Chris Jericho and Matt Hardy came face-to-face on 'AEW: Dynamite'
Facebooktwitterpinteresttumblrmail

AEW: Dynamite, and professional wrestling in general, pushes on in an uncertain time.

The coronavirus pandemic is affecting every aspect of life. And professional wrestling isn’t immune. The business is feeling the impact in every way. TV shows in empty arenas. Live events on hold indefinitely.

Even the vaunted WrestleMania isn’t immune.

And somehow, All Elite Wrestling still puts on a hell of a show.

Despite everything going on, AEW: Dynamite is a ray of hope in a hopeless time.

Cody opened 'AEW: Dynamite' in a bout against Jimmy Havoc

HIT – Cody Vs. Jimmy Havoc

Hey, everybody, it’s a Jimmy Havoc sighting! Havoc is 3-0 so far this year. Who knew? I really need to start watching AEW: Dark.

Cody takes a break from commentary duties, as he and Kenny Omega call the action with Tony Schiavone on AEW: Dynamite.

Backstage, the heels are gambling on the match again. With Chris Jericho getting in on the action this time. I hate that we can’t have the heels and babyfaces play the role of the “crowd.” It was worth a shot, but given the climate, it wasn’t gonna last.

Anyway, the match is pretty solid. A good mix of brawling and athleticism. Omega takes an opportunity to put over Riho, calling a Cody bridge-out “Riho-like.” It’s over, Kenny. The Riho train never left the station.

In the middle of the match, Cody calls for a handshake from Havoc. Um, Cody? You been reading the news lately, homes?

Cody picks up the win on AEW: Dynamite. I liked the match, and it absolutely deserves to register as a “hit.” And I understand that, under normal circumstances, they’d need to keep Cody strong. But these aren’t normal circumstances. If there was ever a time to get the lower-to-mid card guys over, this is it.

HIT – Jake Roberts Promo

After the match, Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts appears on the big screen to taunt Cody.

The Snake laments that Cody asked the greatest minds in wrestling – Tully Blanchard, Arn Anderson, Jim Ross – to join AEW. But Cody never rang Roberts’s phone.

Roberts reminds Cody that Lance Archer still wants his match against Cody and encourages Cody to bring all of his friends.

Jake Roberts has shown for weeks on AEW: Dynamite that he’s still one of the best promos in wrestling. The constant digs at Cody as “Cesar” (Brandy was thrown into the mix, getting tagged as “Cleopatra” this week) make Archer a big deal by osmosis.

I say it many, many times, but wrestling is not as hard as the guys up in Stamford make it out to be. And AEW: Dynamite knows how to maximize its time to make these guys seem like a big deal.

NEAR MISS – Darby Allin Vs. Kip Sabian (W/ Penelope Ford)

Before the match, we get another black-and-white video. Darby continues to taunt the Inner Circle but, while he’s at it, insists that Sabian isn’t nearly as “superbad” as he thinks he is.

Cody returns to commentary and compares Darby to Sting. I mean, they do both wear – um, face paint? Darby climbs the ropes on his entrance and plays to the non-existent crowd, prompting Kip to look into the camera and ask, “What’s he doing?”

It’s a decent enough match, but I’m not sure what either guy has to get out of it. Doesn’t get Darby any closer to a rematch with Sammy Guevara, and it doesn’t get Sabian any closer to the match they teased with Colt Cabana last week. Get used to hearing this, but considering what’s going on, I guess they have to work with whoever can make the trip.

There’s a weird production slip-up, which AEW: Dynamite hasn’t really experienced since its early audio woes. Cody and Tony say it’s time for a break, and there is no break. So, they just keep talking, and TNT cuts to break with Cody in mid-sentence.

Well, at least everybody’s getting called by the right names.

HIT – Jake Hager Vs. Chico Adams

Well, things don’t look great for Chico Adams in his AEW: Dynamite debut.

Hager squashes the kid for a couple minutes before putting him out with the triangle. It’s his fourth straight win via referee stoppage.

While Hager’s back is turned, though, AEW World Champion Jon Moxley makes his way out and picks a fight with Hager. They slug it out for a few seconds, and Moxley takes Hager down with the Paradigm shift. Hager pops back up and goes for an ankle lock, but Moxley throws him out of the ring.

Nice way to sew the seeds for a future match between the two.

It was a total squash, but I feel like the match went a long way to basically make Hager AEW’s answer to Brock Lesnar.

A camera catches up with Moxley backstage on his way out of the building. The champ announces he’s medically cleared to compete again and promises to stay in the Inner Circle’s blind spot.

Solid AEW: Dynamite segment.

'The Exalted One' Brodie Lee made his in-ring debut on 'AEW: Dynamite'

NEAR MISS – ‘The Exalted One’ Brodie Lee Vs. QT Marshall

Speaking of squash matches. QT Marshall is like the king of AEW: Dynamite jobbers.

Before the match, we get a vignette of Brodie Lee dining with the rest of his Dark Order compatriots. Lee derides his followers for not taking advantage of the strength of their numbers before kicking one of his minions out for daring to eat before he’s finished. The Exalted One kicks the other one out for daring to sneeze.

