Last week, simply because I had nothing better to do, I watched AEW Dynamite’s debut show.
It was quite good for a wrestling TV show. Not perfect – not even close – but certainly entertaining. I thought that might be that. But then I watched WWE’s Hell in a Cell PPV and I was put off watching wrestling for a while, I thought. Instead, what I decided was to cleanse my palate with another dose of AEW on TNT.
There was no way it was going to be as bad or dull as what I put myself through on Monday morning.
And so, with that out of the way, let’s hit AEW Dynamite, the second show!
1) After a brief run-down of the card we start with a first round match-up in the AEW tag team tournament! Straight into it.
Young Bucks v Private Party
Yet again, I am so glad I do not do play-by-play. This was another great AEW tag team match! “At a combined weight of 24 ounces of Vodka cranberry…” I laughed. TV. The match started off sort of, yeah, standard, I guess, and then suddenly it exploded. Quen can get some height! Then it did not let up. Bucks sort of played heel, but it’s like AEW read my column about heels and faces and took it to heart. “This is wrestling!” chant. The Gin & Juice is one of the coolest double team moves I have seen in ages. Does anybody hit a higher shooting star press than Quen? Holy crap! Meltzer driver by the bucks is interrupted, Quen rolls up Matt and in a HUGE upset Private Party defeat the Young Bucks after around 15 minutes. Wow! What an opener! And during the commercial, the split screen shows that the party continues through the crowd.
2) Chris Jericho, Jake Hager, Santana, Ortiz and Sammy Guevara enter the ring. This is a Jericho promo, the first long promo in the company. (Subtle WWE dig by JR regarding “straps”.) He delivers an awesome heel promo, but the crowd so wants to cheer him. When the crowd starts a “We the people!” chant, Jericho cuts them off by blasting WWE (to a HUGE pop). He calls the group the Inner Circle. He runs down the Rhodes family, finally getting boos. Okay, first long promo, and it is good they got Jericho to do it because he can do it. Made its points, introduced his faction and made it clear where they stand. I think the WWE-bashing will get old quickly though. And having said that before about heels and faces, these guys are heels.
3) Jimmy Havoc v Darby Allin
Winner is number one contender for Jericho’s title. Havoc’s pre-recorded promo is short and intense. This is not the hardcore match the crowd (or I) was expecting, and it showed that both can actually wrestle. Which is a good thing. Crowd is distracted until Havoc bites Allin and suplexes him to the outside. Havoc had the most of the match and yet, at the end, Allin with a bite of his own, a stunner and then a coffin drop got the surprise win after around 10 minutes. Yes, these two can wrestle. Match was not too bad.
4) Bea Priestly & Emi Sakura v Dr Britt Baker DMD & Riho
Women’s tag match. And Riho, AEW Women’s Champ, gets a cool ovation. A really good tag match, and the feud between Baker and Priestley was brought to the fore. Baker is in line to challenge Riho but they worked fine together. In fact, Baker and Priestley spent half of the match beating each other up outside. Baker got the win on Sakura with a mandible claw from a different hold. And post-match Baker and Priestly go at it. Good match.
5) Odd little interview with Best Friends and their strange silent partner. Not sure what the point of it was, except to remind people they face SCU next week in the tag tournament.
6) Shawn Spears (with Tully Blanchard) v Jon Moxley
PAC is on commentary… and he does a fine job whining about his lack of respect in AEW. The match, though, is a hard-hitting brawl. This just looks like they decided to see who can inflict the most bruising on their opponent before the match. And Tully gets involved a lot. This is a really good match. Ending comes with a Moxley paradigm shift DDT for the pin and for a p*ssed off Tully.
7) Post match Kenny Omega comes out with a barbed wire bat and barbed wire broom. He gives Moxley the bat (!) but then, before things can happen, PAC hits Omega in the head with a chair. Moxley is not happy and threatens PAC, but refuses to take advantage on Omega. That was actually interesting. Damn it, they’re suckering me in!
8) Commentary is definitely good. I was not sure last week if it was a comparison thing, but, yeah, it’s strong. Playing off history, knowledge of the wrestlers, and knowledge of one another without resorting to sniping or playing characters, they are a great trio.
9) Dustin Rhodes & Hangman Adam Page v Sammy Guevara & Chris Jericho (with Jake Hager)
Hager’s current non-smiling, impassive, big persona suits him. Okay, the main event… and damn if it wasn’t a good one. How in the hell can Jericho and Rhodes, at their ages, keep up with the youngsters like this? Rhodes has been re-invigorated. This was a great match, showcasing all four men. Hager got involved, Rhodes was aggressive and hit some fine moves and it did not stop for its duration. And was the crowd hot for Rhodes or what? Hager blindsides Rhodes, then Jericho hits the Judas Effect elbow for the heel win. The ending had to be like that, but Rhodes… wow!
10) Post match three-on-one beat-down on Dustin. Page in and then he and Hager fight to the back. Lights go out, come on and Cody is in the ring. He takes out Guevara and faces Jericho. Santana and Ortiz come out and the four take on the Rhodes brothers. MJF comes out with a chair. He is offered Cody, but he takes out the Inner Circle. Is he a face now? Faces/heels – who cares? Jericho takes him out. Young Bucks come out! Now, we don’t want to see a big brawl end each show, but this week it was the faces standing tall. And then Darby Allin comes down the ramp on a skateboard and takes out Jericho.
Holy crap! Yes, they topped the first show. Nothing was less than good. They are setting an unbelievably high standard… can they keep it up?
Tags: adam page, AEW, All Elite Wrestling, Bea Priestley, Britt Baker, Christ Jericho, cody, Darby Allin, Dustin Rhodes, Dynamite, Inner Circle, Jake Hager, Jimmy Havoc, Jon Moxley, Kenny Omega, Ortiz, PAC, Private Party, Riho, Sakura, Sammy Guevara, Santana, Shawn Spears, Tully Blanchard, wrestling, Young Bucks