As regular readers know, this reviewer isn’t as enamoured with AEW as many of the other Slam Wrestling writers, including our regular Dynamite reporter Nick Tylwalk. But with Nick away on assignment, I was tasked with this week’s report. And I’m happy to say that this was my favourite episode of the show to date. With a number of strong matches, excellent promo segments – including one for the ages – even the mis-step of a main event didn’t take away from a solid overall show.

Taz replaced Excalibur on commentary who is taking time off to get married. Congratulations to him and his bride, and to us for getting a stellar three-man booth for the night.

Match 1: Malakai Black vs. Dustin Rhodes

The two of them started off hot, exchanging hard shots from the get-go. They spilled to the floor early on where Black dropped Dustin through the announcer table with a hard Sheik Suplex.


As the ref checked on Dustin, Black re-entered the ring and pulled the pad off one of the turnbuckles. Back in the ring, Black took over, alternating between hard kicks and submission holds on Dustin, working over his legs, to the point that Dustin could barely stand. Dustin eventually fired back, but had to change up his offense to protect his hurt leg. But this left him at a disadvantage and Black still maintained control.

With Rhodes down, Black went under the ring and pulled out one of Cody Rhodes’ boots that he’d left in the ring in his apparent retirement moment, and threw it at Dustin to mock him. Bad idea, because this only angered Dustin, who fired up, beat up Black, and nearly got the pin after a Canadian Dust-royer. Black thwarted a Bulldog attempt and then leg-swept Dustin whose face hit the exposed turnbuckle. Hurt, he staggered into a Spinning Kick by Black which missed Dustin’s face and hit his shoulder instead, but it was still enough to put him down for the count.

This was a very good match up until the blown finishing move. Dustin is just so good with in-ring storytelling and the psychology of the match.

Winner: Malakai Black

The Lucha Brothers did a pre-taped promo celebrating their newly-won Tag Team Championship and daring any team to step up and challenge them.

They did a pre-taped segment recapping the Eddie Kingston vs. Miro match from All Out. It looks like this one isn’t over yet.

CM Punk segment

CM Punk came to the ring. He thanked Darby Allin and Sting for the match at All Out and thanked the crowd for their support. He put over Jon Moxley (the show is in Cincinnati), name-checked his wife, and pointed out Aunt Linda, the lady who raised Brian Pillman, who was sitting in the front row.

He said he wanted to get back in the ring and asked the crowd who he should face next. Taz grabbed a house mic and for some reason said Punk should never mention anyone from Team Taz that he would want to face, which was odd because Punk never did mention anyone from Team Taz. Which is what Punk told Taz, but Taz said Punk had indeed done so in interviews leading up to his debut. Hook and Will Hobbs then came out on the entrance ramp to stare menacingly at Punk.

Punk then called out each Team Taz member by name and told Taz he’d face any of them, and then pointedly mocked Taz by using his “Beat me if you can. Survive if I let you.” catchphrase. As the crowd cheered Punk, Taz and his team sulked on the outside, and glared at Punk as he came back up the ramp and down the tunnel.

This was fine. Hopefully this will lead to Punk vs. Ricky Starks who, at this point, is the only Team Taz member who is big-time enough for that marquee an opponent (for now… Hobbs has the potential to be there in time).

Santana and Ortiz did a pre-taped promo, saying that after beating FTR, they are now turning their eyes on the Tag Team Championship.

Tony Schiavone interviewed Ruby Soho who barely got started when she was interrupted by Britt Baker, Rebel, and the woman who accepted Soho’s open challenge for tonight, Jamie Hayter. Soho said that she helped Britt break into the business, and basically said that Britt was a poser. Britt had a good line dissing Ruby’s misuse in WWE and that almost led to blows, but Baker and her squad left before that could happen.

Match 2: “Powerhouse” Will Hobbs (w/ Hook) vs. Dante Martin

Hobbs flattened Dante right at the bell, but Dante was able to use his agility and quickness to… oh, never mind, I spoke too soon. In a great looking move, Dante tried for a diving attack to the floor, but Hobbs caught him so that Dante’s head and arms were in Hobbs’ clutches while his legs were lying on the middle rope, and then, Hobbs levered him head-first into the corner post.

