AEW Dynamite Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights for February 24
The march to AEW Revolution continued Wednesday night on TNT with the latest jam-packed episode of Dynamite, headlined by a ladder match qualifier and Women's World Title Eliminator semifinal action.
Rey Fenix and Lance Archer battled for the right to enter the Face of the Revolution ladder match on March 7, while Dr. Britt Baker and Nyla Rose clashed for a spot in the American finals of the Women's World Title Eliminator.
Who emerged victoriously, what did it mean for the men and women involved and how did it help shape AEW's road to its next pay-per-view extravaganza?
Find out now with this recap of the February 24 episode.
Jon Moxley vs. 'The Hollywood Hunk' Ryan Nemeth
Ahead of his Exploding Barbed Wire Deathmatch against Kenny Omega at Revolution, Jon Moxley kicked off Wednesday's show with a match against "The Hollywood Hunk" Ryan Nemeth.
A brutal knife's edge chop, joint manipulation and a picture-perfect Paradigm Shift earned Moxley the quick win.
After the match, Mox addressed the AEW fans, asking them what images come to mind when they think of "Exploding Barbed Wire Deathmatch." He referred to himself as an addict, almost seething as he said battling and living close to the flame is a feeling he cannot get enough of.
"It's too attractive. It pulls me in. I can't resist it," he said, even if it is a trap by Omega and his boys. "You will know, when it's all said and done, I gave you everything I had," he said in reference to those who have been behind him from the start.
Moxley defeated Nemeth
In case you didn't know, Moxley is hellbent on revenge and will walk through whatever hell necessary to get his hands on Omega and regain his world title. Poor Nemeth found out the hard way just how hellbent, enduring a one-sided ass-kicking that ended with him dropped on his head in an effective squash match.
Even better was the post-match promo in which Moxley laid down the gauntlet, essentially telling Omega he was willing to be put out of action for good because he is addicted to the fight. It upped the ante beyond that of a championship and highlighted the intense hatred between the challenger and champion.
It was a great, energetic, high-profile start to the show that broke the streak of Moxley catching a beatdown at the hands of Omega and The Good Brothers at the close of the show.
Team Taz vs. Varsity Blonds
Brian Cage and Ricky Starks attacked Sting, leaving him lying with a powerbomb a week ago. This week, they sought to build more momentum heading into their upcoming Street Fight with The Icon and TNT champion Darby Allin as they battled The Varsity Blonds' Griff Garrison and Brian Pillman Jr.
The heels overcame an early spark of energy by the babyfaces, downing Pillman and working him over during the commercial break.
Tony Schiavone warned on commentary that Sting was in the building and ready to avenge last week's beating while Starks continued to take the fight to his second-generation opponent.
Pillman managed to create just enough separation to make the tag to Garrison, who exploded into the ring with a flurry of offense that included a plancha to Cage and a dropkick/powerbomb combination with Pillman to Starks.
Starks cut off their momentum with a spear to Garrison, and Cage finished Pillman off with a discus lariat.
After the match, a video vignette aired in which Sting retrieved Allin from a body bag in the desert. The lights went out and Sting appeared, producing a body bag containing Taz's son Hook. Allin descended into the ring from the rafters and attacked Starks.
Sting teed off on Cage and dropped him with a Scorpion Death Drop to end the segment.
Cage and Starks defeated The Varsity Blonds
There is plenty to be said about Sting returning to the ring and whether it is wise for him to be bumping around the ring the way he is. With that said, there is absolutely no denying that his use otherwise is as strong as any company has utilized any legend in recent memory.
This isn't Goldberg coming back to win a world title. This isn't Brock Lesnar popping up for the third time in a year and winning a championship from Kofi Kingston in eight seconds.
This is Sting using his star power to boost Allin's profile and in the process enhance the credibility of Team Taz. He is using his name to elevate talent, as any returning legend should do, and it is commendable.
Everything from the vignette to Allin dropping in from the sky was fantastic, added considerable heat and built great anticipation for the Street Fight. A killer television segment all the way around.
Jake Hager vs. Brandon Cutler
The Inner Circle's Jake Hager returned to the squared circle this week, battling Brandon Cutler.
Hager squashed the resident Dungeons and Dragons fan of AEW, earning a mostly uncontested victory.
After the match, Santana, Ortiz and Wardlow hit the ring and beat down Cutler in an apparent message to The Young Bucks. Matt and Nick Jackson hit the ring, clearing the heels out of the squared circle and calling out Chris Jericho and MJF ahead of their showdown at Revolution.
Jericho and MJF appeared on the video screen with the Bucks' father, who bled from the forehead. They cut a promo on the tag team champions before throwing Papa Buck into a ring truck, his blood smearing on his sons' picture.
Hager defeated Cutler
Hager vs. Cutler was hardly a match this show needed to have, in all reality, but it did set up the post-match angle and for that reason grades out fairly high.
Jericho and MJF sinking to the depths of attacking The Young Bucks' father was a great bit of heel work and really positioned the tag team champions as sympathetic figures rather than the dominant force in the division, setting up a hell of a dynamic for their Revolution showdown.
