SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
KELLER’S AEW DYNAMITE REPORT
SEPTEMBER 8, 2021
AIRED LIVE ON TNT
Commentators: Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone, Taz
Ring Announcer: Justin Roberts
-A video package aired with highlights from All Out this past Sunday.
-The announcers hyped the loaded line-up including promos from C.M. Punk, Adam Cole & The Elite, and Bryan Danielson. Ross said Excalibur was taking a few days off to get married.
(1) MALAKAI BLACK vs. “THE NATURAL” DUSTIN RHODES
As Black made his entrance, Schiavone said sometimes ring entrances are an attempt to intimidate opponents. As Dustin came out, they replayed Black spin hook kicking Cody back on Aug. 4. Dustin went after Black early and took him down with two clotheslines. He did a reverse atomic drop (which always looks awful) and a roundhouse punch (which is a Dustin strength). When they fought at ringside, Black back-suplexed Dustin through the table. The crowd popped and chanted “Holy shit!” Ross wondered if Dustin would end up getting counted out. Some fans chanted “Mal-a-kai!” Black tore off a top turnbuckle pad and smiled. A “Let’s Go Dustin! / Mal-a-kai!” dueling chant broke out as Dustin attempted a comeback. Black applied a heel hook. When Dustin stood, he limped. Black roundkicked his leg to take him down. The dueling chant began again, louder than last time. When Black whipped Dustin toward the corner, Dustin just collapsed. Black smiled.
Dustin blocked a roundkick and fired back with two clotheslines. He did his drop-down uppercut and then his snap powerslam for a two count. Dustin kept selling his leg throughout his offensive comeback. Dustin sunset-flipped Black for another two count. Black came back with a running knee strike for a two count a minute later. Malakai pulled Cody’s boot out from under the ring. Schiavone said that was the boot Cody took off (to signal his retirement). He threw the boot at Dustin and taunted him with it. Dustin landed a Canadian Destroyer for a near fall. Fans chanted “You still got it!” He set up a bulldog, but Black blocked it and then sent Dustin face-first into the exposed turnbuckle followed by a spinning heel kick to Dustin’s shoulder for the win. Taz said the spinning hook kick didn’t connect as usual, but the contact with the turnbuckle did Dustin in. They showed Dustin bleeding from his mouth.
WINNER: Black in 10:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good opener. Dustin seems underutilized to me since AEW’s launch. This is good usage of him, but they should use him more often.)
-Jim Ross threw to a promo with the Lucha Bros. He said Sunday featured the best tag team match he has ever seen.
-A promo aired with the Lucha Bros. and Alex Alahambros holding the AEW Tag Team belts. Rey Fenix said, “Finally the best tag team in the Universe are the new AEW World Tag Team Champions.” Penta cut a promo in Spanish. Alex said Penta said the tag titles cost them blood, and anyone willing to suffer is free to try to take them from them. [c]
-A soundbite aired with Eddie Kingston and Miro talking about their match. Kingston called Miro out for using a low blow. Kingston said anyone who knows anything about God knows he doesn’t have favorites, and when it rains, it pours on the just and unjust as well. Miro said he had to ice his balls too the day after. He said he will offer his broken bones to his bride and his soul to his God. “This is the word of the redeemer,” he closed with.
(Keller’s Analysis: They’re so authentic, both of them. And badass.)
-C.M. Punk made his ring entrance. As he made his entrance and fans cheered him and chanted his name, Schiavone said they’re selling more tickets than ever since he arrived. Taz said those ticket sales aren’t all because of Punk and they already had an all-star roster. Ross played mediator and said the brand is hot and he appreciates the fan support. Punk yelled “Cincinnati!” and said he’s going to get right to it and step all over their chants. He thanked Darby Allin and the fans. He said he will never lie to the fans. He said he didn’t know if he still had what it takes, “but it’s like riding a violent bicycle.” Fans chanted, “You still got it!” He soaked that up for a few seconds. He then touted that the “Karl Gotch trained King of Pancrase Minoru Suzuki” would be facing Cincinnati’s own Jon Moxley in the main event. Fans chanted “Moxley! Moxley!” He then told Aunt Linda that she’s legitimately an angel. They showed her at ringside. Schiavone said she raised Brian Pillman. He said “God bless her.” (I thought he said, “And Brock Lesnar” which is hilarious.) He then talked about the arrivals of Rubi Soho, Adam Cole, and Bryan Danielson. Fans chanted “Yes!” He said the first person he texted after his first match back was his wife April. He said she asked what’s next. Punk said he’d like to hear what’s next for him from the fans. He listened to them shout names. He started naming some of the wrestlers he was hearing from fans.
