8/25 AEW DYNAMITE TV RESULTS: Keller’s detailed report and analysis of C.M. Punk’s Dynamite debut

By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor


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KELLER’S AEW DYNAMITE REPORT
AUGUST 25, 2021
MILWAUKEE, WISC.
AIRED LIVE ON TNT

Commentators: Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone, Excalibur

Ring Announcer: Justin Roberts


[HOUR ONE]

-The Dynamite opening theme aired. Then Jim Ross introduced the show as the camera panned the crowd. He said it’ll be an incredible night as they hear again from C.M. Punk. They threw to snippets of Punk on Rampage last Friday night. Then Excalibur and Tony Schiavone joined Ross in previewing the rest of the scheduled matches.

(1) ORANGE CASSIDY vs. MATT HARDY

Cassidy came out first, accompanied by Wheeler Yuta and Chuck Taylor on the stage. He walked to the ring alone. Hardy came out entirely alone. Ross noted that Cassidy is 11-1 in his last 12 singles matches. Cassidy walked up to Hardy mid-ring before the bell with his hands in his pockets. He slow-kicked Hardy. Hardy did the delete arm swipe. Fans chanted along to each as they went back and forth. Hardy reached into his pockets and pulled out cash. He was proud of himself. Cassidy, hands in pockets, dropkicked Hardy and the money went flying out of his hands. Cassidy picked up a $100 bill and pocketed it. When he dove at Hardy, Hardy caught him mid-air and gave him a Side Effect. They plugged Chris Jericho would have an announcement about his future later.

Hardy picked up the cash on the mat and re-pocketed it. He then reached into Cassidy’s pocket and took back his $100. Schiavone hyped that he’d interviewed Punk “in just a few minutes in his first-ever appearance on Dynamite.” Cassidy eventually came back and drove Hardy’s face into corner turnbuckles. Hardy blocked a Beach Break and then delivered Splash Mountain for a near fall. Ross said he didn’t think Hardy would dominate this match as much as he has. Cassidy landed an around-the-world DDT as a counter to Hardy for a near fall. Fans chanted, “Freshly squeezed!” Cassidy landed a hands-in-pocket senton off the top rope (although he left Hardy lying on the mat way longer than was credible, after Hardy initially scooted himself into “better position” to be landed on). Cassidy set up a Twist of Fate on Hardy, but Hardy blocked it and then landed an elbowdrop onto Cassidy’s back for a near fall. Hardy was bleeding pretty heavily from his face, and his blood was splattered all over Cassidy and the canvas. Cassidy landed a Twist of Fate on his second try for a believable near fall that the fans were counting along to loudly. Hardy ducked an Orange Punch. Hardy applied a Leech, but Cassidy slipped out and dropped into a hands-in-pockets sit-down cover on Hardy’s shoulders for the win.

WINNER: Cassidy in 12:00.

(Keller’s Analysis: The crowd was into it the whole way, but it crossed into “too cute” territory a little too often.)

-Malakai Black proposed Brock Anderson get counted out intentionally so he avoids a beating, and then he’ll look at him and say “I’m sorry, Mr. Black.” He said if it goes any different than that, he will take it out on his dad Arn Anderson, Dustin Rhodes, Cody Rhodes, “or anyone even remotely associated with the Nightmare Family.” [c]

-Chris Jericho made his way to the ring as the crowd sang the lyrics to his entrance theme. The announcers talked about his heartbreaking loss last week on Dynamite. (That feels like weeks ago right now!) A fan held up a big sign in the front row that said: “Keep Wrestling Alive: Get Vaxxed.” Jericho said this was one of the biggest weeks in AEW and everybody has been celebrated except for him. He said last week when he had the chance to end the Five Labours of Jericho with a victory over MJF, he lost for the third time to MJF. “Even worse, I tapped out.” He said he’s been obsessing about it all week and losing sleep. He said people ask, “Why does it bother you so much, you’re Chris Jericho.” He said it bothers him so much “because I am Chris Jericho.” He said he puts himself through so much to try to win because “it’s who I am, it’s what I do.” He said his failure to beat MJF is driving him crazy. “It’s an ear worm that won’t go away,” he said. He said until this ends, he’ll just keep attacking “Max” everywhere and anywhere until it’s over. “I don’t give a shit!” he said. “And that’s why I have a proposal for you on how we can end this.” He invited MJF out. Schiavone said, “Don’t invite that creep out here.”

