SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
•FTR vs. Private Party – HIT
Dynamite began over twenty minutes past the top of the hour because of an NBA playoff game that ran long. With the largest audience lead-in on TNT, I would have thought that AEW would’ve put out more recognizable names to start the show. Despite the lack of star power, FTR and Private Party put together a solid and sensible tag match. Old school type rules that depended more on wrestling holds versus big spots. Tully Blanchard aligned himself with FTR which was explained later in the show. Arn Anderson was originally in the corner of FTR when they signed, but after last week’s scuffle Blanchard now represents them. When asked about it by Alex Marvev, Cash Wheeler said that Tully pointed out that to be the best tag team they need the gold to be the best. Tully second that by saying they are done being almost the best and he’s going to help them get over the top starting next week in their tag team gauntlet match.
•Jon Moxley Promo – HIT
Jon Moxley continues to further the argument in his favor of being the best promo in the business today. There’s nobody who can draw the audience’s attention and artfully build towards a match as well as Moxley. He put over MJF in a major way saying that he is the future and talented in all respects. But Moxley believes there’s something that MJF is hiding and he’s going to beat him up and expose him at All Out.
•MJF Promo – MISS
MJF stood at a podium in a neckbrace alongside his lawyer and the rest of his campaign staff. MJF said Jon Moxley was worse than other dictators because Moxley attacked him from behind. He tried to get sympathy by saying one day he may not be able to play catch with his son because he took the Paradigm Shift. MJF’s lawyer cartoonishly said that he consulted his legal team and for their upcoming match, the Paradigm Shift will be banned and Moxley must sign the contract or he will be sued.This feels like a cheap way to take away the Paradigm Shift to try to add intrigue to how Moxley can beat MJF. What legal standing do they have to do this? Moxley’s response should be to tell him no then give him another Paradigm Shift. The top baby face Moxley shouldn’t be worried about being sued.
•Lucha Bros. & The Butcher & The Blade vs. The Natural Nightmares & Jurassic Express – HIT
Last Wednesday, AEW played the first half of All Out 2019 on YouTube and it got me thinking who has risen and fallen since then. The Lucha Brothers were in the co-main event in a match of the year contender. Fast forward a year and they are arguing a finish with their tag partners in a mid card match. There is so much more to Fenix and Pentagon that AEW hasn’t even scratched the surface of. In Lucha Underground, both guys cut promos and had great main event matches. Now it appears they will be aligning themselves with Eddie Kingston since Pac will not be able to enter the country for the foreseeable future. Kingston is a fantastic talker so it’s encouraging that it appears they will be trying to do more with them after travel restrictions derailed most of their plans for 2020.
•Orange Cassidy and Chris Jericho segment – HIT
Cassidy was advertised to speak, but before he said a word Chris Jericho came out and challenged Cassidy to a rematch at All Out. Following their unsatisfying finish from last week, it makes sense to have the rubber match. Orange Cassidy beat Jericho clean, but the clunky pin led to a flat finish. Now they have a chance to definitively finish the feud with a twist that blends the ironic sides to both characters with the stipulation being an Orange Mimosa Mayhem Match. It makes sense when the feud has been built around them humiliating each other by pouring citrus drinks on each other. That theme continued when the rest of The Inner Circle assisted Jericho in beating down Cassidy and The Best Friends.
•The Elite vs. Dark Order (3, 4, & 5) – HIT
3 (Alex Reynolds), 4 (John Silver), and 5 (Alan Angels) have all proven themselves to be talented workers in the ring. A very good and entertaining match, but for being pathetic losers the Dark Order sure got a lot of offense on Kenny Omega. They beat him up so much that he became enraged again powering The Elite to a victory and assaulted Dark Order after the match. The Young Bucks had to hold Omega back from a vicious chair attack. A heel turn is still being hinted at and it would be a refreshing take for a character that has fallen short of expectations.
•Darby Allin vs. Will Hobbs – HIT
Good showcase for Allin as the “come from behind” babyface. In the post match Ricky Starks came out dressed as Allin and mocked his alternative look and lifestyle. He wore Allin’s face paint and had “emo” written on his neck as he described the brutal thumbtack skateboard attack. Brain Cage came out from the crowd and hit Allin with the FTW belt from behind. Starks strutted to the ring and called Allin a joke before nailing him with the skateboard and giving him a poorly executed Coffin Drop. Starks has turned into a great pickup for AEW. I didn’t envision him being a heel when he first signed and now I can’t imagine him any other way.
•The Nightmare Sisters vs. Ivelisse & Diamanté – MISS
A clunky match, but still the best of the tag tournament. Ivelisse and Diamante have talent so hopefully this tournament victory propels them forward. It seems equally as likely that they get lost in the shuffle with the debut of Thunder Rosa and Britt Baker’s return to the ring. AEW didn’t do anything to silence critics of how the Deadly Draw Tournament had been presented. There was no pre-match video package or promos before or after the match. Sure they won a trophy, but what did this tournament do to build an emotional connection with Ivelisse and Diamante. AEW can differentiate itself with promos and authentic characters. Give the winners of a significant victory not only a celebration, but some words of what this means and where it will take them. If they’re going to have this tournament on YouTube then put the finals on TV at least try to make it somewhat important.
•Cody vs. Brodie Lee – HIT
Cody’s reign as TNT champion has come to an end. That was the most emphatic win in a championship match with Cody being destroyed in about 6 minutes. Brodie Lee has been revamped over the past few weeks including a pin over Hangman Page. Lee had been sandbagging behind the rest of Dark Order before he seized the moment on a worn down Cody. The follow-up will be key to where Cody and Brodie Lee go from here. As a shocking finish and subsequent beat-down corrected many of the wrongs from the failed Dark Order segment in December where they beat up all of The Elite. Brodie Lee is a viable threat and has earned his stripes since joining AEW.