On Hunger: AEW Dynamite Recap and Review

Also: On Dwindling Friendships, Underachievers, and Tacky Merch

As we move further and further away from AEW Revolution, it becomes more and more apparent the intended explosion at its end was supposed to provide an exclamation point for an era of All Elite Wrestling. Seventeen days removed from the pay-per-view, its landscape has changed noticeably. Stalwart babyfaces turned heel, heels turned babyface, a new stable formed to wreak havoc on the promotion, and women finally main-evented the show. Jon Moxley might still be orbiting the AEW World Championship picture, but his friend-turned-enemy-turned-friend Eddie Kingston is there too, as well as the recently unretired Christian and—*checks notes*—Impact World Champion Rich Swann. MJF saw the writing on the wall of the Inner Circle dressing room and wheeled and dealed his way into leading his own crew of killers (and Shawn Spears). Brian Cage seems to be on the outs with Team Taz. Hikaru Shida watched two competitors damn near kill each other to get closer to her championship; something which most certainly concerns her. As the reset rivalries and deepening character history post-Revolution continue to form, here’s how last night’s Dynamite panned out.

AEW

Kenny Omega def. Matt Sydal

Props to Dark: Elevation for actually having some storytelling of consequence: Last week, Kenny Omega said he’d give Matt Sydal a title shot if he could beat Michael Nakazawa, and then Omega himself. Of course, shenanigans happened, forcing Tony Khan to make Omega keep good on his promise. That brings us to last night’s match, which started out with some impressive acrobatic chess.

For such a long time, it seemed as Sydal’s thing was being one of the more talented flippy white guys in the game—and then he was known as the guy who got busted for weed possession in Japan—and now he’s got the added wrinkle of the person in your friend group who thinks they’re psychic because they subscribe to the Astro Poets Substack. The match started at a surprisingly measured pace, heavy on the aerial arsenal of Sydal and with Omega keeping the match grounded and methodical. Sydal got the upper hand with a great variation of a fisherman’s buster, but Omega quickly regained control by knocking him backwards off of the top rope.

Sydal nearly stole the win on a couple of occasions with a few savvy counters, but Omega proved his worth as champion by kicking out and staying one step ahead. After reversing a V-Trigger into a victory roll with a 2.999 count, Omega nailed a V-Trigger and a One-Winged Angel for the win.

Interview: Alex Marvez interviewed John Silver with the Dark Order, who promptly kicked him out and practiced Silver dodging the Coffin Drop in the form of trust falls from other Dark Order members. “Hangman” Adam Page asked Silver about his nerves and said either way the match goes, the Dark Order will still love him. Better believe Johnny Hungee!!

“Hangman” Adam Page def. Cezar Bononi

Early on in the match, Bononi flexed his power advantage over Hangman, to which Page responded with a drunkard’s fury (as to be expected). At one point, Hangman popped right back up after a lariat and got in his face, a perfect character accoutrement. Soon enough, Hangman nailed Bononi with a Buckshot Lariat, winning the match pretty handily and celebrating with a couple unmarked beers.

Segment: Lance Archer explained why he interrupted Sting’s time last week, using the black bat as a symbol of how people paid attention to Sting. Well, now it’s Archer’s time to step to the podium. 

Interview: Tony Schiavone spoke with Dr. Britt Baker after her loss in last week’s incredible lights out match. Dr. Baker chided the crowd for booing her after the performance she gave them and dressed down Thunder Rosa, saying she should thank her for giving her the best match of her career. Dr. Baker disagreed with Rosa’s statement of putting women’s wrestling on the map, saying, “Then why was everyone talking about me?” She dissed Tony Khan for signing has-beens and not making her the transcendent, worldwide star everybody knows she is. She threw some shade Mick Foley’s way, saying he took 20 years to become a hardcore legend while she became one in a single night. She closed her interview by saying the three letters in AEW paled in comparison to the letters DMD. All in all, it was a great way for Dr. Baker to keep gas on the fire as the best heel AEW’s got, and a brilliant way to throw everyone’s adulation for her performance last week back in our faces. 

