AEW Dynamite is owned by All Elite Wrestling, Shahid Khan, and TNT
With just one more show before Full Gear and Dynamite has done a good job so far of building up the matches for the show. If it wasn’t so simple you’d almost call it a stroke of brilliance that they came up with the World Title Tournament to drive the story between Adam Page and Kenny Omega, and with that as well as the Tag Title match, they’ve got the solid backbone needed to make a show feel important and the rest of the card has been built up with interesting feuds like Kingston and Moxley… as well as less interesting ones like Matt and Sammy. In any case, does this show present a bunch of fun matches for us to enjoy while also building up to the big show that’s right around the corner!? Let’s find out!!
Well actually before that, this will be the last thing I post before the election of 2020 is over and done with, so if ANYONE reading this the day I post it hasn’t done so yet, PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS SACRED, VOTE FOR JOE BIDEN! He won’t fix everything (no politician ever will on their own), but we need to do our part to fix the problems that this country is facing, and step one is getting the SCROTUS booted out of office; kicking and screaming if necessary. Alright, NOW let’s find out!!
We begin the episode with Dasha in the back trying to interview Wardlow, but the big guy can’t get a word in edgewise as MJF talks for him and ASSURES Dasha that Wardlow winning the tournament would mean that MJF wins the tournament and that any title Wardlow wins will be MJF’s title by right of whatever weird contract they have. Seems like Wardlow is consistently getting the short end of the stick here, but we ARE in the middle of a pandemic and a job is a job I suppose. Sammy interrupts MJF and things get heated as Sammy makes it crystal clear how little he cares for the smarmy jerk, but MJF is not easily intimidated and the two agree to disagree; at least for the time being. MJF doesn’t have time for this anyway! He’s got a match to watch!
Wardlow Vs. Hangman Adam Page – AEW World Title Tournament Semi-Final
Wardlow is accompanied to the ring by MJF
The big event of the last few weeks has been the tournament to determine the number one contender for the AEW World Title, and so we waste no time getting back to it. Hangman is also not wasting any time because a half second before the bell rings, he runs towards Wardlow and lands a drop kick right as the match begins. Wardlow then takes Adam Page apart for a bit, but he doesn’t have the size advantage here that he did against Jungle Boy which means he’s going to have to step up his game. A spear outside of the ring to Page does the job pretty well which gives Wardlow a change to gain some heat, but there’s almost no mystery as to who’s going to win this match considering that Kenny Omega is on the other side of the bracket. Then again, it’d be a good twist to have Wardlow win and somehow get the belt! Heck, they just planted the seed with MJF’s interview that started the show, so why not give it a shot? As for the match itself, it’s pretty good! I wouldn’t say it’s significantly better than his match against Jungleboy, but that was already a solid show opener and the same is true here. Wardlow goes for some sort of move while Page is on the top rope, but while he smugly tries to pander to the audience, Page grabs Wardlow’s arm, falls back behind the ropes, and starts cranking on it. This is the turning point for the match as Wardlow is unable to get his momentum back and finally loses all of it with an attempted dive from the top rope that misses Page by a mile. They start trading strikes and clotheslines to no avail so Wardlow lands a kick and transitions into a German Suplex which Page manages to flip out of and the two end up tumbling outside the ring. After a few more spots including a Moonsault from the top rope to the ground, Page goes they start trading finishes to bring this match to a close. Hangman goes for the Buckshot Lariat and misses which allows Wardlow to take him down with a lariat of his own. Wardlow only gets a two count so he lands the F10, but before he can capitalize with another pin attempt, Page rolls out of the ring. THEN things get scary as Wardlow is on the middle rope with Page on his shoulders, but Page fights out of it and they both fall back; landing hard on the mat below. Thank goodness Wardlow wasn’t on the top rope or less there would have been a CRATER in the middle of the ring, but he’s now in no condition to fight back and so Page finally lands not one but TWO Buckshot Lariats to get the three count and advance to the finals of the tournament. It wasn’t particularly memorable is perhaps the worst you can say about the match, but both guys did their job and it was a very good way to open the show!
