By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
AEW Dynamite “Homecoming” (Episode 98)
Jacksonville, Florida at Daily’s Place
Aired live August 4, 2021 on TNT
[Hour One] The announce team of Excalibur, Jim Ross, and Tony Shiavone opened the show. They ran down tonight’s card. Chris Jericho and Juventud Guerrera is the opening match of the night. Jericho’s music hit and he made his entrance first. People sang “Judas” for way too long. He was followed by Juventud Guerrera. The announcers reiterated that Jericho must win with a move from the top rope. MJF joined in on commentary and tore up a sign on the way there…
1. Chris Jericho vs. Juventud Guerrera: Juvi jumped out on offense early with some chips in the corner. They attempted a top rope huracarrana, but it looked rough. They attempted a flying head scissors a moment later, and it was just as bad. Juvi dumped Jericho to the outside and then dove on him from the top rope. Back in the ring, Juvi landed a missile dropkick from the top and got a two count.
Jericho hit the ropes and knocked Guerrera to the floor with a body block. He then chased him to the floor and landed some chops. He landed a top rope body block as they got into the ring, and got a near fall. Juvi landed a series of strikes, but got cut down with an elbow. Jericho hit the ropes, but Juvi was ready with a thrust kick.
Juvi landed a sidekick to a seated Jericho, and covered for a two count. Juvi dropped Jericho in the corner and then taunted the crowd. He rushed in, but Jericho popped up with a series of tackles. Jericho then went up top with a double axe handle for a two count. Jericho landed a double underhook backbreaker and went fora pin, but Aubrey Edwards wouldn’t count and told him he had to go to the top rope.
Jericho tried to remove Juvi’s mask, but failed. Juvi then placed Jericho on the top rope and set up for another huracarrana, but Jericho reversed and jumped into the Walls of Jericho. Juvi was able to reach the ropes to break the hold. He then landed another thrust kick for a near fall. After a series of reversals, Juvi landed the Juvi Driver for a close near fall. MJF went nuts on commentary. Jericho landed the Judas Effect, but couldn’t make the pin.
Jericho went up to the top rope, and Juvi stumbled to his feet. Jericho landed a spinning Judas Effect from the top for the win.
Chris Jericho defeated Juventud Guerrera at 9:55
Jericho was bleeding from the mouth slightly after the match. Wardlow got in the ring after the match and assaulted both Jericho and Juvi. He landed and F10 on Jericho, and then landed his corner GTS called the “Casualty of War” on Jericho. MJF got on the mic and asked if he ruined the moment for them. He told Jericho he wasn’t going to let him be happy during his labors, he was as dumb as the scum sucking fan. MJF said the fourth labour will be a match against Wardlow, and he would be accompanied by special guest referee MJF.
Backstage, The Lucha Brothers were interviewed by Dasha Gonzales. They complained that all of Pac’s travel had been cancelled. Chavo and Andrade walked up, and said if they worked for him they would have first class travel, champagne and lobster. Penta and Fenix said they work for no one. A six man tag is up next with Darby Allin, John Moxley, and Eddie Kingston…[c]
My Take: That was the weakest match of the labors by a pretty wide margin. The chemistry they once had seemed to disappear, and let to a lot of timing mistakes and awkward looking spots. It was more apparent in the early portion of the match, where things seemed to be happening underwater. The fourth labor makes a lot of sense from a booking perspective. Hopefully they can put together a better match next week.
The Dark Order were interviewed backstage, and Schiavone asked about their title shot. Hangman Page walked up and apologized for costing them their tag title shot. He told them that the issue with The Elite was his fault, and he needed to fix it himself. The Dark Order told him that wasn’t the case, but he insisted that they were done for now…
In the arena, 2.0 (Matt Lee and Jeff Parker) and Daniel Garcia made their entrance. They had a brief picture in picture promo where they said they were free agents that could go and challenge whomever they wanted. They called out Darby Allin, Jon Moxley, and Eddie Kingston and said they would get a taste. Darby Allin made his entrance with Sting, followed by Moxley and Kingston.
