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AEW DYNAMITE TV REPORT
OCTOBER 28, 2020
JACKSONVILLE, FLA. AT DAILY’S PLACE
AIRED ON TNT (Taped last Thursday night 10/22)
REPORT BY WADE KELLER, PWTORCH EDITOR
Commentators: Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone, Excalibur
Ring Announcer: Justin Roberts
-They went right from an abbreviated version of the opening theme to Dasha interviewing Wardlow and MJF backstage. MJF said if Wardlow wins the tournament and becomes the champion, “I become the AEW World Champion.” He said Wardlow is under contract to him, so if Wardlow wins, “his property is my property.” MJF asked Wardlow to confirm. Wardlow had made a face behind MJF, then not-so-convincingly told him, “Yeah, you got it.” MJF told Dasha he’s a good guy.
Sammy Guevara walked up to MJF. MJF called him his “little buddy” and “big guy.” Sammy told him to cut the shit, he’s not his little buddy. MJF said Sammy looks like he sells Adderall to middle schoolers. MJF asked what he was going to do about it if he’s upset. When Sammy didn’t answer, MJF asked if he was deaf. Sammy got in his face and said he’s just thinking about what he’s going to do about it.
(1) WARDLOW (w/MJF) vs. “HANGMAN” ADAM PAGE – Semi-Finals of AEW World Title Eliminator Tournament
Ross said on tonight’s show, careers will change. He introduced the show as Wardlow made his way to the ring. Schiavone plugged Cody’s defense of his TNT Title against Orange Cassidy later. Excalibur said you won’t believe what was said in his interview with The Young Bucks and FTR that he recorded earlier. Page landed a running dropkick at the bell. Wardlow fired back with a hard shove and then a punch when Page charged back at him. Wardlow caught Page diving at him at ringside, but Page slipped free and shoved Wardlow into the ringpost. Wardlow came back and speared Page through the security barricade at ringside. Wardlow dominated Page for several minutes until Page avoided a Wardlow top rope dive. Ross said he shouldn’t be leaping off the top rope at his size. Page backflipped off the top rope a minute later with a dive onto Wardlow.
Back in the ring, Wardlow ducked a Buckshot Lariat and then clubbed Page and scored a believable near fall. Wardlow delivered an F10. Page rolled to the floor. They replayed it from the overhead cam, which looked cool. Wardlow dragged Page by his hair to the top rope. Page elbowed Wardlow’s head a few times to block Wardlow. Wardlow shifted to a chokeslam position. Page resisted and then overhead tossed Wardlow to the mat. Page played to the fans and then delivered his Buckshot Lariat twice from opposite sides of the ring in rapid-fire fashion for the clean win. Page took a swig of beer after the match.
WINNER: Page in 11:00 to get to the finals.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good match, and precisely what you’d expect here with these two wrestlers. Page is still not leaping off the page charisma-wise like he was early this year, but there’s still star power there to build on. It’s like he’s among the wrestlers who most feeds off of the live energy of the crowd to be special.)
-The announcers hyped the rest of the Dynamite line-up.
-A video aired with Jon Moxley talking about aiming to make the AEW Title the no. 1 prize in the sport. He said Full Gear isn’t about the AEW Title, it’s about him. He said he won’t be defending the title, he’ll be weaponizing it. He said Kingston will have to say the words “I quit” and he’ll be alone with his ego. He said he crushes windpipes, skulls, and egos. “Protect your neck, Eddie,” Moxley said.
-Eddie Kingston walked to the ring with Butcher, Blade, and Bunny. Excalibur said Eddie convinced Bunny to return to Butcher & Blade only after she maxed out Q.T. Marshall’s credit card. [c]
-Eddie paced in the ring after the break with a mic in hand. “How dare the World Champion not be here,” he said. He said he wants to fight, but Mox has decided to sit at home. He told the camera guy to stay out of his ring because “you never trained to be here.” (Did Justin Roberts in the background just gulp?) He said he was never eliminated from the Casino Battle Royal. He looked over at Lance Archer and Jake Roberts in the crowd and said, “Hi, Lance.” He chuckled. He said he hopes Mox is watching from home. Schiavone said, “He’ just a horrible person. He just is.”
(2) EDDIE KINGSTON (w/Butcher, Blade, Bunny) vs. MATT SYDAL
The announcers talked about Pentagon Jr. replacing Rey Fenix, who was injured last week in his quarterfinals victory, tonight against Kenny Omega. They cut to a split-screen break a few minutes in. [c/ss]
Kingston dominated during most of the break. Sydal made a comeback and landed a standing back moonsault. Sydal took Kingston down a minute later with a high knee to the chin for a two count. Ross said Kingston has to win this match or he just won’t be himself at Full Gear. Kingston made a comeback with a knee to the gut and a spinning backfist. They cut to Roberts and Archer from the stands. Eddie then put Sydal in a bulldog choke for the quick Sydal tapout.
WINNER: Kingston in 7:00.
-Kingston held the bulldog choke for another 30 seconds. Bunny brought a mic up to Kingston who said, “Say I Quit, Moxley!” Sydal said, “I quit!” Schiavone said that’s not Moxley. Ross said he’s sending a message.
