Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (12-30-2020)

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

This is going to be a rough one, so forgive me if I’m not as “in depth” as I usually am with these things.  With the untimely passing of Brodie Lee, AEW decided to put everything on hold; no angles, no storylines, no nonsense as we’re here to pay respect to a man who was taken from us all too soon.  It’s still a pretty raw nerve and I’m sure the people who are out there tonight to have matches are fighting against a lot of sadness, but in confronting it and facing it head on with this show… well I can only hope it brings some measure of peace to everyone who now has to move forward without him.  So let’s see what they did.

The show begins and the ENTIRE locker room is out on that stage with Tony Khan and Brodie’s family in the front.  Justin Roberts calls for the audience to rise as they ring the bell ten time for Brodie as his picture is on the titantron.  It’s simply haunting as the bell rings in utter silence and the grief stricken faces of everyone are on full display.  At one point some people in the crowd start to try a BRODIE chant, but they swiftly realized it was utterly inappropriate and the bell continues to ring.  Once the ten count is done, we cut to a video of Jon Moxley who is the first to speak on Brodie Lee, and while I’m not here to start rating things, his sad promos are just as believable as his fired up ones as the guy’s sheer authenticity (however much of it, if any, is just good acting) comes across whenever he speaks.  And with that, we head back to the ring to prepare for our first match of the night.  Jericho is on commentary and he is definitely on hand to make sure the air never gets too heavy because anytime there’s a moment of silence he starts saying the quiet part out loud which is that we’re here because Brodie is gone and we need to let it all out here in the ring; that people will be crying this night and that it’s okay to grieve.  It’s an interesting form of levity that, along with the crowd, do a lot to keep this show moving despite how morose everyone is.

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Young Bucks & Colt Cabana Vs. Hardy Party – Six Man Tag Match

Cabana comes out with The Dark Order who all stand on the ramp and give the Dark Order sign as Cabana enters the ring.  The state of The Dark Order in the wake of this is a discussion for another time, but one of the questions that will hopefully be answered soon is where Colt Cabana fits into them as he seems to still be a “potential recruit” rather than a full-fledged member.  I guess the concern has always been that Cabana is such a sunshine-happy looking dude that “officially” joining a heel faction wouldn’t fit right, but we’ll see where everything stands in a few weeks.  The match itself is good with a lot of high spots for The Bucks and Cabana while Private Party and Matt are bumping all over the place.  They eventually start getting the heat on Matt Jackson by isolating him in the corner and taking turns bashing him with strikes, but he manages to get the boot up to kick Matt Hardy in the face and follows up with a cross body for a two count.  Jackson starts crawling to the corner but Hardy keeps cutting him off until he takes a swing at Cabana which misses and eats a knuckle sandwich in return.  Matt Jackson hits Hardy with a Twist of Fate and finally gets to the corner to tag in Colt BOOM-BOOM Cabana who lives up to his name with an amazing comeback that is probably his most impressive flurry of offense since he first showed up at AEW; ironically to help SCU fight AGAINST The Dark Order!  Hardy Party manages to rally and Cabana ends up eating some offense from all three of them before Nick Jackson gets the hot tag and runs wild for a bit as well.  He then eats a Gin and Juice from Private Party, a Twist of Fate from Matt Hardy, and TWO Shooting Star Presses, but thankfully Matt Jackson and Colt Cabana break up the pin in time.  Matt Hardy is not satisfied with the way things are going and tries to bring a chair in, but Private Party refuses to play along and this gives Bucks and Cabana the opening they need to win the match with an Indie Taker on Quen followed by a Superman pin from Cabana to get the three count! 

While The Bucks and Cabana are celebrating in the ring, The Acclaimed come out and it looks like they’re there to rain on everyone’s parade, but SCU run from the back and toss them into the ring to eat a few Superkicks from The Bucks and some BIG elbows from Cabana.

