Wrestling Night in America Reunion: PWTorch columnist Greg Parks is joined by former PWTorch columnist Pat McNeill for a full match-by-match preview of WrestleMania 36
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AEW DYNAMITE TV REPORT
JANUARY 15, 2020
AIRED LIVE ON TNT
Announcers: Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone, Excalibur
-They opened with an on-screen acknowledgment of the death of Rocky Johnson.
-Jim Ross acknowledged the death of Johnson, and also mention Pampiro Firpo, Kendo Nagasaki, and La Parka, “all great stars who recently passed away.” Then instantly, a camera panned a woman on the stage in a bikini waving.
(1) KENNY OMEGA & “HANGMAN” ADAM PAGE vs. THE YOUNG BUCKS vs. BEST FRIENDS (Trent & Chucky T w/Orange Cassidy) vs. SANTANA & ORTIZ
Justin Roberts stood mid-ring and introduced the “Bash at the Beach” and said the first match was for a shot at the tag team titles. The bell rang. Ross said he loves this star-loaded match with big stakes for the winner. Ross said Kenny has been acknowledged the last few years as the best or one of the two or three best singles wrestlers in the world. It was quite chaotic early, as is the case with four-team matches, with a string of athletic spots between various clusters of wrestlers. We learned Ross is a fan of Metamucil.
At about 6:00 dives began happening and fans began clapping and chanting “AEW!” Then came a “This is awesome!” chant. Kenny eventually hit Trent with a Snap Dragon suplex that popped the crowd. He and Page then worked together on a sequence of moves followed by Page diving off the top rope onto Santana and Ortiz, who were surprised as Page looked like he was going to dive back into the ring. Santana and Ortiz yanked Omega out of the ring and then Santana flip dove onto Page and Kenny on the floor. Trent and Nick then landed dives as fans chanted “AEW.” Schiavone asked if anyone knows who the legal wrestler is anymore. Trent and Matt battled on the top rope. Trent suplexed Matt off the top rope onto the crowd below. “Holy shit!” chanted the fans.
Back in the ring, Trent gave Omega a running high knee strike. Chuck intervened, then Page joined in. The ref got kicked inadvertently. The other two teams joined in and they set up a four-on-four, battling over leverage, suplex scenario. Cassidy entered, hands in pockets, and observed what was going on with the ref still down from the kick. Finally, with Cassidy’s help, Ortiz & Santana and the Best Friends side won out and suplexed the other two teams. Cassidy then kipped up with the expressionless face. Then came the big mid-ring hug before Cassidy nonchalantly rolled to the floor. Best Friends then delivered stereo piledrivers to Omega and Page. Ross said that’d be a big upset even though they’re the third-ranked team. After another double-team move, The Bucks saved Kenny from being pinned. Omega rolled out of the ring as Chuck and Matt exchanged blows. Fans chanted “This is awesome!” (Great atmosphere.)
More chaotic action took place with the Bucks and Santana & Ortiz mixing it up. As Nick was throwing super kicks, he nearly kicked Page, but stopped short. A minute later, Page blind-tagged himself on Matt. Matt complained. Chuck then threw Matt over the top rope. Omega then gave Chuck a V-Trigger. Then Page and Omega hit the Buckshot/V-Trigger combo for the win.
WINNERS: Omega & Page in 15:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: For fans who want a sense of order and tags, they’ll be upset. It didn’t seem there were many upset fans in the crowd who reacted enthusiastically start to finish to the action.)
-After the match, the Bucks were upset with Page & Omega. Ross said they can’t be upset because that’s how matches like this go. Excalibur said Omega & Page now face the tag champs, SCU (Kazarian & Scorpio Sky), next week on Dynamite. [c]
-They stayed with the scene in the ring during the break and fist-bumps were exchanged and tension seemed to dissipate. Page left first and accepted an offer of a cup of bear from a fan. Omega joined him and raised Page’s arm on the ramp. He took the beer from Page and gave it to a different fan. Page grabbed another beer and scurried to the back before Omega could take it from him. Then they cut to the Bucks who consoled each other over the lost opportunity.
