By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite (Episode 103)
Queens, New York at Arthur Ashe Stadium
Aired live September 22, 2021 on TNT
[Hour One] After the opening video, Jim Ross, Excalibur, and Tony Schiavone checked in on commentary. Ross touted that there were 20,177 fans in attendance. They went right to entrances for the opening match with Justin Roberts serving as the ring announcer…
1. AEW World Champion Kenny Omega (w/Don Callis) vs. Bryan Danielson in a non-title match. The crowd came to life as the wrestlers stood across the ring from one another. Danielson smiled. The crowd popped again when the wrestlers locked up for the first time. Both wrestlers threw a lot of chops early on and the crowd “woooed” along as the chests of both wrestlers turned red.
Danielson performed a suicide dive. Danielson pinned Omega’s arm behind him and then ran his shoulder into the ring post while Excalibur explained that he was setting up Omega for a LeBell Lock. Danielson continued to target the left shoulder once they were back inside the ring.
The chop fest resumed. Omega went on the offensive and fired a series of kicks to the back of Danielson. Omega performed a rolling senton and then went for a moonsault, but Danielson put his knees up. Danielson fired away with chops and kicks in the corner. Danielson knocked Omega down with a running forearm.
Danielson followed up with a dropkick in the corner. Danielson threw a couple of kicks and then placed Omega on the top rope and gave him a huracanrana that led to a two count. Omega came back with a Frankensteiner style huracanrana. Danielson rolled to ringside. Omega ran the ropes and performed a flip dive over the ropes onto Danielson on the floor. A “this is awesome” chant broke out.
Danielson rolled Omega into a pin. Omega countered into a pin of his own. Danielson escaped and applied Cattle Mutilation, but Omega reached the ropes with his feet to break the hold. Omega rolled onto the entrance ramp that slants down with the bottom being level with the ring. Danielson hit him with a flying knee.
Danielson threw a series of kicks, but Omega ducked the finale and performed a snap dragon suplex on the ramp. Omega went to the top of the stage and then charged and hit Danielson with a V-Trigger knee heading into a picture-in-picture break. [C]
Omega dominated throughout the break and had Danielson back inside the ring coming out of the break. Omega got cocky as he stood over Danielson. Omega picked up Danielson and tossed him in buckle bomb position into the ropes. Referee Paul Turner checked on Danielson. Omega went up top and threw a missile dropkick to the back of Danielson and then covered him for a two count.
Danielson rolled Omega into a pin for a near fall. Omega put him right down with a kick to the back. With Danielson kneeling in a corner of the ring, Omega charged and hit him from behind with a flying knee. Omega placed Danielson on the top turnbuckle and went for a snap dragon suplex, but Danielson blocked it and slipped out, leaving Omega on the top turnbuckle. Danielson climbed up behind him and performed a side suplex.
Danielson sold a right arm injury while Schiavone stated that Omega’s weight landed on Danielson’s shoulder during the suplex. Danielson threw kicks. Omega caught him with a knee. Omega ran the ropes and ate an elbow strike. Danielson suplexed Omega into a pin for a good near fall. The fans applauded loudly.
Danielson went up top, but Omega cut him off. With Danielson facing the crowd on the top turnbuckle, Omega headutted him and then gave him a snap dragon suplex from the top rope. Omega went for the pin, but Danielson kicked out at the last moment and the crowd popped big. Another “fight forever” chant broke out.
Omega hit Danielson with a V-Trigger knee. Omega set up for the One Winged Angel, but Danielson countered into a great Poison Rana. Omega got up and went for a V-Trigger that Danielson avoided. Danielson went for a flying knee, but Omega stuffed it. Omega blasted Danielson with a V-Trigger and covered him for another great near fall.
Omega went for a Phoenix Splash, but Danielson rolled out of the way. Danielson got to his feet and Ross pointed out that he had an abrasion above his left eye. Danielson threw kicks. Omega threw a punch. Danielson returned the favor and then went back to throwing kicks until Omega fell down. Danielson threw a kick to Omega’s head.
Danielson grabbed the arms of Omega and delivered repeated kicks to the head. Danielson went for the LeBell Lock, but Omega reached the ropes. Danielson threw a running dropkick in the corner. He went for another, but Omega caught him with a V-Trigger. Danielson fired back with a shot, but Omega threw another V-Trigger and both men fell to the mat.
Danielson and Omega exchanged headbutts while on their knees. They stood up and continued to trade strikes. The bell rang to end the match in a draw.
AEW World Champion Kenny Omega fought Bryan Danielson to a 30-minute draw in a non-title match.
Omega took Danielson down, but Danielson countered into an attempt at his finisher while the referee tried to pull him off. The Young Bucks and Adam Cole ran out and pulled Danielson off of Omega. After they checked on Omega, Cole threw a cheap shot superkick at Danielson in the corner. Christian Cage, Jungle Boy, and Luchasaurus ran out to chase off The Elite members…
Excalibur said viewers would hear from CM Punk after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: An outstanding match that left me wanting more, yet didn’t feel like a letdown in any way despite the draw finish. I like that it wasn’t a typical draw where the babyface is a second away from going over. This was competitive from start to finish and it felt like they didn’t settle anything. I’m already looking forward to the rematch, which I selfishly hope will be at AEW Full Gear, which is expected to be held in my area.
