Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (05-06-20)


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

We’re back, not only with AEW Dynamite but with AEW Dynamite LIVE.  Yes, it’s their first live show in quite some time despite circumstances REALLY not changing since they decided to stop doing them, but I guess they want to get things as close to normal as soon as possible so with the return to Florida they’ve got quite a stacked show for us.  Is it a return to form after a few weeks of good but compromised episodes, or are we in for the same matches we were already getting; just in a bigger room?  Let’s find out!!

So first thing’s first, we’re back at Daily’s Place in Florida since they’ve lifted restrictions on wrestling shows; calling them an “essential service” despite there being nothing essential about it, and with the way these empty arena shows are done, almost no benefit to the local economy.  Now sure, I’ll admit that the BIGGER stadium looks better than shoebox they were using for all those taped shows, but it still leaves a bad taste in my mouth that this is only happening because local, state, AND the federal government are all acting irresponsibly for short term gain, and the fact that they are doing this live instead of taping a whole bunch of content only makes it that much worse.  Yes, I know Tony Khan sent out a tweet saying EVERYONE WAS TESTED NEGATIVE, but even if we assume those tests are accurate (they aren’t always), it just feels like a bad precedent to set for everyone else who wants to reopen business before it’s safe to.  In any case, they’ve got pyro, a big screen, more room for the wrestlers on the sidelines to distance themselves (I guess we can count that as a plus), and Jericho is off announcing duty to be replaced by both Excalibur and JR.  I’m certainly glad that they’re back, but Jericho’s hilarious commentary, as well as his chemistry with Schiavone, was something special and we should definitely see more of it in the future.  Anyway, onto the first match!


Cody Vs. Joey Janela

I actually do not remember if we’ve seen these two lock-up before.  Joey fought Moxley in a really good match and Kenny Omega in a not so good one, but Cody?  Not ringing a bell.  I’m certainly interested to see how this will go with Janela playing a decidedly mid-card role at the company and Cody’s a pretty big star to put him against, but then again the lines between A-List talent and the B-Team have started to blur now that everyone’s fighting in empty arenas (and QT Marshall’s back yard), and I’ll be darned if Joey doesn’t look GREAT here so maybe I was a bit too harsh on the guy!  Joey tends to come off as a jokey guy where funny expressions and painful spots take precedence over… big moves and physicality, but he takes this match seriously and pulls off a lot of decent offense with quite a bit of speed.  Still, it looks like a bit of a mix up when Joey takes the advantage and Cody’s stuck on the floor.  That feels a bit unbelievable where something more competitive throughout would have probably come off a bit better.  The Colt Cabana Vs. Lance Archer match is a good example of someone looking AMAZING all the way through a match despite never truly having the advantage, and I think it would have served both men if Cody stayed in control for more of this.  Things eventually even out in the match after he dodges a run from Joey and follows it up with a Disaster Kick to the face, and after some decent moves from both sides, Cody eventually snags the win with a surprise Cross Rhodes out of nowhere.  It dragged a TINY bit due to Cody overselling for Joey, but this was a solid match to start off with and I’m glad that they reestablished the Cross Rhodes as such a devastating move.


Following the match, we get a video package about the women’s division which lets us know who the top players in the division are; Nyla Rose, Britt Baker, Hiakru Shida, and… Penelope Ford?  Okay.  I mean, I thought Statlander was higher on the card even if she hasn’t been here for a while, but I guess they have plans for Penelope Ford going forward.  Speaking of someone who hasn’t been here for a while!


Nyla Rose Vs. Kenzie Paige

Nyla spends a good thirty seconds tearing Tony Schiavone apart for daring to be in her presence before going to the ring to destroy this naïve fool who thought to start her AEW career by jumping in the ring with Nyla.  Then again, she’s only EIGHTEEN and no one’s decision-making skills are great at that age.  Given Nyla’s somewhat green wrestling style you’d think someone with a bit more experience under their belt would be a better fit for a squash match, but luckily things go MUCH better here than in say her big match with Statlander.  They’re clearly building her up the same way they’re doing with Lance Archer and Brodie Lee which means Paige is on hand to be rag dolled for about five minutes before being power bombed into oblivion while everyone else in the women’s division angrily stares at Nyla.  It was good enough for what it was and I didn’t notice Nyla messing anything up here, so hopefully this reboot to her title run will go a bit smoother than the first time around.


MJF Health Update – The Boy Is Healed!!

