So Much Barbed Wire: AEW Full Gear Review

The face of a man who loves being violent
Screenshot via @TDE_Wrestling

All Elite Wrestling’s Full Gear emanated from Baltimore’s Royal Farms Arena on Saturday night, November 9. This review is coming at’cha in the grand and easy to digest TH Style. It’s back, baybay.


  • On the Buy-In, Britt Baker submitted Bea Priestley with Lockjaw (Rings of Saturn with Mandible Claw combo).
  • After this match, Brandi Rhodes brought out Awesome Kong, who laid out Priestley and took a lock of her hair.
  • Proud and Powerful (Santana and Ortiz) defeated the Young Bucks after they hit Matt Jackson with the Street Sweeper (powerbomb-blockbuster combo). The Rock n Roll Express mad the save after from an Inner Circle beatdown.
  • Hangman Page bested PAC with the Deadeye.
  • Shawn Spears took out Joey Janela after an illegal spike piledriver with Tully Blanchard’s assistance out of the ref’s view and his running Death Valley Driver.
  • Kip Sabian announced a romantic alliance with Penelope Ford.
  • SCU (Scorpio Sky and Frankie Kazarian) retained the AEW Tag Team Championships over the Lucha Bros. (Rey Feníx and Pentagón, Jr.) and Private Party (Marq Quen and Isiah Kassidy) when SCU hit the SCU-Later (Gory Special into a knee strike) on Kassidy. After the match, Chris Daniels returned from injury to save his buddies from the Lucha Bros.
  • Riho retained the AEW Women’s Championship over Emi Sakura with a lucha headscissors into a pin.
  • MJF threw in the towel while Cody was locked in a deep Liontamer, allowing Chris Jericho to keep the AEW World Championship. After the match, MJF kicked Cody low after pretending to be sorry.
  • In the Lights Out main event, Jon Moxley prevailed in an all-out war over Kenny Omega. Moxley won with a high-angle Death Rider onto the exposed wooden planks after Omega missed a Phoenix Splash onto them.

General Observations:

