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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (Feb. 10, 2021): Mayhem

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AEW Dynamite (Feb. 10, 2021) emanated from Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, FL. The show featured Sammy Guevara quitting the Inner Circle, Cody Rhodes handing the baton to a young Nightmare Family trainee, and mayhem in the no DQ, falls count anywhere main event between Jon Moxley & Lance Archer and Kenny Omega & KENTA.

Get caught up on all the Dynamite details with the excellent live results and play-by-play from Claire Elizabeth.

Mayhem

When AEW promotes a no DQ, falls count anywhere match, you know mayhem is guaranteed. When the participants are Jon Moxley & Lance Archer versus Kenny Omega & KENTA, you know it will be a special kind of mayhem. The main event lived up to that expectation with a trashcan, mattress of seduction, potatoes, and a barbed wire bat.

Moxley cut an early promo plugging his NJPW match against KENTA for the IWGP United States Championship on February 26. That will be a sanctioned war of attrition. The unsanctioned match on Dynamite will be just for fun. Meanwhile, Kenny Omega was enjoying a game of golf in spiritual preparation. In the background, Don Callis pushed the ball into the hole to give Omega another eagle.

Those two scenes really highlight the differences between the two at this moment. One is an ass-kicker always ready for ass, and the other is a prima-donna supported by an inflated ego created by the invisible hand. Moxley and Omega couldn’t be better foils for each other at this moment in time.

When it was time for the main event, mayhem ensued. The action spilled all over the venue with those lunatics using whatever foreign objects they could get their hands on. AEW made the wise choice to have two referees cover the insanity.

My favorite maneuver came early when Omega skipped from a rolling fireman’s carry slam into a moonsault with a trashcan.

Another top hit was Archer chokeslamming Omega onto Peter Avalon’s cozy bed.

The fight eventually made its way to the kitchen, where KENTA hit a DDT to Moxley on a steel table. That led to Archer bashing KENTA with a box of potatoes. Moxley grabbed a potato for loaded punches as Tony Schiavone yelled, “He potatoed him.”

As the fun made its way back toward the ring, KENTA ran off the stage for a flying double stomp to Moxley on a table.

In the end, the Good Brothers saved Omega from a Blackout by Archer. The Murderhawk Monster was unfazed by KENTA’s spinning backfists, but a cutter from Karl Anderson put the big man down. Jake Roberts entered for a short-arm clothesline to Anderson. Luke Gallows sucker punched the legend and called for Omega to hit a V-Trigger. That’s when Moxley saved Roberts with a barbed wire bat.

Unfortunately for the good guys, the numbers game was too much to handle. The Good Brothers pummeled Archer with a Magic Killer, then Omega followed with a V-Trigger and assisted One-Winged Angel for victory. It took four men to put Archer down for the count.

Those four men cranked the entertainment knob up to 11 and went cuckoo. The action was non-stop twists and turns. It seemed likely that Archer would take the pin, and AEW did a good job of still protecting his mystique in defeat.

I don’t think there is anything to take away from this match. Everyone performed as expected, which is a high level of insanity. The Good Brothers continue to be a nuisance that will need to be neutralized if Moxley intends on regaining his gold from Omega. All in all, it was a fun main event that created some memorable moments.

Sammy Guevara quits the Inner Circle

The Inner Circle has lost one of its founding members. Sammy Guevara had enough of MJF’s games and quit the crew.

The Inner Circle’s tumultuous evening began when the Spanish God brought a camera crew to the locker room. He confronted MJF solo to say he sees MJF’s plot of trying to take over the Inner Circle. MJF flipped the script and accused Guevara of trying to become the new leader. MJF tricked Guevara into repeating the words that he hates Jericho, but Sammy quickly noticed that MJF recorded it out of context. Sammy chucked MJF’s phone against the wall and punched MJF in the bread basket. MJF went down like a sack of flour groaning in pain.

When it was time for the Inner Circle’s tag match, Chris Jericho was unaware of what had happened. MJF surprised him by showing up with taped ribs. There was no time for Jericho to find Sammy for his side of the story. Their match against The Acclaimed was next.

MJF’s performance was negatively affected by his injured ribs as he became the weak link. The Inner Circle stayed strong though by utilizing quick tags, teamwork attacks, and cheap tricks to bend the rules. Their methods may have been suspect, but how can you not smile at the old abdominal stretch assistance cheat behind the referee’s back.

The Acclaimed almost beat the Inner Circle at their own game when Max Caster bopped Jericho on the head with a boombox. As the referee’s hand was coming down for three, nobody was there to save Jericho. They suckered me into thinking it could be the end, but Jericho miraculously kicked out.

For the finish, the Inner Circle used their full force as Jake Hager pushed Caster off the turnbuckles during The Acclaimed’s finisher. Jericho exploded for a Judas Effect and victory.

Afterward, Guevara confronted the Inner Circle. He had previously warned Jericho that he wouldn’t tolerate MJF’s games. Sammy quit the Inner Circle on the spot and walked out.

AEW slow burns lots of stories. Many are to the point of exhaustion. However, when key moments finally take place, they are executed to full dramatic effect. It was a master touch to have Jericho be emotionally upset and not interested in hearing MJF’s excuses. That made the impact of the moment be felt through the screen.

Sammy’s resistance to MJF’s wiles has firmly positioned him as a babyface ready to explode. That was a tough turn to pull after Sammy’s actions in his Hardy feud, but AEW accomplished it successfully.

Later, Guevara exited the venue alone needing time to think. When he finally returns, it is going to be bonkers.

Also of note for the Inner Circle, Santana & Ortiz will be getting a tag title shot next week against the Young Bucks. The Jackson brothers questioned the Good Brothers about last week’s distraction in the battle royale. Anderson and Gallows pointed the finger at the Inner Circle for eliminating the Bucks. Matt decided that he didn’t want to wait to defend the belts, so Proud and Powerful are up next.

