AEW Dynamite Preview for February 10, 2021
Last week's edition of DYNAMITE was certainly full of surprises; from the shocking arrival of New Japan Pro Wrestling standout KENTA that left Jon Moxley laying to Orange Cassidy's impact on the Ford/Sabian nuptials, it was another night of unpredictable AEW action!
This week looks to be just as wild with an Anything Goes, Falls Count Anywhere tag team match, a TNT Title bout between two of the wildest men on the roster, and the kick-off of the Women's World Title Eliminator Tournament going down! Not to mention Cody in tag team action against Peter Avalon, The Inner Circle of Jericho and MJF facing off with The Acclaimed, and “The Bastard” back in action!
The craziness kicks off at 8pm EST/7pm CST on TNT, or catch it on AEWPlus.com if you're part of our international viewing audience! Also if you're looking for the full Elite Experience, be sure to catch another tremendous edition of AEW DARK with 12 bouts featuring Tay Conti, SCU, The Natural Nightmares and Nick Camoroto, Brian Cage, Peter Avalon and Cezar Bononi, and more!
FALLS COUNT ANYWHERE, ANYTHING GOES...
AEW World Champion Kenny Omega (w/ Don Callis) & KENTA
IWGP United States Champion Jon Moxley & “The Murderhawk Monster” Lance Archer
At the culmination of last week's six-man tag main event, after Rey Fenix fell victim to a Magic Killer from The Good Brothers, the IMPACT Wrestling Tag Team champions continued to assault their fallen foe. This brought out Lance Archer, an occasional ally to Death Triangle given their mutual disdain for Eddie Kingston, to assist Fenix and PAC, and leave Jon Moxley in the ring.
The former AEW World Champion was not left alone though, he was accompanied by a crumbled up heap of a man that just so happened to be Kenny Omega. As Moxley regained his faculties and became aware of the situation, he seemed ready to give Omega a little more payback for the events of the last couple months. Yet before that desire could become reality, a masked and hooded figure slid into the ring and blindsided Mox, but we did not have to wait long to find out the identity of this mystery assailant.
The attacker immediately unmasked and revealed himself to be New Japan Pro Wrestling competitor, the holder of the IWGP US Title Right To Challenge Briefcase, and Bullet Club member, KENTA! A 20 year veteran of the ring wars, KENTA has been not-so patiently waiting for his opportunity to challenge for the IWGP United States Championship since first claiming that briefcase as his own on August 21, 2020. This briefcase has been treated just like a championship, with KENTA successfully defending it on five occasions, all the while taunting Jon Moxley for being absent from New Japan competition (as if Moxley had a choice in that decision).
Jon, even as AEW World Champion and despite being unable to compete in NJPW since besting the legendary Minoru Suzuki in an IWGP US Title defense on 2/9/20, has kept his eyes on Japan as well as his ears open to KENTA's taunts. This was made abundantly clear when a special video dropped during NJPW's annual WRESTLE KINGDOM event on January 4th that featured Mox, inside the California based site of the NJPW STRONG TV Tapings, delivering a message to KENTA.
Mox would follow up that video message on January 29th with a very up-close and personal one. At the end of a 6-Man tag that KENTA's Bullet Club team lost, the lights went out, and when they returned, Moxley (with IWGP US Title in tow) was standing in the ring. After laying out KENTA's partners, the two warriors would stand toe-to-toe, exchanging blows, until the former AEW World Champion was able to drop KENTA with a Paradigm Shift.
The very next day the match was signed and after months of waiting and slinging verbal onslaughts at Moxley, KENTA would be get his title opportunity on February 26th. But with weeks to go before that title fight, and after having been on the receiving end of that 1/29 humiliation, KENTA tweeted out on February 1st “How far from Orland to Jacksonville??”.
It was not the first time the master of the Go2Sleep threw comments like that out into the wild, it was becoming rather “boy who cried wolf” by then, so little value was placed into the tweet and it was just assumed to be more taunting. There's an old quote about what happens when you assume...
So following that assault, and ever the opportunist, AEW World Champion Kenny Omega pounced on the opportunity to make nice with KENTA, Omega perhaps hoping his own Bullet Club history would be the bridge, but as seen in that embedded tweet, KENTA shot that down immediately. There is no collusion here, no bond of bullet brotherhood, KENTA is only here for Jon Moxley and the IWGP US Title, but to get there, he know finds himself roped into this Falls Count Anywhere and Anything Goes tag team match!
