By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite (Episode 85)
Live from Jacksonville, Florida at Daily’s Place
Aired May 12, 2021 on TNT
[Hour One] A split screen shot showed Jon Moxley and Eddie Kingston on one side, and Yuji Nagata on the other while Jim Ross hyped the IWGP U.S. Championship match… The Dynamite opening aired… Pyro shot off in the building while Ross, Excalibur, and Tony Schiavone checked in on commentary. Justin Roberts was the ring announcer…
1. Jon Moxley (w/Eddie Kingston) vs. Yuji Nagata (w/Ren Narita) for the IWGP U.S. Championship. Ross said Nagata has not appeared on TNT in 23 years. Moxley and Kingston entered to “Wild Thing” by The Troggs. Excalibur noted that the match was being fought under NJPW rules with a 60-minute time limit and 20 counts if the wrestlers go to ringside. Rocky Romero was shown watching in the crowd.
Moxley fired away with kicks on the kneeling Nagata, who called for more. Moxley covered Nagata for a two count. Nagata fired back with a series of kicks of his own and then hit Moxley with a big boot in the corner. Nagata suplexed Moxley and covered him for a two count. Nagata fired away with kicks at a kneeling Moxley.
Moxley stood up and both men traded elbow strikes. Nagata dodged a big boot and then suplexed Nagata. Moxley followed up with a lariat clothesline for a near fall. Nagata stuffered a piledriver and backdropped Moxley. Nagata threw a high knee to the head of Moxley in the corner, then placed him on the ropes and joined him before performing an avalanche exploder. Nagata threw a knee at Moxley and covered him for a near fall.
Moxley came back with a sleeper hold. Nagata countered into an armbar. Moxley reached the ropes to break it. Both men traded elbow strikes. Nagata threw a kick at Moxley, who came up bleeding and ended up applying a submission hold that Nagata broke. Both men traded elbows again. Moxley threw knee strikes and then hit the Paradigm Shift and scored the pin.
Jon Moxley defeated Yuji Nagata in 8:30 to retain the IWGP U.S. Championship.
After the match, Moxley bowed on the mat and then Nagata returned the favor. Moxley held up Nagata’s arm and pointed at him before going to the ropes and celebrating with his title belt…
Powell’s POV: A fun match. There was no real mystery in terms of who would go over, but it was a treat to see the Japanese legend. Hopefully there are plenty more NJPW stars to come. Moxley’s new entrance theme isn’t as hard rock as some of his past themes, but it’s a classic song that fits his personality nicely.
The broadcast team hyped the upcoming matches and segments…
Backstage, Alex Marvez interviewed Ortiz, Sammy Guevara, and Jake Hager and asked what’s next for the Inner Circle after losing the Blood and Guts match. Ortiz said they had four of the members beaten inside the cage. Hager recalled saying the Pinnacle would have to kill them to beat them and said they are all still alive. Guevara called for a rematch…
The broadcast team said Jericho had a dislocated elbow from the Blood and Guts match…
Cody Rhodes made his entrance or his Double or Nothing pay-per-view announcement… [C]
Cody stood in the ring and said patriotism is a little out of style. The fans chanted USA. Rhodes there are plenty of things to make fun of including the antiquated two party system, the most recent election, and what to do during the national anthem.
Rhodes said he’s never not been proud to be an American. Rhodes recalled Anthony Ogogo running down the United States. Cody said Cody has a visa and a green card and is afforded the same rights. Cody said that is freedom and that’s America. He said the arguments is what makes Americans who we are. He said our empathy outweighs our anger.
Cody said Ogogo didn’t come to America to live the England dream. Cody said he didn’t want to disparage anyone from across the pond and put over Doug Williams and Pac as examples of great English wrestlers. Cody spoke of how an Italian immigrant (Bruno Sammartino) became a world champion for over 4,000 days. Cody said the dream lives here.
Cody spoke about how a man from Pakistan (Shad Khan) patented the single piece bumper and now enriches the lives of everyone in the city of Jacksonville. Cody said that prior to 1961, there was segregation in Georgia. He got emotional while saying that in 2021, his wife will give birth to a beautiful black and white princess who will have both identities.
