Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (12-16-2020)

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

Tis the season for things to get lost in the shuffle as the holidays approach and these recaps get more and more delayed, but I’m not about to give up gosh darn it!  December has been full of stress and scrambling, but the AEW show each week is something I always look forward to even if they don’t always knock it out of the park.  Was this episode another reminder of why I keep doing this week in and week out, or is it a confusing mess that’s practically begging for me to skip a week?  Let’s find out!!


Hangman Page & The Dark Order (Reynolds & Silver) Vs. Hardy Party (Matt Hardy, Isaiah Kassidy, and Marq Quen)

Page and the Geeks come out first with Reynolds and Silver wearing matching (and VERY adorable) cowboy outfits.  Seems like an innocent enough homage to me, but Page seems particularly annoyed when Silver tries to throw up his hand sign so perhaps he’s not ready to embrace his new buddies just yet and form a new faction.  Speaking of hand signs, what is that supposed to be?  As far as I can tell, it’s just Hangman throwing up a Loser “L” which doesn’t seem particularly cowboy, but he’s also a 90’s kid so I’ll let him have it.  As for that match itself, it was pretty darn good; especially for an opening match.  It’s a bit odd that neither teams are truly faces or heels which means that there isn’t much DRAMA there, but it also means that they focus on spots and big moves which I like to see in the first match of a show.  The opener doesn’t have to be advancing the most important storylines but it has to POP and this match definitely does that with some impressive work from all involved.  If I had to pick an MVP it might be Marq Quen because he is in this several times and does a GREAT job with everybody.  He starts off the match with Page and they have a great exchange for a bit before the rest of Hardy Party tries a triple team.  Page manages to avoid it however and Silver & Reynolds rush in to make the save and look like superstars while doing it!  With Silver soaking up so much spotlight it’d be easy for Reynolds to get lost in the shuffle (much like Other Dude in WHAM), but he’s a good worker and balances out Silver’s overwhelming exuberance and he has possibly the best moment in the match towards the end of it.  If anyone is a heel in here, it’s Hardy as he’s the only one getting any sort of heat; in this case on Silver with submissions and beatings which eventually leads to a hot tag for Page who explodes out of the corner and runs wild!  Even this however is brought to an end by Matt Hardy with a Side Effect and a two count on Page.  He goes for a Twist of Fate but Page gets out of it and the two tag in Reynolds and Quen who are so great in these brief moments that I want to see them have a singles match!  Reynolds probably isn’t as athletic as Marq Quen (who possibly could be?) but he holds his own and their brief confrontation is topped off with that RIDICULOUSLY AWESOME combination that he and Silver does with a Powerbomb from Hangman for good measure.  The ending is a BIT of a disappointment for me and the only thing close to a sour note in the whole match.  Silver takes a Twist of Fate on the apron that ended up hurting his knee which was concerning to see, though he later confirmed that it’s fine and he just has a bruise which is a relief considering how injury prone people have been at AEW, but the point is that this is what takes Silver out of the match which leaves Page and Reynolds at a disadvantage.  Page takes a kick from Isaiah that knocks him over the barricade and Private Party finishes off Reynolds with a Gin and Juice, but instead of pinning him themselves they go to the effort of letting Matt tag in so that he can make the pin and win the match.  Perhaps I’m overthinking it, but the kick and tumble that Page took REALLY shouldn’t have taken him out of the match long enough for Private Party to land their super move and then have someone else run in and make a three count, but I guess we can’t have Page win with these two goofballs just yet so they had to find a way for it to make sense that Page couldn’t make the save.  Aside from that, which isn’t TOO big of a deal, this was a fun match and a GREAT way to start the show!  My only hope is that Page’s loss here doesn’t discourage him from teaming up with these two again, because they made a fantastic team and I want to see them each and every week!


