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AEW Dynamite 7/7 Review: Road Rager Was a Triumphant Return of Fans & A Shocking Debut

Let’s just talk about “that moment.”

Wait, which one? Was it the ridiculous Lucha Destroyer through a table? Jericho punching a rabid fan who jumped out? Or was it the one no one saw coming (unless you saw the cryptic video posted hours earlier), with the arrival of formerly Tommy End, formerly Aleister Black, now known as Malakai Black. 

Damn, was this the shocker of AEW Road Rager.  What I appreciated the most, was Jim Ross stating from the get go he was known as Tommy End, but did not know what he’s going to be called in AEW. 

Why did I appreciate this? Wrestling fans aren’t stupid. Maybe we once were, but at this point majority of wrestlers go through a name change of some sort because of copyrights, trademarks, licensing, etc… Was there a chance he would go back to Tommy End? However, a cryptic video posted earlier in the day, which appeared to have been missed by many put “Tommy End” to rest. 

Photo Credit: All Elite Wrestling

In any case his debut involved knocking out both Arn Anderson and Cody Rhodes with Black Mass. I’m glad Cody is moving past his feud with QT Marshall, and feud with Malakai Black. However, I say this out of love for AEW, but for the love of AEW, Cody sure as hell better lose this feud with Black. He better goddamned lose to a guy who just shocked the wrestling world with his unexpectedly early debut in AEW. Cody. Needs. To. Lose. 

The rest of the show was solid. Superbly solid. 

Cody Rhodes defeated QT Marshall in a Strap Match – Gotta love the passion from Cody, he can open a show and amp up the insane live crowd. They were hot for this one, a match which normally I would pan over, but QT has a knack for cheap heel heat which the live crowd ate up. This was a much better match than expected, even involving Aaron Solow and Nick Comorotto. The match reached the natural “emotional” conclusion with Cody getting three out-of-four corners, QT tried to stop him, only to get kicked in the nuts as Cody exacted revenge. QT then spit at Cody, earning a trio of Cross Rhodes, good lord did he sell them like death, and Cody struck four corners for the win. 

Backstage: The feud between The Inner Circle and The Pinnacle is far from over, as Sammy Guevara and Shawn Spears go chair-crazy backstage. 

Tony Schiavone interviews AEW World Champion, Kenny Omega. Right to the point – Evil Uno of the Dark Order tells Kenny there is ONE man left, and ONE man who Kenny fears to face. Kenny tries to flip it around to make it seem like the “one man left” is too afraid. The results in a brawl between The Elite and Dark Order, but HO-LEE-CRAP the crowd EXPLODES when “Hangman” Adam Page rushes the ring, and there is a bit of a tease moment where Page could have struck with the Buckshot Lariat. 

The story is about Hangman’s decent and ultimate ascension to redemption. The story is also how this causes the fans to erupt in a moment reminiscent to Taz vs. Sabu from the ECW days. I jumped off the couch. This is THE MATCH AEW fans, and wrestling fans as a whole are waiting for. 

Photo Credit: All Elite Wrestling

For over a year, we watched Hangman struggle. A losing streak, losing himself. Slowly but gradually the pieces started coming back together. His union with Dark Order was unexpected, but ultimately helped in the larger storytelling for a man seeking to find his independent identity. He never joined the Dark Order, but was an ally to them. 

Let’s be real. When Adam Page is in the ring, we’re watching. From the weekly changing banner to anticipating a Buckshot or Deadeye, “Hangman” Adam Page is the Franchise of AEW. In the words of the Late Great Stan Lee – ‘Nuff Said.

Back to the ring we go, where FTR and Wardlow defeat Santana, Ortiz, and Jake Hager. Love the trios matches. FTR breaking out some sick looking suplexes, Hager looking in the best shape he’s been in, and Wardlow gets to be the solid wrecking machine he’s meant to be. We got a short big hoss fight with Hager and Wardlow, with FTR sneaking in and scoring The Big Rig impressively on Hager, allowing Wardlow to get the pinfall victory. 

This being said, I believe Santana and Ortiz so far is my 2021 Tag Team of the Year. They bring a unique energy to the ring. They are my top team. 

Photo Credit: All Elite Wrestling

We go from one Pinnacle segment to the next, Chris Jericho and MJF agree to stipulations for one final match. Jericho is willing to go through MJF’s five challenges, and should Jericho succeed, which I am sure he will, we get the final fight between generations. Overall a great segment, even with the dumb fan who tried to jump into the ring. So stupid.

