Welcome back to the AEW Dynamite recap! Full Gear is coming this Saturday at Daily’s Place and will definitely be a very big moment for AEW going into 2021, with marquee match-ups all over the card, a lot of history at play, and all the gold up for grabs. Dynamite opens with Dasha next to Jericho – sells Hager’s win in Bellator, making him 3-0 – and MJF cuts in. He talks down tension from the Town Hall meeting and tells Jericho his front row seat at commentary will end that. Jericho says MJF doesn’t have it and is “soft.” MJF leaves to prove him wrong. Jericho hops on the desk after the Jeri-choir sings him in.
MJF & Wardlow vs. Sammy Guevara & Ortiz (3 ½ stars)
MJF and Wardlow enter, Jericho selling him for being a good wrestler but he needs more toughness to be in the Inner Circle. Ortiz and Sammy follow. “We want Wardlow” chants start, and Wardlow and Ortiz start. They keep Ortiz isolated in dependable, good work. Ortiz does land a “tiger style” back scratch on MJF right away. It does drag a bit, but it does highlight the ticks of tenacity MJF would unleash, whether it was harder moves in his arsenal or using good heel tactics to look more aggressive. Sammy finally gets a really good comeback going. Adrenaline fiend that Sammy is, he tags Ortiz in and MJF nails a really nice double stomp on Ortiz’s arm. Sammy and MJF finally get in and have a really great exchange. Wardlow breaks up a sure 1-2-3 pin on MJF. Guevara and Ortiz have some good tag combos, and work well enough with each other. Peak of this combo exchange is a massive double superplex that Wardlow turns into a double powerbomb superplex. Guevara nails a very nice springboard 450 splash on the outside of MJF, Matt Hardy gets involved with Serpentico’s mask on. MJF applies the Salt of the Earth submission on Ortiz, and MJF was walking to the ramp, presumably to speak to Jericho. But instead, full speed tackles Jericho and Le Champion is intrigued, if not impressed. It’s a pretty good starter, but not a next level match.
A promo for the rest of tonight begins, and it ends with Kenny Omega getting a sit-down with Tony Schiavone. A nice puppy is there, but Kenny says it’s not his home. They discuss the final of the tournament – Kenny explains his journey so far has been a crazy one, planning for both opponents and getting them both replaced instead of him getting a traditionally-preceded bye. Kenny finishes the video by saying he’s destined to win this tournament and be the next AEW world champion. Trent comes out and we go to break.
Miro vs. Trent (4 stars)
A package of previous events of this feud are shown during Miro’s entrance. Miro gets introduced and then interrupts Justin Roberts during Trent’s intro and calls out Trent’s mom. Clearly established, this was not a good thing to do. Match starts right away, Miro scouted Trent’s spinning tornado DDT in the corner and immediately keeps things going and back and forth right away. Miro’s power and Trent’s great ring presence and phenomenal work keeps this match sizzling while Chuck Taylor and Kip Sabian brawl all around the ringside and arena. Orange Cassidy and Penelope Ford standing, Ford warning Orange… Orange not giving a crap. As attention returns to the actual match happening in the ring, we cut to picture-in-picture. Miro does some hyping while Trent is spilled out of the ring. Miro throws Trent’s already injured body into a steel post. Orange Cassidy starts trying to hype up Trent in the ring, and Penelope comes over to stop him, and she slaps off his glasses. Cassidy pulls off Ford’s glasses and goes to put his hands in his pockets and the Dark Order shows up out of nowhere to take out Orange. Miro is continuing his powerful run on Trent all the while. Trent finally fires back with a series of lariats to knock down the beast, but when Trent finally does get him down after using his head a moment, he only gets a one-count. Firing up and reaching the climax of this match, Miro catches Trent in the middle of his signature and gets a very close near-fall. Miro sets up for a big move and Trent gets a small package. Trent lands a huge dive after a small exchange. Finally landing his spinning tornado DDT, he lands a huge knee strike and gets another near-fall. Trent clearly slips on a springboard dive and Miro lands a huge superkick into his Game Over finale. Miro gets the win in a great match. This definitely fires things up for this mostly under-baked feud. Miro continues to hold his finisher and then finally throws out Trent. Kip comes back and Miro grabs a mic, telling Trent he was gonna teach him some manners. Cassidy does a big dive off the top rope to them on the outside. The one thing that surprises me most about this entire match is all the outside stuff that happened throughout and after actually helped this feud and, for once, didn’t distract and take away from the product at hand.