CM Punk made his entrance to another big ovation. Punk said he was happy he wasn’t wrestling on Dynamite. “How do you follow that?” Punk asked. Punk said it had been a long time since he was in New York City and a long time since professional wrestling was in New York City.
Punk said people were saying he needed to be the old pissed off Punk. He said to be careful what you wish for. He brought up Team Taz and the crowd booed. Punk said they don’t even like Taz in his hometown. Punk said it has been a love fest lately. He said they tried to take it all away from him. He said they don’t want to hear “Cult of Personality” or to have happy Punk coming out and enjoy pro wrestling fans.
Punk said it’s been so long since he’s had this, felt this, and needed this. “I get pissed off because nobody is going to take this away from me,” Punk said. “This is mine once again.” Punk said Team Taz should have finished the job when they tried to put him through a table. “You made a mistake and you let me live,” said Punk.
Punk added that Powerhouse Hobbs will got to sleep on AEW Rampage. Punk went to ringside and hugged actor Stephen Amell, who was in the front row…
Powell’s POV: A fiery promo from Punk with good hype for his AEW Rampage match against Hobbs. AEW is really good about listing the matches for their television shows, but it obviously helps to have the wrestlers sell their matches on the mic. Is “Heels” star Amell just visiting or will he get involved again?
2. MJF (w/Wardlow) vs. Brian Pillman Jr. (w/Julia Hart). Both entrances were televised. MJF offered a handshake. Pillman took MJF down and threw punches at him to start the match. MJF was in offensive control heading into a PIP break a few minutes into the match. [C]
[Hour Two] Late in the match, Pillman went for a springboard move, but MJF caught him in the Salt of the Earth (Fujiwara armbar) and wrenched on his arm until he submitted…
MJF defeated Brian Pillman Jr. in 9:20.
Powell’s POV: This was a good choice to follow the dream match, as MJF always gets good heat.
Backstage, Alex Marvez interviewed Chris Jericho and Jake Hager. Jericho told Dan Lambert to bring his MMA meatheads with him for the tag match on AEW Rampage…
Powell’s POV: Jericho badmouthing the MMA guys is interesting given Hager’s involvement in the sport.
The lights went out and then Malakai Black made his entrance. Cody Rhodes was elevated from underneath the stage and wore superhero gear that makes him look like Homelander from “The Boys” on Amazon. Arn Anderson joined Cody on the stage and then Cody motioned for someone else to come out. Brandi Rhodes joined her husband on the stage and accompanied him to the ring…
3. Cody Rhodes (w/Arn Anderson, Brandi Rhodes) vs. Malakai Black. Early in the match, Cody ended up at ringside. Black sat with his legs crossed inside the ring. Brandi entered the ring and mimicked him before flipping him off. Black laughed at her. Cody returned to the ring, but Black regained offensive control.
Rhodes tossed Black onto the ramp and then hit him with a springboard kick. Cody got some boos when he looked to the crowd. Cody went up top and leapt at Black, who hit him with a clunky looking knee strike. [C]
Cody had Black pinned for a two count coming out of the break. Black stood up and blasted Cody with his finishing kick. Cody tumbled to ringside. Black rushed to ringside and tried to pick up the dead weight to get him back in the ring. Black returned to the ring on his own. Cody eventually rolled in and was covered by Black before he put his foot on the ropes to break it.
Cody performed a chop block. Black sold left knee pain. Cody performed a dragon screw leg whip through the ropes. The boos continued for Cody. Back in the ring, Back set up for his finish, but Black avoided it. Cody ran the ropes and Black caught him and tossed him across the ring.
Rhodes set up for CrossRhodes, but Black kicked him. Cody came right back with a springboard cutter and hit CrossRhodes for a near fall. Anderson stood on the apron and protested. Black ran Rhodes into Anderson. Cody went to ringside to check on Anderson, who shoved him while indicating that he wanted him to worry about the match rather than him.
Rhodes threw shots at Black in the corner. Referee Paul Turner tried to interject, but Cody got upset and shoved him away. Black spat mist in the eyes of Rhodes and then put him in an inside cradle and got the three count.
Malakai Black beat Cody Rhodes in 11:05.
Powell’s POV: It’s crazy that Cody was among the most popular wrestlers in AEW early on and now the crowds are turning on him. Some of it is probably attributable to Black’s popularity, but I also feel like Cody’s oddball feuds with QT Marshall and Anthony Ogogo played a part, as they caused Cody to lose momentum. Of course, Cody having his own reality show and and a regular spot on a game show also makes him an easy target. He’s a hell of a heel so he’ll be just fine if he turns. By the way, do the broadcast team members have any idea which commercials remain entirely PIP? Excalibur keeps telling viewers that they won’t miss a moment due to PIP, but not every commercial break sticks with PIP.