-Still on split-screen during the break, they showed DDP doing DDP Yoga stretches backstage.
-Back live after the break ended, they showed a wide shot of the crowd. Then they went to Ross, Schiavone, and Excalibur who previewed Sammy Guevara vs. Jon Moxley and Darby Allin vs. Pac. Schiavone said the winners of each match will go on to a match against each other next week to determine the no. 1 contender for AEW Title. They also hyped the women’s tag match and Cody answering MJF.
-Cody’s full ring entrance took place. Fans loudly chanted “Cody! Cody!” Cody said Arn Anderson was right when he said the audience wants this match. He said he came out there pompously and indignant with his usual self-righteousness and asked MJF to name his price to face him “It’s rather expensive,” he said. The big screen said Cody cannot touch MJF until Revolution, he’ll accept ten lashes, and he has to face Wardlow in a cage first. He said a cage match against Wardlow, MJF figures, will soften up his 34 year old body and give MJF the best chance to win. He said he knows what it’s like when someone tries to steal his pop or dampen his flame or is afraid of his star burning brighter. He said he thinks MJF is afraid that fans will see Wardlow wrestle for AEW and think Wardlow shouldn’t be carrying MJF’s bags, but MJF should carrying his.
He said as for the ten lashes, he can’t believe he’s saying it out loud, but he’ll take ten lashes on live TV. “He wants to whip me,” he said. “I understand the symbolism of that farce.” He said he’s willing to endure the pain and his skin breaking. Cody said, as for the other stip, he doesn’t need to touch MJF because he’s living rent-free inside his brain. He said he’s stalling. He said MJF has wanted to be famous his whole life. He said when he was 7, he had a pageant family that paraded him on the Rosie O’Donnell show and he has found a passion for pro wrestling. He said he clings to this minute internet fame from veterans who bolster him up because he’s a real, true, old-school heel. He said to steal a phrase from his old friend Kevin, “you’re not old-school, you’re lazy.” Cody then accepted the challenges. He said he’s starting to feel that maybe he failed as his mentor, but he said many Rhodes opponents have learned “this is not your story, you’re simply a chapter in mine.” He said he’s going to give him his own god damned scar at Revolution. Ross said you don’t have to read between the lines to see what awaits MJF.
(Keller’s Analysis: I didn’t fully follow the order of the points he made or the logic behind them – such as accepting the ten lashes and then a couple minutes later building up to saying he accepted the ten lashes as if was a climax he built up to rather than something he already said he would do – but he came across as a star looking to dish out punishment to MJF despite MJF’s outlandish demands.) [c]
-During the break, they showed MJF on split screen chomping on gum. He didn’t seem at all thrown off by Cody’s words. He showed off a t-shirt that said, “I Banged Dallas’s Daughter.” He headed toward the entrance stage with Wardlow rolling his suitcase behind him.
-Also on splits-screen, they showed Darby Allin backstage. Then they showed Pac backstage.
-After the break. Joey Janella said 2020 was supposed to be a fresh start, but the first time fans saw his pretty face, he got punched in the balls by his ex-girlfriend, Penelope Ford. He said he told her time after time, he didn’t want anything to do with her, but the only way she can create a buzz for herself was on his name. He said she’s walking around now with her pretty boy side piece hunk Kip Sabian. He said he felt last year he got hit in the balls all year, metaphorically. He said his record wasn’t what he wanted it to be. He said next week he faces Rey Fenix and he has something to prove. He said things have to change.
(Keller’s Analysis: A little too much like a high-school play monologue, but overall a step up from his past promos. Most of all, it really set the stage for his character and his match next week. I’m all for putting context behind mid-card matches like that, and I’d rather hear from the wrestlers on Dynamite than have to rely on the announcers to explain the backstory or watch online videos that create the backstory instead.)
