Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (10-21-2020)

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

Another week has passed which means another week of wrestling action from everyone’s favorite cool alternative brand!  AEW has their Full Gear PPV coming up so the next few weeks will be all about building up matches and story lines for the big event, and with a tournament for the number one contender’s spot as well as four way match to challenge the AEW Tag Team Champions, will they have the momentum they need to make their PPV another success while giving us a great episode of Dynamite in the process?  Let’s find out!!

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Wardlow Vs. Jungle Boy – AEW World Title Tournament

Jungle Boy is accompanied to the ring by Luchasaurus and Marko Stunt

This is a very traditional and very basic Face/Heel match which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  Jungle Boy has to put in five hundred percent to gain any momentum and Wardlow’s sheer size is enough for him to overcome whatever offense Jungle Boy brings to the match. You’ve got your hope spots, your heat segments, a few Suicide Dives, it’s not exactly the Shakespeare of matches, but it’s a good opening bout that’s got its fair share of fun spots.  For all the momentum that Jungle Boy has in the latter half of the match though (built off the back of an impressive Hurricanrana from the top rope), he just doesn’t have enough to put Wardlow away and after eating two F10s from the man finally stays down for the three count.  We’ve got a BIG show ahead of us tonight, so I don’t have a problem with this first match not overstaying its welcome, though I thought it would have been nice if Jungle Boy got to the next round.

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We get a recap of the Kingston/Moxley angel for last week and I honestly can’t remember if what we see here was at the end of the show (they claim here that it was after the cameras went off), but the important thing is that Kingston is STILL a phenomenal speaker and they have an interesting angle to take this.  That’s kind of been Kingston’s deal since he came to AEW; he’s always finding a way to lose you but then bring you right back in.  His winging over his loss to Moxley and the lackluster handling of his stable have certainly cooled me on the character, but stuff like his performance in the Battle Royale, and his promos with Moxley (especially this one) remind you of why he got a contract pretty much immediately after his match with Cody.  The only problem here, and this is perhaps my own memory working against me, but I thought this whole tournament was for a title match at Full Gear, and yet apparently they’re announcing an I Quit match between Moxley and Kingston at the PPV instead.  Seems a bit anti-climactic for a tournament to be for a TV match, something that plenty of other dudes got without having to win three matches first, but I’m guessing that whoever wins the tournament won’t dethrone Moxley; especially with the story ACTUALLY being about Adam Page and Kenny Omega.  Speaking of whom!

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Kenny Omega Vs. Sonny Kiss – AEW World Title Tournament

Kenny Omega gets an extended introduction including two models who come out with brooms that I can only assume are references to his New Japan gimmick (The Cleaner I think?) which I’m guessing is to advertise his intention of getting back to his singles competitor roots.  Now if you haven’t noticed by now, I’m VERY good at forgetting things, and until they called attention to it I had completely forgotten that Joey Janela was supposed to be in this match.  Apparently he was in contact with someone who got COVID, so he decided to skip this week and get a test to be on the safe side.  This is relevant because it’s as good an explanation as any as to what happens in the match as Kenny lands a V-Trigger, a One Winged Angel, and then gets the pin.  Sonny Kiss didn’t get a second of offense and is out of the tournament in less than twenty second which by the way is like a tenth as long as Kenny’s intro was.  It’s very possible that this was the plan for Joey Janela, but I’m gonna lean towards this being the compromise they had to make when Janela dropped out.  There probably wasn’t a lot of time to put anything together, and since Kenny is going to win anyway, why not just make it a squash? 

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Tony Schiavone is interviewing Orange Cassidy about his match last week which went to a draw.  Orange gives a classic interview (sometimes things work out, sometimes they don’t), and Tony is left befuddled and frustrated.  Always fun!

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Cody arrives with Arn Anderson and now Dasha is the one trying to get an interview about the match last week and the rematch for next week.  Cody as well ends up giving a rather clipped and straightforward talk; seemingly keeping at arm’s length for whatever reason.  Despite Cody’s proclamation about being the biggest Babyface at the company, there seems to be something going on here and I’m interested to find out.

