WADE KELLER PODCAST - EARLY PREVIEW OF ROYAL RUMBLE 2020 MEN'S MATCH, PLUS 2019 AND 2010 LOOK-BACK ROUNDTABLES
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AEW DYNAMITE TV REPORT
DECEMBER 4, 2019
REPORT BY WADE KELLER, PWTORCH EDITOR
Commentators: Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone, Excallibur.
Ring announcer: Justin Roberts
-The AEW opening theme aired. Then they went to pyro on the stage as Jim Ross introduced the show. They panned close-ups of fans chanting “AEW” and then a wide shot with a noticeably darkened upper deck
(1) THE YOUNG BUCKS & DUSTIN RHODES vs. SAMMY GUEVARA & SANTANA & ORTIZ
Ross said the Bucks are the no. 1 ranked tag team in AEW and, in the minds of many, the very best in pro wrestling. A minute into the match, six-way action broke out. The Bucks and Dustin got the better of heel trio. Schiavone noted he’s never seen Dustin wear tassels before. We got some dives from Matt, Nick, and even Dustin. Fans popped and then chanted “Be Elite, Be Be Elite.” Matt tried to suplex all three opponents, but he couldn’t pull it off and then they pounded him down. (The audio was choppy and the mix between crowd and announcers seemed like it was being adjusted a lot in the early minutes. I don’t hear this stuff on NBA games on TNT.) Dustin pretended to be tired which confused Guevara momentarily. Then he gave Guevara a snap powerslam, which Ross compared to Buzz Sawyer. Fans chanted “Dustin!” Dustin had Santana covered and Ortiz was late with the save, but Santana didn’t kick out and the ref just stopped his count. Ortiz hit Dustin with a sock full of baseballs. Guevara then leaped off the top rope with 630 senton for a near fall. Nick got the hot-tag and rallied against Guevara. The Bucks then gave Sammy stereo shooting star presses for near fall, with a save from Santana. A few minutes later after another flurry of action, fans chanted, “This is awesome!” Sammy reached into his jacket and took out his phone. He filmed himself as he went for a shooting star press, but the Bucks caught him mid-air with super kicks. Nick then leaped off the top rope and landed on Guevara for the win, while dropkicking Matt to power his tombstone on Santana while Dustin also tombstoned Ortiz.
WINNERS: Dustin & The Bucks in 13:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: A nonstop wild spotfest that ignited the energy in the crowd. There were some spots that were too contrived and times wrestlers selling had to lay in position too long while others postured and delayed hitting the move, including the finish, but overall the type of match AEW seems to want to build their brand around that fans eat up.)
-They showed the exterior of State Farm Center.
-They went to the announcers on camera. They hyped Christopher Daniels vs. Pentagon Jr., Brandi Rhodes will speak, Nyla Rose will be in action, Chris Jericho will speak, Fenix vs. Trent, and Joey Janela vs. Jon Moxey.
(2) TRENT (w/Orange Cassidy, Chuck Taylor) vs. FENIX
Fenix grounded Trent a minute in and then they cut to a break. They stayed with the action on split-screen. [c]
Fenix climbed to the top rope and leaped at Trent with a corkscrew dive. Trent (whom Ross called “Beretta”) caught him with a dropkick to knock him out of mid-air. They battled at ringside after the break twice, including Fenix leaping off the top rope and double-stomping Trent off the ring apron. Back in the ring, Fenix went for a springboard splash, but Trent lifted his knees. Ross chided Fenix for posturing too much before going for the move. Trent hit Fenix with a running knee and then a leaping piledriver for a near fall. Fenix came back a minute later with a cutter and Black Fire Driver (a spinning muscle buster) for the win.
WINNER: Fenix in 11:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Like the first match, some dazzling athletic exchanges, but a bit herky-jerky and contrived at other times.)
-Ross said Cody would speak next. They went to a break, but stayed with the post-match staredown between Fenix and Trent afterward. Fenix refused a handshake offer. Trent shoved him. Fenix shoved him again. Trent jumped him with a barrage of punches. Cassidy and Taylor pulled him away to try to cool him off.
