Kenny Omega on 'AEW: Dynamite' to sign the contract for his battle against Jon Moxley
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AEW: Dynamite is paving the road to – well – AEW: Dynamite.

And all roads are set to converge on the December 2 episode. It promises to be one of the biggest episodes in the short history of AEW: Dynamite. Kenny Omega is set to challenge Jon Moxley for the AEW Championship. With an episode in between, there’s all kinds of room for that card to expand.

But how did All Elite Wrestling fare this week? Let’s get into the hits and misses in this (very late) review of AEW: Dynamite.

Top Flight debuted on 'AEW: Dynamite' against the Young Bucks

HIT – Young Bucks Vs. Top Flight

Top Flight mentions in their prematch hype video that they grew up watching the Bucks and the Motor City Machine Guns. Meanwhile, I’m searching the house for my walker and my prescription shoes. For the sugar diabetes, you see.

Also, all it takes to get a shot at the Young Bucks is to slide into their Twitter DMs? Good to know.

Anyway. Definitely a solid showing for Top Flight. At this point, if you’re a top indie talent, a segment on AEW: Dynamite is the equivalent of opening at insert-concert-event-appealing-to-the-young-people-here. Again, I’m elderly. And for all the criticism I level at the Young Bucks, they definitely give their opponents opportunities to shine. Top Flight gets cemented as a legit presence in AEW. If there’s an issue, it’s that the Bucks lost some of that “are they jerks or not?” momentum. I guess now that they’re the champions, they get to go back to white meat babyfaces?

After the match, Angelico and Jack Evans attack Top Flight. Because reasons. I guess for an AEW Dark feud where Hybrid2 complains about a team off the street gets to face the champs? In any event, a solid segment all around.

HIT – Meanwhile In Vegas/Moxley Promo

As promised on last week’s AEW: Dynamite, MJF is taking the Inner Circle to Vegas, baby! Sammy and MJF play Blackjack, where Sammy excitedly tells Jericho he has 21. So of course, MJF switches hands. Jericho and MJF have a drinking contest that goes about as well as you’d expect. Well, Jericho is 98 years old, so 100-proof Everclear is probably not the wisest move in the world.

Wait, is that Konnan? Yeah. Yeah, that’s Konnan. He offers to take the Inner Circle on a smokey limo ride that has them seeing dragons. Is that a reference to the Devil’s Lettuce? That’s what we call weed in the Midwest. We’re strange people. But the highlight of this segment is Jake Hager and Wardlow trying to prove which is the better muscle as they beat up randos in the bar.

So this is clearly Vegas segment one-of-indeterminate. This one was pretty good, but I see all kinds of potential for this to go off the rails on AEW: Dynamite. And that’s coming from someone who loved Le Dinner Debonair. We shall see.

Also meanwhile, Jon Moxley cuts a pretaped interview and casually mentions he has a pregnant wife at home. It’s a good promo, as all Moxley promos are. But it’s starting to become a little old hat. Mox is ready for a break, and after nine months as champion will do that to ya. Oh, and he also casually mentions that he’s still the IWGP United States Champion. If we’re being honest, I forgot about that.

Orange Cassidy dives at Kip Sabian on 'AEW: Dynamite'

NEAR MISS – Orange Cassidy Vs. Kip Sabian

Oh, right. I remember Orange Cassidy. He was like a big deal for a while there.

Like every AEW: Dynamite match with Orange Cassidy, this was fine. A couple of top-notch potential main-eventers. But the problem here is that one of them already is a main eventer. He beat Chris Jericho twice. And for Orange to get embroiled in this never-ending saga about a broken arcade cabinet is disheartening.

JR channels Tony, promising the December 2 show will be the biggest Dynamite of all time.

Orange gets the win, as he should, with the Mousetrap. Miro starts beating down Orange, and Best Friends to make the save. I mean, I guess this opens the door to a tag match of some kind on the December 2 AEW: Dynamite. Okay, fine. But once we’re done with this, we can get back to printing money with Orange Cassidy?

HIT – AEW Championship Contract Signing

Kenny Omega makes his increasingly-obnoxious entrance. Justin Roberts (nope, nothing newsworthy about him) adds “Wrestling Observer Hall of Famer” to Omega’s King-of-Westeros-length list of titles and accolades. Speaking of, are there any legal ramifications of hyping Omega vs. Moxley as “Winter Is Coming?”

Unfortunately, Moxley’s been jumped and can’t make the contract signing. What? Foul play ahead of a contract signing? In pro wrestling? AEW: Dynamite is changing everything! Omega has a you-know-what-eating grin, and he happily signs the contract. I mean, you gotta have a little extra intrigue between now and December 2. But haven’t we had enough “who beat up insert-babyface-here?” angles lately? Anyway.

Omega accuses Moxley of always looking for a way out of facing him. He references the elbow injury that put Moxley out of last year’s Full Gear and says now a backstage attack puts him at risk.