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Darby Allin (sans makeup) is next to tell his very candid story about Brodie Lee and about what how he was a man with no ego who just wanted to lift all the new guys up.  He is the number one person that Darby wishes he could have wrestled and I have to concur as that would have torn the house down and it seems like the natural progression for the story as he was the one who now has the title that Cody took from him.

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Evil Uno & Stu Grayson & Lance Archer Vs. Eddie Kingston & The Butcher & The Blade – Six Man Tag Match

Archer is accompanied to the ring by Jake Roberts while Butcher & Blade are accompanied by The Bunny

There are a lot of theories out there that The Dark Order are going to be more over than ever with the crowd and that they may even have a Babyface turn, and while I do think it’s likely considering how much they’ve accomplished since Brodie Lee became the Exalted one and how much John Silver got over during his absence, I don’t envy the job that Uno and Grayson have going forward.  Unless they’re going to get a NEW Exalted one which would probably be a bit tasteless, they are the de facto leaders once again and despite them being SUPER talented dudes, the group was far from flourishing under their reign.  I really do hope that they can bounce back from that because The Dark Order has become my favorite faction in AEW (all of wrestling in fact) and perhaps this match will give us a clue as to what they plan to do.  The Dark Order come out in full force for the entrance and Lance Archer comes out wearing Brodie Lee’s attire when he was at WWE; white shirt, blue jeans, and (as Jericho called it) a hankie in his back pocket.  Kingston and his crew however are not quite as respectful as Kingston grabs the mic, tells Brodie Lee that he loves him and is sorry he’s gone, and that he’s going to DESTROY The Dark Order tonight because they are NOTHING without him!  Dang dude!  That’s why you get Eddie Kingston; he’s nothing if not dedicated to playing his role, and to make the leaders of The Dark Order (along with the MURDER HAWK Lance Archer) look like Babyfaces, you PROBABLY need a guy to bring that extra level of spite!  The match goes back and forth as the two teams hit a bunch of big moves on one another, but it really starts to kick into gear when Uno and Kingston are in the ring trading chops to see who would fall down first.  It looks like Uno will but he gets one last hit in that takes them BOTH down and they go to their corners to make the tags.  Lance Archer comes in and does an amazing job tearing The Blade to pieces and does a rope walk Moonsault thing that was actually pretty impressive from a guy this size.  It’s not quite enough to put him away however, so Lance Archer basically drags Kingston to the outside to Murderhawk him while Stu and Uno work over Butcher and Blade.  Grayson does this AMAZING move I can only describe as a top rope jump to the outside but managing to grab Butcher’s head and DDT him onto the apron on his way down.  THAT was impressive and it was enough to keep Butcher down for Stu and Uno to land a Fatality on The Blade and get the pin!

Lance Archer throws Kingston back into the ring so the three of them can knock him around for a bit and then Jake Roberts of all people hits the ring and gives Kingston a lariat!  Didn’t expect to see THAT this year; at least not without Roberts breaking something!

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We get another video, but instead of a single interview this is a full In Memoriam as lots of people on the roster get a chance to speak while we see pictures of Brodie Lee with his family.  For the most part they talk about what a great father he was which is what everyone was saying on Twitter as the news broke, and the most heartbreaking to see was Ref Bryce Remsberg who is an utter mess as he tries to get out what he wants to say about this great man.

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Hangman Adam Page & Alex Reynolds & John Silver Vs. MJF & Proud N Powerful – Six Man Tag Match

MJF & Proud N Powerful are accompanied to the ring by Sammy Guevara, Wardlow, and Jake Hager

