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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (Feb. 24, 2021): Pleasure in pain

AEW Dynamite (Feb. 24, 2021) emanated from Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, FL. The show featured Darby Allin going for a demented joyride, Sting finding the fountain of youth, and Lance Archer and Fenix tearing the house down.

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

Pleasure in pain

We’ll start with the best moment of the evening. Sting was out for revenge on Team Taz after eating a powerbomb last week from Brian Cage. Darby Allin also had his knickers in a twist, quite possibly literally and figuratively, after Team Taz took him for a car ride by dragging his body inside a body bag. Team Taz was on a roll, but Sting and Allin made sure to turn the tables heading into their street fight at the Revolution PPV on March 7.

Immediately after Ricky Starks and Brian Cage disposed of the Varsity Blonds in a match, the lights went out. It’s Sting!

Stinger played a silly video of dragging Allin through the desert for fun. The choice of music and Allin’s smile were great touches to show they have pleasure in pain.

Sting came out to the ring dragging the body bag behind as a trick. I assumed Allin would pop out, but it was Taz’s son, Hook, inside instead. Allin had an even better entrance in store. He ziplined down from the bleachers.

Allin and Sting cleaned house. Sting turned his focus to Cage for a Stinger splash and Scorpion Death Drop.

That segment was great fun and perfect hype for the street fight. After the fire for this feud fizzled out, it has quickly picked up steam in the past few weeks. It’s too bad there is still another episode of Dynamite before Revolution, because the momentum will be tough to maintain or even increase. Despite Sting’s advanced age, he has shown he can take offense as well as dish it out. That little vignette shows that the street fight should be quite memorable if AEW chooses the cinematic route. Whether live action in the ring, cinematic, or a mix, this is now the match I’m pumped for most on the Revolution card.

Murderphoenix Monster

The best match of the evening belonged to Lance Archer and Fenix. They were competing to qualify for a spot in the Face of the Revolution ladder match on PPV. The main event was a banger in every sense of the word. Well, not including the British sausage definition, but you get my drift.

Both men put it all on the line with their effort to entertain and excelled to their strengths. Archer did top-notch murdering, while Fenix executed amazing aerial acrobatics. Highlights include a suicide dive cannonball by Fenix, Fenix leaping over Jake Roberts to smash into Archer, a jumping thrust kick by the luchador, a running cannonball from Archer on the floor, a variety of suplexes from the Murderhawk Monster, a tightrope soccer kick by Fenix, and a Spanish Fly from the masked man.

In the end, Archer was too big and too strong. Fenix rallied with kicks and chops. He ran the ropes only to be blasted into oblivion by a shoulder block from Archer. A buckle bomb and high-angle chokeslam followed. Fenix still had enough energy to kick out, but he couldn’t hold on after a Blackout. The monster murdered the phoenix.

Afterward, there was a cool display of respect as Archer and Fenix shared a fist bump.

As much as we all want to see Fenix participate in the ladder match, having Archer win was the right call. The big boys should rack up the wins unless the underdog opponent is poised for big things in the immediate future. If Fenix isn’t in the books to win the TNT title from Allin, then he’ll have to wait a little longer before earning a signature victory. Archer keeps his momentum strong with this win. In the case that there is a rematch, then it will make Fenix’s success even more exciting. In the meantime, let’s hope AEW finds screen time for Fenix to continue shining in the ring.

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

Jon Moxley defeated Ryan Nemeth. The Lunatic Fringe was an angry buzzsaw slicing though the Hollywood Hunk. Moxley escaped a neckbreaker to apply a guillotine choke then transitioned for a Paradigm Shift.

Mox grabbed a mic with a response to the EXPLODING BARBED WIRE DEATHMATCH at the Revolution PPV on March 7. He will do whatever it takes to get back the AEW World Championship. Moxley is addicted to blood, sweat, and tears in the ring, so this match is too attractive to resist. If he loses, it seems like a perfect way to go out.

Effective outing from Moxley to stay loose in the ring and hot for violence. Nemeth served his purpose as chum for the shark. This extended squash was a departure from the norm of high-octane bouts to open Dynamite. This match didn’t get me rowdy with excitement, but the draw was most likely in Moxley’s promo about the deathmatch.

For Kenny Omega’s turn to hype, he was working inside a metal shop to construct the Moxley Extermination Chamber.

Team Taz defeated Varsity Blonds. Brian Pillman Jr. and Griff Garrison had fiery moments, highlighted by Garrison taking flight to leap over the ropes. The Blonds even hit their dropkick powerbomb combo finisher, but Ricky Starks was able to stay alive. The tide turned when Starks made a sneaky tag to Brian Cage. Starks struck with a spear to Garrison, while Cage demolished Pillman with a discus clothesline and Drill Claw to win.

The match went as expected. The underdogs had moments to shine, but Team Taz was too tough in the end. Who better than Cage? Not Pillman and Garrison. Cage is continuing to rebuild his stock in my eyes. Between this performance and his blitzkrieg wins on Dark, he is back in the cream of the crop territory.

Jake Hager defeated Brandon Cutler. The phony dragon used his speed for a suicide dive and a tope con hilo, but Hager caught him on a springboard for a big slam. Hager ran the ropes back and forth to deliver a clothesline of death for victory.

The match was okay for what it was. I can’t begrudge Cutler for getting offense in, since he is a good hand around the scene. Cutler did some tricks, then Hager mauled him as he should have from the get-go.

