Excalibur is off this week so he has been replaced by Taz.
MALAKAI BLACK vs. DUSTIN RHODES- 6.75/10
Black pulled Cody’s boot out from under the ring to taunt Dustin with it in an attempt to make Dustin angry. The problem with this is that the idea as set up last week was that getting Dustin angry would cause him to make a mistake, but when Black went to get the boot out here, he was already firmly in control. Dustin got sent into an exposed turnbuckle, then hit with Black’s finisher for the win. He was spitting up blood afterwards.
LUCHA BROS. VIDEO PACKAGE/PROMO- good, but at the same time, this promo really drove home to me how much AEW missed the boat by not building Lucha Bros. journey up before putting the belts on them.
EDDIE KINGSTON AND MIRO VIDEO PACKAGE/PROMOS- good
As you would imagine based on the PPV finish, this feud is not over.
CM PUNK’S PROMO IS INTERRUPTED BY TAZ- great, but…
This was a great segment and I like the idea of Punk facing either Starks or Hobbs, but AEW should be careful with framing a segment as the fans having a choice and then essentially taking that choice away.
Once again, Jim Ross called Hobbs “Willie.” Not being able to get the man’s name right would be bad even if there weren’t racial implications involved.
SANTANA & ORTIZ PROMO- meh
They shouted about how they were the best, but they haven’t ever delivered to that level and they never really turned babyface (they got turned on, but there has been no mea culpa from them or anyone else in the Inner Circle) so they come across as unlikable braggarts to me.
TONY SCHIAVONE’S INTERVIEW WITH RUBY SOHO IS INTERRUPTED BY DR. BRITT BAKER & HER ENTOURAGE- This was fine build for tonight’s Soho vs. Hayter match and the eventual Soho vs. Baker title match.
DANTE MARTIN vs. WILL HOBBS (w/Hook)- 5.75/10
This was good for the time it got. Given their positions on the card, this was a fine amount of time for Hobbs to beat Martin in.
DAN LAMBERT PROMO- good heel stuff, but I have to ask why AEW keeps giving this guy promo time when he’s not even an employee, and all he does is bury the company, the owner, and the fans.
MATT HARDY AND ORANGE CASSIDY PROMO- bad
Matt yelled about how he wants to shave OC’s head so OC can’t run his fingers through his hair. Orange Cassidy responded to this by saying “whatever” in a bored tone. So did I, and that’s not the response you want a viewer to have.
Don’t get me wrong: I appreciate that this is a non-standard set-up for match that serves to accentuate what they want to accentuate about both characters (OC doesn’t care and Matt is egotistical and a little deranged), but this is like an ingenious engineering breakthrough on a machine whose only purpose is to be pointed at the sky and burn holes in the ozone layer. There is some impressive creativity on display, but you’re choosing to apply it to a very counterproductive end-goal.
MJF PROMO AND SEGMENT WITH VARIOUS PILLMANS- bad
MJF comes out and randomly just gets a bunch of cheap heat instead of doing what you would expect and complaining that he had Jericho beaten and the office screwed him out of the match by having a second referee come out and overturn the call, which never happens any other time.
And, of course, the one person in the crowd he starts to pick on just happens to be Brian Pillman’s daughter. Of course. Eventually Brian Pillman Jr. comes out onto the stage. I’d have thought he would have been out quicker, seeing as how MJF has been insulting first his home town and then his sister for several minutes now. He starts recycling failed Jericho lines, saying that the J in MJF stands for jerkoff.
MJF started to say mean things about Melanie Pillman. Pillman wanted to get at MJF but Wardlow stepped between them. MJF, who is usually quite smart, decided that the best time to be an ass to Wardlow about failed interference would be in the middle of this confrontation that is about to turn violent, so he insulted him and ordered him to stand down. Pillman kicked MJF’s ass, and Wardlow let it happen for a while before intervening. Eventually Griff Garrison came out and got taken out, too. MJF was going to hit Garrison with the ring again but Pillman ran in to protect his partner with his body. I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy the ring as something dangerous in the way they are portraying it. Do I think it can draw blood? Absolutely. But I just don’t buy that it has the knockout power that everyone sells it like it has, and thus this felt overdramatic. The mean heels decide to leave rather than beat Pillman up two on one. Combine all of that with the fact that MJF’s insulting of Wardlow feels like it was dictated by the plot rather than anything natural (as I said above, MJF is usually so much smarter than that), and you have a segment that feels completely scripted to me.
RUBY SOHO vs. JAMIE HAYTER (w/Dr. Britt Baker, DMD & Rebel)- 4.5/10
This was rough at times, but more problematic to me than a screwed-up spot or two was booking the match at all. You bring in Jamie Hayter to be Dr. Baker’s muscle… and she’s already lost more matches than she has won? Really, Tony (or Kenny or Brandi or whoever is supposedly booking the women’s division)?
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- You guessed it: Another post-match attack! At this point, any babyface who wins a match on Dynamite and doesn’t immediately leave the ringside area is an idiot.
