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AEW Dynamite Review: Nov. 3rd 2021

Welcome one and welcome all to the AEW Dynamite review for Nov. 3rd, 2021. Now, before we get into this week’s episode of AEW Dynamite, I’d like to take a moment to talk about Jon Moxley. I wasn’t as surprised as most people were when I woke up yesterday morning to hear the news that Moxley had decided to get help for his addiction. This is down to the fact that if you’ve read his incredibly entertaining autobiography, MOX, you’ll know that in the prologue he calls himself a borderline alcoholic. Some might have taken this as hyperbole, but it’s obvious that Jon Moxley knew he had a problem and it’s this self-awareness that is going to save his life.

I started drinking when I was 12 years old. I turn 49 tomorrow. This means that alcohol has played a major part in my life for 37 years now. I control it better these days. I only drink Guinness – and not Vodka as if it was water anymore – and I’m limited to a maximum twice a week. I am still prone to benders, however – though I haven’t had one for a while – where I’ll just lose my f*cking mind and drink solidly for a fortnight or so. I know how hard it is to get on top of alcoholism, and I know how difficult it is to admit you have a problem. What Jon Moxley has done is prove that he isn’t just a tough son of a bitch inside the ring, he’s the same tough son of a bitch outside it as well. He’s taken the first step for himself and his family, and when he returns to the AEW fold – fully clean and sober, of that I have no doubt – he will be welcomed home like the conquering hero he should be seen as. Stay the course, Mox, you’ve got this.

AEW Dynamite graphic for Orange Cassidy vs. Miro

Kenny Omega vs. Alan Angels

We started off AEW Dynamite with my Fight of the Night between Kenny Omega and Alan Angels. And what a fight it was. It was the perfect way to get the blood flowing and pitted our AEW World Champion against a man who had embarrassed him – Omega’s words, not mine – 18 months ago when he gave The Cleaner a run for his money. A year and a half later and we get the rematch, with Omega trying to prove that it was just a blip and Angels trying to prove that it was no fluke. We now know that The Dark Order member was right as he once again took The Elite member to the utter limit.

How many times do you ever see this sort of thing? How many times does a company’s World Champion open with a match? And if they do, how many times are they just there to lay a quick beatdown on someone and not get involved in a super intense, action-packed battle that not only allows both men to show everyone what they can do but gets the crowd so pumped for the rest of the show that it’s a miracle the building has a roof left on it by the time the final bell rings?

This is what separates AEW from the rest.

They understand their audience. They know that we know wrestling and we don’t need to have 20-minute promos shoved down our throats, or have ‘The Face Of The Company’ close out the show every time. They credit their fans with the intelligence to follow them in what they do and to trust them to make the correct booking decisions. They don’t always get it right – as my AEW Dark Elevation and AEW Dark reviews this week have started to notice – but about 90% of the time, they’re spot on and when they are it is glorious.

It took two of the most vicious looking V-Triggers for Kenny Omega to pick up the win – and after the bell Adam Page would make the save to thunderous applause, proving once and for all that Eric ‘Nobody knows who Adam Page is’ Bischoff should keep his goddamn mouth shut – but if you told me that Omega and Angels would be fighting each other on Dynamite for the rest of the year, I wouldn’t care as this match was that damn good.

Winner: Kenny Omega

Before our next outing, we had Malkai Black warn Cody Rhodes that it didn’t matter that he was banned from ringside as – just like Julius Caesar – he would be betrayed. Then CM Punk hit the ring and talked Jon Moxley, then offered Eddie Kingston a chance to explain himself on this week’s AEW Rampage. Finally, The Elite got their asses handed to them by Christian Cage and the Jurassic Express, including a brutal Conchairto to Adam Cole (Bay Bay!).

This was all good stuff and kept the show ticking over nicely, especially the segment where Nick, Matt, and Adam Cole (Bay Bay!) got the living bejesus beaten out of them.

AAA Tag-Team Championship: Samuray del Sol and Aerostar vs. FTR(c) w/Tully Blanchard

FTR had promised that this wouldn’t be a Lucha Libre match by any stretch of the imagination – while at the same time calling themselves The Greatest Lucha Libre Tag Team Of All Time – but it seems that they hadn’t bothered to inform Samuray del Sol or Aerostar of this, as the two AAA stars went hell for leather from bell to bell.

