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    Friday, August 27, 2021

    Reviewing the Elite (8/25/21): CM Punk and Not Much Else

    It’s AEW Dynamite! You know what that means…

    A below-average show after a hot streak of great episodes, unfortunately.

    Obviously, the biggest thing we got in this episode was CM Punk’s Dynamite debut, which was nice, but a far cry from his explosive return in last week’s Rampage

    To be fair, Punk’s promo was a good one as he put over his All Out opponent Darby Allin, claiming that the Sk8r Boi is dangerous and will help him tell if he’s still the Best in the World. Punk also put over AEW really strongly by retiring his "Voice of the Voiceless" nickname due to the company listening to the fans. He then teased the hell out of Bryan Danielson/Daniel Bryan and talked up some of the younger wrestlers he wants to work with, like Brian Pillman Jr. and Rey Fenix, so this was a huge success overall.

    That promo aside, this stick of Dynamite was pretty lackluster, even below average for this show’s high standards. I freaking love CM Punk, but you could argue that this was the worst Dynamite of the year because the wrestling was average, and some of the storytelling decisions were questionable or downright bad.   

    Let’s get to the good stuff first because there were a couple of things that stood out.  


    Orange Cassidy and Matt Hardy had a pretty good opening match, with some fun comedy antics in the beginning and some genuinely good wrestling throughout. It was one of Big Money Matt’s better singles matches in AEW because Cassidy’s size allowed Matt to throw the Freshly Squeezed superstar around the ring, even hitting him with an awesome sit-out crucifix powerbomb. Cassidy won, and Hardy looked good, so there really wasn't much to complain about here.

    Somehow, someway, Chris Jericho and MJF sold me a ticket to All Out. I was more than content with MJF’s win last week and Jericho moving on to someone else or being a part-timer, so it was dreadful at first to hear them bring up yet another match between the two. Of course, both Jericho and MJF are masters on the microphone, so they convinced me that their match at All Out was a good idea. The stipulation of Jericho retiring from in-ring competition initially made me groan, but their performance was so good that I got suckered in.


    You’d think the stipulation would make the outcome between Jericho and MJF obvious, especially after the Roman Reigns/John Cena match from SummerSlam added a similar stipulation that made it too predictable. However, Jericho is 50 and has been doing a lot of commentary on both Dynamite and Rampage. The legend's career is winding down, making the stipulation a bit more believable. I still think Jericho is walking away with a victory, but the fact that there is a small chance he could lose is enough for me.

    Malakai Black killed Brock Anderson in the main event, which we all expected, but it was a fine squash. Honestly, the best part of this segment was Arn Anderson blocking the Black Mass kick, which made him look badass. I now want to see Malakai Black vs. Arn Anderson at All Out. Weird how that works.


    Everything else about this show was skippable and kind of baffling, to be honest. 

    Seeing Darby Allin get a win made sense, given his All Out match with CM Punk, but I don’t know why he’s still feuding with Daniel Garcia. They already wrestled on Dynamite, and Darby won. So can Garcia and 2.0 move on to someone else?

    While not horrible, Jamie Hayter vs. Red Velvet went too long. AEW should have reintroduced Hayter with a short squash match and then maybe transition into a proper Red Velvet match. Instead, they moved ahead with this, and it was a heatless affair that no one cared about. Red Velvet completely missing a standing moonsault, but at least Hayter won. 

    Also, we all know QT Marshall is losing to Paul Wight, but at least try to convince me that he has a chance. Having QT eat the pinfall in The Nightmare Factory’s match against The Gunn Club was very WWE, especially since QT distracted himself and Wight didn’t even do anything to distract him. I get that Colten Gunn has one of the best AEW winning streaks out there (no, really, look it up), but this was a waste of time.

    Final Grade: Definitely the weakest stick of Dynamite we’ve had this year. It feels like AEW is waiting to get to All Out to start doing more interesting storylines, which couldn’t be more apparent than with this episode. C

    Bullet Point Party

    • I liked Dan Lambert’s promo of him siding with Scorpio Sky and Ethan Page, but they don’t need him. The Men of The Year are already great promos and even greater wrestlers, so this alliance just feels pointless.
    • That segment with Christian Cage and The Super Elite was BAD. From Christian telling the people backstage to play Road to Dynamite footage to Don Callis overacting, this was a miss all around. It feels like this was the segment that would have had Gangrel if his comments about missing Dynamite due to Edge’s SummerSlam entrance are true.
    • Something about Lucha Bros vs. Varsity Blondes just felt off. The match started well but got sloppy in the middle, with the luchadores overusing superkicks near the end. It didn't help that The Varsity Blondes didn't really get any reactions, which we saw in how the audience didn’t buy into any of their near-falls.
    • We’re getting Tay Conti on Rampage this week. That’s good, but where’s Hikaru Shida?
    Images from AEW 


    Nico Parungo is a freelance contributor for Geeky PH and previously wrote for Epicstream. He provides weekly recaps of AEW Dynamite for Smark Henry and has contributed several reviews for PWR and MWF shows. When he isn't frustrated about the WWE, he's playing video games at home and is bugging his friends with glorious puns. He's new to the world of Twitter drama but is quickly getting hooked.
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    Item Reviewed: Reviewing the Elite (8/25/21): CM Punk and Not Much Else Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Nico Parungo
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