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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (Apr. 14, 2021): Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out

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AEW Dynamite (Apr. 14, 2021) emanated from Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, FL. The show featured Mike Tyson hitting a knockout punch, the Young Bucks going full heel, and Darby Allin getting bonkers in a Falls Count Anywhere title defense.

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

Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out

This edition of Dynamite was stacked with two title fights and a heated women’s feud, but the top draw for me was Mike Tyson. He was in the house to act as special enforcer for Chris Jericho versus Dax Harwood.

Earlier in the evening, MJF tried to purchase the services of Tyson. He handed Tyson a blank check. Tyson’s response was to hilariously tear it up into little pieces, chew on it, then spit the wad out at MJF.

Later, Tyson was joined by the Inner Circle for an interview. Jericho explained that he phoned Tyson apologizing for past behavior. Le Champion requested Tyson show up last week as backup against the Pinnacle. As for the special enforcer role, Tyson declared he would call it down the middle. If Jericho messes up, there is a possibility of Tyson knocking him out. That efficiently closed all doors on last week’s questions regarding Tyson’s actions.

Match time! Rules dictated that Sammy Guevara and Cash Wheeler were allowed ringside, while the rest of the Inner Circle and the Pinnacle were banned.

Tyson kept the peace fairly. He snatched a chair from Jericho then grabbed a bat from Harwood. The contest broke down when Wheeler clobbered Jericho to save his FTR partner from the Liontamer. All other members in the faction war came out to rumble on stage. Wheeler had the bat, so Tyson intervened. When Wheeler would up for a swung, Tyson uncorked a knockout punch. Wheeler was out cold before he hit the floor.

That was so awesome. Wheeler’s selling was magnificent. It was like a character from the Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out video game.

Guevara caused a distraction for Jericho to escape a piledriver from Harwood. A back body drop set up the Judas Effect for victory. Afterward, Jericho welcomed Tyson into the Inner Circle as an ancillary member. Time for another visit to Las Vegas?

Tyson was used perfectly for maximum enjoyment. There were minor teases setting up anticipation for the brutal blow. That’s exactly what I wanted from an Iron Mike appearance.

The match from Jericho and Harwood exceeded my expectations. I was thoroughly entertained by their meat and potatoes slugfest. The intensity felt real. It was also a joy to see Jericho spring into the air for a flying crossbody. I can’t wait for Blood & Guts on May 5.

Heel Bucks

The Young Bucks are officially heel. No more sitting on the fence. They are fully embracing their bad boy personas.

That was evident from the Bucks’ promo to open the show. The Bucks explained that they chose friendship in reforming the Elite with Kenny Omega. They thanked Jon Moxley for pushing them into that realization. The Bucks were content to take the EVP payday when AEW started, but now they are no longer content with allowing other teams to shine. It is time to show a better version of themselves.

That better version included new clothes for their tag title defense against PAC and Fenix. The Jacksons sported white and silver with fur replacing the familiar fringe.

The first half of the match was about establishing the Bucks’ new attitude. They hammed it up with heel theatrics. Matt Jackson bounced around like the Heartbreak Kid. Nick Jackson gloated and smiled into the camera after successful moves. They were over-the-top, obnoxious, and rude.

Once the pace picked up, the match became very exciting. The challengers had a believable near fall as Matt was grabbing the ropes to prevent a German suplex from PAC. Fenix ran along the ropes to soccer kick Matt, then the luchador flew for a tope con hilo onto Nick. With Matt’s hand free, PAC was able to execute a bridging German suplex. Matt showed heart to kick out on the cover.

The action spilled onto the floor for a wicked stanza. Matt and PAC were woozy, so Fenix and Nick attacked with stereo poison ranas. Nick superkicked Fenix over the guardrail. Fenix shot back with a rolling cutter.

Death Triangle scored another close call when PAC hit an avalanche brainbuster to Matt and Fenix followed with a frog splash. 1, 2, kick out. PAC then connected on Black Arrow. Fenix tried to hold off Nick, but the Buck was able to push Fenix onto the pile to break the pin.

That’s when the Bucks went super heel. Using a referee distraction, PAC was treated to a low blow kick. Fenix was victim to the Bucks yanking off his mask. The Bucks connected on a double superkick to Fenix for victory.