Cody said he didn’t lay down under another man’s flag or have a defeatist attitude, he fought back. Rhodes said they would do their fighting at the Double or Nothing pay-per-view. Cody noted that Tony Khan announced that they would be at full capacity with fans at Double or Nothing.
Cody said Ogogo would not be wrestling the American Nightmare. Cody said that for one night, it would be Anthony Ogogo versus “The American Dream” Cody Rhodes. Cody’s music played and he left the ring…
Powell’s POV: Cody treaded into what’s become dangerous territory these days, but he did a nice job of walking the line without saying anything too controversial. Surely, someone out there will be offended because, well, 2021, but I didn’t catch anything that should ruffle too many feathers. Love or hate the promo, it’s nice to see Cody sink his teeth into a long promo again. He’s one of the best talkers in the game and I really missed these long form promos.
A video package aired on Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian challenging the Young Bucks for the tag titles. Daniels asked how far the Bucks think they will go to get what they want… Ring entrances for the AEW Tag Title match took place…
2. “The Young Bucks” Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson (w/Doc Gallows, Karl Anderson, Brandon Cutler) vs. “SCU” Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian for the AEW Tag Titles. SCU has stated that they will split up if they lose this match or another match as a team. Don Callis sat in on commentary for the match. Daniels was isolated heading into an early picture-in-picture break. [C]
SCU came back and hit Matt with Celebrity Rehab coming out of the break. They set up for the BME, but it was broken up. Nick ran Daniels into the ring post. Daniels bled heavily from the forehead. Nick went for a springboard move, but Kazarian caught him with a cutter on the way down for a near fall.
Kazarian fought both Bucks while Daniels continued to sell at ringside. Kazarian performed a Styles Clash on Matt and had him beat, but Nick broke up the pin. The Bucks doubled up on Kazarian and went for a pin, but Daniels returned to break it up. Daniels pulled Kazarian to their corner and then tagged in.
Matt speared Daniels and then threw punches at his bloody head. Daniels came back and went for an angel’s wings suplex, but Matt blocked it. Callis complained that Daniels was bleeding on Matt’s “beautiful shoes.” Matt delivered a mocking “I’m sorry, I love you” at Daniels before superkicking him and covering him, but Daniels kicked out.
Daniels went for the Best Moonsault Ever, but he slipped on the ropes. The broadcast team team blamed the blood loss. Daniels hit the move on a second try and had Matt pinned, but Nick broke it up. Matt sprayed cold spray into the eyes of Daniels and then hit him with the can while Cutler distracted the referee. Matt went for the pin, but Daniels kicked out again. The Bucks hit the BTE Trigger on Daniels, and then Nick pinned him…
“The Young Bucks” Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson beat “SCU” Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian in 13:50 to retain the AEW Tag Titles.
Backstage, Moxley and Kingston trashed the locker room of The Elite members… Excalibur hyped the eliminator match for after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: The usual good match between these teams. I thought we might get Daniels and Kazarian putting their careers on the line for one more title shot at Double or Nothing, but it looks like it might be Moxley and Kingston challenging for the tag titles at the pay-per-view instead.
Footage aired from during the break of Daniels and Kazarian hugging…
Dasha interviewed Christian Cage in the backstage area. Cage said he has an open contract for next week and is willing to face any member of Team Taz. Cage spoke about being in the Casino Battle Royale. Matt Sydal showed up and said he would also be in the match. Cage noted that it didn’t go so well for Sydal last time. Sydal informed Cage that he signed the open contract to face Cage next week…
3. Pac vs. Orange Cassidy for a shot at the AEW World Championship. The faction mates of both wrestlers walked out with them, but they all headed to the back before the opening bell. Cassidy took his shades off and put them on Pac, who pulled them off and broke them.
Cassidy performed the Beach Break for a near fall. Pac rolled to ringside. Cassidy put his hands in his pockets and hit a suicide dive. [C] Pac ran Cassidy into the ringside barricade twice coming out of the break.
[Hour Two] Pac went up top for his finisher, but Cassidy rolled out of the way. Pac kicked Cassidy and then set up for the move again, but Cassidy rolled under the ropes. Pac dropped down and was shoved face first into the corner by Cassidy, who followed up with a victory roll for a near fall.
