Welcome to the AEW Dynamite Roundtable, where Pro Wrestling Musings' contributors share their thoughts on the biggest talking points arising from AEW Dynamite. Please note writer's views are their own.
This week's contributors are:
1) Miro successfully defended his TNT Championship against Eddie Kingston, redeeming his nuts in the process. Was this the right opening match?
[Peter] Pre-show, I was thinking the Bucks-Lucha Bros match should have opened with the potential logistics with the cage setup but now, after watching Eddie and Miro, starting with this was the right move with the physicality of the match. Every other match was also in the right position with the event flowing as it did.
[Tim] I think this was a perfect way to open the show. It didn’t overstay it’s welcome and provided a tidy little story to get the crowd involved. I still don’t know who is going to take the title off Miro, but I’m in no hurry for him to lose as his act is tremendous.
[Ibrahima] This was the perfect opener. AEW television tends to open with brisk, explosive tag team matches but I've noticed the previous two PPV’s have opened with terrific hoss fights. It came off like Eddie went out there and chose to call it in the ring with Miro and beat the hell out of each other. I couldn’t think of a better way to open All Out than Miro redeeming Eddie’s nuts.
2) Jon Moxley defeated Satoshi Kojima before Minoru Suzuki came out and got physical with Mox. What did you think of this match and the announcement that Mox takes on Suzuki in his hometown this Wednesday on Dynamite?
[Peter] Kojima will always be underappreciated, and his timing has always been unfortunate and while the Mox-Kojima match was fun, it will be overshadowed greatly by what will be a classic between Suzuki and Moxley. Their chemistry is so good and with a raucous Cincinnati crowd for Mox’s homecoming, this is going to be a low-key contender for the AEW’s top 10 matches of 2021 list.
[Tim] I'm enjoying this run of exhibition matches that Mox is having. I’m getting introduced to Japanese talent that otherwise I may not be exposed to. The online hype for Mox vs. Suzuki has me looking forward to their Cincinnati showdown. [Ibrahima] Satoshi Kojima is a vampire. This man has aged as gracefully as any wrestler could hope to and he had a very good match with Moxley here. The only real issue I would say is that the match was stylistically redundant, following the opener, which had more on-screen build, so the fans cared more about that, despite Kojima getting a great crowd reaction.
Minoru Suzuki’s confrontation with Moxley was fabulous, and they will have their best matchup between each other this week on Dynamite, because AEW has the best atmosphere in all of wrestling right now.
[Joe] Japan might be shut down, but Tony Khan is bringing Japan to Moxley. This match was great. I loved the reception the crowd gave Kojima; it did not surprise me because every time they advertise this match on Dynamite and Rampage it got a huge pop. Suzuki blew my mind, they set up the match on Wednesday in the best way.
3) Britt Baker retained her AEW Women’s World Championship against Kris Statlander. What did you make of this match?
[Peter] I thought it was okay. Not a fan of the booping comedy at the start but as it went on it gathered momentum and Britt’s Pittsburgh Sunrise was an awesome moment. I think the challenges Britt will face going forward are very interesting with Ruby Soho and Thunder Rosa.
[Tim] One of Britt’s better defences as champion, if not the best. Like I mentioned in my Dark: Elevation summary, Statlander was the power while Baker was the sneaky technician. Cool to see Orange Cassidy get fired up in Statlander’s corner as that was the most character growth we’ve seen from him in several months. [Ibrahima] I felt that Britt was sloppier than usual at the start, and that it was Statlander holding the match together for the first half of it, but it never fell apart and closed strongly with a great finishing sequence. The Orange Cassidy fire up spot was very interesting, and I am curious to see if that expands into anything going forward from a narrative standpoint.
[Gareth] Not enough positivity above, this was a great match and, for me, was match of the night until the steel cage match came and blew everything out of the water. The finishing sequence, in particular, was amazing.
4) Lucha Brothers became the new AEW World Tag Team champions, overcoming the Bucks in an incredible steel cage match. How does this rank in ‘match of the year’ conversations?
[Tim] This match will certainly be towards the top of my MOTY candidates. Incredible action combined with a clear face/heel dynamic goes a long way to making a successful wrestling match. From the incredible entrance to the emotional climax there was never a dull moment.
One thing about the ending that I didn’t expect, but I found moving, was Penta’s family celebrating his win. I’ve been a fan of Penta since his days in Lucha Underground and I love that he is shrouded in mystery. I don’t know the guy’s real name. I don’t know what his face looks like. When he puts on the mask and makeup, he becomes a new person all together. Knowing that he has a loving family and seeing the emotion on his face as he held the belts was special. I’ve been a fan for so long, yet it’s easy for me to forget that he’s human after all.
