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
JANUARY 8, 2020
SOUTHAVEN, MISS. AT LANDERS CENTER
AIRED LIVE ON TNT
Announcers: Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone, Excalibur
(Editor’s Note: This is a live report updated through the show. I immediately host a post-show live stream with callers after the show ends (see above). Then later I proofread and add analysis, which is updated that night and sometimes additional commentary is added the next day, so check back for an “Updated” version as will be noted in the headline for a more complete report. Please forgive any typos and other glitches and errors in my initial frenzied attempt to detail the show live!)
-They opened with a clip of Arn Anderson advising Cody last week in his match against Darby Allin, then Jim Ross questioning whether the Era of the Elite is over as clips aired of The Young Bucks & Kenny Omega winning last week’s main event. It included Ross saying The Elite are clawing their way back one match at a time, while Adam Page turned down joining them in a post-match celebration, indicating he didn’t feel he was worthy but in reality trying to distance himself from them. Then they shifted to recap of the Jon Moxley-Chris Jericho interaction.
(Keller’s Analysis: I’m a fan of a recap like that to emphasize the key bullet points from last night’s show.)
-They went to the stage for pyro blasting, then shifted to the announce desk with Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone, and Excalibur joined by Dave Brown. Brown said he was happy to be there. Ross said he just wishes Lance (Russell) was there too. Ross said it’s a loaded car.
(1) “HANGMAN” ADAM PAGE & KENNY OMEGA vs. PRIVATE PARTY (Marq Quen & Isaiah Kassidy)
Ross said a new story is being written on Page these days. His record on the graphic said 6-7 in his AEW career. Schiavone said Page said on an episode of “Being the Elite” that he wanted to take some time off and get his mind clear, which is what he’s been trying to do. The sound mix was again off and made it difficult to hear the announcers during ring entrance music. Schiavone said Page is a little more serious than the other guys. They noted that Page and Omega had a fist-bump. Excalibur, after talking about Hangman Page pouring himself a cocktail last week in front of Private Party at a bar, asked Brown if he’s ever had a $12 cocktail. “Probably,” Brown said. Everyone else chuckled. He added, “Not many.”
(Keller’s Analysis: The bell rang seven minutes into the show, and AEW utilized that seven minutes well in terms of taking their time to recap key storylines and discuss the wrestlers as they made their ring entrances. I’d say the only thing missing is just what the total history of The Elite is. They continue to talk about them like they’re a faction that everyone who watches Dynamite, but only Dynamite, has comprehensive familiarity with prior to Dynamite starting.)
Schiavone wondered if Page feels he’s the last man on the totem pole in The Elite and wants to establish himself. The other announcers thought that might be what’s at play. Excalibur noted that Page hasn’t held a major title before, and his first chance at a singles title was at All Out against Chris Jericho. Schiavone said it might still not set well with him months later that he lost out on the chance to be the first AEW Champion. Ross said with his parents at ringside for that match, he doesn’t think Page has gotten over it. Private Party controlled early offense against Page. The crowd was boisterous with chants early. They popped for Page tagging in Omega at 3:00. They actually plugged AEW Dark! Schiavone said Brown will join Excalibur on next week’s edition, which will also tribute to Memphis Wrestling history. Quen landed two dives on opposite sides of the ring against both Omega and Page. They looked great. He landed on his feet both times. Then he scored a near fall on Page after a 450 splash. They were still showing replays of the dives when he landed the 450, but it was visible on the smaller part of the split screen. Brown expressed how impressed he was by Private Party’s athleticism.
