Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (09-23-2020)

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

It’s time once again for some DYNAMITE ACTION, and yes I am very late on putting this one up.  Things got a bit hectic around my schedule so I barely had a chance to watch this week’s show; let alone recap it!  Still, the extra time has let the events that played out simmer in my brain for a bit longer before throwing my brilliant opinions out into the world, so maybe this will be the most comprehensive and well-articulated critique of a wrestling show ever written!  Okay, probably not.  BUT, that doesn’t mean I don’t have a lot to say about this week’s episode as there were some… INTERESTING things that happened here!  Was it good?  Was it bad?  Let’s find out!!

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Kip Sabian & Miro Vs. Joey Janela and Sonny Kiss

Kip Sabian is accompanied to the ring by Penelope Ford

Wait, what?  We’re not going to build up to his first match on AEW; he just shows up on an unannounced opening match?  Well THAT feels like a wasted opportunity, but I guess it’s better than waiting a few months for whatever PPV they have next.  Miro straight up did the Rusev entrance with the jump and shout which was VERY cool, but they’re not gonna give us everything all at once as the match starts with Sonny and Sabian.  Before we get to Miro, I definitely want to point out that Sonny Kiss is getting better and better the more I see him.  He and Joey Janela are a very good team and I hope that something comes from it aside from a bunch of Dark Matches and one offs against bigger teams because they are a combo that you can tell great stories with even outside of a title chase.  Eventually they cause enough damage to Sabian that he finally gives Miro the hot tag and the guy comes out with all his fury; knocking Sonny right on his ass and utterly DESTROYING Joey Janela with a giant slam!  It’s great to see him in this match and look every bit as pumped to be here as we are pumped to see him, but sadly things don’t go as planned and the match ends up getting a bit ugly towards the end.  Miro takes a bump over the ring ropes and to the floor, but as soon as he’s down there he starts limping.  Reports are that he merely “tweaked” his ankle and that he’s fine now, but despite his best efforts to power thru it the match just kind of loses momentum and gets sloppy.  He manages to toss a charging Joey Janela over the barricade and immediately seems to regret it, but he waves Sabian to follow with the next move (something that is in FULL view of the camera and I’m not sure why they didn’t just cut to a different angle there) and tries to toss him over the barricade onto Janela.  However, he just doesn’t have the strength and I THINK Sabian falls on his head onto the concrete on the other side of the barricade.  THEN Janela tries for a cross body on Miro, but Miro can’t catch him and Joey just falls like a ton of bricks.  I haven’t heard anything about either of them having injuries so that’s good at least, but it was not a good look for the debut of such an anticipated talent.  Thankfully things get back on track after that with Miro seemingly recovering during the match (or at least having enough adrenaline pumping thru him to ignore the pain), and he finishes off Sonny Kiss with a kick, a stomp, and a Camel Clutch.  Look, things happen and even the best wrestlers don’t always have a good match so I’m not about to say anything negative about Miro, but this is certainly not the match anyone wanted to see from him right out of the gate.  Hopefully he’ll have a match next week and it’ll be as great as we were hoping this one would be.

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As Miro, Sabian, and Ford are leaving, Eddie Kingston runs out to the ring to make sure EVERYONE KNOWS that tonight’s match is going to be him and Moxley for the AEW Champion Title instead of the Six Man Tag match.  I’ve been a bit down on Kingston in recent weeks, but BOY is this guy great when he’s got the right material!  He calls out Moxley where it hurts by calling him a sellout who sold his soul to the Sports Entertainment devil, and these words cut so deep that Moxley comes right down the ring and they have to be separated by a dozen refs to stop the main event from happening right now.  A really good segment to advertise the main event, and I’d love to see Kingston do this every week; even if he has NOTHING to do with the main event!  Just have him come out here and yell at everyone!

