Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (11-04-2020)

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

I don’t know about you, but I’ve barely gotten ANY sleep this week and this whole “wrestling” thing feels a bit small and inconsequential given what’s going on in the US right now.  Hopefully by the time we get to the PPV on Saturday the votes will be tallied and we can all focus on fun things again, but there’s no doubt that AEW has a big uphill battle here with this Go Home show leading into Full Gear.  Do they manage to put on something memorable despite the world being laser focused on politics this week, or will it get lost in the shuffle like everything else?  Let’s find out!!

We begin the episode with Dasha interviewing Jericho (flanked by Jake Hager and Santana) who spends a good few minutes praising Jake Hager for his win at Bellator last week which hey, good for him!  It was certainly better than in his last match where he punched a dude in the groin and it got called a No Contest, but before Jericho can finish singing his praises, MJF comes in and interrupts them to tell him how much he appreciates the opportunity he’s been given.  Jericho, not too happy about being interrupted, doesn’t share this enthusiasm and in fact claims that MJF lacks something vital to be part of The Inner Circle; a Killer Instinct.  The same Killer Instinct that got Jake fifteen stiches in a fight he ended up winning and earned Santana his reputation as a ruthless fighter in the world of wrestling.  MJF?  Well until he proves otherwise, Jericho believes he’s just soft, and that’s just not going to work for them.  MJF doesn’t like any of these accusations and storms off; leaving Jericho to head to the announcers desk as he’ll be calling matches all night.  I kind of wish they’d also let Santana and Hager get sit at the desk too, but too many heels running the show and with Eric Bischoff having JUST shown up last week, people might start getting flashbacks to Souled Out and nobody wants that.

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Sammy Guevara & Ortiz Vs. MJF & Wardlow

Okay, quick question.  Perhaps I’m just hearing things, but they played the Inner Circle’s theme song here for Ortiz and Sammy’s entrance… and doesn’t it kind of sound like a knock off NWO theme?  I don’t recall ever hearing it before as they always used Jericho’s song Judas, and it just reminded me of that; especially when it starts with a deep voiced dude saying THE INNER CIRCLE which is not unlike how the NWO’s theme starts.  In any case (before I go on any OTHER weird tangents), let’s talk about the match itself.  More than any other story line for this upcoming PPV, including the Moxley match, the tag titles, and ESPECIALLY Sammy’s feud with Matt Hardy, the unrest within The Inner Circle brought about by MJF’s attempts to join them has been rather compelling so far and this match being the first flare up of this tension means it will certainly have consequences for the story on Saturday and going forward.  Now this might be a tag match, but for the most part it’s really all about Sammy and MJF with Wardlow and Ortiz being there to give the other two an opportunity to strut their stuff.  Sammy in particular looks VERY good here with an early hot tag that has him overcoming both Wardlow and MJF with relative ease.  The guy has had a ROUGH time of it the last few months with controversies, botches, and injuries overshadowing everything else, but his performance here is a strong first step for him to regain his clout as one of wrestling’s rising young stars.  MJF looks good here as well, but for most of the match he’s fighting with the upper hand and isn’t really pushing himself.  He’s has had his share of rough matches, but by design he’s never really excelled at that as he gets desperate way to quickly and resorts to cheap tricks at the slightest hint of a disadvantage, which goes towards Jericho’s assessment of him being soft.  He’s not to be discounted however even if he starts to waiver under pressure, and once it’s Sammy and MJF alone in the ring, the both of them start to work out their frustrations on each other in an excellent display of acrobatic violence.  Sammy ends up proving himself here as he actually manages to get the advantage and nearly gets a pin on MJF, and even though Wardlow breaks it up its clear that Sammy might just be the better fighter.  Ortiz gets back in the ring after dealing with Wardlow on the outside and him and Sammy get MJF on the turnbuckle.  They are setting up a tandem Superplex, but Wardlow comes in and suplexes all three of them with his mighty muscles, and the best part of this is MJF’s over the top selling as he seems to have taken the brunt of the damage while Wardlow poses for the audience.  All of this is fun and it does a good job of setting up the important dynamics between these wrestlers, but sadly things start to go off the rails at the end.  Sammy seems poised to win this if he can just get back himself and MJF back into the ring, but then Matt Hardy attacks him with a chair and not even a minute later MJF gets Ortiz into his Salt of the Earth arm bar where he taps out almost immediately.  MJF and Wardlow win the match and start heading for the back, but then MJF breaks off and sprints towards Jericho at the announce table; spearing him in his seat and having to be dragged away by Wardlow as Jericho gingerly gets up and smiles at his assailant.  Perhaps this man DOES have a Killer Instinct and Jericho will be surprised at what happens on Saturday!  The ending drags the match down considerably for me, but I liked the performances of everyone involved and MJF proves once again just how good he is at playing a character while also putting on a great wrestling match.  Presumably he’s going to win on Saturday or some other shenanigans will ensue as I doubt they’re going to drop this storyline with a clean Jericho victory, and I can only hope a long convoluted character drama already set up for all five (soon to be six!) members of the Inner Circle; like Shakespeare but with more chair shots!

