Before we get to the recap itself, I’m sure there’s a big AEW news story that we can talk about that just happened this past week.
Of course, I’m talking about the rather big shocker that Cody and Brandi Rhodes are set to depart All Elite Wrestling as they remain free agents. What was thought to be a work was seemingly confirmed to be actually for real as Cody himself, as well as Tony Khan released statements on Twitter announcing the mutual parting of ways.
The big prevailing rumor is that Cody is looking to make a return to WWE, with a big role set for him in the future.
There’s also the apparent rumors that Cody left due to not having enough creative control and over pay disputes. That said, the split was reportedly said to be amicable, per Fightful Select.
Truth is, while Cody has done a lot to get AEW off the ground alongside the other EVPs, the company has grown to a point where the roster is very stacked enough to withstand a significant departure. They have a killer’s row of talent lined up currently with the likes of Bryan Danielson, Adam Page, Jon Moxley, Keith Lee, CM Punk, and a potential of additional signees to come. AEW will survive Cody leaving, and it’ll surely evolve further.
Previously on All Elite Wrestling…
On Dynamite, Hangman Page retained his World Title against Lance Archer in a very bloody Texas Death Match; CM Punk earned himself another rematch with MJF by beating FTR with the help of Jon Moxley; Keith Lee made a massive impact on his debut by earning a spot in the Face of the Revolution Ladder Match; “Switchblade” Jay White destroyed the Forbidden Door by appearing at Adam Cole’s behest; The Inner Circle seemed to be on the outs; Jade Cargill retained the TBS Championship against a very game A.Q.A.; Serena Deeb taught a lesson in pain at the expense of one Katie Arquette.
Over on Rampage, The Young Bucks defeated Roppongi Vice as Jay White struck after the match, taking out Trent Beretta; Dr. Britt Baker did not get licked as she beat Robyn Renegade in singles action; HOOK made an example of Blake Li to the delight of the HOOKers everywhere; Luchasaurus and Jungle Boy fended off The Ass Boys to retain their coveted AEW World Tag Titles.
CM Punk Chooses The Rematch
We start off right away with CM Punk seated in the ring wearing a “MID” shirt and with a gift box in front of him. Punk goes right into his spiel about how he’s straight edge – which means that he’s alcohol-free, drug-free, and better than us. He says that those words spoken twenty years ago helped build his legacy in the ring and inspire a generation of wrestlers, some of whom are sitting in the locker room right following his ethos of straight edge excellence… and then there’s MJF.
Punk says that MJF may try to walk like him or talk like him, but the truth is, he’ll never be able to think like him. He says that people might think he’d be upset about losing to MJF in Chicago twice – but he’s not, saying that he’s proud of Max. Punk continues by saying that Max may fancy himself being like Piper in Portland, Bret in Canada, or Punk in Chicago, but the reality of it is that MJF will be nothing more than “shitty little Max from shitty little Long Island.”
Punk shouts out Jon Moxley for the assist in last week’s tag match against FTR, which means that he now gets to pick the time and place for his rematch versus MJF. The time? Sunday, March 6th, 2021. The place? Orlando, Florida. Revolution 2022. As for the stipulation? Punk says he was thinking of the toughest matches he’s ever had, like a steel cage. Problem is, Maxwell can still run and he knows Wardlow can climb a cage for the assist. Plus, he believes that would be a bit too easy for him.
Then, Punk decides to think of one of the toughest challenges of his career – one where he literally left pieces of himself in the ring. He says he’s thinking of Piper in Portland and if Maxwell really wants to be tethered so badly, they can do it in a Dog Collar match. “Max, will you be my Valentine?” Punk says as he pulls out a dog collar from the gift box. He asks that MJF be out here because he’s got one last thing to say and he wants to say it to his face.
Cue MJF as he makes his way to the stage, mic in hand.
Punk shows the image of him and a young MJF to the camera, saying that the day MJF met him was the greatest day of his young life. But for Punk? Just another Friday. Revolution will be the worst day of MJF’s life, but it’s just gonna be another Sunday for Punk. He promises to stain the ring canvas with MJF’s blood when he’s through with him.
