Jericho offers Moxley a place in the Inner Circle on 'AEW: Dynamite'
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AEW: Dynamite began the journey to the end of 2019 with last week’s episode.

And based upon the storylines continued and set up, All Elite Wrestling is poised to close the year with a bang.

But where this past week’s episode excelled was in bringing viewers up to date with where these stories have come from.

AEW is head and shoulders above the competition when it comes to storytelling.

And AEW: Dynamite proved why once again.

Moxley with a decision to make

HIT — Moxley And The Inner Circle?

The show opened with Jon Moxley dispatching with a jobber with the Paradigm Shift in less than a minute.

Immediately after the match, AEW World Champion Chris Jericho made his way to the ring and offered Moxley a spot in the Inner Circle.

But the highlight of the segment wasn’t just Jericho’s offer. He took the time to recap the pair’s history going back to Moxley’s early days in WWE. That’s what I’m talking about when it comes to storytelling.

The legendary Stan Lee once said that every comic book is some reader’s first. Jericho recapping his history with Moxley brings new fans up to speed and gives those of us who have been around awhile a fresh perspective.

Another fantastic promo from Jericho. And another home run opening segment for AEW: Dynamite.

HIT — Bucks Vs. Santana and Ortiz Recap

Next came another great catch-up segment on AEW: Dynamite, this time focused on the main event street fight between the Young Bucks and Santana and Ortiz.

It was maybe a minute long, but Excalibur doing a quick-and-dirty recap of the teams’ rivalry (dating back to AEW All Out) was perfect.

If you didn’t know what this was going into it, you did coming out.

Cody takes to the air against the Blade on 'AEW: Dynamite'

NEAR-MISS — Of Butchers And Blades

Jim Ross said almost off the opening bell for the match that pitted Cody and QT Marshall against the Butcher and the Blade.

“I’d like to know a little more about them.”

Me, too.

The match was solid. But aside from Cody, nobody had any heat, at least with me. The live crowd ate it up, but it didn’t translate well to television.

A snippet of an MJF promo during Cody’s entrance tied the match to something interesting. But nothing from this AEW: Dynamite segment made me care about Butcher and Blade.

And, unless you followed the Road To YouTube shows leading up to Double Or Nothing and All Out, odds are you don’t know who QT Marshall is. (He was the guy with the apples)

Butcher and Blade are a solid tag team. In fact, they look like they’re probably cut from the same cloth as the Revival.

Hopefully they can consider their issue with Cody finished after this week. At which point they can get folded into the tag team division proper. And Marshall pulled out some pretty awesome moves to come across as a legitimate player.

But for now, I just don’t know why I should care.

The post-match business with Darby Allin coming to be moral support for a dejected Cody could lead to something. But it’s time (past time) for AEW to do something to make me care about Butcher and Blade.

HIT — MJF On The Mic

Full disclosure, as an avowed MJF mark, I was predisposed to call this segment a hit.

To start this AEW: Dynamite segment, MJF called a random technician (who was clearly not a local wrestler) into the ring to take him to task for laughing at one of Cody’s remarks. Before immediately dropping him with a Crossroads.

It was old school heel work, which is MJF’s strong suit. It was a direct response to Cody’s impassioned promo the week before, and it was brilliant.

At its close, MJF promised to lay out the stipulations for his coming match with Cody on the New Year’s Day episode of AEW: Dynamite.

The promo kept the feud between Cody and MJF alive while keeping them apart. Between the two of them, Cody and MJF are poised to sell the biggest feud of 2020.

And I can’t wait to see all of it.

HIT — The Dark Order Just Keeps Getting Creepier

Seriously, these Dark Order vignettes are beyond awesome.

This week, Alex Reynolds of the Beaver Boys tag team (who lost to Moxley in the opening match) is spoken to by the Dark Order through his TV.

“Aren’t you tired of being a jobber, Alex?”

His partner, John Silver, enters afterward, completely oblivious to what’s happening on the TV.

The omnipresence and creepiness of the Dark Order has become a weekly highlight on AEW: Dynamite.

I still don’t know where they’re going with it, but I’m incredibly interested to find out.

MISS — Emi Sakura Vs. Big Swole

From an action standpoint, this was another strong women’s match for AEW: Dynamite.

It was a solid TV debut for Big Swole and a big win, and the crowd was solidly behind her. And they were into the action in the match.

But after a couple weeks where the women’s division seemed to be getting somewhere in terms of storytelling, I’m just not sure what this match had to do with anything.

