AEW Dynamite

AEW Dynamite Episode 02: October 9, 2019 Review


AEW Dynamite

AEW Dynamite is live from Agganis Arena in Boston, Massachusetts. The announcers are Tony Schiavone, Jim Ross, and Excalibur. Our announcers run through the card for this show. We are going to get the following:

AEW World Tag Team Championship Tournament continues with Young Bucks v. Private Party

Jimmy Havoc v. Darby Allin

Jon Mosley v. Shawn Spears

Hangman Page & Dustin Rhodes v. Jericho & Sammy Guevara

We with a video package on the Young Bucks and Private Party. Young Bucks are presented as the established veterans heavily favored to win the tournament. Private Party are presented as young underdogs. Overall, this video package has a nice sports vibe to it. It is definitely designed to get Private Party over with the viewers who may not know them at all. The video package gives Private Party a clear mission with their arrival at AEW. I like these sports-style video packages. They are short and to the point. They never overstay their welcome. They remind me a lot of what we get from pre-game shows in other sports leagues.

Match #1: Young Bucks v. Private Party

Time Limit: 20 minutes

Time: 15 minutes

Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10

The camera shows that SCU and Angelico and Jack Evans are seated near the ring to watch the match. I love this. I like showing that other teams in the tag tournament are interested in the other matches. This makes this seem more like a serious sports tournament. It also gives each match more importance with the other teams taking every match seriously and wanting to scout out the other tag teams.

I like Private Party’s entrance with a large bouncer who opens the velvet rope for them to go down the ramp. The announcers talk up how Private Party are the young underdogs and that the Young Bucks are the favorites to win the tag tournament. The announcers also talk about the seeding for the tournament and the importance of the seeding. I love all of this. The more the announcers talk about the wins and losses mattering gives all of the matches more importance and meaning. It really gets the viewer more invested in the story.

The match itself is basically your typical Young Bucks or Private Party match. It is a high spot extravaganza. The pacing is very fast with one big high sport or dive after the next one. There is a bit too much posing and waiting to catch the other wrestling diving out of the ring. But, this is the type of match you expect with these two tag teams. I certainly do not want every match to be like this, but I don’t mind one match per show like this. Some diversity in styles of matches is enjoyable. Plus, the crowd was eating up this match. Big time. The crowd was hot from the very start to the end.

Marq Quen started off the match and got to show off a ton of high spot and high energy moves. Matt Jackson ended up getting a bloody nose. The crowd chanted “This is awesome.” Jim Ross made a reference to the Young Bucks in New Japan and how they are similar to the Rock and Roll Express. I love all of this. I like it when announcers acknowledge wrester’s accomplishments outside of their particular promotion. You do not see announcers during major league baseball games refusing to acknowledge a player’s records while playing for the major leagues in Japan. By recognizing wrestler’s accomplishments outside of AEW only serves to make AEW more sports-like and makes the wrestlers seem like much bigger deals and more important.

The crowd starts a “Fight forever” chant. Isiah Kassidy gets power bombed on the ramp. Matt Jackson and Kassidy lock up in the ring and Matt works away on Kassidy’s back. Matt then gives Kassidy and Quen a double northern lights suplex. That was a cool move.

Kassidy and Quen hit their Gin and Juice double move. Quen got a 2 and 1/2 count of Matt. The Young Bucks make a comeback. Matt had Quen upside down and ready for a Meltzer driver when Nick was taken out and then Quen quickly rolled up Matt for a three count for the win.

Winner: Private Party

Wow! What a huge surprise! I did not see this upset coming. The announcers really sold this as a big upset. We got to see split-screen cameras with the Young Bucks selling the agony of defeat while Private Party celebrated like crazy in the crowd. I love this. This type of reaction from the winning and losing wrestlers is what makes matches have more meaning and importance. It emphasizes that match results matter.