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Adam Page Vs. Evil Uno

Evil Uno is accompanied to the ring by The Dark Order

I’m fairly certain I’ve never seen Evil Uno wrestle a singles match before, and he ends up having a pretty darn good match here with Adam Page.  Again, what makes Evil Uno stand out in the ring is his character; the way he adds a bit of flourish to everything that he does.  He’s a good worker in his own right and clicks very well with Adam Page in this match, but the most memorable parts about it are the little waves he does or whenever he points to his head to convey how smart he is.  It’s the kind of thing that grabs your attention in a match that is by all means very good, but also good in a way that quite a few other matches on this show are.  Adam Page definitely maintains control for the most part of this match, but Evil Uno can’t be dismissed out of hand as he does have some fun tricks up his sleeve; including a beat where he cowers behind the ref, does that thing where he tosses his opponent’s boot to the ref before doing a neck breaker, and for good measure he relaxes on the ring ropes while Adam Page is down.  Frankly he could have won this match if he allowed himself to get even MORE duplicitous, but when The Dark Order (sans Brodie Lee and Stu Grayson) threaten to enter the ring and pound on Page, Uno convinces them to not get involved and to trust him to handle it.  Even Colt Cabana who’s particularly protective of Evil Uno is politely told to head to the back and does so; albeit with a concerned expression on his face.  I’m still very curious to see where this relationship ends up going and if there’s a defection within the Dark Order spearheaded by Evil Uno, but for now it seems unlikely that he will be the unstoppable champion to unseat Brodie Lee because as soon as he dismisses The Dark Order he takes a drop onto the apron from Adam Page who is no firmly in control of this match.  Oh sure, Evil Uno puts up a valiant fight and manages to kick out of a few near falls, but as soon as Adam Page lands the Powerbomb, Uno just doesn’t have the wherewithal to avoid the Buckshot Lariat and ends up eating one for the three count; losing the match and handing yet another victory to Adam Page.  Evil Uno may have the pure skill and athleticism of the top AEW talent, but the guy is BRIMMING with talent and seems to have some very interesting ideas of where his character is going; assuming he has as much control over his direction as some of the other wrestlers do at the company.  The Dark Order may not have THE best matches and may not have THE best promos (Eddie Kingston and Jon Moxley are hard to beat when they’re at their best), but they’re by far my favorite faction on this show and I’m always excited to see what they get up to!

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Tony Schiavone is backstage with a very sad look on his face as he’s been drafted to try and get an interview with The Young Bucks who have been kicking people in the face a lot recently, so he tentatively knocks on the door and reflexively curls up into a ball as soon as it opens.  Matt Jackson laughs at him for being a schmuck and gives a half-hearted apology for their recent bad behavior.  Tony, perhaps feeling a bit TOO brave at this point, starts asking him about FTR, and so he takes Tony’s phone and breaks it before throwing money in his face.  I mean I’ve SEEN their house on Being the Elite, so I guess they have the cash to burn, but

Brodie Lee Vs. Orange Cassidy – TNT Title Match

Brodie Lee is accompanied to the ring by The Dark Order

As much as I like these two guys, it doesn’t exactly start on the best note.  Oh sure, there’s a funny bit with Jon Silver outside the ring who does his best to stomp Cassidy’s discarded shirt into oblivion (not to mention Anna Jay yelling at Cassidy and getting his sunglasses in response), but it’s a bit slow at first as Cassidy doesn’t put up much of a fight against Brodie Lee who in turn is working at a very lethargic pace.  It shows that Lee is confident in his chances of winning which is what you want for an Orange Cassidy match (his opponent underestimating him), but it’s not the most exciting way to start things off.  It doesn’t take long for things to get better though as Cassidy starts to fight back, but Brodie Lee’s power is not something that can be overcome easily and Cassidy’s attempt at a Swinging DDT turns into a Bossman Slam from The Exalted One instead.  It’s not looking good for Cassidy, but he comes up with a BRILLIANT stratagem that I don’t think anyone has thought to do before that keeps him alive in this match!  Brodie tries to set up Cassidy for the Discus Lariat which requires his opponent to stand up, but Cassidy keeps falling over.  GENIUS!!  It’s a move so crafty that Brodie Lee can’t even believe it just happened and tries to set him up for the move once again which Cassidy just goes limp for a second time.  Brodie then goes for the Big Boot, misses, and Cassidy rolls him up for a two count.  He may not have one just there, but he has a chance now and his momentum is so great that he manages to clean house against the Dark Order goons on the outside of the ring before landing a DDT onto Brodie Lee from the top rope.  He then follows up with Running Knees, but despite this move supposed to be one that HURTS the opponent, Brodie Lee just rises back up and screams at Cassidy.  The go back and forth for a bit with some impressive moves, including an Air Raid Crash from Cassidy which is doubly impressive considering how large Brodie Lee is, but once again The Dark Order makes its presence known which is the nail in the coffin for Cassidy’s chances.  Cassidy goes for the Orange Punch, but Silver runs into the ring and jumps in front Brodie Lee to take the shot for him and give him time to recover.  Cassidy then goes for a Hurricanrana, but Brodie Lee has JUST enough strength to turn it into a Powerbomb which he immediately follows up with a Discus Lariat to get the three count; winning the match and retaining the title.  I wouldn’t say that it started off FANTASTIC, but it was a consistently good story being told with Brodie Lee looking impressive, but only managing to squeak out a victory with the help of his silly subordinates.  It’s the perfect tone that The Dark Order should be setting (exemplified by the WONDERFUL Jon Silver) where they’re still kind of losers, but their earnestness and anger are just strong enough to make a difference when it matters, and it ends up keeping Cassidy looking strong despite having to take a loss here.