Taz interrupted. Punk asked if he’s seriously interrupting him. Punk said out of respect, he’ll let him speak, but never interrupt him again. Taz said he was trying to be a gentleman, but now he wants to be a tough guy. He said he’s tired of “this bullshit lovefest he’s doing.” He told him never mention out of his mouth any members of Team Taz he wants to face. Punk tried to talk over him and explain he wasn’t mentioning their names. Hook and Powerhouse Hobbs walked out to the announce table next to Taz. Taz said he has been on podcasts and radio shows saying Team Taz names. Punk said because he has known him a long time and does respect him, send Ricky Starks, Hook, and Hobbs. Punk said, “All four of you, beat me if you can, survive if I let you.” He dropped the mic and got an intense look on his face. His music played as Taz threw a bit of a fit and fans chanted “C.M. Punk!” As Punk slapped hands at ringside, Taz ranted and said “I’m getting frickin’ hot.” He didn’t like Punk using his catch phrase.
Punk made his way to the entrance stage where Hobbs and Hook were standing. They had a brief staredown before Punk left out through the left tunnel.
(Keller’s Analysis: Yeah, Happy Punk had a short shelf life, of course, and I think everyone was ready for someone to get in Punk’s face and draw something other than “happy to be here” emotions out of him. ) [c]
-A promo aired with Santana & Ortiz. They said after beating FTR last week, they’re shifting their focus to the rest of the AEW Tag Division and they’re coming for the top spot. Santana said everyone knows where they belong.
-Schiavone interviewed Rubi Soho who talked about issuing an open challenge because she wants to prove Sunday wasn’t just her getting lucky. Britt Baker, along with Rebel and Jamie Hayter, interrupted and called Ruby the “flavor of the week” and said she’ll be irrelevant after Jamie beats her later. Ruby said she and Britt have known each other for a long time and she helped her break into pro wrestling. She said Baker has a lot of nicknames for herself, but that’s to just mask what she isn’t. Ruby said, “This is my block now.” Baker said her newest nickname is AEW Women’s Champion. She said Ruby’s nickname is “runaway” and she should runaway to catering where she’s been the last four years. Fans “oooh’d.” Baker said Hayter will beat her ass later. Ruby told Schiavone, “I know she’s your girl, but I’m going to whoop her ass.”
(2) POWERHOUSE HOBBS vs. DANTE MARTIN
They aired clips of Martin highlights. Hobbs knocked Martin down hard at the start, and Martin went into a concussed pose. He made a comeback, though, and flipped around and over Hobbs. The crowd popped for them. He then dropkicked Hobbs out of the ring, then dove through the ropes at him. Hobbs caught him mid-air, then shoved him head-first into the ringpost. Martin’s bumping like a madman out there. He threw him into the barricade at ringside next. Schiavone said Martin is maybe the hottest singles wrestler lately with five straight singles wins. They cut to a split-screen break. [c/ss]
Hobbs methodically pummeled Martin throughout the break. After the break, Taz said this isn’t ballet, then surprised us all by adding, “And I love ballet.” Martin made a comeback and landed a flip senton for one count. He landed a running thrust kick to Hobbs’s face to send him to the floor again. Hook jumped into his way and chomped on his gum. Dante ran the ropes and flipped over Hook onto Hobbs on the floor. Ross said it was a game of chicken. If Hook turns out to be a decent wrestler, fans are going to pay to see him get his ass kicked. Hobbs caught Martin charging at him with a spinebuster. Schiavone and Ross both called it a powerbomb, oddly.
WINNER: Hobbs in 8:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: A good meaningful win for Hobbs over Martin, who they really talked up.)
