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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (May 12, 2021): Game Over

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AEW Dynamite (May 12, 2021) emanated from Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, FL. The show featured three title fights in Miro versus Darby Allin, Young Bucks versus SCU, and Jon Moxley versus Yuji Nagata, as well as plenty of build toward the Double or Nothing PPV.

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

Game Over

The night belonged to Miro. He proved he was the best man against Darby Allin with the TNT Championship on the line.

AEW set the mood with a vignette about Allin revisiting his old digs in Seattle to find inspiration in dealing with the pain from being thrown down stairs last week. Allin aimed to prove that he is the toughest man Miro has ever stepped in the ring with. Allin entered with a twist on his face-paint. His lower face and upper chest were colored like a skeleton.

Miro didn’t care. He blitzed the ring to buzzsaw through Allin before the bell rang. Miro laid in an extended beatdown prior to the match officially starting. He tossed Allin over the guardrail with an overhead belly-to-belly suplex.

Ding, ding, ding. The contest was made official. Allin weathered the storm and fired back with a shotgun dropkick on the floor and a suicide dive. Allin launched for a Coffin Drop, but Miro caught him for a release German suplex on the floor.

Sting was ringside, so Scorpio Sky clipped him in the knee just because. Sky and Ethan Page scurried away cackling like jackals.

Back to the match. Miro continued with control on slams and a bear hug. Allin rallied with a sleeper. Miro was able to reach the ropes and exit the ring, so Allin went outside to lock in the sleeper again. Miro escaped by sprinting into the wall and turning his back so Allin took the impact.

Back in the ring, Allin was in serious trouble. He looked to Sting for a motivational fist pound.

That’s when Allin went into berserker mode with two over-the-top stunners. Allin took flight for a Coffin Drop, but Miro caught him with a waist lock on the mat. Allin flipped out of a German suplex to score a Code Red. Miro kicked out on the cover. Allin went for an armbar. Miro got to his feet to counter with the Game Over camel clutch. Miro leaned backward to fold Allin in half. Allin passed out, making Miro the new TNT champ.

Badass match. The physicality was off the charts. Both men came out looking strong. The final stanza was high-octane excitement. Miro is finally established as a beast. I am super excited for his reign of terror. Meanwhile, Allin’s title reign cemented him as a top guy in AEW. He can have a great match with anyone, but it is his aura and no-quit attitude that makes him special.

After the match, Sky and Page attacked Sting again. Dark Order came out for the chase. Miro trash-talked Allin, so Lance Archer came out to stake his claim for the TNT title. Miro did not back down and even encouraged Archer to enter the ring.

SCU-Later

Frankie Kazarian had been tired of treading water with Christopher Daniels as his partner in SCU, so he proposed a plan to fire up motivation. Kaz would continue teaming with CD with the caveat that their next loss would be their last before separating for good. SCU went on to claim several victories on way to becoming #1 contenders for the tag team titles. However, there was a major hurdle standing in the way of a fairy tale ending. That would be AEW’s premier duo of the Young Bucks. To make matters more complicated, former friends became adversaries due to the Bucks’ recent bad guy turn.

SCU came out strong with excellent teamwork. The Young Bucks bent the rules with fake tags to rally back in control. The tide turned when Nick Jackson superkicked Daniels into the ring post. CD began bleeding profusely from the left eye. Nick took great pleasure in the gusher.

Kaz fought valiantly against the odds to score a few close pinfalls. Kaz hit a Styles Clash, and he also had a nifty Northern Lights bridging suplex to Nick while jackknife pinning Matt Jackson. Kaz could only last for so long, and the Bucks put him down with a piledriver. Luckily for SCU, Daniels made the dramatic save.

Unfortunately for SCU, blood blurred CD’s vision, and he walked into a spear from Matt. The Jackson hooligan then mocked the iconic ‘I’m sorry, I love you’ superkick.

The bout progressed with close saves by both teams. In the end, the Bucks resorted to dastardly deeds. Daniels went wild in attacking the Good Brothers on the apron. This caused a referee distraction for Matt to spray fluid in CD’s face. Matt then spiked the can on Daniels’ head. The Bucks came together for a BTE Trigger. Matt blocked Kaz to prevent the save as Nick pinned Daniels for the Bucks to retain gold.

