Even though what made last week’s episode of Dynamite one of the greats was an audible play— Eddie fucking Kingston challenging Jon Moxley for the world’s championship— the show has been on a roll in the weeks following All Out. Elsewhere last week, “Hangman Adam Page” continues to rack up singles wins while Kenny Omega tells any and everyone who will listen he is NO LONGER A TAG TEAM COMPETITOR; the Young Bucks continue to throw around money to half-heartedly ameliorate their assholery; Mr. Brodie Lee successfully defended the TNT Championship in a banger against Orange Cassidy, leading to the return of Our Cool Boss Cody (seemingly ready for the Black Parade); and Chris Jericho and MJF continue their extremely disingenuous nice-off.
The evening starts with Ricky Starks carrying a custom Darby Allin body bag to the ring before we pivot to video with a message from JPEGMAFIA. Peggy cuts a promo on Starks, denigrating his cosplaying skills and saying imitation is the highest form of flattery while someone in a body bag is pushed down a 30-foot ramp. If you told me even a couple of weeks ago that Taz would be saying, and I quote, “JPEGMAFIA can say whatever he wants, he ain’t never beat nobody,” I seriously doubt I would have taken you seriously. My kingdom for Darby making his entrance at Full Gear to a live performance of “Baby I’m Bleeding.”
Darby Allin def. Ricky Starks
Obviously the match starts off fast-paced with both men laying into each other as they have in sneak attacks and post-match beatdowns since mid-July. Brian Cage attempts to interject, but big Will Hobbs makes the save, furthering the unlikely alliance between Hobbs and Allin. (Maybe Hobbs has been bumping All My Heroes are Cornballs since last year? I’m just trying to close the gap here.) Minutes later, the pain of war is evident on both competitors, which is emblematic of how hard they’ve been going in this short match. They’re limping and grimacing after about six or seven minutes. After a brutal double underhook submission, Starks makes it to the ropes.
After a strike exchange, Darby mounts a comeback and Starks flattens him with a spear out of mid-air. Starks goes for a top-rope Roshambo but gets countered, being felled by a kick in the face followed by a Coffin Drop to his injured back.
Grade: A grueling match for how short it was!
Our Cool Boss Cody Returns From His Working Vacation
Cody returns after a weekslong sabbatical into the television world, with two pocket watches and no tie. Last week, Mr. Brodie Lee challenged him to a dog collar match, which definitely feels like it came from Cody’s adulation of ideas his dad loved and his artistic need to carry the flame of Georgia Championship Wrestling and Jim Crockett Promotions. Cody references his trainer Al Snow: “You’ll always wrestle hurt, never wrestle injured.” He unpacks that advice by asking what if the injury is a matter of the heart and the spirit? Cody then launches into a monologue about the pre-COVID customary greeting of wrestlers shaking hands “over and over and over again, and often it is incorrectly chalked up as respect. The reason why we shake hands is because we need each other.”
He remarks his shame of being defeated for the TNT Championship in three minutes. And then Hollywood called and he answered, feeling like a loser while sharing space with Rosario Dawson and Snoop Dogg. He says no to Brodie’s challenge, mentioning how it’s too graphic for a space like AEW. He walks up the ramp and stops, he heads back to the ring. “No, as in no regrets! No, as in no looking back! […] I ACCEPT!”
Brodie immediately storms the ring and starts a pull-apart brawl which prominently features Brandi Rhodes and Anna Jay (the woman who choked her out… twice) on the outside and Nyla Rose beating the piss out of Kilynn King for some reason.
Backstage Interview: Tony Schiavone, who has spent the first half-hour of the program tracking down FTR, finally found them. Dax and Cash once again rip on Best Friends and say SCU are actually deserving competitors. Another team they feel who don’t deserve a shot at the AEW Tag Team Championships are the Young Bucks: they lost to Private Party, they lost to Hangman and Omega, they lost the gauntlet tag. “If it’s because Dave Meltzer loves ’em and he throws out all the stars, then yeah, line ’em up!” Out of nowhere comes the Young Bucks, who lays Tony out with a superkick. FTR are annoyed the Bucks won’t step to them, instead attacking referees and backstage interviewers.
