Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (02-26-20)

AEWDYNAMITE

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

It’s finally here!  AEW Revolution is this Saturday and we are on the last episode of Dynamite before that momentous event!  They’ve done a great job of setting up the various matches that will be on the card for that show with some great character work in regards to Cody, MJF, The other members of The Elite, and even the more recent stuff like Dustin Rhodes Vs. Jake Hagar and Darby Allin Vs. Sammy Guevara.  Is this the perfect Go Home show for something they’ve worked so hard to get to, or are they about to trip at the one yard line?  Let’s find out!!

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Kenny Omega Vs. Pac – 30-Minute Iron Man Match

Kenny Omega is accompanied to the ring by The Young Bucks

See, I thought this was going to be the main event of the show, but we’re starting right off the bat with it!  Now this match is a good example of AEW being pragmatic with their embarrassment of riches because Kenny Vs. Pac in a specialty match like this could have easily been on the PPV, but when everything started to shake out it was clear that there was just not enough room for that AND his tag team match, so we’re instead getting it here on TV which is great because if you want to sell an audience on your PPV, you want to give them a REALLY good match to let them know just how good the paid version is going to be!  Now if you didn’t know (I didn’t hear the announcers explain the rules at the start of the match), it’s basically a Time Versus Match in Super Smash Bros; you have a limited amount of time for you and your opponent to kill each other and whoever has the most points at the end wins!  Now they don’t ACTUALLY kill each other here (though I wouldn’t be surprised if that was Pac’s intent) and instead you get a point from a pin fall or a submission of your opponent.  Now the issue you need to contend with when it comes to an Iron Man match is keeping the momentum up for the full thirty minutes, and often these matches are rather routine and don’t get a lot of heat until the very end when it gets down to the wire.  These two guys are absolutely game to try and fix that by going at full speed RIGHT off the bat and never really stopping!  There may not have been a pin in the first five minute, but I’ll be damned if these two weren’t getting the crowd cheering with a serious flurry of super moves and adept athleticism!  The First near fall occurs just over eight minutes in as Pac does a DEVISTATING drop kick from the top rope and tries to pin Kenny who kicks out at two.  The match is then grounded for a bit as Pac continues to work over Kenny on the floor, which is fine as any good match needs peaks and valleys, and I’m sure both guys could use a moment to get their energy back.  When Kenny DOES get his momentum back at around the thirteen minute mark, he starts landing super moves on Pac but he’s still not able to land a pin on the guy as we’re still at zero-zero.  At the sixteen minute mark, with only fourteen minutes to go, Pac says SCREW IT and grabs a chair from under the ring and bashes Kenny right in the head with it!  The ref calls for the bell which isn’t QUITE a disqualification (if it was, it’d be the first one in AEW history) but instead gives Kenny a point.  I’m sure he’ll be happy about that when he WAKES THE HECK BACK UP, but until then he’s Pac’s play thing and lands a pin on the guy after a Black Arrow; bringing the total to one-one.  Then we go to commercial and then nothing happens. You’d think Pac would have gotten a FEW more pins while Kenny was still recovering from the chair shot, but I guess they didn’t want to give too much away while the cameras were off and Pac makes sure to give us something HORRIFIC as soon as we get back.  I don’t know what this move is called, but the best I can describe it is that Pac lifts up Kenny while both are on the apron, and then PILE DRIVES HIM into the floor!  THAT somehow looked worse than the chair shot and Kenny will no doubt be hurting during his tag team match on Saturday!  But that’s not enough!  Pac grabs a table from under the ring, puts Kenny on it, and then jumps from the top rope and smashes Kenny’s crumpled body through the table!  We’ve still got six minutes to go!  The ref starts counting for the Ten Count as both of them are outside the ring and Pac crawls his way back to the ring at the count of seven or eight.  Kenny (with a bit of help from The Young Bucks) gets back into the ring a nanosecond before he gets to ten.  Pac is getting annoyed here and goes up to the top rope for another Black Arrow, but Kenny is ready for it this time and gets his knees up right before impact.  With not much energy left, Kenny goes for back to back V-Triggers and then slams Pac to the mat.  He goes for the pin, and NO!  Pac kicks out at two!!  With less than three minutes left, Pac finally gets Kenny in The Brutalizer; the move that knocked him out and cost him the win in their first match, and now he has to survive it after taking THAT much abuse!  Kenny inches and crawls his way to the ropes and just barely breaks the hold, and yet undeterred Pac kicks him back to the middle of the ring and reapplies The Brutalizer.  We’ve only got about a minute left and Kenny manages to make it until the bell rings, and the match ends in a draw; one to one.  Pac is so pissed off that he attacks the ref and leaves Kenny on the ground which turns out to have been a mistake as it’s announced that the match will CONTINUE under Sudden Death rules; meaning the next pin fall wins.  Kenny immediately hits a V-Trigger and then a One Winged Angel on Pac to get the pin and win the match.  This whole saga was all VERY GOOD and left things a bit ambiguous at the end there without feeling unsatisfying.  Kenny flying in under the wire of that Ten Count could be seen as too lenient on the ref’s part, but then Pac DID use a chair on him and then also wasted time hitting the ref which gave Kenny an opportunity to get the win.  Everything just fired on all cylinders from the pacing to the drama to even the placement of the commercial break which in previous episodes would normally be a huge problem with the show, but here they got it to work just right along with everything else for one heck of an opening bout!

