Reviews

The John Report: AEW Dynamite 04/21/21 Review

Welcome to the AEW Dynamite review here on TJRWrestling. It’s the second week where Dynamite is unopposed on a Wednesday night. This was a live show while next week’s show will tape on Thursday and then Wednesday, May 5 is the big “Blood & Guts” match. Who gave them that name? Vince McMahon talking to investors a couple of years ago when he saw that AEW loves blood in matches. I’m going into this show on Thursday morning after having watched most of it on the couch on Wednesday night. I usually don’t watch it on TV without writing about it as I do it, but I felt tired last night. I watched most it while flipping between sports as well.

This is AEW Dynamite from Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, FL. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Here’s my AEW Dynamite TV review archive. Let’s get to it.

The Dynamite intro video aired. That was followed by some pyro on the stage as Jim Ross greeted us with the usual line: “It’s Wednesday night and you know what that means.” There were some fans there along with the AEW wrestlers/staff surrounding the ring as cheerleaders. The announce team of JR, Tony Schiavone and Excalibur welcomed us to the show with a rundown of what’s coming up this week.

Ricky Starks made his entrance first. This is Ricky’s first match on Dynamite in two months (according to ProfightDB) and his first singles match on Dynamite since September 2020. Yes, it’s been that long. The “Dark” shows don’t matter. I think Ricky has a lot of potential, but they don’t use him enough. “Hangman” Adam Page was up next and he’s 11-0 in 2021 as well as the #1 ranked singles wrestler in the company.

“Hangman” Adam Page vs. Ricky Starks (w/Hook)

Taz is on commentary and Starks is part of the Team Taz stable. Page with a boot to the face, Starks tried a leapfrog and Page caught him with a body slam. Page sent Starks to the apron, then a springboard clothesline and Page hit a dive over the top onto Starks on the floor. Back in the ring, Page hit a bridging fallaway slam for a two count. Page charged, Starks avoided him and Starks sent Page into the middle rope. Starks with a hard whip into the turnbuckle. Page with a German Suplex and Starks landed on the back of the neck, but also was able to get to his feet quickly, so that was good for Starks in terms of avoiding an injury. Starks went for a move off the ropes, but Page came back with a clothesline. Page with a fallaway slam leading into a brainbuster for two. Starks went for a move off the ropes, Page got a hold of him and Stark was able to hit a sitout Powerbomb for a two count. They went up top with Page hitting a fallaway slam off the top, so he clearly likes doing that move. Page with a running clothesline for another two count. Page went for the Buckshot Lariat, Starks avoided it and Starks hit a Spear for two. They battled over some holds and Starks pulled back on the head and the ankle for a submission. Starks tapped out to give Page the win after about nine minutes.

Winners by pinfall: “Hangman” Adam Page

Analysis: *** It was a competitive match between two guys on the rise with Page clearly ahead of Starks in the pecking order. There was a scary spot with the German Suplex, but I’m glad Starks was able to get through it okay and it wasn’t as bad as it looked. Page continues his winning ways as he remains undefeated this year and is likely going to get an AEW World Title shot soon. I didn’t love the finish. It made Starks look weak to tap out to that kind of hold. I’d rather see a Buckshot Lariat ending.

Taz did a promo after the match telling Page that he got lucky. Taz told Page to watch his back, so then Hook (Taz’s son) hit Page with a chop block to the back of the left leg. Page tried to fight off Starks and Hook, but then Brian Cage showed up. Page wanted a Powerbomb, so then the Dark Order nerds ran out to ring and the Team Taz guys ran away from the nerds because there were so many guys.

Analysis: That should set up a tag team match and also Page vs. Cage next week to continue to build up Page.

(Commercial)

They showed The Elite stable arriving to their own trailer in the building.

Penta El Zero Miedo entered with Alex Abrahantes, who is the Spanish announcer for AEW that also works as a translator for Penta. They showed a pre-match promo talking trash to Best Friends. Trent entered with Orange Cassidy joining him.

