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AEW DYNAMITE TV REPORT
JANUARY 22, 2020
NASSAU, BAHAMAS ON NORWEGIAN PEARL – JERICHO CRUISE
AIRED ON TAPE DELAY ON TNT
Announcers: Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone, Excalibur
-Jim Ross introduced the show which was taped last night in Nassau, Bahamas with an audience of fans in the midst of the Jericho Cruise. The announcers ran down the line-up of matches with sketch-style images of each of the wrestler in the matches.
(Keller’s Analysis: The setting is cool and feels different with a rabid crowd and dark skies above them and wind noise on the mics giving everything a cool outdoor special event vibe.)
(1) SCU (Frankie Kazarian & Scorpio Sky w/Christopher Daniels) vs. “HANGMAN” ADAM PAGE & KENNY OMEGA – AEW Tag Team Title match
Ross said if the challengers can get along, they have a very good chance to win the titles; but if they don’t get along, they won’t win the titles. Ross noted that this is the first broadcast he’s done in probably 25 years without his hat because it was going to fly off in the wind. Page came out first, followed by Omega. Then SCU. Daniels returned to the back after the entrance. Justin Roberts then did formal ring introductions. Schiavone noted there’s not as much distance between the ring and the fans at ringside. Excalibur called it an intimate setting. Schiavone said wrestlers have to adapt to the setting (i.e. fewer dives). They took turns tagging in and out. It was a more traditional style with headlocks and clotheslines. At 10:00 Page and Kaz collided with simultaneous clotheslines. When Sky and Omega tagged in, Sky blocked a Snap Dragon suplex. Omega eventually hit a fisherman’s buster for a near fall. Page leaped off the top rope onto Kaz in the crowd. Meanwhile, Omega scored a very near fall on Kaz in the ring. Page mistakenly hit Omega with a Buckshot Lariat. Ross said you have to know that was inadvertent, “or was it?” he added. Sky then gave Omega a TKO for a near fall, broken up by Page. [c]
They stayed with the action on split-screen. When the break ended, Page gave Kaz a fallaway slam off the top rope. Page tagged in Omega, who slidekicked Sky off the ring apron and then whipped Page hard into Kaz in the corner. He followed with a flying elbow. Omega gave Sky a Snap Dragon when Sky ran into the ring to try to interfere. Then he gave Kaz a Tiger Driver ’98 for a near fall. Sky caught Omega with a flying high knee. Then SCU landed the SCU Later, but Page broke up Kaz’s cover on Omega. Page took out Sky on the ramp at ringside, then hit Kaz with his Buckshot Lariat for the 1-2-3.
WINNERS: Omega & Page in 19:00 to capture the AEW Tag Team Titles.
-The Young Bucks came out to celebrate with them. Page ended up body surfing which sent him away from Omega and the Bucks celebrating in the ring, so there was the visual of him ultimately on his own again once he was body surfed to the stage. The announcers didn’t draw attention to it. Not sure if it was happenstance or intentional to create that visual, but it played into the storyline of tension between Page and Omega well.
(Keller’s Analysis: Really good tag match that was more traditional start to finish, with a few flurries of four-way chaos. They were restricted from some of the usual action at ringside, including dives, because of the setting and it forced them to work within the ropes. It worked out well.)
-A commercial aired the AEW Revolution PPV on Feb. 29.
(2) BRIT BAKER vs. PRISCILLA KELLY
This is Kelly’s AEW debut. Baker’s hair was flowing in the wind during her ring entrance. I assume John Morrison is jealous somewhere. Excalibur talked about AEW having some of the best women athletes in the world. (It’s probably best to wait until after last week’s tag match isn’t the most recent example of AEW’s women’s division to start boasting that.) They cut to an early split-screen break. [c]
Back live, Kelly was in control. Baker ducked a couple Kelly clotheslines and took over. Eventually Baker landed a sidekick to the jaw and then took her down with a Russian Leg Sweep. Baker then applied an STF. Kelly crawled toward the bottom rope. Baker pushed off the rope with her boot to move Kelly away from forcing a break, then applied her Lock Jaw for the win. Ross said it was a judgment call by the referee to let her keep the hold on after pushing off the bottom rope.