Page and JR are sitting in some chairs in a lobby somewhere. JR puts over their tag title reign, and Page doesn’t really go either way. JR calls him out for being nervous. Page agrees, but says everyone naturally would be, mentioning he thought he’d be the champ before and thinks he has nothing else to do if he doesn’t win, other than his whiskey. A Full Gear promo airs and mentions how great AEW has been at surprising us with new talent on the roster, throwing to Moxley, Miro, FTR, etc. This almost feels like a threat. Buy it Saturday or you’ll miss the next big thing. WCW feels for five seconds here. Back from the break, we get a package of all the tag teams they could ask about FTR vs. Young Bucks. They plug the audio of the Bucks’ stipulation of not challenging for the title after losing to FTR again, Jericho has a nice moment of pointing out he was responsible for making Cody never challenging for the world title.
Taz comes out and starts yelling about having to wait to talk to Tony Khan for three hours. He sells his boys, mentioning Cage is #1 in the rankings and Ricky Starks isn’t even ranked. Ricky gets the mic and mentions he’s opened and closed Dynamite and performed well enough to be noticed. They all mention how crazy it is they don’t have a match this weekend at Full Gear, mentioning the Cody vs. Darby match. Taz specifically calls out Cody and his #DoTheWork mantra, saying they’re “getting worked.” Private Party head out with Matt Hardy, and Sammy Guevara applies Hardy’s Twist of Fate on him on the ramp and continues to beat him down as Jericho cheers him on brilliantly. Cut to commercial.
Private Party vs. The Young Bucks (3 ¼ stars)
And we’re back. All the officials have cleared off Matt Hardy and the Bucks come out, plugging the damage the chair did last week from FTR on Matt Jackson. Action starts quick, Matt clearly still able to work well with the injury. When these two teams faced a year ago, it was at a time when everyone expected the Bucks to win, and here is no different in that one idea. But everything else has changed. Private Party are more seasoned and expected to have good matches with good booking. The Bucks have made it to the tag title match multiple times, but they have slipped back into the mix safely every time. Never have they completely imploded. This match showed their guts and heart to go out and give a great match despite all the setbacks and tribulations. I can’t say too much about what happens in this match, because a lot of it has happened over the past few weeks or aforementionedly (not a word, still makes sense) last year. The only thing that really puts this match differently from the others is Matt’s injury, with him having to move completely differently and use alternative counters. Private Party get a huge momentum boost after the picture-in-picture spot. Kassidy’s spots of hitting his more athletic moves are getting better and better. Another spot about Matt’s injury that adds to this match – Nick goes to tag or check up on Matt, and Private Party nail Nick with a Gin N’ Juice, almost getting the three before Matt having to dive for the break-up. Bucks finally win after a crazy finish with the BTE Trigger. FTR comes down and attack the Bucks. FTR set-up to apply the chair to Matt’s leg and replay the same situation as last week. HANGMAN ADAM PAGE AND eventually KENNY OMEGA come down for the save. As the Bucks gather themselves, Page and Omega face off. “We’ll be right back.”
Coming back to Dynamite, Tony Schiavone is in the ring and he calls on down Eddie Kingston. Eddie gets a quick barb, and Tony no-sells him. Excalibur mentions if they get physical, there will be no match Saturday. Moxley finally starts entering from the side entrance and heads up the ramp to the ring, Pretty Platinum over his shoulder. Kingston pushes Schiavone out the ring, demands the music stop, and immediately tells Mox that he’s bringing the title home. Mox spits about loyalty and mentions a promise to Eddie’s mom. It looks real, and it feels real, but it’s just not everything it needs to be. There’s just too much going on here to really dig into any specific part of it. A hot segment for a weird feud.
