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KELLER’S AEW DYNAMITE REPORT
JUNE 19, 2021
JACKSONVILLE, FLA. AT DAILY’S PLACE
AIRED LIVE ON TNT
Commentators: Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone, Excalibur
Ring Announcer: Justin Roberts
-They opened with a split screen of Jake Hager with Chris Jericho behind him and Wardlow with Shawn Spears behind him. Schiavone hyped their match.
-The Dynamite opening theme aired.
-Jim Ross introduced the show as pyro blasted. Justin stood mid-ring as the announcers talked about the cage fight taking place under MMA rules.
(1) WARDLOW (w/Shawn Spears) vs. JAKE HAGER (w/Chris Jericho)
As Wardlow made his entrance, Excalibur said he doesn’t have the MMA background of Hager, but he has other traits that will serve him well in this type of setting. Taz was on commentary too. Excalibur noted that Wardlow has wrestled Cody Rhodes in a cage plus participated in Blood & Guts. He asked Taz if he’s the cage match specialist in AEW. Hager then made his entrance. They showed on split-screen Hager finishing off several opponents in the Bellator MMA promotion.
When Hager entered the cage, Wardlow stood facing the cage with his back turned to Hager. Schiavone asked if that was a show of disrespect. Justin noted during intros that there are no judges, so the only way to win is ref stoppage, tapout, or TKO.
ROUND ONE: After a staredown, the bell rang and the five minute round one clock began counting down. Hager landed a jab which Wardlow sold, and then a body shot. When he shot in, Wardlow tossed him off and gave him a wide-eyed intense stare afterward.
They circled each other again, and then Hager took Wardlow down, also showing off an intense game face. When Wardlow caught a Hager kick, he then punched Hager, sending him down hard. Hager covered his face as Wardlow went on the attack, then picked up Hager and slammed him down. Hager backed away and stood with a look of newfound respect for Wardlow with a minute left in the round.
They swung wildly at each other. Wardlow had Hager staggered. He leaped into the cage and kicked himself off with a Superman Punch. Hager retreated and Wardlow pursued. He threw punches at Hager as the round ended. Taz said Hager was saved by the bell.
(Keller’s Analysis: That was a really good first round of a worked MMA style fight. They had me buying in.)
They stayed live between rounds and showed Jericho and Spears talking with their fighters in the corners.
ROUND TWO: Wardlow took Hager over and attempted a submission. Hager slid to the corner. Wardlow mounted Hager. Ross said Hager is fighting like he’s injured. He went for a cross arm breaker. Hager slipped free and floated over into a side mount. He drove elbows into Wardlow’s ribs. He went for a cross arm breaker on Wardlow. They cut to Jericho cheering on Hager from ringside. Hager set up a triangle choke. Wardlow lifted Hager and powered out. He threw some punches at Hager. Hager went for a quick ankle lock. Wardlow rolled out of it and up-kicked Hager to break free.
Wardlow lifted Hager and powerbombed him into the cage. He took Hager over with a huracanrana, then speared Hager. Hager surprised Wardlow with a triangle headlock. Taz said it’s a nasty move. Excalibur noted there are no rope breaks. Wardlow stood and lifted Hager into a fireman’s carry. Hager fought free and gave Wardlow a uranage into another triangle. Schiavone said Wardlow was fading. The ref stopped the fight.
WINNER: Hager at 4:13 of the second round via referee stoppage.
(Keller’s Analysis: That was entertaining and largely well executed, the first round being better than the second round. It’s a challenge to do worked MMA, and this was on the higher end of trying to pull that off. They gave Wardlow a good bit of credibility-building offense against Hager. It seemed like Wardlow was the babyface between the two of them considering this was Hager’s territory. Hager looked like a big deal out there and seems to be inching his way toward more of a factor and contributors to AEW in recent weeks.)
