AEW: Dynamite this week was the last stop on the road to the All Out pay-per-view.
Despite getting preempted by the NBA, AEW didn’t lose any viewers the last few weeks. And they didn’t lose a step in their storytelling.
AEW took time to sell All Out like everything depends on it.
Chris Jericho and Orange Cassidy continued their feud. As did AEW Champion Jon Moxley and his challenger, MJF.
To put it more simply, this week’s AEW: Dynamite was a master class in how to sell a wrestling PPV.
NEAR MISS – Best Friends Vs. Santana & Ortiz
There’s nothing less than the honor of Trent’s mom’s van at stake here on AEW: Dynamite.
Best Friends jumped Santana and Ortiz at the entrance and before the bell. JR gives the referee credit for not starting the match when one team has an obvious advantage.
How about the fact that neither team is in the ring, Jim? Then, during what is obviously a grudge match, he starts talking about Santana and Ortiz needing a win to get back in the tag title hunt. Don’t you know there’s a woman’s van’s honor at stake here?!
This was awesome, madcap action. Plenty of plunder, and an abundance of crazy spots. And when both teams finally wander into the ring, the actual match is pretty solid, too. Chuck takes himself out early by crashing into his own chair pyramid. That leaves Trent to take on Santana and Ortiz solo.
And when Chuck does make it in, it’s more crazy spots. Including a back-first drop from the apron to the ring steps. Yeesh. The ref and Santana team up to botch the finish, as the referee counts to three. But Santana is late getting Ortiz’s hand on the ropes. So the ref says it was only two. Wrestling!
Street Sweeper wins it for Santana and Ortiz. I don’t get that finish, but as good as the match was that botch was pretty unforgivable.
HIT – Meanwhile-Mania
MJF is up next on AEW: Dynamite. In a backstage pretape, he starts rambling about Moxley. But Lee, his least favorite aide, reports that Mark Sterling, his lawyer – who has to wrestle Moxley – locks himself in his room.
Wardlow settles that by kicking own the door. MJF gives him a pep talk. And by pep talk, I mean he tells Sterling that Moxley isn’t scary at all compared to MJF murdering Sterling with a woodchipper if he doesn’t face Mox.
Okay, so funny MJF is funny. But intense, scary MJF? He does intense and scary uncomfortably well.
HIT – SCU & Private Party Vs. Young Bucks & Jurassic Express
Okay, so the stipulations for this AEW: Dynamite are weird. The winning four-man team has to wrestle each other at All Out.
I mean, that’s one way to pump up the card. But, like, why? Does the winner of that match get a title shot? Or a cash prize? The title to Trent’s mom’s van?
No posing from the Bucks. They’re clearly still annoyed with ‘Hangman’ Page after last week. Also, there’s a guy in the front row with a sign that says “Hangman, drink my beer!” Somebody wanna chip in to get this guy a newspaper subscription?
Matt sees sign guy, and it makes him snap. So Matt tears the sign up and dumps the beer on the guy’s head.
The Bucks are playing straight-up heels in this match refusing to tag in Jurassic Express. And much like Revolution, I’m not sure if we’re supposed to be on the Bucks’ side or not. Meanwhile, SCU embraces playing coaches for Private Party.
Anyway. You’ve got four teams that just don’t stop, so it’d be shocking if the match wasn’t good.
The Bucks score the win for their team with the BTE Trigger. After the match, the Bucks refuse to get their hands raised. See, here’s where I’m confused. I think the Bucks are just trying to play “angry and focused.” But they’re coming off like total pricks. Just like Revolution. Anyway, the match was awesome, and it furthered the Bucks’ general story on AEW: Dynamite.
HIT – Meanwhile-Mania II
Backstage at AEW: Dynamite, Jake Hager busts into Orange Cassidy’s dressing room. He tells Cassidy that Jericho wants him ringside for Le Champion’s match against Joey Janela tonight.
Later still, Tully Blanchard gives FTR a pep talk. Gotta say, those are some killer jackets.