Penta El Zero Miedo (w/Alex Abrahantes) vs. Trent (w/Orange Cassidy)

They list the name as “Trent?” if you care. It took them about a minute to get going with Trent hitting a double knee attack followed by a belly to back suplex. Penta pulled Trent out of the ring and sent Trent into the barricade. Trent with a clothesline, Penta to the floor and Trent hit a dive over the top to the floor. Trent tried a DDT, then Penta got out of it and hit a cross body block off the ropes followed by a Slingblade neckbreaker. Trent hit a DDT, which apparently had no effect because Penta hit a Destroyer and then they decided to sell some moves as the show went to break.

(Commercial)

Penta went for a backstabber, Trent avoided it, hit a half n half suplex and Trent hit a running knee for a two count. Trent was on the middle rope, Pent tripped him up and hit a backstabber for two. Penta with a chop to the chest along with a pumphandle sitout slam for a two count. They battled on the apron with chops and Trent tried a piledriver on apron. It looked like a completely blown spot where Penta’s head barely looked like it touched the mat, so then Excalibur tried to cover for it. Trent hit a running Spear on Penta on the floor. Alex did a promo telling Trent that he sucks, his friends suck and “your mama sucks” too. Alex went into the ring, the referee was looking at Trent, Cassidy was going to hit Alex, but Penta superkicked Cassidy. The referee was distracted by that, so Alex hit Trent with the microphone and Penta hit a Package Piledriver on Trent for the pinfall win. At least that piledriver looked better. That was it after about 11 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Penta El Zero Miedo

Analysis: **3/4 The match was okay. It felt like they were a little off at times, but there were plenty of cool moves along the way. I think sometimes these AEW guys need to slow down and sell moves more because when you don’t do that it hurts the match. The piledriver spot on the apron was a bad idea. It looked poor. Both guys are mostly tag team wrestlers, but Penta is more of a singles wrestler than Trent, so it made sense for Penta to win while also getting Alex more over as Penta’s manager.

Interview with The Pinnacle

The Pinnacle group of MJF, Dax Harwood, Cash Wheeler, Shawn Spears and Wardlow were interviewed by Jim Ross earlier in the day. MJF said that Chris Jericho got it right that MJF wears a scarf and MJF said he has been wearing them since the Rosie O’Donnell show. MJF was gifted a new scarf from Tully, who wasn’t there. Wardlow said that Jericho is one of the best promos in the game, but not as good as Max. Wardlow said that Jericho stumbled his words when he got to Wardlow because Chris knew he was doing something wrong. MJF talked about Chris Jericho’s legacy saying that he was leading the industry, but he’s not doing that now. MJF mentioned guys that Jericho has faced saying that those are guys that fans wanted to see, so Jericho tries to benefit from wrestling them. MJF said that it is “horseshit” that Max is great for 25 because Jericho was curtain jerking on Worldwide while Max is a top guy that is hanging around top guys. MJF said that they are the best faction in professional wrestling today and they are all winners. MJF said that he is undefeated (not really). MJF reminded Jericho that he already beat Jericho, so he wonders where that puts him on the totem pole. MJF ripped on Mike Tyson and he dared Jericho to try to beat him. MJF said that Jericho was right that MJF is a mark and MJF said that he is a mark for Jericho’s spot. MJF said that when you’re in The Pinnacle, you’re always on top.

Analysis: The Pinnacle group is good and I wish we got to hear from Harwood, Wheeler and Spears as well because they seem like such afterthoughts in the group. Plus, I think Harwood in particular is one of the best promo guys in AEW. I really think AEW could build this group up more if they put them in a six-man tag or something to give them a win in under five minutes to show how good they are. I like MJF a lot and when he says he’s a top guy, it’s easy to believe him, but he doesn’t get booked like that because of how rarely he wrestles on television. The last singles win he had on television was in mid-December and the last time he wrestled on Dynamite was tagging with Jericho over two months ago. MJF is 25 years old. Let him wrestle more. Anyway, the Blood & Guts match in two weeks will probably be awesome and I assume they go with MJF vs. Jericho at Double or Nothing in late May as well.

The Women’s Title match is next.

(Commercial)

There was a video about Hikaru Shida defending the AEW Women’s Title against Tay Conti. They respect eachother and they are both fighters that are ready for it.

Tay Conti entered as the challenger with the Dark Order guys walking onto the stage with her. Conti was the number one ranked women’s wrestler in the AEW rankings. Hikaru Shida was next as AEW Women’s Champion with Excalibur noting it was her eighth title defense. JR noted she was champion for nearly 330 days after winning the title on May 23 last year.

