No $700 Replica Here: AEW Dynamite Recap and Review

Or: Konnan the Destroyer

Last Week’s Notable Happenings on AEW Dynamite:

  • Wardlow busted out some wrestling moves in his first MMA fight on AEW in defeat to Jake Hager in what is basically his signature match.
  • Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky—as common sense would suggest—defeated Darby Allin in a two-on-one handicap match after Darby’s head smacked against the ringpost.
  • Kenny Omega confronted Jungle Boy ahead of their AEW World Championship Match, which involved Michael Nakazawa playing decoy instead of directing his masterpiece.
  • Brock Anderson scored the pinfall in his debut match, which of course he did because he was tagging with Our Cool Republican Boss Cody Rhodes!
  • Andrade El Idolo tried to help Jim Ross speak Spanish. He wasn’t successful.

Last night’s episode of Dynamite was buoyed by its huge main event of Jungle Boy vs. Omega; the former the scrappy challenger with an unexpected roll of show-stealing performances, the latter really starting to get his legs under him as the dominant champion everyone expected him to be. This huge main event—built up since Double or Nothing when Jungle Boy won the Casino Battle Royale—was augmented by Powerhouse Hobbs vs. “Hangman” Adam Page (a surefire banger and clash of AEW’s heaviest hands) and a tag match with title implications: Nyla Rose & Vickie Guerrero vs. Dr. Britt Baker & Reba (Rebel).

This week’s episode started with what is becoming one of my favorite AEW tropes: Alex Marvez getting interrupted by heated rivals who can’t keep their hands off of each other. This time around it was Sammy Guevara getting hit in the back with a chair by Shawn Spears while Marvez tried to get a word with Sammy about his main event match against MJF next week. Spears made sure to wish Sammy luck after laying him out.

AEW

“Hangman” Adam Page def. Powerhouse Hobbs

Another one of my favorite AEW tropes is the company getting the crowd warmed up by putting Hangman, pretty undoubtedly its most popular star, in the opening match. Conspicuous in their absence was Team Taz, who sat out at the request of Powerhouse Hobbs according to their team captain on commentary.

Hobbs got in Hangman’s face before the match started and immediately backed him into the ropes and gave Page the clean break. I’ve made no secret Hobbs is my favorite of AEW’s young and emerging stars, and he showed out here, evoking comparisons (from Jim Ross) to Butch Reed, because of course he needed to be compared to a Black wrestler for people to get it. Hobbs smartly targeted the right arm of the Hangman, the arm he uses to hit his can’t miss Buckshot Lariat, wrapping it in the guard rail and kicking the fuck out of it and weakening it every chance he got. Even with the hurt arm, this match was a slugfest, highlighted by Page giving Hobbs three big boots which would have knocked the shit out of a smaller or weaker competitor, but Hobbs just shrugged them off. Somewhere in this rough match, Page was busted open on the top of his head, blood lightly coloring his blonde hair. 

Late in the match, Ricky Starks and Hook came out to deliver the FTW Championship to Hobbs (presumably to knock out Page with it), but Brian Cage (the FTW titleholder, in case you forgot) came out to stop Starks and chase him off in the middle of the act. Hobbs catching Hangman off of the Buckshot Lariat and hitting a spinebuster flush was an excellent nearfall. After the deadlift German suplex and the Deadeye, Hangman gained the victory.

Backstage Segment: The Young Bucks and Brandon Cutler rebuffed the haters and trolls with an endearing joke about the length of their record-setting AEW Tag Team Championship reign. They run down a list of the teams they’ve defeated and mention the upcoming Championship Eliminator match with Eddie Kingston and Penta El Cero Miedo. They’re not sweating it, they’re gonna win, because they’re EVPs! Extremely violent people. For some weird reason, Nick loudly clucked to end the promo, which was … interesting to say the least.

Tully Blanchard and Konnan Have a Face-to-Face Confrontation

In the ongoing war between the Inner Circle and the Elite, Konnan suddenly found himself involved because of his past ties with Santana & Ortiz, DJing their beatdown of FTR in Stadium Stampede 2 for what I presume was a nominal fee. Tony Schiavone offered some harm reduction by making sure both parties knew it was a gentleman’s discussion. Tully allowed Konnan to air his grievances first because of the “respect” he has for him, and Konnan retorted by saying Santana & Ortiz are survivors who won’t fall for his tricks and mind games.

Konnan said FTR having a rough upbringing in North Carolina—”where the men are men and the sheep are scared”—is a way different scenario from two Puerto Ricans coming up in the streets of New York. “You’re FTR’s mentor, I’m their father,” he said. And then threw out some Spanish because one day Tully might want to communicate with his grandkids (as his daughter Tessa is married to Daga in living in Mexico). Savage. Tully responded with saying he knows plenty of Spanish and standard wrestling promo stuff; Konnan said when FTR fails, Walmart is always hiring greeters, so he won’t be out of work for long.

