Matt Hardy’s in-ring debut is tonight!

Let’s get straight into it, as the show commences with a recap of the semi-finals from last week’s Dynamite. Sadly, Jericho isn’t on commentary this week, however, we do get the return of Jim Ross and Excalibur alongside Tony Schiavone. This week’s Dynamite takes place at Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, Florida. They announce the show card for tonight, which includes the return of AEW Women’s Champion, Nyla Rose.

Looking Ahead to the Final!

Joey Janela is out first to face Cody. Cody gets his usual extravagant entrance with pyro but is comedically interrupted by a flying towel from the heel side of the crowd barrier as he poses on the top turnbuckle. The match is an even affair early on, with both trading roll-ups and chops in the middle of the ring. Cody taunts Joey after he gets chopped, telling him to hit him again.

Cody looks focused in this match ahead of his eventual final against Lance Archer. He holds Joey up in a Vertical Suplex position, before slamming him face first. Joey kicks out at one and starts to get more offence in on a downed Cody. Joey eventually hits a Back Suplex for a two-count, following up with a Stomp to the back of the head. Cody and Joey trade fists to the face, with Joey getting the upper hand and throwing Cody into an outside crowd barrier. In a comedic moment, an air horn goes off which, according to commentary, belongs to Shawn Spears. Cody and Joey trade offence on the ramp/stage area, with Janela walking down the tunnel to get a run-up on Cody.

Cody dodges, flinging Joey into the ropes and hitting a Disaster Kick soon after. Cody hits a Moonsault off the stage onto Joey, in an impressive spot, before sliding him back in the ring and maintaining control… until a Superkick and an Elbow Drop ends his run of offence. Joey gets a two-count for his efforts, climbing up to the top, but Cody takes advantage and hits a reverse Suplex; Janela kicks out at two.

Cody takes off his belt and throws it into the face side of the crowd, which is nearly caught by Trent but instead picked up by Hikaru Shida. He goes to put Joey in the Cross Rhodes but is hot with a Back Elbow. Cody counters, hitting a Powerslam and getting a cover of two. Joey catches Cody in mid-air and hits a very slow-looking a German Suplex.

Janela builds up steam and hits a devastating Clothesline, then attempts to jump off the top, which is dodged by Cody. He hits the Cody Cutter in retaliation and gets another cover of two. Both wrestlers fight it out in the middle of the ring, trading blows back and forth until Cody hits a shock Cross Rhodes for the win.

Cody defeats Joey Janela via Pinfall – Grade: B

Cody and Joey Janela shake hands in the ring as the segment ends. A decent match which was a little rough around the edges, but a good way to open the first live show in a while. The crowd and open stadium feel really elevated the show this week, which is something I picked up on early in this match. AEW has really nailed the empty arena shows so far in terms of making them feel alive even without a crowd.

Commentary discusses the return of Nyla Rose before a video package is played showing Nyla’s title win and dominance as a wrestler and champion. The package discusses the top contenders for the title, including Britt Baker, Hikaru Shida and Penelope Ford: “Is it time for a new champion to rise in AEW.”

A Dominant Force

Nyla makes her way out to the ring, title in hand. She stands on the stage and is interviewed by Tony Schiavone, clearly opposed to what was said in the video package before. She questions Tony on who he thinks is the most dominant force, before interrupting him and saying he’s wrong and stating, “it is me, it will be me and it will always be me, now shut up, get your ass over there and do your job and I’m gonna go out here and do mine.”

Nyla enters the ring with her opponent already there, she will face Kenzie Paige, who is making her AEW debut tonight. Nyla obviously dominates, shouting “I run this place!” at the camera. Kenzie gets some offence in, but it only stands to anger the champion, who takes out Kenzie before climbing to the top turnbuckle and diving off, getting a cover… however, she lifts Kenzie’s head off the mat before the three count.

Nyla hits a Powerbomb, followed by another, and then a Beast Bomb for the win. Britt Baker, Penelope Ford, Hikaru Shida and Kris Statlander are all shown in the crowd as Nyla taunts them all with the belt.

Nyla Rose defeats Kenzie Paige via Pinfall – Grade: C

A dominant squash to remind everyone how much of a danger Nyla Rose is. It’ll be interesting to see who will finally take the belt off of her in the future.

