AEW Dynamite Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from February 26
With just three days until Revolution in Chicago, All Elite Wrestling hit the TNT network airwaves with an episode of Dynamite aimed at hyping the top rivalries, matches and stars ahead of the pay-per-view.
AEW world champion Chris Jericho and Jon Moxley had one last face-to-face ahead of their hotly anticipated title match, Kenny Omega and PAC settled their differences in a 30-Minute Iron Man match, and tag teams took center stage in two high-energy bouts.
Who emerged victorious and which competitors have momentum on their side ahead of Saturday's extravaganza? Find out with this recap of the February 26 episode.
30-Minute Iron Man Match: Kenny Omega vs. PAC
The months-long rivalry between Kenny Omega and PAC concluded in the night's opening match, a 30-Minute Iron Man match in which the competitor who scored the most falls in the half-hour time limit would be the victor.
The first 10 minutes of the bout saw PAC slow the pace and work Omega over, grounding him and softening him up for The Brutalizer. The Cleaner fought his way back into the match and downed his rival with the Tiger Drive '98 for a quality near-fall.
The first fall came with 14:08 left in the match as PAC attacked his opponent with a steel chair, drawing the first disqualification in AEW history. The Bastard bashed Omega with the weapon, leaving the babyface prone despite a 30-second rest period.
Omega leads 1-0
Capitalizing on the battered Omega, PAC scored a pin-fall to even the match at one fall apiece.
Omega 1-1 PAC
A falcon arrow from the ring apron created a sickening thud and led to Matt Jackson of The Young Bucks checking on Omega.
A dropkick from PAC sent Omega into the official and to the arena floor. The heel retrieved a table, set it up and laid his opponent out across it. He delivered a Shooting Star Press, driving The Cleaner through the table.
A dramatic referee's count saw Omega re-enter the ring just in time to avoid a count-out loss. PAC returned to the top rope for another Black Arrow but Omega got his knees up.
After recovering, Omega obliterated PAC with a V-Trigger that stunned him. A uranage folded The Bastard up but he kicked out with four minutes left in the bout.
PAC countered with a reverse rana and applied The Brutalizer in the center of the ring. Omega rolled into the ropes, forcing the break. Back in the center of the ring, he looked to reapply the hold but The Cleaner fought him off. PAC finally got it locked in.
Omega clawed his way out of the hold as the clock ticked down but PAC reapplied the hold. The clock struck zero without a clear victor. A frustrated PAC struck referee Paul Turner before Justin Roberts revealed the match would continue under sudden-death rules.
Omega blasted PAC with the V-Trigger as Aubrey Edwards hit the ring. Another knee to the face earned The Cleaner a two-count, and The One-Winged Angel earned him the win.
After the match, Tony Schiavone interviewed PAC, only for Orange Cassidy to interrupt. The Bastard attacked Freshly Squeezed, leaving him lying atop the entrance ramp.
Omega defeated PAC two-falls-to-one
This was...very good.
With that said, it was not quite as good as their excellent match at All Out last August, the measuring stick for their rivalry.
There were pacing issues in the middle of the match and the myriad referee bumps were way too much for the story Omega and PAC were telling. They were unnecessary and dragged the closing moments of the match down.
Still, it was an above-average bout that probably would have benefited from five less minutes and the elimination of some of the overbooking late in the contest.
Omega winning was a bit of a surprise because the presence of The Young Bucks at ringside—just days before they are scheduled to challenge him and "Hangman" Adam Page for the tag titles—felt like the perfect opportunity to build some heat for that match.
As it is, expect PAC's loss to fuel a meaner, nastier heel who will unleash his fury on anyone in his path.
The Inner Circle vs. Jurassic Express
The Inner Circle's Ortiz, Santana and Sammy Guevara battled The Jurassic Express' Jungle Boy, Luchasaurus and Marko Stunt as the secondary rivalry between the factions continued.
The heroes cut a frenetic pace early, taking the fight to the heels until a double stomp by Guevara downed Stunt. The Inner Circle seized control of the bout heading into the commercials.
Back from the break, Luchasaurus fired off an onslaught of offense, including a standing moonsault to Ortiz. A three-on-one attack ensued, with the babyfaces punishing Guevara.
Santana and Ortiz turned the tide back in the favor of the heels, but Stunt broke up a close near-fall.
Luchasaurus wiped out a mass of competitors at ringside, and Darby Allin provided a momentary distraction and Jungle Boy scored the win for his team with a snap rana.
