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KELLER’S AEW DYNAMITE REPORT
DECEMBER 1, 2021
DULUTH, GA. AT GAS SOUTH ARENA
AIRED LIVE ON TNT
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Excalibur, Taz
-The Dynamite opening theme aired.
-Excalibur introduced the show and wished Jim Ross well in his cancer treatment. Excalibur and Tony Schiavone previewed the episode. Excalibur noted that Tony Khan officially announced that Bryan Danielson will face “Hangman” Adam Page at the “Winter is Coming” episode of Dynamite in two weeks.
-“Hangman” Page made his ring entrance. The crowd popped for his theme song. He walked out, looking fired up, and joined the announcers on commentary for the opening match.
(1) ALAN “5” ANGELS vs. BRYAN DANIELSON
Page talked about being friends with Dark Order. He said he’s excited for Angels to get this opportunity, and said he actually graduated high school in this building. He joked that it took him six years to graduate. Danielson was booed as he seemed to take extra joy in any offense against Angels, and also came across as arrogant and condescending toward Angels. Page said he’s watched Danielson career, but he’s not sure Danielson has watched his entire career, so he knows more about Danielson than Danielson does about him. Excalibur said Danielson likes to dive into the archives and he might end up more prepared than Page is expected. Page didn’t respond to that. Angels made a comeback and landed a Spanish Fly for a near fall. He went back to the top rope and went for a moonsault, but Danielson moved. Danielson hit a running high knee. He then looked over at Hangman and then grabbed Angel’s arms and stomped away at him. He waved his finger at the fans. Schiavone asked what he was trying to prove. He then applied a kneebar for a tapout win. He flexed his left bicep as he held on after the bell. Angels tapped over and over with force as the bell rang over and over. Danielson finally broke and flexed both biceps for the camera. Page said he has been seeking a match against Danielson. He said he’s tired of Danielson’s attitude.
WINNER: Danielson in 6:00.
-Schiavone interviewed Danielson after the match. Danielson said, “If that’s the best Atlanta’s got, I whopped his ass.” They cut to Page looking on. Danielson said he thinks he snapped Angel’s MCL, “not that any of you know what that means.” He said he knocked out Colt Cabana’s tooth last week. He said next week he hears there’s a Dark Order member from Long Island and he’s going to stomp his head in too. He addressed Hangman next and said in two weeks in Dallas, home of the Cowboys, that’s where he takes the AEW Championship. “That’s where I show the world you are a one hit wonder,” he said. When he brought up Coward Shit, Page had enough and threw off his headset. John Silver ran out to stop him and said that while Page isn’t allowed to touch Bryan tonight, he can. He ran to the ring. Danielson bailed out and laughed. Fans booed. He said he wouldn’t share the ring with “this joke.” He said Silver is beneath him. Danielson got in Page’s face and said Khan said they can’t touch each other, but he’d love to slap his face. Fans chanted “Cowboy Shit!” He said the jerks in the crowd don’t deserve to see it happen. He dropped the mic and left.
(Keller’s Analysis: Really good match. Excalibur noted Angels being great for his age, 23. Danielson going all-in as a nasty heel at this point is fun to watch; he’s good at it and he seems really into it. That said, it feels “out of nowhere” and jarring, which works against it. It just feels like he decided to be a heel without a backstory to support his sharp change in personality. So while fans are booing him, so it’s working in that respect, it feels arbitrary and sudden.) [c]
-A Miro vignette aired. He was walking around in a completely white setting. He said he was there for weeks trying to figure out what to do. He said his weakness literally separates his head and his heart. He said it then came to him, so he thanked his god for showing him and teaching him and revealing what he should do next. He said he will storm the gates of Heaven and the streets will turn red. “You pushed me out while I was looking for love, but now I will bring fear.” He said he only has two weaknesses in his life. He said he will repair one and embrace the other. “This is the word of the Redeemer!” he closed with.
(Keller’s Analysis: Even if you didn’t understand a word of English, you’d want to see what the guy was going to do next.)
