AEW Dynamite (Jan. 13, 2021) emanated from Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, FL. Night 2 of New Year’s Smash featured Serena Deeb retaining the NWA Women’s Championship, drama with the Elite, Jon Moxley raging, and Darby Allin’s relentless spirit against Brian Cage.
Get caught up on all the Dynamite details with the excellent live results and play-by-play from Claire Elizabeth.
Darby Allin promised insanity, and he delivered on his word for the TNT Championship defense against Brian Cage. Ricky Starks and Hook were ringside.
Allin used strategy out of the gate with low dropkicks to chop the muscle man down. Cage rolled out of the ring, so Allin attacked with a suicide dive. Cage caught a second suicide dive to suplex Allin on the floor.
Cage pretty much dominated the fight from there. Allin was defiant with paintbrush slaps, so Cage gorilla pressed him out for the ring through the timekeeper’s table.
Allin emerged from the rubble with a bloody head. Cage picked up Allin in a vertical suplex position, marched up the steps, then tossed Allin back in the ring. Cage continued with a wedgie slam, chain of strikes, and a German suplex. He was pummeling Allin from pillar to post.
Cage hit heavy moves, but Allin would kick out on the count of 1. After three straight powerbombs, Allin flipped the bird to Cage. The Machine’s response was to powerbomb Allin out of the ring onto the entrance stage. Allin flashed the middle finger once again, so Cage suplexed him back into the ring.
The turning point was Cage trying to take the pain up a notch by positioning the steel steps outside the ring. Allin escaped a fireman’s carry on the apron to dropkick Cage. The big man held on to the ropes, but Allin bit his hand. Cage flatbacked onto the steel. Allin took flight for a Coffin Drop.
Back in the ring, Allin unleashed open hand slaps. He used his belt to tie Cage’s feet together. I must raise the question of legality for that tactic. Whatever the case, it was effective. Allin was on the prowl with a shotgun dropkick. The force of Cage’s kick-out pushed Allin back onto the turnbuckles. He quickly came back down for a flying stomp.
Team Taz was feeling the pressure, so Hook distracted the referee. Starks knocked Allin down onto the turnbuckles. Lights out. It’s Sting!
Sting used his bat to thrash Starks. Allin scored a crucifix bomb off the turnbuckles to pin Cage and retain the TNT title. The show closed as Sting stared at Team Taz, and Allin stared at Sting.
Hot damn. That was a heck of match. Sometimes extended beatdowns can become listless. That was not the case for Allin and Cage. It was entertaining all the way through. Cage’s varied power moves were impactful for several awesome spots. Allin picked the perfect moments for his defiance in the face of adversity. His fighting spirit truly is relentless.
As for what’s next for Allin, I’d like to see him pick up some victories against opponents on the level of Frankie Kazarian and Shawn Spears. It would round out his title reign with quality wins as his story with Sting simmers.
As for Cage, that is a tough quandary to keep him relevant. He’s lost his top two matches when competing for championships. Having Cage wreck fools will never lose its appeal, but he’ll need something of substance to reach peak levels.
Heat check on Sting? Yep, still hot. Sting’s first act of violence was a pleasant pay-off from all his previous appearances. I’m actually surprised he’s maintained excitement despite doing so little thus far in AEW.
Elite friends and Moxley
If you thought the Young Bucks joining Kenny Omega and the Good Brothers to reform the Bullet Club would be a smooth transition, then you would be wrong. It wouldn’t be an Elite storyline without soap opera drama.
Omega and the Bucks prepared pre-match as a unit, then Don Callis butt in to suggest they do separate entrances.
Omega entered first. His introduction plugged Impact’s Hard to Kill PPV on January 16. Callis took the mic to usher in Omega’s best friends, the Good Brothers. Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows took the Bucks’ spots. The Jackson brothers and Tony Khan were shown shaking their heads at the monitor backstage. The Bucks made their patented pouty faces then split.
Omega and the Good Brothers wrestled Brian Pillman Jr., Griff Garrison, and Danny Limelight. The underdogs fought hard with spurts of offense, but they were no match for the Bullet Club. Anderson and Gallows hit Magic Killer on Limelight for the win.
Business really picked up after the match. Jon Moxley’s music hit, and he went to the ring against 3-on-1 odds. Mox got a few shots in, but the numbers stomped him. The Lucha Bros ran out for the save. The locker room emptied to separate the brawl. Moxley broke free to Paradigm Shift some jabrone then hit Omega with a suicide dive.
