It’s Friday, you know what that means…
After an extremely newsworthy week in which a brand new show called AEW RAMPAGE was announced, as well as DYNAMITE’s move to TBS in 2022, AEW is back with a jam-packed week of Elite Excitement! It kicked off Monday night with AEW DARK: ELEVATION, continued on Tuesday with AEW DARK, and now all roads lead to DOUBLE OR NOTHING 2021 (Order Now) this Sunday night on pay-per-view!
Two nights beforehand, DYNAMITE is back LIVE with more of the best professional wrestling action on the planet to set the table for Sunday. We hit the airwaves at 10pm EST on TNT, and of course, DYNAMITE will also be available on AEWPlus.com for our International fans. Last week not only was Stadium Stampede II confirmed with the future of The Inner Circle at stake, but the complete card for DON 2021 was set! Brand new TNT Champion Miro was confronted by “The Murderhawk”, while The Young Bucks retained their tag titles over The Varsity Blonds only to humiliatingly lose their shoes to Kingston & Mox in the aftermath! AEW World Champion Kenny Omega tried to leverage Orange Cassidy out of the World Title match, and the Women’s World Champion Hikaru Shida ended up eating her own belt thanks to Dr. Britt Baker’s boot.
How will these powder kegs explode on the final DYNAMITE before DOUBLE OR NOTHING 2021? Tune into TNT on Friday night at 10pm EST to find out LIVE!
TNT TITLE MATCH…
Miro (c) vs. Dante Martin
His first DYNAMITE as champion and Miro made a very powerful statement regarding how he defeated Darby Allin for the title, and what he would do moving forward as the 5th TNT Champion. In short: violence, a great deal of violence for any man trying to bring Miro’s reign to an end.
Enter: Lance Archer.
“The Murderhawk Monster” has made it quite clear over the last several weeks that he still has his eyes on the TNT Title after being stifled a year ago by Cody Rhodes in the finals of original TNT Title Tournament at DOUBLE OR NOTHING 2020. For Archer, it does not matter who is the one holding the championship at any given moment, it is the TNT Title itself that is the prize and not wrestler who is champion. Still, that does not change the need for Archer and Jake Roberts to keep an eye on the proceedings this Friday Night when Miro makes his first defense of the TNT Title live on DYNAMITE!
The lucky individual who gets the first strike: one-half of Top Flight, Dante Martin. Dante, during the course of his brother’s Darius’ injury, has been netting experience in the singles ranks and racked up an impressive eight straight wins following Tuesday night’s DARK edition, including an extremely impressive victory over Danny Limelight on the May 4th AEW DARK episode. It’s an AEW experience Dante did not anticipate, having to go it solo, but it is one that has seen Martin step-up his game, and he is going to have to elevate it to the highest levels if he hopes to knock of the monster that is Miro. As impressive as each victory has been for Dante, as talented as each of those eight individuals may have been, none of them are a ruthless violence machine like the new TNT Champion.
It’s a chance for Dante Martin to pull off his own “shock the world” moment, and if Miro is looking past this one to Lance Archer, he could end up in the history books as the shortest reigning TNT Champion ever. Martin could slay one monster just in time to handle another on Sunday night at DOUBLE OR NOTHING 2021.
For “The Murderhawk Monster” it ultimately does not matter which one comes to the pay-per-view as champion, be it Martin or Miro, every body dies…
BACK ON THE HORSE…
(#4) Darby Allin (w/ Sting) vs. Cezar Bononi (w/ Ryan Nemeth)
Two weeks ago Darby Allin suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of Miro, it was a loss that not only handed The Relentless One his first loss in 2021, but also cost him the TNT Title after 186 days as champion. For some individuals, this sort of setback could throw them into complete disarray and lead to them spiraling out personally and/or professionally. It could lead to a string of losses, falling off the radar as a contender, and not being aware of the downward spiral until they are at the bottom looking up. Darby Allin does not have that luxury, nor is it in his character to descend down like that, but with a huge tag team match set for Sunday at DOUBLE OR NOTHING 2021, the former champ has to get right back in the game.
