The Inner Circle looked to determine who would be the tag team of the group on this week’s AEW Dynamite, facing off in a 6-man tag match between all the members. Which team prevailed? Let’s find out.

-1’s Birthday

The Dark Order came out with a birthday cake for -1, which John Silver proclaimed was making “Johnny Hungee.”

Chaos Project interrupted promising to ruin -1’s birthday. The Dark Order attacked and the Hybrid 2 joined in the brawl also.

Hangman Page came out to help the Dark Order in their scuffle and hit a huge dive to everyone around ringside. This led into the scheduled opening match.

Dark Order vs Chaos Project & Hybrid 2

Luther and Serpentico were putting the hurt onto Silver but he managed to tag out to Hangman Page who began taking on the entire enemy team single-handedly.

After a pin was broken up, things started to break down as all of the Dark Order entered the ring and started fighting with their opponents. Page started a fierce rally along with the other Dark Order members showing them all to be in tremendous synchronisation.

Things remained chaotic as everyone was left brawling around the arena before Luther looked to put Colt Cabana through -1’s cake. An enraged -1 took a kendo stick and struck Luther, distracting him long enough to allow Cabana to rally and drop Luther’s face into the cake.

Silver and Reynolds hit their amazing tag sequence on Serpentico with a Buckshot Lariat assist from Page to secure the win.

After the match, -1 told the Dark Order that they were idiots because his birthday was 3 days ago and proceeded to throw a stack of papers at Serpentico just like his old man would have done.

Silver grabbed the mic and started to gush over Page before asking if Page would finally join the Dark Order. Page said he couldn’t, causing the Dark Order to face a mishap with a prepared celebration for him if he’d said yes.

Page put it down to the fact the group thing hasn’t worked out for him in the past and solemnly left the ring.

A really fun and silly opening segment that let Brodie Lee’s son have a great TV moment. On top of that, the Hangman Page refusal had some surprising sincerity to it amongst the hilarity of the Dark Order’s mistimed celebration.

Backstage, Alex Marvez was with Chris Jericho and MJF. He talked to them about tonight’s match, but MJF told Jericho he worries tonight’s match could hurt the Inner Circle. Jericho didn’t think so, he thinks it’ll make the group stronger. It will decide which tag team moves forward to go after the AEW World Tag Team Titles. Jericho said he fully believes him and MJF are going to win, which MJF agreed with and they will eventually be the champs.

Sting congratulates Darby Allin

Before Sting could say much, Taz immediately intervened and said Sting’s interference last week was unfair.

Taz said if they wanted to play it street style, him and Team Taz would be happy to take it to the streets.

The TNT Champion said Taz should be careful what he wishes for because it just might happen.

Interestingly, this may lead to Sting being involved in some form of Street Fight. If I had to guess, this will likely go the cinematic match route but at least we’re seeing Sting more actively involved than just showing up and blowing the budget on fake snow.

The meeting of the Elite

The Bucks headed to Omega’s residence for a meeting of the Elite where they were introduced by Michael Nakazawa acting as a secretary.

After the Bucks admired a beautiful and tasteful oil painting of Omega and Don Callis, Callis welcomed the pair who were livid about them being humiliated last week.

Callis offered the Bucks a cheque to keep away from Omega but they refused to accept. The camera cut to black with it, seeming like the Bucks were about to beat up Callis.

The corrupting presence of Callis is a great piece of heelwork. It also seems like they’re trying to self-right the Bucks’ fake-out heel turn with their decision being rooted in loyalty to a friend which works much better.

Cody Rhodes vs Peter Avalon

Cody didn’t wait around as he hit a Cross Rhodes immediately. Before he could go for the pin, Jade Cargill’s music hit and she stood staring down Cody on the stage.

The distraction allowed Avalon to hit a low blow behind the referees back and started attacking Cody’s knee.

After the break, Avalon continued to put the pressure on Cody’s knees but a Cody cutter gave him the break he needed to mount a comeback.

After locking in a Figure-Four leglock, Avalon tapped before risking a punch in the face from Cody while stuck in the lock.

Nothing to write home about here other than I’m really not sold on the Cody vs Shaq feud and Cargill’s involvement continues to baffle.

Backstage, FTR (and Tully Blanchard) talked about FTR being ranked number one in the official rankings. Blanchard said they need the titles though, that’s the bragging rights. Jurassic Express busted into the room, Jungle Boy said he’s sick of this, and that he knows he can beat either one of them. Dax Harwood said he’ll take Jungle Boy on a one-on-one, next week. Luchasaurus said everyone will be ringside, and he will make sure nobody gets involved. Jungle Boy put his hand out and Harwood shook it. Jurassic Express headed out of the room, Harwood told Wheeler, “I got this,” then threw a glass towards the door.

Jon Moxley vs Nick Comoroto

This match was a real brawl with Moxley clearly still enraged after his title loss. Comoroto certainly had a power advantage with him able to shrug off a lariat, but Moxley fought smart and snuck on a sleeper hold to put Comoroto to sleep taking the win.

After the match, Moxley asked for a microphone and said Omega getting his friends from Impact in only meant Moxley more heads to cave in and more fun to be had.

A short match but Moxley looked like a real ring technician outfoxing the powerhouse of Comoroto. His promo hit all the rights notes too and got straight to the point, great stuff.

