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AEW Dynamite recap: March 18, 2020

Pro Wrestling

AEW Dynamite recap: March 18, 2020

The Exalted One is revealed!

Well, hello. Tonight, I will be coming to you live from quarantine in Rockland, MA while AEW is somehow or another going to try to put on a wrestling show live from Jacksonville, FL, despite, I believe, the most recent remarks from the President which restricts gatherings of 10 or more. So, I don’t know what the f*ck. Everything feels f*cked up and we are only a few days into self-imposed lockdown. I’ve been at home since last Friday (barring a few trips to the store before officially going offline starting Saturday afternoon). I’ve done lots of carpentry-related projects at my home, have recorded a bit of music, painted my bathroom and have explored the depths of Disney+ with my 6 year-old daughter. This is one of the weirdest times I’ve experinced in 37 years on Earth, but at this point, very little suprises me anymore. That said, its 8:05 and allegedly AEW is going to reveal the Exalted One in the Dark Order so lets f*cking see if they can surprise me!

Listen to the latest episode of our weekly wrestling podcast, PTW!

Dynamite starts with Cody, all alone, in a ring with a mic, cutting a promo on “disbelief.” Suspend it. Honestly, I wish this motherf*cker didn’t have this stupid neck tattoo. Production is really leaning into their empty arena. Cody bites on Matt Jackson for getting carried away last week and then he turns to Hangman and cuts him up for being a baby about wanting out of the Elite. Then Cody turns his heat on Kenny Omega and seems to suggest that the two of them have been jockeying for top spot in the booking room. Hmmm. Matt and Kenny then walk to the ring in civilian clothes and no music. Ken takes the mic first and throws out the idea that there might not even be an episode of Dynamite next week and that the world seems like it’s on fire. Matt takes the mic next and kinda just gets real about how everything feels like crap. Jesus, this is tough. Matt calls out Hangman, admits that they don’t get along, but gets him to stand with the Elite for the Blood and Guts match, to which Hangman raises his glass of scotch and walks off. Kenny then addresses us at home, basically cutting a “show must go on” promo saying “Hit the lights, hit the Pyro and LET’S START DYNAMITE!” This is weird as f*ck. I hate to focus on the obvious but it seems the there will be no social distancing practiced on this episode of Dynamite, especially considering every single match is a multi-person match. Ha. Oh well, whatever, never mind.

After a vignette about Death Triangle, they cut to Tony Schiavone interviewing MJF who basically says he is too good to perform tonight and will, instead, be betting on matches with Shawn Spears. That pretty f*cking awesome, despite the fact that I’m distracted by a lack of social distancing (f*cking millennials).

First match is Best Friends vs. Lucha Bros, a fact brought to us by tonight’s special ring announcer, Brandi Rhodes. Let me just say, she is EXCELLENT as a ring announcer! It is now revealed that essentially the undercard part of the roster will be the live crowd for tonight’s show, again, sending mixed messages about the amount of people that should be in a place together per CDC recommendations. Orange Cassidy joins commentary and, well, he is chill. My guess is that he won’t say a single word, or if he does it will be one single word. JR seems to be enjoying the fact that they get to set Cassidy up with one liners and he says nothing.

I saw SCU, Colt, Sonny Kiss and I think Janela in the “crowd”. That said, this is much more enjoyable even with 15 people total cheering or booing a match. Geez, Chuck Taylor does nothing for me. HA, Shawn Spears with Tully and MJF with Wardlow are sitting on the opposite side of the arena. So, I realize I haven’t written about this match, but that’s becaise the match is second or even third in importance. I don’t want to sound like too much of a baby about it but the presentation is such a reminder of the weird reality we are just starting to settle into.

Trent f*cked up some sort of middle-of-the-ropes move that seemed pretty awkward and they all tried their best to sell it, but Chuck Taylor just made it all look worse. This match has been an excellent tag team extravaganza but it’s such an adjustment to the format. Picture-in-picture time and basically Rey Fenix just kicks the sh*t out of Trent for the entire commercial break. Well, a bunch of actual wrestling sh*t just happened but the Best Friends went to do their hug gimmick and just before hugging they stopped, hesitated and then bumped elbows as a form of practicing social distancing and, no sh*t, they just got Chuckie T over with me. I’m into them now. Orange Cassidy hits his lazy coffin drop thing and the captive audience popped. Now, as they are never gonna win this match I’m rooting for Best Friends but Penta kicks Trent in the dick when the ref isn’t looking, then they hit him with the package piledriver dealie and it’s a wrap. After the match, Chuck meets Tony on the ramp and says “You guys wanna kick my buddy in the dick and cheat to win, let’s have a street fight”. F*cking A, I’m into Chuck.

OK, four way women’s match and I gotta say right away, Penelope Ford is out first and her theme song sounds like the Smiths or the Cure or some sh*t and, while I don’t care for much of that kind of music, I love that style as a theme song for a wrestler and for her, specifically. Very cool. Riho comes out next and I like her music a lot and I like seeing her now not with the title. Statlander comes out third and I’m defintely warmer to her than I’ve been, but Shida’s tron is just so sick. I’m definitely still a bigger mark for her than any of the other women. She seems like she would be the correct third with Asuka and Kairi Sane.