Having survived his hangnail, his nicked neck, as well as presumably a stubbed toe, an aggravated funny bone, and a bad hair day, MJF is finally better and talks down to everyone while drinking wine in a fancy chair.  It looks like his injury tweets were ultimately a work and he’s ready to come back to work to show everyone who’s boss!  MJF will be in action next week


For whatever reason, we get a video package right after the MJF one where Shawn Spears of all people comments on Cody not throwing in the towel during Dustin’s match last week.  Let’s talk about Shawn Spears for a moment, shall we?  It SEEMS like they want him to be a scary heel, or at least a competitive one, but the guy has come up short with every opportunity he’s had; losing to Cody at least twice and even losing to guys like Joey Janela.  At that point he should set his sights a bit lower and maybe have feuds with Kip Sabian or The Dark Order, but he’s still chasing after Cody which makes him come off less like a heel out to needle the good guy than someone who’s just desperate for the spotlight.  The guy needs a solid sparring partner or at least be integral to some sort of upset within the company, but as of right now (and especially with this video), I’m just not seeing what his place is here.


That answer may have just been answered because Tony Schiavone is interviewing the BOTH of them at ringside and they’re getting VERY buddy-buddy, so maybe MJF is going to start a legit stable with him, Wardlow, and Spears.  We also learn that MJF will be fighting Jungle Boy at Double or Nothing which comes as a surprise to MJF who spits out his drink and even to Shawn Spears who does a very silly “Shocked” face into the camera.


Jon Moxley Vs. Frankie Kazarian

How long has it been since we’ve seen Frankie Kazarian?  He has hair now!  Sadly Moxley’s been maintaining his haircut which means we won’t be getting the Dean Ambrose mop-top anytime soon, but aside from that this is a fun match!  Maybe not exactly to my taste as the match is mostly grappling, but even for someone who doesn’t like that as much as the high flying stuff I can tell that it’s GOOD grappling.  Kazarian is a true professional in the business and definitely gives Moxley a run for his money, especially when things start to ramp up in the second half with more hits, super moves, and jumps off the apron as the two try to put each other down.  Honestly, Kazarian MIGHT have the edge on Moxley as far as pure technical skill considering how much more agile and swift he is where Moxley can come off a bit more like a straightforward brawler.  Sadly the Kazarian title run won’t be happening just yet as no matter how much Kazarian can outmaneuver Moxley’s strikes, he can only keep it up for so long before Moxley gets in just enough heavy hits to halt his momentum in its tracks.  Kazarian tries for a jump off the top rope which misses and puts him in prime position for Moxley to land a Paradigm Shift for the three count.  The reign of Moxley will continue, but he’s not about to leave the ring without someone else vying for his throne; namely The Dark Order where a bunch of Creepers bum rush Moxley and curb stomp him into oblivion.  SCU tries to come out and make the save, but they simply aren’t enough to overcome seven dudes; even if they are a bunch of jobbers in masks!  Sadly no Evil Uno or Stu Grayson on hand, but Brodie Lee comes out in a nice suit and has a chat with the crumbled heap on the floor about the possibility of a title match in the near future.  Moxley being the tough guy that he is obviously accepts the challenge and for being such a good sport, Lee has the Creepers continue their beat down while he takes the belt for himself.  They don’t specify here but I’m assuming this will be at the Double or Nothing PPV, and while I would have liked a bit more buildup to it, this was still a great segment and I’m glad that Brodie Lee will finally be fighting someone that isn’t a tiny jobber.


After the match we get a video from Brandi Rhodes in an interesting bit of preemptive smack talk.  She addresses Jake Roberts and Lance Archer directly and predicts that their next move, after beating up Dustin last week and presumably beating QT Marshall this week (even SHE doesn’t think he has a shot), is to go after her; back her into a corner, make her scared, and have Cody come out to the rescue only to fall into whatever trap they’ve laid.  I mean… yeah, that’s probably where this was headed and good on Brandi for diffusing the situation ahead of time; or at least attempting to.  Despite her tough words here and assurances that she won’t be a damsel in distress, we don’t know what Cody will do if Roberts or Archer DO try to pull something, and we’ve still got a few weeks until the PPV so anything could happen between now and then.  In fact, that could happen RIGHT NOW because…



QT Marshall Vs. Lance Archer

QT is accompanied to the ring by Brandi Rhodes and Archer is accompanied by Jake Roberts

Yup, both Brandi AND Roberts are out there with the latter wearing a mask that he IMMEDIATELY takes off.  The match itself is kind of immaterial as it’s yet another Archer squash and frankly the camera knows who to focus on as it keeps cutting to Brandi and Roberts every chance it gets.  After the match, Britt Baker attacks Brandi from behind and throws her in the ring; at which point Jake gets in the ring as well and lives up to his name by putting a snake on the knocked out Brandi Rhodes.  So… my experience with old school wrestling is rather minimal and this is the first time I’ve seen THE SNAKE angle for myself.  I don’t know, maybe it’s better if the person DOESN’T pretend to be knocked out the entire time, but he’s just kinda waving the snake over her.  It doesn’t seem like a big deal to me.  Sure, I would have run for the hills screaming if someone got a snake near me, but I just didn’t find it a particularly menacing image.  This was probably the least interesting match on the show, but it had a good lead-in with Brandi and it at least builds towards the TNT Championship match at Double or Nothing.