-Afterward, Hager nodded in a sign of respect to Wardlow and offered a first bump. Spears jumped Hager from behind. Jericho made the save. MJF ran out and went after Jericho’s injured elbow. Jericho tapped out in pain. Dean Malenko ran out top stop MJF. MJF stared at Malenko and wound up to punch him, but stopped and thought better of it. Then he elbowed him in the face. “Son of a bitch!” said Ross, noting he’s 60 years old with Parkinson’s disease. Excalibur said MJF continues to find new depths to sink to. Sammy Guevara ran out and leaped into the cage and went at Spears with a clothesline and then charged at Wardlow and MJF. MJF ran “like a scalded dog.” Guevara yelled at them from the cage, then went to check on Jericho.
(Keller’s Analysis: I didn’t buy for a second that MJF was going to take mercy on Dean!)
-Excalibur plugged the main event six-man tag match.
-A promo aired with Frankie Kazarian, Eddie Kingston, and Penta El Zero Miedo. Kingston said, “Your asses are ours.”
(Keller’s Analysis: Kaz seems to be trying too hard with these promos since splitting with Christopher Daniels. They’re just self-important and wordy.)
-The announcers hyped other scheduled matches and segments. [c]
-A commercial featuring Kenny Omega hyped AEW Rampage coming to TNT on Friday, Aug. 13.
-Taz, Ricky Starks, Powerhouse Hobbs, and Taz’s son Hook were standing backstage for a promo. Hobbs accused them of leaving him hanging last week. Taz said he’s right and it was wrong. Taz said “Hangman” Page can’t beat Hobbs one-on-one. He challenged him for a match next Saturday night.
(Keller’s Analysis: Hook doesn’t talk, but man does he come across as a punk ass you want to see Hangman Page – or anyone else – beat up. He plays his part well and with such subtlety as to seem like he’s not even trying.)
(2) ETHAN PAGE & SCORPIO SKY vs. DARBY – Two-on-One match
Darby took Ethan down with two armdrags. Ethan retreated and tagged in Sky. Darby took Sky down with a leg trip. Ethan interfered, then Sky and Ethan double-teamed Darby to take control. Ross said he’s known a lot of different personalities in his years covering wrestling and he’s never known anyone like Darby. They cut to a split-screen break. [c/ss]
Excalibur said he was joined by “the great Jim Ross” calling the match. Sky and Ethan dominated during the break. Darby surprised Ethan with a small package for a two count. Ethan got cocky seconds later, and Darby caught him with a Scorpion Death Drop. As the ref scolded Sky and Ethan for a double-team, Darby zip-tied Ethan’s feet together. He knocked him out of the ring and then leveraged Sky into two near falls in a row. He followed with a flip-over Stunner followed by a Coffin Drop for a near fall. Ethan broke up the cover. Ethan looked under the ring and found a clipper to free his feet from the zip tie. He threw Darby into the ringpost.
Sky tagged out to Ethan, who fell to the floor selling being hurt. Darby head-butted Ethan off of him. Sky tripped Darby as he climbed to the top rope. Ethan then hit the Ego’s Edge for the win. “Mercifully, it’s finally over,” said Ross. Ethan bent over and trash-talked Darby afterward.
WINNER: Ethan in 12:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Darby put up a good fight, but once it was two-on-one, it seemed like it was a match created for him to lose without being knocked down a level due to the odds. Ethan and Sky are good as being the obnoxious duo you want to see get beat up.)
-Excalibur plugged upcoming matches.
(3) ORANGE CASSIDY (w/Trent, Chuck Taylor, Kris Statlander) vs. CESAR BONONI (w/Ryan Nemeth, Peter Avalon)
As Cassidy finished his entrance, a promo aired with the Wingmen cutting a promo. Ryan Nemeth and Bononi said they’ve given them no choice but to “make him pretty.” Schiavone wondered what brought them together because they seem to all come from different walks of life. Bononi tossed Cassidy across the ring as Cassidy had his hands in his pockets. Nemeth and Avalon spread tanning lotion and hair product all over Cassidy. Ross asked if it’s legal or even ethical.
