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AEW Dynamite: November 17, 2021

by Samoa Rowe

Jay Lethal

Live from the Chartaway Arena in Norfolk, Virginia. Our hosts are Jim Ross, Tony Shiavone, and Excalibur.

The Elite talk to the camera. The group is reeling after Kenny Omega lost the AEW title at Full Gear. Omega looks worn down from losing and announces that he's leaving to recover. He asks the Bucks to hold down the fort while he's gone, and Adam Cole thinks he's talking to him.

The Dark Order are in the ring and introduce NEW AEW World Champion Hangman Adam Page to his hometown fans. Page is sporting a big grin and a "Virginia is for lovers" t-shirt. The crowd gives him a "Cowboy sh!t" chant, to the rhythm of his music. Page cuts off the cliche "You deserve it" chant with a polite "I effin' earned it" and the fans respond accordingly. Page cuts a smart promo walking a fine line between humble and boastful, and asks the fans for permission to celebrate. They're joined by American Dragon Bryan Danielson, who become #1 contender at Full Gear. Bryan offers congratulations and a handshake. He's excited for his title match but he's a little surprised and disappointed that it won't be with Kenny Omega. Page humble brags that he defeated Omega and needed less than 30 minutes (sick burn!). Bryan says he won't dress up like a Ghostbuster on Halloween, he's coming to kick @ss, and he wrestles every week on television. Hell, when Bryan main evented Wrestlemania, he wrestled the next day, and OF COURSE Virginia boos hard work! Page wants the title match right now. Normally, Bryan would be up for it, but since Page is dressed up like a cowboy, Bryan doesn't want to beat him and have to listen to any excuses about Page not being ready. Page agrees to wait for the match, but still wants to fight, and the Dark Order have to separate them. Bryan brags that Page knows his buddies will keep him safe, so Page lunges through for a quick skirmish. This segment was total money.

Evil Uno vs. Bryan Danielson

Bryan gets an instant takedown and Uno uses the ropes to break a half crab. The previous talking segment has made it so the fans are booing Bryan against Evil Uno, of all people. Uno gets a string of offense, but a chop wakes Bryan up. Suplex by Bryan, but a cocky pin gets 2. Crowd chants "NO" while Bryan kicks Uno into the buckles. Uno stands tall and dares Bryan to hit him more before unleashing a flurry of strikes. Step up rana by Uno, and hanging neckbreaker for 2. Roaring elbow by Bryan, and repeatedly slaps to the face. Bryan delivers running boots to the corner, but Uno comes back with a high boot. Bryan blocks a swanton bomb and nails the running knee. Rather than going for the pin, Bryan traps the arms and stomps Uno's face. Bryan's triangle sleeper gets an instant submission at 6:26. Strong match that redefines Bryan as a subtle heel moving forward, **½.
Winner: Bryan Danielson

Tony Shiavone interviews Bryan Danielson in the ring. Bryan says Hangman's behavior forced him to kick Uno's head in. Bryan enjoyed it so much, now he wants to do the same to all Dark Order members. Next week they're in Chicago, so he challenges Colt Cabana.

A bruised MJF talks to the camera after his Full Gear match against Darby Allin. He's tired of not getting respect for his in-ring abilities.

Tony Shiavone interviews Eddie Kingston backstage, but they're interrupted by 2point0 and Daniel Garcia. They call Eddie a "sad boy" and brag that Garcia lasted longer against Punk. Eddie doesn't respect Garcia for letting two grown men talk for him. Eddie rants that he wants one uninterrupted promo and storms off to catering.

The Butcher and The Blade (with Matt Hardy and The Bunny) vs. Orange Cassidy (with Best Friends) and NEVER Champion Tomohiro Ishii (with Rocky Romero)

