AEW Dynamite Review (February 2, 2022)

aew dynamite mjf punk

This week’s AEW Dynamite featured a big main event with CM Punk facing MJF for the first time ever in Punk’s hometown of Chicago.

This is AEW Dynamite episode #122 at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago, Illinois. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Let’s get to it.

It’s Wednesday night and you know what that means. The commentary team of Jim Ross, Excalibur and Tony Schiavone was on hand to call the action.

Jon Moxley vs. Wheeler Yuta (w/Orange Cassidy & Danhausen)

The announcers asked if Danhausen is part of Best Friends now. Does it really matter? Moxley with a shoulder tackle while Yuta came back with an armdrag. Moxley to the floor, Wheeler with a suicide dive, Moxley caught him and then Yuta broke free with a dropkick to knock down Moxley on the floor. Back in the ring, Moxley avoided a dropkick followed by a suplex into a slam. Moxley with chops that sent Yuta out of the ring. Back in the ring, Moxley hit a piledriver for two. Moxley set up Yuta on the top rope with some back scratching…of death? Anyway, Yuta got off the ropes and managed to hit a dropkick. Yuta hit a cross body block while Moxley was against the ropes. Moxley with headbutts (into his own hands – you gotta shoot those from a different camera angle) and Moxley did a headlock driver on the apron. Moxley stared at Cassidy, then he looked at comedy guy Danhausen and that led to Yuta hitting a cross body block on the floor. Back in the ring, Yuta hit a German Suplex and then Yuta got a rollup into two count. Moxley sent Yuta into the ropes and hit a Cutter. Moxley went for a move, Yuta got out of that and got a knockdown with a clothesline. Yuta went up top, jumped off and hit a splash for two. Moxley with a sleeper, then he let go and hit a lariat. Moxley elbowed Yuta repeatedly leading to the Paradigm Shift for the pinfall win after seven minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Jon Moxley

Analysis: **1/2 Easy win for Moxley as AEW continues to book him against wrestlers low on the totem pole so Moxley can pick up wins. It would be nice if they sold moves more in a match like that. I understand wanting to “get your shit in” as far as getting in moves, but sometimes after a piledriver or a Cutter, it’s nice to actually sell the move. Instead, they went right into the next spot quickly. Anyway, Yuta does have a lot of talent and maybe one day he’ll get a push. Right now he’s just a guy on the show. Moxley looked good here. I’m so happy doing well looking like he’s in the best shape of his career.

Post match, Bryan Danielson got into the ring with Moxley for a staredown. The fans chanted “yes” as they stood in teh ring across from eachother. Danielson asked the fans if they wanted to see them fight leading to cheers and “yes” chants. Danielson said ever since he’s come back, we’ve seen a new Jon Moxley. Danielson said there’s always been a part of him that wanted to test Moxley and he thinks Moxley was hte best AEW World Champion there’s ever been. Danielson said if Moxley had a little support he thinks he would still be AEW World Champion. Danielson said that they shouldn’t be fighting – they should be fighting together. Bryan said there is no reason why a Millennial Cowboy should be AEW World Champion or somebody dressed like a dinosaur should be an AEW Tag Team Champion or a guy that created a vlog is TNT Champion. Bryan said that they can run this place together. If they wanted to take some of these guys, somebody like Wheeler Yuta – he’s coming out here with jokes like Orange Cassidy and Danhausen. Bryan said what if they took somebody like Daniel Garcia away from 2.0 and they mentored him. Bryan said what if they took Lee Moriarity under their wings and they trained the future of professional wrestling together. JR said there was a lot of truth being told by Bryan. Danielson said that even if they don’t like Bryan, they like what he’s talking about right now. Danielson told Moxley he wants him to think about the possibilities and all the positive things they can do. Bryan wanted Moxley to think about the greatness that they can create and the legacy that you (Moxley) want to leave. Danielson extended his hand for a shake. Moxley was looking around without shaking the hand, so Danielson told him to think about and Bryan left.