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We cut to a pre-taped interview between Tony and Kenny and they’re… NOT in Kenny’s house?  Yeah, he makes it very clear that this ISN’T where he lives like it’s supposed to be an important fact for understanding the story, but then it’s just dropped and Kenny goes on about how great he is and how he plans on winning his match against his former tag team partner Adam Page.  Kenny is certainly good at being a smarmy jerk, but I’m not exactly FEELING this buildup to the match as both are pretty much lying through their teeth and pretending they DON’T care about it at all.  I’m not worried about the match itself at the PPV being boring or lacking a sense of gravitas, but this interview didn’t really get me any MORE excited for it than I already was.

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Miro Vs. Trent

Miro is accompanied to the ring by Kip Sabian and Penelope Ford while Trent is accompanied by Chuck Taylor and Orange Cassidy

Speaking of storylines that aren’t exactly putting me on the edge of my seat!  The thing that sticks out to me about The Best Friends is that while their buddy Orange Cassidy is good at building up heat and tension before a match to make it feel bigger, they just seem like they’re winging it and are only saved by how good the matches sometimes turn out to be.  I was not the biggest fan of the Trent’s Mom’s Car story because it felt kind of scattershot and was oddly booked, but that final street fight was genuinely entertaining and made up for a lot of its shortcomings.  The same has been true for their feud between Kip and Miro over a broken arcade cabinet which feels silly in a way that sucks all the drama out of the situation (this Young Boy thing they try to clue us in on only makes things more confusing), but is the match good enough to compensate for that?  Not REALLY, but then the first match between Best Friends and Proud N Powerful wasn’t exactly a five star confrontation and I’m certain that this is far from the end of this feud so I’m not too broken up about it.  The real goal of this match is to try and get Miro over as Trent manages to get an early advantage with a quick flurry of offense, but Miro’s enormous power helps him quickly regain control and he spends most of this match getting the heat on Trent.  It’s a bit unclear where Miro’s supposed to fit in at this company.  He COULD be one of the top guys here (due in no small part to his celebrity and compelling Moxley like story), but he seems genuinely content to stay in the mid-card having these weird angles with goofy guys like Kip and the Best Friends.  On that topic, because Miro is getting the heat on Trent for SO long, everyone else ends up doing stuff to distract from it.  Chuck ends up brawling with Kip and the two end up fighting all the way to the back leaving Cassidy and Ford to essentially taunt each other.  Ford eventually slaps Orange in the face so hard that his glasses go flying, and in response he takes her sunglasses and puts them on his face.  He then goes to put his hands in his pockets to the delight of the audience, but then the Dark Order B-Team runs in and lays out Cassidy in anticipation for the match between him and John Silver Saturday.  This was good stuff and I love seeing the Creepers work together to be total jerks, but for whatever reason this was almost ALL relegated to the picture in picture commercial break.  As for the match itself, Miro keeps the advantage for most of it but Trent does get a hope spot by having Miro run into the turnbuckle and following up with a big lariat.  However he doesn’t even manage to get a one count off of that and Miro is quick to recover, but then Miro makes the same mistake again and Trent manages to use his own momentum against him to send him to the floor which Trent follows up with a Suicide Dive.  He then lands a Swinging DDT followed by a knee to the face which is enough to keep Miro down a bit longer, but Trent only manages to get a two count before Miro kicks out.  It goes back and forth for a bit after that until Miro lands his big boot to Trent’s face and puts him in the Game Over lock to get the submission on Trent and win the match.  Miro reapplies the Game Over after the bell rings so Chuck Taylor runs in to make the save, but Kip is close behind and he and Miro lay out the Best Friends.  Mrio grabs the mic to taunt them, but while he’s distracting zinging them his cool one liners, Orange Cassidy dives on both of them from the top turnbuckle which is enough for the refs to finally come in and separate the two teams.  There was too much going on and the commercial break in the middle undercut the drama, but it was fine enough and it’s clear that we’re not done with these two teams yet.  Miro has been an interesting addition to be sure and it’s refreshing that a former WWE star isn’t immediately set up for a title shot, but it also feels like Miro is still warming up after his hiatus from the business and hopefully whatever rust is there shakes off sooner rather than later.

