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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (Nov. 17, 2021): Kick your head in

AEW Dynamite (Nov. 17, 2021) emanated from the Chartway Arena in Norfolk, VA. The show featured Hangman Page as a homecoming hero, Bryan Danielson raising a ruckus, CM Punk in MJF’s head, and Sammy Guevara gritting out a tough TNT title win as fallout to the Full Gear PPV.

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

Kick your head in

Hangman Page returned to his home state of Virginia to celebrate National Cowboy Shit Day. The unofficial holiday was in honor of winning the world title at Full Gear. The Dark Order warmed up the crowd to welcome their hero. Hangman was sheepish about the reception yet confident in the fact that he earned it. The AEW World Championship carries a lot of responsibility, and Hangman is ready to fulfill that legacy.

Hangman’s next challenger will be Bryan Danielson, after winning the honor via tournament. Danielson heard his name and wasted not time in coming out. The challenger gave respect to congratulate the champ. Danielson slipped in a wry comment that he was disappointed he wouldn’t have a rematch with Omega. That’s when the cordialness turned into a car crash. Hangman pointed out that he was able to defeat Omega in under 30 minutes, unlike Danielson who took a time-limit draw.

Danielson countered that apparently cowboy shit doesn’t include wrestling, since their match would not be tonight. Hangman stepped up without fear, so Danielson slowed his role. Since the cowboy wasn’t dressed to wrestle, Danielson clarified that he wanted no excuses from Hangman when he wins the title. Tension flared and a little bit of fisticuffs flew. The Dark Order separated the two. Hangman burst through for a mini scuffle before Danielson rolled outside.

Whoa! That was a fantastic segment of trash-talking. I was game for babyface versus babyface, but this fire from Danielson adds a totally new element to the mix. Danielson is clearly arrogant in the belief of his abilities, however, I believe his attitude is a bit of mind games to get inside the head of Hangman.

The opening bout saw Danielson wreck Evil Uno. It wasn’t a cakewalk, but I’d say Danielson had 80% control. And that control came in the form of extreme aggressiveness. He unloaded furious kicks to pummel Uno often. In the end, Danielson put his knees up to block a flying senton. After a running knee to the skull, Danielson added insult to injury by stomping Uno’s head instead of attempting a pin. A triangle sleeper ended the bout. Danielson added panache to flex his muscles during the submission.

When I think about maximizing momentum in victory, this is what I want to see. Danielson looked like he could wreck anyone. Uno has a decent record, but he was outclassed and dominated in this outing. After this performance, I have no clue who to favor between Danielson and Hangman. That adds so much to the aura of anticipation heading into the title fight.

After the bout, Danielson wasn’t finished with his sauciness. Until Hangman fights him, his mission is to kick the heads in of the Dark Order. Danielson called out Colt Cabana for next week’s Dynamite in Chicago.

As for Omega, his crew started the show with a promo from the stairwell. People are asking him about a rematch, but he has things to fix and change. Omega can’t do that traveling with AEW, so he asked the Elite to hold down the fort. Adam Cole took the reigns of control, but Omega clarified he was speaking to the Young Bucks.

There’s real nice character work in that brief conversation. Omega genuinely congratulating Hangman shows he still has love left in his cold soul for his old pal. Cole ready to step over Omega’s warm carcass teases possible future tension with Omega. It’s a smart play for Omega’s return down the line. He has paths for redemption or dastardly deeds laid out, and we won’t know which way he will lean upon his initial comeback. It also offers AEW flexibility to book his alignment depending on the landscape of star power.

MJF’s next feud

Part of the excitement for fallout shows is to be surprised about new feud directions. MJF versus CM Punk has been one story fans have clamored to see, and AEW kicked it off sooner than expected.

MJF cut an excellent post-match promo from his win over Darby Allin at Full Gear. Fans hate MJF’s guts, but they have no choice to admit how good he is.

For Dynamite, MJF sauntered to the ring espousing his own greatness to the bumpkins in attendance. With nobody on his level in the locker room, he set his eyes on the world title chase. Buppity bow, buppity bow. I don’t know how to spell the guitar riffs from, “Cult of Personality.” Punk came out as the crowd went wild. He entered the ring and never said a word. MJF was confused at how to proceed, so he offered an introductory handshake. Punk turned his back and walked out while smiling at the disrespect getting under MJF’s skin.

Great setup with the less is more strategy. Danielson brought the intensity, so Punk stood out in contrast by going the opposite route. I’m really enjoying how Danielson and Punk are poking the hornet’s nest.

TNT Championship

Sammy Guevara defended the TNT title against the debuting Jay Lethal in the main event. There was a lot of exciting action in the bout, however, it was the story of an injury that truly elevated the contest. Guevara aggravated rib trauma that I suspect was real, but I’m not entirely sure. Sammy fought through the pain to clock Lethal with two running knees and a GTH knee strike finish to retain.

