Previously on All Elite Wrestling…
At last week’s Beach Break edition of Dynamite, we saw Sammy Guevara become the undisputed TNT Champion in a classic ladder match against Cody Rhodes; The Inner Circle came out victorious against 2point0, even as their problems widened; MJF and the Pinnacle got a strong upper hand against CM Punk heading into their anticipated showdown tonight; and in the main event, Orange Cassidy (with some help of new arrival Danhausen) defeated Adam Cole in a Lights Out match.
Over on Rampage, Jon Moxley defeated Anthony Bowens as Bryan Danielson continued to scout him; FTR bested Lee Johnson and Brock Anderson in tag team action; Jade Cargill retained her TBS Title against Julia Hart (again defending it on TNT); Jurassic Express outlasted Private Party to keep their AEW World Tag Titles, but were laid out by the Gunn Club (aka The Ass Boys) to close out the evening.
It’s Wednesday Night. You Know What That Means.
We’re live from Chicago’s Wintrust Arena for one of the biggest Dynamites in recent memory as the long-awaited MJF vs. CM Punk match will take place tonight. Our guides for this evening’s festivities are Jim Ross, Excalibur, and Tony Schiavone.
Match 1: Jon Moxley vs. Wheeler YUTA (w/ Orange Cassidy & Danhausen)
The Story So Far
A last-minute match made due to the original Moxley vs. Brian Kendrick match being pulled for past conspiracy-laced comments Kendrick made in the past, filled with Holocaust denial and anti-Semitic views, this match is a return bout from a previous Moxley vs. YUTA match where Mox destroyed the Young Lion of Orange Cassidy in short order.
YUTA does not want this match to go down like it did last time, as he goes right after Moxley to start with a dropkick that Moxley avoids soundly. Wheeler dodges a Mox lariat afterwards. Shoulder block knocks YUTA out as Moxley stares down Danhausen from inside the ring.
Armdrag by YUTA as he talks smack in Moxley’s face. He goes underneath and hits a dropkick to send Moxley outside. Mox gets into Orange Cassidy’s face and YUTA attempts a suicide dive that’s countered into a sleeper hold. YUTA escapes and hits a shotgun dropkick in response.
Back in the ring, YUTA tries a springboard dropkick, but Moxley avoids it and answers with the over-the-shoulder toss. Moxley and YUTA exchange chops, but it’s the former AEW World Champion who gets the upper hand… piledriver gets a two-count. STF applied by Moxley, but Wheeler manages to get to the ropes to escape.
YUTA placed on the top rope and Moxley literally claws at Wheeler’s back. The rookie fights back and attempts a diving stomp. Mox avoids that, but the dropkick from YUTA drops him. Now it’s Wheeler on the advantage, but Mox rolls out to the apron. Brief fight on the apron ends with Moxley hitting his old Dirty Deeds move on the apron.
At ringside, Mox again gets in Orange’s face, as Danhausen points at him weirdly. This gives YUTA a chance to catch Mox napping with a dive from inside the ring! Both men now inside the ring and Wheeler with the bridging German suplex… 1… 2… NO! Mox gets the surprise cutter on YUTA and he’s got the Paradigm Shift in mind. YUTA reverses and hits the Olympic Slam instead. Wheeler to the top rope and here comes the diving splash! 1… 2… kickout!
Mox counters a la casadora attempt into the sleeper hold, then smashing YUTA with a fierce lariat! Hammer and anvil elbows on a groggy YUTA leads to the Paradigm Shift and the 1, 2, 3 victory.
Jon Moxley def. Wheeler YUTA via pinfall – Paradigm Shift (7:30)
Before Mox can actually celebrate another victory, he’s confronted in the ring by Bryan Danielson, who’s taken an interest in Mox for the past few weeks. Bryan asks if we want to see him fight Moxley, to which the Chicago fans express their approval for. He says that he’s been watching Mox since he was AEW World Champion, saying that he thinks he’s been AEW’s best champion to date. Bryan notes that Moxley would still be AEW Champ if he had proper support, proposing that he and Mox work together instead of fighting one another. He runs down Hangman Page (a “millennial cowboy” as AEW Champ), Luchasaurus (somebody “dressed as a dinosaur” as an AEW Tag Champion), and Sammy Guevara (someone who creates vlogs as TNT Champion).
Bryan specifically points out guys like Wheeler YUTA, Daniel Garcia, and Lee Moriarty as individuals he’s scouting for this group he wants Mox to be a part of. Bryan says that Mox has a lot to think about in terms of this offer and wants him to think it over real hard.
