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AEW DYNAMITE TV REPORT
APRIL 8, 2020
PRETAPED LAST WEEK IN GEORGIA
AIRED ON TNT
Announcers: Tony Schiavone, Chris Jericho
Ring Announcer: Dasha Gonzales
-They opened with Jake Roberts sitting on a leather chair in a dark room speaking about Lance Archer. He said if you stood in front of a moving train or jumped out of an airplane without a parachute, it’d be no different than standing in the ring opposite of Lance Archer. He said any of those situations and you’d done. He said Marko Stunt was an idiot for stepping up. He told Cody not to let his match against Shawn Spears slip away from him because if he wins, he’s on course to face Archer. He asked Cody if he’s a man or a mouse. He said he shouldn’t pretend to slip on a banana peel to avoid facing them.
-Tony Schiavone introduced the show as they showed wrestlers at ringside cheering (including Jimmy Havoc and Sammy Guevara anchoring the heel side; Billy and Austin Gunn anchoring the babyface side). He introduced Chris Jericho as his color commentator. Jericho said his proper name is Le Champion.
(1) “MURDER HAWK” LANCE ARCHER vs. ALAN ANGELS
As Archer came out, they cut to high-impact moments of Archer beating Marko Stunt last week. Archer tossed around Angel, brushed off some kicks, and then won quickly with his Blackout finisher. Jericho referred to the jobber by at least three names during the match.
WINNER: Archer in under 2:00.
-They went to Schaivone and Jericho on camera, social spaced about four feet apart. They hyped Dr. Britt Baker vs. Hikaru Shida, Kenny Omega & Michael Nakazawa vs. Best Friends (Trent & Chucky Taylor), more from Matt Hardy, a video package on Jon Moxley-Jake Hager next week, and Cody vs. Shawn Spears.
(2) BRIT BAKER vs. HIKARU SHIDA
Baker circled ringside, collecting germs from as many of the wrestlers standing at ringside as possible including kissing one of them on the cheek. When talking about Baker turning on the fans, Jericho said in 1997 he was a bit lost and was “shaking hands and kissing babies,” but it was when he started “shaking babies and kissing hands” that’s when he became the Chris Jericho people know today. Jericho searched for the term “educated feet,” going with “intelligent feet” and “well-schooled feet.” Baker played to the camera and explained this is her division. That gave Shida a chance to recover from a (weak looking) Baker kick and take over at ringside. She gave her a running kneelift when three wrestlers at ringside held her in place. [c]
Shida suplexed Baker after returning from the break and got a two count. A few minutes later Shida landed a Michinoku Driver. Baker rolled out of it and scored a leverage two count. Baker asked the ref for of hot his gloves so she could apply her Mandible Claw. Baker was bleeding heavily from her nose. Shida kicked Baker in the face. Baker superkicked Shida in the back of her head as Baker’s mouth and nose were just crimson red. “That’s deep red blood!” said Jericho. Shida lifted Baker and dumped her over the top rope. Shida climbed to the second rope and tried to suplex Baker from the ring apron into the ring. Baker raked Shida’s eyes and then kicked her in the shin. Baker climbed to the top rope. Shida met her up there and dropped her ribs-first over the top turnbuckle. Shida then landed a running knee to a sitting Baker for the win.
WINNER: Shida in 16:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Baker just shouldn’t be kicking people because her kicks just look awful. Not a smooth match a lot f the time, but good for stretches too. The blood certainly added drama.)
-In the trailer, Kenny Omega talked with Michael Nakazawa. He said it’s been “like six, seven years” since they teamed in DDT in Japan. He said he’s feeling super nostalgic. He said they need a team name. Nakazawa suggested “Best Friends.” Omega said they can’t take that name from Trent and Chucky. Nakazawa said they are really good friends and Omega is an EVP, so he can make it happen. Omega said he’d think about it. Orange Cassidy stepped out of the bathroom. Then in walked Trent and Chuck. Trent said they heard everything they said. They yelled at them for wanting to take their team name. They agreed to put the team name on the line in the match. Omega was stressed out over the whole thing.
(Keller’s Analysis: The tone was more slapstick than serious, which seems to be Kenny’s default mode. Kenny and Nakazawa were likable and engaging, though.) [c]
-A commercial aired for the Young Bucks autobiography.
