The simple pleasures of a fun two hour wrestling show! I thoroughly enjoyed tonight's episode of Dynamite. There was nothing tremendously groundbreaking, and I could’ve used some progress towards Forbidden Door, but it built next week pretty well, gave us some upcoming feuds and began the rebuilds of certain stars and feuds, even if there was nothing story-wise that would blow your socks off this week. We also saw the building blocks of a future star in Konosuke Takeshita while Don Callis reminded us just how good at crowd work he can be. To top it off there was also some really fun wrestling to be had, with a terrific tag team match and some otherwise good to great action. Although the final two matches were my least favourite, they didn't feel misplaced on the card by any means and did a good job at delivering exactly what they were intended to be, so I don’t penalise the show too heavily for its structure as a result. The crowd were electric, the promos strong, the action engaging and the announced matches for Rampage and Dynamite for the upcoming week exciting. It may not be a groundbreaking or monumental episode of AEW in the long term, but as a fan of good wrestling, this was an incredibly fun episode of weekly television. There was nothing I didn’t like!
This week’s episode of AEW Dynamite heralds the fallout from AEW’s Double Or Nothing, a solid but unremarkable outing for the company. Tonight’s hottest angle will see Konosuke Takeshita speak for the first time since siding with The Blackpool Combat Club in Sunday night’s main event. Speaking of the BCC, they’re in action against The Lucha Bros and Bandido in a match which has the potential to steal the show! We also have mixed tag action as Saraya and Chris Jericho battle Adam Cole and Britt Baker in a continuation of their feud. Elsewhere on the card, Swerve Strickland faces Big Bill and Trent Beretta in a triple threat contest, Darby Allin and Orange Cassidy take on The Gates Of Agony and Kris Statlander puts her newly won TBS Title on the line against Nyla Rose. With all this, plus the latest in a seemingly never ending line of Tony Khan announcements, it promises to be a fun night of action. Lets get right to it...
GREAT Blackpool Combat Club (Jon Moxley, Wheeler Yuta and Claudio Castagnoli) vs Lucha Bros and Bandido
Bryan Danielson joins commentary for our opening contest, which is always a plus to any match. Both teams seem really over with this crowd. Bandido is wearing some really fun throwback gear, apparently a reference to a legendary Mexican wrestler, which is a nice tribute. The match starts with a brawl, with a triple suicide dive from the faces teased but cut off. The BCC decimate the faces on the outside before the match officially gets underway. Bandido and Wheeler Yuta have some fun early sequences, with Yuta really getting across a new found confidence. Bandido at one stage holds up Yuta in a stalling suplex for a count of 50, which is genuinely astonishing. The action here is fast, furious, and very entertaining, but the pace is slowed with Bandido picking up too much pace and being punished for it. Bandido gets worked over through the picture in picture, leading to the Fenix hot tag. The Lucha Bros run wild, hitting some incredibly fun double team moves as expected, but are cut off by Castagnoli. They tell a good story through commentary here of the BCC being a more cohesive team, which plays well into the finish, with the BCC working impeccably as a unit to wear down a beaten Bandido, with Yuta getting the final 3 count with a seatbelt pin. A really fun opening match, with the closing story of the BCC’s efficiency a great one to tell. This faction is on fire right now, and it is great to see Wheeler Yuta really get a chance to shine again in these last few weeks, elevating his stock further. A really good way to start Dynamite.
Results: Wheeler Yuta by Pinfall via Seatbelt
David Sheldon WR Star Rating – 3.75 Stars
Alex Marvez interviews The Young Bucks and Adam Page. They put over the brutality of their Anarchy In The Arena match, but promise to come back stronger. They are interrupted by the Dark Order, who throw some passive aggressive love Hangman’s way, clearly irritated at him abandoning them for The Elite. Hangman abruptly ends the interview to follow them, clearly attempting to mend some fences. While this does feel like a neverending story between Hangman and the Dark Order, it is a good story and it does seem like their involvement with Page is their only ticket to TV time these days, so I’ll take what I can get. There is also perhaps a hint at something greater, with Page confirming Omega is ‘not in Canada’, perhaps hinting at a certain Kota Ibushi.
GOOD Bullet Club Gold Promo
Juice Robinson and Jay White come to the ring, as they get a good reaction from this San Diego crowd. Jay White is his usual charismatic self as he runs down Ricky Starks, before Juice Robinson calls out FTR to an amazing pop from the crowd. Jay White calls FTR slow and dumb, before they are interrupted by Dax and Cash. FTR are invited by Jay White to apologise and join Bullet Club Gold, but before FTR can respond, Juice Robinson hits Dax with a handful of coins and a brawl breaks out, ending with Bullet Club Gold laying out FTR with finishers. They are run off with a chair by Starks, who challenges White to a rematch next week. This was a pretty good promo, and I am incredibly excited for that tag match when it comes, but it doesn’t really make sense for Ricky to demand a rematch when he got himself intentionally disqualified in the last match between the two. Still I’m hoping for a longer match with a decisive finish, preferably with a win for Jay to build momentum to that inevitable BCG vs FTR tag title match
David Sheldon WR Star Rating – 3 Stars
Tony Khan announces CM Punk will be part of Collision, to an INSANE reaction from the crowd, a combination of insane boos and insane cheers. Love him or hate him, the man draws reactions like you’ve never heard before.
