AEW Dynamite Review — 11.10.2021 — Full Gear Finale
All Elite Wrestling Revs up the Engine on its Final Wednesday Night Stop Before Full Gear
Professional Wrestling, something I have never actively written about, although I do discuss it in-depth on a weekly basis as part of the Deep Six Wrestling Podcast. It is a passion of mine that I have had since first coming to the medium in 2014, beginning with the WWE before expanding my views into Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling, but ever since the autumn of 2019, I have been absolutely enamored by All Elite Wrestling (AEW) and the weekly product that they produce. What better time than to write up my first written review of AEW Dynamite than now, the week in which one of the longest stories in professional wrestling, across any company, is set to culminate at AEW Full Gear? I would argue there was never a better time.
So sit back, and enjoy this review of AEW Dynamite from November 10, 2021!
SPOILERS FOR THIS EPISODE OF AEW DYNAMITE AHEAD, YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
Rocky Romero (NJPW) vs Bryan Danielson…
This match was announced last week, with Orange Cassidy announced to be in the corner of Rocky, who is obviously aligned with Trent and Chuck, and while most kept pointing out AEW continually mentioning the New Japan Pro Wrestling CHAOS faction, led by Okada, it was not until Wednesday when we got official confirmation via Twitter that something bigger was happening here…
The match itself, well it spoke for itself, with Rocky Romero holding onto one of my favorite matches from 2019, facing off against El Phantasmo in the New Japan Best of Super Juniors Tournament, and Bryan Danielson being Bryan Danielson! It delivered in spades with a hard-hitting affair, filled with kicks from Danielson and fun offense from Romero, as well as being a very technically sound pro-wrestling match! And at this point, it goes without saying to those who actively watch the AEW product on a weekly basis, but this was just a wonderful wrestling match to kick off Dynamite, something that has become evident in the booking of these shows. It was however very, very weird to see Orange Cassidy carrying a CHAOS towel, and to see an AEW Faction now basically absorbed by a bigger New Japan one in the form of Best Friends accepting Okada/Romero’s offer to join, but I think that is really cool! The “Forbidden Door” opening this past year has led to some truly amazing moments in wrestling, and this now feels like a strong indication that we should not only expect more CHAOS representation in AEW, but moreover, that Best Friends will be in Japan at some point, maybe even Wrestle Kingdom if travel and VISAs can get worked out. Rocky looked great, and Danielson continued a streak of phenomenal appearances, so all around… THUMBS UP!
Following this, we were scheduled for a segment from the Inner Circle, but as they were making their way to the ring… The Men of the Year and American Top Team blindsided them on the entrance ramp, beating down the babyface group as the crowd rained down boos! Junior Dos Santos continues to look like he’s having the time of his life when he appears, nailing the TNT Champion, Sammy Guevara, with body blows and laying into Ortiz with kendo stick shots. Dan Lambert, love him or hate him, was at his best this week, hitting a TRIPLE POWERBOMB with Scorpio Sky and Ethan Page, on Chris Jericho through a table, before locking in the Walls of Jericho as Sky forced Jericho to tap out, while Lambert was screaming, “CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING IN FLORIDA! 1970! ITS CALLED A BOSTON CRAB! THE REAL ROCKY JOHNSON”.
This was another very entertaining segment from this American Top Team vs Inner Circle program, a feud which I started out absolutely hating. I really am of the opinion that this whole story turned a corner with the Junior Dos Santos match in Miami, with the match being really entertaining and the performances and fun everyone seems to be having elevating it into a good time. This segment also might’ve been peak Lambert as well, so again… THUMBS UP!
Britt Baker, Jamie Hater, and Rebel vs Tay Conti, Anna Jay, and Thunder Rosa…
I don’t have all too much to say about this one! The match itself was a bit sloppy, but it ended up being a fun time, which could’ve been guessed from the moment the entrances started, as Britt Baker came out to a monster reaction (as is normal), followed by the team of TayJay (Anna Jay and Tay Conti), with their killer theme, who also received a great reaction, before finally having Thunder Rosa enter to another big-time ovation from the crowd. For all the booking issues AEW’s women’s division has faced and for all the criticism lobbed at it, we are at a point where it is undeniable to say they haven’t created stars in the form of Britt, Tay, Anna, and Rosa, while also having talent like Hikaru Shida, Ruby Soho, Serena Deeb, Jade Cargill, and Kris Statlander who are all either on that same level or just about there.
The AEW women’s division has been on quite the upward swing in 2021, with great matches in the form of Thunder Rosa vs Britt Baker in their now famous Lights Out Match and Serena Deeb vs Hikaru Shida in the opening round of the ongoing TBS Women’s Championship Tournament! This is something that could continue this weekend with Baker defending her championship against the fan-favorite Tay Conti, who has shown her improvements by leaps and bounds over the past several months.
