Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (03-11-20)

AEWDYNAMITE

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

We’re back with even more of the Wednesday Night Wars and AEW’s weekly shot across the bow!  With Revolution behind us and the Blood and Guts special mere weeks away, do they succeed at building up the feuds and alliances that will define the next few months of their promotion?  Let’s find out!!

The episode begins with an Adam Page interview as Tony Schiavone asks him who his MYSTERY tag team partner will be.  Yeah, so as it turns out, putting on ONE OF THE GREATEST TAG TEAM MATCHES OF ALL TIME has left its mark on at least one of the competitors as Kenny Omega is out of action for a few weeks from a hand injury which means that Page has to team up with someone for this match and for some reason he felt the need to keep it a secret.  A mystery partner angle isn’t exactly hyping me up for the match, but then I’m watching this show every week come hell or high water, so maybe the gimmick works for someone else who was on the fence about seeing this week’s episode.  Perhaps one of the reasons the mystery isn’t doing much for me is that everyone kind of assumed that it would be Matt Jackson and sure enough The Young Bucks are on hand to stand awkwardly to the side while this interview is going on, but in a shocking twist of fate Page assures us that there is no way in HECK he’ll be teaming with Matt Jackson and that he’d rather go with Nick if he had to choose between them.  His beef with Matt Jackson has been clear for some time now, so it actually makes sense that he wouldn’t CHOOSE to work with him (Page’s current character is far from a “I don’t like you but I respect you” mindset) and he’s still keeping it a secret as to who he will be teaming up with later in the show.  It was a fun little segment that managed at least turn me around somewhat on the angle.  While I was skeptical at first, this at least made the whole thing kinda funny and I’m interested in seeing where this ultimately goes..

Cody Vs. Ortiz

Cody is accompanied to the ring by Brandi Rhodes and Arn Anderson while Ortiz is accompanied by Santana

Cody’s had a bit of a rough shake lately with his match at Revolution not exactly lighting the world on fire, his neck tattoo that everyone is making fun of, and especially talking to that he got from Jake the Snake Roberts last week telling him to stop being a cry baby.  If he still wants to be the top Babyface at the company, he’s gonna need to pick up a few wins and a good deal of momentum so this match with Ortiz is a good first step… unless this is the night that Arn Anderson turns on him in which case he falls a bit further down the mountain and will have to work that much harder to get back up.  Does this match succeed?  Well it doesn’t HURT Cody, but I don’t think it manages to do as much as it could have done for him.  Cody looks good right off the bat as Ortiz doesn’t seem to be keeping up with him as a singles competitor and the crowd is all over it.  However, after only a few minutes into the match, Jake the Snake Roberts comes out with his client who turns out to be Lance Archer.  I still have no idea who that is or why I should care, but the crowd is losing their mind over it and then the two of them… take a seat.  In the audience.  And watch the match.  This turns out to be a HUGE distraction as the crowd keeps looking over to them to see if they do anything, and so Cody is only getting half as much attention as he should be getting which seems counterproductive for a number of reasons.  If you don’t know who Lance Archer is, you’re not getting anything here; no promo, no backstory from the announce team, not even an entrance to give you a sense of their style and attitude.  For Jake, it honestly feels like a step down for him to just sit there and do nothing when he was such a firebrand in the last episode.  The match keeps going I guess even with that giant elephant to the side of the room, and it’s still really solid; particularly Santana and Ortiz who are so great and can act like a comedy duo while still having respect, gravitas, and menace.  Ortiz keeps getting the advantage over Cody due to cheap tactics and distractions from Santana, but he’s overcocky and takes his time when he’s sure that he’s got the advantage.  Arn and Brandi however are not idle here (at least not for the whole match) and they start running interference on Santana’s interference, the match starts to turn in back in Cody’s favor.  Lance Archer then TEASES getting into the ring area, but doesn’t actually do it and then he and Jake just walk out of the arena so a whole lot of good that did.  The match ends soon after that however as Cody works the leg of Ortiz with VICIUOS abandon and puts him in a Figure Four lock for the win.  This was a darn good match, but the Jake and Archer bits were simply not necessary here and distracted from an otherwise entertaining showcase from these two.