As soon as the match is over, the lights go out and someone’s entrance music starts playing on the screen.  No one knows who it is at first, but eventually it turns into Cody’s theme and he returns to the ring.  His hair is dyed black, he’s wearing dark clothing, and he stomps a mud hole into every member of The Dark Order who dares to stand up to him; not including Brodie Lee who, being the smart one, GTFOed as fast as possible.  With Cody’s apparent “Dark” turn, this means that The Elite are now ALL heels to one degree or another, and I’m not sure where we’re going with that.  On top of that, PERHAPS it’s a bit too soon for Cody to return as I’m enjoying Brodie Lee’s run as champion, and it’s not likely that Cody will be back and NOT try to take him on as soon as possible.

As soon as we return from commercial, Brodie Lee is in the back and starts screaming in a manner that is approaching incoherent, but the message manages to cut thru the bluster.  He’s upset that Cody has come back in the way that he did because… well I guess because Brodie Lee is a cowardly Heel and will find any excuse to call out the Baby Face, but the more interesting development here is that Brodie Lee has a giant dog collar connected to a very long chain, and he VOWS to make Cody wear it as some point.  Presumably whatever rematch Cody will get will be a stipulation where the loser has to wear the dog collar which sounds… interesting, but if Brodie Lee is going to lose I hope he finds a way to wriggle out of it.  I think humiliating him THAT much would damage his standing as THE EXALTED ONE, and frankly it would make sense for him to use his minions to run interference so he can run away without having to wear the collar.  I still think it’s too soon for these two to fight or for Cody’s quest for vengeance to overtake the Dark Order’s ongoing storylines, but things definitely got a bit more interesting!

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Matt Hardy and Private Party Try To Solve a WHODUNIT – Who Attacked Matt Hardy?

Matt Hardy gingerly comes out to the ring flanked on both sides by Private Party, and he confirms that he was attacked FROM BEHIND last week which is why he doesn’t know exactly who did it.  That’s quite an impressive feat for the assailant to have pulled off considering Hardy was gripping the front of his knee last week, but regardless he’s out here to piece the clues together and try to determine who it was.  He’s got the location (in the back area) as well as the weapon (with a steel bat) figured out, but the WHO in this wacky game of Clue is still a mystery because the assailant was wearing a mask.  The assailant I will remind you he JUST said attacked him from behind.  Okay, let’s not overly interrogate the word choice here (he stumbles on the mic quite a few times in this segment) and just jump to the fact that he’s accusing Chris Jericho of having done it and that he’s upset that they had to CHEAT to win against Private Party last week.  Jericho, not about to take these baseless accusations lying down, comes out with The Inner Circle to deny hitting Hardy, to taunt them for being losers, and to also announce the return of… Sammy Guevara.  Sigh… look, this guy is no doubt a FANTASTIC wrestler as he showed in first eight months of this show, but as soon as he started this feud with Matt Hardy and as soon as he got suspended for his podcast comments, he just hasn’t been the same and it’s going to take a bit of time for me to not cringe whenever I see him come out to the ring.  I’ll get there at some point I’m sure, but I swear to god if he even gets CLOSE to Matt Hardy again!  Anyway, Matt Hardy gets heated over all of this, but Quen and Kassidy jump in to calm him down and defend his honor.  Kassidy challenges Jericho to a match next week.  I’m not opposed to these two having a match, but they’re basically following the exact same script that Orange Cassidy did which was to point out how embarrassing it would be for a legend to lose a match to a new guy, and while I bought it as a genuine threat from Cassidy, Kassidy just doesn’t have the record or quite the same level of charisma to make it convincing. 