AEW Women’s Champion Riho is still nowhere to be found. Number-one contender Hikaru Shida being at ringside tied the match to something important. But the context of the match itself didn’t seem important.

TNT must not have thought so, either, as the picture-in-picture just kind of went away about 45 seconds into the commercial break. And it wasn’t a local thing, because one of the commercials was for a TNT show.

If AEW doesn’t care about its women’s division, why should I? And since this episode aired, a match for this week between Kris Statlander and Britt Baker for the number-one contendership has been announced.

Um, why? In the course of a week, who shot ahead of Shida? Keeping fans up to date with the rankings via social media alone doesn’t work.

Huge step backward.

HIT — How Spears Got His Groove Back

Shawn Spears has been floundering in AEW since his match with Cody at AEW All Out.

He teamed with Kip Sabian against Hangman Page and Kenny Omega, and AEW: Dynamite weaved a number of stories together at once.

During a pre-taped promo, Spears manager Tully Blanchard mentioned that he’s scouting potential partners for Spears to make a tag title run. Through the match, Spears let Sabian run the show and sat back to observe.

Then, at the end of the match, we saw that Spears’s archrival Joey Janela had tied Blanchard to a chair.

It put Spears back on the map with a big angle, kept Sabian in the mix, and it ratcheted up the numbers in the ‘W’ column for Omega and Page.

This AEW: Dynamite killed a whole flock of birds with one stone. More great storytelling.

HIT — Brandi Turns Up The Crazy

Brandi cut another psycho promo, and it was beautiful.

Points to Brandi for bringing up Riho’s MIA status, but she essentially said everything I’ve been saying about the women’s division.

It isn’t exactly a great way to hype up the women’s division, but it is driving the Nightmare Collective story forward.

And I’ll take story progression wherever I can get it.

Jungle Boy takes down Le Champion on 'AEW: Dynamite'

HIT — The Inner Circle Continues To Kill It

Le Champion came out with Jake Hager to chase Schiavone and Excalibur away to do commentary with JR.

So whether or not the match between Luchasaurus and Sammy Guevara was predisposed to be a hit.

This AEW: Dynamite segment was just a perfect storm. Luchasaurus got over big, and Guevara continued his own momentum in the ring, all while Jericho hyped up his December 18 non-title match against Jungle Boy.

On commentary, Jim Ross didn’t try to keep the intrigue from the opening segment with Moxley alive. But AEW kept its eyes on the prize with its gaze toward next week. After the match, the Inner Circle put the boots to Luchasaurus only for the rest of the Jurassic Express to make the save.

Which gave an opportunity for Jungle Boy to get an advantage over the champ. And it paved the way for a hoss battle between Hager and Luchasaurus.

Again, a single segment can tell a multitude of stories, and AEW: Dynamite pulled it off flawlessly with this one.

The Bucks faced Santana and Ortiz on 'AEW: Dynamite'

HIT — Bucks Go Berserk

The Young Bucks battle against Santana and Ortiz in the main event of AEW: Dynamite could headline just about any pay-per-view in the world.

Again, the street fight rules played to the strengths of both teams. Santana and Ortiz were able to get downright vicious, and the Bucks didn’t have any rules to work with.

As Jericho mentioned in a post-show locker room meeting, as reported by Wrestling Inc, AEW’s tag team division does a problem with enforcing the rules (primarily a lack of clear tags). And no one is more guilty than the Bucks.

Here, they were able to flex their spotfest muscles without any hindrances.

The Bucks picked up the win, and the show closed with a showdown between Tag Team Champions SCU. Again, so many stories being told here. The Young Bucks can close this chapter of their feud with Santana and Ortiz, and it built to a big tag title match on the next AEW: Dynamite.

SCU flashes the gold at the Young Bucks on 'AEW: Dynamite'

The Breakdown

As far as the ratings are concerned, NXT and AEW were dead even last week.

But when it comes to storytelling – both long- and short-term – All Elite Wrestling is all over it.

Story is king in AEW, and that continues to make all the difference.

AEW: Dynamite airs Wednesdays at 8 PM ET on TNT.

All images courtesy of All Elite Wrestling.

'AEW: Dynamite' - December 11, 2019

9.5

In-Ring Action

9.0/10

Booking

9.4/10

Promos/Video Packages

10.0/10

Entertainment Value

9.5/10

Pros

  • The build to Jericho vs. Moxley is awesome
  • MJF continues to be MJF
  • Dark - F'N - Order
  • Psycho Brandi is a lot of fun

Cons

  • The Butcher, the Blade, and Who Cares?
  • Mixed messages in the women's division
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