AEW: Dynamite has been a fun enough show lately.
There have been more downs than usual, and the ups haven’t seemed as special. Now, for a random episode, that’s not a big deal.
But this is the penultimate AEW: Dynamite before the Full Gear PPV. Not much is booked for that show. Less than two weeks out.
We know that Jon Moxley will defend the AEW Championship against Eddie Kingston in an “I Quit” match. And FTR will defend the tag team titles against the Young Bucks.
That’s the literal extent of what we know about Full Gear. Will this week’s AEW: Dynamite set a few more matches in stone?
Let’s get into the hits and misses and find out.
HIT – World Title Eliminator Tournament Semifinal: Wardlow (W/ MJF) Vs. ‘Hangman’ Adam Page
Before the match, MJF makes clear that if Wardlow wins the world title, that makes MJF the champion. Sammy Guevara rushes up and swears not to let MJF join the Inner Circle. Max gets the line of the night for Sammy: “What, the guy who looks like he sells Adderall to middle-schoolers is upset?”
The Hangman plugged this match on Twitter as “Sad Yee Haw Man Vs. Big Muscle Tits.” I’ll let you folks at home wonder which is which.
For the most part, this AEW: Dynamite match was all Wardlow. As it should be. Somewhere down the line, Wardlow is going to be a huge star. And somewhere in the middle of that line, he’s gonna have to do battle with MJF. As common sense should dictate. The big dude is growing by leaps and bounds.
And having him as an obstacle for the Hangman was smart business. Page survived this AEW: Dynamite contest, including taking a spear through the safety barricade. After an F10, Page comes back with a pair of Buckshot Lariats to claim the win. Awesome match that does a world of good for both guys.
HIT – Eddie Kingston (W/ Butcher, Blade, & Bunny) Vs. Matt Sydal
Before the match, Jon Moxley cuts a standard-issue Moxley promo. He promises he won’t defend the AEW Championship at Full Gear – He’ll weaponize it. I don’t know what that means. But darned if he didn’t say it with enthusiasm.
Sydal manages to make his entrance at AEW: Dynamite without falling off of anything. So we’re off to a better start than we were at All Out.
I’m sensing a pattern with Eddie Kingston matches. It’s a really weird clash of styles that he somehow manages to cohere into something awesome. Sydal does his part and gets in his shots, but this was Kingston’s match.
Smart finish, as Kingston gets the W with the bully choke. AEW: Dynamite again with the subtlety points. Kingston’s heading into an “I Quit” match, give him a win via submission. The challenger looks strong, and I’m still at a loss to pick who’s walking out of Full Gear with the belt.
Nothing special, but Kingston earns just a little more cred on AEW: Dynamite.
HIT – Young Bucks/FTR Interview
Excalibur moderates an interview between the Young Bucks and AEW Tag Team Champions FTR. Because he’s the king of smarks, Excalibur brings up that he’s known Nick and Matt for a long time. And because they own the king of smarks, FTR notes that that’s how he got his job.
That cuts deep.
Matt takes complete control of the promo and goes on a long rant about how something’s been missing from the Young Bucks. Long story short, the Bucks have been missing their edge – too much time being fan favorites and kissing babies. Not enough time beating people down.
FTR exits the AEW: Dynamite interview because they can’t get a word in edgewise. Once they’re gone, the Bucks raise the stakes on their title shot at Full Gear. If they don’t win the titles, they’ll never challenge for them again.
Ask Cody how well that’s going for him. Also, are we gonna do this as a stip at every Full Gear?
HIT – Inner Circle Town Hall Meeting
Well, we didn’t get the “real” Town Hall. Tony Schiavone and Dasha host the town hall. MJF and Jericho take questions from the AEW: Dynamite roster.
Luchasaurus – a representative of dinosaurs with a Masters in Medieval history – wants to know how MJF joining the Inner Circle will be for AEW’s business. Naturally, MJF is ready with a chart describing how revenues will go through the sky.