-They showed Cody backstage walking with a stack of papers in his hands and a paper cup of coffee. [c]
-Back from the break, Cody’s full ring entrance began. Schiavone interviewed him mid-ring. Schiavone mentioned being attacked by The Butcher, The Blade, and The Bunny, but he wanted to know how he feels about MJF. Cody said his scar on his forehead is a reminder of his failure to win the AEW Title and never challenge for it again. He said his brother is preoccupied with a feud with Santana & Ortiz, his wife is cutting off the hair of defenseless women, and his best friend MJF kicked him “square in the balls.” He said: “Now, Butcher, Blade, Bunny, Andy Williams, Pepper Parks, Ally, whatever pseudonym you want to go by, I am familiar with your work. I’ve seen Beyond Wrestling all the way to bar wrestling.” He said they just needed to ask for a match if they wanted one. “But I get the pomp and circumstance of wrestling, I mean you people have seen my entrance, I get it,” he added with a wry smile. He said they can do it anytime, anyplace. Fans chanted “Cody! Cody!” He said when they have a match, they can pick his partner.
He shifted to MJF. He said MJF has said he’ll never wrestle him. He said that is a hell of an absolute, but he doesn’t deal in absolutes. He said it wasn’t MJF’s decision to throw in a towel, that was his decision. He said he owes him because he hand-picked him. He said a lot of people thought MJF was too short or “hood-rich” with a fake scarf, or he does the worst Crossroads in wrestling – “at least they’re botching it on two channels now” – he said he’s just a bush league NWO version of Chris Jericho. The crowd oohed. He said he looked past that and saw someone who was young, hungry, and maybe a little angry. “I saw a little bit of myself,” he said. “I was naive to think I could make you my protege, but I was not naive to you being a bad guy, but you were my bad guy.” He said he’s willing to sweeten the deal. “What’s it going to take?” he said. He pulled out his car keys and offered him his car and his watch. He said Tony Khan bought him the watch and it’s the most expensive thing on him and means the world to him. He offered his expensive shoes, too. He then called for Justin Roberts to bring him his briefcase. Justin delivered it. Inside was “over 50,000 in real cash.” He pulled a $100 bill out and asked Justin to deliver it to a young kid in front row to validate it. The kid said, “Thank you.” Fans chanted “Cody! Cody!” Cody said he still thinks MJF (whom he kept calling “Max”) is the future, but an education is his passport, so he needs to hurt him and lacerate him first. “Let’s do this!” he yelled. He shook Tony’s hand and left to his music.
(Keller’s Analysis: Cody comes across as such an alpha in this setting compared to his time in WWE. It’s so interesting to see him in this setting be able to present himself in his vision of a centerpiece star. It’s a little over the top, but with such full self-awareness, as when he noted his ring entrance, that he’s a babyface despite the grandiloquence. In essence, fans like him because he’s living the dream, the rich star wrestler that many AEW fans vicariously live through.)
-Alex Marvez asked Janela backstage why he accepted Moxley’s challenge. Janela said he has nowhere to sleep, so a barbed wire bed sounds comfortable. He said he was one of the first to sign with AEW, but he feels he’s been put on a back burner. He asked Moxley if he remembers the hell they went through at FyterFest. He said this time it’ll be different because it actually counts. He said this time Mox will have to actually kill him. He laughed like a crazy dude. In walked Moxley, who rubbed his face and said, “Kids.” He shrugged and then walked away. Fans laughed. [c]
-A new Dark Order vignette aired with “regular guy” being given a mask at a ceremony in the woods with torches surrounding them. Another “regular guy” was asked if he would disown his family to join the Dark Order. He said he just waned friends and then began to sob. He was then attacked by a bunch of them as they rubbed their hands over his face in some sort of ceremony. Then they went to eerie images of yuppies smiling at the camera and then the Dark Order logo.
-They showed Nyla Rose beating up Shanna at a meet and greet.
(3) NYLA ROSE vs. LEVA BATES (w/Peter Avalon)
Rose kicked Bates in the face to start the match (although it showed quite a bit of light). She dropped Leva over the top rope and then leaped off the top rope with a flying knee to the side of the head. Peter Avalon entered the ring and threaten to hit Rose as she set up her powerbomb. Nyla grabbed his hand twisted his wrist. Bates hit Nyla with a library book. Rose no-sold it. Avalon leaped off the top rope. She chokeslammed both of them at once. Then she gave Bates a Beast Bomb (a sitout powerbomb) for the win. Ross said he’d be afraid to kick out.
WINNER: Rose in 2:00.
