The dust settled for Cody and Jericho at 'AEW: Dynamite'
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AEW: Dynamite aired its first post-PPV episode this week. And there was a lot to sift through.

There was the aftermath of  Chris Jericho defending the AEW Championship against Cody. Plus the aftermath of MJF’s betrayal of the challenger and his supposed best friend.

Pac and ‘Hangman’ Adam Page faced off in the rubber match of their feud, and the Inner Circle challenged for more gold in the main event.

How did AEW fare with so much on its plate for one episode?

Well, it was a little messy. Actually, it was a flat-out mess. But it was an enthusiastic mess for AEW.

Jon Moxley spoke his mind on 'AEW: Dynamite.'

HIT — MOXLEY SMASH!

Just days after destroying Kenny Omega in their unsanctioned, Lights-Out match at AEW Full Gear, Jon Moxley was in something of a mood.

The show opened with footage of the AEW doctors refusing to clear Omega to compete before transitioning to a match between Moxley and Michael Nakazawa.

Moxley dispatched with Nakazawa in a minute with the Paradigm Shift, but the highlight was the promo afterward. His first words, “So that one counts, right?” continued to set the tone for the direction in which AEW is taking his character.

The Purveyor of Violence did a great job of lamenting AEW’s view of him as a “hardcore guy.” But it also came across that he’ll make AEW and its competitors pay the longer they make him play the part.

A perfect blurring of the lines between reality and kayfabe. It set up his desire for a legitimate win over Omega and also keeps something in the hopper down the line for Omega. I get the sense that this feud, which began in May at AEW Double Or Nothing, will go on for a while. And I’m here for it.

Granted, Moxley ended the segment by offering up an open challenge to anyone willing to face him (more on that later), but the story and the money is still with Moxley vs. Omega.

Great way to open AEW: Dynamite. But more importantly, a different way to open AEW: Dynamite.

NEAR MISS — Dark Order Vs. Jurassic Express

Cody? Bucks? Kevin Sullivan? WHOEVER. The Dark Order thing just isn’t working.

Even the super-over Jurassic Express team of Marko Stunt and Jungle Boy couldn’t quite make up for the incomprehensible mess that is the Dark Order’s gimmick.

AEW really needs to go back to the drawing board with this team. I don’t understand why anybody should be afraid of them. They can’t beat much of anyone, and they don’t do anything particularly menacing.

The only thing saving this segment was the return of Luchasaurus. This guy is over like rover just by virtue of being really big, wearing a dinosaur mask, and hanging out with guys who look like small children.

AEW has something with him, and by extension Stunt and Jungle Boy. But the Dark Order is just as dead as a Terminator sequel for AEW: Dynamite.

MISS — Three Guys, No Mojo

After beating Joey Janela at Full Gear, Shawn Spears got a bit of momentum back. But he still didn’t feel like a big deal in his match with Peter Avalon and Darby Allin on AEW: Dynamite.

The match was solid enough, and Allin picked up his first win since facing Jericho for the world title a few weeks back. But this was a match where nobody really came out on top.

Allin answered Moxley’s challenge from earlier in the show, meaning that there’s a plan in place for him. And a damn good one, too, I think. Moxley and Allin should have great chemistry in the ring.

Avalon is a glorified jobber, and that’s fine. He’s basically AEW’s version of Damien Sandow (who remembers him?).

But Spears is somebody who came in with a lot of promise, especially after his match with Cody at All Out. AEW needs to find something for him to do besides being a transitional opponent for other peoples’ feuds. Janela came out for some revenge on Spears. But that seemed more like a means to get Allin to the one-on-one win than a plan for Spears and Janela.

Simply put, this was a mess.

HIT — Women’s (Kinda) Evolution

AEW’s women’s division is starting to feel real. And after weeks of start-stop-start-stop, that’s a good thing.

Nyla Rose destroyed Dani Jordyn in a squash match, re-establishing her as a force of nature. But the highlight was after the match, as Awesome Kong (with Brandi Rhodes) attacked Allie in the middle of Allie’s interview with Tony Schiavone.

Kong working as Brandi’s muscle, the Diesel to her HBK basically, has a lot of potential. And Kong’s gimmick of taking a hair-trophy from her victims is suitably creepy and threatening.

Having said that, it’s a two-hour show. We can’t make room for the AEW Women’s Champion, Riho?

Still, it’s a step in the right direction. I’d just rather they take more than one step for more than one segment per show.

AEW has the goods to show in its women’s division, and AEW: Dynamite is missing out by only doling it out piecemeal.