MJF is shown in a promo segment where he discusses people who compare him to legends of the business, name dropping people such as Ric Flair, The Rock and Roddy Piper. He calls these people insecure, especially the top guys in his profession, stating, “that 24-year-old kid, has more ‘it’ in his pinky than you do in your entire damn body.” He states that he’s injury-free, and that next week he’ll, “sit back on my throne”, as some of the crew swap his red chair for a throne in the background.

Shawn Spears is in a video package next, in which footage of a Lance Archer’s dominant win over Dustin Rhodes is shown. Spears says he doesn’t blame Dustin for competing or Lance for doing what he did, he blames Cody for letting it happen to him. He questions whether he did it because he’s selfish, or if he alone can carry the Rhodes the legacy.

Tony Schiavone is shown with a mic on the heel side of the crowd, interviewing both MJF and Shawn Spears, who discuss Cody and MJF’s return from “injury”. MJF is angry at the announcement that he’s been signed on for a match at Double or Nothing to face Jungle Boy, spitting out his water is Frankie Kazarian makes his way to the ring for the next much of the night.

Coming For The Bounty…

Kazarian is accompanied by the both Scorpio Sky and Christopher Daniels of SCU. Kazarian is facing the returning AEW World Champion Jon Moxley who makes his usual entrance through the crowd/seating area. Early on, Kazarian manages to get Moxley grounded, putting on a Side Headlock. He manages to put it on again after a short bout of offence, with Moxley attempting to fight out of it. Moxley breaks out and places Kazarian in a Hammerlock.

The pair trade holds until Moxley stomps in the arm of Kazarian. They trade chops but a Moxley controls this part of the bout, putting him back in a Hammerlock position. Moxley taunts Kazarian while getting chopped asking him repeatedly to hit him. Moxley hits a Backbreaker for a cover of one, controlling with further offence including ramming Kazarian in the corner and hitting another Backbreaker.

Kazarian manages to get in a flurry of offence but is rewarded by getting dumped on the ramp, looking to have possibly injured his knee as AEW goes to a picture-in-picture break. The full-screen action returns with both in the ring with Moxley hitting a knee to knock Kazarian out of the ring. Moseley climbs to the top but is met with a kick to the face as the two lay on the outside.

Kazarian hits a Dropkick in the ring, followed by a DDT which is kicked out at two. Moxley replies with a Release German Suplex but is hit with a Back Stabber soon after for a near fall. The two trade Dropkicks, with Moxley attempting a Paradigm Shift which is counted into a submission attempt by Kazarian.

Moxley breaks out but is met with a Leg Drop after an attempted Spear through the ropes. Kazarian delivers some slaps to Moxley which seemingly only serves to anger the champion. However, Kazarian manages to hit a Release Suplex, though Moxley fights back with some heavy hits and a Clothesline that sweeps him off his feet. Kazarian rolls up Moxley multiple times before hitting a Back Elbow and being Suplexed into the corner.

Moxley climbs up after Kazarian on the top rope but is knocked down. Kazarian misses the following move and is rolled over by Moxley and picked up for a quick Paradigm Shift to end the match.

Jon Moxley defeats Frankie Kazarian via Pinfall – Grade: B+

An enjoyable return for Moxley, and it’s great to see Kazarian put up a competitive battle against the champion. It’s nice to see tag team wrestlers showcase how good they are in singles competition, which is something AEW does especially well.

After the match, Moxley is attacked by some minions of the Dark Order before SCU jump in the ring to attempt to help him, but are unsuccessful. All four are beaten down in the ring before Brodie Lee comes out in a suit and hits Daniels with a steel chair. He hits a Discus Lariat on Moxley in the ring to stand tall, indicating that he may be the next challenger for the AEW World Championship.

Lee gets on the mic and states that he is there to answer the bounty that Moxley put on his own head last week. He makes it clear that he wants the championship, challenging Moxley to a match before throwing the mic at his face while he’s on the ground: Moxley replies, “Dude, all you had to do was ask,” laughing afterwards, before he is kicked in the face by Lee and decimated by the minions in the ring once again.

Brandi Rhodes cuts a promo on Jake Roberts and Lance Archer, calling them out and stating that if Jake slaps her in the face, she’ll hit him right back: “from now on, you will keep my name out of your dirty old mouth.”