-Dan Lambert spoke from a luxury suit and mockingly congratulated AEW for bringing in Punk, Danielson, Ruby, and Cole “and every other skinny little dork who’s 5-foot-9 or shorter that Tony Khan can use to deflect against the truth.” He said no matter how hard he tries to cover it up, this company is not the hottest thing going in pro wrestling. He said Khan might trick the fans, but eventually the truth will be known. He said Scorpio Sky and Ethan Page are the truth tellers. He challenged any tough guys in the locker room to step up. He said he never wants to hear that “god-awful chant of ‘AEW’ again.”
-Ross said he sounded like an angry old man. Taz said he kind of liked him. They threw to clips of the Orange Cassidy beatdown by the Matt Hardy Office. Matt yelled about how he’s going to shave Cassidy’s head. Orange said: “Matt Hardy says he wants to cut my hair. Whatever.” He shrugged his shoulders. [c]
-MJF made his entrance with Wardlow. They showed a clip of his All Out loss to Jericho. MJF looked upset. He yelled about how how prior to Sunday, he beat Jericho three times. He said he beat him a fourth time on Sunday, too, right in the middle of the ring. He said after the bell rang and his music hit, the match was restarted due to extreme bias against him. He said everybody in the back wants to be him. He said he wouldn’t expect everyone from “Shit-cinatti” to understand him. He said he knows they’re all going to go Twitter and yell “Cheap heat!” He called the fans marks and said he is sincere when he says Cincinnati is a dumpster fire. He said it’s called the Midwest because everything is mid. He made fun of the Cincinnati Reds. He asked the fans to jump the guard rail so he can beat up all of them. He said they won’t because they’re all cowards. (That’s tempting fate.) He called Brian Pillman’s daughter “16 and pregnant.” He threatened knock the teeth down her throat. He added, “That certainly would explain your vile looks.”
Brian Pillman Jr. walked out and defended Cincinnati. He said it breeds badasses like Brian Pillman and Jon Moxley. He told MJF, “Welcome to the Jungle!” MJF asked if he thought it was a good idea to go toe-to-toe on the microphone with him. He said it’s a shame his drug addicted mother Melany – at which point Pillman leaped into the ring. He said she could have birthed a lot of other prospects if she had just swallowed. Wardlow stepped between MJF and Pillman. MJF told Wardlow not to ruin things like he did on Sunday. He told him to go stand in the corner and look pretty. Wardlow didn’t like it, but did what he said. MJF said he’s going to do what his mother should have done and “abort him.” Pillman jumped MJF. Wardlow made the save. Griff Garrison ran out for the save, but Wardlow took him down with a clothesline. MJF hit Garrison with his ring as Wardlow held him. He wound up for another punch when Pillman jumped in for the save.
(Keller’s Analysis: I know MJF is turning “cheap heat” into something he embraces, and his shtick is “I can’t believe he went there,” but some of that material did reek of something someone who doesn’t have his verbal talent and wit would resort to. I think it’s distracting and I think in a few years he’ll look back and think he would have been better off not going to some of those places to get heat. I like the idea of a feud of MJF & Wardlow vs. Pillman & Garrison, though.)
(3) RUBY SOHO vs. JAMIE HAYTER (w/Rebel, Britt Baker)
As the match began, they plugged Bryan Danielson and The Elite with Adam Cole would be talking later. They cut to an early split-screen break. [c/ss]
Ruby scored a two count after a DDT. Hayter lifted Ruby onto her shoulders. Ruby leaned backwards and twisted and drove Hayter face first into the mat. It’s tough to tell if that was what was planned, but it could have gone wrong. The announcers wondered out loud what the intention was there. Fans chanted “Let’s go, Ruby!” Ruby made a comeback with an upkick for the win.
WINNER: Ruby in 7:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Not a great first singles match for Soho. Not sure where the blame lies, but that was rough.)
-Ruby stood up and began to hug the referee (which was unprofessional of them). Baker jumped Soho. Riho and Kris Statlander made the save. The heels fled. She helped Ruby and Riho stand. Ruby continued to sell a neck or shoulder injury throughout.
