Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (11-06-19)

AEWDYNAMITE

AEW Dynamite is owned by All Elite Wrestling, Shahid Khan, and TNT

We’re back with another episode of  WWE’s worst nightmare!  Well… that and the string of awful press it’s been getting in the last few months.  Seriously, WWE 2K20 AND the talent being stranded in Saudi Arabia within like a week of each other!?  I wouldn’t be surprised if Full Sail got attacked by zombies which STILL wouldn’t put NXT’s ratings above AEW’s!  With such an amazing string of good fortune on the side of the new guys just as the mighty king is getting repeatedly kicked in the nuts, can AEW keep up the momentum heading into this weekend’s Pay Per View show?  Let’s find out!!

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Trent Beretta Vs. Pac

Trent Beretta is accompanied to the ring by his tag team partner Chuck Taylor as well as Orange Cassidy

We start things off right away with a match between Pac and whatever piece of meat just so happens to be in his way.  Sadly the poor bastard left to get eaten by this monster is Trent from The Best Friends who is certainly… a member of that team.  Well that’s a bit unfair I guess.  The duo is certainly way over with the crowd even if I haven’t been too impressed with them so far, but Pac’s the one with the big Adam Page match at the PPV and Trent is the dude who dressed as Morty last week so we can all see where this is going.  The match was fine and had its brutal moments to it, but I’m more of an in-ring fast paced guy than an outside the ring pain clinic, and that was much more the speed here even with Pac doing an impressive dive over the top ropes.  I guess the Adam Page match from last week worked a lot better for me, and a good chunk of it has to do with the Sammy who is much more interesting playing a losing heel than Trent does being a losing… guy I guess.  Are the Best Friends even faces?  I guess so considering they get the crowd reactions and they do have that hug gimmick, but it just felt a bit bland to me; especially considering that the match goes on WAY too long when Pac really should get an easy one and done match to build his momentum for the big show.  But hey!  At least Orange Cassidy got his moment to do his thing which led to Pac straight up MURDERING him with a kick to the face which REALLY stirred up the crowd!  Trent starts to rally after Pac lands the Orange Cassidy Super Kick, but it doesn’t take long for Pac to regain control and finally incapacitates Trent with the Brutalizer submission.  After the match Pac grabs the mic and gives his own promo which was solid, but wasn’t really shooting for the moon here as both Jon Moxley and Adam Page gave better ones last week.

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Following the match was a promo by Cody Rhodes who laid his and AEW’s cards on the table for everyone else (especially WWE) to marvel at.  The guy starts off by saying just how awesome AEW is as a company and how they’re the Ellis Island for misfit wrestlers as well as their commitment to fair employee treatment and pay, and while I don’t know how true any of this is as I don’t know their business model, it’s certainly a titanic flag to plant and effortlessly won the crowd over.  That wasn’t enough though!  He has a match in three days he has to sell, and boy does he make a game effort of it!  My biggest problem with Cody as a character on this show is that he IS playing management and yet is the face of the company which is a tough line to walk and isn’t helped by his connection to the super heel MJF as well as the kind of heel Brandi Rhodes.  He addresses this to the crowd as he’s been accused many times of using his position as Executive Vice President of AEW to secure his championship match, and whether or not it’s true he wants to lay the rumors to rest by promising that if he doesn’t win this Saturday, that he will NEVER try to win the AEW belt again.  A very bold claim from the guy, and the most important part is… I think that’s what’s gonna happen.  It makes sense to me at least that they’ll want to keep the belt on Jericho for a while longer, and Cody willingly taking himself out of the title picture does feel like a genuine effort to not make this seem like a company that he and his friends get to run roughshod over.  By having the position that he has, he’s willing to give up this title, and it gives me quite a bit of respect for him assuming that’s where this story is going.  Plus, there’s no reason that they can’t then make THAT an ongoing storyline that builds up his eventual title run possibly even YEARS down the road.  If nothing else, the match just got that much more intriguing which is a feeling you want to instill in your audience if you want them to pay fifty bucks for your show.

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The Dark Order (Stu Grayson and Evil Uno) Vs. Private Party (Marq Quen and Isiah Kassidy) – Tag Team Qualifier for Full Gear

I think this episode is the first time they’re announcing it, but there’s going to be a Six Man Tag Match at Full Gear for the Tag Championship with SCU going against The Lucha Bros and whoever wins this match.  Perhaps I’m starting to soften a bit on The Dark Order who may still have a hard time getting their gimmick to be taken the least bit seriously, but they’re solid workers if nothing else and they put on quite a good match with Private Party.  So I guess the question is, what’s NOT working about The Dark Order?  Well as sad as it is for me to admit, they might be too goofy for AEW, at least at this point in its existence.  Look, I’m a HUGE fan of weirdos and goofy gimmicks, but what these guys are doing with their creepers, Evil Uno’s bondage outfit, and Stu Grayson looking like he came straight out of The Lost Vikings, they can’t be taken seriously as a threat even when they DO manage to win a match.  Maybe that’s not the place for them though.  Maybe they’re there to build up the rest of the division by being an obvious and relatively easy boss fight!  What we need from guys like them is some backstage action; some interviews or some scripted promos on dark and atmospheric sets to at least try to sell them as monsters instead of just dudes in funny costumes.  Monsters have always been a part of wrestling form The Undertaker and Kane to Abyss and Bray Wyatt.  The Dark Order may never make it to the level of those guys, but it’s at least worth a shot considering how lousy the response to them has been so far.  Anyway, Private Party eventually wins after giving Stu Grayson a Gin and Juice (that ridiculous thing that looks like a Huricanrana into an RKO.  Again, a solid match as Private Party are still absolutely amazing, but I’m certainly looking to the Six Man Tag Match a heck of a lot more.

