Dynamite was live from the H.E.B. Center in Austin, TX with a title change, a title defence, and a debut.
Here is a recap and reactions to the 12 February 2020 episode of AEW Dynamite.
Kenny Omega & “Hangman” Adam Page d. SCU to retain the AEW Tag Team Championship
Dustin Rhodes d. Sammy Guevara
Nyla Rose d. Riho to win the AEW Women’s Championship
MJF d. Jungle Boy
Jon Moxley d. Santana in an “Eye for an Eye” match
Kenny Omega & “Hangman” Adam Page vs. SCU
AEW Tag Team Championship
Well, this match starts with both teams already in the ring, which I always hate; I get that AEW wants to save on TV time, but Omega and Page are two of your biggest stars and your reigning tag team champions and they don’t get an entrance? Plus, no hilarious Adam Page chyron, which is such a miss.
Evil Uno and The Dark Order immediately interrupt on NitroVision and wish both teams luck, mentioning that they are awaiting the arrival of “The Exalted One” (Matt Hardy?) and Christopher Daniels exits to the back to “hold them back.”
Omega and Kazarian start things off at a quicker pace. We get a lot of the spots you’d expect in a match with these teams, including sentons to the outside, V-triggers, and tandem moves. The in-ring story is that there is no animosity between Page and Omega, and both men go full-tilt (Omega sells a rib or abdominal muscle injury). The finish comes with Page hitting a hard pop-up powerbomb on Kazarian, who is then struck with a knee; Page hits a Tope Suicida on Sky on the outside, then the champions hit a Buckshot Lariat/V-trigger combo on Kazarian, who grabs the bottom rope just as Omega gets the pin. We’ll see if this plays at all into a longer term angle.
This match ended up being more about the titles than the other stories circling around these teams; no Adam drama with The Young Bucks and no Dark Order involvement…
… that is until after the match, when The Dark Order hit the ring, only for Best Friends to come down to even the odds. Then it’s a string of tag teams coming to enter the ring, first the heel teams of The Butcher & The Blade and The Hybrid-2, then The Young Bucks. All of this is to put over the Tag Team #1 Contender’s Battle Royal next week, which ends with Nick & Matt Jackson standing tall after a tandem splash onto all the teams on the outside.
JR also calls The Young Bucks “the bucks of youth” which is so fucking lame.
We get a sit-down interview with Santana and JR, where the Inner Circle member explains why Moxley stabbing his eye is bad because his dad started going blind at 14 years-old, and how his father recently passed unexpectedly. Shoot or not, it’s obviously sad to hear about Santana’s father passing, but this feels contrived and unnecessary to have shoe-horned into this one-night feud. If we were building towards Santana and Moxley at Revolution, then okay, but he’s a periphery character in the feud with Jericho. It just doesn’t make much sense.
We then get a vignette with an unseen, coughing Darby Allin who does a version of Sammy Guevara’s stupid cue card gimmick with messages written on jagged pieces of cardboard (because he’s edgy, guys) saying that he’s going to get his revenge. He then challenges Guevara to a match at Revolution (via edgy cue card). We then cut back to the arena where JR informs us that Allin’s injury is worse than originally thought, and that “no one in AEW management have any idea when he’ll be back.” Uh… probably Revolution, JR.
Dustin Rhodes vs. Sammy Guevara
So we get “The Natural” taking on “The Spanish God,” the lamest member on the AEW roster; if Rhodes has to put this guy over, it’ll be the worst thing he’s done in his career, including every single Goldust angle in WWF. Also, Dustin Rhodes might have the coolest intro music in AEW, some sort of Apocolyptica/Trans-Siberian Orchestra epic.
Anyway, Rhodes gets most of the offense, hitting hard strikes, powerslams, and a beautiful Canadian Destroyer off the top rope. Rhodes gets in Jake Hager’s face a bit, but “The Big Hurt” (yup, that’s his actual nickname), does nothing and Rhodes, thankfully, gets the hometown win with The Final Reckoning.
He then gets on the mic and calls Hager “Jericho’s bitch,” and shoots on his shitty MMA career and even shittier run on AEW thus far. He then challenges him to a match at Revolution, since it was Hager who broke Rhodes’ arm months ago. I think I’m a Dustin Rhodes fan.
We get a recap of Britt Baker’s attack on Yuka Sakazaki last week, including her curb-stomping The Magical One’s tooth out and her with the softest ring bell shot you’ll ever see. We get our apparently now-weekly Schiavone/Baker interview, with Baker explaining that knocking Suki’s tooth out was actually proper dentistry practice (did you know she’s a dentist??) because the tooth was rotten or whatever. She then takes a dig at Sakazaki’s lack of health insurance (because she’s a foreign worker, I guess?) and then we get the obligatory dig at Schiavone’s Starbucks career.