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Still not quite time for another match because FTR and Tully come out to the ring to say… honestly I don’t really know.  Basically, Tully explains that the champs will only have TWENTY minute matches which he tries to spin as being better than sixty minute matches (not like we’ve ACTUALLY brushed up against that time limit on Dynamite) and also FTR will get to decide the opponents (next week is going to be SCU) which throws the whole ranking system out the window.  I’m just not digging these guys so far as their cocky attitude just comes off as annoying rather than infuriating or intimidating.  Heck, if they’re supposed to be the best in the world, why is everyone bending over backwards to accommodate this nonsense?  FTR for no reason starts talking smack about Best Friends who come out and challenge them to a match then and there.  FTR actually agrees and both teams go to their corners, but then FTR changes their mind because The Best Friends are clearly not in tip top shape after their match last week, so they just bail out of there with Best Friends calling them names as they go.  They’ll apparently have a match in a few weeks and it will hopefully be a good one, but I’m still feeling a bit cold about FTR as champions.

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Hikaru Shida & Thunder Rosa Vs. Diamanté & Ivelisse

Shida and Thunder Rosa didn’t exactly have a PHENOMENAL match at the PPV, but Diamanté and Ivelisse brought an amazing fight out of Thunder Rosa (even if it turns out a good chunk of it was a genuine shoot), so hopefully they can do the same with Shida in the mix.  Well I guess the match itself was fine, but it was by far the least interesting match on the show.  Despite having four very talented people in it, I just couldn’t get into the action here.  Diamanté and Ivelisse are the better tag team, but Shida and Thunder Rosa are the better wrestlers who only occasionally get in each other’s way.  So yeah, basically the same story as every other SINGLES COMPETITORS TEAMING UP match since the beginning of time.  There’s a near fall after Thunder Rosa lands a Death Valley Driver and Shida lands a Falcon Arrow on Diamanté, but Ivelisse breaks it up just long enough to get knocked out of the ring by Thunder Rosa and for Shida to then get the victory with a running knee.  Nothing much more than that; it was just fine.

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Chris Jericho is in the back getting interviewed about the Isaiah Kassidy match next week where he admits a modicum of respect for the guy, but he’s still an utter fool for trying to take on THE DEMO GOD!  Before he can put a bow on this promo, MJF walks in and offers his condolences for the offense that Mr. Kassidy had lobed against him earlier that night and the two of them talk about how much they respect each other… before they start yelling at each other about one calling the other a loser last week.  Oh no wait, they were talking about SOMEONE ELSE at the time, MJF about his limo driver and Jericho about Tony Schiavone.  Well alright then!  I guess they’re good now!

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Jon Moxley Vs. Eddie Kingston – AEW Title Match

So as mentioned earlier, the Six Man Tag Match that was supposed to be the main event tonight was cancelled with the reason being that Lance Archer tested positive for COVID-19 and reports are that Brian Cage is “sick”.  With what, we’re still not sure, but in any case that Six Man match is probably not gonna happen for at least two more weeks, so for now we’re wrapping up that botched spot on the Battle Royale that became its own storyline.  Is the payoff any good?  I mean… it’s another perfectly fine match, but it does kind of feel every bit the last minute replacement that it is.  Kingston and Moxley put on a good show and focus on strikes instead of fancy moves, but there’s not much story there other than both guys’ willingness to take a beating.  If there’s one thing that stands out here, it’s the selling from both men who are going FAR out of their way to look all loopy and to walk funny whenever they take a hit which is what I ended up enjoying the most about this.  They go back and forth for about eight minutes or so before Moxley finally puts an end to it with a choke hold that knocks Kingston out.

Almost as soon as Moxley is standing back up, The Lucha Bros run out to pound on him for a bit so BIG WILL HOBBS runs out to make the save which was probably the BEST part of the match even if it only lasted for like fifteen seconds before he got overwhelmed.  Then Darby Allin runs in and cleans house before Ricky Starks runs out to spear him out of nowhere.  I guess since the match itself wasn’t all that exciting they felt the need to overload the ending with this brawl which granted was pretty fun, but it feels about as superfluous as the match itself.

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It started off wonky and lost all of its steam by the end, but this episode was just fine.  The two matches involving The Dark Order were the definite highlights here as they continue to be the best thing on the show, and while I didn’t like everything else I saw, there wasn’t really anything incompetent or all that bad.  Even the opening match with Miro’s injury wasn’t terrible as it started strong and managed to end without anyone getting hurt, but this definitely felt like an episode to just kind of hold things over for a week as they get everything straightened out for future episodes.  I don’t mind them doing that every once in a while as long as they keep it entertaining which this was for the most part.  Seriously, when in doubt just send Evil Uno out there to make everything ten times better!  Heck, put him on the announce team and it wouldn’t even matter if the match is boring!

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