Hobbs then whipped Martin into the ringside barrier a couple of times before going into Picture-in-Picture, where Hobbs dominated some more. After Hobbs missed a kneedrop, Dante tried to make a comeback with a Missile Dropkick and a Senton, and then followed that up with a Somersault Dive to the floor. But he got caught with a huge Spinebuster and got pinned.

This was pretty much a squash match, and was quite effective in that regard.

Winner: Powerhouse Hobbs

After the match, Dan Lambert, who was in a luxury box with the Men of the Year (Scorpio Sky and Ethan Page), did his Jim Cornette impression in burying the company and the roster. He made a challenge for any team to face Sky and Page.

Matt Hardy with his stable and Orange Cassidy with his Best Friends exchanged pre-taped promos. Hardy said he would shave Orange Cassidy’s head.

MJF Promo

MJF came to the ring with Wardlow, brandishing a mic. He recapped what happened at All Out, and said that he only lost to Jericho because of the company’s systematic bias against him. He put on a master class in Heel Promo dissing the Cincinnati crowd. He even berated Aunt Linda and got in the face of Brian Pillman’s daughter and insulted her. This brought out Brian Pillman Jr. who cut a fiery response, defending his city and his family. MJF insulted Pillman’s mother and they nearly came to blows, but Wardlow blocked Pillman’s path.

MJF then chastised Wardlow for not helping him on Sunday and brusquely dismissed him before going back on the verbal assault on Pillman. With no Wardlow to stop him, Pillman finally snapped and attacked MJF. He beat him down, but Wardlow finally came to MJF’s aid and dismantled Pillman, beating him down.

Griff Garrison ran into the ring to save his friend, but Wardlow and MJF double-teamed him and knocked him silly. Pillman covered up Garrison’s body to save him from additional punishment, and MJF and Wardlow left, the damage having been done.

This was tremendous. MJF was absolute gold on the mic, and this was the best Pillman has ever looked. It’s a shame this couldn’t have been done right after the Dark Side of the Ring episode on Pillman so they really could have capitalized on that to build up Pillman Jr. But even belatedly, this worked great. If you didn’t see this, do what you can to seek it out.

They aired a preview video for tonight’s main event of Jon Moxley vs. Minoru Suzuki. Moxley said some tough words.

Match 3: Jamie Hayter (w/ Rebel and Britt Baker) vs. Ruby Soho

After some jockeying for position, Hayter hit the first big move with a Stun Gun and then whipped Soho neck-first onto the bottom rope. During the commercial, Hayter continued to beat down Soho, at one point ,ground-and-pounding her in the centre of the ring, and later, bashing her head against the turnbuckles. A bad-looking sloppy transition led to Ruby making a comeback, including hitting Hayter with a Tornado DDT. Another move that looked sloppy or possibly botched saw Hayter land face-first on the mat with Ruby on top of her. Hayter then hit some power moves to take back control. But only temporarily, as a Riott Kick dropped her for the pin.

After the match, Baker and her goons attacked Ruby and beat her down. Riho ran in for the save, and she got triple-team beaten down too. Kris Statlander ran in with a chair and that was enough to scare off Britt’s brood.

The match wasn’t great, but that’s not because of Ruby Soho. The result was the right one, but Hayter was a bad opponent for Soho’s first singles match. The post-match shenanigans were unnecessary.

Winner: Ruby Soho

A package aired about the ongoing Ricky Starks and Brian Cage feud. These two will eventually have to settle this once and for all.

Match 4: Shawn Spears and FTR (w/ Tully Blanchard and Wardlow) vs. Stu Grayson, Evil Uno, and John Silver (w/ the Dark Order)

During the introductions, they showed an interview from earlier in the day with the Dark Order; the faction is suffering from a lot of dissension.

The story of this match early on was the lack of teamwork of the Dark Order, which the commentators said was because they are lacking a definitive leader. They eventually seemed to get on the same page, and when they did, they established control of the match, hitting Spears with effective combo moves. Dax and Cash showed off their tag team acumen and were eventually able to isolate Silver. They isolated him and also knocked his partners off the apron and to the floor.

Silver finally escaped the wrong corner and tried to make the tag, but Uno and Stu were downed. Some more miscommunication led to him and Uno colliding, and after that, Silver was easy pickings. A Death Valley Driver by Spears put him away for good.

After the match, Uno and Grayson attacked Silver, leading to a brawl between all the Dark Order members. Anna Jay and Tay Conti came out on the ramp, looking distressed, but they cut to the next video before anything else could happen.