MJF didn’t come out, so Jericho proposed one final fight at All Out. Fans chanted “One more match!” He said he’s been thinking long and hard about this, and he means it: “If I can’t beat MJF, maybe I don’t belong in AEW anymore.” (Is anticipating this announcement why Roman Reigns threw his stip out there last Friday out of nowhere?) He said if MJF beats him, he will never wrestle in AEW again. Fans booed. He said if MJF wants to prove he’s better than him, he better damn well agree. “What do you say?” MJF’s music played briefly and he walked onto the stage. He was wearing a white t-shirt that said: “MJF – 3 … Jeriblow – 0.” MJF said his thoughts backstage were just, “Leave me alone, man. Go away.” He said he’s not an idiot like all the fans in Milwaukee, so he sees through him. He said over a year ago, he saw his meteoric rise to the top, and if he wanted to stay relevant, he needed a rub from the youngest and fastest rising star in the history of pro wrestling. Fans booed. Jericho listened intently.

“Chris, your cash cow is out of milk, my udders are sore,” he said. “That’s precisely why, after last week, I made a promise to myself after you tapped out faster than somebody listening to a Fozzy CD that I never wrestle you again.” He added that it’s great to look at all the haters in the arena and at home and brag that he tapped out Jericho, but being able to say he ended Jericho, “now that’s legendary.” He told Jericho if he wants that match, he’s got it. He said Jericho should remember that he is putting his career on the line against someone who has beat him three times. Jericho seemed a bit welled up with emotions and he nodded at the gravity of what he just proposed. MJF ended by asserting again that he’s better than him.

(Keller’s Analysis: Really good promo from Jericho, both in terms of content and delivery. MJF was really good rubbing in his win and gloating about the position he has Jericho in. I wish he didn’t yell to the point of grating over-modulation of the mics as often as he does. He doesn’t need to in order to make his point and get people to listen. This match with that stip should help sell the PPV. I think fans believe Jericho could lose, but mostly they want to see him finally beat MJF.)

-Backstage, the Varsity Blondes cut a promo near lockers and vowed to win tonight and go on to become champions at All Out in a steel cage.

(2) THE VARSITY BLONDES (Brian Pillman Jr. & Griff Garrison) vs. THE LUCHA BROS. (Pentagon Jr. & Rey Fenix w/Alex Alahambros) – AEW Tag Team Eliminator match

The Blondes came out first. Then the Young Bucks came out and sat on chairs on the stage. Schiavone said he’s conducted a lot of interviews, but he’s nervous about the Punk interview. Ross told him, “Don’t screw it up.” They cut to split-screen break at 3:00. [c/ss]

Back from the break, they showed Luchasaurus, Jungle Boy, and Marko Stunt watching at ringside. They’ll face the winner. Pillman stood mid-ring and stuck his neck out for a few seconds waiting for Fenix to land a cutter for a two count. Action spilled to the floor. The Lucha Bros. stereo superkicked the Blondes. Fenix then landed a running dive through the ropes with a flip senton into the Blondes. Fans chanted “A-E-Dub!” Pillman scored a near fall with a high stack cover, then postured for the camera to sell his dismay. The Lucha Bros. then each landed superkicks to Pillman and then simultaneous kicks from both side. Fenix then scored the pin after an assisted package piledriver.

WINNERS: Lucha Bros. in 10:00.

(Keller’s Analysis: I’m not sure at this stage the AEW Tag Team Division should include a tournament with four teams where one of them are as green as Pillman & Garrison. It was okay in spots, but not as polished as you’d like to see on national TV for a Lucha Bros. match.)

-After the match, Jurassic Express entered the ring to shake hands with the Lucha Bros.. The Bucks then strutted to the ring and shoved JB and Luchasaurus into the Lucha Bros. to try to start a fight. Luchasaurus and Penta kicked them off the ring into the arms of Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows. JB and Fenix then dove onto them at ringside. Ross said Jurassic Express and Lucha Bros. might have the tag team match of the year this Friday.

-A brief video package aired with Andrade El Idolo talking about going face-to-face with Pac at All Out. Andrade said Pac will find out what he is all about.

-The announcers hyped All Out. Excalibur said it’ll be the first time Pac and Andrade face off. They also listed Christian challenging Kenny Omega for the AEW Title, Kris Statlander challenging Britt Baker for the AEW Title, and C.M. Punk vs. Darby Allin (w/Sting).

