Welcome to the AEW Dynamite Roundtable, where Pro Wrestling Musings' contributors share their thoughts on the biggest talking points arising from AEW Dynamite. This week is doubling up as a Double or Nothing preview. Please note writer's views are their own.
This week's contributors are:
-Ryan Gorneault: @RyanGorneault [RG]
-Gareth Ford-Elliot: @RHWGareth [GFE]
-Jacob Burns: @SaltyAyyycob [JB]
-Daisy Foster @boutmachines [DF]
-Anthony Bennett: @AnthonyDownUnda [AB]
-Joe Cabana: @JoeProWrestling [JC]
-Tim Morehouse: @TimmayMan [TM]
1) What did you make of the Dynamite go-home show?
[TM] As a go home show, it was okay. As a cathartic reminder that life in the US is coming back after the pandemic, it was wonderful. Seeing the fans there and hearing their voices was great. The chant of “Miro’s going to kill you” and seeing the blissful expression come over Miro’s face did more to build him up than any booking could.
[RG] This show probably wouldn’t have been a success without the return of full capacity crowds because none of the promo work really did anything more to build up Double or Nothing, and none of the in-ring action was exceptional. The crowds made that show. [JC] Not a fan, I thought it was one of my least favourite episodes and it did nothing than make me less excited for the PPV. The build to most matches has been so lacklustre and I find myself not caring about most of it.
[AB] This was a below average episode to be honest. It was amazing to see fans and hear the noise coming from the. It made me wish to be there in that atmosphere. They were into everything all night. Unfortunately, the episode was affected by audio being caught of one of the Spanish announce team making fun of Shida’s accent. This really left a bad feeling leading into the PPV.
[JB] Functional is the word that comes to mind. Besides the weigh-in, everything accomplished what it set out to do. It just wasn’t particularly spectacular. But they could have had Cody strip down to his undies for 10 minutes and that fresh crowd still would have gone crazy... Oh wait...
2) Riho vs. Serena Deeb for the NWA World’s Women’s Championship.
[GFE] This appears to be very straight forward. Riho defeated Serena Deeb in the Women’s Eliminator Tournament earlier this year, after which Deeb was injured and Riho returned to Japan. Now she’s back and a title shot makes sense. AEW know this match will bang, get the crowd hot and it could even steal the show despite not being on the main card.
Prediction: Serena Deeb.
[TM] Even the Buy-In has me excited. This match should really get the crowd hyped up as both women are excellent workers. Don’t see a title change happening on the pre-show though.
Prediction: Serena Deeb.
[RG] The NWA World Women’s Title has yet to change hands on AEW programming, so it seems unlikely that things will change any time soon. Plus, it seems unlikely that Riho would have a run in the NWA. No matter what the result though, if their match is any bit as good as their Dynamite match, I would call their match a success.
Prediction: Serena Deeb.
[AB] This is an interesting match, Riho defeated Deeb in the Womens tournament and Deeb is back after injury. Riho on her social media said she has set up permanently in US now. This will be a great match, I'd like to see Riho get the win, but Deeb will get the win here.
Prediction: Serena Deeb
[DF] I expect this match to be world class. Deeb is one of my favourites in the women's division and Riho rarely disappoints. It’s the perfect choice to kick off Double or Nothing’s stacked card. I’d love to go against the grain here and predict a Riho upset, but there’s no way this doesn’t go in Serena’s favour. Prediction: Serena Deeb
3) Brian Cage vs ‘Hangman’ Adam Page.
[TM] When Cage pinned Page a few weeks back on Dynamite I saw it as a great example of what AEW strives to be. At their inception they promoted a more sports-based product and in sports sometimes you have an upset. Not in the vein of David and Goliath, but more in the spirit of the NFL’s Patriots vs. the Packers.
Both teams are good but a win for the either is possible. Brian Cage is the type of wrestler in that any time he gets in the ring, I believe he can walk out with the win. Page’s storyline potential shouldn’t protect him from getting beat by legitimate competition. That’s sports. Sometimes the Cinderella team/performer has a miss-step. That said, Page should probably win here to get back on track to the World Title.
Prediction: Adam Page
[JC] I think Hangman gets his win back here, and Brian Cage will most likely have to deal with repercussions from Taz and his team in the following weeks. If you had forgotten, the crowd was your reminder last night, it’s time to move Hangman towards Omega and the shiny gold plate. Prediction: The Hangman.
[RG] Both Adam Page and Brian Cage need this win for very different reasons. If Cage loses, he risks losing the support of Team Taz, and if Page loses, his momentum is halted yet again, and he risks not being perceived as good enough when he finally ascends to the top of the AEW totem pole. I agree with JC here. it’s Page’s time, but I don’t know if AEW agrees.
