Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (02-12-20)

AEWDYNAMITE

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

We’re back with another episode of The Revolution Pre-Show as the next few weeks will be all about building up the Pay Per View at the end of the month!  Will we get some good matches and decent storylines in the buildup, or are we merely setting ourselves up for disappointment?  Let’s find out!!

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Hangman Adam Page & Kenny Omega Vs. SCU (Kazarian & Scorpio Sky)

SCU is accompanied to the ring by Christopher Daniels

Before the match begins, The Dark order hacks into the big screen and delivers a cryptic warning to BOTH teams about how they’re closer than any of them realize.  This threat is SO terrifying that Christopher Daniels decides to leave ringside to go “investigate” and we’ll see how well that goes soon enough.  Anyway, the match itself is REALLY good with Omega and Page being PHENOMENALLY over with the crowd as both get huge pops for everything they do; and credit to SCU for playing the heels here just to give them that much more of a pop.  I’m not sure how that’s supposed to work with them being the light that keeps their partner Daniels from going to the dark side, but for the purposes of this match it worked out great as Kenny and Page both got hot tags which led to them showing off their super moves to get the crowd in a great mood for the rest of the show.  It ends as it should with Kazarian eating both a Buckshot Lariat and a V Trigger at the same time, and since there was zero friction between the two in this match they may have just kicked Page’s heel turn WAY down the road.  What kind of soured the ending just a bit is that Kazarian grabbed the rope at the very last second of the pin which you really only want to do to justify a rematch, but the thing is SCU already HAVE a rematch of sorts lined up because whoever lost THIS match is going to be part of a Tag Team Battle Royale NEXT week where the winner of THAT gets a title match at Revolution!  So… what did this accomplish other than confusing the finish?  In any case, Kenny and Page are happy with their victory and quickly leave the arena presumably since The Dark Order comes out not three minutes after the bell rang.  This was great as The Dark Order surround the ring like usual, but then ALL the freaking tag teams (who will presumably be part of the Battle Royale) come out as well; The Best Friends and The Young Bucks backing up SCU while The Butcher, the Blade, and The Bunny as well as The Hybrid 2 come out to get in on the action too. Good job by the way on the part of Christopher Daniels!  While he’s in the back presumably walking around with a flashlight and a magnifying glass, The Dark Order managed to give him the slip and end up right where he had left ten minutes ago!  I don’t buy the theory that Daniels is secretly the leader of The Dark Order, but this ridiculous little ruse might just be a point in its favor.  It all devolves into a pull-apart brawl with The Young Bucks stealing the spotlight after a few well-placed Super Kicks, and even if it is mostly chaos it at least does a decent job of selling us on the upcoming Battle Royale.  However, despite how good ALL of this is it does end on a sour note; one we’ll be hearing throughout the episode.  The picture in picture during the commercials has always been something of a mixed bag as it at least gives you something to look at while being advertised to, but whenever something IMPORTANT happens there it can be really annoying because it’s super tiny and there’s no audio.  This was the case here as the picture in picture had ORANGE CASSIDY come out to confront Evil Uno and Stu Grayson who were walking up the ramp when all the fighting was going on.  Cassidy does his classic HANDS IN POCKET maneuver which the crowd always loves, and this is a big enough distraction for The Bucks to land simultaneous Super Kicks on them!  Yes, this is the first time Evil Uno and Stu Grayson have legitimately been bested since their reimagining, and it happened during a commercial.  Not only that, but Orange Cassidy is given a Young Bucks headband for being such a good sport; all of this would have drove the home audience wild but instead comes off as an afterthought due to the way it’s being presented!  WHY WOULD THEY DO THAT!?

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After we return from commercial there’s a pre-recorded interview with Santana about how bad his life has been the last few weeks and I’m not quite sure what’s going on here.  It’s a bit unclear and I couldn’t rewind to make sure I heard them correctly, but it seems that Santana’s dad went blind at some point which made the eye poke thing extra poignant for him, but he ALSO might have died recently?  I’m not sure exactly what Santana was saying about that, but more importantly I don’t get the point of this segment.  Santana is not just a heel, he’s part of the over the top villainous faction that is probably only a few weeks out from growing mustaches with which to twirl, and we’re getting this grounded serious promo for him?  Just seems kind of out of place for what appears to be just another Inner Circle match on our way to the PPV.

