Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (03-25-20)

AEWDYNAMITE

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

We back with week two of AEW Aftermath: The Post-Apocalyptic series where the whole world is gone except for these brave heroes putting on shows in an empty arena for all the zombies and mutants still roaming the wastelands!  I mean good on them for putting out another episode, but I’m not sure how much longer they’re gonna get away with doing this live every week as things seem to only be getting worse in this country.  Still, as long as we have Dynamite I’ll be here to let you know about it!

The episode begins with Cody, Kenny, and Tony in the announcer’s booth.  Apparently JR and Excalibur couldn’t make it for whatever reason; though we are assured that they everyone is fine.  In addition to the lack of announcers, we also don’t have a crowd of wrestlers outside the ring like we did last time.  Instead we have like five dudes in some sort of back room watching the show that we occasionally cut back to.  I don’t want to dock the show for things it can’t control as they clearly had trouble getting as many people as they did, but the people outside the ring cheering and jeering as the matches went on was such a big part of what made last week’s episode work as well as it did.  Thankfully Tony and our rotating cast of announcers try talking AS MUCH as possible during the matches so that it never gets too quiet.

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Cody Vs. Jimmy Havoc

I haven’t been keeping up with Dark, so maybe Jimmy’s been showing up there a few times, but damn has it been a long time!  I remember he was getting a decent enough storyline with Tony Kahn, but I get the feeling that his drunken scuffle with Excalibur halted that right in its tracks.  Still, desperate times call for desperate measures, so I guess Jimmy’s back in good graces for now.  The story of the match is that Cody isn’t really taking Jimmy seriously, and frankly neither is Kenny who’s calling this match with Tony.  They see him as nothing more than a sparring partner to keep Cody in shape between now and the eventual Blood and Guts match which is not a bad idea for a story, but I still don’t feel like Jimmy is proving Cody wrong ENOUGH for him to really start taking him seriously.  Still, Jimmy is a good worker and is willing to get rough and dirty with the biggest Face at the company which is not nothing, and I think a less flashy style works better in an empty arena when there isn’t a crowd to play to.  Cody didn’t get that message however as he does that thing where he runs to the back and then runs back at full speed to do a lariat on his opponent.  It’s a good move, but without a crowd it doesn’t hit as hard.  What DOES hit hard though is when Jimmy takes something called a Reverse Suplex from the top rope which to ME looks an attempt to MURDER the guy by dropping him on his head that he just barely escapes from.  Cody follows that up with two Cross Rhodes which feel rather muted since there was no applause when he hit it, and then he gets the pin to similarly muted effect.  Not a bad match given the circumstances, but just didn’t have the same oomph to it like the matches from last week.

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Jake Roberts pops up on the titantron after the match; sitting in pitch black darkness in front of a roaring campfire.  He talks about how awesome Lance Archer is (sir not appearing in this promo) and demands once again that Cody man up and get in the match with Lance.  I’m ASSUMING we’ll get that match soon enough, but there’s no real rush considering how up the air everything else is in this show… and the rest of the world.  Great!  Now I’m sad again!  ARE YOU HAPPY, JAKE!?  Cody returns to the booth with Tony to announce the rest of the show and says that Lance may be great but he’s not gonna come into AEW and start DEMANDING matches with the top talent!  He’s gotta start somewhere, and he can do that on the next Dynamite.  It’d be good to see him have an ACTUAL match instead of just being built up by Jake Roberts.  I still know nothing about the guy despite his haircut and ability to beat people up in Rob Zombie’s backyard.

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Darby Allin gives us another one of his spooky promos, but this time he actually gives narration.  I mean… it’s not like the narration makes much SENSE, but in that way they’re at least consistent with the other videos he’s done!  Basically he’s telling Kip Sabian that he’s just a stepping stone on his quest for revenge against The Inner Circle which I GUESS is all the justification we need for this upcoming match.

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Darby Allin Vs. Kip Sabian

Kip is accompanied to the ring by Penelope Ford

Unfortunately, I don’t have a WHOLE lot to say about this match.  It was fine and all, but the most memorable thing about this match was something they didn’t intend to happen.  There’s a funny flub here where Cody and Tony sign off for a commercial break… which doesn’t happen, and so after five seconds of awkward silence they start talking again and are interrupted thirty seconds later with the ACTUAL commercial break.  That was pretty hilarious!  I don’t know, maybe I’m underselling this because the match WAS good as Kip is actually a REALLY good worker and is game for almost anything (him and Ford did a great Mixed Tag Match with Kenny and Riho on the Jericho cruise) but this match he has with Darby definitely feels like one that could have used a roaring crowd to really push it into something more than just paint by numbers.  Darby eventually get the win with something that looks like a REALLY complicated surprise roll-up, but according to Tony is called The Last Supper.  Again, it was fine as I doubt either of these guys can really do an outright BAD match, but it felt like a time killer more than anything else.

