Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (01-27-2021)

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

AEW’s schedule has been rather wonky these last few weeks, hasn’t it?  It’s not just that the New Year’s special had to be pushed back a week due to unfortunate circumstances, we’re already coming up on their next special episode which is called Beach Break (not Beach BASH as I’m pretty sure I called it last week) and they also moved their Revolution PPV back a week for reasons that are still not entirely clear.  Perhaps things getting moved around so much is why last week felt like a bit of a letdown and frankly it doesn’t bode well for this episode as they’ll probably save everything REALLY good for next week’s special, but is that the pessimism of an overly cynical jerk or the wisdom of a perfectly calibrated cynical jerk?  Let’s find out!!

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Eddie Kingston Vs. Lance Archer

I still have no idea where this story is going, but I’ll be darned if this isn’t the most fun I’ve had with one of these matches!  It’s basically that one Three Stooges short where Curly has to box against the champ Killer Kilduff with Kingston playing the part of the darn fool stuck in the ring with a monster and honestly it’s a pretty darn good comparison considering how he works in the ring.  Eddie Kingston is one of the best floppers in this business because he doesn’t just sell the hits; he makes his opponents look like the biggest bullies imaginable with over the top flailing, great facial expressions, and the nerve to take some seriously nasty bumps.  The most terrifying was when Archer lifts him up for a Chokeslam, but then drops him over the ropes and onto the apron which SHOULD have shattered his spine but luckily enough he was just fine.  Can’t imagine Jerry Howard going for something like that, but then he did take his fair share of abuse at a time where OSHA would have been considered Communist propaganda.  What the heck am I even on about?  In any case, Archer takes his sweet time knocking Kingston all over the place and it’s definitely his match to win… but then Butcher & Blade drag Jake Roberts out from the back which distracts him and the ref long enough for The Bunny to hand Kingston a pair of brass knuckles which he uses to clobber Archer across the temple and get the pin.  I’ve been waiting for weeks for this faction to figure out what it was going to be and this feels like they’ve finally figured it out.  Kingston is not a killer and frankly neither are The Butcher & The Blade.  What they are though are scheming jerk wads who can take advantage of a situation and come out on top, so as long as their opponents have someone they wish to protect, Kingston and company can take advantage of that and score a cheap win.  The match was a lot of fun even though I did worry about Kingston’s health throughout, and it definitely feels like they’ve got an angle to build off of instead of just bouncing between ideas and matches until something sticks.

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Jon Moxley cuts a promo where he elaborates on just how ridiculously convoluted the storylines in AEW have gotten.  An amusing segment to be sure, but not exactly the thing you want to shine a light on considering we’ve still got two hours of convoluted nonsense to get to after this segment, but what it comes down to is that whatever the factions are, whoever has beef with who, he’s ready to beat the crap out of Kenny Omega and The Good Brothers even if it means teaming up with Fénix and Pac.  We’ll get to see that next week on Beach Bash and I have no doubt that with THAT much talent on hand that it will be a sight to behold!

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We also get a promo from Sting and Darby who are… hanging out next to an abandoned building I guess, and Sting does most of the talking here as he calls out Taz for calling them hoodlums.  HOODLUMS, of all things!  I mean it’s TRUE as they are clearly demonstrating by breaking a few windows, but Taz should focus less on name calling and spend that time making sure his boys are ready for their match.  They will be having a Street Fight against Ricky Starks and Brian Cage at the Revolution PPV, and while I’m still VERY ambivalent about Sting getting anywhere near a ring again, there will at least be three other guys around to try and keep him safe, and it should be an interesting spectacle if nothing else.