2. Jox Moxley, Eddie Kingston and Darby Allin vs. Daniel Garcia, Jeff Parker and Matt Lee: Garcia and Darby Allin started the match. Garcia and Darby traded rapid fire reversals. Matt Lee got a blind tag and blasted Darby with a forearm shot. Darby scrambled to his corner and tagged in Kingston, who entered the ring and had a staredown with Lee. Kingston no sold a chop, and then landed several of his own. Kingston distracted the ref while Moxley worked over Lee in the corner.
Parker distracted Kingston, which led to a chop block from Lee. The heels then took over and began to isolate Kingston…[c]
The heels continued to cut off Kingston. Moxley pulled Garcia to the floor on the outside and kicked his ass. He then sent him into the barricade. Matt Lee jumped to the outside to regroup, and ran into Sting. Darby then gave him a blindside suicide dive. Moxley tagged into the match and cleaned up on Lee and Parker. He landed a release vertical suplex on Lee, and Kingston landed a spinning backfist on Parker. Moxley then hit the Paradigm Shift on Garcia, and Allin tagged in for the Coffin drop and the pin.
Jon Moxley, Eddie Kingston and Darby Allin defeated Daniel Garcia and “2.0” Jeff Parker and Matt Lee at 10:11
After the match, Kingston and Moxley celebrated with Allin and Sting. We then got a video package that recapped the situation with Team Taz. It focused on Brian Cage saying he never asked to be in Team Taz, and Ricky Starks replied that he would outclass him and outwork him. Christian vs. The Blade is next…[c]
My Take: An entertaining six man that felt like a bit of a tryout for the former Ever Rise. Overall a fun match. Everybody got their stuff in, and the popular babyfaces got a high energy win. I still don’t find the Team Taz story particularly compelling.
Backstage, Karl Anderson spun a basketball backstage with The Elite. There was a basketball hoop and a Cookie Monster T-Shirt (CM Punk har har). They counted to 2012 spins to keep the inside joke going about Anderson’s G1 Finals performance. Doc Gallows welcomed the challenge of the Dark Order for the Impact Tag Titles. The Young Bucks questioned if there was anybody left in the AEW Tag Division, and said they were best of all time. Omega called out Hangman, and said he choked again in the big spot. They then cut down a basketball net and Omega said they would retire as Champions.
My Take: I’m sure there are some people who love this version of The Elite, but I am not one of them. It has become an unfunny self parody.
In the arena, Christian made his entrance. The Blade then followed, accompanied by The Bunny.
3. Christian Cage vs. The Blade: There was a brief brawl before the bell. Christian got the worst of it. The Blade tore off his shirt and choked him with it. Eventually Christian broke free and chased The Blade around ringside. The Bunny confronted him, but Christian sniffed out the scam and turned around to punch The Blade. Cage went up top, but The Bunny grabbed his leg. Leyla Hirsch ran out and pulled her away. They have a match later.
Cage landed a reverse DDT for a near fall. The Blade recovered and dropped Christian ribs first on the top rope…[c]
Christian dove on The Blade on the floor from the top rope. Both men stumbled into the ring and traded blows. Christian landed mounted punches in the corner, and then choked the blade on the second rope. He then landed a sunset flip for a near fall. Christian landed a back elbow from the second rope, and then teased the Killswitch. The Blade reversed out of it and landed a powerslam for a near fall. He then landed a hard kick to the ribs, and tried to tear off the turnbuckle pad.
The Blade used the distraction of the turnbuckle pad to try and grab the brass knucks, but he ran into a spear from Christian. He then covered and got the win.
Christian defeated The Blade at 10:14
After the match, we got a video package for FTR and Proud and Powerful. Dax Harwood said he watched his best friend get ripped open, and now he’s living with questions of whether or not he’ll ever come back. Dax promised it was far from over…
Back in the arena, Britt Baker made her entrance with Rebel. Schiavone said he knew she was excited about Pittsburgh, but she had to be excited to be back in Jacksonville. Baker said this was the place she won the AEW Women’s Championship. Red Velvet then interrupted and said she was out there because she wanted a little piece of DMD. Baker said she beat her ass in Jacksonville in 3 minutes.