Interview: Dasha came up on Christian Cage chatting with the Varsity Blonds and Dante Martin, and then Frankie Kazarian joined the fray and noticed the “Out. Work. Everyone.” t-shirt, asking, “When does the work part begin?” Christian challenged Kaz to a match, to which he accepted, suggesting Christian watch his match on Dark: Elevation on Monday.

The Pinnacle (Shawn Spears & FTR) def. Varsity Blonds and Dante Martin

Shawn Spears is a study in what is known in wrestling as a “good hand” who just can’t make it happen, who can’t find that part of himself that makes him a compelling character. I’m hoping his inclusion in the Pinnacle is what gets him there, because he’s obviously very good at wrestling, but that remains to be seen. He did possess some good chemistry with FTR here, though, making me feel the Pinnacle might have something here from an in-ring perspective. In this particular match Dante Martin showed some highlight reel worthy stuff early on, landing on his feet from the top rope with ease and knocking out a huge brainbuster. But eventually, Spears hit the C4 for the relatively easy win.

After the match, Wardlow laid out Brian Pillman Jr. and Tony brought a microphone in for the group to speak. Cash Wheeler spoke platitudes about the Pinnacle being a family while Dax Harwood ran down Santana & Ortiz and the greater Inner Circle, to where he says this ain’t no SNL skit, this is professional wrestling. MJF called out Chris Jericho for their conspicuous absence this week, to which Schiavone attempted to refute their claim, but was quickly shut down by Max’s hard stare.

Segment: Team Taz stood backstage as Taz rebuffed the problems in the ranks, saying Brian Cage apologized for saying he respected Sting. Cage seemed a little miffed by what was clearly a lie, but ultimately fell in line. Though I can’t say I’m too enthused about a Cage babyface run, I am over the moon about the possibility of Powerhouse Hobbs being Team Taz’s new muscle.

Interview: Alex Jones QT Marshall spoke on how hard he’s worked but how the fans still think he’s Cody’s bag boy; augmenting his frustration with the knowledge that he has worked as tirelessly as anyone to make sure AEW is a success. He suggested an exhibition between himself and Cody in order to step out of his shadow. Cody came out, taking his headset off, arm in a sling, to address QT’s ranting. Though he said his heart was not into it, he accepted and offered Arn Anderson as the referee for the match. It sounded as if Cody was going to go lightly on Marshall in the match, because he thinks highly of his friend. “You might even be my best friend,” Cody said. I like how Our Cool Boss can seem sincere and condescending in the same breath, and this was damn near a master class in how we manipulate and condescend to our friends even when we have the best intentions. 

AEW

The Lucha Bros & Laredo Kid def. The Young Bucks & Brandon Cutler

Fenix, Penta, and Laredo Kid are such an incredible combination, it made me wish this were a rematch against the Elite—but things being the way they are with Matt and Nick’s dwindling friendship with Kenny Omega, we have Brandon Cutler in the Kenny spot for the match of his life. It’s kinda weird that after months of hokey pokey in their character alignment, the Young Bucks have settled into the role of jilted, somewhat miserable babyfaces, losing their best friend to the Good Brothers and being forced to tag with another longtime friend, one whose losing record is the most formidable in AEW.

The match started out with brief one-on-one pairings before kicking into second gear, with Laredo Kid severely outclassing Cutler before the combination moves started. He did acquit himself nicely with a springboard Senton Atomico that looked great, but was immediately overshadowed by Laredo’s moonsault to the outside. The Lucha Bros went into hyperdrive in their assault on the Bucks, tag team combos and dives abound. I feel like I say every week Fenix has been on the best in-ring run of any AEW wrestler this year, but he builds on his dazzling body of work week after week. The match ended with Laredo kid hitting a Spanish Fly on Culter for the win.

After the match, Kenny came out and hit Laredo from behind with the microphone and cut a promo about the inaugural Fyter Fest and spoke of a choice. Kenny said he had to make a choice, and he chose his friends the Young Bucks and the vision they created in tandem. And he was disappointed that they chose, of all people. Brandon Culter over him. Kenny decided to give them one more chance to make a choice, and it’s now or never. And the Young Bucks chose to leave. After Kenny’s rant, the Lucha Bros double-superkicked Kenny and hit him with a foot stomp/package piledriver combination. After the attack, the Good Brothers came out to help Omega up, who gave the thumbs up to the hard cam.

