SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)…
PARKS’S AEW DYNAMITE REPORT
MAY 28, 2021
JACKSONVILLE, FLA. AT DAILY’S PLACE
AIRED ON TNT NETWORK
Commentators: Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone, Excalibur
Ring Announcer: Justin Roberts
-After the Dynamite open aired, fireworks shot off inside Daily’s Place. They showed a wide shot of a larger than usual gathering of fans inside the arena.
(1) DARBY ALLIN (w/Sting) vs. CEZAR BONONI (w/Ryan Nemeth, Peter Avalon, JD Drake)
Bononi didn’t get an entrance. Allin’s ribs were taped and Bononi went after them early. The set-up was different with the hard camera not directly across from the entrance as usual. Bononi picked Allin up in a slam and tossed him across the ring twice. The crowd was solidly behind Allin. The former TNT champ eventually came back with a sleeper. Soon after, Darby hit the coffin drop for the victory.
WINNER: Allin in 4:19.
(Parks’s Analysis: Not a surprise that AEW would want to lead with arguably its most popular star in the first match back in front of a big live crowd. Doesn’t hurt that it and what followed also hyped up a match at Sunday’s PPV and one later on in tonight’s show.)
-After the match, Allin called out Scorpio Sky and Ethan Page, wanting to fight them right then. Sky and Page came out and declined the offer. Sky said that at Double or Nothing, it would be the end of one legend (Sting) and the beginning of two more. Bononi and his entourage attacked Allin and Sting from behind, and Sky and Page came to the ring to take advantage. Before the heels could Pillmanize Sting’s ankle, Dark Order came out to run them off. The cameras lingered on Dark Order, Sting, and Allin being friendly with each other afterward.
-The announcers hyped what’s still to come tonight: Miro vs. Dante Martin for the TNT Title, an Inner Circle celebration hosted by Eric Bischoff, Dark Order vs. Sky & Page, Orange Cassidy answers Kenny Omega’s proposition, Joey Janela vs. Adam Page, KiLynn King vs. Jade Cargill, and a ceremony to honor Hikaru Shida’s one-year title reign. Next, the weigh-in of Cody Rhodes and Anthony Ogogo.
-Justin Roberts introduced the host for tonight’s weigh-in, Paul Wight. [c]
-Wight was in the ring for the weigh-in. There was a scale in the ring and the British and American flags in the backdrop near the announcers. There was only one entrance as opposed to the usual two. Ogogo came out with The Factory, while Q.T. Marshall did mic work. Wight wasn’t having Marshall’s nonsense. Cody came out with The Nightmare Family, including his wife and sister. He was introduced as “The American Dream Cody Rhodes.”
Cody weighed in first. Wight seemed to struggle balancing the scale. Rhodes weighed in at 218 pounds. Fireworks continued to shoot off in the background as Ogogo readied to climb onto the scale. “USA” chants from the crowd greeted him. Ogogo’s weight: 219 pounds. Wight was wrapping things up when Marshall interrupted. He clarified that Ogogo being heavier than Cody meant he would win at Double or Nothing. Ogogo posed on the turnbuckle to boos. Rhodes went to the turnbuckles himself and drew applause from the audience. Marshall had Ogogo pose on the other set of turnbuckles. Same result. The Factory left the ring while Cody took the mic. He thanked Wight and told people to enjoy the rest of the show.
(Parks’s Analysis: Anti-climactic in some ways when you’re accustomed to how these segments usually end up. But it’s wise every once in a while to turn the cliche on its head and not deliver the obvious result. If you were looking for one last hard sell for Ogogo vs. Rhodes to make up for the somewhat shaky build to this point, you didn’t get it here.)
-A video package aired on Sunday’s Stadium Stampede match, with comments from the participants and talking heads like Jim Ross and Wight.
-They went to a brawl backstage between Powerhouse Hobbs and Christian Cage. Excalibur noted they’re part of the Casino Battle Royal on Sunday. Referees and coaches tried to break it up, but not before Christian speared Hobbs into a set of boxes.
(2) “HANGMAN” ADAM PAGE vs. “THE BAD BOY” JOEY JANELA (w/Sonny Kiss)
Taz was on commentary for this one. Janela offered a clean break and a handshake in the corner, but instead chopped Page. Janela strutted but turned around into a chop from Page that knocked Janela to the mat. Outside the ring, Page delivered a fall-away slam to Janela. Janela took back over on offense inside the ring. They went to a picture-in-picture break at 3:46 of the match. [c/ss]
Back at 6:18 with the men fighting on the apron. Page connected on a springboard clothesline to knock Janela to the floor, then followed with a cross-body. Janela tried a roll-up while holding the trunks, to no avail. Page’s mouth was bleeding. Janela came off the top with an elbowdrop for a near-fall. Page also appeared to be bleeding from his hairline as he hit the Buckshot lariat for the win. The blood was gushing pretty good.