Baker gets massive heat by dropping some Texas-specific burn about Whataburger, which the crowd absolutely flips their shit over. This has to be the cheapest heat that’s ever worked; the crowd gets so hot they almost drown her out. JR even goes as far to say that it was a “sacrilegious” statement and seems legitimately disgusted with Baker has he call for a commercial break. I’m absolutely baffled by how pissed they get, but I’ve also never been to Texas.
She might not be able to wrestle too well right now but damn, there’s something to Dr. Britt Baker as an asshole mouthpiece to some heel on the roster.
We get back from commercial break, early apparently, because we hear Schiavone mumbling something and the crowd counting out of the break. Damn, man. AEW just has to clean this amateur stuff up.
Nyla Rose vs. Riho
AEW Women’s Championship
Riho gets some early, fast-paced offense in, before Rose grounds her and sets up a table on the outside, which creates a pretty cool spot of Riho running along the table and dropping-kick Rose into the timekeeper’s area. We go to break, and come back to Riho trying to rally from some elbow strikes from Rose, only for Riho to counter an attempted chokeslam into a Crucifix slam. Rose quickly gets the momentum back, hitting a Samoan Drop and a flying knee from the top rope with Riho draped over the rope; Riho kicks out of a cocky pin. Rose then goes for the win with a Death Valley Driver from the top rope, but Riho again kicks out. Riho then hits two impressive snap-dragon suplexs and, the most beautiful move in pro wrestling, a northern lights suplex into the bridge pin. Rose kicks out, and Riho hits three double-stomps from the top rope. Rose gets her foot on the bottom rope, and as she gets up and goes for a running something in the corner, Rose hits a spear and wins with a sit-down powerbomb.
This was by far the best match the AEW women’s division has seen, with Riho getting a tonne of heat during the match as she rallied and the commentators did a good job of putting over her never-say-die heart. It’s a bit of a shame that this match couldn’t get more of a build– why wasn’t it at Revolution?— and it’ll be interesting to see where both women go from here. Will they build Riho back up the women’s division? And who will challenge Rose next? (Awesome Kong makes the most sense, right?).
During the picture-in-picture, we can see the new champion yelling at Kenny Omega about something, who then looks upset. Sure wish we could know what was said… Again, AEW has to tighten this up. If they’re always running too tight with tv time, maybe cut something out? Again, did we really need that Santana interview? I dunno.
Chris Jericho is interviewed and says that Moxley is going to have to wrestle some guy named Jeff Cobb next week. I don’t know who that is, but some smarks pop in the crowd at the utterance of his name, so cool?
MJF vs. Jungle Boy
Brandi Rhodes joins the commentary team, and is back to being the resolute, proud wife of Cody, so I guess that whole Nightmare Collective angle is dropped?
The match starts off with a quick pace, with neither guy able to get the advantage over the other. MJF tries to get heat by doing a Ric Flair strut but… they’re in Texas, not North Carolina. These are the little cheap heat tactics that MJF uses that are kind of lame: just doing a Flair strut doesn’t get you heat. You gotta work the specific crowd; take a page out of the Britt Baker Promo Book.
Anyway, Jungle Boy gets some good offense in, including a poison-rana and a running sit-down powerbomb, but MJF ultimately gets the win after Wardlow slips him his ring, knocking Jungle Boy out and picking up the win. Wardlow then hits a Helicopter Spin on Jungle Boy, before Luchasauraus and Marko Stunt hit the ring for the save.
We get another grainy video of Pac working out and running around London in his ring gear, putting over his 30-minute Ironman Match against Kenny Omega in Kansas City in two weeks.
Jon Moxley vs. Santana
“Eye for an Eye” Match
What’s an “Eye for an Eye” match, you ask? Who the fuck knows! They never explain it past being “biblical.” Anyway, the match starts in the crowd as Moxley makes his long entrance to the ring, so I guess it’s a No Disqualification match? Well Santana tries to drive Moxley’s eye into a corner on the ring steps, so I guess you win by actually gouging your opponent’s other eye out? Again, no idea.
The match is alright, with a bunch of eye-related offense, which is whatever. We get the finish with Ortiz splashing liquor into Moxley’s eye while he’s on the top rope, which causes him to stumble aimlessly around the ring until he hits an unexpected Paradigm Shift on Santana and gets the quick win… Remember when Mox had to leave WWE and Dean Ambrose behind because his gimmicks were just too stupid…? Yeah…
… Anyway, The Inner Circle gets the gang-style beat down on Mox before his opponent for next week, Jeff Cobb, who hits him with his finisher, Tour Of The Islands, as the copyright chyron comes up and we fade to black.
… And here I am still just wondering what Nyla Rose said to Kenny Omega…