-Excalibur narrated an update on the AEW Rankings.
Tag Team Division
- (5) Best Friends
- (4) Lucha Bros.
- (3) Kazarian & Scorpio Sky
- (2) Nick & Matt Jackson
- (1) Evil Uno & Stu Grayson
- Champions: Kenny Omega & Hangman Page
- (5) Riho
- (4) Britt Baker
- (3) Yuka Sakazaki
- (2) Kris Statlander
- (1) Hikaru Shida
- Champion: Nyla Rose
- (5) Darby Allin
- (4) Kenny Omega
- (3) Cody
- (2) Chris Jericho
- (1) Jake Hager
- Champion: Jon Moxley
-A video package aired on Moxley vs. Hager. Moxley said he’s not in the business of putting smiles on people’s faces. Hager said he’s a prize fighter to put food on the table of people he cares about. He’s said he doesn’t want to be a champion for the love of sports, but rather because it pays more. They showed them talking from their homes and home gyms. Catalina Hager, Jake’s wife, said with a smile that they’re winners, so if he doesn’t win, he doesn’t come home. Josh Rafferty, his coach, said it burns inside of Jake to be the best and this is his time. Footage aired of Moxley’s AEW Title win. Hager said he has been in fight camp since February, and he was scheduled to fight in Bellator in early May, and he’s ready for this fight even if it wasn’t supposed to happen this quickly for him. Rafferty said Jake is doing both MMA and pro wrestling at the same time, which he said no else has done at a high level. Jake said he is money. The narrator said Hager is still underrated in MMA and AEW. Moxley said he gave Hager his signature Paradigm Shift DDT that he has dropped just about everybody in this business with, yet Hager rebounded and seconds later had him in an anklelock. He said it was a humbling moment, but it’s no holds barred next week, which changes the game for Jake. Jake said he wants to be AEW World Champion and Bellator Heavyweight Champion. Moxley said it might go three minutes or thirty minutes, but everyone will feel every second of the hell he’ll go through to defend his AEW Title successfully.
(Keller’s Analysis: Super video package. Moxley came across as a determined straight-shooter champion and Hager came across as a guy fighting for himself – which is fine – but doing so to a point of spiting fan support entirely. Hager’s wife’s comments about being a winner and only winners come home is the type of comment that makes you want to see Hager lose. It gave off a serious sports vibe, which is usually the best way to promote a title match in pro wrestling. I liked this a lot.)
-Schaivone plugged upcoming matches. [c]
-The video feature that also aired on “Road to Dynamite” on Cody and Shawn Spears aired here. It included soundbites with Cody and Spears mixed with footage of their matches. Cody said it takes a long time to get to the top, and some guys just don’t get to the top. They replayed the chairshot from Spears to Cody’s head from FyterFest. Spears said he doesn’t have to explain why he did it. He said he did it for his reasons and he’d do it again in a second. Cody said he’s 15 years in and hardly an overnight sensation. Spears said he’s taking one step at a time and one victory at a time. Cody said he deserves it because he’s the best wrestler in the tournament. Spears said if he wins, it can never be taken away from him “so this tournament is mine.”
(Keller’s Analysis: Another really good stage-setting video feature. I hope AEW doesn’t move away from this once they have live crowds standing by at arenas again. This is what I was hoping to see more of when Dynamite started, and instead they pointed at the camera at the ring for two hours and didn’t put in the pizzazz and elbow-grease to set the stage for their matches and establish their personalities. These types of video features establishes that “new sports league” vibe that the press releases promised.)