(2) BRANDI RHODES & MEL (w/Luther) vs. KRIS STATLANDER & HIKARU SHIDA
Before Shida got to the ring, Brandi and Mel attacked Statlander while Luther blocked Shida on the ramp. Shida hit Luther with a kendo stick and made her way past him. The double-team by Brandi and Mel was looked like a half-speed dress rehearsal and Shida got past this new scary monster Luther cartoonishly easily. Mel hit Shida from behind as Shida chased Brandi to the floor with her kendo stick. The bell rang to officially start the match. Ross said Mel appears to be 6-2 or at least over six-feet tall. One of the worst sequences you’ll ever see followed – as if it could get worse – as Statlander kicked Mel from the ring apron and missed by six inches, then flipped off the ring apron and barely touched Mel, but Mel sold it. That was Dark Order punches gif bad. Yikes. (Pretape the women’s matches, AEW.) Shida then gave Mel a running knee strike that also showed light. Shida and Statlander threw Mel back into the ring. Shida and Statlander double-dropkicked Mel and scored a two count. The hot crowd was extinguished and impatient a few minutes into this one as Mel methodically attacked Shida. Brandi tagged in and went for a early two count after a mere kick to the ribs. When Brandi and Mel faked a tag, Ross said it didn’t give them an advantage and he’s never understood that. He asked if they’re just that committed to being a cheater. [c]
They didn’t have a split-screen here, which was both good and bad. Good in that this match was so awful, it didn’t deserve to be seen on national cable. However, maybe the smaller view on the split screen would hide how awful this was. Back live, Mel was in control of Shida. Shida fired back with a high knee. Brandi tagged in, but when Shida hot-tagged Statlander, Brandi leaped back for a tag, but Mel wasn’t there. Brandi begged off. Statlander hit her with a roundkick to the head and then a discus clothesline followed by a sitout fisherman’s suplex into a powerbomb for a two count. Mel broke up the cover. Shida leaped off the top rope with a double-dropkick that somehow missed both wrestlers as she flew between them. Ross said, “I’m not sure how much she got of that.” Mel threw Shida into the ringside barricade. They oddly then replayed Shida hitting Luther with the kendo stick before the match on split screen. That was random. Brandi then speared Statlander for a near fall. Mel scored a near fall on Statlander seconds later after one slam. Shida re-entered the ring and caught Mel on the second rope and suplexed her. Statlander then hit a lousy-looking running knee for a soft two count. Shida threw a sloppy kick to the back of Mel’s head that mostly missed with her thigh swiping the back of Mel’s head. Statlander landed a standing moonsault for a two count, broken up by Brandi. Shida threw Brandi out of the ring, and Brandi took the bump in comedically slo-mo. Mel clotheslined both Statlander and Shida. Stalander countered into a package piledriver for the 1-2-3.
WINNERS: Not the fans.
(Keller’s Analysis: Mark that one down as an early contender for WORST NATIONALLY TELEVISED MATCH OF THE 2020’s. I don’t look forward to the match that unseats this embarrassment.)
-Ross threw to a video sent in by Dark Order. The spokesperson said they’ve received thousands of potential new recruits inquiring with them. He talked about Michael Nakazawa, as clips aired of him on a screen chatting with Omega. He said Nakazawa will grow tired of losing and join them. He said Omega will take longer, but they’ll work on it. He talked about Brandon Cutler. He said they must show him The Elite cannot help him as much as they can. He said the time to strike with Hangman Page is near. Then the Dark Order leader off camera gave a final instruction to continue to show the world that The Elite are not more powerful than the Dark Order. The screen said it was brought to us by The Dark Order with their website.
