AEW Dynamite is owned by All Elite Wrestling, Shahid Khan, and TNT
We’re back with even more AEW action on one of the few days of the year I really don’t feel like having AEW action! I spent the WHOLE time this show was on frantically cooking things for today and I can’t imagine all the workers there were too happy to be doing this instead of spending time with their families, but maybe I’m wrong about that. I mean that crowd was pretty good for a night before Thanksgiving wrestling show, and this particular holiday is kind of nonsense anyway, so maybe they’re exactly where they want to be! In any case, I think we can probably cut each other a bit of slack here if I missed anything or didn’t fully grasp the DRAMA with what was happening, okay? Let’s get started!!
Chris Jericho’s Thanksgiving Thank You Spectacular
As announced last week after Jericho’s heartfelt apology, the episode started with a Thanksgiving Party in the ring that no one was invited to but we were all more than welcome to spectate as Jericho just chews up the scenery with more voracity than most people have eating the stuffing and creamed corn on National Turkey Day. Before he even gets into the ring someone named Soul Train Jones (I’m pretty sure he was in one of The Inner Circle’s video packages) introduces Jericho who then comes down to the ring accompanied by a marching band because you don’t get Le Champion to do anything half assed. The crowd is totally marking out for the guy with chants of THANK YOU JERICHO before starting to boo him the moment he starts speaking, and this really did add a lot to the segment; especially when Jericho offers them fifty cents off his T-shirts and they react like they won a car. The inner Circle eventually comes in after Jericho has pimped out all his new merch, and they proceed to give him various gifts to show their appreciation for the dude who made them the biggest names in wrestling. Sammy Guevara gives him a standee of the two of them hugging while Proud N Powerful give him a basket full of… stuff I guess. Vicks Vapo-rub, a box of dominos, booze, basically everything you would need to survive in a fallout shelter once the bombs start to drop. Even Jake Hager gets in on the revelry as he comes out with a very uncooperative goat named Chris Jeri-goat which is the second best name for a goat right after Benedict Cumber-BAAAAAA-tch. I don’t know why any of this is happening and I hope that animal wasn’t TOO distressed, but it seemed to be all in good fun and Hager could not keep a straight face in the slightest. The last gift however was the best one of it all because it reminded me of the only wrestler better than Jericho (The MIz) which turned out to be his dad who is a former hockey player and proceeds to hometown team; Like father like son I supposed. I did like this segment, but I feel they should have cut it a bit shorter or made them more of heels throughout as they come off as fun loving and kind of dorky dudes celebrating how much they appreciate each other which is not exactly the image you want for your dominate heel faction. I mean even if you wanted to argue that they were self-centered and cocky, it’s still not particularly THREATENING, and the one thing about all these guys is that they know how to cause damage when you least expect it; not just waste time giving each other pats on the back. EVENTUALLY though, there comes a point where he has the ring announcer read a thank you note from TNT to the crowd, but the guy doesn’t read it in as nice a tone as LE CHAMPION would have wanted and so they Inner Circle curb stomps him. FINALLY they start to act like heels but then out of nowhere three dudes in the marching band rush the ring, turn out to be SCU in disguise, and start cleaning house; INCLUDING knocking Soul Train Jones right no his ass! I don’t know how much you can claim to be good guys if you’re clothes-lining dudes in their late fifties, but it did end the segment on a high note which is good enough for me.
Best Friends (Trent & Chuck Taylor) Vs. The Lucha Bros (Pentagón Jr & Fénix)
Best Friends are accompanied to the ring by Orange Cassidy
The Lucha Bros, apparently taking a cue from SCU, showed up in disguise and start attacking The Best Friends and Orange Cassidy before they can even get to the ring, but the advantage is short lived as The Best Friends get the better of them and Orange Cassidy (wearing a turkey costume of course) jumps from the top rope right onto The Lucha Bros. This match was pretty good, and even if The Best Friends are still far from my favorite team, they’re proving themselves more and more each week with this match against The Lucha Bros being some of the best work I can recall from them which is no doubt helped by The Lucha Bros who usually brings the best out of their opponents. Best Friends eventually get the pin and it was short and sweet. Good way to start the actual WRESTLING part of the show.
