Welcome to the inaugural Dynamite Preview Roundtable. There's always a lot to talk about before AEW Dynamite due to the well planned nature of the show. This week is no different with Chris Jericho taking on the third of MJF's challenges as he faces a foe from his past in Juventud Guererra and Cody Rhodes confronts the darkness currently invading AEW in the form of Malakai Black.
This week's Roundtable sees no fewer than six of Pro Wrestling Musings best minds lay out their thinking around the big issues in tonight's show:
- Craig William (@CraigPWMusings)
- Gareth Ford-Elliot (RHWGareth)
- Dan Humphrey (WrestlingRhymes)
- Sergei Alderman (SergeiAlderman)
- Daisy Foster (BoutMachines)
- Shreyas (OneeWingedAngel
The headline match for this episode of Dynamite is Cody Rhodes vs Malakai Black. Who comes out on top and what do you want to see from this one?
[Craig] This one has to be a Malakai Black win, surely. People are already making ‘lol cody wins’ jokes ironically, but a win over Black would tip those jokes towards serious criticism. Also, Black is red hot and not capitalising on that would be bizarre in a way that AEW just does not do. Black will win but the permutations of that are far more interesting. Does he squash Cody? Does this spiral off into another feud? Those questions are the more interesting ones!
[Daisy] Malakai Black. There is no other option. We haven’t had an AEW debut work out so smoothly so soon in quite a while. Guys tend to float about on the mid-card before there’s a spot for them in a big storyline, but they’ve hit it out of the park with Malakai this time. The gimmick is working, the promos are hitting, and he’s getting over with the audience. To have Cody beat him in his first outing would be nothing short of disastrous. Although I’m not opposed to a squash (In Malakai’s favour), my preference for this one is a solid match. Malakai spent 7 months not wrestling in his final year with WWE, and I’m fiending for a good match from him.
[Gareth] With rumours circling that Cody will take some time off, this seems to be the perfect match to write Cody off for a few weeks, ala Brodie Lee squashing Cody as he left for the Go Big Show. With Malakai Black saying, “and what is right is for you to go home,” I am anticipating something relatively serious to happen. Hopefully not a squash, as I’d like to see these guys go for it. But something post-match that allows Cody to take time off and gives us more insight into the personality and motivations of Malakai Black.
[Sergei] Cody really needs this win. (Just kidding.) But is a Cody win completely impossible to pull off? We all thought a win by the Elite would be the end of the world last week, so I don’t want to leap ahead of the story. I will say, though, that a straightforward, clean victory by Cody sounds like an unmitigated disaster of a debut for Black and utterly disheartening for fans. HOWEVER, a dirty win caused by outside interference, leading to dissension in the Nightmare Family and giving ammunition to Black’s accusations? Now that might be interesting.
But far more likely Black just kicks Cody’s head off.
[Dan] Completely agree with everyone that Black needs the win here, but for me the more interesting element is the manner of victory. It looks as if AEW really want to press Malakai Black as a heel, or at least someone that strikes fear into hearts, and yet his reactions so far have been understandably positive from the returning live crowds. If they want him to be a menace, he needs to do something properly menacing in destroying Cody Rhodes. Maybe pull his eyeball out? No wait...that’s been done hasn’t it?
Chris Jericho heads into Chapter 3 of the Labours of Jericho against Juventud Guererra with the challenge of winning via top rope dive. How does Jericho win this match and what do you think MJF has lined up next?
[Craig] Top rope Moonsault, is that a possibility!? Mutoh did it against Marafuji! A Diving Elbow Drop or splash would be a little disappointing I have to admit (yes, yes, entitled wrestling fan alert)! As for what next? It has to be a match against Sammy Guevara. Something that forces them to actually fight. Last Man Standing? First Blood? I feel dirty even suggesting such things!
[Gareth] This has Jericho showing off and squashing those “lol Jericho fat now” jokes from a few months ago. I think we’ll see various top rope moves as Jericho shows how much of a dynamic performer he still is. I think we could see a variety of moves that Jericho has used in the past, or moves that pay homage to that WCW Cruiserweight division. A frog splash in homage of Eddie Guerrero would pop me, but I agree with Craig above, a top rope moonsault would be my bet.
