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KELLER’S AEW DYNAMITE REPORT
“FYTER FEST – NIGHT ONE”
JULY 14, 2021
CEDAR PARK/AUSTIN, TEX. AT H-E-B CENTER
AIRED LIVE ON TNT
Commentators: Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone, Excalibur
Ring Announcer: Justin Roberts
-The Dynamite opening theme played.
-Ross introduced the show as they showed a wide shot of the arena with a loud “AEW!” chant.
(1) JON MOXLEY (w/Eddie Kingston) vs. “MACHINE GUN” KARL ANDERSON (w/Doc Gallows) – IWGP U.S. Title match
Moxley made his way out through the crowd with Eddie Kingston behind him. Ross noted Mox looked like he was in a bad mood. As Anderson came out, Excalibur said he was a founding member of the Bullet Club with Prince Devitt, Tama Tonga, and Bad Luck Fale. He said he made a name for himself in Japan primarily as a tag team wrestler, but also made the finals of the G1 Climax Tournament in Japan in 2012. He said he wants to bring the IWGP U.S. Title back to the Elite. He said Kenny Omega was the first-ever IWGP U.S. Champion. Schiavone said Anderosn 7-1 and one of the hottest wrestlers right now. Kingston attacked Gallows from behind at ringside just as the match began. They brawled into the crowd as Mox went after Anderson. Excalibur said this match would be contested under New Japan rules with a 60 minute time limit and a 20 count at ringside.
As Mox pounded away at Anderson at ringside, Excalibur noted the FTW Title would be defended later. Ross touted the second sold out crowd in the last two weeks. Mox bit at Anderson’s forehead and then superplexed him. Anderson fired back with a big boot and then a piledriver for a near fall. Anderson leaped off the top rope with a cutter for a near fall. Anderson landed a Gun Stun for a two count. Mox countered a top rope Gun Stun with a short-arm clothesline and a Paradigm Shift. Ross said Moxley is universally respected.
WINNER: Moxley in 11:00 to retain the U.S. Title.
(Keller’s Analysis: Intense start to finish, but also nothing that jumped off the screen or particularly memorable. Just a solid clean win for Mox against someone credible who should be losing clean to Moxley.)
-The announcers hyped the rest of the line-up.
-Jake Roberts was talking to Lance Archer backstage. Archer said he took the U.S. Title from Max over a year and a half ago on Jan. 4, 2020 in Tokyo, Japan. He said he’s defeated Kenta, Suzuki, Yuji Nagata, and now Anderson. He said it’s time for his rematch. He challenged him to a title match in Dallas, Tex. next week. He suggested a Texas Death Match. [c]
-Alex Alahandres interviewed Andrade El Idolo. He said he has received permission from Tony Khan to “kick down the door” and win championships everywhere. Andrade held up a tablet with the Death Triangle logo. He said he is looking for them.
(2) BRIAN CAGE vs. RICKY STARKS – FTW Title match
They showed Powerhouse Hobbs and Hook at ringside. Taz joined in on commentary. He said like him, Hobbs and Starks are torn. Taz said earlier today Starks didn’t want to talk to him, and Cage was more into chatting with him. Excalibur plugged a new AEW All Elite Crate, a quarterly box of merch for $39.95. Cage press slammed Starks early. Taz said there’s a weird part of him that’s happy this match is happening because after it’s over, “we’ll all be fine and dandy.” The screen graphic hyped that Hangman Page would speak later. Starks worked over Cage’s arm. They cut to a split-screen break a few minutes in. [c/ss]
Starks bit Cage’s hand during the break while grounding him with an armbar. Cage stood and chopped away at Starks’s chest. Cage held Starks for a long time in his arms mid-ring, apparently waiting for the commercial break to end. He tried for an overhead slam, but Starks reversed momentum mid-air and slammed Cage to the mat with a Crucifix Bomb. It looked awkward. Back live to full screen, Taz said no promotion has ever recognized the FTW Title. He said that’s how it’s always been and always should be. Cage yanked Starks’s arm into the ringpost. Back in the ring, Starks leaped onto Page’s back and applied a sleeper. Cage quickly powered out and landed a sitout faceplant for a near fall. Starks put his foot on the bottom rope.
