The Automobile Destruction Trope: AEW Dynamite Recap and Review

Or: On Not Getting Paid By the Hour

Last week’s notable happenings on AEW Dynamite: 

  • Eddie Kingston ran into some former friends in his quest to annihilate the Young Bucks and avenge the Jackson Brothers “putting Jon Moxley on the shelf.”
  • Andrade and Vicki Guerrero interrupted Mark Henry (introducing himself as a new addition to AEW’s commentary team) to herald the arrival of El Idolo.
  • In the main event, Dustin Rhodes defeated Nick Comoroto in his signature match with the assist from a bullrope.
  • Kenny Omega and Don Callis threaten to expose a “conspiracy” to get the AEW World Championship off Omega’s waist! Juicy!
  • Taz challenged Hangman Page to a tag team match: Him and the partner of his choice against Brian Cage and Powerhouse Hobbs. Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky also invited Darby Allin to pick a tag team partner not named Sting to face them in a tag team match.
  • Nyla Rose ruined Dr. Britt Baker’s hamburger party and it’s looking like they may fight over it?

The show opened with the Poor Horsemen getting out of their limo and walking toward the arena for the first time since their Stadium Stampede loss. A Pinnacle decal was plastered on the hood, because branding, no matter how tacky it is, is essential in pro wrestling.

Christian Cage def. Angelico

“Big Money” Matt Hardy stood beside The Hybrid 2 in the ring dissing Christian Cage, saying Cage has always been jealous of Hardy making so much more money in the wrestling business. Hardy has offered some serious bounty money to Jack Evans and Angelico (to the tune of a nice four figures) in order to take Christian out of the wrestling business, taking that “one more match” mantra and sending it to its logical endpoint. 

During the match, an early stalemate led to Angelico taunting Christian a bit, which leads to one of those “ten punches in the corner” spot that should have been left in the early-’90s. Angelico, as long-limbed as he is, is more or less the perfect submission wrestler, which has found itself more and more into his in-ring game. Christian managed to escape the Navarro Death Roll a few times throughout the match and toughed his way through Angelico’s other wrenching submissions. Christian managed to get your standard gusty babyface win with a diving European uppercut and a Killswitch. 

After the match, Christian fought off Jack Evans but Hardy flattened him with a Twist of Fate right after. Jungle Boy ran into the ring for the save and this section of the Hardy Family Office scattered away. It’s pretty easy to see Christian and Jungle Boy will be intertwined long after Jungle Boy inevitably loses his AEW World Championship match to Kenny Omega, and I think eventually getting to a Jungle Boy vs. Christian Cage match will lead to a result that slaps hard.

Our Cool Republican Boss Would Like to See Us in His Office

Tony Schiavone announced there will be a tag team match next week; Aaron Solow & QT Marshall vs. Cody Rhodes and the debuting Brock Anderson—yes, that is the oldest son of Arn. Cody and the Andersons came out to the ring, Brock looking like a propane and propane accessories mangate just hanging out at a barbecue on the weekend. Cody got on the mic to say Brock’s going to show people he wasn’t born on third base (reading some recent criticism of himself, perhaps?) and he’s going to do his best to hit a home run every time. As soon as Cody mentioned getting beaten by Anthony Ogogo last week, Marshall came out to set the record straight: He pinned Cody all by himself (courtesy of a Diamond Cutter, my vote for the greatest finishing move in wrestling history—not the Ace Crusher, not the RKO, the Diamond Cutter), just like he’s out in the arena cutting a promo. Marshall’s tired of the second-generation nepotism going on in the Nightmare Family, skipping over top prospects like Aaron Solow and Nick Comoroto in favor of kids with famous dads. Marshall challenged Cody to a South Beach Strap Match. Cody said, “Let’s have a Strap Match right now,” and took off his belt. QT took off his belt and slapped Arn right in the back with it, sending Brock to double-leg him and offer some shots prior to their tag match next week.

Death Triangle (PAC and Penta El Cero Miedo) & Eddie Kingston def. The Young Bucks & Brandon Cutler

In the pre-match promo, PAC walked off from the interview where Kingston repeated the “enemy of my enemy” justification he had last week, made it obvious this trios match was only a means to an end for the man known as the Bastard, and that end is kicking the Jackson Brothers’ ass. 

Not too far in the match, Brandon Cutler tried his hardest not to get tagged into the match, but got flipped in anyway by his own teammates. He was then severely embarrassed and outclassed for a good portion of the match; taking dropkicks to the inner thigh and Penta unzipping his jacket and delivering one of his trademark (i.e. “hugely painful”) chops. All three members of the opposing team got their shots on Cutler, to which Don Callis said on commentary, “This is what we refer to in the HR world as ‘a trial by fire.’” Culter’s new role is a damn sight better than the bad D&D LARP from AEW’s early days; it’s easy to view the Young Bucks as even more hateable by bringing their real-life friend (who has not one but two contracts with AEW) into their fold as their “documentarian” and glorified errand boy. 