Omega tagged in, and he and Page double-teamed Private Party for an extended period as the ref scolded them. Then Omega scored a near fall after a knee strike from behind on Kassidy. A loud “Kenny!” chant broke out. This is one of AEW’s most enthusiastic crowds. Omega gave Quen a snap dragon, but Kassidy basement dropkicked Omega’s knees. He celebrated, then hit Silly String for a near fall. “This is awesome!” chanted the fans. Brown said he’s sitting there wide-eyed at the athletic ability of Private Party. Omega avoided a Quen shooting star press. Schiavone there was so much hang time from being too high, Omega had time to move. Excalibur said, “If you ask Marq Quen, you can never get too high.” Page and Omega were getting along fine until a miscommunication led to Page nearly hitting Kenny with the Buckshot Lariat. Quen shoved Page, who was staring down Kenny, into Kenny. Quen then hit both Page and Kenny with elbows to the head. Page kicked Quen followed by a discus clothesline for a near fall. Kassidy saved Quen from an electric chair. Private Party double-dropkicked Page into Kenny on the top rope. They followed with a top rope huracanrana into cutter for a near fall. Page was a bit late making the save, but fortunately Omega kicked out anyway before the ref had to awkwardly stop his count.
Page clothesline Kassidy over the top rope. Omega then flipped Quen, whose boot hit Page in the head. Ross called it an inadvertent accident. Page and Omega each hit Quen from opposite sides and sandwiched him with a Buckshot Lariat and V-Trigger. Omega then hit the One-Winged Angel for the win. Excalibur said the winning ways of The Elite continue in 2020. The announcers thanked Brown for joining them for that match. Page and Omega talked through their near miscues.
WINNERS: Omega & Page in 13:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good action throughout. The only critique is how “convenient” for the storyline it was for Page and Omega to have several near-misses and miscommunications. It just feels a bit contrived when they only happen accidentally during matches that involve partners who have tension between them. In the macro, it’d be cool if AEW just routinely now and then incorporated some near misses with partners who get along and show how they brush them off without it being a big deal at all.)
-They cut to the back where Pac had a Brutalizer on Michael Nakazawa as referees tried to pry him off. Pac released it and yelled into the camera that this will continue until he gets his rubber match. Omega ran to the back to find Pac. [c]
-During the break on split-screen, Page enjoyed a beer from a fan at ringside. They showed fan signs including “Hangover Page” and “901 AEW” among others.
-Back live, they went to the announcers on camera who discussed what was still scheduled for the rest of the show. Ross called it a “massive show.” He hyped Jon Moxley’s announcement about whether he’ll join the Inner Circle. They also hyped the six-man tag, Christopher Daniels vs. Sammy Guevara, and Cody & Dustin Rhodes vs. The Lucha Bros. “for the first time ever.” But first, the AEW Women’s Title match. Brandi Rhodes joined the announcers on commentary.
(2) RIHO vs. KRIS STATLANDER – AEW Title match
Statlander’s record on the screen was listed as 3-2. Brandi said it’s ridiculous to play into Statlander saying she’s an alien. “That’s a woman in facepaint!” she said. She chided the announcers for playing into it. She said she’d rather take a nap than watch the match. Ross asked why she was there. She said they invited her, but she’s happy to leave if they want. They showed Britt Baker and Hikara Shida at ringside. Ross said Brit looked totally disinterested. Brandi said she wouldn’t trust her to work on her teeth. Schiavone asked Brandi why she collects hair snippets. She said if she has to answer that, why doesn’t anyone ask Excalibur why he wears a mask and asked if he’s so ugly he has to wear it. She asked if he takes it off to shower. He said he does. He explained he was a wrestler and wears it as part of the Lucha Libre tradition. She called him “Exhibit.” They cut to a break, with a split screen of the action at 3:00. [c]
