Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (11-25-2020)

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

We’re back with another week of Dynamite, and… I’m not really feeling it.  The last two weeks just haven’t done it for me so I’m not exactly in the mood to see them continue on the same path, but who knows?  Maybe Tony Khan is reading my recaps and taking vociferous notes to try and find the PERFECT wrestling show formula to make me happy!  Okay, I highly doubt that (if I had that kind of power I’d ask for a paycheck), but AEW has never let me down in the long run and this episode may prove to be the turning point!  Is this a fun return to form for what I like about the show, or are they continuing to go down a path that I’m just not that interested in following?  Let’s find out!!

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Hangman Adam Page Vs. John Silver

Silver is accompanied to the ring by The Dark Order

This whole match is an attempt by John Silver to recruit The Hangman into The Dark Order, and every minute of it is fun to watch and genuinely engaging; not just because both of them are superb wrestlers and athletes but because of how the story changes throughout the match!  It starts with Silver BEGGING Page to give him a fist bump as a show of mutual respect, but the cowboy is just not ready for that.  Clearly Silver is going to have to up his game, but Page isn’t exactly at a hundred percent either as he’s so distracted in this match that Silver manages to keep pace with him despite going toe-to-toe with Kenny Omega just a few weeks ago.  It’s clear to everyone that he’s feeling quite blue at the moment, so in the middle of the match Silver starts to praise his biceps!  See, that was a nice gesture, right?  Well Hangman Page isn’t entirely convinced so smashes Silver in the face with a spinning forearm right across the face of Silver for his trouble.  Now this is where things get interesting because Silver may be exuberant and goofy but he is not a fool and realizes that no matter how nice he is to Adam Page, the man will not respect him for it.  He realizes he needs a different strategy if he wants to reach the guy, and so he kicks things into overdrive and does a decent job knocking Page down a peg with a cross body from the top rope and some well-placed kicks!  This is when Page finally snaps out of his funk and starts to get his head into the match which is sadly bad news for Silver who’s just not at his level yet, but the guy does put up a darn good fight and the two of them give us a very entertaining match.  Eventually Page goes for the Buckshot, but Silver manages to reverse it with a well time Hurricanrana into a pin which was really impressive to see.  He only gets a two count, but Silver is on FIRE now and DESTROYS Page with a series of suplexes that against ANYONE ELSE should have led to a pin, but Page manages to kick out at two once again.  Silver is not deterred and goes back to pelting Page with kicks, but Page manages to shake them off and get back to his feet and the two start to unleash on each other!  They both end up on the mat but Page barely manages to roll out to the apron faster than Silver can get back up which puts him in the perfect position for his Buckshot Lariat.  Sure enough, as soon as Silver is back up, page jumps in and lands the blow to finally get the pin on Silver.  The Dark Order comes out and Adam looks cagey about it, but Evil Uno takes the mic and tries to diffuse the situation.  He starts bad mouthing The Elite and gives him the soft sell; not asking him to JOIN The Dark Order, but letting him know that they are there for him whenever he needs them.  This was a GREAT match that once again showed how bright Silver’s star is right now, and I’m glad to see Evil Uno start talking for The Dark Order once again!  In a company full of great talkers, Uno is underrated, and no disrespect to The Exalted One, but I’ve always preferred Uno’s approach to recruiting as opposed to Brodie Lee who just browbeats people.  The Dark Order may not have a big storyline going right now, but they are always THERE to some degree and are always entertaining to watch as this match proved once again!

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Alex Marvez is interviewing Kenny Omega (still dressed as the biggest D-Bag imaginable) about last week’s ridiculous contract signing fiasco and he finds it funny that almost a year to the date of his match with Moxley at Full Gear, only back then Kenny got back up after his unholy beating while Moxely… well he didn’t last week, did he?  Kenny has scraped his way back to the top to be taken seriously again, and Moxley getting a boo-boo isn’t going to get in the way of that.  This was a pretty good promo and the kind of heat you want to generate before a big match.  I can only hope that once he and Moxley get in the ring that they will have a faceoff comparable to what Moxley and Kingston did the week before this year’s Full Gear which I’d argue was one of the best promo segments of the entire year!