-A video package aired with soundbites from Ricky Starks and Brian Cage. [c]
-A clip aired of Alex Marvez interviewing Dark Order earlier and they were bickering. Anna Jay tried to talk some calm into the situation.
(4) FTR (Cash Wheeler & Dax Harwood) & SHAWN SPEARS (w/Tully Blanchard, Wardlow) vs. STU GRAYSON & EVIL UNO & JOHN SILVER
When Silver tapped Grayson on the shoulder to tag himself in, Ross said when he first started refereeing in the 1970s, you had to make contact to tag in. Schiavone said, “You were my grandmother’s favorite referee back then.” (Wow!) Taz asked if Ross wore a shirt back then. (For the record, I’m all for tags only being legal if hands are slapped by teammates and the tag rope is also involved. I’m with Ross.) Spears eventually pinned Silver after a Death Valley Driver.
WINNERS: FTR & Spears in 4:00.
-Afterward, Uno gave Silver a hard time for getting pinned. Silver shoved him. Greyson shoved Silver down. “5” then attacked Greyson and Uno. Colt Cabana tried to separate everyone. Tay Conti and Anna Jay walked out. The arguing continued.
-A video package aired on the Women’s Casino Battle Royal including soundbites from various participants reacting to what happened in the match.
-Schiavone interviewed Blanchard backstage. He said the fans just watched leadership win. He said Sting is trying to capitalize off somebody else once again like he has his whole career. He said he’s going to put an end to it all. He said he wants Spears vs. Darby next week on Dynamite. “And then Sting, there’s going to come a time when it’s going to be you and me one more time.”
-Sammy Guevara walked out with signs which he held up during the break. “Every summer has a story – Summer 2021 had some damn good ones – at All Out – Jericho destroyed Max – in Pittsburgh – Fuego became All Elite – in Houston – Pam said ‘Yes!’ – While summer may be coming to an end – the good times are far from over! – The Inner Circle will stay on top! – Fuego will make his mark! – and I’ll keep – getting these views!” He then plugged his Twitter.
(Keller’s Analysis: If Happy Punk is part of the past already, Happy Sammy continues his Summer of Ehh. He seems so nice now, but that edge is gone. He was a lot more interesting as a heel.) [c]
-Marvez interviewed Pillman backstage as a trainer tended to Garrison with an ice pack. Max Caster & Anthony Bowens barged in. Caster told Pillman he got himself a match against him on Rampage this Friday.
-Schiavone stood mid-ring and introduced The Elite, although first he defended Cincinnati and said it’s a great wrestling city “no matter what that little prick MJF said.” Out came The Young Bucks gingerly walking followed by Kenny Omega, Don Callis, Karl Anderson, Luke Gallows, and Michael Nakazawa. Callis took the mic and said it was a pleasure to be there. He bragged that Omega landed at no. 1 in the PWI 500. “Thank you for your votes and your money,” he said. He touted the Bucks giving the fans the best tag team match in the history of the world. He said in the course of that, the belts were stolen from them, but they’ll get them back. Nick said they got their best friend back. Adam Cole made his ring entrance to his song. Ross said, “This is a huge get for The Elite.”
Fans chanted “Adam Cole! Adam Cole!” He asked who was ready for Storytime with Adam Cole. He got in Schiavone’s face and told him he knows he’s really close with Britt Baker, “and I square to God, if you even look at her the wrong way, I’ll slap those stupid glasses off your face and whoop your ass, you understand me?” He told him to get out of their ring. “You nerd, get out of the ring! Get out of the ring, nerd!” he said. “Hurry up, could you be any slower?” Taz said it’s about time that happened. Fans chanted “Tony! Tony!”
Cole said AEW is the greatest wrestling company in the world because of the wrestlers in the ring right now. He said he knows he’s new to AEW, but he’s been Elite for a very, very long time. He said for 14 years, he has main evented and won world championships “and has shown I am a once in a generation professional wrestler.” He talked up the Bucks and Omega. He said, “Now The Elite is complete, bay bay.” He said next week he’ll make his in-ring debut in AEW and he will prove how Elite he really is. Omega said as much as he’d like to celebrate with everyone, he really despises interruptions. He said at the PPV they were unceremoniously interrupted. Bryan Danielson’s music then interrupted him again.