John Silver, and by extension Alex Reynolds, are the reasons why The Dark Order has flourished since Brodie Lee left TV after his dog collar match against Cody.  Silver is over with the crowd due to his exuberant personality, he and Reynolds have had some AMAZING matches in the last few weeks, and their attempts to recruit Hangman have been some of the best segments on the show.  If The Dark Order is going Babyface on the backs of those two goofs, then I think it’s pretty likely that Hangman will join them for a time.  He’s great as a singles wrestler, but I think the title picture needs to marinate for a bit longer under Kenny’s rule before they do the grudge match between them and Page could use something to do until then.  Silver comes out dressed in Brodie Lee’s Exalted One singlet (I wonder if he should be the leader now?) and he and Reynolds start things off by throwing papers at The Inner Circle; a tribute to Brodie Lee who would do that to The Dark Order on their Being the Elite segments.  They start with MJF and Hangman who trade a few blows before Hangman throws his OWN wad of papers and MJF sells it like he just took a brick to the face.  Absolutely furious about this, MJF goes to ringside and starts screaming at Brodie Jr (HIS name is Brodie but Brodie’s real name was John, so does that mean he’s NOT a Jr?) who stares him down without an ounce of fear until MJF gets tired and goes back to the ring.  Everyone looks good in this match, but Proud N Powerful in particular are bringing absolute FIRE here and they look absolutely amazing while getting the heat on Alex Reynolds.  My problem with heat segments is that, at least for me, they tend to be longer than the action would justify as it usually involves repetitive punches, long holds, or kicks in the corner.  I understand that you don’t want to OVER do it on spectacular moves during this segment because you want the hot tag to really POP, but I think these two find a darn good balance because there are moments that slow things down, but they also make sure to do moves that genuinely look like they would take a guy out of commission, like when Santa hangs Reynolds on the middle rope and lands a devastating Neckbreaker.  Reynolds eventually escapes and gets the hot tag to Page who starts ripping MJF to pieces, but eventually he gets overwhelmed and The Inner Circle get the heat during the commercial break.  When we come back MJF goes for a Double Axe Handle but Hangman gets the boot up and makes the hot tag to Silver who runs wild on everyone while JR calls him a human bowling bowl; an apt description considering how he runs through everyone like he’s Braun freaking Strowman.  Sadly it’s not enough to end the match as a Powerbomb on Ortiz only gets a two count, and everyone runs in to do a few moves until its Silver and MJF left in the ring.  Silver then does this thing that gets a HUGE pop from the crowd and even Jericho doesn’t even know what it was.  I can only describe it as a Hurricanrana crossed with a Canadian Destroyer, and for a guy as heavy and squat as Silver it was a PHENOMENAL display of athleticism!  Sadly Silver spends a bit too long celebrating and eats THREE big moves from The Inner Circle, but thankfully Reynolds runs in to break up the pin.  Wardlow has seen enough and goes into the ring to destroy Reynolds, but none other than Erick Rowan, former tag team partner of Brodie Lee back in WWE, runs out and drags Wardlow to the back!  Jericho on commentary does not give a gosh darn because he just straight up name checks The Bludgeon Brothers, but then again I don’t know anywhere else Rowan has worked so it’s probably the only reference I would have come up with a well.  With that, the ring is clear for the big finale which is a Stunner from Reynolds, a German Suplex from Silver, and finally a Buckshot Lariat from Hangman to… NOT get the pin!  Ortiz wasn’t about to get up, but MJF put his boot on the ropes to break the pin, and if that wasn’t bad enough, he goes back to Brodie Jr and rips off his Dark Order mask!  Oh, but Brodie Jr was ready for something like that as Alan Angels hands him a kendo stick and he BASHES MJF over the head with it!  Alone in the ring with Ortiz, Silver gives him a Discus Lariat and finally gets the pin; an emotional moment for all involved as Rowan comes back out to the ring with tears in his eyes and a sign that says Goodbye for now, my Brother.  Easily the best match on an already amazing show so far.

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Eddie Kingston is next for a video message about Brodie Lee where he addresses his kids directly and tells him his dad isn’t really gone as long as they remember him and what he taught them.

