AEW Dynamite #97 LIVE REVIEW

Matches:
  1. The Elite vs Sydal Brothers, Dante Martin ****
  2. Daniel Garcia vs Darby Allin ***3/4
  3. Best Friends vs HFO ***1/2
  4. Nyla Rose vs Kris Stratlander ***1/4
  5. IMPACT Tag Titles: Good Brothers(c) vs Dark Order ***
  6. Wardlow vs Jericho ***1/4

Thoughts:

I should be reviewing live tonight presuming nothing changes at the last moment. My son is sick right now so I might dip in and out a bit. Just a heads up. Refresh throughout the night.

While I wait, lets play the prediction game.

Darby will beat Garcia but I expect a nice outing from the latter and I've quickly grown a liking to him. The Elite will win their trios match but Christian will get involved. Dante will continue to rock. We really need six-man belts soon. I have no idea who wins the Best Friends versus HFO match as I feel neither should take an L right this second. Best Friends likely wins. Kris beats Nyla as she continues to rise. I'd love for Uno and Dos to win gold tonight but...it's not happening. Jericho beats Wardlow but gets fucking beaten down and destroyed after.

I've not fished around much and have no idea if we're getting any surprises tonight.

Note that the Caster situation has seen The Acclaimed removed from the tag rankings and Max's partner worked the Dark tapings tonight solo. I believe Elevation matches are recorded with Dynamite and Dark with Rampage but could have that backwards or completely wrong. Long day.

I'm avoiding spoilers but I do have the list of matches taking place during the tapings section.

  • 2.0 vs Duke Davis, Ganon Jones
  • Diamante vs Julia Hart
  • 5 vs Joey Janela
  • Kiera Hogan vs Hikaru Shida
  • Lance Archer vs Poor Jobber #8
  • Thunder Rosa vs Ray Lyn
  • PAC vs Anthony Bowens
Eric Mutter accidentally spoiled the results for me, though admittedly most are predictable, and therefore as a result I officially curse him here and now. May his socks randomly be filled with jello three times a year at random times.

JR kicks us off and we move directly into MJF chatting about the Jericho trials. Fun fact, but that awesome old Hercules show was more based off of Heracles than Hercules. But yeah, the shade thrown at Wardlow by MJF was interesting. Imagine how much heat MJF would get if he beats Jericho to end this whole arc. I kind of want that.

Christian is announced as Kenny's opponent for All Out.

Don joins the commentary and is as bad at math as Steiner.

The opener should honestly rock. Kenny and The Bucks against the Yoga Bros and Dante. What's not to like? The attitude of The Young Bucks of late has been gold, by the way. I know AEW is running with an openweight style, but Dante is awesome and would've been a fun name in the WCW Cruiserweight division. The dude is rising nicely. AEW is doing something WWE fails at often; when a tag team has a member get hurt, their partner tends to fade into obscurity while they wait. Dante and Bowens is evidence of a different approach and I appreciate it far more.

At one point, Mike had his dick grounded into oblivion here for those that are into that sort of thing. He still was able to tap into The Matrix.

Back to Dante Martin, he's having his coming out party right now. This crowd is eating up everything he is doing and you can tell he's bathing in that shit. You love to see it.

Everyone brought their A games tonight and it was a wildly entertaining, high speed spotfest. Fantastic stuff for sure and one hell of a way to kick off Dynamite.

Tony tries to come out for an interview, Don takes the mic, Christian interrupts. I still am unsure about him getting the shot at All Out instead of as a tv match, but honestly it is what it is. Jurassic Express comes to provide backup. It looks like we're getting Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus versus The Bucks at All Out, too. Neither are matches I specifically wanted for the card but both should be pretty damn fun. 

Commercial break. I'm watching on Fite so I should get less issues than I tend to when watching on TNT, presumably. 

The fans started responded with little fanfare and then began chanting for CM Punk to the news of Christian versus Omega. Jungle seemed to have thoughts. Some cheap shots at Don seemed to get fans behind Christian, at least. The first match on Rampage is announced to be Christian versus Omega for the IMPACT World Heavyweight Championship as a teaser for their AEW World Championship match.

Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus is announced as getting their title shots in Houston next week.

Kenny's music interruption was gold. The segment didn't land perfectly but sets up some good television.

Do they have Christian take down Kenny and win the IMPACT strap? I am not sure they are even running the All Out match, by the way. Feels like a set up for Bryan or something else.

A Black package aired next. It fucking rocked. Cody is announced as being MIA while they also announce that he's out taping his show. They announce a sneak peak but the Fite feed just plays the logo over music instead. That's fine as I am likely going to be ignoring that series.

Miro will defend this Friday against Fuego del Sol. Apparently there is a new storyline on BTE where 2.0 are wanting to prove that Sting is the fake Sting and I love that idea. I hope there is something fun at ringside tonight based off of that seed. The Yuta/Garcia time limit draw is mentioned by Excalibur because he's a legendary commentator.

I'm still surprised that Lance Storm wasn't a challenge for Jericho, by the way.

Garcia time. He's out with 2.0. I'd like to see him against Bryan Danielson as soon as possible. I also remind folks that I feel the way 2.0 and Garcia are being positioned feels like a setup for something bigger on the near horizon. Maybe a noteworthy addition to their little group...I sincerely think we might get Punk as their leader. It makes a lot of sense to me.

It's always nice seeing technical wrestling of this style on such a big platform. I also think something should be said of the way that it feels like they're really focused on not just the present but the future too in this company, as best displayed right now by pointing out Dante's spotlight in the open and Garcia here.

Garcia/Darby was great stuff.

Yeah, I prefer the Fite stream to that of TNT. 

The heels tried to attack after but were beaten down by Allin and Sting.

Backstage, Death Triangle drama. PAC says he'll take care of Andrade and tells Penta and Fenix to focus on getting the AEW Tag belts. This leads to Death Triangle versus whatever they wanna call the Los Ingobernables reunion. 

I don't think Orange used "Where Is My Mind?" on Dark but might be remembering incorrectly. It just hit me but again, I could be remembering something that isn't right. Maybe they forgot to get permissions for non-TNT usage or something? Whatever.

HFO versus The Best Friends time. I am still on the edge here. Neither should eat an L right now in my mind. It'll say a lot to me based on who pulls ahead.

I agree with Bischoff in that AEW is about as close to perfect lately as a wrestling promotion can be. They're on one hell of a roll and are about to have an amazing boost as we head to the last half of 2021. This is fucking great television.

They're for sure adding six-man belts soon. Would they actually call them trios belts or six-man, though? I could be wrong here, too. I was wrong about saying mixed and women's tag belts were coming.

Nyla running down Kris and then Evans attacking Orange at ringside worked better than most spots of those sorts do. Took away little while even adding a bit to the match and another match later tonight.

How the fuck didn't WWE find enough talent in Yuta to sign him, by the way? There's something seriously up with NXT. I figured most of it out recently and need to post another little op-ed on it, actually.

The trios match was pretty good overall, though overbooked for sure and a bit circus actish. The fact that HFO won but in a dirty way is an interesting choice for sure. Perhaps the best way to do it?

Andrade and Chavo complain and bitch about the words of Death Triangle. Andrade and PAC is set for All Out. I'd question why they aren't mentioning TripleMania but AEW and AAA's relationship is weird. I'd love to think it's because of the lawsuit AAA is dealing with, but who fucking knows. It's been very inconsistent. For those that didn't know, Kenny faces Andrade on that show. The Lucha Blog posted how to watch that show HERE.

So, maybe AEW and their partners should start a governing body. The Pro Wrestling Union World Championship, Tag Championships, Six-man, etc and they'd be defended on any show that would benefit of it that is in the group. It wouldn't include the word, "union" as that'd remind people that wrestling deserves to be unionized.

Nyla and Kris time. Nyla once again ran down Kris, this time to start the match. I'm pretty sure Kris wins here and they're doing well to push her as an underdog here which is a perfect choice. Guerrero screeching like a burning bat at Orange was...something that happened. Kris' handwalking spot made her look bad, though.

Yup, she won. Honestly, this was good stuff and the right person won. Kris versus Baker at All Out. Baker will win, but I'm glad Stratlander is getting a nice run.