For newer viewers, keep your eyes peeled to the women of All Elite Wrestling as 2022 appears to be shaping up to be a big year for them with the crowning of the first TBS Champion and an eventual rematch between Britt Baker and Thunder Rosa, now with the AEW Women’s World Championship on the line!
Okay… maybe I did have something to say after all! THUMBS IN THE MIDDLE FOR THE MATCH!
Jungle Boy vs Anthony Bowens…
OKAY, this is the match that I don’t have much to say about! There wasn’t really any story here aside from it being a singles match between two younger talents, with Jungle Boy being a featured performer at Full Gear this Saturday, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a good time! I actually thought the two of them ended up putting together quite the fun match here, with this serving as another strong showing for Anthony Bowens coming after his match with Bryan Danielson on Rampage. Jungle Boy gets better every time he’s in the ring and is already so good. THUMBS UP to the match…
… and after Jungle Boy Jack’s win, he was attacked by the INFAMOUS BOBBY FISH! This came out of nowhere, but as someone who actively did not want AEW to sign Bobby Fish when he first showed up, I have been proven wrong, week-in, week-out. His showings against Danielson and Punk really sold me, and this now sets up a match for AEW Rampage this Friday while also sowing the seeds for an eventual team-up between former Undisputed Era (NXT) members, Fish and Adam Cole, possibly even setting up an impending arrival for Kyle O’Reilly, who’s contract is expiring with WWE NXT in December. It is very intriguing to see as many suspect the Young Bucks and Adam Cole will betray Kenny Omega sooner than later, but with Fish and O’Reilly possibly reconnecting with Adam Cole, there are potentially more factors to think about!
Wheeler Yuta vs WARDLOW…
Another match I have little to say about, but I love me some handsome Wardlow, so seeing him just wreck shop is a good thing for me! This was just an extended squash match that set up a beatdown from the Hardy Family Office on Yuta and Cassidy. We now also know that Cassidy and Matt may finally squash their beef on Rampage this week with a Lumberjack Match, but who knows! They have been entangled with one another for four months and I just am waiting for the day it ends at this point.
Best case scenario if the feud does not end is that next week on Dynamite we have Best Friends and Okada (and Tomohiro Ishii?) take on the Hardy Family Office in some big fun tag team match.
THUMBS UP for Wardlow, Thumbs Down for Cassidy and Hardy going this long.
We briefly saw a pull-apart brawl occurring backstage between CM Punk and Eddie Kingston, and this was all we got from them on this show. After one of, if not my favorite segments of the year on Rampage occurred between these two, I was hoping to see more of their feud escalate this week, and with how packed this show was, I actually think this might’ve been for the best? Neither man was booked for anything tonight, but we still got to see them trying to tear each other apart, having to be restrained by referees, management, and their friends. I am expecting this to be one of the hottest matches this Saturday at AEW Full Gear, and I also hope this is not just a one-off match as they have seemingly walked into another captivating story.
Lio Rush and Dante Martin vs Matt Sydal and Lee Moriarty…
Jesus Christ. I don’t know what I expected from this, but tis exceeded any and all expectations. Dante Martin has been a highlight since AEW returned to shows with crowds, as they have decided to shine quite a big spotlight on the young wrestler, and man, he is doing his best every week to show why he deserves it! Then we have Lee Moriarty, one of AEW’s newest acquisitions, and another very young wrestler (and talented designer), who, despite not having many TV appearances thus far, got a huge response from the crowd tonight, who also deserve some praise as this felt like one of AEW’s best audiences, which is saying a lot already. Matt Sydal has been a very underrated signing for AEW in my opinion as well, being one of the more prominent high fylers of the 2010’s and now residing in the company as a veteran who can help establish and teach a new generation. I feel the man is doing a hell of a job anytime he is given a chance and I really came away from this match wanting to see more of him and Lee together!
And that brings us to Lio Rush, who briefly debuted with AEW earlier this year at Double or Nothing, before announcing his retirement due to a scary injury, eventually shocking everyone when he announced he would not be retiring this fall, finding his way back to All Elite Wrestling and quickly forming a partnership with Dante, with tonight marking his Dynamite debut! Lio is someone I have loved since first seeing him before his stint in WWE where he just felt wasted (as quite a lot of talent do nowadays), but seeing him in AEW has brought me some joy as I want nothing more for him than to succeed, and despite being incredibly young like Lee and Dante, he already feels like a complete package at this point, which is amazing to say.
This was just absolutely insane and put such a big spotlight on all four men, specifically Lee, Lio, and Dante, All around THUMBS UP to me, this was just fun as all hell, and had so much going for it. Everything looked good. We had fast-paced technical wrestling and lots of flippy crazy wacked out madness. Great Stuff!