-After the match, Nyla gave her a second Beast Bomb. Excalibur called it completely unnecessary. Shanna ran out and leaped off the top rope with a body block on Nyla. Nyla shrugged off some forearms at first, but eventually had Rose staggering. Rose then gave Shanna a gut-wrench slam. They cut to a break, but stayed with the action on split-screen for the first half of the commercial. During that, she set up a table and was going to powerbomb Shanna through the table, but the ref Rick Knox warned her not to. So she let go of Shanna and then offered a handshake to the ref. Then she powerbombed the referee through the table. She then powerbombed Shanna onto the ref, too, and played to the crowd.
(Keller’s Analysis: Bates and Avalon are too cartoonish. The match was sloppy at times, including awkward selling by Nyla followed by a sudden comeback at the end. The power bombs looked good at least. I fear the post-match ref attack won’t be mentioned again and won’t have any repercussions.) [c]
-Jericho made his ring entrance with Jake Hager. He ripped on the fans of Champaign. He said nobody in that town has been as successful as he has. Jericho bragged that he sold 12,000 bottles of A Little Bit of the Bubbly in one week, then plugged how to buy more. He said he has been told he is contractually obligated to have one more match in AEW, but because he is the champion, he gets to pick whom he faces. He said he put together a little list. Fans popped. “Seriously, get out of 2016.” He said it’s 2019, so it’s “The Lexicon of Le Champion.” He said it’s a list of wrestlers he refuses to ever wrestle again: Jon Moxley, Cody Rhodes, Young Bucks, Papa Buck, Uncle Buck, Buck Owens, Moxley, Hangman Page, Diamond Dallas Page, Paige, Moxley, Scorpio Sky, Too Cold Scorpio, any member of the Scorpions, Moxley, Michael Nakazawa, Kenny Omega, Kenny Ortega … Kenny from South Park, Moxley, the chubby guy over here with the popcorn in the fifth row, the ugly guy with the glasses in the third row, Moxley, Darby Allin, Rick Allen, Allen Jones, Mox, Evil Uno, Angry Dos, Hateful Tres, Moxley.” He was then interrupted by Jungle Boy’s music.
Luchasaurus carried Jungle Boy to the ring with him on his shoulders as Marko Stunt led the way. Fans chanted “Luchasaurus.” Jericho said he didn’t get to finish. He said next on the list is dinosaurs and little children, so sorry. Luchasaurus growled. He then talked normal and said he has a masters degree to medieval history. He said dinosaurs have been marginalized for 63 million years. He said Marko is small for his age, but he’s more man than Jericho will ever be. Fans chanted “Marko! Marko!” Jericho said Marko is small for any age. Jericho asked if the challenge is actually from Jungle Boy. The other two stepped aside. Fans chanted “Jungle Boy!” Jericho asked if the has what it takes. He said everyone is pulling for the Hollywood golden boy, but he’s not, “You’re a piece of shit.” He said he doesn’t think he can last ten minutes with him. Jericho got mean about it. Jungle Boy yanked the mic from him. He said, “I know I can last ten minutes with you. And I’m going to kick your ass.” He then slapped him. A fight broke out with Hager joining in. The three babyfaces cleared the ring of the two heels. Ross said the match is on for two weeks from now in Corpus Christi, Texas for Jericho’s last match of 2019. Ross said Marko beat the hell out of Jericho’s kneecaps. Jericho and Hager retreated.
(Keller’s Analysis: Jericho continues to be great in these talking segments. The list was great, including a sly A.J. Styles reference, and the number of times he made clear he doesn’t want to wrestle Moxley was brilliantly understated even as it was repeatedly stated.)
-Excalibur plugged next week’s Dynamite in Garland, Tex. and then Corpus Christi, Tex. the following week. Then they’re in Jacksonville, Fla. for the homecoming edition of Dynamite on Jan. 1, then Southaven, Miss. on Jan. 8.
(4) KRIS STATLANDER vs. HIKARU SHIDA
They cut to a break a minute in, but stayed with the action on split screen. They brawled at ringside during the break. [c]
A few minutes later, after solid action, Shida landed a top rope superplex for a two count. Shida rallied with a series of offense afterward including a running knee strike for another two count. Statlander scored a near fall with a sudden Michinoku Driver. Then she immediately followed with a Big Bang Theory (cradle tombstone) for the win. The announcers sold it was a big upset with an unranked newcomer beating the no. 1 ranked contender.
WINNER: Statlander in 9:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good match. Statlander is a good signing for AEW. Nice way to establish out of the gate she’s for real.)
