AEW Dynamite Preview for April 21, 2021
This Wednesday night, with BLOOD AND GUTS looming just two weeks away on May 5th, AEW brings to our fans another jam-packed edition of DYNAMITE! There are two major title matches on tap with the Women's World Title and TNT Title up for grabs, a battle over the top spot in the rankings, Powerhouse Hobbs looking for his biggest win, and plenty more on tap!
This is coming on the heels of a wild Wednesday where The Young Bucks retained their World Tag Team Titles over Death Triangle, Darby Allin scored his 7th successful TNT Title defense, and Jade Cargill battled Red Velvet in a tremendous fight that Cargill won. Plus, Mike Tyson officially joined The Inner Circle in the aftermath of Jericho beating Dax Harwood, Anthony Ogogo made a smashing in-ring debut representing The Factory, and “The Galaxy's Greatest Alien” had her long-awaited in-ring return to action!!!
This week AEW is coming at you live on TNT at 8pm EST/7pm CST, or on AEWPlus.com for our International audiences! Plus, our official YouTube channel (Watch Here) is loaded up with all new episodes of DARK: ELEVATION, DARK, OUTSIDE THE RING, and more!!! Make sure to tune in to all of it for the complete Elite Experience!!
AEW WOMEN'S WORLD TITLE MATCH...
Hikaru Shida (c) vs. (#1) Tay Conti (w/ The Dark Order)
Walking in the door on Wednesday night, the defending Women's World Champion Hikaru Shida will have accrued 333 days as the title holder. It marks her as the longest reigning champion of any division in the entirety of All Elite Wrestling, far surpassing the next closest of Jon Moxley's 277 days at the top of the Men's division. Nyla Rose, Penelope Ford, Abadon, Big Swole, Thunder Rosa, Anna Jay, and Ryo Mizunami have all fallen before her and now another has risen up the rankings to become the next challenger to Shida's coveted championship.
Since her AEW debut as Anna Jay's partner in the Women's Tag Team Cup Tournament last fall, Tay Conti has emerged as a rising star in the division in the singles ranks and throughout 2021 has demonstrated tremendous growth as a wrestler. There's never been a question about her athletic abilities, Tay's accomplishments as a Judoku black belt, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu blue belt, and participant in the 2016 Brazilian Olympic team trials are testament to that. Rather it was more the learning curve of her transition into professional wrestling over the last several years, and getting the consistent reps inside the ring to hone her craft. She just keeps getting better with each outing, and the 14-3 record amassed as a singles wrestler in her AEW career has earned Conti the top spot in the rankings, as well as this championship bout on Wednesday night.
Conti and Shida have become quite familiar with one another in recent weeks, uniting in tag team action on multiple actions, and experiencing a modicum of success. Three matches as a tag, one in a trio, and they have scored the victory in three of those four instances; it's a situation that has allowed each woman to witness first-hand what the other has to offer and has no doubt offered excellent preparation for this DYNAMITE collision!
Will Tay Conti be the one to finally end Hikaru Shida's historic run, or will the defending champion continue on towards a landmark one year anniversary as the Women's World Champion? History beckons the winner of this championship contest!
TNT TITLE MATCH...
Darby Allin (c) vs. (#3) Jungle Boy
And in that vein of historic championship runs, Darby Allin has embarked on one of his own in the aftermath of REVOLUTION 2021. Allin may have captured the TNT Title from Cody Rhodes at FULL GEAR 2020, but as he himself has noted, the machinations of Team Taz prevented The Relentless One from being the kind of champion he aimed to become in the beginning.
It took nearly two months before Allin made his first title defense against Brian Cage, and another month before his second against Joey Janela. At REVOLUTION 2021 on March 7th, Darby and Sting put Team Taz down in an epic Street Fight, and finally the TNT Champion felt free to become the champion he envisioned in November 2020. It began with Scorpio Sky challenging for the TNT Title on the March 10th DYNAMITE, and has continued with John Silver, JD Drake, The Butcher, and as can be seen in the video embedded above, “Big Money” Matt Hardy. Five defenses in six weeks, three of them between April 7th and April 14th, and it brings back memories of The American Nightmare's original TNT championship run where he racked up eight title defenses in 82 days before Mr. Brodie Lee brought that reign to a screeching halt.