Pac cut off Cassidy with a superkick. Pac performed a sit-out powerbomb for a near fall. Referee Aubrey Edwards checked on Cassidy, who rolled to the floor. [C] Pac posed on the ropes while a trainer tended to Cassidy coming out of the break
Don Callis came out with a mic and told the referee that they needed a winner. Meanwhile, Omega hit Pac with the AEW World Championship belt. The referee counted both men down.
Pac fought Orange Cassidy to a no-contest in roughly 13:00 to earn an AEW World Title match.
After the match, Callis said there was no winner, so now Omega had the night off. Omega said they could go on a road trip. Tony Schiavone walked onto the stage and said he’d just been informed them that Omega will now have to defend the title against Pac and Cassidy in a three-way at Double or Nothing. Callis and Omega threw a fit.
Powell’s POV: Heels are always the only people who are actually surprised when they are booked in three-way matches after taking out their two potential challengers. If nothing else, at least AEW didn’t have Cassidy go over, which felt like the direction after last week’s angle. And I’m not opposed to Cassidy being No. 1 contender, but they laid it on so thick last week that he became the favorite rather than the underdog in this match against Pac.
Backstage, the Young Bucks, Gallows, and Anderson were upset in their trashed locker room. The Bucks said they are fighting champions and said they would face the number one contenders, who are “The Varsity Blonds” Brian Pillman Jr. and Griff Garrison. Matt said they wanted to settle a personal grudge and invited Moxley and Kingston to a superkick party at Double or Nothing… [C]
Marvez interviewed Hangman Page, who was surrounded by The Dark Order members in the backstage area. Page said he wouldn’t be satisfied if he were Brian Cage given the way that he beat him. He challenged Cage to meet him without anyone in his corner. Page said that if he lost, then so be it, while it’s double or nothing for Cage…
Powell’s POV: So Cage could just take the win and move on or agree to face Page in a rematch with nothing to gain aside from beating him twice? Call me crazy, but I think Cage and Taz should ask for Page to up the ante.
The Pinnacle members made their entrance and were accompanied by a group of women. The broadcast team touted last week’s television ratings success. MJF wore a crown in the ring and was accompanied by Dax Harwood, Cash Wheeler, Wardlow, Shawn Spears, and Tully Blanchard. MJF also boasted about finishing number one on cable television last week.
MJF teased the idea of giving The Inner Circle a rematch and then said no. Blanchard said that when you quit, you quit. He said The Pinnacle are at the top of the world. He said they had five of the most attractive women in the city. He also presented the Pinnacle members with watches.
A car horn could be heard honking. MJF got upset about the interruption. Ortiz, Hager, and Guevara drove a vehicle through the side entrance. MJF mocked them for being down two members.
Chris Jericho stood up in the rear attachment of the vehicle and had a brace on his left arm. Jericho asked if MJF would give them a rematch. MJF said no. Jericho had him repeat himself. Jericho told Guevara to let them have it. Guevara shot water at the Pinnacle. Schiavone said it may have been one of the greatest things he’d ever seen.
A soaked MJF told Jericho that the Pinnacle would face Inner Circle in a Stadium Stampede. MJF said that if the Inner Circle lose the match, they must break up forever. MJF told Jericho to take it or leave it. The Inner Circle members spoke amongst themselves and then flipped off the camera while Excalibur hyped Thunder Rosa for after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: We’ll have to forgive Schiavone for laying it on so thick. He took a break from pro wrestling and may not have seen the Steve Austin’s beer bath or Kurt Angle’s milk bath on WWE television.
Footage aired from “earlier today” of Jim Ross conducting a sit-down interview with Britt Baker. Ross recalled that Hikaru Shida busted up Baker’s face in a match roughly a year ago. Baker said the pain can break you or change you, and she’s become the baddest bitch on the planet since then. Baker said the monster that Shida made is going to dethrone her.
Ross asked Baker if she took it too far with her emotional investment. Footage aired of Baker interrupting Tony Khan’s photo shoot with Forbes. Baker said Ross could paint her to be the villain, but she’ll keep autographing the best artwork. Ross said the deck might be stacked against Shida now.
