By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
AEW Dynamite (Episode 72)
Taped February 4, 2021 in Jacksonville, Florida at Daily’s Place
Aired February 10, 2021 on TNT
[Hour 1] A video package that focused on KENTA’s attack on Jon Moxley from last week’s main event segment. The announce team of Jim Ross, Excalibur, and Tony Schiavone plugged this week’s Main Event of Kenny Omega and KENTA vs. Jon Moxley and Lance Archer. Joey Janela was already in the ring for the opening match. Darby Allin then made his entrance.
1. Darby Allin vs. Joey Janela for the TNT Championship: Allin and Janela started out with some grappling, with Allin obtaining an early advantage. Janela snuck in an elbow on a break in the corner, and a moment later landed a facebuster on the apron that sent Allin to the floor. Janela followed up with a suicide dive, and then made a cover back in the ring for a two count.
Janela continued the assault on Allin on the ground, first he applied a body scissors and some fish hooks in his mouth. He then landed an elbow from the top. Janela climbed up top again, but Darby knocked him down to the apron. They traded blows on the apron before Allin landed a shotgun dropkick once Janela fought back into the ring. Allin sent Janela back to the floor, and landed a full speed dive through the ropes.
Allin applied a Fujiwara Armbar in the ring, but Janela was able to crawl towards the ropes. Allin attempted a springboard, but Janela countered into a German suplex. He then landed a kick and covered for a near fall. They went back and forth for a moment, until Darby landed a Stunner for a near fall. Darby then pulled Janela into a La Magistral pin for another two count. Janela countered with a piledriver and a pin for another near fall.
Janela placed Allin on the top rope and got into position for a Superplex. Darby used elbows to to break free and landed an avalanche Code Red for a near fall. Allin landed a back heel trip with a hammerlock applied. He then climbed up top and landed a coffin drop for the win.
Darby Allin defeated Joey Janela at 9:48 to retain the TNT Championship.
The announce team made mention of the lack of Team Taz, but said they will meet Sting and Taz at the PPV. We got another video package that focused on the Main Event and KENTA kicking open the “Forbidden Door”. JR plugged The Acclaimed vs. Jericho and MJF, Pac vs. Ryan Nemeth, a Sting Interview, and Leyla Hirsch vs. Thunder Rosa in a tournament match.
A Jox Moxley pre-tape aired. He said KENTA’s been calling him out for months, carrying about a stupid briefcase and looking like a dork. Moxley thinks KENTA finally realized that he’d have to get it done in the ring on February 26th. He plugged his NJPW US Title Match, and said that was a sanctioned match, but tonight was just for fun. He told his opponents good luck taking him off the map…
Backstage, Sammy Guevara walked into the Inner Circle locker room and asked for a private moment with MJF. Everyone walked out, including Wardlow. MJF set his phone down on a nearby table. Sammy said he knew exactly what he was doing. MJF asked him to spit it out, and Sammy said he knew he was taking over the Inner Circle. MJF said he thought it was petty jealousy, because he replaced Guevara as Jericho’s favorite, but it’s actually even more sinister. Sammy wanted to take over the Inner Circle himself.
Sammy blew him off and joked that he finally figured him out. He jokingly said he finally figured him out, and MJF said that’s exactly what he wanted to hear, and grabbed his phone. Sammy realized he was recording him, and smashed his phone against the wall. He then punched MJF in the gut and walked off…[c]
My Take: A hard hitting match between Allin and Janela. It was a lot of fun to watch, but I couldn’t escape the feeling that it might have been even better if they focused a bit more on selling rather than cramming in as many spots as they possibly could. Jox Moxley’s promo was just ok, and far from his best work. I’m curious how MJF will spin what happened between him and Sammy, and I’m sure it won’t go in Sammy’s favor.
Cezar Bononi and Peter Avalon were in the ring for the second match. Cody Rhodes made his entrance with his partner Lee Johnson. They were accompanied by Arn Anderson.
2. Cody Rhodes and Lee Johnson vs. Peter Avalon and Cezar Bononi: Avalon and Johnson started the match, but Bononi blind tagged himself in immediately and took a free shot. Avalon tagged back in and attempted to isolate Johnson. Lee fired back with a dropkick, which caused Avalon to scramble and tag in Bononi. Cody then tagged in and landed a diving lariat and took the big man down. Bononi then fired back with an inverted suplex, and stomped away at Rhodes…[c]
Cody was isolated by the heels during the break, and made a hot tag to Johnson after a desperation backbreaker. Johnson landed a corkscrew dive onto Bononi at ringside, and then landed a fisherman’s neckbreaker on Avalon. He made a cover, but Bononi broke it up. Cody intervened, and he and Bononi brawled at ringside. Johnson rolled up Avalon and got the win shortly afterward.
