What a wonderful time to be a wrestling fan.
For about an hour and 45 minutes, AEW’s Beach Break Dynamite special was a solid, albeit not terribly special wrestling show. The tag team battle royal did its best to move forward several storylines in a way Pat Patterson would have been proud of, Sting showed up and said some words, Matt Hardy played with Hangman’s emotions, Father James Mitchell officiated a wedding, and Britt Baker knocked out Thunder Rosa.
Then came the main event. This was the kind of balls-out multi-man match that AEW Dynamite is becoming known for. Everyone, even the Good Brothers, shined in this wild sprint. Eventually, the Bullet Club boys were able to get the upper hand. That match alone would have ended this above-average Dynamite on a high note. Then Archer comes to the ring, clearing out the Good Brothers and leaving Kenny alone with Moxley in the ring. You begin to think that Moxley might get a modicum of revenge to close out the show, until a masked man shows up to blindside Moxley. That masked man reveals himself to be New Japan Pro Wrestling’s KENTA, and the pro wrestling landscape explodes.
In one main event segment, AEW, TNA, and NJPW were on the same American pro wrestling television program. The “Forbidden Door” not only opened but torn off the hinges. Let us not forget, that earlier in the show Thunder Rosa, a NWA contracted wrestler, competed and Serena Deeb, an AEW contracted wrestler holding the NWA’s Women’s Championship, will be competing in a women’s tournament that includes several Joshi wrestlers from multiple Japanese promotions.
One more thing, Shaquille O’Neil is cutting promos (the quality of which can be questioned, but nonetheless), hyping a mixed tag team match on the go-home Dynamite leading to Revolution with Cody Rhodes on Inside the NBA with Kenny, Ernie, and Chuck. AEW stole nearly all the headlines from the Royal Rumble this past Sunday, traditionally the second-biggest wrestling event of the year (at least in America) in one episode.
Don’t get me wrong, no matter how bad the WWE product is, the Royal Rumble and Wrestlemania season will always get even the most jaded of us fans excited. That said, if you are a wrestling fan, how can you not be blown away by some of things happening in AEW and the greater wrestling world? Strap in, the next couple of months will likely be a WILD ride.
AEW Beach Break Summary
Tag Team Battle Royal
Winners: Chris Jericho and MJF
A fun battle royal, with several story threads being continued and multiple teams given the chance to shine. The Young Bucks and Good Brothers continue their uneasy alliance, any combination of the Dark Order are seemingly in sync, Private Party continue down their heelish paths, and Jericho “accidentally” eliminating Sammy leading to a GREAT Judas Effect spot to win the match and the title shot. Bonus points for MJF’s smirk later as Sammy walks out on Jericho’s locker room celebration. ***1/4
The Sting and Darby vs. Team Taz segment didn’t do much for me. It’s time for Sting to do something, anything really. It also wouldn’t hurt to maybe give this a week to simmer then come back. I don’t think we need this kind of segment every week. Hopefully, the Darby/Janela match can break from the pattern. Ricky Starks’ promos continue to shine, much like his wardrobe.
Britt Baker def. Thunder Rosa
Normally I’m not a fan of this kind of finish, but this makes sense on multiple levels. These two had a very strong match with both ladies looking very strong throughout. Rebel getting involved keeps the heat on Britt, but doesn’t take away from her credibility since the match was strong. Rosa is protected since she was knocked out and never tapped or submitted. Run this back in the women’s tournament. ***1/2
Hangman Page & Matt Hardy def. Chaos Project
I have no use for Matt Hardy in 2021, but at least this is better than magic tricks. I don’t like him and they don’t want me to, so it works. I know that Hangman is in a bit of a holding pattern until fans come back. As soon as they do this guy will be a huge star. It is a bit frustrating that he’s not in a more prominent spot. At least he’s on television wrecking fools. **
After the announcement of the women’s tournament, which should be really good and I talked about a little earlier, we get the dreaded wrestling wedding, with officiant Father James “Sinister Minister” Mitchell. That was a helluva pull and popped me. This was about as good as you can ask for in a wrestling wedding. Miro calling out his past experiences and tropes was fun. Chucky T getting one up on them and Orange Cassidy popping up out of the cake (get to it gifers) were fun. A relatively short and inoffensive segment that had some moments.
Lance Archer def. Eddie Kingston
The match itself was kind of a chaotic mess with the lumberjacks taking away some of the attention. That said, Eddie and Archer worked hard to make this match feel heated. Archer especially looked great showing off his elite athleticism for a man his size. It’s truly amazing what he can do given his back issue from the past. Archer getting the win was a great call, as it felt like he needed a big win, especially given his involvement in the main event post-match later on. **1/4
FTR and Tully are ANGRY. They also kidnapped Marko Stunt. This program between Jurassic Express and FTR is very old school and I dig it. It’s already led to one great match, and I imagine the eventual tag match will be great as well.
Kenny Omega & The Good Brothers def. Jon Moxley, PAC, & Fenix
This was awesome, as was expected. Once PAC and Fenix started running wild after the commercial break, this really kicked into high gear. Everyone looked great and worked hard and there were plenty of eye-popping spots, especially from Fenix. The Bullet Club team getting the win was the right move, but the post-match is what everyone will remember. We know we are getting Moxley vs KENTA later this month, but will this finally build to the elusive Blood and Guts match we’ve all wanted to see? If so, who’s the fifth Bullet Club member? So many directions and so many questions. Wrestling is the best. ****