AEW Dynamite is owned by All Elite Wrestling, Shahid Khan, and TNT
With the events of Revolution fresh in our minds, this Dynamite has a lot to live up to and a lot to unfold. Does this wrap up the stories of the PPV while also forging a bold path forward for the company and its stars? Let’s find out!!
We begin with Jon Moxley taking a particularly long walk through the crowd to the ring; his belt over his shoulder and a determined look on his face as he grabs the mic to tell the crowd what’s what. The thing is though, I’m not sure I’m all for the message that he’s delivering here which is that YOU THE FANS are what makes AEW great! YOU THE FANS are the best thing about this company, and this belt belongs to YOU!! Yeah… I don’t know. That kind of fan appreciation just comes off as cloying and even if you could classify Moxley as a Babyface, he’s not THAT much of a Babyface. Like, I hear about what Drew McIntyre’s been saying lately as he tries to make his big face turn in anticipation for his match against Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania, and it’s just not what I want from that guy; it’s certainly not what I want from Jon Moxley here! That’s just me though and it’s not the entirety of the promo. He makes sure to call out The Inner Circle as well and dares them to come after him whenever and wherever. See, THAT’S what I want from Jon Moxley, and apparently that’s what Jericho wants as well as he comes out as soon as Moxley offers the challenge. Now Jericho’s big gambit to save face here is to call Moxley a cheater because he could see out of both eyes in that match while pretending to only see out of one. I mean… it KIND of makes sense which makes it a great troll excuse because he DID come in under false pretenses to a title match. I mean if he went into the match with a cast or only one arm and then out of nowhere he’s fighting with more limbs, then that’s SOMETHING, but it’s paper thin at best; especially considering how much interference The Inner Circle had in the match. Jericho then promises that because Moxley won the belt in such a dishonest way that he has UNLEASHED HELL UPON THE WORLD and that all the wrestlers at AEW are on notice for a beat down from The Inner Circle. If they have a problem with that, talk to Moxley. In fact, Jericho is SO convinced of the efficacy of his Reign of Terror that he promises Jon Moxley, if he can walk out of the arena tonight, he will take a leave of absence for SIXTY DAY from AEW! Now I don’t know if this is just an angle or if Jericho has some time off scheduled, but it certainly raises the stakes for the main event! Jon Moxley is not impressed with this AT ALL and welcomes the challenge that Jericho has brought before him which we’ll see later tonight. This was a REALLY great opening segment that managed to give us something worth staying tuned to the end of the show for, and certainly helped to put Moxley over as a star while also showing The Inner Circle as a still dominate force even without the belt.
SCU & Colt Cabana Vs. The Dark Order – Eight Man Tag Match
Evil Uno knows that The Dark Order isn’t just Alex Reynolds and John Silver, right? I mean they’ve GOT more than two creepers at all time, so why don’t they get a shot in the spotlight? I guess they’re they closing things to BIG NAME STARS they have which is a little bit sad, but then again doesn’t this mean The Dark Order are KIND of underdogs? I mean it’s not like anyone else is trying to do something for the jobbers at this company, all the while Stu and Uno are letting them fight with them in their matches! The match itself is solid enough for a high flying tag match and Silver and Reynolds actually do pretty well in here! They start as a bunch of losers taking bumps for SCU, but as the match goes along they start to work together and have a few standout moments; especially a flurry of offense against Christopher Daniels that I’m pretty sure led to a nearfall! The one who stood out for me however, even more so than those two, was Evil Uno. Sure, he’s SOMETIMES been aloof in their previous segments where he’d let the creepers throw the punches and take the beatings while he stood behind, but he’s a real leader here! The two creepers with him and Stu are not merely expendable pawns; he actually WORKS with them and PROTECTS them throughout the match, which is very nice to see and gives The people who might JOIN The Dark Order a reason to do so. The only thing that doesn’t really work for me is Colt Cabana as I have no idea who he is and he’s not in the match too much. I feel like if I DID know who this was (like if Luke Harper showed up for this match) that I’d have a stronger reaction to it, but the fact is I have no preconceived notions of the guy and there wasn’t enough of him in here for me to form much of an opinion, which also means the ending fell a bit flat for me. Colt Cabana gets one of the creepers up to the top rope (I honestly couldn’t tell if it was Silver or Reynolds) and does something called a Chicago Skyline which basically means he dropped him onto the turnbuckle. After such a devastating maneuver, Cabana then did this strange pin that they called a Superman I think, and he won the match for the forces of good; stymying The Dark Order in their tracks and causing Evil Uno to lose it! HE is absolutely BAFFLED by this turn of events, and he starts screeching like a punk after the match is over; his cool demeanor slipping like it never had before. This was not a bad match! I still like The Dark Order and I still like SCU, but the match lacks is a lot of purpose since it’s basically just a rematch from the PPV. We don’t learn much about Cabana, we don’t get to see The Exalted one yet (despite him no longer being under WWE contract; wink-wink), but you know what? I’ll take it! There’s always room for a bit of fun nonsense on this show!
