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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (Sep. 8, 2021): Hometown hero

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AEW Dynamite (Sep. 8, 2021) emanated from the Fifth Third Arena in Cincinnati, OH. The show featured Jon Moxley fighting a Japanese legend, a new challenge for CM Punk, Ruby Soho in action, as well as Elite business with Adam Cole and Bryan Danielson in the fallout from All Out.

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

Hometown hero

Jon Moxley returned to his hometown Cincinnati for the main event. Minoru Suzuki was the latest to knock on the Forbidden Door to answer Moxley’s call for the best NJPW has to offer. The fight was billed as a slugfest, and that’s exactly what we received.

The action ignited with forearm shivers and pump kicks from both men. Suzuki unleashed a flurry of palm strikes. Mox absorbed the punishment and fired back with a forearm to stagger Suzuki.

Most of the story was tit for tat with biting, headbutts, clotheslines. Moxley turned the tide to escape a sleeper with a back body drop. A Paradigm Shift DDT busted Suzuki open. Suzuki showed his fighting spirit by refusing to fall while taking a series of clotheslines. Moxley took it up a notch with hard punches and a Paradigm Shift suplex for victory. The hometown hero celebrated with his fans.

This was a satisfying TV match between a pair of ass-kickers. There was no surprise what they would do, and yet it was energetic and badass. There wasn’t really time for the contest to reach a third gear, however, Suzuki showed enough to win new fans. For Moxley, it was another notch on his belt. If AEW keeps trotting out Japanese legends, I’ll be more than content to watch Moxley mow them down each and every time.

Fresh meat

There were four names clouded with curiosity above the rest of the roster in regard to appearing on Dynamite. Fans were eager to hear from CM Punk, Ruby Soho, Adam Cole, and Bryan Danielson about what’s next for the fresh meat in the AEW grinder.

Punk continued with the lovefest thanking Darby Allin, Sting, and the fans. Taz had enough of the schmoozing and cheap praise. Punk played tough guy by allowing Taz a one-time pass out of respect to speak his mind. Taz did not take kindly to the threats and also had issue with Punk calling out his crew. Ricky Starks was a name bandied about by Punk during media interviews as a potential future opponent. Since Starks had business to settle with Brian Cage, it sounded like Will Hobbs is going to get the call to test Punk in a future match.

This was more of the sass mouth Punk I remember. Some will cherish that fondly. It made me instantly root for Team Taz. Punk opened opportunities for someone to interrupt to make a name for themself. It kept me on the edge of my seat waiting to see who answers. I appreciate Taz pushing the issue. It will be fun to watch Hobbs rip Punk limb from limb before succumbing to defeat.

Ruby Soho offered an open contract, which was accepted by Jamie Hayter. Soho wanted to prove her win in the Casino Battle Royale wasn’t luck. Dr. Britt Baker DMD put the newcomer in her place with a scathing reference to sitting in WWE catering the past four years. Once Baker retains her title, Soho will go back to irrelevance.

When the time arrived, Soho defeated Hayter. Hayter controlled much of the action with her power advantage. Soho countered with a Riott Kick for the sudden win. Baker put the boots to Soho afterward. Riho and Kris Statlander made the save to set up a trios match for Rampage.

The women’s match had entertaining action. I’m not sure what the takeaway message was in regard to Soho’s prowess in the ring. She wanted to prove she didn’t get lucky, then she won with skillfully placed ‘lucky’ strike. I understand Hayter is a tough woman to take down, but I think more control from Soho would have benefit the bigger picture of selling her as a threat to dethrone Baker.

Adam Cole and Bryan Danielson pulled a combo effort to share promo time with the Elite. Kenny Omega and the crew discussed Omega being ranked #1 in the PWI 500, the Young Bucks having a plan to regain the tag titles, and bringing back their best friend Cole. Mr. Bay-Bay threatened Tony Schiavone for his glances toward lovergirl Dr. Baker. He also hyped himself as a once in a generation wrestler. We’ll find out why next week in his ring debut for AEW.

Omega took over to address his distaste for being interrupted. On cue, the champ was interrupted by Danielson’s music. Danielson wanted a match with Omega to prove who is best. The newcomer ducked a cheap clothesline to lock in a crossface. The Elite got back in the ring to lay the smack down. Jurassic Express, Christian Cage, and Frankie Kazarian saved the day.