  • Not mentioned at the top of the show, but allegedly, Excalibur choked out Jimmy Havoc Friday night at Tony Schiavone’s birthday party at Jimmy’s Seafood. Havoc was drunk, ad he was getting belligerent. Although I don’t know the nature of it, the commentator took him into a headlock and subdued him, all in front of Tony Khan. Hell of a couple of days for Excalibur, I see.
  • Commentary team on The Buy-In was Excalibur along with Taz and Goldenboy. Not surprising, but the call was infinitely smoother without Jim Ross there to deliver his banal musings about the rules. Taz in particular was impressive to me. Like Ross, he didn’t really apply story knowledge to the match he called, but unlike Ross, he actually had insight into why moves hurt the way they do. It’s not gonna happen, but a three-man booth with him, Excalibur, and Schiavone might be for the best.
  • Schiavone, by the way, didn’t make it for the main card because he was busy calling the Georgia Bulldogs shutout victory over Missouri.
  • Hey, did you know Britt Baker is a dentist?
  • Britt Baker talks like a high school junior from the Fishtown neighborhood of Philadelphia. If you don’t get that reference, it was short, sassy, and with a thick accent. If you did get that reference, my people, that’s you.
  • Bea Priestley’s tron saying “half-human, half-monster” shows she has about the same imagination as anything her boyfriend Will Ospreay puts into his character, which is to say not much good. It’s gonna be funny to see when Jamie Hayter makes her redundant, to be honest.
  • Meanwhile, if you’re gonna give someone a gimmick like they were a mid-90s WWF occupational gimmick, you might as well go all the way, which is why I love that Baker’s tron says “OPEN WIDE.”
  • Priestley throwing her jacket at Baker and then IMMEDIATELY begging off was just a solid stupid bullshit heel move. Even though she’s a dimestore Hayter, Priestley is an enjoyable watch. AEW has an embarrassment of riches in the women’s division, which makes their lack of focus even more baffling.
  • No one in AEW really looks out of their depth as much as Baker did on the pin counter sequence in this match. She was incredibly loose, taking out all the drama latent in those kinds of exchanges. Even if you aren’t gonna end the match in that manner, you still have to keep the audience on the edge of their seats. If you can’t do that, then maybe you should be relegated to Dark.
  • Still, I cant’ front on that finish, because the Lockjaw is an insanely cool finish.
  • The spooky vignettes for Awesome Kong with Brandi Rhodes as the manager called for candles flickering and the lights going nuts. It was only the first appearance of Kong in this iteration, but I’d like to see how else they’re going to make her spooky.
  • I was shocked that Priestley was the first target given she and Kong appear to be heels, but I think I need to give up on keeping track of longer term alignments in this company.
  • All else though? Kong and Rhodes taking locks of hair is INSANELY badass. I’m all in on this gimmick.
  • Main show time! Someone in the crowd brought a Bully Ray fathead, and I hope that he’s not allowed to operate heavy machinery, for safety’s sake.
  • Proud and Powerful’s tron just featuring New York Police Department imagery felt to me that AEW brass still doesn’t really know how to sell them in a way that doesn’t make them look a little racist. That’s just me, though.
  • And of course, the Rock n Roll Express, whom Santana and Ortiz beat the piss out of two Dynamites ago, were right there in the front row.
  • Of course the Young Bucks started hot. I wouldn’t expect any less from them in a heated feud match.
  • There was a point early on in the match where Rick Knox disallowed a tag from Proud and Powerful because the tag was made on the foot rather than the hand, which feels like an incredible breach of wrestling logic. People have made blind tags to the back since the dawn of time. All that action did was put an unnecessary story element in a match that didn’t need it. They’ve made it a point to say Knox knows the Bucks the most, and having that tag disallowed makes it look like he’s biased. Like, it’s probably not what they intended, but that’s what happens when you have letter of the law bullshit enforced.
  • Santana and Ortiz got both the Bucks in this wild triple-double submission with a combo crab/Gory special/camel clutch. It was perhaps the most visually impressive thing outside of the main event.
  • I tried not to pay too much mind to Jim Ross during the telecast, but man, he called Rick Knox, a short shaven-bald guy of slight frame Mike Knox, who is big and hairy, or at least he was both of those things as recently as his stint in TNA in Aces and Eights. Just another example of his brain not being completely on the ball. Aside, I’d love it if AEW signed Mike Knox. He was a pretty good big man wrestler back in the beginning of the decade.
  • Ortiz is a trip. He’s always been one, to be honest, wrestling with a big floofy mane as Angel Ortiz way back when Proud and Powerful were EYFBO working Beyond matches during secret shows. But him doing the claw taunt and yelling “I’M A GENIUS” after okeydoking Nick Jackson on the outside gives him the kind of wild-eyed mania that acts as a counter not just for Santana, but for the rest of the Inner Circle.
  • The first time they went over near the Rock n Rolls, Ricky Morton was raring to go while Robert Gibson was just standing there looking like he didn’t want any of that shit. It was a nice contrast that foreshadowed the end of the match for them.
  • The Young Bucks keep getting this rap that they’re not good wrestlers because they like to do flips. I tend to like their version of flipping, so I don’t mind it, but the way Nick Jackson was selling his leg all night makes me think they took some of that to heart. I loved the way that the injury kept recurring all the way through the end of the show. It’s those little things that stand out in the end.
  • The Bucks pulling out Santana’s and Oritz’s team finisher wasn’t weird without context since finisher theft happens all the time, but the fact that Proud and Powerful didn’t try the Meltzer Driver or More Bang for Your Buck during the match felt a little jarring, given that if one entity steals a finisher, the other one returns in kind. It’s not a big thing, but it’s still something you notice when it doesn’t happen. Wrestling has literary tropes just like any other storytelling art.
  • The Bucks really pulled out all the stops to make themselves look like underdog warriors despite the fact that the reality wasn’t true. Both Nick and Matt had stretches in the match where they were left to fight one-on-two, and between Nick’s selling of the leg and Matt taking the Ziggler bump (shoulder first into the ringpost). They really did feel like they were the ones struggling to win.
  • The Street Sweeper is such a visually impressive move. It’s a great finisher for Proud and Powerful.
  • Overall, the match had a slightly weird pace, and the Bucks heeled it up a little bit early in the match which made it feel even stranger. That being said, down the stretch, all four guys went hard and opened the main show the way that AEW usually opens Dynamite on a weekly basis: strongly.
  • Of course Sammy Guevara came out afterwards to pick the bones, which drew the RnRs in the ring. I was only expecting some punches and maybe a dropkick, but Morton hit both a Canadian Destroyer AND a tope suicida to the outside, and now I want him to be my grandfather. Sure, the destroyer was a bit slowly pulled off, but I mean, the fact that he hit it even slightly cleanly feels like a victory.
  • PAC and Hangman Page started out with Page just, for lack of a better term, shithousing the Bastard King. For as impressive as PAC can look even against larger opponents lording over them as a heel (and he did in this match, no doubt), the fact that he bounces around the ring so well bumping for the babyfaces gives him an extra bit of oomph as a top baddie.
  • PAC missing a Phoenix splash in this match was a lot less dramatic than the one that would come later. Maybe wrestlers should just stop doing this move in America since I haven’t seen one connect since, uh.
  • The match kinda felt weirdly paced like the prior tag match until they got to the outside when they brawled over towards the timekeeper’s area. Then PAC hit a brainbuster on Page onto the set-up chair. Again, outside of the main event, that probably was the most violent planned spot of the night.
  • I love a match with callbacks, and if you remember from their match earlier in the year on Dynamite, PAC beat Page after mule kicking him low while they had the referee tied up. PAC tried it again, but Page caught it before it landed at ground zero. It’s the kind of obvious psychology that’ll get the less nerdy viewers noticing these things.
  • The finishing run of the match was really good, but you could tell even with the camera angle that PAC’s head came nowhere close to the mat on the Deadeye. THAT BEING SAID, I’m not gonna complain about clearance between head and mat on a piledriver-like maneuver.
  • Overall, the match should be defined by the finish, but honestly, you can’t blame people who will hold the slow start against it. Sometimes, you need to have a match grab you early.
  • I’m generally for cheesiness in wrestling, but it can’t veer on corniness. Shawn Spears has the makings of at least a great upper midcard heel, but the lights-out entrance with the smoke machine isn’t working for him.
  • Conversely, Joey Janela seems to be affecting “Macho Man” Randy Savage a lot more lately. It’s not a bad route to go down, and I think Janela has the same manic energy that Savage did.
  • Janela power-walking right into the ring and ripping Spears’ shirt off was the perfect start to the match. Spears’ shirt, which said “NO MORE GARBAGE WRESTLING” in the Game Changer Wrestling logo font, is probably his reason for going so hard on sadism. If you didn’t see on Dark or on the recap on this past Dynamite, Spears was caught on camera trying to rip Janela’s tongue out with a pair of pliers. So yeah, if I were Janela, I’d want to murk him right away.
  • Janela got onto the apron and tried to PK Spears in the face, but Spears just caught it and yanked him down, face first on THE HARDEST PART OF THE RING. One of the best non-serial killer type moves that a character like Spears’ can do is catching a body part and just wrenching their opponent’s body on hard onto the apron.
  • Spears started talking shit at one point, which is great, but I think if you’re gonna be a guy who does body horror with hand tools, you gotta watch Jessica Jones season three and just study everything Gregory Salinger says.
  • So Spears whipped Janela into the corner and instead of following it up with a strike or a gouge, he undid the turnbuckle laces and tied Janela’s long hair into the ring. It was by far the most brilliant act of using the environment to entrap a poor little know-nothing babyface since the first time I saw Damien Sandow catch a baseball-sliding Ricky Steamboat Jr. in the ring apron watching Florida Championship Wrestling on YouTube. That’s the kind of groove that Spears should definitely cultivate.
  • Tully Blanchard up to Full Gear had kinda had no effect at best on Spears. However, if they have him doing stuff like a double-team spike piledriver on the outside, then you’re getting somewhere. I’m not sure how many people in the AEW audience really know about the Horsemen, Blanchard especially. He really was the shitheel of the group. Ric Flair was always hated because he was the best. Arn and Ole Anderson were curmudgeonly technicians. But Blanchard, man, he was the real POS of the group. They should do some kind of build for him, a video segment or something that really introduces why he’s the perfect guy to guide Spears to villainy. Of course, that’s probably hard since WWE owns most of the footage of him being just the worst. However, they’re a creative bunch.
  • Overall, the match as effective at doing a full face vs. heel contrast. Janela is so much better as an unhinged fan favorite (for D and D nerds, think Chaotic Good or Neutral) than he is as a super worker anyway. It was the most like a WWE pay-per-view match in that it wasn’t the finish of a story that had just started within the last two weeks but a continuance, but I’ll allow it.
  • Of course the Kip Sabian/Penelope Ford segment happened as Janela was leaving the ring. While he’s moved on from the breakup with Ford, it was still serendipitous timing to say the least.
  • That interview segment wasn’t clear whether his alliance with Angelico and Jack Evans was still valid though. Honestly, I like those three together.
  • Tag Team Championship three-way was the next match, and while the crowd was either sleepy for the first four or so matches or just mic’d poorly, they came alive for anything the Lucha Bros. did in this match.
  • High-flying tag teams can be feast or famine. When it’s a feast, you get stuff like the Young Bucks vs. Private Party and the PRISTINE delivery on the Gin n Juice (corner rana launching the victim into a cutter halfway across the ring). When it’s famine though, you get loose execution on lucha holds, kicks that don’t connect 100 percent, and just a creeping malaise across the entire match. It wasn’t just any one wrestler either; it felt like everyone was slow out of the blocks.
  • The match kinda picked up at the end when Rey Feníx did an implausible but visually impressive triple springboard off three different sections of rope before hitting a tornillo. You gotta admire luchadores’ drive and desire to be as extra as possible at all times.
  • I really wanted to like this match more than I did, but it felt like everyone was off their game to start and the match never really recovered. The Luchas looked the best on the whole, and singularly, Scorpio Sky was on point most of the match. However, I’m not sure this was the title match that the division needed at the first PPV the championships existed at.
  • I have to admit, when Christopher Daniels first came out, I couldn’t tell who he was. Also, baiting Penta into doing dueling CERO MIEDO hand gestures was amazing.
  • I caught Emi Sakura getting a bit misty before her title match against her student Riho. I thought it was sweet, but I don’t like that women are the only ones who cry in a wrestling ring. Like, the last time I remember a guy crying was Shawn Michaels as he was superkicking Ric Flair’s career away. It should be natural for anyone to feel a swell of emotion that brings tears, but hey, I’m shouting at the abyss on this one.
  • Honestly, I never get tired of seeing Riho doing Matrix escapes out of pins, especially because her timing is just so crisp but fluid. It’s something Sakura tried to ape later on in the match, but no one does it like Riho.
  • Excalibur noting that most joshi are taught the single leg crab as their very first move while Riho hd it on Sakura was a nice touch. It’s also pretty telling that even the first moves of a joshi are hardcore compared to the rest of trainees worldwide.
  • Speaking of joshi learning, it seemed like a lot of the time Sakura was in control in the match, she was violently ragdolling Riho, which feels like it was a reprise of their time at the wrestling academy.
  • I really wish that the commentary would stop calling moves by their WWE names. For example, Excalibur correctly called the swinging kick in the ropes made famous by Rey Mysterio a “tiger feint kick” when Riho caught Sakura with it in the face, but then couldn’t help himself from saying “619.” JR is bad too especially when someone does a uranage and he has to say it’s a “Rock Bottom.” Like, part of establishing an identity is coming up with unique move names and not leaning on WWE terminology.
  • Riho spent a good part of the match wrestling a clean technical style but her teacher’s bullying causing her to go into a fists-a-flying frenzy towards the end was a great touch.
  • I’m not sure what Riho was going for on the pin. It started out as a headscissors, but it went a little janky on the climax of it. The concept is solid. I think someone of her size winning matches just by continually finding big leverage pinning combinations is the smartest way to go until either Nyla Rose or Kong just overpower her down the line.
  • Your judges for the World Championship match were Arn Anderson, Dean Malenko, and Keiji Mutoh. Justin Roberts identified the last one as “The Great Muta,” but when there’s no paint on the face, it’s just Keiji. It’d be like calling Jushin Liger Kishin when he’s still got the big mask on. There’s nuance to this shit, guys.
  • That being said, I had a guttural belly laugh at Mutoh being decked out in an AEW logo shirt and hat. It felt like he was treating this excursion into America like a Northeast Philly family would treat one to the Jersey Shore.
  • MJF came out with Cody, in case you needed any more proof a turn was coming.
  • In case you needed to pick her out of the crowd, Cody’s mom, Michelle Runnels, was wearing a windbreaker that said “mom” on it.
  • Meanwhile, Chris Jericho came out already looking about as half as red as Shane McMahon.
  • Excalibur swore the crowd was wishing Jericho a happy birthday, but I’m sure they were chanting “Fuck your birthday!” Feels like if the latter’s the case, Baltimore’s the first city to openly rebel against Jericho, who has been getting babyface reactions from the fans mostly despite being the shittiest shitheel who ever shitted so far.
  • Jericho has perfected the Larry Zbyszko stalling routine, but one of his excursions to the outside landed him face to face with an old rival in Malenko. For people not as ancient as I am, back in the day, Malenko branded himself as the Master of 1,001 holds, to which Jericho branded himself the Master of 1,004 Holds, which led to this promo, one of the finest ever. Anyway, I wouldn’t be surprised if Jericho calls into question the validity of the judges this Wednesday on Dynamite.
  • I know that the AEW crew loves itself some World Championship Wrestling, but as it turned out, their tribute in bringing the ramp all the way up to the apron might have nearly killed Cody. I cringed when he landed forehead-first at a sharp angle on that ramp. I knew Cody would try to bleed in this match; I didn’t think it would happen hardway.
  • Cody’s strategy of working over the arm to prevent the BRAIN DAMAGING JUDAS EFFECT was great psychology though. Cody going from SUPER WORKER to a cerebral old school Crockett-territory style brawler has been the best part of his evolution as a wrestler.
  • Wrestling assumes that babyfaces have a sense of naivete, which is why MJF loudly complaining to Aubrey Edwards that Jake Hager was helping Jericho cheat was a believable cover to his later actions. Wrestling has layers to help keep people watching obvious foreshadowing surprised when the shit goes down.
  • It turned out that Mrs. Runnels was there for a reason, to slap the taste out of Jericho’s mouth. You don’t mess with any of a good mother’s children, you know.
  • This match was already going long when the momma slap happened, but Jericho held his wind even to the end. That being said, his heat segment before the momma slap was almost interminable.
  • There was a sequence where Jericho brained Cody with the title belt but Cody kicked, and after it, I swear, Cody’s dad must have possessed him. He was throwing punches at Jericho that may have well been with fire fists, they were so hot and heavy. I really think he’s found a great groove, and that plucky brawling style must be genetic.
  • So about the MJF towel-throwing, you could believe at first that he did it for his friend’s safety and health. Jericho had the liontamer in DEEP and Cody had no way of getting to the ropes. I thought immediately after that it would lead to a slower burn, especially with MJF begging and pleading. Of course, then MJF went and kicked Cody in the nuts, and the good finish with a “wait-and-see” angle to it became an eminently great one. Again, everything from the beginning of the match until now started to make perfect sense.
  • Look, I don’t want to condone people throwing things at the wrestlers, but the fan who nailed MJF with their soft drink? That’s a sign of the old school kind of heat that had fans wanting to wait for the heels in the parking lot. Regardless of how good you think MJF is, AEW’s intention with him worked.
  • I know a Lights Out match is akin to a streetfight, but that didn’t mean Jon Moxley had to show up wearing pajama pants.
  • If you remember, Paul Turner was the referee from when Mox and PAC went to a television time draw on Dynamite a few weeks back, so naturally Mox gave him a little shove before getting into a BRAWWWWWLLLL with Kenny Omega.
  • So the plunder came out early and often, and they brawled into the crowd, but the match didn’t really start to heat up until Mox brought out the barbed wire bat, which he used to grate Omega’s forehead. Omega followed it with an eye gouge and a piledriver on a trashcan. I think they were both feeling it from jump.
  • Omega shortly thereafter pulled out a board with mousetraps on them, an unorthodox weapon no less. I give him credit for being creative though, even if a mousetrap glued to a board is one of those things you have to suspend disbelief for. Of course, it wasn’t Mox but Omega who ate shit on it, as Mox put him on the traps with a suplex-bomb.
  • Right after the mousetraps, Mox pulled out a big brass chain. I think the build included the line “there won’t be any chain wrestling,” but I don’t think they accounted for it literally.
  • I gotta commend Omega’s creativity and intelligence, especially since one of his weapons was a bag filled with the shards of the table Mox put him through on the first episode of Dynamite. Dragging the big shard across Mox’s face was probably the most gruesome-looking spot, but I also appreciated the various times when someone would get dragged across the glass.
  • Of course, Mox brought out an icepick. Much like with Triple H’s sledgehammer, when a weapon like that gets brought out, you know they have to hold back because you can’t really work someone getting stabbed much like you can’t work hauling off with an overhead shot with the hammer.
  • Omega had Mox hanging over the ropes with the chain around his neck, maybe the gnarliest spot of the whole match. He let go before Mox’s face turned blue (thankfully), and Excalibur had a clever cover for it on commentary, saying the blood on Omega’s hands was lubricant enough to have the chain slip off.
  • They worked up the ramp and Omega called for the Elite to bring out whatever it was he had in store, with his buddies refusing at first. When they acquiesced, they brought out what looked like a bedframe that was adorned in all kinds of barbed wire. Again, the corollary of the person who introduces the big weapon gets put through it, and Mox suplexed Omega off the ramp into the bed. Surprisingly though, the barbed wire didn’t really leave that much of a mark on either guy’s back.
  • That being said, the Omega V-Trigger knee of Mox through the Full Gear stage set was probably the more visually violent spot.
  • Making their way back to the ring and Mox starts to cut the ring canvas and expose the lumber underneath. I’d say it was shades of Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa, but I think they exceeded their earlier usage.
  • In keeping with the theme from his Undertale entrance on Halloween, Omega once again went to Kota Ibushi’s well, his Golden Lovers partner, by doing a Phoenix splash. He missed it of course, because the point had to be driven home that that was in the past, I suppose.
  • I will never, EVER call Mox’s finisher the Paradigm Shift. It’s the Death Rider, and the high-angle version he used to put Omega away was fan-fuckin’-tastic.

