The last two quarter-final matches for the new TNT Championship were set to bookend this episode of AEW Dynamite as long-standing rivals Sammy Guevara and Darby Allin squared off in the opener and Kip Sabian vs Dustin Rhodes in the main event with Rhodes promising to retire if he lost. Was tonight the last in-ring performance for the Natural?

TNT Championship Quarter Final Match: Sammy Guevara vs Darby Allin

Guevara got his revenge for Allin attacking him before their match at AEW Revolution by firing out of the ring and hitting a Tope con Giro before the bell, laying a ladder between the ring and barriers, planting Allin on it and launching himself off the turnbuckle to clatter into his opponent and the ladder with a splash.

Basking in the glow of his assault a little too much, Guevara left too much time before throwing Allin back in the ring leaving him only with a close two count. A top rope manoeuvre was countered by Allin who tore off Guevara’s boot and socks and put him into a unique hanging ankle lock from the top rope.

The focus on the foot didn’t keep Guevara down for long as he came back with an impressive one-footed springboard cutter. Allin played possum and caught Guevara in a grounded ankle lock continuing his focus on the Guevara’s foot to keep him on shaky legs.

After the break, Allin made an error with a middle rope suicide dive dodged by Guevara sending Allin clattering into the crowd barricades. Guevara followed up with a 630 that was just shy of the mark but was covered with some editing and camera cuts, one of the perks of a recorded broadcast, however, Allin wouldn’t let it put him away.

The match finished with an amazing sequence with a Cutter from Allin a caught Coffin Drop into a reverse GTS attempt from Guevara and finally Allin slipping Guevara into a crucifix pin for the victory.

These two clearly know each other inside out and have amazing in-ring chemistry because this match was fantastic and I can’t wait to see them face off again in the future.

Damascus lets Matt Hardy speak for himself

Matt Hardy gave a promo from the Hardy Compound decrying that the hole of the ass Christopher Jericho had not accepted his offer of the Elite Deletion and invited any of his cronies from the Inner Circle to come in his stead. After this, a rare appearance from unbroken Matt Hardy gave a promo himself detailing Jericho and his career history and promising to kick his ass once he gets his hands on him.

Broken Matt promos are always gold but the normal Matt Hardy’s promo was also genuinely great and surprisingly made me kind of want to see him have a run as himself again. Hardy is a real veteran that has never had the full due he deserves so, hopefully, AEW can offer him that opportunity on what is likely to be one of his last wrestling runs.

Alan Angels vs Kenny Omega

This match was surprisingly competitive with Angels giving Omega a run for his money early with several counters to Omega’s offence but Omega stayed on top able to keep up his strikes and chops on Angels.

Angels made a comeback using his speed to his advantage and even dodging a V-Trigger from Omega before a surprised Omega retorted with a counter into a snap dragon suplex and a follow-up V-Trigger.

Angels managed to kick out, much to Omega’s surprise, so to finish him off for good, Omega planted Angels with a very high angle gut-wrench powerbomb and a follow up stalling V-Trigger for the win.

Angels actually looked good here with some surprising offence and Omega showed his dominance by getting serious when it mattered. Probably could have done without the first V-Trigger kick out but the dominant finish from Omega with the powerbomb made up for it.

Scorpio Sky’s journey

Sky had an emotional promo talking about how he’s always loved wrestling and a serious back injury that nearly meant he could never wrestle again. Something akin to a miracle allowed Sky to return to active competition and Sky sees his time in AEW as a last-ditch attempt to finally make it into the spotlight.

A very honest segment here that really added to Sky’s character outside of the trappings of SCU. Sky can easily be a huge star in the company and has done nothing but proven that with his in-ring performances.

Jimmy Havoc w/ Kip Sabian and Penelope Ford vs Orange Cassidy w/ Best Friends

Havoc must have watched the tapes from Cassidy’s match with PAC because he didn’t waste a second in this match as he immediately struck Cassidy and started to choke him with not only Cassidy’s own denim jacket but also his T-Shirt too.

Havoc continued to brutalise Cassidy with armbars and joint manipulation before forcing Cassidy’s hands into his pockets to lay in some chops. This was a mistake because as we all know; Cassidy’s true power is hidden deep within those jean pockets.

A dodge and a dropkick from Cassidy took Havoc off guard and allowed him to hit both a top rope crossbody and an around the world DDT for a close two-count. The unrelenting apathy of Cassidy, unfortunately, got in the way of him securing a victory as he hit a lazy splash that was never going to put Havoc away.

Hard punches from Havoc let him come back as he nearly hit the Acid Rainmaker but Cassidy countered. Before he could capitalise, Ford came onto the apron to distract him but Taylor intervened. A surprise run-in from Sabian saw him hit a Tope con Giro onto both members of Best Friends. In all the confusion, Cassidy was able to roll up Havoc for a sneaky win.

After the match, Havoc and Sabian beat down Cassidy before being chased off by Best Friends. Havoc and Sabian will take on the Best Friends next week as a result. This was an entertaining match that allowed Havoc to show off his violent fighting style with some fun antics from Cassidy.

Wardlow vs Lee Johnson

Lee Johnson was back again and this time was in the crosshairs of Wardlow. He got tossed around the ring like a ragdoll as Wardlow threw him around with release suplexes before finishing the job with a release Airplane Spin that made the F-5 look like a light breeze in comparison.

AEW aren’t the land of giants, but the giants who are here certainly seem all the more impactful than a certain rival promotion with a penchant for big boys.

Brodie Lee vs Justin Law

Poor pasty Justin Law was back in the ring after a package featuring Mr. Brodie bringing another follower into the Dark Order ranks. Brodie Lee manhandled poor Justin Law; barely breaking eye contact other than to stare down little Marko Stunt at ringside. Law took a hellacious discuss lariat from Lee and stayed down for the three-count. After the match, Lee stared down Marko Stunt with the two now scheduled to face off next week.

Lee’s package certainly held the vibes of his previous McMahon parody acts but there was a more serious slant here that made him appear more menacing and less of an on-the-nose piss-take that it’s felt like over the past few weeks. Also, Lee’s vacant stares are almost as scary as the impact of his lariats, he’s a real presence in the ring.

Kip Sabian w/ Penelope Ford vs Dustin Rhodes w/ Brandi Rhodes

Rhodes promised before this match to retire if he was unable to best Sabian in this first round which added extra stakes to what was already an important match up.

Experience trumped age early as Dustin used his veteran status to keep the younger Sabian at bay and even laying in some vicious chops. Sabian fought back by using his speed advantage to keep Rhodes on the defensive and began targeting the Natural’s legs and knees to stop him from being able to keep pace with him.

After a close two-count, Rhodes managed to muster a second wind as he powered out of a submission hold to strike back and hit his drop-down uppercut. A sling blade bulldog follow-up disorientated Sabian enough to fall into Rhodes’s patented powerslam but the Brit managed to kick out at the last second.

A springboard DDT counter from the corner by Sabian nearly stole a win but Rhodes still managed to kick out as Sabian began to talk trash to his opponent and started laying into Rhodes with punches. A distracted referee nearly gave Ford the opportunity to interfere but Brandi intercepted with a devastating spear.

A shocked Sabian didn’t see Rhodes run to the ropes to use the momentum to hit Sabian with the destroyer for the victory. Despite avoiding voluntary retirement here, it may be forced upon him as Lance Archer gets his hands on him next week.

All of the matches this week were exciting and engaging watches throughout with great ring work from every competitor that made AEW Dynamite an incredibly fun watch that’s well worth your time.

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