LIGHT THE FUSE BRING THE BOOM
It’s time for AEW to go WEEKLY! The first AEW Dynamite on TNT took place on October 2nd, 2019 the Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C and woo are we in for a (pretty) good time tonight, kids. Also a bonus, I only have to write about 2 hours of content instead of the 3-4 hours of every AEW PPV!
So let’s get into the Good, the Bad and the Mid of Dynamite!
Good: A re-energized Tony Shiavone
If you didn’t see late-era WCW then you missed out on hearing an exhausted Tony Shiavone’s attempts to get over the nonsense of a floundering company. Every week he’d have to try to nail a cliffhanger with stuff like “CAN DAVID FLAIR OVERCOME NWO 2000 FIND OUT NEXT WEEK ON NITRO” and “THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT MATCH IN THE HISTORY OF OUR HISTORIC SPORT” with all the joyless shouting of a current era Michael Cole.
Here, he’s smiling, joking around, and genuinely excited for the action in the ring. It’s Tony completely unchecked, not being told what to do by any outside force. It’s the death of Tony Shiavone, Compay Man and the birth of Tony Shiavone, Wrestling Fan. You gotta love it.
Good: Panda Energy
Cody vs. Sammy Guevara in the opening match tonight and it’s a good choice. We get fan favorite Cody and all his intangibles vs. the up and comer Sammy Guevara. Sammy is making his second FIRST EVER AEW MATCH here as he scored a win against Kip Sabian at AEW’s first PPV which gives him some nice symmetry.
The audience pops hard for Cody. They definitely had big expectations for Cody, predicting that he’d take down Jericho and hold the AEW title at the next PPV, especially after he announced that he would never challenge for the belt again.
Pandaman Guevara makes another appearance here. When he was asked “Why the panda thing?” in an interview, he said “I like pandas.”
The match itself has shades of Cody vs. Darby Allin at Fyter Fest. Cody is the relative “big man” despite his lean physique. He gets to power wrestle the smaller, faster Guevara.
The crowd immediately starts in with “Sammy Sucks” chants. Sammy feeds into it by landing flashy shit and acting like a dickhead. Sammy is such a natural heel with his pretty boy looks and shit-eating grin.
At one point when Cody has the advantage, he does a bunch of push ups. We’ll see him do this in later matches and eventually, much to Arn’s chagrin, it’ll cost him big time. Crazy that Scott Steiner push-ups will end up being a story point.
There’s a spot where Sammy is on the outside while Brandi is berating him. Cody does a TOPE SUICIDA and Sammy pulls Brandi in the way. This is one of those Codverse Tropes; nothing can be simple. There always has to be some overwrought emotional stakes thrown in. I truly think this is why the audience eventually turned on the BIG OL’ HERO a couple of years later. Anyway, the crowd calls Sammy an asshole.
The match continues with a series of big moves and near falls. Cody kinda starts a Vertebreaker at one point, which is nutso. In the end Cody gets the knees up on a SSP and rolls through for the first three count and win on Dynamite. Good stuff.
Good: Bruiser Brodicho
After the match Tony Shiavone comes to the ring to interview Cody. Cody gives him a hug and tears up a bit. Cody is the most emotional man in pro-wrestling and I gotta say, in a fictional world built around toxic masculinity, it’s nice to see.
Sammy interrupts but goes for the handshake but then THAT SON OF A GUN CHRIS JERICHO BLINDSIDES HIS NEXT OPPONENT! Sammy bails, but he’ll be back later tonight. FORESHADOWING!
Jericho is in full NJPW Painmaker mode here, beating the holy fuck out of Cody on the outside. Jericho was basically a handsome (YMMV) Stan Hansen or Bruiser Brody as The Painmaker, which is a Jericho Trasformation (™) nobody would have predicted.
This segment is effective; heat is built, heel is heel, and Cody has to overcome in the face of adversity.
Can you believe that Brandon Cutler was in the second every Dynamite match? Absolutely wild in retrospect. Cutler was in a mini-feud with MJF over… Dungeons and Dragons of all things. MJF CUTS HIS MUSIC and then goes on mic with what is a pretty boilerplate promo. “You people a nerds” this and “I’m better than you” that.
It’s a pretty mid match and not much of a predictor of what is in store for both men. Cutler doesn’t get much TV time after the first few months of Dynamite, and MJF never sinks to the lower mid card again.
The match ends with MJF hitting the Salt of the Earth after just a few minutes. A mediocre squash that doesn’t do much for either competitor.
Bad: Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back at Vince McMahon
Chris VanVliet joins middle aged teenagers Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes at ringside. They are promoting the forgotten “Jay and Silent Bob Reboot”. I’m pretty into movies and I heard nary a peep regarding JaSBR even from my dedicated Kevin Smith fans. Jericho was in it! I assume it was bad! I’ll never watch it!
