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AEW Dynamite: Fight for the Fallen - July 28, 2021
by Samoa Rowe
Live from a nearly sold out Bojangles Coliseum in Charlotte, North Carolina. Our hosts are Jim Ross, Tony Shiavone, and Excalibur.
Special video package presenting Hangman Adam Page and the Dark Order as scrappy fighters. They aren't wearing hats, but their silhouettes are. They are fighting for peace.
Hangman Page and the Dark Order (Evil Uno, Stu Grayson, Alex Reynolds, and John Silver) vs. The Elite Squad (AEW World Champion Kenny Omega, AEW Tag Team Champions The Young Bucks, Doc Gallows, and Karl Anderson, with Don Callis, MT Nakazawa, and Brandon Cutler)
The Elite Squad are endorsing the new Space Jam movie and shoot some hoops on their way to the ring (almost tipping the hoop into the stands, Nakazawa casually caught it to avoid some lawsuits). Hangman Page's title opportunity against Omega is on the line, pitting Hangman's new family against his former family. Page is mega over with the fans and hits Anderson with a fallaway slam. Omega cheap shots from the apron, and the match breaks down into a brawl. The Dark Order hit quadruple stereo suplexes. Everyone gathers around to catch Reynold's superplex on Matt. The Dark Order completely swarm the Good Brothers, but Anderson pulls Reynolds' trunks to eliminate him at 3:47. Anderson finds himself surrounded and takes FATALITY and pinned at 4:47. John Silver throws Matt around as they cut to picture-in-picture. They return with the match in chaos again, but the ring clears out for Grayson to hit a springboard corkscrew plancha onto the pile. Stu and Gallows brawl into the stands, and Stu tempts fate again with a flying shoulder tackle off a balcony. They're both eliminated at 11:20. Meanwhile, Uno plants Omega but his Swanton Bomb is blocked. V-Trigger for Uno and One Winged Angel finishes him at 12:27. Silver returns with a spear on Matt. Nick blows Hangman a kiss and then hits Silver with a running bulldog. Fans chant “Cowboy sh!t” while they cut to a second commercial break. They return with Silver in the midst of a comeback, hitting Nick with a wild airplane spin slam. Nick pushes Silver into a V-Trigger, and then Omega nails a German. They bring over the hoop so Nick can hit a slam dunk Indie-taker (the fans boo him when the ball bounces out, haha). The BTE Trigger ends Silver at 19:06. Hangman has to go it alone against Omega and the Bucks. Omega spits in the face and they duke it out. The Bucks assist with superkicks, Omega hits a snap dragon, and they hit triple superkicks but HANGMAN KICKS OUT! Page blocks a suplex and serves a lariat. Page takes down the Bucks, cleans the ring, and hits a top rope moonsault to ringside. Pop-up powerbomb on Omega, but Nick breaks the count. Matt blocks the Buckshot, Page avoids the Indie-taker, Buckshot on both Bucks, Matt is eliminated at 24:05! Omega's belt shot backfires and he eats Dead Eye for a great nearfall. Omega ducks a Buckshot and clobbers Page with a belt, but Page kicks out again! V-Triggers and One Winged Angel ends it at 25:40, and the fans are kind of in shock. There were certainly some interesting and surprising booking decisions on display here, conventional wisdom would suggest that Page would pin the champion and punch his ticket for All Out. I guess what I'm saying is that this result feels like a bummer, but not necessarily in a counterproductive way. The match itself was lively and entertaining, marred by some sloppy moments and overly telegraphed high spots, ***.
Winners: The Elite Squad
Backstage interview by Pac, but they're interrupted by Andrade El Idolo and Chavo Guerrero, who can't help but notice that Fenix and Penta aren't in the building, and cannot waste an opportunity to play some mind games.
Taz is on an elevated podium and introduces Ricky Starks for his official FTW Championship celebration. There's a live band and roses for the champ. Starks is a good talker, but this promo fizzles out pretty fast. Brian Cage eventually hears enough and beats up the band on his way to the ring. J.R. has fun with this, "That bass drummer had a family!" Starks throws his bouquet in Cage's face and escapes intact. This segment did not help the feud and seemed to lose the crowd.
We're joined via satellite by none other than HIROSHI TANAHASHI! He wants the winner of tonight's Archer vs. Hikuleo match, but doesn't say when.
FTR (Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler, with Tully Blanchard) vs. Santana and Ortiz (with Konnan)
Ortiz starts against Wheeler, and holds his own in a wrestling contest. Ortiz botches a monkey flip, sending Wheeler into a timeout. Tags are made, and Santana and Harwood slug it out. Santana hits Two Amigos and Ortiz assists on the Third Amigo. Dax answers with a spinebuster for 2. They cut to picture-in-picture. They return with Ortiz fighting out of FTR's corner and Santana storms in on a hot tag. Santana cleans house and hits a slick dive onto Wheeler. Santana misses a diving stomp, recovers with a meeting of the minds, and hits another dive. Powerbomb on Dax sets up Ortiz' frog splash for 2. German suplex on Harwood and then a pop-up powerbomb, but the match breaks down. Harwood kicks out of yet another powerbomb. FTR regain some momentum and Dax hits a superplex for 2. The fans seem oddly disinterested. Brainbuster by Dax finishes it at 11:09. Fine TV match, but a far cry from the epic grudge match I'd built up in my imagination, **½.
Earlier today, Tony Shiavone talked to AEW Women's Champion Britt Baker and Rebel. Nyla Rose may have broken her wrist, but she still made her tap out. She has some kind of scheme in mind to keep bad things from happening to her.