Tully managing FTR fits like a glove. Speaking of the glove, whatever happened to Shawn Spears? Anyway.
AEW: Dynamite taking every opportunity to sell All Out. It’s almost like a pro wrestling show should do.
HIT – Kenny Omega Promo
Wait, Kenny Omega knows how to cut promos?
Tony Schiavone wastes no time asking Omega his thoughts on Hangman screwing over the Bucks last week on AEW: Dynamite. The short answer is that everybody makes mistakes.
FTR and Tully interrupt with a cooler. They offer to let bygones be bygones, and they want to toast to a great match at All Out with chocolate milk.
Omega’s audio gets cut out for an obvious swear, but the sound guys fall asleep on the button for an extra second. But Kenny isn’t having it and threatens to take on FTR and Tully by himself. This draws out Page, who looks like he hasn’t slept in about a year.
FTR insists that nobody made Page turn on the Bucks. They say Page got inside his own head. Page almost snaps, but Omega tries to talk him down. Harwood and Wheeler take the belts and drop them at Page’s feet.
Page stands there with both belts as Omega and FTR both abandon him in the ring.
This was pretty gripping stuff on AEW: Dynamite.
HIT – Chris Jericho (W/ Jake Hager) Vs. Joey Janela
As demanded, Orange Cassidy comes out to ringside for the match. Jericho sports Cassidy’s shirt for the contest on AEW: Dynamite.
Janela takes his beating like a champ, because the dude’s nothing if not a professional. I get that this is all about building Jericho vs. Cassidy. But it’d be nice to see Janela be something more than a jobber-to-the-stars.
The Bad Boy manages to muster a little bit of offense. But the match is a total Jericho squash, which is fine. Jericho knocks Janela out with the Codebreaker and picks up the win with the Walls of Jericho.
After the match, Jericho beats Janela down. He pulls the padding off the turnbuckle and rams Janela’s face into it. That draws blood, which Jericho wipes onto the image of Cassidy’s face on his shirt. Cassidy takes the bait and rushes in. He and Jericho slug it out, but Hager makes it 2-on-1. Sonny Kiss runs out to avenge Janela, but Hager makes quick work of Sonny.
Cassidy hits a tornado DDT and goes for the Superman punch. But Hager pulls Jericho out of the ring. Cassidy pulls out a bottle of Jericho’s bubbly and dumps it out in the ring.
This was an awesome AEW: Dynamite segment. That’s how you sell a PPV. I would ask if WWE is seeing this, but after their last PPV, it’s clear they don’t watch this show.
HIT – Matt Hardy-Sammy Guevera Segment
We get an AEW: Dynamite video package to plug Guevara and Hardy’s ‘Broken Rules’ match at All Out. If Hardy loses, he has to leave AEW.
During the picture-in-picture break, Sammy runs through the usual cards, promising to delete Hardy from AEW.
But Matt is waiting in the rafters with some signs of his own.
Hardy promises simply that Sammy will be broken at All Out.
A promo. During a commercial break. With no audio. And it still makes me want to see their match more than- you know, it’s not even fair or fun to rag on WWE at this point.
HIT – Team Taz Promo
Taz comes out with Brian Cage and Ricky Starks. He promises that one of his guys will win the Casino Battle Royale at All Out.
Both Lance Archer and Darby Allin get singled out by Taz as future victims of Team Taz. That draws out Jake Roberts and Archer to interrupt the orange one. Jake tries to make an analogy about squirrels and nuts, and then he utters a phrase involving “busting.” Man, Jake is old.
Now Eddie Kingston and his crew make their way out. Jake accuses Eddie of having been drinking. I mean, if anybody would know.
Shawn Spears and Tully Blanchard come out and observe the shouting match from a distance. And before you know it, pretty much all of the battle royal participants are beating each other down.
Darby Allin rushes out, going straight after Ricky Starks. Followed by the Inner Circle. And then Best Friends come after Santana and Ortiz.
Damn, we’re even taking time to sell the preshow (I assume) battle royal. The go-home AEW: Dynamite isn’t messing around.
