The Inner Circle stands tall on 'AEW: Dynamite'

AEW: Dynamite kicked up the hype for February 29’s Revolution pay-per-view.

With the main event now set in stone, Jon Moxley made his first statements as the top challenger for the AEW Championship.

Elsewhere on the card, the Young Bucks were in action, as the Butcher and the Blade set their sights on taking down the Elite. And Cody’s march to his contest with MJF took a backseat for a week to a battle with Kip Sabian.

It was another strong outing for All Elite Wrestling. Let’s get into the hits and misses for this week’s AEW: Dynamite.

HIT – Moxley Promo

There are some wrestling shows that, when they open with a promo, you know you’re in for a snoozer of a night.

AEW: Dynamite is not such a show.

Jon Moxley, still sporting an eye patch from his attack at the hands of Chris Jericho two weeks ago, took to the microphone for the first time as the number-one contender.

Is it weird that I hope he keeps the eye patch even after it’s healed?

Moxley gets a monster pop from the AEW: Dynamite faithful in Cleveland. Cody might be the top babyface in the company, but I don’t think there’s anyone in AEW more beloved than Moxley.

Mox plays the promo with just the right combination of exposition and character – he’s equal parts crazy/goofy/wacky and equal parts dangerously insane. And somehow he makes it work. There’s a nice touch as he runs through a list of Jericho’s dastardly deeds, going all the way back to Jericho’s feud with Chyna and his WCW days. The reference to stealing Rey Mysterio’s mask was a particularly nice touch.

Jericho is goaded out by the old babyface “Let’s do it right here tonight!” But of course we aren’t gonna do it right here tonight. The champion makes pirate jokes that make me laugh out loud (“Yo ho ho and a bottle of dumb!”). Le Champion insults the crowd as few master heels can, and Moxley pulls some homer lines without coming off as hokey.

The champ calls out the Inner Circle and an extra five thugs, and Moxley – because he’s crazy you see – takes them all on, and we get a pull-apart.

This was a great segment and a great way to start AEW: Dynamite.


The Young Bucks want the three-count

HIT – The Butcher And The Blade (W/ The Bunny) Vs. Young Bucks

There’s a brief pretape before the match of MJF tracking down Butcher, Blade, and Bunny (who apparently live in a meat locker) to give them an advance payment to take out the Bucks.

MJF and Wardlow, along with Bunny, accompany Butcher and Blade to the ring. I changed my mind, I actually want Moxley to start wearing his eye patch over one eye and Butcher’s monocle on the other.

After tearing a $20 bill in half and chucking it at a fan in the front row, MJF joins the commentary team. This is gonna be good.

Tony chuckles about MJF getting tossed in the pool on last week’s AEW: Dynamite, and MJF takes great offense (“I don’t know how to swimTony!”).

The match itself is pretty solid. Butcher and Blade play perfect heels now that they have clear character direction as mercenaries/hitmen. The heels have a really old school approach that meshes well with the Bucks, who actually manage to contribute to a story that goes beyond superkicks.

A Meltzer Driver wins it for the Young Bucks, but the heels make with the beatdown after the match. Kenny Omega runs down for the save, and ‘Hangman’ Adam Page comes down (leisurely) to seal the deal for the Elite.

I really dug this segment, just because it accomplished so many things at once. The brewing angle between the Hangman and the Elite, MJF literally investing in taking out Cody’s friends, character advancement for Butcher and Blade, and a pretty good match to boot.

AEW: Dynamite stays on a roll with this segment.

The Native Beast ready for battle

MISS – Nyla Rose Vs. Big Swole

Here’s how scattershot the booking is for AEW’s women’s division. I watch this show every week, and I have literally no memory of Nyla Rose becoming the number-one contender for the Women’s Championship.

It’s been weeks since Nyla has been on AEW: Dynamite. And some TV time for Big Swole was definitely welcome, as she’s got a lot of potential to go far in AEW.

This match wasn’t necessarily a squash, as Swole did get to make something vaguely resembling a comeback. But this was all Nyla from start-to-finish. I’m all for establishing Nyla as a monster, because AEW has missed opportunities to do just that.

But bring on a local jobber for stuff like that. Big Swole has a big upside, and getting dominated on AEW: Dynamite doesn’t do her any favors.

Cody (with Arn Anderson) ready for battle against Kip Sabian

HIT – Cody (W/ Arn Anderson) Vs. Kip Sabian (W/ Penelope Ford)

More Penelope Ford on AEW: Dynamite, please. Because she’s a very talented athlete. That’s the only reason I say that. Stop looking at me like that.

And seriously, why is Cody the only one who gets to enter from under the entrance way? Doesn’t seem fair. Enough of the Rhodes family pushing themselves! Sorry, my brain time-traveled to 1986 for a couple minutes there.

To my knowledge, Sabian and Cody have never met in the ring before, and they absolutely clicked.

Cody was very giving in the match, as Sabian got to show what he can do. And, by extension, Ford showed why she was one of the more sought-after managers/valets on the indie circuit for a number of years. She and Sabian heeled it up like an over-the-top movie villain chewing the scenery.

It was obnoxious and fun, but it never became ridiculous. Both guys kept the action in the ring front-and-center. There’s a spot in the match where Ford tosses one of her boots into the ring, and Arn gets on the apron to argue. He gets mad enough that he bumps the referee’s chest and gets himself ejected – I have a feeling that’ll come into play in the MJF feud.

