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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (Aug. 11, 2021): Encircled by demons, Jericho won

AEW Dynamite (Aug. 11, 2021) emanated from Petersen Events Center in Pittsburgh, PA. The show featured Chris Jericho clearing the path to MJF in his Labours quest, Paul Wight getting busy, and #1 contenders emerging for Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks.

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

4th Labour of Jericho

The main event continued Chris Jericho’s quest to fulfill the Labours of Jericho to get his hands on MJF. The Fourth Labour presented Wardlow as the opponent with the stipulation being MJF ringside. As expected, Jericho prevailed, but it wasn’t without paying a price.

The broadcast opened with a backstage promo from MJF. He took glee in the idea of Jericho fighting so hard then being stopped short of the finish line by Wardlow. Even if Jericho manages to get past the behemoth, he’s only going to find out that MJF is better and he knows it. Wardlow was overly confident until MJF put the enforcer in his place by mentioning past failures.

During the conversation, MJF was eating an apple and speaking like a poor slob with food in his mouth. I’m not sure if that was a tease for Carlito or if MJF was auditioning for the role of Mr. Peepers on Saturday Night Live. The end result was Wardlow crushing the apple as a statement of strength.

When it came time for the match, Jericho scored an early Codebreaker. Wardlow swiftly kicked out at 1 then dominated the remainder of the bout. Wardlow unloaded hammering strikes and powerful slams. It got to the point that I lost track how many consecutive powerbombs Wardlow used to pummel Jericho. It was close to or above 10. Through it all, Le Champion did not quit. He escaped Wardlow’s corner knee KO strike to counter with the Walls of Jericho submission. MJF illegally raked Jericho’s eyes to set his war dog free.

MJF became overzealous in interfering and was caught entering the squared circle with the Dynamite Diamond Ring. Referee Aubrey Edwards ejected the malcontent. That hullabaloo allowed Jericho to retrieve Floyd the bat to bash upside Wardlow’s head. A Judas Effect earned the three count.

MJF had one more trick up his sleeve. Shawn Spears attacked Jericho from behind. Sammy Guevara ran in for the save, but the numbers game was too much. MJF slapped on the Salt of the Earth armbar to damage Jericho’s tender limb. Jake Hager eventually arrived on the scene to chase the Pinnacle away. Jericho was in visible pain from MJF’s submission.

Next week will be Jericho versus MJF as the Fifth Labour. The special stipulation is a doozy. Judas is banned. That means both the Judas Effect finishing maneuver as well as the Judas song.

MJF will not allow Jericho to channel energy from the Judas singalong with the crowd. That’s dastardly. I can’t wait for the fans to sing anyway, much like the Whos in Whoville.

MJF, Wardlow, and Spears looked like 80’s synthpop villains in the closing scene. MJF was sleek with his suit colors, Wardlow’s ponytail messed into a new wave hairstyle, and Spears vogued in the background. It was certainly a cutthroat cadre of miscreants suitable for Miami Vice.

The Labours of Jericho story was on an epic trajectory with magnificent surprise opponents, but the story came back down to Earth on this evening. MJF’s ringside stipulation never made much sense. He interfered on a few occasions, but he ended up being his own worst enemy resulting in ejection. The result played out in a predictable manner handing the win to Jericho. It will be up to next week to shoot a epic climax to conclude the tale. Jericho is not allowed to use the Judas Effect, but he still has other finishers in his arsenal. Le Champion is too much of a veteran to be affected by these mind games.

Wardlow was impressive. It took Jericho resorting to using a baseball bat to knock the big man down. Wardlow lost no luster in defeat. I hope he sees more ring action in the near future.

#1 contenders

The other big news coming out of AEW involved #1 contenders. AEW booked a bevy of championship bouts in a matter of minutes.

It began after the Elite earned a trios victory over the Sydal brothers and Dante Martin. During Omega’s entrance, commentary casually mentioned that Christian Cage would challenge for the AEW World Championship at the All Out PPV on September 5. That was a pretty lame way to reveal the big news. Christian made up for the lackluster announcement by crashing the ring during the Elite’s post-match celebration.

Since Christian was outnumbered, Jurassic Express came out as backup. Christian reiterated his position as #1 contender for the PPV, but he added a wrinkle into Omega’s calendar. Christian somehow sweet-talked Tony Khan and Scott D’Amore into giving him another title match. This one would be Friday on the Rampage debut against Omega for the Impact World Championship.

