Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (06-17-2020)

AEWDYNAMITE

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

It is week… I don’t even know anymore, of the COVID era of wrestling and like everything else things are starting to blur for me.  I USED to be able to at least keep up with the WWE PPVs, but Backlash looks about as interesting as a symposium on paint drying and NXT is only faring slightly better.  That’s not to say that AEW has been above reproach in recent weeks as I’ve found the most recent episodes a bit of a chore to get through at times, but they’ve at least kept things afloat for me as a wrestling fan while the rest of the country (and the government in particular) is doing everything they can to prolong this crisis.  Gee, I’ve been getting on my soapbox a bit much lately!  Let’s just try to forget the world for a bit and focus on another fun show of dudes beating the crap out of other dudes and yelling into microphones!  Can this week’s AEW get me out of my lockdown lethargy and get excited for this noble sport once again!?  Let’s find out!!

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Kenny Omega & Hangman Adam Page Vs. The Natural Nightmares (Dustin Rhodes & QT Marshall)

The Natural Nightmares are accompanied to the ring by Brandi Rhodes

Not wasting any time, the show begins with The Natural Nightmares already in the ring while Omega and Hangman get their full entrance.  Seriously, I can believe Dustin got the Jobber treatment!  QT Marshall, sure, but they couldn’t give freaking DUSTIN the airtime to play his song!?  If it wasn’t clear from the lack of buildup last week and the entrances here, Dustin and QT Marshall don’t have much of a chance at winning these belts, but even if they spent the time to make this seem like a legitimate challenge before entering the ring, the match itself would give away how unlikely The Natural Nightmare’s chances are within the first few minutes.  I don’t know, Dustin doesn’t look his best in this match and Kenny is bumping like a mo-fo which makes it all feel a lot faker than it should.  There’s something about Kenny that I first noticed in his match against Joey Janela where it’s hard to buy some people fighting against him.  Dustin is looking worse than he ever has working against Kenny as it just looks so fake for him to sell this damage of moves that don’t look like they’re doing that much.  It’s not much better for QT Marshall who is certainly more athletic than Dustin and manages to look okay against Adam Page, but there’s just not enough here to invest in the bout as it feels far too scripted.  The match heats up eventually once Marshall pulls off this awesome flip kick, and Dustin eventually does that amazing Canadian Destroyer of his, so from that point on the match feels a bit more even handed.  QT Marshall even gets the advantage with a Diamond Cutter and it’s at that point that Allie comes out from the back to cheer for him who if you recall has been dating him for a few weeks now.  Her encouragement spurs him to try and take out Omega with a jump from the top rope… and he totally whiffs it, so good job Allie!  They go for a bit after that but it’s clear that Marshall’s momentum has been lost and he eventually eats a Last Call from Omega and Hangman to end the match.  It took a while to get there, but I ended up enjoying it by the end.  I think Kenny’s one fatal flaw is his ability to sell for lesser opponents, and it’s not like he isn’t TRYING but it seems he has trouble making it convincing in certain circumstances and it was the case for at about half of this match.  Aside from that it wasn’t the best match from any of the wrestlers involved, but it ended up being an alright way to start the show.

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Anna Jay Vs. Abadon

You know what?  Fair enough!  I’ve been saying for WEEKS that AEW needs to focus on more than the six women they always put in the ring and to let the rest of the division have some air time, so a match against two relative unknowns is a step in the right direction.  So who are they?  Well they do bother to explain who Anna Jay by giving her an inspirational promo about how hard she’s worked to get to AEW, and apparently she was at those tapings during the pre-taped Georgia shows but I don’t recall the match she had against Shida.  Abadon on the other hand doesn’t get a promo but DOES get a very eye catching entrance where her gimmick seems to be… a horror movie villain?  Apparently she was on Dark at one point so I’m gonna have to catch up on that eventually, but imagine if Nikki Cross (at least the version of her before she became BFFs with Alexa Bliss) went full on Fiend and you basically have Abadon.  As far as the match, what’s there to say?  It’s about two minutes long with Abadon never missing a beat and ends with Anna Jay’s face getting smashed into the canvas by a Hurricanrana.  Not exactly the best showing for Anna Jay (or even Abadon considering how short her time was) but at least it was something different.