Allin wants to be that kind of champion, the kind of champion his predecessors were, and that is why Darby demanded AEW CEO Tony Khan pick one man in the top five rankings to challenge him this Wednesday night:
The individual who was chosen for this opportunity is also the man who challenged Cody Rhodes in his very first title defense nearly a year ago, one-third of Jurassic Express, Jungle Boy! As the most prolific wrestler on the AEW wrestler, with 68 matches under his belt heading into this week's DYNAMITE (not including his participation in multiple battle royals), Jungle Boy enters into this championship contest with four straight wins as a singles wrestler in 2021, including an absolute classic submission victory over Dax Harwood in January.
Although generally associated as part of a group with JurEx, Jungle Boy has shown himself to be more than capable as a singles wrestler on multiple occasions. The aforementioned bouts between Cody and Dax, the interactions between him and Rey Fenix as the last two in the Casino Battle Royale at REVOLUTION 2021, the draw with Chris Jericho that opened up eyes in 2019, and the DARK: ELEVATION fight with Danny Limelight are just a few examples of how Jungle Boy fares when standing alone. In short, he is never a man to be taken lightly simply because he is entering the ring as a singles competitor.
This week, when Jungle Boy gets his second ever shot at an AEW singles championship, he does so against a man whose own career very much parallels his own. Both Darby and Jungle Boy have been looked at as underdogs, derided by those who think their vision of professional wrestling is the only vision, and both have fought to prove they belong among the conversations of the top athletes competing today. There is no doubt both men have earned their place over the last two years, and no doubt each will pull out all the stops to leave Daily's Place with the TNT Title.
Will we see Jungle Boy emerge as the 5th TNT Champion? Or will it be Darby Allin who ties Rhodes' record for most successful championship defenses at 8, thus bringing him one step closer to having the undisputed greatest TNT Title reign to date?
“Hangman” Adam Page (#1) vs. Ricky Starks (w/ Taz)
One man sits at the top spot in the Men's rankings with eight consecutive singles wins following DARK: ELEVATION on Monday, twelve straight wins overall, and is undefeated since December 16th.
The other has racked up ten straight singles wins, including the fastest victory in AEW's history on the 2/16 DARK edition that clocked in at five seconds. Those ten victories are part of an 18-2 singles record, the last loss coming at the hands of Darby Allin on the 9/30 DYNAMITE, and in his last ten bouts, he has lost just one match.
The former is “Hangman” Adam Page, the latter is “Absolute” Ricky Starks, and this Wednesday night on DYNAMITE, they will lock up for the very first time in their careers! With an overall record like his, Starks has reasonable claims to belonging in the rankings, the only strike against him is that a majority of his 2021 has been devoted to the Team Taz brand and competition in tag, as well as multi-man, competition. Even with that, the man still has an impressive 10-1 record on the year with the lone blemish on his record being the Street Fight against Darby and Sting at REVOLUTION 2021.
This fight with Hangman Page is an opportunity for Starks to reassert himself as a true player in any title picture, be it TNT Title or World Championship, and usurp someone's spot in those rankings. The best way to prove you are the best is to beat the best, and Ricky Starks believes he is the absolute best; toppling Hangman Page is the way for Ricky Starks to make his belief a reality.
With Hangman, this win streak he has racked up throughout 2021 has been done with quiet grace. Page is not one to brag about his record, or, save Matt Hardy, rub it into the face of the opponents he has vanquished. He just does the work, picks up the win, then celebrates with a beverage(s) and, as of late, with the friends he has made in The Dark Order. Yet the original top contender to the AEW World Title back at ALL OUT 2019 now sits in a position to reasonably challenge for that championship Chris Jericho stopped Page from claiming almost two years ago. Hangman, for his part, seems focused on the immediate future rather than what might happen down the road, or the potential of a confrontation with his former tag team championship partner and current AEW World Champion Kenny Omega. It's all about the now, and the now is “Absolute” Ricky Starks trying to stop the momentum of Hangman.
