‘Dynamite’ Cage Match Was the Best of What Sets AEW Apart
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A bloody match you don’t usually see on TV
Jon Moxley defeated Kenny Omega on Wednesday night in the main event of Dynamite.
In a gory, violent, sprint of a match, Moxley showcased the best of AEW. More than just a match, it captured the entire essence of the company.
The match illustrated why AEW is a different commodity from any other mainstream promotion in North America. Within mere minutes, Moxley was covered in blood and delivering an assault. Omega, who is the healthiest he has been in years after fighting off numerous injuries, was his usual spectacular self, alternating between brawler and technician with flawless precision.
“It’s not going to end here,” says Moxley, speaking after the match. “This was only the beginning. We’re bringing our A-game. We’re competitive with each other, and we’re competitive with the rest of the wrestling industry. There’s a lot on the line, so no one is taking a step backward. We’re showing why we’re the superior group.”
A sharply defined clash of styles is visible any time Moxley and Omega share the ring. Though they possess different skill sets, both carry an unrelenting drive to deliver the best matches possible. So, despite the story line differences between The Elite and the BCC, there is a genuine respect between the men who form those two groups.
“This rivalry between us is the cutting edge of the business,” says Moxley. “You might be more into something else, but look at who is involved here. Kenny Omega may be the greatest wrestler that ever lived. Bryan Danielson may be the greatest wrestler that ever lived. Claudio Castagnoli may be the most absolute alien pretending to be a human Superman f---ing freak wrestler to ever live. The Young Bucks may be the greatest tag team of all time. Even if you think I f---ing suck, you still have all these greats.
“A lot of people out there hate on the Young Bucks and Kenny Omega. We’re obviously attacking them and have our issues with them, but we are not old-ass f---ing bitter dudes with podcasts talking about how the business used to be. We are not that. A lot of people hate Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks, and that’s because they hate themselves. It’s sad. There are plenty of people who hate me. I don’t give a f---. I don’t care what challenges you put in front of me or what s--- befalls me. I’m very pissed off. I will shove it up everybody’s flying ass. After last year, I have that attitude. Kenny and the Young Bucks have that attitude. It’s us against the universe. That attitude is AEW at its core.”
A captivating cage match served multiple purposes. It entertained the audience, showcasing the elements that make AEW unique, as well as advanced the story between Omega and Moxley.
The violence-in-play stayed true to all those involved. The prefight brawl pitting Castagnoli and Wheeler Yuta against the Young Bucks set the tone, and Danielson did a masterful job of hitting the high points on commentary (which would have further been enhanced by Jim Ross, particularly at the end). The savage side of Moxley came forward, as he brought a barbed-wire chair, causing both men to suffer gashes on their back and then later dropping shards of glass on the canvas. Omega hit a snap dragon suplex on Moxley onto the glass, a sequence that will not soon be seen in any other major promotion in the U.S.
Both Moxley and Omega delighted in finding innovative ways to be violent, including a drop toe hold into a choke, as well as reversing a Moxley attempt at a piledriver ending with Omega drilling him with a knee to the face. There was an especially compelling moment when the momentum from Omega’s V-trigger burst both through the cage and outside the cage.
“They don’t make cages like they used to,” muses Moxley.
For all the violence, also visible was a convincing desire to win. Omega was persistent in his pursuit of the One-Winged Angel, his signature move finisher, which Moxley continually countered. The pay-per-view-caliber match reached its conclusion when Omega finally hit the One-Winged Angel, but his pinfall attempt was broken up by longtime mentor and friend Don Callis.
On the broadcast, Danielson stuck to the story when he shared that the BCC was not aware of Callis’s plan to betray Omega, potentially tying his future to Will Ospreay—who will likely be Omega’s opponent at next month’s Forbidden Door pay-per-view. After the turn, where Callis hit Omega with a screwdriver, Moxley rolled on top of him for the win.
With AEW on the cusp of announcing an industry-shaking television deal, this match further propels the company forward.
“The power of AEW is from our fans,” says Moxley. “They’re the ones who bought 10,000 tickets to All In. It’s getting real big with these stadium deals. But we’re not going corporate. The message is ‘F--- you.’ Middle fingers everywhere. It’s us against the world.