After the match, The Dark Order comes out so that Evil Uno can saunter over to the stands and give Colt Cabana a manila envelope; branded with The Dark Order’s logo of course.  We later learn is a contract for a match next week with him and Brodie Lee versus Sonny Kiss and Joey Janela, so I guess Cabana hasn’t exactly JOINED them yet despite showing some interest last week.  While that’s going on, Brodie Lee and The Creepers help Anna Jay out of the ring and walk her to the back; presumably being the latest prospect that The Dark Order is scouting.  I’m glad that AEW is so committed to making Brodie Lee and The Dark Order work by giving them plenty of airtime to do their thing which I like this because it makes The Dark Order a proactive organization that is trying to earn its followers instead of just making wrestlers incredibly foolish so as to join them.  It’s also why I liked Brodie Lee’s speech about having to win the match at the PPV to show his followers that The Dark Order is for winners, and even though he lost the match he did a darn good job of selling his dedication to the cause.  MAYBE they should win a few matches on Dynamite as well, but what we’re getting so far is pretty darn good!

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Billy Gunn Vs. MJF

Billy is accompanied to the ring by his son Austin while MJF is accompanied by Wardlow

Now from the outset it seems like this match is a bit unfair considering that Billy Gunn’s been fighting since the stone age and MJF is basically a buff fetus, but Billy is almost TWICE the size of the pompous little bugger so this match might be a bit more even than it appears at first glance.  Oh sure, MJF tries to flip around and pull off some moves, but doing that to Billy is like trying to karate chop a boulder and ends with about the same results here as Billy shakes off everything thrown at him and hits like a ton of bricks whenever the opportunity is there.  At one point MJF tries to just walk to the back which Billy is not about to tolerate so he goes to the back as well and brings MJF back of his shoulder like a misbehaving child which was hilarious and definitely set the tone for the whole fight.  See, THIS is how you do comedy; not whatever it was Shawn Spears did at the PPV!  MJF does eventually get the advantage with some cheap shots, but he spends too much time gloating and it stays Billy’s match for the most part; even with MJF working over Billy’s ankle which severely limits his mobility.  However, this wouldn’t be an MJF comedy match without some shenanigans from the outside and so Wardlow manages to toss MJF the diamond ring behind the refs back which MJF uses to pop Billy right in the forehead and win the match.  I wasn’t expecting a whole lot from this as I wasn’t sure how good Billy Gunn would be in a solo match like this (until now he’s mostly stuck to Battle Royals which allowed him to be a big monster without having to do much himself), but he held his own quite well and MJF did a lot of heavy lifting that made them both look good.  I’m not sure what’s next for MJF but if he isn’t get a title shot anytime soon then I’m glad he’s doing solid one off feuds like this in the meantime.

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Alex Marvez is interviewing Jericho and Sammy to find out why they were so mean to Orange Cassidy last week.  Jericho is surprised at Marvez’s very obvious question because it’s pretty clear that they did it because Orange Cassidy interrupted his interviews a few times!  Wouldn’t YOU beat someone half to death with a twenty-pound sack for doing that!?  Jericho is great as usual and I’m hoping his match later tonight with The Best Friends is not only fun but keeps this feud going because Orange Cassidy Vs. Jericho is a thing that needs to happen sooner rather than later!

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Tony Schiavone is standing next to Britt Baker and announces that Shida will be facing Penelope Ford at Fyter Fest; a revelation that doesn’t sit well with the Role Model of AEW.  In fact, Baker is so incensed by this news and by Tony’s insensately to her situation that she bails on the show and tells her assistant Reba to drive them away.  Reba is not behind the wheel of the truck however!  Instead we find Big Swole in the driver’s seat who peels out of there with a screaming Baker in the back to who knows where!  I guess they’re hoping that Baker can hold the audience’s attention for the next few months without ever entering the ring and while I’m not the biggest fan of her I think they’ve at least created a fun distraction for a few minutes every episode.

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Cody’s Championship Challenge – Who will he face tonight!?

