Dynamite’s ratings resolidified as hoped last week, with a slight edge regained over NXT and the usual priorities for AEW staying strong. Great. Over the first 10 weeks, the weekly TV show has felt like seeds slowly growing in the soil, which is as promising as it is understandable. There are things they would benefit from ditching posthaste, such as the WWE potshots and overabundance of 12 minute matches, but characters are slowly developing and they are a million miles away from the many facepalm decisions of TNA back when they had their chance to become a strong #2. Time for stage 11 of the bloom.
We’re just outside Dallas, Texas with the usual commentators.
Jon Moxley vs Alex Reynolds
Mox catches him hard and fast with a knee at the start, then the Paradigm Shift ends it in mere seconds. Ha! I’ll admit, I enjoyed that. It was a refreshing way to start after so many weeks of a long opening match – and I say that despite most of them, such as Cody vs Sammy on week one and last week’s six-man being very good.
Post-match, Reynolds’ tag partner John Silver eats a PS as well. Then Chris Jericho and the Inner Circle arrive. Le Champion assures Mox that if they were here to jump him, he’d be laid out already. He tells Jon that he has had a big hand in Moxley’s career since meeting him 10 years ago, and that he likes his style. So, he wants him in the Inner Circle – and he’ll give him until after the holidays to decide. Nice little promo from Jericho, not on par with his very best on Dynamite so far but good storytelling with him trying to cut out his biggest threat via recruitment.
A video package ahead of tonight’s Young Bucks vs Santana and Ortiz street fight reminds us of the crazy stuff Matt and Nick are capable of, and why these two teams hate each other. Good stuff, we need more of this.
The Butcher and The Blade (w/The Bunny) vs Cody and QT Marshall
The new team have “debuting as MJF’s henchmen” in their walkout graphic, which is… different. But yes, Friedman has sent Butcher Blade and Bunny after Cody, as well as taking advantage of Rhodes’ offer to let them pick his partner by nominating lowly QT.
Cody starts off bright against Blade, but QT is then overpowered by Butcher. Cody spews water at his foes as the makeshift duo improvise some decent double-teams before Marshall finds himself isolated.
This of course works us up to the hot tag for Cody, who runs wild until Bunny rakes his eyes from the outside. QT has to tag back in, and is overwhelmed before the suplex/lungblower combo finishes him off in about 11 minutes.
This was absolutely fine for what it was, but again a few minutes could have been trimmed with no harm – a few minutes for more videos like the one before this match, or some more character advancement for the women’s division, say. But Butcher Blade and Bunny have a great look and are off to a good start. The tag division is rammed, which is a great thing as long as the right amount of focus is applied. Perhaps a feud with Private Party or someone?
Post-match, Darby Allin comes to console Cody. While QT’s value rose a bit from this performance, it looks like Cody is realising that he will need a serious tag partner to get his revenge – and who better than the impressive Allin, who pushed Cody to the limit in the summer?
MJF is out after the break, going full Cody-mockage by making a ring crew guy kiss his Diamond Dynamite ring before hitting a sloppy Cross-Rhodes on them. I’m beginning to think he hits it that bad on purpose as part of the heel act. I hope so, in fact.
Maxwell delivers a quality promo to huge heat, absolutely tearing Cody to shreds in retaliation for Cody’s own personal jabs before deciding he will accept his pleas for a match… but only if his handpicked stipulations are met. He then refuses to divulge them this week, slating Dallas in the process. Oh man, that was brilliant from MJF.
Backstage, Alex Reynolds is sick of being cannon fodder… and a Dark Order recruitment ad is speaking to him. Well, it’s still goofy but at least we’re heading somewhere.
Big Swole vs Emi Sakura
Hikaru Shida watches this one from the audience. This is mostly a showcase for Swole, though the offense starts going back and forth and… oh dear, this is going a full 10-12 minutes isn’t it?
Yep – and outside of some funny mic stand spots, this drags out a bit until Swole wins with her finisher at the second attempt. This had no right going past six minutes, for what it was. And as mentioned at the top of the report, it’s one of the key things that needs work here – recognising which matches benefit from time and which ones benefit from brevity. It wasn’t terrible or anything, but when it drags past its expiry date it leaves less and less of a good impression.
PAC cuts an angry promo about being robbed of his right to dominate AEW. He wants a trilogy fight with Kenny Omega – or else.
Kenny Omega and Hangman Page vs Shawn Spears and Kip Sabian
So commentary tells us that Page has split from The Elite to go his own way in a manner which implies everybody knows that. Oh, for crying out loud. Reward people for watching, don’t punish people for not watching. This refers to a segment on Being The Elite – and as if it needed emphasising, putting major developments only on a YouTube show and then assuming your entire TNT viewership has watched that video isn’t going to do any favours. And of course, despite that split, Page and Omega are teaming up here. Huh.
So when Adam and Kenny clear the ring at the beginning, Page is all serious despite Omega wanting to celebrate the good start. Hangman takes a bit of a beating before Kenny gets in during the break. Penelope Ford at ringside stops the Terminator dive, however, and a Spears lungblower puts the bad guys back in charge.