WINNER: Baker in 6:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Solid relatively short match. They worked hard and kept the pace moving, again working within the ropes instead of relying on overly complex sequences at ringside or on the ring apron, and it made for a better match.)
-Schiavone interviewed Baker in the ring afterward. He said she was very aggressive, but the finish was “a little questionable.” Baker took exception to him characterizing her win that way and questioning her character. Baker said Tony is a big star and they’re proud of him because AEW is now his meal ticket because “before this, you were at Starbucks.” The crowd “ohhh’d.” Schiavone was taken aback. “Before this you were just working as a shitty barista.” Baker said she’s a role model and it’s a lot of pressure and a full time job. “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful,” she said. “I’m smart, I’m educated, I’m brilliant. I’m a dentist.” Ross interrupted and said they’ve heard enough. They cut to a full break while she was still talking.
(Keller’s Analysis: Schiavone is a sympathetic, well-regarded nostalgic figure that I think fans feel “protective of,” so having Baker heel on him in a nasty way like that is smart. Schiavone sold it well. I’m not sure if it was a post-taping decision or deliberate, but it worked having Ross cut her off and go to a break as she was still going on and on about herself. There’s a little bit of a Lana-type awkwardness to her delivery that can break either way – toward her being more unlikable and grating or making it seem phony and a display of bad over-the-top acting.) [c]
-They aired a snippet of Jungle Boy lasting ten minutes with Chris Jericho last month.
(3) SANTANA & ORTIZ & CHRIS JERICHO (w/Jake Hager) vs. JURRASIC EXPRESS (Jungle Boy & Marko Stunt & Luchasaurus)
Jurassic Express came out first. Then Santana & Ortiz. And finally Jericho. Fans sang the lyrics to Jericho’s entrance theme. Jungle Boy and Jericho faced off at the start. Jericho slapped JB. In response, JB hit Jericho with a dropkick and then flipped to his feet. Jericho tagged in Ortiz. Ross said Jungle Boy reminds him of Kevin Von Erich. (I’d say Shaun Simpson is closer in terms of appearance, and Jungle Boy doesn’t wrestle in bare feet like Von Erich did.) Marko, who was wearing a “child-sized life vest,” tagged in and leaped off of Luchasaurus’s shoulders onto Ortiz. After being passed around onto various wrestlers’ shoulders, he ended up DDT’ing Santana. Marko threw his vest into the crowd in celebration. Luchasaurus tagged in against Ortiz. He gave him a standing big boot to the face for a near fall. Fans chanted “Lucha-saur-us!” Marko tagged in and punched away at Ortiz in the corner, then tagged in Jungle Boy. Ortiz shoved Jungle Boy into his corner where Jericho and Ortiz took shots at him. They cut to a break with Santana in control. [c]
Back from the break, Jericho was in control against Jungle Boy. Jungle Boy blocked a Jericho suplex off the ropes and then landed a flying crossbody off the top rope for a near fall.
Santana and Ortiz prevented Jungle Boy from tagging out. Ortiz landed a diving headbutt to Jungle Boy’s chest and scored a two count. Jungle Boy came back with a reverse huracanrana, then hot-tagged in Luchasaurus. He rallied against Santana and Jericho including a spinning roundkick to the head of Santana. When he set up a chokeslam on Jericho, Ortiz interfered. Luchasaurus headbutted Ortiz, then chokeslammed both Jericho and Ortiz. He followed with a standing moonsault onto Jericho for a near fall. Hager hit Luchasaurus. Luchasaurus beat up Hager on the ramp. Meanwhile, Marko stood on the top rope and landed a 450 splash for a near fall. He rolled up Jericho with a crucifix for a two count. And another roll-up for another two count. Jericho then hit his spinning elbow Judas Effect for a three count.
