May 19th, 2021
Daily’s Place - Jacksonville, FL
1) Christian Cage vs. Matt Sydal
This developed off of a backstage segment last week. Both men have recent history with Team Taz and Powerhouse Hobbs, though. And Taz is on commentary so it’s all sorta intertwined. This is a very interesting match, though. On one hand you’ve got the vibes of 2009 ECW where these two were keeping that show afloat and on the other hand you’ve got two extremely seasoned veterans, but they both come from completely different backgrounds and styles. I felt like Christian would be a perfect opponent for Matt as he will keep him working a less spotty style, which to me, in the year 2021, is better for Sydal. This isn’t the Sydal from 04-05 tearing it up with AJ Styles in IWA MS & ROH, this is a Sydal who matured stylistically very similar to someone like AJ. Now that I mention it, that’s a good comparison. Anyway, yeah, Christian grounds Sydal and forces him to work tight which rules, as said before. It makes the fun flurries from Sydal more pop worthy as he hits moves like the meteora for a near fall and it feels like an actual false finish rather than just another spot. I’ve written a lot about this match, more than I ever expected for a 7-8 minute match, but it was just such a blast. Nice and simple opener worked to perfection. Christian wins with the killswitch.
Match rating - **3/4
Taz stands up from the commentary booth and starts jawing at Christian. An injured Ricky Starks shows up to provide a distraction for Hook, Brian Cage & Powerhouse Hobbs to attack Christian & Sydal, who hugged & embraced post match, from behind. They beat them down until HANGMAN PAGE WALKS OUT. He hands Starks his shot glass and stomps to the ring and goes after his opponent for Double or Nothing, Brian Cage. This was a nice way to hype two different matches for the PPV. Page looked awesome in his role and he & Cage had a sick exchange that made me stoked for their rematch at Double or Nothing. Cage gets the last laugh though as he plants Hangman with a powerbomb following help from Hook, much to the pleasure of Taz. Team Taz stands tall.
Backstage, we have the Varsity Blondes & Julia Hart. It’s the first time we’ve gotten a promo from them on Dynamite (that I can remember) and it’s honestly really good. They introduce Julia Hart as part of their group, now I think and Pillman Jr says that all he ever knew as a kid was the Dark Side of the Ring until he met the Young Bucks and they are the reason he decided to give the business a chance, but now they need a reality check and they will get it tonight when he & Griff defeat them for the tag team titles!! Loved this!
2) Jon Moxley & Eddie Kingston vs. The Acclaimed (Max Caster & Anthony Bowens)
Someone on Twitter said the Acclaimed had become a favorite part of AEW for them and I am feeling the same, their promos/raps on Mox & Kingston here were insane. Caster said King looked like a box of newports, that the two exchanged valentines gifts, and that Mox’s wife had been hitting him up for some oral sessions. Insane shit. Mox floors Bowens to start and idk I kinda wanna see an upset here?!? I’m just being a mark. This went about how you’d expect. Simple, to the point stuff. Acclaimed got a lot in and looked great against the two veterans, not out of place AT ALL. Great stuff, Mox & King win after quite the battle from the Acclaimed.
Match rating - **3/4
Alex Marvez approaches Chris Jericho for an interview backstage. Jericho is with DEAN MALENKO. Jericho says everyone has to wait til later for the Inner Circle’s answer to the Pinnacle’s challenge.
Ethan Page & Scorpio Sky are in the ring with Tony Schiavone. Awesome promo from All Ego as he says he will put the nail in Darby’s coffin. Scorpio targets Sting again and says he will take him out.. or whatever. Their feud just seems so much less personal than Page/Darby. Sting and Darby come out for the attack. Darby beats Page with his skateboard before he & Sky escape. The Dark Order comes out to try to stop the bad boys from escaping. Am I sensing some sort of Sting/Darby-Dark Order partnership?
The Pinnacle is at dinner. MJF is yelling shit with a knife in his hand. They’re dragging along to the Inner Circle’s response to the Pinnacle’s Stadium Stampede challenge for Double or Nothing so this was basically just filler.
3) Hikaru Shida vs. Rebel (w/ Britt Baker)
Very short squash here. Britt tried to interfere and help Rebel get an upset on her opponent for Double or Nothing, but fails. Shida wins and Britt attacks her post match with a CURB STOMP ONTO THE WOMENS TITLE. Britt poses with the title then throws it down onto Shida and walks off. I LOVE IT. DMD VS SHIDA GONNA ROCKKKKK.
In one of my favorite segments of the night, Kenny Omega & Don Callis go to check on Orange Cassidy in the training room after his injury last week. They offer him a contract to pull out from the triple threat title match at Double or Nothing "for his own safety" and he will get another title match later down the line. Orange rips up the first one and Don says he figured he would do that so he hands him another one and tries to smooth talk him into atleast keeping it to read over. This was great, classic heel stuff. I loved it.
The Inner Circle finally comes out and they basically one by one say they accept the Pinnacle’s challenge for Double or Nothing. Jericho closes it with one of his vintage yelling promos. It’s fine, far from the worst they’ve done in this feud, but also not as good as some of the other segments. It’s just like ok.. have the match and shut up. Anyways, yeah. Jericho says they will dance on their face and piss ON THEIR GRAVE !