Lee Johnson and Cody Rhodes defeated Peter Avalon and Cezar Bononi at 8:10
After the match Johnson celebrated his first AEW victory and walked up the ramp to be interviewed by Tony Schiavone. Lee said he wished he has a world of words for him, but he doesn’t. He spoke about being 0-29, and how his trainers showed him that if he does the work it will pay off. He credited the Rhodes family for the victory, and called them his own family.
Backstage, we saw a pre-tape from the Young Bucks. Dasha asked them about MJF and Jericho, but The Good Brothers walked up before they could discuss it. Nick Jackson asked why they distracted him last week, because if they won they were going to pick them for the match at the PPV. Gallows said they were trying to get at Private Party because of their Impact Match, and didn’t mean to mess them up. He then mentioned Santana and Ortiz doing their pose to fire them up, and Matt said he was upset about it.
Matt said they would defend their AEW Tag Team Titles next week against Santana and Ortiz. Gallows and Anderson said it would do big numbers in the demo. Karl asked for a too sweet gesture from Matt, but he said they could do it in the back. Nick did it and The Good Brothers walked off. Anderson could be heard asking Sting for a two sweet…[c]
My Take: Not much to that match, and unfortunately Lee Johnson really struggled to get any personality across in the promo afterwards. He’s definitely got the talent in the ring, but he’s got a ways to go towards selling himself.
Backstage, Dasha spoke to Hangman Page. She asked about a potential tag team with Matt Hardy. He said no, but Hardy walked up and wouldn’t let him get a word in. He asked Hangman to come to the bar with him so they could talk it over. Hangman said he would if it was on him. Hangman walked away and ran into the Dark Order. He had to blow them off to head to the bar with Matt. It was uncomfortable for everyone, but they played it off like it was cool.
In the ring, Pac made his ring entrance. Ryan Nemeth was already in the ring.
3. Ryan Nemeth vs. Pac: Nemeth tried to start aggressively, but Pac shut him down immediately and landed a snap suplex. He then splashed Nemeth in the corner, and took to the top rope for a shotgun dropkick. Pac landed a series of strikes and kick, followed by a single leg dropkick. Nemeth fired back with a DDT, and Pac rolled to the floor to avoid further damage. Nemeth pursued, but Pac sent him into the barricade.
Pac tossed Nemeth back into the ring and stomped him in the corner. Nemeth was basically dead in the corner, and Pac headed to the top rope. Nemeth acted as if he was out cold. Nemeth landed the Black Arrow, and transitioned into the Brutalizer for the tap.
Pac defeated Ryan Nemeth at 4:08
After the match, we got a video recap of the Kip and Penelope wedding from last week. There was some narration from Miro about how they were betrayed by Charles and Orange Cassidy. At the end, Orange and Chuck were shown asking what did they think was going to happen?
Dasha interviewed Chris Jericho, and MJF walked up and said Sammy sucker punched him in the ribs and left him lying. MJF and Jericho made their entrance, despite the injuries. Jericho asked where Sammy was and said they would sort it out. The rest of the Inner Circle accompanied them to the ring, except Guevara.
The Acclaimed made their entrance. Max Caster freestyled and said he hoped Chris Jericho’s balls weren’t as fragile as his ego. He told MJF he should get a shot at his Diamond Ring, unless he wanted to be his sunshine and sing. We then got a picture in picture promo while the match was going on from MJF and Jericho, where MJF said they couldn’t sniff his jock.
4. “The Acclaimed” Max Caster and Anthony Bowens vs. Chris Jericho and MJF (w/Santana, Ortiz, Wardlow, Jake Hager): Early on, Caster punched MJF in the ribs, and he rolled to ringside. Jericho tried to motivate him to get back in the match, and said they’d deal with Sammy later. Jericho tagged in, and Caster took him down with a flying back elbow. He then tossed Jericho into the corner. The Acclaimed used a suplex and springboard splash combo to get a near fall. Jericho escaped and tagged MJF, who was immediately planted by Anthony Bowens.