Analysis: Great promo from Danielson as usual. Since AEW is so loaded with stables, why not have a group with Danielson, Moxley and some younger wrestlers in it? That sounds cool to me. Bryan is a heel right now, but he could turn face at any time while Moxley is probably going to remain in a face role. Anyway, it was a clever promo, I liked it a lot and I know AEW doesn’t rush these sorts of things, so I’m looking forward to seeing what happens with it in the future.

A video aired promoting CM Punk vs. MJF in the main event later in the show.

(Commercial)

Brandi Rhodes was in the ring saying it was great to be here in Cleveland and the fans booed. Brandi said it was the same thing. Dan Lambert showed up with Scorpio Sky and Ethan Page with Lambert saying she needed a reality check. Lambert got in the ring with Brandi ripping on her, he ripped on her husband Cody, ripped on her “Chief Brand Officer” title saying it’s not a real title including a comment on the “bolt-ons” popping out of her shirt.

Brandi told Ethan she didn’t know why he was laughing because they only hired him was to get to Josh Alexander (his partner in Impact Wrestling). Brandi said she looked up info on Lambert and saw that he was doing great. The fans chanted “shut the fuck up” at Brandi. That’s polite. Brandi said that Dan’s best fighter got knocked out by Jake Paul and said that Dan should spend less time in AEW and more time at American Top Tits…then she said she meant Team. Lambert told her to go heel with her whole family because the only face turn is from when she was face down. Brandi slapped Lambert, who said he had things to accomplish around here before he goes down due to cancel culture. Paige Van Zant from Dan’s team went into the ring and she tackled Brandie into the turnbuckle. The fight was quickly broken up by other AEW women’s wrestlers and referees. Paige left the ring, so that was it.

Analysis: Some strong language was used by Brandi and Lambert there. That’s not a surprise I guess, but it was very strong. The fans really don’t like Brandi since they were very disrespectful for her although you could say she brought it upon herself by “accidentally” saying the wrong city. Anyway, Lambert was great in the promo and having Paige there made sense. I assume there will be a Paige/Brandi match soon.

Matt Hardy was backstage with Private Party saying he was disappointed in them for losing on Rampage. Matt said he wants the TNT Title. Andrade El Idolo walked up to them with Andrade saying that they failed in their title match. Matt said he was going to have Isiah Kassidy challenge Sammy Guevara for the TNT Title on Rampage this Friday. Matt asked Andrade why Darby Allin wasn’t signed, Andrade claimed he wanted money and that was it.

Malakai Black and Brody King made their entrance with the lights out for some of it. Penta El Zero Miedo entered with Pac along with Alex Abrahantes. Pac has his eyes covered by a blindfold.

Pac & Penta El Zero Miedo vs. Malakai Black & Brody King

Pac was moving around like a man that could see very well, then he kicked Black out of the ring and took the blindfold off so he can see fine. Shocking. Pac and Penta each hit dives on the floor onto both opponents. Penta tagged in, Penta held Black by the legs and Penta hit a dropkick that was a little low on Black, but it was legal enough to get a two count. Black and Pac were in ring, King went in illegally, hit a forearm to the back of Pac and then King legally tagged in after that. They went to a picture in picture break.

(Commercial)

The match returned with Pac as the face in peril, then he tagged in Penta, who was on fire with a Slingblade, a DDT and a superkick. Black with a kick to the chest of Penta, who came back with a leap off the ropes leading to a backstabber (double knees) to the back. Pac made the tag, Black kicked Penta out of the ring and Black hit Pac with a rising knee. Black with a sweep kick followed by a running knee for two. Black with another running knee for two. Pac came back with a German Suplex followed by a brainbuster with King breaking up the pin. Penta and King exchanged punches, Penta kicked King off the apron to the floor. Penta jumped over the top onto King on the floor. Penta ran the ropes, jumped off the middle rope and jumped onto King on the floor. Pac and Penta each hit kicks on Black, Penta went for a move, Pac was on the top and King shoved Pac off to the floor. Black spit the DREADED BLACK MIST~! into Penta’s eyes, King tagged in and Black launched Penta towards King, who hit a powerslam for the pin. It went about 11 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Malakai Black & Brody King

