Le Champion heads to the ring on 'AEW: Dynamite'
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AEW: Dynamite took to the open seas this week.

All Elite Wrestling has a thing for “firsts.” Well, now they can add “first wrestling show to take place on a cruise ship” to the list.

This week’s show was taped as part of AEW Champion Chris Jericho’s ‘Rock ‘N Wrestling Rager At Sea’ event. But despite being in the can, there was plenty of excitement.

The AEW Tag Team Championship was decided, as was the number-one contendership for Le Champion’s crown.

Was that enough to keep AEW: Dynamite afloat? Or would the show hit an iceberg this week?

'Hangman' Page celebrates winning the AEW Tag Team Championship

HIT– AEW Tag Team Championship: SCU (C) Vs. Hangman Page And Kenny Omega

‘Hangman’ Adam Page and Kenny Omega defeated SCU to win the AEW Tag Team Championship on AEW: Dynamite.

But more importantly, a new wrinkle in the unfolding story between Page and Omega – and potentially between Page and the Elite – has emerged.

The match was every bit as good as you’d think. With this many talented guys in the ring who actually know how to tell stories in tag team wrestling (*cough*Young Bucks*cough*) how could it not be?

And yet I’m more impressed by how well and how long they’ve drawn out the protracted estrangement between Page and Omega. Conventional wisdom says there’s a heel turn a-brewin’ for Page, but only time will tell.

SCU had a pretty good run as AEW’s first tag champs, but they went down fighting to two of the best in the world. A great way to end their reign and a great start to AEW: Dynamite.

Page immediately starts drinking after the match. You know, I realize I’ve compared Page to another hard-drinking redneck, but pace yourselves, AEW.

Britt Baker in the ring on 'AEW: Dynamite'

NEAR MISS — Britt Baker Vs. Priscilla Kelly

Jim Ross is broadcasting without a hat, and it’s freaking me out.

The announcers mention Baker’s recent “change in demeanor,” but it’s been forty or fifty years since she was last on TV, so I honestly don’t know what they’re talking her.

Priscilla Kelly, making her AEW: Dynamite debut, is billed as “Hell’s Favorite Harlot.” I like that.

Generally speaking, the match was pretty one-sided, though Kelly gave a good account of herself. But this was all about building Baker back up after several false starts.

Despite being all Baker, it was good, but I don’t know where it fits into the cluster that is the women’s division. Of course, as impossible-to-follow as the women’s division is, that might be a good thing.

There have been some really good women’s matches on AEW: Dynamite, but they don’t seem to be going anywhere. Tony Schiavone interviews Baker after the match, and she talks smack at him while the guys in the production truck    keep muting some chant or other from the crowd. We can add “boring promo” to “boring wrestler” on Dr. Baker’s resume.

Like, the promo is literally bad enough that JR sends the show to commercial. I think it’s supposed to come off as Baker being a jerk, but I suspect it was really Jim calling a “holy crap, this is awful” audible.

Jurassic Express prepares for battle on 'AEW: Dynamite'

HIT — Jurassic Express Vs. The Inner Circle (Chris Jericho, Santana And Ortiz)

Before the match, we get a recap of Jungle Boy surviving 10 minutes against Chris Jericho back in December on AEW: Dynamite.

And if the video package wasn’t enough of a reminder, Jungle Boy gets in the champ’s face and reminds him to start the match. The Express gets a little offense in, but this match was all about the Inner Circle getting ruthless.

The match itself was a little sloppy in spots, as Marko Stunt (wrestling in a life preserver, by the way) missed a couple of cues, which messed up the timing. But it didn’t hurt the story being told

Give me a moment, I need to take a few shots. I’m playing a little game where I take a shot every time JR calls Jungle Boy by the wrong name on AEW: Dynamite.

Anyway, the match was fun. Jurassic Express played the “hot tag” babyfaces, and the Inner Circle played the roles of ruthless heels to perfection.