MJF holds the mic in front of him and appears to have something to say… but he just walks off, clearly rattled by what awaits him on March 6th.
Who Loves Three-Ways?
Tony Schiavone is backstage with the AEW World Tag Champions Jungle Boy & Luchasaurus and Christian Cage, talking about how the Tag Titles will be defended at Revolution in a three-way dance, with the participants to be determined in a Tag Team Battle Royale next week and a Casino Tag Battle Royale in two weeks.
“Well, Tony, I love a good three-way…. tag match,” says Jungle Boy. Christian says that there may be a few changes in the coming weeks in the tag division, but the one thing that will stay the same is that Jungle Boy & Luchasaurus will still be the AEW Tag Team Champions.
“Three-ways… blehhhhhhhhhh!” hisses Luchasaurus to end the segment.
Match 1: Bryan Danielson vs. Lee Moriarty
The Story So Far
The American Dragon wants to form an alliance with Jon Moxley to become an unstoppable force in AEW. In doing so, Danielson cited names like Daniel Garcia, Wheeler YUTA, and his opponent tonight as potential recruits to this prospective faction. On last week’s Rampage, Danielson confronted Lee Moriarty and Matt Sydal. Moriarty took exception to Danielson’s comments and challenged him to a match.
Actress Melissa Joan Hart was shown in the crowd during Lee Moriarty’s entrance, which was backed by a song about Moriarty from the new Who We Are music compilation celebrating Black History Month.
Bryan offers a handshake to Moriarty, but pulls away at the last second.
Back-and-forth technical chain wrestling to start off. Bryan pushes Lee to the ropes, which forces ref Rick Knox to back the American Dragon off. Danielson slaps Lee in the face afterwards.
More mat wrestling between the two, with Danielson winning out as he applies the Romero Special on Moriarty. He transitions it to a modified dragon sleeper, but Moriarty fights out of it. Lee looks for the Border City Stretch, but Danielson gets to the ropes. Amother slap to the face by Danielson, followed by a kick. Rolling dodge over Bryan’s back by Moriarty, followed by a leg sweep and a strike at Bryan’s elbow.
Lee lighting up Bryan in the corner with elbows as he whips him to the other corner, leading to the leaping dodge by Bryan. Running uppercut by Lee sends Bryan to the floor. Springboard to the top stopped as Bryan rolls back in and traps Lee between the ropes and starts kicking at his exposed chest. Referee Knox stops him with the five-count, leading to Bryan holding Lee by the chin and hitting him with a fierce kick as we head to picture-in-picture.
Back live on Dynamite with Danielson pinning down Lee by the arms and attacking the midsection with his knees. Even with the pressure, Moriarty reverses momentum as he and Bryan’s legs remain tied together. They trade strikes as they roll into exchanging mounted fists before Bryan transitions into the LeBell Lock! Moriarty is able to slide himself into the bottom rope to escape the submission. “This is awesome!” chants rightfully fill the arena air.
Moriarty catches Bryan with a surprise back suplex to create separation. The two begin trading punches and rolling uppercuts. Moriarty counters a Danielson uppercut into a backslide pin… 1, 2, NO! Double-leg reversed as Bryan slaps Moriarty once again! Lee’s fired up as he batters Bryan with boxing-style elbow strikes! Bryan ducks under the last strike and rocks Lee with a rolling elbow!
Bryan goes for the kick, but Moriarty catches the leg! Bryan flips to escape. Lee with the catching overhook suplex… 1, 2, KICKOUT! Danielson’s prone on the ground as Moriarty starts hitting him with some violent strikes to the back of his head. Moriarty locks in the Border City Stretch with nowhere to go for Bryan. The American Dragon turns that into a lifting Regalplex, with shades of his old mentor William Regal.
Bryan in the corner, he senses blood…. Busaiku Knee! He approaches Moriarty’s limp body and grabs the arms and stomps repeatedly! Triangle Sleeper applied as Bryan does a cocky double-biceps pose. The referee calls this match with Moriarty unable to answer.
