After NXT managed to reaffirm my love of wrestling this week, I went into AEW Dynamite with high expectations. It was going to be difficult for any promotion to top what had happened at Full Sail University but if anyone could then it was AEW, right? Well, no, not really. There was a lot of good on offer through-out the show but, sadly, there were a couple of moments that left a bad taste in my mouth so with that in mind, let’s lace up our boots and head to the ring, shall we? Here’s my AEW Dynamite Review: Jan 8th.
Tag Match: Hangman Page & Kenny Omega vs. Private Party
Kicking off the card with Page & Omega was a clever idea. Both wrestlers are beloved by fans worldwide, so having them as the curtain-raiser was always going to bring eyes to the product and get fans invested from the get-go.
They were up against Private Party and both teams put on a solid bout.
It wasn’t cutting edge by any stretch of the imagination but it built from a slow start into a well-told story that seemed to just heighten the tension within Hangman.
Whether or not this will lead to Page turning heel on his fellow Elite members remains to be seen, but there’s enough going on here to make the web-show must-see YouTube for the foreseeable future.
Personally, I hope he does as it will breathe new life into a character that’s starting to get a little stale and having him break away from the group can only benefit him and, hopefully, finally put some gold around his waist.
Winners: Hangman Page & Kenny Omega
Vince McMahon Bull-Honky Alert #1
So far in my reviews, the Vince McMahon Bull-Honky Alert has been the exclusive property of the WWE but if it looks like shit and smells like shit then I’m going to call it out, no matter what promotion it’s on and, unfortunately, AEW Dynamite suffered from Vince Syndrome this week.
AEW Women’s Division is a mess. This might have something to do with the fact that the WWE are signing up all the talent they can, making the NXT version the best in the world currently, but it’s also got a lot to do with whoever is responsible for running this arm of the company.
Whoever they are, they need to be replaced.
This should in no way reflect on either Riho or Kris Statlander as both women did the best they could under very difficult circumstances but there was so much bull-honky involved here that I could’ve sworn that Big Vinnie himself had somehow snuck into the arena and was running the show.
There is no excuse, ever, for a World Championship Match to be interrupted by commercials. I understand that pro-wrestling is a business but to cut out a huge section of the in-ring action just to shill product is unacceptable.
You’re basically saying that the title is worthless and it doesn’t matter who wins or loses, and when part of your gimmick is supposed to be that results actually matter then you’re lying, not only to your fans but your talent as well.
Also, if you really want Brandi Rhodes, or Awesome Kong, or whoever else they’re going to drag into The Nightmare Collective, to be carrying the gold then just bloody give it to them.
This constant interference is killing the Women’s Division and, what’s worse, the crowd’s starting to turn against it.
The moment that Kong and Mel made their way to ringside, the fans started to boo. Not in a good “Yah-Boo, you evil heels” kind of way but more in an “Oh for God Sake, not this rubbish again” kind of way.
If this doesn’t change, and change soon, then the damage it’s doing is going to be irreparable.
Vince McMahon Bull-Honky Alert #2
In my AEW Dark review, I said that I was more than happy for the company to acknowledge Daniels botch against Pentagon Jr and work it into his character.
That was until the end of Sammy Guevara vs. Christopher Daniels.
Holy crap, did we really need Pentagon Jr. coming out to interrupt the match before, basically, making chicken noises at The Fallen Angel? And why did he fall for it? Whenever this kind of thing happens you know that the person on the receiving end is going to suddenly forget that they’re in the middle of a match, before getting beaten because they’re stupid.
The whole “You’ve lost your edge” angle could’ve been done before or after the bout and still cost Daniels the win. It wouldn’t have hurt him to take a clean loss, the guy’s pretty much untouchable just because of who he is, and a clean win for Sammy Guevara would’ve been a good rub for the lad.
The only saving grace here was The Dark Order showing up after the bell and trying to recruit Daniels into their fold. The fall-out from all this can only see SCU and The Young Bucks team up to try to put the evil faction in its place.
Tag Team Match: The Rhodes vs. The Lucha Bros.
And just like that, some wrestling actually broke out at a wrestling show.
In fairness, after the utter dross that had been the previous two segments, they could’ve put Dana Brooke and Nia Jax in the ring and let them have at it and I’d have been happy, but luckily AEW had The Rhodes vs. The Lucha Bros. up their sleeve instead.
I’m a huge fan of both these teams and I think it’s safe to say that they’re some of the best talents that wrestling has to offer these days.
Cody is a good shout for the best wrestler in the world and The Lucha Bros. are easily the greatest tag team on offer, but special praise should go to Dustin Rhodes.
His emancipation from the WWE has been the shot in the arm his career needed and whenever he steps through the ropes, you know that you’re going to be in for a great match, no matter who he’s involved with.
This was heading towards being my fight of the night and even though they’d lose that title to a man dressed as a dinosaur, The Rhodes vs The Lucha Bros. delivered on so many levels.
Winners: The Rhodes
If I’m going to call companies out on Vince McMahon Bull-Honky then it’s only fair that I praise them when they do something right, or in this case, when MJF does something so subtle that if you’d blinked you’d have missed it.
Look at that picture.
Have you spotted it yet?
While DDP ran through his promo, promoting everything from the company to his own yoga program, MJF took out his phone and started playing with it.
It was such a clever move and so unexpected that I actually burst out laughing.
Say what you want about MJF but he keeps hitting it out the park each and if he keeps it up, it won’t be long before he’s the number one bad guy in the organization.
6 Man Tag Team Match: Orange Cassidy & The Best Friends vs. Jurassic Express & Luchasaurus
A man who thinks he’s a dinosaur, a bloke who thinks he’s from the jungle and a fella that’s not even the same size as one of Big Show’s shoes against two dudes and a lad who seem so lackadaisical about wrestling that he can’t even be bothered to take his hands out of his pockets should have toilet break time written all over it.
It shouldn’t be the best thing on the card, that’s not how wrestling works.
If Jim Cornette sees this he’s going to have an aneurysm but I loved every second of madness that was on show here.
It was the perfect balance of humor and fast-paced action and didn’t once feel unrealistic which, considering the people involved (HE THINKS HE’S A FRICKING DINOSAUR FOR GOD SAKE!), is a huge testament to six men who have perfected their roles to a tea.
It was beautiful.
Winners: The Jurassic Express & Luchasaurus
After Jon Moxley beat the snot out of the Inner Circle the show was a wrap, but how did it fare overall?
Honestly, pretty good.
It wasn’t the cutting edge programming that AEW had promised their weekly show would be, but it wasn’t Raw or Smackdown levels of awful either.
Does it need to improve? Absolutely, but it isn’t so broken or so stuck in its ways that there isn’t a light at the end of the tunnel.
The Women’s Division is a total car-crash at the moment and that does worry me greatly, but outside of that as long as AEW start to focus more on what it does well, such as put on great wrestling bouts, and less on what it does badly, the Nightmare Collective, then there’s no reason to think that it won’t build up a head of steam as 2020 progresses.
And that can only be a good thing.