tAkEaWays - 5/20/20
No, I'm not terrible at spelling, the A,E and W are capitalized on purpose. That's because this is my weekly review of AEW Dynamite. Expect these to come out every Thursday for the foreseeable future.
This week's episode of Dynamite was the go-home show for the Double or Nothing PPV on Saturday and generated hype for the PPV all throughout.
10 vs Jon Moxley
Brodie Lee was the star of this segment, despite being on screen for maybe 25% of the time. Flanked by five different members of the Dark Order and Jon Moxley’s AEW Championship belt in hand, he cut a promo telling the viewers that he was no diffand the comparisons of him to a supernatural being are unwarranted.
He declared 10 a “high knight” of the Dark Order and put his faith into him. As he sent 10 to the ring to compete and hopefully soften up Moxley, he and the rest of the members of the Dark Order on the stage went to the back to watch from afar.
After a match that saw only a flurry of offense from 10, a flurry that included a surprising ripcord ace crusher, Jon Moxley beat 10 senseless to try to get Lee’s attention, to no avail. After hitting 10 with two Paradigm Shifts and a piledriver to win the match, Moxley made one final offer to The Exalted One: give me my belt back or I break 10s arm.
Lee decided to sacrifice 10 and left the arena with Mox’s belt.
Well, 10, it was cool while it lasted. You got some cool ring gear and TV time out of the deal. I fear that 10, aka Preston Vance, will fade back into obscurity, as he was sound in the ring and has a fantastic look to him. He’s either going to “mysteriously disappear” or there will be an actual on-air segment where Brodie Lee puts him down for good.
As for the two competitors for the AEW Championship this Saturday at Double or Nothing, this is a solid go-home segment. Week by week, Brodie Lee continues to further Jon Moxley’s frustration with him and the Dark Order.
A frustrated and motivated Jon Moxley is a Jon Moxley that puts a hell of a beating on his opponent and a hell of a show on for the fans. I don’t have $50 to throw at wrestling, so I won’t be able to watch Double or Nothing live, but I am sure the match between Mox and Lee will be a spectacle. Not only are both fantastic characters, they are both amazing in-ring talents that have been due a main-event feud with each other for a long time (cough).
MJF w/ Wardlow vs Marko Stunt
The best heel in the business today MJF faced off against Marko Stunt of Jurassic Express with a match between MJF and Jungle Boy on Saturday at Double or Nothing looming in everyone’s mind.
MJF bullied Marko throughout the match, taunting him throughout, making him pick his own nose and even using Wardlow to get the upper hand from time-to-time. Even though Marko gained momentum from time to time, MJF eventually made him tap out, a great way to get heat. Making one of the most lovable faces in the company submit is a fantastic way to make people hate you.
After the match, MJF cut his usual brag promo and told Marko to, “kiss the ring,” which was a euphemism for MJF punching Marko in the face with the Dynamite Diamond.
This match was everything it needed to be. Marko Stunt has come into his own as the ultimate underdog with more heart than brains. It is so difficult to root against Marko, especially when he is constantly fed to guys like Lance Archer, Brodie Lee and MJF. Marko Stunt plays his role perfectly, and it doesn’t hurt that the guy has actual in-ring talent.
As for MJF, I noticed a few things in this match. MJF had every advantage in the world over Marko, with the slight exception of speed, but other than that, this was a complete mismatch. Despite this, MJF still used eye-rakes and dirty tactics to get the upper-hand on Marko, which is a very subtle, yet brilliant heel tactic.
MJF was a real dick to Marko, which didn’t best please the Jurassic Express who came to Marko’s aid after MJF made him “kiss the ring”. This is a great set up for MJF and Jungle Boy this Saturday at DoN.
Jake Roberts and Arn Anderson face-to-face
This almost went exactly as I expected it to. Anyone could have predicted that the two coaches of the competitors for the TNT Championship match this Saturday were going to tell each other that their guy was sick and the other guy sucks.
What really caught me off guard was the fact that they challenged each other to a fight, as if it were the late 1980s. This segment is likely a setup for a spot during the match at DoN.
I was also a bit shocked by a couple things that came out of Jake Roberts’ mouth. He claimed that he could beat up Mike Tyson, who will be presenting the winner of the TNT Championship match on Saturday with the belt, but the reason he wasn’t going to try to beat Tyson up was because Lance Archer wanted the first shot. Lance Archer I might be able to see, but Jake Roberts? DDP Yoga does things to the brain.
Roberts also called Arn Anderson “thick”. I don’t think I need to say more on the subject.
Overall, this segment wasn’t massively helpful to the Cody Rhodes vs. Lance Archer storyline. All it did was set up spots for the match itself, and if it didn’t do that, which we’ll find out Saturday, then it added nothing to anything.
Orange Cassidy vs Rey Fenix
When this match was announced last week, I was very excited. I am a huge fan of the freshly squeezed one, and Rey Fenix is one of the premier high-flyers in the sport today. I was not disappointed.
During Orange’s entrance, Fenix attempted to sneak a flying kick to the side of Orange’s head, but Orange, in the most nonchalant way possible, stepped back as Fenix flew past him.
The match started with Orange throwing his hands in his pockets and proceeding to hit Fenix with a takedown, slingshot into the corner and a dropkick to the outside, all with hands in pockets because he is just that cool.
Orange is now fired up and began to, and I can’t believe I’m saying it, try. After mounting a bit more offense, he was stopped dead in his tracks by a double-foot stomp to the back of his head.