Sounds familiar. Maybe a little too familiar. I get guys who have an ax to grind with Vince McMahon. Who in wrestling doesn’t at this point? But get that stuff out of your system on the podcasting circuit.

Backstage, the guys in the locker room are making their own crowd signs. Okay, that’s clever.

The Exalted One destroys Marshall for a few minute before sealing the deal with a discus lariat. The right result, and it’s right that it was a squash, because it establishes Lee as a force from the get-go.

A hit for the match, a miss for the unnecessary WWE jabs in the vignette. All amounts to a near miss for this AEW: Dynamite segment.

HIT – Nick Jackson Update, With Vanguard One

We get a recap of the Inner Circle’s feud with the Elite that was intended to lead up to Blood And Guts.

The recap includes a look at Jericho and his goons’ attack on Nick Jackson as well as Matt Hardy’s arrival last week. I laugh like an idiot every time Hardy calls the Young Bucks the “Bucks of Youth.”

Vanguard One checks out Nick Jackson’s house to get an update on his recovery, and Nick chases Matt Hardy’s trusty drone away.

After a couple years languishing with “Woken” Matt Hardy in WWE, it’s good to see the weirdness of the Broken Universe used a little more appropriately on AEW: Dynamite.

'AEW: Dynamite' saw Kenny Omega defend his AAA Mega Championship against Sammy Guevara

HIT – AAA Mega Championship Match, Kenny Omega (C) Vs. Sammy Guevara

Before the match, Sammy interacts with his “fans” in the front row – a series of caricatures of AEW stars, including Chris Jericho and Brandi Rhodes.

There’s another drawing labeled “the captain,” which prompts a discussion between Tony and Cody about their favorite Star Trek captain. Tony says his favorite is Sisko – Tony Schiavone, my man! Cody immediately brushes off Tony’s love of Captain Sisko. You might be dead to me, Cody.

As is typical for most AEW: Dynamite main events, it was going to be pretty difficult for these guys to have a bad match. What makes it special is that Sammy gets a good opportunity to get himself over, not only as a wrestler but as a character. The kid just oozes smarminess. Heading into a commercial break, Guevara picks up the drawing of Brandi and starts making out with it. Weird, obnoxious, and gross.

I love what a jerk this kid is.

And that’s critical for a match like this. It was smart of AEW to take advantage of Omega’s status as the AAA Mega Champion to add some luster to the show. But there’s no chance a AAA title was going to change hands on AEW television. So Guevara leaning heavily on character really made the match.

Omega picked up the win in a hard-fought match on AEW: Dynamite.

Matt Hardy confronted Chris Jericho on 'AEW: Dynamite'

HIT – Chris Jericho Confronts Matt Hardy

If you’ve never really seen ‘Broken’ Matt Hardy’s brand of crazy, this episode of AEW: Dynamite is a pretty good crash course.

On his way out to the ring, Jericho catches a cameraman trying to sing ‘Judas.’

Le Champion calls out Hardy, but Vanguard One answers instead. Hardy finally “teleports” into the ring and informs Jericho that his true name is Damascus and that he’s 3,000 years old. You can’t make this stuff up. Well, I mean, someone can. And it’s awesome.

Jericho tries to get Hardy to join the Inner Circle, but Hardy owes a debt to the “Bucks of Youth” and calls AEW his new home and his ticket to freedom. Oh, good, more shots at WWE. Not that they don’t deserve them, but it’s a bit much in one show.

Hardy takes advantage of the empty crowd to sell his unique brand of nuttiness, saying that the building is full of essences. Finally, Jericho has enough and tries to put the boots to Hardy. The former AEW Champion gets the advantage over Hardy, but Cody and Omega run down to make the save and close out AEW: Dynamite.

The Breakdown

It remains a weird time for pro wrestling. And, by extension, a weird time for AEW: Dynamite.

But whereas the competition seems to be struggling with how to make their circumstances work for them, AEW is making the best of a bad situation.

And the arrival of Hardy, while intended to add some spice to Blood And Guts, came at just the right time. The nature of his character transcends the “live event” aspect of the wrestling business and opens up a number of different, creative ways AEW can use to tell stories.

I do wonder how long AEW can sustain the build to a Blood And Guts show that may not happen for months, to say nothing of building to a Double Or Nothing pay-per-view that may not happen at all.

For now, at least, AEW: Dynamite is doing a solid job of keeping AEW’s head above water.

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

All images courtesy of All Elite Wrestling.

'AEW: Dynamite' - March 25, 2020

8.1

In-Ring Action

8.0/10

Booking/Writing

7.9/10

Promos/Video Packages

8.3/10

Entertainment Value

8.1/10

Pros

  • AEW continues to make the best of a bad situation
  • Matt Hardy's weirdness is a perfect fit for the current state of the business
  • Great storytelling in and out of the ring
  • Sammy Guevara is SUCH a great heel

Cons

  • Cody doesn't like Captain Sisko
  • Too many "insider" jabs at WWE
  • Nothing gained for anyone in the Darby Allin vs. Kip Sabian match
Facebooktwitterpinteresttumblrmail