Match of the Night: Kenny Omega vs. Jon Moxley, Lights Out Match – Moxley has been unleashed since getting out of his personal prison. You knew he was going to come correct for the most violent match that AEW has produced this year so far. The linchpin was how Omega would respond to a bloody, weapon-strewn brawl that was far out of his personal style that I would probably call “prestige wrestling.” He foreshadowed what he might do with the broom wrapped in barbed wire, but you wouldn’t be blamed if you thought Omega would be able to meet the bell. As it turns out, The Cleaner overdelivered and then some, making this technically unofficial main event one of the best matches of the year, full stop.

You knew what Mox was gonna bring to the table: barbed wire bat, chairs, a big brass chain. He went back to his roots, even further than he did against Joey Janela at Fyter Fest. But it was Omega’s whimsical take on a deathmatch that really made the thing standout. Obviously he had the barbed wire broom again, but it was the board with the glass from the table Moxley put him through on the first episode of Dynamite, the mousetraps and the barbed wire table that was the centerpiece for perhaps the most viscerally impressive spot in the match that really stood out. It wasn’t just the props either; Omega felt natural in a bloody and gory environment. He felt at ease dragging Moxley across the bat or dragging barbed wire across his forehead.

Of course, you can hand-wring over whether it was a deathmatch. I don’t watch Game Changer Wrestling or Big Japan Wrestling a whole lot when they run them, so I won’t say either way. I’m not sure putting discourse on whether it is is relevant though. It was violent at its core, and it conveyed the kind of animosity they wanted to put forth. There was blood. There was a big spot where they went through the stage. There was plunder. And in the end, it also built Omega’s story, that he’s trying to get over past entanglements with him missing the Phoenix splash on the planks. It was everything you’d want in the last match of the night and more, regardless of whether it was a technical deathmatch or not.

Overall Thoughts: When AEW began, it had all the trappings of being a vanity promotion. Kenny Omega and Cody and the Bucks would reign supreme and do the thing where they emphasized themselves as American wrestling royalty the way the McMahons do in WWE, with everyone else playing the role of fungible cogs in a machine meant to put the heads of state over. Sure, that cadre of wrestlers along with their young running buddy Hangman Page are all really good wrestlers, already making that gambit a little more tolerable than a septuagenarian pushing his bloated fifty-something son as the Best in the World and his daughter expecting to be the most important person in a company where she appears once a month. But that past-present-future in AEW would’ve still sucked like a broken airlock on a spacecraft.

Being so refreshingly surprised at all four of those Executive Vice Presidents losing at Full Gear is probably a function of how political an arena wrestling is and how all the wrestlers with “stroke” get their way over the up-and-comers or lovable veterans who get to be on the losing end of the deal. But it appears that they’re ready to build an actual wrestling promotion rather than a pleasure dome where everyone pays respect to them before they can get a paycheck, let alone win a match. No one expected them to be jobbers of lowliest stock, and everyone should expect that they have their moments in the future. That being said, allowing themselves to have major interstitial points where they suffer defeats in service of building someone else to stand with them is absolutely a call for which they deserve credit.

The power dynamics were always going to make or break the company. The wrestling was a given, and Full Gear had decent matches top to bottom at the very least. The worst matches on the card were either sloppy or slow at worst but they were at least engaging. When the best matches on the card are Emi Sakura/Riho and the Lights Out main event though, you’ve put on a great show. Most people think a good pay-per-view has to have all-killer, no-filler, but the shows like In Your House, Canadian Stampede are few and far between, and even WrestleMania X-7, XXX, and Extreme Rules 2012 all had filler stuff. Not everything lands, but when you have at least two super-memorable matches on a show, you’re on the right path.

The lesser matches had explanations for their lack of entertainment value. Britt Baker/Bea Priestley had the latter, a capable bruiser with a few careless tendencies, against the former, a mediocre talent with a slick reboot on a WWF New Generation gimmick. The Tag Championship match had three teams that had high-flying oeuvres, which is hard to get 100 percent snugly all the time. The rest of the matches hit some kind of stride. The Young Bucks/Proud and Powerful match had a weird pace, but it was a solid story of the younger heels trying to get one over on the older ones. PAC and Hangman Page had maybe the hottest finish of the night. Shawn Spears really has found his groove as a sadistic heel, and it makes all his matches enjoyable from an old-school point of view. Who doesn’t love a couple of joshis wailing on each other? And the nominal main event before Lights Out was a lot better than I expected it to be. I wasn’t sure about Chris Jericho’s cardio, but he and Cody occupied the time well and the angle at the end was brilliant. Full Gear was a far-above-average show and I’m not sure it’s AEW’s ceiling, I would go out of my way to try and catch the replay.

The John Report: AEW Dynamite 11/06/19 Review

It’s time for another edition of AEW Dynamite as we head towards the Full Gear pay-per-view this Saturday, November 9. Here’s my AEW Dynamite TV review archive. I’m watching on TSN2 here in Canada.

Live from Charlotte, North Carolina, this is episode #6 of AEW Dynamite. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Please visit daily for our regular updates on the wrestling business featuring WWE, AEW and other wrestling news coverage along with reviews about wrestling’s past and present. Thanks to Melo Man for the banner up top.

The AEW intro video aired to start the show. The pyro went off in the arena and the crowd in Charlotte was very loud. The announce team of Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone and Excalibur welcomed us to the show. They talked about the matches coming up on this week’s show.

It’s “The Bastard” Pac up first with a record of 2-1-1 in his AEW career. Trent Beretta was as the opponent with his buddies Chuck Taylor and Orange Cassidy by his side. The ring name is officially Trent. Pac was not impressed by Orange Cassidy, which makes me like Pac more. Pac faces Adam Page at Full Gear on Saturday.

Pac vs. Trent (w/Chuck Taylor and Orange Cassidy)

Pac took down Trent with a headlock, then Pac looked at Cassidy on the floor. Back in the ring, Trent with a back elbow. Trent hit a suplex to counter a move Pac was trying to do off the ropes. Pac lured Trent out of the ring and Pac sent Trent into the barricade or guard rail at ringside. Pac whipped Trent into another barricade. The fans chanted “Pac you suck” and Pac did a great job of egging them on. Pac rolled back in to break the count, but AEW referees really don’t enforce counts. Pac sent Trent throat first onto the top of the barricade and then a head whip that sent Trent back first onto the steel ramp. When Pac went in the ring, the ref started a count and Pac hit a twisting dive over the top onto Trent on the floor. Pac went up where he connected with a missile dropkick for two. Pac with a hard whip that sent Trent into the turnbuckle followed by a bridging German Suplex for a two count leading to a chinlock from Pac. Trent sent Pac into the turnbuckle, but Pac came back with a neckbreaker on the ropes. Cassidy went into the ring, which generated a big pop, Taylor distracted the referee for this comedy bit and Cassidy did his weak looking kicks while the fans cheered loudly. Pac with a pump kick to Cassidy and I cheered that! The fans booed. Trent went back in the ring with two clotheslines and a release half n half suplex. Trent with a running tope con hilo (somersault dive) over the top onto Pac on the floor. Trent sent Pac into the barricade with fans chanting “this is awesome” for them. Trent whipped Pac into the barricade as payback for earlier in the show. Pac sent Trent into the barricade, but Trent came back with a Spear on the floor. Back in the ring, Trent hit a running knee to the back of the head for two. That’s a finishing move for somebody else…bay bay. Trent with a big clothesline leading to a flip bump and Trent hit a swinging DDT for a two count. Pac sold both of those moves so well by flipping around like a dead fish. They went to the floor again with Pac hitting a brainbuster on the floor. This time the referee actually counted them out, but they went back in before the ten count. Pac went up top and hit the Black Arrow twisting splash for the pinfall…no it was just a two count. It didn’t look like Trent kicked out. I watched it twice. There was no kickout, so I’m not sure if he forgot or the referee made a mistake. Pac slapped in the Brutalizer submission and Trent passed out to give Pac the win after about 12 minutes.

Winner by submission: Pac

Analysis: ***1/2 Great opening match full of action with Pac shining as one of the best wrestlers in AEW while Trent more than held his own as well. I was shocked that Trent kicked out of the Black Arrow move because that’s a finisher for Pac and when there was a kickout, I think that hurts the move. I know Pac has a submission move as well, but I would protect that Black Arrow finisher more. Good showing by Trent although I doubt anybody watching this thought he was going to win. It was about building momentum for Pac ahead of his match with Hangman Page at Ful Gear. That’s the smart way to book it.

As for when I cheered when Pac hit Cassidy, I’m just not a fan of the Cassidy thing. There are other forms of comedy in wrestling that I like more than what he does.

After the match, Pac told the crowd to shut up. Pac said he heard Hangman Page and his naughty swear word. Pac said this Saturday at AEW Full Gear, he’s going to make an example of Hangman Page again.

Analysis: I think Pac is one of the best heels in the company because he’s always trying to stay in character. He doesn’t make jokes or do anything other than continue to play “the bastard” character that he is. I like him a lot.

