SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
•The Young Bucks vs. Dark Order (Evil Uno & Stu Grayson) – HIT
Dark Order have had a nice string of weeks where it appears their act is having a bit of a rebound. I’m still not sold on the act as a whole, but Evil Uno & Stu Grayson have made big strides towards being taken more seriously in the tag division. Working with The Young Bucks doesn’t hurt either. Dark Order looked credible even with a pre-match attack. The finish enhanced Dark Order with Nick Jackson stealing a surprise pin when Dark Order had the momentum.
•MJF Promo – MISS
I don’t take issue with MJF trying to play off of the election season and amplifying dubious political tactics. He spoke about AEW needing new leadership over “Dictator Jon” and he can bring the change the company needs. He then went on to give a wink and a nod to the ardent wrestling fans when he said Dictator Jon isn’t used to someone who “won’t happily look up at the lights for him”. I’m not sure how throwing out a line about wrestling being a work is productive to their feud. It doesn’t get heat on MJF, it’s going back to a time when wrestling drove away fans because it was desperate for attention. MJF and AEW are better than that. The rest of the segment was fine with Jon Moxley finally attacking MJF for making his unsubstantiated claims. But with several weeks to go before All Out, this felt a bit premature for Moxley to get one up on MJF.
•Cody vs. Scorpio Sky – MISS
The curious case Scorpio Sky. It looked as though AEW was going to push him, then they didn’t, then they built him up with video packages only to get lost in the shuffle again. Last week, I felt there was a very small chance Sky would walk away with the TNT Championship. Despite not hearing from Sky before the match, the commentary team did a great job making the viewer believe a title change was a possibility because of the historical significance (it’s 2020). Cody and Sky went on to have a very good match in the TNT open challenge series. Cody won with a cross rhodes after former WWE referee, Mike Chioda inadvertently counted to 4. Sky was then robbed of being shown the agony of defeat when Brodie Lee appeared on the screen with the previous TNT title belt and challenged Cody for the updated TNT belt. I’d like to be optimistic that this part of a plan to elevate Sky, but AEW has forced me to believe it when I see it.
•Kenny Omega & Hangman Page vs. Jurassic Express – MISS
Despite this being tag team appreciation night, I don’t know why this needed to be a championship match. Kenny Omega & Hangman Page deliver every time they hit the ring and this was no exception. The issue is AEW has been creating tension between Omega and Page for almost the entirety of 2020. So when they have championship matches with one week of build on Dynamite, there’s almost no chance that they’re going to lose the titles. Their matches don’t have the drama they used to because it feels like they are deferring for the next chapter in the story either against FTR or The Young Bucks. The simple solution is to have more non-title match ups so that there is a chance of an upset victory. Imagine if Jungle Boy were to steal a pin over Omega or Page and build towards a championship match in Dynamite’s main event. Instead AEW has made it a habit of throwing together title matches with one week build leading to a predictable finish.
•Tag Team Appreciation – HIT
Can we officially mark FTR as heels? Dax Harwood fell over and took off his knee brace before attacking the Rock N Roll Express. And damn Ricky Morton can still take a bump. The Rock N Roll Express proclaimed that The Young Bucks were the best tag team today. Tully Blanchard pointed out that neither the FTR or The Bucks were the tag champions. He then got in the face of Arn Anderson calling back to their encounter at All Out last year. Shawn Spears crept out from the backstage area distracting Anderson before Morton popped Blanchard in the face. This gives FTR an out that they were just trying to avenge Blanchard, but they took it a step too far when it was revealed that Harwood’s injury was fake. This continues to be an intriguing feud, but I’m ready for a match announcement.
•Hikaru Shida vs. Heather Monroe – HIT
Not quite a squash with Heather Monroe getting some offense on Hikaru Shida. Shida looked good getting over her new submission and hard strikes. With a depleted women’s roster there are no obvious opponents for Shida heading into All Out. Depending on how the rest Deadly Draw tournament plays out, perhaps someone like Anna Jay could be elevated.
•Orange Cassidy vs. Chris Jericho – HIT
No funny business for Orange Cassidy tonight. Cassidy skipped the lackadaisical approach of soft strikes and went right after Chris Jericho. Jericho looked sluggish at times, but sold for Cassidy in a way that made him out to be a serious threat instead of a sideshow comedy act. For the finish, Cassidy collapsed out of a Russian Leg Sweep to pin Jericho. Even if it was the intention to look botched, it was anticlimactic. Despite Cassidy overcoming interference from Jake Hager, this felt like either not the end of the feud or a disappointing ending. Either way, Cassidy feels like a bigger star hanging with Jericho and ultimately getting the win.