And what a pairing it is, with ties that also extend beyond the borders of All Elite Wrestling, as Jon Moxley and Lance Archer unite to battle Omega and KENTA! Not only do Mox and Archer have their history around the AEW World Title, including a fight that Mox only barely survived to retain that title, they also have IWGP US Title history. In fact, Archer was the man whom Moxley beat back on January 4th of 2020 to claim the title! Moxley also had his run-ins with Lance Archer's running buddies in SUZUKI-GUN prior to being forced out of NJPW competition by the pandemic. KENTA has also had NJPW run-ins with Lance Archer in tag team affairs involving their respective units, but they only notched one singles meeting in 2019 where KENTA was the victor.
This match, much like the six-man tag Moxley and Omega competed in at BEACH BREAK, is just loaded with combustible elements, but with the rules stripped away here, it could explode anywhere in Daily's Place! KENTA kicked the door open one week ago, and now the ramifications are going to be felt across the wrestling landscape!!!
TNT TITLE MATCH
Darby Allin (c) (w/ Sting) vs. Joey Janela (w/ Sonny Kiss)
On June 29th of 2019, Darby Allin set foot in the AEW ring for the very first time and shocked the world when he took “The American Nightmare” Cody Rhodes to a 20 minute time limit draw. It was certainly an auspicious debut for one of wrestling hottest prospects, and heralded to the world that Darby was one to keep an eye on as All Elite Wrestling grew.
Just over twenty minutes later, it was main event time, and in an Unsanctioned Lights Out Match (Watch Now), Joey Janela would take to the ring for a battle with Jon Moxley. Those two warriors, one a well established name with fans worldwide and the other a star of the Independent scene, would beat the life out of one another with any accessory within reach. It was a battle of attrition, one that the future AEW World Champion would eventually win, and even though the result had no official bearing on the record books, it proved Janela was capable of going toe-to-toe with the absolute best in the business.
Moving forward, the paths of Darby and Janela would only intersect on a pair of instances. They would stand on the same side of a Six Man Tag a few weeks later at FIGHT FOR THE FALLEN 2019, and then be opponents in the Three Way Cracker Barrel Clash at ALL OUT 2019. From there, as AEW blew up onto TNT with the premiere of DYNAMITE, their lives diverged and they have not occupied the same ring at the same time save mutual participation in the Casino Ladder Match at DOUBLE OR NOTHING 2020.
That distance comes to an end this Wednesday night when Joey and Darby, for the very first time in AEW, lock-up in a one-on-one contest with the TNT Title at stake. As illustrated in the ROAD TO... video embedded at the top of this page, their roads to this night could not have been more different. While both competitors have experienced adversity, as well as opportunity, it only seems like Darby has managed to make the most out of both.
Allin took the frustrations of multiple losses to Cody Rhodes, learned from them, and eventually capitalized to dethrone the two-time TNT Champion. He endured battles with Chris Jericho, Jon Moxley, The Butcher and The Blade, to name just a few, as well as injuries suffered in fights like the aforementioned Casino Ladder Match, and has persevered through it all. Darby now stands before the world as the face of AEW on TNT, and with the legendary Sting at this side, having earned the wrestling icon's respect initially from afar, then first -hand since the WINTER IS COMING event two months ago.
Now look across the ring at his opponent for the evening: Joey Janela. Darby summed up how many a pundit has felt about the AEW career of Janela since that first fateful unofficial battle with Jon Moxley. So much potential, so many opportunities, but so much squandered over the course of his AEW career thus far. Sure there are standout performances against men such as Kenny Omega, Jon Moxley, and Cody Rhodes, but every single one of those has ended in defeat. And while Joey may have an outstanding 18-5 record on DARK, as both a singles and tag team competitor with Sonny Kiss, he has a massive zero in the win column for DYNAMITE with fourteen notches on the loss side. His five official pay-per-view event performances have only yielded one victory, over Serpentico at the ALL OUT 2020: BUY-IN event, and the pairing with Kiss, well extremely promising, has not led to consistent success or title contention. In short, when the spotlights are at their most intense, Joey has not shone the brightest; a stark contrast to what brought Janela onto AEW's radar at the very beginning.
And that is why, in spite of Joey's lackluster record on DYNAMITE, or perhaps because of it, Darby Allin WANTS to put his TNT Title on the line against Janela. The current champion wants to see the Janela who fought him in Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, and in other wrestling companies around the independent scene, the one who took him beyond the limits and forced Allin to dig deep. Darby wants to fight a Joey Janela who wants IT, who is not complacent with his spot on the show, or just content to be on the roster. Allin wants to drag out the Janela who, by sheer force of will, became a huge name on the independent wrestling scene to the point where entire events are built off his name.
Darby knows that version of Janela, the best version of Joey Janela, is still buried inside the man and the TNT Champion will either drag it out of him on Wednesday night, or force Janela to look at the man in the mirror and question where it all went wrong...
One other note that must be acknowledged pertaining to Darby Allin is the ever present threat of Team Taz as REVOLUTION 2021 and the Tag Team Street Fight draws closer. That thuggish lot levied threats pertaining to this match last week, but Sting also said he would be there to watch Darby's back. As we learned Tuesday, Sting will be in the house for an interview with Tony Schiavone so Team Taz best be on their best behavior!
