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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (May 28, 2021): Always on top

AEW Dynamite (May 28, 2021) emanated from Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, FL for a special Friday edition in the go-home to the Double or Nothing PPV on May 30. The show featured the Pinnacle using cheap tactics to gain an edge on the Inner Circle, Miro chowing down before his hoss fight TNT title defense, and Orange Cassidy standing tall over AEW World Champion Kenny Omega.

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

Always on top

Promotion for the Stadium Stampede was the main event segment. AEW hyped the match between the Inner Circle and the Pinnacle.

Eric Bischoff hosted a celebration of the Inner Circle. With the stipulation that they must disband if they lose, this could be their final night as a unit on Dynamite. A greatest hits package showcased the good times. Each man took turns with words of pride about their time together. Jake Hager had a great line about how their hard times made them hard men. Jericho closed with how this group felt right as badass mofos. If the Inner Circles loses, they will go down in a blaze of glory. The promo finished with a group hug and middle finger salute.

That’s when MJF chimed in on the big screen. He revealed a beaten up Dean Malenko tied to the ring post. The Inner Circle charged to save their pal, but it turned out to be an ambush. The Pinnacle destroyed each member of the Inner Circle in the closing scene. It looked like Shawn Spears experienced sexual gratification by hitting Sammy Guevara with a chair. FTR planted Santana and Ortiz with double piledrivers jumping off a ledge through tables. The Pinnacle reveled in their wake of fury by declaring they are always on top.

The Pinnacle has been on the short end of the stick in dominant moments. They had their powerful debut then were often bested at every turn. Sure, the Pinnacle won Blood & Guts, however, the Inner Circle was the tougher group of men that night. Leave it to MJF’s devious mind to ensure they head into Stadium Stampede on a high note. They did so in a way that nobody should root for their victory. Harming a cherished legend in Malenko was dastardly. I can’t wait for them to receive comeuppance.

Man of destruction

Miro is scheduled to compete against Lance Archer with the TNT Championship on the line at Double of Nothing. To hype that up, Miro defended the belt against Dante Martin. Everybody knew what the end result would be, but AEW did their best to provide uncertainty beforehand. They addressed the scenario of Martin pulling the upset. If Martin won, then he would replace Miro at the PPV. Archer cut a promo hoping Miro wins so he can punch the brute in the face.

When it came time for the match, the fans knew the deal as they chanted, “Miro’s going to kill you!” That is pretty much what Miro did. Martin had a minor flurry of athletic offense with a springboard moonsault and a shotgun dropkick. Once Miro had enough, he crushed Martin with a brainbuster. A thrust kick left Martin vulnerable for the Game Over camel clutch. Miro leaned all the way back folding Martin in half en route to a submission victory.

Archer and Roberts came out with words for Miro. Roberts and Miro exchanged ‘shut ups,’ then Archer sicced the champ. Miro was able to escape a chokeslam, but Archer booted him out of the ring as a show of power. Officials did their best to keep the killers separated.

The match achieved its purpose of making Miro look strong, however, I would have preferred a little longer bout to give Martin some shine. He is capable of some really cool feats, but he was only given room for moves that everyone does these days. With the fans in attendance, it was interesting to hear how over Miro is. The post-match activity was a nice little tease for the upcoming TNT title war. I was kind of hoping Miro would beat up Roberts as a shocking moment, although, that chaos probably would have been cheered. As for the hoss fight, bring it on! HOSS FIGHT!!!

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

Darby Allin defeated Cezar Bononi. Allin’s ribs were taped, but that didn’t factor into the match. Sting was ringside, as well were the Wingmen of Peter Avalon, Ryan Nemeth, and JD Drake. They played no role in the match. Bononi used his power early, but Allin worked to break the big man down. A sleeper, over-the-top stunner, and Coffin Drop was the winning sequence.

After the match, Allin took the mic to call out Scorpio Sky and Ethan Page to fight tonight. Sky and Page were not interested in fighting for free. When they win on the PPV stage, Double or Nothing will be the end of one legend and the beginning of two more.

Boom! The Wingmen attacked from behind, then Sky and Page ran back to the ring for easy pickings. Page choked Allin and forced him to watch Sky setting up a chair on Sting’s ankle. The Dark Order rushed the ring to make the save before Sky could damage Sting. Sting and Allin gave fist bumps of gratitude to the Dark Order.

This was more of a warm-up match rather than the typical high-octane Dynamite opener. The contest was interesting for what it was. Watching Allin use strategy is what I enjoy about his development. For the post-match skirmish, I guess the takeaway was progress with Sting and Allin finally accepting the Dark Order. Other than that, the scene was much of the same routine.

Weigh-in. Paul Wight officiated the weigh-in for Cody Rhodes and Anthony Ogogo. The Brit was flanked by QT Marshall’s stable. Cody’s entourage ran 20 deep with Nightmare Factory students, family, and friends. The key people by his side were his sister, Red Velvet, Dustin Rhodes, and Arn Anderson. Cody stripped to his boxers to top the scales at 218 pounds. Ogogo wore UK undies to hit 219 pounds. Cody and Ogogo worked the crowd to show Cody is the clear fan favorite. The scene ended with no violence.

It was a standard weigh-in. All the extra people provided a chaotic feel. The scene dragged on a little long, but part of that was Wight not being able to use the scale properly. I can’t say I blame him. A man his size probably hasn’t set foot on that type of scale since he was a young lad. Wight did make up for it with pithy comments trying to keep order.

