AEW followed up its initial salvo in the Wednesday Night War promising a pair of brutal one-on-one matches with the likes of Darby Allin vs Jimmy Havoc as well as Shaun Spear vs Jon Moxley, not to mention a name reveal for Jericho’s fearsome new faction. But did Dynamite manage to blow its competition out of the water?

The Young Bucks vs Private Party

The first round of the tournament to crown AEW’s first Tag Team champions did not disappoint with its combination of great storytelling and stunning in-ring action as a Superkick party came up against a Private Party.

The Young Bucks pushed buttons and played the heels here that served to get the crowd hotly behind Private Party, a team whose athleticism is nothing but extraordinary. After Isiah Kassidy took an early beating from the Young Bucks, he got the tag to Marq Quen who landed a series of escalating impressive dives to the outside.

Quen would not be able to take control however as he took a horrific beating from the Bucks with the crowd at a fever pitch praying to see Kassidy tagged back in. The back-injury Kassidy sold from a ramp bump would allow the Bucks to retain their edge on their opponents but a blind tag to Quen allowed Private Party to hit the Gin and Juice followed by a gravity-defying shooting star press from Quen but Matt Jackson kicked out at 2. It seemed to be over as the Bucks came back to set up the Meltzer driver but a save by Kassidy would allow Quen to win by roll-up for a surprise win as the crowd went crazy.

An absolutely stunning opener and tag match that could make even the most jaded fan mark out. Private Party are being booked tremendously well and their natural talent is sealing the deal with fans. Worries of nepotism by AEW’s vice presidents don’t seem to be a problem right now with the Bucks graciously taking the loss here.

Jericho and the “Inner Circle”

The AEW World Champion Chris Jericho came out with his new entourage of Sammy Guevara, Santana, Ortiz and Jake Hager to cut a promo and announced the group’s name as the “Inner Circle”.

Jericho took the opportunity to put over each and every member of the faction and made every word count. Jericho is a master of the microphone putting over the new group effortlessly and playing the crowd like a fiddle to keep the heel heat flowing. He even managed to fit in a dig at WWE creative in response to the crowd’s chant of “We the People” for Hager.

A strong name with a strong cast, the Inner Circle looks to be a very interesting development for AEW and is a great way to have Jericho’s star power rub off on some lesser-known talent. Stables are something that WWE has steered clear of for several years now and further shows AEW’s dedication to being an alternative along with bringing back memories for old school WCW fans.

Jimmy Havoc vs Darby Allin

It was never going to match the Cracker Barrel Clash but this battle of the goths was still a solid showing by the pair as they faced off for a chance to face Chris Jericho for the AEW World Championship next week.

After a spit in the face from Havoc to open the fight, Allin took control of the match with his breakneck offence. Havoc countered a suplex attempt by Allin by biting his fingers to allow him to land a suplex of his own to the outside putting him in control.

A returning bite to counter Havoc’s acid rainmaker gave Allin the chance to hit the stunner followed up with a top rope coffin drop to secure the victory by pinfall.

A short showing from the pair but they played off each other well with the time they had. Allin is an incredibly exciting performer and a title opportunity with a ring veteran like Jericho will be able to accentuate that even further to the audience.

Britt Baker & Riho vs Emi Sakura & Bea Priestley

Baker and Priestley continued their feud in this tag match featuring Riho and Sakura here to add a Joshi element to proceedings. Riho and Sakura started out with a frantic opening before Priestley tagged in and used the opportunity to make a beeline for Baker as the two brawled on the outside.

After the break, Sakura looked like she was gaining some momentum against Baker but Riho burst into action taking out both Sakura and Priestley and kept Priestley occupied on the outside. Baker would take this opportunity to put Sakura in a submission hold combined with a mandible claw for the submission victory. Priestley and Baker brawled some more after the match as Riho and referee Aubrey Edwards tried to break the pair up.

This was a serviceable match but was nothing to write home about. Priestley’s time in Stardom has helped her fit in with the Joshi wrestlers but Baker seems like she’s struggling to gel with them. A Priestley vs Baker feud has potential but despite their best efforts, there’s just no heat. Baker will face Riho next week for the AEW Women’s Championship.

Shawn Spears w/ Tully Blanchard vs Jon Moxley

These two wasted no time as they started brawling before the bell could even be rung. PAC joined the commentary team to show his anger about not being given a title opportunity despite his win record with the company and beyond.

Moxley had Spears on the back foot after an initial exchange but Spears distracted the referee allowing Blanchard to drive Moxley into the steel steps allowing Spears to gain advantage. The presence of Blanchard would allow Spears to undercut comeback attempts from Moxley but he could not be kept down as a counter of a neckbreaker attempt from Spears into the Paradigm Shift gave Moxley the opportunity to get the three count.

After the match, Omega came down to the ring with a barbwire broom and bat. He offered the bat to Moxley allowing both men to be armed and ready to fight before he was blindsided by a surprise attack from PAC with a chair. Moxley considered attacking the prone Omega but refrained. While it’s not clear exactly what this sets up for the future of this feud, it’s great to see PAC continuing to make his presence known in the top card feuds.


Dustin Rhodes & Hangman Adam Page vs Chris Jericho & Sammy Guevara w/ Jake Hager

Rhodes took the opportunity early to get his revenge on Jericho as the two immediately began brawling to the outside leaving Guevara alone against Rhodes and Page. Page tagged in but couldn’t keep control for long as an intervention from Jericho after a top rope attempt allowed Guevara the break he needed to pancake Page on the turnbuckle and tag in Jericho.

The heels would keep Page isolated preventing him from tagging out to Rhodes as Guevara put the pressure on Page in the ring. Page would find his opportunity to get the hot tag after landing a brutal looking discus lariat on Guevara. Rhodes showed his age hasn’t made him lose a step with a fantastic twisting crossbody to his opponents and Page landing the Orihara moonsault to the outside. Rhodes continued to clean house and even teased the Shattered Dreams on Jericho. However, the numbers game came into play as Hager blindsided Rhodes as Guevara distracted the referee allowing Jericho to hit the Judas Effect for the win.

After the match, the Inner Circle attempted to beat down their opponents before the lights went out. As the lights came up, Cody was in the ring but was soon attacked from behind by Santana and Ortiz. Surprisingly, MJF ran down to the ring with a chair and teased an alliance with Inner Circle as Jericho gave him the opportunity to strike Cody. His loyalty to Cody remained true, however, as he attacked the villainous faction as the Young Bucks provided aid. As Jericho attempted to retreat, a skateboarding Darby Allin attacked him with a flying knee leaving Jericho having to run back with his tail between his legs as the Elite stood tall in the ring with Allin.

A really solid episode of TV here that not only matched the premiere but even exceeded it in many areas. The idea of the Elite vs the Inner Circle is tantalising and the in-ring action was solid throughout. The only worry is the women’s division that has not quite hit its stride and hasn’t got a killer feud yet. It’s early days still for AEW but Dynamite continues to impress.

Matches scheduled for AEW Dark:

  • Kip Sabian vs Peter Avalon vs Sonny Kiss
  • Hybrid 2 and The Dark Order vs SCU and Cima
  • Joey Janela vs. Kenny Omega (Unsanctioned Lights-Out Match)

All pictures provided by AEW/Bruno Silveira, video courtesy of TNT and AEW