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Darby Allin has a video where he calls out Team Taz by writing a message on the hood of a car before setting it on fire.  I mean how could he make it any clearer, right?  Speaking of Team Taz…

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Will Hobbs Vs. Lee Johnson

Hobbs is accompanied to the ring by Taz

Yeah, I’m still super salty about Will Hobbs turning heel, but in fairness he’s pretty good at it.  Hobbs is definitely living up to his new nickname (POWERHOUSE HOBBS) as he turns Lee Johnson inside out; knocking him to the mat and throwing him out to the floor almost as soon as the bell rings.  It’s kind of funny that a month or two ago Hobbs was brought in as another job guy and lost to Darby Allin, and now HE’S the one taking out the job guys!  Hobbs is heckled relentless to the crowd which forces him to inform both them and Johnson that this is not personal; it’s all business.  Business is frankly a pretty poor motivation in these situations as far as I’m concerned as we aren’t privy to what the wrestlers make or if by teaming with Taz he gets more opportunities.  If he had some GENUINE beef with say Darby for beating him in his first match than I’d understand it better, but as of right now I’m still not sold on the Heel turn.  In any case, Hobbs wins and Taz comes to the ring to congratulate him before Hobbs goes to the back; leaving Taz in the ring to kvetch about how the FTW belt is being treated.  He will NOT leave the ring until someone from management comes out and makes the FTW belt an officially recognized title at AEW.  Mid rant however, Taz gets his mic cut which is actually pretty funny to witness as he then takes the ring announcer’s mic and tells them they BETTER not cut that one off too… which then gets cut off. Cody comes out with a working mic and tells Taz to take a hike so that the show can go on and the REST of the people at this company can have the opportunity that they earned.  Besides, there’s a match next week with Ricky and Hobbs facing off with Cody and Darby, so isn’t that enough for Taz?  Clearly not, because he gets all up in Cody’s face and continues to DEMAND that Cody and the rest of management respect the FTW belt and give it a proper place at AEW.  Now I’m really enjoying this segment up to this point with the inside baseball stuff serving as the backdrop for Cody and Taz’s disdain for each other, but I think they take it a LITTLE too far when Cody brings up the fact that Taz’s kid is training with HIM to become a wrestler; something that I’m sure is true but I think it makes things a bit TOO real.  Where two guys can argue about the nebulous idea of Management, Pushes, and Backstage Politics, bringing someone’s kid is the kind of thing that ruffles the barrier between real life and kayfabe; much like when you muddy the perception of a REAL injury by making a FAKE injury a part of the storyline.  Cody starts directing the camera men and turns his back on Taz which ends up being a big mistake because Taz, in perhaps his first bout of in-ring action since 2006, chokes out Cody and flees the ring just as The Gunn Club and his brother Dustin hit the ring.  Out of nowhere, Taz’s son is there and walks with his dad out of the ring, so perhaps this is how they’re going to add him to the AEW roster.  Aside from that ONE moment that felt a bit off, this was actually a pretty great segment and proves the point I was making about Hobbs.  I don’t care if Hobbs is a bad guy because he’s somehow making more money, but I DO have a good idea of where Taz is coming from and what he’s after which makes his story much more compelling.  Hopefully Hobbs will be a big part of it and we’ll see him grow as a character, but for now the heat is all on Taz who certainly knows how to command a stage.

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Marvez is interviewing Eddie Kingston in the back who proceeds to whinge about his buddies leaving him for Pac.  Before he can really start tearing them down a peg though,  Moxley walks into frame and starts to stare him down.  Now I was wondering if he was going to give Kingston a pep talk or something to explain why he lost his best buddies, but instead Kingston confirms that he didn’t attack him last week and that he’s wasting both of their time with these silent accusations.  That was a fun little segment, and it’s always great to see these two butt heads whenever possible!