And that is just what Allin will do, 48 hours before he and Sting meet Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky on pay-per-view, when he squares off with The Pretty Picture’s own Cezar Bononi. Cezar will no doubt be flanked by Ryan Nemeth, perhaps the other members of this little clique as well, and Allin will have Sting at his side to balance the equation, yet one can’t help but wonder where Scorpio and Ethan will be lurking about, waiting to strike for a last minute edge prior to such a titanic tag team match. They may be engaged in a match of their own on Friday night, but it would not be a surprise to see them try to find that extra leverage.
Bononi though, he does not have a DON 2021 match to occupy space in his brain, he only has this to focus on for Friday night, and the opportunity it represents. This member of #TheWingmen, as they like to tag themselves on Twitter, is still quite raw as a talent, and with just six one-on-one bouts under his belt in AEW, would benefit so much from an upset over the former TNT Champion. It is a ticket to drawing many eyes on his career, and building a great deal of momentum moving forward. This is the kind of situation an athlete in Bononi’s position dreams about, can he make the most of the opportunity?
“Hangman” Adam Page vs. Joey Janela
From hero to zero; that’s not exactly the picture of what is going on with Adam Page heading into DOUBLE OR NOTHING 2021, but it’s not that far off. It was just a month ago that he sat in the driver’s seat of the top five rankings, and fans were speculating that he’d face off with Kenny Omega on this Sunday’s pay-per-view with the AEW World Title at stake. Then, the gaze of Team Taz fell on Hangman, and that number one spot made him a victim-in-waiting.
Ricky Starks took first crack at Adam on April 21st, but was not successful in knocking Page off the perch. It would be Brian Cage who, one week later, would end up rocking the world of the Hangman and take him out from that top spot. Clearly Cage’s win was heavily influenced by just how that match started and the unfair advantage taken by Team Taz, but a win is a win is a win, and Page found himself knocked off the top spot.
Now, for the first time in a month, Page is getting back into the ring but without any spot in the rankings alongside his name. The question of just what seems to happen to Adam every time he is right on the precipice is one for another day, for Friday the question is if he can get his head back on straight for a fight with AEW’s resident Bad Boy, Joey Janela!
Janela, 5-2 on the year following an AEW DARK victory this week, is back on DYNAMITE for the first time since February’s TNT Title bout with Darby Allin. On the AEW flagship program, Joey has one goal in mind; to upset the apple cart by beating Hangman just two days before DON 2021. In and of itself, a victory over Page would be a huge boost to Janela’s profile, but the bigger picture is also that it would give Joey his very first win on DYNAMITE after suffering fifteen losses in his TNT appearances. It would also be Janela living up to all the things Darby said about him prior to their championship bout three months ago.
This is Joey Janela’s moment to seize, and show the world this isn’t just some warm-up match for Hangman to prep for Brian Cage on Sunday. Yet after that aforementioned DARK on Tuesday night, one can’t help but wonder what is going on with Joey after the way he left Sonny Kiss to the wolves of Team Taz…
TAG TEAM BATTLE…
The Dark Order (Evil Uno & Stu Grayson) vs. (#2) Ethan Page & Scorpio Sky
The worlds of The Dark Order, Darby Allin/Sting, and Ethan Page/Scorpio Sky have become increasingly enmeshed as of late. As evidenced by The DO’s involvement in the video embedded above, the relationship that started through shared problems with The Hardy Family Office is continuing on into this situation with “All Ego” and “The Face of The Revolution”.
The Dark Order has already gone into battle with Ego & Sky in the recent past, Reynolds and Five lost in a tag team battle on the April 26th DARK: ELEVATION and then in respective singles bouts this past Monday night on DARK: ELEVATION. Now it is the original Dark Order pair’s turn to try to derail Ethan and Scorpio’s momentum prior to their pay-per-view collision with Sting and Darby Allin.
Sitting at the number two spot in the rankings, Page and Sky have been ultra-impressive as a duo with their seven consecutive victories, and need to maintain that dominance going into DOUBLE OR NOTHING 2021 on Sunday night.
Can The Dark Order shake up the situation before Sunday night and hand Ego & Sky their first tag team loss? We shall see during FRIDAY NIGHT DYNAMITE on TNT!
Billy Gunn has felt the pain Anthony Ogogo can inflict with just one punch, his son Austin is now on the shelf for the next couple months after stepping into the ring with the Olympic Bronze Medalist last Wednesday night, and now we are on the cusp of Cody Rhodes locking horns with Ogogo himself.