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After that we get another Darby Allin video where he uses cheap cardboard cue cards in a manner similar to the ones Sammy Guevara used a few times before (see THAT’S how you do an entertaining spot during the picture in picture commercials!) and Darby challenges him to a match at Revolution which is shaping up to be quite the interesting show and I can’t wait to see Darby pound that guy into the dirt as Sammy might just be the best heel this company has even if he’s not the most popular one at the moment.  SPEAKING OF WHOM…

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Dustin Rhodes Vs. Sammy Guevara

Sammy Guevara is accompanied to the ring by Jake Hager

Dustin and Sammy are always great but with this episode taking place on Dustin’s home turf (Austin Texas), it wasn’t much more than an extended squash match even with Hager on the outside.  Usually that guy is the difference maker in these matches, but he gets ONE distraction which gives an opening for ONE offensive move before Dustin cuts him off and resumes the pain clinic.  That’s not a bad thing though as Sammy is so good at being punched that you WANT to see him get taken down a peg by a beloved baby face like Dustin.  It wasn’t the most impressive match, but it was a heck of a lot of fun and ended with one my favorite moves The Canadian Destroyer (seriously, how is that move physically possible!?) which lead into Dustin’s Day of Reckoning for the three count.  After the match with Sammy licking his wounds and holding onto Jake Hager while scaling the ramp, Dustin grabs the mic and calls out Hager for being Jericho’s… well a not particularly nice word is used here, and challenges him to a match at Revolution which would be Hager’s first match at AEW since debuting right around the start of the show in October!  This is some great booking because they had the patience to let Hager stay out of the ring officially so that his first match is a big deal, but they also didn’t put him on the sidelines and out of the spotlight during that time.  I haven’t been keeping up very well with WWE, but when I was watching it I remember them making a big deal about how Brock Lesnar wasn’t on the show at all and while it does make it feel more special when he DOES show up, it also comes off as a bit annoying that we’re basically being given breadcrumbs on the off chance that something interesting might happen later.  Hager has been great in the limited role that AEW has given him, and I can’t wait to see what happens when he finally enters the ring.  Heck, I don’t even know what his ring gear will be!  Do you think he’ll still be rocking the polo!?

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After the match we get an interview between Tony Schiavone and Britt Baker which feels a lot like the other interviews we’ve gotten with them.  I don’t know, a lot of people seem to be into her heel turn but I still don’t get it.  She comes off as a troll and a brat but not in a particularly fun way like say Alexa Bliss can be, and she frankly doesn’t have the track record to back up her arrogance the same way someone like Charlotte Flair or especially Brock Lesnar can get away with.  She tries to explain how knocking out Yuka Sakazaki’s tooth was ACTUALLY doing her a favor but the punchline takes WAY too long to get to (apparently it was a bad tooth or something?) and the only real bit of heat that I felt was earned was when she started to make fun of a local burger joint which REALLY set the crowd off.  We’ll see where this goes but I’m still not feeling this yet.

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Riho Vs. Nyla Rose – Women’s Title Match

To get to the big problem of this match, we have to jump to the end of it which is that, shock of all shocks on this random episode of AEW, Nyla FINALLY gets the best of Riho with a spear followed up by a Beast Bomber and claims the Women’s Title for herself.  Knowing that ahead of time will probably increase your enjoyment of the match because frankly there was no reason to expect much going into it.  We’ve seen this matchup a dozen times already and for the most part they don’t do anything different with it.  Riho proves over and over that her experience and quick reflexes outmatch Nyla’s size advantage which is what we see every time they lock up, though I did end up appreciating that they both were clearly more aware of the other’s style throughout given how many times they’ve faced each other with a lot of reversals and dodging super moves throughout.  It’s perfectly fine as far as matches go, but until they DID do something different with the finish I just kept wondering why we were here again when someone like say Chris Statlander hasn’t gotten a title rematch (she DEFINITELY deserves on since her title shot was filled with a lot of interference from the now disbanded Nightmare Collective) and Hikaru Shida has proven herself more than worthy of getting a shot herself.  BUT, all that is kind of moot when we do get to the end and the title changes hands which is at least SOMETHING but I’m not sure how I feel about it.  On the one hand, Riho wasn’t doing a whole lot with it and wasn’t on Dynamite too often so maybe Nyla’s in a better position to give weekly matches, and I’m curious what they have planned for Revolution as we can at least be sure it won’t be yet another Riho vs Nyla Rose match.  On the other hand, as intimidating as Nyla Rose is as a presence I just don’t see her as that strong of a competitor.  She can knock out jobbers without question, but she’s had a hard time taking out anyone on the upper tier of the division so I’m not sure if she’ll hold the title for very long.  Still, at least it’s SOME sort of shakeup in the Women’s division which frankly was desperately needed at this point.  ONCE AGAIN however, the picture in picture mode is done at the absolute worst time as Nyla heads to the back and has a LONG conversation with a very perturbed looking Kenny Omega who is friends with Riho, and we cannot hear a SINGLE thing they are saying because it’s during a commercial!  WHAT!?  This is somehow even worse than the Orange Cassidy bit because while that was a HUGE crows pleasing moment, it at least didn’t have CRITICAL STORY LINE AND DIALOGUE IN IT!!