Once a Snake…

QT Marshall is accompanied to the ring by Brandi Rhodes ahead of his match against Lance Archer who storms out to ringside and walks around, knocking down Jason Cade on the face side before getting in the ring. Jake Roberts is surprisingly out with him, which is nice to see. QT hits Lance immediately as he gets in the ring, but is knocked to the ground in retaliation.

The bell rings and Lance tells QT to take a shot at him, he does, but Lance barely flinches. He keeps hitting him but is knocked down and pummelled by Lance as Jake Roberts laughs on the outside. QT actually manages to fight back and force Lance out of the ring but is caught by the throat and slammed on the apron. Lance approaches Brandi but walks away as AEW goes to a break.

The show returns with Lance firmly in control and shouting, “there’s nowhere you can run, there’s nowhere you can hide,” at the camera. Archer boots QT off the apron, who is then hit by a shoe via Britt Baker, similarly to how she hit Cody last week. Brandi runs over, steals the show and launches it into the stands, with MJF shouting, “who throws a shoe Brandi, come on!”

Meanwhile back in the ring, QT manages to stun Archer, getting a short flurry of offence in, even showing off his strength by picking up Archer. He heads up to the top rope but misses and is pounced on by Lance. Archer hits the Blackout on QT but lifts him up after the two count, repeating the spot from last week by smashing QT’s head repeatedly into the mat and pinning him for the victory.

Lance Archer defeats QT Marshall via Pinfall – Grade: C+

As expected, and what it needed to be, a short dominant performance by Archer, showcasing his ruthlessness ahead of the final for the TNT championship in a few weeks time.

After the bell, Britt Baker jumps Brandi at ringside, hitting a DDT and throwing her into the ring in front of Lance Archer. Jake “the Snake” Roberts lives up to the name by bringing out a live snake to the ring as Lance stands over Brandi. Jake crouches over Brandi, placing the Snake on Brandi and letting it roam around her body. He picks it up and pretends to launch it over to the face side of the crowd to audible screams, but instead walks away with Lance to end the segment.

It is announced that Jon Moxley will face Brodie Lee for the AEW Championship at Double or Nothing, with confirmation of the MJF versus Jungle Boy match and Cody versus Lance Archer for the TNT championship. They also announced a Casino Ladder Match to replace the Battle Royale, the winner will receive a shot at the AEW World Championship.

Taz interviews Darby Allin about his loss against Cody last week, but Darby doesn’t answer him and walks off, clearly still frustrated.

Brodie Lee will take on Christopher Daniels next week, while MJF will return to the ring for the first time in a while. Jurassic Express will also be back to take on  Best Friends, while it was also announced that Jake Roberts and Lance Archer will be live for an interview and Hikaru Shida, Penelope Ford, Britt Baker and Kris Statlander will all face each other in a fatal four-way match with “world title implications. Chris Jericho will also reportedly be in action, but it’s time for his entrance to the ring for tonight’s main event.

Document These Events!

Jericho makes his way to the ring with his tag team partner, Sammy Guevara, and Jake Hager who will stand at ringside. Suge D, better known in recent weeks as “Pineapple Pete”, gets into a confrontation with Chris Jericho at ringside. Jericho has been discussing his hatred for “Pete” on commentary over the past few weeks, so it’s nice to see a blow-off between the two. It seems the two will face off soon, possibly in Jericho’s singles match next week; Hager stands and stares at Suge D on the outside as the heel side of the crowd sing and dance to Jericho’s theme, with MJF singing along and Sammy using Jericho’s bat to sing in the ring.

Jericho and “Pete” continue to have a shouting contest as the show goes to a break. We return to the sound of production which can audibly heard counting down and asking for Omega’s music to play. Kenny Omega is out first and carrying out the AEW Tag Team Championship which makes me really miss Hangman Adam Page. Finally, Omega’s partner for this match is out, with Broken Matt Hardy making his in-ring debut for AEW Dynamite.

Before the bell even rings for this street fight, Hardy attempts to bite the fingers of Sammy as Omega and Jericho start to brawl. The bell does sound during this as Hardy slams Sammy’s head into the turnbuckles repeatedly and Jericho combats Omega on the outside. We get confirmation the Jericho’s match next week will indeed be against Pineapple Pete himself.

