Darby Allin's Stock Rises, Vintage Jon Moxley Arrives, More AEW Dynamite Fallout
The third broadcast of All Elite Wrestling's Dynamite started with a sneak attack with major implications on the tag-team championship and never let off the gas.
Once again, AEW found a way to make two hours fly by in a way wrestling often doesn't these days, emphasizing an "anything can happen at any moment" vibe and most everyone is a credible threat.
Layers of onion surrounding the tag titles unfurled, Jon Moxley and Kenny Omega inched closer to a fatal confrontation, several pay-per-view matches were given stunning buildups and a superstar was born in the main event.
While brilliantly sketching out reasons for viewers to keep coming back, AEW simply did it again. These were the top moments.
Tag Developments Galore
Tag matches have become a central part of Dynamite, and Wednesday night featured not only three matches but also found a way to weave in storytelling for Full Gear.
The Lucha Bros were the team hinted at in the intro, as they assaulted SCU's Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian in the middle of their entrance. The former left on a cart, so Scorpio Sky stepped in and flashed some superstar potential while helping his partner overcome The Best Friends.
Later, those Lucha Bros' Pentagon Jr. and Fenix whipped a Jurassic Express featuring Marko Stunt in place of an injured Luchasaurus.
To top it all off, Santana and Ortiz featured in a squash match and then benefited from another great Chris Jericho promo. This one laid the groundwork for his cronies to take on The Young Bucks at Full Gear.
Overall? These were best-in-class tag matches, which was expected from the promotion. More importantly, they helped potential newcomers familiarise themselves with each team. Each one looks like a threat, has fans behind them and viewers haven't forgotten The Young Bucks getting upset, fueling interest in the tournament. And that match groundwork for Full Gear sure doesn't hurt, either.
Riho Shines Again
Riho eventually overcame the odds against a game Dr. Britt Baker, though the result favoring the AEW Women's Championship never felt too much in doubt—too many major upsets each week could start to make things feel tacky.
But even so, this was a fun showcase for all involved. Riho once again sold smaller status well with some vicious, if not surprising-looking offense. And for Baker, it served as a fun showcase for fans who might not be familiar.
That seems to be the theme for Riho right now. Not only is she a worthy first champion and one of the best outright on the planet, but she's also perfect for serving up introductory matches for the rest of the division.
For now, it doesn't seem like there is long-term storytelling going into this one. Both combatants showed respect after the match. In the short term, it's probably a good thing to hold off on a long-term feud and keep showcasing the division, provided this doesn't overextend its stay.
Moxley-PAC Gets Groundwork in a Classic
This one was destined for brilliance.
PAC and Jon Moxley were never going to get along as tag partners, which is what made the dynamic of their match against "Hangman" Adam Page and Kenny Omega such must-see material.
This match was as violent as it gets, which is what makes the character work and storytelling weaved throughout so jaw-droppingly impressive. PAC was his usual self, Moxley was unhinged in his ruinous desire to crush Omega, Page came off as desperate given his losing record, and Omega has probably never looked this vicious on AEW thus far.
It was a master class. The action was entertaining and devastating, as expected for what an announcer called a ring full of "star power." But best of all was the inevitable Moxley-PAC collision. Moxley had made it clear during a pre-match promo that anyone in his way on the path to Omega would regret it.
True enough story—PAC disarmed Omega and Mox of their barbed-wire weapons teased a week ago because he wanted to avoid disqualification and win the match. In Stone Cold-esque fashion, Mox turned around, flipped double birds and assaulted his own partner before leaving the arena, leaving PAC to get dismantled in a two-on-one that resulted in a loss.
It doesn't get much better than this as far as Moxley-Omega build. Now Page can claim some revenge and a win over PAC. Moxley and PAC are also destined for a brutal collision. The threads to these feuds are only beginning to unravel.
Darby Allin Doesn’t Win, but He Sure Doesn't Lose
Darby Allin is a superstar in the wrestling business.
The skater who claims he's half-dead and puts his body on the line in cringe-worthy fashion each time he hits the squared circle hasn't needed long to establish himself as one of the best in the promotion. And going into Wednesday night's main event, AEW worked hard to make sure everyone understood nothing changes if Allin pulled off the upset—he'd be the champ and collide with Cody at a later date.
And Allin was believable as a winner the whole match.
Allin and Jericho took the match into expected street-fight overtures, using chairs, kendo sticks and more. The champion was caught off guard from the beginning, as his cocky self is prone to suffer. Eventually, Jericho got the upper hand by tying Allin's hands behind his back and beating the tar out of him.
But Allin used this as a chance to showcase why he's one of the best. He pulled off a variety of offense off the ropes and even from the top ropes—all with his hands tied behind his back.
It was incredible, though the expected interference from Jake Hager came before Allin could attempt his incredible-looking Coffin Drop to go for the win. But as far as a main event for television goes, this was about as good as it gets.
Not only did it seem credible an upset could happen, Allin is a surefire threat at the top of the card despite his youth. Odds are he'll be back for more title shots soon, and in the interim, we're still headed toward a Jericho-Cody collision and Allin can go after members of The Inner Circle.
Tune into TNT on Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. ET to catch all the action of All Elite Wrestling: Dynamite.