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The Varsity Blondes (Griff Garrison & Brian Pillman Jr) Vs. Jericho & MJF

Jericho & MJF are accompanied to the ring by The Inner Circle

This is another awesome match to start things off, and frankly it’s a payoff to a storyline I didn’t even realize I wanted to see!  All the way back in July of last year, MJF and Garrison had a match which turned Garrison into a star overnight.  Sure he lost, but he stood up to the big bully and it was the start of his rise that would eventually lead him to team up with Brian Pillman Jr!  Now after all this time he has his chance to get revenge on MJF, and to his credit he gets pretty darn close!  He and Pillman look REALLY good here against MJF and Jericho who are selling for them and giving them all the spotlight, and the best moment is when Garrison manages to fend BOTH of them off at the same time; capping it all off with a series of splashes in the corner followed by a double spear!  Sadly it doesn’t work out for them as Jericho manages to endure everything they throw at him (MJF less so as he’s falling all over the place), and when Pillman goes for a Springboard he ends up eating a Judas Effect on the way day.  Jericho follows it up with a Lionsault just to add insult to injury, and gets the three count to win the match.  This was an absolute blast that didn’t overstay its welcome and gave everyone a chance to stand out!  MJF ended up taking most of the damage here, but even he got his moments of being an absolute jerk which is always a win for that guy.  I don’t know if this will elevate The Varsity Blondes like Garrison’s match against MJF did for him, but it was a

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I don’t know if I’ve said this before, but Pac is kind of a weirdo, isn’t he?  He has a video promo where he,  I kid you not, SOMEHOW found one of those old tube TVs with a VCR and DVD player built in, and he just glued it to the wall so that footage of Kenny and his buds can play behind him while he rants and makes goofy faces.  I can’t believe that someone actually went ahead and recorded last week’s episode of AEW on VCR just for this segment, but it is a glorious sight to behold and I want to see even more from Pac if he’s gonna be this gonzo each time!

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Cody Vs Shaq! Is This Going Anywhere!?

Tony is in the ring to interview Cody for a promo and frankly he’s gotten a bit corny lately, a bit Hollywood you could say, and his feud with Shaq and Jade Cargill isn’t doing him any favors.  He’s been doing this for what, a month and Shaq barely even bothers to show up in videos; much less in the ring on Dynamite?  It all just feels like one big publicity stunt which, granted is probably a good idea if they want to get more eyeballs on the show, but I just ended up tuning out most of this promo.  Apparently Shaq appeared on the AEW award show which I hadn’t even heard of and he called Cody out so now Cody is here to respond.  He will be more than happy to meet Shaq in the ring at Revolution, but it will be a mixed tag match with against both Shaq and Jade Cargill and Brandi is pregnant so she can’t team up with him!  I guess it’s gotta be the only other woman in this feud which is Red Velvet; a person I’m sure is a perfectly fine wrestler but her matches just haven’t stuck with me and I couldn’t tell you what her deal is other than Brandi’s protégé.  I’m certainly curious to see what Shaq does once he’s in the ring, but this didn’t really sell me on the match any more than the small amount I already was.

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Hangman Adam Page Vs. Hollywood Hunk Ryan Nemeth

There’s not a whole lot to say here as Hangman handily defeats Ryan Nemeth, but it was at least a solid match.  Nothing INCREDIBLE and not quite as fun as the other matches on this show, but Nemeth is a talented guy and holds his own against the Hangman.  He does this one move I just don’t understand where he kinda does a headstand thing on Hangman’s back which I GUESS is supposed to be a submission because Hangman is looking pained the whole time, but he eventually escapes from that and a few minutes later lands the Buckshot Lariat to get the pin.  Now Adam Page’s spurring of The Dark Order last week was certainly a turning point and I the hope is that AEW has a plan for him other than just NOT BEING IN THE DARK ORDER.  WE at least get a hint of that as Matt Hardy was at ringside the entire match, and once it’s over he has a talk with Hangman; not exactly an offer to join him and Private Party, but a much softer sell of just having someone to talk to if he needs it.  I guess we have time to let this simmer a bit, but I was hoping for something a bit more DEFINITE here; a real clear direction for Page to go in instead of just working his way through guys and turning down people’s offers.  We’ll have to see where this Matt Hardy thing goes, but I’m hoping they turn it into a feud sooner rather than later.  Then again, I’m pretty sure he and Private Party are already working on a Tag Team program over at Impact, so I have no idea where their story will end up going.

