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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (Oct. 23, 2021): Cody’s payback

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AEW Dynamite (Oct. 23, 2021) emanated from the Addition Financial Arena in Orlando, FL. The Saturday night show featured tournament matches galore from both men and women, MJF beating up Sting, and Cody Rhodes settling business with Malakai Black in their trilogy match.

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

Cody’s payback

Cody Rhodes was up against the proverbial wall heading into his third bout against Malakai Black. Cody dropped the first one in a crushing defeat, and he lost the second round when Black spit mist in his face. Coach Arn Anderson accused Cody of going soft while pursuing Hollywood projects. The trilogy match with Black was Cody’s chance for payback and to also silence the doubters.

Cody came out in black pants to signify the severity of the situation. Both men began with intensity. Cody tried exchanging strikes, however, he was easily outclassed by Black’s proficiency. Black’s kicks were his bread and butter in this bout. Cody had no answer for that. Whenever Black landed a barrage, that created space and time for tactical thinking.

Cody caught a kick only for Black to drop low and transition for a kneebar. Cody demonstrated his inner gangster by stomping Black’s face to break free. Cody had momentum after a powerslam. He took his eyes off the ball to throw his weight belt into the crowd. Cody came back for a figure-four, but that delay allowed Black precious recovery slam to gouge the eyes.

Black pulled out a chair. Lee Johnson and Brock Anderson came down to make sure it was a fair fight. Brock snatched it away for the match to continue. Cody used that distraction for the figure-four. Black was able to reach the ropes for the break.

Black set up a table on the floor. That strategy backfired when Cody connected on a Cross Rhodes off the apron through the wood.

Unfortunately for Cody, his body took the brunt of the impact. Nevertheless, Black was bleeding from the forehead. After ramming Cody into the ring post, the American Nightmare was bleeding as well.

Down the stretch, Andrade came out on stage pointing a finger gun at Arn. El Idolo’s assistant tried to sneak attack, but Arn planted him with a spinebuster. BLACK MIST! Black spit in Arn’s face. PAC ran out to fight Andrade to the back.

Cody found his inner strength in the final minutes. Black had momentum on a ripcord elbow and a springboard moonsault, however, Cody popped up for a Cross Rhodes. 1, 2, kick-out by Black. Malakai took charge with more kicks and a flying double stomp to the chest. He poured on the pain with a teep kick, jumping knee strike, and bridging German suplex. 1, 2, Cody kicked out. Black cleaned Cody’s clock on a spinning head kick. Luckily for Cody, he fell into the ropes to prevent a cover.

The action spilled to the outside. Black missed a moonsault but still landed on his feet. Cody pounced for a suicide dive. Back in the ring, Cody charged up for a springboard cutter. Cody continued with a Cross Rhodes. He knew it would take more than that to finish Black, so a double underhook piledriver did the deed to earn the win. Cody did it!

That was a riveting main event for their trilogy. There was good drama that maintained my full interest throughout. Even though I went in assuming Cody would be victorious, I was never certain at any point during the bout that Cody could pull it off. Black’s striking was on a completely different level than Cody’s brawling. Cody had to rely on power moves in key moments to turn the tide. As fun as the match was, it left me wanting more to find out who truly is the better wrestler.

It wouldn’t be a Cody classic without blood, shenanigans, and outside activity. The blood in this one felt forced and made me laugh a little as they checked off that box. The inclusion of Lee Johnson and Brock Anderson made sense and didn’t feel out of place. Black mist to Arn Anderson, well, I’ll always pop for that. Giving Arn a gangster moment taking out Andrade’s assistant put a smile on my face. The presence of Andrade and PAC was a little too much, but it had to be done after the involvement of Black, Cody, and Arn on Rampage. The best thing about that was now I want to see them switch dance partners for Cody versus Andrade and Black versus PAC. Those are PPV-level contests. All in all, everything worked out adding sizzle across the board.


Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

World Title Eliminator Tournament First Round: Bryan Danielson defeated Dustin Rhodes. Danielson worked the legs to stretch Dustin into a pretzel. Even though Danielson is a veteran, Dustin still had a few tricks up his sleeve. Dustin blocked a suicide dive then followed with a flipping senton off the apron. Dustin maintained control for a superplex, powerslam, and lifting inverted DDT. Danielson rallied with strikes and submissions. Dustin had enough and fired up, but Danielson put him down with an enzuigiri. Danielson stomped down on Dustin’s face. Dustin played possum a little to lure Danielson into a hefty clothesline then a piledriver. Danielson kicked out. Back on their feet, Danielson secured a standing guillotine choke. Dustin could not escape, and the referee called for the bell when he passed out.

