The AEW World Championship will be on the line on tonight's episode of Dynamite.
Jon Moxley will defend his title against The Inner Circle's Jake Hager. This will be Moxley's first defense since winning the championship at Revolution in February.
The Moxley vs. Hager match will be contested under no holds barred rules. Jim Ross has been advertised as doing commentary for the match, with Chris Jericho and Tony Schiavone doing commentary for the rest of tonight's show.
The TNT Championship tournament also continues tonight with a quarterfinal bout between Lance Archer and Colt Cabana.
Sammy Guevara will face Sugar Dunkerton tonight. Dunkerton made his AEW debut on the episode of Dark that aired on March 24, working under the name Suge D.
Dunkerton appeared in the audience on last week's Dynamite, drawing attention from Jericho on commentary. Jericho referred to Dunkerton as "Pineapple Pete." The match graphic for tonight's episode refers to Dunkerton as "Sugar D."
Fresh off a victory over Billy Gunn on this week's Dark, Shawn Spears will be in action this evening. Britt Baker has also been advertised against an unnamed opponent.
Our live coverage begins at 8 p.m. Eastern time.
The show opened with a strong Jake Roberts promo.
Roberts said that TNT must have had Archer in mind when they designed the TNT Championship. He said Archer turns heads when he walks into a room. He said Archer is 275 pounds of steel. He's got a chip on his shoulder from being forced out of the country to make a living in Japan.
He said Cabana is good, but not good enough. He said when Archer wins the TNT belt, they'll be one step closer to what they want.
Jericho and Schiavone previewed the rest of the show for tonight.
A Colt Cabana video package played. Cabana said that he's a little over the top, a little silly sometimes, but he's dominated around the world for fifteen years.
Cabana said he's not looking past Archer. This was a strong promo from Cabana.
TNT Championship tournament quarterfinal match: Lance Archer defeated Colt Cabana
This was effective in that Archer looked like a killer.
Archer knocked down one of the wrestlers in the babyface crowd section on his entrance.
Archer went after Cabana with a forearm strike before the opening bell. Cabana fired back with chops. Archer cut Cabana off with power moves and began working him over.
Archer hit his version of a Vader bomb for a near fall. Archer took a stroll around the ring before a commercial break.
After the break, Archer missed a second rope splash. Cabana came back with an elbow strike, a flying apple and a splash of his own.
Cabana hit flip, flop and fly. Archer countered with a pounce and a chokeslam.
The finish saw Cabana block a charge into the corner. Archer powered Cabana up in the corner, then hit Blackout for the pin.
Britt Baker cut a promo from her dental office. This was funny.
She said rule one of being a role model is always fight fair. She said Hikaru Shida didn't fight fair when she gave Baker a deviated septum last week.
Baker said she fought on last week even without the usual support from her fans in the crowd.
Ariel Helwani and Taz gave their predictions for the title match. Helwani picked Hager. Taz picked Moxley.
Taz broke down Hager's head and arm choke and the different grips that he uses in applying it. This included footage from Hager's Bellator fights.
Britt Baker defeated Cassandra Golden
Baker hit a kick to the kneecap and then a superkick to the chin.
Baker curb-stomped Golden over the bottom rope and pinned her.
Ron Funches and Mike Goldberg gave predictions for the main event via video promo. Funches picked Moxley. Goldberg picked "his buddy" Jake Hager. Goldberg was a fountain of charisma and made sure to work in his catchphrases.
A video promo aired for Double or Nothing on May 23.
An Inner Circle segment titled "The Bubbly Bunch" played.
Santana and Ortiz ran down The Young Bucks. Sammy Guevara said he's not a fake Latino. Hager said he's going to beat the shit out of Moxley. Jericho did some comedy.
There are hits and misses in wrestling comedy. This was a miss.
Sammy Guevara defeated Suge D
Guevara used a waistlock takedown. They did a comedy dance spot. Suge hit a nice armdrag. Guevara cut Suge off with a kick, then used a delayed vertical suplex for a two count.
Guevara missed a charge into the corner and Suge made a comeback. Suge hit some chops and uppercut forearms.
Guevara answered with a running knee, then hit an inverted GTS for the pin.
Guevara cut a promo after the match. He said Suge D was light work.
He said in the first round of the TNT Championship tournament, he's going to beat the shit out of Darby Allin, the face-painted weirdo.
Guevara went after Suge again after his promo. Allin ran in to make the save and Guevara retreated.
MMA ref Big John McCarthy and Excalibur gave their predictions for the main event. McCarthy picked Hager. Excalibur picked Moxley.
