Before we get into this week’s AEW Dynamite Review, a little housekeeping is needed.
If you’ve been following my musings here on 25YL, you may have noticed that I’ve implemented a brand new rating system for each show.
The idea is that at the end of each show, I give my final thoughts and then a grade to let you know what I thought of it overall.
Good idea, right?
Well, it would be except, I hate it.
Instead, I’ve decided to go another way, with a brand brand new rating system.
It’s called the 10 Count Rating and is as follows.
1: I’d rather watch Sycho Sid
2: I’d rather watch James Ellsworth
3: I’d rather watch Dana Brooke
4: I’d rather watch Nia Jax
6: Pretty Solid
7: Pretty Damn Good
8: This Is Awesome
9: Holy Shit! Holy Shit!
10: Oh My God! They’ve broken him in half!
As I go through my review I’ll be grading every bout this way and take an overall average, as I feel that this is the fairest way to decide how good whatever program I’ve been watching is.
Will it work?
Well, there’s only one way to find out, it’s time to lace up our boots and head to the ring for the AEW Dynamite Review for Feb 19.
AEW #1 Tag-Team Contenders Battle Royal
10 Count Rating: 7
Straight off the bat, I should be completely honest with you here, nearly every match I review is going to peak at seven on the 10 Count scale.
This is because it’s going to take something really special to go above that grade, and something entirely out of this world to hit the full 10, but I’ll be damned if the #1 Tag-Team Contenders Battle Royal didn’t almost achieve that.
It’s only because SCU decided to leave their logic glands at the door when the other members of the Dark Order started babbling on about the Exalted One being close, and in doing so managing to get themselves eliminated, that this doesn’t get an eight.
I’m sorry, I know that might seem picky, but I so f*cking hate that wrestling trope that I’m taking a stand and any wrestler who falls for it automatically has a point docked from here on out.
This is a shame as this was a blinding match and an almost perfect example of how to put on a Battle Royal, while not having it descend into an unwatchable mess.
You never got lost in the action, finding it easy to follow everything that was happening in the ring, and when the hallmark of this type of match is that they’re usually a knock-down-drag-out fight, this was superb booking.
The end came after Matt Jackson eliminated both Santana and Ortiz within a few seconds of each other, but every single team who entered this Battle Royal should be commended for playing it to near perfection.
Winners And New AEW Tag-Team #1 Contenders: The Young Bucks
Kris Statlander vs. Shanna
10 Count Rating: 6
I said yesterday, in my review of AEW Dark, that I felt that the company is attempting to build Kris Statlander into a viable threat for Nyla Rose and it seems I was right.
On that show, she squashed Diamante and I was expecting more of the same when Shanna was announced as her opponent.
Surprisingly, that’s not what I got.
Instead, they allowed Shanna to have a lot more offense than I expected and in hindsight that makes sense, kind of. After all, if Statlander just showed up (from outer space) every week and squished whoever she was in the squared circle with it’d look good, but you wouldn’t believe she had the fighting spirit to take on the Native Beast.
At least this way, when they do face off (more on that later) you will have a small amount of belief that Kris Statlander could pull off the impossible and walk away AEW Women’s Champion.
Which she won’t.
Nyla’s gonna kill her.
Winner: Kris Statlander
Nyla Rose Promo
10 Count Rating: 7
The reason that Kris Statlander, or any women in the AEW Women’s Division, won’t be walking away with the title for a very, very long time came out to the stage and cut a great promo.
She ragged on the crowd for booing her, rightly so, peasants, and then proceeded to point out that there isn’t anyone in the back who can match up to her strength, power, and sheer brutality.
This brought out both the aforementioned Kris Statlander and, surprisingly, Big Swole.
I get the logic here. These are two women who are tough enough to go toe to toe with the Native Beast and this will, no doubt, lead to a Triple Threat for the belt at AEW Revolution, but the fact remains that nobody is taking that title off of Rose without running her over in a truck beforehand
And all that will do is probably just piss her off.
Jon Moxley vs. Jeff Cobb
10 Count Rating: 6
All right, Moxley fans, put down the torches and pitchforks.
There wasn’t anything fundamentally bad about this match, but even you have to admit that that ending was odd.
AEW has openly admitted that they’re pretty high on Jeff Cobb right now and want to work with him long term, so the logical booking was to have the Inner Circle interfere when it looked as if Moxley would pick up the win, thereby giving him a DQ victory and keeping Cobb strong.
What I didn’t expect was Moxley to pick up a clean win and for the whole thing to end so abruptly, it just took the shine off of what had been a pretty damn good match up until that point.