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Jake Hager Vs. A Jobber

Who is this guy?  Chico Adams?  Boy, this dude didn’t even get a proper entrance.  Clearly we’re here to show off the prowess of Jake Hager and I guess it gets the job done.  I’m still not exactly SOLD on him being a great wrestler, but he’s definitely got the physicality that can be used effectively against the right opponents.  Chico, God bless him, he tries to make the most of his three minutes of fame.  He SCREAMS as much as possible, he’s flailing his arms wildly any chance he gets, and he is selling Hager’s offense like nobody’s business before finally passing out within SECONDS of Hager putting him in a submission hold.

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While Jake Hager is celebrating his easy victory, Jon Moxley comes strolling out from the back like it’s no big thing, and he lands a Paradigm Shift on Hager to remind The Inner Circle that he’s their biggest nightmare and calls out Hager by name for an upcoming title defense.  Now THAT was awesome!  This was an okay squash match and didn’t feel like the lack of a crowd took much from it, but it was that ending that made it great!  Moxley is always awesome; even in this kind of environment!

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After that we get a video package of Brodie Lee calling out Christopher Daniels for being a non-believer which means we’re gonna get to that match eventually.  The more INTERESTING promo is right after that where Brodie Lee is in a fine ass suit eating a steak dinner while John Silver and Alex Reynolds are sitting around the table looking ABSOLUTLEY TERRIFIED.  John Silver gets up the nerve to try and take a bite of the meal set out in front of him, but Brodie blows up at him and kicks his ass out for DARING to eat before he does!  Some people just don’t have any class, isn’t that right Alex Reynolds?  Oh wait, you’re gonna SNEEZE!?  While the Exalted One is EATING!?  GET THE HECK OUT OF HERE TOO!  Damn I love The Dark Order, and Brodie Lee is REALLY getting what his role is here!  I am SO pumped for this match now!

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Brodie Lee Vs. QT Marshall

Brodie Lee is accompanied to the ring by a single creeper

Dude doesn’t even wait for the bell to ring before landing a big boot on QT Marshall which basically spells doom for him.  Brodie’s just playing with his food at this point and he does a great job of playing to his size and portraying a truly despicable demeanor.  I’d say that the only downside is that his style feels a bit TOO slow, but then I’ve always been more of a high flyer guy and something a bit less high paced isn’t necessarily a bad thing.   With only a VERY brief comeback from QT Marshall, Brodie Lee wipes the floor with him and gets the pin with almost no effort.  The single creeper who accompanied him offers QT Marshall a mask to join The Dark Order; leaving it on his bruised and broken body right in the middle of the ring.  The Dark Order is still riding high as far as I’m concerned, and we’ll have to see if Brodie Lee can make them a faction on the level of The Inner Circle and The Elite instead of being stuck as REALLY good mid-carders.

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Medical Update on Nick Jackson – Is He Returning Anytime Soon!?

The reason they wrote Nick Jackson off the show two weeks ago is because he wanted time off to be with his wife who would soon be giving birth, and I’m sure that COVID-19 is only making more glad that he got out when he did.  Still staying in storyline though, we now have an update on his condition which is… well it’s certainly something.  Okay, so apparently the drone from last week’s episode was a character in Matt Hardy’s Broken-verse (I have no idea), and so the medical update is coming from it.  It flies into Nick Jackson’s yard, we can see him doing pull ups in the garage, and then it flies away.  Okay then!  I mean… I’ve got to admit; I’ve NEVER seen anything like that in wrestling so I’ll give them points for originality!

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Kenny Omega Vs. Sammy Guevara – AAA Mega Championship Match

Wait what?  What belt is this exactly?  The only thing they bother explaining here is that he won it off of Rey Fénix back in October, but other than that they don’t clarify where this belt even came from or what promotion it belongs to.  I THINK AAA is a Spanish promotion, but it’d be nice for a bit of clarification.  With that out of the way, let’s talk about how awesome Sammy is!  This is a guy who will become THE next big thing in wrestling sooner rather than later, and already he’s a huge deal at this company!  He’s just so talented in a way that wrestlers with twice as many years of experience can only hope to achieve, and only time will really tell but him and Allin may just be the next Daniel Bryan; guys who represent the best of a new style of wrestling and will work darn hard for their place at the top of the mountain.  To that end, Sammy puts on an AWESOME and competitive match with Kenny who’s still dealing with a bad hand and is worked over mercilessly by Sammy.  As usual though, Sammy ends up getting in his own way; choosing to show off and doing some intentionally bad comedy skits which gives Kenny more than enough time to recover and turn Sammy inside out.  The weirdest moment of the match is when Sammy picks up this piece of paper with a caricature of Brandi Rhodes, and he just starts making out with it.  WITH tongue.  We cut to Brandi and yeah, she is not amused by this.  Sammy later tries getting right up in Brandi’s face and all he gets is a slap in the face.  MAYBE that’s going a bit too far into goofy territory, especially considering there’s a title on the line, but it’s still two very talented guys putting on a heck of a show!  The two of them keep throwing powerful moves at each other as Kenny can’t seem to put him down no matter how many V-Triggers he lands while Sammy can’t put an end to the match despite absolutely wrecking Kenny’s hand and some truly ridiculous moves; such as a Cutter he lands by springing off the rope and a reversal he lands after Kenny attempts a Power Bomb of some kind.  As good of a fight as Sammy puts up here, Kenny FINALLY manages to get the victory after landing a One Winged Angel on Sammy.  It was a hard fought victory, and a REALLY great match to witness that was so good that I didn’t even notice the lack of a crowd which I can’t say about every match on this show.