We cut to the back where Alex Marvez is interviewing The Inner Circle as MJF has won some sort of award from The New York Times calling the Dinner Debonair one of the best performances of 2020; a thing that actually happened.  I mean they weren’t giving out STATUES or anything so the award MJF is holding in this segment is something he must have made himself, but there was a piece published on December fourth from Wesley Morris calling the performance one of the highlights of 2020 alongside Amanda Seyfried, Aunjanue Ellis, and Pete Buttigieg.  MJF is naturally insufferable about it, but what’s starting to creep into these promos with The Inner Circle is that his biggest advocate, Chris Jericho, is also starting to get tired of his nonsense; especially when the new guy starts handing out backhanded complements and shoving everyone else out of the spotlight.  Everyone is assuming that Sammy is going to quit The Inner Circle and granted that seems very likely, but maybe they’re having second doubts and are building toward a falling out between MJF and Jericho.


Okay, so this is where things get a bit weird.  I’m just going to tell you what the point of this next segment is, and that’s to announce that Cody and Brandi are having a baby.  Seems simple enough (and congratulations), but here’s how they try to get it across.  We cut to Brandi and Cody decorating a Christmas tree as What Child Is This plays in the background (subtle) when the doorbell rings to find… no one!  Must be Santa I suppose because there’s a present on the ground, so they pick it up, take it inside, open it together, and reveal Gucci brand baby booties with an ornament saying WE’RE EXPECTING A NEW BABY DUE 2021.  So they got a gift from a mysterious stranger telling THEM something they already knew but is pertinent for the invisible camera so that the audience now knows; all of this by the way is performed by Brandi and Cody with oddly expressionless faces like they’re doing some sort of Avant-garde art film.  The one moment of genuine cuteness is we see their dog Pharaoh with a BABY SECURITY IN TRAINING scarf on, but congratulations are still in order for the happy couple.  Let’s just hope they don’t do a gender reveal party; for all the obvious reasons, but also because I don’t want to see whatever ridiculous script they write up for it.  Oh, and speaking of these two…


Cody Vs. Angélico

Cody is accompanied to the ring by Brandi and Arn Anderson while Angélico is accompanied by Jack Evans

I wouldn’t exactly call this a FILLER match, but it’s not here to do much more than remind everyone that Cody’s great and that TH2 is getting a push right now.  That’s perfectly fine as not everything on the show has to be a small piece of a larger story (I’ve been looking back at old TNA stuff and that was definitely a big problem they had), and as always wrestlers should WANT to have matches as more wins on their record means more chances at the titles.  I’m actually curious now if someone could do a gimmick where they game the system.  Perhaps they only start stuff with jobbers they can beat easily and anyone that COULD pose a threat they just force them into a double count out to call it a tie or a No Contest.  Enough of my booking ideas though, the match itself is pretty good with a strong focus on mat work and submissions.  Angélico has really been very heavily pushed as a submission specialist which is actually kind of unique for a tag team guy, right?  Most are either high flyers or scary monsters and Angélico certainly has the skills of the former, but it’s always fun to see teams mix it up a bit and I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve seen from Angélico in the last few weeks.  Aside from listing off the various holds and maneuvers they pull off, none of which are particularly flashy, there’s not much to report on here.  Jack Evans tries an interference spot during the picture in picture but is quickly handled by Arn, Cody break a submission hold by chomping on the bottom rope with his perfect teeth, and Angélico manages to block Cody’s Kitty Kat Uppercut thing.  In fact, if there’s one thing that you could say is a running theme in this match, it’s that Cody is having a heck of a time outsmarting Angélico who not only avoids the uppercut but counters the Disaster Kick and even fights off the Cross Rhodes, but then Angélico just can’t break Cody’s will and force him to tap; even after locking in the Navarro Death Roll.  Eventually though, Cody manages to outlast his opponent on sheer endurance and finally lands one of his Super Moves the Cody Cutter to get the pin and win the match.  Simple and straightforward, but not the least bit boring; I’d actually be glad for more matches like this considering the deluge of angles that have we’ve gotten in the last few weeks to give us a bit of breathing room and to soak everything in.

