WADE KELLER PODCAST - EARLY PREVIEW OF ROYAL RUMBLE 2020 MEN'S MATCH, PLUS 2019 AND 2010 LOOK-BACK ROUNDTABLES
(Search "wade keller" to subscribe in podcast app or CLICK HERE to subscribe in Apple Podcasts.)
AEW DYNAMITE TV REPORT
JANUARY 8, 2020
SOUTHAVEN, MISS. AT LANDER’S CENTER
AIRED LIVE ON TNT
REPORT BY MIKE MILLER, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone, Excalibur
-The show opened with a quick recap of last week’s show highlighting the ups and downs of The Elite and the build-up to the inevitable Chris Jericho-Jon Moxley match.
-Jim Ross introduced the legendary Memphis Wrestling announcer Dave Brown on commentary. They mention Elvis Presley and being in “the shadow of Memphis.” Southaven, Mississippi doesn’t sound as glamourous.
(1) “HANGMAN” ADAM PAGE & KENNY OMEGA vs. PRIVATE PARTY
Out walked Hangman Page. His nameplate read “Not Gonna Pay Private Party That $12.” And a short “Cowboy Shit” chant to start the match. While the crowd was raucous, there were some obvious audio issues with the commentators. Private Party took control early with quick tags and fast kicks. Page recovered and tagged in Omega. The uneasy duo looked confident and worked over Isiah Kassidy with back-and-forth chops.
Isiah was caught looking for a springboard, but Omega pelted him with a mid-air chop. Kassidy jumped over the top-rope to nail a Flatliner on Omega. Marq Quen tagged in and connected with a huge crossbody, followed by multiple over-the-top dives to the outside from alternating sides of the ring. A 450 splash on Page led to a near fall. Excalibur mentioned the previous misfires between Omega and Page.
Kassidy tagged back in and Private Party took advantage with double-team moves. Page caught a leaping Kassidy with a huge boot and then snatched an airborne Marq Quen and dropped him with a fallaway slam. Brown advised the young stars to watch out for those costly mistakes.
Omega assisted Page with a pop-up German Suplex on Marq Quen and Page followed up with a nasty pop-up powerbomb on Kassidy. A knee to the back of Kassidy got a two-count. Omega went for a V-Trigger on Kassidy, but an interrupting Marq Quen got a snap dragon suplex for his troubles.
Kassidy landed a well-placed dropkick to Omega’s knee. Kassidy and Marq Quen pulled out the Silly String double-team on Omega for a near three count. “High Risk, No Reward” on the huge Shooting Star Press by Marq Quen that missed its target.
Hangman Page nearly took Omega’s head off with a Buckshot lariat but caught himself. Kassidy saved Marq Quen from an Electric Chair and Private Party landed a double dropkick with “Shades of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express.” Private Party hit the Gin & Juice on Omega, but Page made it in to break up the pin.
Omega flipped Marq Quen into a Pelé kick on Page. Omega connected with a V-Trigger from behind as Page crushed Marq Quen with the Buckshot lariat. Omega scored the pinfall victory on Marq Quen after a One-Winged Angel.
WINNERS: Hangman Page & Kenny Omega
-Cut to a backstage shot of Michael Nakazawa locked in a Brutalizer. Pac demanded a rubber match against Omega, who rushed out of the ring to save Nakazawa. [c]
(Miller’s Analysis: Private Party pulled off their patented moves and held their own in a solid match with Omega & Page. Tension was predictably teased between the former stablemates. I’m thoroughly enjoying Hangman Page’s nameplates. Those little Easter eggs are rewarding for fans and will make people remember Hangman Page. It’s 2020, and somehow a cowboy gimmick is refreshing.)
-Page slammed a draft beer in the split screen. The crowd handed him another beer as he chatted and worked the crowd.
(Miller’s Analysis: AEW continues to make great use of the split screen. I find myself completely ignoring the commercial and focusing a man drinking beer and interacting with fans.)
(2) RIHO vs. KRIS STATLANDER
Brandi Rhodes replaced Dave Brown on color commentary. Dr. Britt Baker and Shida were shown at ringside. Schiavone addressed the elephant in the room and asked why The Nightmare Collective is cutting everyone’s hair. Brandi deflected and asked why “Xzibit” (Excalibur) always wore a mask.
Riho matrixed out of the first pinfall attempt. Riho came back with a hurricana. Statlander blocked a 619 attempt and nailed a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. “Statlander thinks she’s a Steiner.” Gross. [c]
The action continued in the split screen. Riho took charge with a stomp from the top rope. Statlander hit a big scissor kick à la Booker T. Back live, Statlander missed with a big moonsault. Riho executed a beautiful pinning bridge for a two-count. Riho went up to the top. Statlander lifted up Riho for a ten second stalling suplex from the second rope.
Awesome Kong and Mel made their way down the ramp to get a closer look. Brandi admitted to not wanting Statlander as part of the Nightmare Collective. Riho ate a big boot to the face from Statlander. Riho was thrown outside and Mel launched Riho into the guardrail. Statlander hit suicide dives to take out Mel and Awesome Kong.