After the match Santana and Ortiz attack Cody which prompts Arn to get in the ring to protect him and for Matt Jackson and Kenny Omega (the latter wearing a cast) to come down and make the save.  So apparently it was announced over the weekend that the big Blood and Guts match is going to be between The Elite and The Inner Circle which explains why this match happened in the first place, and also explains what happens next.  While these three members of The Elite are in the ring, Jericho along with Sammy and Jake Hager get on the screen and taunt them and to show that they’ve laid out Nick Jackson who is trapped under a door and bleeding from the mouth.  Everyone gets to him as soon as possible including Dustin who gets a thumbs up for his pastel blue plaid shirt, and Nick is carted off to a hospital in an ambulance.  I’m guessing this is the excuse to get him off television for a few weeks as he goes to be with his wife for the birth of their third child, and it’s a heck of a motivation for the rest of The Elite to seek vengeance on Jericho and his crew.

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Kris Statlander & Hikaru Shida Vs. Bea Priestly & Nyla Rose

Oh hey!  We haven’t seen Priestly here for a while!  Well Excalibur helpfully explains that she had moved full time to Japan which is why we haven’t seen her recently, and I’m guessing she’s going to be back for a few weeks considering what’s going on over there with all the wrestling shows being shut down while the Coronoa Virus runs its course.  I’m not quite sure why we’re doing a sort of rematch already between Statlander and Rose, but with the inclusion of Priestly and Shida it should end up being a lot of fun!  Rose and Priestly as the heels jump the gun and start beating on Statlander and Shida simultaneously at the sound of the bell, but it eventually gets to a proper match as Rose starts to MERCILESSLY destroy Shida in the middle of the ring.  Nyla looks a lot better here than she did at Revolution and I’m gonna give all that to Shida as a good working partner for here.  Similarly, Priestly is actually a pretty good matchup with Statlander and the match is solid for the most part.  A weird moment here and there, but I do like all the wrestlers involved and I think they’re all trying to bring their A-Game to this match which is definitely appreciated.  Towards the end Nyla Rose picks up Shida to set her up for some move from Priestly off the top rope, but Shida rallies and decks Priestly in the face before reversing Nyla’s hold into a Huricanrana.  She then runs up the top rope with the dazed Priestly and lands a superplex from the top rope which looks absolutely devastating and takes out Nyla’s backup.  Turns out she didn’t need it however as Shida gets up to go after Nyla next but instead receives a HELLACIOUS spear which is followed up by a Beast Bomb that gives Nyla the win.

Now you’d think that winning this match would be a GOOD thing for Rose, but as it turns out Priestly is not someone to be trusted as SHE wants the belt as well and pounds on Nyla before taking her belt and mockingly throwing it back.  Clearly THE BEAST can’t trust anyone (at least not her fellow heels) which will certainly make her title run a perilous one.  It’s one of the better matches that the women’s division has had in a few weeks (certainly since Riho lost the belt) and I hope they only get better from here!

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Christopher Daniels Calls Out The Dark Order – Will The Exalted One Show Themselves?

This was an ABSOLUTELY brilliant promo and the best thing on the show so far!  Christopher Daniels, in the style of those Dark Order infomercials, lays out the history of The Dark Order as well as their lousy tactics and even worse ring success.  Just like the ACTUAL Dark Order infomercials, this promo have a distinct sense of humor to it that is very reminiscent of the best of Tim & Eric’s work and the ultimate purpose of this is to call out both Stu Grayson and Evil Uno for singles matches.  If the Exalted One is SO great, then he’ll SURELY show himself and help out his protégés if Daniels gets the better of them, right?  Well we’ll have to see what happens, but I’m still impressed with just how much I genuinely care about the Dark Order stuff when they were such a sour note in those initial PPVs.  It just goes to show that AEW can fix their mistakes when they need to and make something brilliant where other promotions would have just given up on it.

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Jurassic Express Vs. MJF & The Butcher and the Blade – Six Man Tag Match

MJF is accompanied to the ring by Wardlow while The Butcher and The Blade are accompanied by The Bunny

