AEW Dynamite: Black vs. Rhodes III, Two Tournaments Begin

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AEW Dynamite featured Cody Rhodes vs. Malakai Black, and both the tournaments for the #1 Contendership for the AEW World Championship and TBS Championship began.

The Number One Contender tournament for the AEW World Championship opened the show with Bryan Danielson taking on Dustin Rhodes.

Bryan Danielson vs. Dustin Rhodes (The Nightmare Family)

Danielson and Rhodes shook hands as the show opened up. Rhodes and Danielson decided to use some classic wrestling here, with Rhodes hitting some armdrags, and Danielson exchanging some of his own. Danielson locked on a bow & arrow lock on Danielson, who made it to the ropes to get out.

Danielson hit a tope suicida on Rhodes, but Danielson might have crashed harder to the floor. Rhodes hit a flipping senton off the top rope onto Danielson for a 2-count, which Danielson aggressively kicked out of. Danielson got hit with a huge German suplex from Rhodes, and then Rhodes chopped Danielson in the corner a few times.

Danielson did a takeover with the front facelock and then transitioned into an armbar. Danielson grabbed the arm of Rhodes and stomped on the elbow, as the camera panned to the crowd and showed Tony Nese in the audience watching the match. Rhodes hit a superplex on Danielson off the top rope for a 2-count.

Danielson did a backflip off the top rope, hit the ropes, but walked right into a powerslam from Rhodes. That was great. Rhodes hit the Curtain Call, but Danielson kicked out. Rhodes hit 10 punches in the corner, but missed a bulldog and ate a dropkick from Danielson, who then hit kicks and chops in the corner.

Danielson locked on the LaBell lock, but Rhodes managed to drag himself to the ropes. Danielson hit a kick, but Rhodes fired up and told him to keep going. So, he did. Danielson hit the curb stomps on Rhodes and signled for the running knee. Danielson went for the Busaiku Knee, but Rhodes took his head off with a clothesline and then piledrove him. Danielson barely kicked out.

Danielson hit a kick to the head of Rhodes and then locked on a Guillotine Choke on Rhodes, and Rhodes fell to the mat and went unconscious. Danielson wins again, with another move! Danielson has won every one of his matches with a different move in AEW so far. I love it.

Result: Bryan Danielson

Rating: ****1/2

This was an excellent match. Rhodes and Danielson wanted to have a great, old school match as the first match in the tournament. This was great.

Kenny Omega cut a promo with the Super Elite backstage, where Omega claimed to know the real Hangman Page, and if the fans knew him the way Kenny knew him, they would be chanting that he was a coward who was afraid of failure. This was an awesome promo.

A video aired for FTR and the Lucha Brothers cutting promos on each other, and it was awesome. The feud is heating up, and gave a solid reason why FTR were going after them beyond the titles: They were not okay that the Lucha Brothers were making more money than them as champions, and they decided to take the AAA Tag Team Championships from them before taking the AEW World Tag Team Championships.

Tony Schiavone was in the ring to interview Sting, who was hoping to provide an update on Darby Allin. Before Sting could say anything, MJF’s music hit, and the crowd started booing. MJF claimed he wasn’t there to start a fight because he didn’t want to embarrass Sting, and claimed that Sting wasn’t going to answer the question because Darby Allin isn’t coming back.

MJF kept talking and as he got into the ring, Sting dropped him, Sting started beating on him but Wardlow and Shawn Spears ran out to attack. Sting continued to beat on everyone until he got hit with a chair from Spears. Sting no-sold it, but Wardlow took him out from behind and they laid Sting out with several chair shots.

MJF asked if he broke Allin mentally now, a throwback to Allin claiming that MJF could never break him. MJF claimed that Allin would always be second best compared to him, and that he was the past, present, and future of professional wrestling. Sting stood up, and MJF nailed Sting with his Dynamite Diamond Ring. This was an awesome heat segment. One of the best angles in this feud so far.

Tony Schiavone was backstage with Britt Baker, and she cut a promo on Tay Conti, as they are going to be having a match at AEW Full Gear for the AEW World Women’s Championship. This was a good promo too.

TBS Championship Tournament Match: Ruby Soho vs. Penelope Ford

Ford attacked Soho before the bell, to boos from the crowd. Soho hit a forearm to the back and then a sole butt before hitting a running kick to Ford’s head for a 2-count. The Bunny made her way down to the ring and distracted Soho, causing Ford to get the advantage. Ford continued to work over the ribs, but Soho saw Ford coming with a handspring back elbow, and Soho dodged and hit a Saito suplex.