It wasn’t perfect. During the opening exchanges, both teams seemed to be slightly out of step with each other, but as the match progressed the styles gelled well enough that I found my bum had moved closer to the edge of my seat.

There was never any real chance that Del Sol and Aerostar would walk out with the titles, but as I’ve said before the true art of wrestling is that when you find yourself in these situations, you tell a story that has those watching think you might just pull off the impossible. This they managed that and then some. It took Wheeler grabbing the ropes to keep his opponent pinned for FTR to retain their belts, and if this means that we get more cross-overs between AAA and AEW, then I’m all for it.

Winners And Still AAA Tag Team Champions: FTR

In the back, Nyla Rose and Vicky Guererro confronted Hikaru Shida ahead of their Quarter-Final bout for the TBS Women’s Championship. Then The Inner Circle chose their opponents from American Top Team, ahead of their Street Fight at AEW: Full Gear. This was on course to win the Sports Obsessive Promo Of The Week – mainly down to Dan Lambert, who I’m convinced is the best manager in the game at the moment – but that accolade will go elsewhere, as we shall see. And finally, Matt Sydal and Lee Moriarty challenged Dante Martin and Lio Rush to a match, which the latter accepted.

It’s the last of these segments that I’m most invested in at the moment. I’ve been full of praise for Dante Martin over the past couple of weeks, but it’s Lio Rush that fascinates me. Here he was, all smiles and niceness until nobody was looking at him and you could see his face drop, anger creeping in. Look, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that he will either turn on Martin or turn Martin to the Darkside somewhere down the line, but as long as he does so while bringing the evil version of Lio Rush that tore up the Indy scene about a year ago, I’m all for it. That character was money, and if they can capture even a cup full of the magic he had then, it will bring to AEW one of the greatest creations of the past decade.

TBS Women’s Title Tournament Match: Jamie Hayter w/Rebel and Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D vs. Anna Jay

Okay. Does anyone else think that it’s about time that we did away with ‘The Numbers Game’ in pro-wrestling? Is anyone else a little sick and tired of being able to predict the outcome of a bout, just by who accompanies whom to the ring? No? Just me then? I fully understand why this happens – the good guy loses by shenanigans and therefore doesn’t look weak – and I get that it’s a trope that’s nearly as old as wrasslin’ itself, but when the heel comes to the ring with an entourage in tow, you’ve might as well end the match right there.

I wasn’t disappointed that Jamie Hayter won – we Brits have got to stick together – and I can’t get enough of Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D in my life at the moment, what stuck in my craw was that Hayter came out first and in doing so gave the appearance of a fair fight. One I couldn’t call before the bell had rung, but as soon as Rebel ran out to join her, followed by the good doctor, it was over before it had begun.

The in-ring action was pretty good – I’m a fan of both these wrestlers – but knowing how it was going to end took a lot of the shine off of it for me. Somewhere down the line, this has to change. Or at least stop being used as an easy way to get yourself out of a booking corner. I found myself wondering if Vince Russo had snuck in the back and nobody had noticed.

Winner And Advancing To The Quarter-Finals: Jamie Hayter

Jade Cargill was up next, being impressive as ever, and then it was time for…

Promo Of The Week

MJF once again gets the (imaginary) Sports Obsessive Promo Of The Week Award, but this time he’s sharing it with Darby Allin. Meaning that if he ever reads this review, he’s liable to block me on social media.

(Please don’t block me on social media, MJF, your tweets fill my day with song.)

While Darby sat in the cheap-seats – looking all broody and cool – MJF got in the ring and cut a viciously serious promo. There was none of his usual roasting of the audience or his upcoming opponent, instead, he let Allin know that he knew they were the future of the company. That they had that X factor. That they were the cornerstones of AEW. He also knew why the fans booed him. Because he is better than them and he is better than Darby Allin. He also explained that he was going to beat his opponent at AEW: Full Gear because Allin ran on pure emotion, and that would be his downfall.