From there we go to Taz who’s interviewing a very quiet Darby Allin, and interestingly enough he offers to help Allin out which I can only assume is some sort of callback to the time he was Samoa Joe’s trainer in TNA; an… interesting moment in wrestling history if nothing else.


Kenny Omega & Matt Hardy Vs. Chris Jericho & Sammy Guevara – Street Fight

Chris & Sammy are accompanied to the ring by Jake Hager

Sadly no Bubbly Bunch this week, but Jericho and Sammy back in action should more than makeup for it!  Before the match begins, Sugar D who Jericho has been referring to as “Pineapple Pete” takes a swing at him from the peanut gallery and like four minutes later the commentators confirm that they will be having a match next week.

EVERYONE looks good here!  The assumption with matches like this is that the stars will be hanging back while the younger guys do the heavy lifting, but I’ll be darned if Hardy AND Jericho do a great job of keeping pace with the other two!  Jericho in particular does this really great flip from the middle rope that I don’t know if I’ve seen him, do before at AEW, and of course Matt Hardy jumps off a ladder and onto Sammy perched on a table.  That’s not the only Matt Hardy reference by the way!  In a bit of bizarre fun, Matt Hardy basically gets pummeled to the back by Jericho and returns a few minutes later in his Hardy Boyz outfit for no apparent reason other than Matt Hardy does weird stuff like that.  The one thing I could have done without is when the fight spreads to the rest of the stadium.  I know the stadium is closed so it’s not like there are A LOT of other people around, but that is still quite a few scattered about and it just feels a bit off to have these people smash each other’s sweaty bodies all over the concessions area and even going so far as to stick Matt Hardy in an ice chest.  At ANY other time, I would have loved that spot, but right now it feels a bit too soon.  Also, who are these people wearing masks that are crowding around them?  Sure they’re keeping their distance, but they’re not wrestlers and there are even some freaking KIDS there!  Can we not, right now?   Aside from my uneasiness with the timing of this match, it’s still SO much fun to see these guys knock each other silly with random objects around the area, and there are some PRETTY brutal bumps that make it a bit more than just a joke match.  At some point Matt Hardy escapes from the Ice Chest of Doom (now he’s back to his Broken Matt Hardy outfit) and commandeers a nearby golf cart which he runs RIGHT INTO JERICHO!!  That was ABSURD and frankly should have been the end of the match, but then Kenny gets in the cart and they run over Sammy as well in a scene straight out of a Looney Tunes cartoon.  Is THAT the end of this nonsense!?  Of course not!  Hardy puts Jericho on some sort of table (a poorly disguised crash pad) and lays a few shots into him while Omega jumps on the scissor lift and gets it WAY up in the air!  Unfortunately (or thankfully depending on how much you REALLY want to see Jericho eat a jump from that high), Jake Hager jumps in and pulls Jericho off the table and So Omega ends up jumping on those two along with Matt Hardy who happened to be in the way.  It looks like Kenny might have this won, but NO!  Santana and Ortiz come out of NOWHERE and start pounding on him!  Then all five of them lift Hardy into the air and HE goes through the crash pad which puts him out for the rest of the match.  This leaves a beaten and battered Kenny to fend off five men who prove to be too great a challenge and Jericho ends up winning with a Judas Effect.  Once again, The Inner Circle stands tall as they all give the camera the finger as the show comes to a close.


The big question is whether the show is BETTER now that they’re back at Daily’s Place in Florida, and I have to admit that it is.  The bigger stadium allows for much more movement, a much better atmosphere, and potentially more people in the audience keeping an even safer distance.  I don’t like the circumstances that led to us coming back here and I still don’t know why it HAS to be live when they could just tape a bunch of episodes at once, but the main event was a real show stopper and it was nice seeing some of the familiar faces again who haven’t been around lately.  We’re all gonna feel really miserable when COVID-19 hits wrestling because of all the unnecessary risks these companies are taking, but for what it’s worth I did enjoy this episode quite a bit and I’m already excited for next week’s show.  JUST TAPE THEM IN ADVANCE!  THAT’S ALL I’M ASKING FOR!!

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