Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (12-09-2020)

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

So after the surprise ending of last week’s show that saw Kenny Omega winning the title under duplicitous circumstances, not to mention Sting showing up to blow all the wrestling nerds away, what can AEW possibly do to give us an episode as good as that!?  Probably nothing short of having John Cena show I imagine, but even if it’s not as good as last week’s blowout show, do they still manage to capitalize on all the good will they built up and give us something worth watching?  Let’s find out!!

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The Young Bucks Vs. The Hybrid2

TH2 has been on a hot streak recently with some solid promos and a great match two weeks ago, so now they’re here to get some shine from the Bucks, though perhaps this match is a bit TOO wacky for that to happen.  It’s not BAD, but it is a bit on the silly side with spot in particular standing out like a sore thumb.  TH2 Whip the two bucks towards each other, but instead of crashing they lock their right arms, spin around on the axis crated by their crossed biceps, and let go when facing the other direction; now RUNNING towards TH2 and landing spears.  I don’t think that’s how physics works, but PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING is probably not the place to bringing up concerns like that, and the match is pretty solid all the way through.  LOTS of flips (some of which don’t do anything other than show off) and plenty of kicks to give the match a lot of flair, and there’s one spot where Matt Jackson Powerbombs Jack Evans into The Acclaimed; the team that were taunting them last week and who JUST SO HAPPENED to be in the crowd this week.  There were actually quite a few big moves with TH2 managing to kick out of a bunch of The Bucks super moves and there’s one spot where Matt Jackson has Jack Evans in the Electric Chair (basically have the other guy sitting on your shoulders) so that Nick can give him a flying clothesline from the top rope to the ramp!  Evan manages to get up after that one, but taking a Spike Piledriver on the floor proved to be too much which left Angélico alone in the ring to eat a BTE trigger which was finally enough to end the match.  Perhaps it went on too long for the opener and I think they overdid it on the super moves early on which didn’t leave a lot of room to escalate for the ending, but it was still a fun match.  The Acclaimed try to rush the ring after the match ends, but Kazarian and Daniels (the latter STILL wearing his dad clothes) spring to the ring from the back and keep them at bay.  I hope we’re not dropping The Hybrid2 completely to make room for The Acclaimed, but it would be interesting to see if The Hybrid2 joined forces with them and cost the Bucks a match.  See, The Bucks are still kind of on their own and still acting like jerks, so where I would have them LOST against FTR and come to that revelation for the rematch, it could work here if they’re facing challengers who have back up and need to make amends with some team before the title match so they can get backup as well.  It looks like it’ll be SCU as they’ve made the save twice now, or maybe they’re just angling for their own title shot as well.  There are a few directions they can take this story, but I get the feeling they’re going to go with the most straightforward where they face Acclaimed and win yet again before moving on to something else.

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We get a video of Darby Allin being interviewed by what I can only assume is his therapist and is being shown Rorschach tests; all of which look like members of Team Taz and all of which get a spicy insult from Darby.  He fixates on the Brian Cage blot though because he’s the number on contender (is there a separate ranking system for the TNT title?) and they will be having a match soon which should be a blast to see!  Darby is shown one last image and asked what he thinks about it.  It’s a picture of Sting’s makeup, and Darby starts chuckling to himself as the segment comes to a close.  Some of Darby Allin’s videos can be hit or miss like the one where he’s on fire in a church (still trying to piece that one together), but this one was on point and VERY entertaining to watch; especially with the little teaser at the end of it!  Speaking of which…

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IT’S STING!!!!! – The Icon Returns to TNT

