AEW Pro Wrestling

AEW Dynamite Preview: Shaq Steps Inside the Squared Circle!

This is the “go home” edition of AEW Dynamite, leading up to the Revolution PPV this Sunday. This Dynamite card can easily be compared to any PPV this year from any wrestling company. The two stories that are grabbing the headlines from this instalment of Dynamite is the return to the ring for Tully Blanchard who hasn’t wrested in a match for 30+ years! The other big segment that is getting attention from all sports media outlets is Shaq competing in a AEW ring for the first time! This is an absolutely loaded match card for free tv, and here is where we are going to break it down.

Shaq & Jade Cargill vs Cody Rhodes & Red Velvet

If you’re asking yourself “wait, that can’t be Shaquille O’neal former NBA champ?”, you’d be right! The NBA on TNT analyst, has taken some verbal shots at Cody Rhodes over the last couple of weeks and this is what led to the match. This all started when Cody referred to himself as a “giant killer” after wins over Lance Archer and the late Brodie Lee. This prompted Jade Cargill to call out Rhodes saying she knows a real giant and that this giant was SHAQ! It was a claim that grabbed the attention of not just wrestling fans, but NBA fans as well when the match was officially announced. This tag team match will be the debut of Shaq in AEW, but it won’t be the only debut.

Jade Cargill will also be making her in-ring debut for AEW and this has a lot of people buzzing. Cargill’s physical stature is mind-blowing that someone could be this ripped, and if her wrestling ability can match her look, we have a future star in the making. Shaq will compete here and maybe another match down the line (cough cough Paul Wight), but Cargill could lead this women’s division for years. The only question is, has she had enough time to get her wrestling ability up to snuff to be a champion?

The last puzzle piece to this match is Red Velvet. Cody Rhodes’ original part was supposed to be his wife Brandi, but she has taken time away because she is pregnant (congrats!). This was always going to a tough spot for Red Velvet to just jump in, but she has done a phenomenal job. She had that backstage brawl with Jade and then a week later cut a really good promo for someone who has been in the business for less then 5 years.

This match will hopefully draw in new eyes to the product because who doesn’t want to see Shaq wrestle? And the idea to keep this on cable, rather then put it on the PPV is a stroke of genius. This match has the potential create new fans for the promotion and really elevate two up and comers in Jade Cargill and Red Velvet.

FTR & Tully Blanchard vs Jurassic Express

The last time Tully Blanchard competed in a sanctioned wrestling match was back in 1989. Don’t get me wrong, he’s interfered here and there, caused distractions and been involved in matches, but this is there first time he’s a legal participant in over 30 years. 

This feud has gone back and forth, with Jungleboy getting a singles victory over Dax Harwood, and FTR would answer by cutting off Luchasaurus’ horns and then kidnapping Marko Stunt (don’t worry, no dinosaurs or kids were harmed in those instances) — Jurassic Express are looking for revenge.

Seeing that it’s been over 30 years since Tully Blanchard has been in a match, I hope he’s protected in this one. A few spots here or there, but nothing too much. I feel like FTR need to win this one to help get themselves back on track, and if Marko takes the pinfall it won’t hurt  Jungleboy and Lauchasaurus at all.

Finals of the Women’s Tournament: Ryo Mizunami vs Nyla Rose

I don’t think many people predicted that out the 8 woman on the Japanese side of the tournament, that 1 remaining would be Ryo Mizunami. Mizunami may have been the underdog in every one of her matches. Because of Maki Itoh’s booming popularity, a lot people thought she would move on, but Ryo passed that test. Next up for Mizunami was legend Aja Kong. This was a hard hitting affair that Ryo was able to eek out by hitting an apron leg drop on Kong that got her the win by count-out. In the finals of the Japanese side, Mizunami pulled out another shock win by defeating early favourite Yuka Sakazaki to earn herself a spot in the tournament finals.

As we saw on Monday night, Nyla Rose was the one who came out victorious on the American side of the tournament by beating Thunder Rosa in great back-and-fourth match, which ended when Nyla caught Rosa with a beast bomb in mid air! It was an absolutely AWESOME finish, and I’d advise you to go check it out if you haven’t seen it already. Nyla also had to go through Britt Baker, who many saw as the favourite from the American side, and defeated Tay Conti in the first round completing her path to the finals.

This has been a phenomenal tourney, really showcasing all the talent that women’s wrestling has to offer. My only complaint is that I think every match on the American side should have been on Dynamite. I get that the Japanese side was on YouTube, that’s fine, but a lot of people will have missed some matches just because it wasn’t on tv and instead was on the YouTube channel.

I’ll be the first to say, that I didn’t have this final penned in my bracket, but this match has the potential to be amazing. Both women are great athletes and the best part about this final is how fresh the matchup is. This is a perfect example of what makes AEW so great of a promotion is how they are always keeping the product new. Whoever wins this one, will be a tough opponent for the current women’s champion, Hikaru Shida.

Other matches that are scheduled for tonight’s Dynamite: See the Dark Order’s 10 taking on Max Caster from the Acclaimed to see who will earn a spot in the 6-man ladder match at Revolution. The rest of the Dark Order with be involved in a 10-man tag match, when they take on the team of Matt Hardy, Private Party and TH2. In the non-match category, we should also be seeing the AEW debut of Paul Wight. As if that wasn’t enough already, the icing on the cake will be Chris Jericho and MJF holding a Revolution press conference.

It’s honestly hard to believe that this is being given to us as free tv, but sign me up. There is so many things to look forward to for tonight, I’m just here counting down the minutes to Dynamite. Having Shaq on the card tonight should bring in some extra viewers for sure, but the big goal for AEW is that those viewers stick around to see the rest of this unbelievable card! Catch all this action live tonight on TNT (TSN2 in Canda) at 8PM EST.

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