Cage landed a superkick for a two count. Starks countered a superplex attempt into a sitout powerbomb of Cage off the ropes for a near fall. Taz stayed objective throughout his commentary, not showing favoritism toward either wrestler. Both were slow to get up. Starks reached for the FTW Title belt, but Hobbs yanked it away. As Starks complained, Cage came up behind Starks and slammed him face-first into the mat for a believable near fall. Hook distracted the ref as Hobbs stood on the opposite side of the ring holding up the FTW Title belt. Hobbs then swung the belt and KO’d Cage. It looked on purpose. Starks then speared Cage for the win. Taz then said, “I love it!” As Starks sat up and smiled, Cage was out on his back. The announcers said Starks and Team Taz conspired to screw Cage.
WINNER: Starks in 10:00 to win the FTW Title belt.
(Keller’s Analysis: So this settled back into the more predictable conventional direction of the angle after some misdirection last week.)
-Excalibur commented on the debut of Malakai Black last week. He said Black isn’t the man any of them knew before and noted that he released a video on social media revealing a new side of his personality. They said Arn Anderson is okay. Cody walked to the announce table and put on a headset and cut a promo aimed at Black. He called him Tommy End before mentioning his new name. He touted his kick boxing experience and said he understood he had a chip on his shoulder. He said you can be a franchise player by beating a franchise player, but you don’t kick a 62 year old legend to make a point. Cody said he didn’t feel he was making his point, so he grabbed a mic and walked to the ring. He said he’s feeling boisterous. He said he doesn’t win every fight he’s in, but he has a better chance when he knows it’s coming. “This might be an abuse of my power,” he said. He called Black to the ring and said he feels like fighting.
On the big screen, Black showed up. He said fans cheered him kicking him and Arn in the face last week because they care about violence more than they care about him. Black said he once knew a man who killed his prized horse because one day he noticed it wasn’t the same horse he once was. He said the horse had become crippled over time, so he let the horse go with dignity. He said gave him a bag of treats, put a bag over his head, and then did it. He said when he looked in Cody’s eyes last week, it wasn’t there anymore. Cody yelled he should come to the ring to take a better look. The lights went black. “Not again!” exclaimed Excalibur. When the lights came on, Black was standing in the ring. They went at it, Black in his all-black suit, Cody in his all white-suit. Referees, security, and producers ran out to separate them. They cut to a break.[c]
-Alex Marvez approached Tully Blanchard backstage and asked him about taking a cheap shot after their win last week. Santana and Ortiz laughed and said he’s got the biggest target on his back, but he decided to be a smart ass and walk the halls by himself. Ortiz held Tully as Santana wound up and threatened to hit him with a crowbar. He then revealed it was fake and tapped Tully on his forehead. He said next time it won’t be fake. Tully looked scared and shaken. Santana said, “Look at you.” He said go find his boys. Tully yelled at them as they left that he’ll get his boys and “just wait.”
-Schiavone stood mid-ring and introduced his guest, “Hangman” Adam Page. Ross said a lot of people want to see him compete with Kenny Omega. Excalibur said that seems like his destiny. Page came out looking happy and enthusiastic, no drink in sight. Page said since literal day one, he said he wanted to be AEW World Champion. He said he came so close, he could smell it, but he failed. He said he tried and run and hide from it, but Dark Order is right, he still needs that championship. He said he is here tonight to challenge for the AEW Title.
Don Callis interrupted and said, “You’re not here to do anything.” He said he’s spending a lot of time talking. He was joined by Nick & Matt Jackson, Gallows, Omega, and Brandon Cutler. Nick said, “You’re not that guy, pal. Trust me, you’re not that guy.” Matt said he’s going to say something right to his face. He marched to the ring smiling. He asked if Page remembers him. “We were those best friends that you abandoned,” Matt said. He said it still blows his mind that he left them for a bunch of losers. He said his breath indicates he’s still hitting the bottle. He said that fits the narrative perfectly – a sad, drunk cowboy. He said he has no one to blame but himself. “You’re the next great wrestling tragedy,” he said. He asked if that makes him want to hit him. When he said he doesn’t have the balls, Page hit him. “Balls galore!” yelled Ross. Omega entered the ring with the title belt and was going to hit Page from behind, but Dark Order ran in for the save.
