Le Champion on his way to the ring on 'AEW: Dynamite'
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AEW: Dynamite just can’t get away from NXT.

Even as All Elite Wrestling’s flagship show gets pre-empted to Saturday by the NBA playoffs, they’re still going head-to-head with NXT TakeOver XXX. At least through part of the show.

As always, AEW was up for the challenge with a big show.

AEW: Dynamite featured Cody defending the TNT Championship and the finals of the Women’s Tag Team Cup.

HIT – FTR (W/ Tully Blanchard) Vs. Private Party

Wait, one AEW: Dynamite segment last week, and Tully is the manager for FTR? I mean, I like it, but that’s a pretty big development. And wouldn’t this be a good time for Matt Hardy to be out here at Private Party’s side?

I dunno. It’s just weird.

Jim Ross’s analogy, comparing Tully with FTR to an NFL expansion team hiring Belichick doesn’t make any sense. Go figure.

Blanchard does an awesome job looking out for FTR, pulling Harwood out of the way as Kassidy goes for a dive over the top. FTR picks up the win with Goodnight Express (nice name for not-the-Shatter-Machine).

FTR is one of those teams that make their opponents look a million times better. It helps that Private Party is already really good, and they’re also starting to get more seasoned. They aren’t the exciting-but-green team they were a year ago.

FTR punishes Marq Quen on 'AEW: Dynamite'

HIT – Moxley, MJF Promos

Moxley finds the MJF campaign pretty amusing. The AEW Champion suggests that if MJF wants some dirt, he should talk to his wife.

Speaking of, am I the only one who hopes Renee Young gets a job with ESPN or, you know, something that isn’t wrestling? Anyway.

The champ puts over MJF as “so sickly talented in every way.” And he hopes MJF really will be the future of AEW: Dynamite. He also hopes MJF eventually moves out of his parents’ basement and loses his virginity.

I mean, has there been such a thing as a bad Moxley promo since he came to AEW?

MJF, in a neck brace and with a walker, compares “Dictator Jon” to Genghis Khan and other historical warlords. He declares the Paradigm Shift an abomination, and his lawyer announces that it’s banned at All Out. The highlight of this is Nina in the background straining to keep smiling.

I love AEW: Dynamite.

Eddie Kingston rallies the Lucha Bros on 'AEW: Dynamite'

HIT – Lucha Bros And Butcher & Blade Vs. Natural Nightmares And Jurassic Express

This was fine, I just don’t know where it was supposed to go.

I get that this is a pre-empted AEW: Dynamite, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t still a PPV in two weeks.

Having said that, I can’t argue with the quality of the match. Plenty of high spots from both Jungle Boy and Rey Fenix, while Butcher & Blade kept things “real,” and Luchasaurus and the Nightmares brought the big guy action.

It was a really well-balanced contest. AEW really has the multi-man tag matches down to a science.

Jungle Boy comes away with the pin (about damn time). After the match, Butcher & Blade and the Lucha Bros. start blaming each other. Eddie Kingston comes out and basically cuts Tully’s promo from last week. He tells everybody in the ring they should be crushing everybody instead of going at each other.

Never mind. This AEW: Dynamite segment finally came around and went somewhere.

Between segments, we get footage of Dr. Britt Baker chiding Penelope Ford and Kip Sabian for their nonstop making out. She lets them know that human saliva build-up is a huge cause of cavities. Gross.

Anyway, Big Swole gets a match with Dr. Baker at All Out, but Swole didn’t specify what kind of match. So Baker invites Ford to be her partner in a handicap match against Big Swole at the PPV.

Orange Cassidy accepts Jericho's challenge on 'AEW: Dynamite'

HIT – Orange Cassidy “Interview”

They’ve been selling this all week as Orange Cassidy’s first-ever in-ring AEW: Dynamite interview.

Tony congratulates Orange for picking up the biggest win of his career against Chris Jericho. Naturally, that brings Le Champion out to the ring. Jericho congratulates Cassidy on being one of only three men to pin Jericho in AEW.

But Jericho points out that he and Cassidy are tied at one win apiece in one-on-one action. Jericho says they’ve already done it in the ring, and he wants to create something special. He takes credit for the Money In The Bank match and suggests he and Cassidy do battle in a Mimosa Mayhem Match at All Out.

To explain the match, Jericho plays a video package, declaring that revenge is best-served freshly-squeezed. In the match, the ring is surrounded by a pool of orange juice mixed with Jericho’s champagne. Victory is by pinfall, submission, or throwing your opponent into a pool of mimosas.

I gotta say, on the surface? That sounds exceedingly stupid. Cassidy accepts the challenge. Jericho calls out the Inner Circle to take out Cassidy and Best Friends. Hager holds Cassidy upside down, and they dump bubbly on him.

This segment was fine, but if we’re gonna keep going with Jericho and Cassidy, we needed to go somewhere a little more intense than dumping booze on the guy. I just feel like we’ve already been there on AEW: Dynamite.

The Young Bucks try to talk Kenny Omega out of destroying the Dark Order on 'AEW: Dynamite'

NEAR MISS – Dark Order Vs. The Elite (Young Bucks & Kenny Omega)

Okay, there’s nothing inherently wrong with this AEW: Dynamite match. But I’m starting to feel like I’ve seen every variation on a 6-man tag featuring the Elite that exists.

Ditto for any 6-man tag involving Dark Order flunkies.