MJF addressed his 'Full Gear' actions on 'AEW: Dynamite'

HIT — Jericho + MJF + Microphones = GOLD

Jericho made his way out to demand the “thank you” from the AEW office that he’s clamored for since the company’s founding. And to hype the main event with he and Sammy Guevara challenging SCU for the tag titles.

But it didn’t take long for MJF to come out (mocking Cody’s entrance, no less) to trade words with Le Champion. And it. Was. GOLD. The crowd ate him alive for his betrayal of Cody at Full Gear. This kid has nuclear heat, and AEW needs to push him as far as they can.

MJF’s promo tearing down Cody was brilliant and made a perfect storyline case for why he turned on his supposed best friend.

And when MJF and Jericho turned their attention to one another, more seeds were planted as MJF teased joining the Inner Circle.

The segment came to a head when Wardlow finally debuted, jumping an attacking Cody from behind and setting himself up as MJF’s muscle.

If there’s a complaint to made here, though, is that AEW kind of has an overflow of bodyguards right now. Hager is Jericho’s muscle, Kong is Brandi’s, Wardlow is MJF’s. It worked with Hager. But it can be (and is being) overdone.

Careful, AEW. Careful.

Pac and 'Hangman' Page faced off in the rubber match on 'AEW: Dynamite.'

HIT — Pac Vs Page III

Pac continues his roll through AEW, picking up the tie-breaking win in his feud with ‘Hangman’ Page on AEW: Dynamite.

It was an excellent match, and a fitting conclusion to their rivalry that was part of the original card for Double Or Nothing.

And Page didn’t come away from the match, or the feud, any weaker.

The argument could be made that blowing off the feud on free TV is a bad move. But AEW does pay-per-view quarterly. They don’t inundate the market with giant shows every month. AEW: Dynamite is a good avenue for PPV-quality matches.

And matches like this show that AEW is playing the long game. Great match, great storytelling, great everything with this one.

MISS — The Bucks’ Brawl

On the surface, a backstage brawl between the Young Bucks and Proud-N-Powerful should be fine.

And the segment was executed well. But where most segments on this show either pointed to a conclusion or the start of a new path, this was more of the same.

Their feud began at All Out after Santana and Ortiz ran in and attacked the Bucks after their ladder match with the Lucha Bros. But since that time, I don’t know what they’re supposed to be fighting about.

The end of last week’s show indicated that the built was on to the Elite vs. the Inner Circle. But this segment points to this feud being personal and self-contained.

It’s a good example of a segment that’s hot and entertaining but still falls short, because it isn’t really going anywhere.

You’d think, as EVP’s, that the Bucks would have a better vision for their own feuds.

The inclusion of Private Party at the end of the segment was good set-up for them. They’ll face Proud-N-Powerful on next week’s AEW: Dynamite. But even there, I don’t see a long-term plan that doesn’t lead to more PNP vs. the Bucks.

On the plus side, we finally got an Orange Cassidy cameo that made me laugh.

MISS — Le Humble Champion

AEW’s announce team did a fantastic job of promoting the main event of Jericho and Guevara challenging SCU for the tag titles all night long.

And the match was great. From bell-to-bell, everybody shined. SCU came across as worthy champions, Guevara got his exciting offense in, and Jericho was Jericho. It’s the ending that gave me pause.

Jericho ate the pin in this match, giving him his first loss in AEW. It was a great way to make SCU real in the eyes of the fans, but it’s way too soon for Jericho to be losing.

It’s only one loss, but for his reign as the first AEW Champion to mean something, his first loss needs to be the night he loses the title.

To be fair, I don’t know where AEW is going with this. There may well be a plan I’m not seeing — again, AEW plays the long game.

But I don’t see it.

The Breakdown

AEW: Dynamite has yet to put on a bad show.

But this might be the first week where the booking just didn’t add up in every segment.

There were some questionable finishes, creatively-speaking. Having said that, I’ve been conditioned as a regular wrestling viewer by WWE. I’m stuck in the mindset that they only have four weeks to pay off all their stories.

When you play the long game, there are bound to be some bumps in the road. Tonight’s AEW: Dynamite just seemed to be a little too full of them.

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

All images courtesy of All Elite Wrestling.

'AEW: Dynamite' - November 13, 2019

7.8

In-Ring Action

8.0/10

Booking

7.0/10

Production Value/Video Packages

8.5/10

Entertainment Value

7.7/10

Pros

  • Jericho and MJF - More, please!!
  • Moxley's direction
  • Pac vs. Page III
  • Things (finally) looking up for the women's division

Cons

  • Scattershot booking
  • The Dark Order isn't working
  • Jericho taking the pin tonight was too soon
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