[Peter] Number one and I don’t think it’s close between one and two. This is from someone who adored Baker vs Rosa. I’m not a fan of tag team cage matches for various reasons but this one hit every right note. This match was the living embodiment of the Tony Khan “Wrestling is art” tweet.
Fenix’s comeback spots were the usual mesmerising, beautiful, standing ovation worthy pieces of business that makes him a contender for the wrestler of the year. Like Tim I found Penta’s part of the celebration very moving and it’s those moments that AEW do that make them so wonderful to watch.
Credit needs to go to the Bucks for their part. They will be first ballot Wrestling Observer Hall of Famers surely? Their 2021 run has been terrific. They helped make the victorious moment so special with their contributions to the match and the run up to it. [Ibrahima] This cage match was creative, brutal, and exciting. Definitely the best Young Bucks match of the year and that is saying something considering the unbelievable catalogue of stellar title defences they have compiled.
I wouldn’t say it's my personal match of the year because that distinction belongs to Walter vs Ilja Dragunov, followed by Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Shingo Takagi, but it is so great that it belongs in anybody's MOTY conversations. What I appreciated about this match is the style lends itself to devolving into a mind numbing, “get my stuff in” exercise and while both teams certainly “got their stuff in”, it remained a gripping, climatic, character-driven wrestling match that managed to peak at the right moments.
5) Ruby Soho debuted as the joker, and won, the Casino Battle Royale to earn a championship opportunity against Britt Baker soon. Was this the right call, given that she’s only just signed? What did you make of the battle royale overall?
[Peter] Because it means I can hear Ruby’s theme more often the answer would be yes. But seriously, Ruby winning is the right move for so many reasons. First, the Joker in the Casino Battle Royale since Adam Page at Double or Nothing 2019 really hasn’t been that great of a moment and Ruby’s appearance gave some importance to the Joker spot.
Also, Britt vs Ruby will be a very good match. It was very noticeable how many of Ruby’s peers talked her up in the 24 hours after her release. She’s very much the wrestler’s wrestler and she now has the opportunity to show fans what she did not have the chance to show when at WWE.
As for the match. Not enough Abadon, surprised that Skye Blue was eliminated so early and the length of time Riho was in the ring was just bemusing. The one thing that was apparent as well was that the women’s roster is actually very good with tons of potential. We just need to see more of the women on AEW TV so we see that potential flourish.
[Tim] At the start I thought Tay Conti was going to win, when we were down to the final-four I wanted Thunder Rosa to win, at the end of it all I’m happy that Ruby Soho won. I don’t think AEW will put the belt on her so early into her run, but her journey to the point has been a feel-good story.
The battle royale as a whole was pretty standard and I feel that AEW does these just a bit too often. It was the right call to move this to the main show as the crowd was into it.
[Ibrahima] The prevailing feeling I had while watching this battle royal was “Wow, AEW has so many talented and interesting women that I would love to see on television on a regular basis”. As stated above there were a few curious choices were made. Ultimately though, this was still a fine showcase of the women's division that closed very strongly.
Ruby Soho came off like she was somebody and her winning the battle royal can be step one in her becoming a star in AEW. Good choice, the big Thunder Rosa rematch with Baker should be held off for later.
[Tahnee] Battle Royales are insanely fun, and this one was no exception. It’s a great way to get eyes on these ladies and give them moments to shine. I think Shida was eliminated far too early (but I think Riho was eliminated at about the right time), and I was genuinely surprised Tay didn’t last to the end. I think Jade in the place of Nyla as the final three would’ve been a better choice, also.
Ruby Soho is an incredible get for the division, as she’s fresh, unique, young, and a vet. Thunder Rosa was also a stand-out in this match. What can I say? I was so hyped to see all my favourites from the division all in one ring together. I’m so glad they put this on the main card. The future is bright and stacked for the women’s division.
6) Chris Jericho makes MJF tap out to save his career. What are your thoughts on this match, ending a nearly year-long story?
[Tim] This would have been a good way for Jericho to wrap up his career, as it is we will have to wait for another day for Jericho to hang up his boots. My fear is that injury or some other extenuating circumstance will deny us a satisfying ending to such a long and varied career. Very rarely do wrestlers get to go out on their own terms (if they are able to retire with dignity at all). Jericho has earned a solid send off and I felt this would have been the right moment. I am looking forward to seeing where MJF goes next as there are so many good feuds that he can get involved with.