Analysis: ***1/4 A good match that ended in a cheap manner due to Black’s DREADED BLACK MIST~! striking yet again. Pac and Penta worked really well together. Lots of cool moves as usual from them. King didn’t do that much since Black was in the ring most of the time for his team, but it’s smart having King get the pinfall win because it makes him look more impressive as the bigger guy in the match.

Adam Cole did a backstage promo saying that his record reflects that he is still undefeated. Cole said that Orange Cassidy didn’t beat him because his undefeated singles record reflects. Cole said he’s one of the best damn pro wrestler on the planet and has been for years. Cole said he’s going to take what he wants. Cole said he’s going to beat Evil Uno, which he will, then the entire world will know what he wants.

Analysis: I assume Cole was referencing going after the AEW World Title after he beats Evil Uno, who is friends with AEW World Champion “Hangman” Adam Page. That makes sense to me since Cole is undefeated in singles matches. The Revolution PPV takes place on March 6th, so AEW will need to start building the card.

(Commercial)

Nyla Rose made her entrance with Vickie Guerrero by her side as usual. Ruby Soho made her entrance where she greeted her friend Lars from the band Rancid at ringside.

Nyla Rose (w/Vickie Guerrero) vs. Ruby Soho

Soho threw her jacket at Rose, then Rose got a shoulder tackle, there was some brief offense from Soho and then Rose came back with a Samoan Drop. Rose sat on Soho’s shoulder while wrenching on the arm along with some finger biting. Rose worked over Soho in the corner with shoulder tackles, a boot to the throat and Vickie was laughing at Soho. Rose with a hard chop to Soho’s chest along with Rose standing on Soho’s back across the bottom rope. Rose with a headbutt, a body slam and a leg drop. Soho tried to get back into it by running into the ropes, Rose caught her and hit a Death Valley Driver slam. They went to a picture in picture break.

(Commercial)

They were battling on the apron with Soho holding Rose on her back and then Soho dropped down so that Rose was slammed onto the ring apron – the hardest part of the ring as we know. Soho was focused on looking at Vickie a bit, so Rose capitalized with a spinebuster on the floor. Soho avoided a Beast Bomb, she slipped out of it and hit a No Future kick to the head. Vickie put Rose’s foot under the bottom rope, the referee saw the foot under the rope and did nothing even though it was obvious what Vickie did. Rose got a hold of Soho’s hair and hit a neckbreaker back in the ring. Rose was on the turnbuckle, Soho tried a move off there, Rose blocked it and Soho hit her in the face. Soho tried a jumping kick, Rose blocked it and Rose hit a Senton Bomb off the top. Rose hit the Beast Bomb for the pinfall win after 11 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Nyla Rose

Analysis: **3/4 It was well booked with both women getting a lot of offense. The key spot in the match was Vickie saving Rose during a pin attempt, which kept the match going and then Rose got the win soon after that. I think Ruby needed the win more, but it didn’t happen for her here. I’m not sure if either wrestler is going to get pushed since Rose is a heel while the Women’s Champion and TBS Champion are both heels. Anyway, it’s not like AEW books the women’s division that well since they only do one women’s match per show. The division doesn’t get that much screen time.

They showed the Gunn Club trio of Billy Gunn along with sons Colten and Austin. They went up to Jungle Boy backstage in the arena. They kicked him into a door and they were on the outside of the building. The Gunn boys tossed Boy onto a pile of snow that was there. Christian Cage and Luchasaurus ran out there for the Gunn Club ran away.

Analysis: Oh no, they threw him onto the snow. How will he ever survive? I think he’ll be okay.

CM Punk and MJF were shown getting ready on a split screen in different parts of the arena.

