Coffee Maker Drip: AEW Dynamite Recap and Review

Or: The Cursed Burger Party

Double or Nothing was kind of a trip, right?

The Young Bucks got revenge for getting their sneakers took, everything felt right in the world when Sting hit the Scorpion Death Drop, Dr. Britt Baker assumed her rightful place at the top of the women’s division, Miro kicked off his path of domination in earnest, the Inner Circle went through a very long hell to fight another day, and arguably the best match on the whole card happened on the pre-show (where Serena Deeb tapped into a heelish side of herself to retain the NWA World Women’s Championship). Cody served as a metaphor for American imperialism and most people in attendance cheered.

Kenny Omega retained the AEW World Championship, and Jungle Boy earned his place as the next challenger for the crown jewel of Omega’s title collection. Friday night, the company mostly reshuffled the deck after the events of their flagship pay-per-view. For a standard, table-setting episode of Dynamite, it was actually very good! 

The Young Bucks def. Death Triangle (Penta El Cero Miedo & PAC)

The announcers mentioned a backstage incident where the Bucks beat up Rey Fenix, presumably so he couldn’t back up his stablemates, while the Elite came out in full force. That is, of course, before Frankie Kazarian attacked Michael Nakazawa and the Good Brothers went chasing after him. I’m kinda digging Kazarian’s role as “the Elite Hunter,” as it gives him a sense of purpose after SCU was broken up by a savage loss to the Young Bucks. 

Bucks vs. Penta & PAC started with a brawl on the outside but eventually made its way to the ring, where Death Triangle brought the fight to Matt and Nick, to the point where Matt backed off behind Brandon Cutler and Nick gained the advantage by kicking PAC in the face during the distraction. The Bucks continued the obnoxious antics that made them the most hated (and arguably best-drawing) tag team in wrestling. The annoying taunts are heightened in power when they’re coupled with the Jackson Brothers’ effortlessly athletic offense. 

Penta, still in his Joker colorway, absolutely got his shit in with a great lungblower/senton combo on both Bucks. Jim Ross was pretty critical of Rick Knox’s officiating during the match, and I don’t have the heart to tell him to watch a PWG tag match. Nick Jackson attempted to remove Penta’s mask (a la what they did to Fenix a few weeks ago), but Penta was wearing a second mask and was able to catch him on the surprise with the package piledriver. PAC hit the Black Arrow, but only got the two count. Brandon Cutler interjected and Nick got the pin.

After the match, Death Triangle and the Bucks continued to fight, and when Matt and Nick were about to hit Penta with the BTE Trigger, Eddie Kingston ran out to save his former best friend and the man who wriggled him away from Kingston’s (former) manipulative ways. 

Mark Henry Speaks!

Mark Henry came out to no music, which was kind of jarring after a decade of “somebody’s gonna get they ass kicked.” Henry spoke about his love for the business and turning screws instead of fixing a broken product (because AEW is not broken). Tony Schiavone asked him the burning question: Will he make an in-ring return? Mark answered by not answering, but said he had a lot left in the tank. Vickie Guererro came out and dismissed both Mark and Tony and then—after being drowned out by a loud chorus of boos—announced a wrestler who has won championships all over the world, Andrade El Idolo! It was a foregone conclusion that Andrade would show up here, but it’s still an awesome sight! 

Andrade noted he once considered himself the face of Latinos, but he’s here to become the face of All Elite Wrestling. This is good for all of us, as he’s truly a top talent, and there are most certainly worse faces to plaster on the side of your production trucks. I don’t want to get into wrestling politics in this space or how WWE whiffed hard on Andrade, but at the same time, it’s a true statement. Anyway, Andrade is here, he’s paired with one of the most atomic heels in AEW, and whatever they do will be a surefire slapper. Also, I’m gonna need the number of his tailor on the double. Hit me on Twitter if you’ve got the scoop.

AEW

Anthony Ogogo & QT Marshall def. Cody Rhodes & Lee Johnson

I received a great deal of feedback for my criticism of Cody over the past few weeks—and to a lesser degree, since I was placed on Fanfyte’s AEW beat. They say, “Martin Douglas, you claim you’re suspicious of the idea of the ‘cool executive,’ but so often you fawn over the Young Bucks.” My bone to pick with Cody is that he’s a character who severely lacks self-awareness, while self-awareness is kinda what brought the Bucks and Kenny to the dance. It would be a stretch to say I think any of the EVPs are “cool,” I just feel the core of the Elite have figured out the psychology of most of their viewers in that nobody actively roots for their boss.