Bononi gave Cassidy a big boot back inside the ring. When Cassidy landed at ringside again, Nemeth and Avalon put a sparkly shiny “Hunk” jacket on him. Cassidy rallied and seemed to like the jacket. He dove onto the Wingmen, but they caught him and tossed him in. Trent and Taylor threw Cassidy onto the Wingmen at ringside. Cassidy went for a diving DDT on Bononi, but Cassidy escaped and landed a twisting DDT. Nemeth tried to distract Cassidy, but Cassidy gave him an Orange Punch. Statlander bopped Drake. Cassidy then gave Bononi with a Superman Punch for the win.
WINNER: Cassidy in 4:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: A lot of lower-mid-card interaction there. Not sure if that’s the best place for Cassidy after Double or Nothing, but he won in the end. The match was admittedly kinda fun with everyone playing the roles with the right tone, but Cassidy seemed slightly less cool after it was all done.)
-Alex Marvez attempted to interview Jungle Boy in the parking lot. Kenny Omega, Don Callis, and Michael Nakazawa showed up in a golf cart. Omega said he wasn’t in a designer suit or with a championship belt this week. He said Jungle Boy embarrassed him and tarnished his image last week, so he’s going to give him a chance to prove how tough he is. He said he doubts he’s ever been in a real street fight, and with that pretty face he probably never took a punch to the face. He challenged him to a fight right there. JB casually and plainly said he’d rather beat him next week for the championship, looking at Omega like he was a goof. Omega offered him the first shot. JB took off his backpack and said okay. He even handed Marvez his phone. Nakazawa then bashed JB from behind with a laptop. Omega threw him onto trash cans and punched away at him. JB fought back and punched away at Omega. Nakazawa threw him off. Omega, Callis, and Nakazawa retreated in a golf cart.
(Keller’s Analysis: This was entertaining, but I think Omega is still coming across too much like a flake and a goof for the top world champion heel position he’s in. JB came out of it with dignity, at least. Omega’s act, if you subtract the New Japan run and in-ring skills, could easily fit in with the Wingmen along with Nakazawa or even Dark Order as their wacky leader yucking it up with John Silver & Co. If his goal is to be so uncool that fans won’t cheer him, it just might work. But you also want fans to pay to see you.) [c]
-Marvez interviewed Matt Hardy, Private Party, and Bunny. Hardy said when you break a contract, you face repercussions. He said Christian was retired due to injuries for seven years, but if he keeps coming at him – at which point Christian attacked him. Private Party and Hardy threw him behind a fence and locked the door as Bunny made crazy noises. Hardy told him to retire and spend time with his daughter. Christian told him to open the cage. Hardy said that won’t happen because maybe some alone time would be good for him. He said if he keeps coming at him, he’ll end his career permanently.
(Keller’s Analysis: This was a fine way to add some heat to the Hardy-Christian match.)
(4) CODY RHODES & BROCK ANDERSON (w/Arn Anderson) vs. Q.T. MARSHALL & AARON SOLOW
Brock is hardly an intimidating physical presence. He got in some offense via outmaneuvering Solow before tagging in Cody. Marshall and Solow soon double-teamed Cody and took control with rapid-tags. Anderson drove his shoulder into Marshall in the corner over and over, and dismissed the referee’s warnings. Marshall came back with a spinebuster. They cut to a concerned Arn at ringside. They cut to a split-screen break. [c/ss]
After the break, Anderson avoided a diving corner splash by Marshall. He then crawled over and tagged in Cody, but the ref didn’t see it and didn’t allow it. Cody protested. Marshall went back after Anderson with a side-slam/neckbreaker combo with Solow. Anderson countered Marshall with a neckbreaker and then crawled over and tagged in Cody in front of the referee. Cody went after Solow with punches and a powerslam and eventually a figure-four. Solow reached the bottom rope.
Cody lifted Solow onto the top rope. He gave an interfering Marshall a Canadian Destroyer. Solow rolled up Cody from behind and got a two count with a yank of the tights. Anderson saved Cody after Solow covered him seconds later. Cody tagged in Anderson. Cody leaped onto Marshall on the ramp. Solow then kicked a distracted Anderson and set up a double under-hook facebuster, but Anderson slipped free and flipped over into a jackknife cover for the three count. Arn celebrated with his son in the ring.