Bea Priestly & Emi Sakura Vs. Hikaru Shida & Kris Statlander
I like everyone in this match, but it kind of highlights a problem that AEW should probably deal with at some point that’s particularly affecting its women’s division. I can’t exactly speak for everyone, but I really don’t remember the minutia of each episode and therefore can’t really bring a lot of context to the fights myself which is why more promos for these wrestlers would definitely help establish an episode to episode storyline. With that match in particular I’m not sure if they are actually fighting over anything as Hikaru Shida is the number one contender, but no one else in the match is really in contention with her. She already got her victory over Britt Baker, so why haven’t they at least announced a title defense between her and Riho? At least that would give us something to hang this match onto as we watch Shida clean house and prove herself; maybe even throw in an appearance by Riho as she scopes her future competition. As I said, I like everyone in this and the match itself is really good (they take A LOT of bumps in the match, particularly with Shida’s deadly knee strikes), but we could really use a bit more pomp and circumstance with these women’s matches. The ending was rather underwhelming as well. Statlander drops Emi Sakrua right on her face from up on her shoulders and that wasn’t enough to end the match, but Emi Sakura rolling up Statlander and getting the pin? Yeah, kind of a letdown.
After the match we get a promo from Jon Moxley and this is EXACTLY what I want to see more of from AEW. Just a dude (or dudette) staring into the camera and shouting their head off about how awesome they are and how much they want to win the belt! MORE OF THIS PLEASE!!
Cody Rhodes Vs. Matt Knicks
So I guess as a way to get his confidence back up or just to get the crowd pumped for Cody again, they put him in front of this jobber who’s making his debut against one of the top guys at the company. Cody obviously cleans this dude’s clock with almost no effort which is fine because we all know there’s going to be an AMAZING promo afterwards where he tears into MJF and lets the world know that he’s gonna get his revenge, and… nevermind, some dudes start coming out of the ring to attack him. Seriously, who the heck are these people!? Blade and Butcher!? Weren’t we having enough trouble getting THE DARK ORDER over, and now we’ve got some other group of vaguely menacing leather dudes!? Oh wait, see these guys are different because there’s a third member named Bunny. WHO THE HECK IS BUNNY!? I don’t know about this one and neither did the crowd frankly. I’m PRETTY sure these was a very audible chant of Who Are You which is never a good sign (and also EXACTLY what The Dark Order got when they first showed up), and while I get the idea of using one of the biggest names in your company to shine a little light on your new talent or the undercard, this felt like a total waste of Cody and probably not the best time to have him take a beating like this from randos. He’s already got to climb his way back up after suffering that defeat to Jericho, but now he’s also falling victim to whoever these guys are!? Ugh…
Pac Vs. Kenny Omega
The first half of the show was kind of a mess, but this is DEFINITELY the point where things turn around because these guys are so great at what they do AND the storyline between them is pretty clear. Kenny Omega is trying to get back on top after losing himself for a bit there (culminating in his defeat at Full Gear to Jon Moxley) and Pac’s story has always been that he feels underappreciated despite how great he is and he wants another opportunity to prove it by putting Omega down once again. It’s straightforward and doesn’t take a lot of time to set up which is all you need for a match like this on an ongoing series! The two fight their brains out with lots of fast moves, exaggerated bumps, and pure athleticism which I always love to see from these… but then it ends with a rollup as Kenny Omega squeaks by with the pin. I don’t mind the rollup pin on occasion, especially when it feels in some way motivated like in the SCU Vs. Lucha Bros title match, but we’ve done this twice in otherwise really great matches and it’s starting to grate on my nerves.
MJF Vs. Hangman Adam Page – Dynamite Dozen Finals
So I made a mistake last week regarding the Battle Royal match, BUT I feel it was at least somewhat justified! So I thought that Adam Page won the tournament due to MJF putting the kibosh on his honorable battle against Jungle Boy just to be a jerk, and this match was to squash the beef that was made because of that. Apparently MJF was still IN the match and by pulling down Jungle Boy he secured himself as Page’s competitor for this match to win the diamond ring. Now with this being the case, what was the point of Page and Jungle Boy agreeing to the honorable battle? Either they thought they were the final two in which case they wouldn’t be fighting that night anyway, or they knew that MJF was still in the match and I guess decided to ignore him which seems like a really arrogant thing to do. I don’t know, but at least the stakes of THIS match are clearly laid out as are the driving motivations of the two people in it, i.e. MJF has no respect for Adam Page and wants to have a shiny piece of status symbol while Page is all about proving his worth and is more than happy to turn MJF inside out to do so. MJF gets the CRAP beat out of him which is certainly cathartic after what he did to Cody as well as the way he so effortlessly runs his mouth, and he even pulls some cowardly heel stuff like using the ref as a meat shield and poking Page in the eye. However, victory turns out to be just outside the Hangman’s reach as MJF’s new buddy Wardlow earns his keep by causing a few distractions and even sucker punches Page right in the head. MJF takes full advantage of this by finishing off Page with Cody’s finisher The Cross Rhodes which is enough to put Page down for the three-count; winning MJF the ring as well as the ire of all the fans in that stadium. The guy is already a magnificent heel, but he still has SO much potential that it’s scary to think how badly WWE would have mishandled him if he ended up there instead.