Fenix was in control for a good amount of time, but Orange came back towards the end, hitting a superman punch and a variety of DDTs.
The match ended with Orange countering Fenix’ modified Muscle Buster finisher into a small package for a two-count. They are then distracted by Kip Sabian who brings out a ladder, sets it up on the ramp, and sits on the top. The ref is distracted, allowing Fenix to hit Orange with a low blow and a rolling ace crusher for a pinfall victory.
To the best of my memory, what happened next was: Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky of SCU threw Kip Sabian off a ladder and started beating him up, Jimmy Havoc came out to help Sabian, Fenix almost (or maybe did, I don’t actually know) broke his ass doing a flip dive onto SCU and Havoc and Sabian, which was followed by Best Friends coming out and assisting Orange Cassidy in diving onto the five men on the outside. Best Friends and Orange Cassidy stand tall at the end of it all.
Great match and great go-home segment for the Casino Ladder Match at DoN, as most of the men involved are in that match on Saturday. High reward will be at stake, as the winner will receive a World Championship title shot in the near future.
It’s hard to make a nine-man ladder match not exciting, especially with high-flyers like Fenix (assuming his ass is intact), Scorpio Sky, Darby Allin and Kip Sabian, along with big powerhouses like Luchasaurus and Colt Cabana. I should also mention Frankie Kazarian will be in that match, and such a veteran presence is always welcome in a scenario like this. This one might steal the show.
The match between Fenix and Orange was almost the match of the night though. Almost.
Kris Statlander and Hikaru Shida vs Nyla Rose and Britt Baker
This match did exactly what it needed to for the multiple storylines involved. It wasn’t tag-team wrestling perfection, but it wasn’t supposed to be, so we continue.
This match further established Nyla Rose as the most dominant wrestler in the women's division, as she essentially took on Shida and Statlander two-on-one for most of the match, and eventually won the match by herself. It also further established Baker as a cowardly heel, who avoided participation in the match whenever possible.
Shida and Statlander were further established as mighty and determined competitors that showed heart until the very end. Shida, with the help of Statlander, superplexed Rose through a table after the match ended, giving Rose an element of revenge to be exacted at DoN.
Overall, not the most spectacular match, but definitely functional.
Shawn Spears News
In a breaking news segment hosted by Shawn Spears, Spears announced that Dustin Rhodes has announced retirement from in-ring competition, despite that never actually happening. Spears goes on to take shots at the Rhodes family, taking shots at Dustin’s history of substance issues and Cody Rhodes essentially sacrificing Dustin to Lance Archer.
Spears then challenges Dustin Rhodes to a match at Double or Nothing, which is announced as booked after the segment ends.
Sammy Guevara vs Matt Hardy
This was a killer segment and there’s a lot to unpack, so I’m going to try to keep the match analysis short.
In what was my match of the night, Sammy and Hardy went back and forth throughout the match. Sammy survived two successful Twist of Fates and avoided a third with a ridiculous handstand counter. Hardy eventually spiked Sammy into the mat with a third successful Twist of Fate and gained the pinfall victory.
Again, worth noting, the above paragraph does not do the match itself justice. If you have the opportunity to watch it, please do, but onto the aftermath.
After the bell, Matt Hardy brought a chair into the ring to avenge the loss, or murder, one could reasonably call it, of Vanguard 1, but was interrupted by the rest of the Inner Circle, who were behind the field goal posts in TIAA Bank Field. They had an already battered Kenny Omega in their possession and were prepared to do more damage.
Matt Hardy immediately ran out of Daily’s Place to help his partner in the Stadium Stampede match on Saturday. As Hardy ran out, Chris Jericho hit Omega with his baseball bat, who he named Floyd, in the midsection. As the Inner Circle minus Guevara stood over Omega’s beaten body, the Young Bucks returned to Dynamite for the first time in months to help their best friend.
The numbers game was too much, and despite the arrival of Matt Hardy, the Inner Circle had the upper hand. This all changed with the return of “Hangman” Adam Page, who leveled the numbers and his opponents and sent the Inner Circle into retreat. As the representatives of The Elite celebrated their victory in this battle, Hangman Page walked off without saying a word and the show ended.
This was easily the best segment of the show. An incredible in-ring showing from Sammy Guevara and Matt Hardy followed by the return of three of the biggest stars in the company, not sure what else you can ask for.
This sets up the Stadium Stampede match on Saturday perfectly. Momentum has finally shifted in The Elite’s direction, leaving the Inner Circle on their back foot, but in a match where anything goes in an NFL stadium, anything is possible.
I’m eager to see how the match turns out, because when you have one of the greatest in-ring performers of all-time in Kenny Omega, the best tag-team of the past few years The Young Bucks, an absolute beat in Jake Hager, creative genius and the greatest sports entertainer of all-time (and I will fight about this) Chris Jericho and the rest of the competitors, all of whom are exceptionally talented in their own way, something special has to happen.
The Double or Nothing card makes me wish I had $50 to spend on the PPV, but life goes on, and I’m eager to hear about the results of the show. Every single match has been built well, and this was a very solid go-home show.
10 vs Jon Moxley
MJF vs Marko Stunt
Orange Cassidy vs Rey Fenix
Sammy Guevara vs Matt Hardy
Roberts and Anderson
Shida and Statlander vs Rose and Baker
Shawn Spears News
Final Grade: B