Both appearances were effective for welcoming Cole and Danielson to AEW. A lot of the AEW fan base knows Cole, but I think there is a big enough portion who doesn’t watch NXT. Cole spouting his catchphrases with a participating crowd was good to clue everyone in. He also demonstrated why he should be booed by threatening the beloved Schiavone. Danielson is more a known commodity as a top tier WWE superstar. Shooting straight to the top for a dream match is the way to go. It does make me concerned about where Hangman Page’s story fits in all this, but AEW has earned the benefit of the doubt in giving the fans what they want.

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

Malakai Black defeated Dustin Rhodes. Match of the night. A table spot was the pivotal moment. Dustin contemplated putting Black through the table. It played to the idea of whether earning a win or getting revenge was more important. Black had no such reservations and used a back suplex to plant Dustin through the wood. The damage done to Dustin’s knee hampered him the rest of the way.

Despite the pain, Dustin almost emerged victorious on a Canadian Destroyer. Black kicked out then seized control from there. He used a spinning low kick to send Dustin face first into an exposed turnbuckle. A spinning heel kick from Black was the finish. Dustin’s mouth gushed blood in the aftermath.

Great match. Excellent intensity. The contest truly took me for a ride as a viewer. Adding the layers of emotion with the prop of Cody’s boot was a nice touch. How could you not want Dustin to hit Black with it? The whole segment was just as high quality and effective as the previous installments of Black’s feud with the Nightmare Family.

As an aside, when the lights go out for Black’s entrance, I wonder if the production crew’s hearts skip a beat every time hoping it doesn’t crash the electrical system causing a catastrophe on live TV. I probably shouldn’t have put that bad mojo out in the air. I don’t want to jinx them.

AEW announced Cody Rhodes will return for the rematch with Black on September 22 in New York.

Will Hobbs defeated Dante Martin. Power versus speed highlight reel. Hobbs caught Martin on a suicide dive with two hands around the throat to smash into the ring post.

Martin leaped over Hook on the apron to connect on a flying attack to Hobbs on the floor.

Martin was rocking with momentum, then he ran into a huge spinebuster from Powerhouse to end the contest.

The high spots were super impressive. That was a match were both came out looking better. Hobbs flaunted his power, while Martin flipped with style.

MJF running his mouth. MJF was angry that he beat Chris Jericho clean only for the match to restart due to extreme bias against him. MJF transitioned to insult the people of Cincinnati and a pair of Pillman family members ringside. Brian Pillman Jr. came out to defend their honor. Fisticuffs were exchanged, Wardlow intervened, and MJF used his Dynamite Diamond Ring to punch Griff Garrison. A singles match between MJF and Pillman was made official for the NYC show on September 22.

MJF was bringing the ruckus with his insults. It was a good setup for the babyface savior in his hometown. Too bad Pillman was demolished in the segment. I greatly prefer how AEW’s planning doesn’t permit the notion of impromptu matches, but this one could have been a strong exception. I think the tag match would have fit the bill with great crowd support for later in the show. It turned out that Max Caster informed Pillman they would have a singles match on Rampage. I suppose that will suffice for the hometown boy’s moment of glory.

Also of story importance, MJF was quite rude to Wardlow. He insulted the man about the All Out loss to Jericho and told the War Beast to stand in the corner. One day it will be so hilarious when Wardlow sets MJF up to knock him out cold. Ah, that’s what dreams are made of.

FTR & Shawn Spears defeated Evil Uno, Stu Grayson, & John Silver. Tully Blanchard and Wardlow were in tow. Colt Cabana, 10, and 5 were on the other side. The story was Dark Order miscommunication run afoul. Silver inadvertently crashed into Uno, then Spears scooped up Silver for a DVD to win.

Prior to the match, 5 was peeved at Uno’s cheap brand of leadership. Anna Jay entered the scene to demand they quit all the fussing and find a way to through their issues. After the match, more shots were fired for a potential Dark Order civil war. Shoves were exchanged, punches thrown, and lines drawn. Uno, Grayson, and Cabana stood across from Silver 5, and 10. Anna came out, but Tay Conti convinced her to let the boys figure it out on their own.

