Welcome to my AEW Dynamite June 17th review here on Sports Obsessive! Daily’s Place is the scene once more for the stars of AEW to bring us another exciting edition of Dynamite! Will ‘The Natural Nightmares’ win the tag titles? Will Jericho and Sammy Guevara take away The Best Friends’ right to a title shot at Fyter Fest? Will Britt Baker find a new and inventive way to patronise Tony Schivone?
Let’s head to the ring and find out?
AEW World Tag Team Champions Kenny Omega and Hangman Page vs. “The Nightmare Family” (Dustin Rhodes and QT Marshall)
We kick off with the much-promoted confrontation between champions Page and Omega and The Nightmare Family. And while the result was never in doubt, the action here was well-paced, entertaining and saw a great, gutsy performance from QT Marshall which will hopefully elevate him in the eyes of his critics.
Kenny and Dustin had some strong opening exchanges, and if you told me 18 months ago that this would be the case, I probably would have laughed. But the rejuvenation of Dustin Rhodes in AEW has actually been one of the happiest stories in recent wrestling history.
Page was just a beast, smashing QT with tough-as-leather lariats and clotheslines. Page looks more like a star now than he did 12 months ago, with his aggressive (and beery) edge, which has actually got him over even more with the AEW audience. Will we finally see him win the big one after the inevitable feud with The Elite? I hope so.
QT Marshall showed some real quality here, tricking Page into taking a cartwheel kick off the ropes, hitting a cannonball senton to the outside and later hitting a Diamond Cutter, as gifted to him by DDP. This was the best I’ve seen QT look in the ring.
In the end, though, Allie came out to cheer QT on (I think they’ll play out the distraction angle here, even though QT never appeared distracted by her) but it wasn’t enough; Omega and Page clobbered him with The Last Call for the 1-2-3.
A solid opening bout, but I do hope they’re careful how they handle Allie from here. She clearly wasn’t the distraction that she was set up to be in this, and I don’t think she messed anything up. The idea was sound, but the execution wasn’t really clear.
Anna Jay vs. Abadon
Pre-match we get a video package on Anna Jay, saying she wants to bring character and a show to the women’s division. With that, you’d be thinking the following match would be an exercise in putting Anna over. It wasn’t, but it wasn’t a squash either. There was a story at play, as we shall see.
Her opponent, making her Dynamite debut, was Abadon, a supernatural character in a Su Yung vein, but more disturbing if that’s possible. Her entrance was great, with her crawling to the ring, staring the camera out with her contacts making her eyes loom terrifying, as a filter on the camera gave her a further horror edge.
The match was over in a couple of minutes, Abadon overpowering Jay quickly. Her finisher, though, was something else. As Jay was kneeling on the mat, Abadon bounced off the ropes and hit her with a running head scissors that slammed Jay’s face flush into the mat! It looked brutal! On the strength of that, I look forward to seeing more of Abadon in the future.
Afterwards, though, there was a whole other story. The Dark Order came out and picked Jay up, helping her to the back. Brodie Lee even took her hand and started into her eyes. Do we have the first female member of The Dark Order? Meanwhile, Evil Uno handed Colt Cabana an envelope, the contents of which seemed to make him uneasy. The plot thickens…
MJF vs. Billy Gunn
I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: MJF is one of the best heels in the business today. He is a complete heat magnet, and he proved it once more in this really fun little match with Billy Gunn.
Billy dominated things early on, frustrating MJF to the point where he tried to leave the ring and head to the back. The sight of Billy carrying him back over his shoulder did make me chuckle.
With assistance from Wardlow, MJF took the advantage, working over Billy’s leg and abusing the wrestlers at ringside, who gladly gave him s**t back.
He also got heat from ref Aubrey Edwards, who caught MJF out using the ropes for leverage whilst punishing Gunn with a leglock. Aubrey fears no man, so she sure as hell didn’t back away from MJF. Billy went for the fameasser, which MJF avoided. When MJF went for a fameasser of his own, Billy cleverly countered it by simply standing back straight. I quite liked that.
The finish came when Wardlow knocked Austin Gunn down at ringside, causing enough of a distraction that MJF was able to slip his ring on and crack Billy with a shot to the head for the pin. Jungle Boy, at ringside, didn’t appreciate the dastardly MJF’s tactics and told him so, leading to a full-on brawl between MJF, Wardlow and Jurrasic Express. While I do think the MJF-Cody feud was blown off much too quickly, this feud with Jungle Boy could do a lot of good for both men in the long-term. Shrewd.
Blood is Thicker Than Orange Juice
Backstage, Alex Marvez interviews ‘The Sex Gods’, Chris Jericho and Sammy Guevara, about their motives for what they did to Orange Cassidy last week. Sammy makes a brilliantly corny pun about Cassidy having been beaten to a pulp, while Jericho warns Cassidy that “blood is thicker than orange juice.” Brilliant. I do think Jericho working so closely with Sammy will do Sammy wonders. Cassidy and Hardy better watch out!
The Kidnapping of a Dentist
Throughout the shoe, Britt Baker had been sending little notes up to Tony Schivone, telling him everything from the fact she’s a role model for appearing whilst in so much pain criticising Tony’s tie.