Segment: Jade Cargill said Red Velvet made a big mistake, and her promo contained more fire than any words she’s ever spoken on AEW programming. It means so much more when wrestlers feel what they say in promos, and Jade sounded emphatic and intense here. By far her best work behind the mic.

Preview: Looks like Cody and Brandi are not only having a child, but they’re having a reality show as well! It seems a little more serious and less campy than, say, Miz and Mrs., but most definitely in the sphere of “supplementary content” for a brand with damn near six hours of programming a week already, and that’s not including AEW’s long-rumored second TNT wrestling program.

Segment: Mox and Kingston (wearing a fresh leg cast) addressed the events of last week, with Kingston saying, “This is not New Japan. This is not seven years ago. This is not about selling some tacky t-shirts!” Mox doubted the ersatz Bullet Club are willing to take it as far as they are and warned the Young Bucks that if they’re going to play ball with the likes of these bad men, they’re going to have to get their hands dirty.

AEW

Tay Conti def. Nyla Rose

The Dark Order came out in solidarity with Conti, friend of the injured Anna Jay, before the match started. When it did, Rose dominated the match until Conti showcased some impressive submission wrestling skills. Conti used Rose’s momentum against her on some great judo throws, but couldn’t follow up due to Rose’s formidable power advantage. I think it was mentioned that Conti was the #1 ranked competitor in the women’s division, which you probably wouldn’t know if you don’t have the time to watch Dark or Dark: Elevation. (You’d think a wrestling show would make sure to put their top contenders on the main show, but I digress.) Late in the match, Conti showed some serious fire and hit a vicious second-rope knee strike, and nailed Rose with a DDTay for the win.

After the match, Vicki Guerrero pulled Conti’s leg down while she was celebrating and Rose hit her from behind. As Rose went for a Beast Bomb, Hikaru Shida came out for the save, which brought out the Bunny with a kendo stick to whack Shida and stomp out Conti. Matt Hardy called the Women’s Eliminator Title Tournament a sham because of the Bunny not being included, but he said he’s not going to allow his clients to be shortchanged anymore.

Segment: Kyp Sabian, Miro, Chuck Taylor, and Orange Cassidy got some decent shots at each other before next week’s Arcade Anarchy match. Chuck and Cassidy called Miro and Kip “Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Jr.,” while Miro referred to Orange as “walking Xanax.” Looking forward to some arcade machines being broken next week!

AEW

TNT Championship Match: Darby Allin (c) def. John Silver

As the match began, Matt Hardy and his increasingly formidable stable were seen watching the match intently and the Dark Order were seen almost daring them to step up and get involved. Silver tried to use his strength to get the early advantage, but Darby used his amateur wrestling bonafides to obtain and maintain the upper hand. Then Silver hit Darby with a low European uppercut, sending Darby spilling violently out of the ring. Silver is in the middle of a breakout year, and it’s easy to see why: As hysterical as he is outside of the ring, he backs it up in spades with in-ring skill. As one of the shorter wrestlers on the roster, Silver doesn’t get to show how good of a power wrestler he is, but Darby makes the perfect match for him.

Silver continued to flatten Darby with pummeling forearms, finally knocking him to the outside of the ring. Silver dominated the match with aplomb until he went charging into the guard rail as Darby eluded his charge. Soon enough, Sting came out as the equalizer and the Dark Order scattered. Silver switched arms for the strikes since he hurt his arm colliding with the guard rail. Darby went from the over-the-top Stunner, but Silver caught him in Anna Jay’s Queenslayer. As Darby rolled out of the ring after a fucking gnarly DDT, Sting held the remaining members of the Dark Order at bay. Fighting against the clock, Silver plastered Darby with kicks as Darby kept taking the shots and daring him to take more. Silver tried to hit a Superplex (or a top rope Brainbuster), but Darby stopped him and Coffin Dropped the entire Dark Order. Silver returned with an airplane spin off the top rope, but overextended the cover and Darby’s leg landed on the rope. After going for a powerbomb, Darby reversed Silver’s attempted move into a Code Red for the win.

After the match, both Sting and Darby congratulated Silver on a good match, which brought out Hardy and his clients for a brawl to close the show.

Tags

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.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.