AEW Women’s World Championship: Hikaru Shida vs. Tay Conti

They bowed to eachother as a sign of respect since they are both babyfaces. Conti with a forearm to the jaw, Shida with a knee to the ribs and Conti did a hip toss takedown. Conti with two running knees for a two count. Conti hooked the arms of Shida in a submission attempt, but Shida got her foot on the bottom rope. Shida tripped up Conti on the apron and hit a running knee lift. Shida with a kick to the head followed by a suplex on the floor. It’s AEW, so there was no threat of a countout. Shida did a nice job of applying an aggressive chinlock as the show went to break.

(Commercial)

The match returned with Shida hitting a running knee to the back of Conti against the ropes. Shida with a superplex, Conti got right up and then Conti hit a pump kick leading to both women down. It was one of those spots where they take a move, then no sell it and then hit a move to sell it after. Conti hit repeated judo throws and a German Suplex. Conti with a charging pump kick, then a running boot to the side of the head and Shida sent Conti into the turnbuckle. Conti set up Shida across the top rope and kicked Shida into the ribs. Conti with a senton back splash onto Shida across the top rope and that led to a two count. Good spot there. Shida drove Conti into the turnbuckle, Conti with a forearm and Shida with a jumping knee to the face. Shida with a Falcon Arrow sitout slam for a two count. Shida set up Conti on the top rope in a seated position. Shida lifted Conti on her back and slammed Conti back first across the top rope. Ouch. That looked brutal. The referee talked to both women likely to give time cues, so they hurried to get to the finish with Shida bringing Conti back in the ring. Conti avoided a spin kick and hit a pump kick. Conti delivered the Tay-KO knee to the face for two. Conti just took a bump to the turnbuckle and floor 30 seconds earlier, but she was back in there as if nothing happened. Shida picked up Conti, had Conti on her back and sat down for a two count. Shida blocked a kick, Shida with a slap to the face and a backbreaker. Shida hit a spinning knee to the face for the pinfall win after 13 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Hikaru Shida

Analysis: ***1/2 This was a great match with plenty of moments near the end where it looked like either woman could get the win. I like how even it was throughout the match rather than one woman controlling most of the match. They also built up Conti well going into this match, so a title change was certainly believable. The ending felt rushed a bit after the spot where Shida slammed Conti onto the top turnbuckle. A lot of matches in AEW feel like people are in a rush to get their moves in and sometimes it’s best to just slow down to sell some more. My feeling going into the match was that Shida was going to retain because I feel like Britt Baker is going to be the next champion and I still feel that.

After the match, Dr. Britt Baker DMD appeared on the stage. They showed the standings where Baker was ranked at #2 behind Conti, then Baker pointed at the graphic to note that Baker was #1 ranked now. Shida threw something at Baker, who left to the back.

Analysis: I assume they do Shida vs. Baker at Double or Nothing next month. That’s where I think Baker will become the next champion.

Miro did a backstage promo saying that if you have a title, then you have a problem. Miro wondered what champion will he beat first?

Analysis: I think it makes sense to have Miro beat Darby Allin to win the TNT Title. They also have to put Miro in the ring for matches.

Interview with The Inner Circle

The Inner Circle group consisting of Chris Jericho, Jake Hager, Sammy Guevara, Santana & Ortiz entered for an interview in the ring with Tony Schiavone. The crowd sang along with the “Judas” song as usual.

Jericho said he didn’t care about The Inner Circle because he just heard the Inner Circle Squad as loud as you can be on a Wednesday night. Jericho is good at being a babyface that plays to a crowd. Jericho said that May 5th in Jacksonville it’s Blood & Guts for the first time ever in AEW. Jericho said that it will be a violent, brutal match right here on TNT and he called The Pinnacle “The Pineapple” again. Jericho talked about Mike Tyson knocking out Cash Wheeler last week. Hager said that they’ll be eating through straws when Inner Circle gets through with them. Jericho said that MJF is always yacking, Wardlow said something but he mocked his eyebrows and Jericho said that the other guys are mutes. Santana spoke about the “bitch moves” of The Pinnacle and said he saw the color of their blood, but they will see the color of their heart on May 5th. Jericho said that he still thinks that MJF is delivering lines from high school drama class. Jericho said that MJF still thinks that he is singing show tunes on Rosie O’Donnell show. I should point out that Tony left a while ago.

