Tag Team Group Therapy: AEW Dynamite Recap

Matt Jackson welcomes us to the Passive Aggression Era

It was the last episode of Dynamite before the big Revolution PPV on Saturday, and it was a good one? Like, a really good one. The only matches or segments you could really call “skippable” were still super entertaining to watch. AEW really seems to have figured out how to put together a pre-PPV episode of television.

More Pro Wrestling:


30 Minute Iron Man Match: Kenny Omega def. Pac

Kenny Omega came to the ring for his big rubber match against the Bastard flanked by the Young Bucks. I don’t remember the last time the Bucks cornered for Omega, but it’s always nice to see! Do I like the Young Bucks best when they are standing in the background being supportive? It’s possible. I’ve been hard on Kenny Omega’s performances for the last year and a half, and really thought this was one of the best matches he’s had since AEW’s founding. The first fall was Kenny Omega’s, but only because Pac hit him in the head with a chair and got himself disqualified—the first DQ in AEW history. Pac quickly picked up the second fall with a black arrow on a still dazed Omega.

The rest of the match was…nuts. It was nuts. Pac went all out against Omega, displaying both his exquisite form and insane brutality. There was a falcon arrow from the apron onto the floor that made me scream out loud. Pac did a shooting star press that put Kenny Omega through a table. Omega just took punishment after punishment, and barely stayed alive. They went to the 30 minute limit while Omega refused to tap out, after which it was a sudden death. It’s kind of a predictable way to do an Iron Man match or a 2 out of 3 falls match, but eh. It was very, very good. After trying a rain-trigger and a kamigoye, Kenny Omega finally finished Pac off with a one winged angel, getting the win.


I loved this match. Yes, it’s impossible for me to cheer against Pac (unless he’s up against someone I like looking at even more, like El Lindaman or something), and yes it’s a little on the nose to have Kenny Omega fail to put Pac away with the Okada version of the v-trigger and Kota Ibushi’s finisher to underline that Kenny Omega has to be himself and move on from the guys who defined his time in Japan. Talking about your exes that much feels very Taylor Swift to me, but who cares? It was really cool. It was really cool. I love wrestling, you know?

Grade: FUCK yeah!

Promo: Tony Schiavone began to interview Pac, who berated him only to be interrupted by Orange Cassidy. Pac attacked the Freshly Squeezed fan favorite and had to be dragged away.


Jurassic Express def. Proud n Powerful & Sammy Guevara

AEW can really put on a fun trios match, huh? This was a good time, and makes me really excited for the inevitable AEW trios championship. Again, there is simply something so satisfying about seeing Luchasaurus, Jungle Boy and Marko Stunt together. They’re like wrestler nesting dolls or something. Towards the end of the match, Sammy Guevara, sneaky little piece of shit that he is, tried to go after Jungle Boy with a sock full of baseballs, but Darby Allin came running to the ring to distract him. Significantly, Darby Allin was wearing his cool blazer that he bedazzled at a toy trade show over the weekend, which is incredibly powerful to me. Jungle Boy picked up the win, pinning Guevara.

Grade: Yeah.

Video Package: A nice recap of the MJF and Cody storyline so far, from their friendship to Maxwell’s betrayal to Cody’s promos to 10 lashes on live TV to last week’s cagematch.


Best Friends (w/ Orange Cassidy) def. Butcher & Blade (w/ Bunny)

Pretty classic Best Friends AEW match. Trent suffered at the hands of both Butcher and Blade until he was able to tag in Chuck Taylor. The match climax ended up being Allie the Bunny stealing Orange Cassidy’s sunglasses, and then he stole her bunny ears and did a dive onto the Butcher. Trent was able to hit a strong zero and get the win.

Grade: Yeah.

Promo: The real point here was to announce Orange Cassidy’s first singles match in AEW, and first actual match ever in AEW. Against Pac, no less, at Saturday’s Revolution. Tony Schiavone spoke to the Best Friends and Cassidy, giving Chuck Taylor the opportunity to cut a really nice little promo on his denim-clad friend’s behalf. His delivery of “this time he’s gonna TRY” stirred the crowd to a loud “he’s gonna try” chant. I’ve been an ardent Orange Cassidy fan for a while, and am thrilled that the world will finally get to see what he can do.