Impressive match for their first singles bout together. Danielson and Dustin shared great chemistry. The story was smart with Danielson having to rely on crafty ways to take Dustin down. Thumbs up to commentary by adding to the drama with their explanation of Dustin preventing the full LeBell Lock. Dustin was bigger, stronger, and a tad savvier. He actually made me believe for a second that his piledriver would result in a surprise upset. I like that the ending was fresh for Danielson’s finishers. That provided an element of surprise when Dustin lost to the guillotine choke.

It’s Sting! Tony Schivaone interviewed the Icon looking for a health update on Darby Allin. MJF interrupted before Sting could speak. MJF accused Sting of being a bad friend. Sting’s negligence caused Allin to suffer. MJF walked right into a punch after comparing Allin to Lex Luger in a wheelchair. Shawn Spears and Wardlow hit the ring and put Sting down with multiple chair shots. MJF’s message was that Allin will always be second best. As the Pinnacle was leaving, Sting struggled to his feet. MJF stopped then popped Sting with a Dynamite Diamond Ring punch.

Chalk up another effective use of Sting. He allowed MJF to look like a jerk, not that MJF needs much help in that department. Sting also popped the crowd by no-selling a chair shot. The Icon showed he’s not completely indestructible when Spears blasted him over and over like a maniac. Sting did his job as a legend to advance the emotion of the story.

TBS Championship Tournament First Round: Ruby Soho defeated Penelope Ford. Ford was close to victory on a cutter and a fireman’s carry gutbuster, but she couldn’t keep Soho down for the count. Bunny slid in brass knuckles, however, referee Rick Knox noticed and placed his foot on the foreign object. As Ford argued with Knox, Soho scored a roll-up to win. Soho advances to face Kris Statlander in the next round.

Afterward, Bunny and Ford with the Brass knucks sized up Soho. Red Velvet ran in to even the odds, so the mean girls exited.

Decent bout with fiery intensity fitting of their beef. The finish was on the weak side. Once Knox was noticeably preventing the brass knuckles, Ford should have changed tactics. Even if she did get them, it’s not like she could use them without being seen. As much criticism as the referees receive, Knox deserves praise for performing his duties. He may not be able to maintain order in tag matches, but the man has an eagle eye when it comes to shiny objects. Perhaps he was actually motivated in trying to pilfer the brass for himself to make a buck selling to the pawn shop later.

Bobby Fish defeated Anthony Greene. Fish was physical with strikes. A suplex into the ropes set up a head kick for the quick win. Fish added insult to injury with a post-match beating. CM Punk made the save.

Fish is still new, so this established his character in AEW as a mean one. I really like the idea of Punk versus Fish. It should be a doozy. I am curious how AEW plans to build a PPV fight for Punk with only a few weeks remaining. With Punk’s stardom, they could probably throw him in against a hot young talent without much story.

World Title Eliminator Tournament First Round: Eddie Kingston defeated Lance Archer. Kingston attacked from behind on the entrance ramp. When they brawled to the floor, Archer comically used a fan to bodyslam on top of Kingston and also chokeslam the fan off the apron onto Kingston.

As the match progressed, Archer was in control more often than not due to his strength and size advantage. Archer went high risk and missed a moonsault. It looked like he landed on his head. Referee Bryce Remsburg called in for a medical check. Once that was sufficient, Kingston scored a roll-up to win. Kingston advances to the semifinals against Bryan Danielson.

The finish felt 100% like an audible for precautionary health reasons. That’s too bad, because this fight was the definition of fisticuffs. Archer and Kingston delivered exactly as expected. Let’s hope it was nothing serious for Archer.

Dan Lambert’s terms. Lambert was joined by Scorpio Sky and Ethan Page to insult the Inner Circle while Chris Jericho was away on his cruise. Sammy Guevara came out in protest. Life isn’t fair. Instead of complaining like Page, he worked his butt off to become TNT champ. Lambert chimed in for his terms. The Inner Circle can have a ten-man tag at Full Gear only if Guevara puts the TNT title on the line next week against Page. If Guevara loses, then he has to leave the Inner Circle forever. Sammy made a counter proposal. If he wins, then he gets to choose the three American Top Team members for the ten-man tag. Sky and Page rushed up on Sammy, but Santana, Ortiz, and Jake Hager were ready and waiting in the tunnel.