Team Taz comes out after the match to taunt Cody about being a new daddy which seems rather petty and below Taz’s usual standards, but it’s the talk of the show right now and he’s feuding with Cody so why not?  WE get to see Hook again who’s now chewing gum so that his face can finally start moving, but to me the most revealing thing is that he’s wearing a Punisher T-Shirt; a detail that says so much more than anything he could possibly tell us himself.  Before Team Taz can hit the ring though, Sting’s music hits and he comes out with the bat which is enough to get Taz and company to step back.  Hobbs seems ready to pounce on this old dude in Crow makeup but Hook and Starks hold him back which I’m VERY grateful for as I really don’t want to see Sting try and fight off this Powerhouse dude.  I’m still not sure what Sting’s role is going to be here at AEW, but it’ll hopefully not involve that many matches.


Alex Marvez is interviewing Miro in the back, though not without giving him a piece of his mind about attacking those security dudes, and he wants to know why Miro is so upset at Orange Cassidy!  Miro’s answer is that Cassidy doesn’t care enough and that… he’s tanking AEW’s social media numbers?  It’s a weird argument he’s making here about Likes and whatnot, and while I understand that Miro’s a big gamer and is doing lots of stuff on Twitch, perhaps having a subpar social media presence is not a good enough justification to start beating the crap out of somebody?  Miro then switches topics and lets everyone know that there’s going to be a HUGE announcement regarding Kip and Penelope’s wedding next week, so we better tune in to see it!  Look, I love Miro and he’ll no doubt have a great match against Orange Cassidy whenever that happens, but he still feels a bit underutilized considering how much buzz he came in with.  Still, he ends the promo by yelling BAH HUMBUG at Alex Marvez, so I’ll give it an extra point just for that!


Eddie Kingston hits the ring to verbally assault the audience for a bit before yelling at God and then calling out Pac and Lance Archer; the latter of whom comes out to stomp a mud hole in Kingston’s keister.  Butcher and Blade come out to turn the odds in their favor, but then Death Triangle come out and retake the advantage; eventually running them off and standing strong in the ring.  Pac and Archer being de-facto Baby Faces against the much smaller Kingston has been one of the stranger storylines this year, but so far its working because Kingston is just THAT good at running his mouth, and there’s clearly some tension between Pac and Archer that will probably get in the way of whatever plans they might have to finish off Kingston.  Still, I think it would be a good idea for Kingston to boost up his ranks a bit.  As solid as Butcher and Blade are as workers, they aren’t THAT intimidating; especially next to freaking LANCE ARCHER and THE BASTARD PAC.


Dasha is interviewing Dustin in the back who gives yet another FANTASTIC promo; this time against Evil Uno for trying to pull that Seven crap last week and to announce they will have a match next week.  Dustin is SO good at just screaming his head off and he definitely brings an old-school sensibility to his work that adds a bit of flavor to the mostly modern roster at AEW.  Him and Uno (another guy with a BIG personality) are going to have a great match next week and I can’t wait to see it!


The Inner Circle Vs. Best Friends and Friends (The Varsity Blondes and Top Flight)