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Top Flight Vs. TH2

Before we get to the match, we see a clip of TH2 cutting a promo in Britt Baker’s office.  Are they going to team up!?  I don’t know why but for some reason that sounds like a GREAT idea!  We’ll have to see if that goes anywhere, but for now let’s get to the match.  It starts with Angélico and Darius who feel each other out for a bit.  Angélico is a smart guy and knows that this team put all their skill points in Agility, so instead of trying to beat them at their own game he keeps Darius close by and on the ground with a series of submissions which is a rather sound strategy, but Darius manages to escape the hold and he and Dante start working Angélico over.  Angélico however manages to halt Dante’s momentum by dodging a clearly telegraphed Drop Kick that puts Dante flat on his stomach and ripe for the picking, but sadly most of the heat occurs during the commercial and when we come back Darius gets an immediate comeback on Jack Evans.  Top Flight are still definitely green, especially this one spot where a Shotgun Dropkick from Darius leads to a very wonky looking two count (I think Darius got up a half second before Evans actually kicked out of the pin), but it ends up working as it plays into the story they’re trying to tell with this as TH2 may not have their raw ability and athleticism but are smarter and more seasoned wrestlers which give them a distinct edge throughout the match.  Jack Evans has Darius tied up outside of the ring leaving Angélico and Dante to finish this match mano-a-mano, but it’s not long before Angélico does this very cool looking submission hold (I think they called it a Nevada Death Roll?) and Dante is forced to tap out.  Angélico won’t let go of the hold even after the bell rings with Jack Evans coming in to kick Dante for good measure, and it’s not until The Bucks run out that they finally let go of Darius.  This was a solid match with the right ending.  I understand the temptation to give your new talent a bump so they’ll get over, but I think they found a more interesting story here by highlighting Top Flight’s greenness while also giving TH2 a boost of their own.  It’s been a while since I’ve seen them and I’m impressed with what I saw here; not to mention the possibility of them becoming Britt Baker’s muscle is very intriguing to me!

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Vickie Guerrero and Nyla Rose cut a promo on Brandi Rhodes; calling her out for Nepotism, which… fair I guess.  There’s no denying just how good Guerrero is at being a VERY specific kind of obnoxious (she’s somehow a bigger Karen than most white ladies named Karen), but perhaps she’s TOO good at it as I didn’t come way from this feeling HEAT as I did with Kenny’s obnoxious ranting but instead was just kind of annoyed.  It’d help if there was a clear program here, but everything involving Brandi, Jade, and ESPECIALLY Shaq, still seems completely up in the air.

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FTR are finally back and admit that for THREE seconds The Bucks were the better team.  They wish those two the best and to enjoy their victory, but boy is there RECKONING to be had as FTR is going after those belts and will get them back by any means necessary!

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Jericho & Jake Hager Vs. SCU

This was such a great match!  I’ve been worried about Daniels for some time now that he’s lost a step or isn’t able to hang in the ring anymore, but he comes out looking like a CHAMP here.  Everyone looks good though; even Jake Hager can be hit or miss in his matches, but the guy is in total BEAST mode here and is pounding his opponents into dust with the furiosity of The Incredible Hulk!  I guess if I had to pick one that felt a bit underwhelming it was Jericho as he’s not POPPING the same way everyone else is, but he’s key to this match working as a story and not just a great spectacle of action.  Basically this is the match where MJF needs to prove that he’s valuable to The Inner Circle who runs interference throughout the match.  Kazarian starts to rip apart Hagar and gets a two count on Jericho, so The Inner Circle distracts him from which gives Jericho enough time to get back up and get the advantage.  He manages to make the tag to Daniels who does a great job against Jericho and even holds his own against Hager with some very impressive high flying moves!  Jericho manages to make the save for Hager and in all the confusing, MJF manages to nail Christopher Daniels in the head with the Diamond Ring which Jericho follows up with a Judas Effect.  With this one two punch of overpowered super moves, Hagar manages to get the pin with almost no effort.  The Inner Circle goes into the ring to mock SCU, but before MJF can belt out his second guffaw, Kazarian punches his lights out which frankly was worth them losing the match for.  The Inner Circle pounce and are about to destroy SCU until none other than their former teammate Scorpio Sky runs in with a chair and chases off The Inner Circle.  The Inner Circle’s been kind of off track the last two weeks or so with the tension between MJF and some of their members taking such prominence in their segments, but with this match we get right back to basics.  A team of talented dues who cheat for one another to make them the most dominant force in wrestling, and now it looks like it’s Scorpio Sky and SCU’s turn to try and take them down a notch.  MJF didn’t do much here, but he did enough for how early we are in his tenure with The Inner Circle and I can only hope there’s a Sky/MJF match on the horizon which will no doubt be amazing!

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Miro and Kip have a video game show that looks like a third rate G4 segment, but before they can get started in earnest, Orange Cassidy saunters in and then saunters back out.  Miro and Sabian don’t take this offense lying down and chase him out, but surprise!  Best Friends are waiting and spring an attack on them.  It devolves into a brawl which ends with Miro grabbing the camera and screaming GET OUT OF THE WAY before going off to presumably do terrible things to either Chuck or Trent.  It wasn’t the BEST segment on the show but it was still pretty fun, which is an apt description for this feud overall.

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Contract Signing Part Two – Will Moxley Sign The Piece of Paper!?