Jericho did a show tune ripping on MJF where he managed to work in the word “dipshit” and “swirly” for when he put MJF’s head in the toilet. That led to a light “swirly” chant. Jericho said that he washed his ass with MJF’s new scarf before Tully gave it to MJF. Jericho said it’s fun to make jokes about The Pinnacle and the “jerkoff friend” MJF, but Blood & Guts on May 5th will be a lesson in violence that you never forget. Jericho spoke about how he wondered what the rules are, so next week they’ll have an “old fashioned parley” meaning when two armies meet in the ring and discuss battle plans. Jericho said that he’s going to beat the living hell out of MJF. Jericho said that “we” are crazier than you and you know it. Jericho said at Blood & Guts, the Inner Circle owns your ass. The Inner Circle posed with their middle fingers towards the camera.

Analysis: A good promo by Jericho as usual. What I said about The Pinnacle applies to these guys. I don’t even remember the last time some of these guys have even been in a match, yet we get the same promos week after week. Want to make us care more about the match? Make the guys look like big stars by winning matches. That will help.

(Commercial)

Billy Gunn made his entrance and greeted his vocal sons in the crowd. Billy attacked QT Marshall and his friends in The Factory on the ramp.

Billy Gunn vs. QT Marshall (w/Aaron Solow, Nick Comoroto)

Billy is 57 years old and he’s in great shape. Gunn knocked Marshall off the apron and whipped him into the barricade. Gunn slammed Marshall on the edge of the apron to bring him back in the ring. Gunn with a spinning powerslam, so Marshall bailed to the floor again. Gunn sent Marshall into the barricade. The referee, instead of counting them out of the ring, left the ring. That led to Nick and Aaron attacking Billy, but then Billy’s sons Austin and Colten brawling with them. Those four guys went fighting out in the parking lot. Back in the ring, Marshall hit some punches to the back and Marshall hit a piledriver for a two count. Marshall did a “suck it” gesture leading to Gunn coming back with punches and a spinning slam. Gunn with a kick to the gut, QT avoided a Fameasser and Gunn powered out of a Diamond Cutter attempt. Marshall left the ring, by the ramp, Gunn brought him back in, the referee checked on Marshall and Anthony Ogogo showed up (he is in Marshall’s group) and punched Gunn in the ribs. Gunn sold it as a big deal since Ogogo is a boxer and then Marshall hit a Diamond Cutter for the pinfall win after about five minutes.

Winner by pinfall: QT Marshall

Analysis: *3/4 An average short match with a predictable cheap finish to put over Marshall’s new heel group. Gunn is an older guy that’s there to put over others.

Post match, Marshall was about to hit Gunn with a wooden chair. Then he waited about ten seconds for Dustin Rhodes to run out there. Dustin with a clothesline and punches. Marshall ran right into a powerslam from Dustin, who had face paint on his face. Marshall bailed to the floor, Ogogo was on the apron, Comoroto went after Dustin and Dustin smashed the chair on Comoroto’s head. The big man Comoroto no-sold it, so Dustin was in shock. The referees went into the ring to break it up.

Analysis: Is a wooden chair like that supposed to do damage? It doesn’t look that impressive to me. Comoroto no-selling it was done to show he’s a tough guy. It’s rare for AEW’s referees to break up the fight, but I guess somebody made the call to actually use them to break up a brawl. Anyway, this should set up Dustin facing Comorato and I assume Dustin will put him over.

(Commercial)

The Elite group consisting of AEW World Champion Kenny Omega, AEW Tag Team Champions The Young Bucks, Karl Anderson, Doc Gallows and Don Callis were in their trailer. The deal is that Brandon Cutler is their camera guy and Michael Nakazawa is there too. Callis talked about all of the great talent there. Matt Jackson said that this group is why business is up and bragged about their t-shirts while sparking the revolution that led to All Elite Wrestling. Nick said it’s not Moxley-Kingston wrestling. Omega said he heard they are back tonight. Matt dared Moxley/Kingston to come after them. Omega tried talking, but there was loud honking outside. It was Jon Moxley and Eddie Kingston in a truck, so Moxley drove it into The Elite’s trailer. I think Kingston was shouting some DMX lyrics. Moxley and Kingston walked out with Moxley carrying a pipe and by the time they got in the trailer, The Elite left. Moxley wondered where they went. Moxley called them “bitch AF” meaning “bitch as f**k” I think. Moxley and Kingston left in their truck.