PAC IS BACK. PAC cuts a dark, twisted segment that deviates from the usual PAC promo – it gets unhinged and very unstable throughout. He mentions being stuck in isolation for seven months, trapped at home and away from everything going on in AEW. He continues to point out that this has happened before (alluding to the fact that he sat out the remaining length of his WWE contract) and that he will continue to get better, faster, and stronger. When we cut back to the ring, Brandi is in the ring with Red Velvet and Dustin and QT are backstage getting word that they are to face the Butcher and the Blade next week, but Butcher and Blade also start attacking them out of nowhere.
Red Velvet vs. Nyla Rose (1 ¾ stars)
Velvet starts right out with a huge dropkick and stomps in the corner, immediately trying to give as much as possible, but then Nyla powers out immediately. Huge strikes in the corner and a massive lariat to finish a big exchange to feature Hikaru Shida on the outside, holding the title. Nyla catches Velvet in a powerbomb and Nyla picks up Velvet at two and taunts at Shida. 1-2-3 after a huge move. Staring at Shida. This rivalry between the two could’ve been booked better, but this keeps things fresh heading into Saturday for the title. Vicki Guerrero grabs a mic and starts calling out Brandi, calling her the “chief bullshit officer” Then Vicki heads over to Shida, mentioning it will be her last three days of holding the belt, and Shida grabs at Vicki, leading to a brawl between Rose and Shida.
A flub of sorts occurs with the video package and commentary, but a promo of Page and Omega goes again, a lot of random and interesting faces showing up to say some things about these two and their match coming Saturday. Cinderella’s “Don’t Know What You Got ‘Til It’s Gone” plays over a sequence of clips from their tag reign. This is bizarre. After the rundowns mentioned below, they mention the 6-man tag is our main event and they play another very ridiculous Darby Allin promo of him in black and white doing wacky things. Cut to him in the upper bowl by himself. Whatever.
This was the spot where commentary did a Full Gear rundown, and if you’re not aware of what’s going on with that, Rob did a fantastic preview and did a breakdown of the entire event loaded with lots of neat context. Go check that out and then come back for the main event. As for coverage of the event itself, you can expect something from myself this weekend here on the site.
The Dark Order (John Silver, Colt Cabana, & “10”) vs. Cody & The Gunn Club (2 ¼ stars)
A six-man tag with little to no actual story, other than to continue the Cody and Dark Order angle that surely isn’t dead, should be a decent affair, and it starts that way. This is a match marred by the fact that there are a lot of workers in this match that don’t have a lot going for them in the company. I mean, outside of Cody being the TNT champ, John Silver is the most used figure in this match going forward. Silver has a match at the PPV. Cabana, the Gunn Club, 10 don’t. You figure out why this is important. The weirdest part of this match for me was Austin Gunn getting the pin on 10. Good for him, confused on the importance of it. Afterwards, Dark Order comes in and John Silver comes around the back and John Silver goes to get involved, but Orange Cassidy stops him and lands a big Orange Punch. Then Cody speaks against Darby and tells him everything we already knew – he told Darby that TNT wants him as champ, that Darby was solely recruited by Cody, that Darby wants the belt, and that Darby isn’t the “ace.”
Fin. A mostly lousy finish to an otherwise pretty good episode of Dynamite heading into Full Gear. Immediately announced after the show, Tully Blanchard is banned from ringside at Full Gear for FTR’s match against The Young Bucks. It leaves us in a good spot for Saturday, as things will definitely take off. AEW has the pacing of a weekly show and a true feel for a PPV down, so I’m expecting nothing but big things from them this weekend. The Buy-In actually feels worth watching, finally. All the belts are on the line. There will be blood. There will be chaos. It will be fun. I’m most looking forward to Kenny Omega vs. Hangman Adam Page, because I know that match will be a very, very great match. Let me know on Twitter at @buffdrinklots what you’re most looking forward to on Full Gear.