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KELLER’S AEW DYNAMITE REPORT
NOVEMBER 17, 2021
NORFOLK, VA. AT CHARTWAY ARENA
AIRED LIVE ON TNT
Commentators: Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone, Excalibur
Ring Announcer: Justin Roberts
-The Dynamite opening theme aired.
-A video package aired of highlights from Full Gear covering a wide array of matches and moments culminating in “Hangman” Adam Page pinning Kenny Omega.
-Pyro blasted in the arena as Jim Ross introduced the show. Excalibur, Tony Schiavone, and Ross hyped the entire line-up of scheduled matches.
-Backstage, Kenny Omega, The Young Bucks, and Adam Cole were standing in a stairwell. Kenny said he hasn’t watched the match back. He said The Elite lost the night. He said he’s disgusted, but not with “Hanger” because “you won, congrats.” He said there are things he has to fix and change, so he needs them to hold the fort while he’s gone. Cole said he could do it. Omega said he was talking to the Bucks, but it’s cool. Matt Jackson assured Omega they’d take of things while he’s gone. Matt then told Brandon Cutler to stop recording right there.
-Dark Order stood mid-ring. John Silver introduced “National Cowboy Shit Day.” Then he introduced the new AEW Champion “Hangman” Adam Page, who then made his entrance. He opened his leather jacket and inside it was a t-shirt that read “Virginia is For Lovers.” He revealed his AEW Title belt, too. He strutted to the ring. The ring was lightly decorated with cowboy stuff including a big star and a rope. Excalibur talked about what a great moment it was in AEW history for Hangman on Saturday. Ross said the better man won, no controversy, and Hangman beat the best in the world.
Fans chanted “You deserve it!” Hangman said he wanted to stop them because he didn’t deserve it, he earned it. The fans changed to chanting “You earned it!” (That’s a good augmentation.) He said he is often quite shy and reserved and doesn’t “flap his gums” all that often, but now that he’s AEW World Champion, “I think I’ll do whatever the hell I want.” He said he is still just a man with a job and a boss to answer to. He said he told them all at their very first press conference “that that boss is you.” He said if his boss will allow, he’d like to celebrate National Cowboy Shit Day with them. A “Cowboy Shit!” chant broke out. He said he knows the title carries a lot of weight and responsibility, and after Full Gear, up next is “The American Dragon” Bryan Danielson.
Danielson’s music began and he walked out. Ross said it’s amazing to be a fan at an AEW event live. “What an atmosphere! What a great time to be a pro wrestling fan!” Ross added. Danielson entered the ring, mic in hand. Schiavone called it a big time moment. Danielson said he came out to essentially say one thing: “Congratulations Hangman Adam Page.” He added that he’s super excited for the match, but to be fair, he’s a little surprised and disappointed that it’s not Kenny Omega standing across the ring from him. Fans booed. Hangman said it’s not Kenny “because I beat his ass at Full Gear.” He added, “If I’m not mistaken, I managed to do it in less than 30 minutes.” Fans broke into another “Cowboy Shit!” chant. He said he didn’t come out to start a beef with him. “Although to be fair, you’re not going to be wrestling someone who dresses up as a Ghostbuster on Halloween,” he said. “I’m coming to kick some ass. And, if you guys to see Cowboy shit, apparently Cowboy shit doesn’t involve wrestling. I’m out here wrestling every week and you’re out here flapping you gums.” He said when he won the World Championship at WrestleMania, he wrestled the very next day. More boos. “The very next day! Of course, Virginia boos hard work,” he said.
Hangman smiled and said if he wants to wrestle for the title, he doesn’t see why they don’t do it today. They went face-to-face. Fans chanted “Yes! Yes!” (This is a mean tease for the fans if they don’t end up doing it.) Danielson said, “Normally I’d be up for it,” he said. “But here’s the thing. I’m out here, I’m ready to wrestle. I’ve got my gear on. You’ve got your cowboy boots on and jeans and some sort of horrible leather jacket.” He said when he got there, everyone told him Hangman has a long list of excuses for why he’s failed his entire career. He said he doesn’t want to beat him for the AEW Title and have him have the excuse that he’s not ready. Hangman said he can have it his way and not have the match tonight. He said Virginia is for lovers, but he’ll still fight. Schiavone said he’s surprised the war of words and heat ratcheted up so soon. Hangman was held back by Dark Order. Danielson said he’s letting his little friends hold him back, so he’s not really interested in fighting right now. Fans loudly chanted, “Let them fight!” Danielson said Dark Order knows he’d kick his ass and there’s no way they’d let him go. Hangman burst through Dark Order and went after Danielson. Danielson bailed out.
