Welcome back to the weekly AEW recap. I had a lot of explaining to do last week, so hopefully this comes a little more natural. I’m also going to implement a rating scale of zero to five stars. On a personal note, this date was originally meant to be the first rescheduled date of the Milwaukee stop, so in a weird way, this was a show I had tickets to and could’ve seen. And on a way less personal note, this is the penultimate episode of Dynamite before Full Gear. We are this close to a Kenny Omega title reig— I mean, let’s start the show.
Hello, Wardlow. And, oh, I see you have a Maxwell with you this week. Max explains the finer details of Wardlow again, mentioning his contract and basically Wardlow is his. Sammy Guevara, out of nowhere, walks up. He throws the oversized jacket down and says he’s gonna make sure he never joins the Inner Circle. Wardlow posts up and Max waves him off, “Go warm up for your match.” Then Max finally turns it on and lays into Sammy, “But I had a note for you and your promos… Don’t.” They get hot and thus starts the first match. Solid promo to start the night and keep this story of Max joining Jericho going.
World Title Eliminator Tournament Semifinals: Wardlow vs. Hangman Page (3 3/4 stars)
MJF gives some stirring words of confidence I’m sure a high school football coach would be proud of and heads off backstage, and Wardlow vs. Hangman Page gets right to it. Page tosses the vest off and tries to startle the beast, but Wardlow gets going early. Big spot on the outside of Wardlow catching Page was nice, but the story was pretty good too. This outside sequence helped the pace of the match. It was nice to see Wardlow have multiple matches in a row to really give him a nice showcase for those who have never seen him before AEW (read: me, maybe you). Wardlow has a fantastic Swanton Bomb that sadly didn’t land against Page, but it looked amazing. Nice note to protect F-10 a bit by making it look unruly instead of not that bad if Page were to kick out. The sequence of events on the top rope corner were incredible, probably the high point of the match. Page finishes with not one, but two Buckshot lariats.
Our fearless champion, Jon Moxley continues his series of promos on Eddie Kingston, nothing of real deep note here. It’s good. It keeps this going. The visual component had flashes of good and some not so good. It just felt like this wasn’t the main thing going on in the company. And isn’t that what it is supposed to be? Or at least more important than this? Feels too flimsy.
Eddie Kingston vs. Matt Sydal (2 1/2 stars)
Maybe I just don’t like Eddie Kingston, his little promo before the match was good enough, though. He just cuts way better promos on inanimate objects on BTE. It really feels like Sydal should be the contender with the work presented here. Sydal gives Kingston a hellacious amount of work in a short amount of time to make Kingston look a lot better. When Kingston kept the submission in after the bell, it was overkill and finally the last straw of patience I had with this storyline. They have overplayed Kingston’s attitude to nauseous results for me at this point, leaving no hope for the World title bout at Full Gear.
We cut to the Young Bucks and FTR cutting promos in two different locations, jabs aplenty throughout. The Bucks down play Matt’s ankle injury, FTR continue to sell the belts. Bucks pushed FTR as the reason for their mentality, from pushing their friends around to them getting the belts. FTR left, because they ain’t got time for that. Bucks added the stipulation that if they don’t win the belts, they won’t challenge for them again. Sound familiar?
Back from commercial, the Town Hall meeting of the Inner Circle and MJF. Tony Schiavone and Dasha Gonzales host. Jericho and the Inner Circle come out to a great version of crowd Judas. MJF comes out and actually messes with Tony’s hair. Luchasaurus up first, posting up with his degree and his dinosaurness. He asks about the financial impact of MJF joining the Inner Circle, with MJF explaining a comically bad graph to prove a lateral positive change. Britt Baker comes up and from the moment she moves Reba out of the way, it takes her six seconds to remind everyone she’s a dentist, in case you thought that was ever going away. She asks Jericho about MJF’s past with “friends,” burying “dipshit” Cody and stating they’d all knock his freakin’ teeth down his throat. MJF chills everyone out and reminds them he wants to do nothing but be successful with them, whether it be green or gold or both. Peter Avalon shoots his shot and wants to join the Inner Circle and is promptly denied. Eric B from Cody, WY asks what can MJF do for the Inner Circle after a long grandstand announcing this is part one of three. MJF plainly replies he can answer in only one word – friendship. Part two asks MJF what can the Inner Circle can do for MJF and he wants to be a better team player to be the complete package. Last part of his three-part question, Bischoff calls Jericho a prima donna, Schiavone tells him to shut up, he then calls MJF a prima donna, and finally asks him what will prevent them from tearing each other apart – MJF has said he’s done it all to prove he won’t, and asks Jericho what hasn’t he done. He hasn’t beat him. They announce a match at Full Gear, if MJF beats him, he’s in the Inner Circle. MJF accepts, doing whatever it takes. Ortiz grabs the mic, saying him and Sammy doesn’t want him in the Inner Circle, setting up a tag match next week for the go-home show. All of this was another installment working masterpiece of the very great story that’s bound to have many implications following Full Gear.