Tony is back in the ring with the contract in hand that Kenny signed it last week, and we’re all waiting for Moxley to show up to make it official.  I’m not sure why Kenny felt the need to be there as well, but I guess he wants to make sure Moxley doesn’t pull some sort of tricky like signing with his non-writing hand and he also wanted another excuse to do his elaborate entrance.  Part of Kenny’s new intro involves him standing behind a sheet of paper so that his silhouette shows while the Cleaner Girls do their broom dance.  While Kenny is standing there however, a second silhouette appears and starts beating the crap out of him before tossing him through the sheet!  It’s Jon Moxley who seems to think that Kenny is responsible for the attack on him last week, and he drags him to the ring before giving him a Paradigm Shift onto the AEW World Title belt!  Omega is practically DEAD for the rest of this segment and Moxley spends a good few minutes telling him off for arranging that attack on him (I have no idea what evidence he has for this) and to tell him just how much it’s gonna take for Kenny to become champion.  He has to beat the unbeaten man who’s spent the last year fighting bigger monsters and tougher jerks than anyone Kenny’s had to face since he started his trek back to the top of the mountain, and it’s gonna take everything he has and more to take him off that throne.  He finally signs the contact and leaves Kenny a crumpled heap in the middle of the ring.  This was a GREAT promo from Moxley that’s a great reminder of why he’s such a great champ, but I kind of feel like it was a missed opportunity to have Kenny just lying there on the ground.  The Kingston/Moxley promo they did a few weeks ago was better just because they could bounce off of each other instead of one just talking at their opponent, but it was still a great segment that’s definitely got me pumped for the match next week.  Also, is anyone else getting Ric Flair vibes from Kenny right now?  Maybe it’s just the suit.

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Marvez is in the back to interview The Inner Circle who are MORTIFIED at the dastardly tactics of Frankie Kazarian!  For absolutely NO reason at all, he struck poor MJF in his million dollar jaw which will surely leave permanent damage and shorten his illustrious career!  It’s not enough that SCU are sore losers about losing a TOTALLY CLEAN AND SHENANIGAN FREE match, they have to take it out on Jericho’s precious boy!?  YOU DON’T MESS WITH JERICHO’S BOY, and to prove it he’s going to have a one-on-one match with Kazarian next week and promises to end his career!  Now THAT’S going to be an awesome match as Kazarian is by far one of the most skilled wrestlers on this roster, and I can’t wait to see what shenanigans The Inner Circle gets up to!

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Hikaru Shida Vs. Anna Jay – AEW Women’s Title Match

Anna Jay is accompanied to the ring by Anna Jay and The Dark Order

This match was perfectly fine and I think Anna Jay is someone who can FINALLY be a fresh challenger for Hikaru Shida (still holding out hope for more Penelope Ford), but there’s not THAT much too the match; especially with all the other matching being of such high quality on this show.  It’s mostly moves for the first half with some impressive spots like a Tilt-A-Whirl Backbreaker from Shida, but it’s not really ABOUT anything until we come back from the commercial break.  Anna Jay, desperate to get the win, orders her protégé Tay Conti to give her a chair.  If you recall last week Tay refused a chair in HER match and she’s hesitant to give one to Anna Jay now.  She eventually does though in full view of the ref who grabs the chair and chews Conti out, but while that’s happening Silver gives Jay a kendo stick and bashes Shida in the knee with it.  It’s not enough to put Shida away though who fights out of the pin and after a few more moves manages to snag the win with a Running Knee.  Shida makes her way to the back, but at that moment someone else’s music hits and she stops in place.  Out crawls Abadon who’s back from her injury a few weeks ago, and she manages to get the belt from Shida to… lick it.  Uh… okay, well perhaps if this was any other year this wouldn’t be so bad, but right now it’s kind of gross.  The match was solid if a bit of a step down from everything else on the show, and I’m certainly intrigued about what they’ll do with Abadon.  Frankly I want them to go full Bray Wyatt with her with spooky effects, bizarre promos, lots of crying, the works!  As for the match itself, it was fine.  We need more buildup for these title matches and there needs to be a story throughout the match instead of just at the climax, but even with those problems this is better than most of the women’s matches we’ve gotten in quite some time.

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Matt Hardy has a promo where he seems to be trying out a new character; Huckster Matt.  He’s basically talking about his experience overcoming his feud with Sammy and saying that if he can do that than ANYONE can get over their more boring and less difficult challenges!  I’m kinda hoping we can back to Broken Matt Hardy at some point as he was my favorite, and I have no idea who exactly told him that it wasn’t getting over.  Maybe it wasn’t, but I haven’t exactly enjoyed his work since he dropped the character.