(Keller’s Analysis: That was fun. The crowd was totally backing the hometown babyface champ. Bryan was great there. Not sure who’s bingo card had Kenny being more of a babyface than Danielson in the opening 15 minutes of the post-Full Gear episode of Dynamite. I’m not sure the carry over of Hangman being cheered will be as strong in every other city, but I’m also not sure it won’t. Danielson looked to me to be having more fun in that segment than I’ve seen him have in years. That was an on-brand performance for Hangman. He seemed authentic and likable, but also no pushover. I loved his pushing back against “You deserve it” and suggesting/insisting on “You earned it!” instead.) [c]
(1) BRYAN DANIELSON vs. EVIL UNO
As Danielson kicked away at Uno early, Excalibur plugged upcoming dates. Schiavone touted Danielson’s schedule since he arrived in AEW. Then they talked about Dynamite moving to TBS in January. Ross said Danielson has faced doubters who said he was too small, didn’t have what it takes, was bland, and has no personality, but he’s a wrestling fool and he’s tougher than heck. Excalibur said he has proven doubters wrong time and time again. (I get why Ross said all that, but I think AEW fans are past that and it’s not a net-plus to run down that list at this point.) Ross said Danielson isn’t wrestling because he needs the money; he wrestles because he likes to compete and he likes the physicality and he likes to prove he’s the best. Uno made a comeback and went for a top rope senton, but Danielson lifted his knees. Then he landed a running psycho knee. Excalibur said that’s how he put away Minoru Suzuki. Ross said Danielson is “very spirited tonight, shall we say.” Danielson might have yelled a phrase to the crowd, “He is going to get his f—in’ head kicked in!” The mics didn’t pick up on it cleanly, but you can read lips and hear it a little. Danielson then put out Uno with a triangle sleeper.
WINNER: Danielson in 7:00.
-Schiavone interviewed Danielson in the ring. Schiavone said the fans are letting him hear it after things got testy with Hangman. He said he came out there to congratulate Hangman, but because of his behavior, he ended up kicking Uno’s head in. Danielson said he doesn’t know when the match will be, but he’s going to kick in the heads of all of Dark Order in the mean time. He next week in Chicago, he hears there’s a Dark Order member from Chicago. He said he’s going to kick Colt Cabana’s head in next week.
(Keller’s Analysis: This is a much more interesting Danielson than we’ve seen in a while. Again, he seems to relish playing this role.)
-They went to a promo with MJF backstage after Full Gear. He was sitting on a chair and his chest was still very red. He angrily said people say about him that’s good on the stick but doesn’t have the goods bell to bell. “Screw that and screw you!” he said. He said he doesn’t know what’s going on inside his knee, which was obviously swollen, but he loved every second of his fight against Darby Allin. He said inside he feels nothing but great success by proving everyone wrong. He said while the fans hate his guts, they have no choice but to admit just how damn good he really is. He said he just beat Darby with a headlock takeover, and right now he’s really excited to go to Norfolk, Va. He said he’s got the best right hand in pro wrestling. He closed by saying everyone has no choice but to admit he’s better than them now.
(Keller’s Analysis: Stellar promo as a follow-up to his win at Full Gear. That was a great setting, great content, and great delivery.) [c]
-As Schiavone was going to interview Eddie Kingston backstage, 2-Point-0 and Danny Garcia walked in and gloated that Garcia lasted longer against C.M. Punk than he did. Kingston told Garcia to talk for himself and not let 2-Point-0 speak for him. They had a staredown. Kingston palm-faced him. Kingston said he is headed to catering, but he just wants one promo that isn’t interrupted.
(2) THE BUTCHER & THE BLADE (w/Matt Hardy, Bunny) vs. ORANGE CASSIDY & TOMOHIRO ISHII (w/Rocky Romero, Kris Statlander, Best Friends)
Butcher & Blade came out first. They showed a kid dressed as Orange in the crowd. Excalibur talked about Ishii being part of the Chaos faction in New Japan Pro Wrestling. Excalibur listed other New Japan wrestlers. Ross touted Okada. Ishii and Blade went at it with mid-ring strikes. Ishii got the better of it, then tagged in Cassidy. Blade turned and yelled at Ishii. Cassidy came up behind him, hands in pockets, with slow kicks and a casual side-step. Blade slid to the floor. Butcher blind-tagged in and hit Cassidy, then yelled at Ishii. Schiavone noted that Butcher has leaned up. Ross said he has lost excessive body weight. He threw Cassidy to the floor. Bunny stomped on him. They cut to a split-screen break. [c/ss]
Iishi went after Blade again after the break. Then Butcher tagged in. It seemed like Ishii and Butcher facing off was supposed to be “a moment,” but the crowd didn’t react big. Butcher chopped Ishii in the corner over and over, and Ishii just absorbed them and no-sold them. Ishii slowly stepped out of the corner and backed Butcher in the opposite corner. He then delivered a superplex. The fans cheered as he scored a two count, with Blade breaking up the count. Cassidy tagged in and landed a Slum Dog Millionaire on Butcher and then a DDT on Blade for a believable near fall. Cassidy looked down at Hardy, who was DISTRACTING him at ringside. He then setup an Orange Punch, but Butcher and Blade blocked it and delivered their double-team neckbreaker. Ishii broke up the cover. He then dragged Cassidy to the corner and tagged him in. As he pounded away at Butcher, Hardy leaped onto the ring apron. Bunny distracted the ref. Ishii went over to yell at Bunny then gave Butcher a German suplex. As Blade was going to use brass knux against Ishii, Romero pulled him out of the ring by his legs. Hardy shoved Romero into the barricade. Cassidy leaped off the top rope onto Hardy and Blade on the floor. Ishii then finished Blade with a lariat and a brainbuster.
