AEW: Dynamite had a lot of questions to answer in the wake of All Out.
And in some cases, it had a lot to answer for.
All Out was a great show from a wrestling and storytelling perspective. But there’s a black eye that will haunt the show forever. Namely the gross mishandling of an injury sustained by Matt Hardy.
In the middle of an AEW: Dynamite that had to continue to document the downward spiral of the Elite, Jon Moxley’s new challenger, and Kip Sabian’s best man, AEW also addressed the elephant in the room.
Here come the hits and misses from this week’s AEW: Dynamite.
HIT – Cold Open
MJF and Chris Jericho arrive to AEW: Dynamite at the same time. Jericho assures MJF he should’ve won the title match against Moxley at All Out.
Likewise, MJF considers it criminal that Jericho lost to Orange Cassidy. And they each promise the other that – at some point – the other will be AEW Champion.
And, for the feather in the cap, both walk away saying, “What a loser.”
Never say that AEW: Dynamite doesn’t play the long game. Jericho vs. MJF? That’s a dream feud.
HIT – Jurassic Express Vs. Lucha Bros. (W/ Eddie Kingston And Butcher & Blade)
As is often the case on AEW: Dynamite, they would’ve had to try to have a bad match.
The energy from the onset was off the charts. And the opening sequence between Jungle Boy an Rey Fenix was a thing to behold. These teams could take this match anywhere in the world.
And when Luchasaurus gets the hot tag, it’s a whole other game. I know AEW is all about “real sports” when it comes to the tag division, as exemplified by FTR. But Jurassic Express would be a great top-tier tag team.
As if reading my mind, Jungle Boy gets the pin for his team.
After the match, the Luchas get in each others’ faces. This forces Eddie Kingston to play peacemaker. Kingston calls out PAC (“Where’s your British friend?”). He asks the Luchas to shake hands. Fenix is game, but Penta pushes him away. But he finally breaks down and shakes the hand.
And while he’s at it, Kingston points out that – by the rules – he wasn’t eliminated from the Casino Battle Royale. Nice promo. Kingston gets to play the glue that keeps his team together and the guy who’s out for himself. As always, Vince? Bruce? This stuff isn’t hard. Solid AEW: Dynamite opener.
NEAR MISS – Matt Hardy
Before Matt gets a chance to talk on AEW: Dynamite, Jake Roberts hypes up Lance Archer. The Snake has harsh words for Jon Moxley, as does Archer. That could be a killer match.
JR keeps saying that Matt is in the “eye of controversy.” That’s putting it mildly.
Matt says he suffered a scary fall at All Out. He thanks the fans for all the support and concern over the bump he took against Sammy Guevara. Matt claims to have taken a myriad of tests and is expected to make a full recovery. He thanks his family, including his wife Reby and apologizes for putting her through the ordeal on Saturday.
It’s a good sign that Reby is there, because she’s generally really outspoken about the dark side of the business. In short, she’s not one to let herself be used as a prop by AEW. That lends a lot of credibility to Tony Khan’s claims that Matt didn’t suffer a concussion.
Matt says that he needs to get in shape to finish the feud with Sammy and to vie for the AEW Championship. I feel a little better about the whole situation, but I can’t be sure that AEW needs to be let off the hook. No matter what, when Aubrey put up the “X” at All Out, that should’ve been it.
HIT – Orange Cassidy Vs. Angelico (W/ Jack Evans)
So weird. Four months ago this would’ve been the halfway point of AEW Dark. Now it’s a featured match on AEW: Dynamite.
Glad to see the Jericho feud didn’t just make Cassidy revert to being the gimmick guy. Orange maintained the things that made him a star, but he isn’t intentionally sleepwalking through matches anymore. You can’t take the big steps Orange Cassidy has taken over the last three months and go back to the well.
Ya hear that, WWE?
Cassidy gets the win with the Orange Punch. It’s so weird seeing Cassidy being the guy to go over enhancement talent.
After the match, Santana and Ortiz jump Orange from behind. Best Friends run out to make the save. Chuck challenges Santana and Ortiz to a street fight on the next AEW: Dynamite. This feels like a placeholder while they figure out where Orange Cassidy goes next.
HIT – Kip Sabian’s Best Man Reveal
Before we get to the reveal, Alex Marvez tries to get a word with the Young Bucks about the breakup of the Elite. So they superkick him. Okay, now if the Bucks can just keep playing heel, AEW could get some great mileage out of this.