GREAT Swerve Strickland vs Big Bill vs Trent Beretta
This is a match continuing some loose threads from the Blackjack Battle Royale. It feels like a random pairing of guys but they did all interact in the battle royale, with Bill eliminating Trent and Swerve eliminating Bill. Swerve ducks from the ring quickly, leaving Bill and Trent to duke it out, but Trent flies through the ropes to catch Swerve unawares, leaving him at an angry Bill’s mercy. Bill shows his power to a surprisingly strong reaction from the crowd. This is a weird match from a crowd perspective, as the crowd are into everybody despite two of the three competitors being heels. Beretta does play the primary face role though, and gets some great offence against both Bill and Swerve. At one stage, Swerve and Trent hit a double superplex on Bill which was amazing. The work in this match generally is terrific, with all 3 men working so well together. The match ends when Swerve hits a nasty looking Swerve Stomp onto Bill on the apron, before rolling up Trent with a crucifix for the win. This was a really great three way, showcasing three really good talents who AEW should focus more on. I wish we could’ve gone even longer, as with another 5-7 minutes added on and a more decisive finish it could’ve placed the match into that next level territory, but as is it’s still a really good triple threat and an overachievement from what I was expecting.
David Sheldon WR Star Rating – 3.5 Stars
GOOD The Acclaimed Promo
The Acclaimed come to the stage for an interview, with Daddy Ass apologising for costing the team. Caster fires up the team and Bowens says the three men are coming for gold, specifying that Gunn deserves to get gold one more time for all he’s done. Really well delivered though very short babyface promo from all three guys highlighting their aims, and it appears their feud with House Of Black will continue. I am up for a proper build for a rematch, as I feel their Double Or Nothing match was undercooked by the lack of build, despite some terrific in-ring action.
David Sheldon WR Star Rating – 3.25 Stars
MUST WATCH Callis and Takeshita speak
Tony Schaivone calls out Callis and Takeshita to an amazingly hostile reaction from the crowd, booing the two men from the building before Callis can even speak. With every second the boos get louder and louder and louder. Callis blames Omega for everything, saying he may have lost a nephew, but he gained a son. Callis puts over Takeshita, and says he is better than a number of top Japanese stars, including Kazuchika Okada, but most importantly, better than Omega. Takeshita cuts a promo in Japanese, ending by saying he will destroy Kenny Omega. Callis ends by saying that Kenny destroyed his family, so he’s built a new one, and that Callis will cut The Elite from All Elite Wrestling. That was absolutely tremendous, with Don Callis cutting one of his best heel promos, and Takeshita really getting over. This will be the best thing to ever happen to Takeshita, and the man is money all day long. The crowd was absolutely electric, and I had the biggest grin on my face through the whole segment. Not a ton of answers or progression here, just masterful heel work.
David Sheldon WR Star Rating- 4.5 Stars
Wardlow challenges Luchasaurus to a TNT Title match in a pre filmed vignette, which should be a very fun hoss fight.
AMAZING Orange Cassidy and Darby Allin vs Gates Of Agony- Watch The Match HERE
Huge reactions for Cassidy and Allin here, who feel like megastars with this crowd. The Gates Of Agony attack the faces early, with their ties to Swerve explained as the reason for the matches existence after Cassidy last eliminated Swerve from the Blackjack Battle Royale. Darby and Cassidy are both working injured and heavily taped, and the Gates of Agony provide a great heel base to batter both men around, Darby in particular first in the ring and then on the outside. No boredom at all through the heel work-overs either, as Darby flops, flies and sells like a madman, and the heels move with incredible power and speed. Darby keeps fighting, and is eventually able to outsmart the heels for a hot tag to Cassidy, who begins to break down both guys with his hands in his pockets, using his intelligence to outwit the heels. The two teams go back and forth with amazing sequences, before Allin wins with the coffin drop. It is tag matches like these on random Dynamites that can provide some of life’s greatest pleasures, and that is more than true here, with the four men working beautifully together. Four guys who look better going out than they did going in, and a terrific traditional face vs heel tag match which the crowd were really into. A match which further highlights how good Darby Allin and Orange Cassidy are as top babyfaces for the company.
Result- Darby Allin by Pinfall via Coffin Drop
David Sheldon WR Star Rating – 4.25 Stars
Post match, Sting emerged to fend off a potential Embassy attack. Great to see Sting back on my screen as always!