Cody’s announcement is up next.

(Commercial – It was a split screen commercial showing the wrestlers from the opening match walking to the back. They showed some Earlier Today clips of Cody walking in the arena and shaking hands with friends like MJF, Matt Jackson and others. There was a scene of the Dark Order group getting ready for their match and also Private Party looking like they are ready for the match.)

Let’s Hear from Cody

Cody made his entrance to a huge ovation from the crowd. I like the pyro for his entrance. The fans chanted “Cody” as Cody walked out wearing a white suit. Tony Schiavone was in the ring to conduct the interview. Cody shook his hand and hugged him.

It was noted by Schiavone that Cody was born in Charlotte, which is where they are. Schiavone mentioned Cody faces Chris Jericho for the AEW World Title at Full Gear and noted Cody has a big announcement. Cody said he’s not surprised by Chris Jericho and The Inner Circle because they’ve taken out The Elite with a scalpel. Cody talked about how they can match up with the Young Bucks, Kenny Omega, Adam Page, himself and his brother Dustin Rhodes. Cody said this Saturday at Full Gear he finds himself on the marquee with the AEW World Champion Chris Jericho.

Cody said he wanted to rattle off a few names like Eddie Graham, “Cowboy” Bill Watts and the “American Dream” Dusty Rhodes, who of course is his father. Loud cheers and “Dusty” chants. Cody said they were titans in our business, the best bell to bell and the best at the box office. Cody said for the cold and sterile historians of the business, those men were competitors along with management, not unlike himself. Cody said for the last year, he is proud of AEW, proud of the all-inclusive nature of the schedule, of the pay and said this is Ellis Island for a professional wrestler – this is freedom. (If you don’t know the Ellis Island reference, Google it. I can’t teach history class while doing this review too!) The fans cheered loudly along with “AEW” chants. Cody said when he hears the same criticism for being management and being in a title match, he can’t not hear it. The fans chanted “you deserve it” at him.

Cody announced that if he does not defeat Chris Jericho at Full Gear then he will never challenge for the AEW World Championship again. The fans booed. Cody said that’s a big if and it’s not an albatross that will weigh Jericho down. Cody said that Jericho has called his lot entitled millennials and Jericho called him an “entitled millennial” while talking about Jericho’s first book being worth only $3 dollars. Cody mentioned Jericho was raised with the same silver spoon since he was raised by the son of a famous hockey player and he said something that was muted here in Canada (Cody called Jericho a “stupid dick” there). Cody said that the dirty secret about Jericho is that he needs this generation more than they need Jericho. Cody fired up talking about how this is about his mother, his sister, his wife and about him taking 14 years from going from undesirable to undeniable! Cody was really fired up! The fans cheered loudly. Cody said that when The Elite faces The Inner Circle it’s going to be a match beyond (War Games hint?) and they are going to eat them alive. The fans cheered loudly as Cody blew a kiss to the fans to end it.

Analysis: That was an amazing promo full of passion, energy and a guy speaking from the heart. It’s another reminder that pro wrestlers don’t need scripts to do promos. Cody knows his character better than anybody, so he’s got a lot of confidence in himself to deliver something meaningful and that’s what he did here. The interesting part about it is that Cody won’t get an AEW World Title shot if he loses, which raises the stakes for the match and makes me unsure what the result will be. I was leaning towards Jericho retaining, but it might be a title change. Also, the “match beyond” line by Cody was a nod to what they used to say about War Games, so maybe they will be doing some kind of big tag team gimmick match similar to that. I know Dave Meltzer tweeted that while WWE owns the “War Games” name, Cody owns “The Match Beyond” and both are from Dusty Rhodes. This was outstanding from Cody, who has developed into an excellent talker and he showed it here.

(Commercial – It was another split screen showing Cody leaving and some crowd shots. There wasn’t much there.)

The SCU tag team of Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky entered with the AEW Tag Team Titles. They won the titles last week on Dynamite. They joined the commentary team for this match.

The Dark Order heel team entered first with their five buddies with masks on that are called Creepers. Private Party entered as the babyface opponents. The referee held up bronze medals because this is for third place in the tag team tournament. A nice touch, but not really necessary either.

Private Party (Marq Quen and Isiah Kassidy) vs. The Dark Order (Stu Grayson and Evil Uno)

Dark Order attacked early with Uno knocking down Quen, Grayson got a tag and Kassidy tagged in with a step up enziguri. Quen with a jumping double foot stomp over Kassidy onto Grayson. Uno pulled Grayson out of the ring while their masked friends stood in front of them. Kassidy worked over Grayson with forearms, but Grayson dropped him with a uranage slam. Uno with a backbreaker on Kassidy. Jumping kick to the head by Kassidy on Uno. Grayson with a running shoulder tackle on Kassidy and Uno tripped up Kassidy on the apron. Grayson with a slingshot splash over the top onto Kassidy.


The match returned with Uno working over Kassidy with a dreaded back rake. Kassidy hit a suplex on Uno, Quen got the tag against Grayson and Uno hit Quen with a clothesline. Grayson tagged in with an elbow drop off the top. That was weird because instead of the babyface getting offense off the tag, he took two big moves in a row. Quen with a dropkick on Uno, then a dropkick on Grayson and Queen with a moonsault onto a standing Uno. Quen hit a somersault dive over the top on Grayson and Uno on the floor. Quen with a jumping side kick on Grayson and Quen with a springboard cross body block off the top for two. Kassidy tagged in, but Grayson did a sweet reversal to kick both Private Party guys. Uno hit a slam onto the knee for a two count. Grayson hit a belly to belly suplex on Quen onto Kassidy against the turnbuckle. Grayson hit a 450 Splash on Quen off the top while Uno hit a cannonball splash on Kassidy and Grayson got a two count for two. Quen with a headscissors that sent Uno into Grayson. Kassidy tagged in, knee to the face by Grayson and Quen knocked Grayson off the top. Kassidy came back with a DDT (sort of) on Uno. Quen tagged in with a hurricanrana off the top, which led right into the Cutter by Kassidy that they call the Gin N Juice for the pinfall win after 12 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Private Party (Marq Quen and Isiah Kassidy)

Analysis: *** It was competitive with a finish that was built up well. Private Party continues to impress while the Dark Order works well as a heel team. Most of the match was Private Party selling and as I noted in the review, there wasn’t even a hot tag spot with the faces getting offense, but it worked by the end of the match. I like their finishing move a lot. I think Private Party has been booked very well during these first five episodes and they have an incredibly bright future.

After the match, SCU went in the ring with the AEW Tag Team Titles while Lucha Brothers were on the apron and Private Party were also in the ring, so it was a three team face off.

Analysis: That should be a great match. It would be a surprise to see SCU lose the titles so quickly after winning them.

There was a video of Chris Jericho sitting at a table with the AEW World Title on his shoulder while Sammy Guevara had two bottles of champagne with him. Guevara said that Jericho was like a father figure. They showed a clip of Jericho in a hot tub wearing a scarf and drinking champagne. They showed Soultrain Jones (Virgil) saying he’s known Jericho since he was a kid and put him over. They had clips of Santana and Ortiz talking along with “Patricia Bobski” while Guevara had a good line about 48-year-old Jericho being the youngest AEW Champion of all time, which drew laughs from the fans. It’s true because he’s the only champion. Jake Hager said nothing. The old lady Patricia said she knows Jericho will beat the shit out of Cody. Jericho said it’s hard for him to have to realize how great he is. Jones made an Olive Garden reference. Jericho noted Cody has to worry about being the boss and wrestling while Jericho just has to wrestle and get a little bit of the bubbly. Jericho said he’s “Le Champion” to end it.

Analysis: That was pretty funny as a video package with appearances from Soultrain Jones (Virgil) and an old lady with a fake name (Bobski is a Jericho thing), so the fans were laughing through most of it. Sammy saying the line about Jericho being youngest AEW Champion was awesome too. Jericho taking a bath while wearing the scarf was also a funny visual. This was good for a few laughs for sure.

The announce team ran down the big matches at AEW Full Gear on Saturday: Young Bucks vs. Ortiz and Santana, SCU vs. Private Party vs. Lucha Bros for the AEW Tag Team Titles, Jon Moxley vs. Kenny Omega in a Lights Out Match and Chris Jericho defending the AEW World Title against Cody.


The first women’s match of the night is here with Jamie Hayter entering for a match for the second week in a row. It’s Emi Sakura as the opponent for Hayter and she’s got a fake mustache along with a microphone for her entrance since she’s a Freddie Mercury fan. Shanna entered as the opponent after she made her debut last week and lastly it’s AEW Women’s Champion Riho, who got a good pop from the crowd.

Jamie Hayter and Emi Sakura vs. Riho and Shanna

There were some “Riho” chants as Sakura shoved Riho down with Excalibur noting that Sakura trained Riho. Sakura worked over Riho with a chop and a hair whip as JR noted Riho started training to wrestle at 9 years, so she’s in year 13 as a 22-year-old. It’s an incredible stat that they mention in every Riho match. Jumping knee strike by Riho knocked Sakura down. Shanna tagged in with an uppercut on Sakura, then two arm drags and a running uppercut. Shanna with a running kick to the head got a one count. Shanna hit a flipping neckbreaker for a two count. Double team bulldog by Shanna and Riho followed by Shanna slamming Riho onto Sakura for a two count. Sakura scratched the back of Riho, but Riho tripped up Sakura by the ropes and Riho tried a 619 knee attack and Sakura blocked it leading to a backbreaker. Hayter finally tagged in with two suplexes on Riho. Hayter stomped on Riho.

(Commercial – It was split screen action time with Sakura hitting a dropkick on Riho. Sakura worked over Riho some more with ground submissions. Hayter slapped on a chinlock while pulling on the mouth of Riho. Hayter did a double “wet willy” fingers in the ear spot. Hayter grounded Riho with a chinlock. Hayter with a body slam followed by another chinlock. This was just a couple of minutes of working over Riho.)