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JR has an interview with Adam Page to mirror Tony’s interview with Omega where he asks how he feels about his upcoming match with Omega.  In short, he’s feeling GREAT!  I mean he’s clearly about seven or eight drinks in and is sweating like a pig, but he’s go this in the bag!  Yeah, JR isn’t buying it and calls Page out for his drinking that’s clearly to settle his nerves which he immediately admits to further proving how shaky his confidence is right now.  Thankfully JR ends the interview soon after to spare both of their dignities, and while I appreciate the honesty of this scene more than the puff piece with Omega earlier, it still didn’t do anything to increase my anticipation for their big match.

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Team Taz comes out to the ring and the team’s namesake is hopping mad.  You see, he waited outside of Tony Khan’s office for THREE HOURS today, and the bastard was too darn busy to see him!?  Well how you do you like him now; live on TV and with a captive audience!?  Taz is upset about the ranking system that seems to be systematically excluding his boys Cage and Starks.  The latter in particular has ten wins under his belt and yet isn’t in the top five yet, and they all spend a few minutes winging about this before promising that Team Taz will find a way to show up on Full Gear whether management likes it or not.  Taz and Eddie Kingston are two sides of the same coin with a lot of the same strengths and weaknesses.  We’re at the point with Team Taz where they risk sounding like Eddie Kingston’s crew did a few weeks ago as a bunch of whiners taking up precious air time, but it didn’t take long for Kingston and his program with Moxley to gain a HUGE amount of momentum, and I’m confident that Starks and Cage will have something more to do than complain in the next week or so.  I guess we’re still trying to move all the pieces back into place after Lance Archer kind threw everything out of alignment by catching COVID, but once the PPV is over I think the timing will be just right to get their show back on the road.

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Private Party Vs. Young Bucks

Private Party is accompanied to the ring by Matt Hardy

Before the match even begins Sammy comes out and attacks Hardy with a chair, and I’ve got to say that I don’t think there’s a WORSE time to have Matt Hardy laid out and with a bunch of refs checking to see if he’s okay.  Isn’t it possible for them to have a feud that DOESN’T revolve around one potentially injuring the other!?  Speaking of unfortunate storylines, we’ve got to talk about how the Young Bucks/FTR feud completely went off the rails in the last few months, and by the looks of things (either in real life or simply how it’s being shown in Kayfabe), it’s all due to The Bucks with Matt getting a higher percentage of the blame.  Two weeks ago I gave my theory as to where things were going and last week they blew it all up.  NOW was their chance to try and sell us on them being able to pull it off, but it’s the opposite.  Matt Jackson throughout this match is selling an injury, but reports are that he’s ACTUALLY injured, and even if it’s just a minor one it’s in a VERY bad place that can’t get any worse and probably won’t hold up for the kind of match he wants to have with FTR.  Because of the lousy stipulation as well though, they can’t use this to justify him and his brother losing and so we’ll have to see how Matt with a bad leg can somehow manage to overcome what is considered the best tag team in the company, so they’re backed into a corner of their own making and they have very little chance of getting out of it.  Nick at least seems to be in tip top shape as he shows off some impressive moves here, but if Matt is injured than it’s also on him to tell him not to go through with the match or to even postpone it if need be.  As bad as it is for a big PPV match to be switched at the last minute (a lot of people will be paying to see that match specifically), I can’t imagine that them actually going through with it will leave the fans any more satisfied.  As for the match itself, they do what they can.  It’s going to be hard to sell The Bucks as Babyfaces given their recent behavior (WHICH IS WHY THEY SHOULD LOSE AT FULL GEAR AND WORK THEIR WAY BACK UP TO THE GOOD GRACES OF THEIR FRIENDS), but they put on a good show against Private Party who are good sports and do what they can to make The Bucks look good.  Matt Jackson though is hard to watch because he’s walking gingerly but also taking big dives and whatnot which can’t be good for his leg.  Thankfully Nick is there to work as much of this match as he can, but it’s still frustrating to see AEW once again take a lax attitude towards the safety of its talent.  Kassidy manages to land a stunner on Nick Jackson which gives them a good amount of momentum, and he and Quen start to work over Nick Jackson.  Nick eventually escapes and goes to the corner, but Matt is selling his ankle and he decides against it; hoping to fend off both members on Private Party on his own.  It doesn’t go well as Private Party lands the Gin and Juice a minute later, but Matt Jackson just barely manages to jump in and break up the pin at the last second.  Quen goes for a Shooting star press which Nick rolls away from, and Matt gives an impressive looking spear that gives them just enough of an advantage to attempt the Meltzer Driver.  Kassidy manages to stop Nick Jackson who’s on the apron however and Quen has Matt’s injured leg in hand.  In the best spot of the entire match, Quen actually decides not to work over the already injured leg, but this act of sportsmanship is returned by a Superkick from Nick Jackson followed by a BTE Trigger which leads to the pin.  Almost as soon as they get the pin, FTR with Tully Blanchard run in and clean house.  Matt Jackson’s bad leg is back in the chair and Cash Wheeler is about to jump on it from the middle rope when Adam Page and Kenny Omega come out; running FTR off and making sure that Matt Jackson is okay.   It’s unclear how much bad blood still remains between everyone involved or if this gesture has improved anything, but Hangman definitely wants to make amends and I’m curious to see how far that would go.  There are some very good aspects of this story and I liked the ending quite a bit, but Matt Jackson’s real life injury being obfuscated by a Kayfabe injury as well as the unnecessary stipulation placed on their title match has soured a lot of my enthusiasm for the match itself.  It will be INTERESTING to see, but I really hope it’s not as hard to watch as the Sammy/Hardy match was at the last PPV.

