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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (May 19, 2021): NWA show-stealer

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AEW Dynamite (May 19, 2021) emanated from Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, FL. The show featured Serena Deeb and Red Velvet stealing the show in an NWA title match, Miro spitting fire on the mic, Frankie Kazarian out for vengeance, and the Young Bucks retaining their tag titles but losing their shoes.

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

NWA show-stealer

There was one match that was head and shoulders above the rest. That would be Serena Deeb defending her NWA World Women’s Championship against Red Velvet. They put on an aggressive, hard-hitting duel to steal the show.

Deeb kicked off the bout with a cheap trick. She threw her t-shirt into Velvet’s face to gain an early advantage with savage European uppercuts. Deeb tried to finish the bout quickly on a twisting neckbreaker, but Velvet kicked out on the cover.

Velvet’s speed was neutralized by Deeb’s veteran savvy to put on the breaks. Deeb went low for vicious dragon screw leg whips. Velvet rallied with heart for an offensive flurry. She connected on running double knees to the back, a standing moonsault in the ring, a standing moonsault off the apron to the floor, and a corkscrew kick. The ladies tangoed with counters. Velvet escaped a piledriver for a back body drop pin. Deeb kicked out at 2, but Velvet might have been robbed with a slow count by the official.

Velvet stuck with the counter game for a Flatliner. When she went high risk for a moonsault, Deeb got her knees up. Deeb followed with a crushing powerbomb. That was the beginning of the end for Velvet.

Deeb secured the Serenity Lock submission. Velvet inched toward the ropes, so Deeb smartly pulled her opponent back to center. The champ transitioned from a half crab to a figure-four. Velvet was able to counter for an inside cradle during the adjustment by Deeb. Both woman were back on their feet running the ropes, then Deeb connected on a chop block. Deeb set up the Serenity Lock and smashed Velvet’s knee into the mat several times before cinching tight. Velvet could not escape this time and tapped out.

Great match. There was fire, desire, fury, and finesse. I love Deeb’s edge. She took no prisoners on her way to victory. Deeb did a great job of making her offensive strategy flow with purpose. Everything seemed to set up toward the Serenity Lock finish. Velvet was great as the blazing babyface. Her energetic rallies were easy to root for. They made this feel like a true title bout. The hunger to win could be felt through the screen.

Everybody dies

Dynamite also had numerous promos hyping matches on the fast track to Double or Nothing. There were two in particular that made me widen my eyes and take notice.

The first involved Miro and Lance Archer. Miro came to the ring to deliver his a message as TNT Champion. He thanked Jesus Christ for giving him the strength, power, and aggression to destroy everybody. That brought out Lance Archer as his opponent for Double or Nothing. Archer can’t wait to beat the hell out of each other and make Miro his Bulgarian bitch. Miro acknowledged that everybody dies, but he insists that Archer dies first.

Outstanding hoss fight energy. Miro slayed with a blend of humor and ferocity. Archer’s sass was material coming from a big galute. Miro jabbed well with verbal counter responses. He listened and offered direct retorts. It felt like an off the cuff trash-talk session. Miro had the best point about Jake Roberts always holding Archer back, whereas Miro just takes what he wants. I can’t wait for their slugfest to erupt.

The other was a chat with SCU. Alex Marvez inquired about their direction after the personal stipulation to split as a tag team. Christopher Daniels ignored Marvez. He shook Frankie Kazarian’s hand and spoke softly in his ear for a private message. Daniels then exited. Kaz took over with fire on the mic. He is going to hunt down each and every member of the Elite and have recompense or die trying. Kaz is going to show them what it feels like to have your heart ripped out of your chest.

Kaz’s words were terrifying, and I fully believe in his conviction to follow through. I am entirely on board in seeing Kaz as the Punisher. Someone needs to teach those Elite jerks a lesson, and Kaz is just the man for the job. This story all of a sudden became one I want to see each week. Kudos for the fallout energy from this SCU story.


Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

Christian Cage defeated Matt Sydal. Christian had trouble with Sydal’s quickness, but he used his veteran savvy for anticipation and counters. Christian got his knees up on a standing moonsault from Sydal. That stunned Sydal long enough for Christian to pounce for the Kill Switch to win.