Back live, Riho avoided a top rope moonsault from Statlander. Riho then delivered a Northern Lights Suplex for a two count. Excalibur noted Baker dropped to no. 5 after losing last week’s three-way match. Statlander landed a delayed vertical suplex. Both were slow to get up. Awesome Kong and the bald lady Melanie Cruz walked out. Brandi denied knowing what they were doing there. “Do you think I control them?” she asked. She said they are expressing themselves by being there at ringside. Statlander caught Riho with a boot to the face. Mel, as they’re calling Cruz, yanked Riho off the ring apron and threw her into the barricade. Brandi feigned disapproval. Statlander tackled Mel at ringside. Brandi said she is going to head to ringside to clean this up. Statlander them landed a dive onto Awesome Kong at ringside. Brandi marched down the ramp and Statlander was waiting for her. They exchanged heated words. A bald guy crawled out from under the ring. Excalibur said it’s Luther, a Japanese Death Match legend. Schiavone asked if we remembered the video a few weeks ago when Brandi talked to a bald guy we only saw from behind. Riho dove off the top rope onto Luther at ringside. Fans chanted, “Riho!” Back in the ring Statlander avoided a double foot stomp and then Statlander rolled up Riho with a leg capture for a near fall. Riho then landed a Crucifix Bomb for a two count. Statlander avoided a running knee strike and landed a discus lariat and then landed a spinning sitout powerbomb for a near fall. Mel stood on the ring apron and distracted the ref. Statlander lifted Riho for a tombstone pildriver and wandered to the ropes opposite of the ref distraction. Brandi tripped her. Riho landed on top and got the three count. Riho didn’t look sure of what happened and hesitated celebrating given the circumstances.
WINNERS: Riho in 9:00 to retain the AEW World Title.
-After the match, Kong attacked Statlander with a running clothesline. Fans booed. Kong mounted and punched away at Statlander. Riho attempted a save. Mel hit Riho from behind. Shida made the save. Brit stood, but then opted to sit back down. Big Swole and Sonny Kiss ran out for the save.
(Keller’s Analysis: Other than the contrivance of Statlander walking over toward Brandi so she could grab her legs, the match had a lot going on and was never boring. That said, it also fell short of being a match with flow, and this match had potential to be one of AEW’s better women’s matches. I think this accomplished quite a bit, though, and was a break from AEW just sending two women to the ring and having them try to hold the audience for ten-plus minutes. They gave TV time to nine women in the division.)
-Ross threw to a special feature on “Super Bad” Kip Sabian and Penelope Ford.
(Keller’s Analysis: Some pizzazz! Well edited video with a perfect score that really got across Sabian and Ford’s schtick. Really good use of a minute of TV time.)
-They showed Zach Myers from the band “Shinedown” at ringside.
(3) CHRISTOPHER DANIELS vs. “SPANISH GOD” SAMMY GUEVARA
Guevara basically does the Vince McMahon swagger to the ring, with a big dose of gum chewing. The announcers talked about Daniels, a 26 year veteran, having more years in the business than Guevara has had on this planet. Ross said he has shoes that are 26 years old. Guevara pulled the ref in the path of a charging Daniels, then gave him a cheap shot to the jaw. Sammy went on a stretch of cocky offense and settled into a chinlock. The announcers talked about Daniels having a crisis of confidence. Ross touted how good Sammy will be when he matures. Daniels made a comeback with an exploder. He controlled the action for a while and scored some near falls. Sammy avoided the Angels Wings and hit Daniels with a running knee strike and running shooting press for a near fall. Sammy set up a top rope move, but Daniels avoided it as fans chanted “Sammy Wedgy!” – a reference to Sammy wrestling most of the match with a virtual thong on his behind most or the match. As Daniels rallied, Pentagon Jr. told Daniels to show him if he can do the Arabian Moonsault, although Excalibur had to fill in the “Arabian Moonsault” part. Sammy recovered and kicked Daniels and scored a three count. Pentagon laughed. Ross said that was “un-veteran-like” of Daniels to get so distracted by Pentagon.
WINNER: Guevara in 6:00.