FTR def. SCU
Before the match, Dasha speaks to Scorpio Sky and Frankie Kazarian, who offer a quick promo and a glance at Shawn Spears, standing by the curtain, wishing them good luck. Hangman, in a resplendent, fringe-heavy shirt, joins the commentary team with a glass of whiskey (surprise, surprise).
Kazarian begins the match with some great chain wrestling while Page makes his intentions clear that he wants to continue participating in the tag division. The news is broken to him that Kenny has said more than once he’s done with tag team wrestling, and Hangman genuinely seems a little shocked. He asks if Kenny’s had a singles match yet, to which commentary says no, and Hangman uses it as a case in point. FTR pretends cornerman Christopher Daniels pulled Cash Wheeler’s foot and get him ejected from ringside. Hangman calls after Daniels to get him another drink.
As FTR continue the dissection of their opponents, Hangman out how they are savvy manipulators— maybe even more savvy than they are as wrestlers— which might be their greatest gift as a tag team, might I personally add. As Scorpio Sky gets his shit in, the commentary team asks Hangman about the recent actions of the Young Bucks, to which Hangman doesn’t seem incredibly surprised.
FTR isolate Sky throughout the commercial break, and Sky fights out of the corner and pins Dax while Cash distracts the referee. Kaz gets the hot tag and hits an awesome suplex on both members of FTR. The detail FTR put into their matches inspires SCU to slide their own little innovations and improvisations as well, making quick blind tags and hustling their opponents off the apron. Tully gets physically involved— much in the way Daniels wasn’t but got ejected for anyway— sweeping the leg of Sky and holding onto it while Cash gets the pin.
Grade: A pretty great match! I’m not going to rave over FTR like a fanboy, but their approach to tag team wrestling feels like it’s elevating the work of the teams they share the ring with.
After the match, Excalibur announces an eight-man tournament where the winner will face Mox for the AEW Championship. The finals will take place at Full Gear and the first competitors announced are Jungle Boy, Rey Fenix, and Kenny Omega. Hangman almost does a spit take with his whiskey and immediately departs the commentary position.
Chris Jericho def. Isiah Kassidy
On the cusp of his 30-year anniversary in the wrestling business this Friday, Chris Jericho smiles as fans serenade him with the chorus of “Judas.” Kassidy starts the match like the proverbial house on fire after Jericho taunts him. After a near-nearfall, Jericho flips out and lands some hard shots on Kassidy. Kassidy pushes Jericho beyond the guard rail, where the Demo God gets into a little altercation with his longtime peer Luther. Back in the ring, Kassidy hits a great Swanton Bomb and gets another close nearfall, but Jericho regains the advantage. After a flurry of offense, Kassidy gets hit in the back by Hager, but still manages to sidestep a charging Jericho, sending him right into the turnbuckles. Kassidy continues to outrun and outmaneuver his veteran counterpart and even counters (and then hits) a Lionsault and catches him with a Codebreaker. Kassidy tries jumping off from a springboard and gets hit flush with a Judas Effect.
Grade: Pretty awesome stuff. I’m loving the idea of young talent getting a chance to see where they measure up against Chris Jericho, raising their profile and their skills in the process.
Segment: Kip and Miro are at an arcade (that weirdly enough has an axe throwing bar?) while planning Kip’s bachelor party. Miro’s seen on the phone talking to someone— who I’m going to assume is Lana until I’m proven otherwise by concrete evidence— about the stress of wanting this party to be the, um, best, referencing the Amish tradition of Rumspringa (where Amish teens are allowed to leave their communities for two years and do whatever they want). Kip gets bonus points for wearing a cropped shirt in public. While Kip takes a bathroom break, Billy Mitchell— immortalized in the documentary The King of Kong— offers his help, as long as Miro doesn’t mind things getting a little crazy.
