavone Speaks to Ethan Page About His Coffin Match Challenge

Tony cut to the chase, while Page was interrupted by boos trying to explain why he challenged Darby Allin to a Coffin Match. He said what he has done to Darby is not enough: “My goal is not to beat Darby Allin, it’s to exterminate Darby Allin!” Page explains how he has beaten Darby’s ass from pillar to post, injured him on the independents, and still Darby is one of AEW’s top stars. Page pledged to make Darby remember the coffin he will seal him in every time he does a Coffin Drop. Soon enough, the snow fell on Jacksonville and out came Sting dragging a coffin under a blanket behind him. 

One of Darby’s famous short films played—our favorite skate-goth tearing off an Ethan Page paper mask and setting a wooden casket on fire with a blowtorch, shades of the early days of his Cody Rhodes rivalry—and then Allin jumped out of the coffin and brought the fight to Page with Sting hitting a Scorpion Death Drop on Scorpio Sky. After getting his eyes gouged, Page threatened to call the match off and then decided to make Darby sign a contract saying he will not touch Page until their match at Fyter Fest.

AEW

Jungle Boy def. Jack Evans

Matt Hardy cut a short promo about how Jungle Boy getting a receipt for sticking his nose in Hardy Family Office business, which has led to this match against the pride of Parkland, WA, Jack Evans. Jungle Jack Perry went for the Snare Trap early but Evans managed to escape and caught him with a leaping kick to the chest. Evans has been regarded as one of the most casually brilliant high-fliers of the past two decades, but he mostly played a solid ground game here, only occasionally taking to the skies. Acrobatic high spots abound in the final seconds of the match, until Jungle Boy locked in the Snare Trap for his 50th AEW win. 

After the match, Hardy and Private Party came out to jump Jungle Boy but Jurassic Express and Christian followed closely behind to even the odds. Christian put Hardy down, fought off Evans, and went back to Hardy only to find him scurrying up the ramp. 

Backstage Segment: MJF accurately described himself as the fox in the henhouse and described all the ways he has bested Chris Jericho—basically cutting a promo on him instead of his opponent in tonight’s main event, Sammy Guevara. I’ve been holding my tongue for weeks, but Max has vastly improved as a heel since throwing Jericho off the Blood & Guts cage. He’s less obvious, less “too clever by half,” and yet every bit as unlikable. (Not to mention his smug, smarmy face has not become any less punchable.) Here, he lets Jericho know he will offer the stipulations of the blowoff match Jericho’s been waiting for. Then he turns his attention to Sammy, where he says maybe people will be calling him the future, because MJF is the now, and maybe Sammy will actually admit Max is better on his vlog to his “Sammy Simps” after tonight’s match.

Backstage Interview: Alex Abrahantes interviewed Andrade El Idolo, who said he wants to make an example out of Matt Sydal for interrupting his huge announcement last week. Which means it’s gonna be Andrade vs. Matt … Something at Road Rager next week.

AEW

Kenny Omega Gloats About Still Being World Champion

Kenny Omega, rocking some equally egregious facial hair as his friends the Young Bucks—think Triple H circa 2004—spoke about staying motivated to attack his goals. He spoke of defeating every archetype of “best” or “most” AEW has to offer and lamented having no one left to face, so he will be taking a break, defending championships elsewhere. Out came the Dark Order to interrupt, where Evil Uno reflects on Kenny’s thought of there being no one left. Omega said none of them were ranked, and the “cowboy shit” chants started—to which Evil Uno offered up the #1 ranked singles competitor in AEW, a certain former friend of Omega’s. Omega suggested this certain person wouldn’t appreciate being spoken for, doesn’t have the guts to challenge him, doesn’t even think himself he has the right to hold up the AEW World Championship. Kenny kissed off the Dark Order to no retort and headed backstage.

As much of an avowed Hangman fan as I am, I couldn’t spot the lie in Kenny’s words when he said Page feels unworthy to capture that title belt.

Backstage Segment: Brian Pillman Jr. asked for forgiveness for not having the faith he has; he spoke of his rough upbringing and although he didn’t have parents guiding him along, he’s had some good friends. Pillman pledged to expose Miro for the bully—and “big Bulgarian bitch”—that he is. Points for alliteration, but some of these wrestlers should read a dictionary because the word “bitch” as an insult has been tired for a while. I do have to say Pillman has done a lot in the past few weeks to establish himself as a star to watch; his promos have been full of fire and hardscrabble autobiography, and his Varsity Blondes package with Griff Garrison and Juila Hart has been more well-defined by the week. He’s been putting in the work to become a star to watch.

AEW

TNT Championship Match: Miro (c) def. Brian Pillman Jr.