The Brandi Rhodes Town Hall
AEW’s CBO is here and she’s got something to say, but she’s interrupted by Dan Lambert and Men of the Year not long after.
Lambert mocks Brandi for somehow being more likable than himself, a loudmouth asshole. Brandi responds by saying that the only reason that AEW hired Ethan Page was to “get close to Josh Alexander” and that Lambert’s best fighter got his butt kicked by Jake Paul.
Dan says that maybe it’s time that the whole Rhodes family went heel because the only face turn anyone would buy (in his words) was their old job, which was “face down”. That earns him a slap to the face from Brandi.
Paige VanZant enters from the ramp and starts fighting with Brandi. She slams the CBO against the corner and a group of women wrestlers pour out from the back to separate the two.
Just AHFO Business
The newly-christened AHFO are backstage as Matt Hardy expresses disappointment at Private Party for failing to win the AEW World Tag Titles on Rampage last Friday. He says that since Sammy Guevara is having an open challenge for the TNT Championship this Friday on Rampage, Isaiah Kassidy will step up to accept the challenge. Isaiah says that he won’t fail this opportunity.
Andrade El Idolo appears and Matt asks why Darby Allin isn’t with him. Andrade says that perhaps Darby wanted more money out of the agreement.
Match 2: The Kings/Knights of the Black Throne (Malakai Black & Brody King) vs. PAC & Penta El Zero M (w/ Alex Abrahantes)
The Story So Far
The destructive force representing the House of Black has been cutting a swath of destruction at the expense of the Varsity Blonds and more specifically, Penta El Zero M and PAC of Death Triangle. Meanwhile, PAC has taunted the House of Black by way of video packages, claiming that he sees right through their smoke and mirrors.
For some reason, the lower-third identifies Brody King & Malakai Black as the Knights of the Black Throne, despite the ring announcer using the correct name.
PAC starts things off with the blindfold around his eyes as he stares down Malakai Black, who sizes up his foe. PAC dodges a Malakai strike and uses his agility to avoid his foe before hitting some low kicks. Sliding dropkick rocks Black before PAC reveals his eyes are fine. Penta takes out Brody King as he and PAC hit stereo outside dives on the Kings of the Black Throne at ringside.
PAC tosses Malakai back into the ring and tags in Penta. Diving stomp to Black’s privates as Penta goes to work on his opponent. Black is chopped in the chest as Penta tags PAC back into the match. Brody King gets tagged in and he batters PAC in the back to send us to picture-in-picture.
We return to Dynamite with PAC despearetly trrying to get to his corner. He avoids a sweeping kick from Malakai Black and gets the tag to Penta El Zero M. Slingblades for both Black and Brody, followed by a rolling DDT by Penta on Brody. Kick to the jaw knocks Malakai out as PAC neutralizes Brody with a shotgun dropkick. Penta avoids PAC in the corner and hits a backstabber… 1… 2… NO!
Penta taunts Malakai and PAC makes a blind tag to get himself back into the match. PAC and Black exchange strikes for a bit, but Black wins out with the sweeping kick and sliding knee to the side of PAC’s head. 1, 2, PAC kicks out! Black runs at PAC, but he gets slingshotted into a German suplex. That’s followed by a sheer drop brainbuster for a two-count thanks to Brody King’s intervention. Penta sizes up Brody and we get a brief salvo between the two. Penta takes out Brody at ringside and soars with an over-the-top rope plancha!
Back in the ring, Black finds himself in no man’s land as PAC and Penta tee off on him with superkicks. Penta’s the legal man here. He and PAC look like they’re going to set up for the Fear Factor, but Brody King pushes PAC off the top rope! In the ensuing chaos, Black spits the black mist in Penta’s face! Brody’s tagged in and the Kings of the Black Throne finish things off with Dante’s Inferno.
The Kings of the Black Throne def. PAC & Penta El Zero M via pinfall – Dante’s Inferno on Penta El Zero M (10:22)
Taking What He Wants
Adam Cole talks about how even with the loss to Orange Cassidy last week, he’s still unbeaten due to it not officially counting. He says that we’ll see a different Adam Cole soon, and starting Friday on Rampage when he takes on Evil Uno, the whole world will know what he wants.
Match 3: Ruby Soho vs. Nyla Rose
The Story So Far
Ruby and Nyla last fought each other in the TBS Championship Tournament, with Ruby getting the win after outlasting the Native Beast in an instant classic. This loss did not sit well with Nyla, who demanded a match against Ruby during last week’s Dynamite.