I'm not going to lie, when I imagined Ishii in AEW, it wasn't as Cassidy's buddy in a seemingly never ending feud with the HFO. 2021 has not been short on surprises. Ishii wants Butcher, but gets Blade instead. Ishii easily wins a slugfest. Cassidy watches Ishii hit a falling headbutt, and then hits a falling splash for 1. Blade corners Cassidy, turns to yell at Ishii, and doesn't see Cassidy casually hitting sloth kicks and then a running dropkick. Butcher makes a blind tag and mows Orange down. The heels take over to send us to commercials. They return just in time for Cassidy to leap over Blade and a casual hot tag to Ishii, who runs wild with strong style offense. Butcher tags himself in and trades blows with Ishii. Butcher takes over with chops, which only sends Ishii into a trance. Ishii corners Butcher and hits a superplex, Blade saves the match. Butcher and Blade throw Cassidy into Ishii, but Cassidy bounces up for a string of offense and Slumdog Millionaire for 2. Butcher and Blade swarm Cassidy, but Ishii forces a tag, and pummels Butcher into a heap. Hardy and Bunny provide distractions, but Ishii hits Butcher with a German suplex. Blade gets brass knucks, but Romero pulls him out. Cassidy flies onto the HFO! Ishii finishes Blade with a lariat and brainbuster at 11:19. Kind of a weird, yet crowd pleasing match, that mainly served as a backdrop for Jim Ross to namedrop "Okada", **¼.
Winners: Tomohiro Ishii and Orange Cassidy

Tony Shiavone interviews FTR and Andrade El Idolo backstage. Andrade is ready to show Pac and Cody Rhodes his bad side. FTR feel like they got robbed at Full Gear, and want to recruit Malakai Black for an 8 man tag against Cody and Death Triangle. Well, this took all of about 90 seconds to get a multi-man match made. On some other shows, it would have to start as a singles match, end with interference, get restarted as a tag match, end with more interference, then restart as an 8 man tag. I guess things are different when you don't have a thousand hours of TV that you don't know how to fill every week.

Tay Conti video package. She may have lost her first PPV singles match at Full Gear, but it was a learning experience, and she will be back.

Tony interviews AEW Women's Champion Britt Baker (with Rebel and Jamie Hayter) backstage. Britt is tired of carrying the division on her back, and is glad that soon Jamie will help as TBS Champion. Tony reminds them that Jamie has to get past Thunder Rosa, and they all shush him, because YOU DO NOT MENTION THUNDER ROSA in Britt's presence. I like all of this.

TBS Championship Tournament - Quarterfinals:
Nyla Rose (with Vickie Guerrero) vs. Hikaru Shida

These two are old rivals and start with an urgent brawl. Shida aims a missile dropkick at the knee and gets 2. Rose's knee buckles on a slam, but she manages a vertical suplex. Rose gets cleared from the ring and needs a pep talk from Vickie. Rose lures Shida into an elbow drop and takes control with deliberate offense. Rose seats Shida in a chair at ringside, but misses a flying cannonball! Vickie tries to interfere, and Shida takes her down with kendo shots! The fans love it. Rose tosses Shida from the top rope to send us to commercials. They return with Shida desperately staking in the fight with a triangle lock, but Rose escapes with a brutal powerbomb. Rose targets the knee with a senton! Rose misses a flying senton, Shida jackknifes her for 2. Rose reverses a kick into a standing stretch muffler, and Shida taps at 11:09! Not the outcome I was expecting! Very good match, played off their personal history, and the bumps and body work lead to the finish, ***¾.
Winner: Nyla Rose

Malakai Black video promo. He's game for the 8 man tag and looks forward to suffocating Cody Rhodes with toxic air.

MJF (with Wardlow and Shawn Spears) come to the ring to talk. Spears thinks its funny that MJF can beat anyone's hero with a simple headlock takeover, and demands silence from the crowd. MJF says he is the most complete package in wrestling and promises there will be a bidding war for his services in 2024. MJF feels he deserves to be the next AEW World Champion because no one in the locker room is on his level. This brings out CM Punk, leaving MJF temporarily speechless. MJF makes a calculated decision to offer a handshake, but Punk simply leaves without saying a word. Great feud starter, and should please some of the critics who feel that Punk hasn't had a serious rivalry in AEW yet.

Tony Shiavone interviews Darby Allin backstage about his loss to MJF at Full Gear. Darby holds his head up, but gets interrupted by the Gunn Club. Billy is the biggest and baddest guy in AEW and wants a match with Darby. His sons tell Darby to bring his skateboard and mock him with "I like turtles." Darby seems up for the challenge.

Adam Cole and the Young Bucks talk to the camera. Cole is sick of Christian Cage and Jurassic Express and calls Full Gear the worst night of his career. The Bucks' kids were watching Full Gear and saw their parents embarrassed. Since the Bucks aren't cleared for action, Cole will team up with old friend, Bobby Fish, to put an end to the "Jurassic Joke" on Rampage.