If any aspiring wrestlers are reading this and want to know how to cut a promo, study MJF. There is not a single performer in the business today that can do what he does on the mic. Many wrestlers can be arrogant, many wrestlers can play at being the heel, but with MJF you fully believe that is who he is. He never breaks his stride, he never posts sweet tweets about dogs or his favorite sports team on the internet, he is MJF and MJF is a cold, calculating bastard.

Eventually, Darby Allin got to say his piece which was quite simply “Yes, I am an outcast, and now I’m going to smash your face in”, but as he made his way to the ring, MJF bolted only to come face to face with Sting. Well, a lot of Sting’s actually as The Icon came out with a ton of people wearing Sting masks. This led to Wardlow and Shaun Spears making an appearance and while the top of the ramp descended into chaos, Allin and MJF started trading blows and, man, what blows they were.

The two laid into each other so stiffly as they brawled through the crowd that Stan Hansen would’ve been proud. It all culminated with Allin Irish Whipping MJF into a barricade and then Clothes Lining him over the top of it with so much force and so much anger, I’m surprised he didn’t decapitate Maxwell Jacob Freeman in the process.

MJF finally made his escape and if you’re somehow not invested in this feud – perhaps you’re medically dead inside – then go and watch this part of AEW Dynamite. I promise you that you’ll come out the other side a changed person, chomping at the bit to see these two tear it up at AEW: Full Gear.

Andrade El Idolo vs. Cody Rhodes

Andrade El Idolo vs. Cody Rhodes falls into two parts. Part One is The Good, Part Two is The Bad, and if there had been a Part Three it most likely would’ve been The Ugly. Allow me to explain.

The Good: This was a stellar match. Both men brought their A-game and took some hard looking shots and nasty looking bumps – including one that saw Andrade miss a head height Double Knee to the corner, which caused him to crash to the outside via a brutal looking bump on the apron – which had this building towards a massive crescendo that would’ve seen it awarded my Fight of the Night. Honestly, it was that good, and no matter how much some of the fans in attendance tried to ruin it by jeering The American Nightmare at every step, I was so engrossed in this I could block them out. But that ending, well that soured me on the whole experience.

The Bad: After Malaki Black had predicted that someone would turn on Cody – come on, admit it, you thought it was going to be Arn Anderson as well, don’t lie – the match ended after a distraction allowed FTR to pop out from underneath the ring and lamp Rhodes upside the head with their AAA titles as he was attempting a Suicide Dive through the ropes.

What the actual hell?

The commentary team tried to explain this away by claiming that Andrade had made a deal with The Pinnacle, but this made about as much sense as having The Fiend drop the WWE Title to Oldberg just to please his ego and some Saudi billionaire. It was f*cking stupid.

AEW promised that they’d be different from the competition, that they wouldn’t use tried old wrestling tropes to end their matches, but of late it’s starting to creep into the product more and more. In this AEW Dynamite episode, we had two distraction finishes, and though it isn’t the same as the pandemic that Big Vinnie and The Stamford Mob seem to find themselves constantly locked in, it could start to spread like wildfire unless caught early.

We’re aren’t there yet, but I’m watching you, AEW.

AEW World Title Eliminator Tournament Semi-Finals Match: Orange Cassidy vs. Miro

So Miro got the nod to replace Jon Moxley in the AEW World Title Eliminator Tournament Semi-Finals Match and with Bryan Danielson watching on from the commentary booth, he set about dismantling Orange Cassidy.

To be fair, this was a lot more competitive than I think it would’ve been had Moxley still been in the tournament, but – outside of a wicked elbow through a ringside table that saw Miro just beat the 10 count – this was about as squishy of a squash match as you can get. I’m fine with that though. Miro needs to look strong and he took great pride in dissecting The Freshly Squeezed One for a vast majority of their time together, focusing on the injured ribs while Matt Hardy cheered along.

The end came when he landed a hellacious kick to Cassidy’s jaw, before locking in The Game Over, forcing his opponent to tap out. Meaning that we get Danielson vs. Miro at AEW: Full Gear and that’s a damn dream match, right there.

Winner And Advancing To The Final: Miro

Written by Neil Gray

SPOBS very own Mouth Of The South (West)

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