Matt tried to come in for the save and PAC did a great job mocking the Bucks—who eventually gained the advantage through triple-teaming (not that Culter got any offense in, but he did serve a good purpose in distraction). Kingston finally got the hot tag and delivered suplexes to all his opponents, and Penta came in and cleaned up even more, even getting the Bucks to mistakenly superkick Cutler right in his facial shield. The last third of the match was filled with non-stop spots, which ended with a missed elbow drop from Cutler leading into Eddie Kingston catching him with the spinning backfist and PAC getting the pin.

After the match, the Good Brothers came out to beat down Death Triangle and Kingston, and Frankie Kazarian ran out again to even the odds, ending with flattening Cutler with a lariat.

Segment (dir. Michael Nakazawa): Highlights from the AEW title match at Double or Nothing led to loosely interpreted captions for various participants (Bryce Remsburg apparently saying “I hate you [Callis] and Kenny” and the fans chanting “Thank you Don,” the latter admittedly pretty hilarious). A little halfhearted for supposedly explosive journalism, but I hope Nakazawa gets to film his feature length debut sooner rather than later. Might I suggest a remake of Seijun Suzuki’s 1966 film Tokyo Drifter with Kenny as Viper and Callis as old man Otsuka.

The Pinnacle is Totally Cool With Continuing this Inner Circle Business

The group’s promo started with Dax Harwood cutting a good promo over the unending chorus of boos, calling out Santana & Ortiz and why men like them do the things they do. Shawn Spears—over a louder chorus of boos and distracting chants—called out Sammy Guevara as a “glorified indie wrestler” and started to get pissed to the point where Tully Blanchard had to calm him down. Wardlow got on the mic (to considerably fewer boos, but random cheers for Jake Hager) and dressed down Hager and shrugged off being challenged to an MMA cage since Hager can’t beat him in the ring. Finally, MJF got on the mic and said he’s tired of people saying he has something to prove because he’s already the best; then he went on to tell a story about Chris Jericho, his one-time hero but now a false god. Max denied Jericho’s demand for a match since he’s already beaten him twice and then went on to Sammy, saying he doesn’t belong in the same ring as a guy like him. 

Jericho interrupted the promo on the big screen, saying everybody knows what happens when you don’t give the Inner Circle what they want. Then, the shot reveals the Inner Circle, who promptly proceed to smash the fuck out of the Pinnacle’s limo, breaking windows and slashing tires, taunting them about having to walk home. Hager took a forklift and smashed right through the side of the limo, lifted it into the air, and nearly got it stuck on the forks. I’m sure the whole late-’90’s wrestling trope of vehicle destruction is plenty entertaining for wrestling fans of a certain age (like me, these fans are invariably pushing 40 and owned at least two “Stone Cold” Steve Austin shirts in the mid-teens), but after weeks and weeks of seeing these two factions cut sports entertainment segments (and two fine-if-overly-long multi-man matches), I mostly just want to see their members wrestle.

Segment: Darby Allin answered the challenge, but said he will not find another tag team partner. He’s going to fight Scorpio Sky and Ethan Page in a handicap match. He told Sting to stay home and it started a minor argument between father and son, but Sting ultimately acquiesced and made sure there were no hard feelings between them for Darby’s potentially dangerous decision. Goth Dad Sting unsuccessfully trying to save Darby from himself checks out hard from a character perspective.

TNT Championship Match: Miro (c) def. Evil Uno

Before the match, Evil Uno cut a very good promo stating what Brodie Lee meant to him and what it would mean to him to win the TNT Championship. Miro showed his power early on, bullying Evil Uno around for the lion’s share of the match, up until Miro missed a punch and hit the ring post. Uno’s advantage was very short lived, as seconds after his cannonball off the apron, Miro caught him from the top rope and hit a crisp belly to back suplex. With Uno writhing outside of the ring, Stu Grayson and Alan “5” Angels came out to show support and will him back into the ring, to which Miro responded by clotheslining Grayson over the guard rail and chasing Angels off, ripping a top turnbuckle pad off in the process. The crowd popped huge when Uno made his comeback—which included a Brodie-inspired big boot—and the Dark Order came out in full to come out and support their brother Dark Uno. Off of a nearfall, Miro’s head bounced off of the exposed turnbuckle but Uno only got a two-count. Miro ate Uno’s discus lariat and flattened him with a lariat of his own, and then locked in Game Over for the win.

In-Ring Interview: Kenny Omega and Don Callis joined Tony in the ring to clear the air about his opponent in two weeks, Jungle Boy. Tony referenced Jungle Jack Perry getting tied into the video from earlier in the evening as part of their “conspiracy,” to which Callis referred to the challenger as a “one hit wonder.” Kenny found himself at a loss to disparage Jungle Boy, saying he reminded him of a very young Kenny Omega. Omega asked Callis what Jungle Boy is missing, to which Callis mentioned he doesn’t have the GUTS—which of course brought out the young Mr. Perry (to a huge ovation, by the way). 

Kenny joked Jungle Boy isn’t really known to be a promo guy, so he’s surprised to see him in the ring here. He gave Jungle Boy five seconds to get whatever he’s got off his chest, to which he says, “Man, you talk way too much.” (A fitting Greek chorus if I’ve ever heard one.) A fight broke out in the ring, where Omega got the advantage by way of an eye-rake. Jungle Boy nearly got Omega into the Snare Trap, but the Young Bucks ran out quickly to make the save. 

