AEW Dynamite (Nov. 24, 2021) emanated from the Wintrust Arena in Chicago, IL. The show featured CM Punk and MJF in a verbal showdown, Bryan Danielson and Hangman Page increasing anticipation for their physical showdown, as well as Thunder Rosa and Jamie Hayter in a supreme slobberknocker.
Get caught up on all the Dynamite details with the excellent play-by-play from Claire Elizabeth.
Less famous Miz
If you would have told me that CM Punk would open the show for a match against QT Marshall lasting the first 40 minutes of the program, I would have wondered what’s the catch. The catch was MJF arriving to act like a less famous Miz.
Punk entered toward the ring for a thunderous hometown pop, then MJF arrived to interrupt the proceedings, just like Punk interrupted him last week. MJF led with insults about Punk looking like a meth addict despite being straight edge and an unflattering reference to Punk’s MMA career. He was annoyed at not being name-dropped by Punk in interviews about talent he’d like to wrestle. MJF wasn’t concerned about Punk’s pipe bomb skills, because he drops nukes.
Punk was disappointed in MJF reaching for low-hanging fruit in his critiques. The reason Punk never mentioned MJF is because he didn’t want to feed that ego. Punk heated up by comparing MJF to a less famous Miz. MJF returned volley by pointing out Punk was always second best behind John Cena and HHH. MJF didn’t name them outright, but the hints were obvious. And in AEW, Punk will always be second best behind MJF. Punk may claim to be best in the world, however, MJF is better and he knows it.
Punk took it in stride to compare familiar opponents. He didn’t need to cheat to beat Darby Allin. Punk scored a killshot by saying MJF doesn’t even realize he’s been replaced by Britt Baker as one of AEW four pillars. Tension escalated into the removal of clothing to engage in fisticuffs, except MJF rolled out of the ring with a smile on his face as the crowd booed.
That opening segment was close to 20 minutes, and it ranked as one of AEW’s better promo battles in the company’s young history. Watch for yourself.
The feud between Punk and MJF has lasted two weeks thus far. Last week was silence speaking volumes. This week was so much talking that it may have been longer than any match on the show. Talk about opposite sides of the spectrum. Both approaches worked amazingly well. I’m not one for super long promo sessions, but this kept my attention throughout.
It is a tough round to call for a winner on this evening. The level of insults became sharper with each pass of the mic. I love how MJF’s catchphrase actually flowed within the context of the conversation instead of an extra add-on. In the end, I think I’d give the edge to Punk for the four pillars line. Who do you score as the winner in that the war of words?
After all that, Punk still had a match to get to. QT was more competitive than I anticipated. After eating five body slams, he rallied for a Liger bomb for near victory. Punk turned the tide with a head kick. He popped off a flurry of maneuvers to close with a flying elbow drop and GTS.
In the world title scene, Bryan Danielson continued his quick and effective escalation to public enemy #1 as he gears up for Hangman Page. Danielson mowed through another member of the Dark Order in Colt Cabana. The Chicago babyface met his demise when Danielson ducked a clothesline for a takedown to kick his head in. Danielson then transitioned to flex his biceps before securing the LeBell Lock.
Afterward, Danielson was on the mic to surly disapproval from spectators. He claimed the fans were fickle for cheering him before and booing him now, even though, he has not changed. Danielson called out another Dark Order member for next week. That’s when Hangman answered. He arrived in his gear ready to fight. The champ proposed a title match then and there. Since Danielson had just competed, he called out that tactic as coward shit instead of cowboy shit. Fisticuffs erupted with Danielson escaping before a Buckshot lariat could hit its mark.
This is another feud that is bonkers with a two-week build to date. Danielson has been such a good rabble-rouser. I tend to agree that he’s displayed a consistent attitude during his AEW run. He has hammed it up with the taunts, but that feels more like leaning into the energy against him than being a jerk. Hangman is still strong as the hero. It’s weird that I want to root for both men. At the end of the day, AEW is setting up for a badass match and that’s what we all hope for as wrestling fans.
Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.
Gunn Club defeated Bear Country. The bears mauled Billy and Colten early. Austin hooked the paw when running ropes for Colten to strike with the Colt 45 neckbreaker. Afterward, Sting came out on stage. Austin charged only for Darby Allin to sprint out of the tunnel for a crushing shoulder block. The heroes made their way to the ring, but the Gunn Club retreated.
It’s wild that Billy versus Sting is a hot angle in 2021, and I’m all in on it. AEW has milked Sting all they can, and it still hasn’t gone sour. I’m surprised that they’ve kept Sting feeling fresh for this long. Allin’s blindside tackle was icing on the cake.