WINNER: Page in 9:49.
-After the match, Taz brought Brian Cage out. Page said he knows how this works and was expecting an attack from the rest of Team Taz as well. Hook was there ready to jump. Page said he expected more from Cage. He asked Cage if Cage needed help from the others to beat him. Page told him to leave the others out of it on Sunday and face him like a man. Cage agreed to face Page one-on-one.
(Parks’s Analysis: The match was a good, hard-fought win for Page. The hardway blood drawn by Page added to the post-match segment. Page’s promo was short but really well-delivered.)
-Eddie Kingston and Jon Moxley were cutting a promo looking ready to bury the Young Bucks shoes that they took last week. Moxley referred to the Bucks as “Rod and Todd Flanders.” Then the screen went dark and to break. [c]
-They picked back up with the Kingston and Moxley promo from the beginning. Kingston had a shovel. Mox said he wanted and needed the tag belts. Kingston said the Bucks quit on the fans and the boys in the back. He said he and Mox speak for the underdogs and joked about the two of them becoming EVPs in place of the Bucks after the tag champs lose on Sunday.
-Tony Schiavone was in the ring. He called out Orange Cassidy for his response to Kenny Omega, but instead, Pac came out. He booted Schiavone from the ring. Pac said Cassidy is irrelevant this Sunday. He also called Omega pathetic. Don Callis appeared on the video screen to address Pac. He called Pac “a dangerous person.” He said he and Omega want nothing to do with Pac. Omega tried to attack Pac from behind, but Pac saw it coming. He went on the offensive until Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows came out to attack. Fenix and Penta then ran down to even the odds, which caused Anderson and Gallows to high-tail it. That left Omega in the ring with Pac. Omega was about to deliver the One-Winged Angel when Cassidy came out accompanied by Trent, Chuck Taylor, and Kris Statlander.
Cassidy entered the ring and took out a document. It said “For Kenny,” but initially had “For Kevin,” but “Kevin” was crossed out. Inside the envelope was the contract offered by Callis and Omega last week, but shredded. Cassidy delivered the Orange Punch to Omega. Cassidy bent down to pick up the AEW Title, but Pac put his foot on the belt. Pac and Cassidy went at it with Cassidy hitting the Orange Punch to him, too. Cassidy did pick up the title and posed with it.
(Parks’s Analysis: If tonight’s crowd is any indication, the fans will at least be into the AEW Title match and Cassidy in particular on Sunday, even if the match feels like a relatively weak AEW PPV title defense for Omega.) [c]
-Earlier in the day, Schiavone caught up with Jade Cargill. Schiavone asked about Cargill’s match tonight with KiLynn King. Matt Hardy interrupted and pitched himself to be Cargill’s manager. Mark Sterling came in and told Hardy that Cargill already chose him. Sterling said he only gets paid when Cargill wins. A frustrated Hardy stomped off.
(3) JADE CARGILL (w/Mark Sterling) vs. KiLYNN KING
Excalibur brought up King’s success on Dark and Dark: Elevation. They began with a test of strength. Cargill got the better of the exchange. Cargill caught a cross-body attempt and slammed King. They cut to a split-screen break at 1:31 of the match [c/ss]
Back live at 4:08 with Cargill in control. She worked over King outside the ring. After King missed a wild punch, Cargill picked her up and connected on Beth Phoenix’s Glam Slam for the win.
WINNER: Cargill in 5:29.
(Parks’s Analysis: On a Dynamite show loaded with hype for one of AEW’s signature PPV events, it should tell you something about how they view Cargill to give her time even though she’s not on Sunday’s card.)
-Lance Archer interrupted Jake Roberts cutting a promo for him at some undisclosed location. Archer said Miro has been pissing him off.
(4) DANTE MARTIN vs. MIRO – TNT Title Match
Miro clobbered Martin in the corner and suplexed him out of it. Miro missed a splash, then a corner charge. Martin used his speed to his advantage. Springboard moonsault garnered him a one-count. Springboard shotgun dropkick but still only a one-count. Miro turned the tide with a brainbuster and thrust kick. He locked in the Game Over submission for the win.
WINNER: Miro via submission in 3:07.
-After the match, Roberts came out with a mic while Archer paced around him. Roberts compared Miro to the Big Bad Wolf but said he and Archer don’t play fairy tales. Miro’s mic wasn’t working at first. He called Roberts an old fart. Miro egged Archer on. Roberts let him go so Archer charged the ring. He grabbed Miro with a choke but Miro broke free. A big boot by Archer put Miro down as a gaggle of referees tried to intervene.