Now Tony comes for an interview, but Britt takes umbrage at Tony’s bigging up of Penelope Ford as the next women’s title challenger at Fyter Fest. Britt angrily tells Tony they’re on a friendship break, before realising it’s Big Swole behind the wheel of the truck she’s sat on. Swole drives Baker away, trash-talking all the way.
Later, Baker’s personal assistant used a phone-tracking app and dragged a cameraman along to find Baker trapped inside a dumpster, banana peel perched atop her head. The joy in Reba’s face when she said “you mean I’m free?” when Baker fired her was great, as was her deflated resignation as Baker instantly re-hired her. Baker is absolutely smashing it as a heel and a character at the moment.
This was a fun segment that wouldn’t have been out of place in the Attitude era.
TNT Champion Cody Rhodes vs. ‘Absolute’ Ricky Starks
This was the match of the night, easily. What I like about these TNT title open challenge matches is how everything, from how the commentators treat it, to the ring announcing to even the way Cody carries himself during them gives these matches that ‘big fight feel’ that makes them feel more special.
Arn Anderson said he’d found someone who would give Cody a challenge to help him prepare for Jake Hager at Fyter Fest, and, after a great heartfelt promo about having work effort and grit, that person turned out to be the former ‘Stroke Daddy’, the former NWA TV champion ‘Absolute Ricky Starks’!
I must admit I felt a little sad upon seeing Ricky Starks in Daily’s Place. I’m not an entitled fan, and absolutely think wrestlers should go where they think is best for them, regardless of what fans think on the matter. But Starks was making a name for himself in the NWA and was a big part of the Powerrr show, meaning that it’s quite a blow to the fledgeling Alliance, still building itself up into the powerhouse its fandom believes it can be.
All that aside, this was a great, competitive, surprisingly hard-hitting match that saw an aggressive, focused side to Starks that I don’t recall quite seeing in the NWA. He wasn’t afraid to get in Cody’s face, smacking with a vicious series of fists, while utilising a swinging DDT and face drop straight into the ropes to great effect.
Unfortunately, he couldn’t avoid the Cross Rhodes, and the title once again remains in Cody’s hands. I’ve seen people say Starks looks bad for losing in his debut, and in a title match at night. But you don’t have to win to look good. You just need to put in a great performance and Starks did just that.
Jimmy Havoc and Kip Sabian vs. The Young Bucks
This was a decent match, with Havoc and Sabian heeling it up, Nick doing the ‘Ricky Morton in peril’ bit and The Bucks finishing things with a fantastic move when they made Kip tombstone his own partner by superkicking his knees, before crunching Kip’s head with stereo knees to the skull.
But the real story occurred outside the ring, where the Butcher and the Blade kept trying to get at the Bucks, only to be stopped by the appearance of FTR.
After the bell, Butcher and Blade went after the Bucks, but FTR intervened and in a cool moment we saw both the Bucks and FTR hit spike piledrivers in stereo.
The mutual respect is uneasy but evident. The question is: who’s going to snap first and land the first blow?
We get a video of Brian Cage and Taz, who says he’s sick of Moxley bitching, and that Moxley’s ‘miserable’ gimmick was something he was doing years before! There’s been talk in the wrestling community of whether bringing managers back in would be a good thing, and for me, Taz is proving that it absolutely would be. He’s got the charisma and toughness to manage the likes of a beast-like Cage, who can get on with what he does best: destroying people.
Cage, for his part, says he doesn’t know what he wants more: to win the title or hurt Moxley. Taz asks him whats better. Cage corrects him – it’s who’s better.
Moxley’s not having that, though. He says he has his demons and the only way he can deal with them is to unleash them in the ring!
Best Friends vs. Le Sex Gods
There were two factors at play in this match: Best Friends’ tag title shot at Fyter Fest, and a chance at revenge for the Inner Circle’s attack on Orange Cassidy last week.
The action started off fast and furious with a brawl at ringside, before the heels began dominating in the ring, with Jericho able to counter a Trent dive with a sneaky baseball shot. Talking of dives, Sammy hit a beautiful one over the top rope, with all sorts of spins included. When Sammy files, he makes it count!
Le Sex Gods didn’t count on a cameraman tripping Sammy as he came off the ropes though, giving Trent the chance to roll him up for the win.
Afterwards, said cameraman revealed himself to be Orange Cassidy and did he ever mean business! I don’t think I’ve ever seen him look so serious. He gave Jericho a pasting then hit with – of all things – a superman punch that actually looked pretty good! I like how they’ve shown different facets of Cassidy’s character without having him speak. I’ve seen people write off the Jericho-Cassidy feud as unnecessary rubbish, but I’ve been impressed by how they’ve used Cassidy without taking away from the essential parts of his character.
A (limp) thumbs up from me.
This week’s Dynamite was another consistently entertaining entry, with the surprise debut of Ricky Starks, the oblivion bringer that is Abadon and Orange Cassidy getting some measure of revenge against Chris Jericho.
Throw in MJF being an a*****e, Britt Baker in a dumpster and QT Marshall bringing his ‘A-game’, and you have yourself an easy two hours of wrestling TV for your entertainment.