This match is certainly an intriguing one for the future of All Elite Wrestling, the championship picture, and of course the drama Team Taz has been dealing with since REVOLUTION 2021 throws in an added wrinkle. Tune in Wednesday night for top shelf competition between two of the best young athletes in wrestling today!
PUTTING IN WORK...
Christian Cage vs. (#5) Powerhouse Hobbs
Taz was not a patient man when it came to courting Christian Cage for his team. The founder of the FTW Title dropped the offer and gave Christian all of a week to decide whether or not he wanted to marry himself to a group that has proven rather...disreputable...in All Elite Wrestling. Not just disreputable, but as Cage himself said in the video above, a group that closely resembles a dumpster fire with all of its inner turmoil.
Christian Cage is not in AEW to save Team Taz from itself or to bolster its ranks with his inclusion, he became All Elite to claim championships and firmly solidify what so many wrestlers, fans, and pundits already know: that not only is Christian Cage one of the best to compete inside the squared circle over the last twenty years, he is also the best he has ever been. Just look to the exemplary level of performance when Cage faced Frankie Kazarian in his first AEW match, it was a bout that just felt different than any other that night. Whether it be the tremendous wealth of experience brought to the table by the two competitors, or the time Christian Cage's body had to heal up since his last bout, or the drive Kaz had to step up in a singles bout, there was just something special about that match that made it stand out among a night of top shelf action.
For as good as that fight was, for the deep cache of respect Christian Cage has earned, there is one truth to the matter heading into DYNAMITE this week: Powerhouse Hobbs does not care.
Watch the calmness with which Hobbs quiets Taz mid-rant, the complete lack of nerves or hesitation with which he enters the ring, and the physical onslaught he unloads on Christian Cage with zero regard for any of wrestling norms of status or respect. That should come as little surprise reflecting on how the men of Team Taz treated Sting over the last several months, but it was still a bit jarring to see Powerhouse do this essentially on his own. Sure Hook provided a momentary distraction, but the work was all done by Hobbs. No Ricky Starks, no Brian Cage, just Powerhouse Hobbs standing over the beaten body of a man who had the audacity to say no to Taz.
Beaten though, not broken, and that may be the mistake that proves costly for Powerhouse Hobbs and Team Taz. Beaten is a familiar place for Christian Cage, as it would be for any athlete who has competed on the levels which he has, and it's a place he has rallied from countless times to achieve victory. In a handful of words, he did the work, and that's what Hobbs best be doing himself heading into Wednesday night.
Christian Cage stated from day one that his eyes are on the top prize currently strapped around the waist of Kenny Omega, but he's going to have to make it passed the number five ranked Hobbs to get there. That is a rough order for anyone regardless of the track record brought to the fight...
Trent (w/ Orange Cassidy) vs. Penta El Zero Miedo (w/ Alex Abrahantes)
Seventy-three weeks ago in Indianapolis, Trent and Penta El Zero Miedo met inside the squared circle for their one and only singles match. Featured on the 11/26/19 edition of AEW DARK, it would result in Trent picking up the victory after a twelve minute fight, but it would not be the last time these two men would stand on opposite sides.
A tag team affair would take place 24 hours later on DYNAMITE, and again Trent would be on the victorious side of the equation, this time with Chuck Taylor at his side while Rey Fenix partnered with his brother.
Again, it was not the final time these two men would be foes inside an AEW ring. In the aftermath of the award winning REVOLUTION 2020 event, The Lucha Brothers joined with “The Bastard” PAC to form The Death Triangle and among their first victims were The Best Friends and Orange Cassidy. Penta and Fenix would defeat Trent and Chuck on the 3/18/20 edition of DYNAMITE, leading to The Best Friends challenging The Lucha Brothers to a Parking Lot Street Fight, but unfortunately that particular meeting never came to pass.