Konnan brought out Santana & Ortiz for backup, fully masked, and it turned out that his wrestling sons were actually beaten the fuck down in the backstage area and the masked hooligans turned out to be FTR. They proceeded to beat down and piledrive a 57-year-old man. \

AEW

Matt Sydal def. Dante Martin

While Dante Martin—on a pretty notable solo run due to the knee injury of his brother and tag team partner Darius—Vickie Guerrero came out to interrupt to the usual thunderous round of boos and introduced Andrade El Idolo (which Jim Ross pronounced correctly!). With Andrade suited the fuck up, Vickie teased an announcement just as Matt Sydal interrupted her with his entrance. Andrade did not look happy as he and Vickie went to the back.

If you were looking for a flip-fest in this match, Sydal confounded your expectations by emphasizing his newfound chain wrestling and submission game. Martin showed his skills by nearly slipping off the bottom rope for a springboard dropkick and hitting it anyway. Sydal took control of most of the match, as he is the veteran (Ross pointed out Sydal has been wrestling as long as Martin has been alive). Sydal tightened Martin’s hamstrings by throwing stiff kicks and then went for the high single crab later in the match. As a preternaturally talented high flier, Martin hit a double-springboard moonsault like most of us would jump off the bottom step of a staircase. Eventually, Sydal would hit the Lightning Spiral for the win.

Backstage Segment: Jungle Boy, likely a ball of nerves but looking as cool as ever, acknowledged this AEW World Championship match as the biggest night of his life right as Christian Cage walked up and agreed with him. After some small talk, Christian criticized Jungle Boy’s statement that he’s happy to be in this match, saying the rising star should be pissed off because there’s a lot of people saying he doesn’t deserve to be there. Christian gave Jungle Boy a nice little pep talk with an ever-so-slight hint of adversarial tension, which emphasizes his gifts as a wrestling character.

Backstage Segment: “Smart” Mark Sterling and Jade Cargill announce a new deal #JadeBrand made with AEWShop.com to offer 10% off of Jade’s two AEW shirts (code; THATB). They’re already almost sold out of XXLs (nice little joke there, Sterling)! Cargill eventually pushed Sterling out of the way and let everyone know she’s still undefeated, tearing the Dark Order shirt Sterling tried to rip in vain with ease and letting everyone know she’s still That Bitch.

Backstage Interview: Alex Marvez caught up with MJF, Wardlow, and Shawn Spears—to which Marvez got interrupted again, this time by MJF pointing out people don’t watch to hear Marvez talk (and even if we did, we know the trope). MJF pointed out that he could understand why people were mad that he put an armbar on the injured arm of Chris Jericho or why Shawn Spears clocked Sammy Guevara in the back with a chair, but couldn’t understand why people hated him punching Dean Malenko last week after the MMA cage fight. “Dean Malenko is old,” MJF said, “with a bad heart and Parkinson’s Disease. Now do you really think someone in that state should be involved in an industry as dangerous as professional wrestling?” Max said we should be thanking him for sending Malenko to an early retirement. 

After his promo, Chris Jericho and Jake Hager jumped the three members of the Pinnacle, beating up everything that walked in their path. The violence spilled to the ring with the Pinnacle gaining the advantage. As Spears nearly took out Jericho’s arm with the chair, Guevara ran out for the save. Sammy got on the mic and said on Wednesday he’s going to prove to the world what he already knew: AEW chose the wrong guy to push to the top. 

Backstage Interview: “Before I get to Brian Pillman Jr., I want to thank God for keeping me powerful and my hot wife flexible,” Miro began his promo. He called out Brian Pillman Jr. for attacking him for no reason while he was trying to help out Penelope Ford “in need..” He noted that standing between a righteous man and his path is like standing between a cleaver and its meat. I’m really digging this God’s Favorite Champion thing Miro’s got going on right now; in addition to showing how fucking great he is at promos, it gives his character a purpose, as morally convoluted as it may be. 

AEW

“All Ego” Ethan Page def. Bear Bronson

After Bronson broke clean and Ethan Page slapped him, Bronson took the momentary advantage in the match. While Bronson went for the suicide dive, Scorpio Sky pushed Page out of the way and took the full brunt of the move; shortly after Bear Boulder walked up on him and Page claimed to Bryce Remburg that Boulder touched him. As Remsburg argued with Boulder, Scorp hit Bronson from behind. For much of the match, Page seemed to be largely outmatched by Bronson’s power, but after a low blow and an Ego’s Edge, Page won the match.

After the match, Page got onto the mic and—noting he’s not satisfied with pinning him, that he will only be satisfied by ending him—challenged Darby Allin to a Coffin Match at the Road Rager special on July 7th, which seems like an appropriate crescendo to their years-long rivalry. 

Backstage Segment: Dr. Britt Baker and Reba (Rebel) listed the things they would ask for if sports executive and billionaire’s son Tony Khan owed them a favor and seemed pretty incredulous that of all things, Vickie Guerrero would ask for a wrestling match. Apparently Vickie has asked for something not covered by malpractice insurance, and excuuuuses herself for beating their asses in their upcoming tag team match.

Backstage Segment: Vickie Guerrero said next week’s tag team match is just a mere appetizer for the title match Nyla Rose will earn when she wins—and the title she will hold up in the air when Rose wins at Fyter Fest.