Jurassic Express defeated The Inner Circle
This was a fun sprint in which the action was plentiful and the finish helped set up a rather significant midcard match between Guevara and Allin at Revolution.
Luchasaurus continues to look like a star, and Jungle Boy gets better with every passing week. But it is the pint-sized Stunt who exceeds expectations every time he is in the ring despite the massive size differential he faces on a seemingly weekly basis.
Allin, above all, appears to be the biggest breakout star in this company not named MJF and a surefire household name if the booking trends continue.
The Butcher and The Blade vs. Best Friends
Two teams looking to move up in the tag team division squared off this week as Best Friends' Chuck Taylor and Trent battled The Butcher and The Blade. The match was set up a week ago when The Bunny delivered a low blow to Orange Cassidy during the tag team Battle Royal.
Taylor and Trent overcame an early attack by their opposition to stand tall heading into the commercial.
During the break, though, The Butcher pummeled Taylor, stomping him in the corner as the heels regained the upper hand.
The action broke down as Trent tagged in and Cassidy and The Bunny came face-to-face in the center of the ring. Their encounter gave way to Best Friends scoring the win over The Blade with the Strong Zero.
After the match, Schiavone spoke to the victors, who encouraged Cassidy to square off with PAC at Revolution.
Best Friends defeated The Butcher and The Blade
This was a match that happened.
It was also a curious bit of booking as The Butcher and The Blade followed up an impressive, relatively dominant showing in last week's Battle Royal by...losing to Best Friends. And why? To set up Cassidy accepting a match against PAC at Revolution?
Why waste the credibility of the heels for something that could have been accomplished in a backstage segment?
It doesn't make sense and essentially unravels a great deal of the effective booking of The Butcher and The Blade from last week's show.
Big Swole vs. Hikaru Shida vs. Shanna vs. Yuka Sakazaki
Four of the top contenders to the AEW Women's Championship battled in a Fatal 4-Way match this week. Big Swole, Yuka Sakazaki, Hikaru Shida and Shanna all sought upward momentum as they positioned themselves for a shot at Nyla Rose.
Swole scored a near-fall late as frustration began to set in. Shida cut off her momentum but fell prey to Sakazaki.
Shanna dropped Sakazaki for a near-fall. The Portuguese competitor continued her roll, delivering a double stomp that drove Shida and Sakazaki into the ground.
The action continued back-and-forth until Shida scored the hard-fought victory with a knee strike to Swole.
Sida defeated Swole, Shanna and Sakazaki
This was nonstop action and a fun match to boot, even if it wasn't always crisp.
Shida going over Swole was a bit of a surprise given the fact the latter confronted Rose a week ago, presumably setting the stage for a push. Instead, she ate the fall, losing to a Shida who has not been featured regularly in over a month.
The booking of the women's division continues to be a glaring issue with AEW creatively, as it often appears as though the competitors are roaming from one half-hearted rivalry to another, with no one really getting over on the other outside of Rose and Riho.
Until that is solved, these matches will be a fun showcase of the talent but will do nothing to get the audience to invest in any of them at a gut level.
AEW Championship Weigh-In with Jon Moxley and Chris Jericho
AEW champion Chris Jericho and Jon Moxley met in the same ring for a weigh-in, their final interaction before Saturday's title clash at Revolution in Chicago.
Legendary WCW commentator Gary Michael Cappetta presided over the proceedings.
Moxley entered on his own to a thunderous ovation, while The Inner Circle accompanied Jericho.
The challenger weighed in at 234 pounds. Jericho stalled and then stalled some more until Moxley blasted him with a headbutt that busted the champion open.
The Inner Circle jumped Moxley, downing him in the corner while Le Champion struggled to his feet. Dustin Rhodes made the save, attacking Jake Hager and fighting him into the arena's concourse.
Back in the ring, Darby Allin attacked Sammy Guevara, but The Spanish God blasted him with a skateboard over the head.
Moxley recovered and threw fists with Jericho until Santana took him down. Le Champion sent a message with a Paradigm Shift onto the scale to close out the show.
The Inner Circle's presence is all over the Revolution card, so this entire segment perfectly highlighted each member's pay-per-view feud while keeping Moxley and Jericho at the center of things by the end of the night.
Guevara made up for Allin's interference earlier, the creative team did not tip its hand with the Rhodes-Hager match, and Jericho got one over on Moxley ahead of their titanic clash Saturday.
For a segment tasked with wrapping up a number of threads and providing some last-minute hype for all of them, this succeeded massively. The blood drawn by Moxley only elevated the entire ordeal.