Team Taz’s newest member. Team Taz demanded an answer from Dante Martin. The contract was in hand when Lio Rush took the pen away to decline. Martin grabbed the pen back, signed on the dotted line, and ate some of Hook’s chips as an official member of Team Taz. Rush was left speechless at the abandonment.
That was an excellent low-key swerve. It seemed as if Martin had every reason to dump his suitors, and yet he took the gamble to wear orange and black. I wonder how he will shift his fan-friendly style as a bad guy. I’m also curious how Rush will react in the near future. Will he recruit more youngsters? Or perhaps a machine like Brian Cage? So many intriguing questions arose from that quick scene. That isn’t even touching on the deal with Hook and his chips.
TBS Championship tournament quarterfinal: Thunder Rosa defeated Jamie Hayter. Thunder secured a Peruvian necktie submission, so Reba created a referee distraction to allow Dr. Britt Baker DMD the pathway to pull Thunder off her pal. The shenanigans backfired when Baker accidentally superkicked Hayter as Thunder dipped under. Thunder used a cazadora roll-up for victory. Afterward, tension was in the air as Hayter was upset with Baker.
Hot damn. That was a certified slobberknocker. Thunder and Hayter were throwing bombs all match long. Hayter has been somewhat of an afterthought in the ring since her return, but this outing made me take notice. I definitely want to see more of Hayter now. If she ends up splitting away from Baker for a title match, then I’ll gladly watch.
Andrade, Malakai Black, & FTR defeated Cody Rhodes, PAC, & Lucha Bros. The finish of the main event broke down into signature maneuvers all around. Black spit mist into PAC’s eyes, so Andrade could finish with a hammerlock DDT.
There were two stories emerging during the action. First was Cody on the receiving end of loud boos from the fans. They even threw back his weight belt instead of keeping it as a souvenir. Cody didn’t help his cause by stealing a tag and accidentally kicking PAC in the face when Andrade ducked.
The other story was Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard teasing a confrontation. Dukes were up, but assistant Jose tried to step in. The two legends weren’t having it and joined together to punch him in the nose. That was that on this evening.
For the match overall, the action was what you would expect with so much talent involved. Nobody in particular stood out, because everybody stood out rocking hard. The finish didn’t really add progression to the story, but I’m sure PAC won’t be pleased with Cody.
Notes: Jurassic Express has grown their confidence to unbeatable levels due to recent victories over the Elite. Christian Cage will make sure they win the tag titles.
2point0 and Daniel Garcia apologized to Eddie Kingston. After reading his article in The Players’ Tribune, they realized that he isn’t hungry anymore. That is the kiss of death for a fighter. They will be there to help through his rough times. It turned out to be a trick. After insulting Kingston’s relationship with Jon Moxley, Garcia threw coffee in Kingston’s face. Kingston versus Garcia will take place Friday night on Rampage.
Adam Cole and Bobby Fish were frustrated at losing lately. They went off on a tangent about being best friends. Chuck Taylor, Orange Cassidy, and Wheeler Yuta strolled in with beef over the name Best Friends, so a match was made for Cole & Fish against Cassidy & Yuta on Rampage.
Chris Jericho was interrupted by 2point0 and Garcia. They thought he would enjoy their efforts picking on Kingston. Wrong. If they ever interrupt Le Champion again, he will knock their teeth down their throats.
Tony Schiavone spoiled Friendsgiving by informing Baker of a future match for Rampage. Since Riho was never officially eliminated in the Casino Battle Royale, she will have a chance to earn a title shot by defeating Baker in singles action.
Ruby Soho and Kris Statlander had a hype package for their TBS Championship tournament match next week.
Studs of the Show: Thunder Rosa & Jamie Hayter
Their fight was off the hook with physicality and intensity. It was my pick for match of the night.
Dud of the Show: Square head
Chris Jericho is scraping the bottom of the barrel lately for his insults. Pointing out Matt Lee’s square head isn’t all that provocative or catchy. What do I know though. The crowd took off with it as a chant, so I guess it was a success.
Hats off to AEW. It would have been easy to phone it in the night before Thanksgiving. Instead, all the wrestlers went full speed ahead to create an exciting show. The matches that weren’t all that competitive on paper were buoyed by storylines. The promos between CM Punk & MJF and Hangman Page & Bryan Danielson were riveting. Those alone were worth the time spent as a viewer.
Share your thoughts about Dynamite. How do you rate it? Who stole the show?