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AEW Dynamite Review: Mar 18

With everything that’s going on in the world, it’s good to be able to escape for a couple of hours.

AEW, and pro-wrestling as a whole, has a big role to play over the coming weeks and, possibly, months so sitting down for this week’s AEW Dynamite raised a few questions for me. The main one being whether or not I should go easy on the company in my weekly reviews?

After all, they’re doing the best they can in a bad situation, so maybe I should cut them some slack if things don’t go according to plan?

Having chewed this over for about five minutes I came to the conclusion that I wouldn’t be doing that.

I’m willing to go easy on Independent Companies that host No Fan Shows due to the fact that a lot of them are in serious danger of going out of business and need to put on these cards to keep themselves afloat, as well as their crew and wrestlers employed, but AEW and the WWE don’t really have that threat hanging over them.

When you’ve got the money backing you, then you’re going to be okay.

There will be no change when it comes to the bigger promotions so with that in mind, let’s lace up our boots and head to the ring for the AEW Dynamite Review: Mar 18 Edition.

AEW Opening Promos

Opening Promos

10 Count Rating: 7

There was quite an interesting opening to this week’s episode, wherein we had about five different promos in the space of 15 minutes as well as Good Old JR and the commentary team setting up the show.

First out was Cody who told us all that we can’t live in fear and that The Elite needs to get its act together. It was pretty solid, nothing groundbreaking, but got across that there’s dissension within its ranks that’s going to lead to a turn at Blood and Guts.

Mark my words.

Then Kenny Omega and Matt Jackson showed up and agreed they needed to be ready for the Inner Circle or else they were boned before Matt pointed out that Hangman Page wasn’t there again.

Page came out, they seemed to bury the hatchet, blah, blah, blah and welcome to the show.

Now if that’d been that it would’ve gotten a 6 out of 10, but MJF is on another level these days and the promo he cut with Tony Schiavone had me laughing out loud.

Boasting how he didn’t need the money on offer to wrestle tonight, Schiavone pointed out that it seemed the only reason that he and Shaun Spears were out there watching was to gamble. This incurred the wraith of MJF who acted as if he’d just caught Big Tony in bed with his sister, before asking him if he wanted in on the action.

Brilliant.

Just brilliant.

Lucha Bros. vs. Best Friends

Tag-Team Match: Lucha Bros. vs. Best Friends

10 Count Rating: 8

Straight out the box, we had an awesome bout between the Lucha Bros. and the Best Friends.

This had all started when “The Bastard” PAC had seemingly taken offense at Orange Cassidy’s existence which led to a solid, if somewhat messy, confrontation at AEW Revolution, but since that so-so beginning this feud has caught fire.

Having initially found the Best Friends gimmick somewhat grating, I’ve warmed to them over the past few months, but there was never a doubt in my mind that both Chuck Taylor and Trent Beretta could go in the ring. It’s just all the hugging and the other schtick I could’ve lived without.

With the Lucha Bros., however, that’s something I’ve never had to worry about. Pentagón Jr. and Rey Fenix are two of my favorite wrestlers in the business today and can always be relied upon to put on a performance that will have me out of my seat as if the damn thing was on fire, each and every time they enter the ring.

Wednesday night was no different.

I’m loving how well these four men are gelling at the moment and hope that it leads to a big PPV match down the line, and as PAC and Cassidy still have some unfinished business I have no doubt that it will be a 6 Man Tag-Team, hopefully for a brand new set of titles.

If you haven’t seen this yet, make sure you do as it was my Fight of the Night, and seeing Orange Cassidy dive off of the stage as only he can, with hands in pockets and all, will live in the memory for a long time yet.

Winners: The Lucha Bros.

Penelope Ford vs. Kris Statlander vs. Riho vs. Hikaru Shida

Penelope Ford vs. Kris Statlander vs. Riho vs. Hikaru Shida

10 Count Rating: 7

Somebody at AEW needs to do a better job releasing match graphics for the Women’s Division because this is getting stupid now.

Each week it’s the same problem, I watch the show, I go to review it, get to a women’s match and there’s no sodding graphic for it to be found anywhere. If you can’t be bothered to take them seriously by giving them the same treatment as the men, then how can we?

Having said all that, this was a pretty damn good match, though it seems that my prediction that the company was about to pull the trigger on Penelope Ford might’ve been a tad premature as she was the one to eat the pin here.

I’m going to keep banging on about how badly I think they’re misusing her by having her be nothing more than a sidekick to Kip Sabian until I’m blue in the face, or until they start pushing her up the card because she is extremely talented and has that “It” factor that should see her challenging for titles.

Instead, her win on AEW Dark was completely nullified when Hikaru Shida got her down for the 1-2-3, which is Vince McMahon levels of stop/start booking and a real head-scratcher.

Winner: Hikaru Shida

More Promos

More Promos

10 Count Rating: 6

A couple more promos for you now, and no, I couldn’t find a shot of either Colt Cabana or Jon Moxley from last night’s show.

Sorry.

After Penelope Ford’s loss only moments earlier, Big Tony was chatting to Colt Cabana who mentioned how great the AEW Women’s Division is- meh -and how she’d be better off without Kip Sabian.

Upon hearing this, Kip got up in Colt’s face only to get smacked right in the mush for his troubles, thus starting a program between the two. The Kip and Colt Show is a great name for a podcast and also has the potential to be the breakout feud of 2020.

This was followed up by an earlier recording where The Schiavone-Meister General, who was single-handedly flipping the bird to the coronavirus by being in contact with as many people as possible, caught up with the AEW World Champion who said that come hell or high water, he’d be at Blood and Guts.