Soho caught a kick, and then hit a super kick and then a sliding D on Ford for a 2-count. Ford hit a cutter as Soho bounced off the ropes. Soho rolled up Ford for a 2-count then hit a STO before going to the top rope. Ford rolled to early to dodge the top rope attack, so it looked a little awkward when Soho dived anyway, but Ford hit a spinning kick and a gutbuster for a 2-count.

Ford went for the brass knuckles, but the referee saw it and kicked them out of the ring before Ford could use them. Soho rolled Ford up as she scrambled for them and got the pinfall.

Result: Ruby Soho

Rating: ***

This was a decent match, as Soho and Ford work realtively well together. Red Velet ran down to even the odds when the Bunny and Ford looked primed to attack Soho to a nice reaction from the crowd.

MJF was backstage with Shawn Spears, and Wardlow came up asking what was up with MJF throwing him in Sting’s way last week. MJF claimed it was completely accidental, and that he also decided to relieve Wardlow of some of his duties by giving him a partner to keep him accountable in Shawn Spears. Wardlow was not happy. Spears looked surprised and sheepishly say “Hey!” That was funny.

Bobby Fish vs. Anthony Greene

Fish started the match hitting hard strikes to the legs of Greene. Fish beat him all over the ring, hitting a sliding D and then a buzzsaw kick right to the head of Greene pinning him.

Result: Bobby Fish

This was a glorious squash match as Fish took Greene apart with violence. Fish being booked as a killer is a delight. Fish came back into the ring after the match and kicked the leg out from Greene after the match, fully turning heel and continuing the beat down.

CM Punk ran down the ring to make the save, and the crowd went nuts. I love that Punk came down without his music playing, because why would he wait for the music to play to run down to save someone? That doesn’t make sense. The crowd popped huge once they realized it was Punk, and they played the music after he made the save. It looks like we’ll be seeing CM Punk vs. Bobby Fish soon, and that will be awewsome.

Lio Rush was with Tony Schiavone and he cut a promo with Dante Martin about how Martin is one of the best in the world. Rush confirmed that he was having a tag team match with him and Martin against both Sydal brothers.

AEW Full Gear Title Eliminator Tournament: Eddie Kingston vs. Lance Archer

Kingston attacked Archer on the ramp and they started brawling right away. Archer grabbed a fan and threw him into Kingston. Archer choke slammed the fan off the apron onto Kingston, and both men continued to brawl in the ring. Archer got out of a Stretch Plum from Kingston, and they went back to ringside.

Kingston responded with chops in the ring, but Archer poked the eyes and stomped him down in the corner. Archer continued to get the heat by raking the eyes and nose of Kingston. Archer went for a moonsault and landed on his head. That looked horrible. I hope he is okay. Archer rolled to the outside and the doctor checked on him, but Archer insisted on getting in the ring and having Kingston roll him up.

Result: Eddie Kingston

I won’t give this a rating as Archer got hurt badly. I think he might have got at least a concussion. I hope he didn’t break his neck. I am very glad the called an audible and had Kingston pin him quickly. That was eerily reminiscent of the Steve Austin/Owen Hart situation, though it looked like Archer didn’t suffer temporary paralysis like Austin did. That was very scary.

Ethan Page was in the ring with Scorpio Sky and Dan Lambert, with Page telling the crowd why the Inner Circle sucked. Page buried the Inner Circle, but before he could finish, Sammy Guevara cut him off and said that the difference between him and Page was that he worked hard and worked his way to the TNT Championship.

Guevara handled himself well here, as he asked for Lambert’s stipulations for the matches going forward. Lambert indicated that the Inner Circle will get the tag team match with American Top Team and the Men of the Year, but only if he defended his TNT Championship against Ethan Page next week, and if he loses, he has to leave the Inner Circle as well.

Guevara accepted the match, with the condition that if he wins, he gets to pick the members of American Top Team that face The Inner Circle at AEW Full Gear. Santana, Ortiz, and Hager all came out to help Sammy fight off an attack from the Men of the Year. This was a good segment. Guevara shined on the mic here, and it’s nice to see him developing into a main event star for the company.

Jon Moxley cut a promo backstage, and he said that while they expected him to cut an angry promo about destroying everyone in the tournament, but he realized when he looked into his daughter’s eyes, and the only thing he actually cared about was getting home to his daughter who grabbed his hand and looked at him.

He had to win the tournament to get back home to his daughter, and he has the strongest motivation in the world to win the tournament, and he was going to get everyone in the tournament before they get him, and he was going to win the whole thing.

Sammy Guevara did his picture in picture promo on Ethan Page. These are always fun.

Hangman Page walked up to the Dark Order, and he apologized to them about how he left them in a bad state before, but thanked them for doing everything they could to support them. He then suggested that since it was close to Halloween they should wear costumes, as he was sure The Elite would.

