Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (04-15-20)

AEWDYNAMITE

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

We’re back with another week of A Cody and His Pharaoh; the post-apocalyptic wrestling show that I keep coming up with bafflingly tortured names for!  Still, as hard as it is to make these puns, it’s not NEARLY as difficult as them continuing to try and put out shows in this environment.  Thankfully they’ve supposedly got content through May taped so that challenge is over for the time being, but having a lot of matched to show us doesn’t mean that they’ll all be good ones, so is the collection they have here the cream of the crop, or are they already scraping the bottom of the barrel?  Let’s find out!!

The episode begins with yet another Jake Roberts promo, only while last week he was sitting in chair in front of a roaring fire, I’m pretty sure this one was shot in a particularly dingy bathroom stall.  He says what he says EVERY week which is that Lance is so amazing and that anyone in his way will be utterly destroyed; including Colt Cabana who may be a great wrestler but is nowhere NEAR Archer’s league.  Is this Roberts just blowing smoke up Archer’s ass?  Well we’re about to find out as once again we start the show with his match!

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Colt Cabana Vs. Lance Archer

I kind of feel sorry for Colt Cabana all things considered.  He came in JUST as the COVID-19 crisis started to happen in the US and so it feels like he was pushed to the sidelines while other new people like Brodie Lee, Matt Hardy, and especially Lance Archer are still getting at least some form of push given the circumstances, and frankly there’s no way in heck that they’re gonna halt Archer’s momentum by having him lose in the first round.  Still, this should hopefully be a good showcase of his talents and why he got such a big reaction when he first showed up at AEW.  Before the match even begins Lance Archer decks someone in the audience, so I don’t really like Cabana’s chance’s here considering just how vicious they’re portraying his opponent.  Colt Cabana does hold his own pretty well and they do a great job of putting him over despite how clearly it is that he’s not going to win this match.  He’s in control for a good chunk of the match and is clearly a great wrestler (I’m getting a better sense of him here than at the PPV), but the key is that Lance is an unstoppable slab of meat; a force more so than a man.  Against any other opponent, even top guys like Cody or Omega, I could see it coming down to the wire and Cabana winning in an upset.  Against Lance though, no matter what he throws against him the man will not yield and Colt can only do so much before he is simply overpowered.  It’s kind of like what they’ve been trying to do with Jake Hager, but I think it’s working a lot better with Lance; mostly because he looks good outside of squash matches.  Colt Cabana won’t give up and is taking more punishment than any one person should ever take, but Lance eventually lifts him up for the Blackout (not an easy feat considering Colt is a pretty big guy himself) and drops him down for the pin.  I actually liked this match quite a bit, and while Colt may not have won here he definitely proved himself to anyone who had no idea who he is or what makes him so beloved by the fans.

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We get a Britt Baker promo after that where she’s in full dentist getup inside a dentist office with a giant notepad; going over the rules of being a good role model that’s very reminiscent of Dennis going over the D.E.N.N.I.S. System.  She’s really coming into her own as a heel, and I like this version of her much more than her so-so stand-up routine in front of the crowd.

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In trying to build up the Hager/Moxley fight later tonight, we get some fight analysis from Taz which… I mean look, I’m not watching wrestling because of the expertly executed and painful move sets so all this MMA style anaylsis is just going WAY over my head.  For all I know Taz is talking total nonsense here, but I guess if nothing else it’s nice to hear from him again.

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Casandra Golden Vs. Britt Baker

Wait, is this the person Shida beat two weeks ago?  If it is, she certainly didn’t get an entrance that time despite her getting one now, and I get the feeling she’ll not do much better tonight against Britt Baker.  It kind of makes me wonder why they had her lose to Shida last week if we’re gonna keep building up this feud between them, but in any case she gets an easy win here which… was fine I guess.  I’m not feeling Baker as much as a lot of other people are apparently, and I didn’t feel like this match did much for her.  Still, they’ve got to try and fill out these shows with matches so Baker getting another win under her belt isn’t a bad use of that time.

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The Bubbly Bunch – The Inner Circle On Skype

This was… interesting!  The Inner Circle has done some great work with video promos, and while I didn’t like this as much as say the bit with Christ Jericho in the hot tub with Vanguard 1, there were a lot of solid gags in here as they talk about how great they are and how much The Elite sucks.  My favorite bits were seeing that Ortiz has a Grinch doll (he’s now my favorite!), and a joke Jericho does at the very end that at the end that was a bit corny but he manages to sell it!