-Awesome Kong and Brandi Rhodes walked out. Brandi said people fear what they don’t understand. She said people have had trouble explaining what they are doing. She said she can perhaps shed some light on that subject. Kong held the ropes open for Brandi. She said, “Myself and Awesome Kong (#grammar), we make up the Nightmare Collective, an extension of the Nightmare Family.” She said they do the jobs no one else wants to do and execute them exactly how they see fit and no one ever asks any questions. She said she has no business with Statlander, yet there she is up in her business, which creates a precarious situation for her, “but perhaps an opportunity for you.” She said families aim to grow, so she offered her to pledge herself to the Nightmare Collective. “We will take care of you and elevate you, you will have a home with us,” she said. “Pledge yourself to us right now.” Excalibur said Statlander would be a good prospect to strengthen their organization. Kong got in Statlander’s face. Meanwhile, “a fan at ringside” begged to join them. Security let the woman through. She held up her pony tail and let Kong saw it off. Brandi rubbed her hand on her head. Statlander watched from the ring and never answered. They cut to a break as Brandi and Kong left with their new pledge.
(Keller’s Analysis: Brandi’s vocal tones matched the gimmick, but her cadence and syntax felt a little rough. There’s too many acts that feel like they’re overlapping now with the Nightmare Collective, the Dark Order, and even Blade/Butcher/Bunny.) [c]
(5) CHRISTOPHER DANIELS vs. PENTAGON JR.
Daniels jumped Pentagon on the ramp. They cut to a break a few minutes in, but cut to split screen and stayed with the action. [c]
Back and forth action for a while, but Pentagon eventually took control. Daniels made a comeback and played to the crowd. Excalibur announced that Santana & Ortiz challenged The Young Bucks to a Texas Street Fight, and it’ll take place next week. They fought onto the ramp. Daniels went for a Arabian Moonsault, but came up short and crashed head-first onto the ramp. Not sure if that was intentional or not, but it looked rough. Excalibur said it could be evidence Daniels isn’t ready to compete despite being medically cleared. Daniels hit Angel’s Wings a minute later. Fenix ran out to distract the ref. Daniels knocked him off the ring apron. Pentagon swung the mic stand at Daniels. Daniels ducked and clothesline him. Daniels then grabbed the mic stand. The ref told him not to use it. Pentagon kicked Daniels in the crotch, but the ref didn’t see it as he was getting the mic stand out of the ring. Pentagon then gave Daniels a package pildriver for the win.
WINNER: Pentagon in 9:00.
-Bunny, Blade, and Butcher showed up in a backstage vignette. Ally said they were sick of seeing Cody on every billboard. She introduced themselves. “We are here to cut the head off the snake,” she said. [c]
(6) JON MOXLEY vs. “BAD BOY” JOEY JANELA
Janela is 2-4 overall, 1-3 in singles matches. They showed Moxley in the concourse. He made his way to the ring through the stands. The bell rang 49 minutes into the second hour. The match was announced, as usual, as “TV time remaining.” Ross said Janela has been known as a hardcore wrestler and a crazy man, but he wants to be known as a wrestler. Moxley outwrestled him. When Janela got in some offense, he showed off. Moxley recovered and chopped him. They exchanged chops. Moxley got the better of him. Janela tossed a charging Mox to the ramp and then leaped onto him with a flying axe handle. They cut to a break. [c]
Janela avoided a Paradigm Shift and then suplexed Mox backward into the bottom turnbuckle. Janela then leaped off the top rope onto Moxley. He crashed onto him and the crowd chanted “Holy shit!” Janela then scored a near fall in the ring. A “Let’s Go Moxley!” chant started. Mox then tried to suplex Janela off the top rope, but Janela blocked it. Mox then gave him a modified Paradigm Shift onto the top turnbuckle and then the Paradigm Shift in the ring for the 1-2-3. Ross said Moxley continues to dominate AEW.
WINNER: Moxley in 10:00.
-As Mox celebrated, Jericho walked out with the Inner Circle and eyed him.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good match that fits the realm that Moxley exists in style-wise, and it was a clean hard-fought win which is the right outcome here.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: Definitely a good show, and a step up from last week. There’s still absolutely room for refinement of some details in both in-ring work and booking (not to mention audio quality), and still some questions about some of the bigger booking issues including match finishes that wipes away some of what feels like wishy-washy win/loss records with too much parity among too many wrestlers – women and tag teams, especially. But a fun two hours with a good diverse mix of personality and match styles. Jericho was the highlight, but Cody and Moxley were strong too. I’d still like to see the Bucks establish who they are with the TNT audience beyond just having frenetically paced high-spot filled athletic tag matches.