By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite (Episode 75)
Jacksonville, Florida at Daily’s Place
Aired live March 3, 2021 on TNT
[Hour One] Jim Ross welcomed viewers to the show and was joined on commentary by Excalibur and Tony Schiavone. Ring announcer Justin Roberts was in the ring and they went to introductions for the opening match. Cody Rhodes and Arn Anderson made their entrance, then a video package recapped the storyline between the two teams.
Red Velvet made her entrance and joined Cody and Arn inside the ring. Jade Cargill made her entrance. It was noted that she was making her AEW in-ring debut. Shaquille O’Neal made his entrance and wore a black tank top and black pants. He posed on the stage will Cargill before heading to the ring…
1. Shaquille O’Neal and Jade Cargill vs. Cody Rhodes and Red Velvet (w/Arn Anderson). Cody and Shaq started the match. Shaq got the better of Cody for a minute, then Cody came back with chops. Shaq no-sold the chops and returned fire. Shaq performed a back body drop on Cody. Shaq backed Cody into the corner and gave him a big chop.
Jade tagged into the match, which brought Red Velvet in for her team. Jade knocked Velvet down, then Velvet used her speed to avoid Jade’s punches. Jade grabbed Velvet and put her in the corner, then hip-tossed her. Jade did some push-ups in the ring while Velvet was down in the corner.
Velvet came back with a cross body block attempt, but Cargill rolled through. Cargill walked over and pie-faced Cody, who then entered the ring and charged Shaq and knocked him off the apron. Shaq crashed into the barricade. One of the Gunn family members hit Shaq, who pulled them over the top rope. Velvet performed a moonsault dive onto Cody, Shaq, and Jade on the floor.
Jade and Velvet returned to the ring. Anderson approached Cody on the apron and spoke to him while Jade put Velvet in a figure four. Velvet rolled it over for a moment, but then Jade rolled onto her back and arched into a Figure Eight-like position before releasing the hold. Jade went to ringside and pulled a table out from underneath the ring and set it up on the floor.
Velvet recovered and ended up slamming Jade’s head into the table. Velvet pulled a second table out from underneath the ring and set it up next to the first table with help from QT Marshall, who was at ringside. Velvet returned to the ring and threw an enzuigiri at Jade.
Cody and Shaq tagged into the match. Shaq wanted a test of strength, but Cody kicked him. Shaq responded with a knee lift and then powerbombed Cody. Shaq leaned down and taunted Cody, who hit him from his back. Cody got up and bodyslammed Shaq. Cody went for the cover, but Shaq kicked out aggressively.
Cody tagged out to bring the women back into the match. Jade and Velvet exchanged strikes. Velvet put Jade down with a spinebuster. Cody entered the ring and hit Shaq, who was on the apron. Cody ran the ropes and dove onto Shaq, causing both men to crash through the tables at ringside. Jade covered her mouth in shock.
When Jade turned around, the cameras missed it, but Velvet apparently speared her and got a two count. Velvet hoisted up Jade, who powered out and reversed positions. Jade grabbed her from behind and powered her up by her arms, and slammed Velvet face first into the mat and pinned her.
Shaquille O’Neal and Jade Cargill defeated Cody Rhodes and Red Velvet in 11:45.
The cameras cut to Shaq, who was still down from the table spot. In the ring, Jade posed heading into a commercial break… [C]
Powell’s POV: This was a blast. Expectations were low due to Shaq being a non-wrestler and the lack of in-ring experience for Jade, but everyone involved did a really nice job. That was fun. I’m surprised by the call to put the match on first rather than saving it for later in the show to keep viewers watching for ratings purposes.
Highlights aired of the match while the broadcast team said Shaq was stretchered to the back. They showed Shaq being loaded into an ambulance and the doors closed. Tony Schiavone stood outside the ambulance and said they needed an update on Shaq’s condition. When the doors were opened, Shaq was no longer in the back of the ambulance…
Powell’s POV: Shaq has developed Fiend-like abilities?!? I really doubt it, but God help us if he has.
2. Pac and Rey Fenix vs. John Skyler and D3. Pac and Fenix dominated the match. Pac hit a 450 splash on Skyler and then tagged in Fenix, who performed a move and pinned him clean…
Pac and Rey Fenix beat John Skyler and D3 in 1:10.
Powell’s POV: An all out squash match.