The Cody Rhodes character, however, truly thinks he’s the good guy, even when he’s starting petty fights over someone shit-talking America and looking down on him as a wrestling competitor in the guise of saying he’s inexperienced. He comes across as an asshole no matter who he faces, and the only time his character motivations were actually righteous was during the truncated build-up to his match with QT Marshall. But for some reason—probably because he’s definitely got his thing down pat in the ring—people love Cody. 

Marshall—with his Alex Jones-lookin’ ass—started the match with “Big Shotty” Lee Johnson, but he and Cody make very quick tags to take the early advantage in the match. Not too long later, Ogogo was tagged in and called out Cody, who tagged in and cheap-shotted Marshall. This was a very fundamentally sound tag team match, which probably has a lot to do the fact that both Johnson and Ogogo being trained at one point by Marshall is an essential component to the story of the match. While Our Cool Republican Boss had Marshall in the Figure Four, Ogogo broke the hold with a top rope splash with a bruised rib. A Diamond Cutter from QT led to a pin where Cody kicked out and Johnson came down hard and late with the breakup. Aaron Solow came out for the distraction, and Ogogo knocked Cody right the fuck out as Marshall pinned him for the win.

Finally, one for the good guys. After the match, Marshall repeatedly asked Bryce Remburg to raise his hand, and then took the mic and berated Tony Schiavone and the AEW fans for doubting him.

The Inner Circle Yet Again Celebrates Being the Inner Circle

I know I said I wasn’t ready for the Inner Circle to break up yet, but c’mon dude, another promo segment? Jericho did some babyface pandering by giving every fan in attendance a free t-shirt noting the 2021 Stadium Stampede Champions. Sammy Guevara received a well-deserved ovation for winning the match and spoke of doing 630 sentons off of his mom’s roof. Santana opines that the group didn’t really accomplish much aside from being able to stay together; the real accomplishment would be leaving them in a ditch somewhere. He called out FTR and said the Inner Circle vs. the Pinnacle is far from over. Hager called out Wardlow and invited him to the one place he has yet to be beaten: an MMA cage. Jericho spoke of being pissed off by the thought of the Pinnacle, and of how his life was threatened by being pushed off a cage into a crash pad, and how nothing will be enough until he ruins MJF’s career and life. The thesis was laid out clearly at the end: “The Inner Circle never forgives, and the Inner Circle NEVER F’N FORGETS.” 

I really just want to see Santana & Ortiz vs. FTR, as the Inner Circle’s veteran tag team has earned that spotlight match to solidify being one of the best tag teams in the world. And it’s looking like that’s going to happen sooner rather than later. 

Segment: Best Friends noted what we all saw at Double or Nothing; Orange Cassidy—“the sunglasses comedy guy”—had Kenny Omega dead to rights. Orange Cassidy looked dead into the camera and said this thing with Omega isn’t over.

Backstage Interview: Omega and Don Callis offered a rebuttal to Best Friends’ claims and told Alex Marvez they promise to expose the conspiracy to screw Omega out of the AEW World Championship. Omega then talked about Jungle Boy, who won a battle royal full of unranked competitors. “There’s a difference between being a jungle boy and a jungle man, and an even bigger difference between being a jungle man and a jungle champion.” Kenny and Callis then went to mock Jungle Boy by singing his rather catchy entrance music.

Jungle Boy & Christian Cage def. Private Party

Jungle Jack Perry has been killing it lately, so it’s not too big a surprise he’s finally getting his shot at being a main event star, and I think this very ever-so-slightly begrudging respect from Christian might lead both of them to an intriguing rivalry. Private Party is no longer wrestling in ring gear, instead rocking their best barista attire with platinum (probably silver) jewelry and Marq Quen rocking a Gucci belt like he’s about to hold a stack of money to his ear on Instagram.

Not surprisingly, Private Party held the early advantage with quick tags and isolating Jungle Boy, at least up until he uses his agility and elusive brilliance to fight them both off simultaneously. Christian tagged in and definitely lived up to his catchphrase of outworking everyone, but Matt Hardy distracted Aubrey Edwards long enough for Marq Quen to hang Christian’s neck along the top rope. Private Party smartly played against the rules a few times in the match, knowing exactly when to tag, when to distract Edwards to deliver a cheap shot, when to mock the 5 Second Pose, and when to wear their opponent down and wrench them into the mat. Isiah Kassidy cut off the tag from Christian to Jungle Boy but he and Quen got caught fooling around and Cage managed to get the tag. Quen got caught in the Snare Trap but Kassidy broke it up, but got a thumb in the eye from Matt Hardy. Quen grabbed the tights and still only got a two-count. The Gin & Juice got blocked, Quen got dropped on his head and locked into the Snare Trap and had no choice but to tap out.

After the match, Christian congratulated Jungle Boy and made his way to the ramp, only to get caught by a Twist of Fate from Hardy for his trouble.

