This week on AEW Dynamite there was much anticipation around Cody’s challenger for the TNT title, as Tony Khan had promised a big independent star would be appearing. There would also be the fallout from Brian Cage’s loss to Jon Moxley last week.
What went down? Let’s head to the ring and find out!
No DQ: TNT Champion Cody vs. Eddie Kingston
We went straight to the ring this week, as Cody and Arn were already there, awaiting Cody’s opponent. It was a big surprise this week, as said opponent turned out to be Eddie Kingston!
Eddie is one of the best talkers in the business at the moment (check his promo to Pope about Homicide on NWA Powerrr) and his pre-match promo on Cody was jaw-dropping. He called Cody out for always talking about how he had to grind his way to success, but in actuality he was cushioned by hanging around with old timers, whereas Eddie grew up around thieves and junkies and really had to grind his way. Also, Eddie telling Arn that he would gouge his eye out was pure heat.
Eddie put it out there that it should be no DQ and Cody agreed to this. This was very much a striking battle, with Eddie in particular landing some intense shots to Cody’s torso. After a fall to ringside, Eddie seemed to have hurt his knee, but still he kept coming. He gave Cody some hard lashes with Cody’s own weightlifting belt, before removing a protective mat and preparing to slam Cody onto the concrete. Cody was lucky to counter with a backdrop, leaving Kingston writhing in pain on the floor.
Later in the match, Eddie reached out a bag of thumbtacks and power bombed Cody onto them, ripping the skin on Cody’s back. Somehow, though, this wasn’t enough to finish Cody, who retaliated with a hard clothesline, before setting up for the figure four. Eddie slapped his way out of it, only for Cody to lose his temper and crack Eddie with a barrage of slaps of his own, before finally locking on the figure four and wrenching Eddie’s hurt knee for the submission victory.
If Eddie is now All Elite, then I’ll feel a little sorry for the NWA, who really need the talent now, but super happy for Eddie, who deserves the opportunity. If this was just a one-shot deal, well, Eddie made a hell of an impact and got a lot more eyes on him.
A great opening to the show.
MJF (with Wardlow) vs. Griff Garrison
This was more of a heat-seeking segment for MJF than a match, but hell was it entertaining! MJF got in the mic before the match and insulted his opponent, pretending to mistake him for Jungle Boy and saying that Garrison didn’t look like he could even graduate finger painting. Garrison made the very reasonable point that MJF says he is undefeated but didn’t he lose in a tag match at Fyter Fest?
MJF’s response? He cracked Garrison in the head with the microphone!
MJF beat up on Garrison for a little while, before grabbing the mic again and demanding Garrison say MJF is undefeated, stamping on Griff’s hand every time he refused. Eventually Griff did pronounce MJF to be undefeated, before smacking the mic into Maxwell’s kisser and going for a roll-up. This only got MJF’s blood up more and a ‘Heatseeker’ piledriver sealed the deal.
Britt Baker a.k.a. Michael Jordan
Tony Schivone gets backstage for a quick word with Britt Baker, who is recovering from her septoplasty. Baker is not in the best of moods, but says she is primed for the biggest comeback of all time, not unlike Tiger Woods in the 2019 masters, or Rocky in Rocky 4, or Michael Jordan when he played for the Washington Wizards.
Tony unwisely interrupts and says the wizards never even made the NBA playoffs, which provokes Baker into asking him why he’s being such an asshole!
It sounds, though, like she’s aiming to be back in the ring soon. “I am Michael Jordan”, she ends with, “do not count me out. Particularly at All Out.”
Starks and Cage Have an FTW Mindset
Earlier in the evening, we got a Jon Moxley promo from backstage where he gave Taz credit for throwing the towel in, because it saved his client’s bicep from being popped. Next time though, said Mox, he wouldn’t be letting le.
Later, Taz and Brian Cage hit the ring. Cage did not look happy. Taz explained that he threw in the towel as a business decision to save Cage’s arm, because he knows Cage will never tap to any man. It’s all about having an FTW mindset, and Cage has it.
At this point, Darby Allin came to the ring, only for Ricky Starks to smash him in the head from behind! The previous night on Dark, Starks had assisted Cage then and he was again. I like this move of putting Starks and Cage together under Taz. They have two different styles, but I can see them being able to work together well, with Starks being a cool henchman, and both men getting the rub from Taz.