-Afterward, Dark Order walked to the ring. Evil Uno the leader in the mask spoke. He was joined by Stu Grayson, John Silver, Alex Reynolds, and two masked followers. Uno said if he hadn’t met Daniels over 15 years ago, he wouldn’t be who he is today. He said the AEW faithful do not share his belief in him. He put his hand on Daniels’s shoulder as Daniels hung his head. He said the fans say he has lost a step. “I can help you,” he said. “I can make you the man you once were.” Daniels looked up and seemed to consider the offer. Uno held up the mask. Fans chanted “SCU!” Uno said SCU is a thing of the past. Daniels held the mask, looked around, and then threw it at Uno instead. Dark Order attacked Daniels and stomped away at him. The Young Bucks, Scorpio Sky, and Kaz ran out for the save. They cleared the ring. Sky landed a running dive onto a crowd at ringside. The Young Bucks then superkicked Reynolds. Then Daniels landed the Arabian Moonsualt. They cut to a break, but stayed with the fallout on split-screen. [c]
-They showed Cody and Dustin on split screen backstage heading to the entrance stage for their match.
(4) THE LUCHA BROS. (Pentagon Jr. & Rey Fenix) vs. CODY (w/Arn Anderson) & DUSTIN RHODES
As Lucha Bros. came out first, Ross said many say they are the best tag team in the world. Their record was 6-6 overall in AEW, 0-1 in 2020. Then Dustin came out. He was listed as “The Natural” Dustin Rhodes with a record of 3-4 in AEW, 0-1 in 2020. Ross talked about how he has reinvented himself. Cody made his entrance next, accompanied by Arn. Ring announcer Justin Roberts called them “The Brotherhood.” Pentagon opened against Cody. Fenix blindsided Cody when he turned his back with a sidekick that showed some light. Cody fired back a minute later with his own superkick that showed even more light. (Are they trying to make Brit Baker feel better about her bad superkicks last week?) Fenix speared Dustin at ringside. Pentagon then landed a double-stomp back in the ring. They cut to a break, but stayed with the action on split-screen. [c]
The Lucha Bros. dominated Dustin during the break. Back live, Dustin began a comeback as the announcers plugged upcoming Dynamite locations and ticket availability. Cody worked the crowd as he reached for a tag. Dustin crawled toward him. Fenix picked up a chair and paused on the ring apron. Arn then kicked the chair out of his hands. Dustin staggered mid-ring, then hit Fenix with a spinebuster. They went back to milking the tag. Excalibur said 30 years ago tonight Dustin was wrestling at the Mid-South Coliseum a few miles away. Dustin finally made the hot-tag to Cody who went to work on Fenix and Pentagon. He landed a powerslam on Fenix, then dive speared into Pentagon at ringside. Fans chanted “Cody” and then counted along to ten as he punched away at Fenix. Cody removed the weight belt and tossed it to the crowd. He set up a Crossroads, but Fenix blocked it. Fenix then landed a hook kick followed by a leaping cutter. He tagged Pentagon in. They set up their finisher, but Dustin intervened with blind-tagged in. Fenix hit a running tight rope kick as Pentagon held Cody over the top rope. Pentagon then gave Cody underhook driver. Dustin stood, but ate duel kicks. He ducked a clothesline and landed a snap powerslam on Pentagon. He then delivered a Destroyer on Pentagon. Cody then hit a Cody Cutter on Fenix. Dustin gave Fenix a spinning neck breaker for the win.
WINNERS: Cody & Dustin in 10:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: I’m surprised that Lucha Bros. lost clean there. A good match for the most part with some great exchanges, but also some poorly timed ones and contrivances that are surprising with these four.)
-After the match, Schiavone asked Cody if he accepts the challenges MJF gave him. Arn interrupted and apologized. He said he doesn’t know how this MJF thinks he has the stroke to lay down these preposterous stipulation. He asked if someone died and made him God. Arn said if he wants the match, they’ll talk about it this week and get back to them. Cody and Dustin then left. Fans weren’t thrilled, but got over it quickly and started chanting “Cody.”
-An ad aired for ShopAEW.com.
