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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (July 28, 2021): Le Champion of Deathmatches

AEW Dynamite (July 28, 2021) emanated from Bojangles Coliseum in Charlotte, NC. The Fight for the Fallen special featured Chris Jericho pulling deathmatch duty against Nick Gage, Hangman Page with the opportunity to earn a world title shot, and the Forbidden Door open for business.

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

Le Champion of Deathmatches

The main event of the evening was Chris Jericho partaking in the second Labour of Jericho. MJF’s challenge was a No Rules match against Nick Gage. For those not familiar with Gage, he is the deathmatch king.

Jericho strut to the ring in his Painmaker persona, but Gage struck blood in the opening seconds with a pizza cutter slash to the upper arm. Gage hit a superplex and a falcon arrow early, however, that wasn’t enough to keep Jericho down.

The match progressed with ultra violence. The big spot was Jericho using a super hurricanrana to launch Gage through a pane of glass.

Gage rallied with light tube shots to Jericho’s back and head. He then executed a piledriver onto broken glass. Jericho turned the tables with the mist technique. He sprayed Jerijuice into Gage’s eyes. Jericho took advantage of Gage’s blindness to crack a bundle of light tubes on his head and unleash a Judas Effect elbow strike for victory.

MJF was livid at Jericho advancing, but he still had a plan in place for the third Labour. The stipulation is to win with a top rope maneuver. The opponent is Juventud Guerrera.

That particular glassy and pizza cutter deathmatch wasn’t my cup of tea, but Gage certainly lived up to his reputation. I assume the level of violence did not disappoint fans of Gage’s style. I love how Jericho used mist as an unexpected attack. The Painmaker always has tricks up his sleeve. Since Jericho defeated Gage, that should make him Le Champion of Deathmatches.

MJF kept the wild surprises on the level with the reveal of Juventud. Good job by tying it together to a previous promo and a bit of history. That surprise factor alone has made this one of AEW’s most compelling stories in their brief history. Assuming Jericho wins, and why wouldn’t he, there are two Labours remaining. I can’t wait to see who MJF reaches out to.

Hangman Page fails

It was put up or shut up for Hangman Page. He had the Dark Order by his side to earn a world title shot in a 10-man elimination tag against the Elite. AEW kicked off the show in style with a cool vignette explaining the traits of a cowboy. The Dark Order arrived on stage in full force wearing bandanas while Hangman wore Dark Order colors. It set the scene for what could become an epic moment.

Alex Reynolds was the first elimination. He clotheslined Luke Gallows out of the ring, then Karl Anderson scored a roll-up. Anderson was victim to the Fatality finisher from Evil Uno and Stu Grayson as the second elimination. Gallows and Grayson brawled into the crowd for a double elimination count-out. Omega got his knees up on a swanton bomb from Uno then exploded for a V-trigger and One Winged Angel for an elimination. John Silver was ousted next after a BTE Trigger from the Young Bucks.

It was down to Hangman versus Omega and the Bucks. Hangman took a lot of offense but had the heart to carry on. The cowboy connected on a double buckshot lariat to the Bucks to pin Matt Jackson. The numbers game was too much for Hangman to deal with. Nick Jackson created a distraction so Omega could bash Hangman in the head with the belt. Omega followed with 2 V-triggers and the One Winged Angel to finally put Hangman away.

The action was creative with a high-octane pace. It was like watching a video game fight. However, I did not enjoy the match overall. That is due to AEW’s blatant disregard for the rules. That has been one of the main criticisms of AEW, and it shined at its worst on this evening. Referee Rick Knox was practically useless at enforcing his authority. He did issue a double count-out and pulled the title belt away from Omega, but the rest of the match was a free-for-all. It takes away from the illusion that professional wrestling is supposed to be a sanctioned sport with a winner’s purse that affects the livelihoods of wrestlers’ families.

With that loss, Hangman has to step aside from challenging Omega. Even though the result was disappointing, it made sense. I would say Omega is the top talent, Hangman is next, then the rest of the Elite, then the Dark Order. Hangman’s team was outmatched in the skill department and the cheating department. Thankfully, Hangman has a healthier mindset in dealing with defeat. It will be interesting to see where Hangman goes from here. Is AEW going to swerve and have someone else dethrone Omega? That would be a shame to rob Hangman’s fans of that moment.

