Fight for the Fallen
July 28th, 2021
Commentary - Excalibur, Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone, & MJF
Hello everyone. So, sorry it took me a couple of days to get this up. I know no one probably cares, but I get annoyed with myself when I’m late posting. I attended this show live with Mike, Donnie, Liz, & Jeff. Our second time attending AEW together with the first experience coming at Double or Nothing. This one was a little closer to home which made the event special in a different way than the PPV in Jacksonville.
Showed up around 6:20 and the line was wrapped down the sidewalk through the parking lot down by the highway. This place was packed, man. They began taping Elevation around 6:50 and we got to see Darby Allin & Sting which rocked as always. Red Velvet competed as well which was a highlight. Then things got started. I don’t wanna jump too far ahead, but this really was another phenomenal live wrestling experience and got me even more excited for our upcoming trip to Chicago.
1) The Elite (Kenny Omega, The Young Bucks, Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows) vs. The Dark Order (Hangman Page, Evil Uno, Stu Grayson, John Silver, & Alex Reynolds) - Elimination Match
From the time the opening Hangman/Dark Order video package aired, I knew this was going to special. Little did I know that was just the beginning. The entrances of both units were equally as amazing. With the Dark Order’s being emotionally charged as Hangman arrived in Dark Order attire, seemingly accepting his role as a member of the group for the first time ever. The Elite’s was more comedic based, but had everyone in the arena rolling. The bell rings and this match implodes into everything I could ever ask for from a 10 man elimination match. We got great showings from people we don’t get to see show out a lot like Uno & Grayson and Silver & Reynolds. Silver and Uno got chants and a big reaction all match. Big LG Doc Gallows was another highlight for me, just feeding like hell for everyone and being as goofy as ever. I also liked that they went with a double count out elimination for he & Grayson. Was a nice way to spice things up and also added to the chaotic element of things. Before we get to the major call backs and story, the Bucks bust out some comedy as they attempt a slam dunk Meltzer Drive on the floor into a basketball goal they brought to ringside. Before you know it, it’s down to Page and the Bucks & Omega. A 3 on 1 situation for the Hangman who was showered with love all night as always. Everyone wanted to see him win and was on the edge of their seat with anticipation as he tried to handle the numbers as well as the mental toll of being alone in the biggest match of his career with his title shot on the line against his three former best friends who ripped his heart out. Hangman tries, and he manages to gain ground and have a hell of a comeback with a double buckshot lariat on the Bucks which allows him to eliminate Matt, but it isn’t long before that’s all she wrote as Kenny & Nick pick the bones of Page and destroy him with a stiff BTE trigger for the win. This match burned me completely out for the next hour and I think it did the same to most of the crowd as well.
Match rating - ****1/4
Backstage, we find out that PAC is alone tonight because Andrade & Chavo canceled Fenix & Penta’s car ride to the arena and ordered them a limo and they will be there later. They are still trying to get the Lucha Bros to leave PAC and join up with them.
Ricky Starks is out next and we could barely hear anything he said over the mic. Taz standing on that huge ass podium and Brian Cage interrupting things and FLOORING Starks’ trumpet player and drummers were the best things about this. Otherwise, this might could be seen as a flop of a segment.
Hiroshi Tanahashi appears on screen. Let’s go!!! He will be challenging the winner of the IWGP US Title Match later!! Huge pop for this. THE ACE IN AEW.
2) FTR vs. Santana & Ortiz
This really didn’t have the special feel that I expected it to. Maybe it was because of the placement of it or something, but it just felt… there. I mean, they did stuff and it was fun. Santana & Ortiz flew around off some hot tags. Things seemed to possibly pick up then Cash Wheeler gets injured, cutting his arm open on the turnbuckle post or something and it felt like they had to call an audible and bring this thing home. FTR wins, but at a cost.
Match rating - **1/2
In the back, Britt Baker has a broken wrist, but she still made Nyla tap last week. She says she & Rebel need someone to help watch their back because everyone has it out for them 👀
Tony Schiavone is out on the stage with Tony Khan to announce the August 20th edition of Rampage will be live in Chicago and titled “The First Dance” which cues massive CM Punk chants. Is that a first in AEW? HERE WE GOOOOO.. but the tease continues…
Backstage, Darby Allin cuts the now much talked about promo where he seemingly calls out CM Punk saying “see you in Chicago, if you think you’re the best in the world” or something along those lines. I could barely hear this in the venue and had to go back and watch it later, but after that line the place erupted in CM PUNK chants so I knew something wild had happened.
3) Lance Archer (c) vs. Hikuleo (w/ Haku) - IWGP US Title Match
Hikuleo brings his father Haku out with him to a massive pop and a nice touch to this match / angle. The match is ok, Archer is always somewhat fun to watch and Hikuleo being here repping Bullet Club with his father is just.. cool. And that’s all that god damn matters. Archer retains after a relatively short back & forth match.