Solid opener. In terms of Christian’s story of working toward peak performance, this match was more evenly competitive than his previous outings in AEW. The lesson from this bout was that he often waited too long to strike on big moves. For example, he was lurching behind Sydal but didn’t commit. Sydal sensed the pressure, so he swiftly turned around and blasted Christian with a jumping knee. Christian will need to work on his explosiveness, even though, he still pulled out the win with superior awareness.

After the match, Ricky Starks set a trap for Team Taz to smash Christian and Sydal. Hangman Page wandered out with a beer in hand. He handed his beverage to Starks then went to work making the save.

Team Taz still had numbers and eventually took down the cowboy. Brian Cage closed the scene with a hefty powerbomb to Hangman.

That was a good tease to whet the appetite for Cage versus Page at the PPV. I like how all the different stories wrapped around to make sense for Hangman’s appearance. The best part was Starks celebrating destruction by drinking Hangman’s beer.

Jon Moxley & Eddie Kingston defeated the Acclaimed. Both teams had backstage promos before the bout. Mox and King planned to beat the brakes off the rappers, while the Acclaimed were pissed about that duo invading the tag team division. Moxley entered with the Major League version of, “Wild Thing.” Max Caster’s pre-match rap crossed the lined by saying Moxley’s wife was in his mentions hitting him up for oral sessions. That is a joke about Renee Paquette’s Oral Sessions podcast.

As soon as Anthony Bowens stepped into the ring, Moxley blasted him in the face. Mox and King battered the Acclaimed early. Bowens used a series of dragon screw leg whips to weaken Kingston. Hot tag to Mox, but the Acclaimed regained control through teamwork. In the end, the Acclaimed’s chicanery backfired. Caster’s boombox was stolen by Mox and put to use. Mox and King hit a teamwork DDT on Bowens to prevail.

Quality win by Moxley and Kingston. As much as I harp on top contenders not earning quality wins, this was a good example of a new team rising to the top over a ranked team. It makes me believe Moxley and Kingston can realistically dethrone the Young Bucks for tag team gold. It was amusing to see the Acclaimed get their just desserts on interference. I also really appreciated how hard Kingston sold the knee damage throughout the contest.

Sting! Tony Schiavone interviewed Scorpio Sky and Ethan Page in the ring. They talked smack then were interrupted by Sting on stage. It was a trap for Darby Allin to attack from behind with a skateboard. Sting and Allin laid a beatdown with Sting putting Sky in the Scorpion Deathlock. As Sky and Page tried to escape, the Dark Order cut off the tunnel passages. The bad guys were able to sidle out through the front row. Sting will be returning to the ring for a tag match with Allin against Sky and Page at Double or Nothing.

Paint by numbers heels running their mouth, babyfaces stuffing a sock in it, then a match being made. It was enjoyable enough. Plus, it’s Sting!

Pinnacle versus Inner Circle. The big question was if the Inner Circle would accept the Pinnacle’s challenge to Stadium Stampede with the stipulation of the Inner Circle disbanding upon defeat. The Pinnacle shared a dinner scene with Wardlow guzzling a bottle of wine. Shawn Spears roughed up a waiter for leaving his glass empty. Tully Blanchard tossed a wad of cash for the waiter’s troubles. Words were said by MJF and Dax Harwood, but those amusing antics overshadowed their message.

Inner Circle conducted a group promo, sans Santana, in the ring. They each had a chance to speak their mind. The result was to accept in unison. Jericho is going to dance on the Pinnacle’s face and piss on their grave.

The positive for these segments is that more members in this feud are getting a chance for promos, and they are delivering well. I still don’t buy Spears as a menacing fellow no matter how hard he tries to mistreat people. I don’t doubt that he is a tough man, however, I would not be afraid to walk down a dark alley in his presence. Spears just doesn’t have that physically imposing style of charisma.

Hikaru Shida defeated Reba. Dr. Britt Baker DMD was ringside. Shida had little trouble in dispatching her opponent. She pulled out a black glove to mock Baker’s Lockjaw submission, so Baker grabbed the women’s title as a distraction for Reba to crack her crutch on Shida’s back. Shida rebounded to earn a submission victory via Stretch Muffler. Baker immediately attacked after the bell. She had the last laugh by curb stomping Shida onto the women’s belt.

