This episode of AEW Dynamite was broadcast from the Fifth Third Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio. Pretty much the two things heavily advertised here were Jon Moxley’s main event match with Minoru Suzuki and Brian Pillman Jr as both are hometown heroes (well Pillman is quickly becoming one here). Also, this event was the start of the fallout for their All Out PPV and the first time AEW had come to Cincinnati. So a unique crowd for them as a first time situation.
Malakai Black Vs. Dustin Rhodes
This is another in the Malakai vs the Nightmare Family series. Match seemed a little off at times where there was a pretty visible flub where it seemed that Dustin was about to go for a power slam, made the gesture, Malakai wasn’t ready and they did some other spot. Similarly, there was a spot where Dustin hit the turnbuckle towards the end and Malakai didn’t quite reach his head in executing the Black Mass kick but still hit him in the shoulder for the pin.
They tried to sell that the turnbuckle caused Dustin to bleed from the mouth which was the main reason he lost but it was hard to say what happened exactly. Some people on Reddit theorized that Malakai might’ve not wanted to smash Dustin in the face with his kick because of the guy’s age or possibly that he couldn’t reach Dustin. Either way, it was off and in some way diminished Malakai even though he’s certainly over with a good chunk of the crowd.
But as a follow up, they’ve already announced Malakai Black vs Cody Rhodes at their mega Arthur Ashe Stadium event coming up on September 22 in New York. Not sure if Cody will lose again but it feels early for the match as well as Malakai getting his first loss this early in his run.
Lucha Bros Video Package
A nice package summarizing the Lucha Bros’ victory over the bucks as well as having them being ready for future challengers which haven’t yet been determined.
Eddie Kingston/Miro Video Package
Another video package of both guys. It’s pretty much a lock for a new match between the two at the mega Arthur Ashe Stadium event since Miro low blowed Miro. Not entirely surprising and there’s a lot of speculation that Miro will drop the belt there because it’s Eddie’s hometown. Again, Miro references his wife so not sure if Lana/CJ Perry will actually make a debut at all. But since that didn’t happen at All Out, there is a slight possibility she might there just for the surprise factor that Tony Khan likes to pull. Also, that’s the only manner in which Miro would be able to lose such a match on Kingston’s home turf.
CM Punk Speaks
Pretty much CM Punk is becoming the face of AEW and a spokesperson. He summarizes some of the major occurrences from the PPV, including putting over Darby Allin, the appearance of Ruby Soho, Adam Cole and Bryan Danielson. Also, mentions Linda (Pillman’s aunt), who is in the crowd in front, and puts her over. Taz is the one to interrupt Punk, which pisses Punk off, but they start teasing a Team Taz vs CM Punk feud. The big match suggested was Powerhouse Hobbs vs CM Punk with both Hobbs and Hook coming out (since they had a match after the promo). The announcers are particularly juiced up about Hobbs vs CM Punk (although Ricky Starks might be a bigger match) since CM Punk had been talking about facing Hobbs. Hobbs looked super motivated and it’s definitely a match that has potential to showcase Hobbs and hopefully teach the guy while giving him some good rub.
Santana and Ortiz Video Package
Basically, with FTR out of the way, Santana/Ortiz are now looking towards the titles. I was hoping that FTR would be the ones to get the shot but logically speaking these two are probably next in line.
Ruby Soho Backstage Interview
First time for Ruby speaking with Tony Schiavone. It doesn’t take long before she’s interrupted by Britt Baker, Rebel and Jamie Hayter. Some words are exchanged between the two, including a bit of history where Ruby says that she helped Britt break into the business. They teased Ruby’s upcoming match later on against Jamie Hayter. Ruby is over though.
Powerhouse Hobbs Vs. Dante Martin
Strange match up that was advertising how Dante was on a winning streak. But pretty much big man vs fast smaller guy type match. There were a few off moments but the finish seemed as though Dante legit kicked Hobbs in a manner that made him a little loopy but managed to finish Dante off with a big spine buster. Dante is still green but getting better. However, I think he gets too excited and mistimes everything rather than slowing the pace down to execute his spots. I like both guys but they need veterans guiding them through matches still especially the structure.