(2) C.M. PUNK vs. LEE MORIARTY
Moriarty skipped out to the ring exuberantly. The announcers commented on a clip of Moriarty beating Nick Comoroto last week on AEW Dark. Punk came out next to a nice pop. After Punk entered the ring, MJF’s music played and he joined the announcers at the desk. Punk looked distracted and annoyed. MJF said he’s nervous for P.G. Punk. He said after his performance last week against Q.T. Marshall, he heard Punk has been binge-drinking. Excalibur said that’s absolutely not true. MJF said Punk looked haggard. Excalibur said Punk went into his match last week with a serious non-COVID-related respiratory infection. MJF said C.M. stands for “cooking meth.” When Moriarty got in some early offense, MJF asked Schiavone if way back when, other top guys did so poorly. Schiavone said Punk’s wrestled a tougher schedule than him. MJF said he wrestles when it’s necessary and when it means something. Moriarty locked Punk in an armbar on the mat. MJF said he wants to see the C.M. Punk he grew up watching. Punk came back with a flying lariat. He flexed his bicep and smiled as they cut to a break. [c]
Punk controlled the action during the break. They went into a back and forth sequence, including a virtual three count by Moriarty. Punk countered Moriarty’s suplex set-up with a GTS for the win.
WINNER: Punk in 12:00.
-After the match, MJF asked for Punk’s music to be cut. Fans booed as MJF walked toward the ring. He told Punk that last week he said he was disappointed in him, but he’s actually proud of him. He said it takes a lot of balls to claim you’re the best in the world when you’re struggling to beat Marshall and Moriarty. He said the only thing he’s good at now is trying to get in Brit Baker’s pants. MJF said Punk looked unamused, which is what Brit would look like if he succeeded at getting her in the bedroom.
Punk said MJF is wearing Larry David’s pajamas. He said he can talk all he wants about struggling to beat Marshall and Moriarty, but they’re better than him and he knows it. Punk told MJF to shut up. Punk told MJF to bring his little needle dick to the ring and he’ll beat his ass back to Long Island. Fans chanted, “Needle dick!” MJF said Punk needs him because he’s a spark to a flame that he hasn’t had since 2011. He talked up Long Island as the most magical place in the world. He said he’ll finally be amongst fans who love and appreciate him. He said he’ll be better than Piper in Portland and Bret in Canada and Punk in Chicago. “Laugh all you want, dipshit,” he said. He said the fans will be chanting his name at the top of their lungs. He said he could hear Punk’s dog Larry yipping in the back. He told him not to bring that flea-ridden maggot of dog around anymore because, if he does, he’ll put Larry to sleep. Punk slid under the bottom rope and went after MJF. MJF backed away. Wardlow then walked out and stood between MJF and Punk. MJF taunted Punk while standing behind Wardlow.
(Keller’s Analysis: A solid follow-up to the epic promo segment last week.)
-Schiavone interviewed Baker, Rebel, and Jamie Hayter. Baker gave Hayter a hard time about losing last week, but said the past is the past, and they are back on track this week. She said Hayter will face Riho next week on Dynamite. [c]
-Adam Cole made his ring entrance, then made his way back to the announce desk. He told Schiavone not to pretend to be happy to see him. Orange Cassidy walked out and taunted Cole by putting his hands in his pockets. The Young Bucks snuck out, but Cassidy turned around and slow-kicked their ankles. Cole then gave Cassidy a low-blow from behind. Matt and Nick then gave slow superkicks to Cassidy. Then they delivered real-speed superkicks. Cassidy went down in a heap. Then they set up a combo BTE Trigger, but Chuck Taylor and Wheeler Yuta came out, so they scrammed. Excalibur said as soon as the numbers are even, they run.
-A vignette aired on Tony Nese who talked about challenging Sammy Guevara for the TNT Title this Friday on Rampage.
(3) WARDLOW (w/Shawn Spears) vs. A.C. ADAMS
Total squash. After the match, Spears attacked Adams with several chairshots.
