'AEW: Dynamite' saw another confrontation between Chris Jericho and MJF
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AEW: Dynamite is usually pretty good at taking advantage of the spotlight.

After a year of big PPVs, themed episodes like this past summer’s Fyter Fest and Fight For The Fallen, you’d think AEW would be “all in” for their one-year aniversary show.

You would think.

There were a couple of high points in this week’s AEW: Dynamite. But way too may low points.

This week’s show just didn’t strike AEW’s normal balance of in-ring action, storytelling, and strong booking.

Let’s get into the hits and misses from AEW: Dynamite.

FTR faced Best Friends on 'AEW: Dynamite'

HIT – AEW Tag Team Championship: FTR (C, W/ Tully Blanchard) Vs. Best Friends

This is something I say about AEW: Dynamite a lot. And it’s often true. It’s pretty impossible for these two teams to have a bad match with each other.

As discovered on last week’s show, Best Friends gets a straight-up title shot at FTR. No “brush with greatness,” it’s a standard 60-minute time-limit title match.

And as expected, this was an awesome TV match. Best Friends pulled out the high-risk offense you’d expect, and they pushed FTR to have to deliver some high-risk stuff of their own. It was a lot of fun watching a team as measured and calculated as FTR playing on the defensive.

The match sprawled to the outside, where Cash Wheeler puts Trent’s head through Kip Sabian’s arcade cabinet. “That’s the first match where I’ve ever seen somebody go through an arcade cabinet!” I didn’t think I’d ever hear JR say arcade cabinet. It’s an AEW: Dynamite of firsts!

Kip sends Penelope to the back, and FTR puts the kibosh on Best Friends to retain the titles. Fun match, solid match. But I’ve gotta ask: Why make a big deal of having FTR make a “real” title defense just to have a relatively pedestrian result?

After the match, Penelope comes back out with Miro, and he murders Best Friends. Um. He didn’t put himself through the thing, Miro!

Again, this was a good AEW: Dynamite match. I just don’t get the point of using it to get us to a Best Friends vs. Kip and Miro feud.

Miro declares "Game Over" on 'AEW: Dynamite'

HIT – Miro & Kip Sabian Vs. Sean Maluda & Lee Johnson

You think Lee misses playing MJF’s campaign lackey? I mean, it wasn’t much, but he was on AEW: Dynamite every week. And he wasn’t getting destroyed by Miro.

Miro kills everybody and scores the win with Game Over.

Kudos to Miro for getting through a match (short though it was) without injuring himself or anyone else. And kudos for AEW to booking him like a monster.

But I gotta say. When I hear “AEW: Dynamite anniversary special,” I don’t think “2-minute jobber squash.”

MJF kind of sort of wants to join the Inner Circle on 'AEW: Dynamite'

HIT – MJF Promo

Before we get to MJF’s big announcement, we see Lance Archer beating the crap out of AEW Champion Jon Moxley backstage. You know, I get that there were extenuating circumstances, but now’s a little late to build up your giant title match.

Anyway. Now MJF is out to make his giant announcement on AEW: Dynamite. He calls out the Inner Circle, all wearing their matching jackets. Sammy finally got his jacket, but he doesn’t want to put it on. Jericho finally talks him into it, and it’s like eight sizes too big. Heh.

MJF beats around the bush, showering Jericho in awkward compliments. But Jericho tells him to cut the crap and get on with it. MJF “kind of, sort of, maybe” wants to join the Inner Circle. Santana and Ortiz protest immediately, so Jericho says he’ll make his decision after he meets with MJF one-on-one next week.

For a steak dinner.

Well, if they go to Longhorn, at least Jericho doesn’t have a belt to forget.

This is so weird, awkward, and fun. It could go in any number of directions, and any of them would be awesome. I’ll repeat my own little AEW: Dynamite theory, which is that MJF already got to the IC and convinced them to stage a coup d’état.

Earlier today, Tony Schiavone interviews Dr. Britt Baker. While they both get massages. Britt is horrified that Tony is both naked and hairy, so she forces him to get his chest waxed. The whole point of the segment was to announce Dr. Baker will “return to action” on next week’s AEW: Dynamite. Um. She returned to action at All Out.

Cody promised on 'AEW: Dynamite' that he would force Orange Cassidy to lock up

MISS – TNT Championship: Cody (C, W/ Arn Anderson & Brandi Rhodes) Vs. Orange Cassidy

I know, how can this AEW: Dynamite match be a miss? Well, it’s complicated.

The match was good. It wasn’t great, but it was good. And it left room for later, which is fine. Oh, and Cody’s blond again. Cody made the build-up about forcing Orange to lock up. And when they finally do, Orange wins the lockup.