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

Ricky Starks FTW celebration. Starks realized Brian Cage was a selfish man when he never checked on him healing with a broken neck. Starks laid into Cage’s lack of charisma. Cage crashed the party to beat up the band.

What a jerk move by Cage. Am I supposed to cheer him beating up innocent bystanders? As it stands now, I hope Team Taz teaches the Machine a lesson. Cage should join the Elite with an attitude like that.

FTR defeated Santana & Ortiz. Dax Harwood hit a brainbuster on Ortiz for a sudden win. Cash Wheeler may have legitimately inured his arm during the match.

Solid tag team action. Tag team action! The finish felt abrupt, but that may have been due to the injury. With that win by FTR, I want to see them finally have their rematch against the Young Bucks. Varsity Blonds, Acclaimed, and Private Party have skills, but I don’t believe for one second that they would beat the Bucks. That would make for an anti-climactic PPV contest. On the other hand, FTR has the résumé to be taken seriously.

NJPW IWGP US Heavyweight Championship: Lance Archer retained against Hikuleo. A superplex and Blackout put the bigger man down for the three count.

This was a little on the short side, but it was a hefty hoss fight nonetheless. That means big men throwing ham in an entertaining manner. The highlight was King Haku accompanying his son ringside. He even threw some blows Archer’s way on the floor.

Earlier in the show, Hiroshi Tanahashi entered the Forbidden Door with a promo to challenge the winner in NJPW.

Jurassic Express & Christian Cage defeated Private Party & Angelico. Jungle Boy took out Angelico and Isiah Kassidy with a tope con hilo. Luchasaurus chokeslammed Marq Quen, then Christian followed with a frog splash to win. After the match, Blade came out of the crowd for a cheap shot brass knuckles punch to Christian. That was payback for laying hands on Matt Hardy earlier in the match.

The babyfaces all hit their high spots to leave the fans happy. Christian battling the HFO looks far from over, even though, Christian already defeated Hardy in singles action. I can’t say I’m too interested in seeing that story continue. The real takeaway is Jim Ross pushing the idea that Christian should be on the short list for a world title shot against Omega. That could end up being Omega’s opponent for the All Out PPV on September 5.

Thunder Rosa defeated Julia Hart. Varsity Blonds cut a promo about Julia Hart being thrown into the fire. J-U-L-I-A, clap clap. Thunder Rosa had a promo as well for her first official match as a signed AEW wrestler. Thunder handled business to win via Fire Thunder Driver. Hart fought tough, but she was no match for the #1 ranked Thunder Rosa.

Notes: The Elite were treated to a Space Jam crossover as corporate synergy for their entrance.

PAC was left alone without the Lucha Bros, because someone canceled their rental car. Chavo Guerrero and Andrade walked in to inform them they booked a limo for Fenix and Pentagon to arrive in style.

Dr. Britt Baker DMD is the baddest bitch in AEW. She broke her wrist against Nyla Rose and still managed to submit her. Baker declared that she needs an enforcer to protect her from injury.

Rampage debuts August 13 in Pittsburgh. Tony Khan’s big announcement was Rampage in Chicago on August 20.

Darby Allin has been around of a lot of men who claim to be the greatest. AEW is the one place to prove it. Allin teased CM Punk’s catchphrase.

Cody Rhodes was attacked by Malakai Black. The brawl led out on stage with Black standing tall. I like the visual of Cody’s white suit contrasted with Black’s black suit. Their match is next week. I’m curious to see if the theme of light versus dark will actually play a role.

Miro wrestles Lee Johnson next week for the TNT Championship. Johnson is clearly talented, but he will not take Miro’s divine right to the title. Miro is a simple man with two motivations in life, a vengeful God and a double-jointed wife. A glorious reckoning will be upon Johnson. Miro continued his run of badass promos.

Jon Moxley took a swig from his flask talking about going to wrestle in Japan with fighting words for Tanahashi.

Stud of the Show: Chris Jericho

Le mist.

Dud of the Show: Brian Cage

Cage’s first action as a babyface was a failure. Attacking innocent band members was a jabroni move.

Grade: B+

AEW kept their momentum strong. There was a good mix of predictability for the stories’ sake and surprises to keep fans guessing. For example, I was not expecting Hangman Page to lose. Plus, all the CM Punk references throughout gives fans a reason to get rowdy.

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

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