This was a very good match, despite the Bucks’ cheesy attitude and cheap finish. SCU fought like warriors and should feel proud of their performance. I especially enjoyed the juxtaposition of SCU wrestling with precision and urgency, while the Bucks were sloppy and hot-dogging. That helped SCU stand out impressively by comparison. It also built even more heel heat when the Bucks took the shortcut to win.

One great character touch in this match came from the Bucks when they got angry about Daniels bleeding on their fancy sneakers.

It cemented them as true repugnant scoundrels to care more about footwear than the well-being of a previously cherished friend. And it was funny too.

After the match, cameras cut to show Jon Moxley and Eddie Kingston angrily destroying the Elite’s locker room. Later, the Elite was upset about the mess. The Bucks challenged Moxley and Kingston to a match at Double or Nothing. They framed it as taking care of business first by wrestling the Varsity Blonds next week in a tag title defense, then they will do something for themselves with the PPV match.

Wild Thing

The show opened with Jon Moxley defending the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship against NJPW’s Yuji Nagata. There was a big fight atmosphere as Nagata made his way to the ring. The hype and video packages made this bout feel much more special than Kenta’s appearances through the Forbidden Door. When it was Moxley’s turn to arrive, new theme music blared in the form of, “Wild Thing,” by The Troggs.

The match was a slugfest. Nagata sent Moxley reeling out of the ring early. Mox went dirty with an eye-gouge to ram Nagata into the ring post. Moxley followed with a diving knee off the apron onto Nagata’s shoulder blade. Back in the ring, action picked up with exploder suplexes, German suplexes, lariats, and lots of fisticuffs. The fight was so physical that Moxley was bleeding from the cheekbone. Nagata had the move of the match with an avalanche exploder suplex off the turnbuckles.

In the end, Moxley exploded for a flash finish with knees to the head setting up a Paradigm Shift for victory.

The champ paid his respect to the legendary challenger after the rugged match.

Fun match and a perfect use of the Forbidden Door. I’d never seen Nagata compete before, so this was a special treat to observe a legend. The drama was still good despite little doubt Moxley was going to win. The closing maneuver came by surprise, and that will make the contest better on a second viewing when knowing to look for the finish.


Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

America! Cody Rhodes was in the ring for an announcement. He spoke about his proud patriotism to be American. In contrast, Anthony Ogogo has buried the USA with vitriol in his tone. Cody wouldn’t allow that any longer. Cody wrapped his speech around to fighting for the American dream. He challenged Ogogo to a match at Double or Nothing. However, Ogogo won’t be wrestling the American Nightmare. For one night only, Cody will be the American Dream.

This promo was a bit of a rambler, but I really liked the connection to the American dream and the American Dream. That’s what sold me on the promo as an overall positive. I’m also kind of hoping it escalates to a flag match, or at least Cody gets to wave a humongous American flag in the end. One thing Cody does well is going all-out over-the-top. I’m imagining a real-life scene of this Hulk Hogan drawing.

Joe Jusko / Horror Movie BBQ

Kenny Omega’s next challenger. Orange Cassidy wrestled PAC in a #1 versus #2 matchup from the rankings to determine Omega’s title challenger at Double or Nothing. Both men came out alone without their faction mates. Cassidy tricked PAC with his antics to hit a Beach Break as the match’s first move. PAC kicked out on the cover.

PAC took firm control by smashing Cassidy’s throat against the guardrail. He pummeled Cassidy setting up for the magical comeback, but that moment never came. PAC throttled Cassidy with a high stack powerbomb. Cassidy took the force on his shoulders and neck. He looked to be legitimately knocked loopy. Referee Aubrey Edwards and PAC stalled for time, but OC did not recover enough to proceed in the match.

AEW played it off in what appeared to be an audible. Don Callis came out as a distraction, so Kenny Omega could ambush PAC from behind with the title belt as a tool of destruction. Ref Edwards did a double count-out finish. Omega gloated that he would have the night off at the PPV, then Tony Schiavone informed the champ that the PPV main event will now be a three-way with Omega, PAC, and Cassidy.

First things first. Let’s hope Cassidy suffered no serious damage. Second, I can’t really judge the match, since it was clearly halted to account for Cassidy’s pain. Third, I like the end result. I had zero interest in Omega versus Cassidy as a PPV main event thrown together this quickly. PAC will make the PPV match more interesting, in my opinion. If that was indeed determined on the fly, then major props to AEW for thinking fast and making the best of the situation. It wasn’t perfect, but it worked well enough to make sense.