Taz cuts a promo in front of Cage and Starks, asking if Will Hobbs is joining them. It’s… a promo. I didn’t hate it?
TNT Championship (Lumberjack Match) – Orange Cassidy vs. Cody (c) (2 3/4 stars)
We head back to the ring for the hottest man in wrestling right now, Orange Cassidy. Starting the TNT championship match, Cody does his overtly insane entrance I’m exhausted by like peak “the Game” Triple H. The TNT Championship match had lot of brawling on the outside, lot of back and forth in the ring. None of it was particularly worthy of locking away forever. It felt like all of the heat in this match was gone after their time-limit draw. The finish, featuring John Silver, made absolutely no sense. The brawl afterward made no sense, other than to put over the fact this was a crazy match, which it really wasn’t. Darby sitting in the upper bowl can stop now. It hasn’t worked and won’t work. If he’s up there next week, I riot.
Miro and Kip beat up Best Friends. Penelope gave them a gift first dressed up as Orange Cassidy. That was really the best part of this. That and Miro’s guttural scream.
NWA World Women’s Championship – Leyla Hirsch vs. Serena Deeb (c) (3 stars)
Within 24 hours of winning the NWA World Women’s championship, Serena Deeb and decided to defend it on Dynamite against Leyla Hirsch, who has fought Hikaru Shida before. Look, I love Deeb and I love her work in AEW so far. But putting over another champion from a different promotion makes little sense when we can’t promote the division currently in AEW. In theory, Deeb is signed to AEW, but she’s promoting another belt. Cold take, I know, but it is important that AEW figure this out sooner rather than later before they really get in some hot water. Deeb and Hirsch had a solid match, but didn’t hit another gear or move the needle. Deeb gets a solid win to defend her new title. Shida cuts a short promo on Nyla, announcing a title match at Full Gear.
From what I understand, the previous and next match are both filled in for the originally planned Tay Conti and Abadon, who were set to face, but Abadon sustained an injury during that and they cut it. I could be wrong. Shawn Spears comes out with VSK, in his Dynamite debut, already in the ring. Ref Bryce Remsberg checks out Spears’ glove and then Spears hits a C-4. End of match. One of the many dressed up guys in the crowd heckles him after and Spears drags him in, and OH NO SURPRISE SURPRISE, it’s the guy he’s been feuding with, Scorpio Sky. Sky lights up Spears and we cut to the big finish.
Current Full Gear card announcements during the package:
AEW World Championship (I Quit Match) -Jon Moxley (c) vs. Eddie Kingston
AEW Tag Team Championship – FTR (c) vs. Young Bucks
AEW Women’s Championship – Hikaru Shida (c) vs. Nyla Rose
The Elite Deletion – Matt Hardy vs. Sammy Guevara
TNT Championship – Cody (c) vs. Darby Allin
Chris Jericho vs. MJF
Orange Cassidy vs. John Silver for the Buy-In
For the go-home show, next week on Dynamite:
Chris Jericho on commentary
Ortiz & Sammy Guevara vs. MJF & Wardlow
Miro vs. Trent
Shawn Spears vs. Scorpio Sky
Cody & Gunn Club vs. Dark Order (John Silver, 10, & Colt Cabana)
Jon Moxley and Eddie Kingston – face to face
World Title Eliminator Tournament Semifinals: Penta El Zero Miedo vs. Kenny Omega (4 1/2 stars)
To start, let’s go ahead and say our biggest thank you that we are getting a Kenny Omega main event, especially a rematch of the All In classic. Penta with another variation of his name this week. Kenny with his batshit insane entrance again this week. Kennt comes in with a shirt on over the AAA Mega Championship, and a nice detail of the match to start. And much like what was great about Moxley and Archer a couple of weeks ago, a pretty good reminder of their previous match. The fact these guys gave us as much as they could with the time given and the stakes, this was a good as you could ask and a little more. Kenny getting the victory and the oh-too-obvious Hangman match upcoming at Full Gear has “instant classic” written all over it. Next week being the go-home show is poised to be a banger.