Caster kicked MJF in the ribs, which he sold like he was hit by a car. MJF poked Caster in the eyes, and then made a tag to Jericho. They landed a double flapjack and gloated…[c]
[Hour 2] Jericho and MJF made quick tags and isolated Caster during the break. MJF held an abdominal stretch as the show retired. Jericho offered a leverage boost to MJF by grabbing his hand, but Aubrey Edwards caught on and kicked them apart. Caster escaped and made a hot tag to Bowens. He landed some rapid fire punches to Jericho and MJF, and then landed a fireman’s carry drop on MJF that placed him on his ribs. Jericho went for a Lionsault, but Caster hit him with a portable speaker.
Anthony Bowens made a cover for a near fall. After some big interference from Hager and the rest of the Inner Circle, Bowens was pulled outside, and Caster was shoved off the top rope. Jericho landed the Judas Effect on Caster for the win.
Chris Jericho and MJF defeated “The Acclaimed” Max Caster and Anthony Bowens at 9:04
After the match, Sammy Guevara made his entrance and had a microphone. Jericho wanted to know what the problem was. Guevara said he told Jericho in December that if one more thing happened with MJF, he was done. He then told Jericho he was done. Jericho asked him what he meant, and Guevara told Jericho that he quit the Inner Circle. MJF then walked out through the babyface tunnel. Jericho was upset, but didn’t pursue…[c]
My Take: Nothing exceptional about that match, but it was solid, and the story development of Sammy walking away enhanced the segment. He made the babyface move by living up to his word. Jericho looked shocked, and hopefully we see more twists before they get to the PPV.
A recap of Sammy’s announcement was shown. He was interviewed out in the parking lot, and said he needed time away to figure out his next move. Hangman and Matt Hardy were shown in a bar, and Hardy was pouring out his drinks, while Hangman was throwing his back. Hardy pulled out a manila envelope and pulled out a representation agreement. Hangman liked his pitch, and signed a deal, but it looked like he substituted a different contract than the one Hardy presented. Hardy signed and left as quickly as possible. Hardy warned the camera man that Hangman might not be happy about it when he sobered up.
Tony Schiavone was on the stage, and introduced Sting. Sting walked out and Tax appeared immediately on screen with Powerhouse Hobbes. They had Darby Allin tied up behind their truck in a body bag, and dragged him across the parking lot. Sting walked to the back in pursuit, but he didn’t run…[c]
My Take: The Hardy and Hangman contract swap was subtle. I guess we’ll see where it goes, as we have no idea what was signed. Sting’s nonchalance about Darby Allin getting dragged behind a truck was a bit alarming…
Kenny Omega was shown on a golf course. Alex Marvez tried to interview him, but he had to his a shot first. Don Callis and his caddy kicked his ball closer to the hole in the background. Marvez asked him if he should be prepping for his match instead of golfing. Kenny said he’s already proven he’s the best of all time, so he’s on the golf cart getting right spiritually. He said he’s forgotten how to lose, and he would win again tonight just like his last 15 matches in AEW.
Callis and the Caddy told him he got it in the hole. They left for the next hole. In the arena, Leyla Hirsch made her entrance, followed by Thunder Rosa. A picture in picture promo aired, where Rosa expressed her desire to win both the AEW and NWA Women’s Championship, and then she would come after Britt Baker.
5. Thunder Rosa vs. Leyla Hirsch in an AEW Women’s Championship Eliminator tournament match: Hirsch and Rosa traded the advantage through grappling early on. Rose landed a nice running senton, but Hirsch quickly brought things bat to the mat. They traded strikes, and Hirsch landed a running springboard head scissors out of the corner. She then took out Rosa with a dive on the outside. Hirsch then applied a cross armbreaker in the ring, but Rosa escaped and hung Hirsch on the second rope as she dove to the floor…[c]
Rosa landed a shotgun dropkick, but Hirsch replied with a set of German Suplexes. Hirsch landed a cross body and covered for a two count. She fired up and climbed up top, and attempted a moonsault, but Rosa got the knees up. Hirsch landed a series of bicycle knee strikes, and then dragged Rosa towards the corner. She went for a second moonsault, but missed. Rosa landed a single leg dropkick for a two count.
Rosa went for a Fire Thunder Driver, but Hirsch pulled her into an armbar. Rosa powered out and landed the Fire Thunder Drive for the win.
Thunder Rosa defeated Leyla Hirsch at 9:02 to advance in the tournament.
After the match, Jungle Boy was interviewed. It was revealed that Marko Stunt was ok after he was kidnapped by FTR. Jungle Boy spoke about the match with Dax a few weeks ago, and called it the hardest fight of his career. He said they didn’t tell on FTR or get them suspended, because they wanted them back on Dynamite so he could make them his bitch. Next week, FTR will take on Matt and Mike Sydal. We’ll also get follow up on Hangman Page and Matt Hardy, a Sting callout of Team Taz, Riho vs. Serena Deeb, and the Young Bucks vs. Santana and Ortiz. The Main Event is next.