I would not have had Private Party win. Private Party is fun, but they are a limited high spot style tag team. I am not sure of their full upside. On the other hand, you would think that AEW would want to quickly establish their biggest stars and something truly special. Much of the audience are new viewers who know very little about AEW and their roster. I think going with the Young Bucks, while predictable, would be the better move since they are the easiest team to establish as something truly spectacular and are big-time stars.

Having said that, the crowd was really into the match and popped bug for Private Party’s win. Both tag teams were portrayed as babyfaces. So, the crowd immediately took to Private Party and were definitely happy to see them win.

Chris Jericho In-Ring Promo: 12 minutes.

Chris Jericho w/Sammy Guevara, Jake Hager, Santana, and Ortiz come to the ring. And its promo time! Jericho talks about the high TV ratings for the premiere episode of SEW Dynamite last week. Jericho takes credit for those ratings. The crowd chanted thank you, Jericho. Jericho heeled on them and told them to sit down and shut up. Yes! I love it! Jericho will not let a crowd hi-jack his promo.

Jericho then introduces each of his stablemates. This was a great way to build up these guys who most viewers probably do not know at all. Jericho says that Sammy is super talented, young, and handsome. Jericho says that this is why he put Sammy on his List. Ha! Nice little reference to Jericho’s List gimmick when he was at the WWE.

Jericho then introduces Santana and Ortiz. He calls them his pitbull street fighters. That is why they made his list. Jericho then says, “Viva La Raza” and then the crowd chants “Eddie!” In honor of the late great Eddie Guerrero.

Jericho then introduces Jake Hager. The crowd chants “We the people.” Jericho immediately stops his promo and goes into his masterful ad-lib mode. Jericho then says that the “We the people” sucks and is dead and buried. That it was a stupid idea from bad creative. Damn! Nobody and I mean nobody, can control a crowd like Jericho can. This was absolutely fantastic in how Jericho shut the crowd down and redirected them back to the story that he is trying to tell.

The crowd then goes crazy and chants, “AEW” while Jake just stands there like a secret service agent completely no selling everything. Jericho builds up Jake as a badass with an undefeated MMA record. Jericho then says that the MMA record is a “shoot.” Jericho calls Jake the toughest man in wrestling.

Jericho then says that this is his stable. That the name of his stable Is the Inner Circle. Jericho says that they are in charge of AEW. Jericho then calls out the Young Bucks, Kenny Omega, and Cody. Jericho cuts a promo on Cody calling him a spoiled kid who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Jericho says that he hated Dusty Rhodes and that he hates Dustin Rhodes. Jericho says he will beat Dustin tonight and then beat Cody at the upcoming PPV. Jericho says he will beat the ever-living “shit” out of Cody. Hey now! No censoring there!

This in-ring promo by Jericho was absolutely brilliant. It was long enough to do some great story-building and character work. However, this promo never went too long or overstayed its welcome like so many of the endless in-ring talking sessions on WWE’s RAW and Smackdown. Jericho puts on a clinic and demonstrates how you properly do an in-ring promo.

Jericho’s promo felt natural and unscripted. Jericho accomplished so many vital tasks with this one promo. First, Jericho properly introduced each of his stablemates and gave a short description of what makes each stablemate so dangerous and unique. Second, Jericho then formally introduces his stable by giving them their name and then clearly stating the Inner Circle’s objectives and goals at AEW. Third, Jericho then gets the crowd excited to see his match against Dustin tonight and also gets the crowd excited to pay money for the upcoming Pay-per-view to watch Jericho battle Cody.

What also made this promo so incredible was the way that Jericho handled the crowd. Unfortunately, due to a decade of WWE completely screwing up their stories and characters, many fans simply ignore the stories being told in the ring and ignore who is the babyface and who is the heel. The fans just create their own narrative and boo and cheer whatever they feel like regardless of what the story is that is being told.

Well, that is not going to happen on Jericho’s watch. Jericho not only keeps the fans of hi-jacking the promo, but Jericho also begins the re-education of the fans. Jericho is telling the fans that at AEW the characters matter and the stories matter. That the fans need to get in line and get on board with what AEW is trying to do. That this is not the WWE.