The match returned with Riho making the comeback with a headscissors on Hayter. Sakura stomped on Riho’s back and Riho stomped on the chest on Sakura. Shanna got the tag with chops to Hayter, then two running forearms and another jumping forearm for a two count. Shanna with a jawbreaker, but Hayter came back with a backbreaker. Sakura tagged back in, tried to get a chant going, some fans got into it and others booed and Sakura hit a running corner splash. Sakura went for a Vader Bomb, but Shanna got the knees up to block. Hayter pulled Riho off the apron to prevent a tag. Shanna with a hurricanrana on Sakura, who ended up on the floor. Shanna went up top and hit a cross body block on Sakura and Hayter on the floor. There were “this is awesome” chants. Shanna hit the Sliced Bread neckbreaker followed by a double underhook sitout DDT for a two count. That looked painful. Sakura hit an inverted neckbreaker. Hayter with a corner forearm on Shanna and a running knee for two. Hayter with a sitout slam on Shanna for a two count. Hayter with a front suplex and two running clotheslines. Riho made the save, so Hayter tossed Riho out of the ring. Sakura hit a backbreaker on Shanna followed by the Vader Bomb for two because Riho hit a double foot stomp to the back of Sakura. Riho got the hot tag, she charged, Sakura moved, Riho hit the turnbuckle and Sakura got a two count. Riho got a two count. Sakura hooked the arms of Riho with la majistral cradle for the pinfall victory after 14 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Jamie Hayter and Emi Sakura

Analysis: *** The match was okay with Shanna getting a chance to show off what she can do a bit more. Hayter had some good moments too. The match dragged a bit in the middle parts. They really haven’t done much to distinguish the characters in this division except the fans do like Riho as a smaller champion. The Riho vs. Sakura match was announced earlier on Wednesday, so it was no surprise that Sakura got the pin to give her momentum.

The announcers mentioned it would be Riho vs. Emi Sakura for the AEW Women’s World Title at Full Gear on Saturday.

Analysis: I think they have done a poor job in terms of presenting women storylines in the first six weeks. The only rivalry they really have is Britt Baker vs. Bea Priestly and I don’t even remember the last time Priestly was on Dynamite. They need to improve these women’s rivalries in the future.

Brandi Rhodes was seated in a chair talking about how people doubt her and then said they can’t stop her as visions of Awesome Kong were shown. Brandi asked: “Who are the bullies now?” She laughed and Kong was shown again to end it.


The show returned with Brandon Cutler in the ring to lose another match to add on to his 0-2 record already. He’s a friend of the Young Bucks, who is there to put people over. Shawn Spears made his entrance along with manager Tully Blanchard. They’re trying to get Spears over with “The Chairman” as his nickname since he hit Cody with a chair shot months ago. There was a clip of Spears and Blanchard attacking Joey Janela on AEW Dark that aired this week.

Shawn Spears (w/Tully Blanchard) vs. Brandon Cutler

They battled over a wristlock, which led to a clothesline from Spears. They each did the “10” hand gesture, Cutler with two kicks and a leg drop to the back of the head of Spears by the apron. Spears tripped up Cutler on the apron and then whipped him into the barricade two times. Spears with a running knee attack on Cutler by the barricade. Back in the ring, Spears with a hard chop and Cutler came back with three kicks to the upper body. Cutler went up top, he jumped off, Spears moved and Spears hit a pump kick. Excalibur pointed out that Blanchard told Spears that Cutler was coming off the top. Spears hit a Death Valley Driver for the pinfall win after about three minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Shawn Spears

Analysis: *1/2 A much needed win for Spears. Cutler got in some offense with those kicks, but nobody really thought he had a chance here. Spears is a heel that needs more wins in order to build him up more. I have no problem with a match under five minutes. They need to do those occasionally to put over wrestlers in a dominant way.

Post match, Spears tried to do a Death Valley Driver on Cutler again, but Joey Janela ran out for the save. Spears left with Blanchard.

Analysis: There isn’t much of a story between Spears and Janela, but they have a match at Full Gear.

(Commercial – They showed Janela in the ring as he had a staredown with Spears. After Spears went to the back, Janela left too. They showed Chris Jericho and Sammy Guevara getting ready in their locker room while “Hangman” Adam Page was doing pushups in a hallway. Kenny Omega was shown taping up his wrists. There were more crowd shots of the fans.)

There was a video package about the match between Jon Moxley and Kenny Omega, which has been building for six months when Moxley debuted in AEW. Their match at Full Gear is a Lights Out match.

The camera showed Justin Roberts in the ring announcing to the crowd that this was the main event of the evening, which led to cheers. The time limit is TV time remaining.

The face team entered first with “Hangman” Adam Page entering to a good pop. He faces Pac at Full Gear. Kenny Omega got a huge ovation as usual. As mentioned earlier, he’s facing Jon Moxley at AEW Full Gear. Omega’s record in AEW is 5-3 in case you’re wondering. I guess I could mention all of the records during the entrances, but I tend to forget.

The Inner Circle heels were next with Sammy Guevara out first followed by AEW World Champion Chris Jericho, who gets that big respect pop from the crowd. Even though Jericho’s a heel, he is the biggest star on the show, so the fans cheer for the entrance at least. Jake Hager was with Jericho, who is 5-0 in his AEW career so far. Jericho will be on the Inside the NBA show on TNT this Thursday in Atlanta. That’s the best studio show in sports, so it’s a great spot for Jericho and AEW to be.


The show returned with about 20 minutes left. The fans were chanting “we are assholes” because of something that happened during the break.

Chris Jericho and Sammy Guevara (w/Jake Hager) vs. Kenny Omega and “Hangman” Adam Page

Omega wanted Jericho, but Jericho tagged out to get boos. Omega with an armbar on Guevara, so Sammy backflips out of that and Omega hit him with hard chops to the chest. Omega with a jumping back elbow on Guevara against the ropes. The fans chanted “cowboy shit” in support of Page as Omega hit a leg drop to the head and Page hit a standing SSP on Guevara for a two count. Guevara missed a jumping kick and Page hit a bridging slam for two. Jericho tagged in, Page with a kick and Jericho came back with a missile dropkick off the middle ropes. Jericho with a suplex and Guevara tagged back in with Page hitting a suplex. The camera zoomed in as Jericho told Page to do something and there was Page with a clothesline. Omega and Guevara got the tags with Omega cleaning house with punches followed by a spinning double sledge to the chest. Omega with a rolling senton followed by a moonsault off the middle ropes for two. Guevara with a kick, then he went up top and jumped off, right into a dropkick by Omega. Jericho went back in, forearm to Omega, but Omega sent Jericho out of the ring with a headscissors. Hager hit a forearm to the back of Omega that the referee didn’t see and Guevara hit a dropkick on Omega to knock him down.

(Commercial – It was split screen commercial time with the heels working over Omega. Guevara got a two count with a Samoan Drop and Omega came back with a rollup for two. Guevara hit a clothesline to knock Kenny down again. There were about eight minutes left in the show when they returned.)

Jericho hit Omega with a running elbow. Omega broke free, Page got the hot tag and kicked Guevara off the apron while following up with a fallaway slam on Jericho. Page with a slingshot dive over the top onto Guevara on the floor. Page with a clothesline on Jericho, but Page fought out of it and knocked Jericho out of the ring with a clothesline. Omega sent Guevara over the top onto Hager, who caught Sammy. Omega hit an incredible tope con hilo (somersault dive) over the top on Guevara and Hager. Page followed that with a moonsault off the top and he knocked Jericho and Guevara down with his arms. Jericho was back in the ring, he distracted referee Aubrey Edwards and that allowed Pac to go to the apron where Pac kicked Page in the groin. Pac knocked down Omega too. Jericho hit the Judas Effect elbow on Page for the pinfall win after 13 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Chris Jericho and Sammy Guevara

Analysis: ***1/2 Great main event tag team match with a fast pace and a smart finish to continue Jericho’s momentum as an undefeated AEW World Champion. I thought Omega was the standout performer in the match in terms of his selling, his moves and just the consistency he always brings. Guevara has a bright future, but he’s not at the level of the other guys in this match in terms of match quality. The finish was cheap, but that’s okay with me because it furthers the Pac/Page story while also having Jericho get another cheap win, which is certainly fine for a heel like him.

There were about six minutes left in the show, so it was post match angle time. The Inner Circle stomped away on Page in the ring and Jericho posed with the AEW World Title. Jericho kicked Omega out of the ring.

Cody ran out for the save, Jericho and Hager left, so Cody gave an uppercut punch to Guevara. Cody stood in the ring wanting Jericho to come after him. When Jericho and Hager backed up the ramp, MJF hit Hager in the back. MJF tossed Jericho back into the ring. Cody hit the Cross Rhodes neckbreaker on Jericho. The fans loved that. Cody posed with the AEW Title.

Jon Moxley entered through the crowd with a barbed wire bat in his hands with the fans popping loud for him. Moxley went into the ring for a showdown with Omega. Jericho grabbed Cody and brought him out of the ring. MJF joined the brawl with Jericho, Cody and Hager, so the four of them went to the back.

Moxley was alone in the ring with a barbed wire bat while Omega had a barbed wire broom. Santana and Ortiz went to the ring for an attack on Omega and Moxley. The Young Bucks ran out for the save with double superkicks. The Bucks each hit suicide dives on Santana and Ortiz. Those guys went brawling up the ramp to the back as fans chanted “AEW” for all of this. Omega showed up, he saved Matt Jackson from a double team move and Omega hit a V-Trigger while Moxley hit a Paradigm Shift DDT to take out Santana and Ortiz. Moxley and Omega went brawling to the backstage area. Nick Jackson was on top of the set, so everybody piled up together and Nick hit a somersault dive onto the others that were there to break his fall. That was impressive! The fans chanted “holy shit” for that.

The heels from the Inner Circle went down toward the ring while Cody, The Young Bucks and MJF stood on top of the ramp. There was a bit of staredown, but then it turned into another brawl. The show ended with everybody brawling around ringside and the fans loved it. That was the end of the show.

Analysis: That was a chaotic final scene for this week’s Dynamite. I think I’ve said that for a few Dynamite episodes because they have done brawls like that before. In this case, it’s more fitting to do it this way since it’s the last Dynamite before Full Gear on Saturday. The crowd absolutely loved it when Nick Jackson hit that dive off that ten-foot-high structure and he landed on the other wrestlers. There was a nice tease between Moxley and Omega using the barbed wire weapons, but neither guy used them. We have to check out Full Gear to see it happen. Even if you look past Full Gear, it’s obvious that there’s going to be some huge tag team match down the road with the Inner Circle and The Elite guys, so that’s something to look forward to as well.


Three Stars of the Show

  1. Cody – That promo was a highlight.
  2. Chris Jericho
  3. Pac


The Scoreboard

This week: 8 (out of 10)

Last week: 7.5

2019 Average: 7.79

Last 5 Weeks: 7.5, 8.25, 8, 8, 7


Final Thoughts

This week’s Dynamite gets an 8 out of 10.