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Kingston is in the back and is crying with laughter after seeing Moxley’s promo from earlier in the show, and begins plugging his guys; all of whom have matches on this show!  See, THAT’S a good leader!  Always working FOR his team instead of having them support HIM!  After the plugs, he tells Moxley that he is completely right about him.  He IS a cheater.  He IS a liar.  He’s the person that he HAD to become to get anywhere in this world, especially after Mox left him behind when he went to Wrestling Hollywood.  He may not be able to look himself in the mirror, but he sure as hell is ready for the brutality of an I Quit match, and he knows that he’s not going to say it no matter what Moxley thinks he can throw at him.  I could probably just google it, but I’ve always wondered if an I QUIT match ever ended with the aggressor just deciding that it’s not worth maiming or possibly even KILLING this person to get the win and just say that THEY give up to save their opponent.  I DOUBT that’s going to happen here, but I get the feeling that Kingston is going to push Moxley to the limit as far as his capacity for violence and mayhem.

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Pentagon Jr. Vs. Rey Fénix – AEW World Title Tournament

Much like the Wardlow/Jungle Boy match, this one follows a pretty straightforward formula but does it quite well.  Instead of a Heel/Face dynamic, it’s definitely one that leans into their relationship as brothers; two guys who are out here to prove themselves against the other just as much as they are there to win.  Almost every beat of this match has a moment where they stop, look each other in the eye, and agree to take each other’s blows to prove how tough they are!  There are like three different chop spots where they just wail on each other, and at one point they’re both down on the outside and have to beat the ten count.  Sadly things start to fall apart towards the end after Rey has a bad landing on a move.  Aubrey talks to him, she rushes over to the doctor, but the match goes on so it’s not clear if he’s working through the pain or if he’s genuinely alright.  What is clear is that both guys start to move a bit more gingerly after that and it dampens the enthusiasm for the rest of the match.  Rey Fénix and Pentagon Jr fighting while on the top ropes SHOULD be a great moment, but I was just terrified that Fénix is about to break his neck.  They go on for a bit longer and Pentagon tries to break Fénix’s arm, but Fénix manages to work through the pain and lands a Canadian Destroyer on Pentagon an FANTASTIC display of sheer athleticism, and manages to get three count; advancing to the next round of the tournament.  All in all, this was a pretty great match!  Perhaps it got a bit redundant for a minute or two in the middle and that one spot where Fénix fell on his head certainly halted the momentum, but it ended with THE BEST move in all of wrestling and as long as Fénix is ACTUALLY okay, I can’t even IMAGINE how good that match will be between him and Kenny Omega!

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We get a video package for the upcoming match between Best Friends and Kip with Miro, and while EVERYTHING in wrestling is silly to one extent or another, watching them feud over an arcade cabinet is definitely up there.  The Best Friends didn’t even mean it!  It was a total accident and they say as much, but Kip and Miro just won’t let it go for whatever reason.  They SAY it’s a one of a kind machine, but I call bull spit on that right on its face, and even if it WAS the case why the heck would you bring it to a WRESTLING SHOW!?  That’s like taking an excitable and incontinent dog to a fireworks show and getting surprised at the mess!!

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Alex Marvez is in the back interviewing Colt Cabana with Silver and Reynolds; all of whom have matches on this show.  I haven’t been watching Being the Elite where Silver and Reynolds apparently steal the show whenever they show up, but I can confirm that they are an absolute delight to watch; especially with the happy and oblivious Cabana.  Speaking of Cabana!

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Colt Cabana Vs. Hangman Adam Page – AEW World Title Tournament

Colt Cabana is accompanied to the ring by Evil Uno

We know that Page is going to the next round so this might as well be a squash like the Omega match, but they actually have a pretty good match here; so much so that I wish the winner wasn’t so obviously telegraphed.  They have a decent story with Cabana here, but it doesn’t feel like the right time to tell it.  It’s clear that Evil Uno has selected Cabana as his pet project, and so he comes out here to try and motivate and direct him which is a brilliant idea as it’s a clear contrast to Brodie Lee’s fear based approach to cult management.  I’d like to see this in a context where it works out though because Hangman Adam Page still wins this match pretty handily.  The one part that REALLY didn’t sit well with me though was a spot that Page took on the apron.  Cabana’s on the outside and Page is climbing up the turnbuckle to presumably do a Moonsault, but Cabana manages to run up and push him off.  Instead of sending him to the ring as you normally would though, Page flips forward and lands on his back on the apron in a manner that was absolutely TERRIFYING to watch.  He finished the match and I haven’t heard anything about him getting injured, but that was not fun to see and AEW really needs to do better about protecting its wrestlers and not letting them take ridiculous bumps like this.  In any case, Cabana tries to press the advantage after this and even manages to get a two count with his silly looking Superman Pin, but Adam Page is in it to win it and lands a Buckshot Lariat on Cabana to get the win.  It was fun and I always love to see The Dark Order, but let’s focus more on character and story than dangerous bumps, okay?

