Last week’s episode of Dynamite felt like a dead sprint onward from the previous weekend’s bananas Full Gear pay-per-view. PAC returned to reclaim Death Triangle from the clutches of Eddie Kingston! QT Marshall stole the damn show in the Bunkhouse tag match and the Blade registered on the Muta Scale! Jade Cargill interrupted a Cody Rhodes monologue with a warning from Shaq (which preceded Brandi going full Real Housewives of Atlanta on her)! Wrestling’s biggest square managed to weasel his way into the Inner Circle, and he’s taking the group on vacation! And in the main event, Penta el 0M and Rey Fenix took sibling rivalry to brutal, mask-ripping heights!
The Young Bucks def. Top Flight
The show opens with an introductory vignette spotlighting Top Flight, a very promising young tag team who has garnered lots of favorable comparisons to the Young Bucks. Darius Martin starts out with Nick Jackson, leading to some smart evasive wrestling in their opening exchange. Looking at the leapfrogs totally clearing Matt Jackson as he runs the ropes, I’m amazed by the hops on Daunte. The Bucks start to dominate from out of nowhere, which supports their style as “blink and you’ll lose your advantage” ring specialists.
The Martin brothers prove they can most certainly keep up with the Jacksons; Daunte clears the top rope effortlessly on his Tope Con Hilo. Late in the match, Matt is hobbling and Nick is frustrated the match has continued for as long as it has. But after a quick isolation play and the BTE Trigger, the Bucks win.
Grade: A pretty excellent introduction to Top Flight for those who haven’t seen them work their magic. As a team who openly cite the Bucks as an influence, it’s up to them to differentiate themselves stylistically from here.
The Inner Circle Do Vegas
In a sparse casino, the Inner Circle engage in some cliché Vegas debauchery. Santana most certainly wins the Best Dressed award in this outing, with a sleek grey suit and no tie. Max cleans up at the blackjack table while Sammy doesn’t exactly have the best handle on the rules of blackjack. As the rest of the Inner Circle watch some friendly adult dancers do their thing, Wardlow and Hager stare each other down. (But not in a sexy way. Or maybe in a sexy way depending on your tastes!) Max hits the craps table with Santana (who very reluctantly blows on his dice) and wins big. At the bar, Jericho and Max do their now-usual routine of topping each other’s order, until Jericho orders two shots of Everclear and they each start to wretch. Wardlow and Jake Hager take turns punching out randos.
Santana and Ortiz ask the group if they’re ready to take it to the next level, saying they “know a guy.” That guy turns out to be Konnan, rocking a Las Vegas Raiders cap and providing the strongest weed west of Amsterdam. They meet a dragon (er, a guy dressed like a dragon, holding a dog dressed like a dragon). Just another wholesome night out in Sin City!
Segment: Mox talks about the crazy ride of his career and how things have turned out for him as AEW World Champion. He wonders how he has been champ for so long, and the answer is his father: “6’3″, 250lbs., brick shithouse, box your ear if you got out of line. Scary.” Mox recounts a story about his father picking him up from the police station and telling him, “Son, we’re the good guys.” (There is a very “we’re the wolves who keep the other wolves from the door” vibe about Mox, so this is a great accoutrement to his character.)
He speaks of people lying, cheating, and stealing their way to the championship only to come up short. He’s faced monsters, bad dudes, technical phenoms, and his closest friends. He’s beat up and he’s weary after so many punishing encounters for his championship, and his pregnant wife only adds to his stress because he knows he has to continue to provide. He tells us what he’s going to do during the contract signing later on and reasserts he’s the good guy, he’s the champ, he’s the #1 wrestler in the world.
Orange Cassidy def. Kip Sabian
Miro is at the commentary position as Best Friends walk Orange Cassidy to the ring; Miro continues to call Trent his young boy. Kip swings for a slap and misses while Cassidy gives Kip a very light slap, to which the 20% capacity crowd goes crazy. Orange goes for the hands in the pockets multiple times but Kip stops him. Kip counters a headscissors with a hard slam. Orange finally gets the hands in the pockets and does his thing to the delight of almost everyone. Penelope Ford tries to stop him on the outside by holding both hands up and he gives her a high ten. Sabian retains control with a double-knee gutbuster. Cassidy comes back with a huge tornado DDT. On the first attempt, Kip reverses Cassidy’s diving DDT; on the second try he nails it. After trying for a rope-assisted neckbreaker, Cassidy reverses it into a Mouse Trap for the win.
Grade: A passable, fine match made much better by Miro being on commentary.
Miro hits the ring barely after the bell rings and clobbers Cassidy until Best Friends run them off.
THE HUGE CONTRACT SIGNING FOR THE BIGGEST MATCH IN AEW DYNAMITE HISTORY
Kenny Omega continues his obnoxiously overwrought pre-entrance (and I say that in the most flattering way possible), still with the broom dancers and the Jordan-on-the-Bulls-esque references to North Carolina. Kenny’s looking slick in his suit (definitely second to Cody in the AEW EVP Style Rankings) and waits for Mox, whose music plays but he doesn’t come out. Turns out he is unconscious in the backstage area. Kenny calls Mox out for “ducking him” (just like he did for All Out 2019) and signs the contract. I kinda knew something was up when Mox cut a full promo before what is essentially a talking segment?