“Keep betting against Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks, and see what happens. Historically, that’s not a smart play. Keep betting against me or Bryan Danielson or Claudio. I’ve eaten so much f---ing s--- in this business, notwithstanding. I almost died multiple times. I’ve been as dragged through the mud as I can in this business. I’m bulletproof. I don’t give a f---. That’s the message of the day. Doubt any of the six of us and see how that works out.”
The (online) week in wrestling
- Bad Bunny was, in a word, spectacular Saturday at Backlash.
Making his way to the ring as Puerto Rico sings along to Chambea, @sanbenito is here at #WWEBacklash ready to compete! pic.twitter.com/fK5Wzn7GnX— WWE (@WWE) May 7, 2023
- Brock Lesnar is one of the greatest performers of his generation. It is rare, but it is so much fun to watch and listen as Lesnar holds a microphone in his hand and cuts a promo. Try to ignore the piped-in boos (which are awful) and enjoy Lesnar’s work.
"LOOK AT THIS FACE!"#WWERaw pic.twitter.com/k5aEFixLrh— WWE (@WWE) May 9, 2023
BECKY IS BACK!#WWERaw pic.twitter.com/pKJ0s5o1Of— WWE (@WWE) May 9, 2023
- For those headed to NXT’s Battleground, Beyond Wrestling will be running a show earlier in the day in the same city of Lowell, Mass., where Shawn Michaels famously lost his smile.
BREAKING: Alex Shelley (@fakekinkade) returns for #MillsOfTheGods on Sunday afternoon, 5/28 in Lowell, MA streaming LIVE on @indiewrestling at 2pm ET!— Beyond Wrestling (@beyondwrestling) May 4, 2023
Details - https://t.co/QRLdeKB6UX
Make it a doubleheader with #NXTBattleground... #Taffeta is just minutes from @TsongasCenter! pic.twitter.com/Sx1xrmli5L
Seth Rollins would be the right choice to wear WWE gold
Based off Monday’s Raw, all signs point to Seth Rollins’s becoming the new world heavyweight champion.
It is a perfect fit. Rollins represents the best qualities of WWE’s newest world title.
Rollins will face someone from the SmackDown brand in the title match later this month at Night of Champions. Why, you may ask, are wrestlers from SmackDown part of a tournament for a title that is going to be exclusive to Raw? It is a valid question with no right answer, other than to drive television ratings for one episode of SmackDown, story line be damned.
Over the past year, Rollins has carried the WWE product. Roman Reigns holds more star power, but Rollins wrestles the matches that make people tune in every week—often times when Reigns is not on the show. Whatever he was asked to do, Rollins did it in style.
Ensure Cody Rhodes returns with a breathtaking match? Wrestle twice more against him, lose both, and carry an injured and severely limited Rhodes? Done. Bring out the best of Matt Riddle? No problem. Square off against a green Logan Paul at WrestleMania and make him look like he belongs? Of course. And bring out the best match of Omos’s career with hardly a speck of story line going into the bout? You’ve got it.
Reigns remains the brightest star in all of pro wrestling, but Rollins is everything Reigns is not. In some ways, they are modern representations of Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage (and it feels like Rollins in his “Macho King” run). He shows up every week and will offer a distinct contrast to the champion on SmackDown.
Rollins will add meaning and significance to the new title every week on Raw. Older programs can be revisited with the new hook of a world title, especially his feud with Rhodes.
Initially, I wasn’t thrilled about the prospect of WWE adding another title. But I see the merits to it and the potential to enhance Raw on a weekly basis, especially with Rollins as champ.
Tweet of the Week
I’ve literally watched @Litocolon279 comeback from last night about 50 times.— Chris Masters (@ChrisAdonis) May 7, 2023
So happy he had that moment considering his comeback at the Rumble had no live crowd.
Honestly,I didn’t even realize how fired up I’d be about another man’s return????. pic.twitter.com/Lvi907Kj61
Both returns—from Savio Vega and Carlito—were executed in spectacular fashion.
Justin Barrasso can be reached at JBarrasso@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.