The match starts with Penelope Ford kicking the sh*t out of Riho and tossing her out of the ring before getting her own ass handed to her by Shida and Statlander. Riho jumps out from the top turnbuckle onto all three women outside of the ring and it looks awesome. Obviously JR tries to bury it by saying “it’s lucky for her that all three of those women were in that spot outside the ring to catch her”. Ugh. Penelope Ford botched a leg scissor or something but Statlander still sold it. I’ll always get a kick out of that sh*t. Penelope Ford did a whole jumping flipping spot a la Sting and JR called her out “Oh, what are we Sting all of a sudden?” This guy f*cking hates calling these matches. There is a fair amount of great wrestling but almost an equal amount of sh*tty spots. I gotta say, Excalibur’s enthusiasm makes up for half of the crowd not being there for sure. Jesus, Shida just hit her f*cking Kin Shasa on Ford and that was that. One two three.

Cut to Tony Schiavone interviewing Colt Cabana who seems so f*cking uncomfortable about everything that is happening but also Colt is a consummate professional so that seems good…he sh*t talks Kip Sabian who confronts him, leading to Cabana slapping him in the face and Kip and Penelope walking off together.

Outside video interview with Moxley as he is walking to his Ford GT that he stole from Jericho months ago, and, very effectively, they are keeping him off this sh*t version of TV but still keeping him in my eyes, looking and sounding like a complete badass.

Butcher and Blade (sans Bunny) vs. Jurassic Express (sans Marko Stunt) and, again, Brandi Rhodes RULES as a ring announcer. Excalibur makes reference to Jungle Boy maybe getting burned by the pyro on the way out ring and it looks like that might have been the case. Whoops! Jim Ross just buried Luchasaurus’s mask, saying it looks like a CPAP mask, legitimately not liking it. Oh, Jake the Snake and Lance Archer are also sitting on the heel side of the audience tonight.

The Butcher and The Blade each take turns just dismantling Jungle Boy Jack Perry, who the commentators can’t seem to put over enough. At one point Excalibur refers to his “smoldering good looks”. Taz puts over the Butcher as being an old school style monster wrestler who isn’t pretty and is there to hurt you. I’m glad that Luchasaurus is the one who will get the hot tag this week because it was a bit hard to believe last time that he was working from underneath. It appears that the two sides of the crowd are just trying to pop one another. Luchasaurus eventually gets the hot tag and he does some really stiff kicks to Blade, knocks Butcher off the apron, and hits him with some sort of a flying flipping moonsault thing and then back to kicking Blade’s head clean off.

MJF calls for Butch and Blade to “FINISH THE MATCH” as they try to set up their move, Jungle Boy counters, Blade gets taken out and Butcher gets double teamed by Jurassic Express. JE hit a pair of moves on Blade for the win but there is a notable botch that the producers seem to show three different views of, as if it was a rib, where Jungle Boy got going like he was gonna do a tope suicida onto Butch who was outside the ring, but dude wasn’t standing up in time to receive Jungle Jack so instead of jumping through the ropes, Jungle boy slowed down, and then just kinda normally walks through the ropes and got out of the ring. It was weird. What a weird night.

After the match they cut to picture-in-picture commercial, scrolling thru the “crowd”, showing a weird looking Lance Archer, an uncomfortable looking Joey Janela, a beautiful looking Sonny Kiss, and Colt, just so happy to have a camera on himself. Shawn Spears has had a comical amount of 20s spread out like a deck of cards, like he was at a nudie bar or something. Spears and MJF have been working on a bottle of red wine.

“JOIN DARK ORDER” back from commercial. Oh god, out comes Stu and Uno. I’m nervous. I want this to be awesome and this is weird as f*ck. Uno cuts a promo telling us that the Exalted One is near. Christopher Daniels cuts them off, asking them to cut the crap and stop telling lies. Daniels says that Uno has been wasting our time with this whole thing. He’s trying to set up a match and he is interrupted by the tron, which goes on to reveal Brodie f*cking Lee as the Exalted One! f*ck YES!! I’m so happy for him! And I couldn’t be more excited for Matt Hardy.

When the video ends, the camera cuts to Kaz and Daniels, who turn around to Brodie and the rest of the Dark Order in the ring who proceed to kick their asses. Lee is in Diesel adjace gear with the Dark Order “eye” on the stomach and it’s meh but its better than Wardlow’s gear and damn sure better than Cody’s neck tattoo. Brodie can get new gear at any time, but Cody is gonna have that horrid thing on his neck for eternity. Anyway, Lee storms off as Kaz and Daniels lick their wounds.

