Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (01-22-20)

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

We’re back with another episode of Spring Neck-Breakers as the second week of Bash at the Beach hits the high seas with this episode taking place on Jericho’s Rock ‘N’ Wrestling Cruise!  With last week doing such a great job of setting up some explosive confrontations, can they manage to pay it off here while ALSO making sure the guests have enough fresh towels!?  Let’s find out!!

First, let’s take a moment to talk about the ring.  They are in fact on a boat and fighting outdoors at night which looks pretty good all things considered!  It certainly doesn’t look like a typical stadium that these episodes usually take place in which gives things a nice bit of variety, and while the lighting is a bit harsh considering they can really only use a bunch of giant spotlights it does give it a very naturalistic feel while the shadows the wrestlers cast as they fight do look rather dynamic; giving it a hint of a noir feel to it.  Needless to say that they have a solid stage set for the first match of the show which is…

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Hangman Adam Page & Kenny Omega Vs. SCU (Kazarian & Scorpio Sky) – Tag Team Championship

SCU is accompanied to the ring by Christopher Daniels

I can’t even remember; has SCU had a title defense since they got the belt?  I’m SURE they had to have, but for the life of me I can’t recall what it was.  In fact, SCU’s reign as tag team champions has felt a bit underwhelming as they haven’t really have their own story line since their big win against The Lucha Brothers.  Sure Christopher Daniels got a little something with that whole botched move thing and Scorpio Sky had his match against Jericho, but as a tag team they feel more like McGuffins for the other tag teams’ stories rather than an integral and interesting part like how Jericho has been with the AEW Championship.  Speaking of being McGuffins for other peoples’ story, in case you didn’t know (JR spells it out just in case you weren’t paying attention) the big angle of this match is that Page and Omega have a shot at winning the title but only if they work together which is becoming less and less likely as Page sinks further into his heel persona and his straight up alcoholism.  The match itself was fine but I really couldn’t get into it and I’m not sure why.  Both teams were solid and they told a decent story in the ring where the singles wrestlers have a bit of an advantage when going one on one but SCU takes full control when they get even a small amount of momentum.  I guess it just goes on a bit too long as it feels like we’re warming up for close to ten minutes, and it’s not exactly the BEST showcase of either team even if they are doing a solid job.  The big standout was probably Adam Page who is actually putting a real CHARACTER behind his in ring performance as you can see him grimacing every time he has to involve Kenny Omega and how he’d rather just take the beating along than work with him.  It’s a good character for the guy, but it feels like we should have really paid it off here instead of kicking the can down the road once again, which is as good an excuse as any to talk about the ending.  Page has an impressive rally where he’s throwing Buckshot Lariats at anything that will move, and he eventually pins someone for the win.  That’s right, SCU has lost the belts and now they’re in the hands of Page and Omega.  I don’t know, I’d have rather SCU had a BETTER run instead of dropping it almost unceremoniously here, and I’m getting antsy to see Page truly betray Omega which if we keep postponing comes off as more and more inevitable and will surely make Omega look bad for not seeing it coming as well.  Maybe they have different plans and I’ll be glad to see how they play out in the coming weeks, but not my favorite opening match that they’ve done.

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Britt Baker Vs. Priscilla Kelly

I’ll admit that I was REALLY distracted during this match with other things going on and so I didn’t really see much of it.  Britt Baker is certainly on her way to being a proper heel and might just get there before Page does, and the wrestling was… I don’t even know.  It was FINE I assume as Baker’s been getting better, but like I said I barely even watched it.

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The Jungle Express Vs. Proud N Powerful & Chris Jericho

Chris Jericho is accompanied to the ring by Jake Hager

Okay, so perhaps that first match went on too long and maybe I should have found a way to watch the women’s match properly.  We’ve both made mistakes AEW, so let’s start fresh with what I consider the REAL first match of the show!  The crowd certainly seems to agree with me as they LOVE the Jurassic Express and were cheering louder for these goofballs than they were for Kenny Omega!  All three of them, even Marko Stunt, were completely over with the crowd and it made the match feel like a real event even though it is ultimately a rather light affair.  Maybe that’s what people want in wrestling.  It’s certainly what I want as I’ve always leaned a bit more towards theatricality and spectacle than just raw technique and athleticism, and having a dinosaur get the hot tag before cleaning house or watching all three of them work together to get Marko Stunt to land some big moves was a total joy to see and the crowd popped for it every time.  Towards the end of the match Jake Hager starts hovering on the outside and Luchasaurus tags out to deal with him.  Marko Stunt jumps in to finish off Jericho who Luchasaurus had just finished tenderizing, and he lands a splash from the top rope which lead into a near fall.  The guy then moves around the ring at lightning speed and rolls up Jericho for two additional near falls!  That’s right!  Marko Stunt got THREE near falls on the champion this match which certainly was a surprise to Jericho who had finally had enough of this and pops little Marko in the mouth with his Judas Effect.  Marko is straight up dead at this point and unfortunately Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus are indisposed so Jericho gets the pin and wins the match.  Yeah, there was no way Jericho was going to lose on his own cruise ship, but him and Proud N Powerful were definitely good sports and didn’t try to bury these goofy dinosaur dudes which made this a GREAT match!  I loved it, the crowd loved it, EVERYONE should love it and we should see more of this nonsense every week!