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Jungle Boy Vs. Dax Harwood

Stipulation: Tully Blanchard and Cash Wheeler will both be handcuffed to Luchasaurus

WOW, was this a great match!  FTR are indeed great workers and we’ve seen plenty of tag matches where they elevate everyone involved, but Dax and Jungle Boy here put on what is easily a PPV caliber match!  Jungle Boy starts off fighting from underneath as Harwood has the strength advantage and constantly proves it by knocking him down to the mat, but Jungle Boy eventually finds the right rhythm and starts to overtake Harwood with his swift maneuvers and smart counters; only ever losing ground when things devolve into mano-a-mano slug fests.  Things eventually start to slow down after the commercial break, and Dax is having an easier time outmaneuvering Jungle Boy but no matter what he throws at the kid, even including a Superplex, the kid will not stay down.  In fact, that Superplex only getting a two count seemed to have spooked Dax and Jungle Boy gets a very nice comeback with some big forearms strikers, a European Uppercut, and a Super Kick that hit the mark but sadly didn’t knock Dax down and Jungle Boy eats a Clothesline for his effort.  Hardwood then lands a VERY awesome Liger Bomb, but once again Jungle Boy refuses to go down and then HE follows up with a series of German Suplexes that would make Kurt Angle proud!  The match is an endless series of great moves so I won’t sit here and just keep listing them all, and instead we’ll jump to the end where they two keep trading near falls for like five minutes while Tully, Cash, and Luchasaurus are just losing it at ringside!  Eventually though, Harwood kicks out of a pin attempt which Jungle Boy transitions into a Snare Trap which, to my UTTER bafflement, Dax taps out of and gives Jungle Boy the win!  THAT’S RIGHT!  JUNGLE BOY ACTUALLY WON A MATCH!!  Not as part of a tag team, not against some mid carder on Dark, but against one of the company’s biggest starts!  Tully is absolutely infuriated by this and tosses a handful of powder into Luchasaurus’s face and he and Dax escape after shoving him into the post.  The three go to TOWN on these three and Tully manages to land a spiked pile driver on the dinosaur!  FTR use the handcuffs to attach Luchasaurus’s arms to the rope, and they CUT THE HORNS OFF OF LUCASUARUS’S MASK!!  They go for Jungle Boy’s hair next, but Marko Stunt and a bunch of tag team dudes FINALLY run out from the back to chase them off!  What a fantastic match, that did so much for everyone involved!  Jungle Boy got his big win finally, and even Dax who could have been hurt by a loss like this ends up retaining his Heel bonafides with that aggressive and utterly dastardly post-match beat down.  It’s a win-win for everyone; especially me who hasn’t been this impressed by a match in some time; especially one that wasn’t on a PPV or even on one of their big event nights!  The only thing you could possibly nit-pick about is the overuse of shoulder tackles from Dax to knock down Jungle Boy, and maybe you don’t like the goofy shenanigans outside the ring where the three guys on the side have to keep pulling each other back down so they don’t run in and cheat, but this is a STAR making performance if you weren’t already convinced of Jungle Boy being one of the most impressive up and coming talents with Dax showing that he’s just as good as a single competitor as he is a tag team virtuoso!  I was fine with them becoming Tag Team champs, but was not overly impressed with their run; especially considering they lost to The Young Bucks the first time the met them in the ring.  This match and whatever they’re building up here with Jurassic Express?  Yeah, I’m ready for them to get those belts back if they can have programs like this!