The Young Bucks and Cutler cut a promo backstage, Luchasaurus blocked a shot, Jungle dunked. Yeah, cheesy as fuck but entertaining, at least.

A preview of Baker/Red Velvet airs and then Tony invites out Baker. The fans wave their yellow and black, terrible towels for her. Her rise has been amazing to see. I'd love to see her lead a faction. Red Velvet will get elevated a bit just for getting this shot, but ultimately is just a throwaway record padder in this awesome reign of Baker.

She basically fucking dogged a tad on the hometown teams and was still so over that she got a pop. That's god tier mic work. Cole, if you can see this segment and still consider not leaving WWE just know you're an idiot. Don't be an idiot.

A Stark and Cage drama package. It was solid.

Scott D'Amore joined commentary. Cool stuff there.

It's a nitpick, but I do find it funny that Dark Order lost an elimination match for the chance at gold if they had won and then they still got a title shot anyway. Different belts or whatever, but still. If I had to kayfabe it, I'd say The Good Brothers making the challenge was because they undervalued Evil Uno and Stu after the L to their buddies. Yeah, lets go with that, I guess.

I'd really like more IMPACT Championship matches on AEW television. I'd also really like a Dark Order win here.

Kaz killed Cutler during this one. It was fun shit. Interestingly, the rest of Dark Order didn't join Uno and Dos. I still think there is some weight to the idea that Bray comes in and makes a new heel group that splits Dark Order in half. I also think it was super depressing seeing fans disrespect Uno and Stu when they debuted early in AEW history but am so glad they've gotten the fans to enjoy them more nowadays.

I really like the layout of this match. They're really selling me on a change being possible. Nevermind, we got a bit of a shit finish and some go-away-heat for Karl and Anderson instead. It was a pretty good match overall but overbooked a bit too and the finish hurt the quality.

They then aired a Kamille package mocking Leyla.

QT is set to apologize to Tony. When they mentioned randomly earlier that Tony's kid was there earlier, I didn't catch that they would get him involved. The Giant came out. Killed Solo while staring at QT. This was the weakest part of the episode for sure but it wasn't trash. AEW is a variety show folks. Just a reminder.

If the fates don't appreciate me enough and Punk isn't put in the role of leader of 2.0 and Garcia's unnamed faction, what about Wardlow!? Have MJF get pissed after Jericho wins and have Wardlow refuse to take any shit. Then have him and those boys as an anti-hero faction. It'd be fun and would elevate everyone.

Darby and Sting versus 2.0 sounds fun. Okay, have that main event. At the end, Punk appears and takes out Sting. That or Garcia where he does it and then tells Darby that his boss wants a word on Friday or something like that. Show closes without a word from him Punk if that's the choice. Start Rampage with a live mic and have him drop a pipebomb.

Main event time. The fourth trial is admittedly underwhelming unless they do something extra with it. Lance Storm or something would have been fun. Instead, it's Wardlow and the extra stip is MJF at ringside. After the way it has built that seems underwhelming.

Remember when Jericho's wife went to the US Capitol on January 6th?

JR mentions Undertaker, not by direct name, when Wardlow kicks out of a code breaker on 1. That was something that happened. The CM Punk chants returned here because fans aren't sold on the match yet. 

In the old tales, there were more challenges added during the trials.

They're selling Wardlow as a monster here. It's largely working. I agree with commentary when I say this is likely the first time I've seen Jericho in this position in years. I could be forgetting something. MJF absolutely has to beat Chris to end this angle.

He interfered a few times before being caught, setting up Edwards throwing him out. Jericho won right after. Circus stuff but well done. AEW is modernized Attitude Era. 

Spears attacked after. Sammy saved Jericho but couldn't save himself.

The Pinnacle eventually were ran off by Hager.

MJF closed the show announcing the stipulation for next week.

No entrance music and no Judas Effect finisher. Amazing heel work overall.

The ultimate wrestling variety series had a strong first half and a solid, but admittedly weaker, second half to follow. It was fun when at its lowest either way and another very worthwhile installment. A thumbs up from me.

Overall Rating: 80/100%