Segment: Taz challenged Hangman Page and anyone he chooses from the Dark Order to a tag team match against Brian Page and Powerhouse Hobbs next week on Dynamite.

In-Ring Interview: Tony asked Sting about how good it must have felt to have gained that win at Double or Nothing. Sting took the mic and said last Sunday was unforgettable, that his match stood up to anything he’s ever done in the wrestling business. He was showered with “you still got it chants” and then Scorpio Sky and Ethan Page appeared on the big screen. Scorp said Sting was remarkable and said he even smelled good(?).”What was that, Abercrombie?” I laughed so hard at the absurdity of that suggestion, but when I thought about it, I realized I could see Surfer Sting wearing some distressed jeans and those little polos with the collar turned up back in the day. Sky and Page commended Sting for dragging Darby Allin over the finish line, and challenged Darby to find anybody but Sting to see if he can really hang.

Dr. Britt Baker is Ready for Her Closeup as the Face of AEW’s Women’s Division

Tony, along with a loose assortment of heels (Nyla Rose’s facial expression during this segment was priceless) and mountain of cheeseburgers, introduced his friend Dr. Britt Baker (along with Rebel) to the ring. Dr. Baker said she had burger coupons taped to the bottom of everyone’s seats only to reveal the coupons were on a tray onstage. It’s because she was the one who did the work, nobody was in her corner, and she is on top by herself. She observed all the DMD signs and chants at Double or Nothing, and said those letters are already starting to change the face of AEW. As she went to toast burgers with Rebel and Tony, Nyla Rose smacked them out of their hands, overturned the burger tray, and popped a few balloons at ringside.

Backstage Interview: Alex Marvez interviewed Eddie Kingston, but before he could ask a question, Death Triangle barged into the shot and said they don’t need Kingston’s help, obviously not forgetting their violent disagreement from a few months ago. To which Kingston replied, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” 

Red Velvet def. The Bunny

It’s nice to see Big Swole back on the main show! She and Kilynn King backed up Red Velvet, who has a very impressive win-loss record for the year. Velvet was so full of piss and vinegar, she nearly took a nasty spill on a dive to the outside in her opening flurry of offense against the Bunny. With a thrust kick to the ankle and another to the jaw while Velvet tried to climb the top rope turned the tables advantage-wise. Ever since she joined the Butcher and the Blade, I feel as though the Bunny has seriously leveled up (not just in aesthetic but in skill). After another hard thrust kick and Blade passing her the brass knuckles she’s used on a few occasions, the Bunny missed on the punch and ate Just Desserts for the Red Velvet win.

Backstage Segment: As the Dark Order celebrate John Silver’s birthday, Silver said he had been gifted a TNT Championship match, but he’s still hurt. So he gifted his shot next week to Evil Uno, which is a lot like gifting your friend a free pass to a tiger cage at Big Cat Rescue. 

Backstage Segment: Miro began his rebuttal by thanking God for the raw power bestowed upon him, and shouted out his wife for being hot. He warned Evil Uno, saying he’s going to get hurt next week and it will be a teachable lesson to not go after him when you think you can win, but only when you are certain you can survive. Miro’s ability to oscillate effortlessly between being the low-key most hysterical character in AEW to easily its most threatening is emphasized by the fact he only needs like 45 seconds to tell an entire story. The Inner Circle was given nearly 10 times as much on their promo and still didn’t quite say as much as Miro did.

Bullrope Match: Dustin Rhodes def. Nick Comoroto

In case you didn’t watch Double or Nothing, Comoroto knocked the shit out of Dustin with his own bullrope after “The Natural” eliminated him from the Casino Battle Royale, so here we are! Justin Roberts didn’t even get through his announcements before Dustin ran up on Comoroto to get the fight started. Dustin used “his bullrope match experience” (per Excalibur) to force the hard straddle between Comorato’s legs. I dig the idea of wrestlers in AEW having signature matches; it would make sense for certain wrestlers to have specialized interests. There aren’t many clever high spots to call in this match, because it’s a fucking bullrope match; you don’t need much more than straight brawling and blood to make it good. 

Speaking of blood, Comoroto got busted open about halfway through the match, fighting through it and looking like even more of a monster than he usually does. Late in the match, Aaron Solow set up a table and Dustin was powerbombed right through it, which would have looked severe even if the elder Rhodes brother wasn’t in his fifties. Solow ripped a turnbuckle pad off and Colton Gunn chased him off. Dustin hit a Final Reckoning on the cowbell and Comoroto kicked out at one. Dustin bounced Comoroto’s head off the exposed turnbuckle, hit a bulldog, tied him up with the bullrope and locked in a deep cradle for the win. 

After his win, Dustin celebrated with the fans in this week’s closing shot.

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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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