It’s been a while since AEW: Dynamite saw a really killer debut.
With Kip Sabian an Penelope Ford getting married, Sabian unveiled his best man. Because weddings always turn out swimmingly in pro wrestling.
The first guy out is Puff, who misunderstood Kip when he said he was the best for subscribing to his Twitch. Then Brian Pillman accepts, mistaking Kip’s text saying, “You’re the best, man.” And we finally get the real best man.
It looks like Kip’s wedding will be on Rusev Day, because it’s Miro!
That’s a huge get for AEW. Also, holy crap, I actually got one right when I guessed where the torrent of WWE releases would land back in April! One out of 159 ain’t bad. Although, if I were scoring on points, I’d shave a few for AEW’s lame riff on his old Rusev theme music.
Crowd throws up a “Miro Day” chant. Nice. Miro takes an immediate shot at Vince, WWE, and the brass ring. A little on-the-nose. Still, this was a big AEW: Dynamite moment handled extremely well.
HIT – ‘Hangman’ Page Interview
Backstage, Tony sits down with ‘Hangman’ Adam Page. In a surprise to no one, Page is drinking. And wearing an awful shirt.
Not the worst cowboy shirt I’ve ever seen on AEW: Dynamite. I’d rate it maybe a 2-out-of-10 on the “too obnoxious to be worn by humans” scale. Page offers Tony a drink, but Tony politely declines.
The Hangman says he’s bruised up after the tag title match at All Out. But Tony wants to know, for real, how he’s feeling. He felt like the crowd was holding its breath for he and Kenny to lose the tag titles.
Page accepts blame for FTR getting the tag title shot. And he takes responsibility for losing friends in the Elite.
This was a really good AEW: Dynamite segment. Leave it to AEW to turn a pro wrestlers’ pity party into compelling television.
HIT – Chris Jericho & Jake Hager Vs. Joey Janela & Sonny Kiss (No DQ)
This is something AEW: Dynamite does well. And I haven’t given them credit for it in a while. Side quests.
Jericho doesn’t have a built-in program in motion – his feud with Cassidy is done. But there’s still the thread of Jericho’s beatdown of Janela from last week’s AEW: Dynamite.
Janela makes wonderful use of plunder, Sonny provides the high spots, and Hager offers the muscle. And Jericho is, well, he’s Jericho.
Sonny and Janela are another great, underused tag team on AEW: Dynamite. Janela taking a beating and Sonny looking for the hot tag is tag team wrestling perfection. Awesome spot on the outside as Jericho catapults Janela into Hager. Who promptly puts him through a table.
And Sonny got some awesome offense in on both Jericho and Hager. The heels get the win after Jericho sprays Sonny in the face with a fire extinguisher. That leads to Hager getting the urinagi for the pin.
This was a super fun AEW: Dynamite match. Inner Circle looks like complete jerks, and Sonny and Joey look like heroes in defeat. After the match, Jericho promises that he and Hager are taking a run at the tag titles.
HIT – MJF Campaign Headquarters/Moxley Pretape
Meanwhile, MJF laments his loss to Moxley for the AEW Championship.
Of course, he shoulders none of the blame. And instead he fires his entire campaign staff. Poor Nina smiles through the whole thing.
Only the gum guy gets away unscathed. MJF gets in Wardlow’s face, drawing the big man’s ire. He reminds Wardlow that Tony Khan isn’t paying him – MJF is.
If they go the HBK/Diesel route with these guys, AEW could absolutely print money. This was a great AEW: Dynamite segment.
Next, Moxley cuts a pretaped promo. He reminds Lance Archer that he’s been beaten down before and gotten back up. Moxley sees a man where everyone else sees a monster.
With the title on the line, Moxley says he’s unstoppable. If you want to sell a big match, just put a camera in front of Jon Moxley and turn it on.
NEAR MISS – FTR Celebration
Next on AEW: Dynamite, Tully Blanchard and FTR celebrate winning the tag team titles at All Out.
All three guys are decked out in suits. Somehow, the cheesy leather jackets seemed classier.
Tully gives Hangman and Omega credit for putting up a good fight, but nobody can dispute that FTR is the best tag team in the world. Wheeler puts over the whole tag team division, many of whom are surrounding the ring. But they quickly turn into backhand compliments.
“Can you imagine us wrestling SCU in your prime?!”