WINNER: Jericho & Santana & Ortiz in 14:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: A smartly booked and executed tag match given the diverse mix of wrestlers in the match. That was the best use of Jurassic Express so far in AEW in terms of each playing a believable role in the right dose. This is a model for how to strategically utilize Marko where he’s an opportunist, but not putting his opponents in a bad position of cartoonishly selling. Jungle Boy was also a spirited underdog babyface taking a beating and making hopeful comebacks. The finish was well done. This felt like a match with Jericho fingerprints all over it in terms of how it was structured, which is a good thing.)
-A video package aired on the MJF-Cody rivalry.
-MJF made his ring entrance. Ross said Wardlow is training for his cage match against Cody on Feb. 19 in Atlanta. They went to a split-screen break with MJF taunting the crowd the whole time. [c]
(4) “BAD BOY” JOEY JANELA vs. MJF
Ross talked about Janela’s ongoing issue with Kip Sabian over Penelope Ford. MJF outpowered Janela on the initial lock-up, shoving him down. Ross said some people say MJF is “the eventual future of AEW, but whether that pans out remains to be seen.” MJF offered a handshake. Janela slapped his hand away, so MJF spit in his face. Seconds later, after some offense by Janela, MJF retreated to the stage. When Janela caught up with him, MJF eye-raked him. When MJF charged, Janela backdropped him over the top rope into the ring. MJF used the ref as a shield, then he took control. They cut to a break about 5:00 in. [c]
Back from the break, Janela was in control. Kip and Penelope walked onto the stage and started making out. That distracted Janela long enough that when he went for a top rope elbow, MJF had recovered enough to move. MJF then landed his DDT finisher for the win.
WINNER: MJF in 8:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Smart match in that it filled some TV time between two wrestlers not feuding, and both ended up springboarded out of it with separate issues. Janela lost because of Kip Sabian making out with his ex, so the loss doesn’t diminish him too much, but MJF got to show of his finisher and have a solid heel-style victory.)
-Afterward, MJF asked them to cut his music. He soaked up the boos and said the fans obviously love him. He said they should love Cody too, because last week Cody showed himself to be practically a poet. He said he looked straight into the camera and said, “I’m just another chapter in your book.” He said Cody, for once in his life, was right. He said he is a chapter “and I’m the last god damned one.” Cody then came out to his music. MJF yelled for them to cut Cody’s music. MJF said Cody is excited because Wardlow isn’t there. He reminded Cody, though, that he’s not allowed to touch him. Cody entered the ring and got in his face. MJF said no matter what he says or what he does, he cannot lay a finger on him. He lisped and said, “I’m so sincerely sorry about that.” Schiavone said, “Oh my god.” MJF mockingly said Cody is his mentor, so it’s his time to shine. He held out the mic, but as Cody reached for it, MJF dropped it. Cody bent to pick it up, but MJF kicked it away. MJF then dared him to punch him on the chin. Fans chanted “Asshole!” MJF then backed down the ramp.
Cody pointed out the fans were calling him an asshole. Cody said Max is right, though, he’s not allowed to touch him. The Young Bucks then snuck up behind MJF. “But they can!” Cody said. MJF turned and the Bucks stereo superkicked MJF. Ross said, “Sweet Chin Music!” Schiavone jumped in and said, “Superkick Party!” (That’s a bit more on-brand.) The Bucks dragged MJF over to the pool and threw him into it. Fans chanted, “He can’t swim!”
(Keller’s Analysis: I’m glad they are exploiting the stips that MJF proposed and Cody agreed to. The idea of MJF taunting Cody, and Cody having to hold back on hitting him, but ultimately outsmarting him when his friends enter the picture all played out well.)
-They aired a video package on the Jericho cruise festivities. On split-screen, they showed the cruise ship. [c]
-Schiavone interviewed Omega and Page. Omega said he is one of his best friends, Page, did something special together. Schiavone pulled the mic away from Page mid-sentence, which seemed a little rude, and went back to Omega. He asked about Pac wanting another match. Omega said Pac is human excrement and he will get his match some time. He told him not to worry, but teaming with Page is his priority. Schiavone then asked Page for comment, but as he began to talk, the Bucks entered the picture. Omega said the Bucks always back their backs and have since day one. Page said he’s surprised he and Omega won the tag belts before they did. It was briefly awkward. Omega said he’s just as surprised as Hangman. Page left.