Also, why did Sammy Guevara need a ticket to be in the arena?
I mean, I get that Jericho and Hager would need one as they weren’t supposed to be there, but Guevara had already been ringside while Santana and Ortiz were in the #1 Contender’s Match that kicked off the program.
Did he just forget he was supposed to stick around for this bout and left?
Did he go outside for a crafty cigar and get locked out?
Why did someone who was already in the bloody place need to fork out for a ticket to the show?
Winner: Jon Moxley
AEW Tag-Team Championship Match: Hangman Page And Kenny Omega vs. The Lucha Bros
10 Count Rating: 8
Even before this tag-team title bout was over, I was on Twitter, @TerrorCarnival (shameless plug), telling anyone who would listen that everybody else should pack up for the rest of 2020, as this was already the match of the year.
Fortunately, nobody bothered to tell Cody Rhodes that as what followed was insane, but this was awesome.
Having been more behind the scenes since he officially joined AEW, it’s been great to see more and more of Kenny Omega in the ring lately. I am, unashamedly, a huge fan of the former Cleaner and having him back inside the squared-circle just goes to prove how fantastic a wrestler he truly is, but here, he wasn’t alone.
While talking to The Flack earlier, he pointed out to me just how over Hangman Page currently is with the crowd, even more so than when he was going after the title, and it’s not hard to see why. The way the two of them gel together is a thing of beauty and they brought their A-game to this week’s episode.
But in a four-way tango, you’re only as good as your dance partners, and in the Lucha Bros, AEW probably has one of the greatest tag-teams of all time.
Is there nothing these four men can’t do?
High flying, hard-hitting, with moves that make your jaw hit the floor, this whole fight was a breathtaking event that I felt privileged to have been part of, even if all I did was sit there screaming at the TV like a sugar rushed toddler at every near fall and mind-blowing move.
With Page and Omega picking up the win and setting up a title match against the Young Bucks at AEW Revolution, I’m going to go out on a limb and say I fully expect both men to turn heel no matter the outcome, as there seemed to be a certain amount of resistance from Kenny when Matt and Nick tried to congratulate him.
Mind you, if you’ve been following my predictions during our Showdown articles, you’ll know that I don’t have the best track record when it comes to this sort of thing.
Winners And Still AEW Tag-Team Champions: Hangman Page And Kenny Omega
Steel Cage Match: Cody vs. Wardlow
10 Count Rating: 9
So this was it, the final MJF stipulation that Cody had to overcome so he can get his hands on him at AEW Revolution and holy shit, was it spectacular.
Whoever the person was that signed off on Cody’s release papers from the WWE, instead of listening to his ideas and keeping him on-board, must be waking up every morning and banging their head against their bedroom wall before they venture downstairs for their cup of coffee.
This was insane.
The violence on show was the sort of thing you’d normally keep back for a PPV and when Cody got cut early on, the tone was set.
I don’t know if it’s the bleached blond hair that does it, after all, it never hurt Ric Flair, but I can’t think of anyone who wears color better than Rhodes and his face was the proverbial crimson mask almost through-out.
But that wouldn’t have meant anything if the in-ring action hadn’t lived up to the hype.
On his debut Wardlow came across as a completely immovable object, meaning that Cody had to hit him with everything including the kitchen sink, which he finally accomplished by scaling the cage and diving off it f*cking backward to pick up the 1-2-3.
Plus, watching Arn Anderson smash MJF in the face with the cage door was one of the highlights of my life.
Good work there, Mr. Enforcer.
Having said yesterday that AEW Dark didn’t seem to know what kind of show it wanted to be, that is not an accusation I feel I can level at AEW Dynamite.
It wants to be a wrestling show and that’s what it achieves, and even though it’s not treated as a proper sport as they originally claimed it would be, y’know, what with a space lady, a wrestling dentist, and a fricking dinosaur on its roster, it’s a lot closer to that than the WWE currently is.
Yes, there are still problems but it seems to be moving in the right direction and as it’s still quite the fledgling promotion I’m more than happy to, occasionally, give it the benefit of the doubt.
This week, I didn’t have to do that because even though a couple of matches came in as just solid, the rest made it into a pretty damn good episode.
With only one more AEW Dynamite to go before AEW Revolution and the return of our Predictions Showdown, I’m expecting big things next week, especially from the Pac vs. Omega 30 Minute Iron-Man Match, and as long as they allow the booking to stay this solid, then the sky’s the limit for AEW.
Just do me a favor, keep Britt Baker off of commentary for a while, please?