Dan Lambert Promo
He’s in the sky box again with The Men of the Year Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky. Basically, a typical Lambert (i.e. Cornette) interview where he puts down the Millenials and “modern” wrestling fans. Still entertaining to listen to but it’s hard to get behind Page/Sky after they lost to Sting/Darby Allin in that feud. Dan’s words just didn’t fit with them, especially Page since Page jobbed against Darby and never really mentioned their feud again.
Matt Hardy/Orange Cassidy Video Package
Matt Hardy continuing his feud with Orange in wanting to shave Orange’s hair off. Why? Orange actually speaks and says “whatever.” I’m guessing there’s going to be a hair vs hair match in the future so that we finally get to see bald Matt Hardy. Whatever.
MJF (w/ Wardlow) Promo
Basically, an incredible old school heel promo from MJF. Talks about Jericho and mostly how MJF was screwed over by biased officials. He destroys the audience and spots Linda (Pillman’s aunt) in the audience before berating her too. Pillman’s sister is there and he mouths off eventually leading to Brian Pillman Jr coming out for a counter attack. They come to near blows with Wardlow being Bob Orton Jr to MJF’s Piper. But there’s a tiny hint of dissension from MJF when he hints that Wardlow wasn’t doing his job at the PPV and orders the big man into the corner.
When they start fighting, there’s a small moment of hesitation from Wardlow, who eventually comes to defend MJF. But Pillman backs Wardlow up into the other corner, goes under his legs and attacks MJF again. Wardlow follows through as both MJF and Wardlow double team Pillman. Griff comes out to try and save Pillman but Wardlow clocks him cold. Pillman defends his partner as MJF signals to Wardlow that he had enough.
The segment was executed a bit odd especially when Pillman came out. But the positive here was no more MJF vs Jericho and the fracture in the Pinnacle, at least with Wardlow and MJF. More than likely, MJF will just go solo now that his feud with Jericho is over while Tully ends up controlling the rest of the Pinnacle as they try to groom Wardlow and/or Spears for the future. Pillman did pretty good on the mic and had the home crowd backing him up.
Ruby Soho vs. Jamie Hayter
I was looking forward to this match. They tried to justify Ruby wanting to fight Jamie despite winning the battle royale in the previous interview. But I think this was interesting because it was a fresh match for Ruby, who was pretty over, and Jamie who is inexperienced. Jamie is being portrayed as another power wrestler similar to Kris Statlander. I really like Jamie’s entrance theme and how she comes out. This match was a little awkward at times such as when Ruby had Jamie on her shoulders. Ruby got the win with her kick. Some people on reddit and other spots believe Ruby needs a new finisher. But we’ll see.
Post-match had Ruby attempting to hug the referee again which allowed Britt Baker and Rebel to assault her from the back. Britt started to get heat finally. Riho was the first to make an attempt at the save but got beat up. They were going to curb stomp Ruby on the belt but Kris Statlander came out with a chair to clear the ring. Ruby, Riho and Kris posed in the ring with Ruby raising Kris’ hand. An odd mixture of talent but this is the first group of people that Ruby gets to team with at this point in time. Also, finally Britt is becoming the heel they want her to be because she finally has an opponent that people like. Imagine that!
FTR / Shawn Spears Vs. Dark Order (Uno, Silver, Grayson)
Match was added without any prior announcements. It was bad mostly because the Job World Order are playing out their internal drama and trying to make people care, which means the matches are sucking as a result of a bad storyline. Thankfully, FTR and Shawn Spears took the victory with Shawn beating John Silver with the Death Valley Driver. Wardlow and Tully were on the outside so I imagine that this will be the version of the Pinnacle that survives as MJF slowly separates from them, which is great because he’s better as a solo wrestler.
The Job World Order then fought with Anna Jay and Tay Conti coming out and showing concern. Alex Reynolds supposedly is off camera because he’s legitimately having a child. But the only good that can come out of this is the Job World Order splitting up so a few of the more talented people can either become tag teams or solo wrestlers and get their identities back. People think Hangman Adam Page will be the one to reunite them once he returns or that Bray Wyatt will be the one to lead them if he signs with AEW. I just don’t care because without Brodie Lee, this group just sucks the life out of segments and the talented people really need to get away.
