Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (07-22-2020)


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

We’re back with another episode of Dynamite, and after the very odd feelings I had for last week’s show I went into this one a bit wary.  Not dreading it as there are PLENTY of worse shows you could be watching right now (*cough* Extreme Rules *cough*), but perhaps a bit unsure as to where all this was going now that we’ve had our three weeks of big event matches.  Do they pick up the plot threads from last week and take them in interesting directions, or are things looking bleak for this upstart company?  Let’s find out!!


Cody Vs. Eddie Kingston – TNT Championship Title

So… who the heck is Eddie Kingston?  I mean I’m out of the loop as far as Indie Superstars, but the way this guy comes out and starts talking before the show can put its metaphorical pants on, you’d think that he’s been on Dynamite at least once, but as far as I can recall this if the first time the guy’s shown up and spends several minutes talking mad smack on Cody before confirming that this title defense will be a No DQ match.  For the most part, this is a pretty standard match that doesn’t take much advantage of its gimmick for the first half or so.  It starts rather basic with a few weight belt shots a few minutes into the match followed by Kingston tearing up the floor mats just to take a bump on the concrete moments later.  Speaking of whom, after the initial shock of this dude coming out of nowhere and talking like he’s cock of the walk, I can say that Kingston does have a way with words in a manner much like Taz does with just how viciously he can deliver his speeches with utter conviction.  His in-ring performance, while not quite up to his mic skills is solid for what he has to do and comes off like a mid-card Hardcore kind of guy; not exactly a superstar but with enough authenticity between the over the top WRESTLING antics to make his straightforward style compelling in its own right.  What I found pretty odd though were the commentators who kept bringing his recent weight loss up for seemingly no reason; first, because there’s a match going on that they could be calling instead, and second for anyone who’s never even HEARD of this guy (like myself) it’s not something that we’re inclined to notice.  In any case, the match is going along until at one point Kingston’s knee gives out and he’s on the ground utterly helpless for whatever Cody has planned next.  At least you’d THINK that, but since this is no DQ he manages to keep Cody at bay with a low blow which leaves HIM on the floor now, and after a moment or two Kingston manages to get back up and grabs a back of tacks from underneath the ring.  The tacks are strewn across the mat and normally what would happen is the Babyface would find a way to get the Heel to fall into his own tacks, but not this time!  Kingston works over Cody a bit and then manages to POWERBOMB HIM INTO THE TACKS!  You can’t say that Cody doesn’t suffer for his company, but it seems to have the opposite effect that Kingston was expecting as being stuck with the tacks has only pissed him off and he’s pushed into OVERDRIVE; not selling for any of Kingston’s strikes and manages to lock him into a brutal Figure Four Lock which he taps to; giving Cody the win and continuing his reign as TNT Champion.  I’m not the biggest fan of Hardcore matches, but the right spot at the right time will give the match the edge it needs, and this was a REALLY great tack spot that gave the finish the oomph it needed to make this opening match pop and set us up for a great episode!


Jon Moxley has a video promo where he takes a victory lap for beating Brian Cage last week and just spends two minutes rubbing into Taz’s face; calling him the best manager in the world for being smart enough to call it quits on his boy before he got REALLY hurt.  We’ll see if this leads to anything further between him and Taz or if he’s just gloating, but it’s pretty clear that Moxley is the biggest star at the company right now so I’m guessing we’ll be getting promos like this for quite a while longer.


