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AEW Dynamite Review: Apr. 1

Welcome to the AEW Dynamite Review for Apr. 1.

Or as I like to call it, “The Night of the Jobbers: Part II”

Alright, I’ll admit that might be a tad harsh, but after AEW Dark was full of matches where you could easily predict the outcome, AEW Dynamite followed suit with a card where there was, seemingly, zero surprises to be found.

But looks can be deceiving and even though we had to wait until the end of the program AEW had an ace up its sleeve.

Trent vs. Kenny Omega

Trent vs. Kenny Omega

I miss the heel Kenny Omega.

The one that ran roughshod over NJPW as The Cleaner and would do whatever it took to make sure the Bullet Club would emerge victorious from whatever battle they found themselves in.

That Kenny Omega was a vicious bastard and there were times during this match that he seemed to bubble to the surface, reminding us just how good a villain he can be.

It was hard at times to figure out who we should be cheering here, as both Omega and Trent bent the rules to serve their purpose with chokeholds being locked in for four of the five-count, and ropes being utilized to bend broken hands as far as they could be.

This is the problem whenever you get a Face vs. Face match, with neither taking the stance of the bad guy then who do you root for?

Overall this was a slow burner that wasn’t a classic but was still a very good way to open this week’s episode and even though Kenny would run out the winner, in the end, Trent came away looking great.

I just wonder if it isn’t time for The Best Bout Machine to revert to his evil ways?

Winner: Kenny Omega

Hikaru Shida vs. Anna Jayy

Hikaru Shida vs. Anna Jayy

After a video package recounting what happened between Chris Jericho and Matt Hardy last week, it was time for Hikaru Shida, the #1 Contender to Nyla Rose’s AEW Women’s Championship, to show what she could do.

Unfortunately, on this showing, it wasn’t a lot.

This was a squash match that, sadly, didn’t really do either wrestler any good. There were too many spots that were obviously botched, such as Anna Jay getting off of Hikaru Shida way before the two-count, and it’s simple, fundamental mistakes like this that are really holding back the AEW Women’s Division.

Hopefully when the world is allowed to resume as normal and the ranks of AEW fill out with their normal roster as opposed to the one they’re currently using that is littered with local talent/jobbers, then we’ll see a huge change in match quality, but until then it’s going to carry on being hit and miss with the ladies of AEW, and I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that it’s going to lean heavier on the side of the latter than the former.

Winner: Hikaru Shida

Jake Hager/Jon Moxley Promo

Jake Hager/Jon Moxley Promo

This was a really good promo, that included not only Hager and Moxley but also most of the Inner Circle.

The idea here was to put over just how dangerous Hager is to Moxley’s AEW Championship reign and it did that too perfection, with Chris Jericho on top form especially, reminding everyone that it didn’t matter who held the belt within the group as they’d all benefit from the collective glory.

It ended with an announcement for a No Holds Barred Match for the title in two weeks time and even though I’ve said that I think Hager’s going to walk away with the belt, I now highly doubt that as it’s such a sudden peak to the feud that I can only see Moxley retaining.

It’s a shame, but I’m still looking forward to this and who knows, maybe they’ll throw us a swerve, bro.

Lance Archer Debut

Lance Archer vs. Marko Stunt

Yesterday, I said that Sammy Guevara was going to win the AEW TNT Championship and I still believed that was going to be the case, right up until they announced Lance Archer was in the second bracket.

Even then I was trying to figure out how they could have The Spanish God still pick up the gold while keeping Archer strong, but after he murdered Marko Stunt it became obvious, even to me, that it’s going to be The Murderhawk Monster vs. The American Nightmare in the final.

It was very clever booking to have these two face off as it allowed Archer to look like a complete animal as he threw his opponent around the ring like a rag-doll and after he finally put Marko out of his misery, he decided that it wasn’t enough and returned to the ring to launch him like a dart into the face wrestlers that made up half of the audience.

It was impressive as hell and it makes me fearful for Colt Cabana when the two go toe to toe in their quarter-final bout.

Winner: Lance Archer

Mr. Brodie Lee

Mr. Brodie Lee Promo

There were reports that after last week’s promo, certain members of the WWE weren’t at all happy that Lee’s character seems to share a few traits with one Vincent Kennedy McMahon.

If that’s the case then this week’s promo will have ruffled even more feathers within the company as Lee seemed to go all-in on his parody of his former boss, demanding that he be called Mr. Brodie Lee and losing his temper with a minion that had the audacity to yawn in front of him.

Look, we all know that Vince has some, shall we say, quirks and if Brodie Lee has chosen to exploit them for his own gain then fair play to the man.

After all, I don’t recall those at Titan Towers being too put out when they ran the Billionaire Ted, Nacho Man, and The Huckster skits all those years ago.

