It really seems like everyone on the AEW roster is itching for a fight, and not just in the typical “pro wrestling” sense. In-universe, wrestling is a sport and their profession, so even if things get heated — a la Moxley and Omega or Moxley and Kingston or Moxley and MJF — it’s still always about rankings, championships, and success.
But last night, everyone seemed royally pissed, be it at their rivals, their rivals’ husbands, their own teammates, or just at the existence of fat people (and even if you didn’t see the show, you already know that that particular line somehow relates to MJF).
With a show as dense as this one, though, I can’t do a deep dive into each individual segment otherwise we’d be here all day. (Legit, I could write a 2,000-word article solely about the Dark Order’s face turn.)
So, at least for this week, I’m changing the format of this AEW review. There was an overarching theme to last night’s Dynamite — everyone’s aforementioned aggression — and if we focus on that, that’s like two-thirds of the show covered.
If you’re here for a simple review, I’ll tell you up-front that the last three matches (Jurassic Express vs. FTR, Tay Conti vs. Serena Deeb, and Darby Allin vs. Brian Cage) are all must-watch and that the other matches are pretty good as well. The talking segments were just “okay” to me, but at least they advanced stuff, and I’m always charmed by The Waiting Room with Dr. Britt Baker, DMD.
If you’re here for a full-show recap, you’ll find one right after this next section. But “first things first…”
After PAC and Eddie Kingston’s hard-hitting opening match, where chests were chopped and souls left bodies, PAC tried to keep attacking Kingston. It made sense; it’s a bit too soon for a true blowoff match anyway, and if PAC’s really been holding in all of this pent-up energy for months, it’s obvious that he would want to really hurt the guy — and then it’s obvious that both Death Triangle and Kingston’s Family would try and step in.
But, as has been the case for the past few months, the moment that a brawl was happening between anyone and Eddie Kingston, Lance Archer charged down the ramp to ensure that Somebody Dies.
Looking back at last week, though, it’s clear that Archer and Death Triangle aren’t allies. Kenny Omega tried to end Rey Fenix’s career last week, and Archer was probably just watching in the back and braiding his hair. Homie does NOT care about the state of these luchadores.
But he and PAC both hate Kingston enough to send him running away. As soon as the Mad King is gone, though, you just have two angry dudes — one Bastard and one Murderhawk Monster — left alone with their aggression.
And it definitely feels like they’re going to beat the hell out of each other one of these times.
That’s the thing with this show. Everyone on the roster was two wrong words away from swapping punches with everyone else in the ring, whether it’s a post-match brawl or a promo segment with their stable.
This, of course, leads to the Inner Circle’s New Year’s Resolutions.
Not everyone got to say what their plans were for 2021 (which is a shame because I always want to know what Wardlow thinks), but all the team needed to hear was that Chris Jericho plans to become AEW Tag Team Champions with MJF at some point.
So, Sammy Guevara called him a tag team slut. And yeah — he’s totally right.
I don’t want to shame Jericho (at least not the character), but as soon as I heard him stake this claim, I instantly remembered hearing him say like two months ago that he wanted to become tag champs with Jake Hager. 2020 began with a lot of teaming up between Le Sex Gods, which you’d think would have continued if Guevara didn’t enter a literal blood feud with Matt Hardy. Chris remains unsatisfied.
But Santana’s take on the matter was eye-opening, because as soon as he noted that he and Ortiz were hand-picked to be “the” tag team of the Inner Circle, I realized that I couldn’t remember the last time they had a two-on-two match together. (Turns out the answer was “September,” with a match against the Varsity Blondes on Dark and that 5-star parking lot fight on Dynamite.)
In kayfabe and out, you’d have to think that the two of them would be frustrated by being forgotten when the “greatest tag teams today” discussion gets brought up. And because Chris’s newest venture with the newest member threatens their position even more — plus Guevara is still at least a little on edge when it comes to Maxwell Jacob Friedman — it was inevitable that their response would be a fight of some kind, even if the triple-threat-tag has more rules than the other scraps being threatened throughout the card.
Jade Cargill, for example, is never going to get a one-on-one match with Cody, and I don’t really want that match at all (even if the argument could be made that AEW would do intergender wrestling well). That being said, I do think that Cargill is mentally poised to throw down with Cody, Red Velvet, and a pregnant Brandi Rhodes just to make a name for herself.
And I’m going to be real with you: Cargill looks like a living He-Man (or She-Ra?) figure, and I fully buy into the idea that not only does she want all of these fights, but she would win them.
That Waiting Room segment was actually pretty chaotic, as even when quarantined at home, Thunder Rosa still caught the aggression bug that was going around last night. While Velvet and Cargill’s pull-apart brawl was happening, Rosa appeared on the yet-to-be-named Khan-Tron and cut a fiery promo on Dr. Baker leading to their match at AEW Don’t-Call-it-Bash-at-the Beach Break on February 3rd.
