4/21 AEW DYNAMITE TV REPORT: Keller’s report on Darby vs. Jungle Boy for TNT Title, Christian vs. Hobbs, Hangman vs. Starks

By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor


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AEW DYNAMITE TV REPORT
APRIL 21, 2021
JACKSONVILLE, FLA. AT DAILY’S PLACE
LIVE ON TNT
REPORT BY WADE KELLER, PWTORCH EDITOR

Commentators: Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone, Excalibur

Ring Announcer: Justin Roberts


[HOUR ONE]

-The Dynamite opening theme aired, and then the announcers hyped the line-up of matches.

(Keller’s Analysis: This seems to be an adjustment to format now that NXT isn’t opposite of them on USA. They can set the table for the show without as much concern that viewers would flip over to check out NXT’s opening match or promo.)

(1) “ABSOLUTE” RICKY STARKS (w/Hook) vs. “HANGMAN” ADAM PAGE

As Starks walked out, an inset soundbite aired with Starks talking about facing the no. 1 ranked singles challenger, Page. He said he’s shown everyone he cannot dela with pressure, whereas he makes diamonds under pressure. Page came out second. Taz joined the announcers on commentary for this match. Taz said they respect Page, but Starks is ready and focused. Page caught Starks mid-air at 1:00 and bodyslammed him.

The announcers talked about the ticket sales launch this Monday for “Blood & Guts.” Page dove onto Starks at ringside, then had a brief staredown with Hook, Taz’s son, at ringside. Taz said he isn’t going to back down from anyone no matter how old he is. Starks took over by tossing Page hard chest-first into the middle rope. Page fired back with a chop, but Starks brushed it off and whipped Page super=hard into the opposite corner, throwing his body as he threw Page. (Love that!)

Starks sold an injured ankle a minute later and Page took over again. He landed a brainbuster suplex for a two count. Starks came out of the corner with a sitout powerbomb for a two count at 8:00. Taz said Starks is a future World Champion. Page gave Starks a fallaway slam off the second rope and then nailed Starks with a nasty lariat for a very near fall. Page went for a Buckshot Lariat, but Starks ducked and speared Page for a believable near fall. Page escaped a powerbomb attempt and then took Starks over with a inverted hiptoss followed by a submission hold, wrapping both Starks’ head and his injured ankle. Taz said, “His bad ankle! Dammit!” Starks tapped out.

WINNER: Page in 9:00.

(Keller’s Analysis: Really good match. Good pacing, good selling, interesting reversals, hard effort, and some of the exchanges just felt like real battles for leverage rather than seeming super silky smooth and choreographed. Starks is really good at the little stuff that often goes unappreciated. Page is well-established as a top level worker.)

-Afterward, Taz called for Page’s attention. He told him to watch his back. Hook then clipped Page from behind and stompedon him. Page kicked him in the face and fought off both Starks and Hook. Brain Cage walked out and picked up Page and set up a powerbomb, but Dark Order ran out for the save. Team Taz retreated. [c]

-They showed The Young Bucks, Karl Anderson, Luke Gallows, Don Callis, and Kenny Omega entering a private trailer outside the venue with Brandon Culter filming them (a la Sami Zayn’s documentary crew, I suppose) and Michael Nakazawa (wearing a headset).

(2) PENTA EL ZERO MIEDO (w/Alex Abrahantes) vs. TRENT? (w/Orange Cassidy)

During Penta’s ring entrance, they aired a sound bite with Penta. Alex interpretted. He said Penta said if Orange Cassidy gets in his way, he’ll turn him into orange juice. Now Justin Roberts phrases Trent’s name as a question. Ross asked what the question mark means in Trent’s name. Excalibur said Trent is trying to figure it out, too. He laughed. Ross didn’t sound amused that there isn’t a backstory and it’s just a stupid mystery. (Ross is right not to be amused and chuckle along with Excalibur.) Ross noted the crowd was making a lot of noise, but were properly socially distanced according to CDC rules. Trent did a flip dive onto Penta at ringside. He largely overshot him, but they replayed it from two angles. Ross said, “Sometimes high risk doesn’t equal high reward.” Schiavone called the 34 year old Trent “a kid.” Penta landed a Destroyer. Both were slow to get up. They cut to a partial split-screen break. [c/ss]