Jericho does more to get Jake over as a badass in his ad-libbed moment of his promo than AEW has themselves. It is important that AEW is not viewed as the promotion where washed up WWE wrestlers go to try and have a second career. AEW needs to be viewed as an A-list promotion. AEW needs to take these ex-WWE wrestlers and show fans that the WWE screwed up in handling a wrestler who has the potential to be a big star. Jake comes out looking so much better after Jericho’s promo. Plus, it educates the fans that what happens at WWE does not have any impact on what goes on in AEW. I am glad that Jericho nipped this in the bud. AEW does not need fans chanting WWE slogans at their shows.

I also have to comment about how Jake looked during this promo. Personally, I like that AEW is having him play the role of the stone-faced badass. This fits his personality better. I am not sure Jake would benefit from lots of time on the mic. Also, I never realized how huge Jake is! AEW obviously has far average-sized and smaller sized wrestlers on their roster than WWE does. Jake really stands out as a monster among small-sized wrestlers at AEW. This should help get Jake over with the crowd and give him more of his own unique identity.

I love the Inner Circle as the name for Jericho’s stable. This is a great collection of wrestlers. I also love that Jericho establishes their mission to run AEW. Stables are cool. Heel stables are even cooler. This is something that WWE has missed out on in a long time.

Match #2: Jimmy Havoc v. Darby Allin #1 contender match

Time Limit: 20 minutes

Time: 10 minutes

Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10

It’s the battle of the hardcore cruiserweight Goth wrestlers! We got a short video package with a promo from Jimmy playing on the TV while Jimmy walked to the ring. Jimmy talks about how he has been through pain and violence to get here and that he likes pain and violence. This video package is a bit cartoony for my taste, but still not bad. This promo clearly established Jimmy’s gimmick and his personality for the viewers who have never heard of him. I like these little pre-match promos. More of these would be a good idea.

We do not get a promo from Darby. Instead, we get highlights of his match at Fyter Fest against Cody. The announcers really build up Darby during the highlights while mentioned that the match was a 20-minute draw and that nobody though Darby could pull that off against Cody.

The match starts with Darby offers a handshake and Jimmy grabs his hand and attacks him. Well, this sets Darby as the babyface and Jimmy as the heel. Jimmy continues with the hell tactics like kicking and smacking Darby’s head while he is down. We also get a fair amount of biting. Jimmy also refuses to break his holds after being told to do so by the referee. This is a much slower paced match. We get a commercial break during the match and do not get picture in picture during the commercials.

We return to the match with Jimmy still in control. Darby makes a come back with a bite. Darby hits a coffin drop for the three count and the win. The crowd gives polite applause as he celebrates.

Winner: Darby Allin

This match was a bit slow. The crowd was not as into this match. I am not crazy about all of the biting, but that is part of the hardcore gimmick that both of these wrestlers possess. Both wrestlers certainly tried hard and were physical. Unfortunately, this match did nothing to build Darby up as a threat to Jericho for the AEW Championship. Jimmy got about 80% of the offense and dominated the match before Darby made a quick comeback and scored the win. I think showcasing Darby more during the match would help build him up as he heads toward his match with Jericho for the championship belt.

Match #3: Emi Sakura & Bea Priestley v. Dr. Britt Baker & Riho

Time Limit: 20 minutes

Time: 9 minutes

Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10

The announcers did a good job building up Emi as a talented and long-time pro and icon in the industry. We begin with Riho v. Emi. The crowd really likes Riho. Emi takes control of Riho. Emi tags in Bea. Bea then attacks Britt. Emi then joins Bea to take out Britt. Then Riho jumps on both Emi and Bea out of the ring.

We then get a commercial break with picture-in-picture of the match. Riho goes on the offensive and gets a two count on Bea. Bea kicks out and Riho tags in Britt. Emi and Bea then team up on Britt and get a two count. Bea gets a second two count that Riho breaks up. Britt makes a comeback and then gets a two count on Bea that Emi breaks up and we come back from commercial.