First, since the Men of the Year mentioned it, yes, I would like to see them model fashion on the catwalk. Second, I’m not a fan of the stipulation that Guevara might leave the Inner Circle. He was already a safe bet to retain, and this makes it even more of a lock. Maybe one day, Guevara will lead his vlog crew, however, bringing them in like that would not be a position of strength. Third, Santana, Ortiz, and Hager was a sweet surprise. I assumed they were all on the cruise. It make me wonder if the Inner Circle will rent a speed boat to catch up to Jericho for the party.

Jungle Boy defeated Brandon Cutler. Cutler was in goof mode. A powerbomb and Snare Trap submission ended the bout. Jungle Boy grabbed the mic for a live promo. That was a nice warmup, and he wants another member of the Elite. Nobody answered, so JB went back to the Snare Trap on Cutler. Eventually, Adam Cole came out as a ruse for a double superkick sneak attack by the Young Bucks. The Elite hit a BTE Trigger and Cole’s running knee then tossed JB off the stage crashing down below.

Thumbs up for Jungle Boy speaking live. He needs all the experience he can get. JB held his own good enough for the type of promo delivered. He even used a naughty swear word. Elite came out as proper villains once again. They’ve now taken out Christian Cage, Luchasaurus, and Jungle Boy. It seems like there will be revenge to pay in a trios bout at Full Gear.

Notes: Free agent Tony Nese was shown on camera and named by commentary as he sat in the front row during the opening bout.

Kenny Omega and the Elite mocked Hangman Page. Next week is the AEW Halloween special, but it was Halloween every night when Omega tagged with the cosplaying cowboy. Omega knows Hangman’s insecurities about failure. Deep down, Hangman is coward shit.

FTR is proud to be AAA tag champs, but they need the AEW belts to prove they are the greatest. Cut to Pentagon with threats for revenge. He is going to show FTR how to play dirty.

Dr. Britt Baker DMD will defend the women’s championship against Tay Conti at the Full Gear PPV on November 13. Baker is going to beat that ass. It sounded a little like Baker was jealous of Conti’s backside.

Wardlow confronted MJF about shoving him in front of Sting last week. MJF realized he may be putting too much pressure on Wardlow, so he assigned Shawn Spears to be Wardlow’s accountability buddy. Nobody knew what that meant.

Lio Rush will mentor Dante Martin to the top. Rush gave Matt Sydal a chance to prove himself, and he failed. Rush knows he can beat Sydal and also believes Martin can beat Sydal. That’s why he went to Tony Khan requesting a tag match against the Sydal brothers. Since Martin is friends with Sydal, he wasn’t pleased about this move.

Jon Moxley spoke about the motivation stemming from his newborn daughter grabbing his pinky finger. He doesn’t actually care about the tournament. His priority is providing for his daughter. That means he has to hurt people to do it. Moxley stated that he will win it all.

Sammy Guevara used his cue card gimmick to insult “Loose Pecs” Ethan Page

Hangman Page apologized to the Dark Order and thanked them for support. The discussion turned to Halloween costumes for next week match against the Elite.

Miro dropped another banging promo. All the violence that flows through him is his god’s fault for forsaking him. Miro will snap 100 necks and become his god’s favorite again. That won’t be because his god wants it. There will be no other choice. Miro plans to hold his wife with blood on his hands and horror in his eyes.


Stud of the Show: Jon Moxley

Great promo from Mox. There was chatter amongst fans that perhaps a heel turn was coming, but how can you boo the man after that speech? It is relatable motivation and dripped with sweetness about cherishing his little baby girl.

Dud of the Show: Picture-in-picture Cross Rhodes

Cody Rhodes hit a Cross Rhodes through a table, and it happened during the picture-in-picture commercial break. That spot was too much fun not to have live coverage in full screen.

Grade: B

This episode of Dynamite was full of purpose. Most of the matches had meaning thanks to the tournaments, and the squashes were done as steps for storylines. The younger stars were given valuable promo time to improve their skills. Overall, it was a solid building block episode. Add in the wild main event for an entertaining night of wrestling.

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