Baker praised Shida for keeping the division together during the pandemic. Baker said she is the heart and pulse of the division. She said guaranteed that she would become the AEW Women’s Champion…
4. Thunder Rosa vs. Jazmin Allure. Rosa controlled the bulk of the offense and put her away with a Fire Thunder Driver…
Thunder Rosa beat Jazmin Allure in 1:55.
Excalibur hyped Serena Deeb vs. Red Velvet for the NWA Women’s Championship, The Young Bucks vs. The Varsity Blonds for the AEW Tag Titles, Christian Cage vs. Matt Sydal, and Anthony Ogogo vs. Austin Gunn for next week’s show.
Schiavone ran through the Double or Nothing lineup, which officially includes Brian Cage vs. Hangman Page, Cody Rhodes vs. Anthony Ogogo, Shida vs. Baker for the AEW Women’s Championship, and Omega vs. Cassidy vs. Pac in a three-way for the AEW Championship…
Jade Cargill was interviewed by Schiavone “earlier today” in the backstage area. He set up footage of Mark Sterling making his pitch to manage Cargill during an AEW Dark Elevation segment. Schiavone asked Cargill who would handle her business. She said she handles her own business. She said she would listen to offers, but she’s still that bitch…
Excalibur hyped the TNT Title match for after the break… [C]
A black and white Darby Allin video aired. He said he didn’t have the time to talk about being thrown down the stairs last week. He said he dropped everything to go to his old skateboard warehouse. He said it reminds him of who he is and how far he’s come.
Allin looked into the camera and asked what Miro has done since he’s been in AEW. He said he was a best man and played video games. Allin called Miro a generic son of a bitch and said that he would not take the TNT Title away from him. Allin said that Miro will have to admit that he’s one of the toughest men he’s ever stepped inside the ring with…
Miro made his entrance. Darby Allin and Sting made their entrance. Miro attacked Allin before the bell. Miro followed Allin to ringside and continued to dominate him. Referee Paul Turner called for Miro to get Allin in the ring, but Miro ran him into the barricade again and then clotheslined him over.
Miro followed Allin to the floor and mockingly encouraged the fans to chant Darby, then suplexed him over the barricade. Scorpio Sky and Ethan Page were shown laughing in the crowd. The referee checked on Allin. Miro attacked Allin again. The ref asked Allin if he wanted to go. Allin said yes.
5. Darby Allin (w/Sting) vs. Miro for the TNT Championship. The bell rang and Miro immediately dropped Allin with a kick. Miro went for the cover, but he only got a two count, then acted like he won. Allin went to ringside and Miro followed. Allin attacked Miro on the floor and shoved him into the ring post. Allin followed up with a nice cannonball style suicide dive.
Allin went for a Coffin Drop, but Miro caught him and suplexed him, but Allin landed on his feet. Allin rolled up Miro for another near fall, then performed a Code Red for another. Allin went for an armbar, but Miro countered into his Game Over finisher and the referee called for the bell.
Miro defeated Darby Allin in 11:30 to win the TNT Championship.
After the match, Scorpio Sky and Ethan Page attacked Sting at ringside. The Dark Order ran out and chased away Sky and Page. Inside the ring, Miro talked smack while leaning over Allin while holding his new title belt. Lance Archer came out and pointed at Miro while Jake Roberts held him back on the stage to close the show…
Powell’s POV: A very good match. Allin’s character was booked to show a ton of heart after being thrown down the steps last week and being attacked before the bell by Miro. So even though Miro was expected to go over given the injury that they built in to protect Allin, the match really worked and there were times when it seemed like Allin might actually win. It’s great that Miro is finally back in heel monster mode.
Overall, an energetic and entertaining show from start to finish. There were certain aspects that I didn’t care for such as Omega and Callis looking like goofs for not considering the three-way scenario and the unnecessary post main event chaos, but it really was a strong episode that set up the pay-per-view matches and left me looking forward to next week. I will return shortly with my weekly same night audio review for Dot Net Members. Let me know what you thought of the show by grading it below.
Join me for my live review of Sunday’s WWE WrestleMania Backlash.