We get another Moxley promo to build up the I Quit match, and in this one he talks about how much effort he put into making the AEW title the most valuable title in all of wrestling. This match at Full Gear though? Nah, this isn’t about any of that! This is personal! He is going to DESTROY this Eddie Kingston that looks nothing like the Eddie Kingston he knew long ago, and hopefully whatever is left will remember the man he used to be. If not? Well, Kingston made his bed, and no one else is gonna lie in it for him. Perhaps I’m a bit too jaded at the moment to really groove with this program, but the feud between him and Kingston is starting to feel a bit histrionic. It’s a good promo and I’m still excited to see the match, but if they’re not going to add a new wrinkle to the feud then I’d tone things down just a TINY bit.
Eddie Kingston Vs. Matt Sydel
Kingston is accompanied to the ring by The Butcher, The Blade, and The Bunny
Okay, before we get into the match itself, we’re gonna have to talk about what they tell us happened between The Bunny and QT Marshall. It’s not enough that she broke his heart and went back to The Blade; she ALSO maxed out the man’s credit cards before doing so. It’s such an unnecessary layer to add to this considering how little money is an issue in this promotion (at most, it’s occasionally used for heels to brag about), and this specific scenario is FAR too reminiscent of the MRA coda Beta Bucks Alpha F**ks for my taste. As far as the match itself? Honestly, I couldn’t get much of a feel for it as the while Bunny/QT thing was buzzing in my head when this match had started and I couldn’t really get into it once I started to pay more attention. I still don’t know the first thing about Matt Sydel either except that he’s won a few matches on Dark, but the point of this match is to showoff Kingston’s fortitude which will be the key to either him or Moxley winning the match at the PPV. A lot of submission holds, a lot of big meaty strikes, and a lot of punishment that Kingston manages to shake off like a champ. The one move that he DIDN’T shake off though was when Sydel does this Head Scissors on Kingston from the top rope, and my GOD you’ve never seen a man crash into the mat so hard and so fast! Kingston’s not what I’d call the most flexible guy in the division, so it’s doubly amazing that he took that move as well as he did. Sydel follows up with a double knee drop from the top rope and gets a few nearfalls, but Kingston swiftly regains the advantage and ends up tapping Sydel with the Bulldog Choke; the same move Moxley used to knock Kingston out in their match. Despite the bell ringing though, Kingston refuses to let go of the hold and starts calling on his opponent to say I Quit… who he thinks is Jon Moxley now because he’s that far off the deep end in this feud. Like I said before, things are getting a TAD bit too silly in this feud and moments like this aren’t making it any less goofy. I still can’t wait for the match, but I’m anxious about what they have up their sleeves for next week’s show to put this that much more over the top.
FTR and The Young Bucks are being interviewed by Excalibur (from different locations) as they discuss the upcoming title match at Full Gear. FTR barely seem to be there though as they’re more or less on hand to throw snide remarks and leave the interview in a huff halfway through it, but at least The Bucks give us some news here. Matt Jackson’s ankle that FTR messed up last week is not in great shape, but he’s ignoring the warning and is going to be there for the match at Full Gear. Not only that, Matt Jackson (with a lot of hesitation from Nick) is pulling a Cody and promises that they’ll never challenge for the belt again if they lose on the PPV which is NOT what I’d call a great idea; in storyline or in terms of booking. Last week I gave my theory as to how this will all shake out, and of course one week later they swerve us and upend the story that it SEEMED like they were telling, which is fine if they can pull it off… except I have no idea how you CAN pull it off, and even if they DID pull it off I don’t know if it’d be better than my idea. Now fine, I shouldn’t be backseat booking here and they’ve rarely made any unqualified mistakes as far as the booking of their titles, but at some point it comes off like when trapeze artists remove the safety nets. I don’t find it more exhilarating to see them make it as HARD as possible for them; it comes off a bit more as arrogance and I’m more tense that everything could end up failing than enjoying the spectacle. They better have a good plan for Full Gear is all I’m saying because they’ve just made it a hundred times harder for themselves in my eyes.
Democracy In Action – The Inner Circle Town Hall!