“The American Nightmare” has felt the pain of getting dropped by that BOLO body blow, has heard the words Ogogo has spoken, and read the words Anthony has typed in this United States smear campaign. In spite of all that, or rather because of it, Cody still wants to step into the ring with The Guv’nor.
On Friday night, two sleeps before they lock horn at DOUBLE OR NOTHING 2021, Rhodes and Ogogo will engage in one of the fighting world’s most combustible traditions: the weigh-in. Frequently these moments are nothing more than a photo opportunity to capture each competitor in their fighting poses, forehead-to-forehead, eyes locked on one another in silent intensity. The fighters may trash talk a bit for the media circus, but they save the physicality for the actual battle.
Then there are the ones that rapidly dissolve into chaos, with fighters for whom the encounter is not just about the fight, the ones where the animosity is quite personal and quite uncontrollable. The verbal sparring stings the psyche as much as the physical blows will later sting the body, and escalate the photo opp into a fight before the fight.
This one just feels like the latter; Ogogo is venomous with his rhetoric and pulls no punches in expressing his feelings about Cody, about the state of the United States, and what he plans to do on Sunday night. Cody, having embraced the famous “American Dream” moniker for this contest, is equally passionate about his stance, his beliefs, and his love for this country. The intensity that oozes off of both men is palpable and could push this “simple” weigh-in into a dark territory before their pay-per-view meeting.
JADE’S OPEN CHALLENGE…
Jade Cargill is as hungry for competition as Mark Sterling is to represent her in All Elite Wrestling. Cargill has made it quite clear that she is her own boss and does not need anyone to manage her career. It’s doubtful Sterling will ever actually take the hint, he is nothing if not persistent, but unless he finds something to offer that no one else can, his efforts will continue to prove fruitless.
See there is only one thing Jade wants, and that is a championship around her waist. The best way to get to that point is to rack up wins and as such, she needs competition. From her AEW debut alongside NBA Legend Shaquille O’Neal in that classic tag team match through her quartet of singles victories, Cargill has looked as dominant as anyone in the Women’s Division. It’s not enough; to paraphrase the song, she wants it all and she wants it now, hence this open challenge for Friday night. Jade knows she needs wins to get what she wants, and she is opening up the door for any woman to come test her.
Who will we see answer the challenge? There are a plethora of talented women on the AEW roster who would love to boost their profile by beating Jade, women like Madi Wrenkowski. Vertvixen, and KiLynn King who have been putting the work in every week but need that kind of win to change their career. Women like Diamante, Abadon, and Big Swole who have established themselves strongly in AEW but want to check Cargill. Or perhaps a woman such as Red Velvet who wants to even the score with her former foe.
There are a great many women who could step up to the challenge here, be sure to tune in Friday night to see which one answers the call!
CELEBRATING THE INNER CIRCLE…
The Inner Circle is as synonymous with All Elite Wrestling as Kenny Omega, The Young Bucks, Jon Moxley, or Cody Rhodes. When thinking of AEW, the group consisting of Chris Jericho, Jake Hager, Ortiz, Sammy Guevara, and Santana pop to mind just as quickly as SCU, Orange Cassidy, Jurassic Express, and Dr. Britt Baker. Whether at their best or at their worst, The Inner Circle is woven into the fabric of AEW’s existence, but on Sunday night we may all bid farewell to the unit should Stadium Stampede II not go in their favor.
With that in mind on Friday night, some 605 days since their formation on the first episode of DYNAMITE, we will celebrate The Inner Circle. Chris Jericho and his brethren have contributed some of the most memorable moments in AEW history over the course of those 600-plus days. Be it their initial introduction at the expense of The Elite, the wars waged against Jon Moxley, or the entirety of the MJF situation that led to the formation of The Pinnacle and BLOOD & GUTS, The Inner Circle has been crucial to the rise of All Elite Wrestling. Their actions certainly did not endear them to the fans a vast majority of the time, but The Inner Circle ultimately earned the fan’s respect over the last 19 months (and who doesn’t love singing along to JUDAS whenever they enter the arena).