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Team Taz is in the back and Ricky Starks is FURIOUS about the way that Cody was talking to Taz earlier today.  After the beast Brian Cage and the also beastly but more wiry Ricky Starks took him and his little buddy Darby to the LIMIT last week, Cody has the nerve to Team Taz can do around here!?  Well maybe they just need another lesson, and maybe it’s Powerhouse Hobbs’s turn to teach it!  Next week it’s Starks and Hobbs Vs. Darby and Cody and Team Taz is gonna make them HURT!  Hobbs is in this scene with Cage and Starks by the way, but he doesn’t say a word.  Perhaps THAT’S why they made him a heel.  Maybe his promos aren’t so good and so having him be the quiet muscle will give them time to give him a few lessons; and if nothing else he is WORKING that sneer for all it’s worth! 

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Rey Fénix & Pac Vs. The Butcher & The Blade

Rey & Pac are accompanied to the ring by Pénta El Zero Miedo while Butcher & Blade are accompanied by The Bunny

Honestly, this was a lot like the Women’s Title match as there wasn’t a WHOLE lot of story here and it kind of just came and went in the first half.  What I think hurts this match and may impact the feud going forward is that despite Kingston insisting that he and his crew were family we never really SAW it.  WE didn’t get Inner Circle like sketches where all five of them were hanging out or even that many matches where they worked together; at least not that many I can recall.  Because of that the betrayal or from Butcher & Blade and the grudge from Fénix just feels absent which leaves it on Kingston’s shoulders to carry the story, and to his credit he does a good job from the commentary booth, but it just doesn’t have the FIRE that it needs to.  Also, I think The Butcher botched a spot here?  Fénix goes off the ropes and it LOOKS like it should have been a Cutter or something, but Butcher doesn’t go down.  The announcers call it a counter and he’s immediately kicked by Pac so perhaps it was planned, but it looked a bit suspect to me.  Things definitely get better in the second half when both teams kick it up a notch and even The Butcher makes up for that awkward spot by tossing Fénix around like a rag doll.  Speaking of Fénix, the dude is takes a lot of punishment here including massive stomps and leg drops from The Butcher as well as The Blade dropping him neck first onto the ropes.  I guess his head injury WAS a few weeks ago at this point and is better, but he’s one of the last people I would want to tempt fate right now.  Pac eventually gets the hot tag after Rey fights his way back to the corner, and the dude has a pretty amazing comeback there with lots of kicks, punches, and even a Northern Light Suplex.  Sadly it’s short lived as he misses a Shooting Star Press which gives Blade the chance to rally and he and Butcher beat him up for a bit before Rey makes the blind tag.  Butcher and Pac are brawling outside leaving Blade and Rey in the ring.  Rey has the advantage and goes up for a dive, but the Bunny starts distracting the ref and Kingston runs down to shove Fénix of the top rope.  With Fénix on the mat, The Butcher & The Blade double team him with a Powerbomb and get the pin to win the match.  The Bunny brings a chair into the ring and Kingston lands a few DDTs onto Pac onto the chair while The Butcher & Blade work over The Lucha Bros.  Then out of nowhere, Lance Archer’s music hits and he comes BARRELING into the ring smashing everyone he can see.  Jake Roberts TRIES to take his shirt off, but he can’t seem to manage it and just gives up after a minute, but thankfully all eyes are on Archer who evens the odds just enough for Kingston and Friends to bail out and leave Archer to gloat in the ring as the episode comes to an end.

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I was worried that I was getting Wrestling Burnout because I wasn’t as enthused about Full Gear as a lot of people were and I really wasn’t into the last two weeks of Dynamite shows, but this one brought me back around and reminded me why I love wrestling and what I love to see in it!  The Dark Order continues to be one of the best things in ALL of wrestling, and I’m enjoying the build up to the Moxley/Omega match as well as the big factional feuds that are simmering all over AEW.  Sure some of the matches could use a bit more story to them and some of the promos had their awkward moments (seriously Abadon, you have NO idea where that’s been), but there’s still so much of what I love to see and even the awkward stuff is still building towards something!  Hopefully they can keep this momentum going, especially with such a big show next week where we might just be crowing a new AEW champion.  Moxley’s promo certainly doesn’t SOUND like he’s ready to give up the title, but I’m still leaning towards Kenny getting the gold!

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