Sammy Guevara feels like the next move to me. No idea what the stipulation could be, but something that forces both men to beat the crap out of each other when they don’t want to is what I’d go for.
[Daisy] Jericho has clearly been practising his top rope hurricanrana. That’s the move I’m expecting him to win with.
As for what’s next? My best guess is a New Japan cameo. Jericho did a short stint in NJPW as a competitor in the Best of the Super Juniors tournament in 1997. A handful of the other guys in that tournament are still active, including recent AEW signing Chavo Guerrero Jr. (Who also has a history with Jericho in WCW). Shinjiro Otani, the man who knocked Jericho out of the tournament is still working, having a match as recent as a week ago with Pro Wrestling ZERO1. If this is the Jericho retirement tour that it looks like, I can see him wanting to pay homage to his New Japan career and having another ghost of his past appear for labour number four.
[Sergei] A moonsault from the turnbuckle would give this story no link to Chris Jericho’s Lionheart days in CMLL and in the Cruiserweight division of WCW. Can 50-year-old Chris Jericho pull off a top-rope Lionsault? (aka La Quebrada, aka a springboard moonsault, aka an Asai moonsault, except to the inside.) No, he cannot, and he really shouldn’t try, but I’m willing to bet he will.
I agree that the final Labor to reach MJF needs to be Sammy Guevara. As far as a stipulation, it needs to be a moral test. Most options along these lines put Jericho in too negative of a light for his character to keep the crowd on his side. If it were a loser-leaves match, it would only make sense for Jericho to be unwilling to go so far as to try to get Sammy kicked out of AEW just for his selfish goal of wanting his revenge on MJF. I’m all for shades of gray, but that’s too dark! How about instead, MJF tests the loyalty Jericho has inspired in his followers. Up for grabs to the winner of the match? Leadership of the Inner Circle. Sammy demurs and claims he’ll lay down for Jericho, because he doesn’t need to be leader, and doesn’t want to get in the way of Jericho’s revenge. But then: one, two, KICK OUT! He just can’t throw the match; a messy mix of sportsmanship and ambition won’t let him!
[Shreyas] I have gotten super-invested in the Labours of Jericho storyline the past two weeks, after being initially sceptical in fear that this would just be Jericho beating Pinnacle members, one by one. But with Nick Gage showing up and having an amazing (and controversial) deathmatch, and now one of Jericho’s old rivals in Juventud Guerrera showing up because of a throwaway joke from a segment in 2019, I am eagerly looking forward to seeing what happens next. I agree with Craig and Gareth above that a top rope moonsault is the most likely scenario here, but I’m just going to throw this out into the universe for the sake of it, who knows if 50-year-old Chris Jericho hasn’t been practising 450s in his spare time? (Again, highly improbable, but putting this out there just for the sheer madness of it).
As for Labour #4, I kind of hope it isn’t Sammy, just because I don’t want to see him taking another loss this soon after losing to MJF. Although it doesn’t really hurt him and would be one hell of a match. I am going for Lance Storm, Jericho’s old tag team partner (who has also known him since day 1 of wrestling school), coming out of retirement for one last match. Once again, I don’t know how likely this is, but why not?
[Dan] Anything short of a top-rope Canadian Destroyer and we riot.
Adam Page was soundly defeated by the Super Elite last week in the second biggest match of his AEW career after his previous World Championship loss to Chris Jericho. Do you think this story will continue this week and how?
[Gareth] Given the rumours of Page taking time off and not facing Omega at All Out, I doubt it. However, if you’ll indulge some fantasy booking for a moment, and I haven’t thought this through, but with Hangman pinning Matt Jackson there is potential for a Hangman and a friend to challenge for the tag titles.
The Bucks could spend the coming weeks taking out potential allies for Hangman. John Silver one week, Evil Uno the next, and so on. Until we’re at the final Dynamite before All Out and Hangman must announce his partner, days after a certain former NXT champion’s contract will end with no non-compete clause. That same former NXT champion has reason to fight The Bucks in the world of BTE after they super-kicked him out of Bullet Club.