AEW

Kris Statlander def. The Bunny

Statlander has been on a roll since returning from injury, but the Bunny has also soared to new heights in AEW in recent weeks; their clash this week showed how much both wrestlers have improved (which is saying a lot since they were already great). They started the match by trading blows and showcasing Statlander”s power, After sending Statlander to the outside, the Bunny hit a vicious shotgun dropkick, sending her opponent hard into the guard rail. The match was contested pretty evenly until Statlander managed to hit a powerslam on the outside. The Blade (sporting that HD movie villain tan) distracted Aubrey Edwards while slipping the Bunny a pair of brass knuckles, but Orange Cassidy took the knucks and put them into his pocket as Statlander hit Big Bang Theory and scored the victory.

After the match, the Blade came into the ring and pushed Orange into Statlander, knocking her out of the ring as Blade beat Cassidy down. TH2 came out to help jump Orange, and the Blade took the brass knuckles out of his pocket and nailed him with them right in the jaw.

Backstage Interview: Earlier in the day, Tony Schiavone spoke with QT Marshall about the Miami Strap Match happening on Road Rager and Brock Anderson winning his debut match. Marshall was the perfect mix of sarcastic, indignant, and somewhat factual, saying although Anderson was voted by TNT as Wrestler of the Week, he got nothing for pinning Cody [Writer’s Note: After Anthony Ogogo knocked Rhodes the fuck out with a stomach punch]. In his Tony Soprano loungewear shirt, Marshall noted Cody is not on the show, “doing the work,” maybe trying to get a role on a superhero movie—and thank god because maybe we won’t have to see him on TV anymore. I know we’re united in our atomic antipathy for Cody, but that doesn’t mean I’m biased when I say Marshall is still one of the best characters on the show.

Backstage Segment: Brian Pillman Jr. said Miro has a messiah complex and only faces people when he knows he can win to boost his ego. Pillman said he’s got a complex too: “It’s called being born on the wrong side of the train tracks, it’s called fighting for everything I’ve everything I’ve ever had!” I’m enjoying Pillman Jr. as this fiery, white-meat babyface and lightly grazing his backstory; it’s good practice for him to deepen his character when he inevitably moves higher up the AEW ladder.

Backstage Segment: Eddie Kingston—sporting a great Patrick Ewing shirt I happen to also own—along with Penta El Cero Miedo and his goofy friend Alex Abrehantes, said the Young Bucks only took out the people they took out in the context of wrestling. They’ve never taken people out in real life like he has on the streets. Kingston said he learned something about the Bucks: They don’t care about getting beaten down, they care about their egos, they care about being able to brag about how good they are because they carry the AEW World Tag Team Championships. He and Penta are going to take those away from them. Penta let Matt and Nick know that for all the teams they’ve run over, he and Kingston are going to run over them.

AEW

AEW World Championship Match: Kenny Omega (c) def. Jungle Boy

Justin Roberts now has the moniker “the Dapper Yapper” on his lower-third, which is the cheesiest Oklahoma nickname any ring announcer could have. At the beginning of the match, Marko Stunt got a little too worked up, causing him—along with Luchasaurus and the Good Brothers, all accompanying their corresponding partner in this title match—to be ejected from the match by Paul Turner. Kenny pushed Turner and Turner pushed Kenny down in retort, and Kenny had to psych himself up before starting the match, acknowledging ever-so-slightly that he could lose this match. 

To start the match, Kenny offered Jungle Boy a very condescending clean break, followed by both competitors engaging in some good, character-heavy chain wrestling. The early moments of the match were played very evenly, with Omega trying to gain the advantage by cheating to no avail. After Jungle Jack Perry outclassed Omega in the early going, the crowd stood on their feet, their support for the challenger elevating the atmosphere of the match. As the advantage pendulum continued to swing, commentary astutely pointed out how Omega hasn’t been defeated in a match since August of 2019. In the middle part of the match, Jungle Boy maintained a good advantage until Omega crotched him on the top turnbuckle.

The story of much of the match was Jungle Boy being able to outpace Omega and being tough and gutsy enough to withstand his best shots for most of it. Omega started to gain momentum by hitting Jungle Boy with several V-Triggers, but the challenger caught the champion in a Snare Trap after missing his signature knee strike. The Good Brothers tried to come out but Frankie Kazarian was one step ahead and sent them to the back.

After narrowly missing the win on a pin, Jungle Boy cinched in another Snare Trap, but Kenny gouged his eyes in order to break the hold. After a V-Trigger to the back of the head and a Tiger Driver ‘98 didn’t get the job done, Omega hit the One-Winged Angel, his kill shot, for the win.

Shortly after getting his hand raised, Omega went to hit Jungle Boy with the championship belt, but Christian Cage ran out to stop it. Matt Hardy and Private Party came out to settle the score with Christian, but Christian almost got the upper hand until the Young Bucks double-superkicked him in the 25 seconds it took to set up the Killswitch. Hardy finally managed to hit the Twist of Fate on Christian as the Elite and Hardy Family Office members stood tall 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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