Kip Sabian (w/Penelope Ford) defeated Chuck Taylor
Jericho put over Ford's leather pants.
The match began with a solid chain wrestling exchange. Sabian hit a springboard dropkick. The match spilled outside and Taylor hit an x-plex on the apron.
Taylor missed a moonsault. Sabian answered with a springboard dropkick for a two count. Sabian hit a penalty kick for another near fall. Cassidy took the referee and Sabian sent Taylor outside. Ford hit Taylor with kicks and forearm shots.
Sabian sat Taylor on the top rope and teased a dragon suplex off the top, which would be profoundly stupid in an empty arena. Taylor blocked and landed on his feet off a moonsault attempt.
Taylor used a falcon arrow and a sit-out powerbomb for a pair of near falls.
Taylor missed a double stomp. Sabian got a near fall off a draping suplex.
Taylor hit soul food for a near fall. Ford jumped on the apron to distract Taylor by taking her jacket off. Cassidy then jumped on the apron and took his jacket off. Tremendous.
Jimmy Havoc jumped out of the crowd and hit Cassidy with a DDT on the floor.
The finish saw Ford hit a flying headscissors off the top rope and Sabian rolled Taylor up for the pin.
This was one of the better empty arena matches you'll see.
We got some more main event predictions. Actor Dan Soder picked Moxley. Ortiz and Guevara picked Hager.
Shawn Spears defeated Justin Law
Law took two of the most awkward bumps I've ever seen off snapmares.
Spears wasn't taking Law seriously and gave him the opportunity to try to wrestle him from an amateur wrestling position. Law used the position to score a quick two count on Spears.
Spears hit some chops, then hit his C4 finisher for the pin.
A pair of TNT tournament matches were announced for next week in Sammy Guevara vs. Darby Allin and Dustin Rhodes vs. Kip Sabian.
Jimmy Havoc vs. Orange Cassidy, Brodie Lee in action and Kenny Omega in action were also announced for next week.
Bellator fighter Josh Thomson and Santana predicted that Hager will beat Moxley.
AEW World Championship match: Jon Moxley defeated Jake Hager to retain the title
There was great effort from all involved here. This was the strongest Jim Ross performance in a long time and he did so without a color commentator.
All that said, this needed a crowd badly. No matter how hard he works, this was still Jake Hager in a 30 minute main event with zero crowd reaction. That's tough sledding.
Moxley got a single-leg takedown and Hager pulled guard. Hager escaped. Moxley used a Fujiwara armbar to transition to a cross armbreaker attempt. Hager powered out and hit a strike.
Moxley tried an ankle pick. Hager rolled through and tried for an ankle lock. Moxley reached the ropes and Hager broke cleanly.
Moxley hit some chops, then used a wristlock to transition to a STF attempt. Moxley went for a kimura. Hager escaped and hit some stomps in the corner.
After a striking exchange, Moxley sent Hager outside and hit a plancha. Moxley followed Hager to the floor and locked on a cross armbreaker. Hager escaped with strikes before an ad break.
Hager threw Moxley into the barricade. Moxley raked Hager's eyes and threw him over the barricade. Moxley went for a Gotch-style piledriver on concrete but Hager hit a backdrop instead.
They fought into the seats. Moxley locked on a figure four around a railing. Moxley gave up the hold and hit a series of chops.
Hager escaped a guillotine and dropped Moxley on a barricade as they continued to brawl throughout the building. Back at ringside, Hager sent Moxley into the ring steps.
Back inside, Hager missed a Vader bomb. Moxley connected with a Regal knee strike. After a double down, Hager hit a gutwrench powerbomb for a near fall.
After another commercial break, the two traded clotheslines. Hager blocked another Gotch attempt and used an ankle lock. Moxley rolled through into a cradle for a near fall.
Moxley caught Hager coming off the second rope and hit a DDT. He went for a cover but Hager rolled into his head and arm choke. Moxley reached the ropes for a break.
Moxley rolled to the floor. Hager followed him out and used a chair to attack Moxley's abdomen. Hager wedged the chair between the middle and top turnbuckle. Moxley missed a charge and hit the chair. Hager rolled him up for a near fall before the final ad break.
Hager used the chair on Moxley's left leg. Hager then applied an ankle lock. Moxley kicked Hager off.
Moxley hit a double arm DDT, but used it to apply a guillotine. Hager slid out.
They traded strikes. Hager hit a low blow. Moxley hit Hager with the chair.
Moxley then hit a Paradigm Shift on the chair and pinned Hager.
Moxley cut a promo into the camera after the match. He said he'll fight anywhere any time. He said AEW is the hottest promotion in the world.