COVID-related travel restrictions made that an impossibility in the short-term, and by the time all four men were back in AEW together, all were wrapped up in other situations. The Lucha Bros got wrapped up with The Butcher, The Blade, and Eddie Kingston and in the process nearly tore each other apart. It was only the timely return of PAC that saved the brothers from crossing lines they could not come back from, and reunited Death Triangle.
As for The Best Friends, they would get that Parking Lot fight down the line, but it would be with Santana and Ortiz, and then Chuck, Trent, and OC would get wrapped up in the affairs of Miro, Kip Sabian, and Penelope Ford for several months. That rivalry would land Trent on the shelf recovering from injury, find Chuck briefly indentured to Miro as his butler, and culminate in a wild Arcade Anarchy match a few weeks ago.
With that over and done and Trent back in action, with PAC and Rey Fenix on the verge of a World Tag Team Title opportunity, the rivalry that was in its infancy a year ago found its circuitous way back to the forefront:
This week on DYNAMITE, the rivalry that began seventy-three weeks ago when Trent beat Penta is renewed! Just as things were getting intense, the fight was cut off at the knees by events beyond anyone's control, but now it is back on this Wednesday night!
A NIGHTMARE UNFOLDING...
QT Marshall (w/ The Factor) vs. Billy Gunn
Monday night on DARK: ELEVATION, following Austin Gunn's victory over Aaron Solow in Gunn's first ever AEW singles match, the above incident unfolded between Billy Gunn and QT Marshall. With Gunn loyalties to The Nightmare Family, not to mention the assault perpetrated on Billy by The Factory several weeks ago, why QT thought this would go any different is only known to him.
Thus it is of little surprise that the confrontation ended with a punch to the face that knocked Gunn off his feet, and set the stage for this one-on-one match going down Wednesday night! Prior to Tuesday night's DARK, Gunn had not competed in a singles match since August 2020, choosing to focus on helping his two sons grow as competitors in tag and trios bouts, but that victory over Andrew Palace just went to show how thirty-plus years of experience keeps this wrestler ready for whatever may come his way.
And that wealth of experience is exactly what Gunn will need to dip into come come DYNAMITE when he squares off with QT, because with The Factory members supporting Marshall, anything could happen. One thing QT and his crew need to remember themselves though, is that as a member of The Nightmare Family and the progenitor of The Gunn Club, Billy is never alone either...
WHO WILL CLAIM TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN...
BLOOD AND GUTS is coming up fast, and before either The Pinnacle or The Inner Circle realize it, they will be taping up their fists in preparation for the most violent night of their lives. Each unit has certainly heaped a good amount of wanton destruction on the other already, with absolutely every person from Sammy Guevara to Tully Blanchard suffering some punishment over the last several weeks. Last week, with Mike Tyson serving as ringside enforcer for the Jericho vs. Harwood match, the escalation continued and resulted in the former Heavyweight Boxing Champion definitively allied with The Inner Circle:
With just two weeks until that May 5th date with destiny, The Pinnacle will have some words to share with the AEW fans and likely with The Inner Circle as well. Jim Ross has been tasked with the unenviable job of sitting down with MJF, Shawn Spears, Cash Wheeler, Dax Harwood, Wardlow, and Tully Blanchard on Wednesday night for a special interview.
Now for all the physical violence that has erupted between the two factions thus far, the war of words has been just as vicious and will undoubtedly prove the same this Wednesday night on DYNAMITE. It's all about gaining any advantage prior to BLOOD AND GUTS, be it physical or psychological, and this is another opportunity for The Pinnacle to do just that!
BLOOD AND GUTS is on the horizon, but right now it is all about the two championship matches going down on this Wednesday night on DYNAMITE! The TNT Title and the Women's World Title are both on the line, plus a battle between Page and Starks with major rankings ramifications, Christian Cage's second AEW bout and Hobbs' greatest opportunity, Trent versus Penta, and plenty more!
The greatest wrestling action on the planet kicks off at 8pm EST/7pm CST on TNT, or over on AEWPlus.com if you're part of our International audience! Between DARK: ELEVATION, DARK, and DYNAMITE, the wrestling week belongs to AEW and to you, our loyal fans, who make it all possible!