But while wrestlers were tense after the opening match, and during the Inner Circle Resolutions segment, and inside The Waiting Room, the bit that made ME tense up was the aftermath of “The Elite in action.”
The promotion of that match has been sketchy since it appeared as an on-screen graphic last week, but after the Good Brothers arrived last week, you may have figured, “Okay, maybe it’s a 10-man tag, then.” But when last night’s show started and they once again showed the Elite logo, then Excalibur said verbatim that it was a 6-man tag, THEN a second graphic appeared that only showed Omega and Callis, I was on edge.
Of course, I know subconsciously that Nick Jackson is injured. I thought that perhaps we’d get a fun workaround where Kenny and Matt and maybe Karl team up to take on some Dark guys. But when the original Elite all walked toward the tunnels in their full gear (ha) and Callis said that Kenny would have his own entrance, I was already mad about what was going to happen.
Because it turns out that Kenny Omega is a lying, dirty, disgusting, two-faced fake friend.
Kenny and the Good Brothers put the Bucks and Tony Khan in an awkward position by bullying the Jacksons out of their scheduled 6-man tag, but even spicier was the decision the Bucks had to make after the match.
So, everyone in AEW except for Chris Jericho and the Young Bucks hates “The Super Elite,” and after their attack at the end of the show last week, it was time for revenge. Moxley came out to handle unfinished business, and this time he had reinforcements in the form of the Lucha Brothers, who Callis had Kingston’s gang attack last week.
The Young Bucks come out to calm Moxley down, but they don’t attack him. They’re not so much ON Kenny’s side as much as they just want him to not get murdered by a Death Rider, but the Lucha Bros clearly marked them as enemies and superkicked them accordingly.
This is the segment that stuck with me the most after the show ended, as AEW are so close to re-enacting my favorite wrestling brawl of all time, where the entire Lucha Underground locker room fought to build up their Season 3 finale.
There are wild battle lines being drawn here. Mox’s allies against the Elite are two members of Death Triangle, who are also teaming with PAC and tentatively Lance Archer against Eddie Kingston and his family. The Young Bucks are only half-committed, and while Kenny did betray them this week, Mox and the Lucha Bros don’t trust it. Meanwhile, SCU are just sitting in the wings awaiting a title shot and Hangman is thinking of joining the Dark Order, putting his history with the Elite on hold for just a moment.
There are so many moving pieces in this puzzle that are worth exploring, and it’s exciting that not only is this story working well and opening itself up to a billion potential directions, but those “last three matches” I referred to earlier all have nothing to do with this storyline and were still all top-quality.
And with that segue, let’s wrap this whole thing up with a recap of the show at large.
Dynamite Results (1/13/21):
PAC def. Eddie Kingston. This was just a fight, but in my memory, all I can recall are a series of stiff chops, punches, and kicks, then suddenly a Black Arrow. I know something happened between the opening and ending, but I had blanked out and entered a sort of King’s Road Nirvana.
Matt Hardy and Private Party disagree. I didn’t like this segment at all. Though Hardy’s heel character works, this trio is still comprised of three of the worst talkers in AEW. At least Private Party has a clear direction, though.
Miro def. Chuck Taylor. Miro is so good in the ring, and I’m looking forward to seeing more Chuckie T singles matches while Trent heels up. Both guys looked good in this short affair, but I’m more interested in the potential comedy in Taylor now being Miro’s “young boy.”
The Inner Circle needs one tag team. After discussion their conflicting New Year’s resolutions, next week will see a three-way tag match with Santana & Ortiz vs Guevara & Hager vs Jericho & MJF to decide the lead tag team in the Inner Circle. From favorite to least, that’s the order in which I want them to win (though I feel Jericho and MJF are going to take it. Sigh.)
The Dark Order turn face. Next week, Hangman will decide if he wants to join the Dark Order after their match. The fact that he might say no makes me so sad. Join the Dark Order for -1’s birthday, Adam!
Kenny Omega & The Good Brothers def. Varsity Blondes & Danny Limelight. While this match was mostly just hype for the Super Elite, my biggest takeaway is that Danny Limelight is the greatest free agent in wrestling. I personally hope he really finds that role in New Japan.
The Waiting Room ft. Cody Rhodes. As stated earlier, it was pure chaos. And I never thought I’d say this, but Rebel’s laugh was sorely missed.
FTR def. Jurassic Express. Jungle Boy and Marko are a fun, super babyface team (regardless of Marko’s low blow). This was such a good time. Go watch everything from this point onward.
Serena Deeb def. Tay Conti to retain the NWA World Women’s Championship. Genuine sports-woman-ship in the midst of people being aggro all night? AND it got decent time despite starting at 9:28? A surprise to be sure, but a welcome one.
Darby Allin def. Brian Cage to retain the TNT Championship. This was like watching Cage play with an action figure live on TV. I bought into Cage hard during this match, and Darby is a great underdog champion. Also, Sting actually hit someone, so there’s progression! Great, action-packed match. Props to Cage for accurately yeeting Darby through a table 10 feet away from the ring.
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