Tully Blanchard Backstage Interview
Tony Schiavone interviews Tully and despite being a heel, he treats Tony with respect because there’s no interruptions and he gets to say what he wants, which is a 1-1 vs Sting. I don’t think that’ll be a great match but here’s a thought that came to mind: can this be Ric Flair’s moment of arrival? I personally don’t want to see another Sting vs Flair match ever but if Flair does debut, then I can see at least one night for a Horsemen reunion.
Also, Tully mentioned for Darby Allin vs Shawn Spears for next week. If Pillman is going after MJF, I’m wondering if we’ll see Darby Allin eventually teaming with Pillman in the case that the Pinnacle start interfering in those matches. Because I don’t think Shawn Spears will beat Darby at this stage. But MJF might get a nice feud down the line against Darby.
Sammy Guevara also got thrown in with cue cards to show something that I didn’t care about. At this point, they’re just putting too many people up and trying to squeeze way too much in.
The Varsity Blonds Backstage Interview
Alex Marvez tries to interview Pillman while Griff is being iced up by the doctor. Pillman talks about going to Tony Khan to challenge MJF. Pillman gets interrupted by The Acclaimed where Max Castor hands him a bouquet of roses. In the meantime, Caster, in continuing their Dark feud, has a match against Pillman on Friday’s Rampage. Not sure where The Acclaimed fits in with the Pinnacle or MJF, but a pretty weird situation. I’m guessing they’re about to tie a bow up on The Acclaimed silly feud with the Blonds.
The Elite Interview
Schiavone gets only a few words in before Callis strips him of the mic. Schiavone dumbly stands around until they introduce Adam Cole. Cole is pretty over with the crowd because he’s the latest shiny toy that Tony Khan bought. However, to get his heat back, he bullies Schiavone about his relationship with Britt Baker and kicks him (not literally) out of the ring with “nerd!” I’m wondering if this will allow Schiavone to avoid the whole DMD thing with Britt so that she can keep her heat while feuding with Ruby.
Cole mentions he will have a match to prove himself next week on Dynamite. It turns out he’ll be facing Frankie Kazarian. In all honesty, that should be a very good match since Kazarian can go. So I am looking forward to that.
Kenny gets back the mic and talks about hating being interrupted. Not ironically, this brings out Bryan Danielson. Omega requests for the rest of the Elite to stand outside the ring while he confronts Bryan. Bryan swipes the mic from Kenny and actually sounds like a hot wrestler, super star and tells Kenny off. He’s not fancy but his delivery is what’s convincing here. The crowd are solidly behind Bryan as Omega takes off his jacket to fight Bryan. Bryan takes Omega down into a headlock submission which brings out the rest of the Elite again. The Jurassic Express with Christian Cage and Frankie Kazarian make the save.
One critical thing of note is that Tony Schiavone (who managed to return to the announcing booth) pointed out that Jungle Boy went directly after Adam Cole. In the post-PPV media scrum, Adam Cole did mention he wanted to face Jungle Boy. So I’m guessing that most likely at the mega Arthur Ashe stadium event, we’ll be seeing that match, which should turn out to be a banger. Also, most suspect that Kenny Omega will face Bryan Danielson there. Since it’s such a huge place, I’m going to state that it will be for the AEW World Title and Bryan will win it there.
The one issue was Cutler more than anything. Marko Stunt was a prop but Cutler was again bad comedy. They used him so that Bryan could deliver his knee. But Cutler is awful because the entire time during the beat down of Bryan, he’s spraying him with those cans of air. How is that supposed to hurt? Kenny just sounded mediocre on the mic. He doesn’t sound like a super star and Bryan just outclassed him with the raw deliver and conviction in his words. Then after kicking Cutler out of the ring like some piece of garbage that didn’t belong (which he didn’t), Bryan stood on the turnbuckle with a serious face.
That is the sheer difference in mentality of what Bryan and other people like CM Punk, Ruby, etc. bring to the table vs the indy outlaw mudshow goofs do in AEW. They look and sound like super stars because the person they’re presenting is themselves, not some goof ball they’re pretending to be, and turn the volume up 100% with their real voice. You can see the massive difference when they show up and speak and how the audience treats them.
Jon Moxley Vs. Minoru Suzuki
This match wasn’t good. It pretty much was just a dumb back and forth between both guys. I read somewhere one of the wrestlers talking about how NJPW has all these older guys in their late 40s and early 50s who can go still. So the whole “forbidden door” concept with NJPW is having them send their aging stars that were big names 10-20 years ago.