Page looked down at Omega at ringside and said he came for a match, and he’s not leaving without one. Omega said they can do that. He offered him a match against him and his guys against him and the rest of the Elite – five on five, elimination style. Page smiled and said it isn’t the match he wanted, but if that’s what they have to do, they’ll do it. He said after they win, he wants a shot at the World Title and Dark Order gets a shot at their tag titles. Omega yelled that they didn’t ear itn. Callis whispered something to him. Omega then said that’s cool. Fans chanted, “Cowboy shit!”
Omega entered the ring and said he makes a lot of demands for someone without any power. He said if they win, none of them get title shots. He asked Page to walk away and tell his parents about all that he’s accomplished to this point, but it ends here. Omega said they said you miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take, but you don’t fail either. He said what Page fears is failing in front of the fans. The “Cowboy shit!” chant started again. Omega said, “Hey, I’m talking here!” He said he’ll take an extra measure of pleasure when “Cowboy shit” turns into “Belt collector.” Omega said if Page is cool with that, then they are too. Page said Dark Order doesn’t back down from a fight, so you are on.
(Keller’s Analysis: Really good segment, mostly because Page didn’t seem sad and depressed, yet his sad and depressed demeanor was cashed in here to tell a story. Omega was effective in being unlikable as he rubbed in Page’s obvious fear of failure and letting his fans down and not coping well with coming up short before. The Dark Order storyline is beginning to work for me. I think they are relatable as outcasts that Page is cool hanging out with. Omega, Callis, and the Bucks are the “cool kids” who brag obnoxiously and are mean-spirited. The counter offer to Page’s request for earning title shots made Callis & Co. not seem like fools. Both teams have something valuable at stake. Page was really genuine and likable here, and Omega was in his groove here as a heel.) [c]
-Marvez interviewed Jericho backstage about the MJF stipulations he laid out. He said the Five Labors of Jericho didn’t surprise him because MJF is a wise and learned man, but if MJF read all of the Greek mythology he would realize that Hercules won and got what he wanted, and that’s what will happen to him. He said he doesn’t care who MJF puts in front of him – Superman, Black Panther, Muhammad Ali – he will take them out, walk through fire and on broken glass to get at him. He said he is the God of Thunder and the God of War. Shawn Spears jabbed Jericho in the throat with a chair. Jericho went down, grabbing at his throat. MJF then sat down on the couch as Spears held Jericho’s head. He said Spears is his first “labor” next week, and the stip is that Spears can use a chair, but Jericho can’t. Spears then jabbed Jericho’s left arm with a chair. MJF laughed and wished Jericho luck.
-Matt Hardy made his ring entrance. Private Party and Angelico wished him luck on the stage. Ross said this rivalry goes back 23 years. Christian then made his entrance. It seemed he got a polite response from the crowd.
(3) MATT HARDY vs. CHRISTIAN CAGE
Excalibur plugged tickets going on sale this Friday for their New York debut at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Sept. 22. They locked up and dropped to ringside, still locked up. Christian went for his on-brand side headlock at ringside, but Hardy broke free. Christian threw Hardy into the barricade at ringside. He then leaped off the top rope at Hardy at ringside. Both went down and were slow to get up. Hardy came back by leaping off the ring apron and driving Christian’s head into the steps. Schiavone said, “That had to knock him out. Maybe stop the match.” Christian was just hanging limp over the edge of the ring, not moving. Hardy catapulted Christian up into the second rope. The crowd was pretty flat by this point. Hardy landed a second rope flying elbow drop for a two count. They cut to a split-screen break. [c/ss]
Hardy methodically worked over Christian during the break. Back from the break, Christian yanked Hardy off the second rope and took over. Christian set up the Kill Switch, but Hardy countered with a Twist of Fate attempt. Christian escaped that and then charged at Hardy. Hardy side-stepped him, but Christian came right back with a spear for a two count. Hardy threw Christian over the top rope, but Christian snapped him over the top rope on his way down. Christian then landed a top rope frog splash for a believable near fall. Ross said they want to settle something here with this long-running rivalry. Excalibur noted they were ten minutes into the match, with ten minutes left. Ross said he is so glad they have time limits. Hardy delivered a top rope superplex for a near fall. Hardy grabbed the ref and then mule-kicked Christian. He followed with a Twist of Fate for a near fall. Hardy sat up looking shocked.