WINNER: Wardow in 1:30. [c]
-Schiavone said that due to an injury to Rey Femix, Pac is replacing Rey in their match against FTR this Friday on Rampage. Penta talked in Spanish. Alex said because they hurt Penta’s brother, they found the best ally they could find. Schiavone asked Pac if he’s able to wrestle after taking the black mist. Pac said he is ready to fight. He asked Schaivone to look into his eye. He struck a Bruiser Brody dangling-arms pose as he pointed at his eye.
(4) GUNN CLUB (Colten & Billy Gunn w/Austin Gunn) vs. STING & DARBY ALLIN
The Gunn Club came out first. Then Schiavone introduced “Stiiiiingg!” Taz, with Hook and Powerhouse Hobbs, joined the announcers on commentary. Darby and Colten started. After a Darby dropkick, Billy tagged himself in. He stared at Sting. Sting tagged in. The crowd popped. He and Billy had a staredown. Excalibur said this is Sting’s first match in Atlanta in 14 years.
Sting rocked Billy with strikes and then took him down with an inverted atomic drop and a clothesline. Billy avoided a Stinger splash by rolling to the floor. Fans chanted, “You still got it!” at Sting. Darby and Colten battled briefly, then Billy blind-tagged in and manhandled Darby. Fans chanted “Asshole!” at Billy. Colten tagged in and kicked away at Darby in the corner. They cut to a break as the Gunns were beating up Darby. [c]
Back from the break, Darby attempted a sunset flip on Colten. Billy grabbed his hands, but Darby shoved Colten which sent Billy to the floor. Darby tagged in Sting who clotheslined Colten, who took flatback bumps. Billy ran in and took some flatbacks, too, before Sting clotheslined him over the top rope to the floor. Sting then turned back to Colten and put him in the Scorpion Death Lock. Billy tried to make the save, but the ref stopped him (isn’t that legal in AEW?). Austin then entered out of sight of the referee and punched Sting. Fans booed. Darby dove through the ropes and tackled Austin. Darby also landed on the back of his head and neck and crumpled like he had a stinger. Yikes. Billy then gave Sting a Fameasser. Colten crawled over and made the cover for a two count. Darby returned to the ring and then promptly dove through the ropes and tackled Billy. He then re-entered the ring and gave Colten an over-the-top stunner. Sting followed with a Scorpion Death Drop for the win.
WINNERS: Sting & Darby in 10:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: To keep Sting actually wrestling something that feels special, I think they should have made a bigger deal out of it in the hour leading up to the match. I get this show also had Punk and Danielson wrestling, but Sting’s not an every-week guy and he deserves the legendary treatment along the lines of late-career Undertaker. I’m not sure that Darby being treated like a small helpless child by the nearly 60 year old Billy Gunn is good for Darby. Darby has never looked smaller in the sense of being a star, not literal stature, than he has in this situation. Sting and Billy were good enough in their limited roles here, and Colten was good as usual taking bumps, but Darby feels a bit marginalized without an upside to justify it even if he was standing tall by the end.)
-Alex Marvez interviewed Chris Jericho who said he wasn’t out there last week to save Eddie Kingston, he was there to take out 2point0. 2point0 then attacked him from the side. Danny Garcia joined in. Matt hit Jericho with a chairshot aimed at his head. Jericho got his hands up, but then collapsed against the storage garage door.
(Keller’s Analysis: AEW is so crazy. I mean, when 2point0 were signed, people wondered if Tony Khan “would hire anyone” cut from WWE. It’s nothing against 2point0’s talent, but they were positioned as a punchline act in WWE’s third brand and there wasn’t a lot of built up equity with them. But like Tony Nese, there is talent there, and AEW is going to evaluate talent and not how wrestlers were framed in WWE. 2point0 have been really entertaining on the mic and good in the ring, and now they – along with Danny Garcia – are in a feud with legacy star and inaugural AEW Champion Jericho. And it feels right in the context of what AEW does.)