As Ruby Soho makes her entrance, she greets Rancid’s Lars Frederiksen at ringside before heading into the ring and tossing her jacket at Nyla. She goes right in with some strikes at Nyla, but Ruby gets crushed by a clothesline. Scoop slam gives Nyla a brief advantage. Crucifix attempt by Ruby is blocked, but she dodges a leg drop from Nyla and hits her with a low dropkick.
Nyla blocks an Irish whip attempt and gets a Samoan Drop for the two count. She has Ruby in a front chancery, turning that into a suplex. Near-fall. Seated armbar by Nyla as she starts biting at Ruby’s fingers! Nyla works over Ruby in the corner with repeated shoulder thrusts and a foot choke as Vickie Guerrero cackles at Ruby’s plight. Hard chop to the chest stuns Ruby for a bit.
Soho fights from underneath with some chops, but that’s snuffed out with a headbutt by Nyla. Leg drop only gets a two-count. Ruby makes a run, but she gets dropped with the Death Valley Driver… 1… 2… NO! The action heads to commercial with Nyla trapping Ruby in an armbar once more.
Back to live Dynamite action as Nyla and Ruby are fighting it out on hte ring apron. Ruby trying to lift Nyla on her shoulders and hits some sort of face-first slam right on the apron! Ruby looks at Vickie’s direction, but that’s enough to distract her for a spinebuster by Nyla.
Back to the ring… will we see the Beast Bomb? No! No Future kick by Ruby Soho connects! Pinfall is stopped as Vickie pulls Nyla’s leg underneath the bottom rope! Ruby goes after Vickie at ringside and that gives nyla a chance to pull her opponent by the hair and hit a neckbreaker between the midlde rope.
Nyla ascends to the middle turnbuckle and Ruby rises to fight her on the top rope. Hurrcanrana is reversed into a planned avalanche Beast Bomb, but she escapes! No Future attempt is well-scouted as Nyla is able to avoid impact. Massive senton by Nyla rocks Ruby’s world, and the Beast Bomb soon puts this match to bed.
Nyla Rose def. Ruby Soho via pinfall – Beast Bomb (10:50)
Snow Way Out
We go backstage, where the Ass Boys (Colten and Austin Gunn), along with Ass Dad Billy Gunn, are attacking Jungle Boy. The attack ends with the three tossing J.B. into the snow outside the arena. Christian Cage & Luchasaurus chase off the Ass Boys.
We’re in the ring with Tony Schiavone, who introduces the AEW World Champion, “Hangman” Adam Page (“Doesn’t Know His Flight For Tomorrow is Already Cancelled”). The Champ is asked about his Texas Death Match against Lance Archer on Dynamite next week. He says that his flight will probably be cancelled and that he doesn’t want to wait for next week to kick Archer’s ass.
Dan Lambert shows up again (ugh) and says some stuff, but Jake Roberts quickly responds. He says that he smells fear before Lance Archer just says “screw it” and goes after the AEW World Champion.
Hangman sends Archer into the steel steps as Lambert hits Page with a chair to no effect. He throws Lambert into the ring, but he’s hit with a chair by Archer. Chokeslam to the steel steps is followed by a Blackout through the timekeeper’s table! Will we see a new AEW World Champion next week, or has Lance Archer made the cardinal sin of standing tall before a big match?
Inner Circle Drama
Chris Jericho is backstage, talking about how upset he is about Santana and Ortiz sticking with Eddie Kingston. He says that he’s “The Influencer”, and that next week, he’s demanding an (sigh) Inner Circle team meeting. “Attendance is mandatory,” says Jericho.
Match 4: CM Punk vs. MJF
The Story So Far
Months of MJF trash-talking, hiding behind his Pinnacle allies, and backing out of CM Punk’s challenges has finally led to this moment. Last week, MJF finally accepted Punk’s challenge for a fight, but found a way to soften his opponent by having his Pinnacle allies attack Punk, ending with a reluctant Wardlow powerbomb onto a steel chair for good measure.
We’ve still got about 40 minutes of show left, so we’re going to be in for a long-haul here. With that in mind, let’s dive right in.
The bell sounds as both men stare each other down with the hometown Chicago crowd chanting for CM Punk.