-Alex Marvez interviewed Lanny Poffo. Lanny talked about hanging out with so many Memphis legends during the day. They showed a snippet from earlier of a gathering in the ring. Poffo said he doesn’t want to overstay his welcome, but he is really excited to contribute to the exciting AEW product. Marvez plugged the AEW Dark episode next Tuesday on YouTube.
-MJF made his ring entrance along with Wardlow. Ross said this is one of the most entertaining parts of their program. They cut to a break, but stayed with it on split screen.
(Keller’s Analysis: I’m not sure if Ross characterizing MJF as “entertaining” is ideal. Shouldn’t he be groaning that they have to listen to this punk spew a bunch of cruel immature insults?) [c]
-Back live, MJF was in mid-rant about not liking that Cody delayed giving him an answer. He said he is giving Cody until the count of ten to face him like a man. He counted from 10 to 0, then called Cody “a little bitch.” The announcers said Cody was in the trainers room after his hard-fought match. Out came DDP. Ross said DDP Yoga works because Page looks like “a young pup.” Fans chanted “DDP!” when he entered the ring. He got in an early plug, saying he was founder and CEO of “DDP Yoga, better known today as DDPY.” Fans chanted “Yoga! Yoga!” Excalibur asked, “Is he paying for this airtime?” DDP said if you had asked him 19 years ago if he’d be back live on TNT with the hottest new wresting promotion on the planet, AEW, he would have said you were smoking crack. He got fans to chant AEW a couple times as MJF leaned in the corner and checked his phone. DDP called MJF “Motormouth Jackoff Friedman.” He made fun of Wardlow’s man bun. He plugged his Twitter and Instagram accounts, saying his social media blew up huge after he first appeared on AEW with one question: “DDP, are you coming back for one more match?” Ross asked, “What is his Twitter handle again?”
MJF yelled, “Enough! Enough! Enough!” He told “Dally” that in his prime, he couldn’t lace his boots, and now with those arthritic hands, he couldn’t hold his jock. DDP stepped forward and asked, “Really?” MJF backed away and said he doesn’t want to fight him, but maybe these two do. Out came The Butcher, The Blade, and Bunny. MJF said DDP is getting a little senile with his age, but WCW is dead, and “dead is the average age of your fans.” He said he is in a predicament because he has two options. He can miss his ring and get out of his company. He said option two is sending him straight to hospice where he can take one of his diamond daughters. He said he’d lay them in his bed and do one thing and one thing only. DDP got wide-eyed and shoved him. Then he gave Butcher a Diamond Cutter. The Blade attacked DDP and set up a powerslam, but DDP countered with a Diamond Cutter. Bunny entered. MFJ charged and shoved DDP into Wardlow. Then he gave DDP a low kick from behind. Boos. Then an “Asshole” chant broke out. Q.T. Marshall, Dustin, and some referees ran out for the save. [c]
(5) JURASSIC EXPRESS (Luchasaurus & Marko Stunt & “Jungle Boy” Jack Perry) vs. BEST FRIENDS (Chucky T & Trent & Orange Cassidy)
After early offense by Jungle Boy, Marko asked to be tagged in. Trent easily shoved him down. Fans booed. Marko regrouped and went for a leaping headlock. Trent lifted him onto the top rope, but Marko took him down with a flying head scissors. Fans chanted “Let’s Go Marko.” Marko got in a shot at Trent and did the floss, then tagged in Jungle Boy. Marko got in a quick extra leaping kick. Jungle Boy then dropped Marko onto Trent and Jungle Boy scored a two count. Luchasaurus entered when Chucky T entered. They cut to a break. [c]
Luchasaurus entered. Then Orange Cassidy tagged in and threw slow-mo kicks to Luchasaurus’s ankles with his hands in his pockets. Luchasaurus had enough and tried to suplex him. Cassidy gave him a slo-mo stunner, then dropkicked Jungle Boy. He then did a hands-in-pockets dive onto Luchasaurus at ringside as Luchasaurus was held by Chucky and Trent. Best Friends hugged and the camera zoomed in and out. Cassidy landed a falling splash from the top rope for a two count on Jungle Boy. Marko made the save. Schiavone wondered if he fell asleep as he fell off the top rope. Marko gave Trent a spike piledriver. Schiavone said give Marko credit for knowing what he can and can’t do. Luchasaurus gave Marko the Prehistoric Press and threw him onto Cassidy and Trent at ringside. Meanwhile, Jungle Boy countered a Chuck powerbomb into a roll-up for the win. Marko celebrated with The Floss.