When we return from commercial, Pac is being interviewed by Tony Schiavone who’s asking the guy how he feels about being a big ol’ loser (probably not the best thing to say to someone with THAT physique), but before Tony can get a justified punch in the face, Orange Cassidy comes out and stares Pac down; going so far as to take off his sunglasses to prove he’s serious.  Pac decks him in the face which in wrestling terms is a binding oral contract and so I guess we’ll see them face at some point in the future.

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After that we get a fun bit where an interviewer tries to talk to Chris Jericho from outside his dressing room, but Jake Hager comes out from behind the door, says nothing, and then goes back inside.  That kid’s got talent, I tell ya!

So how exactly do you follow up a freaking IRON MAN MATCH and one that went as smoothly as that one?  I’m not entirely sure, but something with dinosaurs will certainly do the trick!

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Jursassic Express Vs Proud N Powerful & Sammy Guevara

This was a straight up comedy match that only could have been improved by Hanna-Barbera sound effects, and I LOVED IT!  Jurassic Express is perfect for this little niche of fun and fantastical wrestling nonsense; especially when their opponents are this adept at playing the patsies.  You couldn’t imagine someone like Pac or even Darby Allin looking good in this kind of match with Marko flipping around and Luchasaurus clearing house with his mighty kicks, but Santana, Ortiz, and Sammy all have a huge amount of in-ring charisma and a silly streak to their style that fits well with this kind of goofy match.  It also helps that The Jurassic Express is getting better and better each time they show up as they come up with some truly inspired and cheesy tandem techniques like this awesome TRIPLE SUPER KICK that looks straight out of a Tokusatsu series!  So they fight and fight and fight until everyone is out of the ring except Sammy and Jungle Boy.  Sammy has that loaded sock thing that Santana and Ortiz always bring with them, but while he’s lining up his sights on Jungle Boy, Darby Allin comes out of nowhere and grabs the sock out of his hand; distracting him long enough for Jungle Boy to get his bearings and roll him up for the pin!  Darby, while still maintaining his serious demeanor, celebrates with The Jurassic Express and his message is clear to Sammy; come Saturday at the PPV, his ass is grass!

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After the match we get a recap of the Cody/MJF feud.  Does a good job of summarizing everything which is great for those who may not be fully in the know, but I’ve seen it all as it happened so I don’t have much to add here.

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Best Friends Vs. The Butcher and The Blade (Andy Williams and Braxton Sutter)

Best Friends are accompanied to the ring by Orange Cassidy while The Butcher and The Blade are accompanied by The Bunny (Allie).

I’ll be honest, after coming done from the Iron Man match and the silly Jurassic Express match; this is the one I kind of checked out on.  It happens sometimes and usually hits me right in the middle of the show, but even if there’s nothing wrong I just find myself tuning out.  It was a solid enough match though, and I’ll try to recap what I remember.  Right off the bat, something that stuck out to me was when the Butcher does this weird stomp thing which I can only assume is his submission to the Ministry of Silly Walks.  If that’s like a THING from somewhere else, they certainly didn’t bother explaining it here.  For most of the match The Butcher and The Blade work over Trent who I’ll be honest is definitely the standout of the two Best Friends.  Unless they’re building up to an eventual split between them, it might help if Chuck Taylor wasn’t so obviously doing less than the other guy in these matches, but for what IS there it’s well done.  My favorite part was when The Blade throws Trent so he lands on his stomach on the top rope before being bounced back and landing on the mat.  THAT must have sucked!  At some point the ring clears out and so Orange Cassidy and The Bunny jump in to finish the business that was started at the Battle Royale last week which if you don’t recall had The Bunny kneeing Cassidy right in the balls.  Now since they aren’t on a boat in international waters TNT isn’t about to let these two have a pull apart brawl, so instead Orange Cassidy tries to put his hands in his pockets, but Bunny stops him and steals his glasses!  Oh, shots have been fired now!  Orange then takes her bunny ears and puts them on his head!  What a power move by Orange Cassidy!  Bunny tries for another nut shot but Orange blocks the shot and then he ducks a swing from her as well as dodges a hit from The Blade who’s made it back to the ring.  He then dives out of the ring to take out Butcher which gives Trent just enough time to get the pin on The Blade.  I GUESS the feud has been settled?  I’m not sure but it was a solid enough bite sized match to throw in this episode.

Most importantly however, once the match is over it is made official that Orange Cassidy will be fighting Pac at Revolution on Saturday!  WHAT!?  Boy was THAT a fast decision by management, but I’ll take it since this will be Cassidy’s first singles match at the company and I can’t wait to see what he does!!