Enjoyable game of one-upmanship all around. Shida focused on Reba’s tender leg, even though she could have won however she wanted. Baker outfoxed the champ with shenanigans during the match, and she also used Reba as a sacrifice to do a little physical damage.

Anthony Ogogo defeated Austin Gunn. Billy’s boy was on fire early with quick offense, but then Ogogo blocked a hip toss to unload a gut punch. Gunn went down like a sack of potatoes. Once Gunn got back to his feet, Ogogo unloaded a second gut punch. Gunn was bleeding form the mouth but refused to allow the referee to call for the bell. Gunn arose once more only for Ogogo to connect on a pop-up punch to the jaw. Gunn’s lights were out.

Damn! That is how to build a prospect. The blood was a nice touch to sell the severity of the body punches. Credit to Gunn for his part on playing dead. He also got some shine with his quick strike offense and will to compete despite certain defeat.

After the match, there was a slight tease of action between Ogogo and Cody Rhodes, but referees intervened to prevent any violence.

AEW World Tag Team Championship: Young Bucks defeated Varsity Blonds. Brandon Cutler and Julia Hart were ringside for the main event. The finish came down to shenanigans from the Bucks. As Brian Pillman Jr. was in a Sharpshooter by Matt Jackson, Cutler sprayed aerosol into Pillman’s eyes. Pillman escaped, so Matt tried to spray again. This time, Hart got the referee to notice and confiscate the foreign object. Cutler tossed a backup can to Matt. He proceeded to spray Hart in the face. The Bucks did some fancy acrobatics to isolate Pillman for another Sharpshooter. Pillman was forced to tap.

The match was decent enough, but it suffered from the Blonds not being built up effectively. They backed their way into a title shot as higher ranked teams lost. The Blonds never had a signature win to make me ever believe they could pull off the upset here.

Positives were Griff Garrison’s tremendous energy on the apron supporting Pillman to make the hot tag. That enthusiasm showed how important of an opportunity this was for the Blonds. I also enjoyed Garrison going nuts to shake the guardrail and unintentionally banging it into Nick Jackson’s head repeatedly. Matt made me chuckle as he did pelvic thrusts when the fans chanted, “Young Bucks suck.” The kooky finish achieved its goal of making the Bucks hated.

The aftermath was cheeky fun as Moxley and Kingston entered the ring to grab the Bucks for sleepers. Both Jacksons lost consciousness, so Kingston stole their fancy sneakers right off their feet. He even stole their socks too.

Notes: The Varsity Blonds provided a quality promo hyping the main event. They discussed their personal connection to the Young Bucks and how the new Bucks need a reality check. The Blonds believe it is their destiny to become tag champs.

Dean Malenko sighting! He was hanging with Chris Jericho backstage. They yucked it up with a reference to the man of 1,000 holds feud.

Don Callis and Kenny Omega offered Orange Cassidy a contract to protect himself from further injury. As EVP, Omega needs OC to sell merch as a mascot. He doesn’t need Cassidy to wrestle for the world title. Callis explained that the paperwork would give OC a future shot at Omega when he is healthy. Cassidy ripped the contract in half. Callis gave OC a second copy with the tease that Cassidy will answer next week.

Jade Cargill was interrupted by MJF’s lawyer. He doesn’t want her to work for him. He wants to work for her. Jade was receptive to the idea, but she did not like how he interrupted on her time.

PAC was tired of AEW robbing opportunities from him. Now, he finally has a world title match, and there is nothing the Elite can do about it.


Stud of the Show: Anthony Ogogo

Ogogo’s bloody punches made me ooh and aah. That man has dynamite in his fists.

Dud of the Show: Cutting of Serena Deeb’s celebration

Referee incompetence was especially bad this episode as cheating ran rampant, but I have to point to an issue that plagued last week’s episode as well. As soon as Deeb defeated Red Velvet in a fantastic match, production only gave her a few seconds to celebrate the hard-earned win before airing a promo from PAC. As a fan, there was no time to soak in the moment and appreciate what we just saw.

Grade: B-

This episode of Dynamite was on okay show. It felt like treading water toward the PPV to build heat for matches that were already announced. The NWA women’s match was top notch and carried the load.

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