Velvet replied and said she beat her in 3 minutes when she was enhancement talent with something to prove, but she was 22-4 with a 7 match win streak. Baker said she wasn’t the same wrestler either, and said she would make a statement when she beats her in front of her hometown of Pittsburgh on the first episode of Rampage next week. There was a brief scuffle, and Rebel missed a shot with her crutch. Velvet grabbed it, but Baker took her down and placed it across her throat…
[Hour Two] Backstage, Dasha interviewed Andrade El Idolo. Chavo Guerrero Jr. told Andrade that Fenix and Penta wouldn’t work for them, but he knew someone who would. Fuego Del Sol walked up, and Chavo told him to shine Andrade’s shoes. He objected, and said that wasn’t the job offer, so they beat his ass. Hangman page is up next…[c]
My Take: Velvet’s line about being enhancement talent previously didn’t land with me. No need to do inside baseball in televised promos. The rest of the segment was fine, but I don’t think they convinced anyone Velvet has a real shot.
Hangman Page was in the ring. Schiavone asked him to clarify his earlier statement, but he was immediately interrupted when The Elite walked down to the ring. Page said he’s wanted to clear things up with them for a while. The Elite all entered the ring and didn’t let Page finish. He accused Page of wanting to ditch his new friends and rejoin the Elite. Page said that’s not what he wanted to do at all.
Omega said when he looks at what The Elite were then, and are today, he doesn’t really fit the bill. He then said Cowboy or not, The Elite don’t have losers in their group, or people that play second fiddle. Hangman decked Omega, which prompted a gang beatdown from the group. Dark Order started to run down, but Uno and Grayson held them back as this is what Hangman wanted.
Page ate a Magic Killer and several BTE Triggers. Omega then gave him a belt shot and told him this was the last time he would see it. Miro vs. Lee Johson is up next. A video of Dan Lambert was then shown, and said he was coming back next week to tell the truth and he was bringing backup…
Lee Johnson then made his entrance, accompanied by Dustin Rhodes. He was followed by Miro, who was cheered.
4. Miro vs. Lee Johnson for the TNT Championship: Miro dominated the early going. Lee took a run at him, but got cut down. Miro then landed some strikes and shoulder charges in the corner. Johnson tried to rush at Miro again, but got side slammed in the process. Miro attempted his Camel Clutch, but Johnson rolled to ringside…[c]
My Take: Omega was better in the beat down segment than he was in the basketball one earlier. Not sure if Page is disappearing for a while or where they are going with this.
Miro dominated the break, and landed a nice vertical suplex on the floor. Johnson managed a DDT, but Miro popped up to his feet, only to stumble and fall down. Johnson then landed a dropkick that sent Miro to the floor, and a pair of suicide dives. Miro tried to catch him on the third, but fell down instead.
In the ring, Johnson landed a top rope crossbody for a two count. He then reversed out of a suplex and landed a series of kicks. Miro charged into the corner and hit the ring post, and Johnson added another kick. He then landed a frog splash from the top for a near fall. Miro got to his feet and fired up with a big side kick. He then applied his Camel Clutch submission for the win.
Miro defeated Lee Johnson at 9:48 to retain the TNT Championship
After the match, Miro laughed and petted Johnson…
The announce team was announced for Rampage, which will be Excalibur, Jericho, Taz, and Mark Henry. That’s two too many people. Leyla Hirsch vs. The Bunny is up next…[c]
My Take: A good outing for Johnson and Miro. Lee Johnson is rapidly improving, and continuing to add muscle. Miro was very over with the crowd, and continues to look much more impressive since leaving behind The Best Man gimmick.
Tony interviewed Christian Cage and informed him he was the #1 Contender for the AEW Title. He was asked about Leyla Hirsch, and thanked her for having his back. He started singing, and said he was joking and in a good mood. She told him she didn’t need his help later, because she already has best friends. He then said he would be in Pittsburgh for both Dynamite and Rampage, and said he was known for causing a bit of trouble. He then declared himself better than good, and called himself “Elite”…
In the arena, The Bunny made her entrance with the Hardy Family Office. Leyla Hirsch made her entrance with Best Friends…
5. Leyla Hirsch vs. The Bunny: The Bunny and Hirsch traded blows to start. Hirsch went for an armbar early, but The Bunny escaped to the floor. Hirsch dove on her (kinda) and then tossed her back in the ring. Hirsch sent The Bunny into the turnbuckle shoulder first, and then attempted another armbar. The Bunny scrambled free and landed a back cracker. She then dumped Hirsch to ringside, and landed a dropkick into the barricade.