Hikaru Shida def. Yuka Sakazaki, Big Swole & Shanna

From giving background about Curry Man to gently saying that actually “topé suicida” is Spanish for “suicide dive,” Excalibur having to explain things to Jim Ross on commentary remains one of the most consistent sources of pathos in all of AEW programming. Him actually giving the quickest description of the magical girl genre in history after JR asked again why Sakazaki calls herself the magical girl, has definitely been added to the canon. Who among us has never had to tell a confused old person about “uh anime— Japanese cartoons”? We salute you, Excalibur.

Manga genre conventions aside, I really enjoyed this match. These four women have a nice range of experience levels, movesets, vibes, and ages, and everyone got a chance to look cool. AEW’s women’s division can be a real selling point if they let it, and I think their endearing mixture of veteran and newer, local and international talent is a real upside to what they have going on. I like every single one of these women and want to see more of them.

Grade: Yeah!


JR served as impromptu couple’s counselor for the Elite

A previously taped interview between AEW Tag Team Champions Kenny Omega and Hangman Page and their challengers on Saturday, the Young Bucks, really did the trick in getting me invested in this storyline, finally. A lot of the time preliminary interviews and promos get you hyped for a match by relying on the tense outright aggression, which is great when it works. Here, they focused in hard on everyone being friends and liking each other a lot, with Matt Jackson passive aggressively saying he’d never have imagined Page and Omega as tag team champs, but that of course he’s happy for them. Page drank the whole time, rolling his eyes and then refusing to admit he was unhappy when JR specifically asked him why he was uncomfortable.

It really did feel like an incredibly tense session of group therapy, and I applaud them for pulling off being as bitchy as they managed to be.

Grade: Yeah!


A quick editorial on babes

I guess AEW does weigh-ins for their main championship matches, like a real boxing match or MMA fight or something. That means they also had bikini babes, which I need to take a moment to discuss. I’m not one to sneeze at a babe. That’s not what I’m about. But I do think that if you’re having decorative people, they should have some pizzazz. I understand that two blandly pretty women in black bikinis and sneakers is how they do it in UFC, but this is pro wrestling. We’re supposed to make it all a little flashier, am I wrong? It really felt like AEW had some legal obligation to provide bikini babes, and just did the bare minimum to fulfill that requirement.

I don’t particularly enjoy the zoom-in ass shots on a valet babe like Pieter Muffinass in New Japan, or Maria Kanellis when she was in Ring of Honor, but I can at least sort of respect that as being honest. Plus, both women have charisma, attitude, and regularly serve looks. If you’re going to objectify women, objectify women. If you’re not ready to actually go for it, or subvert it in a fun and interesting way, then do us all a favor and skip it. No disrespect to the babes in question, but they really looked and felt they got pulled out of the back row of an aerobics video from the mid 2010s. Their presence offered nothing but the elevator music version of sexual objectification. It really bummed me out.


Weigh-In: Chris Jericho and Jon Moxley

Anyways, the weigh-in. Moxley came to the ring looking jacked as hell in a hoodie with cut off sleeves. Jericho and the Inner Circle, now dubbed the Painmaker Posse, entered to Judas in matching tracksuits and a solemn conga line of solidarity. It was beautiful. Maybe the bikini babes were there as something for fans not ready to be attracted to Jon Moxley to focus on while Mox took off his shoes and hoodie. My man says “horny rights” with even his slightest gestures. Incredible stuff. Jericho took his time getting ready to get on the scale. Much like me at the doctor’s office, he stalled, first handing off his belt, taking frequent breaks to taunt the audience and his opponent, so that finally he got headbutted by Mox before he could even step on the scale.

They brawled. Dustin Rhodes ran out to attack Jake Hager. They brawled out into the concessions area. Darby Allin ran to the ring to brawl with Sammy Guevara. That’s how you want a show before a PPV to end.

Grade: Yeah. (Demoted from a “Yeah!” due to bikini babes.)