Backstage, Dasha told Eddie Kingston he’ll face Lance Archer for the first time, next week. She asked how he’ll prepare for him. Kingston said he doesn’t prepare, he just fights. Lance Archer showed up and told Kingston he’s ready to fight, he talks some more, but Kingston didn’t want to hear it and talked over him. Jake Roberts told Kingston to leave his guys (Butcher and Blade) behind next week and see how he does against Archer on his own.

Backstage, Marvez asked Omega about what happened at the beach. Omega said he wasn’t there and doesn’t have a comment. He went into the locker room and saw Callis’ face was all bruised up. Callis didn’t want Omega to get upset, Kenny wanted to know who did that. Callis slipped up and mentioned Matt and Nick Jackson. Omega couldn’t believe it. Marvez tried to get another comment, Callis kicked him and the cameraman out of the room.

There will be a Women’s World Championship Eliminator Tournament to determine the new #1 contender.

Top Flight & Matt Sydal vs Private Party & Matt Hardy

Things started off a little awkward with a triple leapfrog spot and an odd tandem move from Top Flight that left Darius Martin to go for a pin when he wasn’t the legal man. JR made a flippant comment about whether being legal even matters clearly disgruntled by the events.

A more aggressive Private Party took extra time to knock their opponents’ tag partners off the apron when they had a chance and used corner isolation tactics far more than they have before.

After keeping Sydal away from a tag through the break, a double hurricanrana allowed Sydal to get the hot tag to Darius Martin who began to clean house.

After the chaos, it was just Private Party and Top Flight left standing to face off. Top Flight blocked the Silly String with a keen shotgun dropkick and got a close two-count on a European clutch.

The conclusion of the match saw Kassidy use a chair to hit Darius Martin behind the referee’s back allowing Marq Quen to hit the shooting star press for the win.

After the match, an argument with Top Flight led to Private Party and Hardy beating down their opponents.

It’s nice to see Matt Hardy using a refined version of “Big Money Matt” and the descent of Private Party’s character from his influence is very interesting.

Backstage, The Good Brothers were seen beating up Penta. They threw him into the garage door. Kenny Omega and Don Callis showed up, Omega joined in on the beating. Anderson then choked Penta with a cable. Omega hit Penta with his boot and jammed the point of the boot into Penta’s eye. “No es bueno!” Callis yelled and laughed as the group left.

Leyla Hirsch vs Penelope Ford w/ Kip Sabian, Miro and “Charles” Chuck Taylor

Poor Chuck Taylor, now rechristened “Charles Taylor”, was at ringside in full butler garb per the stipulation of the match he lost last week.

Hirsch used her matt wrestling style to keep Ford grounded early on with even a leg grab from Charles not being enough to stop Hirsch from locking in a nasty armbar forcing Ford to scramble for the ropes.

During the break some underhanded tactics from her entourage allowed Ford to take control but a rejuvenated Hirsch came back striking at Ford and landed an impressive deadlift German suplex.

After having enough of the cronies on the outside, Hirsch took a chance and bounced off the top rope to the outside taking out Charles and Sabian.

Ford didn’t wait for a second to take advantage as she booted Hirsch on her way back into the ring and managed an assisted pin from Sabian to steal the win.

After the match, Miro demanded his butler get in the ring and tell Orange Cassidy that Miro was his new best friend.

A despondent Charles said it and a sad Orange Cassidy left the arena.

Great little match with Hirsch looking phenomenal. A match between her and Shida for the title should definitely be on the cards sooner than later. The butler stuff is cheap heel heat but it works and the sad walk by Cassidy was pretty funny to boot.

The New Elite attack the Lucha Brothers

Cameras rushed backstage as the Good Brothers and Omega were assaulting Penta El Zero M backstage after their confrontation last week. Omega added insult to injury by jamming the point of his cowboy boot into the eye of Penta.

Omega is quickly becoming truly despicable.

MJF & Chris Jericho w/ Wardlow vs Santana & Ortiz vs Sammy Guevara & Jake Hager

Guevara quickly lost his temper with Jericho, striking him out of the ring and even showed up Jericho with a flourish.

Tags were made as Hager and Santana were brought in with Santana and Ortiz quickly showing what a well-oiled machine they are compared to the other pairings.

After the break, Jericho and Guevara were back in the ring with Jericho punishing his protégé for showing him up earlier in the match. Guevarra managed a hot tag to Hager who began cleaning the house and giving MJF a beating he’d been asking for all match.

Santana and Ortiz planted Guevara in the middle of the ring and hit twin outside dives to take out the other Inner Circle members.

MJF blocked a top rope attempt Santana and Ortiz were attempting on Guevara but as a result, gave Guevara the time to rally and plant him with a Poisonrana and quickly scale the turnbuckle again to hit a Spanish Fly for a close two count to Ortiz.

After several close calls with Guevara coming incredibly close to taking the win with aid from Hager, a sneaky tights grabbing roll-up from MJF allowed him to steal the victory at the last moments before going off-air.

Getting the Inner Circle to fight each other in this way is a little contrived but with the breadth of talent in their ranks, I can live with contrived. There’s clearly a plan with MJF and Jericho going forward but it’s a shame Santana and Ortiz are likely not getting the tag run they are very overdue on having.

This episode started well but sagged somewhat in the middle. The Top Flight vs Private Party match was a little sloppy as well as having some psychology issues and Cody vs Avalon was fine but things picked up by the end with the great women’s match and a frantic main event.

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