The Inner Circle Do Vegas: The Morning After
Back in Vegas, Jericho is giving a drunk speech about inducting new member Elvis into the Inner Circle. Max gives a “heartfelt” speech about wanting a wolfpack (more The Hangover than the New World Order), and refers to the Inner Circle as his blood brothers. Sammy’s got a knife and is ready to make that blood brother oath real. The Elvis impersonator talks him off the ledge, and I have to say wrestling would be untouchable if even half of wrestlers committed to their character as faithfully as this Elvis does!
After howling at the moon, Jericho wakes up with Elvis, wondering what the hell happened. Max wakes up in a bathtub and laughs at Sammy, while the camera pans to his face to show Max’s face has been written all over. Sammy has a wedding ring in his hand and figures out he’s gotten married to three women while Ortiz curls free weights in a tank top that says “BRIDE” and shorts at least two sizes too small. (He also gets the best line of the entire episode: “You’re Mormon now? That’s great! I’ve always wanted a Mormon friend!”) Santana’s feeding potato chips to chickens, and he and Jericho hear the wah-wahs of what doesn’t exactly sound like a baby. They open the door and it’s Swoggle in a diaper.
All in all, it was a very loving tribute to The Hangover, and most of it was pretty hysterical.
PAC def. The Blade
Eddie Kingston comes out for commentary, sporting a new necklace, and explains that the Blade wanted this match with PAC, going to Tony Khan himself to get his request fulfilled. The match starts with a crisp shotgun dropkick and PAC tearing the Blade apart. PAC is as miserable as ever, wearing a scowl on his face after repeatedly sending the Blade into the guard rail. PAC gets in the Butcher’s face but Blade capitalizes on the divided attention. Bunny tries to trip PAC, and he once again goes outside to face her down, but gets pummeled from behind by the Butcher.
The two men trade shots in the ring, the Blade trying to capitalize on PAC’s lengthy layoff from in-ring action by staying on him. Kingston admits he was a little scared the match was over after PAC hits a big superplex. PAC went up for a Black Arrow but the Bunny hits the apron; the Butcher enters the ring to intervene but gets a hard thrust kick for his trouble. To end the match, PAC hits a Shooting Star Press and locks in the Brutalizer. Eddie Kingston isn’t happy about this result.
Grade: Another example of a good match made better by guest commentary. This approach really helps get the stories they’re trying to tell across, and will hopefully not be overused.
PAC takes a mic and starts to taunt Kingston, but the Butcher blasts PAC from behind and the Family puts the boots to him. Kingston gets on the mic and taunts PAC. Fenix comes to the ring to save PAC, trying to fight off the Family on his own. Penta comes out, chair in hand. He stands over his brother clutching the chair, but Penta instead tries to go after Kingston and chases off the Butcher and the Blade. Death Triangle stands tall in the ring.
Backstage Segment: Jade Cargill stands over Brandi and stomps her wrist into the chair as Big Swole chases her, Nyla Rose, and Vickie Guerrero away. Seems as though someone wasn’t too keen on getting chewed out and dressed down by Brandi last week!
NWA World Women’s Championship Match: Serena Deeb (c) def. Thunder Rosa
There is something to be said about the NWA Women’s World Championship getting more time on AEW programming than its own women’s title, but those matches have been very good, so that’s only a half-complaint. Thunder Rosa and Serena Deeb start off with some pretty aggressive holds, really selling the prestige of the prize they’re fighting for. The momentum shifts frequently in the match, complete with both competitors running into each other with all they have on their dropkicks and sentons.
Deeb nails her middle-rope neckbreaker and spears Rosa on the apron. Rosa hits Serena with a nasty German suplex and a missle dropkick. Reba (Rebel) causes a distraction while Dr. Britt Baker wipes Rosa out, but she kicks out of Deeb’s powerbomb. After a long, interconnected series of pin attempts and reversals, Deeb hits the Swiss Special and wins.
Grade: Not quite as good as their first match for UWN Prime Time Live, but the purpose of this match was to introduce the Thunder Rosa/Dr. Baker rivalry, which I am all the way here for.
After the match, Thunder Rosa attacks Dr. Baker at ringside, pulling her over the guard rail where she was inexplicably hiding and beating her ass. Dr. Baker comes back on her and the two wrestlers are pulled apart by officials several times.
Team Taz (Brian Cage and “Absolute” Ricky Starks) def. Cody Rhodes and Darby Allin
Cody’s shirt this evening is a not-so-veiled shot at Shaq; Darby’s pre-match video is even more impressionistic than usual; and Taz is on commentary for this match. Darby and Starks start the match, trading and countering each other near the point of oblivion, and Darby catches him with a hard shot. Cage and Cody tag in and do the same until Cody hits a clean moonsault press. Taz abandons the broadcast position for ringside in order to impart some well-needed advice to his proteges.
Team Taz does a great job isolating Cody; savvy cheating incensed Arn Anderson to the point where he throws in a chair and gets thrown out by referee Paul Turner. Darby gets tagged in and the pace scales up a lot; Cage gets the blind tag and ends up German suplexing both Darby and Starks. Darby reverses a Cage powerbomb into a Yoshi Tonic. Starks attempt a Crossrhodes on Darby, but Cody catches Starks and hits his signature maneuver. Starks holds Darby’s ankle and Cage hits him with an Avalanche Drill Claw for the win.
Grade: A pretty good tag team match which most certainly portrays Team Taz as the proverbial “well-oiled machine.” Good teamwork from all three members of the group.
Team Taz continues to beat down Cody and Darby, until big Will Hobbs once again chases them off with a chair. Hobbs holds up the FTW Championship and clocks Cody with it. Team Taz, including its newest member, stand over a fallen Cody to end the show. Gotta admit I’m very excited about a heel Will Hobbs!