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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (Sep. 1, 2021): Icons share the ring

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AEW Dynamite (Sep. 1, 2021) emanated from the NOW Arena in Chicago, IL. The show delivered the goods with several entertaining grudge matches, however, it was the promo game that shined throughout. Sting and CM Punk shared a moment taking out the trash, MJF and Chris Jericho hyped their fight one last time, and a war of words was exchanged between Miro and Eddie Kingston.

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

Icons

What started as a promo for CM Punk ended with him getting physical and sharing the ring with Sting. Darby Allin was there too, but he’ll have his time to shine later in a singles match against Punk at the All Out PPV on September 5. This moment was more about the surreal idea of Punk and Sting together. That was definitely not on my ‘Wrestling in 2021’ bingo card when the year began.

Punk came out to a raucous Chicago crowd. No surprise there, but it was still too good to be true for Punk. He wants to enjoy the love while it lasts. Punk hasn’t wrestled in seven years, however, he promised to give his best.

Boom! Punk was jumped by 2point0 and Daniel Garcia.

The rabble-rousers divulged their plans earlier in the show. Garcia wrestles Allin on Friday night Rampage. 2point0 warned Allin not to look past Garcia toward Punk. Garcia plans to hurt Allin and take that PPV match away from everybody.

That was a smart layer of intrigue added for the Rampage duel and made even better by the nuclear heat of pummeling the hometown hero. The trio was showered in boos. If there were enough ice cream bars in the audience, it could have turned into a sticky situation.

Allin and Sting made the save leading to a triple threat of signature moves. Allin hit a Coffin Drop, Sting hit a Scorpion Death Drop, and Punk hit a GTS.

Tension was teased by Punk and Allin as future opponents until Sting chilled out the scene. He spoke about always wanting to share the ring with Punk out of respect. It felt good to clear traffic together. Speaking of traffic, Sting made clear that he will step aside for the big match to happen with no distractions. Punk and Allin had one more staredown.

Awesome use of Sting. AEW gave us a wild moment nobody ever would have expected a few weeks ago. The thought of Sting and Punk cleaning house is iconic. It also heightened how special the returns of Sting and Punk have been. Even if we never get Sting versus Punk down the line, that will become a satisfying memory for how crazy the wrestling landscape has become in 2021. The action was nicely folded into providing just enough build for Punk versus Allin. The two opponents demonstrated tense energy for an electric staredown in a professional manner. All that is left is to ring the opening bell.

When 2point0 and Garcia debuted in AEW, I criticized the decision of them taking up TV time as relative unknowns. I was wrong. AEW’s persistence in pushing them led to the emotional reaction from fans as the threesome spoiled Punk’s promo. It has now paid off by making 2point0 and Garcia known personalities to the AEW audience. Even though they have had losing results in the ring, they’ll definitely cause spirited boos on future TV appearances. Making viewers care one way or the other is no easy feat.

MJF & Chris Jericho final promos

MJF put Jericho over as evolving for four decades to be on top. The hard truth is that when MJF’s career is complete then he will replace Jericho on the Mount Rushmore of wrestling. Jericho is addicted to the spotlight, and that will be his downfall. MJF considers it an honor and privilege to end one of the greatest careers in history. MJF made valid points to amplify the magnitude of the match, and he did it in such a condescending way to make him enemy number one.

MJF was on point as always, but Tony Schiavone stole the scene with his insults and loss of patience for braggadocious claims. Schiavone did it in a way not to take the spotlight off MJF. It enhanced the despicableness of the interviewee.

Jericho took to the ring to be interviewed by Jim Ross. He answered the big question of why he chose to risk his AEW wrestling career. It’s all about looking himself in the mirror knowing he could never beat MJF. Jericho can’t live with that, so he needs one more try. Le Champion believes MJF doesn’t have what it takes to get rid of him for good. Jericho showed emotion well to work up the crowd support.

Both promos were good by themselves. When taken as a pair, each one elevated the other. That’s credit to the chemistry between these two stars. It left me with little doubt that there will be a satisfying pay-off in the ring no matter who wins at All Out. That’s the effect promos should have.

The Redeemer

Miro will defend the TNT Championship against Eddie Kingston at All Out. The champ has done much of the talking to date for this matchup. Kingston had a little time to say his piece.