There is plenty to dissect about the injury. If it was all part of the story, then I fell for it completely. That would be the best fake out in a very long time. Sammy’s reactions of pain looked legit to me. Real or not, Guevara gutting it out was an impressive feat. This was the type of outing that raised his stock as a champion. Assuming the pain was real, I am also a little tentative to praise the continuation of the match. It made for good TV, but it could have taken a nasty turn if Sammy worsened or was too damaged to execute moves safely.

For what it’s worth, the Inner Circle supported Sammy in the aftermath. Guevara shook hands with Lethal as Chris Jericho looked to be impressed with both men.

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

Orange Cassidy & Tomohiro Ishii defeated Butcher & Blade. OC took the finisher from B&B, but Ishii made the save. Distractions were afoot as Blade had brass knuckles. Rocky Romero pulled him out of the ring. Matt Hardy socked Romero. Cassidy leaped onto them with a flying crossbody. Ishii finished the job on Blade with a lariat and a brainbuster.

This was a solid slugfest from three-quarters of the participants. Ishii is a brick wall, Blade is Blade, and Butcher was looking svelte for his size. The match had savage striking exchanges and dramatic false finishes that made me believe. Cassidy was the odd man out of the muscle fest, however, he rose to the occasion when the situation called for it. The CHAOS partnership is on the upswing with Ishii winning.

TBS Championship tournament quarterfinal: Nyla Rose defeated Hikaru Shida. Serena Deeb clipped Shida’s knee in a pivotal moment. The Native Beast poured on the offense, but Shida kept her fighting spirit strong. Shida exploded for the Katana knee strike, however, Rose caught her for a standing stretch muffler to win.

Very good match with comedy, scandal, and heart. Shida whacking Vickie Guerrero with a kendo stick was a hoot. Deeb has become rotten. She stuck her nose where it didn’t belong. Normally, I dislike third party inference, because it is usually used as a lazy way out. I’ll give this one a pass, since AEW generally does not rely on that tactic often. On the plus side, it allowed Shida to be a badass fighting through the adversity to almost steal the win. The finishing submission created a very cool visual that looked like it would actually hurt a lot.

Lio Rush & Dante Martin defeated The Acclaimed. The flash was bright in this bout. Martin did a wild double stepping stool on the backs of the Acclaimed for a hot tag to Rush. The Man of the Hour proceeded to clean house with quickness and speed in his step.

The match broke down with high-flying from the good guys. Martin hit a double springboard moonsault onto Anthony Bowens. Rush followed with a frog splash for victory.

This bout felt more like an even partnership compared to last week when Rush ran the show. Martin acted more assertive for saves and such. When the Acclaimed connected on the Mic Drop double team combo, they had me thinking that was the end. Martin was able to make the save to rally for Rush.

Afterward, Team Taz reminded Martin of their offer. No offense to Rush. It’s business, not personal. Team Taz will be patient in waiting for an answer.

Notes: Sad boy Eddie Kingston was interrupted by 2point0 and Daniel Garcia. They pointed out that Garcia lasted longer than Kingston against CM Punk. Kingston doesn’t respect Garcia for allowing 2point0 to call him ‘son.’ Feathers were ruffled and an official fight looks to be soon. I’m surprised that I will be rooting for Garcia to outwork Kingston in this one, but the ornery veteran rubbed me the wrong way with his attitude.

Andrade and FTR suggested an 8-man tag with Malakai Black against Cody Rhodes, PAC, and the Lucha Bros. Tully Blanchard also warned Arn Anderson that he has one more go in him. Later, Black threatened to turn the air toxic to burn the lungs of his opponents. Double later, the Lucha Bros mocked FTR for cheating and still failing to win. They will have something special for the bad guys in that contest.

Tay Conti lost but she didn’t fail. She will learn and come back more experienced. Dr. Britt Baker is exhausted from carrying the women’s division as champ, so she will threw her support behind Jamie Hayter in the TBS Championship tournament.

Darby Allin was not broken mentally by MJF. He will get a rematch in time. For now, he’ll take whoever wants a piece. Billy Gunn dished some sass, and the match was made for Rampage.

The SuperKliq are tired of trifling with Jurassic Express and Christian Cage. The Young Bucks are not cleared to compete, so Adam Cole will team with Bobby Fish to wrestle Jurassic Express on Rampage. Later, the good guys replied that their change in heart to make them tougher is here to stay. The SuperKliq tried to end them, but Christian and Jurassic Express are still standing tall.

Red Velvet and Jade Cargill will compete in the TBS Championship tournament on Rampage. Both ladies threatened that ass will be kicked.

Tony Nese was in the front row watching the main event.

Stud of the Show: Bryan Danielson

Danielson versus Hangman is fire on paper. I didn’t need to be sold at all. Danielson found a way to make me even more excited for the eventual showdown.

Dud of the Show: Virginia is for lovers

I demand scientific research for the validity of that state slogan. I’ve never heard it before, so, naturally, I find it dubious. The heart looked like a cheap ripoff of ‘I love New York.’ Although, Hangman Page is a new father, so perhaps there is truth in advertising.

Grade: A-

The new directions were home runs, and the matches were entertaining in a variety of ways. I wouldn’t mind watching a replay later tonight.

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

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