As of now, this has not caused any strife in the Inner Circle. I would not be surprised if there is tension next week since MJF and Jericho are supposed to be the Inner Circle’s top tag team. That will be a telling sign if MJF and Jericho are truly behind success as a group.


Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

TNT Championship: Darby Allin retained against Joey Janela. The Bad Boy almost snatched victory with a piledriver at the end of a rolling counter sequence. Allin rallied back with a super Code Red off the turnbuckles. Janela showed heart in staying alive, but Allin finished him with a hammerlock trip then a Coffin Drop. Team Taz nor Sting made an appearance.

These two put on the best wrestling match of the show and never resorted to trash fight tactics. There was a surprising amount of technical prowess and strategy on display. I was impressed with Janela. This was arguably his best outing during his run in AEW. Allin needs more of these types of title defenses to build his resume as champ. It was a quality victory to showcase how he his building on his skills to improve. Throughout his AEW career, he went from a relentless daredevil to using mat work to wear down opponents while still keeping his crazy edge. Allin has made me a fan of his ring work throughout the process.

Cody Rhodes & Lee Johnson defeated Peter Avalon & Cezar Bononi. Damage was done to Cody’s shoulder, so he had to rely on Johnson to carry the load. Johnson dodged Avalon’s Marti-knees finisher to seize victory via roll-up.

Nice showcase for the prospects. Johnson shined with agility and shiftiness, while Bononi worked well as a power man. Johnson was the feel-good story by breaking his 0-29 streak. He credited the Nightmare Family through perseverance of doing the work. It will be interesting to see if AEW runs with Johnson’s winning momentum or if he is back to losing Dark matches. I’m hoping he gets some wins, because his story is easy to root for.

Swindled. Hangman Page was almost the victim of a hoodwinking. Matt Hardy desired to celebrate their tag team victory from last week. Hangman wasn’t all that interested until the offer of a free bar tab was presented. He awkwardly passed by the Dark Order.

Later, Hangman was drunk at the bar. Hardy was slyly tossing his shots on the floor and not actually consuming alcohol. He slipped in a manager contract for Drunkman to sign. Hardy knew full well that Hangman would be angry when he sobered up, so that’s why he invited the camera crew to document the signature. Hangman put pen to paper at the allure of making millions of dollars, with a 30% cut for Hardy of course. (Edit: I missed the switch. Hangman actually tossed Hardy’s contract aside and suckered Hardy into signing a different contract. Very cool twist.)

I think we’d all like to see Hangman elevated to bigger things right now, but this quickly turned into a very funny story to pass the time before he eventually finds his confidence. That’s why I’m okay to sit back and enjoy the sleazy manipulation by Hardy and friendship troubles with the Dark Order.

PAC defeated Ryan Nemeth. Methodical and explosive beatdown. Nemeth did score a DDT, but PAC stomped him into unconsciousness for a Black Arrow then a Brutalizer submission.

PAC continues to be a badass. Not much else needs to be said.

Body bag jamboree. Sting came out for his weekly dose of excitement. Team Taz promptly interrupted to reveal that they had kidnapped Allin in a body bag to drag behind an SUV. Team Taz pumped the gas and Allin was taken for a ride. Sting was in ‘hot pursuit’ by walking at a very brisk pace.

That scene was hilarious. Team Taz is back in the game after that entertaining moment. What’s even more hilarious is that there was never a follow-up. There’s no way old man Sting was going to catch them. I’m genuinely under the assumption that Team Taz drove for miles and dumped Allin in the swamp as alligator food.

Women’s tournament: Thunder Rosa defeated Leyla Hirsch. The opening bout of the tournament set the mood right. Thunder Rosa was able to escape an armbar by using a low powerbomb. She then transitioned to the fire thunder driver to win.

This bout was intense and physical with a nice variety of mat work and slams. It set the bar high for the remaining matches to match. If the rest of the women can deliver on the same level, then this tournament is going to be awesome.

Notes: Brock Anderson, son of Arn Anderson, was in the crowd to shake Cody Rhodes’ hand. Brock is currently in training to be a professional wrestler.

Miro is focused on payback for ruining the wedding of Kip Sabian and Penelope Ford. He will put Charles Taylor and Orange Cassidy in the hospital alongside Trent.

Thunder Rosa is in AEW for three reasons. To win the tournament and wrestle Hikaru Shida for the AEW Women’s Championship, to gain back the NWA Women’s Championship from Serena Deeb, and to get revenge on Dr. Britt Baker DMD by playing with no rules.

When FTR returns, Jungle Boy is going to make them his bitches.

I’ve come to really enjoy Alex Marvez’s role of Johnny-on-the-spot to track down interviews and ask stupid questions.


Stud of the Show: Lee Johnson

Johnson finally got a chance to strut his stuff on Dynamite. I loved his fisherman’s cradle neckbreaker and his nifty corkscrew tope.

Dud of the Show: Presentation of KENTA

KENTA is not a widely known commodity to casual wrestling fans, and AEW failed to make him feel special. He could have used a mini highlight reel to shine. As it was, KENTA came across as a short guy with the occasional cool move during the main event. Nothing grabbed me enough to make me seek out his upcoming fight with Moxley. I guess it doesn’t matter much if KENTA is disappearing soon.

Grade: B+

The opener and main event were both very satisfying in their own ways. It was nice to see different wrestlers get a chance to shine. The storytelling was as interesting as usual. I enjoyed how the Inner Circle and Hangman Page stories had progression throughout the show.

Share your thoughts about Dynamite. How do you rate it? Who stole the show?