Best Friends are accompanied to the ring by Orange Cassidy

Just a quick thing to note here; originally this was supposed to have Wardlow and Brandon Cutler on their respective teams, but Wardlow had to drop out due to an undisclosed family matter, and so Cutler was cut from his team to make a six on six match.  It’s a shame because I’d love to see Cutler have a match on Dynamite again, but it is what it is and there’s still a lot of good stuff to work with here.  Similar to the Battle Royale a few weeks ago, this is less about one team winning over the other as it is setting up possible rivalries for the future.  Brian Pillman Jr gets the Jericho rub by getting the crap kicked out of him for a bit before turning things around with a couple of chops, a cross body, and a few decent kicks that send Jericho to the outside.  Griff Garrison gets less of a rub as he takes some abuse from Sammy before tagging in Dante Martin from Top Flight, and I there’s definitely something to work with here between these two.  Sammy fights as a cocky bully who doesn’t take Dante seriously, and Dante may be talented but is still too green to overcome this jerk-bag but he stands a bit more of a chance when he gets his older brother to double team with him.  I’d be all for this thing turning into one big prank war, and it’d be a good way to get the audience invested in Top Flight, and there aren’t THAT many people that Sammy could plausibly bully despite being so good at it.  The rest of the match is honestly a bit tedious as The Inner Circle spends A LOT of time getting the heat on Trent, and while there are some big moves and good spots, it has the problem of matches like this feeling like WAY too many resources on hand that they don’t do a lot with.  Jumping straight to the end, Griff Garrison gets something of a hot tag as he clears out the ring, but Jericho sneaks a shot in with his bat which practically knocks him out and leaves him to be putty in Jake Hager’s hand.  Hager gives a VERY sloppy looking F10 as some sort of tribute to Wardlow (seriously, what’s going on there?) and he tags in MJF to get the pin on Garrison with the biggest S**t-eating grin you could imagine.  Jericho and MJF then proceed to stomp on Garrison after the match is over, so Top Flight jump into the ring and drop kick the both of them before they scramble out of the ring and celebrate with the rest of The Inner Circle on the ramp.  It was good, but was definitely the least interesting match so far on the show.  Teams of THIS size really need to be in matches that utilize those numbers; otherwise there’s not enough action to go around or the match devolves into utter chaos.  They’ve held off Blood and Guts for almost a year now due to the pandemic, and in the meantime there’s been like FIVE different feuds that could have easily worked with that match type, so maybe it would have been better to just rip the Band-Aid off and get it over with back in March.


Marvez is trying to interview Thunder Rosa in the back, but she quickly shuts him down so that she can cut a promo on Britt Baker.  Thunder Rosa is quite a good talker and gives a solid promo here, but not everyone agrees as Rebel (or is it Reba?) walks in on the interview to start some nonsense with Thunder Rosa.  However it is merely a distraction as Britt Baker smashes her in the back of the head, and she and Rebel/Reba pour water all over her face paint; not enough to take it off entirely, but enough to smudge it significantly!  I’m glad that the women’s division has a storyline going on that isn’t a title chase, though it STILL feels a bit underwritten.  I don’t know what exactly, but there needs to be something MORE at stake than just their hate for each other as I’m not seeing much of a destination here as the blow off to this could just as well happen on next week’s show or even on Dark without it feeling out of place.


SCU Vs. The  Acclaimed (Anthony Bowens & Max Caster)

Perhaps I myself am too dorky to say one way or the other, but does anyone else think that The Acclaimed are HUGE dorks?  They try to come off as tough and all, but they just look goofy and have some very suspect lines (rhyming Coola’ with Do Ya’ is not the kind of game you want to bring to national television), and MAYBE that’s the point as Kazarian takes the mic and spits out his own rhymes; not particularly great ones, but The Acclaimed certainly seemed wounded by it!  As for the match, it’s pretty good!  Kazarian is ALWAYS a great worker and Daniels still has it when it matters, and while The Acclaimed still feel a bit too new to stand out much against these grizzled veterans, they do hold their own and put on a decent performance; especially early one when they do some remarkable selling for Kazarian and Daniels who spend a lot of the match tearing these two to pieces!  It’s not until the commercial break that The Acclaimed start to get the heel heat, though it’s nothing al that spectacular.  There’s like one tandem move where they flip him over and kick him in the back, but it doesn’t even get a two count from Kazarian so it’s a bit hard to buy it when the announcers say that they are the number five tag team based on their winning streak on Dark.  Kazarian eventually gets to the corner and Daniels runs wild for a bit which is always fun to see, but he only gets a two count with a Blue Thunder Bomb so he has to take it to the next level if he wants to put these two away.  He gets a diving Cross Body from the top rope but still only gets a two count, and… I’m not sure what he does after that as he seems to be looking for Kazarian, but he eats a shot from the boom box by Max and Anthony gets the pin off of it.  It wasn’t SPECTACULAR but it kept it short and gave SCU a lot of time to shine which is always a win in my book. 