Enter the Young Bucks to cool Moxley down. They cocked their superkick legs as a warning just in case Moxley got out of control again. The Lucha Bros slipped in from behind to superkick the Bucks. Chaos erupted again with even more wrestlers from the back eventually separating the scuffle.
The first half of that segment with the Bucks getting snubbed and the trios match was okay. It was obvious story beats that had to play out. The second half with Moxley was loads of fun.
The brawl was spicy and hot. It created several directions and offshoots for weeks of TV matches. Lucha Bros making the save caught me by surprise. I like how AEW kept their past feuds straight. It was a smart touch for PAC not to come out, since he had prior beef with Moxley. I loved the twist of the Lucha Bros superkicking the Young Bucks. They are past enemies as well, so that made sense. Through all the mixing of rivalries, Moxley had a big smile on his face.
NWA Women’s Championship
Serena Deeb had a feisty challenger on her hands in Tay Conti with the NWA Women’s Championship on the line. Anna Jay was ringside to support Conti. Jay did not interfere and played no role in the outcome.
This bout showcased nifty mat work with a variety of escapes, counters, and transitions. The early-going saw stalemates with physicality. The intensity made it feel like a true title fight. Conti struck the first major blow with a powerful pump kick to knock Deeb out of the ring.
Deeb rallied with a leg submission. Conti grabbed the ropes for a break. Deeb kept on the pressure with a ribbreaker and a Gory Special in the corner ropes. After the ref break, Conti leaped over the top of Deeb then shot back with a big pump kick. Conti tried to end it with her Gory knee strike finisher, but Deeb escaped with a back slide. The champ quickly transitioned to her Detox slam to retain the title.
This was a good, solid match that provided a nice change in styles from the rest of the card. Deeb is quietly racking up wins for an impressive resume. I suspect AEW is building her up for an epic showdown with Hikaru Shida down the line. With more performances like this from Deeb, that eventual encounter is going to be big.
Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.
PAC defeated Eddie Kingston. Butcher, Blade, Bunny, Fenix, and Pentagon were all ringside. PAC charged immediately with a dropkick and flying attack to the floor.
Kingston came back by focusing on the shoulder and neck. Bunny gouged PAC’s eyes then cackled with laughter. Kingston crunched PAC with a shoulder capture suplex on the floor. PAC fired away with strikes and a German suplex. A backfist from Kingston was followed by a back drop driver. The action went high as PAC nailed a superplex. PAC blocked a DDT by grabbing the ropes. PAC kicked Kingston then hit Black Arrow to win.
Right after the bell, PAC slapped on the Brutalizer submission. Lance Archer came out to fight the Kingston family and also yelled at PAC to get on the same page. I’m not quite sure why Archer was angry, besides always being angry. Perhaps he wanted PAC to leave some of Kingston for himself.
Woo wee, that was a fight. This was my favorite bout of the evening. Both men beat the stuffing out of each other. The level of aggression was perfect to fit the storyline. The brawling meshed well with the big moves. It was tough to tell if Kingston legitimately hurt his shoulder during the match. The finish seemed a little rushed for how physical it had been up to that point. If Kingston wants some more of PAC, then I’ll definitely watch that rematch.
Miro defeated Chuck Taylor. Orange Cassidy, Kip Sabian, and Penelope Ford were ringside. Chuck opened strong to dominate Miro early. Sabian dropkicked OC on the floor, so Taylor gave Sabian a foot to the head. That minor delay allowed Miro to reset. Taylor ran the ropes right into a Samoan drop. Miro wailed powerful blows then hit an overhead suplex. A thrust kick was prelude to the Game Over camel clutch. Sabian submitted and now has to be Miro’s temporary butler/young boy per the match stipulation. Miro dragged Chuck away by his hair.
Taylor’s early control surprised me. We knew Miro would crush, so I suppose Taylor needed to unload some offense so as to not look like a chump. When Miro gets cooking, he looks like one of the most dangerous men in the sport. There are some big fellows who don’t look scary. Not so for Miro. He is the kind that would rip your arms out of the sockets.
Sleazy manager. Private Party was upset with Matt Hardy taking 50% of third-party earnings due to the fine print in the managerial contract. They called him a money grabbing carny. Hardy blew up at the disrespect. They better understand that nobody cares about them in the wrestling business. Hardy instructed Private Party to shut up and listen as he guides them to greatness.