(3) JAMIE HAYTER (w/Britt Baker, Rebel) vs. RED VELVET

Velvet took it to Hayter early. Hayter brushed off a dropkick that came up short, then overhead tossed Velvet. Fans chanted “DMD!” briefly. Velvet dove through the ropes and tackled Hayter, slamming her hard back-first onto the mat. She did it again. Velvet then turned and yelled at Baker and Rebel briefly. Hayter came right back and threw Velvet head-first into the ringpost. Baker whipped Velvet into the ringside barricade. (Hayter needed to sell those two dives she absorbed at ringside longer.) [c]

Back from the break, things got bowling shoe ugly on some exchanges bouncing into and off the ropes. Baker stood on the ring apron and DISTRACTED Velvet. Velvet knocked her off the ring apron. Velvet went for a standing moonsault press, but Velvet overshot her completely and didn’t get up. Hayter got up and gave her a one-arm backbreaker over her knee, then charged with a clothesline. Velvet bumped onto her face. It was mercifully over.

WINNER: Hayter in 8:00.

(Keller’s Analysis: Yikes, that wasn’t ready for prime time TV. It was embarrassingly bad in multiple instances.)

-After the match, Baker and Rebel attacked Velvet. Kris Statlander ran out for the save and went after Baker. Baker rolled out of the ring to avoid a beating. Statlander held Baker’s title belt over her shoulder, which upset Baker.

-Dark Order stood backstage. Evil Uno spoke about how they’re one unit who stand together, even if they have “obstacles” or disagreements. They began arguing with each other over how they’ve dealt with Hangman Page. Uno lashed out at Alex Reynolds, who then said he’s done with Uno. He said just because his “stupid name has number one in it, that doesn’t make him the leader of Dark Order.” He stormed off. Other Dark Order members were upset with Uno. He apologized for going too far.

-Excalibur said things are unraveling for the Dark Order, then pivoted to plugging Punk’s Dynamite debut.

-The announcers talked about C.M. Punk’s AEW debut last Friday on Rampage. Excalibur said he’s never heard a louder reaction in an arena.

-Schiavone stood mid-ring and said he’s a wrestling announcer, but he’s a wrestling fan first. He said just like all of them, he witnessed one of the greatest moments they’ve ever been part of. He introduced “The Best in the World” C.M. Punk. Punk made his ring entrance to “Cult of Personality.” He sat down and absorbed the cheers again. Then as he walked to the ring, fans chanted “C.M. Punk.” He entered the ring and saluted the fans who cheered back.

[HOUR TWO]

Schiavone asked him to name one thing that brought him back to AEW. Punk answered: “I can’t hear you, Tony.” They both laughed. A loud “C.M. Punk!” chant broke out again. Punk said, “You’re just a little too loud. I’m kidding, I’m kidding, I want all that and more. But this man needs to ask me a question.” Schiavone asked the same question. Punk paused and looked around. Another loud “C.M. Punk!” chant broke out. Punk listed Penta, Fenix, Pillman, and Jungle Boy. “But before all those young names, there’s one guy,” he said. Fans chanted “Darby!” He said he’s going to retire the nickname “voice of the voiceless.” He said this place has a voice “and there are people back there who listen.” He said he’s watched Darby, “who is reckless to a point of destruction like you just want to wreck yourself.”

He said he sees wrestlers like Darby and asks himself if he still has what it takes and is still the Best in the World. He said if the answer is yes, it starts with Darby. He said Darby would have been his favorite wrestler when he was 15. He said he doesn’t necessarily fit the mold of what somebody thinks a pro wrestler is. He said he’s not the biggest or the strongest, but god dammit, he’s got heart. He said if he’s going to answer whether he can still be the best in the world… at which point a “Yes!” chant broke out. Punk said, “That’s somebody else’s schtick, and you might just need to be a little more patient, okay?” The fans laughed and applauded that thinly veiled reference to Bryan Danielson. He said at All Out, when he faces Darby, “it’s a lot less about proving the haters wrong and it’s more about proving myself right.” He said hi to his wife and said, “I love you, April.” He blew her a kiss. He hugged some people at ringside and then slapped some hands. Ross said, “I love these moments.”

(Keller’s Analysis: Good stuff there. He kept it straight forward, but turned the focus away from mostly anti-WWF inferences and to why he chose Darby first in the context of a larger AEW mission statement. Schiavone is so right for this moment, too.)

-They went to Ross and Excalibur on camera who reacted to Punk, then threw to a Miro promo.