Analysis: It was a slow build to the eventual match with Moxley/Kingston getting a match with members of The Elite. The egotistical heel group is nothing new since AEW has so many heel groups already. It’s just that these guys have more titles.

Powerhouse Hobbs entered with a record of 9-0 in 2021. I checked and none of those wins are on Dynamite. This is his first match on Dynamite this year. Christian Cage entered to a good pop wearing his “Out. Work. Everyone.” shirt.

Powerhouse Hobbs vs. Christian Cage

Taz was on commentary for the match since Hobbs is in his stable. Hobbs tossed Christian out of the ring where the ramp was. Hobbs showed off his power with a waistlock takedown. Christian lured Hobbs out of the ring, then to the apron with Christian delivering punches and hitting a baseball slide dropkick into the barricade. Hobbs decked Christian with a clothesline to the back of the head. Hobbs tossed Christian over the barricade at ringside. It’s AEW, so instead of a countout, Hobbs was able to squish Christian’s face against the barricade.

(Commercial)

Hobbs was in control with a headlock with Christian getting out of it with a punch and then Hobbs managed to toss Christian down. Hobbs tossed Christian across the ring. Christian got his feet up to block a splash attempt, Hobbs charged, Christian with boots to the face and Christian hit a diving uppercut for a two count. Christian with an uppercut punch and then he ran right into a spinebuster by Hobbs for two. Excalibur was screaming about it as a nearfall even though nobody thought the match was ending there. Hobbs went to the middle ropes, so Christian dropped him with a Powerbomb. Christian went up top and hit a Frog Splash for the two count. Good nearfall there. Christian ran right into a body attack by Hobbs. There was a running hip attack by Hobbs on Christian and you could see he didn’t come close to touching him, but Christian sold it anyway. Hobbs had Christian on his back, he drove him into the turnbuckle and then Christian came back with the Killswitch for the win after 11 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Christian Cage

Analysis: **1/2 It was just an average match with Hobbs on offense for most of it until Christian made the babyface comeback for the win. I think Hobbs looking competitive against a veteran like Christian is fine.

Post match, Ricky Starks limp onto the stage and checked on Hobbs in the ring. Cage stared at Starks, so that could lead to a match between them.

Next week on AEW Dynamite:

* Penta El Zero Miedo vs. Orange Cassidy

* Kris Statlander vs. Penelope Ford

* The Young Bucks vs. Matt & Mike Sydal

* The Nightmare Family (Dustin Rhodes, Billy Gunn & Lee Johnson) vs. The Factory (QT Marshall, Nick Comorato & Aaron Solow) w/Anthony Ogogo

* The Inner Circle and The Pinnacle will have “The Parley”

* “Hangman” Adam Page vs. Brian Cage in a “last names that rhyme” match

Analysis: The announcers talked about how this was some big lineup. I don’t think that’s a very strong card on paper, but we’ll see how it goes when they air the show.

There was a video about Jade Cargill talking about how if anybody wants to sign her then they need to make her a hell of a deal.

The main event for the TNT is next.

(Commercial)

Jungle Boy made his entrance with his tag team partner Luchasaurus by his side. The fans love the theme song because it’s easy to hum along with. Jungle Boy is 4-0 in singles matches in 2021. Darby Allin was up next as the TNT Champion with the legendary Sting joining him.

TNT Championship: Darby Allin (w/Sting) vs. Jungle Boy (w/Luchasaurus)

It’s the second straight week where the TNT Championship is on the line in the main event. I like that because it puts over how valuable the title is. It’s another title match between two babyfaces.

Allin with a side headlock takedown. Boy came back with his own takedown into a crucifix pin for two. Boy applied an armbar, Allin broke free and Boy did another armdrag takedown. Allin came back with an athletic armdrag off the ropes. Boy went for the Snare Trap submission, but Allin got to the ropes to break it. Allin with a takedown leading to punches with Boy rolling to the floor. They did a spot where Boy tackled Allin over the barricade at ringside and they went over the barricade.