MJF Vs Griff Garrison

MJF is accompanied to the ring by Wardlow

Since he’s up against a nobody, MJF spends a few minutes just ribbing this poor guy which is as devastating to his ego as you’d expect, but Good ol’ Griff manages to sneak in a solid burn when he reminds MJF that his “undefeated” streak comes with a major asterisk (he lost a tag match as recently as Fyter Fest), and for his honesty, Griff eats a mic to the face and spends an entire commercial break getting tossed around the ring.  It’s another one of those picture in picture segments, and I’m honestly not sure I would have wanted to see the action in the corner of the screen considering the whole thing comes off like a two-minute squash that got extended to accommodate the commercials, but MJF is good at being a punk and so as soon as the show comes back he grabs the mic once more and brings the match back up again.  MJF tries to get Griff to tell the crowd that he’s actually NEVER lost a match (asterisk be damned!) and basically tortures the guy until he wearily admits that MJF was right the whole time.  HOWEVER, Griff lands a cheap shot on MJF as soon as he does and nearly gets a pinfall which is what REALLY sets off MJF and he finishes the match with a devastating looking pile driver.  Some people have speculated that MJF will be Moxley’s opponent at the next PPV and if that’s the case I’m not sure how beating up Jobbers will move us towards that, but it’s always fun to see MJF in action and Griff was a good sport about getting his butt kicked.


Britt Baker is back with another Role Model segment where she explains that no matter what grievous injuries she has suffered (apparently the piece of paper hitting her face caused her nose to break), that you never count her out and that she’ll be back for the All Out PPV.  It was fine I guess.  I prefer my Brit Baker segments to have her being taken down a peg instead of just giving her room to bloviate, but I guess as long as we’re building towards a future match then it’s worth the screen time.


Taz and Brian Cage come out to the ring and we learn that Ricky Starks (the guy who gave Cody a run for his money a few weeks ago) joined their faction on last night’s Dark.  After confirming that Brian Cage almost fired Taz for what he did at Fight For The Fallen (this is good because it makes Cage look like an ACTIVE participant in his own journey instead of just being dragged along by his manager), Taz tries to explain why he made that decision.  He admits that Moxley’s armbar was great and that it was better to fight another day then to get injured in his first title challenge, but even with that Cage is the toughest Mo-Fo at the company and he’s ready to take on anyone else and proving that he deserves that FTW title belt he wears around his waist.  Darby Allin comes out while Taz is explaining all of this and menaces Brian Cage before OUT OF NOWHERE Ricky Starks flies in and smashes Darby’s face into the ropes; leaving him to get brutalized by both Starks and Cage for a few minutes before Moxley runs in with a barbwire back.  Taz and his crew, seeing the writing on the wall and the sharp stuff on the bat, back off from their assault and Moxley picks up Darby Allin right before we cut to the next segment.  Taz is always good on the mic and the chaos at the end was a lot of fun to watch, so another successful segment for these guys even if Cage is still lacking in personality.  Still, as long as Cage continues to clean house and defend that belt, then I guess it’ll work out in the long run, but if he drops it anytime soon then I think the FTW title will become an utter joke; much like the 24/7 title at WWE or whatever that title was the Booker T made up for TNA.


Women’s Tag Team Cup – A New AEW Belt!?

We get a video promo announcing the AEW Women’s Tag Team Cup where eight teams will compete to become AEW’s first women’s tag champions.  I’m ALL for this since tag team wrestling is such a huge part of the men’s division (which has FOUR belts now while the women are just getting their second) and it will give them something to focus on other than the title picture which has become pretty stale in recent months.  Since The Nightmare Sisters are basically the only women’s team on the roster I’d say they’re the favorites at the moment, but we’ll see if AEW gets some more teams together to show off before the tournament begins.


The Inner Circle has a promo after this where Jericho is still upset about the Orange Juice incident last week.  Now in the week since that happened, Jericho could have gotten another jacket or even tried to get this one cleaned, but darn it he’s going to WEAR his citrus-flavored coat just to remind everyone of the INDIGNITY that he was forced to endure at the hands of that cowardly Orange Cassidy, and as vengeance, he vows to beat The Jurassic Express in the main event tonight! I’m sure you’re shocked to hear that Jericho was once again great on the mic, but the dude has found the perfect sweet spot between menacing and campy that you want in the ludicrous world of professional wrestling!