-Miro said he was wrong, “and when you have arms as big as mine, that’s a tough thing to do.” He said he will forgive Fuego, but then God reminded him there is an original sinner. He said will find Eddie Kingston and he will drag him to a river and he will hold him under and he will beg him because he is the judgment and God will back him because he is the redeemer. “And my wife will love me because I am the champion. Now bring me the mad king before I burn this place to the ground.” [c]

(4) DARBY ALLIN & JON MOXLEY & EDDIE KINGSTON vs. CESAR BONONI & RYAN NEMETH & J.D. DRAKE (w/”Pretty” Peter Avalon)

Darby opened. When Kingston tagged in, fans chanted “Eddie! Eddie!” Eddie no-sold a Nemeth chop. Nemeth flexed him arms. Eddie slapped his chest. He bumped and tagged in Bononi. Eddie chopped Bononi, but Bononi no-sold it. Moxley then tagged in and they cut to a split screen break. [c/ss]

Moxley bit Drake’s ear. Darby then took Drake off the second rope for a high-impact landing. Avalon tripped Darby. Sting went after him. Mox and Kingston stomped away at Avalon at ringside. Nemeth brought a chair into the ring and bashed the mat with it. Mox and Kingston attacked him before he could use it. In the ring, Darby landed an over-the-top stunner and a Coffin Drop on Drake for the win.

WINNERS: Darby & Moxley & Kingston in 9:00.

-After the match, Daniel Garcia jumped Darby from behind as he was celebrating. When Mox and Kingston noticed, Garcia fled. Ross said he ran “like a scalded dog.”

-They went to the announcers who talked about All Out’s line-up. Excalibur said a Women’s Casino Battle Royal will take place at The Buy In pre-show.

-Alex Marvez interviewed Tay Conti backstage. Bunny interrupted and asked why she’s still hanging out with “those losers in the Dark Order.” She said they can’t even get along. She proposed they join the HFO. She presented her with a paper invite. Conti tore it in half. Bunny slapped her. They forearmed each other in what was, unfortunately, the best women’s fight scene of the night.

-Kenny Omega led Don Callis, Michael Nakazawa, and Brandon Cutler toward the ring. [c]

-Dax Harwood said the nerves in Cash Wheeler’s arm aren’t firing up like normal, so he’s not sure if his nerves will ever fire right again, so he might not wrestle full time or even part time again, but they will wrestle together at least one more time. Cash walked in and said he walked out of that match different than he walked in. He said he doesn’t know if he’ll ever be the same. He held up his wrapped forearm. He said where he comes from, you rub some dirt on it and keep going, and they won’t stop until they get their pound of flesh. “Top guys, out,”he said.

-Schiavone stood mid-ring with Omega, Callis, Nakazawa, and Cutler. Callis took the mic and vowed they’ll take out Christian Cage once and for all. Christian’s entrance theme interrupted and he walked out. Christian said he suspects the fans in Milwaukee have had one, two, or three by now, but it’s not nearly enough for them to believe the b.s. spewing out of their mouths. He said there was a video floating around this week that explains a lot. It showed Christian’s first televised match in 1996 against Lance Storm in Winnipeg including Don Callis with a head full of hair. They played up the idea that Callis fired Christian after just one match. Christian called him a piece of shit. Fans chanted that. Omega said this is backfiring in his face. He said the video proves that at age 10, he was a better athlete than Christian was at age 20. He said fast-forward 27 years later and he still is. Callis said if he used his power to favor his family over talent, that makes him just like Bill Watts, Eddie Graham, Vince McMahon, and Verne Gagne. Boos. (Did Verne Gagne just get booed in 2021?!) He said this isn’t Greg Gagne or Erik Watts, it’s Kenny “By God” Omega.

Christian said he just completely fell asleep standing up and didn’t retain any of that. He said he’s not sure what’s weirder, that he manipulated a ten year old Omega or that Omega still lets it happen. Callis got very upset and yanked off his pink scarf and his pink suit jacket. He said he will find out at All Out what he knew 25 years ago and what the world will find out at All Out and what he’s known his entire career – that he’s second best. Christian jumped Callis. Everyone else attacked Christian, including Cutler spraying him in the eyes with the aerosol can of cold spray. Kaz made the save with a pipe in hand. He got almost no reaction. The heels fled. Excalibur said the heels “scattered like cockroaches.”

(Keller’s Analysis: Callis was a good old-school announcer, and Christian plays really well off of him.)

-Mox said they got a FedEx from Japan, and only one man has shown the willingness to cross through the forbidden door. He said it was Satoshi Kojima. He said he’s a legend. There was no crowd reaction. Mox said he’s insulted that “this crazy ass old man wants to go toe-to-toe with me in the ring.” He said if he wants to go out in a blaze of glory, fine. He said he’ll try to take his head off and try to break his neck.

