Here we are again, another episode of Dynamite that is overshadowed by the backstage drama in AEW before Excalibur can even tell us it’s Wednesday night and we know what that means. With both the announcement of Saturday Night Collision, aka New Nitro for the naughty kids, and the latest CM Punk drama hitting twitter hours before bell time, it was easy to forget what was even planned for this show.

Having said that, Dynamite was close to being back to its best last week following a long period of inconsistency, so pressure was back on this week to continue the upwards trend. Were they able to keep the momentum going and keep everyone’s attention on the actual show rather than the unfolding drama on social media? Let’s find out.

Wardlow calls out Christian Cage.

Given that AEW is usually at its best when they open with a banger match, it was worrying to see this show open with a promo segment. Wardlow called out Christian who would eventually blindside the big man with the help of his big Dino buddy and a flimsy ladder.

This was okay and got us to where we need to be for Double or Nothing in just over a week’s time. The biggest criticism I can give this, aside from the ladder shot being about a mile away from Wardlow’s head, is that after a few weeks of this feud I really want the heel to win. It’s hard to explain why and this would go on to happen again at other points of the show, specifically around the four pillars story. It’s only a small concern right now, but there is a slight worry that AEW is failing some of its big babyfaces in recent weeks. Though a certain man in denim and sunglasses is undoubtedly the main argument against this..

Orange Cassidy & Darby Allin vs. Big Bill & Lee Moriarty

This match was a lot of fun and probably should have gone on before Wardlow and Christian. For all the good it did for Orange Cassidy, who by the way has one of the best character arcs on the show, it arguably did even more harm to the upcoming four pillars main event at DoN (Double or Nothing). Seeing Cassidy alongside Darby just brought into focus how abundantly clear it is that Cassidy is more of a pillar than half the people in that main event match. Darby did look like he was on the same level, but both Sammy Guevara and Jack Perry (both coming later) would look miles below these guys when it comes to character development and star power.

Elsewhere Big Bill continued to show how great he is as a lower to midcard heel, especially against babyface acts like these two. A really good tag match overall that really got the live crowd in Dallas invested.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

We then go backstage to see The BCC attack the Young Bucks as they enter the arena. This feud has been one of the better parts of this TV show that would only escalate later in the night..

We then get yet another top quality Orange Cassidy segment. Every time Renee Paquette talks to Cassidy recently, he sells perfectly how rundown he is from this historic title reign. He garners so much sympathy while also being a take-on-all-challengers badass. He’s arguably the top face in the company right now and rightfully so.

Sammy Guavara vs. Exodus Prime

This was a squash match with two moves so I’m not doing to bother rating it. What I will do though is rate the promo that followed afterwards from Sammy Guevara.

What on earth was this shite? So Sammy is a babyface again.. why? He’s naturally unlikable, he can’t talk well enough to convince people otherwise, and this experiment has already failed once before. Not only that, it now means the faces outnumber the heel 3 to 1 at DoN. It’s stupid. This promo was dreadful and undone the improved work from last week with the four video packages.

Sammy doesn’t appear to know who he is or even who he wants to be. Worryingly neither does AEW. Following a lot of Orange Cassidy also made Sammy look like a pathetic babyface in comparison. All of this was just bad.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.

Speaking of four pillar video packages, we get another of those next which did help to sell the match effectively. It says a lot however that the video packages are doing all the heavy lifting so far.

This is followed by another really fun FTR vs. Jarret, Lethal & co segment. I’m not sure what was funnier, the way Tony Schiavone pronounced Sonjay Dut’s (DOOT) name or the way Satnam Singh fell like a falling tree when FTR jumped them from behind and sent the giant flying off the stage. Either way I was howling with laughter. The surprise appearance of Karen Jarrett may have given this obvious TNA vibes, but overall these segments always makes me smile. I’m still unsure if it’s worthy of a tag title PPV feud but I’m having a great time with it. FTR obviously have to win though.

The Outcasts vs. Britt Baker & Hikaru Shida

This was obviously supposed to be a trios match but due to an apparent Jamie Hayter injury it was swapped to a regular tag, and as a result it somewhat suffered. As cool as it was to see former rivals in Baker and Shida team up, this ended up feeling like nothing but filler.

The match was worked well but nothing progressed and it just felt like they’re waiting to get everybody involved in this story fit before pulling the trigger on whatever they have planned, hopefully blood & guts! This was basically just a live action replay of what we’ve been seeing for weeks, it was good but not exciting.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Just as I’m starting to feel a tiny bit bored, here comes the star of the show Orange Cassidy one more time to raise my spirits once again. He’s back with Renee who tells the champ that he has 20 other wrestlers asking for a title shot. Cassidy being the mega badass that he is accepts them all in a 21 man blackjack battle royale match. Then has me in stitches again as he casually asks if Renee wants in as well.

I adore this Orange Cassidy run. When he first hit our screens, I’ll be honest in saying that I didn’t believe this character would have legs. I was convinced that this carefree millennial character would not be able to express enough emotion to tell quality stories. I was so wrong. This International title run has been nothing short of the best possible booking for this character and Cassidy is smashing it out of the park. Long may this continue.