WINNERS: Cassidy & Ishii in 10:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Fun match, with enough twists on the standard tired DISTRACTION finishes to keep things unpredictable. That seemed to set up Hardy vs. Romero at one point.)
-Schiavone interviewed Tully Blanchard & FTR along with Andrade and his assistant on the other side. He told Cody Rhodes he is a better wrestler than him and now he will show him his bad side. Cash Wheeler said they were robbed at Full Gear. He suggested an eight-man tag with Malakai Black joining them against the Lucha Bros & Cody & Pac. Tully warned Arn Anderson that if he sticks his nose in his their business, “I’ve got one more in me.” [c]
-A video package aired on the Britt Baker vs. Tay Conti match. Tay said even when she loses, she wins. She said the next time she faces her, she’ll walk out as champion.
-Schiavone interviewed Baker, Jamie Hayter, and Rebel. Baker said Hayter will defeat Thunder Rosa on her ride to championship gold.
(3) NYLA ROSE (w/Vickie Guerrero) vs. SHIDA – TBS Tournament match
Nyla Rose made her ring entrance first, accompanied by Vickie. Her record was listed as 23-5 in 2021 and 6-1 in her last 7. When Shida came out, her record was listed at 51-10. The announcers noted that Rose has 50 wins and Shida has 51, so she can tie Shida in total wins in this match. Rose bailed out to regroup early with Vickie. Fans chanted “Let’s Go Shida!” Rose took control and methodically worked over Shida’s knee.
Shida made a comeback by reverse-whipping Rose into the ringside barricade. Next, she set up a chair, but then turned her back and yelled. Ross scolded her for that (deservedly so). Rose attacked her from behind and put her on the chair. She leaped off the ring apron with a flip senton, but Shida moved; Rose crushed the chair when she landed on it. Shida yanked a kendo stick away from Vickie and then whacked her with it. They cut to a split-screen break. [c/ss]
Back from the break, Shida made a comeback and applied an armbar. Rose powerbombed herself free, then went for a senton on Shida’s battered knee. Shida came back with a Jackknife pin attempt. Rose blocked a kick and lifted her into a stretch muffler to get the win. Schiavone then said Rose faces the winner of Statlander vs. Ruby Soho, and the other bracket features Rosa vs. Hayter and Cargill vs. Red Velvet.
WINNER: Rose in 12:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good match and just the right length to tell a good story.)
-A vignette aired with Malakai Black who talked about destroying Cody, who would eventually learn what a small part he played in the massive equation unfolding in front of him. He advised Cody take deep breaths because oxygen is still on his side.
-MJF made his ring entrance with Shawn Spears and Wardlow. MJF was chomping on his gum and strutting with a scarf around his neck and a blue-green suit. He entered the ring as fans chanted “You suck!” Spears told the fans that Maxwell could beat any of their heroes with a simple headlock takeover. He said he’d appreciate silence. MJF mocked the accents of the fans in Norfolk, Va. He said he checks all the boxes. He said he is the man who will start a bidding war in 2024. He said he is the past, present, and future of pro wrestling. He said he could send their horse straight to the glue factory and “take a big ol’ cowboy shit right on his title reign.” He said even though fans hate him, they know he deserves to be the next AEW World Champion. Excalibur said, “Says the guy who wrestles three times a year.” MJF said nobody in the locker room is on his level. C.M. Punk’s music interrupted. Ross said, “Somebody just might have something to say about that statement.”