WINNER: Anderson & Rhodes in 10:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Brock played the part well – a bit over his head, a bit nervous, but scrappy and qualified to be out there competing with opponents the level of Marshall and Solow with a good partner like Cody. They can tell a nice, patient story with him.)
-A promo aired with Jake Roberts and Lance Archer in an abandoned warehouse. Archer paced behind Jake as he talked about reconnecting with Archer. He said he has no patience, but he tells him you have to sometime wait like a tiger and pounce. He said Archer won’t listen. “What am I going to do?” he asked. “Bitch slap him and tell him to stop?”
(Keller’s Analysis: It was hard to concentrate on anything Jake said because of his ultra-white teeth. I like the idea that Archer is too intense and unhinged even for Jake, though.)
-They went to the announcers at ringside. They threw to Ross’s interview with Andrade El Idolo. Ross said he’s a superstar who can’t go anywhere in the world without people recognizing him. Ross asked why he chose here. Andrade said there are many stars in AEW, but he is a superstar. Ross said AEW has created two major titles – the AEW World Title and the TNT Title. He said he assumes those are on his radar. Andrade said he deserves an opportunity for the TNT Title and AEW World Title. “It’s my next step,” he said. He sipped his drink. Ross asked about Vickie Guerrero. He said she understands the business and is very smart. He said she came up with Eddie Guerrero and they have a great connection. He told Ross he needs to wait because Vickie and Andrade have a surprise.
(Keller’s Analysis: Really smart presentation of Andrade. They added music and captions, but put him in a situation to look confident with the luxury home setting and the drink he was sipping in a dapper outfit. He came across as legit confident and intimidating in a soft-spoken way yet full of bravado. Ross was good here leading him through the promo. They had the benefit of post-production and focused on accentuating his strengths instead of dwelling on his shortcomings. I’m still not sold on pairing Andrade with Vickie. The family history makes sense, but Guerrero’s character is too cartoonish for a potential top level heel act like Andrade.) [c]
-Marvez interviewed Hangman and the Dark Order. He asked if he accepts Taz’s challenge to face Hobbs next week. Hangman accepted. He said right now he’s with good friends with a cold beer, and that’s all he’s worried about. Marvez asked for his take on the Omega vs. Jungle Boy match, noting he’s the no. 1 contender. Hangman talked about Silver healing soon, “10” winning last week, “5” having a new jacket, and Evil Uno putting up a fight of a lifetime last week. They all lifted Uno onto their shoulders.
(5) PENELOPE FORD vs. JULIA HART (w/Varsity Blondes)
During Ford’s ring entrance, Excalibur asked Ross about Hangman dodging the question about Omega vs. Jungle Boy. Ross asked Schiavone if he was a cheerleader. “Do I look like a cheerleader to you?” Schiavone asked. Ross said he didn’t know him when he was 18. Schiavone noted that they haven’t seen Kip Sabian since Miro assaulted him in the locker room months ago. They cut to a partial split-screen break at 2:00. [c/ss]
They exchanged strikes mid-ring after the break. Ford landed a gut-buster mid-ring and then leaped off the top rope with a moonsault, but Hart moved. Hart went for a splitting leg drop, but Ford moved and applied an Indian Death Lock.
WINNER: Ford in 7:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Solid match.)
-Ford held the hold after the bell. When Griff Garrison and Brian Pillman Jr. checked on her, Miro walked out. He said he is “God’s Favorite Champion” and rubbed it in that he took out Ford’s husband after their wedding. He attacked Garrison and knocked him to the floor. Pillman got in a flying forearm to take Miro down.
-Schiavone interviewed Britt Baker and Reba backstage. Vickie interrupted. She said all she smells is rotten onions and stale cheese sauce. She told Baker the only thing she’s shown the world is that she found her happy place by eating cheeseburgers. She said she’s not happy because she wants the title around Nyla Rose’s waist. Baker and Reba laughed. Baker said they aren’t playing games “and we sure aren’t playing old maid,” so leave and let them finish their interview. Vickie said she’s the one who brought Andrade to AEW, so Tony Khan owes her a favor. She said she is setting up a match – Baker & Reba vs. Rose & her in a tag match. She left. Baker and Reba laughed at the prospects and then left, saying they couldn’t possibly finish the interview now.
