By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite (Episode 82)
Jacksonville, Florida at Daily’s Place
Aired live on April 21, 2021 on TNT
[Hour One] The Dynamite opening aired. Pyro shot off while Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone, and Excalibur checked in on commentary and ran through the lineup…
Entrances for the opening match took place. A pre-taped Ricky Starks promo aired during his entrance…
1. “Hangman” Adam Page vs. Ricky Starks (w/Hook). Taz sat in on commentary for the match. Schiavone said it was the first time Page and Starks had a singles match against one another. Page performed a nice fallaway slam into a bridge for a two count.
Starks came back and went for a springboard move, but Page clotheslined him. Page hit Starks with forearms and performed another fallaway slam. Page put Starks down with a brainbuster for a near fall. Ross credited “Killer” Karl Kox with inventing the brainbuster.
Starks rallied with a sit-out powerbomb for a close near fall. They ended up on the ropes and Page performed an avalanche fallaway slam. Page followed with a lariat for a near fall. Page went for the Buckshot Lariat, but Starks ducked it, ran the ropes, and speared him for a near fall. Starks avoided the Deadeye, then Page rolled him into a submission for the win.
“Hangman” Adam Page defeated Ricky Starks in 8:50.
After the match, Taz spoke to Page over the house mic and distracted him while Hook chop blocked him. Brian Cage came to the ring and set up for a powerbomb, but the Dark Order came out and ran off the Team Taz members…
Excalibur hyped the Trent vs. Penta El Zero Miedo match as coming up next… [C]
Powell’s POV: A fun opener. It wasn’t always pretty, but it was definitely entertaining. I like that it wasn’t formula with Page simply winning with a Buckshot Lariat. Page won clean as expected, but it felt like he had to work for it, which made Starks look good in defeat. By the way, Jake Barnett has the week off, but he will return for Dynamite coverage next week.
The Elite members Kenny Omega, Matt Jackson, Nick Jackson, Doc Gallows, Karl Anderson, and Don Callis entered their own trailer outside the venue…
2. Penta El Zero Miedo (w/Alex Abrahantes) vs. Trent (w/Orange Cassidy). A Penta pre-tape aired with Abrahantes translating. Trent performed a flip dive onto Penta a couple minutes into the match. Back inside the ring, Penta performed a Destroyer heading into a split-screen break. [C]
During the break, an ad aired for Impact Wrestling’s Rebellion show featuring the Omega vs. Rich Swann main event for the AEW and Impact Unified Championships (join me for live coverage on Sunday night).
Trent performed a weak looking piledriver on the apron. Both men ended up at ringside. Trent speared Penta. Abrahantes took the mic, entered the ring, and told Trent that his mother sucks. Cassidy entered the ring behind Abrahantes, but Penta took out Cassidy with a superkick. Abrahantes hit Trent with the microphone, then Penta performed a package piledriver and scored the pin…
Penta El Zero Miedo defeated Trent in 10:45.
Powell’s POV: Abrahantes continues to be fun as Penta’s translator/manager. He’s cocky while translating and he did a nice job of barking at the spectator wrestlers at times and coming off like an unlikable hanger-on. All of that said, I get that they were trying to establish Abrahantes, but giving Penta a clean win felt like it should have been the higher priority.
Jim Ross interviewed “The Pinnacle” members MJF, Dax Harwood, Cash Wheeler, Wardlow, and Shawn Spears. MJF said Tully Blanchard was at home writing up the plays for the Blood and Guts match. Wardlow presented MJF with a new scarf while stating that Blanchard said it was silk season.
Wardlow said Chris Jericho cut one of the best promos of his entire career until he got to him. Wardlow said Jericho choses his words carefully while talking about him because he knew he was doing something wrong when he said his name.
MJF said he’s the one guy who Jericho couldn’t outsmart. MJF said Jericho was jerking the curtain on WCW Worldwide when he was his age. MJF recalled Jericho calling him a mark. MJF said it’s true, but he’s not a mark for Jericho, he’s a mark for his spot and he will take it on May 5…
Ross hyped the AEW Women’s Championship match… [C] A brief video package aired on Hikaru Shida, who said it was time to fight…
3. Hikaru Shida vs. Tay Conti for the AEW Women’s Championship. The Dark Order came out with Conti, but they didn’t stay at ringside. Justin Roberts delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. Shida offered a handshake, but then she and Conti bowed before starting the match.
Both women ended up at ringside where Shida performed a brainbuster (that looked just like a suplex). Back inside the ring, Shida put Conti in the bow and arrow, then released it and countered into another submission hold. [C]
Conti put Shida down with a clothesline and then did some judo tosses before performing a German suplex. Conti performed a pair of running kicks in the corner and went for a ripcord kick that Shida ducked. Conti came right back and placed Shida on the top of the ropes and then performed a senton on the ropes. Conti covered Shida for a near fall.