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Eddie Kingston and Jon Moxley – What Do They Have To Say Before Their I Quit Match!?

I’ve accused this storyline of edging too far into corniness with Kingston’s long effacing tirades and Moxley’s bitter promos, but all of that is forgiven because THIS is the kind of drama that hits PERFECTLY for me.  The over the top machismo, the anger and fury that’s so thick in the air that you can almost see it, and the sheer authenticity of these two characters that makes their odd quirks that much more endearing.  My favorite detail of this entire confrontation is when Moxley first hits the ring.  Kingston gets so far into Moxley’s face that their noses are smashing together and Moxley is a god dang STONE!  He doesn’t move an inch, he doesn’t waiver for a second, he just lets Kingston spew his hatred for as long as he needs because his seething hatred is one of cold loathing rather than Kingston’s firey disdain, and he wants to give Kingston ALL the air time he needs before he has his say.  On top of the words themselves which are cutting and personal, the two of them are pure freaking thespians as they not only know how to convey their inner turmoil through facial expressions and body language, they ALSO know how to frame themselves; where to stand in relationship to each other for maximum efficacy on screen.  It’s BEAUTIFUL to watch and I kind of feel foolish for having any doubts about this match up to this point.  I mean granted it wasn’t like they made it easy for themselves with this being a rematch to a very decisively won fight and Kingston’s initial stumbling after he formed his stable, but

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Pac Drops Us A Line – How Is He Enjoying His COVID Vacation!?

We get a video from Pac which is touted as a big deal, but the thing is there’s no actual NEWS in this video and as far as content it’s no different from the one we saw months ago.  It’s full of weird camera angles and tricks, speeches from Pac about his MADNESS, and while it’s cleverly done I don’t see what makes this one so important or why he hasn’t been sending more of these in.   I genuinely miss the guy as he was a work horse who put on FANTASTIC matches, but I don’t want to just see him acting weird in his apartment if it’s not going to lead to anything.

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Before we get to the next match, Alex Marvez is interviewing The Natural Nightmares Dustin and QT who have just gotten a match against The Butcher and The Blade on next week’s episode of Dynamite.  Before they can say anything though, Allie comes in and tells QT that his credit cards are maxed before The Butcher and The Blade attack them from behind with kendo sticks.  I mentioned last week that I was REALLY not into the idea of Allie doing this as it plays into misogynistic stereotypes, and now it’s even worse because we’ve just watched her admit to fraud on national television.  It reminds me of when Hogan and Bischoff stole TNA out from under Dixie Carter and admitted to it on television which was silly considering there was “supposedly” a court case going on between the two parties and one side just ADMITTED to wrongdoing.  I mean I guess it doesn’t matter and we can just ASSUME QT is going to file disputes with his card company, but it’s never a good sign when a show reminds me of early 2010s TNA.