A video package spotlighted Miro vs. Sammy Guevara for the TNT Title for next week’s Dynamite in Rochester, New York… The Sting and Darby Allin vs. FTR tag match was hyped as coming up after the break… [C]
4. Sting and Darby Allin vs. “FTR” Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler (w/Tully Blanchard). FTR wore NWO-themed gear. Sting went for an early Stinger Splash on Wheeler, but Harwood pulled his partner out of the way. Sting crashed and burned in the corner. He came back briefly and they did a spot where Sting fell and inadvertently headbutted Harwood in the balls. Allin tagged in and worked over both FTR members. He went for a Coffin Drop onto them at ringside, but they caught him and dumped him on the ring apron heading into a PIP break. [C]
FTR set up for a spike piledriver on Allin, but Sting broke it up. Harwood clotheslined Sting over the top rope and then Harwood rolled him up for a near fall. Harwood did the Undertaker throat slash and went or a Tombstone, but Sting countered out of it.
A short time later, Harwood wedged a chair in the corner while Sting performed a Stinger Splash on Wheeler. Sting took the bait and went for another on Harwood, but he stopped short of hitting the chair. Sting ran Harwood into the chair instead. Sting put Harwood in the Scorpion Death Lock. Wheeler laid on the apron and tried to pull his partner’s arms. Allin performed a Coffin Drop onto Wheeler, and then Harwood tapped to Sting’s finisher…
Sting and Darby Allin defeated “FTR” Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler in 9:25.
Powell’s POV: A crowd pleasing match with the babyfaces going over strong in the end. Sting’s appeal over the years continues to be remarkable.
Footage aired from AEW Rampage of the Britt Baker and Ruby Soho verbal exchange. Excalibur hyped the match as the main event and then set up footage from the “Rhodes To The Top” reality show that premieres next week after Dynamite… [C]
The broadcast team hyped the following matches for Friday’s two-hour AEW Rampage: CM Punk vs. Powerhouse Hobbs, Jon Moxley and Eddie Kingston vs. Minoru Suzuki and Lance Archer, Lucha Brothers, Santana, and Ortiz vs. Private Party, The Butcher, and The Blade, Anna Jay vs. Penelope Ford, Adam Cole and The Young Bucks vs. Christian Cage, Jungle Boy, and Luchasaurus, and Chris Jericho and Jake Hager vs. Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky…
Ross hyped Miro vs. Sammy Guevara for next week’s Dynamite… Entrances for the main event took place…
5. Britt Baker (w/Rebel, Jamie Hayter) vs. Ruby Soho for the AEW Women’s Championship. Justin Roberts delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. Aubrey Edwards was the referee. Early in the match, Baker went to ringside and huddled up with her sidekicks. Soho dove from the top rope and took out Rebel and Hayter, then walked into a Baker superkick. Baker put Soho on the apron and then gave her a neckbreaker on the floor heading into a PIP break. [C]
Soho went on the offensive by using her legs to pull Baker’s face into a turnbuckle pad. Soho threw a few running kicks at Baker. Both women jockeyed for position and Soho ended up putting Baker down with a suplex. Both women traded kicks and then ended up lying on the mat.
Baker took control and got her glove from ringside and then flipped off the camera. Baker approached Soho with the hope of putting her in the Lockjaw, but Soho took her down. Soho catapulted Baker into the corner and then hit her with an enzuigiri. Soho went up top and performed a diving senton that resulted in a near fall.
Baker came back with a swinging neckbreaker and then superkicked a kneeling Soho before covering her for a two count. Baker went to the rope and was cut off with a forearm strike. Soho went to the ropes outside the ring. After both wrestlers fought for position, Baker put Soho on her back and leapt off the top rope and landed on her. Baker covered Soho for a near fall.
Soho rolled to ringside where Rebel and Hayter taunted her. Baker stood on the steps and threw a kick that Soho blocked, but Baker drove Soho’s face into the steps. Soho returned to the ring and ate a Stomp from Baker, who covered her for a good near fall. Baker jawed at the referee and was rolled up for a two count.
Soho threw a kick at Baker and then took out Rebel, who had climbed onto the apron. Soho went after Hayter who was on the apron across the ring, but Hayter clotheslined her over the top rope while the referee was distracted. Baker applied the Lockjaw and forced Soho to tap out…
Britt Baker defeated Ruby Soho in 13:20 to retain the AEW Women’s Championship.
Baker celebrated her win to close the show…
Powell’s POV: A good main event. It felt like it took them a few minutes to find their groove, but it was entertaining the rest of the way. The interference protects Soho and creates the need for a rematch at some point. Overall, this was a great night for AEW. Normally, a show that peaks with the opening match leaves a lot to be desired. But these were special circumstances and that was a special opening match. The crowd was hot throughout the show and AEW gave them plenty to cheer about.
I will be back shortly with my weekly same night audio review of AEW Dynamite for Dot Net Members, who are currently listening to my MLW Fusion Alpha audio review. Let me know what you thought of the show by grading it below.