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Chris Jericho and Matt Hardy Clash – Will Jericho Be DELETED!?

Jericho’s entrance is AWESOME!  As you know, someone HAS to sing Jericho’s theme every time he comes out so this time they got one of the camera dudes to start singing it at which point Jericho takes the camera and points it back on the guy so we get to see him belt it out on our screen.  THAT was amazing!  Jericho then talks smack about The Elite and gives Matt Hardy a chance to make the RIGHT decision which would be to join The Inner Circle.  As much as Jericho comes off as a cold and conniving, all he wants are some more friends!  In response to this plea, Matt Hardy’s drone (which apparently is called Vanguard) flies down to the ring and Jericho decides to start talking to it.  Watching Chris Jericho calls Vanguard a piece of trash is a PHENOMINAL experience that I can’t believe actually happened on television, and Jericho becoming utterly INFURIATED when it starts to fly away was just the icing on the cake!  That was simply an appetizer for what’s to come as Matt Hardy’s music hit and he shows up at the top of the arena… before jump cutting around the arena to the utter BEWILDERMENT of Chris Jericho!  This is AMAZING right here!  I freaking LOVE what they’re doing with Matt Hardy and I’m glad that they’re coming up with creative things to do with the fact that they have an empty arena to work with.  What happens next is one of the GREATEST segments that AEW has ever done.  This is up there with the hilarious promo The Inner Circle did where Sammy called Jericho the youngest AEW champion.  This is as much fun as the best Jurassic Express match or the MJF getting twenty straight minutes to yell at the camera.  Matt Hardy is giving this his hammy best and is absolutely captivating to watch portray this character.  I really haven’t seen much of Broken Matt Hardy before now outside of the few matches he did with Bray Wyatt, but none of that really captured the depth to which he is truly committed to this ludicrous character and the sincerity with which he believes in it!  Jericho is utterly exasperated by Matt’s continuous refusal to join The Inner Circle and smacks him across the face.  Matt follows up with a punch of his own which knocks his ass straight to the ground.  It seems like Hardy has him beat, but Jericho has a magic trick of his own called CALL SAMMY OUT HERE TO KICK BUTT, which seems pretty self-explanatory but proves to be quite effective as they proceed to stomp a mud hole into Hardy.  Cody and Omega are not about to be mere spectators however and come to the ring with chairs to fend them off.  With Cody, Omega, and Hardy standing tall in the ring, Jericho and Sammy try to leave… BUT THEY CAN’T!  Matt Hardy, THE BROKEN WIZARD OF WRESLTING, has taken control of the pyro and blasts of huge columns of flames whenever Jericho and Sammy try to run to the back which is how we end the episode; those two looking terrified and Matt Hardy looking SPECTACULARLY amused!  He’s not the only one because holy crap was this fun to watch!  This was everything I love about wrestling, at least as far as the over the top characters and ridiculous stories, all rolled into ten minutes of pure joy and I cannot WAIT to see more of Broken Matt Hardy; not just on upcoming Dynamite episodes, but I’m gonna watch his other matches and that YouTube show he has!

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While everything wasn’t firing on all cylinders due to the fact that they had to cut down even MORE this week, they put on a GREAT show with the resources they had and even managed to make something that wouldn’t have worked in any other setting.  Yes, Matt Hardy getting cheered and people chanting Delete would have been great, but we’re going to get that at some point.  THIS is the only time we are ever going to get something like these empty arena shows and AEW has been trying harder than most to make the format work to their benefit.  Sometimes it doesn’t exactly work like with that Cody match to kick things off with or those underwhelming shots of wrestlers in the back trying to sound amped up while watching the match on a monitor, but when it works as well as it does wit that Jericho/Hardy segment it’s hard to complain about the slight missteps that preceded it.  FIND THIS SEGMENT wherever you can, and if AEW are as savvy as I think they are, they’ll have put it up on their YouTube page by the time you’re reading this!  I’ll understand if this is the last Dynamite we get for a while (they were working with a skeleton crew last week that somehow got even smaller here) and I will be there the MOMENT they come back!  ALL HAIL BROKEN MATT HARDY!!

 

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