Much like the debate between Jericho and Cassidy a few months ago, this is all a bunch of silly nonsense playing out in the ring only with Schiavone and Dasha hosting the festivities. The Inner Circle are on one side with MJF (sans Wardlow) on the other, and they take questions from people in the crowd. First up is…
Luchasaurus – Question to MJF (paraphrased): MJF doesn’t have a Master’s degree (like Luchasaurus does), so how does he contribute to the earning potential of The Inner Circle and ensure their continued financial prosperity?
MJF spends most of his answer praising the dinosaur for doing such a good job reading his question, and then he puts up a phony chart that’s only slightly more belivable than the ones you’d see in a Prager U video that shows MJF’s “numbers” going up while The Inner Circle’s “numbers” stagnating. Still better than any answer the SCROTUS gave in his debates (PLEASE VOTE!!). On to the next question!
Britt Baker & Reba – Question to Jericho (paraphrased): Okay, before the question Reba TOTALLY fan-girls about Jericho which was very endearing to see since Reba’s not really had much of a presence outside of being Baker’s henchwoman, but in any case here’s the question. MJF has a TERRIBLE track record when it comes to friends here at AEW. How does that make Jericho feel?
Jericho isn’t scared of MJF turning on him. Jericho is so good that he has no doubts about MJF’s show of respect for him… and in case he ISN’T sincere, he’s got four dudes behind him ready to beat the ever loving hell out of the smarmy scarf wearing d-bag. MJF retorts that they have shared interests and that there is no stronger bond than the prospect of making money and winning championship belts.
Peter Avalon – Question to Jericho (paraphrased): CAN I PLEASE BE IN THE INNER CIRCLE!?
Jericho and his crew consult for a bit, and then they just laugh at the dude. Nice try, man.
SURPRISE! The last question comes from none other than the B-bag himself Eric Bischoff and because he’s the man (who drove a company into financial ruin), he gets to ask THREE questions
Number One – Question to MJF (paraphrased and VERY much shortened): What can MJF do for the Inner Circle?
His answer? FRIENDSHIP! I hear it’s magic.
Number Two – Question to MJF (paraphrased): what does MJF think the Inner Circle can do for him?
MJF may be the total package, but he has a dent in his armor. He may not be the best team player and perhaps by joining The Inner Circle, he can learn to be.
Number Three – Question to MJF (paraphrased): With MJF and Jericho being prima donnas what are the chances that they DON’T end up killing each other?
Okay first of all, Eric Bischoff calling ANYONE else a prima donna is the funniest thing in all of wrestling. MJF, similarly bemused, starts ranting about the slings and arrows that have come his way, but Jericho makes him get back on track and answer the question. What assurance does he have that MJF doesn’t stab them in the back? MJF is genuinely peeved about this, considering all he’s done these last few weeks to make Jericho feel like a king. Gifts, kind words, a song and dance number, what else can MJF do!? Jericho’s answer… MJF hasn’t beaten him yet, and he’s going to give him the chance. It’s MJF Vs. Chris Jericho at Full Gear, and if MJF wins, he joins the Inner Circle; a proposition that MJF is conflicted about, but he quickly finds his resolve and wants Jericho to know just how seriously he’s going to take the match. Santana then grabs the mic and is upset that he and the rest of the Inner Circle haven’t had a say in any of this, so he challenges MJF to a tag match next week on the go home show for the PPV. It’ll be Sammy and Santana Vs. MJF and Wardlow, and Jericho couldn’t be more amused by this outcome. The Full Gear match is going to be interesting as the implications of MJF cheating or brutalizing his way to winning are obvious and I’m curious if Jericho will even WANT MJF in The Inner Circle if he does bash him over the head with the diamond ring or pulls any other cheap tricks in the process. The tag match is less interesting as it feels like it’s there just to build up MJF before the big fight on Saturday, but it should prove to be a fun match… assuming Sammy doesn’t screw anything up.