Bloody Buck. Earlier, footage aired of the Bucks entering the arena with their parents. The Inner Circle quickly manipulated the situation after Hager’s win. Santana, Ortiz, and Wardlow promptly ran out to stomp on Cutler. The Young Bucks arrived for the save, as expected. They wanted to wrestle Chris Jericho and MJF right then, but Le Champion had other plans. The big screen revealed Papa Buck a bloody mess at the hands of Jericho and MJF.

The Bucks hightailed it backstage, and Matt Jackson gave chase to the Inner Circle fleeing via motor vehicle while cackling with laughter.

The idea was to build bad blood to root against the Inner Circle, but it didn’t work for me. Papa Buck instigated the situation last week by getting physical, so I just laughed heartily at his pain. It was an enjoyable scene overall as heels did scumbag heel things.

Hangman Page defeated Isiah Kassidy. Hangman was firing with fury until Matt Hardy smashed his arm into the ring post. Alex Reynolds and John Silver ran down to alert referee Aubrey Edwards, and she ejected Money Matt. Kassidy worked the arm and did his best to take advantage of the situation, but Hangman’s resilient spirit could not be extinguished. Hangman caught a springboarding Kassidy for a Dead Eye piledriver.

That match pulled me in to caring. It was fun to see Hangman destroy Kassidy early, but the result seemed obvious. The story really turned interesting after Hangman’s arm injury. Kassidy worked his butt off hitting moves. Even though Hangman did win, he had to adapt and overcome. It also brought joy to my cold heart seeing Hangman smile at the support from the Dark Order.

After the contest, Hardy acted as a spurned man. He was angry that Hangman choose the Dark Order over him. Thus, Hardy declared he is going to hurt every member of the Dark Order. He started by tossing 5 off the stage through a table.

This story just turned into proper villain territory, and I love it. The more evil Hardy becomes, then the more satisfying it will be to see the hero ride his steed into battle and emerge victorious.

Nyla Rose defeated Dr. Britt Baker DMD. This bout was part of the USA semifinal for the women’s title eliminator tournament. Rose’s power advantage frustrated Baker, but the dentist managed to turn the tide by attacking the arm.

The finish was fire. Baker confidently put on her glove then walked right into a chokeslam. Rose cannonballed onto Reba in the corner. As the Native Beast went toward her opponent, Baker shoved her into exposed turnbuckles. Baker again attempted a Lockjaw submission, however, Rose powered out for a slam. Baker resumed her attack with kicks, a crucifix bomb, and Lockjaw. Rose put up a fight to resist and pounded her way free. She clocked Baker with a stiff right hand and followed with a Beast Bomb.

Rose was slow on the cover, which gave time for Baker to kick out. Baker then escaped a piledriver. She exploded for a super kick, but Rose caught her for a Beast Bomb to win.

What a difference a winner makes. That finish would have been cheap garbage if Baker won. Since Rose pulled it out unexpectedly, her win produced a fantastic moment. Part of that is successful emotional manipulation from AEW. They hit all the heel notes in what seemed to telegraph Baker’s success, then they swerved with Rose living up to her nickname as a beast. Great stuff.

Overall, the match was full of drama and personality. Baker had to figure out how to solve the powerful puzzle, while Rose fought against the odds of cheaters. Rose’s perseverance and determination made me a fan.

Notes: Video packages were plentiful to hype Kenny Omega versus Jon Moxley, Lance Archer versus Fenix, FTR versus Jurassic Express, and Shaquille O’Neal & Jade Cargill versus Cody Rhodes & Red Velvet. We were treated to a couple of glimpses of Jade hitting moves in the ring and Shaq jiggling his arm.

Miro was presented a childish note from Chuck Taylor and Orange Cassidy about if he will accept a tag match with Kip Sabian for Revolution. Miro encouraged his former butler to come back and learn how to be a man. That match was later made official for the PPV.

The new AEW show, Dark: Elevation, will debut Monday, March 15 on YouTube. Big Show and Tony Schiavone will be the commentating duo. Oh, if you happened to miss the news earlier on Wednesday, Big Show signed with AEW.

A Casino Tag Team Battle Royale was added to Revolution. The winners will earn a tag title shot. Bear Country, Alex Reynolds & John Silver, Evil Uno & Stu Grayson, Santana & Ortiz, Butcher & Blade, Private Party, and Top Flight were announced as participants. More teams will be added later.

Stud of the Show: Fenix

There were several quality efforts, but no one flew as high as Fenix. Soaring over Jake Roberts was awesome.

Dud of the Show: Referee Aubrey Edwards

Edwards overstepped her bounds by ejecting Matt Hardy. She fell for a distraction, Hardy smashed Hangman Page into the ring post, Dark Order ran out to tattle, then Edwards tossed Hardy without actually seeing the incident in question. She must have never heard the rule that it is not cheating if you don’t get caught. And who’s to say the Dark Order wouldn’t lie about what happened? That’s a dangerous precedent Edwards set.

Compare that to referee Paul Turner letting Reba run amok with distractions in favor of Dr. Britt Baker DMD. Reba was never ejected. There is a difference in that Reba did not initiate contact like the Hardy situation, but she was clearly influencing the match and even entered the ring.

Grade: B-

This episode seemed a little heavy on recaps and hype packages. The match stories felt a little repetitive for the same show. Jon Moxley and Jake Hager were angry wrecking balls. Hangman Page and Nyla Rose sustained arm injuries from the ring post. On the plus side, the main event and the women’s match were extremely exciting. Effort was high all around and spots were aplenty. The storyline beats progressed in fun ways.

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

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