Brandi marched down to confront Statlander. A bald, creepy man emerged from underneath the ring. Excalibur identified him as the Japanese Death Match legend “Luther.”
(Miller’s Analysis: After reading up on Luther, I’m wondering how deserving he is of this spot. Or maybe being in the Nightmare Collective is some sort of punishment. It pays to be friends with Lé Champion.)
-The match continued as Riho climbed to the top rope. She looked to finish Statlander, but turned and launched herself towards Luther. A “Riho” chant erupted. Riho went back to the top, but Statlander moved. Statlander with a Gorilla Press but Riho escaped. Statlander dodged Riho’s Running knee, then walloped Riho with a discus clothesine. Riho narrowly escaped the pinfall. Statlander picked Riho up for a Tombstone piledriver, but Brandi pulled the legs out from under Statlander. Riho secured the pin to retain the title.
-After the match, Kong sized up Statlander for a running clothesline. Riho attacked Kong, followed by Mel joining in. Shida, Big Swole, and Sonny Kiss came out to assist the faces, and Britt Baker chose to remain behind the guardrail.
(Miller’s Analysis: The match itself was solid. I’m wanting more weirdness from Kris Statlander, but Brandi’s commentary is pulling back the curtain too much on Statlander’s out-of-this-world character. The chess pieces in the Women’s Division are falling into place. The storyline for The Nightmare Collective has been tedious to watch at times, but it feels like it’s finally building to something.)
They aired a quick and effective “Super Bad” Kip Sabian vignette.
(3) CHRISTOPHER DANIELS vs. “SPANISH GOD” SAMMY GUEVARA
Guevara oozed cockiness and swagger as he strolled down to the ring. A “Sammy Sucks” chant picked up, but was quickly quieted after some flashy moves from the Spanish God. Daniels looked pleased with himself after hard chops to Guevara.
Guevara pulled the ref in front of him to stop a charging Daniels. Guevara landed a cheap punch followed by a stomp from the top to take control of the match. Guevara showboated and pulled off a backflip into a reverse Flair Strut.
Guevara went up top for a 450 splash and landed on his feet. Daniels caught Guevara with Exploder suplex to slow him down. Both men went down to a dual clothesline. Pentagon interrupted the match to challenge Daniels to do an Arabian Moonsault. The distraction allowed Guevara to get the pin after a kick to the back of the head.
WINNER: Sammy Guevara
-Ross mentioned how “unveteran-like” it was for Daniels to lose a match like that. Player Uno and the Dark Order crept down to the ring. Uno stroked the ego of Daniels in an effort to get him to join the Dark Order. An “SCU” chant started. Daniels contemplated donning the mask, but threw it down in disgust. SCU and The Young Bucks stormed the ring and took out the Dark Order. Stu Grayson jumped into the ring to take on the two tag teams. Reynolds found himself in the middle of a Super Kick Party. Daniels nailed the Best Moonsault Ever on Reynolds to end the segment. [c]
(Miller’s Analysis: A classic match-up of veteran experience and youthful exuberance. The young Guevara plays such a great modern-day heel. Good to see him get the win. The Dark Order has had some great vignettes, but their in-ring presence has been lacking any intensity to be taken seriously. “The Fallen” Angel Christopher Daniels is someone who could elevate the Dark Order into a major threat.)
(4) THE LUCHA BROS. vs. CODY & DUSTIN RHODES (w/Arn Anderson)
Pentagon began with some standard house show crowd work to start the match. Dustin and Fenix tagged in and danced a little. Cody and Pentagon tagged in as both teams faced off. Fenix whiffed a superkick to the back of Cody’s head. Cody returned the superkick to tag in Dustin. Pentagon hit a stomp from the top (this makes the third match tonight to feature that spot). [c]
In the split screen, Dustin went down selling a bum knee. The Lucha Bros. worked over Dustin throughout the entirety of the commercial break. Dustin slapped and punched his way out of the opposite corner. A big Arn Anderson-inspired spinebuster by Dustin paved way for the hot tag to his little brother. Cody exploded out of the corner and took charge. Cody mounted Fenix in the corner as fans counted along to his punches.
Fenix blocked a Crossroads attempt and the Lucha Brothers set up their finisher. Dustin made the blind tag. Fenix ran half the length of the top rope for a kick to Cody. Dustin powerslammed Pentagon and followed up with a Destroyer. Fenix ate a Cody Cutter and a Final Reckoning. Dustin secured the pin for a clean victory.
WINNERS: Cody & Dustin Rhodes
-Tony Schiavone entered the ring for a post-match interview with Cody. Schiavone asked if Cody accepted MJF’s stipulations. Arn Anderson interrupted and said we’ll have the answer next week.
(Miller’s Analysis: I like the idea of having Arn Anderson on the outside for Cody, but I’m invested in hearing what Cody has to say. This didn’t further the MJF-Cody angle and was the biggest misstep of the night for me.)