Cody comes out first with Arn Anderson to talk to Tony about Sting’s debut last week, but before he can get a word out he’s interrupted by Sting’s music and The Icon himself coming out to the ring.  It’s an… interesting promo; mostly a shoot but without a lot of substance for whatever the story is going forward.  He spends a few minutes catching up with Tony before he starts working the crowd; stumbling over a few of his words as he says, and I quote “I see that the uh animals are… the same!  But different in a lot of ways!”    I have no idea what he’s talking about there.  Is he talking about the wrestlers?  The fans?  In any case, he eventually moves on to Cody and tells him that he’s not here for him.  He MIGHT be here for Darby as he not too subtly points at him when talking about how FAMILIAR this all feels, but nothing is certain other than his multi-year AEW contract.  Look, Sting’s one of the most recognizable names in the industry and one of the reasons he’s endured as long as he has is that he was never locked down the same way many of WWE’s superstars have been, so while he’s had his LOW points (Preacher Sting from TNA comes to mind), he’s always had a level of legitimacy because he’s been able to do things outside the WWE bubble.  So yeah, maybe he’s stumbling a bit here, maybe he’s got a bit of rust to shake off, but he is The Icon for a reason and I can’t wait to see what he does with this new generation of talent here at AEW!

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We cut to Team Taz in the back where Taz cuts yet another promo about Cody and Darby, and frankly it’s nothing new.  We’ve heard this promo a hundred times from this guy, so what I decided to do was focus in on the new guy; Taz’s son Hook.  Now I understand this guy is VERY green so I’m cutting him some slack, but it DEFINITELY shines through here without him having to do anything.  The dude looks like he was told to look angry and don’t mess it up, so for the ENTIRE rant he stares with a half scowl right into the camera; never looking away and standing still like a statue even when he’s been talked about.  Compare that to Hobbs who similarly has a silent role but infuses it with personality.  His sneer is on point, he’s looking around at his teammates, and he’s reacting to what Taz is saying without taking the focus away from him.  Now it’s not like Hook is BAD or anything as he does what he needs to and doesn’t draw attention away from his father, but I’ve seen this kind of promo so often and so recently from Team Taz that I couldn’t help but fixate on something else.

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FTR Vs. The Varsity Blonds (Griff Garrison & Brian Pillman Jr)

FTR is accompanied to the ring by Tully Blanchard

There’s not a whole lot to this match as it’s just a chance for FTR to reestablish themselves after their defeat at Full Gear.  Pillman and Garrison look pretty good here and do the job for FTR admirably, but there’s not all THAT much going on.  Dax runs wild pretty early on and I was expecting this to be a blowout, but they needed something for the Picture in Picture commercial break so Pillman has an impressive looking comeback with a few helpful spots from Garrison.  FTR eventually start getting the heat so that Garrison can get the hot tag and run wild himself (he has a very strange sort of skip run which caught my attention), but it doesn’t take long  for them to deal with Garrison and hit Pilman with the Goodnight Express for the pin.  As soon as the match end, they get in the face of Jurassic Express before heading to the back to set up their next fight on the road back to tag team dominance.  I liked this match just fine even if it was kind of a nothing fight.  Perhaps it lacks the marquee value for an opening match, but I think it would have been a better way to start the show than with that Young Bucks match.

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Marvez is in the back interviewing Hangman Page who is scheduled for a trios tag team match next week despite him NOT having any friends to tag with.  Seems like an odd match for Tony Khan to schedule… unless of course he’s in the pocket of The Dark Order because as soon as this issue is brought up by Marvez, Reynolds and Silver pop up from behind the bar (wearing festive cowboy hats), offering their services to the Hangman!  This is perhaps ONE step too silly for me as it seems a bit TOO perfect that The Dark Order is looking for a way to convince Page to join them and this opportunity just falls right into their lap, but it’s ALWAYS fun to see Silver and Reynolds try their hardest to put on the charm!  Page ends up agreeing to let them be his partners in next week’s match, but wants to make it VERY clear that he’s not joining The Dark Order.  Considering how wrong he’s been about everything in the last few weeks I’d take this a sign that he IS going to join soon, and speaking of The Dark Order…

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Dustin Rhodes Vs. Ten The Creeper