-They went to the announce desk where Taz remained. He said 25 percent of the Dynamite Dozen will be Team Taz members, which means at 25 percent chance each, they have a 125 percent chance to win. “How awesome is that?” he said. “The numbers don’t lie!” Lio Rush walked out onto the stage and eyed Team Taz. Rush said it’s Taz’s job to know him since he’s a commentator. He said he’s had the odds stacked against him his entire career. Taz asked him to make his point. Rush said it’s crazy of him to say he has a 100 percent chance to win the entire thing, which insinuates he has a zero percent chance. (Taz said 125 percent, it should be noted!) Rush said he’s a fighter and Taz should know that he’s a fighter. He turned to the fans and said they know he’s a fighter. He said he won’t be going down without a fight, even if that means he only has a one percent chance. Taz said he might as well just retire because he’s done. He cackled as Dante Martin walked out. Ricky Starks joined him. Schiavone said he’s stunned by Dante’s decision even a week later.
-“Smart” Mark Sterling and Jade Cargill were speaking backstage about Thunder Rosa’s student Janai Kai answering their challenge. Jade called it “light work.” Rosa then walked out and said she will be special commentator in her match.
(5) KRIS STATLANDER vs. RUBY SOHO – TBS Tournament quarter finals match
Statlander was listed as 26-4 in 2021. Ruby was listed at 8-1. Statlander did the (stupid) boop thing to Ruby early. Taz said it’s a headgame. Statlander turned a monkey flip into a handstand. Ruby came back with a flatliner a minute later. They cut to an early split-screen break. [c/ss]
They battled back and forth during the break. Ruby leaped off the top rope with a senton for a near fall. Statlander landed a Michinoku Driver for a near fall a minute later. Ruby fought back and landed a poison rana for a near fall. Ruby reacted cartoonishly to the kickout, hamming it up way too much (plus her eyeballs nearly popped out of her head for real!). Statlander set up a Big Bang Theory, but Ruby countered into a roll-up for the win. Excalibur said if this match took place 100 times, they’d split them 50-50. He said Ruby is moving on to face Nyla Rose. Ruby hugged Statlander and they raised each other’s arms.
WINNER: Ruby Soho in 10:00 to advance to the semi-finals.
(Keller’s Analysis: Anyone who does a “boop” deserves to lose.)
-After the match, Vickie yelled at Statlander on the stage. Meanwhile, Rose showed up at the ring and yanked Ruby off the top rope. Statlander ran back to the ring, so Rose bailed out as Ruby writhed in pain on the mat. They showed the brackets: Rosa vs. Cargill and Rose vs. Soho in the semi-finals.
-Excalibur hyped Rampage’s line-up this Friday: Pac & Penta vs. FTR, Guevara vs. Nese for the TNT Title, and Jade in action. Then next week’s Dynamite will feature the Dynamite Battle Royal, plus Hayter vs. Riho and Silver vs. Danielson. [c]
(6) CODY RHODES vs. ANDRADE EL IDOLO (w/Jose) – Atlanta Street Fight
Andrade came out first. Then when Cody’s entrance began, fans booed. (I think if Cody added one more layer to his ring entrance, maybe fans would finally see him the way he wants them to see him and begin to cheer him.) Andrade charged at Cody as he got a pep talk from Arn Anderson on the stage. Anderson took a bump off the stage onto a crash pad (we hope) off to the side, not because he was hit, but in order to avoid a charging Jose. Cody brawled with Andrade. A “Cody” chant broke out. He landed a flip dive off the barricade onto Andrade near the edge of the hockey playing area. Back at ringside, Andrade took over. He dropped Cody face-first over the edge of the steps. Cody, stunningly, didn’t bleed at that point. He hugged his fellow judge on “The Big Big Show” on TBS, who then gave Cody a chair to use. They exchanged strikes at ringside. Cody rolled Andrade into the ring as another “Cody!” chant started which was then mixed with loud boos. Excalibur aknowledged the mixed reaction, wondering how unnerving it must be for Cody in his hometown. Cody took off his weight lifting belt and looked around. Andrade gave him a low blow.