So there you go, all up to date.

The Butcher And The Blade vs. Jurassic Express

Tag-Team Match: The Butcher And The Blade vs. Jurassic Express

10 Count Rating: 6

If you’ve been following my AEW reviews here on 25YL, then you’ll know that I’m rather partial to a bit of Jurassic Express.

In fact, I’m pretty sure that I’ve gone on record stating that they should be in and around the title picture more than they should be on AEW Dark, but, sadly, this match with The Butcher and The Blade just didn’t do it for me.

I couldn’t quite put my finger on it at first, but with hindsight, I think the lack of both Marko Stunt and The Bunny at ringside put a massive dampener on proceedings.

Don’t get me wrong, it was good enough, and Luchasarus is a wrestling Midas at the moment, but it never seemed to get going and felt bogged down by mistakes. All of which added up to a match that came across more as filler than anything else.

Winners: The Butcher And The Blade.

The Exulted One

The Exalted One Is Revealed

10 Count Rating: No Score

Hey, look kids! It’s Brodie Lee! *Applause*

I have no idea how to rate this, it’s either a 1 out of 10 or a 10 out of 10, so I’m not going to even try, what I will say however is this is a very bold move on behalf of AEW.

For ages now everyone’s been convinced that The Exalted One would be Matt Hardy, they even went so far as to release a graphic a couple of weeks ago that spelt out the man’s name for Christ sake, so to have the white hood come down to reveal the former Luke Harper must’ve sent the internet into meltdown.

I haven’t checked yet, I’m afraid to.

Now, I like Lee. I liked him when he was on the Independents, I liked him when he was part of The Wyatt Family, I liked him as a Bludgeon Brother, and I liked him when he was rotting away in the WWE, waiting for his contract to end, so I have zero problems with him being in AEW.

It’s just I’m not sure how this alliance with the Dark Order is going to pan out.

It’s either going to be the greatest thing since Finn Balor formed the Bullet Club or it’s going to be as big a car crash as The League of Nations. We’ll just have to wait and see.

I did laugh when he grabbed Christopher Daniels and put him into position for a Sister Abigal, only to lift him up and clothesline him into the middle of next week, which was a definite dig at his old employers and perhaps a nod to his old running partner Bray.

Bray Wyatt to AEW, confirmed!

Jake Roberts Promo

Jake Roberts/Lance Archer Promo

10 Count Rating: 8

I’m sorry, it might seem insane to rate any promo so highly but there is nobody in the wrestling business that comes even close to Jake Roberts with a microphone in front of them.

This was everything that he does so perfectly. It was cold, it was calculated, it would’ve sent a chill through Frosty The Bloody Snowman, and it made it clear that Cody has taken his eye off the ball by worrying about The Elite and The Inner Circle, instead of worrying about Jake Roberts and his new charge.

When this blows up, and my guess is during Blood And Guts, we are in for the kind of program that will go down in the annuls of wrestling folklore, alongside the likes of Flair/Steamboat, Taker/Mankind, The Rock/Austin.

So, no pressure then.

Matt Hardy Is AEW

Tag-Team Match: Inner Circle vs. The Elite

10 Count Rating: 9

Do you really care about the match between the Inner Circle and The Elite?

Does it matter to you that it was an 8 out of 10, awesome extravaganza, that only didn’t get my Fight of the Night award because of the Lucha Bros. vs. Best Friends bout that kicked off the show?

Do you give a rat’s ass that the Inner Circle won, giving them team advantage for Blood and Guts?

No, you don’t.

All you care about is the picture that accompanies this entry and, for once, I don’t blame you.

With the role of The Exalted One gone the way of Brodie Lee it seemed that Matt Hardy would not be appearing on this, or any, episode of AEW Dynamite, which was a bit of a kick in the kadiddlehopper, but nothing that any wrestling fan shouldn’t be used to by now.

Normally, you want something in this sport, you ain’t gonna get it.

As Chris Jericho and the Inner Circle stood at the top of the ramp, gloating about how marvelous they were, and how wonderful it’s going to be to delete The Elite at Blood and Guts, Matt Jackson got on the mic and said he’d called in a favor from an old friend.

Piano music started to drift around the arena and there, up in the rafters, was Broken Matt F*cking Hardy!

I lost my shit.

Unashamedly.

Cheering at the top of my lungs, jumping up and down, clapping my hands like a mental patient and I make no apologies for it.

The Broken One has returned and it.is.glorious.

Winners: The Inner Circle

The Real Winners: Wrestling Fans

Final Thoughts

Will I drink a beer to this week’s episode of AEW Dynamite?

You’re godd*mn right I’ll drink a beer to this week’s AEW Dynamite.

This was a pretty well-rounded show, with some promos that only happened to move storylines on and one tag-team match that didn’t seem to get going, but let’s be honest here, this was all about the Matt Hardy reveal at the end.

It took a lot of guts, wrestling wise at least, to have two big surprises on one show and after Brodie Lee had about 90% of the IWC losing their minds, the sight of The Broken One closing out the show, deleting everything he could point at, was amazing.

It remains to be seen when the next episode of the show will be, as they made sure that when they gave advance notice on the card they didn’t give any date, but I’m so eager to see how things play out now that the sooner, the better.

And that’s what a weekly show should do, make you want to tune in every seven days to see what’s going to happen next.

I’m going to finish up this review the way I’ve been finishing up everything I’ve been writing over the past week or so 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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