-Excalibur plugged the return to Wednesday nights on June 30 including Baker & Reba vs. Vickie & Rose, Miro vs. Brian Pillman Jr., and MJF vs. Sammy Guevara. But first, the Saturday Night Dynamite on June 26 featuring Omega vs. Jungle Boy. Ross called it one of the most anticipated AEW Title matches in AEW history. Also Hangman vs. Hobbs.
-Ross threw to a video package on FTR (Cash & Dax) and Santana & Ortiz. Each spoke about the other team. Santana said growing up in North Carolina is nothing like growing up in New York City. He said he witnessed his mom being abused, so he turned to the streets. He said he didn’t think he’d see the age of 25. Dax said they dress nice because they earned it. Cash took a dig at Santana & Ortiz’s lack of drive since arriving in AEW. Cash said he sees shame and embarrassment in their eyes when he looks at them. Cash said they will beat them in order to have another notch on their legacy. [c]
-Schiavone plugged the AEW debut in Queens, N.Y. at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Sept. 22. They showed Tony Khan making the announcement.
(Keller’s Analysis: That’s a great looking arena. That’ll be a cool setting for Dynamite.)
-A promo aired with Mark Sterling and Jade Cargill. Sterling said the monetization plan is going great, and they are thrilled to announce a partnership with the Toronto Four Seasons hotel. Jade said her opponents can stay there after she knocks them out. Jade said all companies should be delighted to work with her. Sterling said their focus is on pro wrestling where Jade is undefeated. He said she will continue her win streak all the way to Rampage in August. “Because I’m that bitch,” Jade said.
(Keller’s Analysis: I continue to be surprised at how well the Sterling and Jade pairing is working for me.)
(6) MATT JACKSON & THE GOOD BROTHERS (Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows) vs. EDDIE KINGSTON & FRANKIE KAZARIAN & PENTA EL ZERO MIEDO (w/Brandon Cutler)
No Nick Jackson this week. Ross said Matt and the Good Brothers are trying so hard to be cool. Callis joined the announcers on commentary. Schiavone said Kazarian is on a mission. The bell rang 45 minutes into the second hour. Matt wrestled with the Kangol hat still on until it got knocked off. The babyface trio took it to Matt, who sold borderline comically like Shawn Michaels against Hulk Hogan. He somersaulted under Eddie and tagged in Gallows. The fight spilled to ringside. Eddie tried to bite Anderson’s neck. They cut to a split-screen break. [c]
Kingston hot-tagged in Kaz, who took it to Anderson. They went at a fast-pace with high-energy. Kaz caught Anderson with a crossface chickenwing. Gallows interfered with a stomp to break it up. The match reached the point where everyone was taking turns hitting big moves rapid-fire. It settled into Penta beating up Anderson and scoring a two count after a superkick to the jaw. Anderson came back with a neckbreaker. Matt landed a top rope elbow, leading to a near fall by Doc. Gallows and Anderson set up the Magic Killer, but Kazarian broke it up. Chaos broke out. Penta landed a sloppy back-stabber on Anderson, then climbed to the top rope. Nick Jackson sprayed Penta in the eyes. Anderson then gave Penta a top rope super cutter for the win. Callis, Nick, and Brandon posed with Matt and the Good Brothers afterward.
WINNERS: Matt Jackson & Good Brothers in 14:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Fun match. Penta seemed a little off at times compared to usual. Nick showing up to interfere was a good escape hatch from anyone doing a clean job here. This was just a match to fill the main event slot, but that’s fine given how late this aired.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: AEW got through these late night time slots with a terrible show two weeks ago and a really good one last week. This wasn’t as good as last week’s show, but still solid. It tapered off in the second hour, but it wasn’t a waste of time or anything. Things should really pick up from here with the big Saturday night prime time show next week and then back to Wednesdays, with the live crowds just around the corner in July.