Prediction: Mixed bag
[JB] It would make sense for Hangman Page to get his win back here. It would put his train back on the track to the AEW Championship, and that’s what everyone expects to happen. I just don’t think Page is going to be challenging for that title for a good while. I also like the idea of setting Brian Cage up as the one guy Hangman can’t beat for after he wins the title.
Prediction: Brian Cage
4) Casino Battle Royale.
[GFE] I think Christian Cage has this in the bag. They’ve been building this match around him so it feels like his time to “out work” 20 other men. However, I hope AEW are subverting our expectations. It’d be a boring way for Christian to earn his opportunity in my opinion and it’s also the obvious pick. Furthermore, Jungle Boy vs Kenny Omega NEEDS to happen. I am desperate.
For the joker, I was initially going to go with Paul Wight but after Tony Kahn’s promo before Dynamite and all the WWE/NJPW fuss, I think it’d be hilarious if Bryan Danielson turned up as the joker. Bryan vs Jungle Boy final two. Perfect. (It won’t happen but let me dream).
Prediction: Jungle Boy wins with Bryan Danielson as the Joker.
[TM] I always enjoy these. They can get kind of crowded but it’s just nice to see multiple performers get a moment on PPV. It’s an easy way to set up a Dynamite main event down the road.
As for the mystery Joker entrant, let’s lay some odds down for who that may be.
Paul Wight 3:1
Sammy Callihan 9:1
Bryan Danielson 15:1
Gentleman Jarvis 100:1
Prediction: Christian Cage [JC] Not really looking forward to this match, but you’d always hope it’s a good time at worst. I think the winner is quite obvious, and he doesn’t really need to win a BR for a title shot anyways. The only interest for me lies in Jungle Boy’s performance and who the Joker is. I have no expectations for anything crazy, this will just fill time and get people on PPV.
Prediction: Christian Cage
[RG] Wait, are people thinking Gentleman Jarvis will appear? Because that would be AMAZING! I think either Paul Wight or an Impact Wrestling wrestler are the most likely options. AEW could always send out Wight to pop the crowd, but it would do AEW and Impact some good to further establish their relationship so it's not so one-sided.
Prediction: Eddie Edwards or Sami Callihan as the Joker and Christian Cage as the winner
[DF] The Battle Royale’s at AEW PPV’s are rarely (...never) the best match on the card. However, they’re fun. Forty minutes of silliness always sits well with me when we’re dealing with a super serious very important pay-per-view. I can’t understate just how excited I am to hear the packed Daily’s Place crowd count down together for each new entrant. Now, I’m with Gareth in that I was convinced it’d be Paul Wight a couple of days ago and that’s changed since Tony’s WWE promo. My pick isn’t Daniel Bryan, though. As for the winner? God knows. Probably Christian, but that’s no fun. I’m kind of hoping for a Brian Pillman Jr upset. Prediction: A NJPW guy as the Joker. Someone like Suzuki would be ideal but literally any NJPW wrestler works. Brian Pillman Jr as the winner.
[JB] I went in-depth into my prediction for this match in last week’s article, so I’ll keep this short. Kenny Omega has three feuds running in IMPACT right now. He’s made a lot of enemies in his short time in that company and I think it’s about time one of them comes to his house and confronts him. The Good Brothers cost Sami Callihan a shot at IMPACT’s top title. It makes sense to me that he comes to AEW to win a shot at theirs.
Prediction: Sami Callihan winner and joker.
5) Sting & Darby Allin vs Ethan Page & Scorpio Sky.
[TM] I’m not the biggest fan of Sting wrestling. Let Darby do most of the work, have Sting come in for a hot tag, then tag him back out. Sky and Page have been a fun team to watch on Dark and I’d like to see their stock rise with a win here.
[JC] Not interested in seeing Sting wrestle, not interested in the team of Ethan & Sky. Hopefully Darby has fun. Prediction: Sting & Darby.
[RG] I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared for Sting. While I imagine Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky would do their best to protect Sting for the limited amount of time he’ll be in the match, this does still scare me. Page and Sky will undoubtedly run this match, but there’s no way Sting does not come out on top in the end
Prediction: Darby Allin and Sting
[DF] I echo the sentiment above when I say that I am terrified of watching Sting wrestle. I sincerely hope Darby is the pack-mule for this one and does 99% of the work. That aside, I hope Sting enjoys his return to the ring and that the live crowd does their job hyping him the hell up when he executes some nice, safe moves. As for Ethan and Sky, this match needs to prove to the audience that Ethan deserves his spot in AEW. I believe he does, but most haven’t seen what he’s capable of. That needs to change. Prediction: Sky and Page
6) Cody Rhodes vs. Anthony Ogogo.
