AEW Champ Jon Moxley wants his belt back on 'AEW: Dynamite'
Facebooktwitterpinteresttumblrmail

AEW: Dynamite was the last stop on the road to Saturday’s Double Or Nothing pay-per-view.

Maybe it’s not fair to call Double Or Nothing a tough sell. AEW has a pretty good PPV track record. But paying $50 for an empty arena show? You’d need some pretty good stories and a pretty good card.

While the card isn’t the most spectacular in the world, the storytelling has been.

It was the go-home show for Double Or Nothing this week on AEW: Dynamite. And AEW sold ice to an eskimo.

HIT –  The Inner Circle Arrives

Now, I’m not usually one to cover the cold opens. Even for AEW: Dynamite.

This episode is an exception. A limo pulls up, and Le Champion and company exit. Alex Marvez immediately tries to find out what the Inner Circle has in store.

Jericho says the destruction of Vanguard-1 on last week’s AEW: Dynamite was just a taste of what’s in store for Matt Hardy and the Elite.

Then, one-by-one, as they exit the frame, the Inner Circle insults Marvez, capped off by Ortiz calling him a “nincompoop.”

I guess I’m just a mark for heels insulting backstage interviewers. Remember when that was Michael Cole’s job? Ah, the good old days.

AEW Champion Jon Moxley took on 10, the Dark Order's minion, on 'AEW: Dynamite'

HIT – Jon Moxley Vs. 10

The AEW Champion opens AEW: Dynamite, taking on the Dark Order’s 10.

Brodie Lee accompanies his minion to the ring, with the AEW Championship in tow.

As Lee cuts his pre-match promo, he commands 10 to take a knee. Apparently 10 doesn’t do it quite right, because Lee yells at him. Okay, I get the Vince parody now. The Dark Order is a cult, and Vince runs WWE like a cult. Cleverish.

Oh, right, there was a match. Moxley hits the ring, and the Dark Order beats a path out of town with the belt. The bell rings, and Moxley commences to murder 10 for a few minutes.

10 gets back into it, and he actually looks pretty good. Both guys looked good, but there’s a PPV this Saturday. So naturally, the champ comes out a winner.

After the match, Moxley goes full-on vicious, wrapping a chair around 10’s arm. He threatens to Pilmanize it unless Lee brings him the belt. But the Exalted One understands that sacrifices are necessary these days.

I’m still not sold on this as a PPV-caliber main event. But damned if this wasn’t a great AEW: Dynamite segment.

MJF faced Marko Stunt on 'AEW: Dynamite' ahead of his match with Jungle Boy at 'Double Or Nothing'

MJF Vs. Marko Stunt

It’s not really AEW: Dynamite without MJF heeling it up like a champ.

Marko tries to bodyslam him off the bell, so MJF all but bodyslams the little guy through the mat. A bearhug follows, as MJF mugs for the camera. Marko fights out with a couple of claps to the ear and goes for a sunset flip. MJF acts like Marko might actually take him down, then stands firm and smirks.

I don’t have words for my admiration for MJF’s heel skills. Also, in hyping Saturday’s match between MJF and Jungle Boy, we get our first “Jungle Jack” of the night from JR.

MJF turns up the bullying to 10, forcing Marko to pick his nose with his own finger. I was ashamed to laugh at that, but I also wasn’t.

Marko taps to the Salt of the Earth, giving MJF the win. The Jurassic Express rushes in to make the save, as MJF heads for the hills.

I mean, I don’t know that any more excited to see Jungle Boy vs. MJF. But this was a great MJF segment on AEW: Dynamite.

Arn Anderson and Jake 'The Snake' Roberts had a verbal sparring on 'AEW: Dynamite'

MISS – Arn Anderson/Jake Roberts Interview

Because that’s what the kids wanna see on AEW: Dynamite. Two elderly people yelling at each other.

They say a word here and there about Cody vs. Lance Archer. Which is good, since that’s what the segment should be about.

But before long, they flip the table set up in the ring over, and Arn threatens to give Jake the Spinebuster. Luckily, a bunch of referees run in to break up the fight before we end up with a Geriatric Match.

Yeah, this isn’t how you sell a PPV.

HIT – Pretapes: Darby Allin, PAC

We get a couple of pretaped segments next on AEW: Dynamite.

First up is Darby Allin’s latest artsy-fartsy production, with Darby playing poker with three guys wearing masks of some of his opponents in the Casino Ladder Match.

And then, we get the return of PAC to AEW: Dynamite. PAC says he’s sick of sitting at home with nothing to do, and he’s still pissed at Orange Cassidy and Best Friends. So he’s sending Fenix to take care of Cassidy, both on tonight’s show and at Double Or Nothing.

If we can get the aforementioned elders to watch these segments, this is how you hype a match.

And a reminder: It helps to make it about the match. More solid pretapes on AEW: Dynamite.

Orange Cassidy and Rey Fenix, who will compete in the Casino Ladder Match at 'Double Or Nothing,' did battle on 'AEW: Dynamite'

HIT – Orange Cassidy Vs. Rey Fenix

These guys really went at it on AEW: Dynamite.