Emi tags in and takes on Britt. Emi takes control of Britt. Britt moves into a position to take an off the turnbuckle move. Echo gets a few shots in and Britt then gets another two count. Britt then puts Emi in a submission hold. That doesn’t work so Britt then slaps the mandible claw on Emi and gets her to tap out. Then Bea and Britt get into it and are pulled apart.

Winner: Britt Baker and Riho

This was a solid match. To be fair, I have never been a fan of women’s wrestling so your enjoyment of this match may vary from mine. What I did like was that the wrestlers kept going for pins during the commercial break. That was awesome. Often, the WWE just has one wrestler settle into a headlock for the entire commercial break. By having wrestlers go for pin-falls during the commercial break it makes the match seem more realistic. That it could end at any moment. The WWE way of doing things just makes the match look fake.

I also loved Dr. Britt Baker slapping the mandible claw onto Emi. That was unexpected but consistent with Britt’s dentist gimmick.

Interview: We get a ringside interview with the Best Friends interview. Chuck and Trent talk about their upcoming match with SCU next week. We then see Orange Cassidy sitting in the crowd and giving the Best Friends a thumbs up.

This promo was the weakest of the show. This did not do much to introduce the Best Friends to viewers who do not know them. Nor did it really get them over with the crowd. The odd insertion of Orange Cassidy was also a bit of a miss. Viewers who do not know anything about Orange Cassidy still do not understand what is going on with Cassidy and his gimmick.

Match #4: Shawn Spears w/Tully Blanchard v. Jon Moxley

Time Limit: 20 minutes

Time: 13 minutes

Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10

Pac comes out and joins the announce team. Shawn takes it to Mox early but Mox quickly comes back. The crowd is hot for this match. The crowd starts chanting “Let’s go Moxley.” Mox starts no selling chest chops and goes after Shawn. Shawn rolls out of the ring.

Tully gets involved and Moxley chases Tully while Shawn attacks from behind. JR calls out why the Ref didn’t do anything about Tully getting involved. I like JR calling out heel tactics rather than ignoring them or excusing them.

During the match, Pac touts his two-year record outside of AEW. And that he has only been pinned once in two years. I love this. It’s good to acknowledge accomplishments outside of the promotion.

Shawn and Mox continue battling. The match gets brutal as then do moves involving the steel steps and the steel barricade.

We cut to commercial but keep the match on-screen on a second screen. The wrestlers are back in the ring. Shawn is in charge and beats down Moxley. Shawn gets a quick one count.

Mox makes a comeback. Shawn regains control. Moxley makes another comeback. Mox removes his kneepad and does a knee to the temple and goes for a pin but Shawn kicks out after two.

Shawn makes a comeback. The wrestlers trade chops. Shawn then foes for a pin and gets a two count on Mox. Shawn does the ten gestures to Mox. Mox then surprises Shawn with a Paradigm Shift and Mox gets a three count for the pin and the win.

Winner: Jon Moxley

I liked Pac with the announce team in this match. Pac touting his record outside of AEW is fantastic. Again, the more AEW acknowledges wrestlers’ accomplishments outside of AEW the more realistic and sports-like they are able to make their product. I also liked that Pac complained about not getting a championship match, yet despite his success. This is a good job showing how important winning the championship is to Pac. This helps to show how driven and obsessed Pac is about being champion.

After the match, Kenny Omega appears at the top of the ramp with a broom wrapped in barbed wire and a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire. Omega throws the baseball bat to Mox. The crowd chants, “Holy shit.” Mox picks up the baseball bat.

Pac sneaks up behind Omega hits him with a chair. Pac stares at Mox and then walks off. Mox stares at Omega who is laid out on the floor. Mox then drops the baseball bat and walks off.

Wow. There is a lot to unpack here. I like Mox’s look. I dig seeing him in regular wrestling gear rather than jeans and a t-shirt. The simple black trunks with a barbed wire design on the bottom of the left leg and the black wrestling boots is perfect for Mox. This is a Stone Cold style outfit. This fits Mox’s blunt and no-frills persona.