It was another excellent episode of AEW Dynamite. The four main matches were all at or around the three star level, which means good to great matches. There wasn’t one match that stood out this week like there has been in other weeks, so that’s what kept it from being the best episode so far. I thought they did a better job in non-wrestling segments this week because Cody’s promo was outstanding, I loved the comedy video package from the heel Inner Circle group and the last five minutes was a lot of fun with a huge brawl involving about a dozen guys.

This was their first go-home show for a PPV and I thought they did well to get people excited about Full Gear. Some of the matches could have been built up better while the main matches like Cody/Jericho and Omega/Moxley have had outstanding stories leading to their matches. I’m ready for Full Gear on Saturday especially because of those two matches.

The next AEW PPV is Full Gear on November 9 in Baltimore. Here’s the official lineup so far.

AEW World Championship: Chris Jericho (c) vs. Cody – If Cody doesn’t win he’ll never vie for the AEW World Title again.

Lights Out Match: Jon Moxley vs. Kenny Omega

The Young Bucks vs. Santana and Ortiz

AEW World Tag Team Championships: SCU (Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky) (c) vs. Lucha Brothers (Pentagon and Fenix) vs. Private Party (Marq Quen and Isiah Kassidy)

Pac vs. “Hangman” Adam Page

AEW Women’s Championship: Riho (c) vs. Emi Sakura

Shawn Spears vs. Joey Janela

Dr. Britt Baker vs. Bea Priestly (BUY IN PRE-SHOW)

That looks like it is the full card although they may add more. Our preview will go up on Friday morning.

Here’s an awesome Full Gear Countdown video.

You can contact me using any of the methods below. Go Los Angeles Rams, NBA Champion Toronto Raptors and Toronto Maple Leafs.

Thanks for reading.

John Canton


Twitter: @johnreport

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The post The John Report: AEW Dynamite 11/06/19 Review appeared first on TJR Wrestling.

Dy-No-MITE, Episode 4

Photo Credit:

Last week, Dynamite saw both Britt Baker and Darby Allin challenge unsuccessfully for their respective divisions’ titles, the Lucha Bros. put Christopher Daniels out causing Scorpio Sky to wrestle in his sneakers (losing both), and Jon Moxley got sick of PAC’s shit. This week’s show emanated from the other major city in Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh. The Tag Team Championship Tournament continued, and other shenanigans were afoot.

Always Start Strong – One of the things that Dynamite has gotten right four weeks straight is putting on an exciting match that will get the live crowd stoked for the rest of the night. Strange how wrestling fans like to kick their nights off with a hot match rather than authority figures and the wrestlers allowed in their orbits coming to the ring to yak for 20 minutes. This week’s offering was a semifinal match in the tag tourney, upstart Private Party vs. the Lucha Bros. in an aerially spectacular match. As with the Jurassic Express the week before, the Luchas played bully. Honestly, you expect that from Pentagón, Jr., but Rey Feníx hit a level of brutality with his highspot oeuvre that was both visually impressive and brutal at the same time. Turns out maybe those Lucha Bros. are pretty good all-around wrestlers after-all. Private Party, as always, were good working underneath.

Anyway, about the only thing I didn’t like about the match was at the end where the Gin n Juice attempt on Feníx was a lot less sharp than it was against the Young Bucks two weeks prior, and Penta’s counter of a second attempt was a little wonky too. I’d chalk it up to a match perhaps running a bit long and that highspots such as these don’t always look as smooth. It’s a lot more forgivable than just running through spots while you’re out of position, optics be damned. But this was Lucha Bros. vs. Private Party, not Will Ospreay and his mates doing god knows what on New Japan undercards. Also, the Luchas winning almost telegraphed that the Dark Order was about to become the mid-aughts San Diego Chargers of the tournament against SCU.

And after the match, there was a vignette for Wardlow that was about as generic as you could get with him just doing body guy stuff. I’d have been nonplussed about it if I hadn’t seen him work a Pizza Party Wrestling show earlier in the year and looking good in the process.

Starting a Dialogue About Jim Ross – I realize Jim Ross is a name, a family friend of Cody’s, and someone who will defend the turf against dipshits up north. He’s also not been a good wrestling commentator for close to a decade (I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt in his dying days in WWE). I was able to tune him out in the first couple of Dynamite episodes, but his bad habits are rising above being able to willfully ignore what he has to say. I started to notice how pervasive his rot could be on the week 2 episode of Dark (from Boston), where Joey Janela and Kenny Omega had a “lights out” unsanctioned match. Ross’ commentary never rose above rote explaining of the rules or about how there were no rules. He’d been calling Omega matches since at the very least WrestleKingdom 9. Janela isn’t a hard person to find out about on the Internet.

Conversely, you look at Tony Schiavone, who like Ross hadn’t been the most up to speed on the current wrestling scene, and he’s acquitting himself fine. Part of that is that enthusiasm and curiosity will go a long way to endear oneself to a viewing audience when the knowledge is lacking. But Schiavone at least tries to do his homework. He even shouted STARDOM when describing Jaime Hayter! Meanwhile, Ross mentioned that if there was a draw during either one of the tag tourney semifinals that both teams would be eliminated at least five times each match, and the most animated he got was when he was praising the idea of time limits. He never goes above describing what the wrestler has to do in a match to win outside of the moment. I get no insight from him on who the people are or what their motives are. To me, that’s more important than saying Marq Quen has to make a tag or offering bemusement at Evil Uno’s listed weight. I mean, he even tread all over Penta’s celebratory CERO MIEDO taunt at the end of the match. WHO DOES THAT?

Honestly, I’m not really expecting any changes to be made on this front. Ross, again, is a name that people recognize. No one will list him as a problem outside of folks like me because commentary, unless it’s Mike Adamle bad, doesn’t leave a mark. That being said, when AEW gets further away from friendly territories like Philadelphia and Chicago and into noted dead zones like Corpus Christi and Salt Lake City, if, say, the Dark Order or Joey Janela don’t get the reactions they got when in places where extremely online fans with access to plentiful indie wrestling, maybe decisions like having a total stubborn cipher like Ross in the booth who take up the lion’s share of words spoken by a three man booth won’t look as good.

The Bye, It Does Nothing! – As expected, SCU defeated the Dark Order in a decent but unremarkable match. The most notable thing was the Inner Circle making their way up to a luxury box as ticketholders during the match. It killed the crowd for a little bit, but luckily, people are into both teams. Other than that, I was taken by Scorpio Sky’s athleticism, and obviously, the Dark Order are a spectacle. Some matches you just take in and don’t really have anything insightful to say about. That being said, I need to ruminate on the Dark Order a bit. On one hand, no one really knows a whole lot about the former Super Smash Bros. Outside of a post-match invasion at Fyter Fest and the three matches they’ve had since All Out inclusive, I’m not getting anything about them outside of they have a coterie of minions. Where’s the expository number on them like you had for Cody last week?

On hte other hand, do you need expository for everyone on the roster? Can the Dark Order be just a menacing cult without needing them to do things like Firefly Fun House? Wrestling has had spooky characters get over on just promos and angles. Granted, the Dark Order hasn’t had either of those either. Again, I hate bagging on a show for giving too much wrestling because there’s no such thing as too much wrestling, but part of why NWA Powerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr is so critically successful so far is they let their guys talk. Leaving the tag tournament might be a good way to push a soft reset on them.

This Time, It Counts – The best thing that could’ve happened for Joey Janela is that his high-profile losses to Jon Moxley and Kenny Omega didn’t count. That being said, his loss this episode to Omega did count. Granted, Janela looks like a star whenever he goes out there, whether or not the match is good. This time, it was, but Omega is a fine dance partner for almost anyone who gets in the ring with him. He looked good on his own accord though, hitting a sick lariat at one point. Also, his bump-and-sell of the V-Trigger knee is just art. I’m willing to forgive the lack of wins for the Bad Boy because he will always have a following due to his aura, and also Omega just won the AAA Championship and is in the second-from-top match at Full Gear. But they gotta kick something into high gear for him in November.

DIPPIN DOTS! – So the Inner Circle in the luxury box conceit paid off when Cody came out to cut a promo in the ring teasing an announcement. Chris Jericho wouldn’t allow him to make it due to insane heckling. Now Cody knows how most comics feel. Anyway, one thing led to another, and the Inner Circle, sans an in-training camp Jake Hager, brawled with Cody, Dustin Rhodes, MJF, and DIAMOND DALLAS PAGE. If the shock of having DDP there wasn’t enough, Jericho at one point stole someone’s crutch to use as a weapon before having Cody dunk his head into a canister of Dippin Dots. Overall, it was a fun piece of business that helped further a story.

Leave Orange Alone! – Best Friends and the Young Bucks engaged in a “consolation match” from the tag team tournament. Poor Jurassic Express left out again. Anyway, the focal point of the match was Orange Cassidy, whom the Bucks picked on to distinguish themselves as the heels in the match. I’m gonna stop nitpicking alignments because it feels like the situational heeling and babyfacing is working thus far. You gotta know your audience! Anyway, about the only thing that brought the match down was the fact that when Cassidy went into his “superkick” routine, both Ross and Schiavone acted like they weren’t briefed on what he was about. Try selling what Orange is bringing to the table, okay? Anyway, the other takehome from this match is that Chuck Taylor is an exceedingly good hot tag, which you’d never notice before since on the indies he was mostly a self-deprecating dipshit heel most of the time. The Bucks won because they can’t lose to everyone, I guess.

Leave Britt Baker in Pittsburgh – It was telling that Britt Baker in her home crowd had them at their deadest the whole night. The thing is, Hayter looked pretty good in there with her, but Baker continues to look loose and mistimed in the ring, which is not very good when the other wrestlers in her division have joshi stock. For example, the only person who should do the Sling Blade is Hiroshi Tanahashi because it’s a hard move to make look good. Baker did it twice and each time it looked like Hayter’s head snapped back as if it were stricken by a ghost instead of Baker’s arm. She has a great hook in the dentist gimmick and she’s also got maybe the best finish in the company with Lockjaw. There just isn’t a whole lot else to Baker otherwise.

After the match, Hayter got laid out by Brandi Rhodes for no spoken reason from the Chief Brand Officer. Hayter vs. Awesome Kong should be a great hoss fight, but why Rhodes would make that call by laying her out herself feels… sketchy.

Luck of the Draw – The main event of PAC vs. Moxley started with PAC waylaying Mox as he entered the ring, and it kept accelerator down to the floor for the whole match. PAC looks like he’s just having way too much fun being the biggest prick bastard in the company. Even though he gives up size to most wrestlers and has a style that lends itself to a rah-rah happy babyface, he’s incredible at laying the heat down in a way that makes people hate him. He was impressive here between Mox’s manic bursts of energy that fit him so well. You can have a loose cannon gimmick, but unless you have the burst that Mox has, it’s not going to come off as well.