I guess JR was commentating through the break, because we return from picture-in-picture with him in mid-sentence.

The Dark Order looked pretty great here, with stereo piledrivers on both of the Young Bucks at one point. But of course it’s a win for the Elite, as Omega picks up the win with the One-Winged Angel.

After the match, Kenny snaps and tries to powerbomb one of the Order on a chair. The Bucks try to move the chair out of the way, but Kenny doesn’t understand why they’re pulling him off.

Another layer peeled on AEW: Dynamite.

HIT – FTR Promo

Backstage at AEW: Dynamite, Alex Marvez catches up with FTR and Tully Blanchard.

Next week, on the Thursday Dynamite, there will be a tag team gauntlet match with FTR as the final team. Winner faces Hangman and Omega for the tag titles at All Out.

The Hangman busts in and wants an explanation about what happened the prior week. And FTR keeps stroking the Hangman’s ego and fanning the flames of dissent in the Elite.

Super solid segment.

Team Taz beats down Darby Allin on 'AEW: Dynamite'

NEAR MISS – Darby Allin Vs. Will Hobbs

Okay, so this is your jobber match of the week for AEW: Dynamite.

Hobbs gave a decent enough account of himself. I had to laugh out loud when, after pancaking Darby, Hobbs shouts, “I need this!”

The bigger Hobbs beats Darby up for most of the match, but Darby gets the win with the Coffin Drop.

After the match, Taz declares his team has a new member of Team Taz. It’s Ricky Starks dressed as Darby.

Tony: “Hey, that’s Ricky Starks!” JR: “Of course it is!”

Heh. Ricky does a pretty good Darby impression. But this is a long way to go just for a Brian Cage beatdown.

NEAR MISS – Meanwhile-Mania!

As we head to a picture-in-picture break for AEW: Dynamite, Sammy Guevara comes out with his cue cards.

But slowly, it becomes clear someone has replaced Sammy’s cards. And Matt Hardy runs up from behind and beats him senseless with a chair. Wait, wasn’t the Inner Circle just right there?

Anyway.

Matt completely loses it and tosses Sammy off the stage and through a table.

We also find out that Thunder Rosa – the NWA Women’s Champion – will challenge Hikaru Shida for the AEW Women’s Championship at All Out.

Really? That’s how little credibility you think your own women’s division has? Don’t get me wrong, that’ll be an awesome match, and I genuinely can’t wait to see it.

But if they’d book the women on AEW: Dynamite even half as well as they booked the Women’s Tag Team Cup, maybe they’d have a homegrown challenger for Hikaru at the PPV.

Ivelisse and Diamante win the Women's Tag Team Cup on 'AEW: Dynamite'

NEAR MISS – AEW Women’s Tag Team Cup Final – Nightmare Sisters Vs. Diamante & Ivelisse

All things considered, I wish this whole tournament had taken place on YouTube. Somehow, it just didn’t seem as special on AEW: Dynamite.

Anyway.

Ivelisse and Diamante looked damn good in the match, and really so did the Nightmare Sisters. QT Marshall tries to get involved, but he winds up getting dumped off the apron by Ivelisse. Then Brandi gets dumped onto him, allowing her to take out Allie to pick up the win and the Cup.

As with the Darby Allin segment, this is a long way to go to further dissension among the Nightmare Sisters. But, I’m just happy a women’s match got more than five minutes on AEW: Dynamite.

Cody vs. Brodie Lee for the TNT Championship on 'AEW: Dynamite'

HIT – TNT Championship Match: Cody (C) Vs. Mr. Brodie Lee

So this was madness. The best kind of madness.

Brodie pinned Cody in under four minutes to win the TNT Championship. And if that wasn’t enough, the Dark Order beat the American Nightmare into oblivion, to the point that he had to be stretchered out.

Then the Dark Order bet the crap out of 136-year-old Arn Anderson. And then they bring the stretcher back from the backstage area to smash Cody with the old TNT title. Hell, Anna Jay even gets to choke out Brandi. This was just a dissection of the Nightmare Family, and I really didn’t see this coming at all.

If anything, I figured this match would have some kind of inconclusive or screwy finish, and we’d get the real one-on-one between Lee and Cody at the PPV.

But this was a really exciting way to close out AEW: Dynamite.

The Dark Order stands over a broken Nightmare Family on 'AEW: Dynamite'

The Breakdown

It wasn’t the smoothest AEW: Dynamite in history.

There were certainly more than a few ups-and-downs. But overall, they managed to put on an exciting show with interesting consequences moving forward.

I like the slow burns with Hangman and Omega, I’m digging the continuing angle with Jericho and Cassidy. And Brodie and Cody just willed themselves into being the most intriguing aspect of this episode.

Here’s hoping this week’s preempted AEW: Dynamite does this well.

AEW: Dynamite will air Thursday night this week on TNT at 8 PM/ET.

All images provided by All Elite Wrestling.

'AEW: Dynamite' - August 22, 2020

8.2

In-Ring Action

8.2/10

Booking/Writing

7.2/10

Promos/Video Packages

8.5/10

Entertainment Value

8.7/10

Pros

  • Big main event surprise
  • Slow burn with Hangman and Omega
  • A women's match that lasts more than five minutes
  • Another solid Orange vs Jericho segment

Cons

  • Going the long way around for simple stories
  • I'm all for Thunder Rosa, but way to invalidate your entire women's roster
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