Omega turns things around on the outside while Hardy dominates in the ring against Sammy getting a cover of two. Omega and Hardy team up on Guevara before Jericho attempts to run back in but is instantly forced out of the ring by Hardy. Jericho gains control by throwing Hardy into the entrance tunnel as Le Sex Gods team up against Omega. They pose and show off in the ring after taking down Omega. Omega attempts to fight back, but to no avail, as he is hit by an elbow via Le Champion Chris Jericho.

Matt Hardy runs back, this time seemingly as a previous version of himself due to a costume change. He wipes out Le Sex Gods and gets another two-count on Sammy and one on Jericho which is broken up by the former. Hardy is knocked out of the ring via a kick from Sammy, but the latter is soon hit by a SnapDragon from Omega. Jericho runs back in and clocks Omega with his Baseball Bat, with Sammy going up for a Shooting Star Press. Omega gets his knees up, while Hardy runs back in and throws Jericho to the outside.

The pair take out Sammy, but go to the outside and get a ladder and a table from under the ring. Hager watches on from ringside, surprising not getting involved just yet. They set up the ladder and table, with Jim Ross making a “D-Von get the table” reference. Omega hits Sammy with a knee and places him on the table as Hardy performs a Frog Splash off the ladder onto a prone Guevara on the table.

The referee counts the pin but is pulled out of the ring by Jake Hager, who finally gets involved. Hager is launched to the outside by Omega but manages to turn around and catch him in mid-air, dropping him face-first into the apron. After a picture-in-picture break which consisted of Hager and Jericho dragging around Omega and Hardy, delivering some offence in the outside. They take the pair through the stands and to the concourse area, fighting through it. Hardy picks up a metal pipe and hits both Jericho and Hager to turn things around. He throws Jericho into an ice machine but is hit with an ice bag and placed in the machine by both Hager and Jericho, who also close the doors.

Omega comes back and hits them both with a metal trash can, neutralising Hager, though Sammy comes back with a can of his own and takes on Omega. He throws the tag champ into an ATM and attempts to throw him into a pillar, instead, being thrown into it himself. Omega also Powerbombs Guevara into a metal shutter gate; Hager attempts to charge into him but collides with Guevara and the gate. Hager is met by a Knee a Strike and sent into a stack of rail barricades, but Omega is immediately hit by a cart and Suplexed onto a railing by Jericho.

Jericho picks up a red cone and puts it in his head while giggling like a witch, which was a great comedy moment. He then hits Omega with the cone multiple times, but Omega retaliates by hitting him with a wet floor sign. Matt Hardy gets out of the ice machine, this time in his Damascus persona and dressed accordingly. He gets into the golf cart that was near the ice machine and attempts to drive over to the ongoing brawl, stating to the camera, “I need you to document these events.” He hits Jericho barely with the cart as Hardy helps Omega into the cart, the two drive off but make a U-Turn, this time aiming to rundown Sammy Guevara in one of the funniest moments in AEW history.

They catch up to and hit him which is sold very well by the Spanish God. They drive up to Jericho, get out and place him on some nearby tables. Omega ascends up the scissor lift, while Hager attacks Hardy from behind; Omega jumps off and lands on his feet, taking out all three men. He picks up Jericho and attempts to hit the One-Winged Angel, but is thwarted by Santana and Ortiz who sneak up behind and save Jericho.

Hardy and Omega fight them both but are soon outnumbered by Jericho and Hager. The five Inner Circle members then team up to Powerbomb Matt Hardy through the nearby tables. They drag Omega to the cart and Jericho Powerbombs him on top of it; Jericho then hits the Judas effect and pins Omega for the victory, posing in front of the football ground with Inner Circle projected in the large sign in the background.

Le Sex Gods defeat Matt Hardy & Kenny Omega via Pinfall – Grade: A-

A very entertaining main event and a good introduction to this version of Matt Hardy in AEW. The Inner Circle had the numbers, which ultimately led to Le Sex Gods, Chris Jericho and Sammy Guevara, picking up the win.

Overall Grade: B+

A fun show with a fantastic main event which elevated the overall grade. A lot of storyline build as we get closer to Double or Nothing, with plenty of matches announced for the upcoming PPV event. Let’s hope AEW continues the momentum into next week.

By Jimmy Ioannou

Images provided by AEW/TNT

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