Andrade El Idolo defeated Matt Sydal in his debut match

The outcome was pretty obvious. In case you have not already searched on Google, the mask Andrade wore resembled the Black Mask villain from Batman comics. Truthfully, I like the suit better. 

Good debut match, crowd sounded to be in favor of Andrade over Sydal. He didn’t really do anything in the heel category to warrant any disdain from the live crowd. Which, is fine. I believe wrestlers do not all have to fit into the babyface or heel box so soon. Let the crowd enjoy the action. 

I hope we get some more matches from Andrade, although with so many newcomers to AEW, I start to worry about those sitting on Dark or Elevation for their turn. [Editor’s Note: AEW Rampage starts in August].

Photo Credit: All Elite Wrestling

Backstage: Dr. Britt Baker admonishes Nyla Rose, Vickie Guerrero, and even Tony Khan for what happened to Rebel not Reba… or is it Reba not Rebel? I feel horribly she got injured again, hopefully the recovery will be better this time around. The highlights include Dr. Baker once again cutting a great promo, but specifically calling out a certain company seeking “Blood Money” who might as well “do a show from Saudi Arabia.” 

Well, I guess AEW won’t be going over there anytime soon. Ouch. Watch the clip online. Big ouchie. 

Ethan Page and Darby Allin have a sit-down with Jim Ross, this ultimately turns “real” where Ethan Page admits he’s pissed off how as a 12-year veteran, he had to work harder to get noticed, while Darby, who benefit from Ethan’s help manages to secure a top role in AEW in a year. Page wants to end Darby’s career since he’s the one who birthed it. Daaaaaaamn.

Photo Credit: All Elite Wrestling

Orange Cassidy and Kris Statlander defeated The Blade and Bunny

The AEW Resident Alien took 100% MVP of the match. She was the highlight reel, from a long-stalling suplex to splashing Blade with the Area 451 splash. Tons of fake-out spots, Blade clocking Cassidy with the brass knuckles, but not enough as Statlander plants Bunny with Big Bang Theory for the win. 

Pure fun match. The best. 

Announcement: Jon Moxley will defend the IWGP U.S. Championship against Karl Anderson. 

The Main Event of AEW Road Rager: The Young Bucks defeated Eddie Kingston and Penta El Zero M in a Street Fight

Yes, street fight. Brawling and wrestling everywhere. I’ll highlight and lowlight:

Highlight: Penta with a leaping Destroyer off the ring apron, putting Matt Jackson through a table. 

Lowlight: Michael Nakazawa predictably getting murdered by accidental superkicks.

Highlight: Kingston just tossing everyone with exploder suplexes. 

Highlight: Nick Jackson killing referee Rick Knox with a 450 splash. Yes, that happened. 

Highlight: THUMBTACKS! Eddie Kingston eating said thumbtacks.

Lowlight: The inevitable interference to close the match. Good Brothers rush the ring, “Elite Killer” Kazarian rushes in, total chaos, but the Bucks still pin Eddie “clean” as this is a street fight after all. 

Photo Credit: All Elite Wrestling

Overall it was a very, very enjoyable match to watch with a ton of holy crap moments. However, I am a bit let down by what feels like the norm for Elite matches. I understand, they are booked as uber-heel and boy, do they get uber-heel heat, from the live crowd to triggering the Twitter trolls, or apparently, Podcasters. I guess you’ve done something right? 

The Bucks have done a lot of things right. They piss us off to the point where we want to see Eddie Kingston clobber them over and over. The Bucks will piss people off on television and on social media. Simply put, they know how to run their show and take their characters seriously. I just hope the frequent need for help to win a match doesn’t become standard, I worry this will diminish the great things the Bucks have done since the inception of AEW. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy them as uber-heels, but let’s not run the well dry just yet. 

AEW Dynamite 7/7: Road Rager is now streaming on the TNT app.

Michael Dworkis
Michael Dworkis
Michael Dworkis has been a writer for The Pop Break since 2010. For over a decade he has contributed columns featuring Anime, Comics, Transformers, Television, Movies, and most notably, Professional Wrestling. Additionally, one of the key players in the original Angry Nerds column and a guest on one of Bill's various podcasts. When he is not grinding away at his next feature, or shouting expletives at the television while playing video games or watching wrestling, Michael actually has a full-time job,as a Mental Health Professional, working at a medical practice in New Jersey, and runs his own telehealth private practice. A family man through-and-through, requiring his three children to memorize all the Autobots and Decepticons on the collection shelves while also educating them in all things Marvel and Star Wars. You know, the stuff Disney owns.
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