-Alex Marvez was backstage with “Leaping” Lanny Poffo. It turned out to be a long plug for the AEW Dark. We’ll hear from Maxwell Jacob Friedman after the break. [c]
-In the split screen during the commercial break, MJF forced Justin Roberts to kiss the ring. MJF started a ten-count to get Cody to respond to his stipulations. Diamond Dallas Page answered the call instead. A A “Yoga” chant started. MJF ignored DDP’s long-winded rant and remained in the corner texting on his phone.
DDP called MJF “Motormouth Jackoff Friedman.” DDP teased “One More Match.” Thankfully, MJF cut him off. The Butcher & The Blade inexplicably make their way down to the ring. MJF easily got under DDP’s skin with some choice insults. The Butcher & The Blade get dispatched with a pair of Diamond Cutters. MJF low-blowed DDP to end the DDP’s comeback. Q.T. Marshall and Dustin chased off MJF and Wardlow.
(Miller’s Analysis: I’m a huge DDP fan, and I was cringing during all of this. Thankfully, MJF was there to save the segment. I doubt anyone wants to see DDP in a full match, but I wouldn’t mind seeing him hit a few Diamond Cutters in a trios match next week.)
(5) JURASSIC EXPRESS (Luchasaurus & Jungle Boy & Marko Stunt) vs. BEST FRIENDS (Chuck Taylor & Trent) & ORANGE CASSIDY
“Jungle Boy” Jack Perry and Chuck Taylor squared off to start the match. Jungle Boy pulled off numerous athletic moves. Marko Stunt demanded a tag. Trent got heavily booed for shoving Marko down. Marko leapt into a headlock and Trent placed him on the top rope. Marko hit a head scissors takedown and the smallest of small packages for a two-count.
Jungle Boy tagged back in and used Marko for a ripcord splash. Jurassic Express and the Best Friends facd off in the center of the ring with Cassidy chilling on the outside as we cut to a commercial. [c]
We returned to Chuck Taylor nailing a Falcon Arrow on Jungle Boy. Luchasaurus tagged in and took out the Best Friends with some stiff kicks and stomps. Orange Cassidy got the “Tony Schiavone” pop after he tagged in. Cassidy hit the slow-mo kicks. Luchasaurus went for a suplex that Cassidy reversed into a stunner. With his hands back into his pockets, Cassidy landed a suicide dive on the Jurassic Express.
Cassidy motioned for a 450 splash and connected with the falling pin attempt from the top rope. Marko made the save and nailed a Tornado DDT on Taylor and a Destroyer on Trent. Luchasaurus launched Marko to the outside. Jungle Boy rolled up Taylor for the win.
WINNERS: Jurassic Express
(Miller’s Analysis: Nothing new here, but still a really fun match. I would like to see Orange Cassidy go one-on-one with Jungle Boy someday. I also liked the juxtaposition of Orange Cassidy’s limp fist bumps with fans after MJF holding his ring out for people to kiss. A subtle nod from one talented entertainer to another.)
-Schiavone plugged Jericho’s Rock ‘n’ Wrestling Rager and the Bash at the Beach.
(Miller’s Analysis: I appreciate the Miami Vice vibe going on for Dynamite next week. Here’s to hoping we get some Crockett & Tubbs from Orange Cassidy and the Best Friends.)
-Excalibur segued to the Moxley-Inner Circle storyline as Le Champion made his way down to the ring with Guevara & Jake Hager. [c]
-During the commercial break, Guevara held up signs saying “Not Since the First Moonlanding,” “Who Shot Mr. Burns,” “Has There Been,” “This Much Anticipation,” “This Much Drama (TNT).” He also held up a sign asking Salma Hayek for a Booty Call.
(Miller’s Analysis: I doubt Sammy Guevara was alive when Mr. Burns was shot, so I’m going out on a limb that Jericho was behind these signs. Also, another clever use of the split screen during the break.)
-Jon Moxley came down from the crowd and looked less than thrilled to be there. A table is set up in the ring with a “little bit of the bubbly.” Jericho claimed that, “Elvis is a jackass and if he was here I’d kick his butt.”
Jericho tempted Moxley with an Inner Circle party down on Beale Street. Moxley said he doesn’t want a car, money, or ownership in Inner Circle, LLC. Moxley claimed that he can’t be bought. That’s why his answer was ‘Yes.’
Moxley revealed an Inner Circle t-shirt. Jericho soaked it in as Moxley called Jericho one of the greatest of all-time. “Now, let’s pop open a little bit of the bubbly.” Fans chanted, “You Sold Out” as the Inner Circle sprayed champagne everywhere.
Guevara and Hager left the ring. Moxley casually admitted that it was all a lie and smashed a bottle over Jericho’s head. The show ended with Jake Hager helping Jericho and Moxley retreating.
(Miller’s Analysis: A lackluster ending to an otherwise stellar show. If the segment was just a minute or two shorter, Moxley’s turn on Jericho could have been more impactful. When they edit this down to a video package, however, this will be a defining moment for Moxley in AEW.)
RECOMMENDED: 1/8 AEW DYNAMITE TV REPORT: Keller’s report on Riho vs. Statlander, Moxley responds to Jericho’s offer, Page & Omega vs. Private Party, Cody & Dustin vs. Lucha Bros., Memphis Wrestling tribute