Cody picked up the win, of course, but Sabian didn’t lose any standing. Quite the reverse – he looked like a million bucks on AEW: Dynamite.

I wouldn’t mind seeing a full-blown feud between these two. The MJF/Cody feud has the high personal stakes, but the American Nightmare could tear down any house anywhere against Sabian.

By the way, before the show, Pro Wrestling Illustrated presented Cody with their Match of the Year award for his match against Dustin at Double Or Nothing. I wonder if anyone else bestowed that match with such an accolade.

Britt Baker addresses the fans on 'AEW: Dynamite'

HIT – Britt Baker Promo

If there was any doubt from the last few weeks of AEW: Dynamite that Britt Baker was turning heel, it’s gone now.

Baker erased all ambiguity in an interview with Tony Schiavone. And something tells me she prepared for this one a lot more than she did last week.

I’m finding it difficult to cheer against her, though, after she called JR out for constantly getting the talents’ names wrong. Oh, and she mentioned that she’s on AEW: Dynamite way more often than the AEW Women’s Champion, Riho. How is she a heel?

Seriously, though, the experiment to make Baker the babyface standard bearer of AEW’s women’s division didn’t pan out. Going full-blown heel with Baker might just save her career with the promotion. Having Baker play an old-school heel adds dimension to the division much better than whatever the Nightmare Collective is supposed to be.

Here’s hoping we look back at this episode of AEW: Dynamite as the night Britt Baker turned it all around.

Also, did you guys know she’s a dentist?

HIT – Young Bucks, Hangman, Omega Interview

Backstage, the Young Bucks and Omega get interviewed about the Bucks’ earlier win.

Page wanders in and drunkenly shows the Bucks the name plates for their new tag team title belts. And then he drunkenly wanders out.

Omega mentions that he, Page, and the Bucks will have an eight-man tag on next week’s AEW: Dynamite. But the real highlight here was the subtle seeds of dissent among the Elite being planted.

Telling these stories isn’t rocket surgery, and AEW does it incredibly well.

SCU picked up a win on 'AEW: Dynamite'

HIT – SCU Vs. Hybrid2

Seeing Evans and Angelico in the ring was definitely refreshing. That’s the double-edged sword on AEW: Dynamite. They shuffle the roster around enough so that you never get tired of anybody. But that does mean you go long stretches without seeing some of the rising talent.

And this match had a good combination of technical work and high-flying. Kazarian worked the mat, and Scorpio worked the sky while their opponents responded in kind.

There were occasional shifts in the pace of the match, but it was never jarring. None of the transitions felt out of place. The booking clearly favored SCU, as it should have – they’re the former tag team champions. But Hybrid2 got their stuff in and gave a good account of themselves.

But the real highlight of the segment was a Dark Order video package after the match, with Grayson and Evil Uno promising retribution for Christopher Daniels refusing their offer to join.

As is well-documented since late last year, I love me some Dark Order. And I genuinely think Daniels is going to be revealed as the Supreme Leader or Grand Poobah or whatever the Order’s leader is called.

Then again, I’m really bad at predicting things, so please nobody write that down.

HIT – Pac Promo

We get a video package of Pac saying his match with Moxley was unfair because it took place on “a moving vessel.”

And finally, AEW remembers that he wants his rubber match with Omega. The Bastard promises to come after Omega next week, saying that he’ll face Omega on his own timetable.

This was brief, to-the-point, and effective. And it was creepy and scary, just like Pac himself.

Here’s hoping this is the beginning of getting Pac’s character on a steady track.

HIT – Private Party And Darby Allin Vs. The Inner Circle (Jericho, Santana And Ortiz)

Part of me is a little sick of six-man tag team matches main-eventing AEW: Dynamite.

But another part recognizes that they’re almost always pretty good.

Private Party and Darby Allin are going to be big stars in AEW’s very near future. And if the company unveils a secondary singles’ title, Allin should be a prime candidate.

Despite mostly being fodder for the Inner Circle, Private Party and Allin looked like worthy opponents for Le Champion and the former LAX.

As good as everybody was in the match, at the end of the day there’s a story to tell. Once the Inner Circle picked up the win, the beatdown began, with Jericho driving Darby’s skateboard right into his throat. I have a feeling Mick Foley watches Darby Allin segments and – once he remembers where he is – says, “That kid’s nuts.”

Moxley runs down with a baseball bat to chase off the heels, and the march to AEW Revolution continues with a vengeance.


The Breakdown

Eight hits and only one miss.

I say this a lot, and it pleases me to have to say it so much.

This was AEW: Dynamite‘s best outing yet. In spite of Big Swole getting jobbed out at a time when the division needs credible new stars, this was a great episode.

All of the focus is on Moxley vs. Jericho and Cody vs. MJF, but there’s plenty to go around, and AEW does a good job of not letting anything get lost in the shuffle.

AEW: Dynamite airs Wednesday nights at 8 PM/ET on TNT.

All images courtesy of All Elite Wrestling.

'AEW: Dynamite' - January 29, 2020


In-Ring Action




Promos/Video Packages


Entertainment Value



  • Moxley, Jericho, and microphones add up to money
  • Cody and Sabian need to go at it more often
  • Britt Baker finally feels like a star
  • The heels were in super old-school mood tonight, and it was beautiful


  • Big Swole has too much potential to be squash fodder