Dustin is accompanied to the ring by Lee Johnson

This is another match that didn’t feel like a lot was going on (I don’t remember what the impetus for this match was) but Dustin is ALWAYS fun to watch and Ten is a reliable BIG DUDE to have a match with.  These two just hammer each other and throw themselves at their opponent; all at a deliberate pace that adds to the weight of every move they make.  It only lasts about three minutes when it could have definitely lasted another five, but Dustin hits Ten with a running Bulldog and that’s all she wrote.  Evil Uno comes out after the match and talks to Dustin; trying to convince him that now is the perfect time for him to join The Dark Order and that they have chosen the perfect name for him.  He will be NUMBER SEVEN which the crowd seemed to recognize as a reference but I had to look up.  Apparently back in WCW, he was given an Undertaker knockoff gimmick called Seven, and frankly the only notable thing about it was when he went to the ring and straight up told everyone he HATED the gimmick and wasn’t going to do it anymore.  Now everyone thought this was a shoot and when I went to watch the clip it definitely came across as something he was speaking from the heart whether or not he was shooting on management and hoping to get fired.  Dustin recently confirmed otherwise though and said that he created the character himself and LOVED to be him which is… fine I guess, but the character looked like a joke and the best thing about it was him calling it silly so now I’m curious what he felt about THAT.  In any case, Dustin teases a turn to the dark side, but instead slaps Uno RIGHT across the face!  The Dark Order come rushing to the ring ready to beat the crap out of him, but Evil Uno calls them off and promises that Dustin will soon be BEGGING to join The Dark Order.  The Dark Order is definitely my favorite thing about Dynamite right now so it’ll come as no surprise to you that the match and ESPECIALLY the promo after it have been my favorite things on the show so far and I hope to see more of this angle going forward; especially Evil Uno!  He’s been doing a GREAT job managing the group while Brodie Lee is out with an injury, and I’d love to see him have a match on Dynamite again!

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After weeks of speculation, Shaq has FINALLY made an appearance… at least in the form of a taped interview with Schiavone and Brandi.  He talks up Jade as being a great athlete but doesn’t commit himself to anything in the future, and Brandi spends most of it whinging about her arm.  The only thing of note is that Brandi throws a glass of water in Shaq’s face, and his reaction to it is pretty hilarious!  I’m still not into this storyline, but at least they did SOMETHING with it.

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The Inner Circle finally has its ultimatum meeting and I can sum it up thusly.  They are sticking together, MJF is on thin ice, and Sammy is ready to leave if MJF tries to pull something else.  Oh, and Wardlow and Hagar are still staring at each other.  I love The Inner Circle and some of the best moments on AEW have been about them, but they can also drag a show down by going on too long and that was DEFINITELY the case here.  The segment goes on for NINE MINUTES which is a bit long to simply reestablish the status quo, but it’s becoming even clearer that Sammy is gonna be leaving the group soon which seems like a risky move, but hopefully they have some ideas for where he’s going after that.

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Lance Archer & The Lucha Bros Vs. Eddie Kingston & The Butcher & The Blade

The Butcher & The Blade are accompanied to the ring by The Bunny

Where other matches on this show just kind of breezed right by, this one feels like a mess.  Kingston has a knack of getting heat on people and he has no less than four people chomping at the bit for his head, but I don’t know why THIS specific match is happening.  Why are The Lucha Bros teaming with Archer when they already have Pac to team with for Death Triangle?  Why is Kingston in the match at all when he prefers to let his cronies do the dirty work?  Heck, what is at stake for either team if they win?  Bragging rights?  It also doesn’t help that guys as talented and overwhelmingly over with the crowd as Rey, Penta, and Archer are taking the heat for The Butcher & The Blade; a talented duo to be sure, but I don’t’ see them being quite on their level.  They work over Rey for a bit before Archer gets the hot tag and runs wild for a bit before… hurting his leg I think?  It must have happened during Picture in Picture, but by the time we return he’s clutching his leg and trying to get Rey to tag in who gets some impressive spots, but botches a Suicide Dive and lands flat on his back with the back of his head bouncing off the floor as well.  With Lance out of action and Penta having gone through ha table, Rey gingerly gets back in the ring and is almost immediately taken out by a Powerbomb/Neckbreaker combo from Butcher and Blade.  I don’t know why they took Penta out of the match so early, I don’t know why they made Archer look bad with a clean leg injury spot, and I don’t know why poor Rey is throwing himself into this so hard when they just keep beating him!  If nothing else, they redeem Archer a bit by having him attack his opponents after the bell rings, but none of this gave a clear direction as to where this story is going.