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Yuka Sakazaki Vs. Big Swole Vs. Shanna Vs. Hikaru Shida – Fatal Four Way

As I’ve said before, the women’s division had started to feel a bit stale with the title picture basically boiling down to three or four competitors, so it’s great that we’re expanding things a bit here by giving some wrestlers airtime that have either been absent from television or barely had a chance to be on there in the first place with the end result being a heck of a good match!  All four of them look pretty good in this, but the standout here was definitely Yuka Sakazaki who I BELIEVE has a new entrance theme and the story of the match was her being constantly underestimated because she’s the small chipper one of the group.  She definitely proves them wrong on several occasions by spoiling pinfalls, lockups, and even pulling off a few great moves of her own, but ultimately the match belonged to Shida who had this great Missile Drop Kick from the top rope that made her look like a superstar, and she ends up winning the match with a running knee on Big Swole that looks to have knocked her out completely before getting pin.  This tells me that she’s gonna get another shot at the title eventually which I don’t recall if she’s had one yet (MAYBE she was in a four way title match at one point?) but the division is definitely growing its talent and it’s paying off with solid matches like this!

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After a merchandise commercial, we get a brief bit from The Dark Order or promise to be at Revolution and that their storyline with SCU and Christopher Daniels will come to a head there.  AWESOME!  Love those guys and I think they’ve found their proper niche at AEW; not necessarily a top heel group like The Inner Circle, but their presence around the mid and bottom card people fits with what their ultimate goals are and I’m interested in where their machinations will eventually pay off.

JR has an interview with the tag teams in the championship match at Revolution, namely Page and Omega as well as The Young Bucks, and BOY this is the most uncomfortable thing in the entire show but in a good way!  The Bucks are low key negging Omega and Page about them being the tag champions which doesn’t go unnoticed, and while Omega is TRYING to be the peacekeeper, Page is doing a very poor job masking his annoyance.  JR is easily the best part of this as the guy stirring the pot for all of this and sits back while the fallout happens before him, but most importantly we seem to be setting up SOME kind of serious division between these four at the conclusion of their title match.  Will Kenny stick with Page while The Bucks go heel?  Will Page be left on his own as Kenny pledges his allegiance to The Elite after the match?  I guess we’ll find out soon enough!

We also get a rundown of the Revolution card after that, and like with the Cody/MJF promo it’s just reiterating what we already know which is good but not something I can really comment futher one.  They do announce one thing however which is that some guy named Lance Archer will be on the show following Revolution.  Who is Lance Archer?  I have no idea but he’s coming to AEW!

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John Moxley and Chris Jericho Weigh-In

I still don’t understand why we’re doing this since we didn’t do a weigh in before any of Jericho’s other matches and it doesn’t even make SENSE considering that AEW doesn’t have weight divisions!  Oh who am I kidding?  This is all just one big ploy for shenanigans, so let’s get on with it!  It starts with some dude name Gary Michael Capetta who is the special guest announcer for this and he calls upon both Moxley and Jericho to enter the ring.  The former does his usual ring entrance from the crowd, but the latter comes out… doing a somber train thing?  The Inner Circle come out in matching outfits, heads down, and hands on the shoulders of the person in front of them; like some sort of funeral procession which I GUESS could be some sort of sports thing but I just found really weird.  Jon Moxley gets on the scale and he weighs 234, so Jericho is up next but he just kind of hems and haws about it because… I don’t know, I guess that’s what jerks do?  I don’t get this segment, but it got a lot of heat from the crowd as Chris Jericho keeps getting booed and messes with the crowd while very slowly taking off his clothes, and they just kept eating it up!  Eventually Moxley gets frustrated and when Jericho gets a LITTLE too close, he head butts him; opening him up pretty badly and causing a lot of blood to spill.  I REALLY hope Jericho doesn’t have to go into the PPV with a broken nose but Moxley may get it worse as The Inner Circle jump him immediately and lay down an unholy beating, but then Dustin Rhodes and Darby Allin hit the ring with the former going after Jake Hager as their brawl goes to the concession area and Allin fending off the rest with his skateboard.  Dustin ends up getting his butt kicked after a low blow from Hagar and a few head first trips into the Dippin’ Dots stand while Sammy lands an AMAZING knee to the face of Allin and ends up beating him with his own skateboard.  Even Moxley can’t avoid a defeat here as Santana hits him with a low blow, Jericho follows up with a Judas Effect, and just for good measure Jericho puts Moxley through a Paradigm Shift right onto the scale in the middle of the ring.  The episode ends Jericho standing tall with blood on his face and the title in his hand.

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For me the episode definitely peaked with that first match and while nothing in the show came even CLOSE to bad or even mediocre, it never really reached that height again.  The Best Friends match wasn’t exactly the most exciting thing in the world nor was the handling of Orange Cassidy’s upcoming match (he gets punched and then he’s on the PPV which if it’s that easy is something I can definitely try myself) and the weigh in didn’t really do it for me at first, but there were some solid matches with throughout and the show ended in a very high note!  Stay tuned for my recap of Revolution which looks to be an EXCELLENT show!

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