Young Bucks Vs. The Butcher & The Blade – Falls Count Anywhere

So not only is it a Falls Count Anywhere match, it’s also a Match Starts Anywhere match as The Bucks find The Butcher and The Blade tending to the meat in the Jaguars Stadium kitchen.  It’s one of those things that only makes sense in wrestling, as OF COURSE they are being butchers right before their match!  If they were having a match against The Librarians, I’m sure they would have been found in the stadium’s Starbucks or something.  Anyway, this is a fun load of nonsense; not unlike the match Matt Hardy and Kenny Omega had against Jericho and Sammy which led to the iconic segment of Sammy taking a MAJOR bump off of a golf cart.  Nothing in the match is up to THAT level, but it was well choreographed and had a lot of creative spots that all four competitors put their all into.  The only problem was that NO ONE goes for a pin until we’re close to the end of the match, and that’s LONG after they managed to fight their way to the ring.  It isn’t a No DQ match where it still HAS to end inside the ring, so why don’t they take advantage of that with a few near falls in creative places?  Well once they DO get back to the ring, The Bucks set up a table to suplex The Butcher into, but despite their combined effort to lift the man up, The Butcher manages to reverse it into a suplex of his own.  The Blade does a jump over the top ropes and was CLEARLY supposed to land on a propped-up table, but he misses, and as far as I could tell the only part that hit the table was his freaking CHIN.  OH, that must have SUCKED, and it took him out of the match for a bit leaving The Butcher to eat an endless flurry of offense from The Bucks.  Eventually though, The Blade wakes back up and The Butcher cleans house with his own flurry of offense (capped off with a Powerbomb on Matt Jackson), and for whatever reason, they leave to get even MORE tables instead of just pressing the advantage and going for the pin.  You’d think Blade would have learned his lesson by now at least, and sure enough, this gives The Bucks time to recover.  The two teams traded blows for a bit before The Bucks get the advantage and put The Butcher and The Blade on the tables.  They then climb to the top of the stage and jump off onto their respective opponents; getting simultaneous pinfalls for the win.  The match was a lot of fun, and The Butcher and The Blade are looking better the more and more I see of them, so good job all around!


Alex Marvez is interviewing Lance Archer and Jake Roberts to try and find out what they’ve got planned next.  As an answer to his question, Lance Archer drags Marvez into the locker room where Archer destroys the hell out of a bunch of jobbers while Roberts tells Marvez how great Archer is.  Considering how close this storyline is to what Brian Cage is doing, I’m actually REALLY curious to see a match between them!  If not that, then at least some sort of Jobber Beating contest to see who can humiliate the most Jabronies!


Ivelisse Velez Vs. Diamante

Right off the bat, I want it clear that I have NO idea who either of these women are.  I think they said one of them was on Dynamite and another was definitely on Dark, but I couldn’t tell you the first thing about them which is perhaps what AEW is expecting because this is definitely a LOOK AT US big show off to get over new talent.  The first thing I tried to figure out was if I thought one of them was carrying the other, and maybe I’m still too green at this to REALLY notice, but I found both of them very impressive to watch.  I’m not exactly convinced they’re SUPERSTARS, but we could really use a few more women in the division who aren’t either the sole focus of the division or complete jobbers.  The only thing that really took away from the match is that they interrupt it to have Big Swole cut a promo on Britt Baker.  WHY!?  Isn’t this the big debut of two rising talents?  Heck, Swole supposed to be SUSPENDED, so why is she getting TV time?  Other than that though, I did enjoy the match.  The two have good chemistry between them which is perhaps due to both of them realizing that this is going to be their biggest chance to break out as stars, but other than a kind of sloppy Powerbomb from Ivelisse, the action was very solid throughout.  The best part of the match was the ending which was a PERFECT way to cap off this initial bout and even set up a long term rivalry between them.  Diamante won with a very basic surprise roll up out of nowhere which is perhaps not the most spectacular ending, but it works in this match because of the heat between these wrestlers throughout.  It’s clear that they care more about beating the other than winning themselves which is why Diamante gloats so much about winning on what is almost a technicality at this point, and why Ivelisse looks so devastated despite losing in the least meaningful way possible.  I hope that all of this is intentional from AEW and that these two have a future with this rivalry; especially since, as stated earlier, the women’s division is starving for storylines outside of the title chase.