[TM] Nationalism and pro-wrestling have often gone together throughout history. Usually with the later exploiting the former. Cody’s adopting of “The American Dream” is curious in 2021. While it’s admirable that Cody finds his family situation to be an example of progressive racial attitudes within the United States, it comes at a time when the state government of Georgia pushes to enact restrictive voter suppression laws. It comes less than six months after an attempted coup attempted to disrupt or cancel the peaceful transition of federal power (one that a major political party doesn’t find important enough to investigate). It comes after the population of the country watched as over half a million of their citizens died from a pandemic that could have been mitigated. To paraphrase George Carlin, “They call it the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it.”
Ogogo could be a breakout star for AEW. He’s got charisma as well as athletic talent to succeed. I'm very interested in this match to see how he performs, also how the crowd reacts to both competitors.
[JC] Another match that I want less and less to do with as the weeks go on, the weigh in after this Dynamite just killed it completely for me. Hopefully it’s a good match and a breakthrough performance for Ogogo, that’s all I hope for with this now, not interested. Prediction: Ogogo.
[RG] I have a bad feeling about this one. The fact that patriotism has been such a central theme throughout this feud makes me believe that Cody Rhodes will win this match. There will be interference, there will be drama, and unfortunately, like every “America versus The World” feud in wrestling, patriotism will win.
Prediction: (ugh) Cody Rhodes. [DF] Like Ryan, I have a bad feeling about this. The weigh in was very weird. The whole thing felt off, and this match as a result feels off. Cody (who will be going into this match as The American Dream) has doubled, tripled and quadrupled down on his notorious promo a few weeks ago. Because of that, I just don’t see him losing. It’s a shame that Ogogo’s long-awaited debut has been clouded with this country versus country nonsense because I maintain that he has the potential to be the biggest star in the company. Prediction: Cody Rhodes.
[JB] Before this week, I thought this match could be an interesting take on the nuances of national pride. Cody being a delusional patriot who looks past America’s flaws in the name of patriotism, And Ogogo, the “foreigner” who’s critiques of America are all founded. But then that weigh-in happened. And Cody came out with a small army. And the crowd was just eating it up. And QT was made to look like a dork because he had to put over ONE POUND. Now I’ve lost all hope that this storyline is going to have any nuance.
Prediction: Cody Rhodes. He’s using “The American Dream” for god’s sake. I’m not angry, I’m just disappointed.
[GFE] I’ll just say that there will be unwarranted, bad faith criticism of this match which leads to Cody-Triple H comparisons. Ogogo doesn’t seem ready for a main event push so there is no need for him to win. He’s a rookie in pro-wrestling and the little story that has existed in this feud besides nationalism means that Cody kind of has to win. I do understand why people don’t subjectively want it to happen. But it will all be fine. AEW know how to handle talent. Ogogo will be fine, even if he taps.
Prediction: Cody, by submission.
7) The Pinnacle vs. The Inner Circle in Stadium Stampede.
[TM] It’s going to be hard to top the first Stadium Stampede but I look forward to them trying. I’m expecting a more “serious” approach this time around. Take the Hager/Hangman barfight from the first one. That’s what I’m imaging the overall tone of this instalment to feel like.
Prediction: Inner Circle.
[RG] I’ve expressed that it feels a bit backwards to have Stadium Stampede the Inner Circle-ending match rather than Blood & Guts, but nevertheless, I agree that this match should be more serious than the first iteration of the match. The Inner Circle’s celebration on May 28th, 2021 makes me believe that the Inner Circle could still pull out the win, but...
Prediction: Mixed bag.
[AB] I think the build to this has been very messy, but we are here now so let’s look at the match. We had Pinnacle standing tall this week, I don’t know if we will see them again win at DON. I think Inner Circle will win then decide to go their own way on their own terms.
Prediction: Inner Circle. [DF] I don’t care for the Inner Circle as babyfaces and I think they need to disband, at least for now. They could always have a reunion in a couple of years if they wanted to but as it stands, the Pinnacle need the win more. I fear that if the Inner Circle win this one, the Pinnacle will keep coming after them out for revenge and I desperately want them to move on to something else. I just want Sammy Guevara to run Shawn Spears down in a golf cart. Prediction: The Pinnacle.
8) Lance Archer vs. Miro for the TNT Championship.
[TM] We got ourselves a grade A hoss fight! While the storyline leading up to this has the depth of an Arizona puddle, I’m not looking for a turn or a swerve. Not when these pair of man-mountains are going to war. I like Miro as champion and it’d be too early for him to lose this Sunday (although I would like to see Archer get gold at some point during his AEW tenure).
[GFE] Big beefy bois hitting each other. What more could I want? Well, I would ideally like both of these monsters to win, but that can’t happen which means we’re left in a bit of a pickle. I really don’t think Miro can lose so I have to pick him. But I worry where that leaves Lance Archer.