(Keller’s Analysis: I’m not sure what AEW was going for here, but Page seemed like the sympathetic figure. I’m not sure if Schiavone cutting him off was supposed to be so heavy-handed, but it seemed like Tony overtly didn’t care what Page was saying and rudely pulled the mic away from him. Page saying he’s surprised he and Kenny won the tag titles before the Bucks can cut two ways; it could Page being humble or it could be Page rubbing it in. I worked on two levels. Kenny came across heelishly oblivious to how Page was being big-footed by everyone. I’m curious if that’s intentional or unintentional. I’m intrigued with the idea of playing this out in a way where week to week you can sympathize with different parties but eventually someone snaps and overreacts in a way that firmly defines one of them as the heel. Page is so much more entertaining now, he is probably going to get more cheered.)
-They went to the announcers. Ross asked if that was dig from Page. Exclabur said it doesn’t seem that all is harmonious with The Elite. Excalibur plugged Darby Allin & Private Party vs. Jericho & Santana & Ortiz next week. Ross hyped Young Bucks vs. The Butcher & The Blade (w/The Bunny). Excalibur plugged Sabian (w/Ford) vs. Cody (w/Arn Anderson). And finally, they plugged an interview with the no. 1 contender, which will be determined in the main event next. Jericho then came out to his music and joined the announcers on commentary. Jericho said he wants to see the match up close, and he thinks the announcers could use some help.
-Pac made his ring entrance first. They cut to a break. [c]
-Moxley made his full ring entrance after the break. Jericho complained about Moxley turning down his offer to join the Inner Circle and stealing his car.
(5) PAC vs. JON MOXLEY – No. 1 Contendership match
After formal ring introductions, the bell rang about 42 minutes into the third hour. Jericho said he wants them to have a long, hard match so there’s less left over for him. Mox had his right eye patched. Jericho said it was literally an eye for an eye. When Pac hit Mox in the eye, Jericho said he almost feels bad for him, but it was his fault. Pac dominated for a couple minutes early. They cut to a break on split-screen, during which they fought up the stairs into the upper deck. [c]
Pac continued to go back to attacks on Moxley’s eye after the break. He dared Pac to try that against him if he wins. Pac climbed to the top rope and went for his 450 splash, but Mox raised his knees and scored a quick two count. Mox applied a sleeper next, but Pac broke it with a released German suplex. Pac went back to the top rope and went for a Black Arrow, but Mox moved. Pac grabbed his right knee afterward. Mox gave Pac a DDT a minute later for another near fall. They brawled at ringside a minute later. Back in the ring Pac caught Mox on the top rope and landed a superplex. Pac applied a submission. Mox reached the bottom rope to force a break. Pac tore off the bandages covering Mox’s right eye. He punched away at Mox’s eye. The ref scolded Pac. Mox then surprised Pac with an inside cradle for a near fall. He followed up with his DDT and then a Paradigm Shift for the 1-2-3.
WINNER: Moxley in 17:00 to become no. 1 contender for Jericho’s AEW Title.
-Mox covered his eye afterward. Jericho stood and said he’s going to finish what he started at Revolution. He said Mox should have given up when he had the chance. He stood and stared down Mox from the announce desk, holding up his belt as the show ended.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good match. Jericho was really good on commentary, laying the groundwork to face either of them, although with the grudge with Mox it seemed to strongly lean toward Mox winning unless there was a twist of Jericho costing Mox the match, but that didn’t happen.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: Another episode that had a structure and a balance and mix of features that really works for AEW and should be the model going forward, but this time it was filled with better wrestling and talking segments than in some of the past shows that were also well structured. Add to it the great and novel atmosphere on the Jericho Cruise and this was a really fun and effective show. I think this had “something for everyone” without going too far in any area to turn anyone off. I do have to say I hope they can see this show’s lack of dives and ringside spots as an example to nudge themselves toward even when they have more room at ringside in future weeks again.