Hardy applied his Leech submission on Christian at ringside. Hardy released the hold and entered the ring as the ref began counting Christian out. Christian popped up and re-entered just at ten. It got a nice pop. He then caught Hardy with a sudden Kill Switch for the win. Ross said at some point, Christian is going to be talked about as being in the title picture since he’s undefeated.
WINNER: Christian in 12:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: I wouldn’t call it a state of the art barn burner, but it was a fundamentally sound and solid.)
-After the match, Angelico and Private Party ran out to go after Christian, but Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus ran out to make the save. The heels retreated. Luchasaurus put Christian on his shoulders.
-A promo aired with Miro who talked about being lost, but a voice came into his head and reminded him who he was. He said he forgave everyone he destroyed in his path, which made him God’s Favorite Champion. He held up his TNT Title and said it was his reward. “I am the redeemer,” he said.
-Ross asked who in AEW is more dominant than Miro. “Nobody,” he said.
-Schiavone interviewed Britt Baker about her first AEW Title defense next week. Schiavone mentioned that Nyla Rose put her through a table and now everybody is concerned about her well being. She said she’s dealt with a lot before and the blood stopped, the wounds healed, and she came out the baddest bitch on the block. She said there’s no fear in her eyes. She said what’s daunting is keeping Nyla Rose relevant. She said what a big letdown it was that Nyla was her first challenger. She admitted that Nyla beat her multiple times, but she’s now in a league of her own. She told Vickie Guerrero she has a last name that will forever keep her relevant, but not her client. She said Rose needs that belt to have any significance in AEW, but she’s wrapping it back around her waist where it belongs after their match next week. She said she’s still Dr. Britt Baker either way.
-They cut to Vickie and Rose watching on a monitor backstage. Vickie yelled that Baker’s days are numbered. She said she’s going to get the biggest, largest (inaudible) “and shove it up your ass.” Rose said next week she’s going to hand her a world class ass whopping, and don’t hold her responsible because that’s the nature of the beast.
-Moxley paced backstage and accepted the Archer challenge. He said he survived him in Japan and in Jacksonville. He said he has realized Archer will never stop coming after him. He said he isn’t the hunted, he’s the hunter. He said there’s only one Boogie Man in New Japan and AEW, and it’s him. He said Archer isn’t just Texas bred, next week he’ll be Texas Dead. [c]
-The announcers commented on last week’s mixed tag where Kris Statlander scored the winning fall for her and Orange Cassidy. Excalibur said the issue isn’t resolved between Cassidy and The Blade. Then they shifted to Wheeler Yuta pinning Ryan Nemeth and then scoring the winning fall in a six-man tag match with Chuck Taylor & Trent. They showed clips from Dark. (It’s a miracle!) He said he’s a protege of the Best Friends and Orange Cassidy.
-They showed Blade and Bunny watching at ringside.
(4) “SPANISH GOD” SAMMY GUEVARA vs. WHEELER YUTA
Ross said Guevara “is hotter than donut grease.” Lots of slick athletic sequences in the opening minutes. Yuta rolled right into position for a Guevara top rope move a couple minutes in, but then lifted his knees after Guevara telegraphed a shooting star press. Yuta came back with a flying dropkick. Ross said a lot of people in AEW think he has a bright future ahead of him. Schiavone said he’s followed his career predating the start of AEW and has always been impressed. Yuta landed a top rope splash for a mere one count. Sammy sat up and shook his head. Schiavone said it’s wonderful being back on the road. More back and forth exchanges at a fast pace. Guevara landed a springboard cutter and a GTH for the clean win. Guevara gave props to Yuta after the match, saluting him for a hard-fought impressive showing.
WINNER: Guevara in 5:00.
-Schiavone interviewed Q.T. Marshall and his guys backstage. Marshall poured chocolate milk over Schiavone’s head, upset he was so gleeful about calling Cody’s win over him last week.
(Keller’s Analysis: Why? Just why?)