[RG] Of course Lance Archer losing this match would be bad for him, but the fact that he has maintained such a badass aura despite having lost some pretty big matches shows that he could take a few big losses. I’m sure Miro will win (and he should win clean) but there are ways of making Archer look great in defeat.
[AB] Go watch Miro and Lance’s Twitter video’s, it adds so much to this match. Miro is hitting it out of the park so far and Lance feels like his itching to go all out. This match could honestly steal the show. I’m very excited about this match.
9) Jon Moxley & Eddie Kingston vs. The Young Bucks for the AEW Tag Team Championship.
[GFE] I’m not sure which way to go on this. My heart says Mox & Eddie, my head says Young Bucks. This has been a masterfully booked feud building into various longer-term stories and I feel with either result you either have one of the best heel moments of all time or one of the biggest babyface wins of all time. Certainly, for tag-team wrestling.
As far as the match goes, I think this will be an emotional one whichever way it goes. I will be pulling hard for Eddie in particular because if he wins a championship in less than a year in AEW, it proves the idea that AEW is a meritocracy.
Prediction: Jon Moxley & Eddie Kingston.
[TM] I like the Young Bucks, yet I can’t stand them with the tag titles. Are they just good heels drawing heat, or are they a pair of modern-day Jeff Jarretts? I honestly don’t know. While I would have preferred several other teams to take the belts off the Bucks, Moxley and Kingston will have to do.
Prediction: Moxley & Kingston.
[RG] This match could be something special but The Young Bucks are known to be pretty self-indulgent; this could easily get in the way of a match that should be a serious showing from all parties involved. The Wild Things will surely bring the heat, we just have to wait and see whether The Young Bucks do the same.
Prediction: The Young Bucks. [DF] I’m going to miss the Bucks as tag champs. I think they’ve done an excellent job on all fronts and I’ll going to be eagerly awaiting their next run a couple years down the track. Outside the ring, the Bucks know what they’re doing. They don’t have the final say here when it comes to booking (Tony does) but I think all parties are aware that the best thing to do for the belts at this stage is to pass them to the most over tag-team in the division. Mox and Eddie are fantastic together and they’re audience favourites. I’d love to see them have a go with the belts. Prediction: Moxley & Kingston.
10) Britt Baker vs. Hikaru Shida for the AEW Women’s Championship.
[GFE] The result of this isn’t really in doubt, but that doesn’t make it any less interesting to me. Britt and Shida have always delivered in the ring, including a match right at the start of the pandemic where Shida broke Baker’s nose. That put Baker on the map and now here we are. I hesitate to call it long-term storytelling because I don’t think AEW have leaned on that anywhere near enough. But there’s history they can draw from in this match.
Prediction: Britt Baker.
[TM] It could be argued that Britt Baker’s heel turn has been the best character work that AEW has done. She’s excelled at it and her in ring ability has only gotten better with time. While I’ve enjoyed Shida’s run with the title, putting the belt on Baker will result in more interesting storylines down the road. A feud with Thunder Rosa is inevitable and other faces will be lining up to take down the doctor.
Prediction: Britt Baker.
[RG] It’s a bit sad that this result is seemingly so predictable, and I surely hope that doesn’t detract from the drama of the match. Britt Baker and Hikaru Shida are two competitors who have overdelivered, especially when the builds for their respective matches were lacklustre, and I hope the same could be said here.
Prediction: Britt Baker (who, by the way, is a dentist, if you didn’t know).
11) Pac vs. Orange Cassidy vs. Kenny Omega for the AEW World Championship.
[GFE] I fully believe these three are going to do something special. Three-way matches generally disappoint, for me. Bryan, Reigns and Edge had an amazing one at WrestleMania but I have faith this will go beyond even that. The mix of characters is just perfect with a bastard like Pac, Cassidy’s laid-back attitude and Omega’s cowardly-killer juxtaposition of a character. I can’t really predict much but I expect greatness.
Prediction: Kenny Omega.
[TM] My pick for match of the night as all three guys can work off each other for a variety of styles. All three can do strong style, technical, high flying, and comedy (yes, even PAC). Cassidy’s probably more suited for the TNT title but it’s nice to see him get this shot. PAC should hold the top belt someday, but now’s not the time as Kenny Omega still has so much storyline potential. With the announcement of his Impact and AAA title defenses coming up later this summer, I get the feeling that Omega will be shedding belts before too long. But not here.
Prediction: Kenny Omega.
[RG] We’ve seen Omega and PAC have banger matches against each other; we’ve seen Cassidy and PAC have (mostly) great matches; the only question is how Omega and Cassidy’s interactions weave into the match. AEW hasn’t had the best track record for three-way matches, and the result seems predictable, but I’m still looking forward to this match.
Prediction: Kenny Omega, probably.