The broadcast team ran through the remainder of the Dynamite lineup…
The Inner Circle members Chris Jericho, MJF, Wardlow, Santana, and Ortiz made their entrance… [C]
A woman stood behind a podium that was set up inside the ring and moderated while Jericho and MJF took questions from people who approached a second podium and a mic that were set up at ringside. Jericho boasted that he’s a seven-time tag team champion. He said his partners included Dwayne Johnson and Paul Wight, then added that none were better than MJF.
The second question came from Conrad Thompson, who asked about Sammy Guevara being let back into the Inner Circle faction. Jericho and MJF flipped out and said next question.
Brandon Walker of Barstool Sports asked why they attacked Papa Buck. Eric Bischoff was next in line and asked why they would give the Young Bucks extra motivation. Jericho and MJF said they don’t care about what condition Papa Buck is in.
AEW Tag Champions “The Young Bucks” Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson made their entrance. Nick said they knew that the Inner Circle would come after them and even their friends, but they made it personal by going after their father. Matt said their dad is the best father in the world and taught them things that apparently the fathers of Jericho and MJF failed at.
Matt spoke about how their father built them a pro wrestling ring with his own hands. He spoke about the DIY spirit and how that created the Young Bucks and even AEW. Matt said there might not be an AEW if it wasn’t for the Bucks, meaning MJF would be living in his parents’ basement waiting for a callback from the Rosie O’Donnell Show.
Matt told Jericho that if it wasn’t for AEW, he’d probably be jerking the curtain at the (WWE) Performance Center. The Bucks said their father also taught them when it’s time to kick some ass. The Bucks both superkicked Jericho and MJF. The other Inner Circle members attacked the Bucks.
Doc Gallows, Karl Anderson, and Brandon Cutler ran out to help the Bucks. Santana and Ortiz were placed on tables. Nick climbed on top of one of the entrance chutes and performed a moonsault that drove Santa through a table on the stage, while Matt ran off the stage and dropped an elbow that put Ortiz through the other table…
A video package spotlighted the exploding barbed wire death match involving Kenny Omega and Jon Moxley. There were some grainy highlights of similar matches in Japan, and then Atsushi Onita checked in and spoke about the match in Japanese. Clips of Jon Moxley’s promos were included in the video package… Excalibur hyped the Countdown to Revolution special as airing right after Dynamite on TNT…
FTR, Tully Blanchard, and JJ Dillon made their entrance heading into a break… [C]
Powell’s POV: The Bucks getting a measure of revenge on the Inner Circle was nicely done. The cameos were great, as I continue to enjoy Bischoff being a thorn in the side of Jericho. And it was funny to see Brandon Walker on AEW television considering that he just worked the NXT Takeover pre-show. They could have done more to spotlight Onita and let unfamiliar viewers know something about him, but that was a fun cameo for those show do. And it’s absolutely great to see JJ Dillon, manager of the legendary Four Horsemen.
The screen was black and then the Jurassic Express trio made their entrance while the broadcast team was talking about about “a lot of great awards” (presumably in reference to AEW dominating the Observer awards)…
3. Tully Blanchard, Dax Harwood, and Cash Wheeler (w/JJ Dillon) vs. “Jurassic Express” Luchasaurus, Jungle Boy, and Marko Stunt. Blanchard wore a shirt and long tights. Dillon slipped his shoe to Harwood, who blasted Jungle Boy with it and covered him for a two count.
Blanchard tagged into the match for the first time and worked over Jungle Boy, who fell to ringside. Blanchard teased a running dive, then stopped and strutted. Funny. They cut to the first picture-in-picture break of the night. [C]
Harwood and Wheeler performed their suplex and splash combo on Jungle Boy. Tully hit a slingshot suplex on Stunt, then bit off more than he could chew when he tried to stand up to Luchasaurus, who put him down with a hook kick.
Jungle Boy went for a dive onto an opponent on the floor, but a masked man who Schiavone thought was a cameraman hit him on the way down. The cameraman hit Luchasaurus with an object. Ross said the cameraman had to be a plant. Blanchard performed the spike portion while Harwood and Wheeler handled the piledriver, then Luchasaurus was pinned by Blanchard.
Tully Blanchard, Dax Harwood, and Cash Wheeler defeated “Jurassic Express” Luchasaurus, Jungle Boy, and Marko Stunt in 11:20.
Afterward, the masked man entered the ring and unmasked, revealing himself to be Shawn Spears, now with a blonde mohawk. The broadcast team noted that Spears is Blanchard’s other client. Arn Anderson walked out and held up four fingers, then Dillon spotted him and returned the favor.