Max grabs the mic and starts calling out The Bucks for being girls on their periods (classy, bro) and demanding a title match.  The Bucks seem to be all for it and I guess they’ll be having a match next week, though I’m curious what the overall plan is since they seem to be bringing these teams into the spotlight only to beat them a week later and leave them to fend for themselves in the division.  It hasn’t exactly backfired yet since Top Flight and TH2 have had good matches after their failed shots, but we’ll have to see if The Acclaimed have what it takes as well after they lose their chance at the belts.


Oh hey!  Speaking of Top Flight, Dasha is interviewing them in the back about their save at the end of their match earlier in the show where they beat up Jericho and MJF, and the two seem to be bucking up big time; calling the two out and announcing a match next week between them and the two Inner Circle members they kicked in the face.  Hopefully Sammy finds his way into the mix as I definitely want to see that feud!


Ivelisse & Diamanté Vs. Big Swole & Serena Deeb

I am still a HUGE fan of Ivelisse & Diamanté, but sadly this is not the match to really start pushing them to the moon.  If anything, it’s to reintroduce Big Swole who seems to have expanded her move set since her last big push; so much so that Deeb barely gets any time here and her big hot tag occurs during an ad for a new AEW podcast.  Oh sure she runs wild for a bit, but it’s not long before Swole is back in the ring and bringing the match to an end.  She lands a Tiger Driver on Diamanté and while Deeb is keeping Ivelisse at bay, she puts her in a Cloverleaf and gets the pin.  I don’t know, I guess not EVERYONE can get a push at the same time, but I kind of hoped that the team who won the Women’s Tag Tournament might have been dominate in a tag match, but Swole looked perfectly fine and Deeb got a few licks in that kept her looking strong so it wasn’t all bad.

Nyla Rose and Vickie Guerrero run to attack the Baby Faces while they’re celebrating their win, but Red Velvet runs in with a chair to take out Rose and clear the ring of all the Heels.  I’m not sure where this whole situation is going, especially since Jade who instigated all of this has barely been on the sow since she called out Cody all those weeks ago.  Maybe it’ll just keep escalating to Six Women Tag Matches, Eight Women Tag Matches, maybe even TWELVE Women Tag Matches as this seems to be the focal point of the division while Shida is dealing with Abadon and Thunder Rosa is feuding with Baker.


The Best Friends call out Miro for costing Orange Cassidy his match last week and all but promise to crash the wedding announcement.  They’ve been holding off this match for a several weeks now, so hopefully next week will finally be the catalyst for settling this feud inside the ring.


We get a quick video about Jurassic Express who haven’t been on TV for a while now, and this is something SO offensive to FTR that they rush the announce table and yell at Tony, Excalibur, and JR for like five minutes.  I’d prefer to have seen them in a match than do whatever this is, but I guess being whiney on top of being REALLY good in the ring is part of their gimmick.


Kenny Omega Vs. Joey Janela – No DQ AEW Title Match

Joey Janela is accompanied to the ring by Sonny Kiss while Kenny Omega is accompanied by Don Callis