Seriously, don’t ever consider Orange Cassidy just a gimmick wrestler. The guy has game, and Rey Fenix was an awesome opponent for him.

During Cassidy’s entrance, Fenix rushes in to kick the Orange one’s head off. Cassidy tilts his head slightly, and Fenix misses. Yeah, I popped for that.

The match was great, as Cassidy made his lax approach make sense within the context of the contest. Kip Sabian ran out for a distraction, setting up a ladder and looking down at his Casino Ladder Match opponents. Fenix gets a distraction pin, before SCU runs out, and we get an all-out brawl among the ladder match participants.

Three straight AEW: Dynamite segments, all selling the Casino Ladder Match. Those segments did a world of favors for Double Or Nothing.

MISS – Nyla Rose And Dr. Britt Baker, DMD Vs. Hikaru Shida And Kris Statlander

Speaking of selling Double Or Nothing. Rose is set to defend the AEW Women’s Championship against Shida at Double Or Nothing while Baker and Statlander are set to go one-on-one.

Two women’s matches on the same card? Seriously, it took a global pandemic for AEW to do this?

Unfortunately, this match put Baker vs. Statlander in danger. Shida had a spot where she and Statlander lifted Rose and dropped her on a prone Baker in the corner. But Rose landed awkwardly on Baker’s knee, putting Dr. Baker out of the rest of the match.

The heels picked up the win, after Rose hit the Beast Bomb on Shida.

I swear, it’s one step forward, two steps back with the women’s division on AEW: Dynamite. AEW understandably wants to compete with WWE’s formidable women’s division. But the talent is just too green, and incidents like this just keep happening.

HIT – Moxley Interview

Backstage at AEW: Dynamite, Marvez catches up with Moxley to get some words about the title match at Double Or Nothing.

Moxley keeps it short and sweet, promising that things are only going to get worse for Brodie Lee.

AEW: Dynamite keeps pulling out all the stops to hype PPV matches the way WWE does. The contract signing between Jericho and Cody in November. Tonight’s Bingo Night promo with Arn and Jake.

And it’s segments like this that sell matches and sell PPVs.

HIT – Shawn Spears News

Hey, look, more TV time for Shawn Spears on AEW: Dynamite!

I know I’ve been putting over Spears for weeks, but I am so happy to see him finally getting airtime.

Spears appears as the anchor of SSN, Shawn Spears News. He announces that Dustin Rhodes retired after getting murdered by Lance Archer a few weeks back. But he isn’t going to let the Natural get away that easily.

The Chairman of AEW challenges Dustin to a match at Double Or Nothing.

It’s a little out of nowhere, but the framework of Spears dogging Cody for letting Archer beat Dustin silly makes it hold up.

Sammy Guevara took on Matt Hardy ahead of 'Double Or Nothing's' Stadium Stampede on 'AEW: Dynamite'

HIT – Sammy Guevara Vs. Matt Hardy

And here we are. The last AEW: Dynamite main event before Double Or Nothing.

Like most of the matches before it, it does a hell of a job selling Double Or Nothing, with this segment hyping the Stadium Stampede.

Sammy proves why he’s a potentially game-changing star for AEW. He bumps all over the place for Hardy, who looks as good as he’s looked in years.

It’s amazing what not working in a stifling, soul-crushing environment can do for you.

Sammy takes the most vicious Twist of Fate I’ve ever seen, but the Inner Circle rushes in for the beatdown. The Elite makes the save, and they brawl into TIAA Bank Stadium again. And just as the Inner Circle is about to destroy a tied-up Omega, the Young Bucks return!

I’m not usually happy to see the Bucks. It’s the one thing Jim Cornette and I might agree on. But this was an exception, and a perfect way to close out the show.

That was a genuinely surprising twist of events. And an awesome way to both close out AEW: Dynamite and usher in Double Or Nothing.

AEW - All Elite Wrestling

The Breakdown

For the last month or so, I’ve had my doubts over whether AEW: Dynamite could properly sell this Saturday’s PPV.

Consider my words gladly eaten.

Double Or Nothing doesn’t look like anything special on paper. And it’s entirely possible that it won’t be anything special. Hell, on paper it looks like the fourth-best AEW: Dynamite of the year.

But damned if AEW: Dynamite hasn’t done an awesome job of hyping Double Or Nothing like it’s the biggest show of all time.

AEW: Dynamite airs Wednesday nights on TNT at 8PM/ET. Double Or Nothing is live on pay-per-view this Saturday, for $49.99 via cable and satellite providers and through the B/R Live app.

All images courtesy of All Elite Wrestling.

'AEW: Dynamite' - May 20, 2020

8.6

In-Ring Action

8.9/10

Booking/Writing

8.0/10

Promos/Video Packages

8.5/10

Entertainment Value

8.8/10

Pros

  • This show built up the Casino Ladder Match perfectly
  • Moxley and Lee gave their feud some real credibility
  • Shawn Spears with some prime TV time!
  • MJF. That is all.

Cons

  • ElderMania with Jake and Arn was unnecessary
  • Sloppiness from the women's match is a big step backward
Facebooktwitterpinteresttumblrmail