(3) KENNY OMEGA & MICHAEL NAKAZAWA vs. BEST FRIENDS (Chucky T & Trent w/Orange Cassidy)
Spears at ringside yelled for Nakazawa to impress him because he’s still looking for a partner. They showed a close-up of the baby oil at Nakazawa’s feet. Jericho said he should hide it in his trunks. He said if he was searched before his match, you’d find a fork, brass knuckles, and a pencil. Schiavone brought up Abdullah the Butcher. Jericho said he learned from the best. Jericho said he hasn’t seen a lot of Nakazawa’s matches “because he bothers me.” Nakazawa poured baby oil on his chest to counter Trent’s chops. Omega tagged in. They said in unison, “We can do it!” They stomped away at Trent’s chest. Jericho said they call it the Miniskirt Police. Jericho said that’s strange Japanese-English. Omega slammed Nakazawa face-first onto Chuck’s crotch. Chuck rolled to the floor. As Omega stomped aggressively on Trent in the corner, Jericho said Omega has a “cute, fun side to him in that weird Japanese style of entertainment,” but he likes it better when he uses his Japanese style of wrestling to knock guys down. Nakazawa yanked Trent’s crotch into the ringpost and pulled on both of his legs. They cut to a break.
(Keller’s Analysis: I’m with Jericho when it comes to Omega. He’s going to define himself in the eyes of newer viewers as a Fandango-type of act more than a series mega-star main event wrestler with his loosey-goosey suggestive playful personality that fans primarily see on Dynamite.) [c]
Omega tagged in after the break and took Trent to the mat. Jericho said part of Omega’s brilliance and genius is the wide ranging styles he has. He said he wrestled a little kid once in Japan and a blow-up doll once in Japan. He said he wasn’t kidding. Trent came back with a hard clothesline on Omega. Chuck sent Nakazawa head-first into Omega’s crotch in the corner.
Trent and Chuck slingshot each other on opposite sides of the ring onto Kenny and Nakazawa. Jericho said those are twin topés, “also known as house show dives.” Orange Cassidy entered the ring and stood in the middle. He waited for a hug. Kenny and Nakazawa went in for a hug, but he slowly ducked and they missed. Chuck and Trent jumped Kenny and Nakazawa. Nakazawa went for a clothesline of both Trent and Chuck, but they moved and he belly flopped. Nakzawa sprayed bay oil on Chuck and Trent. Cassidy’s sunglasses saved him. Cassidy ducked a Nakazawa punch and then dove onto Kenny on the stage. Trent gave Nakazawa a tornado DDT for a two count.
Jericho said this has been a very strange match. “It’s okay to laugh,” he said. “We’re bringing entertainment to the masses in these trying times in America. We’re doing it for you, America, and all of you around the world. We’re giving you a different style of match-up tonight.” Omega set up Chuck with a snap dragon, but Trent intervened. Omega gave it to him instead. Chuck caught a charging Kenny with a knee. Trent then gave him a running boot. Chuck landed a sitout powerbomb, but Nakazawa broke it up. Nakazawa gave Chuck a fallaway slam off the top rope. Then Nakazawa leaped of the top rope and shoved Trent off of Omega’s shoulders. Chuck made the save. Schiavone said that move is called The Wind. Nakakzawa took off his G-string like underwear and shoved it in the face of Trent. Jericho: “He’s gonna puke!” Omega hit a V-Trigger, but Chuck broke up Nakazawa’s cover. Jericho said he’d just submit if Nakazawa ever did that to him. Nakazawa mistakenly shoved his underwear in the face of Omega. Trent and Chuck then hit a double-team move on Nakazawa, but Omega broke up the cover. Trent then gave Nakazawa a piledriver, but Nakzawa kicked out. Jericho said Nakazawa is going commando, so there better not be a wardrobe malfunction. Trent and Chuck finally finished Nakazawa with a stuff tombstone for the win. Schiavone said that match took a lot out of him.
WINNERS: Best Friends in 17:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: I’m not sure if that kind of match keeps everyone tuned in because it’s so out of the ordinary or turns people off because it’s so odd. I am curious if this will be looked back on as a negative when it comes to framing Omega as a top tier player for AEW some day or if embracing his quirkiness isn’t necessarily incongruent with him being a top star and actually is part of what makes him stand out.)
-A Brodie Lee vignette aired. He arrived somewhere in a black SUV. He got out and a woman put his suit jacket on for him. He walked up to three men dressed in black outfits and masks. Two of them were in jumpsuits and the other was in a suit and tie. He said everyone has to take their images seriously. He asked what they think the perception is of them when they walk through an airport. He told the one in the suit to come with him, whereas the other two in jump suits were left outside the building.