Punk walked out and stared at MJF the whole way. When Punk’s music stopped, fans were chanting “C.M. Punk!” He walked up to MJF, arms crossed, and said nothing. MJF chomped on his gum. Fans chanted “Holy shit!” Before MJF could speak, the chanted shifted to “Shut the f— up!” He introduced himself as “Maxwell” and offered a handshake. Punk laughed at him and turned and left. His music played and Punk laughed as he walked to the back. Ross said it’d be a mistake to not take MJF seriously, but he might be just trying to get in his head.
-Schiavone interviewed Darby Allin. He said many considered it the match of the night even if it didn’t turn out the way he wanted. Darby said MJF didn’t break him. He said he wants the biggest and baddest. Billy Gunn and his sons Colton and Austin walked up. Gunn told Darby to just say when, then turned and left. Colton told him not to forget his skateboard. Austin then said, “I like cuddles!” Darby said, “Screw it, let’s do it.”
(Keller’s Analysis: AEW is doing a good job here pivoting everyone to new feuds while also addressing the results. Giving Darby a few TV wins against obnoxious Gunn Club members isn’t what you’d have expected, but it’s not a bad use of Gunn Club, who I think are a bit underrated at this point, especially in this spot of just providing a satisfying loser for a star on TV.) [c]
-The Bucks and Cole stood backstage. Cole said the Super Kliq will be stronger than ever. Cole brought in Bobby Fish who said they’re going to put an end to the Jurassic Express.
(4) THE ACCLAIMED (Max Caster & Anthony Bowens) vs. LIO RUSH & DANTE MARTIN
Caster said they’re in Virginia and Lio & Dante are both virgins. Lio and Dante dove onto Max and Bowens at ringside before the bell. They cut to a split-screen break with Caster in control. [c/ss]
Rush eventually landed a frog splash on Bowens for the clean win.
WINNERS: Rush & Dante in 11:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good tag action.)
-Afterward, Team Taz walked out (Taz, Ricky Starks, Powerhouse Hobbs, Hook). Taz said they’ll be patient as they wait for Dante to join them. Starks said it’s been one year as of tomorrow that Hobbs has been part of Team Taz. He thanked fans for the applause, but noted they don’t appreciate it. Starks told Dante if he chooses to go to Team Taz, it’ll be the start of a Hall of Fame career, and the other route leads to a mediocre career, so the choice is his. They showed Dante and Lio chatting in the ring afterward.
-Christian Cage, Luchasaurus, and Jungle Boy talked about Rampage on Friday. Jungle Boy said he’ll eat thumb tacks for breakfast and keep on fighting.
-The announcers plugged Rampage: Darby vs. Billy Gunn and Jade Cargill vs. Red Velvet. Then a video package aired on the Cargill-Velvet feud. Excalibur said it’s official that Cole & Fish will face JB & Luchasaurus also. Then Dynamite next week features Colt vs. Danielson, Rosa vs. Hayter, Cody & Pac & Lucha Brothers vs. Malakai Black & FTR. Ross then hyped Sammy Guevera defending against Jay Lethal was up next. [c]
-A promo aired with the Lucha Brothers and Alex, who talked about the eight-man tag match next week.
(5) SAMMY GUEVARA vs. JAY LETHAL – TNT Title match
Lethal’s entrance music teases the Randy Savage’s entrance theme a little before shifting to something else entirely. A brief soundbite aired with Lethal. Guevara then made his entrance. Ross talked up Lethal as a 19 year veteran who has held over 20 championships. They showed Tony Nese sitting in the front row again. Ross said Lethal started wrestling at age 16 for money. He said this is a great opportunity for someone on their first night in a new company. They felt each other out for a few minutes before going to a split screen break. [c/ss]
Back from the break, Guevara took a beating at ringside. Later, Guevara leaped off the top rope with a flip dive toward Lethal on a table at ringside, but Lethal moved and Guevara crashed through the table. Lethal then leaped off the top rope with a flying elbowdrop attempt, but Guevera rolled through and leveraged Lethal’s shoulders down for a near fall. Guevara superkicked Lethal, but Lethal swept Guevara’s legs. Then he landed a face plant for a near fall before shifting into a figure-four leglock mid-ring. Ross touted Lethal as one of the best wrestlers in the world. Guevara made his way to the bottom rope to force a break. After a few more exchanges, Guevara hit a GTH for the win. Chris Jericho, Santana, and Ortiz came out to congratulate Guevara for his win. Guevara and Lethal then shook hands as Ross hyped next week’s “Dynamite Thanksgiving.” Inner Circle raised Lethal’s arms. Ross said good sportsmanship isn’t dead.
WINNER: Guevara in 13:00 to retain the TNT Title.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good solid match start to finish. It’s a nice notch on Guevara’s belt to have a win over Lethal, given his background and success in ROH in particular.)