Punk runs at MJF, who cowers behind Bryce Remsburg. Cheapshot by Max, but Punk quickly takes over with strikes. He has MJF trapped between the middle and top ropes and proceeds to batter him repeatedly before sending him outside. At the ringside area, Punk continues to lay in on MJF, who eventually tries to run away through the crowd. Bryce is right there with the two opponents, who the announcers note is there so that the match does not end in a countout.
Punk drops MJF right into the guard rail crotch-first before bringing him back to the ringside area for more punishment. Back into the ring and Punk procceeds to hit repeated scoop slams on MJF, much to the crowd’s delight. He takes a bit of a breather on the corner before going to the top rope. Punk sizes MJF up for the Macho Man Elbow, but Max rolls out of harm’s way. He runs at MJF, but Max dodges and Punk goes flying into the ringpost shoulder-first instead! Maxwell attacks Punk’s wrist on the timekeeper’s table and we head to a picture-in-picture break.
The action picks up with MJF continuing the attack on Punk’s hurt arm. Both men fight on the top rope, but Punk knocks Max to the ground. Crossbody creates some separation for CM as he tries to mount a comeback. Neckbreaker connects and Punk follows that up with the clothesline in the corner and the running bulldog. CM sizes MJF for the Go To Sleep, but Max rolls out to the apron.
Punk follows and delivers the scoop slam to MJF on the hardest part of the ring. He drags MJF to the ringside area and holds him up to let a fan get a free shot in on Maxwell. Back in the ring, MJF is able to straddle the top turnbuckle to stop a CM Punk top rope move. Superplex and the Long Island native is able to take advantage once more. Punk counters MJF and hits the Pepsi Twist on his hated rival!
CM’s firing up once more, so MJF takes Bryce and hids behind him in the corner, perhaps to cover some doins-a-transpirin’. Punk pulls Bryce away and MJF is choking him out with his wrist tape! Bryce can’t see the illegal choking as Punk starts to fade away! Bryce does the arm check and this one is over.
MJF def. CM Punk(?) via Referee Stoppage(?)
Bryce goes to raise MJF’s hand in apparent victory, but we see the garrote wire fall out from Max’s hand. Bryce sees this and demands that the match be restarted once more!
MJF is steamed and shoves at Bryce, who shoves him right into a schoolboy rollup from CM Punk… 1, 2, NOT YET! CM’s fired up and he’s unleashing hell on MJF in this second wind moment. Inverted Atomic Drop followed by a brutal lariat knocks MJF for a loop. Max is able to kick away Punk to the outside, sending us to another PIP break.
Back on Dynamite as MJF is looking for the Heatseeker, but Punk powers out of it. He follows with the springboard clothesline! Punk draws up Max on his shoulders, but he lands on the apron and again targets with an armbreaker over the rope. CM recovers and hits the suicide dive on Maxwell, but he has a bad landing on the knee.
Punk drags MJF back into the ring, but he’s hit on the bum knee! Max applies a trapped-arm cloverleaf to target both Punk’s arm and knee! Punk escapes and turns it into a single-leg crab, then into an STF. CM’s hurt arm means he can’t apply any pressure whatsoever, so he has to let go. GTS attempt, but Punk’s left knee gives out on him. Roll-up by MJF gets a close near-fall. Side headlock takeover reversed into a headscissors by Punk, but that becomes an ankle lock. Punk escapes by throwing MJF into the turnbuckle.
Both men get a chance for a breather before they lay into each other once more with strikes. What a match we’ve got here. MJF with the thumb to the eyes of Punk, but he falls victim to a reverse Poisonrana from the hometown champion! 1, 2… nope! Both Punk and MJF are physically spent and can’t even get up on their own two feet. MJF fakes a stinger and hits a chopblock on Punk’s knee. Missed roundhouse kick and the strike to Punk’s knee connects.
Salt of the Earth reversed and MJF hits Made in Japan for the two-count. The Chicago fans chant “deep dish pizza!” as Punk tries to get back into this match. Punk grabs MJF in a side waistlock as Max pushes referee Bryce into the corner, allowing for a cheap low blow on Punk. Feet on the ropes: 1, 2, CM Punk kicks out! We head to picture-in-picture one more time.
Back to our main event and MJF wrenches at CM Punk’s damaged left leg for a spinning toe-hold. That’s reversed into a pin for a two-count. Punk whips MJF into the corner, and follows it with a step up knee. MJF takes a bite out of Punk’s fingers and forehead to get out of this predicament.
