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AEW Dynamite Review: Oct. 23rd 2021

Welcome one and welcome all to the AEW Dynamite review for Oct. 23rd, 2021. And all I can say is thank God – or Tony Khan and Cody Rhodes – for AEW. Having only just returned to the Sports Obsseive fold, I’d started the week by covering MLW Fusion ALPHA and was more than happy that I had. It was a rip-roaring show and it had me chomping at the bit to devour as much wrestling as I possibly could. Drunk on a heady concoction of crossbody presses and suplexes, I decided to give WWE Crown Jewel a spin and within 15 minutes I was reminded why I’d fallen out of love with the sport and why I hated Corey Graves.

This posed quite the conundrum for your friendly neighborhood wrestling writer. Was this it already? Had Vinnie Mac already managed to send me back into the wilderness of freelance journalism, more than happy to take any job I could find as long as it didn’t revolve around watching pro-wrestling? Well, as you’re reading this you can take that as a big fat no. This was all down to AEW Rampage – which is easily the best one hour of television you can watch each week – and with my faith reaffirmed, I headed into this week’s AEW Dynamite like a kid at Christmas. But did it deliver? There’s only one way to find out, it’s time to lace up our boots and head down to the ring.

AEW Dynamite graphic for Malaki Black vs. Cody Rhodes

Promo Of The Week

For a two-hour show, AEW sure likes to cram in as many promos as they can. Normally when I review something I’ll give you a rundown of who said what, but if I tried to do that with AEW Dynamite, this thing would read like James Joyce’s Ulysses. So instead I’ve decided to forgo that logistical nightmare and just hand out a Promo Of The Week Award. Just treat it as a guide to the talking part of the show that you really, really have to see. And the winner of the first-ever Sports Obsessive Promo Of The Week – and without a shadow of a doubt, not the only time he’ll pick up this nonexistent award – is MJF.

Name me a better bastard in the business of pro-wrestling today. Go on, think, I’ll wait. See, you can’t, can you? That’s because Maxwell Jacob Friedman is on an entirely different level to any other bad guy/girl that you care to mention. And yes, I include Kenny Omega in that list as well. He is the ultimate asshole and he proved that again this week when he came out to interrupt Sting as he was about to update us on the condition of Darby Allin.

Straight from the off, MJF ripped into the crowd – making references to gun violence and incest – took a pop at Sting’s previous substance abuse, and compared Allin to Lex Luger, insinuating they’re both in wheelchairs. It was hysterical and so close to the bone I can feel the lacerations from here. This didn’t sit well with The Stinger and he cold-cocked MJF as soon as he stepped in the ring, and even though it looked as if he’d have the upper hand in a fair fight, there’s nothing fair about The Pinnacle and Wardlow and Shawn Spears hit the ring and gave Sting a horrendous beat-down.

Seriously, some of the chair shots that Sting took were reminiscent of The Rock wailing on Mick Foley all those years ago, and Sting’s back must resemble tenderized steak this morning. This section ended with MJF warning Allin that if he returns then that would be the fate that awaited him before he laid Sting out with his diamond ring. It was vicious, it was brutal, and it was the perfect example for any young wrestler starting in the business on how to be an utter douchebag.

Magical.

AEW World Title Eliminator Tournament First Round Match: Dustin Rhodes vs. Bryan Danielson

I turn 49 in a couple of weeks and do you know how I spent my Saturday night? I spent it drinking Guinness, smoking cigarettes, and watching Dave Chappelle on Netflix. Dustin Rhodes is 52 and do you know how he spent his Saturday night? Avalanche Suplexing Bryan Danielson off the top fricking turnbuckle. Makes me think I should’ve done more with my life. Ah well.

This was a fantastic match and one that saw both men beat the living hell out of each other. Honestly, there were no punches or kicks pulled here and both Rhodes and Bryan wore the scars of their battle in massive red welts on their bodies by the time the bell had been rung. It was always written that it would be Danielson that advanced here – as I fully expect a Mox vs. Danielson final – but I was curious how they’d do it. The problem I could see was that Bry-D is a submission expert and when that’s your finisher, it can be hard to get your opponent to lay down for you. Don’t get me wrong, if you’re lower down the card then you’ll do what you’re told, but if you’re towards the top then no one wants to submit as it makes you look weak. Getting hit by a move that knocks you silly is one thing, being made to tap in the middle of the ring is another altogether.

