AEW: Dynamite had a lot of plates to juggle this week.
The Full Gear PPV left a lot of changes when the dust settled. There’s a new TNT Champion, new tag team champions, and MJF is officially in the Inner Circle. All Elite Wrestling began the homestretch of 2020 with action, intrigue, and sheer, violent entertainment.
Let’s crack down the hits and misses from this week’s AEW: Dynamite.
HIT – Matt Sydal Vs. Brian Cage (W/ Taz And Ricky Starks)
Taz comes out and notes that the new TNT Champion, Darby Allin, is watching from the rafters. He warns Darby to stay in the stands, or Team Taz will smash Allin’s head in again. Same goes for Cody. Taz may be something of a joke on commentary, but when it comes to hyping wrestlers and matches? The man is AEW: Dynamite gold.
Matt Sydal is giving me Dolph Ziggler vibes. I’d prefer if he didn’t do that.
I’m digging the new AEW: Dynamite intro and graphics, by the way. That has nothing to do with anything, but there it is. Cage beats Sydal from the proverbial pillar-to-post in the early going. But Sydal plays the plucky babyface roll well. Also like Dolph Ziggler, but without the ironic overselling. Sydal eventually mounts a comeback, reversing a powerbomb followed by a meteora in a really cool spot.
But Cage pulls through with the Drill Claw for the win. This was Sydal’s best match in AEW so far and really showed off what he can do, especially against a bigger opponent. Also, he didn’t fall down at all. Always a plus on AEW: Dynamite.
After the match, Starks makes his and Cage’s case to be in the TNT Championship hunt.
HIT – Cody Rhodes Promo
I’ve gotta get used to typing “Cody Rhodes” again. It’s been a few years.
Cody congratulates Darby on winning the TNT Championship and declares he won’t seek a rematch. Darby’s getting a lot of TV time. Instead of seeking a rematch from Darby, Cody says he wants a rematch with MJF. For some reason, Jade Gargill interrupts Cody’s promo for some reason. She says Cody’s been lying to the AEW: Dynamite audience. Cargill says Cody claimed to be a “giant-killer” but that he doesn’t know anything about giants. Weiner humor, you see. Cargill says she knows an actual giant, and that Cody woke him up.
She also drops an S-bomb, and the seven-second delay guy is at least seven seconds late. On her way out, Cargill congratulates Cody on getting his name back but calls him on not having the guts to go by one name. And her giant only needs one name: Shaq.
Wait, what? The seven-second delay guy misses a B-bomb as Brandi makes her way out. The words “ratchet” and “triflin‘” are thrown about, and this is a bit much. Cargill pats Brandi’s backside, and it’s a pull-apart BAH GAWD! But with all the extra-curriculars, Brian Cage sneaks in from behind to powerbomb Cody. Starks comes in for the double-team, which brings Darby to the ring. Darby hits cage with his jacket, covered in thumbtacks. Darby Allin doesn’t mess around.
Will Hobbs comes out well after everything is already settled, I guess just to remind us that he’s part of this feud.
This was a wild AEW: Dynamite segment. I dunno how I feel about plugging celebrity matches this early in AEW’s run. But to be fair, the wrestling biz has been teasing getting Shaq in the ring forever.
HIT – Jon Moxley Promo
Alex Marvez has a word with AEW Champion Jon Moxley. The champ says that the “I Quit” match made him realize the title represents all the things that are good about pro wrestling. Please cut promos forever, Jon Moxley. He says that beating Kenny Omega once is an accomplishment. Beating him twice takes someone special.
And Mox feels pretty special.
If the promo wasn’t good enough, next comes the news that Moxley vs. Omega will be on the December 2 edition of AEW: Dynamite. I’m not going to call this a prediction, because I really suck at those. But I feel like the Moxley reign will end that night. And that’ll be okay.
HIT – Bunkhouse Match – Natural Nightmares Vs. The Butcher & The Blade (W The Bunny)
QT Marshall doesn’t even wait for the bell, going right after the Blade while Dustin beats down the Butcher on the outside. This match either had the potential to be an AEW: Dynamite classic or a complete mess. Somehow the addition of hay bales at ringside make me optimistic.
JR notes that “Bunkhouse Butcher” would be a great name for a wrestler. I mean, he’s not wrong. Excalibur helpfully notes that when the AEW console game comes out, he can create a wrestler with that name. Clever, Excalibur. Devilishly clever.
Anyway, my optimism was well-placed. Blood, handcuffs, the aforementioned hay bales. Chairs, ladders, and a guy who wears a freakin’ monocle.
