By: Marc Quill
Welcome one and all to a new weekly column from the GateCrashers talking all about the hottest wrestling promotion today, All Elite Wrestling. This column will focus on the story side of things, getting you up to speed on the storylines of AEW and how they’re playing out. The matches themselves will be quickly recapped, with notable spots getting special focus. With that said, let’s get right down to business.
Previously on All Elite Wrestling…
All Out 2021 happened, and with it, the return of CM Punk to the ring. We also saw Chris Jericho save his career by beating MJF, The Lucha Brothers capturing the AEW Tag Titles, Ruby Soho finding her destination in AEW as she won the Casino Battle Royale, and the shock debuts of Adam Cole and Bryan Danielson. The show was widely considered to be the best wrestling PPV in recent memory, as AEW delivered a fantastic event from start to finish to continue the company’s track record of giving fans what they want in terms of booking.
Here’s the full rundown of what happened at All Out:
- The Buy-In: The Best Friends (Orange Cassidy, Chuck Taylor, Wheeler Yuta) & Jurassic Express (Jungle Boy & Luchasaurus) def. The Hardy Family Office (Matt Hardy, Marq Quen, Isaiah Cassady, Jack Evans, Angelico) via pinfall; The HFO attacked Orange Cassidy after the match, but were run off by a group of faces.
- TNT Championship: Miro def. Eddie Kingston via pinfall after a dick kick and then a kick to the face to retain.
- Jon Moxley def. Satoshi Kojima via pinfall after the Paradigm Shift; Minoru Suzuki appeared after the match and fought with Moxley, laying him out with a Gotch piledriver.
- AEW Women’s World Championship: Dr. Britt Baker DMD def. Kris Statlander via the Lockjaw submission.
- Steel Cage match for the AEW Tag Team Championship: The Lucha Brothers (Rey Fenix & Penta El Zero M) def. The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) to win the AEW Tag Titles in a very excellent match that you should watch.
- Ruby Soho won the Women’s Casino Battle Royale to earn a shot at the AEW Women’s World Championship, eliminating Thunder Rosa for the win.
- The Final Fight: Chris Jericho def. MJF via the Walls of Jericho submission. It appeared that MJF had won after a cheap shot with a bat and the Judas Effect, but the call was reversed when it was found that Jericho’s foot was on the rope; per the stipulation, Jericho’s wrestling career is still intact.
- “Tall” Paul Wight def. QT Marshall via pinfall in a short match.
- AEW World Championship: Kenny Omega def. Christian Cage via pinfall after an avalanche One-Winged Angel to retain his coveted title. The match also saw interference from Omega’s Elite buddies before the finishing sequence.
- After the main event, The Elite beat down Christian and Jurassic Express until Adam Cole made his debut in AEW. Cole teased that he’d fight The Elite, but revealed he was aligned with them by kicking Jungle Boy in the face. The group’s moment of glory would be short lived when Bryan Danielson appeared and helped the faces fend off The Elite.
Light The Fuse, Bring the Boom, Etc.
After the opening package, we go right to the action. With Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone, and Taz (filling in for Excalibur, who’s preparing for a wedding), it’s Wednesday night and you know what that means.
Match 1: Malakai Black versus Dustin Rhodes
The Story So Far
Malakai Black has been cutting a swath through Cody Rhodes and the Nightmare Family since arriving in AEW in July. First starting with kicking Cody into retirement on the 8/4 Dynamite Homecoming, Black has continued his assault, going after Arn Anderson and his son Brock, as well as Lee Johnson on last week’s Rampage. This prompted “The Natural” to step up to challenge Black.
In a 10-minute opener, Black bested Dustin after hitting the spinning heel kick formerly known as Black Mass. This was after Dustin was thrown into an exposed turnbuckle by Black for an advantage. The kick looked a bit rough, as Black hit Dustin in the shoulder rather than the head. Just before the finish, Malakai grabbed one of Cody’s boots from a few weeks back and attempted to use it to psych out Dustin. This fired up Rhodes for a counter offensive that led to a Canadian Destroyer.