You can then use Hangman and Cole’s losing effort to build a singles feud between the two of them if you wanted to. There are so many different routes you could go, but ultimately, it sounds like Hangman is just taking some time with his new-born. So, I think we’ll have to wait and see.
[Craig] From the Adam Page side of things, we all now know he won’t be challenging at All Out which is fine and swerves are important. I think most people believe he’ll win eventually and will be the man to take the belt off Omega. Tonight? I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t even see Page. His story may by the Dark Order not being able to get in touch with him Out then feeling they’ve let him down. Or you may get a short glimpse of the beginnings of a Page-downward spiral.
As for Omega, I’d expect to see him on the show and him to start moving towards his eventual opponent at All Out or before. I, personally, want to see Darby Allin, Christian Cage, Tanahashi, Jay White and Andrade clash with Omega before he loses the belt.
[Sergei] Adam Page being completely crushed by the Elite only to cut away to other stories with no hint of where the Cowboy goes from here is the biggest downer ending since the Empire struck back. They have to throw the fans some kind of a bone, here! My take: Evil Uno calls Hangman to the ring to apologize on behalf of the Dark Order for letting him down, Page demurs and clarifies that he knew the risks when he accepted the stipulation, the buck stops here, and no matter if it will take longer now, he’s never been more sure that being AEW World Champion is his destiny, and he will just grind his way back to his shot with no complaints, because that’s the cowboy way.
[Shreyas] For the longest time, I have personally believed that they should give Kenny a longer reign anyway, since I think there’s still a lot of top contenders in line for a match with the Belt Collector; Eddie Kingston, Darby Allin, Christian Cage all come to mind, so I am fully of the opinion that while heart-breaking, the Dark Order losing was the right decision.
I don’t know if we will see the immediate fallout from the loss on this week’s Dynamite, but the next chapter in Hangman’s tale is about him taking this loss well and not spiralling down again. He has friends who care about him and are there for him no matter what, and as the narrator from the awesome entrance video package he got last week said, “and when they get knocked in the dirt, bloodied and trampled, a cowboy dusts themselves off and gets back up.” Full Gear seems like the right time to pull the trigger to me.
Is there anything else on Dynamite you are looking forward to or want to see?
[Daisy] AEW announced today that the recently released Ever-Rise (now known as 2.0) will be participating in a trios tag match with Daniel Garcia against Moxley, Kingston and Darby Allin. This reads as a scouting match from AEW to see if 2.0 fit in with their current tag roster, and I’m expecting them to be putting their best foot forward with this one. It’s always a pleasure watching Mox work with Kingston and Allin, too, so it should be a treat.
[Sergei] My dark-horse prediction: Paul Wight will start a feud with QT Marshall and his Factory faction. PRINT MONEY, BABY, YEAH! I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt that there is some point to this “apology” segment, besides just getting heat on QT. Hint: we already hate him!
One thing we’ve seen from AEW is that they love to run back evergreen angles. And a competitor-slash-commentator coming to the defense of his non-competitor announce-desk buddy being bullied is the ever-greeeniest! I picture this leading to a match where Wight dominates Marshal to get him his feel-good moment, then a beat down by Comoroto and/or Ogogo, leading to a match with one of them so Wight can go out on his back putting over the next generation, as is traditional.
Do I want to see Paul Wight wrestling on TNT (or FFS PPV??) in the year 2021? I do not. But since it appears that they all but promised him one last run, this seems like a relatively painless and even useful way to get that out of the way.
[Dan] Sergei has already written about this in much more cohesive detail at AEW Dynamite 8/4/21 Stats Preview: Styles Make Fights #23 (prowrestlingmusings.com), but Leyla Hirsch v The Bunny feels like it could be a great ‘showing out’ party for Leyla Hirsch. In a division that remains devoid of direction, Hirsch is something a bit different from the rest of the roster and has impressed me on the few occasions she’s been on our AEW screens. Giving her a win here would set her above that women’s mid-card and would also setup a fascinating styles-clash with Kamille at NWA EmPowerrr. We’ve been here too many times with the women’s division for me to really believe this will amount to anything significant, but it feels like at least a decent first step.