Bryan Danielson def. Lee Moriarty via Referee Stoppage – Triangle Sleeper (12:13)
Post-Match – The American Dragon Wants An Answer From Mox
With a mic in hand, Bryan talks about how he came to teach Lee Moriarty a thing or two about violence before polling the fans on whether or not he passed or failed the test. Bryan says that the fans’ response is why he does not trust the American public with anything.
He says that he wants an answer from Jon Moxley about his earlier proposal about creating a new team that will change the foundation of AEW and teach the young prospects about violence.
This, of course, heralds the arrival of Jon Moxley through his usual entrance via the sea of the crowd.
Mox starts by saying that over a decade ago, he was a lot like Lee Moriarty and the rest of the young lions of the AEW locker room – young, angry and with nothing to lose. It’s why he took his shot to take out the “great American Dragon”.
It was an indie show in Chillicothe, Ohio where Bryan was late due to the weather, so they sent Tracy Smothers to play to the crowd for 45 minutes until Mox showed up and was confronted with Danielson already in this gear. It was there that Mox stood face to face with the best wrestler in the world. He talks about how he still came up short, despite giving it his all that night. That loss simply just made Mox meaner, angrier, and wanting it more. Since then, Mox says he’s had more chances to fight Danielson, but the truth is? He’s never been able to get that win. He says that he was excited to see the American Dragon arrive in AEW, because it meant that he’d finally get his opportunity to slay the one dragon he hadn’t been able to throughout his career. As it turns out, though, Danielson doesn’t want to fight Mox, but actually join forces with him.
Mox says that he was listening to Danielson’s promo from a couple of weeks ago, and he admits that it could be “awesome”. All the arms they could snap, all the skulls they could crack… a dream team dynasty of unmitigated pure wrestling violence. And then Mox got to thinking what they could create with the young guys.
No matter how hard Mox tried, he says that he couldn’t think of a good reason to say “no” to the offer. And then he got to thinking that perhaps the real reason Danielson is offering this is that maybe because he doesn’t want to fight Jon Moxley.
“I don’t stand side by side with nobody, ‘til I bleed with ‘em first.” Mox wraps up his spiel, leaving the American Dragon with a lot to think about.
A Limitless Debut
We get remarks from Keith Lee, who talks about how he’s here to make a statement with his arrival in AEW. Phase One was winning a spot in the Face of the Revolution Ladder Match. Phase Two is winning the Ladder Match and earning a shot at the TNT Championship.
Match 2: Wardlow vs. Max Caster (Face of the Revolution Qualifying Match)
The Story So Far
This is another qualifier for the Face of the Revolution Ladder Match. The main story, as always, is Wardlow gaining more and more popularity as fans await whether or not he finally turns against MJF and The Pinnacle.
Wardlow tries to go for a powerbomb early, but Max slides away. Anthony Bowens grabs at the leg of Wardlow to create a brief distraction as we head to picture-in-picture.
We’re back as Caster hits Wardlow with the chain to the head as he was in a powerbomb position. Max to the top rope… Mic Drop elbow drop! 1, 2… NO! Bowens tries to get involved, but he gets knocked off the apron. Max Caster is at Wardlow’s mercy as he hits the Powerbomb Symphony! Three powerbombs signal the end for Caster as Wardlow punches his ticket in the Face of the Revolution Ladder Match!
Wardlow def. Max Caster via pinfall — Powerbomb Symphony (5:17)
Bowens tries to attack Wardlow after the match, but he gets a powerbomb of his own. While Wardlow celebrates his win, Shawn Spears slides in and just bludgeons Bowens and Caster with chairs, much to the big man’s disapproval.
We’re backstage with Dr. Britt Baker and friends, who talk about Mercedes Martinez’s upcoming No DQ match against Thunder Rosa. Britt tells Mercedes that there’s to be no excuses tonight and that she must finish Thunder off tonight. She boasts about how she has the best squad and the best sensei… which brings out Martin Kove (aka John Kreese from The Karate Kid movies and Cobra Kai). Britt consults with Kove about what needs to be done if Mercedes fails, to which he says “finish her, no mercy.”