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Team Taz comes out to talk about their grievances with number one being Will Hobbs.  Taz is upset that Hobbs hasn’t given them a PROPER answer to his offer.  It’s not polite to keep Taz waiting, and as much as he dreads to even THINK of the notion, Hobbs might be blowing him off which would be a BIG mistake.  Darby Allin is number two on their list as Taz is HOPPING MAD that Darby Allin has a title match against Cody at Full Gear while Ricky Starks is over here winning match after match without getting anywhere at this company.  Starks grabs the mic and starts screaming about how much he hates Darby Allin and they’re going to settle their differences sooner rather than later.

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Chris Jericho and MJF Date Night – Where To Get The Best Steak Dinner In Florida!?

Somewhat disappointingly, the answer looks to be backstage with a fancy table, a large curtain, and like three potted plants.  See, I wanted them to go to some big fancy restaurant to hash out their differences but at every table there are a bunch of wrestlers in bad disguises trying to listen in on what’s going on.  The Inner Circle at one table with Sammy wearing a fake mustache, The Dark Order at another with Ten The Creeper wearing his mask and wearing a tie without a shirt on, but no!  I guess a few ficuses and square plates were enough for this classy night out!  Then again, it’s not like Jericho and MJF need a bunch of extras to make a scene like this work as they IMMEDIATELY start some sort of game where they ask for their steak to be less cooked than the other guy.  I want it well done!  Well I want it medium!  Well I want it RARE!  I WANT A FRESH COW AND I WILL CHEW OFF WHAT I WILL!!  The two start talking without saying much as they both are guarded about letting the other one in even a little bit… and then things turn weird.  It’s one of those things that you should just look up yourself because I can’t do it justice with my description, but for no reason it turns into a musical number where the two of them do a duet of Frank Sinatra’s Me and My Shadow in a scene that’s as close as I ever want this show to get to Family Guy.  They aren’t great singers, they aren’t great dancers, and the staging is… well about what you can expect from a live performance done by wrestlers, but holy crap was it an unexpected and fun little segment!  I’m just terrified to think of where ELSE they can take this!  Jericho and MJF have done some of the best segments in Dynamite’s history, and if them working together is going to give us stuff like this, I suggest MJF join The Inner Circle yesterday!  We’ll have to wait until next week though to get an answer on that as The Inner Circle is going to have a town hall meeting to figure out if MJF is a good fit, and if it doesn’t end in a car chase I’m going to be VERY disappointed!

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Britt Baker Vs. Kilynn King

Baker is accompanied to the ring by Reba

This match is what it is.  It’s not a mess like some of the other women’s matches in recent weeks, but they get in, get out, and give Baker a lot of spotlight without making it a straight up squash match.   Now I haven’t been the best at catching botches in these matches so maybe this is a lot worse than I think it is, but the only thing that looked bad to me was a spot where Kilynn flew off of Baker’s back despite Baker clearly exerting next to no force, and a Slingblade that was… okay.  She did the spin and all that, but it looks like she barely touched Kilynn from the angle they gave us.  The Slingblade though is the point where Baker kicks it into overdrive as she follows up with a DDT, a Neckbreaker, and a Stomp that practically knocks her opponent out.  She then puts her in the Lockjaw (after putting on a protective glove of course) and Kilynn taps out immediately.  It short, there’s a decent amount of back and forth, and it further cements her submission hold as a true finisher, so even if it’s not the most INSPIRED match on the card it accomplishes its goals very admirably.

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There’s a Darby Allin video after the match starring none other than Steve-O who talks up Darby Allin’s upcoming title match before Darby throws himself down a halfpipe in a body bag.  Steve-O is a pretty interesting guy (you should check out his stand up special from a few years ago) and now I’m curious who else they’re gonna get to tell us how awesome Darby Allin is.  Heck, just bring the entire cast of Jackass onto the next PPV!