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We cut to the back where Jade, Vickie, and Nyla are threatening Brandi who is saved by Big Swole and Serena Deeb, but then are attacked from behind by Diamante and Ivelisse.  I’m still not into this storyline but I’ll give them credit for throwing Diamante and Ivelisse into the mix who are still some of the toughest wrestlers in that division.

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Abadon Vs. Tesha Price

If they’re gonna try and push Abadon as the next big threat to Shida’s title, then they need to have matches like this for a few weeks because this is a GREAT starting point but is only just that; a starting point.  I need to see her in promos, I need to see her destroy a few more jobbers, and I DEFINITELY need to see her take on someone who’s been up there with Shida.  Maybe not Nyla as she’s got her own thing going with Brandi, but Anna Jay, Penelope Ford, or even Britt Baker?  Sure, monsters like this you want to shoot to the moon and they have something here with Abadon.  As soon as the bell rings, she knocks Tesha to the ground, pounds her in the corner, and throws her to the other side of the ring.  Tesha gets ONE punch in that Abadon shakes off like a puff of air, and then she utterly destroys her with leg trip that KINDA looks like a reverse Skull Crushing Finale as well as a reverse Pile Driver to get the pin.  Abadon continues to beat her even after getting the pin which forces Shida to come out with her kendo stick.  She carefully enters the ring and whacks Abadon on the head before going to save Tesha.  Before the two of them can leave the ring though, Abadon does the ZOMBIE SIT UP to show that she barely felt a thing and that she’s got her eyes set on Shida!  I want to see how her promos are and I think we could use a BIT more pageantry with her matches (smoke, lighting, maybe even some sound effects) but this was a good start to what is hopefully a long running program.

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Your New Champion, Kenny Omega – What Will The Champ Do Next!?

Arriving by helicopter and accompanied by Don Callis, Kenny Omega makes his grand entrance to AEW after becoming its champion last week!  Now that I think about it, all of the men’s titles have been held by members of The Elite; a far cry from when AEW first started and everyone thought they were booking themselves poorly.  Kenny nor Hangman were AEW’s first champion, The Bucks lost very early on against Private Party, and Cody took himself out of the AEW Championship title picture permanently.  Now we’ve seen two TNT title runs with Cody, The Bucks won the tag belts, and now Kenny is lording his victory over everyone in the company; having gone full heel and even coming out of the heel entrance tunnel!  It’s a great heel promo and the revulsion from Tony Schiavone is palpable… but I feel like we’re MAYBE going a bit too far here?  I don’t know, maybe it’s just me but I’m STILL not convinced that Kenny went WAY over the line in his match against Moxley considering Moxley never formally agreed to it (if he did, it was AFTER clonking Kenny in the back of the head with the belt and letting him writhe on the floor for ten minutes) and Moxley bashed his head into a heater on the outside.  So what, it’s okay as long as the foreign object is stationary!?  What REALLY got me is that Tony Schiavone says that he’s NEVER been so disgusted by a wrestler’s actions in his decades of experience in this business.  Seriously?  This dude survived the Vince Russo era of WCW, I think he could come up with a few examples if he really put his mind to it.  Sadly Kenny doesn’t question any of this bile being flung his way is instead embracing his new persona while letting Don Callis do most of the talking.  The promo is good and honestly works WAY better than Sting’s promo which was kind of aimless and stumbling, but like the Sting promo it’s mostly about bragging without giving us a clear direction of where things are going next.  At least with Kenny though, we can assume there are going to be a few matches involved as he’s gonna have to defend that belt at some point; the only question is who will step up to the plate first?  Much like my utter shock at the shenanigans with The Lucha Bros masks, I am perhaps over thinking things and everyone else has already gotten on board with it.  I guess I’ll just have to jump on board as well, but I’ll reserve ONE more rant on this depending on what Moxley says when he comes back!

