'AEW: Dynamite' celebrated the young promotion's one-year anniversary
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This week’s episode of AEW: Dynamite was solid.

Not great, but solid.

It’s becoming something of a trend for All Elite Wrestling. Week after week of entertaining, high-quality but ultimately unremarkable shows.

The storytelling is still strong, as is the in-ring work. And the final segment of this week’s episode might be the best work AEW has done yet.

But AEW: Dynamite needs a few course corrections, as it’s starting to veer away from being “can’t miss” TV.

Hangman Page and Kenny Omega's tension continued against Private Party on 'AEW: Dynamite'

NEAR MISS — Page and Omega Vs. Private Party

As always, this opening match for AEW: Dynamite was great from a ring-work perspective.

‘Hangman’ Page, Kenny Omega, and Kassidy and Quen are high enough caliber workers that a bad match from them would be unthinkable.

Page and Omega picked up a win, but the match did little to advance their increasingly-strained alliance. And Private Party is too good and too over a team to use for a job to the Elite if that story isn’t going to pick up any steam.

The segment was saved when Pac attacked Michael Nakazawa (again) and demanded his rubber match with Omega (again). Even the good stuff in this segment was too familiar.

Continuing the feud between Omega and Pac that began at All Out is a good thing. Private Party getting a high profile match is a good thing, even if it could’ve been a better thing. The odd man out is Page, which I suppose is the point. He and Omega had a couple of awkward miscommunications but nothing major.

I’m all for the slow burn, and I don’t expect this to be “the Mega Powers explode!” or anything. But the pace needs quickening for this AEW: Dynamite angle.

Riho faced Kris Statlander for the AEW Women's Championship on 'AEW: Dynamite'

MISS — Riho Vs. Kris Statlander

Riho defending the AEW Women’s Championship on AEW: Dynamite? Two weeks in a row?

Wonders will never cease.

The champion looked good in this match, and Statlander continued to rise in the eyes of the fans with her unique persona and strong wrestling acumen.

It’s the involvement of the Nightmare Collective that sent this segment into a nose dive. As entertaining as Brandi’s unusual promos, I still don’t know anything about what the Nightmare Collective is or what they want. At least, nothing beyond Brandi is crazy, Awesome Kong is big, and the rest of the gang is, well, there.

Hikaru Shida coming out to make the save was good, and the crowd ate the action up, but there isn’t a hint anywhere in this mess that AEW knows where they’re going with this.

There are about a billion different things going on in the women’s division, and none of them are congealing into anything remarkable.

And with only one women’s segment every week on AEW: Dynamite, it’s hard to get excited about any of it.

Sammy Guevara battled Christopher Daniels

HIT — Sammy Guevara Vs. Christopher Daniels

With a little assist from Pentagon, Jr. of the Lucha Bros., Sammy Guevara now owns a singles win over Christopher Daniels.

This match was great, with Pentagon coming out to taunt Daniels over a botched springboard that sidelined the Fallen Angel last year. And Sammy picking up the scraps informed his character and gave him some real momentum.

It seems like each week on AEW: Dynamite, Guevara is given a tougher challenge, and he manages to pull it all off with ease. It’s no mistake that both he and MJF were at the top of the list for our Breakout Wrestler Of The Year Award.

And if the match wasn’t good enough, the following angle was great. The Dark Order came out following Daniels’s loss and offered to take him in.

Daniels turned it down, incurring the wrath of Grayson and Evil Uno. But the Bucks and SCU ran down to make the save.

Something tells me we’re not done with Daniels and the Dark Order. And something else tells me that Daniels, 21 years after he was rumored to be the “Higher Power” in WWE, might turn out to be the Dark Order’s puppet master after all.

The Rhodes Brothers teamed up against the Lucha Bros on 'AEW: Dynamite'

HIT — Cody And Dustin Vs. Lucha Bros.

Okay. This segment is slightly better than a “near miss,” so it’s a “hit” strictly by default.

The match was fantastic. Dustin Rhodes continues to be better than he has any right to be, Cody still brings his A-game to the ring on every AEW: Dynamite, and the Lucha Bros. are still the best tag team in AEW.