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) November 12, 2020
And then there was Dustin hitting a bulldog off the stage through a stack of plywood. Meanwhile, Blade and QT are bleeding like crazy and swinging trash can lids like it’s a 1997 ECW show. And QT drops a Macho Man elbow off a 12-foot ladder, and the Blade STILL kicked out.
With all seeming lost on AEW: Dynamite, QT gets a chain-assisted Diamond Cutter but still doesn’t get the pin. Blade swings a chair at QT but ends up knocking Bunny off the rope. That allows QT to get another Diamond Cutter for the win. What an awesome, bloody AEW: Dynamite brawl.
HIT – MJF’s Inner Circle Induction
Chris Jericho is out to induct MJF and Wardlow into the Inner Circle. Complete with a podium. What’s with all the podiums on AEW: Dynamite lately?
Before moving on to bring in MJF, Jericho brings out the original Inner Circle. But Sammy Guevara no-shows. MJF comes out with the proverbial tear in his eye. The Salt of the Earth steps to the podium and apologizes for being so emotional. “Real men cry!” Please wrestle professionally forever. He immediately invokes Trump, saying he’s been in the business for five long years. And that he started with a small loan from his father of $1 million. Next MJF graces the AEW: Dynamite with some of his original poetry.
It’s just some Drake lyrics, and Santana can’t take it any more. He says Jericho has to see through MJF, but Jericho insists that he’s been in the game for 30 years. Jericho knows a solid pick-up when he sees it, instructing the rest of the IC to make it work. MJF says out loud that he doesn’t even know who Drake is, as I spit out my drink.
It becomes a total suck-up affair, as MJF drops balloons and confetti from the ceiling to celebrate Jericho’s birthday. And he got tickets to Vegas for the whole group. This was exceptionally obnoxious, and I loved it. Wherever this is going, I genuinely look forward to the next chapter of this saga every week.
HIT – Young Bucks Interview
Alex Marvez very anxiously interviews the new tag team champions, the Young Bucks.
Nick says the world probably wants to see a rematch with FTR. But Matt insists they’re looking for fresh opponents. He mentions an independent team, Top Flight. And Top Flight will get a shot at the Bucks on next week’s AEW: Dynamite.
Marvez gets an apology for the superkick from a few weeks back. Poor guy’s suffering Superkick PTSD. Short and sweet. I’ll take it.
HIT – Scorpio Sky Vs. Shawn Spears (W/ Tully Blanchard)
The Underutilized Talents Explode on AEW: Dynamite! It just feels like such a waste that these guys’ entire feud, aside from one Dynamite segment two weeks ago, has been on AEW Dark. That’s not a knock on Dark. But these guys are A-show talents, and they should be on the A-show.
And all of a sudden, I worry that Jim Ross might be omnipresent. Because I typed that, and JR says both of these guys are overlooked and should be on the big shows more often. Is there some irony in the fact that Spears is jealous of Sky for taking his spotlight when neither of them has anything remotely resembling a spotlight? I don’t get it. Anyway.
This match was a fun blend of Spears doing old-school heel tactics, Sky being as vicious as an angry babyface should be, and high-flying, hard-hitting action. In other words, everything that a pro wrestling match should be. There was a little too much brawling on the outside for my tastes. These guys are definitely great brawlers, but it’s their in-ring work that makes both of them unique and makes them potential main event guys.
And just as I complain about the brawling? Spears hits a backbreaker on the steel steps. Yeesh. Okay, I take it back. These guys can brawl to their hearts’ content. Back in the ring, Sky goes for the Sharpshooter while Tully sneaks Spears’s loaded glove into the ring. Spears makes the ropes and retrieves it. Tully distracts Sky by throwing a decoy slug into the ring. Sky tosses it out of the ring, and Spears swings with the loaded glove for the win. This match was a lot of fun, and it was very well-executed.
Now let’s get and keep these guys in prime slots on AEW: Dynamite.
HIT – Kenny Omega Interview
Apparently, Alex Marvez and Dasha have been chasing Kenny Omega all over the arena trying to get an interview.
Marvez finally catches him in the AEW: Dynamite parking lot. Omega reflects on a year in AEW with unrealized potential. He’s been hearing everybody backstage and around the world wondering where the real Kenny Omega is. And Moxley took that position as the most talked-about wrestler in the world – Omega wants it back.
He hypes the December 2 AEW: Dynamite and points out that Moxley never actually beat him, as Moxley’s lone pinfall over Omega was a non-sanctioned match. That sounds like a heelish evasion.