Cody comes out with Arn Anderson and before he announces who he will face, he brings up something that’s been in the back of my mind for a few weeks here and that’s how Cody’s been kind of doing his own thing for a while now outside of his usual clique.  He seems as surprised as I am that Dustin, QT Marshall, The Bucks, and even his wife Brandi haven’t been around and are off doing their own things.  Sadly there’s no real resolution here as Cody changes the subject before it gets to awkward and hands the mic to Arn Anderson.  His coach confirms that now is not the time for him to face Jake Hager and that instead he’ll be facing none other than Ricky Starks tonight!  Wait, who is Ricky Starks?  Well apparently Cody’s open challenge was not just to signed members of AEW but to ANYONE who wants a shot at him, so Ricky Starks is a free agent who worked at DDT and NWA; two promotions I’ve never seen so I have no idea if this guy is the real deal.  Does he make the most of his one off appearance?  Well he’s got a GREAT look and a really fun entrance theme, and for me, that’s at least half the package so he’s off to a good start there.  Then we start to see him fight, and wow; the kid’s pretty darn good!  Cody’s fantastic at bringing out the best in his opponents but it’s clear that this dude could have a great match with a bag of leaves, so it’s kind of a perfect pairing.  I don’t know if these two have fought before, but the chemistry in this is so great that I hope AEW signs him and they have more matches on even bigger stages.  The match also advances the storylines that they’ve been building up with Cody, namely his increases propensity to heelish behavior and his Fyter Fest match with Jake Hager who’s watching from the back, so on top of being a match that’s good to look at it feels like it actually MATTERS which has kind of been missing from this episode and frankly some of the other recent episodes as well.  The two of them trade a lot of big moves with Cody continuously going for The Cross Rhodes, and while Starks has been able to avoid it he can’t put Cody away himself no matter what he tries.  He tries a superplex from the top rope, but Cody gets up.  He throws both of them over the top ropes, but Cody gets up.  He lands a hellacious spear so brutal that the two of them nearly broke in half, but Cody will not stay down!  In desperation the two of them start trading pins in an attempt to try and luck into a three count, but Cody manages to get up and finally land his Cross Rhodes which is just enough to keep Starks down for the count.  Cody keeps his belt, he shakes Starks hand, and he and Arn head to the back with his match against Hager just over the horizon.  I was a bit burned out on the show already by the time this match started so I didn’t really appreciate it at first, but it really is a phenomenal display from both of these wrestlers and it’s gonna be hard for anything else on the show to top it!

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The Young Bucks Vs. Superbad Squad (Kip Sabian & Jimmy Havoc)

Superbad Squad is accompanied to the ring by Penelope Ford

It’s been a while since we’ve seen The Bucks in a proper match like this and they once again prove why they’re considered THE BEST tag team in all of wrestling.  Kip and Jimmy may not be the WORTHIEST opponents despite their spiffy new name, but The Bucks have to start somewhere and this gives them a darn good opportunity to show off their skills and establish themselves after such a long hiatus.  It’s also not a total loss for Kip and Jimmy either as they do manage to get the advantage a few times through the one thing they’re good at, which is cheating, and reminding the audience of how good they are at getting away with that kind of nonsense is perhaps just as important as letting The Bucks fly around the ring with such ease.  The match threatens to devolve into chaos as The Butcher and The Blade tease jumping into the ring to take out The Bucks, but FTR come out from the back to force them to retreat and keep an eye on them from the stands which frankly is a bit too much of a distraction having THAT many people roaming around the place, but I guess it’s important to the story they’re trying to build up.  At some point Kip starts bleeding from somewhere on his head and it is just flowing throughout this match which was a bit uneasy to see considering we’re living thru a plague right now and the match just kept going for a long time after that.  If there’s anything that wasn’t great about this it was the length which wasn’t TOO bad at fifteen minutes, but I think the point was made by the ten minute mark and the excessive amount of kick outs just felt like it was padding things out.  The match eventually comes to an end with a very odd spot that at least gets points for originality even if it didn’t make the most sense.  So Jimmy and Kip eat Superkicks and while dazed the Bucks somehow get Jimmy upside down into Kip’s arms.  With Kip holding his tag team partner there like a goof, The Bucks kick Sabian’s knees out from under him, FORCING him to do a Tombstone Piledrive on Jimmy and then they kick Kip in the face to get the pin.  The moment the bell rings however, The Butcher and The Blade jump The Bucks and FTR are not far behind to try and drive them off.  They then do another silly spot where The Bucks have Jimmy Havoc and FT have The Blade, and at the same time both teams land a Mind Breaker on their respective heels.  The match was actually pretty good even if it did go on a bit long and the ending was… odd, but we’re setting stuff up for future matches so I’ll give it a thumbs up.

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We cut to Taz who tells his side of last week’s events where he and Brian Cage were innocently watching TV and eating whey protein when Moxley just started screaming in the parking lot outside.  Being the neighborly people that they are, the two of them decide to go out there to try and settle him down and things just go out of hand; what can you do?  Cage actually gets a chance to speak here though he doesn’t say much.  He cannot WAIT for their match at Fyter Fest and he wishes they could fight right now!  It’s good that Cage has finally started to speak for himself and he’s not without his own intense charm, but he doesn’t hold a candle to Taz’s delivery.  In time though, he will learn!