We get a Will Hobbs hype video with Taz singing his praises and confirms that the dude BETTER give him an answer soon… or else! I’m not sure what the point of this is since Hobbs has Baby Face charisma for days so he’s not going to go with the heel faction, and I can only assume these are just placeholders until after the PPV. They had a big corination match for him all set but COVID got in the way of it, so Hobbs got put on the back burner until Moxley is done with Kingston and probably even until after he’s done with the winner of the tournament. Still, it’d be nice if Hobbs was actually on Dynamite instead of just getting TALKED ABOUT on Dynamite! We can give him a match here and there, right?
Cody Vs. Orange Cassidy – TNT Championship Lumberjack Match
Cody is accompanied to the ring by The Nightmare Family while Orange Cassidy is accompanied by Best Friends
I’ll just go ahead and tell you that this is a good match, but there’s a GIANT elephant in the room here that can’t be ignored and just ends up getting in the way. There are a few reasons you would do a Lumberjack match with the most obvious being a cowardly heel who keeps trying to run away, a la Asukua Vs. James Ellsworth a few years ago. You want Lumberjacks in place to keep the match from going off the rails and to try and keep it in the ring, but the problem is that neither Cody or Orange are trying to cheat here! Okay, Cody has a FEW heelish tendencies here and there, but he’s not an outright cheater and so having the enforcers on the outside doesn’t seem like it adds much! The justification is that The Dark Order promised to interfere in the match so the lumberjacks are there as security… except The Dark Order ARE STILL THERE! They are participating as Lumberjacks when they could have just been banned from ringside! All this Lumberjack nonsense does is justify shenanigans to keep one of them from losing clean, and while I can understand them trying to thread that needle, it just leads to a good match that could have been great if it wasn’t so cluttered with distractions. In any case, the match is good with Cody and Orange fighting at a very fast pace and pulling off some big moves right off the bat. Cody goes for the Cross Rhodes and Cassidy goes for the Mousetrap, but neither one manages to pull it off this early into the fight. Cody ends up getting most of the momentum, but The Dark Order keep taunting him which gives Cassidy enough room to even things out; though Cody is not blameless for Cassidy’s performance here as he’s quite cocky throughout despite having only one the last match by a technicality. There’s a fun spot here with The Best Friends who catch Cassidy when HE falls off the apron but very deliberately drop Cody when it’s his turn to fall, but for the most part the Lumberjacks are just there to get in the way and to screw up the finish. All the Lumberjacks start brawling after Cassidy fends off a few of The Dark Order to try and make the save for Cody, and in the mayhem Cody manages to get Cassidy to the top rope and Superplexes him into the crowd below. Cody then goes for a Cross Rhodes but Cassidy somehow reverses it into a… Stun-dog Millionaire (just a stunner in case it wasn’t clear), and almost manages to get the pin, but as soon as Cody kicks out Silver runs into the ring and kicks Cassidy. More importantly though, as soon as Cassidy is reeling from the kick, Arn Anderson manages to deck Cassidy as well behind Cody’s back; and as soon as the chaos is cleared out Cody grabs Cassidy and lands a Cross Rhodes for the win. At that point the whole thing turns into one big schmoz as Cody and Arn head for the back while everyone else starts brawling in the ring. We don’t even get to let the weight of Cody’s victory sink in because The Gunn Club have to take the spotlight by clearing out the ring; not that I don’t WANT The Gunn Club to have their moment or ANY of these wrestlers to just sit in the back the whole time, but there’s a time and place and I think a title match is not where you want everything to descend into chaos.
We come back from commercial to find Best Friends in the back being accosted by Kip and Miro. The latter team unconvincingly tries to apologize for being so upset and are offering a bucket of candy as a peace offering as well as a wrapped gift delivered by Penelope Ford who is dressed as Orange Cassidy. Of course it turns out to be one big a trap and Miro and Kip start punching them. Seems a bit unnecessary for this to be ruse considering… well there IS none (it’s clear immediately that they’re lying), and the gift isn’t even anything important as Kip unwraps it and it’s the joystick from his arcade cabinet that they are feuding about. DUDE! JUST GET A NEW ONE! Heck, I saw the damage they did and it’s not THAT hard to fix! You’ve got the joystick, all you need is what; a PC and some cut wood? The matches for this feud will probably be great, but the motivations are falling pretty flat for me.