The match itself was okay. Mox showed great fire and intensity. There was definitely some hard-hitting going on. The crowd was certainly into this match. Shawn was okay, but there are moments where his offense does not look that great. Having said that, I think AEW has Shawn position at the right spot on the card and is utilizing him in the right manner.

The post-match scene was interesting. Pac attacking Omega from behind will serve to set up a feud between these two wrestlers once Omega is done with his feud with Mox. Mox refusing to attack Omega with the baseball bat while Omega was down was a babyface move. This is interesting. AEW has already postponed Omega as a babyface. So, it was uncertain if Mox was going to be the heel in this feud. However, with this scene, it seems that Mox is more of a babyface. Perhaps the Omega/Mox feud will be more of a babyface v. Babyface feed with both men becoming friends and respecting each other at the end of the feud. Or, perhaps Mox is going to be a tweener who is never fully heel or face. Or Mox might end up being a Stone Cold Steve Austin style babyface. AEW has many directions to go with Mox.

This leads me to my next point. It is imperative that AEW give Mox some mic time and soon. The viewer needs to hear from Mox and understand who his character is. The viewer needs to understand what Mox’s goals are and what drives him to compete at AEW. Mox is incredibly over with the crowd, so making Mox a heel may not be viable.

Then we get to Kenny Omega. I am scratching my head over how AEW has handled Kenny Omega over the past two weeks. I thought Kenny Omega was going to be THE star of AEW Dynamite. Yet, AEW has done nothing at all to establish Kenny Omega as a big star. AEW has not presented Kenny as a huge deal. AEW has not done a video package on Kenny highlighting his numerous accomplishments over in New Japan.

Kenny absolutely needs some mic time. The viewer needs to hear from Kenny so they get a better sense of his character. AEW really needs to start putting the machine behind Kenny and make him seem like a true superstar and a franchise player. The fact is that so many viewers have no idea who Kenny Omega is and are going to rapidly just view Kenny as some average wrestler like the rest of the roster.

Match #5: Main Event: Hangman Page & Dustin Rhodes v. Chris Jericho & Sammy Guevara w/Jake Hager

Time Limit: TV Time Remaining

Time: 13 minutes

Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

During introductions, Tony Schiavone says that Adam Page reminds him of Barry Windham. I know that some people might not like the various historical references from Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone, but I love them. Pro wrestling has such a rich and fascinating history. In other sports, announcers are constantly comparing current players to great players from the past. I like seeing this being done in AEW. It gives proper context, it adds more depth and texture to the characters, and makes the product feel more sports-like.

The match begins with Dustin versus Jericho. Dustin takes control quickly. Dustin takes Jericho out of the ring. Sammy gets involved and quickly gets taken out by Dustin. The wrestlers get back in the ring. Sammy tags in. Dustin continues to work over Sammy.

Dustin tags in Hangman. Sammy gets worked over and completely sells his ass off. Hangman attacks Jericho out of the ring and then gets right back in the ring and continues to work over Sammy. Hangman goes for the pin and gets a two count.

Dustin tags in and works over Sammy. Hangman tags back in. We get a great shooting star press by Hangman. Page goes for another pin on Sammy and gets a two count. Sammy makes a comeback thanks to Jericho’s interference. Sammy goes for a pin on Hangman and gets a two count.

We then go to commercial break but to not get a split-screen of the match at the same time. We return from commercial with Jericho in control of Page and working him over. Jericho tags in Sammy before Page can crawl to Dustin. Page powers up and takes down Sammy.

But, Sammy tags in Jericho and he stops Page who was crawling to tag in Dustin. Jericho works over Hangman until Page gets his knees up on a springboard splash. Jericho tags in Sammy before Hangman can tag in Dustin.

Page gets off a discus lariat out of nowhere! Wow! That looked great. Hangman finally tags in Dustin who comes in a ball of fire and works over Sammy. Jericho enters and then Dustin takes him out and then does a double cross body onto both heels.