-They showed the woman in a bikini sitting on a chair on the stage again. Sammy Guevara began his ring entrance and they cut to a break. He waved at the woman in a bikini. During the break, he held up cue cards talking about developing an ulcer and a need to take antacid tablets after what happened last week, and “I’m too young for that!” He said in order to get the car, Moxley had to join them. “You set us up!” He said his refusal was his biggest mistake. [c]
(3) “THE SPANISH GOD” SAMMY GUEVARA vs. JON MOXLEY
Back live, fans were taunting Guevara with a “Moxley!” chant. Sammy was filming himself with his camera and shaking his head no. He said the ring is his, not Moxley’s. Moxley then drove into the arena in the Ford GT sports car. The crowd popped when he exited the driver’s side. He marched to the ring through the crowd as fans chanted for him. Guevara dropkicked Moxley at the bell and took early control. Mox began no-selling Guevara, then chopped away at him. Guevara strutted after flipping out of the corner. Mox clotheslined him to stop his “wooo’ing.” Guevara surprised Moxley with a kick to the head and a springboard cutter. With Mox at ringside, Guevara crashed into Moxley with a running twisting flip dive over the top rope. Guevara climbed to the top rope, spread his arms out, and then jumped down and shook his head no and strutted. Mox gave him an uppercut, then a running knee and a released vertical suplex for a two count. Mox set up Guevara for a Paradigm Shift on the ring apron, but Guevara escaped and then leaped at Mox with double-knees, taking him to the floor. He threw him into the ringside barricade next, and then the ringside steps. He spun around and posed on his side mid-ring. They cut to a break at 4:00, but stayed with the action on split-screen as Guevara settled into a chinlock. [c]
Guevara dominated for a minute after the break, but Mox caught his foot and ducked a spin kick and drove his head into the mat for a two count. Nice sequence. Mox dragged Guevara up to the second rope, but Guevara slipped free and then leaped to the top rope and gave Mox a top rope flapjack. Mox came right back with a Paradigm Shift attempt. Guevara avoided it and hit a Go To Sleep for a near fall. Guevara leaped off the top rope, but Mox caught him and applied a sleeper for a sudden tapout.
WINNER: Moxley in 10:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good match. Good to see Moxley in a match that didn’t incorporate anything hardcore. Mixed feelings about giving Guevara that much offense for that long against Mox without any help from Jake Hager or someone else. That said, I think the ceiling for Guevara is high and I’m against defining him down too much. So a guarded thumbs up, but the key is to give Guevara some impressive wins soon so it sends the message Guevara is not just obnoxiously cocky, but also good enough to win some matches against solid opponents.)
-After the match, the lights went out and when they came back on. Jake Hager, Chris Jericho, Santana, and Ortiz had him surrounded and they attacked him. Jericho was wearing a gaudy spiked leather jacket and his AEW Title belt. Guevara recovered and cheered on the beat down. Jericho whipped Moxley with the belt a few times. Moxley went down and winced in pain. Jericho unscrewed a spike from his jacket and pounded Mox in the face with it as Santana, Ortiz, and Guevara held him. Ross said, “Tell me that didn’t just happen!” Fans chanted “Asshole!” at Jericho as Mox writhed in pain and held his face. Referees came to the ring and ordered the Inner Circle to leave. Excalibur said AEW officials need to threaten them with fines or suspensions. Ross said Jericho’s goons have done enough. A medic checked on Moxley’s injury. [c]
-They went to the announcers who reacted to the attack. They showed a replay. Excalibur said if it’s an eye injury, it could be career threatening.
-Backstage, Jen Decker interviewed Jericho. He said what happened tonight wasn’t the fault of the Inner Circle. He said it was Moxley’s fault because he smashed a bottle of champaign on his head and signed his own death warrant. He said they had to take him out, “eye for an eye.” He said they’re going to keep an eye out for Mox because he’s only got one left. He said he kicked the shit out of Moxley, and next week on the Jericho Cruise, they’re doing the same thing to Jurassic Express. “See you around, Moxley, even though you can’t really see us,” he said. Guevara stopped and looked Decker up and down and smiled and said, “Hit me up.” (He’s Joey from Friends.)