Back from the break, Penta landed a backstabber. Trent’s left shoulder wasn’t even close to the mat, but the ref counted from the opposite side. Trent kicked out. They battled on the ring apron a few minutes later. Trent gave Penta a piledriver on the ring apron. Penta’s head didn’t come close to the mat. Excalibur said Penta tried to hold onto the ropes “which might have made it worse.” Ross contradicted him and said he’s not sure it had any effect on Penta, but might have hurt Trent’s tailbone. Trent speared Penta on the floor and then sat up and showed some fire. Abrahantes got on the mic and said Penta told him that he and his friends sucks. “And you know who sucks the most? You’re mama sucks!” That set off Trent who grabbed a chair. Alex entered the ring. The ref ordered Trent to put the chair down. Cassidy entered the ring and made a move toward Alex, but Penta kicked Cassidy from behind first.Alex then hit Trent with a mic as the ref checked on Cassidy. Penta then gave Trent a package piledriver for the win.

WINNER: Penta in 10:00.

-Ross had a sitdown interview with The Pinnacle. He asked what his reaction is to Jericho’s interview on Dynamite two weeks ago. MJF said Jericho got one thing right – his scarf is worn out. He said Tully Blanchard got him a gift, though. Wardlow unwrapped a gift from Tully. It was a new silk scarf. Ross felt it and said it was nice. Wardlow asked if Ross thought Jericho’s promo was immortal. Wardlow said Jericho’s promos are great, but not at MJF’s level. Wardlow said he cut a great promo until he got to him. He said the moment his name came out of his mouth, he knew he was doing something wrong. MJF said Jericho has been leading the industry for years until now. He said he stands in front of a bunch of B’s so he looks like an A and he wrestles a bunch of A’s so he doesn’t look like a B, but he’ll have to give him a big fat F.

He said the so-called Jericho rub consists of Jericho wrestling people fans already want to see and then claiming their popularity is because of him. He listed Kenny Omega, Page, Cody, Jon Moxley, Orange, and now himself. He said for 30 years he’s been outsmarting everyone until he met him. “I’m the one guy you couldn’t hold underneath your thumb,” he said. He said he’s not great for 25. He yelled: “That’s horseshirt!” He said he’s great, period, while Jericho was curtain-jerking on Worldwide at this age. He said they are the best faction in pro wrestling today. He said he already beat Jericho, which makes him better than him and he knows it. He told Jericho to try to beat him because he’ll be trying to do the same thing. He said if he got one thing right in that immortal promo, it’s that he’s a mark. He said he’s not a mark for Jericho, but rather he is a mark for his spot and he’ll take it on May 5. He said when you’re in The Pinnacle, you’re always on top.

(Keller’s Analysis: The constant references to “promos” could be a little meta and off-putting for some, but I think it works in 2021 with two wrestlers so known for their talking. It makes sense their rivalry would extend to their talking ability. MJF was tremendous here in both delivery and content. Wardlow got a chance to show his blooming promo potential here, too. This does give off some of the same vibes as when John Cena and The Rock were taking turns on alternate weeks trying to outdo each other.) [c]

-A video package aired on Tay Conti and Hikira Shida.

(3) HIKARU SHIDA vs. TAY CONTI – AEW Women’s Title match

Conti made her entrance onto the stage accompaniedby Dark order. She then walked to the ring alone. Excalibur noted she started training in combat sports at age 7. The bell rang and they bowed to each other before exchanging strikes mid-ring. Shida took control. A few minutes in, she locked on an upperbody chinlock and then rammed Conti’s head into the mat a few times. They cut to a split-screen break. [c/ss]

Shida grounded Conti during the break with another upperbody chinlock during the break. Back from the break, she superplexed Conti. Condi fired back with a pump kick. Both went down and were slow to get up. Conti got in sustained offense for a few minutes. She landed a leaping senton as Shida was lying face down in the corner on the top rope. A minute later Shida came back with a leaping knee strike and then landed a falcon arrow for a near fall. Shida lifted Conti onto her shoulders, then leaped and dropped Conti onto the top turnbuckle. She fell to the floor. Shida then went for a spin kick mid-ring, but Conti ducked and landed a pump kick. She then hit her Tay-K-O finisher for a believable near fall. She set up a DD-Tay next, but Shida sat out on it for a near fall. They exchanged strikes mid-ring. Shida then hit a backbreaker followed by a spinning side knee to the jaw for the win.