Nice promo, and I could get used to Omega having a personality.
HIT – Tay Conti (W/ Anna Jay) Vs. Red Velvet (W/ Brandi Rhodes)
How did I never notice that they announce Red Velvet as being “from straight outta yo mama’s kitchen?” That alone should warrant a “hit” for this segment.
There was a lot of energy in this AEW: Dynamite match, which is refreshing after some less-than-stellar outings in the women’s division lately. Brandi is less-than-interested in this match. If I had to guess, she’s probably thinking, “I went with ‘ratchet’ and ‘triflin’?'” Anyway.
Wow, this is actually pretty good. Red Velvet got a stunner for a two-count, followed by double roundhouse kicks putting both women down. But EVIL Anna Jay slides a chair in for Conti. But Conti kicks the chair away, allowing Red Velvet to hit a running kick for two. Conti scores with a punt kick followed with a gory special into a knee to the face for the win.
An AEW: Dynamite women’s match that went more than five minutes. And was actually quite good. It wasn’t great, and from time-to-time it was a little sloppy. But it was two women who were enthusiastic and were given time to put together something exciting. Maybe with Omega busy in the title picture, someone else has time to book the women’s division. We should be so lucky.
Backstage, Marvez catches up with the Inner Circle. Sammy Guevara shows up late, because MJF sent an e-mail saying the induction was at the beach.
HIT – Rey Fenix Vs. Penta El Zero Miedo
Eddie Kingston, set to do commentary on AEW: Dynamite, comes out first. He admits that Moxley made him say, “I quit,” and he’s gonna have to find a way to live with that. But he promises that eventually he will be the AEW World Champion.
The narrative looks to be Kingston turning the Luchas against one another. Penta even goes full heel luchador, as he tries to peel off Fenix’s match. He actually manages to rip a pretty good chunk of it off. As Excalibur notes, very loudly, that would be a disqualification in Mexico. Tony and Ex are apoplectic. Eddie brushes it off as brothers fighting. Fair enough, but most brothers outside of pro wrestling don’t throw each other into steel barricades.
This match started with Penta completely dominating Fenix, repeatedly going after Rey’s bum leg. Fenix fights his way back while Tony screams at Eddie for “destroying one of the greatest tag teams of all time.” Eddie rightly asks, “Tony, what are you, Dr. Phil now?” Eh. I feel like Tony probably has more credits toward a doctorate than Phil. And now the tables turn, and Fenix almost gets Penta’s mask completely off. They slug it out, each guy hanging on to the remnants of the other’s mask. Penta hits a dangerous looking flipping DDT/destroyer combo, um, thing.
Whatever, it looked like it hurt. A lot.
Fenix followed that, hitting a wicked corkscrew splash over the top rope. But then Penta hits a package piledriver on the apron. I’ve heard tell that the apron is the hardest part of the ring. That looked both incredible and horrifying. He follows it with a Canadian Destroyer, but he won’t pin Fenix. Back inside, he his another package piledriver to finish it. That was amazing, brutal, uncomfortable, emotional.
After the match, Eddie congratulates Penta and kicks Fenix out of the ring. And that brings out Pac! He rushes the ring, but the referees pull both guys apart. I like where they’re going, but I have one request: Let’s please not call them Death Triangle. Please?
There has never been a “bad” AEW: Dynamite. But the last two months or so have seen some subpar ones. At least compared to the usual Dynamite standards.
This week’s AEW: Dynamite was as close as I think you can get to a perfect pro wrestling show. Killer matches, linear and interesting storytelling, entertaining and funny promo segments? The November 11 AEW: Dynamite had it all.
And I would only expect it to get better as we move closer to Moxley Vs. Omega on December 2.
Full match results and ratings:
Brian Cage def. Matt Sydal, ***
Natural Nightmares def. The Butcher & The Blade, **** 1/4
Shawn Spears def. Scorpio Sky, *** 1/2
Tay Conti def. Red Velvet, ** 3/4
Penta El Zero Miedo def. Rey Fenix, **** 3/4
AEW: Dynamite airs Wednesday nights at 8 PM/ET on TNT.
Feature image provided by All Elite Wrestling.
'AEW: Dynamite' - November 11, 2020
- That bunkhouse match was INSANE.
- Scorpio Sky and Shawn Spears getting a big match and time to let it breathe and grow was awesome.
- Hey, a women's match with energy (if not any purpose).
- I'm not sure going "Jerry Springer" is quite the way to plug the eventual Shaq match.