Winner: Malakai Black via pinfall (10:00)
Black left victoriously while the referee checked up on Dustin, who was bleeding from the mouth.
The Lucha Bros. on their All Out Victory
Penta El Zero M and Rey Fenix (accompanied by their manager Alex Abrahantes) spoke on their win on Sunday. “These championships cost us blood, sweat, and tears. Anyone out there who is willing to suffer is welcome to take it from us,” says Penta (as interpreted by Alex).
The Kingston/Miro War Continues?
At All Out, TNT Champion Miro retained his title against Eddie Kingston after obliging the Mad King’s challenge and “redeeming deez nuts”, so to speak. Eddie isn’t happy with how the match ended and looks like he’s got some unfinished business with Miro. “I am going to offer your broken bones to my bride and your soul to my God,” says The Redeemer. Perhaps a big blowoff match in two weeks in Kingston’s home turf is in the future?
CM Punk Speaks
The Best in the World addressed the Cincinnati crowd about his return to wrestling against Darby Allin, and though Punk won, it was a hell of a fight. As Punk states, it was like “riding a very violent bicycle”. Punk continued to hype the night’s card and asked the fans on who he should fight next. This prompted Taz to interrupt from the commentary area. Taz is tired of Punk’s “bullshit lovefest” that he’s doing, then warning him not to challenge anyone from Team Taz. Now angered, Punk told Taz to send Hobbs, Starks, or Hook to fight him. Stealing a page from Taz’s book, Punk closed off by saying “beat me if you can, survive if I let you.” We got a staredown with Punk and Hobbs, who’ll be in action next.
Santana and Ortiz Want Gold
After defeating FTR, the Proud and Powerful duo are now shifting their focus on the rest of the tag division. Could we see an instant classic between them and the Lucha Brothers down the line?
Ruby Soho Confronts The DMD
As the newest addition to AEW’s women’s division is being interviewed about her match against Jamie Hayter, Dr. Britt Baker DMD appeared to taunt Soho. “Why don’t you go run away to catering, where you spent the last four years of your life?” Britt taunts Ruby with a solid burn.
Match 2: Powerhouse Hobbs versus Dante Martin
The Story So Far
The powerhouse of Team Taz and one half of Top Flight aren’t really in any significant storylines with each other, and this match serves as a showcase of some of AEW’s top young talents. Dante impressed many with a star-making performance in a tag match against the Elite a few weeks ago. Meanwhile, Hobbs is a part of the current feud with Team Taz and former member Brian Cage.
A fantastic bout that saw Hobbs defeat Dante with a spinebuster that the commentators erroneously called a “powerbomb”. Unfortunately, Hobbs appeared out of it post-match, apparently having his bell rung during the match.
Winner: Powerhouse Hobbs via pinfall (8:00)
Dan Lambert Talks Trash
With his usual shtick of being an apparent parody of AEW’s detractors, Lambert spoke alongside Scorpio Sky and Ethan Page, challenging the locker room to fight them. Lambert’s gimmick is one of those “you either love or you hate” things for most. The clear issue with this story is that there doesn’t really seem to be any clear progression other than The Men of the Year siding with Lambert. A feud with a face team tired of Lambert’s lambasting would certainly help progress this angle along.
Bring Me A Lock of Orange’s Hair
A recap of what happened after the big multi-man tag match on The Buy-In prior to All Out aired, as we saw The Hardy Family Office beat down Orange Cassidy with the help of returning member The Butcher. Orange: “Matt Hardy said he wants to cut my hair? Whatever.” This focus on OC’s hair could lead to a Hair versus Hair match at some point.