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The Young Bucks Vs. Private Party Vs. The Butcher & The Blade Vs. The Dark Order (Silver and Reynolds) – Four Way Number One Contender Tag Match

The Butcher & The Blade are accompanied to the ring by The Bunny while Private Party is accompanied to the ring by Matt Hardy

I’m actually a bit surprised that they’re doing this as a four way match instead of stretching it out a bit by making it another tournament.  Perhaps they thought that TWO tournaments would be redundant or that they need as much time as possible to build up The Bucks Vs. FTR, but in any case we start this match with some serious drama as THE BUNNY has come back to join The Butcher & The Blade!  To the show’s credit, they do in fact give us a clip from Dark where Allie turns on QT Marshall, so while I still have no idea why she left in the first place, at least they SHOWED us her coming back.  Now as for the match itself, it’s primarily a spot fest.  With so many talented tag teams running in and out at all times, there’s not much more you can do but show off the talent of everyone involved which is certainly not a bad thing, but it means that there’s not much of a story to tell despite the stakes involved.  Even the outside interference feels rather token with Allie yelling at one person and Matt Hardy doing absolutely nothing aside from brawling with Sammy during the commercial break.  The spots that I liked the best were with Silver and Reynolds as AEW seems genuinely hot on them and give them a lot to do here.  Silver gets a chance to run wild on the outside and manages to take out practically EVERYONE in an impressive display, and best of all he and Reynolds do that REALLY cool combination they did back on the last PPV’s Buy-In show.  Spinning back first from Reynolds, Step Up form Silver, Stunner from Reynolds, Bridging German Suplex from Silver, and then Reynolds rolls over to hold down the pin.  I LOVE that and I hope they give it a name at some point!  Sadly it doesn’t end well for them as Private Party regain control of the match and unfortunately a Top Rope Leg Drop from Kassidy COMPLETELY knocks Reynolds unconscious and he has to be rolled out of the ring for most of the match.  He wakes up to take a kick and a Bulldog from Nick Jackson and as far as I can tell he’s fine, but that’s the kind of thing that should keep him out of the ring for at LEAST a week.  The match goes on for a bit after that with even more impressive moves from everyone, but it eventually comes down to The Bucks and Private Party.  The Bucks have Kassidy set up for a Meltzer Driver, but Quen pulls Nick off the apron and Isaiah manages to pull Matt down for a pin.  Matt manages to reverse though, and just BARELY manages to get the pin before Kassidy kicks out.  In fact, I’d argue that Kassidy’s shoulders were UP by the 2.9 count, but its close enough that I won’t argue against the ruling and it made for a surprising end to an otherwise spot heavy match.  As soon as the match is over, FTR hit the ring to congratulate The Bucks on their win to commemorate such a monumental achievement.  The Bucks however, still in Jerk mode, knock the beers out of their hands and start mean mugging them, but then Tully comes from behind and lays them out with a chair.  FTR then use the chair to crush Matt Jackson’s leg, so he’s probably going to be out until the PPV show in a few weeks, and the show ends with FTR standing tall with their manager while The Bucks are beaten, possibly broken, and most certainly alone.  Some are wondering whether this will be the time for The Bucks to finally get the belt or if FTR will retain the titles and they’ll keep the feud going until they can get a proper PPV crowd in.  Here’s my prediction!  The Bucks are going to come close to winning the match at Full Gear, but they will ultimately come up short.  Why?  Because FTR will have Tully Blanchard at ringside and The Bucks will have no one.  They aren’t just acting like heels, they’re intentionally isolating themselves from anyone who would care to see them win the title or even care that they have a FAIR shot at it; hence why no one tried to come out and make the save when it was clear that FTR was going to injure Matt Jackson.  I don’t know how long it will be before their rematch against FTR, but in that time they will come back around to being good guys and perhaps even get The Elite back together which would be the key to them finally winning the belts.

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This is not the BEST episode of AEW Dynamite, but this is exactly what I want to see from the show.  The tournament gave this episode a great sense of structure and streamlined everything down to its leanest and most efficient elements.  The matches could have been better to be sure, but not every episode has to have a blowout bout, and all the promos were a lot of fun; especially from The Dark Order and from Jericho and MJF.  Even the women’s division match which is usually the low point of the show didn’t overstay its welcome and did what it need to in rebuilding up Britt Baker’s clout in the division.  The only thing that I need to stress, and has been stressed MANY times, is that they have GOT to be more careful in the ring.  Page took that scary bump, Reynolds was knocked out, and we now know that Fénix is dropping out of next week’s match to make sure that his neck is okay.  We love the big stunts and I’m sure the wrestlers are completely gung ho about doing this stuff, but if they keep this up there won’t be anyone to wrestle on the PPV! 

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