Both guys seemed to have good chemistry together. With bigger stakes on a bigger stage, I don’t doubt this could’ve been a killer match. But the match goes to a time-limit draw.

I gave AEW too much credit last week. This was supposed to be the booking to justify Cassidy getting buried in Cody’s returning segment almost a month ago. Orange Cassidy was white hot, and now he hasn’t had a meaningful win since All Out. A month-and-a-half ago.

There’s money to be made, and for some reason, AEW isn’t striking a hot iron.

HIT – Meanwhile-Mania!

Backstage on AEW: Dynamite, Lance Archer tries to cut a promo, so Jon Moxley jumps him. Symmetry!

MEANWHILE, Matt Hardy announces he’s ready to return to action! So Sammy Guevara chooses this moment to reveal that he was the mystery attacker from, like, 108 years ago. Well, no kidding.

But most important, Tony Schiavone is in the ring to host the drawing to see who will fight to become the number-one contender to the tag titles on next week’s AEW: Dynamite. He draws Butcher and Blade, Dark Order, Private Party, and the Young Bucks. Tony is more than a little hesitant to announce the Bucks.

But Matt and Nick calm his fears and assure him they aren’t going to superkick him. They’re going to superkick everyone else in the ring.

I love, love, LOVE the Bucks when they’re intentionally being jerks and not tone-deaf to the fact that they’re acting like jerks.

'AEW: Dynamite' had a battle for the women's championship between champion Hikaru Shida and challenger Big Swole

NEAR-MISS – AEW Women’s World Championship: Hikaru Shida (C) Vs. Big Swole

AEW: Dynamite just can’t get this right. Hikaru Shida is the most credible women’s champion to date, but she just doesn’t have a credible challenger.

Statlander was a good potential foil. Nyla Rose, been there, done that, can’t figure out how to do it well again. Britt Baker is more of a character than a wrestler. Same for Big Swole.

Both women pull out about as good a match as they realistically can. Shida looks good and tries her damnedest, but she just can’t carry this thing. Big Swole’s skillset somehow gets more exposed than it was last week.

Shida picks up the win, as she should, but if Britt Baker’s return next week isn’t the start of her chasing Shida for the title, I genuinely don’t know what AEW is gonna do with this division.

Lance Archer challenged for the AEW Championship and battled Jon Moxley on 'AEW: Dynamite'

NEAR-MISS – AEW World Championship: Jon Moxley (C) Vs. Lance Archer (W/ Jake Roberts)

Here’s another one where the booking just fails AEW. It’s weird to have a match this good that’s been built for this long and that just doesn’t feel like a big deal.

As soon as they knew Archer was gonna be unavailable for most of the build to this match? I kinda feel like they should’ve flipped the script and just made this the title match for Full Gear.

But things being what they are, this match for the AEW Championship was pretty solid. Moxley’s still the champion, and Archer is still a large, angry man who murders people. I genuinely love the general approach they’ve taken with Moxley for the last month or so.

After the match, Eddie Kingston comes out to give Moxley some props. Only for him and his team to beat Moxley down. Kingston declares he’s Moxley’s challenger for Full Gear. Okay, I’m down for that.

I’m all for where this AEW: Dynamite segment went. But I’m not super happy with how they got there.

The Breakdown

AEW: Dynamite really needed a big, big show this week.

It certainly wasn’t the worst show they’ve ever done. That was a few weeks ago. But there are still some damning things to say about it.

The booking doesn’t seem as sharp as it usually is. It’s actually starting to feel like the end of 2019, where they didn’t seem to know where they were going with the show.

And how’s this for a backhanded compliment? It felt like what a good episode of WWE Raw should probably feel like. If such a thing existed.

Match results and ratings:

FTR def. Best Friends, ***

Miro & Kip Sabian def. Sean Maluda & Lee Johnson, * 1/2

Cody vs. Orange Cassidy – Time Limit Draw, **

Hikaru Shida def. Big Swole, *

Jon Moxley def. Lance Archer, ** 3/4

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

All images provided by All Elite Wrestling.

'AEW: Dynamite' - October 14, 2020

6.9

In-Ring Action

7.5/10

Booking

6.0/10

Storytelling

6.8/10

Entertainment Value

7.2/10

Pros

  • MJF an Jericho have the best chemistry in the universe
  • Moxley's knack for survival is gonna either be satisfying or heartbreaking whenever he finally drops the title
  • Cody and Orange Cassidy have good in-ring chemistry
  • EVIL YOUNG BUCKS!

Cons

  • AEW keeps missing opportunities with Orange Cassidy
  • The misses for the women's division just keep compounding on each other
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