MJF places Punk up the top rope and tries to work over the arm once more, but CM reciprocates with a bite of his own to Max’s forehead! Punk with the underhook and the damn Pepsi Plunge from the top rope! MJF is able to roll himself out of the ring in the ensuing impact. CM drags MJF into the ring, but a kick to the leg allows Max to get him in a Tombstone Piledriver position. Punk reverses it, but that gets turned into a rollup… 1… 2… NO! Roundhouse kick by Punk as he heads to the top… flying Macho Man Elbow connects! 1, 2… 2.999999!!!
Punk fires himself up once again as MJF powders out of the ring. Wardlow steps out of the stage and makes his way down to the ring. He stares at MJF before getting into Punk’s face. Wardlow steps aside and lets Punk get MJF. Wardlow looks at referee Bryce for a bit, which allows MJF to get a damn cheapshot with the Dynamite Diamond Ring! Crawls over to the cover, 1… 2… 3. The sneaky MJF steals himself a victory, perhaps the biggest one of his career so far!
MJF def. CM Punk via pinfall — Dynamite Diamond Ring shot (39:15)
While the commentators go over replays and hype up the coming shows this Friday and next Wednesday, MJF relishes in his victory and pissing off the Chicago fans to close off this edition of Dynamite.
This Friday on Rampage (2/4/22)
- FTW Championship: Ricky Starks vs. Jay Lethal
- Thunder Rosa vs. Mercedes Martinez
- Adam Cole vs. Evil Uno
- TNT Championship: Sammy Guevara vs. Isaiah Kassidy
Next Week on Dynamite (2/9/22)
- The Inner Circle “Team Meeting”
- Texas Death Match for AEW World Championship: “Hangman” Adam Page vs. Lance Archer
This week’s Dynamite was middling at best, but its biggest strengths lied in the in-ring action, as well as the storytelling beats we saw in certain aspects.
Having MJF go over in CM Punk’s hometown was a bold choice for sure, especially given AEW’s track record in feel-good moments for hometown wrestlers.
Once in a while, a show designed to build heat on your heel wrestlers is good, if the goal is to make their downfalls that much more satisfying. And that’s something that AEW has been tremendously good at. Having your bad guys look strong (but not to an excess where it harms the faces and drives audiences away) makes their ultimate comeuppance more of a landmark moment for the audience to enjoy.
This of course, brings us to the eventual payoff of Wardlow turning against MJF, which seems likely to come as soon as Revolution in March. They’ve built up this story long enough that this payoff will be one the fans will be looking forward to most. It’s one that will be one to watch in the coming weeks.
The actual Punk/MJF match itself was a memorable long-haul match, which was made better by the in-ring work by both men. It was a showcase of storytelling and classic heel vs. babyface action that resonated well with audiences.
Bryan Danielson’s tease of a stable with “serious-minded” wrestlers like Daniel Garcia and Lee Moriarty being snatched up to join him brings a lot of interesting story possibilities, even if Jon Moxley does not join this team (which he probably won’t).
Ruby Soho vs. Nyla Rose was a great encounter that saw Nyla use her size and strength to dominate, forcing Ruby to rely on her wits to overcome this challenge. I’m glad Nyla got the win here, which allows her to remain a top contender in the women’s division.
Of course, every rose has its thorn, and the thorn in this case is the lousiness of having not one, but two Dan Lambert appearances. I’m sure his shtick of being a thinly-veiled Jim Cornette parody has its fans, but it’s something that can really get overbearing. The term “go-away heat” is something I’d use in relation to Lambert’s segments, especially with his two appearances tonight.
The worst one was probably the segment with Brandi Rhodes, which just devolved into a confusing mess, largely due to the crowd being unsure on who to root for.
Lambert’s second appearance on the show during the Hangman Page/Lance Archer confrontation was really unneeded, especially for the rather bad remark about the Chicago Blackhawks’ team name and its relation to the Cleveland Guardians’ former name. Archer doesn’t really need Lambert to act as a heater for him, if we’re being honest.
Archer getting the better of Hangman was needed in order for the audience to buy him as a credible enough contender for the title, heading into next week’s Texas Death Match — even if the outcome of Page retaining is about 95% certain (not taking any chances after getting Punk vs. MJF wrong).
Marc Quill is the editor of RingCrashers, GateCrashers’ home for all your All Elite Wrestling and indie wrestling needs. He’s also the web novelist behind Skye Emery: Bluebird, which you can read here. You can chat with him about wrestling, comics, and stuff in general on @MarcQuill on Twitter.