Miro entered the arena to some Very Serious new music, which is very fitting for his God’s Favorite persona (though perfectly acceptable would be a song from the 2002 Noreaga album of the same name). Pillman Jr. barely got out of the blocks before being dominated. Miro is just so incredibly believable as a brick wall for anyone trying to make a name for themselves in AEW; as I feel I’ve mentioned before, this is the ass-kicker he should have been at “the other place.” Pillman mounted a desperately high-spirited comeback—which included him smartly faking out Miro on a springboard clothesline—but Miro eventually caught and destroyed Pillman with a kick that absolutely flattened him. Game Over spelled game over for Pillman, as he passed out in Miro’s clutches.

After the match, Miro presented the TNT Championship to the Lord as a humble offering of his devotion.

Backstage Interview: Alex Marvez got interrupted yet again by Hangman yelling at the Dark Order for speaking for him—if nothing else, Kenny knows his old friend. He paused as he asked if they thought he was afraid of Kenny Omega. Evil Uno replied that Hangman might be afraid of failure, which slots easily in the Big Facts category, saying he encourages all of his friends in defeat but can’t handle it himself. As the Dark Order left their dressing room, Alex Reynolds basically told Hangman he believes in him. 

Backstage Segment: Taz acknowledged the absence of both Ricky Starks and Brian Cage—saying their fissure has disrupted the dynamic of Team Taz and made a toxic environment for all its members, to which Hook and Hobbs agree. Taz then stated on July 14th, the FTW Championship will be on the line as Brian Cage will defend his championship against the fully healed “Absolute” Ricky Starks. Finally, we will get this business settled! Or will we?

AEW

Dr. Britt Baker & Reba (Rebel) def. Nyla Rose & Vickie Guerrero

Dr. Baker clocked the fuck out of Vickie before the match even started, bringing Nyla into the match early. Reba (Rebel), after getting beaten up, tried to tag out, which Dr. Baker refused. Rose tagged Guererro in while she went to the outside to grab a table and Reba (Rebel) gained the advantage. Rose was tagged back in and proceeded to dominate Dr. Baker’s assistant (maybe still hairdresser?), but Dr. Baker tagged herself in to presumably pick the bones of Rose. It didn’t work out well for her, as Rose fought Dr. Baker off handily and tagged Guererro in once again, with Rose heading to the top rope. Dr. Baker knocked Rose off the top turnbuckle and put Guerrero in Lockjaw for the win. 

After the match, Rose attacked Dr. Baker from behind and powerbombed her through Chekov’s Table. 

Backstage Segment: Hager, Santana, & Ortiz were pissed, saying the Pinnacle must be tired of getting their asses whooped. Santana relished in the idea of getting their hands dirty, and said if Wardlow and FTR are going to bring that snake Tully, they’re going to bring their dog Konnan with them. Santana yet again shines here as the Inner Circle’s most believable babyface and Hager and Ortiz backed him capably here.

AEW

MJF def. Sammy Guevara

Lots of posing happened early in the match and Max almost whiffed the leapfrog in an early exchange, providing a stalemate in the opening moments. Sammy went for the GTH but Max caught it, which was followed by a series of pinfall attempts and reversals. Max managed to use Bryce Remburg being between him and Sammy to gouge his opponent’s eyes, which Jericho claimed he taught him. I enjoyed the idea of Max and Sammy being presented as incredibly evenly matched, especially since Max’s win-loss record overshadows Guevara’s considerably. (That in and of itself works narratively, as it very accurately suggests MJF is willing to resort to any tactic to get his name in the win column.)

Max managed to eventually gain the advantage and bit his fingers to keep it. Sammy’s ring style most definitely supports his face turn; his extremely acrobatic style offsets the smarmy personality he once had—and still contains particles of, even though he seems to be presented as a fiery babyface. In the middle section of the match, Sammy ping-ponged around to great applause, hitting a Canadian Destroyer to a huge response. (Said Jericho: “He can’t speak a lick of Spanish but has the fire in his veins!”) Max grabbed a chair from ringside, which Sammy dropkicked right into his face, and then dived from the top turnbuckle, over the guard rail, and onto Max. Max eventually regained the advantage and hit a Tombstone Piledriver from the second rope, but came up clutching his knee. 

That move—as insane as MJF’s deliberately “old school” offense gets—still only got a two-count.

As Max gutted through his injured knee, he finally managed to get onto his feet, but Sammy caught him with the GTH. Hooking too deep on the cover, Max’s feet were tangled in the ropes as Remsburg broke the count. Max begged for his life before Sammy showed no mercy hitting the 630 senton, but still managed to kick out. Shawn Spears came out and Jericho decided he would intervene, but Wardlow caught him from behind and threw him off the platform onto the floor. Meanwhile, Spears clocked Sammy with the chair and MJF covered him for the pin.

MJF blew a kiss to the booing fans as the show came to a close.

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Martin Douglas

The unofficial poet laureate of Tacoma, WA, Martin Douglas is an essayist, critic, and journalist specializing in the fields of music (KEXP.org, Bandcamp Daily, Pitchfork) and pro wrestling (Seattle Weekly, quite a few online zines). He's also a hip-hop beatmaker, fiction writer, disposable camera photographer, and all-around renaissance man.

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