TAG TEAM CONTENTION...
(#3) The Inner Circle (Chris Jericho & MJF) vs. (#4) The Acclaimed (Anthony Bowens & Max Caster)
Chris Jericho and MJF may have won the #1 Contender Battle Royal last week at BEACH BREAK, securing a World Tag Title opportunity come REVOLUTION 2021, but that does not mean they've forgiven the insult foisted upon them by The Acclaimed before the bout even started.
By now, every AEW fans knows just how much Chris Jericho relishes hearing his own music playing, listening to the crowd singing along with “Judas”, and making his way to the ring while “I'M BECOM-, I'M BECOM-, I'M BECOMING” echoes through Daily's Place. So when Anthony Bowens and Max Caster elected to interrupt the track with their own unique entrance last week, it did not sit well with the former AEW World Champion or the Two-Time Winner of the Dynamite Diamond Ring. This could not be more clearly indicated then by MJF and Jericho jointly tossing out Anthony Bowens at the three minute mark, but revenge would come shortly thereafter as Caster tossed the other Max out around the ten minute point.
Caster would find himself eliminated just seconds later by Darius Martin, removing The Acclaimed from any hope of winning the March 7th title shot, and leaving the young upstart duo to watch Jericho win it all for his team. But, as stated above, that win is not enough for this Inner Circle pairing and they want vengeance for the slight that preceded the Battle Royal.
This Wednesday night on DYNAMITE, MJF and Jericho will get their chance to settle the score as the third and fourth ranked teams collide in tag team competition! With three wins under their belt and a title opportunity secured for REVOLUTION 2021, this Inner Circle team is certainly riding high, but a loss here could set them down a rocky road to that pay-per-view event, and that says nothing of the continued drama going in within The Inner Circle locker room:
What did Max have to say to Wardlow, Hager, Ortiz, and Santana without Sammy or Jericho present? Will it affect this tag team contest or the future of The Inner Circle moving forward? We shall see this Wednesday on DYNAMITE!
TAG TEAM CHALLENGE...
“The American Nightmare” Cody Rhodes & Lee Johnson
Pretty Peter Avalon & Cezar Bononi
Several weeks ago, the January 20th DYNAMITE to be exact, Pretty Peter Avalon had the biggest opportunity of his AEW career post-Initiative when he stepped into the ring for a fight with Cody Rhodes (Watch Here). It seemed like the bout would register as one of the shortest in AEW history when “The American Nightmare” hit his Cross Rhodes maneuver just seconds into the contest. It was only the timely arrival of Jade Cargill that prevented the former two-time TNT Title holder from securing the win. It was also that arrival that gave Avalon an opening to take the fight to Rhodes, and turned a match that looked to be over in seconds into a near ten minute affair in which Avalon fought his heart out to get the upset victory. It was not meant to be for PPA though as Avalon would submit to Rhodes' Figure Four leglock, then again he may also have given it up in lieu of having his pretty little face marred by Cody.
On the January 26th edition of DARK that followed, as seen in the video embedded above, Pretty Peter Avalon held a Walk-Off between himself and Nightmare Family member Lee Johnson. Suffice to say that things did not go PPA's way, and Johnson fell victim to an attack from Cezar Bononi at the behest of Avalon. Clearly Peter is the sorest of losers when he has the opportunity to be, he certainly did not sic Cezar on Cody Rhodes after that one. But he may as well have given the repercussions coming his way this Wednesday night, after all, one you thing you do not do is mess with Cody's family.
Make no mistake, while they may not be blood, Cody and Lee are indeed family, as are all underneath that Nightmare banner, and this is one family that supports each other. We have seen QT Marshall ringside with Lee in the past, he and Aaron Solow have been honing their tag team craft on DARK including a battle with SCU this week, and now Johnson's family ties have brought him to the highest profile fight of his AEW career with Cody at his side.
As Johnson said during ROAD TO..., this is a make-or-break moment in his career. After thirty straight losses coming out of Tuesday night's DARK tag battle, Lee is feeling the pressure to live up to the Nightmare Family banner as well as his own expectations, and this is THE platform to step up his game.
WOMEN'S WORLD TITLE ELIMINATOR TOURNAMENT...
***FIRST ROUND UNITED STATES BRACKET***
(#4) Thunder Rosa vs. “Legit” Leyla Hirsch
During the fall, AEW held the first ever Eliminator Tournament for a shot at the AEW World Title then held by Jon Moxley. It was Kenny Omega who would run through Sonny Kiss, Penta El Zero Miedo, and Hangman Page to win the field before going on to defeat Moxley and claiming the championship.