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Following that, almost like a rebuttal to the Taz segment, Moxley gets a PROPER promo with music and video clips as he speaks to the camera and calls Cage out for being a paper challenger against the fiery and destructive power of the one and only Jon Moxley; a man with so much hate and darkness within him that Cage cannot even conceive of.  Great stuff from the guy, though I’d like to see him in one more match before he takes out Cage at Fyter Fest.  Then again, he WAS on Dark a week or so ago, so maybe I should just watch that…

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Before heading into the main event, we get an update on Britt Baker who has finally been found a dumpster by her assistant Reba who has the bad luck of being the first person she can yell at about her poor lot in life.  I’m starting to warm to this version of Baker, or at least the fact that her smarminess is often met with some degree of punishment, and her indignation here is on point.  What isn’t so on point though is Reba who is WAY over the top here and for a character like this to work we need to understand WHY she’s sticking by her monstrous boss and the show isn’t giving us a reason.  She’s practically dancing for joy when Baker almost decides to fire her, so why doesn’t she just quit?  In any case, after Baker is done yelling at Reba she looks at the camera and promises to sue Big Swole for all the damages she’s caused; ESPECIALLY the emotional ones because that’s where the big bucks are!  I mean… I’m not sure I WANT to see a courtroom drama play out on Dynamite, but I’d be interested to see what they try to do with it!

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Best Friends Vs. Le Sex Gods (Sammy Guevara & Chris Jericho) – Tag Team Title Opportunity

Our main event for the evening is a grudge match between these two teams brought on by the vicious beating Orange Cassidy received at the hand of the Inner Circle last week, and I’ll be honest, this isn’t really the match I pictured.  Perhaps thinking of it as a grudge match is what’s holding me back here, but considering what Jericho did to Orange Cassidy last week and the fact that The Best Friends are putting their tag team title opportunity on the line just to be in the ring with him, I’m just not feeling the heat.  I remember a while ago (it must have been 2018) where Samoa Joe and AJ Styles had this big feud which was certainly goofy at points, but when they got to their big match it had the energy of two people who REALLY hated each other.  Chuckie and Trent are just wrestling for the most part.  Sure, a small brawl here or there, but nothing you wouldn’t see in any other match on this show.  Now that’s not to say that it isn’t a GOOD match as everyone involved is great at what they do, but it just doesn’t have the weight that it should have given the circumstances that got us here.  The Best Friends shouldn’t be going for their hug in this match is all I’m saying, and yet it happens here which Jericho of course interrupts because he’s not the kind of opponent you should be pulling that kind of stunt on.  It’s not until the match is almost over that Chuck finally goes for a chair to beat Jericho over the head with but Ref Remsberg goes to stop him; giving Sammy enough time to smash Trent with the bat.  Sammy tries to put Trent away with a Shooting Star Press but only gets a two count, and the two of them go for a bit more before Sammy’s running the ropes and gets tripped up by a mysterious cameraman.  Trent wastes no time in taking the advantage and lands this interesting pile driver that also puts Sammy in a pin and sure enough he gets the three count.  Best Friends win the match, but who was the mysterious cameraman who inadvertently helped them out!?  Was it… Danny Glover!?  Robert Pattinson!?  Perhaps it was Conan O’Brien!  No, it was Orange Cassidy who sneaks behind Jericho commiserating his loss in the ring and beats the hell out of him with take downs and punches!  THIS is how The Best Friends should have fought the match!  With Orange Cassidy standing tall in the ring, we learn that Orange Cassidy Vs. Jericho has been scheduled for Fyter Fest and The Best Friends hug Orange Cassidy as the show fades to black.

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I don’t think I’m the only one who’s starting to be a bit down on the recent episodes of Dynamite, but it’s starting to feel like the show is growing past me.  There are people in the crowd I don’t recognize despite having watched this show every single week, and now they’ve started listing the results from last night’s AEW Dark, and it seemed like A LOT of what I wanted to see in Dynamite; a Jurrassic Express match, a Dark Order match, and even an SCU match who haven’t been seen recently on the main show.  Back on Dynamite though, they threw new names at us like Anna Jay, Abadon, and Ricky Starks at us, and we’re just supposed to keep up!  Maybe it’s my fault for taking Dark for granted for so long, but even with the stuff that ISN’T new I just didn’t really get into the matches all that much.  Perhaps doing this week in and week out for months on end has given me a bit of fatigue, but I’m holding out hope that Fyter Fest will get me back into the swing of things with some really great matches that have already been announced and a chance to shake things up a bit.

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