(Keller’s Analysis: More Vince McMahon stuff there. I am hopeful this is part of a strong character regardless of playing off of Vince’s well-known motivational speeches and quirks.) [c]
-In a backstage interview, Baker’s face had dried blood on it. She said Shida is the dirtiest player in the ring rather than a role model. She said she lost half of her blood. “She better be thankful she didn’t touch my teeth, but even if she did, I could fix them myself, because I’m a dentist.”
(Keller’s Analysis: I really like follow-up interviews later in a show reacting to a match earlier in the night. Baker’s comments not accepting the loss and making delusional accusations plays into her heel persona well. I’m glad she’s showing such self-awareness of the dentist references now and playing it for genuine heat.)
-Another, shorter video package aired hyping Moxley-Hager. Hager said next week, fans can expect to see Moxley get hit harder than he ever has in his career and he’ll be the new AEW Champion. Moxley said fans will see next week what it’s like when those two walk down a dark alley. “No roar of the crowd, no support. It’s just me and Jake Hager.” Hager said AEW would be better off with him as champion because of his legitimacy, what he’s done, and who he is. Moxley was bleeped as he looked at the camera and addressed Hager and said, “I’m going to f— you up.”
(Keller’s Analysis: More good content there. Good closing line from Moxley. I think those video packages set up people wanting to see those two go at it next week.)
-Schaivone plugged what was coming up later in the show. [c]
-A Matt Hardy video aired where he welcomed viewers to the Hardy Compound. He took a dig at Jericho sitting in “a tub that is hot in leather pants.” He accused Guevara of being a fraudulent Latino who doesn’t even speak Spanish. He said he can’t wait to sink his teeth into Santino & Ortiz. He said Hager is a Frankenstein monster that Jericho has under his power. He scolded Jericho for trying to recruit his most loyal soldier, Vanguard 1. In flew Vanguard 1 (the drone) with a shirt on a hook. Hardy said he wanted the Jericho shirt so he could burn it. Vanguard said Jericho’s shirt is a dumpster fire. They showed the third burning in a fire pit. Hardy said he will delete the Inner Circle.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good example of Broken Matt doing his thing without limits.)
(4) BRODIE LEE vs. LEE JOHNSON
Schiavone said he’s enjoyed doing commentary with Jericho. Jericho said it’s been a bit of an honor to call wrestling with Schiavone since Schiavone called his matches two decades ago. Schiavone noted that Jim Ross and Excalibur aren’t calling the action “because of travel restrictions.” Brodie won with a series of power moves ending with a discus lariat. Brodie eyed the half dozen babyface wrestlers at ringside as he walked to the back.
WINNER: Brodie Lee in under 2:00. [c]
-Schiavone plugged the TNT Championship Tournament. He said next week Archer faces Colt Cabana, with the winner of that match facing the winner of Kip Sabian vs. Dustin Rhodes. Schiavone then threw to a video package on the Cody-Spears match.
(5) “THE CHAIRMAN” SHAWN SPEARS vs. CODY (w/Brandi Rhodes) – TNT Championship Tournament Round One match
Spears made his ring entrance. Schiavone explained how he got the “Chairman” nickname from Cody. Jericho said he didn’t like that Spears was wearing a scarf. As Cody came out, Jericho made a Tiger King reference by calling him “Cody Exotic.” Schiavone said, “Oh come on,” channelling Gorilla Monsoon responding to Bobby Heenan over the years. [c]
Deep into the match, Spears overhead tossed Cody off the top rope. Both were down and slow to get up. Jericho cheered on Spears. Spears dropped Cody over the top rope through a table at ringside. Brandi checked on Cody at ringside. Jericho was excited about Spears winning by countout. Cody barely beat the count. Cody came back with two Crossroads. Jericho called him a “pompous son of a bitch.” Cody scored a near fall. Brandi was shocked Spears kicked out. Jericho had renewed optimism. Cody applied a figure-four leglock mid-ring. Spears was in such pain, his shoulders were down for a three count. Jericho said he’s never seen somebody win a match by pinning them off of a figure-four. Cody celebrated with Brandi. Jericho said that was an impressive performance from Spears and the best he’s seen of him in AEW.
WINNER: Cody in 22:00 to advance to the semi-finals of the TNT Title tournament.