AEW Dynamite is owned by All Elite Wrestling, Shahid Khan, and TNT
Welcome back to another episode of CHRIS Jericho! See what I did there? Jericho is a post-apocalyptic TV show, and… you know what, never mind. Now if you haven’t heard, due to the current circumstances AEW has finally caved and is basically suspending their story lines to do a TNT Tournament that’ll start next week. That’s right, AEW officially has a fighting tournament filler arc and I’m sure Kenny Omega is just tickled pink at the idea if it wasn’t for… well everything else around it. Before we get to that however, we still have this week’s show to get through, though I doubt we’ll be advancing storylines too much since we still have no idea when things can get up and running again. Let’s see what they came up with!
The first thing they announce right at the start is the brackets for the opening round of the TNT tournament which are as follows.
Shawn Spears Vs Cody
Sammy Guevara Vs. Darby Allin
Kip Sabian Vs. Dustin Rhodes
Lance Archer Vs. Colt Cabana
Not a bad lineup I guess, and the finals will be held at Double or Nothing (assuming that show is still on) which certainly gives us something to look forward to and makes this feel a bit more than just a time killer. Now the big question each week is what they’ve had to change to compensate for whatever regulations and best practices are in place to minimize the COVID-19 risk. This is perhaps the most radical change yet and frankly I’m not sure how much I liked it as they’ve decided that instead of having the ENTIRE arena on display that they’d basically cut it down to a space barely larger than a school gym. The entrance is VERY close to the ring, they put up big screens on the sides that say AEW only a few feet from the barricade, and they even have a roof above them! The space may be smaller BUT the tradeoff is that they got a FEW more people to fill out the area between the barricade and the giant screens. It’s not as crowded as it was on the first one of these (I’d estimate no more than twenty people total including those in the ring and the necessary crew) but we’ve got people cheering again which is definitely an improvement. However, there is one BIG drawback this time around which is the noise of the ring itself as we are hearing a lot of rumbling and crashing throughout the matches. I’m guessing it’s the acoustics of the new space and they’re working with what they have, but the audible rumble is pretty distracting and drowns out a decent amount of the shouting from those in the stands. I’m still all for the initial setup if that’s feasible and frankly I’m not sure why it WOULDN’T be considering they have a decent amount of people here tonight, but I think we’ll be sticking with this format for a while as I’m pretty sure all of this is pre-recorded (no matter what that LIVE tag says in the top left corner) and they recorded a heck of a lot more than just this episode. Anyway, on to the first match!
Kenny Omega Vs. Trent
Trent is accompanied to the ring by Chuck Taylor and Orange Cassidy
Kenny Omega is definitely the superstar here so I wouldn’t get your hopes up about Trent getting a surprise win, but it doesn’t exactly feel like a one sided bout either as Trent is DEFINITELY the workhorse of the group. They have a decently competitive match to start with, and Kenny even comes close to getting a hug from Orange Cassidy before Chuck drags him away, but it isn’t all THAT interesting until about halfway through when Trent decides to start playing a bit dirty. He starts to work over Omega’s recently injured hand for all its worth which actually ends up backfiring on him as Kenny doesn’t get hurt as much as he gets PISSED, and turnabout is fair play in these situations so Kenny starts smashing him into as many things as possible outside the ring. He shoves him into the barricades, he throws him into a pole, he even lands a German Suplex on the guy out on the ramp which looked absolutely devastating and must have SUCKED for Trent. Eventually it comes down to both of them trying to beat the clock as they only have five minutes left to pull off their most devastating moves to get the pin. Counters after counters! V-Triggers! Whatever that rope running flip that that Trent does! They keep throwing whatever they can at each other and yet with just two minutes left to go neither of them are ready to give up the ghost! There was a brief botch at this point when Kenny goes to the top rope and Trent is SUPPOSED to climb up there to meet him. He slips on his way up there and so Kenny has to wait a beat longer than he was supposed to, but Trent makes it up a moment later and things go just fine from there. Well… not for Kenny who has to eat this devastating throw across the ring, but at least things flow smoothly from there! One minute to go and Kenny is still dazed from Trent throwing him off the top rope, but at the last second he manages to land a One Winged Angel for the pin with mere seconds left on the clock! It was a solid enough match if a bit too long; not just for an opening match but for one in this kind of environment.