Kamille from the NWA was in the crowd, and had a brief staredown with The Bunny…[c]
The Bunny controlled the action during the break. As the show returned, Hirsch landed a superplex back into the ring. Nyla Rose was now randomly at ringside, and had a face to face confrontation with Kris Statlander. Hirsch landed a pair of German Suplexes, and then running knees in the corner for a near fall.
Hirsch applied a Cross Armbreaker, but the Bunny escaped. Hirsch landed a knee strike and then pumped up the crowd. She attempted a double springboard Moonsault, but the Bunny moved again. She then landed a Death Valley Driver for another near fall. Hirsch got mat control again, and applied a Cross Armbreaker for the win.
Leyla Hirsch defeated The Bunny at 8:21
After the match, Hirsch called NWA Women’s Champion Kamille into the ring, and the size disparity was quite dramatic. Kamille had heels on, which made it even more extreme. We then got a video package from Jade Cargill and Mark Sterling. She said she’s done diversifying her portfolio, and will be back on Monday at Elevation for her return match. The announce team ran down some matches for next week. They clarified that MJF will be at ringside for the 4th Labour, and will not be the referee as JR stated earlier…
Malakai Black made his entrance for the main event. He wore a skull mask with horns coming out of it…[c]
My Take: A decent outing for Hirsch and The Bunny. It’ll be interesting to see how she and Kamille mesh in the ring. The David and Goliath story is one that has been retold in wrestling countless times. Malakai Black’s new mask is a nice touch, but I think his casket entrance in WWE might have been more interesting visually.
Cody Rhodes made his entrance after the break, accompanied by his brother Dustin Rhodes.
6. Cody Rhodes vs. Malakai Black: They tied up to start, and went to a stalemate. Black targeted Cody’s left leg. He went for a knee bar, but Cody tried to reverse into a Figure Four. Black gouged his eyes, and went back to attacking the leg. He applied a Single Leg Crab, and Cody was forced to scramble to the ropes. Black broke the hold on 4. Cody sold his knee, and the ref asked if he could continue.
Black charged at Cody and got trapped in a reverse headlock for CrossRhodes. Black landed a kick that broke him free. Cody went to the top rope, and Black kicked him and sent him crashing through a table at ringside. Cody climbed into the ring, and walked into a spin kick that used to be called “Black Mass”. He then put one foot on Cody and got the pin.
Malakai Black defeated Cody Rhodes at 5:09
After the match, Schiavone got in the ring ask asked Cody if he was ok. Doc Sampson pushed a crutch into the ring. Cody said legacy in a funny thing. He said he got into wrestling when he was 15 to win the title they took from his Dad in the garden. Cody said time flies and goals change, and he’s had a lot of fun. Cody stumbled to his feet, and the crutch they gave him was way too short.
Cody told Tony he was good, and dismissed him from the ring. He started talking about leaving WWE and how he met Matt, Nick and Kenny. He said people laughed at them when they said they would be Revolution, and now it’s commonplace that they were destination viewing and competition. He said they set the table, and now maybe some new people can eat. Cody said there might have been outside interests coming this way and some infighting with the EVP’s, but he loves them very much and will be forever tethered to them.
Cody called Daily’s Place the AEW Amphitheater, and there’s no better place than here and no better time than now. He told the fans he loved them, and he’s made his life incredibly special. Cody took off his boot, and as he went to take off the second one, Malakai Black cracked him over the back with a crutch. Black took his boot and smiled.
My Take: The first of many faux retirements, if Wrestling history is any indication. It was a nice promo from Cody, and another case of him being squashed to put over incoming talent. I can’t say this feud, or Cody suddenly becoming a lame horse over the course of a few months at 36 years old really grabbed me, but they did the right thing in putting black over strong. I hope they can resist the urge to put Cody right back over again at the PPV.