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MJF Vs. Joey Janela

Boy does this crowd HATE MJF, which means he has to be doing a good job!  The guy has come a long way since Double or Nothing and is now perhaps gets even more heat than Jericho whenever he shows up, even in kinda of throwaway matches like this.  Joey Janela is sadly a bit of a non-presence here as MJF is front and center heeling out at every moment.  He’s always been a GOOD wrestler, but he’s definitely improved in that regard which is great because the best heels are the ones who can incorporate their douchebaggery into their in-ring performance and not just in promos or on the mic.  This is what sets Sammy Guevara apart from the other heels as NO ONE is as good at being hated in the ring as him, but MJF is coming REAL close with his great facial expressions, he blatant and cocky cheating, and even the way he oversells Janela’s moves.  Janela ends up getting MJF flat on the mat and is about to land a big elbow drop from the top rope, but then Penelope Ford and Kip Sabian come out to start making out in front of him.  To his credit, Janela makes an AMAZING face here, but the fact that he went out of his way to grimace at them gives MJF just enough time to get out of the way and immediately lands a crappy Cross-Rhodes on him for the win.  Not the best end to the match and once again Joey feels a bit outclassed when up against the MAIN EVENT stars, but it was a good showcase for MJF if nothing else.  After the match he starts mocking Cody for a good five minutes which the crowd never stops booing at, and then Cody finally comes out to confront him for the first time since Full Gear.  MJF continues to run his mouth as Cody just stares daggers into him and there’s a great moment where MJF gives him the floor so to speak and hands him the microphone… only to drop it once Cody reaches out for it.  THAT was awesome!  MJF is leaving the ring when Cody starts to talk and admits that he cannot touch MJF due to the stipulations, and if MJF had ANY sense about him he’d realize the massive loophole that leaves as The Young Bucks sneak out onto the ramp and Super Kick him into oblivion.  Once MJF is down Cody tells them to throw his ass into the pool which they did.  See, THIS is why they had to hold off on Cody confronting MJF!  If he had come out two weeks ago with Dustin and QT Marshall, then this segment wouldn’t have had nearly as much impact and as far as I’m concerned it was WELL worth the wait!

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While MJF is splashing furiously in the pool, we cut to Tony Schiavone who is interviewing Page and Omega, the latter of whom is excitedly talking a mile a minute while Page can’t get a word in edgewise.  I might have underestimated the guy’s appeal considering just how believably he can play MILDLY IRRITATED.  He’s not playing it up by waving his hands or sighing loudly; he’s just a dude who’s got a chip on his shoulder that makes everything seem that much more annoying to him.  He tries to say something after Omega is done, and then The Young Bucks come out and interrupt him to congratulate them on their victory!  What jerks!  Finally fed up with all of this, Page throws out a smartass comment about how he’s surprised the Bucks haven’t won the belts yet and walks away; making things very awkward for everyone else in frame.  I still don’t like that they have the belts, but it’s clear we’re not just dropping the Page Heel angle, so hopefully they have a solid plan for his character.

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Pac Vs. Jon Moxley – Number One Contender Match

Apparently someone at AEW medical cleared Moxley to fight in this match despite having ONE EYE, and since he’s got an eyepatch on a boat, I’m gonna call him Dread Pirate Moxley from now on.  Anyway, Dread Pirate Moxley and Mac have a really great match which isn’t surprising since Pac brings out the best in his opponents and Moxley is already really good.  They both come out of the gate moving SUPER fast and are SUPER agile with a lot of holds, reversals, feints, and generally moving AROUND each other to avoid direct contact since they know just how hard the other can hit.  Dread Pirate Moxley’s eyepatch comes off as a bit silly obviously, and there’s a blatant moment where it comes off of his eye and the ref has to put it back on which I got a chuckle out of but didn’t help the believability of Dread Pirate Moxley’s condition.  Honestly I kind of just wanted to see them lock it up in a standard match instead of wasting time and energy trying to sell the gimmick; something that works better when your gimmick is a WRESTLING DINOSAUR and not so much when faking an injury.  They both beat the crap out of each other, but surprisingly Dread Pirate Moxley lands a Paradigm Shift on Pac and for good measure he lands another EVEN HIGHER Paradigm shift right after which is just enough for him to get the pin.  I was actually expecting them to put the brakes on Dread Pirate Moxley for a bit to stretch out his title run (and also not to bury Pac by having him fail to beat a one eye man) but since this is the main event they wanted to end things on a triumphant note, and Dread Pirate Moxley coming out on top has become their favorite way to do that.

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I really liked this episode even if it started off a bit rough for me.  The new location was fun and they got some good use of it, but the Tag Team match and the Women’s match just didn’t grab me like everything else eventually did; particularly the Cody and MJF confrontation as well as the Jurassic Express match.  Next week we’ll be back to the usual stadiums and arenas as we start to really gear up for their next PPV Revolution which is at the end of February.  They’ve been on a roll since the start of the New Year and hopefully things will continue to look up for AEW.  Despite my complaints here and there, it’s definitely become one of my favorite weekly routines, and will hopefully stay that way for the foreseeable future!

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