A Meeting of the Adams
Tony Schiavone introduces AEW World Champion “Hangman” Adam Page, who comes out to a great reception from the Nashville crowd (with his lower-third featuring a link to donate blood at redcrossblood.org).
Before Schiavone can start off the interview, Adam Cole interrupts the proceedings, asking the Nashville crowd to give a warm round of applause to our World Champion. He pumps up Hangman’s battles with Bryan Danielson, Kenny Omega, and Lance Archer, saying that he’s earned the right to call himself the AEW World Champion.
Cole says that he’s been a World Champion everywhere he’s been and that it’ll be a shame that Hangman’s reign will have to come to an end very soon.
Page responds, saying that he’s often wondered how Cole feels about how his friends built a wrestling empire without him. And he wonders if it now feels weird with his Bullet Club friend, his RoH roommate holding the one world title he’ll never hold.
Cole turns it around by mentioning how the Young Bucks haven’t spoken Hangman’s name in weeks now and that the Dark Order hasn’t been associated with him for months. “Truth be told, what kind of friend are you?” asks Cole.
Hangman says he’s not perfect, but he doesn’t believe Cole has the best track record when it comes to friendship, either. So, yeah, Hangman’s got some regrets and mistakes, but Cole being in the ring with him might be the worst mistake he’s made tonight.
Cole tries to back off, claiming to be frank with him. He says that the truth is, now that he’s here in AEW, the one thing that rings true that did anytime they’ve been in the same promotion is that Hangman has always been “The Other Adam”.
Hangman backs off and rolls up his sleeves, ready to fight. Cole backs off again, saying that he’s got nothing but love and respect for him. If he could share the ring with anyone in AEW, it would be Hangman. Someday, they’ll fight for the AEW Title and it’ll be man-to-man. “May the best man win,” Cole says as he offers a handshake. Hangman accepts the handshake as Cole makes his leave.
It appears Cole is leaving peacefully, but here comes Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish through the crowd with a damn sneak attack on the AEW World Champion! It was a setup all along! Cole slides back in and joins reDRagon in the three-on-one assault! Security files from the crowd to break it up, as the Dark Order soon make the save. The former Undisputed Era runs off as Preston Vance goes berserk on the security guards! The rest of the Dark Order try to calm 10 down, but he takes one of the guards and tosses him to a sea of his peers while Cole and friends look on with some fear.
Match 3: The Inner Circle (Chris Jericho & Jake Hager) vs. Santana & Ortiz
The Story So Far
Santana and Ortiz’s issues with Chris Jericho stem from the fact that they feel as though they haven’t accomplished nearly as much as they could while a part of The Inner Circle. It came to a head during a tense team meeting last week, where Santana and Ortiz spoke their mind to an increasingly-frustrated Jericho. Sammy Guevara told his friends that if they didn’t figure this shit out, he’d go off on his own. This would lead to S&O throwing down the gauntlet against Jericho and Jake Hager, and that’s why we have this match tonight.
Before the match can start in earnest, Eddie Kingston makes his entrance to show his support for Proud ‘n Powerful.
Santana and Jericho kick things off as they talk smack to one another. Jericho piefaces Santana, who responds with some strikes. Ducking a clothesline, Santana responds with a clothesline of his own before jumping Jericho in the corner with a splash. Big boot to Santana by Jericho only fires him up some more. He lights up Jericho with chops to the chest, following that with a dropkick to the back of a seated Jericho.
Tag made to Ortiz as they hit a double team DDT, followed by Santana hitting a leaping moonsault off of Ortiz’s back. Bridging fisherman suplex on Jericho gets a two-count. Running move by Ortiz is blocked with a pop-up drop by Jericho, who tags in big Jake Hager.
Jericho and Hager with the double shoulder tackle before the former yells at Ortiz to “tell him why”. Ortiz responds with strikes to his knee, but Hager stops that with a belly-to-belly suplex. He runs to the corner and hits a Hager Bomb for the two-count, sending us to picture-in-picture action.