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Team Taz are outside the arena and start ranting about Darby and Sting when they notice an AEW merch booth selling Sting T-Shirts.  This gets them all enraged and they destroy the display as well as punch out the dudes running it.  I’m assuming they’re jobbers and not ACTUALLY merch guys because one of them is thrown head first into a truck and the other is dropped through the table.

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Britt Baker Vs. Shanna

The women’s division has definitely been improving in the last few weeks and this match is no exception.  Sure, it’s more or less a tune up match for Baker in anticipation for her match against Thunder Rosa next week (a program that honestly hasn’t been built up all that well), but it does everything it needs to do and manages to make both of them look good; even Shanna in defeat.  In fact, the match I’m reminded of most is the Yuka Sakazaki match Baker had MANY months ago which REALLY cemented her as a heel, but where that one left a bad taste in my mouth (nyuk-nyuk-nyuk) by implying that Baker broke Yuka’s teeth and left her in a pool of her own mouth blood, this doesn’t feel the need to go THAT far and Shanna thankfully still has all her pearly whites at the end of it.  Speaking of whom, Shanna is another one of the wrestlers unfortunately kept away from AEW due to the virus and only recently came back which is good because she really is a very talented wrestler has felt anemic for about as long as she’s been away from it.  She just knows how to sell better than a lot of the other women, and she brings an extra level of enthusiasm that ends up being infections as Baker is kicking it up to eleven as well.  Baker does a Sling Blade in almost every match, but the one she lands on Shanna looks fast and smooth with Shanna dropping down like she’s being hit with a sledgehammer, and it’s that level of OOMPH that really makes this match shine.  The only thing that still feels a BIT out of place is Rebel (not Reba) as she puts a bit TOO much goofiness into her role as Baker’s lackey.  In some matches its fine and adds a little something, but here I think a more serious tone from here would have been beneficial.  In any case, they slug it out for a bit until Baker gets Shanna into the Lockjaw and she taps out immediately.  To prove she isn’t messing around, she and Rebel continue to beat her up after the match ends and Baker reapplies the Lockjaw at which point Thunder Rosa runs out and chases them away.  Solid match from two solid wrestlers and it got me excited for the match at Beach Break much more than what we got last week on The Waiting Room.

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We get another promo of MJF and Sammy trying to hash things out and Sammy is not buying this contrite bill of goods from AEW’s number one D-bag.  Sammy lays out MJF’s plan to manipulate everyone and how that’s exactly why it WON’T work with him; a declaration that causes MJF to let the mask slip a bit as it’s clear they are going to war very soon.  You could definitely make this a Baby Face storyline with Sammy which seems to be the direction they are going in, but the problem is that while MJF is AEW’s number one D-bag, Sammy is comfortably at number two or three and even if he DOES see through MJF it’s only for his own selfish reasons.  What he has to do to REALLY make himself out to be a good guy, is that he has to be selfless. He has to do SOMETHING (or several somethings) that show that he cares about others or about what is right much more than his own safety or even his own career.  He needs to run in and take a beating for a Baby Face that’s being overwhelmed.  He has to be willing to lose a match to help someone who is in danger.  Heck, something as straightforward as standing between The Inner Circle and an innocent victim could do it, but we haven’t seen anything like that from Sammy and at least for me it’s going to be hard to buy him as a Baby Face until he does so.

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The Young Bucks & The Good Brothers Vs. The Dark Order (Evil Uno, Stu Grayson, John Silver, and Alex Reynolds) – Eight Man Tag Match