(Commercial)

The match returned with Allin charging into an elbow and Boy did an overhead suplex into the turnbuckle. Jungle Boy with a German Suplex for two followed by a Tiger Suplex for two. Allin came back with a flipping Stunner for a two count. Allin with two running back splashes, then Boy got the feet up to block and Boy used his legs to slam Allin onto the back of his head. Ouch. Boy hit a suicide dive to send Allin into the barricade and Boy did a second suicide dive. Jungle Boy ran the ropes with a running flip dive over the top onto Allin on the floor. Allin was on the apron, he pulled on Boy’s throat against the top rope and stood on the throat as well. Allin went up top and did a Coffin Drop on Boy on the ring apron as both guys rolled to the floor. The referee Bryce Remsburg that doesn’t usually count wrestlers out actually counted them at this point because they wanted to do a countout spot with Boy barely getting back in. Why do they do countouts sometimes and not at others? Because it’s a drama spot in a match. Anyway, Boy helped himself get back up by using Luchasaurus. That led to Luchasaurus going to the ramp, so Sting went up to the dinosaur guy to get mad at him and Sting started punching him. Luchasaurus fought back with an uppercut and then they went fighting through the tunnel. Boy with a clothesline, brainbuster and a running elbow to the back for a two count. Boy applied the Snare Trap submission, Allin got the ropes and Boy applied the surfboard submission twice. Boy applied the Snare Trap submission again, so Allin gouged the eyes to break free. Allin countered a sunset flipped, he hooked the leg and leaned back for the pinfall win after 15 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Darby Allin

Analysis: **** This was a terrific main event as expected. They are two guys in their 20s that are competing at a high level early in their careers and the best is yet to come. I thought that a title change was certainly possible although Allin retaining the title is what I expected. It wasn’t the kind of match where they worked over body parts or anything like that. It was more about hitting some big moves, a lot of counters from both guys and then Allin finding a way to win with his creative pinfall sequence. I thought Jungle Boy was very impressive in terms of the moves he did, the way he sells and he also knows how to sell with his facial expressions as well. Allin has good matches all the time. I admit to not knowing much about the guy before AEW, but he has developed into a star and keeps getting better.

After the match, Scorpio Sky and Ethan Page ran into the ring and attacked Boy and Allin. Page gave Allin the Eagle’s Edge release Powerbomb. Lance Archer ran out for the save, but then Page/Sky kicked him in the groin. Sting slowly walked out there with a baseball bat (he’s old so he moves slow) and that allowed the heels to run away. Sting pointed his bat at Sky/Page to end the show.

Analysis: It should lead to a tag team match hopefully with Page/Sky getting a match because they should be wrestling on Dynamite more often.

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Darby Allin
  2. Jungle Boy
  3. Hikaru Shida/Tay Conti

 

The Scoreboard

This Week: 7.75 out of 10

Last Week: 8

2021 Average: 7.38

 

Final Thoughts

This was another great show full of competitive matches all night long. The two title matches were very good while also mirroring eachother a bit since they were both matches with two faces. Darby Allin main evented for the second week in a row as he kept the TNT Title against Jungle Boy while Hikaru Shida beat Tay Conti to keep her Women’s Title. Other matches were solid with Hangman Page continuing his winning ways with no losses this year while Christian Cage also got a win so he’s undefeated in AEW.

The promos were mostly good as well with MJF and Chris Jericho getting a chance to talk again to set up the Blood & Guts Match (thanks Vince McMahon for the name) in two weeks. I was very surprised that The Elite group was only on for a few minutes until they ran away from Jon Moxley & Eddie Kingston. Those guys in The Elite are the focus of Dynamite a lot, but that not this week.

I really liked last week’s show and this week was around the same level of quality. AEW is in a good spot right now although if you read carefully, I try to offer ideas on things they can improve. Keep the momentum going heading into Blood & Guts in two weeks leading into the Double or Nothing PPV at the end of May.

Thanks for reading. Go Toronto Blue Jays, Toronto Raptors (it’s been a rough season) and Toronto Maple Leafs. You can contact me using any of the methods below.

John Canton

Email: mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter: @johnreport

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