Tony Khan’s Announcement

Well this was a little disappointing. Having already had the Saturday night Collision news break earlier in the day, this ended up being TK simply telling us again while also confirming some locations for the show. With many, myself included, expecting a big CM Punk update, this felt massively underwhelming.

I will say, however, that the CM Punk drama that unfolded in the hours leading up to the show more than likely completely changed what this announcement was supposed to be. Hopefully this all gets resolved soon but with Punk I wouldn’t bet on it.

Falls count anywhere: Roderick Strong vs. Chris Jericho

What a fantastic piece of business this was. Roddy Strong’s first AEW match will forever be remembered for how well it was worked and how much Jericho was willing to take in this battle. It started off like an old school hard-hitting wrestling showcase before becoming an attitude era style brawl that you couldn’t take your eyes off.

It felt dangerous and exciting but also came with a fair bit of humour as well. Modern day Jericho is really in his element when it comes to matches like this. Taking it outside the arena so that Adam Cole (who was barred from the building) could get his hands on Jericho was very cute as well. It wasn’t a five star classic but it did everything it set out to achieve and more. Brilliant.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Rush vs. Jungle Boy Jack Perry

I’m really torn on this match. As a stand alone bell-to-bell contest it was great, but for what it was trying to achieve it was an unmitigated disaster. This was clearly positioned to garner maximum sympathy for Jack Perry and further convince the audience that he’s a credible challenger to MJF’s World Championship. However I’ve come out of this match, like many others, asking why the hell Rush isn’t in the title match instead? Because Jack Perry looked like a loser next to Rush.

Rush was aggressive, powerful, and looked like a killer. Jack Perry looked like a young lad with potential who happened to get lucky by cheating to beat the bigger opponent. What the hell was that finish about?! Why have Jungle Boy cheat to win when it’s already confusing if we’re meant to like Sammy or not, now we’re questioning if we should be supporting this guy as well!

Rating: 3 out of 5.

It all ends with Sammy and Darby running out to save Perry, then all three of the baby faces (what?!) give each other a knowing nod as if they’re going to team up to take down the heel. It’s a real indictment on the booking and the talent involved that the four pillars stock has never felt lower going into their first match against each other. MJF then bats away Renee’s microphone as she tries to approach him and I couldn’t help but pray for Moxley to come and smash MJF round the face to save this awful story.

Jay White vs. Ricky Starks

As much as I may have questioned this being the main event as the time, they sure as hell won me over by the closing stages, then lost me again come the finish. White being brand new and Starks being in his adopted hometown made this one too hard to call, which resulted in White’s 2.99 kick outs feeling electric. It was a shame that they didn’t have the balls to see this through and pick a winner. Yes it’s still rare for AEW to have DQ finishes, but that didn’t stop this ending from feeling sucky after an incredible back-and-forth matchup.What I will say though, is that if this was trying to sell me on a rematch at DoN, it worked.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Don Callis Promo/Hangman return

A promo to start the show, a DQ finish in the main event and a promo to end the snow, I thought this was meant to be the alternative to WWE? … I’M KIDDING! When a show-closing angle is this good it deserves to go on last! Everything about this from start to finish was perfect for me. Callis not even getting a chance to explain himself fully left this wonderfully open ended, Omega looked like a badass and the return of Hangman was thrilling. Just watch it for yourself because my description will never do it justice!

Now of course this will only be the same for people who enjoy The Elite lore. For those who aren’t into it, I imagine this was all good enough. For the rest of us though, it feels like we’ve been waiting for this for years. Well that’s because we have. The feeling of anticipation I felt when it became clear that The Elite needed one more person was pulse racing. Then the feeling of elation when Hangman Adam Page’s music hit was spine tingling. Then just as I thought it couldn’t get any better, Kenny Goddamn Omega passes the barbed wire brush to his old tag team partner in a moment that was pure electricity.

It all culminated in Hangman standing opposite Omega & The Bucks, not fully part of The Elite, not feeling like he belonged in an image we’ve seen on multiple occasions now, before walking across the ring and standing shouler to shoulder with his friends who he now views as equals. He then lets everybody know that “We are the heart. We are the soul. We are the spirit of this place. We are The Elite!”. Yes you are! I don’t usually rate segments but..

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This perfect Elite segment finished this episode of Dynamite on the highest of highs and raised it from a good show to a great one. I’m not 100% sure if it’s just a coincidence that Hangman said that line on a week that we’ve had yet more childish CM Punk drama, but either way it reminded the fans of exactly why they got into AEW in the first place. It wasn’t Punk, it was The Elite.

The rest of the show was pretty good aside from the terrible four pillars developments and some repetitive scenes in the outcasts storyline. Jericho vs. Strong will live long in the memory, Cassidy continues to be a star and The Elite lived up to their namesake.

8.0 / 10

Current Dynamite form:

May 10th – 9/10

May 3rd – 7/10

April 27th -7.5/10