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Anna Jay & Tay Conti Vs. Penelope Ford & Brit Baker

Ford is accompanied to the ring by Kip and Miro while Baker is accompanied by Rebel

If there’s one part of The Dark Order that’s underwhelming, it’s been Anna Jay whose push has been very sporadic.  It’s not necessarily her fault because of how underwhelming much of the women’s division has been, but her appearances haven’t built to much or involved much drama, and of the matches we’ve seen so far this is the one that felt much like a standard Dynamite match.  Still, I think all four of them have moments to shine with Ford and Conti having a decent a rapport whenever they face off, and the moments where Jay pays tribute to Brodie Lee are definitely affecting.  Anna Jay gets Penelope Ford into the Queen Slayer submission, but she’s not tapping right away and so Tay has to run all around the ring bashing people in the face who try to interfere with the hold.  She decks Baker with a jumping right that sends her rolling out of the ring, and she yanks Reba off the apron which gives Jay just enough time to finally force Ford to tap out and win the match.

Jay and Conti head to the back while Ford… is somewhere, which leaves Baker alone in the ring to yell at Schiavone that the whole match was rigged.  While airing out her grievances, Thunder Rosa runs from the back and clobbers her over the head and has to be separated from Baker by a bunch of refs.  It’s the one angle outside of The Dark Order that they’ve spent time on this episode and it wasn’t that long of a segment so I’m not bothered by it.

Chris Jericho is up next to say a few words about Brodie Lee as he relays a story about an interaction they had during one of those Saudi Arabia shows back when they were both at the WWE.  Jericho is definitely one of the biggest hams in wrestling so even at his sincerest he still sounds a bit boisterous and silly, but it was great to hear him talk so openly about what a great guy Brodie Lee was and he promises that the AEW will take care of his family from now on.  A promise like that from Jericho?  Bet your ass he’s gonna live up to it.

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Cody & Orange Cassidy & Ten The Creeper (Preston Vance) Vs. Team Taz (Starks, Cage, and Hobbs) – Brodie Jr Dream Match

Cassidy is accompanied to the ring by Best Friends and Cody is accompanied by Arn Anderson while Team Taz is accompanied by Taz and Hook

Brodie’s son’s three favorite wrestlers are Cody, Cassidy, and Ten, so the main event of this show is his three guys going up against Team Taz to have yet another spectacular match.  I guess I’m perhaps a bit burned out by trios matches at this point so it didn’t exactly WOW me like the one with Reynolds & Silver, but it was still a fantastic showcase from everyone involved; especially Ten who gets a hot tag and does a solid job clearing the ring.  Hobbs as well looks REALLY good here and frankly might just work out better as a heel than as a face because he’s just SO good at that style of wrestling and has some great moments here.  At one point, Taz grabs a chair but Arn grabs one as well, so while the ref is distracted dealing with them, Cassidy lands the Orange Punch, Cody lands the Cross Rhodes, and Ten finishes him off with a Spinebuster to get the pin.  Solid match and a decent preview for wherever this story between Team Taz and Cody will eventually go.

While the Babyfaces are celebrating in the ring, Hobbs, Cage, and even Hook jump into the ring and start tearing Cody apart.  Partway through the carnage however, the lights go out and both Darby and Sting come out to intimidate Team Taz and force them to the back; leaving the Babyfaces standing tall in the middle of the ring.

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Jon Huber, Brodie Lee, Luke Harper – He Will Never Be Forgotten

When we come back from commercial, Cody is alone in the ring with a microphone and tries to hold it together as he gives his own fond words to Brodie Lee before calling out Brodie Lee Jr to join him in the ring.  He’s joined by his mother (), Tony Khan, and Ten The Creeper to lay Brodie’s boots in the ring; a gesture often employed when a wrestler will no longer be entering that ring.  Tony Khan then presents Brodie Lee Jr with the TNT title and declares him the champion for life as his mother (and Ten) look tearfully on from the side.  They then end the show with a Brodie Lee tribute video which says everything that needed to be said without saying another word.

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I already gave my thoughts on the passing of Brodie Lee and I’m glad that everyone at AEW got to say their piece as well.  I hope nothing but the best for his family, and that his memory will continue to inspire great wrestlers to be even better men for as long as this wacky sport is still a thing.  To the one and only Exalted One, Jon Huber, safe travels and rest in peace.

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