This was a clear heel turn for Hardy. The direction had been heading that way, and this cements it. The intrigue will be seeing if Private Party becomes obedient and racks up wins or if they get fed up quickly with Hardy’s attitude. I wonder how ironclad those contracts are. Private Party needs to make a call to the law offices of David Otunga.
#1 tag team in the Inner Circle. The full crew revealed their new year resolutions. Jake Hager shouted, “Championships, yeah!” Chris Jericho wanted to win the tag titles with MJF. Santana and Ortiz took exception. They were handpicked to be the tag team of the Inner Circle. Sammy Guevara called Jericho a tag team slut with all his partners, to which Jericho did not refute. Jericho proposed they all let off some steam in a three-way tag bout to determine which pair would be the top team. Next week will be Jericho & MJF vs Santana & Ortiz vs Sammy & Hager.
This was an effective comedy break used to progress the story. The Inner Circle banter is so fluid that it feels like real friends reacting. The best part was Wardlow’s expression of satisfaction when his fight with Hager was mentioned. I like how the promo brought up questions we as viewers would have had. Santana & Ortiz were right to be upset. I’m really looking forward to the match next week, because there are a lot of angles in play depending on the outcome.
Will he or won’t he? Dark Order decided that they have to be better people to honor Mr. Brodie Lee. That will start next week when the Dark Order teams with Hangman Page. The cowboy joined the crew with whiskey in hand. He agreed to let them know if he will be joining after their match. Hangman exited the screen, Dark Order celebrated like it was a done deal, then the camera panned out to show Hangman only steps away leaning on a bar.
The first step in turning the Dark Order babyface is complete. Anna Jay followed through by not interfering in Tay Conti’s match. Credit to AEW for acknowledging the right move and giving the fans what they want. The more complicated step will be if Hangman joins or not. Tick another box on the ‘can’t wait until next week’ list.
The Waiting Room. Cody Rhodes was the guest of Dr. Britt Baker DMD. He was also the subject of roasting jokes about his neck tattoo. Before Cody could get a word out, Dr. Baker brought in Jade Cargill as a second guest. She is tired of waiting for an opponent. If Brandi ever comes back, Jade will beat that ass. Cargill then pie-faced Cody. Enter Red Velvet. Shove, slap, slap, fisticuffs.
An awkward transition led to Thunder Rosa on the screen announcing her match against Dr. Baker has been made official for the Beach Break edition of Dynamite on February 3. Dr. Baker was in distress claiming Khan said she wouldn’t have to wrestle Thunder Rosa.
This segment was cheesy fun. It was all over the place, but it was focused at the same time. Red Velvet stepping up to Jade is the type of thing that grabs my attention. Let’s get it on! I sure hope Jade can wrestle. Her look is money, and she has star potential on that alone as a larger than life character.
FTR defeated Jungle Boy & Marko Stunt. Jungle Boy rocked to his new 80s entrance theme. The story was Stunt having no fear of getting beat up and still managing to ignite offensive flurries. Jungle Boy cleaned house on a hot tag. Stunt was back in, but Dax Harwood powered out of Sliced Bread to continue clobbering Stunt. Little Marko had one more rally after a low blow mule kick. Tully Blanchard put the kibosh on that by ramming Stunt into the ring post. FTR finished it with a teamwork Big Rig facebreaker.
If you like Marko Stunt, then you probably enjoyed the underdog story. If you don’t like Stunt, then you probably felt he got in too much offense. I didn’t particularly like how FTR had to cheat against the inferior duo of Jurassic Express, but now we can move on to Luchasaurus getting a crack at FTR. That should be fun.
Stud of the Show: Darby Allin
Allin took a beating and kept on ticking. Even if he slept in an ice bath all night, he’d still be sore in the morning. Credit to Allin for his toughness.
Dud of the Show: Elite miscommunication
This dud status is pending for how the Young Bucks react to being stiffed by Don Callis. I have to wait and see who they actually blame.
If Omega gets the heat, then a dud it shall be. It wasn’t presented as Omega having anything to do with the Good Brothers taking their spot. I’m not a fan of stories that drag out simple miscommunications that could be easily rectified. Besides, my patience is wearing thin of the Elite’s wishy-washy moods toward each other.
If the anger is geared toward Callis, then dud status shall be removed. Commentary clearly presented it as Callis up to no good. It has already been established that the wrestlers watch the replay of Dynamite, so it should be easy for the Bucks to catch.
Another very entertaining show. Everything seemed to have a purpose. Good stories and good action. I liked how the match finishes didn’t feel formulaic.
Share your thoughts about Dynamite. How do you rate it? Who stole the show?