MISS – Meanwhile In Vegas

Back in Vegas, shennanigans continue with the Inner Circle. Jericho, obviously of sound judgement, admits Elvis into the Inner Circle. We cut to a few hours later, and everybody wakes up in the midst of wacky circumstances. Sammy has three wives, and there are chickens running around. Really? A Hangover knock-off? Okay, I guess I can’t slam WWE for out-of-date cultural references anymore. Try harder, AEW: Dynamite.

The heart of this needed to be Sammy’s jealousy of MJF and Jericho becoming closer. And they junked that in favor of wacky comedy. Oh, and Hornswaggle dressed as a baby. What?

'AEW: Dynamite' saw PAC return to the ring

HIT – PAC Vs. The Blade

It’s hard to believe we haven’t seen PAC in action since Revolution.

And despite a couple of timing issues, the Bastard still has it. This was a really good, hard-hitting AEW: Dynamite match. Seriously, Butcher is clearly the muscle between the two, but the Blade is an excellent professional wrestler. These guys did it all – mat wrestling, brawling, and some good old-fashioned sports-entertainment.

PAC gets the win with a Shooting Star Press into the Brutalizer. After the match, Eddie Kingston sends Butcher out to beat down PAC, which in turn draws out Rey Fenix to make the save. Kingston’s crew puts the boots to him as well, drawing out Penta to make Ye Olde Difficult Choice. And they play it up. Like, I’m walking Vader deciding whether to toss Palpatine down the shaft. In the end, Penta sides with his brother and PAC.

And it looks like we’ve got Kingston, Butcher and Blade vs. Death Triangle (they’re sticking with that, huh?).

MEANWHILE backstage, Jade Cargill takes out Brandi’s arm. Well, that adds some drama for a feud in which I have literally no interest.

Thunder Rosa challenges Serena Deeb for the NWA Women's Championship on 'AEW: Dynamite'

HIT – NWA Women’s Championship – Serena Deeb (C) Vs. Thunder Rosa

Once again on AEW: Dynamite, the NWA women’s title is more coveted than the AEW one.

As for the match, these two could wrestle every week, and I don’t think it would get old. They did a little bit of everything. Brawling, wrestling, and ring-apron spots. By the way, I’ve heard tell that the ring apron is the hardest part of the ring. Late in the match, Rebel comes out to run interference while Britt Baker runs in to attack Thunder Rosa. The match gets back on track, and Deeb ratains.

After the match, Baker comes out for more, and she and Deeb brawl into the crowd. Okay, so for now at least, AEW: Dynamite has its mind made up that Britt Baker is an evil opportunist. Now they just need to massage that together with her snarky persona, and we’ve got ourselves a character.

Just to show how little AEW regards its own women’s title, we get a throwaway promo of John Silver announces that EVIL Anna Jay will challenge Hikaru Shida on next week’s AEW: Dynamite. You know, I like Shida, but it’s time to get the title off of her and see if Anna and the Dark Order can inject some life into the division. And the AEW Women’s Championship. What with this being AEW and all.

Cody teamed with Darby Allin on 'AEW: Dynamite'

HIT – Darby Allin & Cody Rhodes Vs. Team Taz

I feel like this stuff with Team Taz and Darby Allin has been going on for a hundred years. Also, remember back in the late 70s when Taz gave Will Hobbs an ultimatum about joining Team Taz? Anyway.

This was an awesome match. Lots of back-and-forth action with Cody taking the rare back seat and letting Darby and Team Taz be the stars. Ultimately, Darby takes the pinfall, as Brian Cage picks up the win for his team with the Drill Claw. AEW: Dynamite has been doing a fabulous job of making Team Taz a big deal. It’s a slow-build, but that’s what AEW does best.

Oh, and remember two minutes ago? When I made a joke about Will Hobbs and Team Taz? Well, Hobbs runs out to make the save. But instead he clocks Cody in the face with the FTW Championship. Holy hell, they finally paid it off! Seriously, praise be to the slow build.

Team Taz are finally big-time players on AEW: Dynamite.

Darby Allin and Cody Rhodes teamed up on 'AEW: Dynamite' to take on Team Taz

The Breakdown

That main event was a microcosm of all things that make AEW: Dynamite great. Weeks of build-up all leading to satisfying payoffs.

I could’ve done without the Hangover stuff, because that’s just lazy. And not at all par for the course for AEW. It’s probably the only Inner Circle/MJF segment to fall flat in a long, long time.

But it’s a bump-in-the-road in an otherwise stellar edition.

Full match results and ratings:

Young Bucks def. Top Flight, ** 3/4

Orange Cassidy def. Kip Sabian, ** 1/2

PAC def. The Blade, ***

Serena Deeb def. Thunder Rosa, *** 1/2

Team Taz def. Darby Allin & Cody Rhodes – ** 3/4

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

All images provided by All Elite Wrestling.

'AEW: Dynamite' - November 18, 2020

9.4

In-Ring Action

8.9/10

Booking

9.5/10

Storytelling

10.0/10

Entertainment Value

9.0/10

Pros

  • Kenny Omega coming into his own as a character
  • Team Taz getting a big rub in a prime spot
  • Long-term wrestling storytelling at its best
  • I am THERE for Britt Baker and Serena Deeb

Cons

  • 'Hangover' references? Really?
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