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After the match we get a video promo with Jericho and his Inner Circle which started off a bit awkwardly for me, but it finally clicked after a minute or two what they were doing.  The video plays out like a straightforward video package you’d get before any fight where they talk about how important it is to them while montages of them training play alongside a sad piano, but it actually morphs into a spoof of that which is actually pretty funny; especially when they go to interview Jack Haggar and he just silently stares at the camera until they cut away!  It shows a really sharp sense of humor from these guys that you don’t often see in the much broader (with admittedly a much broader audience) WWE products.

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Jamie Hayter and Emi Sakura Vs. Riho and Shanna

Perhaps it’s the placement of the match in this episode as it’s RIGHT in the middle which is when I start to tune out a bit, but this match didn’t do a whole lot for me which is surprising considering how I much I really like everyone involved!  Riho is still amazing and ABSOLUTELY DESERVES to be the champ right now, but Emi Sakura is building up her cache in the women’s division and the other two relative newcomers are giving it all they’ve got to make a name for themselves despite coming to the party so late.  So why am I a bit ambivalent here?  Well I think it has to do with how arbitrary it all feels.  The women’s division still doesn’t have a legitimate tag team and we aren’t really progressing the title picture even with Riho’s involvement, so it’s a bunch of random women in the ring doing stuff which is fine in its own right, but I think the women’s division needs a shot in the arm if it’s to stay equal to the men’s side which by the way has COMPLETLEY overtaken the upcoming PPV.  I don’t even know, is Riho defending her title at Full Gear?  It just seems like the one aspect of the company that needs a bit of a tune up sooner rather than later, but the match was fine and actually had a surprise ending with Emi Sakura just barely getting the pin on Riho.  Maybe this is building up to a title match soon, but we’ll have to wait and see.

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We get another Brandi Rhodes promo which is at least an improvement on last week’s since she at least bothers to speak in this one which gives it some context.  While I’m still not buying Brandi Rhodes’s turn to the dark side, this is the kind of promo that The Dark Order should be cutting on a weekly basis if they want the audience to buy into their spooky gimmick.

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Brandon Cutler Vs. Shawn Spears

You know, for all the pomp and circumstance that he came into AEW with, they really haven’t done much with Shawn Spears.  He feels a bit lost in the shuffle as he’s completely out of the picture as far as  Cody (no matter how much he tries to remind you of the chiar shot) and he’s been fighting with guys like Michael Nakazawa and now Brian Cutler instead of dudes like Adam Page, John Moxley, and Pac.  At least they kept this match short and sweet which is an improvement over the Pac match from earlier in the show that went on way too long.  Cutler gets a few decent shots in and shows that he’s a credible athlete, but Shawn finishes him off inside five minutes which is about all you need for a match like this.  We also get a bit after the match with Joey Janela coming out to try and rattle Spears’s cage; presumably due to a fight from AEW Dark that I don’t remember seeing.  That’s something that’s starting to annoy me.  I wish they’d release Dark a few days before Dynamite instead of the night before.  I usually don’t have enough time to FINISH it that quickly, so I miss out on stuff like this that I have retroactively piece together later.

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After the match we get another video promo with this one being about the Moxley/Omega matc hat Full Gear, and… meh.  It’s just not as good as the Moxley live promo we got last week as Omega barely even says anything for most of the promo which is taken up by clips of both guys pulling off big moves in the ring.  This isn’t really the kind of promo you want to go out on heading into the big show, but I guess we’ll see how it turns out.

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Hangman Adam Page and Kenny Omega Vs. Chris Jericho and Sammy Guevara

This was a very solid match!  Sammy doesn’t stand out as much here as he did in the Adam Page match, but he holds his own, and the three guys set to have PPV matches get a chance to shine before the big show.  Kenny Omega continues to impress whenever he’s in the ring and he legitimately seems like the most athletic dude whose ever lived when he really gets going, and his match against Jon Moxley better bring the house down!  The ending was a bit of a downer for me as there was interference that really did come out of nowhere and felt like a momentum killer rather than a crescendo.  While Adam Page was beating the crap out of Jericho, Pac came in out of nowhere, kicked Page in the balls, and ran off while Jericho got the pin.  Bit anti-climatic and frankly a bit petty on the part of Pac.  Sure he’s a bad guy, but I don’t really get the sense that he has SPECIFIC beef with Page and he seems like someone confident in his own skills enough that he doesn’t have to try to take his competition down a peg before his fight.

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The episode doesn’t end there though as we’ve got one last chance to sell the audience on the PPV so the whole place EXPLODES the moment the match is over.  The inner Circle starts to gang up on Adam Page, Cody comes out to save the day, Moxley comes out to mess with Omega, and then we get Santana and Ortiz, The Young Bucks, and MJF to throw punches, scream at one another, and get the crowd going.  It’s utter chaos and may feel a bit gratuitous, but it certainly ends the show on a high note as we head into Full Gear.

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Overall, this episode WAS a step down from last week, but last week was such a good episode that I’m not going to complain too much here.  I’m starting to worry about how things are being balanced the longer this show goes on, but it’s something I’m certain they’ll work past and perfect as time goes on so a few growing pains here and there are more than acceptable for the time being.  We’ve got full gear in just a few days which I will be covering as well, so hopefully all the hype they’ve been building up for those matches will actually be worth it!

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