(Parks’s Analysis: It was good to see Miro get a decisive win; sometimes AEW opts for a longer 50/50 style match when just putting someone over in a one-sided affair will do. I don’t think the way it unfolded negatively affects Martin’s standing either.) [c]
-Schiavone and referee Bryce Remsburg (who held a title) were in the ring. Schiavone welcomed Hikaru Shida, who has been champion now for 377 days. Shida was presented a brand new title belt. Schiavone put it around her waist. Shida took the mic and said there were no fans when she won the title, but now there are. She said she’s proud to share the moment with the fans. Dr. Britt Baker’s music interrupted and she walked out.
Baker laid on the compliments at first, but said she wanted to take something back she said to JR in an interview two weeks ago. Baker said she’ll not only be the face of the women’s division, but the face of a whole new era when she wins the title. She said a previous era was about 3:16, but this era will be about DMD.
(Parks’s Analysis: Shida is a nice, wholesome babyface, but it sure felt like Baker could get quite a few cheers on Sunday.)
-Sammy Guevara was in the crowd to deliver a message with his cue cards as they went to a split-screen break. His message was aimed at Shawn Spears in preparation for the Stadium Stampede match. [c/ss]
(5) SCORPIO SKY & “ALL EGO” ETHAN PAGE vs. EVIL UNO & STU GRAYSON (w/Dark Order)
The first big move of the match came 1:30 in when Grayson hit a springboard DDT on the apron to Sky. Page needed a time out after a double-team move from the Dark Order. Grayson hit a senton onto Page on the apron. Sky tripped up Grayson, however, to take over on offense. They cut to a spilt-screen break at 2:55 of the match. [c/ss]
They returned from break at the 5:55 mark of the bout. Grayson was desperate to make a tag, and he did so. Uno broke out a hurricanrana. Grayson hit a 450 splash on Page while Uno cannonballed onto Sky in the same corner. A “this is awesome” chant broke out. Page hit Ego’s Edge on Uno while Sky had Grayson in a heel-hook, and Page notched the three-count.
WINNERS: Page and Sky in 8:33.
-Page promised the same thing would happen Sunday, but Allin came out to interrupt with an army of folks in Sting masks. Allin charged at Page while Sky fought off the Stingers…until he came to the actual Sting without at first realizing it. Sky scampered out of the ring, as did Page.
(Parks’s Analysis: I like Scorpio Sky and I like Ethan Page, but I don’t know how much I like them together. They’re talented, so I’m willing to give it time. Too many matches have followed the same beat tonight of the finish, then mic work and an interruption after the match.)
-The announcers plugged the Double or Nothing card, including the Buy-In match of Serena Deeb vs. Riho for the NWA Women’s World Title.
-They also advertised Dynamite for next Friday, June 4, again at 10pm EST.
-Eric Bischoff came out as the guest emcee for the final segment. [c]
-The Inner Circle celebration began with about 12 minutes left in the show. Bischoff reminisced about unleashing the NWO on the world 25 years ago. He introduced the Inner Circle. Chris Jericho said it’s great to be in front of fans again and said Bischoff is one of those the Circle has made amends with recently. He thanked Bischoff for the role he played in Jericho’s career. Bischoff showed a video package celebrating the Inner Circle with clips of some of the big moments of which the group has been a part.
Santana talked about the group leading AEW through the pandemic. He said if this is their last dance, he wouldn’t have it any other way. Jake Hager said the journey is more important than the destination, so he wanted to remember the struggles that should be celebrated. Guevara said when he came to AEW he was wearing a panda head and now he’s part of the greatest faction in pro wrestling. Jericho said when he was asked to put together a group, he wasn’t sure because he doesn’t play well with others, but this group just felt right.
He said Stadium Stampede will be a war and a battle. He told the others that he loved them, then they came in for a group hug. MJF appeared on the video board and mockingly cried at the proceedings. MJF and Wardlow were at the stadium and had Dean Malenko in a bad way. The Inner Circle sprinted out of the ring and toward the field. They were attacked by the Pinnacle before they reached the field. Eventually they did get to the field where Pinnacle held serve. Santana and Ortiz were pile-driven through tables by FTR. Jericho and Guevara appeared to be pile-driven through chairs on the field, too, but the camera didn’t get a great view of it. MJF gave the Pinnacle’s catchphrase as the group stood together to end the show.
(Parks’s Analysis: Pinnacle had to get one over on the Inner Circle heading into Sunday, and they did just that. It’ll be interesting to see if any of the babyfaces will be selling injuries they suffered tonight. Oh, and I hope Dean Malenko is okay.)
Final Thoughts: A decent enough show that followed a certain formula. Dynamite tonight wasn’t about knocking your socks off with in-ring action as much as it was selling people on Double or Nothing. Not every episode can have (or needs to have) ****+ matches sprinkled in. If you were on the fence about the PPV, I’m not sure this show sold you on any particular match, except maybe Stadium Stampede. Perhaps for some, the whole is bigger than the sum of the parts. It should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: Having an audience the size AEW did tonight makes so much of a difference in the viewing experience.