Suzuki was far bigger in the mid to late 90s imo because of what he did in Pancrase. At this point, he looks small, old and washed up with a sagging body. And it’s a real shame because when you see his work in Pancrase, the guy was pretty damn awesome as a “legit” wrestler.
But right now with the pandemic, most of the Japanese promotions can’t draw crowds. So NJPW and Moxley/AEW are using the nostalgia card in bringing over NJPW’s big talent from the late 90s and early 2000s. In a few cases like Kojima, he can still go. But these other people aren’t very good, they look washed up and are lucky that AEW’s smart fan base know of them.
I’m guessing that the big match they’re leading towards is Tanahashi vs Moxley for that IWGP US Title. Supposedly, Lance Archer agreed with Tanahashi, after losing, to receive the first shot before Moxley. But I’m guessing for that loaded Arthur Ashe Stadium event, they might try to bring out Tanahashi to face Moxley for the title. I mean, let’s say Kingston vs Miro ends up with Miro beating him twice with the help of Miro’s wife CJ Perry, that stadium will still want to see a major title change. So Tanahashi might be super over with that crowd and help give Moxley that big pop for a title win. Then Tanahashi can get to feel a very large crowd, get the exposure while Moxley picks up the win and the feel good moment on US turf.
5 Matches. This was far less than their average Dynamite. Too much crammed in with too many talking segments. In a few cases like MJF, Adam Cole, CM Punk, Ruby Soho and Bryan Danielson, I can understand. But it was too busy and not well paced. Also, it’s very telling that the show was too crammed because of Sammy Guevara’s odd segment.
The Job World Order match didn’t belong there but I was happy to see FTR involved in a match where their team won. I am very excited to see MJF get away from Chris Jericho and thankfully we did not have to hear from Jericho here. Santana/Ortiz package could have been cut as well as the backstage segment with the Blonds vs The Acclaimed.
Sure, this show was the start to lead towards both the mega Arthur Ashe Stadium event and Full Gear, but they need a better format. I won’t stop complaining week after week especially if they fail to get at minimum 6 matches per Dynamite. I think Hobbs vs Dante lasted too long and could’ve been cut for two matches. Same with Cody vs Malakai. Neither match needed to extend beyond a commercial break for what they were trying to achieve considering there were some major botches in both.
Overall, they really need to look at the pacing of their shows and figure out how to optimize their matches and especially the number of in ring promos and backstage segments. I vote that anything Marvez is involved in gets cut to Dark because those segments are by far the most frustrating. Eliminate more video packages and use the spare time for a short match. And work on the in ring promos to cut down the segment because they last too long and pretty much are a wannabe match that doesn’t look good.
On that note, I had been watching a ton of Piper’s Pits lately. The most significant thing I noticed is that the vast bulk of them never went over 2 minutes. But the good thing is that Piper’s Pit was considered THE interview segment to watch where most angles were shot. They need to use that as a model for doing these in ring interviews because these guys take too long with their extraneous ring entrances, etc. that can be completely reduced so that you can get 1-3 more matches on per show, which would allow more of their key people to be shown rather than having long gaps that might cause the audience to forget what was going on each week. Also, those picture-in-picture advertisements just kill the show for me; they’re way too long and don’t do a thing. I end up fast forwarding through them all.
At any rate, the big thing coming up is that Arthur Ashe Stadium event. If they don’t treat that like a PPV, then AEW is really stupid. That’s a 20k person place and they need to cut out all their stupid in ring promo segments, the video packages and everything backstage (especially Marvez related) so that they can maximize how many matches can go on. I would be very upset if the show ends up being 5 matches with 10 talking segments (which includes video packages, backstage interviews, skits, and in ring promos). It doesn’t matter if there are feel good moments with title changes. If there’s no matches then these people are really dumb at booking and have no concept of using their time wisely. I mean their PPV last almost 4 hours because certain people needed those long matches. And even with their card, I feel, they would’ve ended up cutting or going longer if Pac vs Andrade happened. So at the end of the day, especially with the picture-in-picture advertisement crap, AEW needs to step up their TV formatting to make that Arthur Ashe Stadium event look more like a PPV or a Clash of Champions type of event. Anything less will just make them look second rate and amateur given the roster that they now have.