Backstage Segment: Jade Cargill and “Smart” Mark Sterling are getting Jade’s money together, basically. Sterling said Jade’s got a family to feed, and her family’s got expensive tastes—as well as claiming Cargill gets residuals every time she calls herself “that bitch.” I’m still not quite sold on Sterling as a character, but at least he and Jade have established a good dynamic and a credible reason why she chose him over Vickie Guerrero or any of the other veteran manager types vying to represent her. It’s essentially because Sterling is either going to make Cargill a success or he’s going to bankrupt himself trying.

Backstage Segment: Scorpio Sky noted the dumb things Darby Allin has done throughout his career, taking on the both of them by himself is the dumbest. Ethan Page warned him to consider the mental consequences of his decision. Appropriate to their slow-burn successes prior to coming to AEW, I’m increasingly more and more of a fan of Men of the Year as the weeks go by. Scorp can be hopelessly corny sometimes, but bouncing stuff off of Ethan Page (who is as good at being a sarcastic shit as anybody in AEW) gives even his weaker stuff an edge (like the cologne joke).

Lance Archer def. Chandler Hopkins

Lance Archer enhancement squashes are still being treated like throwing a Big Cat Rescue intern into a tiger cage. Archer won handily and stormed to the back, not even so much as gesturing toward the camera after the bell rang to end the match. 

Backstage Segment: The Wingmen, saying Orange Cassidy is the worst-dressed person in AEW, offer a spot for him in their makeover program, and it’s apparently either that or getting his face broken by Cezar Bononi. Cool! I mean, if they can make JD Drake look kinda cool wearing redneck bar chic, they probably can work wonders for anybody.

Nyla Rose def. “Legit” Layla Hirsch

Hirsch came out to find a stepstool labeled “Legit Shorty” sitting on the middle of the ramp, which she threw at Rose to get the match started. She went for the cross armbreaker early, but Rose managed to get to the ropes for a break. Rose caught Hirsch on the suicide dive and proceeded to dominate the match from there. Jim Ross opined about the possibility of Hirsch getting the upset win, but maybe it wouldn’t be an upset, he said. Personally, I could see Hirsch doing well as the next Taz, terrorizing the AEW Women’s Division with her facility with suplexes. (Or maybe—hint, hint—in Team Taz?) Ultimately, Rose hit a Beast Bomb from the top rope and scored the win.

After the match, Guerrero laid a Nyla Rose shirt over Hirsch’s face.

Backstage Interview: Tony acknowledged the ruined burger party and handed it to Dr. Baker, who said she looked great flipping burgers so maybe she should do it full-time… and with a little dignity, perhaps? Dr. Baker said she knows why Nyla needs the title—the title would make her, while Dr. Baker herself is the one who made the title and the division. The only weird thing about this burgeoning program is that I can’t really tell who we’re supposed to be rooting for. It really feels like the positive reaction to Dr. Baker winning the AEW Women’s Championship has put her on the road to being a babyface, but she’s still cutting heel promos here; and Rose ruining a perfectly nice hamburger dinner feels like a heel move (along with Guerrero being drowned out by boos every time she speaks). 

“Hangman” Adam Page & Preston “10” Vance def. Brian Cage & Powerhouse Hobbs

Hangman’s troubles with Team Taz continue coming out of his Double or Nothing win, because although Team Taz are bad dudes, they’re also very sore losers who can’t let anything go. On commentary, Taz (naturally) downplayed the friction in his team, which is especially present since Cage and Ricky Starks aren’t in the same place. Being as though they’ve faced each other a couple of times recently, the match started with Hangman and Cage trying to cleverly outmaneuver each other. 10 got the blind tag and proceeded to show off his heavy hands; certainly a trademark he shares with his tag team partner. Hobbs ended up getting the tag and dominated 10, bullying him (as you all know I love seeing Hobbs do to people). Cage and Hobbs worked well as a unit here, with quick tags and minimal ego-based disagreements. 

Soon enough, Hook and Starks came out to… observe, I guess? 10 continued getting pummeled while Hangman attempted to get the crowd to help will him to a tag. Finally Hangman got tagged in and immediately stuffed Cage on the apron with a running big boot. Hangman attempted to hit a plancha on Cage but was caught; Hangman then hit him with a hurricanrana into the ring post. Hook attempted to enter the ring, distracting Remsburg, and Starks threw in the FTW Championship to Cage, which Cage threw out of the ring. Starks slapped Cage and was chased to the back, leaving Hobbs to fend for himself in the match. 10 hit a ripcord cutter—followed by Hangman hitting a Buckshot Lariat—on Hobbs for the win. 

Finally, the tension between Ricky Starks and Brian Cage came to a head in this match after weeks and weeks and weeks and weeks and weeks of slow-burn animosity, and we move into the next stage of Team Taz’s story. 

The Dark Order came to the stage to celebrate, most of them having beers while Colt Cabana and -1 toasted a bottled water.

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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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