Dynamite resumes with Jericho and Ortiz as the legal men. Jericho blocks a suplex attempt by Ortiz, before hitting one of his own. Ortiz tries to reach out to Santana, but he’s stopped by Jericho, who slaps him disrespectfully. Finally able to take Jericho down with a fierce lariat, Ortiz is able to tag in Santana for the hot tag.
Santana takes out Jericho on the apron with a big boot before going to work on Hager with chops and a kick to the knee. Running dropkick floors Hager, but that opens up Santana for a Codebreaker by Jericho. Hager recovers and hits a powerful slam! 1, 2…. KICKOUT! Hager drags Santana back to his corner, tagging Jericho back in. Inner Circle double team, but Hager gets sent over the top rope by Santana.
Jericho and Santana mixing it up, but Jericho takes advantage with the running facebuster, setting up Santana for the Lionsault. Ortiz catches Jericho on the ropes, which allows Santana to get Jericho with a running Russian leg sweep! Ortiz takes Hager out with a leaping cannonball senton to the outsde. Only a near-fall as Santana tags Ortiz back in the match. They set Jericho up for the Street Sweeper, which connects! 1, 2….. Jericho kicks out of the Street Sweeper!
Santana is tagged back in and tries for a running cannonball leaping off of Ortiz’s back… but Jericho catches him and turns that into the Liontamer! Santana struggles in pain, but he maanges to get to the ropes, with Eddie Kingston’s motivation. Kingston gets on the apron, but Jericho hits him with a triangle dropkick! Judas Effect dodged by Santana as Jericho gets hit by Ortiz, followed by the discus lariat by Santana… 1… 2… 3!
Santana & Ortiz def. Chris Jericho & Jake Hager via pinfall – Discus Lariat (10:44)
Jericho is incensed and starts briefly fighting with Eddie Kingston as referees pour in to separate the two bitter enemies.
The Elite’s Beautiful Babies
The “Cutler Cam” is rolling backstage with the Young Bucks, Adam Cole and reDRagon. Cole and friends talk about how they beat up Hangman Page real good, asking the Bucks where they were during that. The Bucks say “anybody but him”, saying that it’s like beating up a dead horse. Cole tries to get everyone back on track, saying that he’s going to kick 10’s ass on Friday, and that Jay White will do the same to Trent Beretta. He mentions the upcoming tag team battle royals, which lead to the Bucks and reDRagon bickering with one another, eventually leading to O’Reilly and the Bucks arguing about their kids. “You all have beautiful children, okay?” Cole again tries to get everyone on the same page. The Bucks and reDRagon then leave separately, leaving Cole alone.
“Which way are you gonna go, Cole?” asks Brandon Cutler, who’s told to shut up to end the segment.
Match 4: Thunder Rosa vs. Mercedes Martinez (No Disqualifications Match)
The Story So Far
After screwing over Thunder Rosa in the TBS Championship Tournament, Mercedes Martinez would make further impact by causing a DQ on Rampage a few weeks ago by way of a lead pipe shot. We would learn later that night that Mercedes was explicitly brought into AEW as a mercenary by Dr. Britt Baker with the goal of taking Rosa out of contention for the AEW Women’s World Title.
Thunder Rosa does not want to wait for the bell as she charges at Mercedes Martinez with a chair in hand. She starts striking away with the chair before rolling Mercedes into the ring to kick off this match in earnest. Doesn’t take long for the match to spill back to the outside as a table is introduced to the proceedings.
Mercedes throws Rosa into the steel steps as she brings out chairs to the ring. Rosa throws her opponent into the barricade to knock it over, as this fight now heads to the crowd area! Rosa throws Mercedes against the riser barricades before going over one of them and leaping off with a crossbody on Mercedes as we head to break.
Back on Dynamite with a table set up agains the apron… apron suplex onto the table by Mercedes! The action now back in the ring as Mercedes puts Rosa on the top turnbuckle, looking for some kind of move, but it’s reversed into a hurricanrana! Rosa dumps a trash can over Mercedes and hits a running dropkick! 1… 2… NO!