ANOTHER Jade Cargill pre-tape about how she needs no one. Great. Give me a squash match to spice this up, please. Some dude walks up and wants to be her manager, but work for HER, not her work for him. Cargill seems intrigued, but is pissed because he interrupted her interview and tells him to leave.
4) Serena Deeb (c) vs. Red Velvet - NWA Women’s Title Match
First time we’ve seen Velvet since she stood beside Cody in the Shaq/Jade match and she looked awesome in that role so I was pretty sad she slipped to the waist side for a little while. This is Serena’s first match on the show in a while too, but man they didn’t hold back here at all. Fire from Deeb to start as she begins by attacking Velvet at the bell. Velvet fights from underneath, but gets some big moves in including a siiick moonsault off the apron to the floor which she nailed with precision. Back in the ring after a commercial break, they tear into the closing sequence of some near falls. Serena hits the powerbomb she’s been trying to go for all match for a near fall after putting her knees up to block a moonsault off the top turnbuckle from Velvet. Serena then begins some short work on the knee that hadn’t been touched all match, but they do some decent enough work in the last 2-3 minutes to build it towards a sensible finish with Deeb trapping her in the hold, cutting her knees/legs out from under her when she escaped and started to mount offense, then locking her in it again, but not before smashing her knee repeatedly into the mat.. GRUESOME. Velvet taps.
Match rating - ***
Outside of the Elite’s locker room backstage, PAC cuts a promo on being screwed out of opportunities by AEW, but at Double or Nothing - “who’s gonna stop the Bastard?”
5) Anthony Ogogo (w/ QT Marshall, Nick Comoroto, & vs. Austin Gunn (w/ Billy Gunn & Cody Rhodes)
Oh fuck yeah. Ogogo god damn destroys Gunn here and has him bleeding from the mouth and selling like death. This absolutely ruled, Ogogo is THE GUY. Push him to the moon.
Match rating - ***
Cody enters the ring to check on Austin afterwards and Ogogo takes his American flag and throws it. Cody catches it and the two stare down as referees start to trickle out to make sure no brawl happens. This has a big fight feel.
Backstage, we FINALLY get words from Christopher Daniels & Kazarian following their loss and break up last week. Well, we get words from Kazarian. Daniels, stitched up eye and all, just walks off after shaking Kazarian’s hand. Kaz says he doesn’t know what’s next for CD, but he knows what’s next for him - to hunt down every member of the Elite. Let’s goooo. This will be fun and I like that they aren’t just tossing Kazarian back into random matches.
The new TNT Champion Miro is out next. He says he will defend the title next Friday on the Friday night edition of Dynamite, just two days before Double or Nothing. He is then approached by his opponent for the PPV, Lance Archer, accompanied by Jake Roberts as always. Solid promos from both, but Miro really knocked it out of the park. He said Jake won’t be able to do enough yoga to save him if he gets too close to him. Miro also mentions Lance’s “everybody dies” catchphrase and says he’s right, but he insists that he dies first.
6) The Young Bucks (w/ Don Callis) (c) vs. The Varsity Blondes (Brian Pillman Jr. & Griff Garrison) (w/ Julia Hart) - AEW World Tag Team Title Match
Varsity Blondes are out first, they really look like the full package tonight, especially with Julia Hart added to the fold. The Bucks are in their Dior Jordan’s again and Nick is wearing some wild shit on his head. The first portion of this match felt similar to a lot of this show - a little rushed. Things fell into a decent grove in the second half, though. Pillman has an awesome fire up spot when he’s taking kicks to the back and he stands up and catches a super kick, thwarts it and nails them with one of his own. Good false finishes and fire to close out a match that would’ve been even better if it had a little more time to breath. Bucks retain off some shenanigans. Pillman taps to the sharpshooter after his aerosol sprayed in his face and his head planted into the mat by Nick.
Match rating - **3/4
After the match, Jon Moxley & Eddie Kingston show up and take out the Bucks. Then they STEAL THE YOUNG BUCKS SHOES OH MY GOD. That was better than the physicality. It’s announced at this time that they get a title shot at the PPV next Sunday against the Bucks as expected. Fun show closer. They run down the card for Double or Nothing and promote the Friday night show next week as they are changing nights for one night only.
So, tonight was enjoyable and an easy watch as usual, but man it feels like everything is moving so fast it’s hard to process and get the most of all the programs. There is excitement for all the Double or Nothing matches, but lord it felt like some time was mismanaged here. For instance, was three different segments needed for Inner Circle/Pinnacle? It barely needed the time it got for the big in ring portion where Inner Circle accepted the challenge. I’d rather have had the main event gotten an extra five minutes or something. None the less, I don’t feel like complaining anymore, I’m tired. And this was a fun watch anyways and much better than every other TV wrestling option so no reason to dwell on minor negatives. Onward we move to Friday Night Dynamite to kick off Double or Nothing weekend! Next Friday, May 28th!