I loved the match ending in a TV time draw as well. WWE has wanted to have matches where both of the guys come out of it looking “good,” even back to the Attitude Era, but they’ve spammed fuck finishes so much that they really don’t mean anything. A draw, however, is something ingrained in wrestling history that allow both guys to look like they could have won the match, and even more, it stokes the crowd for a match with a conclusion down the line. I maybe would’ve had the time cues from Justin Roberts be less frequent, but otherwise, it was a great ending to a serialized wrestling show in advance of a pay-per-view. All in all, another strong episode for AEW.

Dy-No-MITE, Episode 3

The future of AEW right here
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
Last week on All Elite Wrestling Dynamite, Chris Jericho revealed a name for his stable, Darby Allin won a shot at Le Champion and then assailed him with his skateboard, Riho and Britt Baker roughhoused their way to a tag win in preparation for their match this week, and Jon Moxley not only confronted Kenny Omega again, but showed his disdain for PAC attacking his target before he could. Episode three emanated from the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, PA this week, and it was a show built on title bouts and tag matches.

Lucha Sneak Attack! – Dynamite opened this week with Feníx and Pentagón, Jr. waylaying Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian of SCU in advance of their first-round tag tournament match with the Best Friends. It was a vicious beatdown, the kind that really gets the blood pumping, and it ended with Penta spiking Daniels on the ramp with a package piledriver and Scorpio Sky making the save before Feníx did the same to Kazarian. The good news is that the Lucha Bros. get to be the BAMFs that they need to be in order to get the most out of them. The bad news is that SCU was positioned as a sympathetic babyface team when, uh, they come out and say every town they’re in is the worst town they ever have been in. Again, it feels like AEW is either playing with shades of gray or they really don’t care about keeping alignments consistent, which I get it, everyone in the company is over at this point. Somewhere down the line, I wonder if it’ll be an issue.

Anyway, the match itself continued the streak of Dynamite opening with a main-event quality bout. Outside of Sky interrupting a hug between Trent? and Chuck Taylor (Sky has a history with homophobia, and even if the Best Friends aren’t a gay gimmick, well it doesn’t stop homophobes from trying to frame platonic acts of friendship as gay), it was a solid opener that hit some high notes and got the story it was supposed to tell over. Sky wrestling with only one shoe was also more impressive than one might think. I can’t even walk if I only have one shoe on without being a topsy-turvy mess. I guess even bigots can be athletically inclined, who knew?

Also, points to Taylor for pandering to Philly fans with the Ben Simmons jersey. There is absolutely nothing a Philly fan loves more than being pandered to. I know, because I am a Philly fan who loves being pandered to, and lo and behold, Chuckie T is one of my favorite wrestlers.

Beaver Boys on TV – So LAX or EYFBO or whatever Santana and Ortiz are calling themselves nowadays got themselves a match with enhancement talent. Of course, being who runs AEW, that enhancement talent was none other than John Silver and Alex Reynolds, the Beaver Boys. As far as squash matches go, it was entertaining inasmuch as a match where one competitor or team of competitors had no chance. Silver got to flex his muscles while preening at one point, so not all was lost for the TV jobbers who both have good spots on the indies (tune into Beyond Wrestling Uncharted Territory tonight live on Independent Wrestling TV!). The interesting, for bad reasons, thing that happened during this segment was the post-match promo, where Jericho appeared on the Tron and started putting over his henchmen. The problem was he veered into racist territory calling them “thugs” and “pit bulls.” Of course, earlier in the day, he did a spon-con tweet to pub Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, where he plays a KKK Grand Wizard, by hashtagging the letters KKK. All in all, not a good day for Chris Jericho and race relations. Good on LAX for just yelling over it though. They can talk; let them. They’re quite good at it too.

Where Are the Promos? – A long pre-taped vignette hyping up Cody aired next. It was well-shot, well-produced, and really got over the fact that Cody needs to beat Jericho at Full Gear in order to be complete. It was the only real part of the show dedicated to promotional ventures outside of the short promo that preceded it from Jericho and a short pre-tape from Jon Moxley before his match. I feel like a dweeb and a hypocrite for saying this, because the wrestling on the show has, by and large, been dope these first three episodes. That being said, there are guys on the show whose intentions I want to hear about from a crew other than the commentary team, especially when the commentary team contains Jim Ross yammering on about the legal man or doing his best to humanize LAX when they’re the characters on the show in least need of warm anecdotes.

My biggest complaint about AEW so far is definitely how character motivations are laid out and fleshed out. I know the Lucha Bros. don’t like SCU, but why? Even if it’s just that the Luchas think SCU are the top dogs and they want to punch them in the mouth, how about letting Feníx say it? Wrestling and subtlety don’t get along all that well because you’re asking big humans whose job it is to land on their heads for a living to emmote like Daniel Day Lewis. Anyone who says otherwise is acting on headcanon, which is fine, but not relevant to an accessible and widespread conversation. As much as I want wrestling to get at that level of thespian fidelity, I’m not sure that’s a reasonable short-term goal. It’s great that Cody got this big vignette to explain the torture he has inside, but he’s not the only person who needs some exposition time. For example, the Dark Order hasn’t been seen or even mentioned since they won the bye in the Tag Tournament at All Out. Don’t you think they need some sort of hype?

It’s only three weeks, and very few wrestling companies really have fully formed stories in that time. WWE going to Monday Night RAW wasn’t a fledgling company; it had eight years of direction from Vincent Kennedy McMahon and several decades of history from Vincent James McMahon. AEW has what, a YouTube series that only a fraction of the audience watches? I don’t want to have to watch YouTube to get the whole picture. What makes Dark so great, for example, is that you don’t have to watch it to get the story of what’s happening on Dynamite. It’s good to supplement with online, but the gist of what you’re saying needs to happen on television if you’re a television-first promotion. If not, then what am I wasting my time on Wednesdays for?

Teeth. Teeth! TEETH! – Britt Baker and Riho squared off for the Women’s Championship, and I think it’s time to start a dialogue about the dentist-wrestler. Hey, did you know Baker is a dentist? Anyway, I still think Riho is the best wrestler in that company, and I also hate using the term “carry job” for matches. However, I don’t think this match was good, and I think it was watchable because Riho busted her ass, but Baker had no idea how to handle a wrestler that size. At least that’s the best case scenario. At several times, it looked like Baker didn’t rotate enough or get low enough for her moves to look good. The match happened on an episode of Dynamite, not a pay-per-view, so it’s possible that she’s not at the top of the division right now. That being said, who else does AEW have on its bench? Bea Priestley and Nyla Rose are good options, sure. I’m not sure how many episodes of Dynamite they can count Emi Sakura in for. Kylie Rae left, and I don’t think Sadie Gibbs has wrestled a match yet. Aja Kong and Yuka Sakazawa are still in Japan. Allie/Cherry Bomb hasn’t made it off Dark. AEW has a good women’s roster, sure, but is it robust?

Friend of the blog Elle Collins asks where the third women’s match during the taping session is. For that matter, where’s the second match during Dynamite? AEW crows about its inclusion, but the female roster feels paltry if talented. I don’t want Dynamite to become like NXT in that you kinda have to hope and pray that a non-title women’s match gets added to the PPV. Even then, Takeover only has five matches, and NXT found a way to get Io Shirai vs. Candice LeRae on the last one. Full Gear will have eight matches. Again, they still are finding their feet, but there are certain things that you would like to see addressed earlier rather than later.

Shut Up About Marko, Nerds – So, awful news dropped last night as Luchasaurus tore his hamstring pretty badly preparing for the Jurassic Express/Lucha Bros. match. Marko Stunt replaced him, making Jungle Boy the surprising heavy for the match. The bout went as one might expect, with the diminutive Jurassic Express getting in their shots using leverage and strikes with the pointy parts of their bodies while the Luchas played the roles of sledgehammers. It was a fine match, possibly better than the opener, and I thought it did a good job establishing all four guys as discrete characters on a show where people need those to hang their hats on.

Of course, it’s not surprising that a certain segment of mouthy, reactionary wrestling fans took umbrage that someone bigger than a toddler sold for Stunt. If you’re small, apparently you don’t hurt. Those people have never interacted with toddlers before I can tell you that. If you’ve ever had a 30-lb. four year-old girl jump on your stomach and didn’t feel the need to recoil in reaction, you’re lying or you’re Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson. Even if the agents laid the match out to have Stunt doing Last Rides to Penta, the overarching thing is that it’s wrestling. Unrealistic shit happens all the time. Undertaker once ended a Batista/Rey Mysterio match by shooting lightning from backstage. People accept that but they can’t accept the Luchas selling because Marko Stunt jabbed an elbow into their soft tissue at high speed. Honestly, I should stop recognizing them, and really, so should you.

Bring Me Deathmatch Kenny – PAC and Moxley vs. Hangman Page and Kenny Omega was what you’d expect from those four at this point in the year. It hit hard. It had great counters. PAC chewed scenery while working over the babyface. Mox brought the manic energy. It also furthered tensions between Moxley and PAC, showing that just because they’re both heeling doesn’t mean they’re aligned. I like that demarcation in Mox’s character, that he wouldn’t pick the bones off PAC’s kill of Omega last week and thus got angry that PAC would snipe his kill this week. It’s a simple character stroke that I’m used to not seeing because WWE builds monoliths.

The most exciting thing about that match was Omega continuing to tease becoming as much of a deathmatch wrestler as AEW’s sponsors will let him. I know it’s corny as hell, but the barbed wire-wrapped broom is just inherently satisfactory. If the Mox/Joey Janela match from Fyter Fest is any indication, an AEW deathmatch, or more accurately a hardcore match, will probably get to about half as violent as something that might happen in Game Changer Wrestling, and maybe Omega and/or Moxley will bleed a little bit. After seeing years of hardcore matches in WWE with no blood or plunder greater than a chair and a table, I’m ready to see how AEW will explore the studio space while seeing how they self-regulate.

Darby Allin, Made Man – You know a match is gonna be lit when Jericho comes to the ring with the Kefka facepaint on. I’d say he pulled his weight, but man, the star of this match was Darby Allin, who continues to both be a revelation and also prove that Gabe Sapolsky was a goddamn fool for not putting a title on him and letting him ride. He’s got such an uncanny knack for the moment. Every time he went in with strikes on Jericho, you could see the palpable desperation-backed intensity in each one thrown. When he bumped, it showed how much of an uphill battle he had to climb. It was the kind of fight you’d want not only your babyface underdog to show, but the protagonist in your action movie.