Rosa going to the top rope, but Mercedes hits her with a trash can, which opens her opponent up for the spider German suplex! Off the top rope with a stumbling elbow drop… 1, 2… Rosa kicks out! Mercedes sets up a pile of chairs, looking to fulfill Dr. Britt Baker’s directives of finishing Rosa off. Powerbomb reversed as Rosa hits a crucifix bomb! Rosa sets up Mercedes for the Fire-Thunder Driver right on the pile of chairs! 1… 2… 3!
Thunder Rosa def. Mercedes Martinez via pinfall – Fire-Thunder Driver (9:30)
Rosa shows some respect to Mercedes by helping her up to her feet. This brings out Dr. Britt Baker DMD and her posse. Britt goes to Martin Kove in the crowd, asking what needs to be done next. “I told you she was weak… now finish her.” orders Kove, as Reba and Jamie Hayter attack Thunder Rosa on Britt’s orders! Britt offers Mercedes the pipe, hoping she can finish the job. Mercedes hesitates, as she’s hit from behind by Hayter! The evil dentists stand tall.
We get a video from the House of Black as we see Malakai Black with tarot cards. Black’s voiceover says that no violence can occur without judgement. Brody King asks who they’re waiting for… as Black responds: “a mystery”. We see a vague figure appear behind Black to end the segment.
Match 5: TNT Championship – Sammy Guevara vs. Darby Allin
The Story So Far
As challengers step right up to face the new undisputed TNT Champion, a former champ steps up to the plate to challenge Sammy Guevara. The match was made official last week, and with the air of Andrade El Idolo staking his claim for the TNT TItle, as well as attempting to “recruit” Darby, who has emphatically rejected Andrade’s overtures.
Respectful handshake between Darby and Sammy right as the bell sounds. Collar and elbow tieups to officially start as dueling “Let’s Go Darby/Let’s Go Sammy” chants fill the air. Darby keeps the headlock on tight, turning it into a side headlock takeover on Sammy. Snapmare turned into a crucifix pin that only gets a two-count. Off the ropes as Sammy dodges over Darby and gets met with a dropkick instead. Running monkey flip blocked by Sammy. Leaping kick from Sammy stuns Darby as the two jockey for position. Weird modified buckle bomb sends Darby to the outside, hard. Sammy throws his opponent back in the ring and sets him over the top rope. Sammy to the top rope and a senton on a prone Darby connects! We take our final commercial break on that note.
We’re back live on Dynamite as Darby sends Guevara to the corner and runs at him with consecutive Coffin Splashes. Chopblock to the injured knee of Sammy, is followed by a Coffin Splash to that hurt knee. Darby continues the attack to the knee as Sammy retreats to the corner.
Allin sets Sammy up in a tree of woe position and again stretches at that hurt knee of the TNT Champion. Darby gets on the top and applies a modified single-leg crab from the tree of woe position, but Sammy pulls himself back up with a headbutt and hits the avalanche Spanish Fly! Sammy’s writhing in pain, but he manages to get to the cover… 1… 2… NO!
Sammy back up as he pulls Darby for the Cross Rhodes(?), but Darby reverses. Sammy is looking for a springboard cutter, but Darby catches him and transitions into the Figure-Four Leglock! Sammy audibly shouts “fuck you” at Darby as he flips him off. The two men trade slaps for a bit before the submission is released.
Both men at opposite corners as Sammy charges with the knee. Darby dodges, then trying for the Diamond Dust. Guevara counters that into a GTH… but Darby steps through and blocks it with the Last Supper… 1, 2… NO!
Darby finally connects with Diamond Dust as Sammy rolls out of the ring. Darby, with a head of speed, goes for the suicide dive, but Sammy counters with the cutter! He spreads Darby across the apron and heads to the top rope. Sammy with the Senton… but Darby rolls out of the way as the TNT Champion eats the apron instead!
