The first Dynamite following a big PPV can sometimes act as a reset for AEW, and that certainly felt like the case with this week’s episode. Taking a look at previous Dynamite reviews, they can fall anywhere between a 6 and a 9. Love it or hate it, there’s no doubt Dynamite has been all over the place on the build up to Double or Nothing. But with that show now out of the way, and AEW having a huge summer ahead with the likes of Collision, Forbidden Door and All In all on the horizon, now was the time to start kicking into gear. Needless to say, they achieved this and more, let’s jump into it.
The BCC vs. Lucha Bros & Bandito
The hottest episodes of AEW Dynamite usually open with a banger, so this opening match was a big sign of what was to come. With the talent involved it’s no surprise how great this was. Claudio works perfectly with high flying luchadors, even the ones who have come in weird fancy dress.. Yes, I’m looking at you Bandito.
Having Wheeler Yuta pick up the pinfall after doing the exact same thing in the DoN main event while Danielson put him over on commentary genuinely made him look like a star. The action was great, the storytelling was on point, and the crowd were hot for it. Great stuff all round.
We then go straight backstage to see The Elite who make it clear that this feud is not over, which is excellent news because this rules. The highlight of this segment came when Alex Marvez alluded to Kenny Omega going back to Canada, only for Hangman to correct him and say that he is indeed out of the country, but he’s not in Canada.. Holy Ibushi that line was spine-tingling for fans of The Elite lore. Long may this top tier storyline continue.
The idea of this episode being a hard reset then really came into focus as Tony Schiavone brought out Jay White & Juice Robinson for a live interview. It’s about damn time! Jay White is one of the best live promo guys in the business but since his AEW arrival he’s been trapped in horrible backstage segments and pre-recorded promos. This was a great change of pace and got the most out of the Bullet Club Gold duo. Setting them up with FTR feels big time and is a step in the right direction for both teams. This whole segment felt like a double course correction and it got over big.
We then had the announcement we’ve all been waiting for. On July 17th, on the first episode of Collision, CM Punk is back. This felt electric in the building as the crowd appeared to split right down the middle with their reaction. Half were booing it out the building while the other half were counteracting the boos with CM Punk chants. Whichever side you land on, you can’t argue that this feels red hot. Roll on June 17th!
Trent Beretta v Big Bill v Swerve Strickland
Following a genuinely fantastic battle royale appearance for both Big Bill and Swerve at DoN, it felt like real fan service getting them both on the card here and this did not disappoint. Too many times AEW has given the spotlight to a guy only for them to disappear the next week. Hopefully this match is a sign of them addressing this issue.
The match itself was a lot of fun even though the finish was quite predictable. The red hot crowd may have raised this to a level higher than it might have been otherwise. Either way, Big Bill still came out looking strong, Swerve looks like he’s ready to rip the International title away from Orange Cassidy, and even Trent has people wondering if he’s on the verge of a heel turn even in defeat. At it’s best, this is what AEW does. They keep you interested in everybody involved across multiple stories.
The Acclaimed & Billy Gunn are out next. They do a fiery babyface promo putting themselves over and essentially saying Billy deserves one last title run. This was really strong but I couldn’t help but wonder why they couldn’t have done this before facing House of Black. If it’s leading to a rematch then that works but Billy Gunn definitely shouldn’t be winning any gold right now.
Next up was Don Callis and Konosuke Takeshita. Wow, just wow. Nothing that I put into words in this review can do justice to how heated this was in the building. This crowd HAAAAATED Don Callis, it was perfect. It’s hard to recall any act in AEW who has ever got heat to this level. If this is indeed leading to Kenny Omega bringing in Kota Ibushi then get ready for the roof to blow off when it happens because fans are well into this story. Just perfect.
Darby Allin & Orange Cassidy vs Gates of Agony
Teaming Darby up with the man who has made an argument to be more of a pillar than half the wrestlers actually in the 4 pillars match felt like a knowing nod from AEW. Almost telling us that yes, we realise who the true stars are right now and here they are together.
From what little I’ve seen of Gates of Agony, I wasn’t overly excited for this match. However, the two of them acted as perfect bases for Darby’s high-risk offence and Cassidy’s brilliant underdog comeback spots. The ROH tag champs were strong enough opponents to look like a genuine threat while also being completely beatable. There were a few moments where they got a little lost but the big spots were enough to bring it back and keep the crowd hot.
Sting’s return was the cherry on top that raised this from a 3.5 star match to a 4. Once again, great stuff from all involved.
The frantic pace of this episode did slow down a little bit with a segment that reunited Hook and Jack Perry. This wasn’t as hot as other parts of the show, mostly due to LFI’s involvement, an act usually reserved for boring Rampage episodes. However it made sense as it pulls Hook away from the awful Hardy Boys universe and brings Perry away from the main event scene where he really struggled. Nothing thrilling but good business nonetheless.
Storm then does a decent promo that mostly centers around defending her newly won women’s championship on the upcoming house shows. This was good but a bit odd. It screams that they don’t really know what to do with this AEW Originals vs. Outcasts storyline while Jamie Hayter is out injured. Time will tell on this one.
TBS Championship: Kris Statlander vs. Nyla Rose
This was a strong defense from Statlander that made the new champion look strong, something that might have been needed given how she won the title at the PPV. Nyla Rose is always a great first defense as it somehow always feels like a big deal when she gets beat, despite the fact it happens a fair bit.
This match didn’t quite reach it’s peak but that’s in no way the fault of these two women. The match was absolutely massacred by a long ad break right in the middle that barely gave the match time to hook people on either side. Even with that roadblock, Statlander and Rose were able to bring this one home nicely.
Chris Jericho & Saraya vs. Adam Cole & Britt Baker
Following the disaster these two had at DoN, Jericho and Cole desperately needed a home run here with the help of both Saraya and Britt Baker. Although the match didn’t ever hit those heights, it was still a big improvement on Sunday.
This was kept short and simple as Jericho and Saraya played the crowd well like the veterans that they are, while Cole and Baker got their spots in without ever setting the world on fire. Baker putting the lockjaw on to Jericho was definitely a highlight that fans will remember from this main event.
This wasn’t exactly a course-correction as it felt like a definitive end to this fued, more like a make-good for the last match that made sure this good story didn’t end on a dud.
Overall this was easily one of the best Dynamites of the year. The first half of the show was AEW operating at it’s absolute best, in this form there isn’t a wrestling company in the world that can touch them. The second half of the show simmered down a little but was never enough to even slightly derail what was a fantastic show.
Current Dynamite Form:
May 24th: 7.5/10
May 17th: 8/10
May 10tg: 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!