Big Swole Vs. The Librarian Leva Bates
The Librarian Leva Bates is accompanied to the ring by The Librarian Peter Avalon
Speaking of fun nonsense! I haven’t been keeping up with Dark so I have no idea if Leva Bates and Peter Avalon have been around in the last few months. I don’t HATE their gimmick, and it’s nice to have some wrestlers on the show who can easily be jobbed out for the bigger talent! Big Swole could definitely use a few straightforward wins if she’s going to be one of the next challengers for Nyla Rose’s belt, and considering how the Women’s match was on the PPV where both of them looked pretty green, it’s a good idea to get these newer talents as much practice as possible. Too bad that’s not what happened here, but we’ll get to that soon enough. WAY sooner than you think! First of all, Leva Bates got the jobber entrance!? BOO!! Swole got HER entire entrance but no time for The Librarian’s shtick I guess! Anyway, this is basically EVERYTHING that happened; Peter Avalon takes a kick to the face almost immediately, and Leva Bates eats Big Swole’s finishing move (a spinning punch thingy?) almost as fast for the pin. The end. Match is over in less than two minutes. I’d hardly call that PRACTICE, but at least it made Big Swole look good and I like seeing Peter getting hurt so all’s well that ends well!
Cody Promo – What’s The Future Hold For Him?
Cody comes out to the ring still to thunderous applause with something clearly on his mind. I’d honestly like him to apologize for that crappy band on the PPV, but instead he calls out MJF and DEMANDS that he looks him in the eye and says he won fair and square, because clearly he didn’t! Except… well I mean… HE DID! Cody DID whip him with a belt in the middle of the match with no DQ from the referee, so MJF using the ring later in the match seems like fair play to me! Well as you’d expect MJF does not come, but someone ELSE does! Someone I didn’t even know was still alive frankly, but as it turns out Jake the freaking Snake Roberts is still kicking and has decided to show up in AEW! His promo is basically to tell Cody to stop whining about his loss (I’m with him so far) and that he has this CLIENT of his that’ll face him in a match… soon. Who is the CLIENT? I guess we’ll find out… soon, but we DO know that Jake will be there at ringside to cheer him on because I guess he just doesn’t like Cody as much as the rest of us do and wants to see him bleed. All things considered, the dude actually did cut a decent promo here! We don’t know who this CLIENT of his is, but I’m guessing it’s Lance Archer who was just announced as joining AEW last week which I GUESS should be interesting (yet another guy I’ve never heard of), and it gives a bit of breathing room between Cody and MJF that’ll make the next phase of their feud feel much less repetitive.
Pac Vs. Chuck Taylor
Chuck Taylor is accompanied to the ring by Trent and Orange Cassidy
So why exactly is this match happening? I know that Pac did beat Orange Cassidy at the PPV, but that felt almost secondary to the ending of the match which had The Lucha Bros coming out to beat up The Best Friends and cause a distraction. Maybe The Lucha Bros couldn’t make it this week and this had to be used as a placeholder match, but even without much context Pac can drag anyone to a good match and it’s not like Chuck Taylor isn’t talented in his own right. I’m sad to say though that this was just not doing it for me and I found the match rather tedious DESPITE Pac being in it. Honestly it felt like the match was about everything EXCEPT the match since the best part (and the part the crowd reacted to strongest) was the three seconds or so that Pac got out of the ring to stare down Orange Cassidy before Chuck kicked him in the head. Chuck did a few good moves here and there in the match, but Pac eventually just put him in the Brutalizer and got the pin to the surprise of absolutely no one, and then we get to the REAL draw of this match which was the promo afterward where The Lucha Bros come out so that Pac can declare their new heel faction; DEATH TRIANGLE! I mean of course they call themselves that. There’s three of them… and they’re deadly I guess? They beat up Orange Cassidy and the Best Friends for a bit so I guess we have a Six Man Tag Match in the future, but honestly this all seems a bit unnecessary. I mean, The Lucha Bros were doing great on their own, Pac was doing great… well he was doing okay on his own, but what do they get by combining forces like this? MAYBE it’ll be like The Inner Circle where they’re just backing each other up constantly, but I feel like you need a LEADER for a faction like that, and they don’t have one of those here. I guess we’ll have to wait and see on this one.
Oh hey! It’s a promo with Shawn Spears! We haven’t seen him in a while! What’s he and Tully up to?
Oh. So apparently there’s a hashtag they want to promote to try and get Shawn a new tag team partner; like one of those cringe worthy stunts where someone tries to get a celebrity to go with them to prom. Okay, well if you have an idea who should be his partner (I vote for Invisible Stan), you can let him know by tweeting #SearchForSpears. Good like with that, Shawn.