Darby rolls Sammy back in the ring and looks to have the match won with the Coffin Drop, but here comes Jose the Assistant to interfere. Sting attacks Jose, but that allows Andrade El Idolo to crack Darby over the head with the tablet! Sammy gets himself back up, senses the situation as he shrugs and hits the GTH on Darby. 1, 2, 3. The TNT Champion retains.
Sammy Guevara def. Darby Allin via pinfall – GTH (14:50)
Matt Hardy runs in and starts punching away at Darby as Sammy wards him off. From behind, Andrade whacks Sammy with the table as he takes off with the TNT Championship belts! Sting chases off Andrade as he and Matt Hardy apparently take off with the TNT Titles (I guess?) to end our evening.
This Friday on Rampage: Slam Dunk (2/18/22)
- Adam Cole vs. Preston “10” Vance
- “Switchblade” Jay White vs. Trent Beretta
- Serena Deeb’s Five-Minute Challenge
- Face of the Revolution Qualifying Match: Powerhouse Hobbs vs. Dante Martin
Next Wednesday on Dynamite (2/23/22)
- The Kings of the Black Throne (Malakai Black & Brody King) vs. Penta El Zero M (Oscuro?) & PAC
- Tag Team Battle Royal (winner moves on to Three-Way Tag Title Match at Revolution)
- Chris Jericho & Eddie Kingston Face Off
While it was a tall order for this week’s episode of Dynamite to top last week’s all-timer episode, I think AEW succeeded in that regard, as this episode also served as proof that a Cody Rhodes-less AEW isn’t the deathknell for the company.
The CM Punk/MJF rivalry heated up rather nicely once again, with things escalating from Max’s surprise victory in Chicago. Punk’s promo to open the show once again was proof positive of why he’s one of the best storytellers on the mic.
MJF unable to say a retort was a nice character moment to help sell the seriousness of the danger he’s found himself in.
When AEW announced that we’d see Bryan Danielson vs. Lee Moriarty this week on Dynamite, a lot of people were very excited to see this match. That excitement was rewarded with a technical showcase where both competitors got their shine in a fantastic TV match.
Jon Moxley’s rebuttal to Danielson’s offer was, as per usual, a well-spoken promo that brought up their shared history with their past matches in the indies and in WWE. His suggestion of “I don’t stand with anyone until I bleed with them first” appears to hint at a match with Bryan at Revolution, which can either end with the feud continuing or this alliance coming to fruition. Whatever happens next following the inevitable match will be interesting no matter where Mox falls on the subject.
Thunder Rosa vs. Mercedes Martinez was an excellently violent No DQ match One of AEW’s biggest strengths is how their gimmick matches almost always deliver in quality and creating memorable moments. This match was no exception. Rosa’s respect towards Mercedes, as well as The DMD Crew turning against her seems to indicate a face turn is in the cards for her, and we’ll see if that comes true soon enough.
It’s clear that the endgame for Dr. Britt’s AEW Women’s Title reign is coming soon, so her crew getting their heat in with the beat down of Rosa and Mercedes was perfectly fine. Martin Kove’s involvement with Britt and company worked really well and letting him deliver his trademark John Kreese lines fit within the context of him being Britt’s evil sensei.
The Wardlow turn is progressing along nicely, and pitting him against midcard heels like The Blade last week and Max Caster this week helps with that. What also helps with that is Shawn Spears’ role as an agitator – usually by bashing Wardlow’s defeated opponents with a chair – adds a lot of character to him. He’s great in this role as “The Accountabilibuddy”
Our night capped off with a wonderful main event TNT Title match between Sammy Guevara and Darby Allin, that was unfortunately marred by main event interference from Andrade El Idolo and Jose the Assistant. Guevara and Allin have fun chemistry with one another and play off each other’s strengths so well, which made for some fun moments in the match.
The A.H.F.O. storyline is not really doing it for me, to be honest. A lot of it feels like it’s just biding time for Matt Hardy until Brother Nero’s non-compete clause ends in mid-March. The real question is how we get from a clearly-heel Matt to the presumed and expected Hardy Boyz reunion where Matt and Jeff are faces.
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.