In case it hasn’t been made clear in previous recaps, I am a HUGE mark for The Jurassic Express and am always excited to see their matches!  It starts well with Marko in the ring with MJF; the latter of whom shoves the former over and starts gloating.  Marko then tags Luchasaurus who scares MJF so badly he scampers right back to his corner to get some backup.  Oddly enough though he doesn’t actually tag anyone else in; instead he stays in the ring and distracts Luchasaurus while The Butcher and The Blade attack from behind.  It was a bit of an odd exchange, but the end goal was to get Luchasaurus stuck in their corner as they proceed to beat him up for quite a bit.  Sadly I lost a few minutes of the show at this point but they were STILL beating him up when I got back so I don’t think I missed much.  At some point however he does start to get away and with The Blade and MJF trying to drag him down by his legs, he slowly stomps his way over to Jungle Boy to make the hot tag and runs wild on these dorks which drives the crowd wild.  The Butcher looks like he might have stopped Jungle Boy’s momentum in its tracks, but Marko Stunt comes out of nowhere and jumps on his shoulders; freeing his partner and continuing their assault which then leads to Luchasaurus lands simultaneous choke slams on MJF and The Blade.  All great stuff that gets a huge reaction from the crowd and at one point Marko gets in and starts stomping on MJF who’s knocked out in the corner.  Marko then tries to set MJF for a jump from the top rope by Jungle Boy, but Bunny gets the distraction on ref Aubrey which gives The Blade a chance to shove Jungle Boy to the floor and for Wardlow to know out Luchasaurus outside the ring.  With Marko alone in the ring, MJF puts him in an arm bar and Marko taps immediately.  What can I say?  It was a GREAT goofy little match right in the middle of the show, and I enjoyed every minute of it; or at least every minute I ACTUALLY saw.

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We get another Darby Allin video where he’s wearing a shoddy Jericho mask and puts a dummy (or maybe it’s actually a living person?) inside a body bag wearing a Sammy mask.  The body bag is attached to a truck and Darby drives it around for a bit; dragging the body bag behind it.  I’m not sure about this one.  Dragging a body like that skates right up to the line of good taste and you don’t want to muddy the waters TOO much with Allin who has gotten over like very few have at this company.

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After that, Britt Baker and Tony Schiavone are out on the ramp and do their shtick as Baker gets some cheap heat from the crowd.  Look, I haven’t liked her stand-up routine since she started doing it on the boat and I’m still not enjoying it now; especially this week as it seems a bit mean spirited with the Utah jokes.  Thankfully Big Swole comes out and tells Baker to shut up which is ABSOLUTELY GREAT and sets up a match for them further down the road, so perhaps they HAVE done a good job of building up Baker as a bad guy.  Still doesn’t mean I’m particularly interested in seeing her do this week in and week out.

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Private Party & Joey Janela Vs. The Lucha Bros & Pac  – Six Man Tag Match

Perhaps I was a bit too skeptical about the DEATH TRIANGLE that formed during the last episode between Pentagón Jr, Rey Fénix, and Pac.  Even if I’m not sure what either party gets out of this alliance, they have plenty of time to tell the story and I have no doubt that they’re going to put on some EXCELLENT matches; including this one hopefully as Private Party and Joey Janela have been kind of pushed to the side as of late and could really stand to have a great showcase of their talent.  The match itself ended up being a lot like the last match; plenty of fun, lots of big moves from the Babyfaces, and a crowd that was certainly into the spectacle.  The only problem with the match though, and it is admittedly a big one for me, is that it feels like it should have been a squash match.  As much as I like Private Party and Joey Janela, they should not have had THIS close of a match with a team THIS strong.  MJF has always been something of a joke so him lucking into victories is part of his gimmick which is part of why the last match worked as well as it did, but this is supposed to be THE most deadly team imaginable given who’s a part of it, and it feels like a bad start for them to not have a match they completely dominated in.  Aside from that it’s a good match.  Private Party and Joey run roughshod over DEATH TRIANGLE for most of the match, but they eventually get themselves together and DESTROY the other team; particularly Joey who eats like three finishers before Pac finally takes him out with a Black Arrow.

DEATH TRIANGLE start to pound on the other team as soon as they win the match, and so The Best Friends with Orange Cassidy come out to make the save which I’m assuming means that’s the match we’re building up to.  Should be fun I guess, though I don’t really see The Best Friends as being THAT much more of a match against these guys than Private Party did; even with the amazing Orange Cassidy backing them up.

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After all that, we get a video promo with Dustin Rhodes who is no longer wearing his delightful pastel blue plaid shirt and is full ring gear.  He spits some serious fire here against The Inner Circle and tells Adam Page that HE’S gonna be his tag team partner whether he likes it or not which is totally AWESOME is a much better use of his talents than having him kiss a woman in the crowd.

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We also get an update on the SEARCH FOR SPEARS hashtag thing where we see a bunch of people’s social media posts about how they should be his partner including… SIMON MILLER!?  Holy crap, they used a clip from Ups and Downs!  That’s pretty cool!  Now that I think about it, maybe I should submit a video…

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AEW Blood and Guts – What are the Rules?