WINNERS: Jurassic Express.
-Schiavone plugged the Rock ‘n’ Rager at Sea match with Jericho & Santana & Ortiz vs. Jurassic Express. Ross said Pac vs. Darby Allin would take place next week in Miami at the “Bash at the Beach” version of Dynamite. Also next week, Statlander & Shida vs. Awesome Kong & Mel and DDP & Dustin Rhodes & Q.T. Marshall vs. MJF & The Butcher & The Blade. The announcers then asked about the Moxley-Jericho situation.
-Chris Jericho made his ring entrance. They cut to a break, but stayed with the action on split-screen. During the break, Guevara held up cue cards to hype Jericho and comparing him to Elvis. [c]
-After the break, Moxley made his full ring entrance. Jericho introduced Mox, taking the duties from Justin. Jericho said if Elvis was here, he’d kick his butt. He said the Beatles were way better. He said tonight Moxley gives his answer. He said he has Beale Street sectioned off for the Inner Circle and none of the fans are invited. Mox said a lot went into his decision. He said fans might think they know what makes him tick and what his goals and aspirations are. “The truth is, you don’t,” he said. “But Chris, you don’t either.” Mox said Jericho offered him a car, money, and ownership in Inner Circle. Mox said he doesn’t want any of it. He said he didn’t come to AEW because someone backed a truck of money up to his house. He said he can’t be bought. He said he came to AEW to dominate professional wrestling. “That’s why my answer is yes.” Everyone was shocked. Jericho celebrated. Mox opened his jacket and showed off an “Inner Circle” t-shirt. The announcers said this group could be more powerful than the Horsemen. Mox said there is no more powerful force in AEW than the Inner Circle and he wants to stand with them. Jericho gloated and said the idiot fans didn’t believe him.
Mox said if you want to be great, you have to learn from the greats. He said the pea-brains may not get it, but Jericho is the greatest of all time. He said he will stand next to Jericho and surround himself with greatness. He said they will dominate AEW for years to come. He said it’s time to pop open a little bit of the bubbly. Jericho said, “Moxley said yes!” He said 2020 will be the year of the Inner Circle, baby. They sprayed champaign and asked fans why they weren’t cheering. As they celebrated, Mox asked Jericho for the keys. Fans chanted “You sold out!” Dean said he’s got a 2015 Dodge Ram he paid cash for. He said he was going to run that thing until the wheels fell off until he got the Gift of Jericho. Jericho bragged about winning their matches at WrestleKingdom at the Tokyo Dome and now they’re together at AEW. He asked for more music and more celebration. Schiavone said the car was just too much to turn down. Excalibur said 49 percent isn’t the majority of the company. Jericho and Mox posed together in the ring as Sammy and Hager gloated at ringside. Mox then asked them to cut Jericho’s music. He said he forgot one final thing. He picked up a bottle of champaign and said, “Chris, I was just kidding. I would never join the Inner Circle. It’s a stupid group and you have nothing I want, except for that.” He broke the bottle of champaig over Jericho’s head and gave him his DDT. Ross said, “Jon Moxley just duped the Inner Circle and Chris Jericho.” Schiavone said, “Take the car and kick his ass. I love it!” Mox leaned into the crowd and jingled the car keys to taunt Jericho as Jericho sold the attack and his cohorts threw a fit in the ring.