The video screen said “The American Dragon” and he walked out. The graphic said he’s a four-time world champion. Omega asked his cohorts to clear the ring. He invited Danielson to enter the ring. He did as fans cheered. Danielson yanked the mic out of his hands and said he had a quick question. “Do you guys want to see Bryan Danielson fight Kenny Omega?” Ross said, “Count me in!” Taz said, “Same here!” Fans chanted, “Yes!” Omega said it doesn’t work like that in AEW. Danielson said if he’s the greatest wrestler who has ever lived and believes there is no one on his level, he seems to be afraid to take this match “because you know that I am better than you and I will kick your head in and you are not on my level.” Omega took off his jacket and swung at Danielson, who ducked and applied an armbar. The Elite attacked him. Christian, Kaz, Luchasaurus, Marko Stunt, and Jungle Boy ran out and made the save. Cutler entered the ring and was surrounded by the babyfaces. Fans chanted “You f—ed up!” Danielson kicked him and then played to the fans while standing on the second rope.
(Keller’s Analysis: Well, that was fun, huh? Cole was a major alpha out there with a spring in his step and chip on his shoulder. And Danielson just looked like he was having fun, but also genuinely excited to be ready to take on some new top tier opponents. I suspect they stretch out Omega avoiding Danielson until it’s locked in for Full Gear on Nov. 13.) [c]
-The announcers hyped upcoming matches. Rampage features Pac vs. Andrade El Idolo, Max Caster vs. Brian Pillman Jr., Baker & Rebel & Hayter vs. Soho & Statlander & Riho, plus Darby and Sting will respond to Tully Blanchard. Then on Dynamite next week, Adam Cole vs. Kaz, Jade Cargill vs. Leyla Hirsch, and Darby vs. Spears. And then the Sept. 22 Dynamite will feature Cody vs. Black at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
(5) JON MOXLEY vs. MINORU SUZUKI
Taz said he was really excited to see Suzuki. Mox made his entrance second, going through the crowd. Mox got a huge ovation, of course. Fans were into it from the start as Mox and Suzuki threw elbows at each other. Then they traded thrust kicks. They no-sold everything. Mox staggered Suzuki against the ropes. Then he raked his face. They cut to a split-screen break as fans chanted “F— him up, Moxley, f— him up!” [c/ss]
Back from the break, Moxley bit Suzuki’s face. Suzuki bit him back. Taz said they can match each other’s violence. Ross said, “Reciprocal biting.” Headbutt exchanges came next. They both went down. Suzuki went for a piledriver, but Mox blocked it and hit a Paradigm Shift. Then he hit a lariat for a one count. Suzuki was bleeding from the right eye area. Suzuki wiped some blood and licked it off his hand and smiled. Mox dropped Suzuki with a punch. He then delivered a butterfly suplex for the three count. Mox then left through the crowd.
WINNER: Moxley in 9:00.
FINAL THOUGHTS: A fun show. Getting the wheels in motion on Omega vs. Danielson right away is great. Having Cole issue his mission statement is great. Having Cole and Omega in the same faction seems to be leading toward an Omega vs. Cole match within the next year. Punk practically feels like “yesterday’s news” already, and I’m not sure if a feud with Powerhouse Hobbs or Hook will help in that regard. This is going to be interesting to watch, because flat out Cole and Danielson are more in their prime and obviously are a lot less rusty. Getting Cody Rhodes and “Hangman” Page back is going to be interesting to watch, because they were consistently two of the top three or four babyfaces in the company, and now you’ve got Danielson and Punk in that mix. It’s a lot of assets for Tony Khan to try to juggle, and everyone should get their turn eventually, but it’s pretty crowded looking right now. Think of AEW’s babyface Top Eight depth chart right now: Danielson, Hangman, Cody, Punk, Moxley, Darby, Jericho, and Christian, with another tier of Jungle Boy, Guevara, Dustin, Kingston, and Orange, with some tag teams mixed in too.