Match rating - **1/4
Cody Rhodes is approached in gorilla for an interview. As he steps up from his seat at the table and removes his headphones, he starts to cut one of his signature ultra babyface promos and MALAKAI BLACK KICKS THE HELL OUT OF HIM OUT OF NOWHERE!! This crowd was surprisingly pro-Malakai and anti-Cody. They fight up through the tunnel and out onto the stage and they boo anytime Cody has the upper hand (which isn’t for long.) Black floors him and stands over him. Huge Malakai chants which I most definitely took part in. Lee Johnson, Fuego Del Sol and some others come out to check on Cody and BLACK KICKS DEL SOL and holy shit it ruled. Crowd actually begins to boo Black after this unlike when he was attacking Cody which is funny. Fuego is so over and honestly, this segment displayed so many of the little things that AEW does so well. Fuego, an unsigned wrestler who has been trying his best to earn a contract, coming out to save the EVP from an attack and getting FLOORED? God, the sympathy that draws. I feel like this segment advanced much more than just Malakai/Cody. I loved this. Malakai and Cody face next week in Jacksonville where I’m sure Cody will get cheered like some sort of hero. God help us. He better not go over.
Miro defends the TNT Title against Lee Johnson next week. He also says he is blessed to have a double jointed wife. Oh my,
4) Christian Cage, Jungle Boy, & Luchasarus vs. Angelico & Private Party (w/ Matt Hardy)
Huuuuuge pop for Matt Hardy here in his home state. This doesn’t go long, but Jungle Boy is super over and seeing Christian is always special. Luchasaurus got some good shit in here as always. Honestly perfect prolonged squash for our babyface kings. Cage/Jungle/Luchasaurus win.
Match rating - **
After the match, The Blade attacks Christian. No Bunny though :-(
5) Thunder Rosa vs. Julia Hart (w/ Brian Pillman Jr & Griff Garrison)
Thunder Rosa got a thunderous, no pun intended, reaction and rightfully damn so. This is essentially just a squash for her as it didn’t even start til after 9:30 so you knew it wasn’t getting much time. Very enjoyable though, I hope we see more of Rosa now that she’s officially signed.
Match rating - **
Backstage, Jon Moxley cuts a promo on Hiroshi Tanahashi. He says Tana has been dodging him for months, but now he wants to show up on Dynamite now that he isn’t champion. Moxley wants Tana one on one. BOY OH BOY. Crowd got hot for this. It was also the first backstage segment of the night we could hear properly in the coliseum.
6) Chris Jericho vs. Nick Gage
What kind of Fire Pro bullshit is this? I still can’t believe this happened. It’s honestly what pushed me to finally buy my tickets and attend this. This is the biggest match of Nick Gage’s career. He’s a deathmatch legend, but he’s never been on the big stage. Last week, he arrived on television in front over 1 million fans watching at home and here, tonight he did the same as the ratings remained high for this episode of Dynamite. This also was the 3rd highest attended AEW show in the company’s short history. So, yeah. Huge moment for Nick. A lot of people didn’t react to him or know who he was during his entrance and the opening moments, but thanks to Chris Jericho’s willingness to let Nick be himself and work his style of match, everyone left this match at the very least thinking “holy shit, I’ve never seen anyone like Nick Gage.” The light tubes and glass are something I never thought I’d see on a national wrestling television program, but here we are. Chris Jericho really is willing to do anything for AEW and this proves it. What a fucking spectacle this was. Jericho wins after blasting Gage with a bundle of tubes over the head and a Judas effect.
Match rating - ****
MJF gets on the mic after the match and announces Jericho’s third labour… JUVENTUD GUERRERA. My god the fucking callback!!! MJF & Jericho had mentioned Juvi in a promo months and months ago and now MJF is bringing the legend to Dynamite. Jericho/Juvi on TNT??? Is it the late 90’s??! This promotion is just bonkers.
We stayed after the show went off air and caught a few of the Dark matches, but didn’t stay for all of them. Most notably, PAC v Jack Evans happened and that was a blast as expected.
In conclusion, this show fucking RULED. But you already know that. It’s received praise from everyone from Booker T to Bully Ray and it received over a million viewers for the third consecutive week. AEW is on the run of a lifetime. The momentum is real and I truly never thought I’d experience anything like this in my lifetime as a wrestling fan. I always heard about the attitude era from people who lived it out and was always jealous because wrestling has never really had that momentum in my lifetime, but man this feels close. I never thought of that comparison until I listened to the Busted Open Radio show and Dave LaGreca said watching this show felt like a peak Monday Night Raw in 99-2000 and I was like damn dude.. this shit really is as special as it feels.
Anyways, next week, things return to Daily's Place. It’s the “homecoming” show that I feel is happening much too soon. Not to hate on Daily’s because it is the home of AEW and many amazing moments & matches happened there, but it can’t help but feel like a small stall in the momentum could be coming up unless the crowd decides they are determined to keep the vibe going. The card is a little less stacked than the last few weeks, but the Malakai/Cody match headlining makes this a must see regardless.
So.. see y’all next week.. I mean.. in a few days!