HIT – Thunder Rosa Vs. Serena Deeb
Before the match, AEW: Dynamite rolls on with a video package highlighting the Dark Order’s recent reign of carnage. Perfectly sells the brewing battle between the Order and the Natural Nightmares, Scorpio Sky, and Matt Cardona.
Well, it’s the AEW debut for both NWA Women’s Champion Thunder Rosa and Serena Deeb.
JR kinda undercuts the All Elite Heels initiative and the women’s division in general, saying that Rosa and Deeb are more concerned with being fundamentally-strong wrestlers than they are with “breaking a nail.” Sigh.
Deeb gave a pretty good account of herself, going toe-to-toe with Thunder Rosa really well. And like most AEW women’s matches, the action was solid, quick, and fluid. But unlike most AEW women’s matches, they actually gave it some time. It ran just shy of 10 minutes.
It also did something I didn’t think AEW: Dynamite was capable of. The match made me interested in the AEW Women’s Championship match between Shida and Rosa.
HIT – Meanwhile-Mania, Part II
Jon Moxley offers MJF some pre-championship match advise. Don’t get distracted by the process.
He says that when the bell rings, the hype doesn’t matter. Gee, it’s almost like he wants me to take him seriously like a real championship athlete.
Moxley says that 2020 has been bad enough. And he can’t let MJF take the AEW World Championship.
After the break, Tony interviews Big Swole about her match with Britt Baker at All Out. Or as Swole calls her, “Brittany ‘Basura’ Baker.” Basura means trash, doncha know?
Wait, this is gonna be on the preshow? They’ve been hyping this match for three months! Anyway. Swole announces she and Baker will fight in a ‘Tooth and Nail’ match at Baker’s dental practice.
Baker has a pizza delivered to Swole. Swole isn’t dumb, and she goes after the disguised Rebel. But Baker jumps her from behind and cinches in the Lockjaw. This feud has been super entertaining, and it deserves to be on the main show.
HIT – Jon Moxley Vs. Mark Sterling (W/ Wardlow)
Okay, so here’s a question AEW: Dynamite kinda needs to answer. I get that the Paradigm Shift is banned for the title match at All Out. But what are the stakes if Moxley does use it? Is he stripped of the title? And then is it immediately awarded to MJF, or is it just held up? Anyway.
Wardlow throws Sterling out of the tunnel and forces him to get in the ring. The announcers wisely mention that both Moxley and MJF are undefeated in 2020. No 50-50 booking here. Vince? Bruce? Nah, I’m wasting my time on that one.
Sterling is wearing the goofy athletic wear you’d expect the terrified-non-wrestler to wear. Still seems more legit than Michael Cole.
The champ does a psyche-out lunge at Sterling, and he falls backward in terror. See, this is funny. If WWE did this – no. No, no, no, I’ve gotta stop that. It isn’t even fair anymore.
Moxley offers Sterling a free shot. He even teaches him how to make a fist. What a guy. Sterling misses, so Moxley slaps his face off of his skull. Next, Moxley turns his back and gives Sterling another free shot. Sterling lunges, and Moxley sidesteps and lets him dive out of the ring.
But Sterling gets one smart move in. He pokes at the eye that was injured on the way to Revolution. It doesn’t matter, though, as Moxley goes right back to murdering Sterling, throwing chairs and the barricade on top of the lawyer. After another few minutes of solid comedy wrestling, Moxley puts Sterling away with the Paradigm Shift.
Wardlow attacks after the match and puts the champion down with the F-10. MJF comes out with the walker and the neck brace. He chucks both away as he heads to the ring. It’s a miracle!
And AEW: Dynamite goes off the air with MJF destroying the AEW Champion with the Dynamite Dozen ring.
That’s how you sell a PPV.
AEW: Dynamite put on a show that could sell the proverbial ice to an Eskimo.
Every match on the PPV card was made to seem must-see. And you know what?
Each match at All Out might actually be must-see.
AEW: Dynamite airs Wednesday nights on TNT at 8 PM/ET.
All images provided by All Elite Wrestling.