Match of the Week: Trish.
Brody Demolishes Darby
Darby Allin is a resilient wrestler, someone who can always find his way back in a match no matter how great a beating he experiences before it, so on the occasions he is unable to do so it is very much memorable.
Having been put to sleep and then dangled outside the ring before being unceremoniously dropped to the floor in the Rampage Battle Royale a few weeks previous, Allin wanted revenge and went out fast early to be met by a complete show of brute force.
King threw him repeatedly into the barricades, chopped him inside and out and repeatedly stopped him gaining any momentum. He executed repeated sentons and displayed his power in a way which was reminiscent of Brodie Lee's destruction of Cody Rhodes back in October 2020.
Darby, for his part, illustrated the force of this impact whilst still illustrating the power of his heart, almost finding a way to win with the Code Red in what was a final act of defiance after King missed a cannonball. It was not to be and he was swiftly finished off after once more being dangled in a sleeper over the top rope and a vicious Gonzo Bomb after finally making his way back to the ring.
This wasn't pretty in any way, it was a decimation, a complete dissection that meant King looks even stronger now then he did before facing Jon Moxley two weeks ago. On a roster which is massively short of heels, they have now created a monster that can go up against any of the upper card babyfaces and be considered a threat whilst also making the House of Black faction stronger then it was before. Darby will come for revenge, but on this night, Brody was very much the King.
Promo of the Week: Sergei.
Dax Tugs the Heartstrings
I have a confession: Dax Harwood isn’t really my shot of tequila. It’s a cultural divide. For example, he has a favorite shot of tequila; I do not. I relate to guys like Punk and Hangman and Darby and Kenny. Dax is everybody’s Uncle. I would literally run the other way to avoid hanging out with any of my uncles. None of this means that I am unable to recognize that Dax is one of the very best at the kind of thing that he is, even if that’s not MY kind of thing. Arn wouldn’t have been my favorite back in his day, either.
Sometimes somebody puts out a performance that is so genuine and real and raw that it almost transcends personal tastes or preferences. That was Dax this week. Some are calling it the promo of the year. The health struggles of a youngster are always going to tug at the heartstrings. And when he revealed that the child he was talking about is his own child? Well, if you’re a parent, that gets you as a parent. And if you’re not, it gets you as the child of parents.
I don’t know if this was the promo of the year, but I already admitted: I’m biased. However, “I’m going to fight like an eight year old girl” is, without question, the line of the year.
Moment of the Week: Peter.
Timing and comeuppance are two of the most importants points of reference to what makes great wrestling. Leave something too long and it loses steam (Naito should have beaten Okada at Wrestle Kingdom 2018) and in the end the heel needs to get what is coming to him and on AEW Dynamite this past Wednesday both these things came to fruition.
When Christian picked up the pin for his team on back of Luchasaurus' work and gave us the "gun show" afterwards and insisted on sitting on his partners shoulders, it was the act of a heel that we are desperate to get their comeuppance and like good drama, the timing for the opening strands of Tarzan Boy was perfect.
As loud as the pop for the 80s classic tune was, it was topped by the moment of Luchasaurus showing his true loyalties to his true friend when he stepped aside. The old adage of "putting smiles on peoples faces" came to the fore in this particular moment. Christian's reaction was perfect, the mix of anger and realizing he was in trouble. Jungle Jack Perry's smile telling the story of a man who is thinking "now I've got you".
A chase later through the crowd with both men going into the bowels of the arena and we're officially in act 2 of this feud that has been a long-drawn out affair. In a feud that has taken elements from the old-school thinking of pro wrestling, this past Dynamite, we saw something that has been seen in the foundation of great wrestling feuds. Those things being passion, joy and the urge to turn the next page to see what happens next.
Move of the Week: Dan.
Brody Snaps Necks (Safely)
Sometimes a wrestling move is great because of the breathtaking athleticism involved. Sometimes it is the ingenuity of the performers that leaves us awestruck. But on other occasions a maneuver leaves it's imprint on our minds because of the sheer bone-thumping terror and brutality it exhibits…and that was absolutely the case this week when Brody King practically executed Darby Allin.
In many ways Darby and Brody were the perfect two wrestlers to complete a moment like this. King is a phenomenally strong and huge monster of a man and Darby Allin is arguably one of the best bumpers in the world. On top of this, the two are apparently very close friends which presumably means there is a high level of trust between the pair, a fact that was underlined throughout their match as King launched Darby about the arena like a goth tennis ball.
Yet all of this was just the appetiser for the unforgettably frightening conclusion to this war. King had already left Darby almost unconscious when recreating the Royal Rampage finish, but the worst was yet to come when Allin dared to get back in the ring.
Picking Darby up off the floor like a pebble, King lifted his foe above his head and then folded him up with a Gonzo Bomb so ferocious that I think most watching feared for Darby's safety. If you do have the time to watch it slowly however, you see that it was in fact inch perfect to ensure that Darby's neck didn't take the brunt of the assault.
Safe(ish) wrestling made to look bone-chillingly violent…for me it doesn't get much better than that.
MVP of the Week: Joe
Ricky Starks MVP
Ricky Starks was not in the best match of the week and he did not cut the promo of the week but he over-delivered in his match and with his promos to make them valuable when they could’ve been throwaway segments.
Who is Kole Carter? I am a wrestling fanatic who subscribes to an independent wrestling on demand service and listens to 3 podcasts weekly that cover all of wrestling, and I hadn’t heard of him, so Ricky had his work cut out for him in terms of elevating his opponent, and he succeeded.
Starks was generous with the offense he allowed Kole to showcase– including some impressive strikes and grapples. While letting Kole’s moveset shine, Ricky put his character on display, using gestures and expressions like only Ricky does. In a wrestling landscape where more and more wrestlers can perform any moves from anyone else’s moveset creating those taunts and gestures that are associated with just one personality are a greater value than I think most fans realize.
Ricky’s charisma, which is often muted on Rampage commentary, was on full display in his backstage promo for Road To, his Dynamite match, and his post-match promo. That charisma is why Ricky was getting babyface cheers, not just on his entrance, but for his signature moves, and a big pop for his finish, complete with a stylized pin cover.
After the match Ricky had a crowd fully behind him and was still able to turn them against him with his cowardice. This is all the more impressive considering Ricky’s entertaining impersonation of Danhausen, an impersonation that had Ricky showing more shades of Rocky Maivia - a cruiserweight version of The Rock, if you will.
This match with Danhausen could easily lead into a storyline pitting Hook against Ricky Starks for the FTW championship at All Out and a tag team Match at Grand Slam potentially involving Hook’s Dad. If this is how it all plays out, and Ricky is entrusted with that responsibility, it would prove that I’m far from the only one who realizes how valuable Ricky Starks is.