This was all about the angle more than the match itself. It’s a shame FTR were used here and aren’t in a more prominent angle. They’re too good to be used in this kind of story, which could have been told with any opponents, even low- to mid-carders like any of Hardy’s faction.

Winners: FTR and Shawn Spears

A video package aired about the Women’s Battle Royal from All Out, interspersed with comments from some of the participants.

Tony Schiavone interviewed Tully Blanchard. Tully requested Tony Khan to make a match between Shawn Spears and Darby Allin, and then said that he (Tully, not Tony Khan) will face Sting at some point. A surprisingly rambling promo from the usually perfect Tully.

Sammy Guevara came out with his signs during the Picture-in-Picture. Bob Dylan did it better.

In the trainer’s room, Alex Marvez interviewed Pillman Jr. and Garrison. Pillman Jr. said that he asked for a match against MJF and will be getting it in two weeks. Private Party came out to scoff at them, and Max Castor told Pillman that they were going to be having a singles match this Friday on Rampage.

Interview with The Elite

Tony Schiavone was in the middle of the ring, and was joined by the Young Bucks, Kenny Omega, the Good Brothers, Don Callis, and their hangers-on Brandon Cutler and Michael Nakazawa. Luckily, Don Callis took the mic and did most of the talking, putting them all over and basically saying that the Bucks’ titles were stolen on Sunday and they would get them back.

They introduced Adam Cole and he came to the ring to a huge babyface reaction. He threatened Schiavone if Tony looks at his fiancé Britt Baker the wrong way and then kicked Schiavone out of the ring.

Cole cut a great promo putting himself and the Elite over. He said he will have his first match with the company next week on Dynamite.

He gave the mic to Kenny Omega, but then Brian Danielson’s music hit and he hit the ring. Unfortunately, Kenny chose to stay on the mic. He invited Danielson into the ring and was going to continue to talk, but Danielson grabbed the mic. Danielson asked the crowd if they wanted to see him fight Omega, and of course they did. But Danielson said that Omega declined the match. Danielson called him out for being a coward and said Omega knows that he’s not on Danielson’s level. Omega took a swing, but Danielson caught him and locked on the Yes Lock.


The Elite ran in and started a beatdown on Danielson, until Jurassic Express and Kazarian ran in for the save. They beat up and chased away the Elite, leaving Brandon Cutler alone in the ring, surrounded. A Flying Goat Knee by Danielson on Cutler ended the segment.

This was good and straight to the point. Putting Danielson in there with the midcarder team of Jurassic Express isn’t ideal, but he’s so good he can stay above the chaff.

Match 6: Minoru Suzuki vs. Jon Moxley

They started off with a strong-style Japanese no-selling exchange. Moxley eventually got Suzuki tied up in the ropes, but Suzuki clamped on an arm lock and then started working over Moxley’s arm, using the ringpost to add to the pain. During the Picture-in-Picture, he cranked on Moxley’s arm and kicked him, but Moxley eventually Hulked up and came back with a big clothesline.

He went for a running kick, but Moxley caught his leg to stop him. They chomped on each other’s foreheads, and then had a weak and obviously-fake headbutt exchange. Some more no-selling of forearms followed, and then Suzuki put on a quick chokehold that he released quickly. He tried a Piledriver, but Moxley got out of it and hit a Paradigm Shift. Suzuki – who was cut at some point (possibly he used the chokehold as a cover to blade himself?) because he was bleeding from the side of his face – got up and absorbed a series of clotheslines before dropping Moxley with a kick. Moxley hit Suzuki with a couple of rabbit punches and hit a Double-Arm Suplex for the pin.

Moxley celebrated in the crowd with his Cincinnati hometown fans.

If you like this kind of Japanese style match, you might have liked this one. But it wasn’t particularly good. It was an anti-climactic way to end what was otherwise a good show, because it was so disassociated from everything else going on in the company right now.

Winner: Jon Moxley

AEW Dynamite - September 8th, 2021

Fifth Third Arena - Cincinnati, OH

Other than the  main event, which wasn’t particularly good and seemed incongruous with the rest of the show, this was a solid episode of Dynamite. The company has made the best of the new arrivals so far, and for the most part their segments were quite effective. The strong matches and segments with their homegrown talent, particularly in the first hour, were also quite good.