Okay, so here’s what we’ve got as far as the rules for the upcoming Blood and Guts match; rules given to us with no particular fanfare or in ring promo, but whatever!

Two men enter the cage for one five minute round.

Then, every two minutes another participant enters.

The match OFFICIALLY begins after all ten men have entered the cage.

The winning team is determined by making any opponent submit or surrender. No pinfalls, no count outs.

Welp.  I mean that SOUNDS a heck of a lot like War Games, and this is coming from a guy who’s only seen ONE War Games show just a few minutes prior to writing this, but I guess we’ll have to see if it plays out any differently.  They certainly don’t specify if it’s gonna be multiple rings or if the cage is going to have a roof or not.

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JR has an interview with Jon Moxley where it’s clarified that he is NOT medically cleared to be at AEW.  For how long?  Well he doesn’t specify, but he talks about his ongoing battle with The Inner Circle.  He may have the advantage now since he has the belt, but he’s got some bad odds against him considering he’s still the LONE WOLF of the company while The Inner Circle is a well-oiled machine.  Still, he is absolutely defiant and is refusing to give an inch despite all the damage The Inner Circle has done to him and his return will certainly be an interesting one; especially if he comes back specifically for Blood and Guts.  The Elite could certainly use another member since Nick Jackson got pulverized!  This was better than the overly sappy speech he gave at the start of the last episode, but I do wish he was actually ON the show instead of just in this taped segment.  I guess if he was back already though it’d undercut the menace of The Inner Circle who DEFINITELY need to look strong at this particular juncture.

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Adam Page and Dustin Rhodes Vs. Chris Jericho and Sammy Guevara

Dustin is accompanied to the ring by QT Marshall and Brandi Rhodes while Jericho and Sammy are accompanied by The Inner Circle.

The crowd is super-hot for this match right off the bat which you probably could have assumed since Adam Page and Chris Jericho are two of the most over wrestlers in the entire company.  Page and Dustin are looking good at the start of the match with a strong offense, but The Inner Circle eventually get the advantage which leads to perhaps the most memorable part of the match; when Jericho grabs a beer from the audience and mocks Adam Page before getting clocked in the face and his drink stolen by Page who downs it immediately.  It seems pretty clear that Dustin and Page are simply the better team as they tear Sammy and Jericho APART throughout and that The Inner Circle has to keep interfering to strip away that advantage.  There’s one point where, to cover all their bases, Dustin and Page get up on the SAME post and the former jumps and Jericho and Sammy while the latter takes out The Inner Circle; something that only gives them a momentary reprieve from The Inner Circle’s dastardly machinations, and you have to wonder sometimes why the refs keep allowing them to show up when ALL THEY DO is interfere in the match!  Towards the end it becomes a battle of who can land their finisher first.  Jericho puts Page in the Lion Tamer and almost gets the tap, but Dustin breaks up the hold.  Page then sets up Sammy for the Buckshot Lariat, but Jericho pulls Page off the apron.  Eventually Dustin has Sammy alone in the ring and does a Canadian Destroyer which Page follows up with a Buckshot Lariat for the pin; giving Jericho yet another loss on his very solid win record in this VERY good match!

The Inner Circle IMMEDIATELY pounces on them once the match is over, and Kenny tries to go in for the save but gets taken out by a Judas Effect from Jericho.  Cody then comes out to make the save and actually ends up cleaning house for a hot minute there, at least until Jake Hager lifts him up and throws him back down in something that KIND of looks like an F5.  The Inner Circle then drags Page up to the ramp to Power Bomb him into a table below just like they did to Moxley a week ago, but the difference here is that Page has allies (well… sort of) and so Matt Jackson comes out to make the save and get his revenge for what they did to his brother Nick earlier that night.  Sadly Matt can’t help but give Page the finger which gives Jericho enough time to smash him and then Page with a chair, but at least it’s not a Power Bomb!  Even with that SLIGHT victory, the episode ends with The Elite all broken and defeated while The Inner Circle stands tall and brags into the camera as the screen fades to black.

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This was DEFINITELY an improvement over last week and does a great job of setting up the Blood and Guts match happening in a few weeks.  Some of the other stuff they’re building up feels a bit clunky like Lance Archer just sitting there for a match and DEATH TRIANGLE not getting the strongest of victories, but it was still a really good episode and it’s still a great time to be a wrestling fan!

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