MJF Hates Cincinnati
Fresh off of failing to end Chris Jericho’s career, Max let loose with the cheap heat in a fit of rage. First ragging on the overturned result that led to Jericho beating him, MJF went on a tirade against Cincinnati (or “Shit-cinnati” as MJF calls it), badmouthing local favorite Skyline Chili, the Reds, and the town for being a “dumpster fire”. He dared fans to jump the rail to fight him, saying that they wouldn’t do it, because they’re “cowards”. Now turning his attention to the Pillman family in attendance, MJF first mocked Aunt Linda, threatening to knock her teeth down her throat. He then approached Brian Pillman’s daughter and talked trash to her. Cue Brian Pillman Jr. to avenge the honor of his family’s name.
Junior talked up that Cincinnati is a city that breeds badasses like his dad and Jon Moxley, defending his hometown from Max’s cheap heel heat. And speaking of cheap heel heat, MJF called Brian’s mom Melanie “Methanie” to piss him off. For good measure, he was upset about Wardlow and his failure to help him win, ordering him to stand aside. MJF gets one final taunt as he threatens BPJ that he’s gonna do what his mother should’ve done and “abort him”. Cue furious fists from Pillman Jr. on Max. Wardlow pulled Pillman away from MJF a few times until Griff Garrison made the save. Unfortunately, he got clotheslined by Wardlow for his troubles, and then a shot from MJF’s ring. Pillman Jr. defended his Varsity Blonds partner from further attack to end the segment.
Match 3: Ruby Soho versus Jamie Hayter
The Story So Far
Formerly Heidi Lovelace in the indies and Ruby Riott in WWE, one of the most exciting women’s free agents in wrestling has now found herself in AEW. Bequeathed her new ring name and entrance music by the band Rancid, Ruby Soho made waves when she was revealed to be The Joker in the Casino Battle Royale and won the entire thing. This made her the Number One Contender to AEW Women’s Champion Dr. Britt Baker, DMD.
Obviously Soho won her first match in about eight minutes, but things did seem a bit off. Could easily just be shaking off some ring rust.
Winner: Ruby Soho via pinfall (8:00)
After the match, Dr. Britt and Rebel (not Reba) attacked Ruby as she was celebrating her win. This led to Riho and Kris Statlander to help even the odds, with Kris chasing away Britt’s crew using a chair.
Ricky Starks & Brian Cage Wanna Fight
Starks, with the help of his Team Taz allies, won the FTW Championship off of Cage at Fyter Fest Night One back in July. They both agree that this feud needs to end with one more match.
Match 4: FTR (Dax Harwood & Cash Wheeler) and Shawn Spears versus Dark Order (Stu Grayson, Evil Uno, and John Silver)
The Story So Far
The Dark Order is not fine. Things for the lovable group of underdogs have been on the rocks ever since they failed to win a big tag team match against The Elite at Fight for The Fallen that would’ve granted them a shot at the AEW World Tag Team Championships. Things only got worse the week after when the group was divided by a decision on whether to save “Hangman” Adam Page from an Elite beatdown or not. With no Hangman in sight (largely due to the real-life circumstance of Page wanting to spend time with his pregnant wife), it’s been nothing but a rift between everyone in Dark Order.
A match roughly around the five minute mark that ended with the Pinnacle scoring the victory to further the Dark Order’s turmoil. Shawn Spears secures the win with his Death Valley Driver on John Silver.
Winner: The Pinnacle via pinfall (Shawn Spears pinned John Silver; 5:00)
Evil Uno got upset at Silver for taking the losing pin, which prompted Johnny Hungee to push back against Uno. Grayson got into Silver’s face and as Number 5 entered the ring to confront Grayson and Uno. Colt Cabana, Anna Jay, and Tay Conti showed up in an attempt to play peacekeeper.
Women’s Casino Battle Royale Recap
Remarks from Tay Conti, Anna Jay, Penelope Ford, The Bunny, Nyla Rose, Thunder Rosa, and Jade Cargill as they talked about their respective performances in the Casino Battle Royale.
Tully Blanchard Has Words For Sting
Backstage, Tully talked about his leadership on display, also being quite upset about Sting “coasting off of others’ legacy”. He demanded that Tony Khan book Darby Allin versus Shawn Spears next week, also teasing that there might come a time that he and Sting will do battle once more.