On a night with a lineup that was relatively pedestrian, AEW continued to hit it out of the proverbial ballpark with a third strong segment.
Hangman Page vs. Isiah Kassidy
A week after suffering a beatdown by Private Party's Isiah Kassidy in a setup perpetrated by Matt Hardy, Hangman Page battled Kassidy in singles competition, Big Money Matt and The Hybrid2 watching from ringside.
The Anxious Millennial Cowboy dominated the action early and often, overpowering and punishing Kassidy in and out of the ring. When Hardy got involved and shoved Page shoulder-first into the steel post, Dark Order hit the ring and implored referee Aubrey Edwards to toss Matt from ringside.
She did, but not before Kassidy began working the injured shoulder of his opponent ahead of the break.
Page rocked Kassidy and then followed up with a midair Death Valley Driver. Kassidy answered with a reverse rana. Page fought back and delivered the Dead Eye for the hard-fought victory.
Hardy cut a promo after the match, vowing to hurt every member of The Dark Order. He began with Alan "V" Angels, sending him off the stage and through a table.
Page defeated Kassidy
Page and Kassidy wrestled a very solid match, with great singles work from the latter, before Hangman picked up the predictable win. The former tag team champion has been nothing short of phenomenal from day one in AEW and has never wavered. He makes the most of his time and is as compelling a character as any.
Hardy vowing to target The Dark Order out of frustration was a nice touch, but it is Page embracing the faction that will ultimately help define him, the program and serve as a hugely emotional moment.
This was one step closer to the realization of that moment.
Women's World Title Eliminator Match: Britt Baker vs. Nyla Rose
The Women's World Title Eliminator Tournament continued Wednesday with a semifinal-round match between Dr. Britt Baker and Nyla Rose.
Frustrated early after being overpowered and outclassed by The Native Beast, Baker made her way to the crowd, where she threw a tantrum before returning to the ring and eating a Samoan Drop by her seemingly unstoppable opponent.
Rose continued to dominate the competition, kicking away at her. The fight spilled to the floor, where Baker suckered her opponent in and drove her shoulder-first into the ring post. The good doctor worked over her opponent's injured limb throughout the break.
As Rose fought back, Rebel attempted to interfere on behalf of Baker but ate a big shot to the face as a result. Rose delivered a neckbreaker to Baker and set up for a powerbomb. Baker fought out and retrieved a glove from Rebel.
Rose knocked Rebel into the corner and delivered a somerset cannonball. She attempted the same to the dentist, but the heel sent her into the exposed turnbuckle. She failed to apply the Lockjaw as Rose powered out.
A superkick by Baker and a crucifix bomb followed before she again attempted the Lockjaw. Rose again escaped and delivered a Beast Bomb for two. Baker tried for another superkick, but Rose ducked and delivered a second Beast Bomb for the pinfall victory.
Rose defeated Baker
It has been quite a while since we have seen Rose in a significant match on Dynamite. Her return to the ring against Baker produced a strong match that was not always pretty but told a great story and put the former women's champion over as a one-woman wrecking machine.
It was interesting that AEW officials did not pull the proverbial trigger on Baker to win here and move on in the tournament, especially since she has unfinished business with Thunder Rosa and a showdown with Riho would present a relatively fresh one-on-one match.
The question then becomes why AEW would appear so hesitant to go all-in with Baker.
Is it her injury history? Do they see her as an entertainer rather than a wrestler? Whatever the case may be, she has developed into one of the best characters in the company and one of the most engaging performers on the women's roster and should probably have a greater role than she currently does.
Face of the Revolution Ladder Match Qualifier: Rey Fenix vs. Lance Archer
The lightning-quick, high-flying Rey Fenix caught Lance Archer off guard early in the Face of the Revolution ladder match qualifier Wednesday night, only to succumb to the punishing onslaught of his larger opponent heading into the commercial break.
Archer dominated the competition throughout the timeout, shrugging off a flurry of chops and rag-dolling Fenix into the guardrail at ringside. He added a flipping senton that further drove Fenix into the guardrail.
Fenix escaped an attempted Blackout and delivered a 619 to the midsection, followed by a double stomp to the back of the head. Archer, though, recovered and regained control. That is until a missed big boot opened the door for Fenix to deliver the top-rope kick to the face.
Fenix missed a moonsault but followed with a cutter immediately for a two-count. Archer answered with a fisherman buster for another two. Fenix chopped away at Archer and took off across the ring, only to be met with a pounce by Archer.
He followed with a chokeslam and the Blackout for the win.
Archer defeated Fenix
This was a fantastic match between two stars with clashing styles that meshed extremely well once they found their groove.
Archer thrived as the dominant big man, kicking ass and overwhelming Fenix with his raw power. The luchador was asked to fight from underneath, and he did just that, stunning Archer on multiple occasions.
The Murderhawk Monster weathered that storm, though, and consistently had an answer for everything his opponent threw at him. In the end, he delivered one last knockout shot in the form of his finishing maneuver to set him up for a spot in the ladder match at Revolution.
A match that, ironically enough, features Cody Rhodes.
The same Rhodes who beat Archer to become the first TNT champion.
The same title the winner of said match will get a guaranteed shot at.