First off I want to quickly summarize last week’s Dynamite as I wasn’t available to review it. Overall it was a good show with a couple of memorable moments such as the MJF/Adam Cole segment and, as always, Orange Cassidy’s latest title defense. But overall it was fun but mostly forgettable, I’d go 7/10.
This week’s show on the other hand looked absolutely stacked on paper and was set to be an all-time great episode. Did it live up to the hype? Let’s find out.
Title Eliminator match: MJF vs. Adam Cole
There’s been an argument to be made that Cole’s AEW run has been a bit of a failure so far. Now that’s probably a bit extreme but there’s no denying that he had yet to have a stand out match in AEW that was anywhere near the quality of his work in ROH, PWG or even NXT. With that in mind, this match is exactly what Cole needed ahead of a long term feud with his opponent tonight; MJF.
Last week’s excellent promo battle between these two set the stage perfectly, now they just needed to stick the landing with a great match and that’s exactly what happened. The match was unpredictable so every near fall had the crowd on the edge of their seats, while every big spot from apron tombstones to Panama sunrises to a massive table spot on the outside all looked brutal. The finish itself with MJF hilariously botching the old Eddie Guerrero trick but being saved by the bell at the last second was inspired and left the audience wanting more. This couldn’t have gone any better.
We then get a video package for the returning CM Punk which gets a mixed crowd reaction before heading to the ring so that we can hear from the returning Sammy Guevara. There were lots of interruptions here from Darby Allin, Chris Jericho and Sting. This was done quite well and sets up Guevara & Jericho vs. Darby & Sting in the same week Jericho told the media he had no interest in ever wrestling Sting, a true worker to the end. There were also huge teases for Sammy leaving the JAS so it looks like that could be the next big angle for Jericho. Good stuff overall.
Darby Allin, Sting, Orange Cassidy & Keith Lee vs. The Mogul Embassy
This was exactly what you’d expect from a multi-man tag match involving Sting. Smoke and mirrors worked to perfection in order to protect the icon’s aura and make Sting look like a million bucks. The job that AEW has done on this Sting run is genuinely miraculous, the 64-year-old looks like he could run through walls these days. Of course this run will have to come to an end sooner rather than later, but right now it’s a lot of fun to watch.
Also, Orange Cassidy literally doesn’t know how to have a match on this show that is less than 4 stars. It’s said every week but Cassidy is easily one of the best parts of Dynamite and long may it continue.
The Gunns are then backstage with Renee and avoid answering any questions about their involvement with Bullet Club Gold and instead call out the Hardy Boys. Meh.
TNT Championship: Wardlow vs. Jake Hager
Although this match was probably the weakest of the night, it still managed to be enjoyable and thankfully never outstayed its welcome. These two have a nice amount of history which only added to the match, and even the outside shenanigans before Wardlow put Hager away was amusing.
This was all put in place to set up Wardlow vs. Luchasaurus this Saturday on Collision. With Collision being on TNT and Wardlow of course holding the TNT title, it stands to reason he may now feature more on that side of things. All in all not great but far from bad.
We then get loads of build for Forbidden Door starting with Hiroshi Tanahashi (in a pre-recorded video) challenging MJF to a match for the AEW World title much like he did last year against Jon Moxley. This is met with MJF being asked about it backstage to which he hilariously brushes it off as if the legendary Tanahashi is simply an indie guy who isn’t worth his time. This match is going to be outstanding, one of the world’s purest baby faces against the best heel in the game. The Forbidden Door card is shaping up perfectly.
Speaking of Forbidden Door, we get our weekly catch up with the broken Orange Cassidy who is ready for his latest challenger while he’s still held together by tape. This time it’s New Japan’s Television Champion and British national treasure; Zack Sabre Jr. As always Cassidy accepts the challenge before they’re both interrupted by Daniel Garcia which leads to Cassidy challenging the two of them with his partner next week, Katsuyori Shibata. Yes please!
Women’s Championship: Toni Storm Vs. Skye Blue
What an over delivery this was! For a while it looked like AEW’s women’s division was beginning to turn a corner with the somewhat impressive Outcasts vs. Originals storyline. However, injuries and other hiccups recently have all but derailed not just the story, but the division as a whole. So this match already had a dark cloud surrounding it before it even got going.
Luckily these two were on great form and managed to hook the crowd into believing Skye Blue was about to do the unthinkable. This was her chance to shine and she more than delivered on the night. Unfortunately the post-match angle fell flat and brought everyone back down to earth with how poor this story has become.
Earlier on the show we heard from the IWGP World Champion SANADA who issued an open challenge to any AEW wrestler. Jack Perry is now backstage with Hook to accept said open challenge. This match feels very midcard for an IWGP title match but it will almost certainly deliver on the night. This segment was okay but felt a little weird with Jack Perry calling Hook his best friend. It appears that he’s mimicking the actions of his former mentor Christian on a lead up to a big heel turn. Only time will tell if this ends up being good or not.
The Elite vs. The BCC
It’s almost a certainty at this point that The Elite and The Blackpool Combat Club will all be remaining on Wednesday nights, so with Collision starting this Saturday, it stands to reason that all the performers in this match would want to prove a point. To show the AEW audience that Dynamite is still the A-show.
Although this match didn’t necessarily reach the heights of what these guys are capable of, it was still brilliant. Hangman Page and Jon Moxley always have near-perfect chemistry whenever they meet in the ring, as does Claudio with both Matt and Nick Jackson. This was a great hard-hitting match but nowhere near as good as the Anarchy in the Arena match from Double or Nothing.
The ending of this show was pure electricity. Just watch it for yourself if you’re yet to do so because these words will never do it justice.
Weaving in a surprise Eddie Kingston return where he not only goes after his biggest rival but also comes face-to-face with his best friend, with a gloriously violent Ospreay ambush on Kenny Omega out of nowhere, is something only AEW at its finest can achieve. It made this episode feel wild and out of control in the best way possible while simultaneously making Forbidden Door appear like the biggest PPV of the year by far. A perfect way to close out an overall incredible show with only one or two tiny complaints.
Current Dynamite Form:
June 6th: 7/10
May 31st: 9/10
May 24th: 7.5/10
May 17th: 8/10
May 10th: 9/10
May 3rd: 7/10
Before we finish up, I just want to give a shout out to AEW Games and THQ for the recent announcement of AEW Fight Forever’s release date. (This is a gaming site after all!)AEW’s highly anticipated video game will enter the ring on June 29th and looks more fun than your weekly Orange Cassidy classic.Check out the latest trailer below and keep an eye right here at Respawning for more AEW Fight Forever coverage!