Sammy Guevara Shows Some Signs
During the split screen commercials, Sammy did his signboard thing, with signs talking about how Chris Jericho defeated MJF at All Out, how his friend Fuego del Sol got an AEW contract, and how he proposed to his girlfriend Pam in Houston.
Match Made For Rampage
Brian Pillman Jr. is backstage with Griff Garrison, stating that he’s approached Tony Khan to book a match for him against MJF in two weeks at Arthur Ashe Stadium. The Acclaimed (Max Caster & Anthony Bowens) entered the room with flowers in hand. Caster said that he too went to TK for a match… this Friday on Rampage against Pillman Jr. As the Acclaimed left, Pillman Jr. tossed the flowers to the ground.
The Elite is Back, Bay-Bay!
Tony Schiavone introduced The Elite, who entered the ring, sans a very important addition. After Don Callis hyped Kenny Omega being named No. 1 in the Pro Wrestling Illustrated 500, the Young Bucks introduced Adam Cole, who made his first appearance this past Sunday at All Out.
Cole threatened Schiavone about his friendship with Britt Baker before telling him to scram. After Tony is forced out of the ring, Cole bragged about how The Elite are responsible for making AEW the force that it is, boasting about the excellence of Kenny and The Bucks. He also goes on to say that he’s making his in-ring debut next week, saying that we’ll all see just how “Elite” he really is.
Kenny took the mic and stated that he hated interruptions, before getting interrupted by the arrival of the American Dragon himself, Bryan Danielson. With his rockin’ trap remix of Ride of the Valkyries, Danielson walked up to the ramp. Omega asked for his Elite buddies to clear the ring, then inviting Danielson to enter the ring. As Kenny talked, Bryan ripped away the mic from him and asked the fans if we wanted to see Bryan Danielson versus Kenny Omega. Bryan is told that that’s not how things work in AEW, then saying that Kenny’s afraid to take the match. Danielson: “You know that I’m better than you, that I will kick your head in, and that you are not on my level.”
Omega removed his jacket and tried to swing at Danielson, but found himself trapped in the LeBell/Yes Lock. The Elite rushed the ring and stomped away on Bryan (or in Brandon Cutler’s case, spraying) before backup arrived in the form of Jurassic Express, Christian Cage, and Frankie Kazarian. The faces cleared the ring of The Elite, leaving only Brandon Cutler alone. “You fucked up!” the fans chanted at Cutler as he was surrounded by the enemies of The Elite. He turned to eat a Running Knee from Danielson.
Match 5: Jon Moxley versus Minoru Suzuki
The Story So Far
Jon Moxley is an angry man and a “wild thing” (as his theme song suggests). In his quest for a good fight, he took on Satoshi Kojima at All Out and defeated him. After that match, he was confronted by Minoru Suzuki, who he faced previously at NJPW New Beginning in Osaka 2020. Suzuki took down Mox after a wild brawl and that’s what’s led to this match happening as our main event.
While obviously never going to match the level of their big showdown last year, this was still an appropriately hard-hitting match that saw Mox prevail in his hometown after an elevated butterfly suplex. Before this, Suzuki was busted open around his left eye following a Paradigm Shift DDT and a lariat.
Winner: Jon Moxley via pinfall (9:00)
Nothing really significant, as the announcers simply hyped upcoming matches while Moxley celebrated with his hometown fans to end the show.
After The Fact
You might’ve noticed that during the main event, Minoru Suzuki’s entrance theme, Kaze Ni Nare, was cut off before it got to the part everyone loves to sing (the “Kaze Ni Nare” shout that gives the song its title). This was addressed in a tweet from AEW a day after Dynamite to help set up an angle for next week where Suzuki and his fellow Suzuki-gun stablemate Lance Archer have a challenge for Moxley.