Dax Harwood vs PAC…
At this point, it has occurred to me how much praise I’ve given tonight’s edition of AEW Dynamite, and to some that might be a turn-off, but I am here to state my opinions after all… and if you thought the Cruiserweight-style tag team match before this was wild, Dax Harwood of FTR and PAC of Death Triangle came out here on TV as the final match of the night (though not the actual main event) and just put a clinic on, easily earning a spot on my Match of the Year shortlist. This was a spectacle and a testament to how talented both men are, while also shining a light at how held back both were during their time within the WWE system.
This was just so damn good, and is something that would sound like the ravings of a madman if you said that Neville (PAC ) and Scott Dawson (Dax Harwood) would have a MOTY contender singles match while both were employed by WWE. The finish was great and made sense with Dax quickly tapping out once The Brutalizer was locked in, knowing he was beaten and surrendering rather than risking an injury before the PPV, as well as knowing what was coming next, in the form of Malakai Black and Andrade showing up to beatdown PAC before eventually Cody Rhodes and the Lucha Bros made the save. It was pro-wrestling fun in the post-match angle and the match stole the show despite this program also having Rocky Romero vs Bryan Danielson, Jungle Boy vs Anthony Bowens, and Lee Moriarty & Matt Sydal vs Lio Rush & Dante Martin. If you did not see this match, go seek it out immediately. THUMBS UP!
AEW World Championship Match Contract Signing, Hangman Page and Kenny Omega…
As I stated in the introduction to this review, I started watching wrestling in 2014. We are now seven years into my wrestling fandom and while there have already been some amazing stories that I’ve seen play out, whether it be Kofimania, Omega vs Okada, the reunion of the Golden Lovers, or whatever else, I don’t really know if anything comes close to Hangman Page vs Kenny Omega.
Part of this is due to me being a longtime fan of Adam Page, dating back to 2015 when I first began watching Ring of Honor, seeing him in The Decade and then following his eventual rise, splitting from that group, floundering, and eventually joining Bullet Club as “The Hangman”, before once again somewhat floundering, entering the G1 Climax in New Japan and earning the respect and praise of Hiroshi Tanahashi in the process, then forming “The Hung Bucks” with Matt and Nick Jackson and eventually finding his way into All Elite Wrestling as this company began.
From Double or Nothing 2019, AEW’s first show, it was clear a lot of the focus would be on Page’s rise as he won the right to be in the deciding AEW World Championship match, facing off against Chris Jericho, eventually losing that match and setting the stage in the post-match fallout for his split from The Elite. Of course we did cool that off for some time, with he and Omega joining forces to win the AEW World Tag Team Championships, something I do not think anyone foresaw with how big the Omega hype was for him as a singles star at this point. Their reign led to the instant classic at AEW Revolution 2020 against The Young Bucks, and later that year, they would drop the belts to FTR before finally splitting as a team and first facing off in last year’s AEW World Title Eliminator.
Here we are, a year removed from their last singles encounter and so much has happened. Hangman found genuine friends in the form of Dark Order, something he never truly had with The Young Bucks and Kenny Omega. He has found his confidence, something that was constantly shown he did not have ever since losing to Jericho at All Out 2019. Page has found the fire he has lacked since his time in Ring of Honor, he has connected to the fans in a way that almost no modern day wrestling characters have aside from Bryan Danielson, CM Punk, Tetsuya Naito, and Kofi Kingston. This Saturday, one of the all-time great wrestling stories culminates as Adam Page faces off Kenny Omega for the AEW World Championship.
I realize I wrote nothing about the Contract Signing…
As far as contract signings go, this ended up actually not being as cliched as one might assume with the wrestlers sparring verbally before having a brawl, instead, we had a verbal exchange between Omega and Page talking about their history, their partnership, Page’s confidence and potential. It felt different, because it is. This entire story is something that very few mainstream wrestling fans have seen in terms of how long they’ve built towards this, with AEW building from this starting in May of 2019 and finally paying it off here, in November of 2021. Obviously we did get a surprise to end this, as Don Callis, manager of Kenny Omega who had been missing from AEW TV for six weeks, made his return as a cameraman in disguise to blindside Page with his camera, busting the Anxious Cowboy open, allowing Omega to sign the contract in Hangman’s blood (literally).
Some people got very upset with Tony Khan not booking Omega vs Page for All Out this past September, but seeing how that show played out with the debuts of Bryan Danielson and Adam Cole in the main event, it just would not have played well, and on top of that, we got so much extra juicy story bits with Page getting written off TV in an injury angle before returning triumphantly in Philadelphia to earn his shot against Omega, finally realizing that Dark Order are genuinely his friends and will be there for him, and finding the confidence that has evaded him his entire career. THUMBS UP, I have to.
And that was AEW Dynamite from November 10th, 2021! I will say it, this was one of AEW’s best TV episodes to date, with the show from top to bottom being great. Even at its worst, there were very clear positives in both of those segments that got a mid-tier rating from me (Cassidy and Hardy, and the women’s trios match). AEW returns on Friday Night with Rampage + the Countdown to Full Gear special on TNT and then on Saturday Night, AEW Full Gear heads to PPV!
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