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Nyla Rose Vs. Red Velvet

Nyla Rose is accompanied to the ring by Vickie Guerrero while Red Velvet is accompanied by Brandi Rhodes

Nyla Rose gave up more in this match than I anticipated, but it only takes a few minutes for her to put Red Velvet in the Beast Bomb and win the match with a running knee.  Vickie Guerrero then takes the mic and starts taking shots at Brandi before moving on to Shida who tries to grab Vickie but Nyla jumps her and they start brawling for like ten seconds.  Hikaru Shida is in the crowd looking sternly and the announcers are trying their absolute best to try and talk this up, but there’s just no heat for this feud at this point.  I don’t know why Rose hasn’t been on the show in recent weeks and perhaps there was a legitimate reason, but there’s no way to make this work in just one week. 

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We get a video of Darby Allin wrecking a car and driving it into someone wearing a Cody mask which is… fun I guess.  Hey, it may not be the BEST booked match for the PPV but that’s STILL more than what we have for the women’s division!

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Cody & The Gunn Club Vs. The Dark Order (John Silver, Colt Cabana, and Ten The Creeper) – Six Man Tag Match

I don’t know why Cody wants to face off with The Dark Order!  Silver’s shenanigans in his title match is pretty much the only reason he has the belt right now!  But then out of ALL the matches this evening this is the one that has the least consequence and is there to just have fun which they absolutely succeed at.  I could watch Austin Gunn and John Silver fight for hours.  There’s an earnestness to them that I can’t exactly explain but complement each other very well and it’s fun whenever they lock up with my favorite moment being when Silver takes a cheap shot at Austin from the corner and he just wheels around and punches him off the apron; a simple move we’ve seen many times before, but there’s an extra bit of exuberant spitefulness to it that made it HILARIOUS!  Billy Gunn isn’t a spry young fella and isn’t as energetic as his son by any stretch, but he’s still fun to watch as he lifts people half his age and throws them around.  The Dark Order are definitely good sports in that regard with Cabana running right into Gunn’s outstreached arms and Ten taking a Fameasser from him towards the end of the match; all of which threatens to become TOO silly but that’s where Cody comes in.  He brings legitimacy to the match being such a big star and he REALLY seems to trying to give John Silver a rub as he does the most with him.  As fun as this all is, the match does eventually come to end after Cody takes out Silver on the outside and Austin gets back in the ring.  He starts shouting as he lands a shaky looking (in an endearing way) Cross Rhodes on John Silver followed by a solid looking Quickdaw on Ten which is enough for him to get the pin to win the match.  After the match, John Silver tries to take a chair shot at Cody but Orange Cassidy runs in and lays him out as a tease for their match at the PPV, and then Cody then grabs the mic and starts cuts a promo on Darby Allin who’s sitting way up in the cheap seats.  Darby Allin has been saying that TNT doesn’t want him to be the champion as he’s not a pretty face like Cody, but Cody is here to say that isn’t the case; that TNT would LOVE a rebel outlaw like Darby holding the belt to I guess make them look hip and cool with the kids these days.  However, Cody DOES admit that TNT was dubious about Darby at first thinking he was reckless and it was CODY who convinced them by giving Darby a match at Fyter Fest.  But Cody doesn’t care about any of that!  Even though he spent a few minutes explaining it all in detail!  No, what’s more important is that Darby may be good, but Cody is still and will always be the better wrestler, and he’s going to PROVE it to everyone at Full Gear on Saturday.  The mic drops, Cody’s music hits, and the Go Home show comes to a close.

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This really wasn’t the go home show that they needed for Full Gear, but on the whole I still enjoyed this episode.  There’s certainly enough bad stuff and mediocrity to make it not one of their best, but it has some genuinely BIG highlights like the Kingston/Moxley confrontation and the Main Event which was a lot of wacky fun!  As I’m writing this it seems ALMOST certain (knock on wood) that Joe Biden has won Pennsylvania and therefore the election.  After four years of stress followed by the most nerve wracking week imaginable, I think we’re ALL ready to do something fun and indulge a little, so let’s hope that Full Gear goes off without a hitch.  I have my reservations to be sure about a few things there, but it definitely feels like now is the time for optimism.

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