Is it just me or does All Elite Wrestling seem to be hitting the mark each and every time they broadcast just about anything? At least, that’s how it felt watching the third episode of their weekly show Dynamite. After this week’s episode, there really is little wonder why AEW is pulling in the numbers they are as they beat the competition for the third consecutive week.
The booming voice of Good Ol’ JR welcomed us to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for a rollercoaster 2-hour show that was dominated by pay-per-view quality outings, breakout moments for rising stars on an already talent abundant roster and, by the Oklahoman’s own admission, a night that truly was a “tag team extravaganza”.
SCU vs Best Friends (Quarterfinal Match in the AEW Tag Team Championship Tournament)
Following a dramatic opening to the evening, as the Lucha Bros. launched a sneak attack that took Christopher Daniels out of commission, SCU won a hard-fought, spot-heavy affair against Best Friends. Arguably one of the best pure athletes on AEW’s roster, it was a tremendous outing for Scorpio Sky, who will hopefully be remembered for something more than a pretty amusing spot involving his footwear.
Following a plethora of great high-spots ranging from a devastating spear to Kazarian on the outside and an epic assisted superplex, it seemed as though the team of Chuck Taylor and Trent Baretta were poised to advance to a semi-final match next week. Despite the hug-loving besties scoring a huge Doomsday Device double-team move, their so-called Sole Food, and seemingly being ready to pick up the pin off the back of it, the 1-2-3 wouldn’t come from Best Friends but rather as a result of a powerbomb/leg drop combo from Sky and Kazarian. So Cal Uncensored pick up a win that now puts them in the sights of the Dark Order next week, with the winner advancing to the finals.
It’s important to note that as weekly show openers go, SCU vs Best Friends was top drawer. Both teams delivered a breakneck, frenetic pace that was lapped up by a red hot Philly crowd and after Daniels was taken out by a particularly brutal piledriver before the match got underway, it did leave even the most educated of wrestling fans uncertain as to which team would walk away the winners. What it did do however was immediately validate (as if there was any further need) the tag team division of All Elite Wrestling as THE premier Tag Team division of any promotion in the world right now. The Young Bucks weren’t just trying to bait fans by telling them that they wanted tag team wrestling to matter again.
Santana & Ortiz vs John Silver & Alex Reynolds
I can’t say I’d ever heard of Silver or Reynolds before seeing them come down the ramp ahead of the Inner Circle’s tag team bad boys. If truth be told, I may not see them again. It was a novel touch to get a team known within the North Eastern US independent scene a TV taping in a hotbed of wrestling (any exposure can be good exposure) and it was even nicer that the announce team really put the two enhancement talents over by talking about their tenure as a team and experience between the ropes.
Let’s be totally honest with ourselves, this was a quick squash match designed to build up Santana and Ortiz as the wrecking crew they are. The artists formally known as LAX made quick work of their opponents and finished them off with the Street Sweeper, a quite frankly cool as fuck flipping neckbreaker/powerbomb combo. The devilish dominance was a prelude to an onscreen promo from their fearless leader, Chris Jericho, who continued to brag up the team and then openly challenge the Young Bucks to a match on November 9th at Full Gear pay-per-view…which you just have to know will be a dandy.
AEW Women’s World Championship match: Dr Britt Baker DMD vs Riho (c)
The AEW Women’s Championship had it’s first official title defence on television as the surefire future champ Baker challenged the Japanese prodigy Riho, with both women maximising their time on Dynamite. To think Britt Baker has only been doing ‘this’ for four years is nothing short of impressive, as the qualified and practising dentist went toe-to-toe against Riho, who I am continually impressed with, especially when you remember that she is 22 years old now and began her training at 9 years of age. At 9 years of age, I was trying to grab the next best shiny Pokemon I could find, where she was taking back bumps like a legit hoss.
It came down to Baker going in for her Lock Jaw submission on the champion. Unfortunately for Mrs Adam Cole, she was bested by the good old fashioned roll-up from the diminutive Japanese idol, who extends her win/loss record to 5-1 overall. I’d be lying though if I said that the handshake at the end of their match wouldn’t have been that little bit sweeter if interrupted by a Bea Priestley attack though but again, it does paint Riho as the honourable, sweet and lovable young champion and Britt Baker as the respectful runner-up who is graceful in defeat – so I guess that they’ve achieved that much.
And as for this…well, just watch THIS…and get ready for Cody vs Chris Jericho at Full Gear.
Jurassic Express vs Lucha Bros. (Quarterfinal Match in the AEW Tag Team Championship Tournament)
First of all: I’m truly gutted for Luchasaurus. The masked, tattooed behemoth suffering a hamstring injury just hours before the show is one of the truly shitty things to happen in pro-wrestling this week. But never fear as Marko Stunt was on-hand to take over the reins, which is one really handy thing about all these tag team trios nowadays. A spot against Private Party next week in the semi-final was at stake in this one and both teams were not prepared to drop the ball.