Backstage Interview: Dasha interviews Best Friends and Orange Cassidy, but are quickly interrupted by FTR, continuing to call them “backyarders” and “comedic relief,” and then they flinch after Chuck and Trent motion like they’re going to hit them. Cassidy calls them “weenies” and makes his way to the ring.
Orange Cassidy def. Preston “10” Vance
10 starts off the match by drastically overpowering Orange, but Cassidy kicks out of a stalling vertical suplex at one. 10 puts Cassidy’s hands in his own pockets, but Orange dodges the successive clothesline and rolls him up for a deep two-count. After eventually hitting an Orange Punch and a Beach Break, Cassidy gets the win.
Grade: It was what it was; a showcase to continue to build Orange as one of AEW’s top stars.
Backstage Segment: MJF enters Jericho’s locker room, offering wrapped tidings which are revealed to be custom-made jackets for every member of the Inner Circle except Sammy Guevara. Max apologizes and tries to blame Wardlow, to which both Sammy and Jericho ask what the hell he’s doing in their locker room. They play a game of runaround about Max’s desire to be in the Inner Circle (or Jericho’s desire to have him in the group). MJF continues to suck up to Jericho and leaves, leaving Jericho to contemplate whether he is or isn’t a loser. If there’s anything you have learned from my recaps since March, my bet’s on the former.
Dr. Britt Baker def. Red Velvet
Dr. Baker looks reinvigorated after a long layoff from injury, putting in work in the opening moments of this match. The opening volley is halted by a hard shot courtesy of the good doctor. She then knocks Red Velvet loopy with a hammerlock lariat and a butterfly suplex. Dr. Baker’s mean streak is on full display here, with a swinging fisherman’s neckbreaker and a curb stomp for the win.
Grade: A good way for Dr. Baker to storm up the women’s title rankings and finally get her big AEW Women’s World Championship shot.
After the match, Reba (Rebel) hands Dr. Baker a latex glove and Red Velvet gets a Lockjaw for her trouble.
Before Tonight’s Match, Eddie Kingston Needs to Set a Few Things Straight
Kingston, flanked by Fenix and Pentagon, looks like a member of State Property circa 2003 as he gets set to announce who Mox’s opponent will be tonight. He offers a recap of last week’s match like only he can. He got caught in the Bulldog Choke and didn’t tap, calls the wrestlers who call Tony Khan “TK” kiss-asses, and approaches Bryce Remsburg about calling off the match, asking his friend of 18 years why he would cost him such an important championship match. Remsburg says he simply wanted to save Kingston from himself, having known him as long as he has. When it appears as though Bryce is going to get his ass kicked, Mox comes out, and Kingston lets him know he’ll be facing Griselda’s favorite wrestler (*cue Westside Gun adlibs*) the Butcher.
Are we eventually gonna get some kind of Every Time I Die/Griselda collab? The Butcher and Benny the Butcher on a track together? I mean, they are both from Buffalo.
Jon Moxley def. the Butcher
Mox is taunted by Kingston, Penta, and Fenix while Butcher kicks his ass in the opening minutes of the match. The Butcher, being a pretty big dude, approaches the match methodically, going after Mox’s knee while excruciating pain is written all over the AEW champ’s face. Butcher does things like DDT’s Mox’s leg and bashes his knee against the apron. He reverses Moxley’s cross armbreaker into a Boston half-crab. After a running powerslam only gets a two-count, he goes back to the half-crab. Butcher dominates the match until he is sent full-body into the guardrail. But every time Mox is whipped or goes into a quick sprint toward the ropes, his knee gives out. Mox hits a piledriver flush but only gets a two-count. Eventually, Mox reverses a potential move into a Paradigm Shift, followed by a Bulldog Choke for the win.
Grade: The Butcher’s best effort yet, yet a little ways from the best match Mox has had recently. Still though, the match had a very easy to follow story and it was executed well.
The show closes with Mox staring down Kingston at ringside and holding his title aloft in the center of the ring. Mox’s long journey as AEW’s top star continues.