[Peter] The MJF entrance was so great with the countdown tease. The foot on the rope false finish was good even if there is a flaw in the actual booking philosophy of it and it did put the match into a higher gear and the last portion of the match was just fantastic. The story of MJF and Jericho got the ending it deserved and I for one am very intrigued as to what happens next for both men. [Ibrahima] I think I have a good feel for Chris Jericho’s wrestling mind and to be frank, I personally had no doubt that the result of this match would be Jericho going over. Part of me feels like Jericho hacked his way into making the crowd care about this, with the run in fighting and screw job bait and switch being a somewhat cheap way to draw interest in the finish. With that said, it absolutely worked, and what was a tired crowd came alive for an excellent ending to the match. I almost don’t really know how to evaluate the MJF vs Jericho program as a whole until I see where things go in the aftermath, but this was yet another very good wrestling match on a consistent show.
7) CM Punk defeats Darby Allin in his first match since 2014. What did you make of the match and how did it feel to see Punk wrestling again?
[Tim] Having never watched Punk wrestle before I was impressed with his work. I checked out of WWE back in 2004 (Punk debuting with the ‘E two years later). I wasn’t looking at him through the lens of nostalgia, just another guy to be honest. He kept up with Allin and he clearly understands in-ring psychology.
[Peter] As a CM Punk fan All Out was something I thought I would never see again but was very happy to see it. The fans shouting “It’s Clobbering Time” gave me goosebumps. It was very easy to see that someone had watched the Bret Hart vs 1-2-3 Kid match from 1994 beforehand in how the match turned out. By the looks of it Punk will live up to his player/coach twitter name and help Darby, as well as other younger talent, fulfil their potential based on what was a very solid match. [Ibrahima] CM Punk has never been a naturally gifted athlete. He has never been the wrestler that would wow people with spectacular moves. Because of this, some people less familiar with his work can and have watched him and found him to be overrated. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Similar to his idol Bret Hart, he is a master of all the little things you can imagine, from timing, to selling to facial expressions. There is an impressive amount of subtlety to everything that he does and I was impressed with his showing against Darby Allin.
Punk in various interviews noted that his preparation for this match only consisted of heavy cardio work and that he wasn’t practicing moves or meticulously planning spots because he wanted it to feel natural and rediscover himself as if he was riding a bike. Given that was his process, I am personally blown away with how good he still is, and I feel that his matches are only going to get better. Very good match, just go back to the old gear, Punk.
[Tahnee] Punk has amazing in-ring psychology. Darby is an amazing wrestler. The moment at the end with Sting was everything. Punk can play the crowd like a fiddle, and it feels like he hasn’t missed a beat. I like the pants.
8) Kenny Omega retained his AEW World Championship against Christian Cage in the main event. What did you think of the match as well as the feud overall?
[Tim] This was the most Canadian match, and I don’t mean that as a dig. Technically it was fine, the feud leading up to it made sense, Christian had a win streak and even beat Kenny for the Impact belt, etc. Maybe it was due to a tired crowd but there was so little heat going into the match and during it. So, when I say it’s Canadian, I’m referring to the competitor’s home country, and also the lack of heat, but also the overall “fine-ness” of it. I like everyone involved yet the match just couldn’t get anything more than a polite golf clap from me at the end.
[Peter] I said a couple of weeks ago on the roundtable that Christian and Kenny are some the best match constructors in wrestling today and the match showed that once again. While I preferred the Rampage match for reasons out of their control this was still a very enjoyable professional wrestling match which would have been the best on 98% of wrestling cards in history, just not tonight.
[Ibrahima] The Christian vs Kenny Omega program was born out of necessity due to the timing of Hangman’s hiatus and because it was a match that was set up. There was a seemingly unshakable feeling that the matchup and program was a consolation prize, but I believe AEW more than succeeded in giving this story as much legs as they possibly can to make it feel important.
Christian is a reliable veteran Swiss army knife and he’s been a terrific asset to the product. Omega is an elite performer. I thought their incredible first match set a high bar that the rematch was unable to clear but this was still a more than serviceable main event.
[Tahnee] Christian surprised the hell out of me with this feud. They kept it interesting, they kept me invested, and Christian showed he can still go with the best of them and proved himself a valuable get for AEW. Glad Kenny retained so that Hangman can come back from his baby and kick some Cleaner ass.