Kingston made his points short and sweet. He continued with the story that the DDT is Miro’s kryptonite, and so he will be focusing on weakening the champ’s neck. Kingston closed with a killer line. They will walk through hell together. If Miro survives, then maybe he’ll get to go to his God’s heaven.

Miro’s response is that God’s favorite champion stays down only for his wife in a hotel room after a victory. Redemption comes after agony. The Redeemer is coming to bring both.

That is a mood-setter right there from both sides. Kingston is confident in himself with fear of no man. The physicality will definitely be going into deep waters. Miro was sly once again mentioning his wife. Lana would certainly be a neat surprise for All Out. What I find most intriguing about The Redeemer is that he is a principled man out to right wrongs. Of course, his view of right and wrong may not align with fan views, but he still earns respect.

Pay the toll

Malakai Black is a killer. If you thought what he did to Cody Rhodes, Brock Anderson, and Arn Anderson was bad, it’s only going to get worse for Lee Johnson.

Black dictates the fight schedule, not intruding Nightmare Family members. Past violence was delivered swiftly. Johnson won’t be so lucky. Black will take his time making Johnson suffer. He closed with the best line of the night. Black will place coins on Johnson’s eyelids so he can pay the boatman’s toll in Hades.

Fantastic imagery of mythological tales. Black is brutal, vicious, and yet not a complete asshole. It shows compassion to that he cares not to leave Johnson’s soul floating for eternity. That touch truly adds mystery and intrigue to Black’s character to leave viewers wanting more.


Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

Santana & Ortiz defeated FTR. The Inner Circle duo wore their war paint to the ring. The Pinnacle pairing donned tights in honor of Bobby Eaton. The flow went from technical to fisticuffs to big shot maneuvers. Top spots early were double dives to the outside from Santana & Ortiz and a stepping stool senton by Santana using a boost off Ortiz’s back.

The bout progressed working near pinfalls to keep the crowd hot. Santana excuted the Three Amigos suplex train and a frog splash as homage to Eddie Guerrero. FTR hit their Big Rig teamwork move for the memory of Mr. Brodie Lee. The winning rally started with a rolling cutter from Santana, followed by a flying lungblower from Ortiz, then a thrust kick by Santana, and finally a double-team flapjack slam to pin Wheeler.

The heated action lived up to grudge match status. Creative moves and intense pinfalls made it the best match on the show. Due to Cash Wheeler’s previous injury, there was a cloud of uncertainty about how much he would be involved. Wheeler went to work as if there was no problem. If this turns out being Wheeler’s final match, he went out proud making Santana & Ortiz look strong in victory. This will probably be the end of the feud for now, but let’s hope these two teams pick up where they left off when Wheeler is fully recovered. Wheeler deserves one more chance.

Orange Cassidy defeated Jack Evans. Matt Hardy was ejected early for ramming OC into the turnbuckles. Evans’ aim was to injure Cassidy. Evans looked good with aerial assaults, however, Cassidy scored a surprise cradle for victory. Afterward, Hardy ran back in to dish out pain. The Best Friends crew ran in for the save. The rest of HFO ran in with overwhelming numbers to issue a beatdown. Jurassic Express made the final save.

It is always nice seeing Evans shine on television. It wasn’t his night in the end, but at least we were treated to Evans from the heavens flipping through the air.

Will Hobbs defeated Brian Cage. Two big hosses hossed it up to maximum hossifaction. Hobbs prevailed via trickeration from Team Taz. Hook provided a distraction, so Ricky Starks could bop Cage with the FTW title belt. Hobbs finished with the Town Business powerslam.

The action was a certified slobberknocker with displays of athleticism. Hobbs achieving victory was a bit of a surprise. Sure, he had help, but the babyface traditionally overcomes the henchmen en route to the main bad guy, which would be Starks in this case. The result added an extra hurdle for Cage to conquer. I’m not so sure he can do it alone. The Machine may have to recruit some help. I’m at a loss for suggestions as to who.

Billy Gunn ass turn. What seemed to be a routine hype segment for Paul Wight versus QT Marshall at All Out turned into a surprise swerve. QT ran his mouth flanked by Factory students, so Wight cleared the ring like a giant would.

