AEW Dynamite Grades and Reactions for February 21, 2024

AEW Dynamite once again featured a series of big matches continuing the top angles heading into AEW Revolution.
Samoa Joe Jan.jpg
Samoa Joe Jan.jpg /

Blackpool Combat Club vs FTR

Dynamite started off with a blockbuster. FTR would get their chance at redemption after Moxley and Castingnoli attacked FTR last week.  As FTR entered the ring, their entrance music could hardly be heard over the crowd chanting “FTR” in unison. Whereas the crowd last week was split between Moxley and Harwood, Tulas, Oklahoma had their minds made up tonight. 

The grudge match between these two all-star teams was an expected banger, and on free television for that matter. Trying to predict a winner in this match was especially challenging. By the time Justin Roberts gave the two-minute warning, It was pretty clear there was going to be a draw. While that Draw did take place and the time did run out, that did not stop FTR and the BCC from continuing to brawl. 

Even after a swarm of security and officials came to separate them, it took several minutes. After a commercial break, FTR was interviewed regarding what had just taken place. Hardwood and Wheeler could barely keep a straight head, and then Moxley and Castagnoli found their way backstage. With security once again separating the teams, the kickoff match to this week’s Dynamite set an enormously high bar.

Grade: A

Orange Cassidy Vs. Mike Bennet

With Orange Cassidy to defend his AEW International Roderick Strong at Revolution, Orange Cassidy took on Strong’s goon in Mike Bennet tonight. A big highlight was Bennet attempting to do commentary during his match. It was quite hilarious, even if he is supposed to be a heel. Cassidy dominated a lot of the match and picked up the victory to not many people’s surprise. 

As soon as he picked up the victory, Strong and Taven attacked Cassidy. Seconds later, Jake Hager returns and saves Cassidy from being a victim of the Undisputed Kingdom. Tony Kahn immediately made Roderick Strong Vs. Jake Hager official for Rampage on Friday night. This was an unexpected addition to the Undisputed Kingdom story, but an exciting one at that.

Grade: C

Christian Cage confronts Daniel Garcia 

After last week’s fiasco, consisting of Christian Cage and the rest of the patriarchy taking out Adam Copeland, Daniel Garcia becomes the number one contender for the TNT Championship. Garcia is interrupted while speaking in the ring by Cage. Cage first made it clear that Adam Copeland would never get another chance at his title. Additionally, Tony Schevani stated that Adam Copeland was on the shelf after last week’s attack when interviewing Garcia, something that is hopefully just part of the story they're telling.

Cage, of course, insulted Garcia’s mother and late father, his usual schtick. Garcia did not respond well to that, leading Cage to send Killswitch and Nick Wayne to take out Garcia. When Daddy Magic came to the aid of Garcia, Wayne, and Killswitch were outgunned and retreated with Cage, who was completely unscathed. While there was no in-ring action, the match between Garcia and Cage for the TNT Championship at Revolution is set and is looking to pay off a strong build. 

Grade: B

Toni Storm Vs. Sydni Winnell

Right out of the gate, this match wasn’t going more than five minutes. Toni Storm was given a random opponent who she took out with ease. Not only that, but she put away Winnell Deonna Purazzo’s own finishing submission. While it made her look strong going into her title defense at Revolution, the squatch matches are never anything too exciting. Immediately Following, Purazzo came out to the arena for her match. The stare-down with the usage of the color contrast was actually pretty cool to see. 

Grade: D

Deonna Purazzo Vs. Madison Rayne

Deonna Purazzo started off this match with a sign of respect for Rayne. The two shook hands and proceeded to lock up. Unlike the last match with Storm, this seemed like a more evenly contested match from the start. Rayne has made a name for herself in Ring Of Honor and hoped to make an impression against the number one contender for the NEW women's championship. 

While there was mutual respect, Purazzo didn’t hold back. After tapping Rayne out with the Ankle Lock, Purazzo would celebrate the victory but not for long. Storm returned to the ring and put Purrazzo in a submission of her own for an extended amount of time. This was an interesting way to build for their title match, but again, Storm finishing her match in three minutes is not what people want to see. They could have just booked extra time to Purazzo’s match and then still followed through with the attack from Storm at the end. Storm's match simply just did not need to happen. Regardless, Interesting build and Purazzo looked strong during her match, despite the following attack.

Grade: C+

Wardlow is “Pissed”

Wardlow marched out to the ring before the main event to basically complain about his misfortune in AEW over the past few years. He says that he feels that he should have been given a world-title opportunity by now. He calls out wrestlers CM Punk and MJF calling himself “The Best in the World’ and “Better than You.” Talk about an emphatic promo delivered completely out of nowhere. Wardlow was having trouble selling me for a little bit, but this promo was knocked out of the park and was not seen coming at all. 

Grade: B

Hook, Rob Van Dam and Adam Page Vs. Swerve Strickland, Brian Cage and Samoa Joe

To close the show, A crazy six-man tag would take place with very few people seeing eye-to-eye on both teams. AEW World Champion, Samoa Joe and Swerve Strickland obviously have tension between each other going into Revolution so the two on the same team do not make for a solid alliance. On the other hand, Adam Page has been quite bossy towards RVD and Hook, a duo that has previously been successful in tag team action. 

The funniest thing about this three-man title match at Revolution is that finding the baby face of the story becomes increasingly more difficult. While many believe it’s Swerve (and according to the live crowds each week, it is), all three men seem to be at least a bit on the heel side. Nonetheless, Rob Van Dam is the perfect pick when putting over talent like Page and Strickland. Van Dam still moves well in the ring and isn’t a Bill Goldberg-like veteran. Van Dam “still has it.” 

At the end of the match, the three men competing for the world title at Revolution battled it out by themselves. No spot was as memorable as Page’s powerbomb to Strickland through the announce table. Not long after, Joe puts Rob Van Dam to sleep and earns the victory for his team. There was a lot going on in this match but it was highly entertaining and a good build to the Revolution main event.

Grade: B