We get a very tense promo from The Bucks, The Good Brothers, and even Kenny Omega before the match reiterating the supposed beat down that Don Callis took from The Bucks last week.  The thing that stood out to me though is that this is the first time I’ve heard Doc Gallows speak and he does not sound like I was expecting him to.  I was expecting a deep gruff voice maybe along the lines of a less cartoonish Braun Strowman, but he’s got a higher pitch which along with his look kinda reminds me of Big Poppa Pump Scott Stiner!  In any case, on a show with SO many good matches it was a tall order to make the Main Event be the standout, and while I still think the Jungle Boy match was the best on the card, this definitely ended things with a bang and on a very high note!  It starts off pretty standard and with a few comedy bits as Doc Gallows makes fun of Silver’s height, but it doesn’t take long for things to kick into high gear and they do a good job of continuing the storyline of The Good Brothers being manipulators as they take a few cheap shots at The Dark Order which The Bucks end up paying for.  It’s all good stuff with everyone getting their moment to shine, but it doesn’t really go from solid to FANTASTIC for me until The Dark Order escape a Triple Powerbomb attempt and Silver gets a PHENOMENAL comeback that get the crowd stomping and shouting.  The only thing that feels like an odd note here is that Silver tags in Evil Uno right at the peak of his comeback instead of continuing to press the advantage himself.  I LOVE Evil Uno, but no one could have followed up Silver there and it feels like an odd dip to put right here as he does that fun Stunner move, but ends up missing a Meteora that Nick Jackson was clearly scouting before Uno made the jump.  Considering they go right back to Silver after that it feels like a bit of a letdown, but perhaps the idea was to get us back to zero before The Dark Order give us the BIGGEST pop of the night!  Silver lands the Enzuigiri, Reynolds hits the forearm, Silver lands ANOTHER Enzuigir, Reynolds hits the Stunner, Silver gets the German Suplex, and then Uno and Grayson land the Fatality!  It’s all but assured that Mat Jackson is going to stay down for the three count, but then Karl Anderson runs in to break up the pin.  This was by far the best chance The Dark Order had to win, and after that it’s downhill as The Good Brothers and The Bucks finally land their Triple Powerbomb, and all four of them land a Superkick Party on Stu Grayson which… DOES NOT LEAD TO THE PIN!  Uno comes out of NOWHERE like a freaking rocket and manages to break up the pin!  That was AMAZING, but sadly The Bucks land the Meltzer Driver on Grayson after Gallows and Anderson take care of Uno which does in fact lead to the pin. 

As soon as the match is over, Matt Jackson takes the might and plugs the Tag Team Battle Royale at next week’s show which will decide who will challenge for the tag belts at Revolution.  In a weird twist that takes a bit of time to explain, The Bucks are going to be IN that match, and if THEY win then they get to hand pick their opponents for that match which I certainly hope doesn’t happen.  Even if they choose honorable opponents that CAN give them a run for their money, it will still inevitably undercut whatever friction you can build between the two teams.  Now that’s one option.  The other, which frankly seems much more likely is that The Bucks will chose The Good Brothers which I’m sure will be a fine match, but I’d rather there be a legitimate contender for the title instead of putting it on hold to further this personal feud they have.  In any case, we’ll have to wait until next week to see how it all shakes out, but before the show ends Rey Fénix runs out from the back and takes out The Buck with a simultaneous Drop Kicks and Moxley comes out to fend off The Good Brothers.  Kenny Omega comes out with a very pointy boot in his hands, but he takes ONE Paradigm Shift from Moxley and is out like a light; leaving Fénix and Moxley standing tall in the ring in anticipation for their main event match next week!

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HOLY CRAP did AEW manage to knock it out of the park this week!  It was stacked top to bottom with FANTASTIC matches that could all end up being highlights for their retrospective divisions by the end of this year!  There are a few itty bitty things to complain about just didn’t work for me with the Page match perhaps being the lowest point on the show, but even that was a fun and interesting match which stands right alongside what you usually expect from a weekly episode of the show!  The Cody Rhodes promo though? Yeah, we’re still gonna have to work on that whole thing. Beach Break definitely has a stacked card but it is going to take a HUGE amount of effort to even come close to how effortlessly great this week’s show was!  I’m not one hundred percent sure they can pull it off, but this was so much fun and did so much to reinvigorate my love for the sport so much that I’m excited to see them try!

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