Dr. Britt Baker and Reba want to know how Jericho would deal with MJF’s knack for turning on anyone and everyone. Jericho reminds the audience that, unlike Cody, he isn’t a “dipsh*t.” Okay, how do you really feel, Chris? Pretty simple question from Peter Avalon: “Can I join the Inner Circle?” That gets shut down pretty quick.
Finally, Eric B. (from Cody, Wyoming). Eric rightly wants to know how the IC is supposed to function with a pair of prima donnas (Jericho: “He’s calling me names!”) MJF can’t take it any more, and he wants to know, once and for all, what he has to do to get into the Inner Circle.
So Le Champion breaks it down for him: They’re gonna fight at Full Gear. If MJF wins, he’s in.
As documented, Sammy is definitely against MJF joining. Neither is Ortiz. Santana is on the fence, but he sure likes the jacket. I’m sticking with my call. The whole crew turns on Jericho at Full Gear, and MJF rules the Inner Circle.
This AEW: Dynamite segment wasn’t on the level of Le Dinner Debonair, but honestly? What possibly could be?
NEAR-MISS – Lumberjack Match, TNT Championship: Cody (C) Vs. Orange Cassidy
The lumberjacks were all but a non-factor in this match. And the finish was, well, not at all good. But I can’t knock the action.
Orange and Cody put on one heck of a match. Both guys looked like the AEW: Dynamite mega stars that they genuinely are. For the longest time, it was touch-and-go, and it could’ve been anybody’s match.
Until the Dark Order interfered, allowing Arn to get a cheap shot on Cassidy. Cody hits Crossroads to take the win and retain the title. While I’m at it? Why were the Dark Order even allowed to be lumberjacks? To say nothing of the Nightmare Family and the Best Friends? Every lumberjack, aside from Jurassic Express and some dude dressed like a banana (no, seriously), had a personal stake in this match.
Okay, on one hand, I’m glad AEW remembered that Cassidy has beef with the Dark Order. Fair play and good on them for that. But on the other? Orange Cassidy hasn’t had a bona fide, meaningful win since All Out. To be fair, that win was over Chris Jericho, still the biggest name AEW has. But that was two months ago.
This isn’t a cool down. But it isn’t a burial, either. It’s almost worse than a burial. Orange Cassidy is in complete and total limbo. He isn’t taking big losses, he isn’t getting big wins, he isn’t doing much of anything. And in pro wrestling, if you’re not picking up wins when you’re a hot item? You might as well not even be on the card.
Time’s ticking away on Orange Cassidy and this moment in time to strike a flaming-hot iron.
MISS – MEANWHILE-MANIA!
Backstage, Miro and Kip Sabian have a “Halloween present” for the Best Friends. Is Halloween a holiday you’re supposed to buy presents for? If so, I’ve been doing it wrong my whole life.
Anyway. The present is actually just Miro and Sabian beating up Best Friends.
This will be a repeated theme tonight. I’m glad there’s something for Miro and Sabian to do on AEW: Dyamite, but does it have to be whatever this is? Also, whatever happened to Miro being Kip’s best man? Like, what happened to Kip and Penelope getting married?
See? I’m so baffled by the poor booking choices that I’m longing for the soap opera stuff. And we all know how I feel about soap opera bull in lieu of actual booking. Insert link to Hell In A Cell 2020 here.
HIT – NWA Women’s Championship: Serena Deeb (C) Vs. Leyla Hirsch
You know, I have no idea what the NWA’s relationship with AEW looks like. But as long as we keep getting good women’s matches on AEW: Dynamite, I genuinely do not care.
It seems like AEW was listening when the wrestling world collectively lost their minds back in September. This match was fantastic for a free-TV title match with no real stakes and no long-or-short-term story impact. Deeb is an incredible talent, and AEW needs to do more with her. Like putting their own title around her waist.