(5) THE GUNN CLUB (Billy & Austin & Colten) vs. Q.T. MARSHALL & NICK COMOROTO & AARON SOLO

Paul Wight joined in on commentary to talk about facing Marshall at All Out. Billy started and knocked Comoroto out of the ring. [c]

After the break, Marshall looked over at Paul Wight and had some words. Wight stood up and threw off his headset. Colten rolled up a DISTRACTED Marshall for the win.

WINNERS: The Gunn Club in 5:00.

-Dan Lambert stood with Scorpio Sky and Ethan Page. He said rule number one of running a business is knowing your customers and giving them what they want. He realized that apparently, though, they’d rather see some 12 year old looking dorky gymnast that he’d shove in a locker in high school get on his knee and propose to his girlfriend rather than get into a fight. He said apparently they’d rather see the bastard child of Marilyn Manson and Tony Hawk skateboard into the arena while reading a comic book or watch a lazy douche walk to the ring in tight jeans and sunglasses wrestle with his hands in his pockets. What they don’t want to see is real men and tough guys because soft and weak wants to watch soft and weak. He said they want to watch wrestling in safe spaces where it’s acceptable to break down like a baby when your favorite wrestler shows up to work. He said their generation needs help and he’s going to provide them role models to look up to who will stand up to the woke masses. He said Scorpio Sky and Ethan Page are veteran martial artists who will fight for them and set an example for them and their children. He said there might still be hope for them.

-The announcers hyped next week’s Dynamite line-up: Brian Cage vs. Powerhouse Hobbs, Orange Cassidy vs. Jack Evans, and Santana & Ortiz vs. FTR. Also, Jim Ross will interview Jericho in the ring and Schiavone will sit down with MJF. Then they hyped Rampage: Tay Conti vs. The Bunny, Jurassic Express vs. Lucha Bros., and Omega & Cutler vs. Christian & Kaz. Then they hyped the All Out line-up that they also ran down earlier.

-Marvez interviewed Arn Anderson backstage. Arn said his son is in over his head and he’s hard-headed. He said every dog doesn’t have its day and good doesn’t always conquer evil. He said they’re in it now, and he’ll go down with him either way.

-Malakai Black made his ring entrance. They list his Twitter handle as @tommyend. He started from a sitting position on the stage, then walked to the ring with a mask with horns. [c]

(6) MALAKAI BLACK vs. BROCK ANDERSON (w/Arn Anderson)

Brock made his entrance after the break. He took a charging Black down with a double leg and then mounted him and punched away at him. Black made a comeback with a knee strike. He punched away at his torso aggressively in the corner, then landed some hard roundkicks to the chest. He went after Brock’s face with his fist next. Black looked over at Arn and held Brock by his hair. Arn held up a white towel, but then threw it to the ground. Black looked at Arn, so Brock made a spirited comeback. Black gave him an exploder suplex and then a spinning hook kick to the face. Brock was out on his back. Fans chanted “One more time!” Black scored the pin.

WINNER: Black in 3:00.

-Afterward, Arn entered to check on Brock. Black dropped to ringside, but then grabbed a chair and returned to the ring. Arn noticed and stood between his son and Black. He told him to get rid of the chair. Black did. He then threw a spinning kick at Arn. Arn blocked it. Black kicked Arn in the crotch, then landed a spin hook kick to take Arn down. Arn went flat on his back. Ross said he almost beheaded him. “What the hell is wrong with Malakai Black?” asked Schiavone. Black sat on the top turnbuckle and looked down at Brock and Arn as his music played. The music abruptly changed as Lee Johnson came out to his theme. Black jumped out of the ring as soon as he entered the ring.

(Keller’s Analysis: The crowd was into cheering Black. After giving Arn a low kick to the crotch, perhaps that will help shift fans away from cheering him. His offense is so crisp and his whole demeanor is so intimidating and intense, the fans are going to be drawn to him, but Arn might be a sympathetic enough person to help sway fans.)

FINAL THOUGHTS: Well, if you had your money on Tony Khan & Co. following up C.M. Punk’s first Dynamite promo with matches featuring Ryan Nemeth, J.D. Drake, Cesar Bononi, Nick Comoroto, Aaron Solo, Q.T. Marshall, Colten Gunn, Austin Gunn, and Brock Anderson, you win. I really question the formatting of this show. It’s a big swing and a miss. In general, not every show needs to have all the stars on display in competitive marquee matches, obviously, but Dynamite likely had their largest audience at the start of an hour of Dynamite tonight and delivered something barely passable for AEW Dark Elevation for the remaining 50 minutes. They should have delivered a red-hot final 50 minutes after Punk’s interview and they flat out didn’t. It was almost literally amateur hour.

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