(4) THE BUTCHER & THE BLADE (w/The Bunny) & MJF (w/Wardlow) vs. DIAMOND DALLAS PAGE & Q.T. MARSHALL & DUSTIN RHODES
Ross said Cody will face Wardlow in Atlanta. As MJF entered the ring, a fan held up a sign that said “BJF.” Marshall was listed as having an 0-3 record. DDP came out last. Schiavone said this was his return to the ring on TNT for the first time in over 20 years. Schiavone said he lost 50 pounds on DDPY. He pushed his new fitness program which includes a $1 million prize (www.positivelyupstoppable.com). MJF taunted DDP with the t-shirt about his daughter. DDP opened against MJF. MJF tagged out immediately and tagged in Warlow. DDP then tagged out to Marshall. MJF tagged back in. Ross said MJF is a boil on the ass of life, but he’s also really good. They cut to a break a few minutes in. [c]
The Butcher threw Marshall into the ringside steps as Dustin recovered enough to get the hot-tag to DDP. He entered against MJF and got a big pop. He rammed MJF’s head into the turnbuckle ten times as fans counted along, then clotheslined The Butcher and then The Blade. DDP played to the crowd and signaled for the Diamond Cutter. He hit it on Butcher, then pointed at MJF. MJF mule kicked DDP, who then tagged out to Dustin. Dustin landed a Destroyer. DDP then gave him a Diamond Cutter. Blade broke up the cover. Marshall tagged in. Dustin then landed a cannonball off the ring apron onto Butcher and Blade. Marshall then landed a flip dive onto them, too. Bunny went after DDP, but he blocked her and then DDP leaped off the top rope onto the crowd below. He played to the crowd and was cheered. Back in the ring, MJF rolled up Marhsall with a yank of the tights for the 1-2-3.
WINNERS: MJF & Butcher & Blade.
(Keller’s Analysis: That worked.)
-Backstage, Decker interviewed SCU about defending their tag titles. Page wandered in, acting drunk. SCU pushed him away. Kenny came to play peacemaker. Omega said Page is acting a little frisky. Omega said they’ll have a gentlemen’s contest next week as he, like them, was once a singles wrestler who became tag team specialists.
-Back to the announcers, they hyped next week’s line-up. Ross said he’s never been more excited about anything than Dynamite in Atlanta next week because he has such history in that city. [c]
(5) DARBY ALLIN vs. PAC – Winner Wrestles Next Week vs. Mox for No. 1 contendership
Pac methodically took it to Allin early. Allin came back with some dives and moves at ringside. They cut to a break. [c]
Pac took over during the break and grounded Allin with a grinding side headlock. Allin eventually came back and landed a coffin drop off the top rope onto Pac at ringside. The crowd popped. Ross said the courage of Darby is “inexplicably amazing.” Darby landed a Code Red for a near fall back in the ring in 8:00. After a series of back and forth near falls, Pac eventually landed the Black Arrow for the clean win.
WINNER: Pac in 13:00.
-Schiavone interviewed Pac mid-ring. Pac said he is the no. 1 contender. Schiavone said he has to beat Moxley first. Pac said Mox is in no condition. He began to talk about facing Jericho, but they cut to Moxley being taken out in an ambulance. Mox, though, burst out of the back with his eye covered in a black wrap. He marched to the ring. Ross said, “Moxley said to hell with my eye, I’m fighting Pac next week and I’m going to whip his ass.” Mox said he doesn’t care if he’s blind or half dead, he will be there next week and he will kick Pac’s ass because that title shot belongs to him. Fans chanted “Moxley!”
(Keller’s Analysis: I think Moxley is on his way to being the centerpiece babyface act of this company, and he is shining right now. This was a good presentation off his character and he’s looking a lot more like a big time star today than he was a month or so ago on Dynamite. If ratings go up in the next few weeks, I think he’ll be the primary reason. Pac also continues to be effective a top tier glue heel who can be grumpy and intense and credible in any feud against a main event babyface.)