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Sammy Guevara Vs. Sugar Dunkerton

Normally I would have called him a Jobber, but AEW bothered to make a graphic for this match so I guess I’ll give him his proper name.  Then again it’s not like Jericho knows what it is, referring to him over and over again as Pineapple Pete, but I digress.  The match was fine, but honestly I could barely pay attention to it considering just how funny Jericho’s commentary was here.  He’s been on fire ever since he started sitting in with Tony, but he was SO hilarious here!  Sammy always brings out the best in him, and I hope they NEVER EVER break up as a team.  Even if The Inner Circle doesn’t last forever, these two must never separate!  Sugar Dunkerton is definitely giving off a New Day vibe that actually works for him when I can manage to pay attention to the fight itself which is a shame that his debut was here, but I do want to see more of him if AEW plans on signing the guy.  Sammy eventually wins with a move that sadly they don’t bother to name so I have to describe it here.  Basically a Torture Rack (hold the guy up sideways behind your head) that Sammy then flips him over and smashes him in the face with the knee, and he gets the pin immediately.  Sammy grabs the mic afterwards and promises to beat the crap out of Darby Allin in the TNT tournament and proves the point by beating up on Dunkerton while he’s down.  Darby Allin then shows up out of NOWHERE and rushes after Sammy who GTFOs as fast as possible; setting up the match that I can only assume (and hope) is up next week!

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More promos for the Hager/Moxley match which I’ve heard is supposed to be REALLY good, but we’re just gonna have find out once we get to the main event.

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Chuck Taylor Vs. Kip Sabian

Kip Sabian is accompanied to the ring by Penelope Ford while Chuck Taylor is accompanied by Orange Cassidy

Kip and Penelope are two of the more underrated workers at AEW.  They keep doing really solid work, but it ultimately never amounts to all that much.  Their feud with Joey Janela just kind of fizzled out, Kip was supposed to get a match with Colt Cabana that hasn’t happened yet (unless they did something on Dark), and they were in AEW’s first intergender match against Kenny Omega and Riho, and the company kind of pretends that it didn’t happen.  Penelope meanwhile has put in some solid work in the women’s division but they’ve had such a hard time elevating talent that she doesn’t really stand much of chance and frankly gets way more attention being ringside with Kip.  I guess we’re not about to fix that problem now considering how these shows are mostly about filling time rather than advancing storylines (outside the TNT champion and this Moxley/Hager match), but they can at least put on a good show here with good ol’ Chucky T; similarly underrated but manages to stay in the spotlight thanks to Orange Cassidy.  Oh yeah, there’s a match to talk about, isn’t there?  It’s a solid match for the most part.  I think Kip is overselling a tiny bit, but him and Chucky are true blue professionals, so even if it’s not the most exciting matchup on the card it’s still a heck of a lot of fun.  Chuck is pretty solidly in control and does this devastating slam on Kip but only gets a two count out of it.  He then tries to finish off Kip with a double stomp from the top rope, but Kip is ready and rolls out of the way; countering with a few kicks and a suplex. but only gets two near falls for his effort.  Before Chuck can regain momentum, Penelope jumps on the apron and takes off her jacket in an attempt to distract Chucky which acutally seems to work as Kip gets some quick offense in and we get another brilliant line from Chris Jericho.  RULE NUMBER TEN!  NEVER KISS A GIRL DURING A MATCH.  Brilliant stuff right there!  Now because turnabout is fair play, Orange Cassidy tries to do the same on Kip by getting on the apron and showing off for Kip.  However, this doesn’t work as expected because of out of nowhere Jimmy Havoc pulls him off the apron and kicks the crap out of him.  While the ref is distracted by all of this, Penelope somehow managed to climb to the top rope does a hurricanrana on Chucky, which Kip capitalizes on for the pin.  This was a good match all the way through, but the ending is what REALLY got it over for me and I hope we see more of Jimmy Havoc soon!  He may not be THE BEST guy at the company, but he definitely has his niche that’s worth exploring.