(Commercial)

Let’s Hear from “Hangman” Adam Page

Tony Schiavone was in the ring and he introduced the AEW World Champion “Hangman” Adam Page for some promo time. Page defends the AEW World Championship against Lance Archer in a Texas Death Match next week on Dynamite. The fans chanted “Cowboy Shit” for Page.

Page said that he has been AEW World Champion for 81 days saying he has only gotten to defend it twice. Page said he was still waiting. Page said that he’s got a baby at home, there’s a foot of snow and the flight home is likely going to be canceled. Page said that he doesn’t give a shit if it’s a Texas Death Match next week because he needs something. Page called out Lance Archer right now to give the people of Chicago a fight.

Dan Lambert and Jake Roberts appeared since they are allies of Lance Archer. Lambert ripped on Page a bit. Roberts said he could smell fear on Page. Lance Archer showed up for a fight.

Archer went after Page, but Page was ready and whipped Archer into the steel steps. Lambert with a chair to the back of Page, who no sold and that allowed Archer to get back up. Archer gave Page a Chokeslam onto the steel steps. Archer picked up Page and gave him the Blackout slam through the table that was at ringside. Archer did a promo saying he’s going to be the next AEW World Champion. Archer stood tall while Page was down.

Analysis: It was good as a segment to make Archer look strong before he loses to Page next week. No doubt that Page is going to win next week in what should be a great match that will also be bloody as well since AEW Texas Death Match usually has some blood involved.

Chris Jericho did a promo backstage saying that Santana & Ortiz were disrespectful to him by not tagging him last week. Jericho wondered why they were listening to Eddie Kingston just because they started in the business together because Jericho said the Inner Circle started AEW together. Jericho said that nobody has more influence in AEW than him. Jericho said he’s asking Santana & Ortiz to be part of a full Inner Circle team meeting in the ring. Jericho said that attendance is mandatory.

Analysis: I don’t even remember the last time when all of Inner Circle was together. Jake Hager is almost never on the show. The stable has lost a lot of momentum in the last three months since they got a win at Full Gear last November.

This Friday on Rampage:

* Adam Cole vs. Evil Uno.

* FTW Championship: Ricky Starks vs. Jay Lethal. A video aired about the story being built up for the last few weeks.

* Mercedes Martinez vs. Thunder Rosa.

* TNT Championship: Sammy Guevara vs. Isiah Kassidy.

Next Wednesday on Dynamite in Atlantic City:

* Inner Circle Team Meeting.

* AEW World Championship Texas Death Match: “Hangman” Adam Page vs. Lance Archer.

Maxwell Jacob Friedman made his entrance for the main event. That match was up next.

(Commercial)

CM Punk got a huge ovation for his entrance. There were about 40 minutes left in the show, so they have a lot of time for this match.

Maxwell Jacob Friedman vs. CM Punk

MJF started with a cheap shot, then Punk got going with punches and they did a spot with MJF tied up in the ropes leading to Punk punching MJF out of the ring. Punk worked over MJF with chops on the floor. MJF jumped the barricade to go into the crowd where they went up the stairs. The referee Bryce Remsburg went with them instead of doing a countout. I don’t want to see a countout, but they should have just said has no countouts or something like that. Punk slammed MJF so that MJF went groin first onto the railing. Punk punched MJF more as they walked down the stairs to head towards the ring. They were back in the ring where Punk gave MJF a body slam two times in a row. Punk gave MJF another body slam, the fans wanted another with a “one more time” chant so Punk gave MJF another body slam. Punk went up top, he took a long time to stand up and MJF rolled to the opposite turnbuckle. Punk charged, MJF moved and Punk went left shoulder-first into the ring post. Good bump by Punk, who was selling his left arm/bicep on the floor. MJF stood on Punk’s hand and did a knee drop to Punk’s left wrist. They went to a picture in picture break.