Flips and kicks were the order of the day, along with a pair of wonderfully executed DDTs from Jungle Boy and Marko Stunt. That isn’t to say that Lucha Bros. (who are arguably the best all-around tag team in AEW right now – and they’re being booked to match it) didn’t bring the spectacle. Fénix was all about the chops with Jim Ross calling him a “one-man wrecking crew” and Pentagon is as badass as any masked/face painted Luchador has ever been, using his educated feet in an attempt to weather the flippy offensive put on by Jurassic Express. But some 450 splashes and a few standing shooting star press aside, the gentlemen from Mexico City survived the onslaught and booked their place against Marq Queen and Isiah Kassidy next week.
You have to know it’ll be worth tuning in for all by itself.
Jon Moxley and PAC vs ‘Hangman’ Adam Page and Kenny Omega
Let’s face facts: these 4 men in the same match is a main event anywhere in the world right now. Hell, you don’t even have to have all 4 of them in the match, the rivalries and chemistry combinations between arguably 4 of the biggest acquisitions in All Elite Wrestling is enough to get many wrestling fans salivating. Plus: it was Omega’s birthday, so what better way to celebrate than to go and have a PPV-quality tag match?
Moxley and PAC appeared to have this whole tag team gig nailed, staying one step ahead of Page and Omega. One such example saw Page being pushed from the top turnbuckle and cracking his spine on the edge of the ring apron in a move that gained more than a few cathartic gasps from the audience. Can we maybe talk about the snapdragon suplex party that Omega invited Mox and PAC to? Or how about the V Trigger knee to the former Dean Ambrose that saw PAC have to make the save with a dynamic cutter?
The boiling point was reached as Ambrose and Omega came into possession of a barbed wire baseball bat and broom, the latter an obvious nod to Omega’s ‘cleaner’ moniker. A really “holy shit!” moment if ever there was one, the referee clearing out of the ring and not wanting anything to do with it was as tension-inducing as the showdown on the ramp at the conclusion of Moxley’s one-on-one match on last week’s episode. Thankfully PAC is the brains of the operation and stopped his partner from using the bat and getting them an ‘L’ in the win and loss column. ‘The Man Who Gravity Forgot’ didn’t get a thank you from the Mox though. Instead, PAC was in receipt of some unscripted violence as in a true Stone Cold Steve Austin moment, Moxley gave the Geordie a two-finger salute and gave him the Paradigm Shift before leaving him at the mercy of Omega and Page, who picked up the win.
Philadelphia Street Fight for the AEW World Championship: Chris Jericho vs Darby Allin
If Darby Allin arrived at Fyter Fest in his epic showdown against Cody, then the 22-year-old showed that he’s here to stay in this fun, frantic, and so frighteningly good main event on Dynamite. Following the gif-tactic skateboard spot from last week’s episode, the challenger for AEW’s top prize arrived on wheels and the Le Champion sported his ‘Painmaker’ face paint in this all-out battle between the sprightly, unorthodox Allin and the Madonna of professional wrestling. It was as hard-hitting an affair as you’d want from a street fight (though not quite as off the chain and downright mental as Kenny Omega and ‘Bad Boy’ Joey Janela managed on last week’s AEW Dark), with the kendo stick and steel chair being the weapons of choice for the combatants, who quite frankly beat the shit out of one another.
The twist in the match really came when Jericho used gaffer tape to effectively hogtie the wrists of Allin, which should have realistically taken the Seattle skater out of the game. Instead, we were treated to some fantastic high spots and a showcase of Allin’s aerial prowess and lightning-in-a-bottle speed, which nearly earned the youngster a big win when he came off the top rope at the champion. Darby’s skateboard would come back to haunt him shortly after as the former Ayatollah of Rock and Rolla delivered a devastating powerbomb onto Allin’s preferred mode of transport that I felt sat at home all the way in South Wales. Despite taking nothing short of a hammering from Jericho, Allin showed nothing but guts and resilience until, poised to take out the champ with a Coffin Drop from the top rope, Jake Hager took advantage of a distracted referee to shove the straight edge superstar from his perch.
Turns out the big man’s interjection into a great title match was enough, as Jericho slapped on his fabled Walls of -, wait no..that’s not it…Jericho slapped on his fabled Lion Tamer to get the win by submission. With a few minutes of TV time remaining, JR, Tony Schiavone and Excalibur really played up to Darby’s relentless hunt for the win and put him over (not that he needed it with a performance like that) before focusing on the in-ring celebration as the whole of Jericho’s Inner Circle converged on the ring to lap up the boos and enjoy a “little bit of bubbly” as a quite frankly brilliant 2 hours of weekly television came to an end.
Matches scheduled for AEW Dark:
- ‘Bad Boy’ Joey Janela vs Brandon Cutler
- Nyla Rose vs ‘The Librarian’ Leva Bates
- Cody, Dustin Rhodes &The Young Bucks vs Private Party, CIMA & T-Hawk
All photos provided by AEW/Lee South, video courtesy of TNT and AEW