This week’s episode of AEW Dynamite celebrated the two-year anniversary of the show’s inception on TNT. Over the course of the two years, we as fans have been treated to a whirlwind of action and a breath of fresh air in professional wrestling. Last night was no different. Here are my thoughts, recap, and ratings on a hell of a night.
The Super Elite vs. Jurassic Express, Christian Cage, and Bryan Danielson
A match that had been teased since Bryan Danielson and Adam Cole both made their surprise debuts at ALL OUT in Chicago back in September, chaos reigned from the outset. Plenty of storylines continued to play out during this eight-man tag match. Throughout the match, each participant’s strengths were highlighted. Jungle Boy’s trademark resilience was on display as he spent a majority of the match battling back against multiple double teams from The Young Bucks. Christian Cage was hurt early on in the matchup, effectively making this contest a handicap match. At one point, Luchasaurus dominated each of his four opponents, showing off his otherworldly athleticism. Besides a few botched move attempts, which are hard to avoid in matches with this many people, the entertainment value and pace of the match was pretty good. Due to a low blow from The Super Elite delivered to Luchasaurus, coupled with a quadruple BTE Trigger to Jungle Boy, Adam Cole gained the pinfall victory for The Super Elite. Having a fast-paced, high-impact, star-studded opening match set a tone for the rest of the show, immediately getting the Philadelphia crowd engaged.
CM Punk Promo
Since returning to professional wrestling, CM Punk has been drowned with nothing but love from the wrestling community as a whole. Punk addressed the Philadelphia crowd with this exact sentiment last night stating that he will never get tired of it. With the love fest being pushed aside, CM Punk went on to call out Daniel Garcia who attacked Punk a few weeks prior. This match is scheduled to take place on Rampage this Friday. A match like this seems like another smart move in the slow build of CM Punk’s early AEW career, and not throwing him in the champion scene as of yet. This also allows for another showcasing of fine young talent in Daniel Garcia.
TNT Championship Match: Sammy Guevara vs Bobby Fish
On last week’s episode of AEW Dynamite, a new TNT Champion was crowned in Sammy Guevara after defeating Miro. As soon as Dynamite went off the air, Guevara had his first challenger for his title reign. Bobby Fish took to Twitter stating that he wanted first cracks at Guevara. This match took place last night on Dynamite and it was physical from the start. Bobby Fish wasted no time during this bout by laying heavy elbow strikes, fists, and kicks to Guevara. The All Elite newcomer actually dominated a good portion of this match. Guevara was able to battle back multiple times, even hitting a Spanish Fly out of nowhere in the middle of the ring. The champ showed why AEW is choosing to put the belt on the young man by just how talented he is from anywhere in the ring. Guevara was able to secure the win in the end by delivering a GTH and pinning Fish. Guevara looked like a formidable new champion and the addition of a veteran presence in Fish to this young AEW roster seems like a perfect fit.
Darby Allin vs. Nick Comoroto
Fast paced from beginning to end, this match felt like a weird, middle of show time-filler. Darby almost immediately hit Comoroto on the outside off the top rope. Comoroto returned the favor by body slamming Darby. Allin eventually hit Comoroto with his signature Coffin Drop and the match was over. QT Marshall tried to keep the action going after Allin won by hitting Sting with a cutter. The Icon no sold the move and returned the favor by putting Marshall down with a Scorpion Death Drop. Besides Allin getting the victory and watching Sting no sell Marshall, this match was nothing special.
TBS Championship Announcement
Tony Schiavone, along with Aubrey Edwards, announced a brand new championship coming to AEW. In accordance with AEW Dynamite’s move to TBS in January 2022, the show will be getting a new title associated with its new network. The new TBS Championship will be represented in the women’s division. I feel like this was due to happen and will be a great opportunity for both AEW and it’s talented women’s roster to have a second title belt in the picture, as well as show what they can do in the ring.
Serena Deeb vs. Hikaru Shida
Following the TBS Championship announcement, it was only apropos that the next match on the docket was one in the women’s division. Hikaru Shida, a former AEW Women’s Champion, was looking for her 50th win as a wrestler in AEW. This is no small feat, as she had a tough roadblock in front of her in Serena Deeb. This matchup was the best technical match of the night as both women had a nice ebb and flow of grapples and counters throughout. They mirrored each other as neither woman found a superior upper hand at any given time. That was until the end when Deeb locked in her Serenity Lock on Shida, giving her a submission win. I enjoyed this match because these women do not hold back and really flaunted their in-ring IQ. Deeb, The Woman of 1000 Holds, looked like the impressive veteran she is in this match and having Hikaru Shida lose will make her eventually getting her 50th win that much sweeter.
Casino Ladder Match
Everyone loves a ladder match! Especially when it’s for a title opportunity. This match started with Orange Cassidy and Pac. Not soon after, Andrade El Idolo made his way to the ring and went straight for Pac due to their recent history with each other. This was highlighted by an Andrade Sunset Flip Power Bomb to Pac off a ladder. Chaos reigned throughout as each new contestant entered. Following Andrade was Hardy, who immediately hit Cassidy with a Side Effect. Lance Archer and Mox followed suit and absolutely laid into each other. Hardy set up Cassidy on a table on the outside and hit Cassidy with a leg drop from the top of a ladder in classic Hardy fashion.
Finally, the Joker was revealed to be Adam ‘Hangman’ Page, who returned to a thunderous reaction from the Philadelphia crowd. He battled multiple opponents during this match including Pac, Mox, and Archer, even delivering his trademark Buckshot Lariat to the latter. The final leg of this match came down to a Page and Moxley face-off on top of a ladder. Both men vied for the poker chip hanging in the balance as they struck each other with stiff fists. Ultimately aided by a flurry of intense blows to Moxley and a fall from the ladder, the returning Hangman was victorious.
The build up in this match was awesome and the participants were top notch. The match progression itself allowed for all these men to tell some stories while being able to pull off awesome spots in a match that is known for big moves. Having Hangman Page win this opportunity to face Kenny Omega for the AEW World Championship is long overdue, and now is the perfect time to set the wheels in motion on such a highly anticipated match.
Two years flew by watching AEW Dynamite as they have continued to grow as a company and a show. The entirety of last night’s show was just another testament to why they have become so popular. A healthy balance of veterans and young stars makes the show work perfectly and that was displayed in each match. Along with Hangman Page’s ladder match win and the TBS Championship announcement, I cannot wait to see where this company is in another two years and beyond!