We see a backstage promo from MJF taken after Double Or Nothing, in which he further berates his lack of competition and again repeats that no one is on his level. Another expertly delivered promo from a master of the microphone.
Hook comes to the ring to speak, but is cut off by Los Faction Ingobernable, who beat him down. He is saved by Jungle Boy, seemingly setting up a tag match. I smell a Jungle Boy heel turn coming.
Backstage promo by The Outcasts, with Toni Storm talking about why she deserves to hold the title, and plugs her title defences on House Rules this weekend. I could do without Toni Storm having exactly the same character as MJF, saying no one is on her level and that no one else is fit to carry her bags, but Toni is a good promo and all three women delivered, though the segment was fairly pointless.
GOOD Kris Statlander vs Nyla Rose- TBS Championship
This is Statlanders first Dynamite match in 9 months and is a rematch from Revolution 2020. This is exactly what you expect it to be, with the monstrous Rose providing a heel foil for the underdog Statlander. Taya Valkyrie is shown watching backstage, a sign she is not done with the TBS Title. Nyla works over Statlander for a period with some good offence, targeting Statlanders knee and shutting down comeback until she misses a splash, giving Statlander a chance to fight back. Match highlights include a Blue Thunder Bomb by Statlander and a series of cannonballs by Rose. The finish comes when Statlander gets Rose off her feet and hits the 450 splash for the win. This was a good match between the two, and it shows off Statlander to any new fans after time away, which is appreciated. I just wish we could’ve had longer to let it really cook, which seems to be a common theme on this show. Still, a very solid first defence for Statlander, and totally functional and well executed.
Result: Kris Statlander by Pinfall via 450 Splash
David Sheldon WR Star Rating – 3.25 Stars
GOOD Adam Cole and Britt Baker vs Saraya and Chris Jericho.
Jericho has an incredibly angry and punchable face tonight, which is always fun to see. Cole and Jericho kick us off with a wild fight of punches and slaps. Jericho takes advantage with a classic heel poke to the eyes, but it does little to phase Cole. Jericho tags out, giving us some fun wrestling between Saraya and Baker. As we go to picture in picture, Jericho sweeps Baker’s legs allowing Saraya to work over Britt. Saraya and Jericho heel it up to the crowd and are honestly pretty entertaining as irritating douchebags. A Jericho distraction brings out the Outcasts to attack Baker, but are fought off by Hikaru Shida. Jericho gets in Baker’s face but is slapped by Britt, leading to the Adam Cole hot tag. Cole and Jericho get a short sequence, but we quickly return to Britt and Saraya. Jericho tries to shield Saraya from a frog splash, but it is in vain as Baker hits it anyway. Huge ovation for Jericho as he puts Cole in the Walls Of Jericho, but Britt is able to get a lockjaw on Chris, though Saraya breaks it up. Jericho gets a nearfall from a Codebreaker, as it’s clear a singles match between the two would have been infinitely better than the mess of a match they had at Double Or Nothing. Jericho tries to hit Britt with a bat, but misses, and both Saraya and Jericho get double superkicks, before a Last Shot on Jericho finishes the job. After the match, Jericho has a silly looking temper tantrum . This was a big improvement over the Double Or Nothing match, and there was some simple and fun heel/face dynamics, but the mixed tag stipulation sometimes hindered it and the work was a little sloppy in places. Still though, revenge for Britt and Cole gives us a feel-good way to finish the show.
Result- Adam Cole by Pinfall via Last Shot
David Sheldon WR Star Rating – 3.25 Stars
The simple pleasures of a fun two hour wrestling show! I thoroughly enjoyed tonight’s episode of Dynamite. There was nothing tremendously groundbreaking, and I could’ve used some progress towards Forbidden Door, but it built next week pretty well and gave us some upcoming feuds and began the rebuilds of certain stars and feuds, even if there was nothing story-wise that would blow your socks off this week. We also saw the building blocks of a future star in Konosuke Takeshita while Don Callis reminded us just how good at crowd work he can be. To top it off there was also some really fun wrestling to be had, with a terrific tag team match and some otherwise good to great action. Although the final two matches were my least favourite, they didn’t feel misplaced on the card by any means and did a good job at delivering exactly what they were intended to be, so I don’t penalise the show too heavily for its structure as a result. The crowd were electric, the promos strong, the action engaging and the announced matches for Rampage and Dynamite for the upcoming week exciting. It may not be a groundbreaking or monumental episode of AEW in the long term, but as a fan of good wrestling, this was an incredibly fun episode of weekly television. There was nothing I didn’t like!
Matches: 0.75/1 Stars
Show Structure: 0.75/1 Stars
Atmosphere: 1/1 Stars
Storytelling: 0.5/1 Stars
Production/Theme: 0.75/1 Stars
Overall Rating. 3.75/5 Stars
Photo Credit: All Elite Wrestling – May 31st 2023
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