Inner Circle versus Pinnacle. The Inner Circle spoke about their loss to the Pinnacle in Blood & Guts. Chris Jericho was out with a dislocated elbow. Santana was detained by police for using a fork in the match. That left Ortiz, Jake Hager, and Sammy Guevara. They took turns spitting fire about wanting a rematch.

Got to love the serious side of that threesome. That’s why it is sometimes a bummer when Jericho does the heavy lifting in promos. The other members of the Inner Circle are fully capable of pumping me up for more carnage.

Later in the show, the Pinnacle had their coronation celebration. MJF wore a crown and declined the Inner Circle’s request for a rematch. The Inner Circle interrupted with Jericho in tow as a surprise. They soaked the Pinnacle with a superpowered bubbly cannon.

That led MJF into accepting for a Stadium Stampede for Double or Nothing. The stipulation is that Inner Circle must disband forever if they lose. Jericho and his boys talked it over without giving an official answer.

This was silly fun. Rip-offs of the Steve Austin beer hose will never top the original, but it doesn’t mean the imitations aren’t enjoyable. The progression of this feud is quite curious from Blood & Guts to Stadium Stampede. I assume Inner Circle will win at the PPV, so what could possibly be next for the blow-off? I was thinking perhaps team records in clean matches with Jake Hager versus Wardlow, Sammy Guevara versus Shawn Spears, Santana & Ortiz versus FTR, and Chris Jericho versus MJF, but that is an even number and ripe for a tie. What wild suggestions do you have for the feud finisher?

Thunder Rosa defeated Jazmin Allure. Thunder Rosa made mincemeat out of her opponent to win with a Fire Thunder Driver. Effective squash for Rosa to remain relevant.

Notes: Rocky Romero was shown in the stands watching the IWGP match, as were Lance Archer and Jake Roberts.

Christian Cage signed an open contract for Taz to fill his opponent, however, Matt Sydal rolled in with an attitude to say he took that spot instead. The scene also announced the Casino Battle Royale for Double or Nothing with the winner earning a future world title shot.

The Dark Order wants to help Hangman Page back to the top. He was okay emotionally in accepting the loss to Brian Cage, since Team Taz helped with a pre-match attack. Page challenged Cage to a match at the PPV with a Double or Nothing pun. Dark Order was amazed at the cowboy’s wit.

Dr. Britt Baker DMD will have a poetic moment in dethroning Hikaru Shida as champion. Pain can make you or break you. It is ironic that Shida created this monster when breaking Baker’s nose. The women’s division is on life support with Shida leading the way. Baker will give new life to the women’s division as the face.

Serena Deeb will return next week to defend the NWA Women’s Championship against Red Velvet.

Jade Cargill still has not chosen a manager. Nobody handles her business. She is listening to offers, but she is her own boss.


Stud of the Show: Darby Allin

I was tempted to put SCU as studs for their best match in AEW in their finale together, but I just can’t ignore Darby Allin’s suicide dive. The car crash collision off of Miro was outstanding.

Dud of the Show: AEW’s handling of the SCU story

AEW had a lay-up of a story with beloved veterans going for one last ride up the mountain of success. Too bad AEW bungled it hard. In fact, I would speak so harshly as to say that the story was treated like crap.

SCU racked up wins on Elevation and Dark against inferior competition en route to the #1 ranking. Strike one was that there was no struggle. There was little reason for fans to get invested and rally behind the story. Strike two was a predictable win in the four-way #1 contender match last week. The result was a foregone conclusion without providing a feeling that SCU was in peak form ready to dethrone the champs. Strike three was AEW skipping over the final hug in lieu of cameras heading to the back for a tame segment of Jon Moxley and Eddie Kingston making a mess. SCU’s final embrace was shown upon return from commercial as a throwaway. Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian deserved better than that.

Grade: A-

Jim Ross began the program by saying it would be a raucous evening, and he was right. All three title matches were a blast. The rest of the show was decent enough with stories progressing toward the PPV.

I’ll close by revisiting last week’s criticism of the weak PPV build. I still feel most of the stories are a little flimsy, but I really like how the card is shaping up with the announced matches. Young Bucks versus Moxley & Kingston? Yes, please. Stadium Stampede? Yes, please. Hangman Page versus Brian Cage? Yes, please. Casino Battle Royale? Yes, please. Cody Rhodes versus Anthony Ogogo? Yes, please. Miro versus Lance Archer? Oh, hell yes, please. Double or Nothing is quickly looking surprisingly strong.

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