Lio Rush and Dante Martin vs. The Acclaimed (Max Caster and Anthony Bowens)

Rush and Martin don't like Caster's rap (calling them virgins) and start with stereo dives. Rush and Martin overwhelm Bowens with double leap frogs and hit a tandem double stomp to the elbow. Bowens slows Martin down with chops. The Acclaimed hit Martin with a double suplex on the floor. Fans chant "Let's go, Martin" while the Acclaimed work him over. Back from commercials, Martin walks over the backs of the Acclaimed to dive into a tag. Rush storms in on a hot tag and twists around for a kick. Rush back hand springs to bounce Caster from the apron, but cannot put Bowens away. Rush misses a frog splash, Martin helps with an enziguri, misses a double springboard nose dive. The match totally breaks down, Martin hits a high elevation springboard missile dropkick! Everyone goes down for a standing ovation! The Acclaimed are up first, Rush takes a twisting lariat, uranage, and flying splash, but Martin makes the last second save. Martin bounces off the ropes for a missile dropkick and hits the nose dive on Bowens. Rush hits a high frog splash to win at 10:45! Everything after the break was spectacular and tore the house down, ***½.
Winners: Lio Rush and Dante Martin

Martin and Rush don't have time to celebrate when Team Taz arrives. Taz has been trying to recruit Martin into Team Taz, and hopes Rush understands this is business and not personal. Ricky Starks thinks Martin has the chance for a HOF career in Team Taz. Martin isn't taking the bait… for now.

Christian Cage and Jurassic Express talk to the camera. Cage enjoyed slamming a chair onto Adam Cole at Full Gear. Jungle Boy isn't scared of the Elite, their fights have made him better. Luchasaurus offers up a roar.

Jade Cargill video package. She's got wind in her sails in the TBS tournament, but she's upset that Red Velvet put her manager's face through a cake. Who says that AEW doesn't tell stories?

AEW Tag Team Champions Lucha Bros. (with Alex Abrahantes) talk to the camera. They want FTR to stop crying after they lost at Full Gear. They have something special in mind planned for the upcoming 8 man tag.

TNT Championship:
Sammy Guevara © vs. Jay Lethal

Lethal is the first of the newly released ROH talent to get scooped up by AEW, and he gets a main event right out of the gate. The Norfolk crowd is hot for this match at the bell, and pop when Guevara teases a GTH. They trade pinning predicaments and frantically jockey for position until reaching a stalemate. Lethal cartwheels into a dropkick for 1. Lethal's backbreaker gets 2. Lethal punches Sammy's bandaged ribs and hits a DDT. Sammy rushes into a knee lift and nails a corkscrew plancha. Lethal blocks the Shooting Star Press! Lethal dominates throughout a commercial break. They return with Sammy struggling to continue due to his bad ribs. Sammy yells FU and flips the bird at Lethal, who spins him into a powerbomb. Guevara blocks Lethal Injection and hits a desperate Spanish Fly. Lethal throws Sammy out for a tope suicida, but Sammy reverses into a brainbuster! Guevara's knee lift puts Lethal onto a production table, and Sammy looks wild climbing the ropes, only to crash and burn with a senton through the table! Lethal goes for Hail to the King, but it's reversed into a roll-up for 2. Sammy lands on his feet in a lariat and hits a pump kick. Lethal hits a front power bomb and applies the Figure Four! Sammy is nearly pinned but gets the ropes. Fans chant "fight forever" while Lethal looks for an abdominal stretch. Guevara looks too injured to hit GTH, settles for running knee strikes. Guevara guts out a GTH and wins at 12:53 (while Tony Nese watches from the first row). Terrific main event with lots of doubt and drama regarding the outcome, ****.
Winner and still TNT Champion: Sammy Guevara

Chris Jericho and the Inner Circle join Sammy to celebrate in the ring. Sammy shakes hands with Lethal, and the Inner Circle includes him in the party.

Final Thoughts: I am very encouraged about the creative direction of AEW following Full Gear. Hangman Page is well positioned as a top babyface champion, and recasting Bryan Danielson as a subtle heel first challenger is a bold move. Kenny Omega is stepping aside for numerous surgeries, but not without setting the stage for conflict with Adam Cole when he returns. MJF has a new dance partner in CM Punk. The TBS Championship tournament has interjected some hoped-for life into the women's division. I hope they can find something new and different for guys like Orange Cassidy and Darby Allin sooner than later, because OC's rivalry with the HFO is more than played out, and Allin mixing up with the Gunn Club is a bit worrisome. Overall, this was a hot show and a nice reset.

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