Hirsch got a few good shots in, and both women looked about a billion times better than any other women’s match in recent AEW: Dynamite memory. Deeb retains the title. You know, at this point, I say AEW just partners with NWA and offers to highlight their women’s division. If for no other reason than for the homegrown women to have a look at how these matches could be done.
Speaking of AEW women, Hikaru Shida will defend the women’s title against Nyla Rose at Full Gear. Fine. Can we be done with both of them in the title picture for a while?
NEAR-MISS – Shawn Spears (W/ Tully Blanchard) Vs. VSK
Spears hits the DVD in about 30 seconds to pick up the win. Okay, well, thanks AEW: Dynamite for your quarterly acknowledgement of Shawn Spears’s existence.
On the outside, somebody in a bull costume (was this supposed to be a dedicated Halloween episode?) starts throwing candy at Spears. By that’s no bull, BAH GAWD, it’s Scorpio Sky! Sky hits the TKO and stands tall over Spears.
I’m guessing this is building to a match at Full Gear. And I’m all for that. But it’s well-documented that I’m a big, big fan of both of these guys. They’re prime-time players, and if they’re gonna have a PPV feud, there needs to be a build.
Something bigger than a two-minute segment on the one-before-the-go-home show. C’mon, AEW: Dynamite. I mean, it’s not a miss, because I’m so ridiculously happy that these guys are doing anything.
But do they have to be doing this?
HIT – World Title Eliminator Tournament Semifinal: Kenny Omega Vs. Penta El Zero M
Rey Fenix, the winner of the quarterfinal match with Penta on last week’s AEW: Dynamite, picked up an injury. So Eddie Kingston allowed Penta to wrestle in his place.
And holy mother of whatever, was that a great call. Because Penta and Kenny Omega went out and put on a flat-out Match of the Year candidate.
This might well be the best AEW: Dynamite match to date. It’s up there with Fenix vs. Jackson from last November and any number of awesome contests from this past year. The action just didn’t know where to stop. It was a trainwreck, but it was a beautifully-orchestrated trainwreck.
Penta was able to pick up some singles cred, kicking out of the V-Trigger late in the match before ultimately falling to the One-Winged Angel. A big surprise wouldn’t have hurt my feelings, and it would’ve tied nicely with Eddie Kingston’s very quiet takeover of the main event scene.
But sometimes predictable doesn’t mean bad. The finals of the tournament are now set to be ‘Hangman’ Adam Page vs. Kenny Omega. A match that’s been literally all year in the making.
Incredible way to close out this week’s AEW: Dynamite.
Okay, so we finally have more pieces to the Full Gear puzzle.
We know we’re gonna get Jericho vs. MJF (yasssss – did I use that right?), Nyla vs. Shida (yawn), and Cody defending the TNT title against Darby Allin. On top of what we already knew about, Full Gear looks like a can’t-miss show.
As for this week’s AEW: Dynamite, it was definitely a high point on the week-to-week roller coaster the show’s become in recent weeks. Here’s hoping we can stay up there for a while. Because if we take a big dip next week, on the go-home show before the PPV?
Then AEW may well be in some trouble.
Full match results and ratings:
‘Hangman’ Adam Page def. Wardlow, ***
Eddie Kingston def. Matt Sydal, ** 1/2
Cody def. Orange Cassidy, ** 3/4
Serena Deeb def. Leyla Hirsch, ***
Kenny Omega def. Penta El Zero M, **** 3/4
AEW: Dynamite airs Wednesday nights at 8 PM/ET on TNT.
All images provided by All Elite Wrestling.
'AEW: Dynamite' - October 28, 2020
- Kenny Omega and Penta TEARING - IT - UP
- MJF and Jericho continue to entertain
- The NWA offers something different (and better) than AEW's women's division can offer
- Wardlow and Hangman are gonna main event an AEW PPV some day - you wait
- Missing: Orange Cassidy's push. If found, return to All Elite Wrestling, care of Tony Khan
- Miro, Sabian, Spears, and Scorpio - all should be doing awesome stuff. Instead, they're doing whatever it is they're doing.