Serena Deeb Vs. Leyla Hirsch – NWA Women’s Title Match
Okay, so LAST week they announced a match between Tay Conti and Abadon this week, but instead we’re getting this which doesn’t have ANYONE from AEW’s roster! What’s going on? Well, they taped the match ahead of time, but Abadon got pretty hurt during it as she took an elbow to the throat that caused her to have shortness of breath. It looks like everything’s fine and she’ll recover, but instead of using that footage they called up NWA and got this thing thrown together with their talent. Hey, I mean it’s not like they’ve done a great job with their own talent and attempt to remedy that with the aforementioned Abadon/Conti match turned into a nightmare, so why not give NWA a few more minutes in the spotlight while the Women’s division gets itself together? Serena Deeb by the way beat Thunder Rosa for the NWA title so theoretically she’s on that same level as a wrestler, and now she’s here to defend it on AEW from… someone I don’t know but apparently her and Serena Deeb have in fact wrestled on AEW before? Seriously, I’ve GOT to catch up on Dark at some point. The thing that stood out to me about this match (and something the announcers kept dancing around) was the physique of Leyla Hirsch who is very squat but quite muscular. She kind of looks like Ronda Rousey crossed with John Silver which definitely makes her stand out in the division, and her style includes a lot more ground work and grappling than you’d normally see in women’s matches like this. Honestly it’s a solid enough match and I think both of them do a good job here (even if Serena Deeb isn’t quite as interesting to watch) and while it’s pretty disappointing that this is one of the best women’s matches in a few weeks, I’m glad that AEW was able to scrape this together on such short notice. Despite Hirsch having a power advantage and practically knocking Serena Deeb out with big strikes and a German Suplex, she makes one fatal mistake when she tries to go for a Moonsault from the top rope. Deeb rolls out of the way and manages to land a swinging Neckbreaker as well as a Stunner on Hirsch before putting her in a submission and winning the match via tap out. It was a solid match in its own right and a darn good one given the unfortunate circumstances surrounding it. AEW has had to change their plans on the fly and quite often in the last few weeks and they’ve done a generally good job of it with this match being another prime example. I don’t know what the future holds for these two companies and if they’ll do some sort of Brand Vs. Brand shows in the future (a knock off Survivor Series would be AMAZING to see) but I’m glad that they’ve so far managed to work together instead of like another company I could mention who exists in its own bubble away from everyone else.
Hikaru Shida is in the back with Alex Marvez who informs us that Nyla Rose has refused to wrestle until Shida gives her a title match. Shida takes the mic, tells Nyla she has the match at Full Gear, and gives it back to Marvez. THAT’S IT!?!? THIS is how we build to a PPV match!?
Shawn Spears Vs. VSK
Spears is accompanied to the ring by Tully Blanchard
Are you ready? Here’s the match. He picks up VSK, gives him a Death Valley Driver, and casually makes the pin. Well alright then! A straightforward win for the guy who was stripped to his Tully Blanchard emblazoned underwear in his last big match! As soon as the match ends though, someone starts throwing trash at Shawn Spears and it’s… a dude in a bull suit? Not one to suffer humiliation lightly (anymore at least), Spears drags the bull man in the ring and starts talking to Tully when the dude takes off the head and reveals SCORPIO SKY! He takes out Spears, menaces Tully, and then walks out; all of which took about five minutes and is a MUCH better buildup to a match than what we’ve gotten for the women’s title.