Riho made her big return to Dynamite trying to make the save but got laid out. The “powerhouse” Jamie Hayter looked like she almost dropped tiny little Riho. Kris Statlander came out with a chair and chased the heels away.
RICKY STARKS VS. BRIAN CAGE VIDEO PACKAGE/PROMOS- fine
ALEX MARVEZ INTERIVEWS THE DARK ORDER- dumb
They’re arguing. I’m not even sure about what anymore. Supposedly this dispute started due to a debate about the interpretation of Adam Page’s instructions to not get involved in a match, but I don’t think any of them have ever outright said that, and if they did, it wasn’t more than once. At the moment, they seem to be arguing just to argue.
Anna Jay and Tay Conti showed up and Anna Jay ordered them to solve their problems because “we’re a family.” That’s a funny statement to hear coming out of the mouth of someone who has been back on TV for weeks and hasn’t been shown hanging out with them in any backstage segments. Hell, Conti has been around for months and was never backstage with them at any point until now. It makes the whole “we’re a family” thing feel hollow because she only seems to be a part of it when the script needs her to give a speech about it.
THE DARK ORDER (John Silver, Evil Uno, & Stu Grayson) (w/the Dark Order) vs. THE PINNACLE (Shawn Spears & FTR) (w/Tully Blanchard & Wardlow)- 4/10
For those of you wondering, the members of the Dark Order at ringside did not include Anna Jay, who just gave them this big speech about being a family.
Jim Ross says that the Dark Order’s problem is that they don’t have a clear-cut leader. He’s not wrong, but it makes me wonder why Uno isn’t the leader. He was the one clearly shown to be Brodie Lee’s number two.
The Dork Order had trouble working together and los because they bonked into each other. They had a brawl after the match. Cabana tried to make peace. The women came out onto the ramp to look on with concern and mild disapproval.
CASINO BATTLE ROYALE VIDEO PACKAGE AND SHORT FOLLOW-UP PROMOS- GREAT!
This was a genius idea. It was a quick way to put some focus on where each of these women are going coming out of the battle royale.
TULLY BLANCHARD PROMO- This was good, but I felt like the things he was saying came out of nowhere. Why on Earth would Tully care if Sting is mooching off of Darby? And who could possibly want to see a Sting vs. Tully Blanchard match in 2021?
ALEX MARVEZ’S INTERVIEW WITH THE VARSITY BLONDS IS INTERRUPTED BY THE ACCLAIMED- atrocious.
The “you embarrassed me in front of my friends and family!” thing always felt kind of silly to me, but even more so in 2021. You’re a professional combat athlete on an internationally-televised show. You’re going to wind up getting embarrassed every so often, and one hopes that your friends and family are watching the show every week.
Anyway, Pillman went to Tony Khan to get himself booked against MJF, and the match for this angle about a Cincinnati native getting embarrassed in Cincinnati will take place in… New York.
The Acclaimed interrupted and were mean. Max Caster said that he, too, had “politicked” to Tony Khan (which had me laughing out loud because of how blatant he was being) and said that he got himself booked against Pillman on Rampage this week. They exchanged barbs, and gestures, most of which would have been laughed out of a high school play.
TONY SCHIAVONE INTERVIEWS THE ELITE- fine
Why does Tony even agree to do these interviews? He has to know that he’s going to be abused, doesn’t he?
In this case, Adam Cole threatened to beat him up if he looked at Britt Baker wrong. Cole said he’ll prove how great he is when he debuts this week.
Kenny Omega gets to talk and essentially sets himself up to be interrupted by Bryan Danielson. Kenny sends the others out of the ring and invites Dragon in. Kenny starts to be a goof, so Bryan saves us all from his bullsh*t by snatching the mic away. He tried to goad a match out of Kenny. Kenny took a swing at him but Bryan avoided it and went for the crossface but the Elite ran in and attacked him. Jurassic Express, Kazarian, and Christian came out to make the save. Luchasaurus threw Marko Stunt at the Young Bucks. That was a win-win for me, because either the Bucks get hit or Marko smashes into the floor. Jungle Boy dove onto Gallows & Anderson. Kaz stopped Cole from getting into the ring, so I guess we’ll be getting Kaz vs. Cole next week. Dustin Cutler got caught in the ring, so Bryan hit him with a Busaiku knee.
JON MOXLEY vs. MINORU SUZUKI- 6.25/10
Dumbass Suzuki had his sleeper locked in for about all of six seconds before giving it up to try got the Gotch-style Piledriver. Suzuki bled a lot. The match was highly disappointing, in large part because it didn’t get anywhere near enough time.
After the match, Moxley let the ring and headed into the crowd. I’m not sure if this was to celebrate with his hometown crowd or because he’s just genre-savvy. Maybe both.
Tony insisted that Moxley hasn’t forgotten being robbed of the AEW World Title by Omega and Pals, but for someone who hasn’t forgotten something so important, he never seems to make any effort to get it back, so I think it’s quite possible that he has, in fact, forgotten. Or he doesn’t care. One of those two. Neither are good.
This was a pretty meh episode of AEW. It definitely felt big, though, so they seem to have learned from their lesson of putting on a week show the week after Punk’s debut.
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