Powell’s POV: It really was fun to see JJ Dillon again in addition to seeing Blanchard in the ring again after all this time. Tully wisely didn’t try to do too much. Now that we’re seeing Spears, Harwood, and Wheeler together, will they add one more man to make it a Horsemen-like four-man stable? Meanwhile, are they running late? They didn’t even clear the ring before Schiavone came out for the next segment. The show has been really fun thus far, but my one complaint is that they just don’t let anything breathe.
Schiavone stood on the stage and spoke about AEW Dark: Elevation coming later this month. As the heels were leaving, Dillon told Schiavone that it doesn’t get any better than what he just saw. Schiavone told him that it doesn’t get paid any extra for saying that.
[Hour Two] Schiavone introduced Paul Wight (f/k/a Big Show), who walked out wearing a “No More BS” t-shirt. Wight told the fans to raise their hands if they saw this turn coming. He spoke about how happy he was to be in AEW. He said he started on TNT and was happy to come back to TNT.
Wight said he wanted to show that he’s taking his new career seriously. He told Schiavone that he’s not the only one who gets the big scoops. Wight said AEW will hire and put under contract a Hall of Fame worthy talent who is a huge surprise and will be a huge asset to AEW. “Listen, it’s not who you think,” Wight said. He told viewers to tune in Sunday (to the pay-per-view) to find out who it will be…
A brief video set up the women’s tournament finals…
3. Ryo Mizunami vs. Nyla Rose (w/Vickie Guerrero) in the AEW Eliminator tournament final. AEW Women’s Champion Hikaru Shida sat next to the trophy that would be presented to the winner. Rose covered Mizunami for a two count heading into a PIP break. [C]
Rose walked over Mizunami and then went up top and performed a swanton, but Mizunami rolled out of the way. Rose got up and charged at Mizunami, who moved and held the top rope down, which caused Rose to tumble onto the apron. Mizunami knocked Rose to the floor and followed her. Rose slammed Mizunami’s head onto the apron.
Rose climbed onto the apron and posed. Mizunami tripped Rose. Mizunami went to the ropes and dropped a leg on the back of Rose’s head. Mizunami went to the ropes. Rose returned to the ring to beat the referee’s count, then Mizunami dropped a leg on her.
Mizunami threw forearms at Rose, who fired back with one shot that put Mizunami on her knees. Mizunami stood up and traded clotheslines with Rose. Mizunami got the better of it, then ran the ropes and took a big clothesline from Rose, who followed up with a Death Valley Driver for a near fall.
Rose draped Mizunami over the top rope. Rose went to the ropes and performed her flying knee drop. Rose covered Mizunami while one of the broadcast team members gave away that it wouldn’t be the finish by claiming that it would be. Sure enough, Rose covered Mizunami for a two count.
Mizunami put Rose down and went to the ropes. Rose got up and cut her off, then performed a superplex. Mizunami came right back with a German suplex, then speared Rose. Mizunami went up top and hit a guillotine legdrop for the win.
Ryo Mizunami defeated Nyla Rose in 12:50 to win the AEW Eliminator tournament and a shot at the AEW Women’s Championship at AEW Revolution.
Shida entered the ring and presented a championship cup to Mizunami for winning the tournament. Mizunami accepted the trophy, then the women shook hands with their left hands. Mizunami blasted Shida with a forearm. Shida came right back with forearm shots that knocked Mizunami down. Mizunami nodded while on her knees as Shida held up her title belt… [C]
Powell’s POV: An entertaining match. I’m happy they didn’t do that whole tournament just to go right back to Rose challenging for the championship again. It’s nothing against her and I’m sure they will go back to her at some point, but this just wasn’t the spot to do it. That said, Rose has shown major improvement since AEW started and more than held up her end of this match. Meanwhile, it felt odd that the lesser known challenger Mizunami was knocked down by the champion heading into their title match.
Tony Schiavone stood in the ring and introduced Sting, who made his entrance. Sting thanked Brian Cage for powerbombing him. He said it didn’t feel good, but it knocked off all the rust and now he’s ready for the street fight.
Ricky Starks interrupted Sting and joined him inside the ring. Starks said he was man enough to admit that they saw unexpected fire from Sting and that he still has it. Starks added that he stands behind what he said. Starks told Sting that he’s no icon and then slapped him across the face.