What finks! The Young Bucks are evil men by removing Fenix’s sacred mask. They were very effective in not being cool heels. They came across as posers trying to act cool. I never particularly liked the Bucks anyway, so I can easily get behind booing them on purpose. Matt’s headband alone with the bead trim is worth jeers.

The commentary story accusing the Bucks of selling out was a little confusing. I’m not sure who they are selling out to. They were already EVPs taking Tony Khan’s money. If it is to Don Callis, then I hope he rewards them with their own shirtless muscle painting.

Also, commentary would chastise the bad Bucks’ tag strategy for typical stuff that they did when good guys, such as ignoring the referee for double team attacks and yanking an opponent off the apron to prevent a hot tag.

As for the quality of the bout, it was quite enjoyable. It didn’t live up to my extremely high expectations, because a lot of time had to be spent establishing the Bucks as heels. Once the contest got cooking, it was a dandy. It is too bad that the match happened to coincide with a new turn in the Elite story. The finish wasn’t all that satisfying, but it was something that had to be done.

That wasn’t all in the Elite soap opera. Hangman Page was put back in the picture. Alex Marvez inquired for his thoughts on the situation. Hangman took a big swig of booze then babbled. He exited without answering. There is room to explore if the Elite wants to recruit Hangman.

Later, Marvez interviewed the Elite with Callis and the Good Brothers. The group flapped their gums telling riddles about the story just beginning. The Bucks faked a superkick party to the cameraman only to let Callis kick instead.

Falls Count Anywhere

The main event saw Darby Allin defend the TNT Championship against Matt Hardy in Falls Count Anywhere. Both men delivered on their reputation of taking physical bumps.

Hardy started right out of the gate with a chair. Allin tried to get cute with a springboard attack, so Hardy whacked Allin. Hardy battered Allin to cause bleeding from the back. When Hardy attempted a Twist of Fate with the chair around Allin’s neck, the champ escaped. He stole the chair to unload on Hardy.

Hardy had entered without the Hardy Family Office by his side, but they quickly emerged at the first sign of trouble.

Butcher threw a trashcan into Allin’s face. Butcher, Blade, Bunny, and Private Party worked over the champ. Dark Order came out to even the odds. Then Tony Schiavone screamed, “It’s Sting!!!” The Icon had Private Party ready for a double Scorpion Death Drop when Scorpio Sky and Ethan Page came out looking for trouble.

It’s Lance Archer! The Murderhawk Monster scared away Sky and Page then assisted Sting in butt kicking. The shenanigans came to an end as the situation was under control, and Sting tossed his bat to Allin.

Back to the actual scheduled contest. Hardy low-blowed Allin then successfully connected on the Twist of Fate with a chair around Allin’s neck.

That was the moment for a title change if there would be one. 1, 2, kick out. The competitors went backstage for Hardy to hit a leg drop off a ladder through a table. 1, 2, kick out by Allin. Back to the stage so Allin could retrieve Sting’s bat. Crack! Kapow! Thunk! Allin had Hardy down and in danger.

The face of TNT demanded the commentary table be cleared. He helped by bashing the monitors with Sting’s bat. Allin set Hardy on the table and smashed one more blow to the head. He climbed up the truss. Ker-sploosh! Allin launched for a super high Coffin Drop through the table to pin Hardy and retain the TNT title.

That certainly was a sports entertainment spectacle. There were about 15 extra people involved in the bout. That has to be a record, not including lumberjack matches. It did diminish the flow of the match, but it was all good fun. And seriously, it was probably better off that AEW didn’t give Allin and Hardy an extra ten minutes to go nuts. Look at all the painful spots they went through in the limited window of time.

There were lots of intriguing interactions within the rigmarole. Dark Order and Hardy Family Office should be close to a major blow-off bout. It is uncertain whether Sting and Lance Archer will become pals or enemies down the line. Allin has Page and a rematch with Sky ready to act as his next title defenses. Those are all stories I’m interested in seeing play out.

Also of note, Allin wore green pants with rips instead of his standard Daisy Duke shorts with leggings. It must have been that champion’s paycheck which allowed him to splurge on new attire.


Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

Jade Cargill defeated Red Velvet. The grudge match kicked off with a bang as Velvet exploded for body shots when Cargill entered the ring. On a referee separation, Cargill nailed a ferocious pump kick. Velvet was able to take control with a spinning kick and suicide dive. Turning it into a brawl was Velvet’s mistake. Cargill reversed an Irish whip into the barricade then used a fallaway slam to toss Velvet onto other wrestlers in the front row. Cargill counted her abs as Velvet struggled to get back in the ring. Cargill offered assistance via delayed vertical suplex.

Velvet found momentum when Cargill collided into the ring post. Her rally culminated with a standing moonsault. Velvet went up top for a full moonsault, but she missed on impact. Cargill pounced for the double chickenwing Glam Slam.

This bout was the show-stealer for me. Both women are future stars. I love Velvet’s passion and fire. Cargill’s physical charisma is off the charts. I truly believe she is on the path to becoming a breakout crossover star. Keep up the hard work improving, and the sky is the limit. I would actually consider keeping the title on Shida to run the table in defenses until Cargill is ready to carry the division. By that point, taking out Shida would be a tremendous statement.

Anthony Ogogo defeated Cole Karter. QT Marshall’s Factory crew were ringside. Karter broke free from a waist lock to execute a hip toss. Ogogo rose to his feet unleashing a vicious body blow. Karter collapsed in pain, and the referee called for the bell.

Highly effective squash from Ogogo. It was a quick and empathic way to put him over strong and display his boxing acumen. I’m left impressed and wanting more. It doesn’t get much better than that for an in-ring debut.

Kris Statlander defeated Amber Nova. Best Friends and Orange Cassidy were ringside for the alien’s return to the ring from a torn ACL. Statlander dominated to win with the Big Bang Theory package tombstone piledriver.

It was great fun seeing Statlander again. She worked smooth, moved fluidly, and hit her signature moves. I’m ready to see her thrown into the deep end of the women’s division right now.

Notes: SCU, Jurassic Express, Best Friends, and Butcher & Blade & Bunny were conveniently seated near each other in the stand to scout the tag title bout.

Dr. Britt Baker DMD discussed the rankings. She is #3. With Red Velvet’s loss, she should be #2. Baker will continue to rack up wins by competing on Dark: Elevation. She will give the fans what they deserves, a role model as champion.

Miro hasn’t heard from Kip Sabian since their loss in Arcade Anarchy. Miro is looking to smooth things over, but he hates to waste his time. Miro will be moving on with or without Sabian to fulfill his destiny of becoming a champion. Time to unleash Miro to his full capabilities, and I’m excited.

Thunder Rosa is going to take over the world by winning the AEW and NWA women’s championships.

Taz instructed Ricky Starks and Brian Cage to remain backstage, since they were combustible. The remaining members of Team Taz then interrupted Christian Cage looking for an answer to last week’s proposition for membership. Christian declined. Will Hobbs went beast mode to flatten Christian. A match between the two was booked for next week.

Highlights were shown of AEW’s recent house show when applicable. It was interesting that they acknowledged minor story beats from that event.


Stud of the Show: Nick Jackson

My favorite maneuver of the evening came from brother Buck. He bounced off the ropes as a counter to hit a vicious Canadian Destroyer.

Dud of the Show: Women’s rankings story

Dr. Britt Baker DMD is doing her duty racking up wins to climb the rankings as top contender. I was under the impression this was being done to establish Baker’s credibility after losing high-profile matches in feuds with Big Swole and Thunder Rosa. A strong Baker would make her eventual title match more exciting with an unpredictable outcome.

The problem is that the women ranked above Baker are getting knocked off. #2 Red Velvet lost Jade Cargill. #1 Tay Conti gets her title shot next week on Dynamite. I fully expect Hikaru Shida to retain. Assuming she does, that means Conti takes the loss to drop in the rankings. Baker will have risen to #1 without any difficulty. That leaves little reason to buy into the story.

Grade: A-

Another week with the Tyson effect of electricity in the air. All the matches were enjoyable for their purpose. The overall chaos was a little thick at times, but it didn’t overshadow the finishes. The young prospects all rose to the occasion leaving me wanting to see more.

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