Starting this week on DYNAMITE, the Women's division gets their time in the spotlight with the World Title Eliminator kicking off, this time with an international flavor, as the brackets are split between the United States and Japan. Eight women will compete on each side, all vying for a future shot at the AEW Women's World Title that Hikaru Shida has held since May 23, 2020.
The first bout pits former NWA World Women's Champion Thunder Rosa against “Legit” Leyla Hirsch in a first time collision of these two athletes. Rosa, at 6-3 in singles competition in AEW, comes into this fight off a devastating loss to Dr. Britt Baker last week at BEACH BREAK. It may have come as a result of some shady tactics from Reba, but after weeks of anticipation and humiliations, to lose to Baker in any fashion is devastating to Rosa. Wednesday night, in this opening match of the United States bracket, is the perfect opportunity for Rosa to rebound from that loss. Unfortunately for her, she faces stiff competition in Leyla Hirsch for this first round battle.
Hirsch, rolling into Wednesday night with a 3-4 record as a singles competitor and coming off a win over February 2nd DARK victory, has squared up with some of the best AEW has to offer in the three months since her debut. Serena Deeb, Hikaru Shida, Penelope Ford, and Britt Baker have all put Hirsch to the test in singles competition and found out first-hand the skill she brings to the table. Leyla is a potentially lethal combination of speed, strength, and amateur grappling skills that make her a threat to any opponent across the ring. All she lacks is experience, with just three years of ring time under her belt, but that being said, in that trio of years, Leyla has traveled to Japan to compete, as well as Canada, Germany, and the UK. Hirsch has made the most of her short time as a pro, and brings a hunger for competition with her into this tournament.
It is no doubt going to be a hard-fought battle this week on DYNAMITE when Leyla Hirsch and Thunder Rosa kick off the Women's World Title Eliminator Tournament!!!
Last week “Hangman” Adam Page reluctantly united with Matt Hardy to take on The Chaos Effect to get a measure of reparations for Luther and Serpentico crashing -1's birthday celebration. The pair was victorious, looking pretty solid as a duo, even though Hardy tagged himself in to get the pinfall following a Buckshot Lariat. Hangman made it clear going in that he was not looking to join any tag team, that he was not looking to get involved with one of Hardy's carny contracts, and that this was a one-and-done situation.
This week Page will join us on DYNAMITE to talk about that BEACH BREAK victory and let us know where his head is at!
(#5) PAC vs. “The Hollywood Hunk” Ryan Nemeth
“The Bastard” is hungry, motivated, and driven by a desire to make up for lost time. Having had a great deal of his 2020 stolen from him due to COVID-imposed travel restrictions, PAC returned to AEW after eight months away to mend the bond of The Lucha Brothers Eddie Kingston had worked so diligently to fracture, and reunite The Death Triangle. PAC looked as intimidating as ever the first time the first time he strode back out onto the AEW stage, and when PAC beat The Blade in the former's first match in eight months, it didn't look as if he'd missed a day.
And now that he stands in the number five spot in the rankings, PAC is more motivated than ever to continue his winning ways and possibly secure a title opportunity with Kenny Omega. After all, the last loss “The Bastard” suffered in singles competition came at the hands of the AEW World Champion nearly one year ago. That night in Missouri, Omega bested PAC in an instant classic Iron Man Match with a score of two falls to one, but if one wants to nitpick, that first fall for Omega was handed to him by PAC. After all, “The Bastard” lived up to his nickname by intentionally getting himself disqualified for using a steel chair to wear out his opponent, and then picking up a fall thirty seconds later.
That's the kind of mindset Ryan Nemeth is getting into the ring with on Wednesday night, an opponent who will sacrifice whatever he needs to in order to get the win. He does not care about the Hollywood credentials you're trying to build or who your family might be, he only cares about crushing you under his boot and moving on to the next opponent.
With surefire chaos in store with the tag team main event, a TNT Title match on tap, and the kickoff to the Women's World Title Eliminator Tournament set for this Wednesday night, DYNAMITE is certainly jam-packed! Add in PAC's return to action, The Acclaimed coming after Jericho and MJF, as well as the tag team bout between The Nightmare Family and Team Pretty, and this edition of DYNAMITE is set to burst through your screens!
This all-new DYNAMITE goes down starting at 8pm EST/7pm CST on TNT, or you can catch all the action on AEWPlus.com if you're a member of our international audience! And before you tune into DYNAMITE, be sure to catch a tremendous edition of AEW DARK with bouts featuring PAC, Brian Cage, Nyla Rose, Sonny Kiss, and Marko Stunt, plus Joey Janela versus Jack Evans, as well as Red Velvet taking on Diamante! It's exclusively available on our YouTube channel, where you can also catch the DYNAMITE Pre- and Post-Game shows!