(5) PENELOPE FORD vs. “MAGICAL GIRL” YUKA SAKAZAKI
Schiavone said Ford is 8-1, but a win against Sakazaki would be huge for her. Sakazaki landed a cannonball dive onto Ford at ringside. She scored a one count in the ring. Ford took control. They cut to a split-screen break. [c/ss]
Back from the break, Ford scored a near fall after a pump kick. Sakazaki finished Ford with a springboard twisting “Magical Girl” splash.
WINNER: Sakazaki in 7:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Some good spots, some clunky and ill-timed sequences. Excalibur always seems 10 times more excited than anyone else when wrestlers like Sakazaki are wrestling.)
-Excalibur announced next week’s matches: Spears vs. Jericho, Cassidy vs. The Blade, Moxley vs. Archer, Baker vs. Rose.
-A commercial aired for AEW Rampage. It was a lot of images of AEW wrestlers, but no substance about what the vibe or format will be.
-Excalibur plugged the main event.
(Keller’s Analysis: They did nothing to hype this match all show.) [c]
(6) ETHAN PAGE vs. DARBY – Coffin Match
Justin Roberts explained the winner is the first to close the lid of the coffin on their opponent. The coffin was then carried to the ring by six men. Page came out first. Then Darby, who attacked Ethan as soon as he entered the ring. Darby was wearing a steel plate on his back and he landed a quick Coffin Drop. He took off the back plate and then flip dove through the ropes onto Ethan on the floor. Fans chanted “Darby! Darby!” When Darby opened the coffin, Scorpio Sky popped out of it and attacked Darby. He threw Darby over the steps. A stern looking Sting walked out. Ross said fans were coming unglued. Sting kicked Sky around the ringside, then whipped him over the barricade into the crowd. Sting got to do his specialty, the walk-n-brawl. Sting went for a Stinger Splash, but just as Schiavone excitedly called it, the director inexplicably cut away to the ring as Ethan unwound the turnbuckle. (How does that happen?) Sting yanked Sky crotch-first over the hockey boards and then bashed him with a plastic trash can. Darby and Ethan brawled at ringside. They cut to a split-screen break. [c/ss]
Ethan and Darby brawled up the steps. Ethan lifted Darby and threw him over the hockey boards to the floor seating area. He kicked him back to ringside. Back from the break, they showed some highlights from during the break. Back in the ring, Ethan dropped Darby over the ringside steps that he brought into the ring. Ethan smiled at the camera. Darby flew at him, but Ethan checked him to the mat hard. Ethan then picked up the loose turnbuckle and kissed it. He hooked Darby’s necklace and yanked him hard backwards. Darby jabbed Ethan with the metal turnbuckle, then hooked Ethan’s mouth. Darby slidekicked the stairs into Ethan, sending him into the coffin. Ethan and Darby fought inside the coffin. Ethan tossed Darby out of the coffin to the floor. Ethan was bleeding from the forehead. Ethan put Darby on his shoulders and walked to the top of the steps in the ring. Darby countered with a stunner. He set up a Coffin Drop, but Ethan knocked him off balance. He then delivered an Ego’s Edge onto the steps. Darby hit the steps hard and then rolled to the mat. “Good god almighty!” said Ross. Ethan dragged Darby to the ring apron as fans chanted “This is awesome!” Darby gouged Ethan’s eyes and bit at his face. Then he climbed to the top rope with his skateboard and leaped with a skateboard stomp to knock Page into the coffin. He closed the lid to win. Ross touted the courage and conviction by both men.
WINNER: Darby in 15:00.
-After the match, Darby landed a coffin drop through the lid of the coffin onto Ethan. He needed to be on target with that to avoid some pretty serious back damage on the stronger solid wood edges of the casket.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good main event. AEW just has so many fresh and distinct match-ups they can put on TV with such a mix of talent thanks to their deep and diverse roster and also thanks to building up to them for weeks before they take place. That had to be a cool moment for Ethan to main event a major national pro wrestling prime time live show and get that crowd reaction.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: Another good episode of Dynamite. AEW doesn’t really do maintenance shows per se, but they do have a certain mid-level show where they don’t give away PPV level matches, but present enough match-ups that fans are invested in to fill the two hours while they also advance storylines (such as MJF-Jericho) and give various wrestlers time to present their characters (such as Miro, Baker) while setting up next week’s show (such as Moxley-Archer, Spears-Jericho).