Sting slapped Starks and tore his shirt. Sting performed a Stinger Splash and then put Starks in the Scorpion Death Lock. Starks started tapping. Powerhouse Hobbs and Hook entered the ring. Hook tried to choke Sting, who hit him. Hobbs pulled Starks to ringside.
Brian Cage and Taz walked out. Cage set up to powerbomb Sting, but Darby Allin ran out and stopped him. Sting hit Cage from behind with a Stinger Splash. Allin performed a missile dropkick on Cage. Team Taz fled to the stage while Sting and Allin stood tall inside the ring… [C]
4. Dark Order’s 10 (w/-1) vs. Max Caster in a Face of the Revolution ladder match qualifier. The Dark Order walked out with 10, but only -1 went to ringside with him. Caster rapped and had a line about Lady Gaga’s dog walker. Too soon? Scorpio Sky sat in on commentary.
The wrestlers fought to ringside where Caster shoved 10 into the ring post. Caster worked over 10 heading into a PIP break. [C] 10 performed a spinebuster on Caster coming out of the break. 10 followed up with a spear through the ropes and then covered Caster for a two count.
Caster came back and dropped 10 with a brainbuster. Caster went up top and went for an elbow drop, but 10 rolled out of the way. 10 caught Caster on the ropes, powerbombed him, and went for the pin, but Caster put his foot on the bottom rope. With the referee distracted, Jack Evans emerged from underneath the ring and hit 10 with a boombox. Caster covered 10 and scored the pin…
Max Caster beat Dark Order’s 10 in 8:55 to qualify for the Face of the Revolution ladder match.
Afterward, Matt Hardy walked and presented an envelope that had $4,200 written on it to Evans. They cut to Sky, who talked about how good he is looking. He said that’s the face of the revolution…
Schiavone hyped AEW Dark for Saturday night due to the pay-per-view. He also announced Britt Baker and Reba vs. Thunder Rosa and Riho for the Buy In pre-show. The broadcast team ran through the pay-per-view lineup. Miro checked in briefly with a pre-taped promo and said everyone who is waiting for him to stop playing games will get their wish. The broadcast team went back to running through the pay-per-view lineup.
Powell’s POV: The broadcast team clarified that there are indeed six entrants in the ladder match and played up the mystery of who the sixth man will be.
Entrances for the main event tag match took place. The Dark Order came out and applauded Page and Silver before heading to the back…
5. “Hangman” Adam Page and John Silver vs. Matt Hardy and Marq Quen. Page made a blind tag. hardy shoved Silver toward Page, and Silver hugged Page and smiled. They cut to a PIP break shortly thereafter. [C]
Late in the match, Hardy went for a Twist of Fate on Page, who countered with a back suplex. Quen charged Page, who pulled the top rope down, sending Quen tumbling to the floor. Silver tagged himself into the match, which surprised Page. Silver performed a brainbuster on Hardy for a near fall.
Quen tagged into the match and hit Silver with a missile dropkick. Quen clutched his back afterward, but got up and ended up being worked over both both opponents. Page hit a popup powerbomb. Page tagged in and dropped Quen with a Buckshot Lariat and then covered him for the pin…
“Hangman” Adam Page and John Silver beat Matt Hardy and Marq Quen in 11:00.
Afterward, Hardy hit Page with the microphone and then jawed at him about how Page wouldn’t make it to the Money Match. The Dark Order ran out and attacked Hardy while -1 watched from the stage. A big group of wrestlers ran out and a brawl broke out. A second wave of wrestlers ran out and everyone fought. Hardy escaped to the stage and headed to the back while the brawl continued. Ross hyped the countdown special to close the show…
Powell’s POV: Much like the old saying about the month of March, AEW came in like a lion and went out like a lamb. The main event was fine for what it was, but AEW opened with its biggest match of the night. I still don’t understand that strategy when it would have been a helluva hook had they hyped it from the start and saved it for later. Nevertheless, it was a lot of fun.
I’m shocked that there wasn’t more with Kenny Omega and Jon Moxley. The countdown show just started and it opened with hype for their match, but I’m still surprised we didn’t see them appear on the actual show. Dynamite was a loaded show and they gave plenty of hype to the pay-per-view matches. It was surprising that they didn’t put more heat on the heels heading into the pay-per-view, but the hype for Revolution was effective for the most part. By the way, whatever happened to Shaq? Strange.
I will be back shortly with my weekly same night audio review for Dot Net Members. Join me for live coverage of AEW Revolution on Sunday night. Let me know what you thought of Dynamite by giving the show a letter grade below.