KENTA made his entrance, followed by Kenny Omega’s elaborate stage show. Kenny and KENTA didn’t appear to have much to say to each other…[c]
My Take: A good showing by Leyla Hirsch in a loss. She’s still a bit unpolished, but there’s a lot of promise there. Jungle Boy tilting towards being more of a white meat babyface rather than a quirky one is a good thing for his future. Kenny’s entrance continues to get more and more preposterous as time goes on.
Lance Archer made his entrance, followed by Jon Moxley. He carried his IWGP US Heavyweight Championship belt.
6. KENTA and Kenny Omega vs. Lance Archer (w/Jake Roberts) and Jon Moxley in a Falls Count Anywhere match: Don Callis sat in on commentary. The match proceeded like a Tornado Match. Kenta blindsided Moxley with the briefcase as he took his eyes off him in the corner. KENTA and Omega took down Archer with a chop block and the briefcase. KENTA and Omega couldn’t agree on who would kick Moxley. They eventually took turns, and then splashed him in the corner.
Archer intercepted Omega on a second splash attempt, and Moxley took down KENTA with a lariat. They then took turns with lariats in the corners on both Omega and Moxley. Omega reversed an Archer powerbomb with a head-scissors. Moxley then sent him to ringside with a knee to the back. Moxley and KENTA then traded blows back and forth. KENTA went for a GTS, but Moxley reversed into a Paradigm Shift attempt. Omega took an eternity, but broke it up with a trash can shot.
Omega then landed a moonsault with the trash can. KENTA then landed a kick in the corner with the trash can in Moxley’s face. Archer re-emerged with a ladder, and used it to take down both Omega and KENTA briefly. Moxley splashed KENTA at ringside, and Archer suplexed Omega into the ladder in the corner…[c]
The brawl continued picture in picture, where Omega and Archer brawled all over the area around the ring. KENTA landed a GTS on Peter Avalon on the outside area, and then brawled with Archer. Omega tried to intervene, but Archer tossed him through a table. He covered Omega, but KENTA broke it up. Moxley returned to the action and tossed KENTA into the barricade. He then sat KENTA in a chair and landed a hard kick to the chest. He covered for a two count.
Moxley continued to punish KENTA with strikes. KENTA returned fire and they had a bit of a walking brawl up a nearby staircase. They fought in a kitchen area, and Moxley placed KENTA on a steel table. He then set up for a piledriver on top of it, but KENTA reversed and DDT’d him on top of it. KENTA applied a Lebell Lock, and Archer broke it up.
Omega attacked Archer from behind. Moxley then grabbed a potato and hit Omega with it, and they began a walking brawl back towards the ring. Moxley landed a thrust with a Kendo Stick, followed by a swing across the back. Kenny blocked a shot in the ring, but Moxley landed another one over his shoulder. Moxley climbed the second rope and tried for another, but Kenny landed a knee strike in response.
Omega then landed another knee strike and sent Moxley into a table. KENTA brawled with Archer on the stage. He escaped a powerbomb attempt, and then landed double foot stomps onto Moxley, who was still on the ringside table. Archer headed back to the ring, and Omega met him there. He grabbed a Kendo stick, but Archer stole it away and snapped it in half. Archer then landed a big chokeslam. Archer then grabbed Omega’s hand and did a rope walk, and landed a flying clothesline for a near fall.
Archer went for Blackout, but the Good Brothers ran down for some interference. KENTA ran in and landed some spinning back fists, but got swatted away by Archer. Karl Anderson landed a Gun Stun. Gallows punched Jake Roberts. Omega setup for a knee on Jake Roberts, but Moxley made the save with a barbed wire bat. KENTA landed a GTS on Moxley, which sent him to ringside. The Good Brothers landed a magic killer on Archer. Omega landed a V-Trigger, and then a One Winged Angel with an assist from the Good Brothers for the win.
Kenny Omega and KENTA defeated Lance Archer and Jon Moxley at 18:33
After the match, KENTA assaulted Moxley on the outside as Kenny celebrated with Callis and The Good Brothers.
My Take: A hot match with the right finish to keep the heat on the heels. This type of finish has it’s limits though, as the interference and chaos becomes uninteresting pretty fast if it’s overused. Overall this was an entertaining episode of Dynamite. AEW has a lot going on with it’s partnerships with New Japan and Impact, but I hope they manage to keep the focus on their own talent as these crossovers start to expand a bit.