Page takes out Sammy outside the ring. Jake Hager then takes out Page. Dustin then gets a two count on Jericho. Sammy enters the ring and Dustin takes him down. Dustin strings Jericho up in the corner. Hager runs in while the ref is checking on Sammy and takes out Dustin. Jericho gets free and gives Dustin the Judas Effect. Jericho gets the three count and pin for the win.

Winner: Chris Jericho & Sammy Guevara

Nice! That was a great match! There was plenty of action and intensity. Sammy can sell his ass off! He is so damn good at it. Hangman also did an excellent job playing the babyface in peril. The crowd popped once Hangman finally got to make the hot tag to Dustin.

The match definitely had the right ending. Jericho and Sammy had to win this match to help fully establish the Inner Circle as a force to reckon with in AEW. Dustin was the right choice as the wrestler to take the pin. Hangman Page has already suffered a couple of losses. If AEW believes that they can build Hangman Page into a viable AEW champion then they could not have him taking another pin this week.

After then match, we then get a three on one beatdown as Jericho, Sammy, and Hager beat on Dustin. Hangman Page makes a recover and clears Sammy and Jericho out of the ring. However, Hager takes down Hangman. The two brawl outside of the ring. Page hits Hager with a chair and the two continue to brawl up the ramp.

Sammy and Jericho recover and continue to beatdown Dustin. Suddenly, the lights in the arena go off. The lights come back on and we see Cody standing in the ring. Cody takes down Sammy. Cody squares off against Jericho. But, suddenly, Santana and Ortiz run into the ring and attack Cody from behind.

Jericho starts beating up Cody while Santana and Ortiz beat up Dustin. Suddenly, MJF runs into the ring with a chair. Jim Ross comments that MJF has said he is an old friend of Cody. There is hesitation as the announcers wonder if MJF is going to attack Cody or save him.

MJF uses the chair to clear the ring of the heels. MJF celebrates and then Jericho takes out MJF. Then the Young Bucks run to the ring and clear the ring of the heels.

Jericho takes his championship belt and leaves up the ramp. Cody, Dustin, and the Young Bucks stand tall in the ring. Suddenly, Darby skateboards down the ramp and jumps Jericho and beats him down. Then Darby uses the skateboard to beat down Jericho. Darby then joins the other babyfaces in the ring.

The Inner Circle stand on the ramp and Jericho gets on the mic and says that he says he is going to beat Darby and then beat Cody. Jericho says, “It’s your funeral, bitch.” End of show.

That was a good ending to an entertaining show. The heels got to stand tall in the ring at the conclusion of AEW Dynamite last week, so it made sense to have the babyfaces standing tall in the ring with this episode. I think this ending helped build anticipation for the Jericho/Darby match and for the Jericho/Cody match.

The only thing I was not thrilled about this ending was having MJF come out and fight on the side of the babyfaces. AEW did a great job establishing MJF as a heel in the debut episode of AEW Dynamite last week. Having MJF now stand with the babyfaces at the end of this show only serves to muddy the waters with viewers who are still unfamiliar with most of the wrestlers on AEW’s roster. During this beginning stage when AEW is trying to introduce and get over all of their wrestlers it would be wiser to clearly cast the wrestlers as heel or face and keep them that way for a good long time before switching them around or throwing them into a tweener status.

Overall: This was a great episode of AEW Dynamite. All of the matches had good energy. The show was well-paced. The show had an excellent flow to it. I love that AEW is focusing all of the attention on the ring and avoiding any backstage segments. I also love that we are not getting any dull scripted 10-20 minute talking segments. This show remains focused on the matches with a few tightly delivered promos or video packages. It makes for a fun and fast two hours of entertainment.

I continue to enjoy the announce team of Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone, and Excalibur. They all are doing a great job bringing a credible sports vibe to the program. All of them are good about emphasizing the importance of wins and losses. They also do a good job calling out heel tactics. I expect the chemistry of this announce team to continue to get better and better as each of them get a better feel for each other and their role on the announce team.

My only suggestion would be to do more very short promos before and after matches in the ring to get a better feel for the wrestlers winning and losing the matches.

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