9) After the main event, both Adam Cole and Bryan Danielson debuted. What are your thoughts on these signings for AEW and what hopes do you have for them in the near future?
[Tim] My hope is that both Cole and Danielson have great feuds, away from the World Title picture. I'm still clinging to the hope of Hangman vs. Omega at Full Gear and I just don’t want to see that get side-lined by “newer” acts. They’re going to bring new eyes to AEW and that’s very exciting.
[Peter] Remember Bryan Danielson main evented WrestleMania this year. No wrestler ever has moved to another company less than a year after main eventing WWE’s biggest PPV. Adam Cole was the biggest star in what was WWE’s weapon to take down AEW in its fledgling years and now he is in AEW. The end of All Out might be one of the most incident packed moments in wrestling history.
As for the future? Adam Cole will be part of The Elite and with Omega and co making lots of enemies in the roster the last few months, the amount of matches we could see will make AEW must watch TV starting with Cole vs Jungle Boy based on the superkick we saw.
As for Bryan, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Daniel Garcia and Wheeler Yuta have started appearing in the last months on AEW TV. Danielson is at his most content when he has a blank canvas to do his art on and AEW is his art gallery for the next few years. Now, to quote Dave Bautista, give me what I want and give me Danielson vs Garcia in a 60-minute Ironman Match. Put it on Dark if you must. Just give me what I want!
[Ibrahima] Tony Khan is a madman, and he has assembled one of the greatest wrestling rosters ever. Cole to the Elite is interesting, and the possibilities of multi-man tags that include him are endless. Him coming to AEW was a no brainer and a perfect fit. I had an out of body experience witnessing the return of Bryan Danielson. His run in was electric and his involvement in AEW makes the promotion that much better because he is not just good, he is pornographically good. I want to see him wrestle everyone, everywhere, always.
[Tahnee] I jumped onto this roundtable specifically so I could yell about how excited I am for Adam Cole’s debut. He has always been a dream for the AEW roster, considering he’s one of the original PWG/ROH Elite members, and it’s so nice to finally see him come home. His appearance has really opened up an insane number of storylines for the Elite, including potentially Cody and almost certainly Hangman, and could sow the seeds for the inevitable destruction of the Super Elite. His wrestling is top-notch, he can go hard as either a heel or a babyface, and I’m so damn excited to see what he will bring to the table.
Bryan Danielson is, of course, a game-changer. We all knew he was coming, so it feels a little different to Adam Cole, but he is someone I thought was gonna be a WWE-lifer. To see him come over to “kick heads off” is so exciting and is going to be such a monumental shift in wrestling power that I don’t think any of us even realize yet. Tony Khan has curated the dream roster and it’s such an absolute phenomenal time to be a wrestling fan.
10) What are your thoughts about All out as a show overall?
[Tim] Great! Everything I want out of a quality pro-wrestling show (action, characters, story, pageantry) with the added benefit of historic debuts that we may be looking back on as total game changers. Tony Khan already has promoter of the year locked up in my eyes, and we still have four months of content ahead of us. I really feel that pro-wrestling is going to be getting more mainstream attention in the next year and people are going to be looking back to All Out 2021 as a starting point.
[Peter] As I put on twitter, AEW All Out 2021 was f****** immense. It joins my Mount Rushmore of greatest wrestling cards. It could also be the night the paradigm shift in professional wrestling happened. Whatever happens people will talk about that night for decades to come.
[Ibrahima] It may not reflect fully in my individual match reviews, but I thought All Out 2021 was a phenomenal, all time special, wrestling event. From an in-ring standpoint, I have seen plenty of better wrestling PPVs, but this show is so much more than just workrate. It’s hard to fully have a sense of perspective pertaining to what this show will mean for AEW, and the industry, but All Out certainly felt like an industry shaking show.
A top to bottom consistent event with quality wrestling, stellar surprises, and a show closing angle that can be best described as intoxicating, Pro Wrestling delirium, All Out 2021 was among the best wrestling shows I have ever had the pleasure of watching. I’m still buzzing, and I cannot wait for what’s next.
[Joe] I second, third and fourth everything said above me. This PPV will go down in history as one of the most important shows not just in AEW, but in Pro Wrestling. I cannot wait to see where we go from here, so many possibilities.
[Tahnee] Probably my favourite AEW PPV so far. Obviously, I missed a Hangman appearance on the card, as he’s such a staple of AEW, but they more than made up for it with Adam Cole, for me.