The Hybrid2 vs. The Young Bucks (3 ½ stars)
A pretty typical Bucks opener – super high energy, back-and-forth tag team wrestling. Jack Evans and Angelico are great competitors, but against the Bucks, there’s a cloud that permeates that has nothing to do with them. The Bucks are just too much right now, in my opinion. They’ve got the titles, they’ve got the power of the division, they’ve got proteges in Top Flight, enemies in the Acclaimed (featured in a nice spot in the match, in which Jack Evans is powerbombed off of Matt’s shoulders into Bowens & Caster), FTR, everyone else… Hybrid2, on the other hand, have virtually nothing going on outside of this, so seeing them on the full spread of giving their all was fun, but it wasn’t otherworldly or even exceeding expectation. Bucks get the win after a BTE Trigger.
MJF got a quick thirty seconds in front of a camera to tell the world he will defend his Dynamite Diamond Ring. A quick rundown of the night followed the thirty second promo, which on paper reads like a short PPV. Shaq, Sting, MJF vs. Orange Cassidy, the 6-man tag, Abadon in action… It’s good to be an AEW fan tonight.
Varsity Blondes vs. FTR (2 ½ stars)
It would be fun to see a veteran tag team like FTR put a young tag team like the AEW Dark up-and-comers Varsity Blondes – Brian Pillman Jr. & Griff Garrison. But FTR is not in that stage of their career and while this match had some potential to even remotely give a notion that there would be intrigue, FTR winning was the obvious and only solution to this match. Kudos to Garrison for his comeback, though. Could rival Matt Jackson’s with some work.
“10” vs. Dustin Rhodes (2 ¼ stars)
What I had hoped would be 10’s breakthrough match in a scenario that would lead to The Dark Order possibly getting some positive momentum from ring work, but alas, I can only dream of that some more. In reality, this was a very basic match that showed Dustin Rhodes still has it, as seen many a time on Dynamite recently. 10 and Rhodes did fine, but this match was an okay match with some slower and more boring moments throughout. Rhodes got the win, and after the match, the entire Dark Order came down, but not to assault Dustin. Evil Uno actually offered Dustin a position in the group as the number Seven, a reference to his WCW gimmick that infamously went awry, with Rhodes actually breaking kayfabe.
I imagined for some reason that the segment involving Shaquille O’Neal was going to be more interesting, but I can’t say I was surprised by the final product. Tony Schiavone is sitting between Brandi Rhodes and Shaq and Shaq mentions that he never wanted the arm injury to Brandi to turn out this way and that Jade had gone over the line, but Brandi seems to accept his apology. That is, until Shaq continues to make underhanded and even disrespectful comments to Brandi and Brandi don’t play that way, so she threw Tony’s water in his face and left.
The Inner Circle (sans Santana) all gathered in a ring to have their ultimatum – either get on the same page and stay together or break up now. Jericho started this group, so he opened the floor and told them to air their grievances and get past all of this turmoil. MJF immediately started talking to remind everyone that he may appear to be selfish and only in it for himself, even alluding to the theory rampant online of him directly involving himself in the Inner Circle to destroy it from within, but after a few reactions from the rest of the IC, Ortiz eventually stopped MJF and after begrudgingly accepting the fact he now enjoyed MJF in the IC, he then turned to Sammy Guevara and told him to shake MJF’s hand. Sammy got around to finally accepting that he would shake MJF’s hand, but if anything goes wrong from here on out, Sammy will leave the group. Everyone was good, right? Wrong, Jake Hager points out that Wardlow has been staring him down to which Wardlow says the same of Hager and the Spiderman meme of two Spidermen pointing at each other commenced. They eventually got on the same page soon after that and left.
Eddie Kingston, The Butcher, & The Blade vs. Lance Archer, Rey Fenix, & Penta El Zero Miedo (3 stars)
A mess, but a good showing for Archer, Butcher and Blade from the start. Fenix continued to be one of the most enthralling on the roster, but didn’t have a lot of time in the ring, mostly working to make up for Penta being eliminated before the bell rang by a suplex through a table. Butcher and Blade find ways to continue to look better and better no matter the outcome or situation, which is always a good thing for anyone. Eddie Kingston was the odd man out of this match, mostly selling for Archer throughout. After the win for Kingston, Butcher, and Blade, Archer came in to fight some more and cleared the ring. He almost slammed Blade down with the Blackout, but Butcher pulled him away and they scurried off to the back.
Abadon vs. Tesha Price (¾ star)
A squash to get Abadon more over. It succeeded in its attempt to continue the presentation of Abadon as a monster and a very powerful force in the company at the moment. Hikaru Shida came down and saved Price from getting mauled any further after the bell with a thunderous kendo stick strike. But before Shida could scurry off with Price, Abadon shot up Taker style from the mat and reminded Shida who really has the power here.
Kenny Omega & Don Callis did show up tonight, and Callis, for the most part, repeated everything he said last night on Impact with Josh Mathews. Kenny, however, actually painted a grander picture of what he plans to do with the title, but Callis cut him off at the big reveal. I guess we’ll keep seeing where this goes, but it’s still pretty entertaining at the moment to not be upset about the repeated information note.
Dynamite Diamond Ring – Orange Cassidy vs. MJF (c) (4 stars)
Yeah, I’m calling this a defense, much like MJF alluded to it, because in theory, he’s never “lost” it, so yeah. MJF’s main bout of early work in the match was stretching and picking at Orange Cassidy’s right hand to reduce the effectiveness of the Orange Punch. A solid strategy to dampen his big finisher, but Orange’s resilience keeps him getting thrown all over the arena and MJF keeps on. But as we’ve seen before with Orange, he valiantly does everything he can to stay in a fight or completely change the momentum within seconds. The work MJF put into Cassidy’s hand was just enough to help, but so was the extreme melee happening all around them, including a Miro spot in the ring at the very end of the match to give MJF the victory and his ring back.
All in all, a fun, downhill jam of a Dynamite. I didn’t look at the clock until the main event, which is not the most damning of notes, but one to add.
And to officially start the Kenny Omega reign on AEW programming, I will end the recap in the exact same way he leaves, just to really paint the picture of how much of a Kenny fan I am.
I must bid you all adieu..
So… GOODBYE – MWAH.
AND GOOD NIGHT.