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Shawn Spears Vs. Justin Law

Yet another new guy for AEW, and I don’t know how old this kid ACTUALLY is, but he looks like he can’t be any older than fifteen.  Seriously, he looks young enough to still need braces, and that hair is yearbook hair if I’ve ever seen it!  Needless to say that I don’t think he stands much of a chance against Shawn Spears even if Spears is far from the most credible threat at AEW.  Now I’ve been pretty positive of the squash matches on this show, but this was the one that didn’t work for me.  Where guys like Lance Archer and Brodie Lee have a REASON to act cocky considering the hype behind them and the genuine power they can display, Shawn being one step above a jobber himself acting like a total egotist against this kid comes off less like genuine confidence and more like a bully.  THANKFULLY someone seems to have realized this and gave the rookie a near fall due to Shawn’s arrogance, but it still ends exactly as you’d expect it to.  Something tells me it’s gonna take more than beating up some dude named Justin for Spears’s image to be rehabilitated.

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Jon Moxley Vs. Jake Hager – AEW World Championship Match

Now these recent shows have not been live, but the way they are presented still give off the impression that they are.  With this match however, it is definitely not the case because they are inside of a COMPLETELY separate stadium (I think it’s the place in Florida they were using before having to move to the smaller place which tells you how long ago they recorded this), and on top of that they have JR on commentary who’s been stuck at home since the lockdowns began.  Not a BIG detail, but it was a bit jarring to go from the shoebox with a bunch of cheering wrestlers to this giant and deathly silent arena.  I’m also surprised we’re getting it so earl in the show considering we’ve still got a full half hour left which I guess means this is going to be far form a short match.  So with all that said, under these different circumstances and with ALL the hype that’s been built around it, is the match any good?  Well first of all, if they had a choice in the matter I don’t think it was the right one to do it in the empty arena.  I’ve gotten used to the smaller set with the crowd cheering, and I think that would have been preferable to how quiet it is here.  It also isn’t helped by JR being the ONLY commentator which only adds to the quiet (no one for him to bounce off of so he’s ONLY talking directly to the audience) and considering how great Jericho has been the last two weeks I really wanted his presence here.  Now TRYING to look past all that, I think this is a very well done match.  As much as I don’t like the quiet, I do like the more space that they have to work with here and Moxley pulls off some pretty impressive moves here throughout.  I liked this one bit where Moxley is playing possum in the corner and jumps up with a clothesline on Hager… only for it to do absolutely nothing and Hager to knock him the heck out afterwards.  Similar to the Colt Cabana/Lance Archer match, this is one about a great wrestler having to overcome an immovable object, but this one definitely feels like the hero can overcome out of sheer skill and pig headed defiance!  At some point Jake Hager puts a choke on Moxley, but he manages to get to the ropes before passing out.  THEN Jake Hager smashes Moxley’s ankle with a chair BEFORE putting him in an ankle lock!  He has a harder time with this than the choke out, but he does eventually break out of it and launches Hager to the outside.  As soon as Hager is in the ring, Moxley IMMEDIATELY follows up with a Paradigm Shift that leads into… some sort of submission.  I’m not sure exactly WHAT submission it is, but Jake eventually gets out of it and they start trading blows.  They break up, stuff happens (I swear I only turned away for like ten seconds), and then Moxley lands a solid punch on Hager before dropping him right into a chair with ANOTHER Paradigm Shift; getting him the pin and retaining his title as AEW Champion.  Now I’ve seen the Gargano/Ciampa match, the Edge/Orton match, and frankly this is another one of those.  MAYBE it’s the best of them (certainly the shortest), but I’m so burnt out on this kind of match that the rest of the show had done such a good job of NOT being that it’s a bit of a letdown that we end up doing it here at the main event.

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Even if that last match didn’t live up to expectations for me, I’m feeling really generous about this episode which had some very solid matches with a lot of great comedy peppered throughout.  Jericho is the glue that is holding this whole thing together with his commentary the last few weeks really livening things up and his video segments always being a delight to see.  He turns what could be just a low rent production into a legitimately fun party, and while I do miss the grandiosity that the Hager/Moxley match tried to bring back, I think that for the time being focusing more on fun and silliness is going to play better in these environments.  Time will tell I suppose and even if I’m riding high on his commentary at the moment it’s always possible that Jericho’s shtick could grow old sooner rather than later, but for now I’m glad they’re still managing to put on enjoyable shows even if some of it could use a bit a tweaking here and there.

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