After the match Diamond Dallas Page comes out to award the winner with the diamond ring (obviously) which he tries to do as professionally as possible despite his friendship with Cody… but that devolves rather quickly as Wardlow and DDP get into it and then MJF starts throwing a few swings as well before the refs break them up. It was actually a really great match with a finish that at least wasn’t another rollup and I can’t wait to see what happens next with MJF!
After that we see Dustin Rhodes is in the ring and he tells Jake Hager that he’s ready to kick his ass for breaking his arm but gets jumped IMMEDIATELY by the Inner Circle followed closely behind by the Young Bucks trying to give Dustin backup. It’s essentially a continuation of the brawl from last week that I didn’t like all that much, but the fact that it’s not connected to an actual match at least makes it feel like its own thing.
We get another video about The Dark Order and this time it has a bit more of a serious tone to it where we see a gathering of misfits listening to some guy at the lectern, and it all comes off like a mix between Fight Club and the music video for Demons. At least they’re still trying to get these two over and I like the production they’ve put into these videos, but I’d like it if they connected in any way to AEW itself.
Scorpio Sky Vs. Chris Jericho – AEW World Championship Match
First thing that was surprising about this match is that neither one of them came out with anyone; not even Jericho who you’d think would have Jake Hager on hand as an insurance policy, but nope! This is going to be an honorable (well I’m sure honorable-ish) fight between two very strong competitors! They do some moves, trade submissions, Jericho even yells at the ref Aubrey Edwards, it’s all really good stuff and Edward is still the absolute best at what she does. Jake Hager however does eventually run down to try and makes the save for Jericho, but Sky is ready for him and knocks his butt off the apron. SCU are not far behind as they start to pound on Hager which unfortunately distracts Edwards and gives Jericho an opportunity to try and cheat his way to victory by bashing Sky over the head with his belt. Sky was ready for that too however and actually knocks Jericho back down and gets a near fall so close and so unexpected that I genuinely thought they were gonna put the belt on him which is what you WANT from a title match like this. It’s hard to make any matches with a title this secure feel like they mean anything, but these two are such good workers that they actually made you believe in the drama in those moments where both of them get a bunch of REALLY intense near falls with neither one of them ready to give in, and the crowd starts chanting This Is Awesome because it really is. The ending is a BIT anti-climactic as Jericho locks Sky into a Lion Tamer and he taps out pretty much immediately. If nothing else it DOES put the move over which is the same one Cody was locked in when MJF threw in the towel, and honestly Sky doesn’t need the belt right now. He’s already the Tag Team champion and he did a great job of giving Jericho a run for his money.
After the match Jericho refuses to let Scorpio Sky go and tries to keep him in the Lion Tamer, but then Jon Moxley’s music hits and he comes down to the ring to stare Jericho down which is how the episode ends; more or less promising that Moxley Vs. Jericho is a match we’ll be getting soon enough.
The same way I was kind of scrambling to keep track of this while cooking other stuff (I COMPLETELY burned a piece of naan bread to a darkened crisp during the Thanksgiving Thank You Party) I feel they were winging it a bit here with a really underwhelming first half and a few minor annoyances with the second half. I’ll give them a pass though because we’re ALL getting pretty stressed this time of year, but I hope they do a bit more with promos, make the women’s matches feel like they fit into a bigger story, and come up with more conclusive finishes than the out of nowhere roll up. We can worry about all that later though because I’m sure we all have other things we need to do right now, so enjoy your holiday and I’ll see you next week for another episode of Dynamite!