Hello AW Universe,
The January 8th episode of AEW Dynamite was live from the Landers Center in South Haven, MS. Here are some quick results and reactions to the night.
Kenny Omega & “Hangman” Adam Page d. Private Party
Riho d. Kris Statlander to retain the AEW Women’s Championship
Sammy Guevara d. Christopher Daniels
Cody & Dustin Rhodes d. The Lucha Brothers
Diamond Dallas Page confronts MJF
The Jurassic Express (Jungle Boy, Luchasauras, Marko Stunt) d. The Best Friends (Chuck & Trent) & Orange Cassidy
Jon Moxley declines Chris Jericho’s offer to join The Inner Circle
The episode was a “Tribute to Memphis Wrestling,” even though the event actually took place in South Haven, Mississippi, which is on the Tennessee border and “in the shadows of Memphis.” Yeah, sounds like a stretch to me too.
The night featured three tag matches– a division that AEW is clearly trying to make their bread and butter– all of which had different flavours.
Kenny Omega & “Hangman” Adam Page opened the show against Private Party, which was a perfect move for AEW; as big as the Chris Jerichos and Young Bucks and Codys (and even Orange Cassidys) are over, Kenny Omega is the company’s biggest star, and opening the night with “Hangman” Adam Page’s music (who’s also over as hell, with “COW-BOY SHIT” chants echoing through the Landers Center as the match opened. One thing I have to say might be the most quietly brilliant touch by the Dynamite producers is Page’s chyron; usually the wrestlers have something lame listed like “lost last week, but won the week before,” but Page’s a couple weeks ago was “spent last week drinking whisky” and this week read, “isn’t going to pay Private Party that $12,” after drinking some of their whisky at their bar last week. The match was good.
Cody & Dustin Rhodes vs. The Lucha Bros was a perfect example of what tag team wrestling should be on a weekly show. Yes, there were some high spots– with Cody hitting a Tope and his Springboard Cutter, while Dustin hit a Canadian Destroyer during the closing sequence– but the match for the most part was a medium pace, something that AEW at times seems allergic to, so it was refreshing to see.
The trios match had a different feeling for me. The bout itself was fine, Marko Stunt getting the crowd behind him, and the inevitable hot tag to Orange Cassidy setting the red-hot crowd into a frenzy, but spectre of Chris Jericho’s championship reign lingered over it all. I had written about this before, but as Jungleboy earned the pin, I couldn’t help but be reminded that Jericho’s title run hasn’t done anything for anyone but himself. Scorpio Sky had shot at Le Champion, and is now coming to make the save for Christopher Daniels during a beatdown rather than wrestling Sammy Guevara himself; Darby Allin– who, to be fair, is still very over and has a match booked to face Pac at “Bash at the Beach,” next week in Miami– is lucky to appear on consecutive episodes of Dynamite; and Jack Perry went his 10 minutes with the champ and, with all due respect to Trent Beretta, Chuck Taylor, and the super over Orange Cassidy, is back to wresting in trios matches.
The Women’s Championship match was alright, but it had a dirty finish that was just awfu. All 100 pounds of Riho eats a combination of a Discus Lariat and a Spinning Powerslam from Statlander but kicks out, while Statlander loses because her feet get pulled out from underneath her while she’s in the middle of performing a Gut-Wrench Suplex leading to Riho falling on to top her and hooking her legs. But it was really what happened after the match, with the Nightmare Collective adding a new member to their group as they attack Riho and Statlander before Shida, Big Swole, and Sonny Kiss break it up (and Dr. Britt Baker appears to be making a slow heel turn as he elects not to help).
Excalibur also corrects something on commentarythat has driven me crazy every time a new, obscure talent appears in AEW: actually explains who the wrestler is, in this case: “Luther, the Japanese wrestling Death Match Legend.” But then he immediately sewers himself because now apparently this new wrestler only, “looks just like Luther.” What? Why…? To me, this means one of two things: it’s the over-thinking bullshit that AEW seems to insist on doing, by not just committing and being confusing for no reason. Or, legitimately none of the commentators knew that “Luther” would be debuting, which would idiotic.
Schiavone notes as the segment ends that, “that Luther is a creepy guy.” But IS it Luther, Tony??
Christopher Daniels, the middle-aged dad going through a midlife crisis lost to Ricky Starks/Tyler Breeze wannabe Sammy Guevara after a bizarre distraction by Pentagon Jr. and then was prompted to, essentially, turn heel and join The Dark Order at the behest of Evil Uno. But, he didn’t. Honestly, I think the best thing for any dad going through a midlife crisis is not to go out to clubs, or try and date your daughter’s friends, or even to buy a drop-top convertible. No, it’s joining a weird mask-wearing cult.
Daniels made the wrong decision.
MJF is a great heel, but he knows that there’s an art to cutting a good promo without screaming into the fucking microphone, right? The entire purpose of the mic to act as an amplification device for the voice. Anyway, the best part of DDP interrupting wasn’t the promo he cut– putting his yoga program, Twitter, Instagram, and AEW in general over– but it was JR exclaiming, “duuuuude” when his music hit.
Also, I’m sure DDPY works wonders for getting, and keeping, ordinary people in good shape, but I don’t think it does much for wrestling shape. Diamond Dallas Page is 63-years-old and is in better shape than I am, but he could barely get up after hitting the first Diamond Cutter on The Butcher, and fell awkwardly when he stood up to Wardlow. DDP is good to have around, but does he need to be wrestling again? Well, I guess so, because Schiavone casually throws out in the promo for next week’s “Bash at the Beach” that he’ll be in a Six-Man tag team match with Dustin Rhodes & QT Marshall (why? who the hell knows) against MJF, The Butcher, and The Blade. Cool?
But the highlight of the night was no doubt the swerve by Moxley. Honestly, didn’t see it coming and it was executed perfectly. I haven’t been a fan of Moxley up until this point, but this was a Mox I could get down with. His mic work up to this point was just rambling and declaring just HOW CRAZY HE WAS and saying “shit” and flipping the double bird, and stomping around like an idiot. This Mox, with the simple and cool, “Chris my friend, I was just kiddin, I would never join The Inner Circle; it’s a stupid group.” I couldn’t have agreed more with Moxley. This is one of the issue I have with The Inner Circle: they are a stupid group. In fact, they SUCK.
First off, why where were Santana & Ortiz during this Moxley Conversion Celebration? Maybe they realised that it made no sense for them to be hanging out with Jericho? They’re going for a cocky-but-talented angle with Sammy Guevara– adding a little bit of comedy with the commercial cue card bit– but the whole thing just isn’t landing. And Jake Hager. Oh man, they can pretend all they want that he’s tough and intimidating and a badass, but man, he’s still fuckin Jack Swagger. He’s still the guy who has no charisma, reads off cue cards, and is unimpressive in the ring. Yes, he was probably a good MMA fighter (no, I didn’t look it up. I really don’t care), but when it comes to pro wrestling, he sucks.
So, as cool as it would’ve been cool to see Moxley just unceremoniously join The Inner Circle, a declaration of war on them with a bottle of Bubbly to Jericho’s skull and stating his clear intentions on wanting nothing but the AEW World Championship (and the Ford GT, I guess) is much cooler.