Tony Shiavone reveals a Rampage: The First Dance special for Chicago on August 20th. Darby Allin and Sting are asked for their reactions. Darby wants some tough competition, maybe even from the "best in the world." That sounds like code for "CM Punk."
IWGP United States Championship:
Lance Archer © (with Jake Roberts) vs. Hikuleo (with King Haku)
They both go for the throat, Archer connects with running elbows and mounted punches, but Hikuleo reverses into a sitout powerbomb. Power slam by Hikuleo and it's time for picture-in-picture. They return with Hikuleo poised for victory, but the format sheet demands that Archer make a comeback and he does. Archer hits his tightrope walk moonsault and wakes up the fans. Archer's superplex gets 2. The Blackout ends it at 7:13. This turned into a complete massacre after the break, *½.
Winner and still IWGP U.S. Champion: Lance Archer
Alex Marvez interrupts Cody Rhodes at his production table to talk, but Malakai Black immediately ambushes Cody! They brawl onto the stage, and the fans are sure happy to see them. Black wins the exchange and welcomes Cody to the House of Black. Referees and wrestlers come out to help, so Black puts Fuego Del Sol down with a Black Mass.
TNT Champion Miro talks to the camera. He's God's favorite champion and has been blessed with a double jointed wife. He'll be in action next week, sorry Charlotte fans.
Hardy Family Office (Marq Quen, Isiah Kassidy, and Angelico, with Matt Hardy) vs. Jurassic Express (Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus, with Marko Stunt) and Christian Cage
The fans are glad to sing along to “Tarzan Boy” but are really pleased to see Christian. Angelico tries his luck against Christian, and eats an uppercut. Christian and JB hit Angelico with double hip tosses. JB hits a flipping arm drag and dropkick. Private Party and Hardy interfere, so Christian chases Hardy up the stage. This leaves Jurassic Express at a disadvantage as the HFO works JB. Private Party attempt Poetry in Motion to no avail, and Luchasaurus eats them alive in a hot tag. Luchasaurus amusingly hits a triple German suplex. Private Party block double chokeslams and hit superkicks. They knock Christian off with a Poetry in Motion variation. JB takes down Angelico and Kassidy with a dive, while Cage finishes Quen with a Frog Splash at 4:40! This is the kind of match I have in mind when I complain about other matches needlessly going through commercials, **.
Winners: Christian Cage and Jurassic Express
The Blade ambushes Christian with brass knucks and leaves him down and out.
Video profile for Nick Gage. He's the Death Match King and has the video highlights to prove it.
Julia Hart (with the Varsity Blondes) vs. Thunder Rosa
Rosa gets one of the better ovations of the night. She is now an official member of the AEW roster and wants to make quick work of the cheesy Hart. Julia holds her own against the aggressive Rosa and they reach a stalemate. Julia waves to the crowd, allowing Rosa to gain the upper hand. Rosa hits double knees to the chest but then misses a running dropkick. Julia gets some token shots in before Rosa puts her into a deep kneebar. Julia gets the ropes, blocks a suplex, but Rosa hits the running dropkick that she wanted before. The Thunder Driver ends it at 4:03. Appropriate one-sided victory for Rosa, *.
Winner: Thunder Rosa
Jon Moxley talks to the camera. He's mad that even though the Olympics are ongoing in Tokyo, he's still not allowed in Japan. He's also angry that Tanahashi only asked for a U.S. title shot once he was out of the picture. The Forbidden Door is open and there's nothing good on the other side for Tanahashi.
The 5 Labours of Jericho: Chapter 2 - No Rules Match:
"Painmaker" Chris Jericho vs. Nick Gage (with MJF)
MJF joins commentary with popcorn in hand. Gage swipes Jericho's arm with a pizza cutter. Nobody makes Jericho bleed his own blood, but Gage cuts off his burst with a spinebuster. Gage hits a superplex and then Falcon Arrow for 2. Jericho blocks a running boot and puts on the Walls, but Gage wiggles free. Gage knocks Jericho into the ring post and retrieves a collection of light tubes! Jericho cuts him off with Floyd. Gage absorbs some blows and hits a backbreaker. Gage carves the forehead with a pizza cutter and the fans respond in horror. They cut to picture-in-picture. Gage fills the ring with plunder during the break, and sets up a glass pane onto some chairs. Jericho puts Gage through the glass with an avalanche hurricanrana! The fans LOVED that spot. Gage reverses a Codebreaker with a slam into the glass shards. Gage smashes light tubes over Jericho's head! Piledriver into the glass by Gage, but Jericho kicks out! Gage jabs a broken tube into the forehead, which is a pretty routine spot in these death matches, but horrifies the live crowd. Gage gets more light tubes, but Jericho sprays dark mist in his face! Jericho smashes some tubes over Gage's skull and finishes with the Judas Effect at 13:26! Well, my 2021 Bingo card didn't have Nick Gage Death Match on Cable TV, did yours? This was pretty gruesome by TNT standards, but mild by Gage's indie standards. Good compromise, it got over with the live crowd and nicely advanced the story of Jericho suffering to get his hands on MJF, ***.
Winner: Chris Jericho
MJF reveals the next Labour to be a match against Juventud Guerrera, and Jericho must win with a top rope move. Juvie isn't in the building, which actually disappoints the fans, so they just boo MJF to end the broadcast.
Final Thoughts: This was a pretty daring episode of Dynamite. They have a larger than normal arena crowd and gave them a disappointing finish early in the show and then a death match main event. Both moves could have easily backfired on them, but judging by the reaction to Jericho/Gage, I think they succeeded. The big talking points coming out of this will likely be the pending arrival of Hiroshi Tanahashi and the pretty clear dog whistle announcement that Darby Allin will face CM Punk in Chicago.
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