Harwood declares FTR the new locker room leaders. They call out Billy (Not Gunn) for being in a second-rate Hall of Fame. Next he runs down Jurassic Express while also hyping their non-title match on next week’s AEW: Dynamite. Luchasaurus and Jungle Boy enter the ring and take exception. But FTR cheap shots them and beats a path out of the ring.
So Marko dumps the beer cooler over Tully and FTR.
Credit to AEW for intentionally subverting expectations by having a cake in the ring and not throwing it at anybody.
Beyond selling the match next week, the overall point of this segment is kinda lost on me.
HIT – Team Taz Segment
Taz joins the commentary team to taunt Darby Allin on AEW: Dynamite.
Darby’s music hits, but it’s Ricky Starks in his Darby Allin cosplay. He goes full-on emo and laments that he got a thumb tack in his foot “and now I can’t go skateboarding with my friends!”
Starks gets real and tells Darby he’s reckless, which is why nobody in AEW wants to tag with him.
Why are we not putting a microphone in Ricky’s hand every week?
NEAR MISS – Nyla Rose (W/ Vicki Guererro) Vs. Tay Conti
Hey, congratulations to Tay Conti for the fresh ink on that AEW contract! Enjoy getting crushed by Nyla Rose.
It’s hard for me to give this AEW: Dynamite match particularly high marks. Both women looked good, and Nyla got to clobber somebody. Which is what she should be doing every week.
But one Nyla Rose match a month doesn’t keep her on the RADAR as a serious challenger to the women’s championship. Nyla wins with the Beast Bomb, and Vicki promises she and Nyla aren’t going anywhere. Rose goes to beat down Conti, and Hikaru Shida runs out to make the save.
That kind of sets things right, but the point remains. I can’t care about Nyla being dangerous after two months of being used less-than-sparingly on AEW: Dynamite.
Some goofy production stuff during this match. A graphic comes up on the screen saying that Cody has big news “after the match.” But Tony keeps saying the news is coming “after the show.” Sigh. Whatever.
HIT – Kenny Omega Interview
JR sits down with Kenny Omega for a pretape.
Jim walks Omega through the oddity of the tag team with the Hangman. They were polar opposites, but when the bell rang, they worked as a unit.
Omega says that teaming with Page brought him out of his singles funk.
JR asks what’s next for Kenny Omega, and Omega says rekindling the Page and Omega team or making up with the Bucks aren’t part of his plans.
This was a stop-gap interview. But it did seem to offer a definitive answer: The Elite is done.
HIT – TNT Championship Match – Brodie Lee (C, W/ Dark Order) Vs. Dustin Rhodes (W/ Nightmare Family)
Dustin rocking the blue gear and face paint is giving me Stardust flashbacks.
Oh, and it turns out Cody’s been written off TV so he can be a game show judge. No, seriously.
Anyway. Dustin clotheslines Brodie over the top rope before the bell, and it quickly turns into a WWE main event brawl.
This AEW: Dynamite main event was solid for what it was. The segment is a hit more for the story than for the match.
Dustin hit the Crossroads near the end, but it wasn’t enough to put away the Exalted One. Brodie picked up the win and defended the title with the discus lariat.
After the match, the Dark Order, including Colt Cabana, hit the ring to celebrate. But Mr. Lee immediately banishes Cabana from the ring. I’m loving the slow psychological ruining of Colt Cabana.
The Dark Order lost some steam with the arrival of Lee. But they’ve really found their stride. And if I’m right that Cody is going to turn heel eventually, this is something AEW can mine for motivation. “My own brother couldn’t wait for me to get hurt to go after my title!”
Here’s to potential.
I was really worried about this week’s AEW: Dynamite. The Matt Hardy debacle was a hard thing to downplay. And to AEW’s credit, they didn’t try to downplay it. As mentioned, the damage control approach wasn’t enough to let them off the hook in my estimation. But they handled it about as well as they possibly could.
As for the rest of the show, it was a really good PPV fallout episode. Just enough loose threads picked up and just enough new stories minted.
AEW: Dynamite airs Wednesday nights on TNT at 8 PM/ET. It is not currently known if the NBA Playoffs will preempt AEW: Dynamite next week. The next episode will air either on September 16 or 17.
All images provided by All Elite Wrestling.
'AEW: Dynamite' - September 9, 2020
- It's Miro Day!
- Give Ricky Starks a microphone and get out of the way
- The Elite breakup was handled beautifully
- Jungle Boy gets a pin!
- Matt Hardy segment was about as good as it could be. But AEW isn't off the hook.
- Why am I supposed to take Nyla Rose seriously as a title challenger?