An Omega fightback after some nice double-team work is stopped again by Ford with a handspring back elbow after she also used a rana to the floor to wipe out Page. Near-fall for Sabian with a fisherman’s suplex, but when Omega fights back this time he has nobody to tag.
We then get the lights go out and when they return, Joey Janela has Tully Blanchard kidnapped and tied to a chair. That draws Spears away from the ring, continuing that feud, and Omega is able to rally in a 1vs1 environment against Sabian. V-Trigger… but then Page blind tags himself back in and finishes with the Buckshot in the usual timeframe. The storytelling is a mess at times, especially with the YouTube emphasis, but at least they’re telling stories. Action was good, too.
Brandi runs down Britt Baker and Riho in a promo before implying she and Awesome Kong still await Kris Statlander’s decision on joining the Nightmare Collective and there’s also a hint at another member already.
Le Champion and Jake Hager kick Schiavone and Excalibur out of commentary for the next match to call it alongside JR.
Luchasaurus vs Sammy Guevara
So, last week’s segment was entertaining but vague. It’s taken clarification via Cody on social media that Jericho was being forced to wrestle once more in 2019, but not a title defense. Also, it seems the match agreed to with Jungle Boy will indeed dust off the old ‘10 minute challenge’ deal, which should be quite fun.
Guevara tries to start out cocky, which goes as well for him as one would expect. Hager is continuing his silent deal on commentary, which amuses me as much as Jericho’s actual spoken commentary does. “Skeeavone has been on my case for 20 years” and “Luchasaurus isn’t an actual dinosaur and you can’t convince me otherwise” are particular highlights.
Sammy gets on top of the match after a break but a moonsault misses and Saurus absolutely obliterates him with kicks, as the penny drops for Jericho as to where this is going. The tombstone hoist into a flapjack finishes in about six minutes – thankfully not twice that length – in a good decisive win for one of AEW’s genuine hot properties.
That said, as nice as his finisher looks to one extent, I can never come to terms with a move where someone can so easily drop their opponent onto their head for one of wrestling’s all-time most effective moves, and instead opts for something else. It’s almost as bad as that awful thing Kevin Owens did when he came to WWE and couldn’t actually drop people the way he used to with a package piledriver. That said, at least Lucha’s finisher isn’t another effing destroyer.
The World champ and his muscle try a post-match attack, but with Jungle and Marko Stunt at ringside it’s a three-on-two and leads to Jungle getting a visual pin on Jericho with Marko counting the fake pinfall. The build for this little sub-feud has been good so far, barring the confusion last week.
AEW Revolution will be the next PPV on February 29.
Texas Street Fight: The Young Bucks vs Santana and Ortiz
The winners of this presumed feud-enter will challenge Kazarian and Scorpio Sky for the tag team titles next week. The Inner Circle take immediate advantage of the rules, as Sammy Guevara helps his cohorts blindside the Bucks and lay waste to Brandon Cutler, putting him through a table. Nick is set up on a table but Matt stops anything from happening and an Indytaker wipes out Guevara, as we now revert to 2vs2.
In the ring, Santana uses their trademark sock/slapjack weapon thingy to take over until Matt uses the helmet of a local football team. When the former LAX get control of the helmet, they spit on it for heat, so yeah it’s definitely someone local. More table spots are followed by Nick splashing a trash can onto Ortiz, only for Jake Hager to break up the count. Out comes Dustin Rhodes for the save, as he and Hager brawl away from the match to write them out of the finish.
More Bang For Your Buck, but the ref was taken out by accident just after Hager’s involvement so no count. Meltzer Driver is stopped and instead it’s the Street Sweeper to Matt onto a trash can (as Schiavone continues his war against the trash can as a weapon in a wrestling ring from 20 years ago – watch Hak vs Bam Bam Bigelow from Spring Stampede 1999). This time, however, it’s Nick pulling replacement ref Aubrey Edwards out of the ring for the save.
The loaded sock comes back into play as the Inner Circle guys look to wrap this up, but as they set up a bunch of chairs the Bucks turn the tide with a chair-assisted superkick party and after Santana goes through a table, Ortiz is subjected to a Meltzer Driver onto all the chairs(!) for the win in 13 minutes.
This was wild. A fun stunt show and a satisfying conclusion, surely, to the Bucks/Santana and Ortiz feud. It wasn’t a match of the year candidate by any means, but not everything has to be in order to tick enough of its own boxes. Next week’s title match is intriguing – SCU vs the Bucks should be great, but do AEW stick with a duo that was arguably the first act to truly blossom on Dynamite (unlike guys like Jericho who were already big global names) or do they switch the titles to the Bucks on the consensus that the belts NEED to be held by Matt and Nick at some stage?
Anyway, this made for 11 out of 11 Dynamites worth watching. For all the complaints that can be made about certain bits (most of them made/repeated above), it continues to be a wrestling show well worth two hours of your time. Even moreso if they stopped trying to pressure viewers into subscribing to BTE on top of it.
The last show before the Christmas break is next week and both AEW and NXT are set to post loaded shows. Should be fun!