Now, Kevin and Jason had appeared on WWE TV not too long before this and, apparently, WWE was none too happy about the doobie duo showing up on the competitor’s debut show. I have to wonder what it’s like to be in the WWE doghouse when you are already a huge director or that director’s hanger-on. Does it even register?
Regardless, we get some dank on dank violence when The Hybrid2 interrupt The Hybrid Smoking 2. Jack Evans yells “FOR THE RECORD, MORRIS DAY AND THE TIMES SUCKED!” in a reference that I do not get and I’m not gonna look up. Jason Mewes replies “You guys aren’t even good enough to win a match.” It’s AEW where wins and losses matter… to Jay!
Private Party slides up the front row and hands some THIS AINT WATER to Jay and Silent Bob. The Hybrid2 leave. Then Private Party leaves. Boo this segment.
Watch Clerks: The Animated Series.
Good: Sobama Cal Uncensored
SCU does a little SNL VIDEO SHORT outside the White House with The Addiction playing Secret Service agents while Scorpio Sky does a VERY GOOD Obama impression. Sky slides back to his real voice before saying that Washington DC is the worst town he’s ever been in! HE SAID THE LINE BART!
The video sketch cuts to SCU on the ramp talking to Shiovone. They decide that The Addiction configuration of SCU will enter the Tag Title Tournament (yeah, there’s a tag title tournament), but are interrupted by those dastardly Lucha Brothers. Rey says they are the best tag in the UNIVERSE before Penta spits water in the face of someone who IS cool, Christopher Daniels. It all breaks down in DC before security and a very old looking Dean Malenko come out to break up the brawl. It’s… fine.
Shockingly Mid: PAC it in, Cowboy
Oooh, PAC vs. Adam Page! These two were supposed to face off a while back but it didn’t happen for reasons that I can’t recall. I think it had something to do with PAC being the Dragon Gate champion or injuries or… whatever, it doesn’t matter because they are wrestling now!
The match is okay but there’s a lot of air in it. It’s almost as if PAC hasn’t washed that WWE “do a move and then wander around” stink off yet. He works slow but hits a lot of flashy moves; sharp strikes, running drop kicks, springboard 450s. All the while, he’s taking his time between the action, slowing things down to a near crawl. Page starts getting a head of steam but PAC mule kicks him right in the stones before hitting the Black Arrow/Brutalizer combo. Earl Hebner calls for the bell.
Overall this match is good on paper but pretty mid in execution. The finish is fire but not worth the plodding PACe that precedes it. They’ll go on to have MUCH better matches at Full Gear and Dynamite Ep 7.
Good: The First Women’s Champion!
Nyla Rose faces off against Mayo, er, I mean RIHO here to crown the first Women’s champion. Regular (and very patient) readers of this column know I’m not a huge fan of Riho. I find her to be as bland as unsalted cream of mushroom soup. I love Nyla’s twitter game and how much of a nerd she is. Her in ring work is all over the place though.
Britt Baker is on guest commentary here and, WOW, she is just miles away from the entertaining DMD she eventually morphs into. She’s just not there in the booth in any significant way.
Nyla has 90+ pounds on Riho, so most of the match is watching Riho get flung around, above, below and into things. It’s only when Nyla gets too vicious that she pays the price.
After planting herself into a pile of chairs, Nyla loses control for a while, but eventually she catches Riho in a crucifix pin attempt and just PLANTS Riho on the mat. Riho kicks out of a guillotine knee and survives an STF which Nyla just… lets go of… Riho tries to do an Air Raid Crash, maybe, but then collapses in what looked like a botch but what do I know?
The match keeps picking up speed with a bunch of big swings from Riho including an Avalanche Northern Lights Suplex, and then about 3 double knees about the head and neck of Nyla for the pin. Riho becomes the first AEW women’s champion in what turned out to be a pretty goddamn good match, especially down the stretch.
Michael Nakazawa joins Riho in the ring to apparently translate but both he and Riho get blindsided by Nyla Rose. Nyla almost drops Nakazawa on his head attempting a Ligerbomb, but manages to get him up again. Nyla goes after Riho again and Kenny Omega runs down to break it up. Do Kenny and Nyla get into it down the line? No! This goes nowhere.
Good: The Elite, The The Elite
Give the people what they waaaaaant!
This match is payoff for two running storylines:
1. Jericho still hates Kenny for beating him at WrestleKingdom 12, so much so that he dressed up like Penta El Cero Miedo at All In just to beat Kenny down.