Conti ran the ropes and Shida hit her with a knee strike and followed with a falcon arrow for a near fall. Shida showed frustration over not getting the pin. Shida powered up Conti and placed her on the ropes and then joined her. Shida placed Conti on her shoulders and then dropped her on the top turnbuckle with a Wicked Shot.
A short time later, Conti came back with a kick and then hit her TayKO for a near fall. Conti set for for her DDTay finisher, but Shida countered into a piledriver style move and got a near fall. Conti got up and blasted Shida with elbows, but Shida caught her going for a kick and hit her. Shida put Conti down with a backbreaker and followed up with a knee to the face before pinning her.
Hikaru Shida defeated Tay Conti in 12:20 to retain the AEW Women’s Championship.
After the match, Britt Baker walked onto the stage and pointed at the big screen where a graphic listed her as the new No. 1 contender. Shida threw her kendo stick at Baker, who moved, waved, and headed backstage…
Powell’s POV: A very nice back and forth match with quality near falls for both women before Shida picked up the win. Shida has really carried the division, but it’s really encouraging to see Conti and Baker step up their games. Shida vs. Baker should be the biggest AEW Women’s Championship match to date.
A Miro video package aired. He said the question now is which champion he should beat first…
Tony Schiavone introduced “The Inner Circle” Chris Jericho, Santana, Ortiz, Sammy Guevara, and Jake Hager. Jericho played to the fans, who responded with loud cheers and a brief Inner Circle chant. Jericho hyped the Blood and Guts match and said it would be one of the most violent and brutal matches ever seen on TNT.
[Hour Two] Jericho recalled honorary Inner Circle member Mike Tyson punching out Cash Wheeler. Hager threw straws at the camera and said they were for The Pinnacle members who would be sucking their meals through straws once they are finished with them.
Jericho said the Pinnacle members never really say anything. Santana said they saw the color of their blood, but on May 5 they would see the size of their heart. Jericho said MJF never stops talking, but he never feels any conviction in what he says. Jericho said he thinks MJF still thinks he’s singing show tunes on Rose O’Donnell’s talkshow.
Jericho said he wrote a show tune about MJF, which he sang. Jericho said there would be an old fashioned parley next week. He explained that both teams would get together and discuss battle plans. Jericho closed by saying the Inner Circle would own The Pinnacle’s asses on May 5…
Powell’s POV: I don’t know if Jericho screwed up the words to his song and abandoned ship or if it was just plain bad. But the rest of this worked thanks to Jericho showing good enthusiasm on the mic and getting the crowd worked up. But here’s hoping they put some heat on The Pinnacle tonight or next week, because this just doesn’t feel as hot as it should for a WarGames style match.
Billy Gunn made his entrance. A pre-tape with The Factory aired. Anthony Ogogo spoke about hating America and only being in the U.S. to make big money. QT Marshall talked about teaching The Nightmare Family what loyalty is worth. The Factory members made their entrance, and Gunn was there to clothesline them…
4. Billy Gunn vs. QT Marshall (w/Aaron Solow, Nick Comoroto). Solow and Comoroto eventually made their way to ringside. Gunn’s sons Austin and Colten were in the spectator wrestler section. Gunn dumped Marshall to ringside and worked him over in front of his sons and Marshall’s sidekicks.
As the referee checked on Marshall, Comoroto shoved Billy into the ring post. Austin and Colten hopped the barricade and fought with Comoroto and Solow to the back. Inside the ring, Marshall piledrove Billy for a near fall.
Billy came back and went for the Fameasser, but Marshall avoided it. Marshall went for a Diamond Cutter, but Gunn didn’t go down. Anthony Ogogo came out and punched Billy while the referee was tending to Marshall. Moments later, Marshall performed a Diamond Cutter on Billy and scored the pin.
QT Marshall defeated Billy Gunn in 5:15.
After the match, Ogogo passed a wooden chair to Marshall. Dustin Rhodes ran out and ducked the chair, then worked over Marshall. Dustin picked up a bull rope and threw it aside in favor of the wooden chair, but Marshall rolled out of the ring. Ogogo stood on the apron. Comoroto entered the ring. Dustin broke the wooden chair over Comoroto’s head. Comoroto no-sold it. Several referees ran out to keep the wrestlers apart… [C]
Powell’s POV: If Marshall can’t beat Billy Gunn clean, then why should viewers see him as a threat to Cody Rhodes? This feels like it would have been fine for an undercard feud between The Nightmare Factory and The Factory, but it feels too small for the Cody character.
Inside the Elite trailer, Callis started a promo. Matt Jackson said they started the revolution that led to AEW. Kenny Omega said he had news for everyone who hates The Elite and thinks they are egomaniacs. He was interrupted by someone honking a vehicle horn.
They cut outside the building where Jon Moxley and Eddie Kingston were in a pickup truck, which Moxley drove into the side of the trailer. Moxley brought a pipe and smashed a window on the trailer. Moxley and Kingston entered the trailer, but the Elite members were no longer inside.