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Orange Cassidy Vs. MJF – Dynamite Diamond Ring Finals

Cassidy is accompanied to the ring by The Best Friends while MJF is accompanied by The Inner Circle

Okay, I don’t know if this is a thing they’ve been doing for a while now, but I noticed that Trent and Chucky hold the middle rope open for Orange Cassidy to get in the ring, and the guy just gets down and rolls into it instead.  That’s a fun little spot and it’s one of the many small things that Cassidy and Best Friends do to really hammer home the appeal of this guy and why he should be near the top of the card.  It was because of this that I was worried about putting him and MJF both in the ring as neither one should really be racking up a loss right now, but then it hit me that this wasn’t a match about either of them; it was to prove how much better of MJF is now that he’s got The Inner Circle watching his back.  Like most Cassidy makes he takes the heat for a long time as MJF works him over, but when Cassidy DOES finally kick things into overdrive The Inner Circle is there to get in his way.  Not overtly enough that you could say they are costing him the match, but a stomp down here, a distraction there, and it all adds up.  I just wish the match had JUST been about that because things get complicated pretty quickly as Best Friends brings out a bunch of jobbers to buff up Cassidy’s ranks on the outside which undercuts The Inner Circle’s influence, and the ending itself which we’ll get to soon enough.  Just in terms of match quality this was the best on the show with MJF and Cassidy pulling off some VERY impressive and incredibly cool looking moves.  What makes MJF special is that he clearly has the wits and training of a true wrestler and doesn’t just rely on his smarm and his crew to back him up.  He’s a clever wrestler and puts Cassidy in some tough positions, but Cassidy has the heart to overcome whatever MJF throws at him which makes it all the more exciting to watch.  Probably the most memorable spot though will be a comedy bit where Ref Remsberg is distracted and Jericho tosses MJF the bat.  Instead of hitting Cassidy though, he tries the Eddie Guerrero trick of smacking it on the mat, tossing it to Cassidy, and then flopping to the ground.  The flaw in this plan though is that Remsberg didn’t seem to HEAR the bat and so MJF just awkwardly gets up five seconds later to use the bat for real… but then Cassidy flops and Ref Remsberg turns around to see MJF with the bat.  This gives Cassidy an opening to retake the advantage and almost gets the win with a few Orange Punches, but Wardlow puts MJF’s boot on the ropes and that’s enough for both sides to start brawling outside the ring.  Ref Remsberg is distracted by all the pandemonium, and none other than Miro SPRINTS from the back, lays out Cassidy, and GTFOs before Ref Remsberg can see him.  MJF barely manages to drape his arm over the unconscious Cassidy and gets the three count; winning the match and winning back his Dynamite Diamond Ring.  The Best Friends rush Miro and have to be broken up by security who are then ATTACKED by Miro!  He goes so far as to toss one dude off the stage onto the floor which to me says he’s going to be off the show for a bit (possibly asked for a Christmas vacation?) but whatever happens next, MJF has won the match and Miro stands tall as the episode comes to a close.  I like that this is moving forward on the Miro story, but I feel that it kind of undercuts the Inner Circle storyline in the process by making someone else responsible for MJF winning the match.  Perhaps he should be teaming up with them instead!

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I barely absorbed anything the first time I watched this episode but it started to grow on me during the rewatch.  It’s unrealistic to expect EVERY episode to be as big as last week’s which was THE BIGGEST SHOW EVER, but there’s no escaping that a lot of this felt light and inconsequential.  That can be find with certain matches, but when The Inner Circle feels like they’re just filling time it does become an issue.  Still, it’s saved by some fun Dark Order shenanigans and a VERY good main event that may not have WORLD TITLE PICTURE implications, but certainly has me interested to see what happens next week!

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