This Friday on AEW Rampage (9/10/21) – Cincinnati, OH
- PAC vs. Andrade El Idolo
- Brian Pillman Jr. vs. Max Caster (w/ Anthony Bowens)
- Ruby Soho, Riho, & Kris Statlander vs. Dr. Britt Baker DMD, Rebel (not Reba), & Jamie Hayter
- Darby Allin & Sting respond to Tully Blanchard
Next Week on Dynamite (9/15/21) – Newark, NJ
- Adam Cole vs. “The Elite Hunter” Frankie Kazarian
- Darby Allin vs. Shawn Spears
- Jade Cargill vs. Leyla Hirsch
- Lance Archer & Minoru Suzuki Challenge Jon Moxley
Scheduled for AEW Dynamite: Grand Slam (9/22/21) – Queens, NY
- Cody Rhodes vs. Malakai Black II
- Brian Pillman Jr. vs. MJF (not official, but mentioned)
The Last Word
A pretty solid show coming off of All Out, even if it wasn’t exactly a home run. There seemed to be a sense of shuffling the deck with the feuds that culminated in Chicago now in the rearview mirror, with a setup for storylines in the fall clearly being in the air in Cincinnati.
Seemingly slotting in Bryan Danielson for a feud with Kenny Omega is an interesting move, with Hangman Page’s path to being the one to inevitably end Kenny’s reign likely still in very strong consideration. Danielson’s promo didn’t specify that he wanted to go after Omega’s AEW World Title. Whether that’s by design or not is anyone’s guess, but perhaps we see Danielson fight Omega in a non-title bout so that Page’s path to the title when he returns still remains intact?
And speaking of Hangman, when he does return, will we see him attempt to fix the mess he inadvertently created with the Dark Order’s “civil war”? Page helping bring the group back together would be a tremendous babyface move and help him remain over with the fans as a good guy, even with additions like Danielson and CM Punk to the face side of the AEW tunnel.
The arrival of Adam Cole in The Elite also could create potentially interesting scenarios, as there’s really no way two strong egos like Cole and Omega can truly coexist within a single faction. Do we see Cole making a power play and take control of The Elite from Kenny when the moment arrives? The apparent rumors of WWE star Kevin Owens’ contract expiring in 2022 has led to speculation that he’s bound for Elite pastures early next year. Cole and the Young Bucks were once in a faction with KO, and if Owens does sign with AEW, might we see a Mount Rushmore reunion as Omega’s kicked to the curb?
CM Punk versus Team Taz should produce some great matches, and once we get to Punk vs. Ricky Starks, the promos between the two should be sublime. In all honesty, though, the real money match will be CM Punk vs. Hook.
While it seemed like Ruby Soho was working through some ring rust in her match against Jamie Hayter, the feud with Dr. Britt should be an entertaining one, if their brief interaction from early on in the night is any indication.
The Dan Lambert promo, as noted above, is something that’s not gonna be for everyone. Some might enjoy that he’s seemingly parodying talking points of AEW detractors with his promos, while others might not exactly be endearing themselves to it. With that being said, it’s probably time to move him and his new tag team into an actual feud instead of promos where he just says the same thing again and again.
The biggest strength of this edition of Dynamite was just how much shine AEW’s “homegrown” stars got through being featured in matches (Hobbs vs. Dante) and promo segments (the MJF & Brian Pillman Jr. showdown). It helped show new viewers tuning in for the first time because of the arrivals of Punk, Danielson, Soho, and Cole that there’s a lot more in store for them to enjoy.
If there was a true downside for this Dynamite, it’s the timing issues that seemed to plague things, as evidenced by the main event feeling slightly rushed (and Minoru Suzuki’s theme being cut off so suddenly). Whether a promo segment ran a bit too long or not, it’s something that should be fixed moving forward.
All in all, the new era in All Elite Wrestling has gotten off to a frenetic start, with the big new signings helping inject even more excitement to an already red-hot product. Fans will certainly continue to stick around for the ride as long as the hits from AEW keep on coming.