Jake Hager Vs. QT Marshall
Jake Hager is accompanied to the ring by Proud N Powerful while QT Marshall is accompanied by Dustin Rhodes and Brandi Rhodes
Jake Hager’s match with Dustin didn’t do a lot for me even if you cut out the really uncomfortable kissing spot, but you know, everyone has a bad match every once in a while! Maybe he was a bit rusty and maybe there were some issues that that kept the PPV match from being all it could be, so let’s see how it works out here with the very reliable QT Marshall! Hager does definitely looks better here as QT Marshall gets a FEW hits here and there (and it’s made clear that Hager’s character is fairly limited as far as offense), but he’s so big and powerful that he can shake off any attack and devastate his opponents with his own. Within a few minutes, Hager has QT Marshall beaten with that standing Triangle Hold he used in the Dusting match and knocks QT out IMMEDIATELY; like he’s a fainting goat or something. After the bell rings Dustin tries to jump Hager which doesn’t go well when Proud N Powerful jump in to back up Hager. Cody runs down the ramp to make the save but when Ortiz grabs a chair he puts Cody down as well. Then Matt Jackson comes out to make ANOTHER save and manages to put Jake Hager down for a bit before falling to them as well. Well at THAT point, Hangman Adam Page comes out with a beer in hand to… well no one knows. Is he ACTUALLY going to try and save The Elite? He enters the ring, faces off with The Inner Circle… and then turns his back; leaving The Inner Circle to continue their assault. BUT WAIT! He’s not LEAVING! He’s just putting down his beer before he Buckshot Lariats the crap out of them and makes the ACTUAL save. All is not well however as he faces off with Matt Jackson and gives him the finger before leaving the ring. It was an alright match I guess and at least it didn’t go on as long as the last one. The post-match brawl was good even if it didn’t really move anything forward and just reiterated what we already knew, at least if we saw the PPV, but I feel like we’re still missing a chance to REALLY move forward here instead of trying rekindle these feuds; unless of course we’re building up to it being The Elite Vs. The Inner Circle at Blood and Guts, but if that’s the case then I’m for clarifying that fact first instead of rehashing these feuds without a clear purpose.
After the match MJF has a video promo where he gloats about his victory over Cody at the PPV and how he’s going to be the AEW champion; presumably setting him up for Moxley match later down the road. He needs to stick it to Cody just a bit more though so he reveals that he’s wearing an I PINNED CODY shirt which he admits is tacky and distracting… just like Cody’s new neck tattoo! OH, HE WENT THERE!!
Jon Moxley & Darby Allin Vs. Chris Jericho & Sammy Guevara
Well dang! Seems a bit early to me for Jericho to get his rematch, but I guess one of the best things about AEW is that you don’t always know what they’re going to do! Him and Sammy get to the ring first followed soon by Darby Allin who is still incredibly over with the AEW crowd. Moxley on the other han didn’t just come down the ramp like everyone else! No, he apparently LEFT THE BUILDING to do his entrance through the crowd one more time which proves to have been a mistake as Proud N Powerful and Jake Hager jump him on his way down to the ring; beating the crap out of him in the concessions area in a spot that reminded me quite a bit of the 1999 Royal Rumble where Vince’s crew took out Austin in a similar fashion. All of a sudden, this becomes a handicap match for Darby who is absolutely game for the challenge and he does alright for himself; even getting a few nearfalls on Jericho and doing a Coffin drop onto ALL FIVE MEMBERS OF THE INNER CIRCLE who had grouped up outside the ring. Still, the numbers prove to be overwhelming and eventually Jericho and Sammy are just toying with him; throwing him around, stepping on him in a contemptuous manner, even doing a pose together which is just about the most adorable thing you could imagine! Darby has ONE last rally in him however and lands a Stunnder on Sammy for yet another nearfall as the pin is broken up by Jericho who IMMEDIATELY escapes to the outside. Darby tries to follow him with a Suicide Dive but in doing so falls into Jericho’s trap as he hits him out of the air with a Judas Effect; the most devastating move in AEW! They push Dabry back into the ring, and Sammy gets the pin which MIGHT be only his second victory at AEW, right? Before The Inner Circle has a chance to celebrate however, Moxley comes out on unsteady legs but is holding a chair and wearing a determined smile as he tries to take on The Inner Circle to no avail. He gets thrown into a table off the side of the stage where he lays out as The Inner Circle comes together to give him a group middle finger right as the show ends.
I think the big problem with this episode is that it assumes most of the audience didn’t actually pay to see Revolution which is probably a fair assessment, but with all the recaps and similar matches to that show, it felt more like a clip show rather than a brand new episode. Frankly I would have preferred they cut short a few of those Revolution recaps to make matches like The Big Swole one longer, or maybe give Colt Cabana more of a chance to shine, but in the end it’s not a BAD episode; just one that’s kind of forgettable outside of the opening segment, Jake the Snake Roberts, and the main event; all of which would take what, thirty minutes? MAYBE forty tops? Frankly this is a good one to save on your DVR to get to later and we’ll just have to wait until next week for a something a little more dynamic.