The Gunn Club ran out to support Wight, even though, danger was extinguished. All of a sudden, Billy hit Wight with a chair. QT closed out with a cutter.

Good job keeping Wight’s giant aura against goons. Despite his size, Big Show too often became just another wrestler in WWE. I appreciate that AEW has treated him as larger than life thus far. I was confused about the additions to QT’s Factory. It wasn’t made clear if they are new recruits or just brought in as fodder to be destroyed.

About Gunn’s turn, that doesn’t make much sense on the surface. We’ll have to wait for an explanation. At least, there didn’t appear to be any cahoots between QT and Billy, so that is consistent with the overall story of QT’s betrayal to the Nightmare Family. If Wight needs to recruit partners for a trios match, I think the Varsity Blonds would be a good fit. Wight would provide the boost by association, while the Blonds could carry the load in the ring against the Gunn sons allowing Wight to shine in giant spots.

Tay Conti defeated Penelope Ford. Both women had lengthy sequences of control to showcase their moves. Bunny was ringside for a distraction, but it backfired when Conti shoved Ford into Bunny. That allowed Conti the winning window for a roll-up in the bounce back.

Afterward, the bad girls put the boots to Conti. Anna Jay made a surprise return for the save. She also announced her entrance into the Casino Battle Royale.

Nice little match with lots of quality offense mixed with strategic counters down the stretch. The mini feud had just enough of a story to make me care in the outcome. Of course, Anna Jay back in the mix was worth a pop. TayJay is reunited and out for payback. Let’s get the women’s tag team tournament back to close the year. There are enough natural partnerships forming in the division to run it.

Young Bucks & Good Brothers defeated Lucha Bros & Jurassic Express. The flow was constant motion to wow the crowd. Down the stretch, Fenix dodged a BTE Trigger to shoot back with a double cutter. The Bucks gathered their wits to catch Fenix on a flying crossbody. That led to the Meltzer Driver for victory.

The decision for the result took bravado with Fenix eating the pin. They made a point for Brandon Cutler to interfere in order to sell the cage match stipulation at All Out, but this instance wasn’t so egregious to cause instant defeat. The easy way out would have been Karl Anderson taking the loss. I think AEW chose Fenix to take the loss in an effort at maximizing unpredictability for both Dynamite and All Out. I still don’t know who to pick to win the tag title cage match.

Steel cage climax. After the main event, Kenny Omega demanded the ring be cleared. Christian Cage tried to make the save, but the numbers game got him. Luchasaurus was put through a table on a Magic Killer by the Good Brothers. The cage lowered. To demonstrate it’s effectiveness, Dante Martin and Frankie Kazarian were unable to climb the steel. The final image was Christian suffering a BTE V-Trigger from Omega and the Bucks.

Effective heat builder for the bad guys. I don’t how anyone could root for Omega and the Bucks to retain at All Out after that nefarious beatdown.

Notes: All Out hype videos played for Kenny Omega vs. Christian Cage, Jon Moxley vs. Satoshi Kojima, Chris Jericho vs MJF, and CM Punk vs. Darby Allin.

Dr. Britt Baker re-signed with AEW. Jamie Hayter and Reba will be in the Casino Battle Royale at All Out. They will also have a handicap match against Kris Statlander on Rampage.

Thunder Rosa was interrupted by Nyla Rose and Jade Cargill when discussing the Casino Battle Royale. Thunder Rosa pulled a classic rebel move to garner fan support when she chose to go down swinging. It was easy pickings for the 2-on-1 powerhouse attack, but Thunder Rosa still looked cool.


Stud of the Show: Malakai Black

Of all the great promos on this episode, Black was the most badass.

Dud of the Show: Picture-in-picture pin

Orange Cassidy’s roll-up on Jack Evans was captured during a commercial break. Come on, man!?!

Grade: A-

AEW’s go-home shows to the PPV have generally been on the weak side for matchmaking. That wasn’t the case on episode 100 of Dynamite. There were several grudge matches with solid stories to be engaged in the outcomes. The promos were all effective for hype. Add in surprise returns and surprise swerves, and this was a fun night building positive momentum toward All Out.

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