2. Santana and Ortiz, dressed like America’s Horniest Presidents, attacked the Young Bucks at the end of All Out.
So it makes sense that we have a one night only trios team of Jericho and Proud N’ Powerful vs. The Elite so the good guys can win and send everyone home happy for the first Dynamite, right?
If you think that’s how AEW will play it, you haven’t been paying attention.
This match starts off hot with The Bucks playing the hits with Superkicks and dives to the outside buuut when Kenny goes for a Terminator dive, we get this indelible image:
IT’S MOXLEY! MOXLEY AND OMEGA! OMEGA AND MOXLEY! They brawl through the crowd back to a VIP area where this f’n happens:
This leaves the Bucks in a 2 on 3 situation against Santana, Ortiz and Jericho. It’s bad times for The Elite. Santana and Ortiz have their way with Matt Jackson as Nick is laid out on the outside. Matt keeps eating offense for a few minutes before Nick eventually gets the Hot Tag and becomes a “one man wrecking crew” according to Excalibur. Nick is the best Hot Tag in the business.
When The Bucks go for the Meltzer Driver, Jericho cuts Nick off with a Codebreaker which sets up Matt for a Judas Effect. THE BAD GUYS WIN.
Great: What Goes Around
Jericho, Ortiz and Santana continue a beatdown on The Bucks. Cody runs in for the save, but then Sammy comes into the ring and instead of offering his hand for a handshake, he offers his foot for a nutbreak. He kicks Cody in the balls is what I’m saying. Then Dustin Rhodes dashes in to help out his brother, and he cleans house with powerslams and nutbreaks of his own. AND THEN JAKE HAGER SLIDES INTO THE RING AND TAKES OUT DUSTIN, CODY AND NICK! “HE’S TEARING UP EVERYTHING WITH A HEARTBEAT” yells J.R.! It’s legit the most badass Hager has looked in maybe his entire career. The crowd starts chanting “We The People!”
“We have potentially witnessed the start of something special here” injects Excalibur. The baddies bring the ring bell podium into the ring so that Hager can Gut Wrench Powerbomb Dustin into it. Bodies are laying everywhere! This amalgam of heels hoist up Cody and feed him directly into a Judas Effect! They pose over the lifeless bodies of The Elite, spoiling the night and what you’d expect a debut show to be. Battle lines are drawn, feuds are created and continued. It’s a perfect finish.
This… was better in my memory. For a first TV show it’s fine, but it feels pretty dry and hack until the main event. Some paint by numbers booking for the Tag Teams and a surprisingly dull PAC/Page match puts this in mid territory. The main event really saves the show with the return of Moxley and the formation of The Inner Circle.
There’s nothing wrestling-wise that is a must see unless you are a PAC vs Page completionist. If you are a PAC vs. Page completionist, please find another hobby.
Despite all this, the show is super important to wrestling as a whole. I might even say that IT’S THE MOST HISTORIC NIGHT IN THE HISTORY OF OUR HISTORIC SPORT!!!
Compare/Contrast with TNA Weekly PPV #4
Shockingly, both companies did really well. AEW is still better overall with Riho/Rose, Cody/Sammy and The Elite/Inner Circle, but the Sabu/Malice ladder match and Styles/Low Ki ROH exhibition outpaced PAC/Page.
For TNA the best storyline movement was with K-Krush dominating on the mic, controlling the audience to maximize that sweet heat. There was forward momentum with StyleLynn’s implosion but BOY will that get tiresome very soon. Worst of all was the already dead-in-the-water Brian Lawler/Jeff Jarrett/Scott Hall mess which is just a few weeks away from becoming even messier. Ugh TNA.
AEW managed to set up a long-term feud with CODY and Sammy, reheated the excellent Mox/Omega feud, kept the Jericho/Omega rivalry alive, and we saw the formation of a dominant heel faction with The Inner Circle. Even Jake Hager looked good!
There were some flat segments and mishaps with Omega and Nyla Rose being the most obvious. What was supposed to happen there? SCU’s mini-feud with The Lucha Brothers came across as a desperate attempt to inject some drama into the Tag Title Tournament. Not so great for what may have been a new viewer’s first experience of AEW.
4 Way X Division Championship Match – TNA Weekly PPV 2
The Young Bucks vs. The Lucha Brothers for the AAA Tag Titles – Double or Nothing 19
Cody Rhodes vs. Dustin Rhodes – Double or Nothing 19
Kenny Omega vs. Chris Jericho – Double or Nothing 19
The Elite vs. The Lucha Brothers and Laredo Kid – Fyter Fest 19
The Young Bucks vs. The Lucha Brothers for the AAA Tag Titles – All Out 19
Kenny Omega vs. Pac – All Out 19
If everything goes to plan I’ll be back in a couple of weeks with TNA PPV #6. Read me then!