(Commercial)

The match returned with Punk selling the left arm injury with Punk slipping out of a move and hitting a neckbreaker. Punk hit a running knee followed out of a bulldog combination move that Punk has done throughout his career. MJF rolled to the apron, Punk stomped on him there and Punk gave MJF a body slam on the apron. Punk held MJF by the arms, then some fan (maybe a friend of Punk?) slapped MJF in the chest and Punk sent MJF back in the ring. Punk went up top, MJF hit the ropes to trip him up there and MJF suplexed Punk off the top for a two count. MJF went for a move on the left arm, Punk slipped out of it and hit a clothesline. MJF pulled the referee in front of him, then Punk moved the referee and MJF was choking Punk with some wrist tape. The referee had no idea, then MJF wore Punk down with a sleeper by taking him down to the mat and Punk’s arm went down three times.

It looked like MJF was the winner, but when referee Bryce Remsburg lifted up MJF’s arm, the tape fell down and into the mat. The referee ordered the match to continue much to the dismay of MJF.

Analysis: A good false finish spot. There were still over 20 minutes left in the show, so we could tell that wasn’t going to be the finish there. It still worked as a clever way to do a spot leading to a match restart.

Punk got a rollup for two. Punk sent MJF into the turnbuckle followed by the ten punches in the corner, but then Punk went crazy with about twenty total punches. Punk with an inverted atomic drop followed by a clothesline. Punk was going for the Figure Four Leglock although it wasn’t successful because MJF kicked Punk out of the ring. They went to a picture in picture break.

(Commercial)

There were twenty minutes left in the show as Punk hit a springboard clothesline. Punk lifted up MJF, who went to the apron to break free and then Punk hit a springboard kick to the head to knock MJF off the apron to the floor. Punk ran the ropes leading to a suicide dive into the barricade. Punk was slow to get into the ring because he was selling a left knee injury along with the left arm. MJF jumped off the middle rope with a knee to the left arm. MJF tied up Punk’s left arm with MJF’s left leg leading to a Cloverleaf submission on Punk’s legs. Punk countered it into a STF submission until Punk had to stop because he was selling the left hand injury. JR spewed bullshit saying a lot of referees would stop this match. Not really. Punk lifted up MJF and then collapsed to the mat to sell the pain he was in. There wasn’t much happening while fans were chanting “this is awesome” with MJF going for an ankle lock. Punk used his legs to send MJF face first into the turnbuckle. They got into a slugfest as they exchanged punches, MJF with a thumb to the eye, Punk with a punch and Punk jumped onto MJF’s shoulders with Punk hitting a reverse hurricanrana! That was really cool. Excalibur correctly pointed out that it was a rough landing for Punk as well since he landed on his own head as well. Anyway, that got a two count. Both guys were down selling a bit. MJF bounced off the ropes, he sold a neck injury, Excalibur said MJF may have a stinger and Tony said “good” while adding he hates this guy. MJF got back into it with a chop block to the back of the left leg. MJF got a hold of Punk’s head leading to a sitout pumphandle slam for a two count. Punk with a waistlock, which turned into a spot where MJF blocked the view of the referee and MJF hit a low blow black kick to the groin. MJF got a rollup with his feet on the ropes for two. They went to the final picture in picture break.

(Commercial)