Pentagón Jr Vs. Kenny Omega – AEW World Title Tournament Semi-Final
Pentagón Jr is accompanied to the ring by Rey Fénix
So in case you didn’t know, Rey Fénix got injured during last week’s match and so despite winning it he had to step down and let his brother Pentagón Jr take his place. It’s unfortunate and a sadly depressing trend for AEW in the last few weeks (Matt Hardy, Abadon, Alex Reynolds, even Miro in his debut match), but Pentagón Jr is a fantastic wrestler as well and they manage to have an excellent match here. It’s a lot like the match that Pentagón had with Rey last week where it’s all about one upping the other, but where that was borne out of mutual respect, here it’s just Kenny being a smug jerk. Kenny refuses to take his shirt off at first and after toying with Penta for a while he lifts it to reveal the AAA Mega Championship that he won against Rey… some time ago; I’m not sure when that was. They trade hard chops for a bit before Kenny kicks it into overdrive and starts stomping on Penta before being halted by the hardest and loudest chop of the night that sends Kenny into the corner. Pentagón also lands a BRUTAL looking Back Breaker before hitting Kenny with a Suicide Dive that SHOULD spell doom for Kenny… but he MIGHT have hurt his knee. It could be kayfabe as I haven’t heard anything about him being injured, but now is REALLY not the time to be doing injury spots. Now despite Kenny acting like a heel with his clownish antics, he’s still more or less the babyface in this match which is made very clear once Penta starts getting the heat on Kenny throughout the commercial break and his hope comeback gets MASSIVE cheers from the audience. I guess that Page has been MORE of a babyface in his matches which means that he’ll be the hero in the tournament finals, but it’s interesting that Kenny is walking that line so effectively between jerk and superstar. Things heat up once Kenny picks up the pace with some big moves from both of them including a top rope suicide dive from Kenny and a spinning Slingblade from Penta that looked freaking amazing! The two end up brawling on the top rope, but Penta gets the advantage when he slips off the turnbuckle, kick Kenny’s leg out from under him so that he’s just hanging there, and the finishes up with a Stomp that would have gotten him the pin against any other opponent, but Omega is here to win and he manages to kick out at two. Kenny recovers and hits Penta with a few Snap Dragon Suplexes but Penta breaks out of the third one and starts chopping Kenny again. Kenny doesn’t take kindly to this turn of events so he knees Penta, drops him with a Powerbomb, and then follows up with a V-Trigger… which only gets a two count! Penta isn’t about to quit this match either so both of them need to pull out the big guns if this is ever going to come to an end! Pentagón manages to land a Canadian Destroyer on Kenny from the middle rope which looked ABSOLUTELY BRUTAL and then followed up with a Package Pile Driver which SOMEHOW didn’t end this match and only proves Omega’s superhuman endurance as he manages to kick out at two. They go at it for a bit and Penta manages to hurt Kenny’s arm which was nearly the decision maker, but what finally sealed the deal is when Pentagon went for a Springboard move and Kenny hit him with a V-Trigger in mid-air. Pentagón goes down like a ton of bricks and Kenny finally puts Penta away with a One Winged Angel; securing his spot in the tournament finals against Hangman Adam Page. I MAYBE would have cut back a bit on the unbelievable moves and kickouts as it goes on for a little too long which dulled some of the impact when Kenny FINALLY overcame, but this was a fantastic bout between two great wrestlers, and while we’ll always wonder what the Rey Fénix match would have been like, it was exactly the kind of match needed to build up to the tournament finals at Full Gear.
I feel like I might be coming across as more negative than I genuinely am because while I don’t think it’s as good as last week’s show, it is a fun episode with some good matches. The only pervasive issue I had was that the storytelling feels a bit clunky which you don’t want in the lead-up to a PPV, with the Moxley/Kingston match getting just a bit too close to ridiculous for my taste and Cody’s victory before his big match against Darby being sullied by the total nonsense that ensued. Perhaps the worst of all though has to be the women’s match between Shida and Nyla which doesn’t involve Nyla Rose (a GREAT talker) and was immediately accepted by Shida without any buildup or story. Say what you will about YOU… ME… SUMMERSLAM; at least Undertake has the gravitas to make it work! Honestly, the only story that feels like a genuine advancement here is between MJF and Jericho as the match they set up has genuine layers to it and stuff to look out for. Will MJF fight fair to show his sincerity, or is this all a trap by Jericho to prove he’s not a team player? I’m sure interested to find out at least, and that’s what you should be striving for instead of just asking one wrestler if they’re okay facing another wrestler. The next Dynamite is the Go Home show and it looks like a stacked card so hopefully we’ll have some great matches, but more importantly I hope we get a few more interesting angles to get us pumped for the big show on Saturday.