Cage set about Allin with a fury, power bombing him onto the ramp, then over the top rope into the ring. Moxley arrived with a barbed wire baseball bat, and I like that Taz and Starks had to pull Cage away. I’m liking the direction this is going in, and Mox vs. Cage is far from over.
Falls Count Anywhere: The Young Bucks vs. The Butcher and The Blade
This wasn’t a bad match, but it did feel like something was missing. The problem might just be with me: I always feel like matches like these should have some real heat and intensity to them – think Public Enemy vs. The Gangstas in ECW. This match had some entertaining spots, absolutely, but it was a pretty heatless affair, and that let it down a little bit for me.
The match started with The Bucks leading the ref around backstage in search of Butcher and Blade. They found them in the kitchen, butchering meat – obviously – and the match was on. From the kitchen, where the Bucks became intimately involved with a kitchen table, to the concourse, where the Blade was super kicked onto an escalator and carried away to another floor, the action spilled to ringside, where the Blade hit his targets with some hard chair shots. Sadly, he came up short when he dived out of the ring, missing Nick Jackson and the table propped up against the barrier. Oh dear.
In the end, the Bucks were able to lay out the Butcher and Blade out on tables by the entrance way, and leapt off said entrance with an elbow drop and a senton to crash their opponents through the wood and take the 1-2-3.
All in all, not a bad match. I just missed the heat.
Ivelisse vs. Diamante
This was a short match to show case both women before the women’s ‘Deadly Draw’ tag tournament occurs this summer.
The match itself was a bit scrappy and all over the place, the best bit being near the end when both women started throwing potatoes at each other. Diamante took the win with a roll up.
Hangman Page vs. Five (Alan Angels)
Hangman Page has been a riot since his attitude change towards The Elite. Take here, for instance. The result of this match was never in doubt, but Hangman made it fun, pulling great faces of bemusement at Five’s speed and ability to kick out, and wiping the dirt off his boot in a cheeky moment after near taking Five’s head off his shoulders.
Indeed, having The Dark Order at ringside watching his every move did little to put him off his stroke, smashing Five with some killer forearms and finishing off with a power bomb.
At this, Brodie Lee came out and complimented Page, but noted that The Elite had left him all alone when he could have been in danger with The Dark Order watching him. Brodie offered to look after him but, in Page’s words, he wasn’t quite ready to “join a cult” yet.
Brodie made the nice touch of taking Colt Cabana away so he wouldn’t see what would happen next and realise he’s being brainwashed. The rest of the Order proceeded to give Page a pasting, until FTR arrived and saved the day, breaking their beer cooler over people’s heads. And only then did Kenny get to the ring to save his partner, to find him already saved by two men he has conflict with. FTR left as Page looked a little non-plussed by the appearance of his tag partner.
This one is going to get heated soon enough!
Jurassic Express vs. Chris Jericho and Jake Hager
Main event time, and The Inner Circle were in no mood to mess around.
For the majority of this solid little match up, Jericho and Hager were in control, first by working on Luchasaurus’ leg and then by keeping Jungle Boy beaten down. Marko Stunt attempted to interject himself but swatted away like a fly. This was the Inner Circle’s night.
Later, Jericho brought a baseball bat into the ring, only to get into a shouting match with ref Aubrey Edwards, who wasn’t having any of Jericho’s nonsense. And yet, it wasn’t the bat Aubrey needed to keep her eye on, or even Santana and Ortiz at ringside.
As things broke down at the end of the match, the masked wrestler Serpentico jumped the barrier and hit Jungle Boy, giving Jericho the pinfall victory. As the Inner Circle pounded down Jurassic Express, Serpentico took off his mask to reveal…Sammy Guevara!
Whether you feel Sammy has been brought back too soon or not (and commentary did not mention why he’d been away), he’s certainly back. Not for long, though, as Orange Cassidy and Best Friends hit the ring and cleared the Inner Circle out…
This was a patchy show, which, when successful, continued to progress some interesting stories, such as FTR coming between Page and Omega, and Ricky Starks and Brian Cage teaming up with Taz to stamp out Mox and Darby Allin. Eddie Kingston’s match with Cody was stellar. But the rest of the show seemed oddly directionless.
In a week where Impact! Has been trending after a successful Slammiversary, it would have been beneficial to AEW to have consolidated their position with an exciting episode of Dynamite. It was not to be, frustratingly, but the path is slowly being laid for an exciting Road to All Out.
Join me next week for more AEW action!