There were about seven minutes left in the show. They were 35 minutes into the match at this point as MJF wrenched on Punk’s left knee. Punk got an inside cradle for two. Punk hit a jumping side kick to the head. Punk with a rising knee to the face, MJF broke free by grabbing fingers and biting Punk in the face. Punk went back for some biting of his own. Punk got a hold of MJF on the top rope and he gave him the Pepsi Plunge move off the ropes to the mat! Punk hasn’t done that in a long time with JR saying 17 years (before Punk signed with WWE). It’s a move where Punk hooks the arms like a Pedigree leading to Punk driving his opponent into the mat. Punk tried to move over for a cover, but MJF rolled out of the ring to avoid getting beat. Punk had to go to the floor to send MJF back in the ring. Punk countered a Tombstone Piledriver by going for one of his own, but MJF countered it into a pin attempt for two. Punk back to his feet and he got a roundhouse kick to the head. Punk went up top, he slowly stood up and Punk hit the elbow drop off the top for two. The crowd thought that might be it while Excalibur was screaming even though we know Punk’s not going to win with that. It was a cool spot leading to “AEW” chants. Punk teased a Go To Sleep, but MJF fell out of the ring to the floor. That led to the big man Wardlow walking out to ringside as they approached 40 minutes into this match. Wardlow walked over MJF’s body on the floor so that Wardlow could get into a staredown with Punk at ringside. Wardlow moved out of the way, so Punk could send MJF back into the ring. MJF had his right hand against his body, Punk stared at Wardlow and MJF punched Punk with the Dynamite Diamond ring to Punk’s hand. Punk put the ring back in his tights. MJF crawled over to Punk and covered for the one…two…and three! MJF wins. It went 41 minutes. That was the first loss of CM Punk’s AEW career.

Winner by pinfall: Maxwell Jacob Friedman

Analysis: ****1/4 This was an excellent match. Punk did an amazing job of selling the left arm and later the left leg injury throughout the match. That helped tell the story of Punk as the babyface that had to fight through the injuries to try to win, but he wasn’t to get the job done because of MJF’s cheating ways. I really liked some of the spots in the match like Punk hitting the Pepsi Plunge move that he hasn’t done in many years and he nearly got the win there except MJF ended up rolling out of the ring at that point. Neither guy hit a finisher. Punk wasn’t able to hit the GTS while MJF didn’t apply his finishing armbar either. They opted for the cheap win to protect Punk, who can say he only lost because MJF used the diamond ring. Going into the match, I wasn’t sure what they would do for a finish, but I get why they did what they did because I figure a rematch is coming soon. Punk’s first loss coming to MJF should lead to some great promos from MJF bragging about being the first guy to beat Punk and it should get MJF some heat as well since he cheated to win. I didn’t expect them to go over 40 minutes, so kudos to AEW giving them a lot of time and letting them have an amazing match like that. Punk losing in his hometown may upset some fans, but I don’t mind it. Punk should be fine and like I said I expect a rematch at the next PPV.

The replay showed that while Wardlow stood over MJF, he passed MJF the diamond ring for MJF to use to knock out Punk. MJF just passed the ring back to Wardlow after the match. MJF sat in the ring cross-legged like Punk is known to do and MJF laughed. Wardlow had a look on his face like he wasn’t impressed. MJF was smiling to end the show.

Analysis: There’s clearly an MJF/Wardlow split coming soon due to Wardlow looking like he’s not impressed by MJF at all, but they aren’t rushing it. I assume we get Punk vs. MJF again at the Revolution PPV next month, maybe Wardlow does something there to cost MJF the win and that’s when the split might happen. Just a guess on my part.

 

Three Stars of the Show

  1. CM Punk – I know MJF won, but I thought CM Punk was great in the match due to his selling.
  2. MJF
  3. Bryan Danielson

 

The Scoreboard

This Week: 8 out of 10

Last Week: 8.25

 

Final Thoughts

A very good show this week carried by the excellent main event that is one of the best AEW TV matches of the year. You don’t see main events going over 40 minutes that often, so credit to AEW management for giving Punk and MJF a lot of time to have the great match that they did. Since MJF won in cheap fashion (that was Punk’s first loss in AEW), I assume we’ll get a rematch perhaps at the Revolution PPV next month.

I liked the Bryan Danielson promo towards Jon Moxley suggesting they become allies as two veterans leading a stable of younger wrestlers. I didn’t expect it, but I like it. The tag match with House of Black against Penta/Pac pretty good too.

They also did a nice job of setting up the Hangman Page/Lance Archer AEW World Title match next week. I enjoyed the show overall.

Thanks for reading. Go Los Angeles Rams, Toronto Raptors and Toronto Maple Leafs. You can contact me using any of the methods below.

John Canton

Email: mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter: @johnreport