The Natural Nightmares vs. 8 & 9

Tag-Team Match: The Natural Nightmares vs. 8 & 9 Of The Dark Order

I’m expecting great things from The Natural Nightmares in the AEW Tag-Team Division and this was a decent way to get them up and running.

8 and 9 of the Dark Order were just there to take a beating and that’s all they did, even if they managed to get some offense in, and it helped to make both Marshall and Rhodes seem like a strong, cohesive team who might pose a legitimate threat to the AEW Tag-Team Championship.

After Dustin picked up the pin, The Exalted One made his way out but instead of stopping to attack either of the victors, he entered the ring and Power-Bombed the life out of 8…or maybe it was 9…I have no idea.

It’s going to make for interesting viewing when Evil Uno and Stu Grayson return to the fold as I’m not sure how they’re going to react to this new path that Mr. Brodie Lee seems intent on taking the Dark order down, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see this faction splinter at some point soon.

Winners: The Natural Nightmares

Chris Jericho Tries To Recruit Vanguard One, Again

Chris Jericho Tries To Recruit Vanguard One, Again

Who would’ve thought that the must-see feud of 2020 would be Chris Jericho vs. Vanguard One?

Last week on AEW Dynamite, Le Champion tried to recruit Matt Hardy’s pet drone into the Inner Circle and when he was rejected went on a spectacular rant, including a brilliant line about how he didn’t like Vanguard One’s political views that still has me laughing even now.

So how would the face-off between these two giants of the business play out this week?

It all started with Jericho in his hot tub/mini pool, which he apparently feels the need to wear his leather pants in while using, ranting on The Elite and The Broken One when into his compound flew Vanguard One.

This led to Jericho apologizing for his actions the last time they met and offering VG1 a tiny Inner Circle shirt to get him onside.

Obviously this didn’t work as VG1 is loyal only to the Hardy Clan and the segment ended with Jericho releasing the hounds, but it’s so damn funny with Jericho’s serious face selling the gravitas of the situation perfectly that I can’t wait until next week to see where it goes next.

Darby Allin And Cody vs. Sammy Guevara And Shawn Spears

Tag-Team Match: Darby Allin And Cody vs. Sammy Guevara And Shawn Spears

After a quick piece showing how Nick Jackson is doing, it was time for the Main Event and I’ll admit it, I did not see this coming.

Even though I expected, and got, a very good match between all four men I was 100% sure that it would be Allin and Cody picking up the win to send us all off happy. But AEW had different ideas and not only had Guevara and Spears go over here but had Cody be the reason for the loss before Allin smack him upside the head in retaliation.

It was shocking, unexpected, and out of the blue and remains to be seen if this is a full heel turn for the man of the white and black face paint, or if they’ll completely ignore it next week and pass it off as just “one of those things”.

I hope not, a villainous Darby Allin, hell-bent on destroying Cody for holding him back, at least in his eyes, has money written all over it, but the only problem that I can see here is Lance Archer.

This is where The American Nightmare is headed, so he can’t possibly be in two feuds at the same time as that way neither will get the attention they deserve. This could mean that Darby Allin might find himself in limbo for a couple of weeks until they can figure out their next move for him.

You’d hope that they’d have all this figured out before they put this into motion, but with every story being made up on the fly due to circumstances beyond their control, it might just be a case of something that seems like a good idea at the time not really having anything to back it up.

We shall see.

Winners: Sammy Guevara And Shawn Spears

AEW Beer

Final Thoughts

Another week, another solid episode of AEW Dynamite.

I enjoyed the opening match between Trent and Kenny Omega, loved the Chris Jericho/Vanguard One stand-off, and was shocked by the turn of Darby Allin, it’s just that the rest of the show would’ve fallen under the filler category for me if life had been operating under different circumstances.

I am looking forward to how those last two situations play out, as well as the No Holds Barred Match that’s been set for two week’s time between Hager and Moxley, but until this Pandemic burns itself out, I have a feeling we’re going to be in for a lot more local talent/jobber bouts than we’d usually see.

I’m going to finish up this review the way I’ve been finishing up everything I’ve been writing over the past couple of weeks and that’s by reminding you that during this crisis we all find ourselves in, don’t forget that you can play your part.

If you love wrestling then support those whose livelihoods are going to be affected by this outbreak. Head over to Twitter and say hello, buy their Merch, donate to the companies with Go Fund Me pages who are trying to raise the cash to put on no audience shows to keep their people in work and all of us entertained, because now is the time we need to stick together.

Look out for each other, spare a brother or sister a dime and, most importantly of all, stay safe, Wrestling Community.

Written by Neil Gray

The podcast master. The Old Metal Bar-Steward and Weekly Wrestling Ruminations are now available on Spotify and iTunes.

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