Back from commercial, Tony is trying to ask Lance Archer what the hell his plan in AEW is and Jake Roberts takes the mic and, again, cuts a world-beater promo on Cody Rhodes. Jake is so f*cking good, still. It’s not even really about WHAT Jake says, but more HOW he says it. Oooh, a vignette on the Muderhawk, Lance Archer. Essentially, Archer invades a backyard wrestling federation and just kinda murders everyone in the ring. After killing everyone, as he and Roberts go walking off together, a kid runs up to Archer and says “I’m gonna kill you, assh*le” and then Lance kills him, smashing his head into the hood of a random car over and over again. Well, the guy is a beast, thats for sure.

OK, lots of vague talk about “next time” we are on Dynamite, not being specific about next week, but definitely just trying their best to be positive and rep that PMA. Everything feels so uncertain. That said, it seems like they are trying their best to book around this virus, with Warldow and Luchasaurus having a Lumberjack match next Dynamite and Best Friends and Lucha Bros. having a street fight parking lot brawl. But first, it’s tonights main event.

Commentary keeps putting over how the Elite will be at a disadvatage without Nick Jackson and it’s a 5-4 deal with Sanatana, Ortiz, Sammy, Jake and Jericho vs. Kenny, Hangman, Matty Jacks and the Roller Codster. Who will be number 5? Will there even be a number 5? Is it gonna be Matt Hardy? I hope not but also, why the f*ck not? I love the Inner Circle theme song. Sammy comes out wearing a shirt that says “wash your hands, cover your mouth, shut your ass.” OK, Pic in pic, Sammy has some cards, here we go:

Prepare to be entertained

Coming up next…

The Inner Circle

Will defeat the Elite

We’ll gain the upper hand

At Blood and Guts

With the Numbers advantage

No One can Beat

The Inner Circle

We’re The Best

Shoutout Santa and Ortiz

Always holding your weight

Shout out to big Jake

putting Mox on the shelf

shout out Le Champion

On that commentary

Now sit back…relax…and enjoy the show

It might be the most glaring difference from last week’s entrance for Le Champion to this week where there is no one in the crowd this time. Jericho wearing a headband is such a heel move and I love it. His hair looks so perfect it’s annoying. Hahaha, Sammy grabs a mic and starts singing Jericho’s theme to him a la the usual crowd and goddamn that was classic. Sammy sings it for a while. Jericho just called Excalibur an idiot for suggesting that Sammy’s performance was anything other than awesome. Jericho joins commentary and proceeds to go right to picking on Cody’s neck tattoo, something that looks much less obnoxious when Cody is wearing a bright red shirt.

So this match is just PnP and Hager vs Cody, Adam and Matthew. Jericho pops the other commentators right away. He got me calling him “Handwash” Adam Page. Jericho practically hitting on MJF calling him a future member of the Inner Circle. “As much as I don’t like Cody I can’t deny his athletic abilities,” Jericho says. Taz is loving Jericho on commentary. “Cody really is the total package as far as wrestling goes…he really is” Jesus, Jericho. Y2J keeps referring to the paper that Arn Anderson holds over his face when he is talking to Cody as his “Waffle House menu”. Jericho is putting over every single babyface, one at a time, while also sh*tting on them. Masterful commentary. Santana, Ortiz and Hager do the “get the guy in the suplex and then hand him to the next guy” spot and they did that sh*t for a while, to the point where Cody couldn’t hold himself up anymore, then he forced himself back up and Ortiz did a little Rick Rude wiggle before hitting the suplex.

Hangman refuses to get along with Matt Jackson at the very least, and even with Cody to some respect. I forgot now sh*tty Hager’s gear is. Jericho’s new shirt has its proceeds going to the World Health Organization, but I will mention that AEW has not acknowledged the coronavirus or COVID-19 by name, nor referencing a pandemic in any way other than to say that things are weird. Cody ultimately takes the bulk of the beating of the match, building to a hot tag for “Hangman” Adam Page who even still pops the little crowd pretty good. Page hit a sliding lariat that looked f*cking nasty! Matt Jackson and Page ended up cooperating pretty well at the end of the match, even attempting an Indytaker, but Hager took out Page and Santana took out Matt for the win. Well, the Inner Circle gets the upper hand. Again. During a post-match rant, Jericho made a decree banning all fans from the AEW crowds because he doesn’t wanna hear any “pumpkin-headed dipsh*ts chanting for Cody or whatever; I don’t care if the world changes tomorrow, no more fans.” Jericho cuts a promo on every single person in the room, tells them to cut the music and he just…

Oh my god.

Is it…

Holy sh*t…

Vanguard 1…

Oh my god…

Here it is.

Matt.

F*cking.

Hardy.

Jesus Christ.

THANK YOU, WRESTLING GODS!

I have nothing more to add to this. That was perfect. Wrestling rules. I don’t know how long they can sustain this, but thank you guys and gals. I loved that show. I needed that show and I just clapped and cheered and yelled very loudly to the dismay of my family. That was awesome.

Wrestling rules. Wash your hands. Cover your mouth. Shut your ass.

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