And we’re inching just a little closer to the inevitable Hoss Fight between Luchasaurus and Jake Hager.

MJF mocks the All Elite faithful on 'AEW: Dynamite'

HIT — MJF Vs. Joey Janela

“Jason, why do you like MJF so much?”

Well:

Seriously, has there been a heel in the last 10 years (at least) who just oozes contempt for the fans as well as Maxwell Jacob Friedman?

Before the match, they run a video package recapping MJF’s feud with Cody, complete with a reminder of MJF’s stipulations.

Also before the match, Janela seeks the blessing of a guy dressed like Jesus in the front row. I love AEW.

Janela bumps like a madman for MJF, but he gets his offense in, too. Both guys are made to look good, even though the focus is clearly MJF, who’s going to keep racking up wins on his way to his battle with Cody.

And while Janela was well-served by the match, it does highlight the need for AEW to develop a secondary title. Janela’s feud with Kip Sabian is fun, but it isn’t quite enough to carry either guy on its own merits.

HIT — MJF And Cody Promo

After the match, MJF picks up the microphone, automatically making this AEW: Dynamite.

We’ve covered this. I’m an MJF mark.

MJF claps back at Cody’s remark the week before that MJF is just a chapter in Cody’s book. The Salt of the Earth agrees with Cody: “I am a chapter [in your book] — and I’m the last damn one!”

This brings out Cody, and MJF reminds Cody he has to go through Wardlow first (all while mocking Cody’s lisp – brilliant). Cody teases a back-and-forth promo segment, but IT’S A TRAP!

It all turns out to be a diversion as MJF, on the way out, walks into a double-superkick from the waiting Young Bucks. The Bucks put some icing on the cake and toss MJF into the pool.

It’s basic stuff — remind people of the ultimate destination, and give them the sign posts they’ll stop at along the way.

HIT — Jon Moxley Vs. Pac (Winner Is Number-One Contender For The AEW Championship)

This has nothing to do with anything, but how come Moxley only wrestled in trunks in his first AEW: Dynamite match?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a Mox mark (can I copyright that?). The camo cargo pants are just a little too Dean Ambrose-y for me. Anyway.

This is the match we were supposed to get at August’s All Out pay-per-view, but Moxley missed due to injury. Now we get it on AEW: Dynamite, and it’s for high stakes – a shot at the AEW Championship at February’s AEW: Revolution PPV.

I mean, seriously, there was no way this wasn’t going to be a great match. Jericho handled commentary duties, guaranteeing the match to be fun to listen to. And to top it all off, Moxley wrestled with one bandaged eye. On a ship. Like a pirate.

I love AEW.

This match could’ve headlined any pay-per-view anywhere in the world. But as much as I love this match, for the second straight week, I find myself wondering what happened to Pac’s desperate quest for a rubber match with Kenny Omega. Eh, win some, lose some.

Moxley picks up the win, setting up a match with Jericho for the AEW Championship at AEW Revolution. Jericho comes down from the booth and stares Moxley down to close out the show.

Again, very simple stuff. But very effective and very entertaining stuff.

 

AEW - All Elite Wrestling

The Breakdown

“Keep it simple, stupid” seems to be the mantra of this week’s AEW: Dynamite.

Story remains king in AEW, and the march to AEW Revolution is decidedly in full swing. Five hits, one near miss, and no misses is a big win for a show that could easily have been a filler episode.

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

All images courtesy of All Elite Wrestling.

'AEW: Dynamite' - January 22, 2020

9

In-Ring Action

8.9/10

Booking/Writing

9.0/10

Promos/Video Packages

9.2/10

Entertainment Value

9.0/10

Pros

  • "One Eye" Captain Moxley and Jericho collision is imminent
  • The build to Cody vs. MJF kicked it up a notch
  • Super slow burn for the inevitable Page vs. Omega feud
  • Priscilla Kelly looked solid in her debut

Cons

  • More like Dr. Britt Boring, amirite?
  • A hatless JR (seriously, it freaked me out)
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