After the Rhodes boys picked up the win, though, Arn Anderson risked tanking the whole thing by cutting a promo saying that MJF is in no position to make demands of Cody.

Well. Yeah. He is. Because Cody said he was. Like, a month ago on AEW: Dynamite, Cody put all of the cards in MJF’s lap. It was just an awkward moment that nearly dragged the whole segment down with it.

Luckily, the pro’s outweighed the con’s, and we got another “hit” on AEW: Dynamite.

HIT — MJF Even Makes Butcher And Blade Cool

MJF came out to (rightly) call Cody a coward for not accepting his stipulations.

This brought out Diamond Dallas Page for the second time in four weeks on AEW: Dynamite to speak in Cody’s stead (why does the company’s top babyface need so many people to talk for him)? Butcher and Blade came out to stand at MJF’s side.

And this gave MJF the line of the night on AEW: Dynamite – he told DDP that he could either get out of the ring, or he could get beat up and watch MJF and his daughter do what he does best: “BANG!”

Of course, DDP took the bait and hung in there briefly, hitting Diamond Cutters on the heels, but he ultimately fell to a low blow from MJF.

This brought out QT Marshall and Dustin to even the odds and chase the bad guys away.

MJF can do no wrong. He mostly carried this segment and by sheer osmosis made Butcher and Blade relevant. Having them as added muscle for MJF fuels their initial goal of disrupting Cody’s life.

Another hit for AEW: Dynamite, but after this week it’s time for Cody and MJF to get some face time with one another.

The Best Friends and the Jurassic Express went toe-to-claw on 'AEW: Dynamite'

MISS — Jurassic Express Vs. Best Friends And Orange Cassidy

I swear, AEW: Dynamite is missing big opportunities with Luchasaurus.

Just a few weeks ago, Jungle Boy stood toe-to-toe with AEW Champion Chris Jericho. And now, the Jurassic Express is in a comedy match.

Which is basically all this was. It gave the Orange Cassidy fans a chance to cheer his schtick (which fell flat for me this week), and that’s – well, that’s really about it.

Jungle Boy got the pin (his first in AEW), but this match didn’t do anything for anybody. Also, seriously, does anybody remember when the Best Friends were a tag team?

Moxley made his allegiance known to Jericho on 'AEW: Dynamite'

GIANT HIT — Moxley-Jericho Segment

This. Was. Gold.

Seriously, this saved the show.

Chris Jericho called out Jon Moxley to get his answer as to whether or not Mox would join the Inner Circle. And Moxley pulled off his jacket to reveal an Inner Circle T-shirt.

Jericho and the gang all celebrated, and the Inner Circle popped open a little bit of the bubbly.

Only for Mox to basically say “psyche!” before breaking the bottle over Jericho’s head, knocking him out cold.

Everything about this was perfect. It moves the feud along at a pace quick enough to get paid off in time for the pair’s inevitable AEW Championship match at Revolution.

And it let Jericho and Moxley do what they do best – perform. I’m more excited about seeing this feud play out than I’ve been about anything in wrestling, probably since Double Or Nothing.

AEW - All Elite Wrestling

The Breakdown

So. We’ve got four hits (including one giant hit), a near-miss, and two misses. Definitely shaky ground.

“Solid” is really the best word to describe this week’s AEW: Dynamite.

There were enough load-bearing walls to keep the structure standing, but only two out-of-this-world segments to make it memorable.

AEW is riding the charisma of MJF and the sheer intrigue and chemistry of Moxley and Jericho as far as it will take them, and that’s a wise thing to do.

But that women’s division has to get better, and the “tease” of an Omega vs. Page feud needs to start going somewhere soon.

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

All images courtesy of All Elite Wrestling.

'AEW: Dynamite' - January 8, 2020

8.1

In-Ring Action

8.5/10

Booking/Writing

6.5/10

Promos/Video Packages

9.5/10

Entertainment Value

8.0/10

Pros

  • Jericho and Moxley are at the top of their games
  • MJF continues to ooze charisma
  • Sammy Guevera's big win
  • The Dark Order got back on track

Cons

  • That women's division is in ROUGH shape
  • Jurassic Express and Best Friends deserve better
  • Cody needs to speak for himself
  • Omega and Page tease needs a jolt
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