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When we come back from commercial we get no update as to what they were talking about, BUT Jericho does tell us that they’ve added a new member to their crew; namely… JEFF COBB!  Oh my goodness!  Who is that?  I have no idea, but they show a brief video package and the guy kind of looks like Samoa Joe crossed with Roman Reigns, so… that’s something at least, and apparently he’s going to have a match with Jon Moxley next week.

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MJF Vs. Jungle Boy

MJF is accompanied to the ring by Wardlow

MJF has always been great but his mic skills can sometimes overshadow everything else and it’s good to reassert his wrestling prowess this close to the PPV.  This was a fun, athletic, and competitive match that kept both of them looking pretty strong and gave MJF plenty of opportunites to be a total jerk; particularly when he shouts a random lewd comment at Bandi Rhodes who was on commentary for this match.  The one thing I didn’t quite get was that Jungle By hurt his back at one point and I don’t recall how that happened.  Perhaps it was in the picture in picture commercial break which OF COURSE happened in the middle of this match because these things are swiftly becoming the bane of my existence!  MJF eventually wins the match with his crappy version of a Cross Rhodes which he calls a Double Cross, and then Wardlow starts beating up Jungle Boy for the heck of it which is when The Jurassic Express comes out from the back.  Oh, NOW they decide to show up!?  Yeah, if there’s one thing that felt really missing here it was the rest of the Jurassic Express who may not have been able to do anything in the match but their presence alone makes this show better.

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We get another Pac video where he taunts Kenny Omega for giving him the match in the first place which seems like a jerk move considering his other video was about him NOT getting that match, so I guess Pac is just completely unpleasable.  It’s almost like he’s a bad guy or something!

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Jon Moxley Vs. Santana – Eye For An Eye Match

Santana is accompanied to the ring by Ortiz

They never DID explain what an Eye For An Eye Match is, did they?  I mean sure both competitors had eyepatches, but that had nothing to do with the setup of the match!  If it was a match between two left handed people, you wouldn’t call it the South Paw Gauntlet!  They didn’t even bother putting sharp objectsi n the ring to poke each other’s good eye out with, so for all intents and purposes this is just another singles match.  Before Moxley can even get to the ring though (which admittedly takes quite a long time), Santana charges him and they brawl outside for a bit before eventually getting back into the ring so the match canoffically start.  Overall the match is a bit silly as both of them go for the other’s eye over and over again in a ring that isn’t really MEANT to have the kind of points that you COULD poke someone’s eye out (at one point they just have to use the corner of the steel steps to tease the eye poke), but the two of them are great workers that even with the pointless eye gimmicks they can still put on a solid match.  Speaking of the pointlessness of it all, Moxely’s eye patch goes up at one point and we can CLEARLY see that his eye is just fine!  They couldn’t even bother to slap some makeup on his face to make it look like it’s bruised or swelling, they just told him to grab an eyepatch from Walgreen’s and make that his new character! Out of all the matches on this show I wasn’t really feeling this one despite how good the workers are which is a shame considering it’s the main event of the show and you expect those to be the best of the night.  Anyway, as we approach the end of the match Moxley climbs to the top rope and Ortiz comes out of nowhere with a mouth full of alcohol (presumably Jericho’s Little Bit Of The Bubbly) which he then spits in his good eye; effectively blinding him for the rest of the match.  Santana gets a bit of an advantage because of this, but Moxley jabs him in the eye with his thumb and stumbles his way through landing a Paradigm Shift for the win.  The Inner Circle then jump him in the middle of the ring and lay a serious beat down which again goes to show that Moxley could use a few friends if he wants to make it to Revolution in one piece.  If all that wasn’t enough, that guy they advertised Jeff Cobb comes out and uses one his special maneuvers on Moxely as the final note to end the episode on, so I guess we have that match next week to look forward to.

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It kind of petered out at the end there for me, but this was a REALLY solid episode of Dynamite for the most part.  It had good matches, I liked some of the videos we saw throughout the episode, and most importantly it made the upcoming PPV look THAT much more vital to watch; especially with that Dustin Rhodes Vs. Jake Hager match being announced.  The only consistent issue was the commercial breaks which were a real thorn in my side this episode and hopefully they are never that obnoxious again going forward.  Heck, that’s going to be half the reason to buy the PPV!  NO COMMERCIAL INTERRUPTIONS!!

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