Jungle Boy (The Jurassic Express) vs. Brandon Cutler (The Elite)

Jungle Boy immediately attacked Cutler and hit a dive. When they got back into the ring, Cutler went for a Panama Sunrise, but Jungle Boy back dropped him and then hit a powerbomb before locking on the Snare Trap, securing the submission.

Result: Jungle Boy

Jungle Boy called out the Elite, saying he wanted to fight them, and they refused to come down. Jungle Boy locked the Snare Trap on Cutler, and he screamed “Matt! Nick! Please help me! I’ve been your friend for 20 years!” and I laughed. Adam Cole came out saying he would fight, but as he got to the ring, The Young Bucks attacked him from behind and Cole and the Bucks beat him down with a BTE Trigger and the Boom on the ramp.

They took out Luchasaurus last week, and Marko Stunt is on the Jericho Cruise. Cole grabbed Jungle Boy and said that they ran AEW and then they threw him off the stage through several tables below. It seems like The Elite have destroyed the Jurassic Express.

Miro cut an incredible promo about how he was going to destroy everyone in AEW and he blamed God for it, saying God had abandoned him when he lost his title, but he was going to take it back and earn the favour back. As I am a pastor, this is horrible theology. Amazing promo though.

Malakai Black vs. Cody Rhodes (The Nightmare Family) w/ Arn Anderson

The match started with a tie-up, with Cody trying to out wrestle Black. Cody doesn’t seem to be tapping into that dark edge that is needed to fight Black when he’s just wrestling. Black and Cody traded submission attempts, but the crowd was not pleased with this. Rhodes threw his weight belt into the crowd and a kid caught it, and as his parents held him up he posed with it like a championship and the crowd cheered the kid, which was super cute.

As Black grabbed a chair, Brock Anderson came down and took the chair from him, ensuring that it was a fair fight. Cody floated over the top and ate a kick from Black. Black swept the legs and hit a hard PK to Cody’s chest for a 2-count. Black pulled a table out from under the ring. Rhodes managed to hit a Cross Rhodes off the apron through the table.

That had to hurt Cody, but Black came up busted wide open. Anderson got into the ring and the crowd chanted “Get the glock!” which was hilarious. Rhodes got busted open, too, somehow, and suddenly this is turning into the violent match that Anderson said Rhodes needed to have. Arn Anderson was in the ring when Andrade el Idolo came down and pointed at Anderson with a finger gun.

Anderson turned and hit a spinebuster on Jose and PAC came down and chased Idolo off, but Black spit the black mist into Anderson’s face. Black hit a moonsault, but Rhodes stood right up and hit a Cross Rhodes for a 2-count. Black hit a kick and then hit a huge flying double stomp on Rhodes. Black hit a teep and then a flying knee and a German suplex for a 2-count. Black hit the Black Mass, but Rhodes got onto the apron.

Black went for a moonsault to the floor on Rhodes, but he ran into the ring and then hit a dive on Black. Rhodes then hit a springboard cutter, a Cross Rhodes, and then a Tiger Driver ‘98, which is the first time I think Rhodes hit that move, and he finally was able to pin Black.

Result: Cody Rhodes

Rating: ****1/2

This was an excellent match between these two, and easily the best of their series. I like that Cody had to dig deep to beat Black here, with both men bleeding, and while the crowd was still booing Cody, they started to cheer his moves when he did the bigger stuff. People will complain that Cody shouldn’t have won this one, but given how good Black looked in defeat, pretty much destroying Cody throughout, I think this was more than fine. Great match, amazing heat from the crowd, and even though the crowd booed him, Cody going over here was the right call.

Show Rating: ****

This was an excellent episode of AEW Dynamite, but the major story for me coming out of it is the health of Lance Archer. I really hope he’s okay. That was beyond scary what happened to him, and Archer is a great wrestler who had a really bad bump in his match. Danielson and Rhodes was excellent, and Black and Rhodes was a great feud ending match.

Cody Rhodes, ironically, is at a bit of a crossroads, as the direction for his character is not clear, but I think Rhodes is an excellent talent. However, all his woes can really be traced back to his ill timed patriotic promo against Anthony Ogogo, and while I think he can recover from that, as he is a good worker and promo, he definitely needs to go in a new direction with his character.

AEW TBS Women’s Title Tourney is an opportunity to boost the entire division. dark. Next

It’s amazing how the Cody Rhodes we saw go up against Chris Jericho that was delivering some of the best babyface promos of the last 10 years is getting booed out of buildings now, but I do understand it after that patriotic promo. Either way, this was a great episode of AEW Dynamite building towards AEW Full Gear.