WINNER: Shida in 13:00 to retain the AEW Women’s Title.

(Keller’s Analysis: Really good match.)

-As Shida celebrated, Brit Baker walked out onto the stage and pointed at a graphic showing the rankings. Then it converted her to the no. 1 ranking. Ross said that was fast. Excalibur said she had some help from the graphics department. Shida then continued to celebration.

-A Rusev promo aired where he said he needs his vindication. He took digs at Kenny Omega and Darby. He said if you have a title, you have a problem with him. “The question now is what champion do I beat first?” he said.

(Keller’s Analysis: This is the pizzazz I was calling for last year. Really well produced, right to the point. It was straight forward and, in the end, you knew what Rusev’s goals are and what his approach to achieving them are.)

[HOUR TWO]

-Tony Schiavone introduced The Inner Circle. Chris Jericho led his faction to the ring. The crowd sang his theme song. Jericho smiled with pride throughout. He said he didn’t care what MJF said because the fans just brought the energy. He talked about Blood & Guts. He said it’ll be one of the most violent matches ever on TNT. Jake Hager said when they’re done, The Pinnacle will be sucking their meat through a straw. Jericho asked Sammy Guevara how to say “straw” in Spanish. Sammy butchered it because he doesn’t speak Spanish. Santana said since FTR arrived, they’ve been calling them out and saying they want to wrestle the best. He said then they waited until they had a crew behind them. He said it’s smart on their part, “but where we come from, we call those bitch moves.” He said they’ve seen the color of their blood, but on May 5, they’re going to see the size of their heart.

Jericho said MJF yaks away, but he never hears conviction. He said it seems like he’s reciting lines from a high school theater class that his teacher gave him to memorize. He said he doesn’t feel what he’s saying. He said he thinks MJF is still singing show tunes on Rosie O’Donnell. He said he can sing show tunes also. He sang about MJF being a dipshit whose head he shoved into a toilet. “I gave him a swirly!” he said. He told MJF he washed his ass with that scarf before Tully gave it to him.

He said it’s fun to make jokes about his jerkoff friend, but at Blood & Guts, it’s going to be a level of violence they’ll never forget. Jericho said next week, he wants to go face-to-face with them and discuss battle plans together. He said he is going to beat the living hell out of MJF. He said that’s not a line out of drama class. He said the worst is yet to come. He got intense and said Inner Circle will own his ass on May 5. [c]

(4) BILLY GUNN vs. Q.T. MARSHALL

As Billy came out, a soundbite aired with Anthony Ogogo saying he doesn’t like this country and is only here to make money. Billy charged at Marshall, Ogogo, Aaron Solow, and Nick Comoroto on the stage. He then took it to Marshall early in the match once the bell rang. Marshall rolled to the floor, wincing in pain. Billy went after him. Comoroto shoved Billy into the ringpost. Billy’s two sons jumped the barricade and fought Q.T.’s crew at ringside. Gunn rolled back into the ring where Marshall took control for a minute. Billy made a comeback. Marshall rolled to the stage after Billy blocked a Diamond Cutter. Ogogo punched Gunn in the gut. Marshall then hit a Diamond Cutter for the win.

WINNER: Marshall in 6:00.

(Keller’s Analysis: This match served its purpose well.)