You and I BOTH know that Joey Janela has about as much chance of winning this as I do of becoming People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive, but even knowing that Joey puts up a HECK of a fight and lives up to his reputation as a guy who gives no fudge as long as it gets a reaction from the crowd.  Before Kenny even makes it to the ring, Joey smashes him in the head with a trash can which came out of nowhere and was an utter delight to see, but the advantage doesn’t last long as he gets ONE good Suicide Dive and a toss into the barricade before Kenny takes full control of this and makes Janela pay.  Dude lands a Kotaro Crusher (kind of Like a leapfrog crossed with a Bulldog) that smashes Janela’s face onto a folding chair, and if THAT wasn’t enough he lands a Terminator Dive onto a seated Janela which I’m sure must have hurt like a mo-fo but looked GREAT!  I WAS a bit worried that Janela actually got hurt by this because Kenny works him over with a cookie sheet afterwards and he seems to occupied with his head to properly sell it, but I haven’t heard anything about an injury and he does finish the match which includes some more rough spots.  Callis gives Kenny a mic soon after the dive and on top of beating the hell out of Janela, he’s taunting him the whole time which frankly MORE wrestlers should do.  I like to hear them talk when they’re in the ring, and hearing Kenny getting exasperated that Janela hasn’t given up yet adds quite a bit to the match.  Kenny does some pretty heinous stuff in here including a stomp onto Janela using a trash can, but Janela is not out of this match yet as he manages to reverse a One Winged Angel into a Hurricanrana which was really cool and Kenny sells like a sledgehammer to the head.  Sonny does his best to help his buddy out by setting up a table to put Omega through, and sure enough Janela lands a Legdrop from the top turnbuckle to Kenny laid out on the table on the floor.  Despite retaking the advantage though, he goes for a Moonsault which Kenny rolls out of, and that momentary lapse in judgement is enough for Kenny to land a V-Trigger followed by a One Winged Angel to get the pin.  THAT was about as much as I can stomach as far as hardcore matches go.  True, there was that one moment I was worried Janela might have gotten a concussion, but the moves were big, the selling was on point, and it didn’t overstay its welcome.  I don’t need to see people waffling eachother with trash cans and going through tables for half an hour, but a ten minute match here and there?  Sure!  It’s an effective way to spice things up and it made a match with a VERY obvious conclusion feel like something that’s still worth seeing.

Callis joins Kenny in the ring to celebrate, but the revelry is cut short as Pac comes out with a mic to call out Kenny for being a punk and to announce that none other than Rey Fénix is going to be Kenny’s next challenger.  After all, he TECHNICALLY didn’t lose in that tournament, so doesn’t he deserve a shot at the belt?  Callis is VERY incensed by the brazenness with which Pac is calling the shots here, but Pac confirms that the match has been sanctioned by Tony Khan for the show on December thirtieth, so Callis can ZIP IT before his mouth runs any more than it already has!  Kenny starts SCREAMING into the microphone about all this as the episode comes to an end; an ignoble send-off from the dastardly champ!


This is not the easiest time to try and keep up with a weekly show like this (there’s a reason these have been coming out so late), so perhaps I haven’t been giving these episodes their due in recent weeks.  I think this is one of the stronger shows they’ve had since the PPV, but it still just kinda ran through me as many episodes have recently.  Not necessarily their fault, but there have been spots that could use some improvement.  The women’s division is getting better but is still a part that’s easy to check out on, and most of the matches have been about GETTING somewhere despite not being clear on where we’re GOING.  Sting is involved with Cody, Darby, and Team Taz, but what does he actually plan to DO about all this?  The Inner Circle are kind of just spinning their wheels picking fights with anyone who looks at them funny, but is that going to get them power at AEW?  Are they even chasing any of the belts right now?  We’re FAR from the next PPV, but it still feels like we’re building towards it albeit at a very slow pace, and while the action is still rather top notch, I’m having a bit of difficulty caring about any particular match as it happens.  Again, this time of year is hard on everyone as we run around and scramble to figure out what we’re going to do for the Holidays (especially in 2020, the worst of ALL years), so I’ll cut them a bit of slack and will eagerly be awaiting the next episode!  Oh wait, they aren’t showing it until ten at night due to an NBA game?  And it’s on Christmas Eve Eve?  Okay, maybe SLIGHTLY less than eagerly.

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