Hangman Adam Page Vs. Five The Creeper

Apparently, this guy is Alan Angels who… I don’t know, MAYBE he’s been on AEW before, but the thing that stuck out for me is that he looks kind of like a cross between Aiden English and Sammy Zane shot under a shrinking ray as the due is what, a good six inches shorter than Page?  I will say that I was not in love with this match for the first half, and while they do FIX it at right about the halfway point, they should have LED with this.  At the start of this match, there’s a clear disparity between The Dark Order who came out in full force for Colt Cabana and this one geek in a mask trying to take on one of the tag champions.  Where’s Brodie Lee?  Where’s Evil Uno and Stu Grayson?  Heck, where are the other creepers!?  I’m fine with The Dark Order being a mid-card faction, but they should at least be consistent in how they try to achieve their goals.  They succeed as a group; not as a disorganized collection of spooky perverts!  Of course, most of them DO come out at the halfway point, but by starting this match without them it felt a joke which The Dark Order should only SORT of be.  Adam Page is clearly not taking this seriously, nor does he have to considering how small Angels is and how lacking his offense is.  He DOES have agility and a few surprises up his sleeve, but no matter how many flips or rope tricks he can pull off, Adam Page can stop him in his tracks with a single punch or a stomp of his mighty boot.  It’s not until Stu Grayson, Evil Uno, Ten The Creeper, Jon Silver, and Alex Reynolds come out to watch from the entrance ramp that Five The Creeper gets a second wind, but Page ends up winning rather handily with a Powerbomb.  I will say that Evil Uno’s acting is GREAT throughout this match; getting giddy whenever Five gets the upper hand and exasperatingly rubbing his brow whenever things go badly for him.

Brodie Lee and Colt Cabana come out after the match with Cabana looking like a lost puppy; still seemingly ignorant of The Dark Order being a BAD GUY faction.  Lee grabs the mic and congratulates Page on his victory while also offering him a place in his organization.  I mean… it’s not like Page has any REAL friends, right?  He’s in the middle of this ring surrounded by a bunch of creepers who could jump him at ANY moment, and there’s no Young Bucks, no Cody, and especially Kenny Omega to be seen!  Brodie Lee hasn’t ALWAYS nailed his role as a charismatic leader, but he actually makes a good show of it here; choosing not to rule by intimidation but with a genuine (well… genuine-ish) offer of friendship and loyalty.  I’d actually be interested to see him nab a big fish like Page, but today is not the day as Page brushes him off.  Seeing that the Hangman has made his choice, Brodie Lee leaves with Cabana while the rest of The Dark Order goes in to attack.  The sheer number of creepy dudes manages to overwhelm Page, but then FTR comes out and smashes Silver and Reynolds in the head with a cooler before clearing the ring.  Moments later and far too late to be any use, Kenny Omega comes in to make sure everyone is alright which… yeah!  FTR had this handled and they even give Page a beer for his troubles!  I’m not always a fan of what they do with them, but I ALWAYS love seeing The Dark Order on this show and while I have my quibbles with this it was a decent match with a REALLY good angle at the end of it, and I can only hope that they start winning some matches on Dynamite soon.


Jurassic Express (Luchasaurus & Jungle Boy) Vs. Jericho & Jake Hager

Jurassic Express is accompanied o the ring by Marko Stunt while Jericho & Jake Hager are accompanied by Santana & Ortiz