-After the match, Ogogo handed Marshall a wooden chair. As he was about to hit Billy, Dustin Rhodes ran out with a bullrope and stopped him. He took it to Marshall including landing his signature snap powerslam. He then picked up the chair. Marshall rolled to the floor. Ogogo stood on the ring apron. Comoroto entered. Dustin bashed the wooden chair over his head and it shattered. Comoroto no-sold it. [c]

-Backstage, they went backstage to The Elite in their trailer. Callis said he’s a student of history, and there’s never been an assemblage of talent like this. He said Kenny is about to become Impact World Champion. Matt Jackson said they are the reason wrestling’s popularity in Japan went up. Nick Jackson said it’s called All Elite Wrestling not All Moxley Kingston Wrestling. They sang the “Three’s Company” theme and welcomed them to come knock on their door. When Omega started talking, suddenly a horn was honking non-stop outside. They looked out the window. Omega asked for someone to go tell that guy to shut up. They showed Moxley and Kingston outside. Moxley drove a pick-up truck into the side of the trailer. Kingston and Mox circled the trailer. Mox broke the window with a pipe and the busted into the trailer. He said they weren’t even in it. “I don’t think they really wanted to play games,” he said. “Where did they go? Bitch A-F. We don’t got anything to worry about.” Mox threw the pipe at the window and it almost hit Kingston. Kingston said he could at least wait until he was out of the way. He said he loves him, but come on.

(Keller’s Analysis: So where did The Elite go?)

(5) POWERHOUSE HOBBS vs. CHRISTIAN CAGE

Taz was on commentary again. He complained that they were banned from ringside. Taz announced that next week, Page will face Brian Cage. Hobbs overpowered Christian early. Ross said Hobbs has watched a lot of footage of “Hacksaw” Butch Reed. Excalibur said Reed endorsed Hobbs before his death. Hobbs took it to Christian, throwing him over the ringside barricade. He shoved Serpentico and then yanked Christian’s face into the fence. [c]

Hobbs set Christian on the top turnbuckle, but Christian powerbombed him. he then landed a top rope frog splash for a believable near fall. Hobbs countered a Christian spear, then landed a hip attack for a two count. Cage came back with a sleeper a minute later. Hobbs powered out and slammed Christian into the corner turnbuckle. Christian countered a Hobbs stampete set-up with a Kill Switch for the win. Taz said he was shocked.

WINNER: Christian in 11:00.

-After the match, Starks limped out, still selling his ankle. He checked on Hobbs and looked up at Christian.

-Excalibur hyped Cassidy vs. Penta, Penelope Ford vs. Kris Statlander, The Young Bucks vs. Matt & Mike Sydal, Dustin Rhodes & Billy Gunn & Lee Johnson vs. Marshall & Comoroto & Solow, Brian Cage vs. Hangman Page, and a Pinnacle-Inner Circle confrontation.

-A soundbite aired with Jade Cargill. She said every manager in AEW is looking to sign her right now. Soundbites aired with Vickie Guerrero and Matt Hardy. She said she doesn’t need a manager because she’s her own boss, so it’d take a hell of a deal to sign her. [c]

(6) DARBY ALLIN vs. JUNGLE BOY (w/Luchasaurus) – TNT Title match

They cut to an early split-screen break after some rapid-fire back-and-forth action at the start. [c]

Jungle Boy landed a flip dive at ringside as the audience began chanting “A-E-Dub!” Luchasaurus helped JB into the ring to avoid a countout. Ross said the ref shouldn’t allow that. Sting came out and confronted Luchasaurus. Sting gave Luchasaurus a short-arm clothesline when Luchasaurus put his hand on his chest. They exchanged some blows and wrestlers into the tunnel and to the back. JB rallied against Darby and scored a two count after a running elbow to the back of Darby’s head. He applied a snare trap next. Schiavone said Darby is going out and there will be a new champion. Darby crawled over to the bottom rope to force a break. JB lifted Darby into a surfboard, then shifted into another snare trap mid-ring. Darby teased tapping, but then hepulled on JB’s hair and gouged his eyes. Excalibur said it was the only thing he could do. Ross said it wasn’t sportsmanlike, but it was the only thing he could do. JB battered Darby with palm strikes and then sunset flipped Darby. Darby rolled through and applied a Last Supper for a leverage pin to win.

WINNER: Darby in 14:00 to retain the TNT Title.

(Keller’s Analysis: That lived up to expectations while also seeming like a tease of something more to come.)

-Afterward, Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky attacked Darby. Lance Archer came out for the save, going after Page and Sky. Sky and Page fought back. Sting came out with a baseball bat. Sky and Page left and Sting pointed his bat at them.

(Keller’s Analysis: A lot of moving parts at the end there.)

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