But Rhodes not only put in a top-quality performance – which is no surprise as you could put him in there with an actual corpse and he’d still get a four-star match out of it – he did the j.o.b and was choked out by The American Dragon to culminate a bout that will live long in the memory.

Winner and Advancing To The Semi-Finals: Bryan Danielson

TBS Women’s Championship Tournament: Penelope Ford vs. Ruby Soho

I don’t think that Penelope Ford gets the respect she deserves. This is down to a vocal section of the wrestling fandom who sees a strikingly beautiful woman in the ring and assumes that she can’t wrestle. Nothing could be further from the truth, because if it was true then she’d currently be plying her trade in the WWE and not tearing down the house on AEW.

So good is she that the former Miss Riot had to steal the win here with a surprise roll-up, but that doesn’t tell the full tale of their match. It was a cut and thrust affair that saw both competitors move and counter move each other with reversals, stiff kicks and chops, and wicked-looking suplexes. And even though it was obvious that Ruby Soho would advance, there were times where the willing suspension of disbelief kicked in and I found myself thinking that maybe they were going to finally pull the trigger on Penelope Ford and give her the push she so richly deserves. Sadly, it wasn’t to be, and after The Bunny had tried to slide her the old brass knuckles, Ford fumbled them and Soho rolled her up for the 1-2-3.

Post-match it looked as if Bunny and Ford would lay a hurting on Ruby Soho, but Red Velvet ran down to stand side by side with her, forcing the heels to turn tail and for my dream of Penelope Ford as AEW Women’s World Champion to roll over for another week.

Winner and Advancing To The Quarter Finals: Ruby Soho

Anthony Greene vs. Bobby Fish

When you’re already standing in the ring, without any form of entrance music, then you know that you’re going to be on the ass end of an ass-whupping and that’s exactly what happened to poor old Anthony Greene here. He was on the show for one reason and one reason only and that was to get squashed and squished is what he did get.

I can’t recall Greene getting any form of offense in, but that wasn’t the point. What the point of this was was to set up a feud between Fish and CM Punk, of all people. After he’d dispatched Greene, Fish decided to carry on battering him to the boos and cat-calls of the crowd, until CM Punk, of all people, ran down to make the save. This led to a face-off between the two – admittedly with Fish being outside of the squared circle and Punk being inside of it – which seemed to signal that we’re going to be getting Bobby Fish vs. CM Punk down the road. And you know what, I’m happy with that. Bobby Fish is underrated in my eyes and even if he takes the loss, being in a feud with the hottest property in pro-wrestling can only push him further up the card. And you never know, with his old WWE running buddy, Adam Cole Bay Bay, in AEW there’s always the chance that we might see The Elite get involved. And won’t that blow everyone’s tiny little minds?

AEW World Title Eliminator Tournament First Round Match: Lance Archer vs. Eddie Kingston

Considering that Lance Archer landed square on his head while trying to do a moonsault off the top buckle, it’s lucky that I’m writing about what an entertaining scrap this was, and not that I’m writing his obituary. It was a horrible spill and one that could’ve easily broken his neck, but The Murderhawk is fine – if a little banged up – and it’s a shame that this match had to end with a quick Kingston roll up, but thank the f*ck he’s okay as it looked for all the world as if he’d nearly killed himself.

The ending aside, this was my Fight of the Night and all because it gave me something I’d never seen before in pro-wrestling. When you’ve been around as long as I have, it takes a lot to surprise you, but Archer and Kingston not only had my jaw hit the floor once but twice in quick succession. What happened was so brilliant in its simplicity that I can’t believe that nobody else has ever thought of it. As Archer made his way to the ring, Kingston attacked him from behind in an attempt to get the upper hand on the monster, but all it did was piss him off. So much so, that he proceeded to beat The Mad King around ringside like a red-headed step-child before – and I s*it you not – pulling a “fan” – obviously a local talent – over the guard rail and body slamming him onto Kingston as he lay prone on the floor. Not content with this genius piece of wrestling, he then dragged the “fan” up onto the ring apron, and when Kingston struggled to his feet, choke slammed him onto his battered opponent.

I was out of my seat, whooping and hollering like a lunatic, which didn’t go down well with either my partner or my neighbors as it was five in the morning. What’s wrong with these people? Don’t they know I watching art unfold before my very eyes? Philistines.