This match was a BIT of a spot-fest since the goal seems to be to show off what each combination of wrestlers can do against each other, but when you’ve got wrestlers as talented as they are it’s hardly worth taking points away.  Jungle Boy starts out strong against Jericho with his superior speed and youthful exuberance, so Jericho tags out almost immediately and then it’s Luchasaurus and Jake Hager who have a REALLY great brawl!  This battle between the two giants is perhaps the best that Hager has ever looked as he can sometimes come off a bit stiff but manages to open up a lot more against Luchasaurus who DEFINITELY knows how to work as an agile giant.  Nothing much gets resolved here and it’s soon back to Jericho and Jungle Boy where the latter continues his assault on Jericho while taking out Hager and Santana & Oritz for good measure.  While Ref Aubrey is being distracted by Hager who’s giving her pushback about getting into the ring, Mark Stunt manages to land a Hurricanrana from the top rope and launches Jericho right into Jungle Boy for a pin but only gets a two count.  At this point, Jericho finally has a chance to take the advantage as he drops a charging Jungle Boy flat on his stomach and lands a WICKER right forearm onto Marko Stunt who flies off of the apron into a crumpled heap.  Jericho continues to bully Jungle Boy and tries to superplex him from the top rope, but Jungle Boy throws him off and follows up with a Cross Body for the two count.  Having quite enough of this nonsense, Jericho tags in Jake Hager who goes to town on the little guy with some vicious looking submission holds.  Again, Hager looks GREAT here!  With Luchasaurus he looked a lot swifter and professional than he has in any match, and with Jungle Boy he looks like a legit monster that painfully rips his opponents apart!  Where The Inner Circle makes their mistake is not letting Hager finish this off to instead tag in Jericho who for whatever reason brings his bat into the ring in full view of Ref Aubrey.  I’m curious what exactly they’re building too here as the hostility between them has only grown in recent weeks with Aubrey straight up shoving Jericho into the ropes until he finally relinquishes the bat.  I once saw a promo for some random TNA PPV where a ref was getting teased by some dude over and over again (it might have been Jeff Jerrit being the bully) until he finally had enough and started attacking him; at which point Jim Cornette fired him as a ref… AND REHIRED HIM AS A WRESTLER!  Yeah, it’s a pretty corny premise even BEFORE you see TNA’s take on it, but I’m curious if we’re heading in that direction here.  In any case, more stuff happens for a few minutes as Hager and Jericho bully Jungle Boy, and then Luchasaurus gets the hot tag where he proceeds to clean house with admirable efficiency.  Luchasaurus then takes down Jericho, Hager takes out Luchasaurus, and then Jungle Boy flies from the top rope to annihilate Hager; leaving all the competitors on the ground and the match entirely up for grabs.  Luchasaurus manages to regain the advantage with the help of Jungle Boy clearing the ring, but then a wrestler from the crowd named Serpentico runs out with Jericho’s bat and clobbers Luchasaurus in the back.  Luchasaurus loses his grip and Jericho follows up with the Code Breaker to get the pin on Luchasaurus.  The Inner Circle then cleans house on the Jurassic Express and it turns out that Serpentico is… Sammy Guevara.  Umm… yay?  Orange Cassidy comes out with The Best Friends who manage to chase off The Inner Circle, and the episode ends with the announcement of a five-on-five match between Jurassic Express with The Best Friends and The Inner Circle.


This was a REALLY great episode of Dynamite that didn’t really follow up on the plot threads from last week (particularly Cody and Omega’s recent Heel behavior) but what we DID get here was a lot of great matches and the promises of new things in the future!  Aside from a few quibbles here and there like the odd placement of the Big Swole promo, the only thing that didn’t land for me was the return of Sammy.  I don’t know, it just feels WAY too early for him to come back as he’s only been gone what, a month?  I’m pretty sure Darby Allin was out of action longer than Sammy was, and the fact that they made it an angle on the show makes me worried that nothing’s changed.  Did he learn his lesson and is he a better and more empathetic person?  Well, they certainly didn’t answer that here as the whole vibe is one of celebration; like when a wrestler who’s injured for a few months comes back to shock the audience to delighted cheers.  I mean I guess it’d be difficult to try and make his suspension a part of the AEW storyline, but wrestling occupies a weird middle ground between fiction and reality where the true stories outside the ring tend to seep into the shows themselves, and in this particular context it comes off a bit tone oblivious.  I can only hope that there’s more to Sammy’s comeback than his big return and that we get a lengthy segment on next week’s show about where he’s been and how he’s going to be different (especially since some of the female wrestlers on the show have been vocal about their dislike for Sammy’s remarks), but I won’t exactly be holding my breath on that.  Still, a fun show with a lot of great matches!  What more could you ask for?

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