The title match announcements didn’t stop there. Jungle Boy informed the Young Bucks that they will be defending the AEW tag titles against Jurassic Express next week on Dynamite.

All these title matches resulted in conflicted feelings as a viewer. On one hand, I have no doubt that Christian versus Omega and Jurassic Express versus the Young Bucks will be entertaining. On the other hand, they feel rushed and cheap like fast food. The matches will taste good going down, but it could have been served up so much finer. Both were hot shot into the matches with minimal heat in the build up. It comes across as typical filler feud fodder rather than making me believe a title change could be possible.

The biggest question mark is how the Impact world title match will finish. It seems like a tricky situation. The most important aspect is formulating a story that creates anticipation for the PPV contest. Giving away a clean loss by Christian on free TV would be a death knell for All Out.

AEW could swerve and have Christian actually win Impact gold. If it is in the plans that Andrade is going to dethrone Omega as AAA Megacampeonato this Saturday (Aug. 14) at AAA’s Triplemania XXIX, then I could imagine AEW serving up Omega’s first loss as champion on their own show for Rampage. However, that would rob Impact of the storyline with Omega finally getting comeuppance on one of Impact’s future PPVs.

It seems like the most likely scenario is Christian with momentum for a three count while the referee becomes incapacitated for whatever reason, which would turn into an Omega victory via cheating. AEW does a pretty good job of elevating stakes, so perhaps it would lead to some crazy stipulation for All Out.

Also, shout out to Don Callis for the pink scarf contrasting against his sweet tan. He was looking sharp. Callis’ wit was sharp as well. I got a chuckle from him putting over Christian’s finisher only to say Omega is looking forward to kicking out of it.

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

Kenny Omega & the Young Bucks defeated Matt Sydal, Mike Sydal, & Dante Martin. The Elite took control when Omega spiked Martin on a cross-legged brainbuster over his knee. After a V-Trigger, Omega tried to close with the One Winged Angel. Martin still had life to escape for a roll-up. Omega went back to his bread and butter on another V-Trigger. The Bucks eliminated the Sydal brothers with a superkick party. Omega connected on the One Winged Angel, but the Elite wanted to prove a point with a triple BTE-Trigger to Martin for victory.

The action was the typical flippy chaotic style of trios contests. Martin was the standout with his aerial skills. The crowd came alive when he ran wild on the hot tag. Omega sensed the fans rallying behind the youngster, so he made it his goal to extinguish that fire. A rotten heel that Omega has become.

Darby Allin defeated Daniel Garcia. Sting and 2.0 (fka Ever Rise in NXT) were ringside. Allin turned the tide with an over-the-top stunner then a Coffin Drop for victory. Afterward, Sting had enough of 2.0 and beat them up on the entrance ramp. It was announced that Sting will return to the ring in tag action next week with Darby Allin against 2.0.

The result was never in doubt. Garcia has potential though. His old school grinding style stands apart from the new age high-octane flips. I’m still confused why Garcia and 2.0 are being afforded valuable TV time. Being featured three weeks in a row has me wondering if a special manager will arrive. I’m thinking someone like Bob Backlund would mesh well with the in-ring style of Garcia and the boisterous attitudes of 2.0.

Matt Hardy & Private Party defeated Orange Cassidy, Chuck Taylor, & Wheeler Yuta. The finish kicked off with Gin & Juice from Private Party to Yuta. OC made the save with a Superman punch. Hardy rammed Marq Quen into Cassidy. That left Money Matt all alone to pounce on Yuta with a Twist of Fate to win.

This bout was a bit too busy on the outside with Blade, Bunny, TH2, and Kris Statlander. There was even a run-in from Nyla Rose to bash Statlander. Hardy using all the distractions was fitting to his character in finding a way to take the glory.

Speaking of Blade, I discovered an interesting wrestling history tidbit earlier today that made me think of the man fond for using brass knuckles. Boris Malenko is an 8-time NWA Brass Knuckles Champion. AEW needs to dig that title up and have Blade represent. Hardy should get on that, since it would put more money in his pocket from a champion’s share of winnings.

Kris Statlander versus Nyla Rose. The alien turned the tide with a powerbomb then a 450 splash to win.