Hangman Page defeated Joey Janela. Sonny Kiss was by Janela’s side, despite being ditched on Dark. Janela connected on his flying elbow drop finisher, but Hangman kicked out. The cowboy escaped a DVD to blast the bad boy with blows, a pop-up powerbomb, then the buckshot lariat to win. At some point during the match, Hangman was cut. Blood from his scalp dripped down his face.

After the match, Brian Cage came to the ring. Hangman cut him off to ruin the Team Taz ambush they always set up. Hangman goaded Cage into agreeing to a clean singles match at Double or Nothing. There will be no Team Taz interference.

The match was enjoyable with Hangman retaliating to Janela’s bad boy antics. The top spot was Hangman catching Janela’s crossbody off the apron to counter with a fallaway slam on the floor. I like that AEW allows their wrestlers to be intelligent. Those men in tights may be slow to catch on at times, but I appreciate that Hangman has seen enough of Team Taz’s tricks to know their playbook.

Orange Cassidy will fight. The tease for the world title match was if Cassidy would compete in the three-way against Kenny Omega and PAC or if he would take Omega’s offer to heal up and fight another day. PAC came out first to speak menacingly. Don Callis was on the big screen to set up an ambush by Omega. PAC anticipated it and was ready to pounce. Good Brothers came out to help Omega. Lucha Bros made the save to chase away Kenny’s cronies. Omega seized the moment for a One Winged Angel to PAC. Before he could drop the bastard, Cassidy came out with Best Friends and Kris Statlander. He handed an envelope to Omega with the contract offer torn to pieces. Then OC exploded for a cheap shot Superman punch to the champ. Cassidy bent over to pick up the championship belt, but PAC wouldn’t allow it. OC escaped a powerbomb to Superman punch PAC. Cassidy finished standing tall. The title match at Double or Nothing is officially a three-way.

There were a lot of moving parts in that segment, but it was executed much more fluidly than my choppy description. It did well to demonstrate the possibilities of unpredictability that lie ahead at Double or Nothing.

Jade Cargill defeated KiLynn King. It was revealed that Jade selected MJF’s lawyer, Mark Sterling, to represent her.

Cargill overwhelmed King with power to win via elevated double chickenwing slam.

Cargill’s match was longer this go around than her previous squash bouts, and she proved herself well enough. It was interesting that AEW chose to give Cargill the prime slot at the beginning of hour two. The selection of Sterling makes sense, but I wasn’t a fan of him being ringside. Cargill is the clear attraction, and he only takes attention away from her.

Hikaru Shida’s celebration. Shida was presented with the new Women’s Championship in honor of her reign eclipsing one year (377 days). The new belt was gold with diamonds. The champ had a message in English for the crowd. There were no fans when she won the title, and now she is proud to share the moment with them. Dr. Britt Baker DMD interrupted to state that she will be the face of a new era when she wins the title at Double or Nothing.

It was nice to see Shida finally get her moment in front of the fans. Baker’s bravado was her usual shtick. It was effective in making me want to see Shida shove Baker’s words down her throat.

Scorpio Sky & Ethan Page defeated Evil Uno & Stu Grayson. The Dark Order had a strong performance, but they were bested in the end. Sky smoothly transitioned to a heel hook on Grayson, while Page launched Uno for the Ego’s Edge to pick up the pin.

After the match, Sky and Page were emphatic that the result will be the same for their match at Double or Nothing. Sting’s music hit. Allin came out with a line of Sting clones. The real Sting was mixed in as one of the fake Stings. Physicality ensued, and Sting and Allin stood tall.

This was my pick as most exciting match of the evening. Uno and Grayson were on fire. It’s a shame they haven’t been able to rock and roll together that much as of late. It does give them a break as a unit for the greater story of the Dark Order, but their chemistry is so good as a duo.

Notes: With the return of fans, the stage setup was different with only one tunnel.

Will Hobbs and Christian Cage brawled backstage. Christian put Hobbs down with a stanchion then tackled Hobbs onto boxes. The fisticuffs were eventually broken up by staff.

Jon Moxley and Eddie Kingston cut a promo in the lawn as they buried the Young Bucks’ stolen sneakers. They brought the chuckles by comparing the Bucks to the Flanders kids from The Simpsons. Mox and King also brought up serious points to the idea that they aren’t a true tag team. When their backs are against the wall, they will fight for each other. That’s what matters most. On the flip side, Kingston accused the Bucks of being quitters. They did a good job to squash any thoughts of dismissing them against the tag champs.

Stud of the Show: Santana

Of all the talking segments on this show, Santana stood a cut above the rest. It was easy to connect with his emotion about how much the Inner Circle means to him.

Dud of the Show: Sonny Kiss

I guess Joey Janela’s excuse of having a migraine worked to mend any rough patch in the friendship with Kiss. Janela treated Kiss terribly by abandoning his partner to a beatdown on Dark earlier this week. That’s strike two against Janela. He also had a hissy fit a few months ago to yell at Kiss after a tag team loss. I don’t know what Kiss is waiting for to make a split, but Kiss will get no pity from me if Janela goes rouge a third time.

Grade: B-

The positive was that the PPV was hyped efficiently throughout the show. Tons of confrontations took place. That final scene for the Stadium Stampede got me giddy for Double of Nothing. It was also neat to have fans back again.

On the negative side, the matches were shorter than usual. That resulted in no standout contests. It desperately needed a mid-card blow-off, like Dustin Rhodes versus Nick Comoroto. There was also far too much talking in the ring, which is not a strong suit of AEW. Segments like the weigh-in stalled at times.

Overall, the show was still entertaining with good energy.

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

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