I have no idea what the original plan was for the end of this match and, unless either man comes forward and explains it to me, I doubt I ever will, but I can’t see how Kingston would’ve gotten back into the bout, let alone won it, as he was being slapped around like one of Sean Connery’s wives. So I think that the initial booking would’ve seen Archer progress, but necessity is the mother of invention and a Bryan Danielson vs. Eddie Kingston is just as much of a mouth-watering prospect.

Lance Archer’s time will come, just stay away from those top rope moves from here on out, big man.

Winner and Advancing To The Semi-Finals: Eddie Kingston

Brandon Cutler vs. Jungle Boy

Another squash match that saw one person involved get squished and the other get straight-up murdered. Jungle Boy was here to hurt Cutler and force The Elite out of hiding and get what was coming to them after they put Luchasaurus through a table from the top of the stage, last week.

Well, it kind of worked.

He did lay a beating on Brandon Cutler and that did bring Adam Cole – Bay Bay – down to the ring, but like all wrestlers, Jungle Boy has had his common sense gland removed, and instead of watching his six he was so focused on Cole that he didn’t see the Young Bucks sneak up behind him and drop him with a Super Kilq Super Kick. From there it was always going to end badly for the Jurassic Express member as The Elite dragged him to the top of the stage and threw his ass off, through a table. This means that they’re two for two in dispatching Jurassic Express members. If I was Marko Stunt, I’d be worried right about now.

Winner: Jungle Boy

Malakai Black vs. Cody Rhodes III

Hmmm…I…er…hmmm…

Well, at least Malakai Black’s entrance was fantastic, wasn’t it?

I’m sorry, I know this is going to annoy about 90% of you who read this, but this felt like such an anti-climax to the trilogy that I’m not even sure that I enjoyed it. The bits that were good – such as the end stretch that saw Cody pick up the win – were really good, but a vast majority of the match seemed over-booked and messy. And my god, the fans in attendance really didn’t help matters.

When did it become cool to boo Cody Rhodes? Did I miss a meeting?

From the moment his music hit to the last seconds when AEW Dynamite went off the air, Cody was abused and jeered at every step. Why? Is it because he took himself out of the AEW title picture when he promised that if he lost Chirs Jericho, he’d never challenge for it again? Or perhaps it’s because he gave the world the TNT Title, which has allowed the likes of Miro and Sammy Guevara the chance to stand out from the pack? Could it be because he put on a series of five-star matches and storytelling with MJF that helped cement the latter as the best heel in the business today? Or is it because he helped bring AEW to life and gave the wrestling world a place to escape Vince McMahon’s Land of the Giants?

Why in the blue hell are you hating on this man, when you should all be on your knees kissing his arse for giving you a proper wrestling alternative? You see, this kind of s*it is why we can’t have nice things.

As for the third match between the two, it was okay, I suppose, but with the likes of Lee Johnson and Brock Anderson heading down to the ring, then Andrade and PAC showing up, things got pretty complicated pretty quickly. Both men bled and Arn Anderson took a face full of green mist – after hitting a massive Spinebuster on Andrade’s assistant Jose Garcia – which was great and all, but the match just seemed to be missing a spark.

And that could very well be down to the fact that Cody Rhodes seems to have had enough of those AEW fans who have taken to jeering him lately, and I don’t blame him one little bit.

Winner: Cody Rhodes

Neil’s Final Thoughts

Outside of the damp squib that was Malakai Black vs. Cody Rhodes III, this week’s AEW Dynamite did what it always does and entertained the hell out of me. Would I have been happier if Penelope Ford had advanced in the women’s tournament, Lance Archer hadn’t nearly killed himself, and Cody Rhodes had been shown the respect that he deserves? Of course, I would’ve, but there was more than enough on offer – in and out of the ring – to keep this old, jaded bastard glued to his screen.

AEW is the best wrestling promotion in the world at the moment – no matter what the hardcore WWE fans will have you believe – and they care more about putting on a good show than they do about pleasing stockholders and taking blood money from brutal regime’s. Yesterday I said that AEW was the punk rock injection that wrestling needs, but it’s more than that. AEW has something that the WWE doesn’t, and that’s a soul. Sure, it might be a soul that is bloodied and bruised due to the outrageous moves it pulls off, but it’s a soul nonetheless and it is beautiful.

It’s just a shame that some of the fan-base doesn’t seem to possess one.

Written by Neil Gray

SPOBS very own Mouth Of The South (West)

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