This was my favorite contest of the evening. It was a rugged slugfest with creativity. Nyla established her power attacks well, while Statlander provided sizzle. The intergalactic traveler executed a pendulum moonsault off the apron and of course her Area 451 finisher. Those were cool, but the top spot was Statlander escaping the ropes with a walking handstand then Nyla going low for a spear. I’ve never seen that sequence before.

Impact Tag Team Championship: Good Brothers retain against Evil Uno & Stu Grayson. The Dark Order was on a roll with slick teamwork. As Karl Anderson was set up in the Dark Order’s Fatality finisher, Luke Gallows slid a title belt into the ring as a distraction. Anderson escaped to deliver a Stun Gun cutter to Uno, then the Good Brothers used the Magic Killer to pin Grayson.

Three notes of interest in regard to this match. Impact head honcho Scott D’Amore was on commentary. It was mentioned that the Dark Order has internal dissension about handling Hangman Page. Some members support his request for solitude, while other members view it as a cry for help. Frankie Kazarian made an appearance to trample Brandon Cutler and drag him backstage.

Notes: Malakai Black spoke the truth about destroying Cody Rhodes. With one foot already in the grave of retirement, Black will be happy to finish Cody when he’s ready. Black’s promo had layers and symbolism worthy of repeated viewings.

Cody is out indefinitely after his beating from Black. AEW used that news to transition to promoting the premiere of the Rhodes to the Top reality show, debuting on September 29.

Miro lives to serve God and please his wife over and over. After beating the shit out of Lee Johnson, the locker room is too scared to step up. AEW had to bribe someone to be his next victim. Fuego del Sol has the honor for Miro’s upcoming TNT title defense on Friday night’s Rampage. If Fuego can win, he will finally earn an AEW contract.

Big boo to Tony Schiavone for no-selling Jim Ross saying he will have Brian Bosworth as a special guest next week. How dare Skee-a-vone not give The Boz proper respect. He is Stone Cold. Bosworth could come in handy as a ringside enforcer to protect Schiavone in the future.

PAC suggested the Lucha Bros focus on winning the AEW tag titles, while he handles Andrade. Later, Chavo Guerrero proposed Andrade versus PAC for All Out.

Santana & Ortiz will keep coming after FTR for blood over and over.

The Young Bucks talked trash on the basketball court. Out of nowhere, Luchasaurus ran in to block a layup. The dino then set a hard pick for Jungle Boy to drive to the hoop for two. Unexpected cheesy comedy for the win.

Dr. Britt Baker DMD will defend the AEW Women’s Championship against Red Velvet on Friday night Rampage. Baker worked her hometown crowd in Pittsburgh. She can’t relate to Velvet climbing her way up, since Baker has been the face of the division from day one. Baker can relate to Velvet’s fearlessness. Velvet ran out for a physical altercation. Referees broke it up. Good bullshit heeling from Baker to rewrite her own history. I’m firmly rooting for Velvet to kick her ass.

Ricky Starks will be waiting alone for a face-to-face with Brian Cage next week.

AEW played a package to promote Kamille defending the NWA women’s Championship against Leyla Hirsch at the Empowerrr PPV on August 28. An example of the Forbidden Door swinging both ways to benefit AEW and NWA.

Stud of the Show: Paul Wight

QT Marshall bullied Tony Schiavone and even had his Factory goons manhandle Schiavone’s son. When QT hit a stunner on the poor kid, Paul Wight stood all he could stands. He couldn’t stands no more. The giant walked out to the ring to chokeslam Aaron Solo as the rest scattered.

Seeing Wight get physical again was a treat. He reminded the world that he is still a badass giant. Best of all was the simple story of standing up for a bullied friend. That is easy to root for. I can’t wait for Wight to wreck QT.

Dud of the Show: Fuego del Sol receiving a TNT title shot

Fuego del Sol has proved his worthlessness to challenge Miro for the TNT Championship by amassing a 0-24 singles record for his AEW career. Real compelling matchmaking on this one. Not to mention it craps on the idea that wins and losses matter. Those Bums R Us goons are more deserving than Fuego del Sol.

Grade: B-

This was an average episode of Dynamite. The first half felt like a glorified Dark show, but the second half picked up in intensity and importance. There were some questionable story beats, however, the product was entertaining overall to consume as a viewer.

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

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