This is mid-card story done extremely well so far. They are maximizing their minutes by telling the tale in an engaging manner. There’s lots of different directions on the table. Good Order versus Bad Order, reconciliation once Hangman Page returns, a new leader, and more. Most importantly, it gives them all purpose and a reason for fans to care.

Over to the Pinnacle backstage, Tully Blanchard cut a promo about showing real leadership in his team’s victory. He called out Sting trying to capitalize off Darby Allin’s hard work. Blanchard is going to end that gravy train. He requested Shawn Spears against Allin. Also, there will come a time when Tully and Sting go at it one more time.

I love the legends call-out. Tony Khan must have a version of the Thundercats sword that gives him dreams beyond dreams. I never would have expected another chapter in Sting versus Tully, but I can’t wait. Both men have stolen the stage when competing in tag matches in AEW.

As cohesive as the Pinnacle looked tonight, one key ingredient was missing from the group. MJF was more of a solo act on this evening. Combine that with Tully’s talk of leadership and the Pinnacle’s mixed results with MJF as their ace, I could see groundwork being laid to give MJF the boot in time. MJF is all about winning the world title. As long as Omega has the strap, MJF will be on the back-burner of that conversation. One potential replacement could be the surprise of Bray Wyatt. Using the Windham connection to Tully would be one way to reinvent Bray’s character.

Notes: Excalibur was off to prepare for his upcoming wedding. Taz subbed in on commentary. Congratulations to Excalibur, but we’ll probably never see photos. I assume he’ll be at the altar without his mask. You never know though with masked men. He might don the cowl during the ceremony.

Lucha Bros won the tag titles by shedding blood, sweat, and tears. Anyone who’s willing to suffer can step up.

Eddie Kingston criticized Miro for using a low blow, even though, Kingston tried to cheat with the exposed turnbuckle. Miro claimed he was so hot that he also had to ice his balls the day after. Miro will offer Kingston’s broken bones to his bride, and he will offer Kingston’s soul to his god. Sounds like a rematch is in the works. Hell, yeah!

Santana & Ortiz beat FTR, so now their focus shifts to the rest of the tag team division. They are the best and dare any duo to prove them wrong.

Dan Lambert was flanked by Scorpio Sky and Ethan Page to insult AEW and all the skinny dorks on the roster. Lambert challenged any tough guys in the locker room to shut them up before their truths burn the company to the ground.

Matt Hardy wants to shave Orange Cassidy’s hair. OC responded, “Whatever.” Of all the possibilities for hair versus hair, I was not expecting this to be the one. I’m all in though. It should be a hoot.

Ricky Starks and Brian Cage are tired of feuding. It is time for one more round.

Casino Battle Royale takeaways. The beef between Anna Jay & Tay Conti and Bunny & Penelope Ford rages on. Jade Cargill learned not to trust anyone. Nyla Rose proved she is still dominant. Thunder Rosa is heartbroken about coming so close, but she won’t give up.

Sammy Guevara used cue cards to recap Summer stories and plug his vlog.

Stud of the show: Dustin Rhodes

I think that was Dustin’s best match since his brother fight with Cody in 2019 at Double or Nothing. He had me in the palm of his hand hoping he beat Black.

Dud of the show: Ruby Soho celebration

Immediately after victory, Soho hugged referee Bryce Remsburg. Talk about conflict of interest from Remsburg. That’s not the main issue here though. The problem was Soho being ignorant not to expect an attack from Dr. Baker. Come on. How could Soho not anticipate violence coming her way when the dentist had 3-on-1 numbers? I guess she hasn’t been watching Dynamite while missing trains, stealing cars, and participating in other general vandalism.

Grade: A

AEW crammed so much into this episode. By the 50-minute mark, my sports entertainment appetite was already satiated, and I was ready for the main event. And then add Soho, Cole, and Danielson still to go. AEW explored so many feuds that I was extremely eager to see the match announcements for Rampage and next week’s Dynamite to learn what’s on tap. Even though so much went down, it all felt natural within its context. A hot opener and hot closer bookended a delightful evening of combat endeavors.

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