The little things in presentation made for an enhanced experience too. More often than not, you have no-disqualification matches in WWE where the referee enforces rope breaks even though there’s no reason why anyone would let them go if they couldn’t get DQ’d for it. Mentioning that you couldn’t win the match if a rope break was being made gave some sense into why Aubrey Edwards was enforcing them and why either one of the competitors complied. It’s not about being mechanical about the rules or making sure you’re enforcing them by the letter, but about them providing some sense into what’s going on.

Of course, the ending couldn’t be Allin winning when Cody chasing Jericho was the story (although having Cody wrestle the kid he couldn’t put away at Fyter Fest would’ve been an intriguing story as well), and it would’ve been foolish to have had Allin taking a clean-for-a-street-fight pinfall. Having Jake Hager emerge to cost him the win was the right call, especially given how the crowd has been reacting to him all three weeks. Allin may not be in the plans now, but after last night, I can’t see how the folks in the creative room aren’t already thinking about when they can tell the story that puts the title on him in a pinnacle moment. It’s hard for me to watch AEW and Allin in particular and not think he’s a made man after this, even with the heels in the ring celebrating with A LITTLE BIT OF THE BUBBLAY at show’s close.

Dy-No-MITE, Episode 2

The best ever, no hyperbole
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein

Last week, Chris Jericho introduced his posse, Riho made history as the first ever All Elite Wrestling Women’s World Champion, and Jim Ross didn’t say anything embarrassing. All in all, it was a creative success for the fledgling company’s televised debut. How would they follow it up? Well, that’s what I’m about to unpack here in the second edition of Dy-No-MITE.

The Young Bucks Are Not Cowards – The show opened with the first match in the AEW Tag Team Championship tournament, a blockbuster pitting EVPs Matt and Nick Jackson, the Young Bucks, against Private Party, who match them hop for hop in high-flying prowess. While at some points in the match the bodies were flying high, a lot of the match went back to the Bucks, especially Matt, working over the upstarts, in the style of a methodical mid-’80s heel. There were a few spots where I thought Matt had a submission victory locked up with the sharpshooter. The match was laid out superbly though, basically a cat-and-mouse affair where the Marq Quen and Isaiah Kassidy no matter what the situation would find a way out of peril.

The finish was a standard upset rollup, a victory roll out of a counter to an electric chair. However, the fact that the Bucks, in their first standard tag match on TNT, put over the dudes that they hand-picked to join the roster, was the biggest breath of fresh air to the company so far with respect to its short track record. It’s one thing to have Cody put Darby Allin over by going to a time limit draw (as he had a visual pin on him), or having Sammy Guevara take him to the limit, or having CIMA be the guy who acted as Kenny Omega’s slump-buster. It’s another, in a company where wins matter, to allow an up-and-coming team to get a win over an established act. The Bucks could have won that match and maybe put over the Dark Order or the Lucha Bros. in the finals. But in allowing Private Party to be the guys who put them out, they showed that they’re serious about building a real tag division, and not a vanity showcase for themselves.

You Still Think It’s Not A War? – Chris Jericho said that his group wasn’t “next” and that the “We the People” chant for Jack Hager that originated in WWE was a result of “bad creative.” Whether or not AEW management wants to admit there’s a war, Jericho’s comments confirm that there are. Honestly, it would be refreshing to see some enmity between companies, especially since WWE doesn’t deserve kid gloves nowadays. Other than those comments and Jericho dropping the word “shit,” it was a boilerplate introduction for his new backing stable, the Inner Circle. One other thing to note is that even though Le Champion tried his best to get the fans to boo him, they were lustily cheering for him like he was a plucky underdog trying to win the WWE Championship from Triple H. While his minions get the correct reaction, it’ll remain to be seen if Jericho will ever be booed in an American wrestling ring again. I say American because I doubt fans will cheer him when Hiroshi Tanahashi is across the ring from him at the Tokyo Dome in January.

Yawn – Honestly, they probably should’ve had Darby Allin vs. CIMA as the number one contendership match on the main show rather than as a prelude for the Dark premiere. Maybe he’s better when he has light tubes or whatever, but Jimmy Havoc, from pre-tape promo through the match was frightfully dull. Most of the match saw him working from on top, and it was a drag. The contrast is even starker when realizing how electric Allin was when he was on offense. I mean, even Havoc doing a spot to the outside looked stilted and mechanical. The less I think about this match, the better.

The Feminine Slobberknocker – Contrasting with the prior match, the women’s tag featuring Britt Baker and Riho taking on Emi Sakura and Bea Priestley, was, in a word, bonkers. It started out looking like it was going to be a standard joshi slugfest, the highlight being Sakura just letting Riho drop to the mat hard after releasing her from the Romero special. But then they went to the outside and I’m shocked Jim Ross didn’t start going apoplectic while repeating the word “slobberknocker” ad infinitum until he became a brain-damaged golem like Hodor in Game of Thrones. Seriously, there was so much furious intensity, but it wasn’t concentrated. It felt like a page taken out of the Memphis playbook, wild fists, reckless tackles, crashes into the fixed scenery. It’s becoming clearer and clearer that Riho is the best worker, regardless of gender, in the company. I hope she’s over in America more often than I imagine with her prominence in Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling. Also, while the dentist angle around Baker is already played out, her finisher, a combo STF-Mandible Claw, combines gimmick authenticity with grotesque and lurid brutality. I love it.

Did You Hear That Pop? – The Best Friends had a short but silly video vignette that segued into the interviewer asking them what they thought their chances were against SCU. When Trent? and Chuck Taylor parted, the arena crested like a tsunami with their voices. Every detractor keeps saying that Orange Cassidy is a small-room gimmick, but what they fail to realize is that AEW is filled with an agglomeration of people who go to those small rooms and who love the shit out of Cassidy. The people who aren’t hip to the indies are catching on quickly as well. Be careful with wielding your ignorance regarding wrestlers Jim Cornette tells you you’re not allowed to like.

Tully’s Rubbed off on Him – When the arena went dark and Shawn Spears appeared with the house lights coming back up, I too groaned with a not-insignificant portion of the audience at home, judging by my Twitter feed. Spears’ shtick just seemed so corny, and regardless of whether or not that chairshot to Cody’s head was smart, it felt forced. That being said, when finally got the chance to work on top of Jon Moxley in their match, he showed a knack for the methodical, torture-inflicting heel that his manager, Tully Blanchard, was so good at playing in the ’80s up and down the Southern coast along the Atlantic. Obviously, it’s been hard to have a bad match with Mox since he left WWE. I can’t speak to his dalliances in Northeast Wrestling taking on dead weight such as nZo and CaZXL, but I mean, he was a star of the G1 Climax not just because he had a famous name. Spears acquitted himself nicely here. He left WWE looking for screen time, and while I wouldn’t put him in the upper, upper echelon of guys fighting for the big title, there are probably worse dudes you can have as a black hat hogging up the secondary belt scene, when AEW gets one.

Additionally, the post-match scene with Kenny Omega venturing down to ringside with a bat and a broom (!) both wrapped in barbed wire was amazing for several reasons. One, Omega had a fucking broom wrapped in barbed wire. That dude might only do two things well, but he does them exceedingly better than most people his field. Two, it gave PAC something to do other than whine about wins and losses on commentary. He was the worst part of that match, but it was less his delivery and more the material. Counting heavily on wins and losses leads to even the best performers reciting rote bullshit about getting opportunities. Third, it added a layer to Moxley’s character, in that he didn’t pile on Omega after PAC had laid him out. The way that they’re layering levels of faces and heels in AEW is both interesting and a bit confusing, but I think showing that Mox won’t scavenge off another wrestler’s kill is a good thing.

Darby Allin Is God – The main event was what it was, a strong tag match that featured Hangman Page taking someone’s head off, Dustin Rhodes trying to hockey-fight Chris Jericho, and gratuitous interference from Jake Hager that will lead to a match Full Gear with one of the members within the Elite’s orbit. It also had Ross utter the word “psychology,” and it was the first time I got mad at him in two episodes, which is a lot longer than I thought. I thought I’d want to dunk him in a shark tank after two segments. I’m pleasantly surprised. However, the big news from that main event was when Allin rode in on a skateboard to murk his opponent for next week, Jericho. I’ve seen a lot of shit in wrestling, but a dude flying in from the ramp on a skateboard is both the coolest thing and also something I’m shocked hasn’t happened before now. Either way, I think Allin is a made man with the fans, and if they don’t strap him by this time next year, he could be the subject of AEW’s first ever fan riot. Nawww.

One other thing I wanted to note was MJF running in on behalf of Cody. Yes, they’re positioning him as Cody’s best friend, which I get, but then they have him cutting cheap heat promos whenever he’s not involved with that aforementioned bestie. It’s early on in the promotion’s life to not give them the benefit of the doubt here, and I know there’s probably a turn a-brewin’. I hope they address that duality sooner rather than later though. Maybe I’m just nitpicking, but still.

Ryno Wrestling Review Episode 96: PWI 500 Discussion & An All-ALL OUT Mail Bag!

Reunited and it feels so good.  Dan is rejoined by Wil Lewis and Jason Calascibetta for the ever-popular, annual PWI 500 discussion episode!  In segment 2, it’s all about ALL OUT, as the boys answer your emails pertaining to AEW’s big event.  Listen here:

Play Episode 96

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Chris Jericho Reveals Pac & Kenny Omega Were Not Happy With Their ALL OUT Match

During the latest episode of Talk Is Jericho, the first-ever AEW World Champion, Chris Jericho discussed ALL OUT in great detail, giving backstage stories.

One thing that he revealed during the podcast was that Kenny Omega and PAC were not happy with how their match went down as they had to cut a bunch of ideas.

“Afterwards, both Kenny and Pac were mad because their match went too long and they ran out of time and had to cut a bunch of stuff and they were not happy about it, meanwhile it’s the best match on the show. They remind me so much of Eddie Guerrero.”

Jericho also addressed reports that have claimed the ladder match should have gone on last, disagreeing with that belief.

“The World Title match is the World Title match and that’s why you put guys in there that can have a World Title match. What is a true World Title match? It should have story, intensity, it should have some viciousness and it should be between two men fighting for the biggest prize in the sport, and if you can’t put that on last, then you shouldn’t be a champion. Any person in this business, any performer in AEW, their goal should be to be the champion.”

If the above quotes are used, please H/T and credit Talk Is Jericho.

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