Powell’s POV: Remember that time that Steve Austin drove a Zamboni to the ring and no one was actually in the ring? Or that time that Austin drove a beer truck and sprayed the ring when no one was in it? I guess Shaq taught The Elite members his magical disappearing powers.
5. Christian Cage vs. Powerhouse Hobbs. Taz sat in on commentary again and announced Hangman Page vs. Brian Cage for next week. Cage knocked Hobbs off the apron, then dropkicked him through the ropes. Cage followed Hobbs to the floor where Hobbs caught him with a shot to the back of the head.
Hobbs tossed Cage over the barricade, then shoved Serpentico, who was in the spectator wrestler section. Hobbs pulled Cage’s face into the barricade heading into a break. [C] Back inside the ring, Hobbs threw Cage down when he went for his Killswitch finisher.
Hobbs tossed Cage to the mat, then walked on him. Hobbs followed up with a Vader Bomb attempt, but Cage put his feet up. Cage caught Hobbs with a pendulum kick and followed up with a corkscrew uppercut that led to a near fall. Excalibur said Team Taz was banned from ringside during the match due to what happened earlier in the show.
Hobbs came back with a nice spinebuster. Ross tripped over his tongue and mistakenly called it a powerbomb, but Taz corrected him. Cage knocked Hobbs off the ropes and then performed a top rope frog splash for a near fall. Hobbs placed Cage in the corner and then slammed his ass into his head, which Excalibur labeled a Hip Attack. Hobbs covered Cage for a near fall.
Cage caught Hobbs in a sleeper. Hobbs powered him up and slammed him into the corner. Cage slipped off the shoulder of Hobbs and hit him with a Kill Switch and then pinned him.
Christian Cage defeated Powerhouse Hobbs in 10:25.
After the match, Ricky Starks came out to check on Hobbs. Starks had a brief staredown with Cage…
Powell’s POV: Hobbs gained something in defeat. Cage gave him a lot of offense and the finish can be rationalized as a veteran taking advantage of a rookie getting cocky. This was good, but the teased Cage vs. Starks match should be even better.
The broadcast team hyped Orange Cassidy vs. Penta El Zero Miedo, Kris Statlander vs. Penelope Ford, The Young Bucks vs. Mike Sydal and Matt Sydal in an eliminator match, and “The Nightmare Family” Dustin Rhodes, Billy Gunn, and Lee Johnson vs. QT Marshall, Aaron Solow, and Nick Comoroto, the Inner Circle and Pinnacle parley, and Brian Cage vs. Hangman Page…
A Jade Cargill video package aired with Matt Hardy and Vickie Guerrero separately saying they would like to manage her. Jade said she doesn’t need a manager, she’s her own boss. She said that if anyone is looking to sign her, then they better make a hell of a deal…
Excalibur hyped the main event… [C] Ring entrances for the main event took place…
6. Darby Allin (w/Sting) vs. Jungle Boy (w/Luchasaurus) for the TNT Championship. Excalibur plugged the ONE mixed martial arts show that followed Dynamite on TNT. He also noted that the main event carried a television time remaining time limit. After some early work inside the ring, Jungle Boy went to ringside and was followed by Allin. Jungle Boy drove Allin toward the barricade and both men tumbled over it. [C]
Jungle Boy performed a body scissors that drove Allin’s head into the mat. Allin rolled to ringside and then Jungle Boy hit him with two suicide dives followed by a flip dive. Allin came back and performed a Coffin Drop onto Jungle Boy, who was lying on the apron. Both men tumbled to the floor.
Allin returned to the ring first. Luchasaurus helped Jungle Boy get back in the ring. Sting confronted Luchasaurus and they ended up fighting on the stage and through one of the entrance tunnels. In the ring, Jungle Boy performed a brainbuster (move of the night) and then threw a running elbow to the back of Allin’s head, which led to a near fall.
Jungle Boy applied his Snare Trap submission finisher, which Excalibur said no one had escaped. Allin reached the ropes to break it. Jungle Boy put Allin in a surfboard, then went for his finisher again, but Allin gouged his eyes to break it. Jungle Boy slapped Allin’s face several times. Jungle Boy went for a sunset flip, but Allin countered into the Last Supper pin and got the three count.
Darby Allin defeated Jungle Boy in 15:45 to retain the TNT Championship.
After the match, Scorpio Sky and Ethan Page attacked Allin and Jungle Boy. Page performed a crucifix bomb on Allin. Lance Archer ran out while Jake Roberts walked from the stage. Roberts was outnumbered by Sky and Page. Sting returned with a baseball bat in hand, which caused Sky and Page to leave the ring…
Powell’s POV: A good main event between two of AEW’s brightest young stars. This should be a fun rivalry to follow over the years. But AEW really needs to get better about making a bigger fuss over their main event segments. This match really should have been positioned as something special, but they didn’t do anything out of the ordinary to push it throughout the show.
Overall, an entertaining episode. There were a few clunker moments, but there was far more good than bad. I will be back shortly with my weekly same night audio review of Dynamite for Dot Net Members. Let me know what you thought of the show by grading it below.