Andrade bashed Cody with a laptop computer. Then at ringside he bashed Cody in the head with a chair. Cody got his hands up. Andrade then pulled a table out from under the ring. Fans cheered. He dropped it. Fans booed. Andrade swung a chain at Cody instead. Cody ducked. Fans chanted, “We want tables!” Andrade shook his head no. Cody picked up a chair, but Andrade blocked it. A fan held up a sign that said “Turn Cody Turn!” Andrade landed a moonsault for a two count. Cody used a low kick to take over. Cody pounded his chest and got psyched up. Taz said fans weren’t sure whether to cheer or boo him. “Make up you mind, you knuckleheads!” Taz said. Cody went for a Cody Cutter, but Andrade shoved him to the floor. [c/ss]
Back from the break, Andrade climbed to the top rope. He went for a moonsault, but Cody flung a chair into the air to intercept him. Cody surprised Andrade with a punch to the forehead with his chain-wrapped fist. Next, he landed a snap powerslam. He played to the crowd to a mixed response. He dove through the ropes, but Andrade caught him with a chair to the head. Schiavone said Cody wasted too much time in the ring playing to the fans. Andrade lifted the ringside mat and went for a DDT, but Cody backdropped out of it. Cody was bleeding from the forehead after the chairshot mid-flight. Cody pulled out a kendo stick next and held it up. He dropped it and instead pulled out a sledgehammer. He put that down and pulled out a golden shovel. Jose ran out with a taser. Cody turned and swung the shovel, hitting Jose in the head with it. He held the shovel in the air, then threw it down. Andrade leaped off the top rope onto Cody. Back in the ring, Andrade grabbed another chair and shoved it against Cody in the corner. Then he charged and drove the chair into Cody’s head. “Holy shit!” chanted the fans. Andrade made the cover and scored a near fall.
Cody surprised Andrade with an underneath uppercut. Andrade, though, hip-tossed a charging Cody through a table leaning in the corner of the ring. Andrade slid another table into the ring, set it up, and then put Cody on it. When Andrade climbed to the top, Cody got up and set up a superplex. They struggled and Andrade headbutted out of Cody’s grip. Andrade climbed to the top again, but Cody knocked him off balance. Brandi Rhodes entered the ring. Fans booed. She sprayed lighter fluid on the table and set it on fire. Cody suplexed Andrade off the top rope, but Andrade completely overshot it and Cody landed on the fire instead. Ooops. Cody, with red welts on his back, made the cover for the win. The doc entered to check on Cody’s back right away. Cody sat up and began peeling melted flakes from the table’s wood veneer off of his arm. Brandi gave Cody a sisterly hug and patted his chest. Then she gave him a light kiss. Cody seemed zoned out and emotional.
WINNER: Cody in 20:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: It’s good to see Cody finally realized fans were booing him because he was holding his wife back from her rightful place on TV as part of the Rhodes act. Seriously, though, a match of this length and violence level needed more a backstory with videos and promos throughout the show to justify what happened in the match. It just felt excessive, almost desperate, like Cody is thinking all he needs to do is bleed more and add more apparatus and add more stunt spots to his matches to get fans to love him. This is feeling more Jeff Jarrett-like every week. It’s not that he didn’t work hard or that, ultimately, he couldn’t be a really good, effective, popular babyface. The issue is that he’s trying way to hard in the wrong ways from his over-the-top “Spinal Tap” ring entrance to the high ratio of his matches where he bleeds to everything he does just being so heavy and overwrought. If he just scaled back and cut basic fired up babyface promos and blended into the scene on the merits of his core skills as a pro wrestler and what brought him to the level of popularity he earned going into All In, he’d be just fine. The hometown crowd popped, as you’d expect, for the big spots but it’s not the answer to Cody’s lingering issues. And to miscalculate the finish like that is inexcusable. How do you not know where the person taking that move is going to land? Brandi looks like she tried to immolate her husband rather than try to help him win. Some will love this for the violence, but violence like this should be the blowoff to a truly memorable and intense feud, and this just didn’t feel like one of those.)