Friday night, with this potentially being the final DYNAMITE featuring The Inner Circle, we will celebrate Chris Jericho, Jake Hager, Ortiz, Sammy Guevara, and Santana, and everything they have brought to All Elite Wrestling! Also, on hand to host this special celebration of The Inner Circle’s Greatest Moments will be none other than Eric Bischoff! He and Jericho have definitely had a…history…here in All Elite Wrestling so who knows what controversy might come out of this one! And anyone who has followed Bischoff over his storied career knows how what he thinks about controversy…
SHIDA’S ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY!
Last Sunday night, Hikaru Shida officially hit an historic moment for her own career, as well as in the history of All Elite Wrestling. That day, May 23rd, Shida hit the one year mark of her reign as AEW Women’s World Champion! It has certainly been a tumultuous year to stand atop the division, first capturing the championship at a time when fans were absent from live events, but one year on and Shida has conquered every mountain she has encountered!
Since toppling Nyla Rose in No Disqualification Match at DOUBLE OR NOTHING 2020, seven other women have fallen before her: Penelope Ford, Thunder Rosa, Big Swole, Anna Jay, Abadon, Ryo Mizunami, and Tay Conti, as well as “The Native Beast” in their FULL GEAR 2020 rematch, all tasted defeat at Shida’s hands.
This week on FRIDAY NIGHT DYNAMITE, two days before Hikaru Shida meets Dr. Britt Baker at DOUBLE OR NOTHING 2021 with that championship on the line, we will celebrate her landmark run as Women’s World Champion! The longest reigning champion in AEW history across all divisions, undefeated in one-on-one matches since a loss to Kris Statlander on December 4th of 2019, the fastest win in Women’s Division history with a twelve second victory over Red Velvet on June 24th of 2020; those are just a few of the reasons why Hikaru Shida deserves to be celebrated not just for her championship reign, but also for being one of the best wrestlers in the world today!
ORANGE CASSIDY RESPONDS!
The mascot of AEW?
That is apparently the amount of respect AEW World Champion Kenny Omega has for “Freshly Squeezed” Orange Cassidy. He doesn’t consider him much as a wrestler, just perfect as a mascot to represent All Elite Wrestling in the public forum. The fact that Cassidy beat Chris Jericho twice, and that he took Cody Rhodes to a draw in their first TNT Title match apparently mean nothing to Kenny. The reality that OC had won eight straight singles matches before Omega and Don Callis attempted to screw both he and PAC out of a title match also has no weight for the AEW World Champion.
Or perhaps Omega is afraid of Orange Cassidy and the very real threat he represents? Perhaps he is worried about what it would mean to have to fight two men at the same time come DOUBLE OR NOTHING 2021 on Sunday night? If Kenny’s not afraid of that right now, he should be, but that indeed appears the situation as Callis and Omega attempt to convince Cassidy to opt out of this title opportunity with the promise of another match with Kenny down the line.
Callis and Omega have proven time and again they are not a trustworthy pair, the likelihood they would adhere to a future match with Orange Cassidy is slim, and even if they did, they would likely create some loophole such as “we promised a MATCH with Kenny, not a TITLE match”. Still, the Canadian duo left Orange with something to think about in that above embedded clip, and this Friday night “Freshly Squeezed” will give his definitive response to their offer.
Will Cassidy forego this championship opportunity and trust a contract compiled by Callis and Omega? Unlikely, but stranger things have happened, we will have to wait and see on FRIDAY NIGHT DYNAMITE!
Forty-eight hours before DOUBLE OR NOTHING 2021 (Order Now) takes over pay-per-view, FRIDAY NIGHT DYNAMITE takes over TNT at 10pm EST and on AEWPlus.com! It’s the final stop on the road to DON 2021 and the face of that extravaganza could change in an instant! Will Miro still be TNT Champion at the end of the night? Will Orange Cassidy remain a part of the World Title fight? Will the Rhodes/Ogogo weigh-in explode into violence?
Tune into TNT on Friday night to watch it all unfold before your very eyes, and then be sure to get back to TNT on Saturday night at 7:30pm EST for a special ROAD TO DOUBLE OR NOTHING special! Then it all comes together on Sunday night with the third annual DOUBLE OR NOTHING pay-per-view extravaganza at 8pm EST!
And to get ready for all that action, the official AEW YouTube channel (Watch Now) is a must-visit! AEW DARK: ELEVATION, AEW DARK, OUTSIDE THE RING, and WRESTLING WITH THE WEEK are just a few of the things offered up weekly to give fans the full Elite Experience!