(Keller’s Analysis: Solid role for Sydal as an exciting, credentialed wrestler to put over wrestlers on the top third of the roster on TV. Kingston was sufficiently off-putting, and then some, where you want to see Moxley take him out.)
-They went to Excalibur interviewing The Young Bucks in person and FTR remotely. Excalibur asked Matt about his ankle. Matt said his ankle is fine. Nick said he can’t even play with his kids. Excalibur asked FTR why they’d put the dream tag match at risk by attacking his opponent’s ankle. Dax said they’re not worried about dream matches, they want to retain their titles. When Excalibur said he’s known them for years, they said yes, that’s why he has a job and gets paychecks. Matt said he and his brother like to see themselves as regular good people, “and sometimes good people do bad things.” He said while they aren’t proud of what’s gone down lately, he can’t say they regret it. He said there’s been a spark and an edge missing and they couldn’t quite get their fingers on it. He said once the FTR “pricks” began messing with their heads, something changed in them. “The old Young Bucks are back.” he said. “I don’t like the way I feel, but this is the way I feel.”
FTR interrupted and were upset Excalibur weren’t asking them enough questions. They got up and left and said they’d see them at Full Gear. Nick said Matt thought of a crazy stipulation. Matt explained that they were two poor kids from Southern California. He said they built their own ring and bet on themselves, and they always came through. Matt said if they don’t win at Full Gear, they will never challenge for the AEW Tag Team Titles again. Excalibur said the stakes have somehow gotten higher.
(Keller’s Analysis: Oh, just have the match for the tag titles. The extra stip just feels like an unneeded layer, but maybe storyline-wise it’s there for a reason, perhaps to justify how far the Bucks will ultimately go to win. The Bucks are completely unlikable, perhaps more unlikable than any act in wrestling in years right now. I don’t know what they’re going for, but the vibes they’re each giving off right now are a real turnoff. I hope that’s what they’re going for.) [c]
-They went to the Town Hall with a news network style introduction. Schiavone and Dasha sat at a table like people who moderate political debates. They introduced Chris Jericho first. He came out with Santana, Ortiz, and Sammy Guevara as his song played and pyro blasted. The crowd sang the end of Jericho’s song. MJF came out next. Luchasaurus walked up to the mic and said as a representative of dinosaurs and medieval history, he understands the effects of economics changing over time in society. He asked MJF how he can contribute to the earning potential and ensure the continued financial prosperity of the Inner Circle. MJF had a graphic ready to go that showed earnings will shoot up after he joins. (The chart made no sense, nor did the him having a chart ready to go.) “It’s math!” he explained.
Reba and Brit Baker walked up to the mic. Reba talked about how handsome MJF is when he smiles. Baker said you don’t need to be a dentist to know MJF has a terrible track record when it comes to friendships in pro wrestling. Jericho said he’s aware of MJF’s past, but he’s not a dipshit like Cody. He said they’re not actually letting him into the Inner Circle so he doesn’t know their strategies. He stood and said if MJF turns on him, they’ll kick his friggin’ teeth down his throat. MJF assured them he wouldn’t turn on them. He said they got into the profession for the same reason – money and championships. He said together they’ll get a whole lot of green and a whole lot of gold.
Peter Avalon walked up to the mic next. He said he’s shoot his shot, then asked if he can join Inner Circle. Everyone laughed and Avalon left with his head hanging.
Up next was “Mr. Eric B. of Cody, Wyoming.” Eric Bischoff walked up to the mic and said he had a three-pronged question. He said Jan. 20, 1961, President John F. Kennedy said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” He asked MJF what he can do for the Inner Circle. MJF said his question was powerful, so he has one word in response: Friendship. Bischoff nodded. Bischoff then asked MJF what he believes the Inner Circle can do for him. He took exception with Bischoff calling him “nearly a total package.” MJF said he might not be the best team player now, but he firmly believes that once he joins the great men in the Inner Circle, he could learn how to be a team player. Bischoff said he’s worked with Jericho for years, and most would agree with him that he’s a prima donna. Jericho took exception. Schiavone told Jericho to shut up because Bischoff has the floor.
Bischoff asked how MJF can guarantee that he and Jericho won’t end up just killing each other if he joins the Inner Circle. MJF said this is all preposterous. He said he’s a good person and came out there as a leap of faith. Jericho asked him to answer the question of how they can be sure he won’t stab them in the back. MJF got angry and stood up and snapped back: “Let me ask you a question, Chris.” He said he has done everything right and has checked every single box in recent weeks. He’s created great television with him, offered presents, and gave him the best segment of his entire career and the world the best segment in all of pro wrestling history. He asked Jericho, “What exactly haven’t I done?” Jericho said, “You haven’t beat me, but I’m going to give you a chance to do that at Full Gear.” He said if MJF beats him in a one-on-one match, he’ll allow him to join the Inner Circle. MJF was appreciative and nervous at the offer. He said it’s the biggest opportunity of his life (didn’t he just have an AEW World Title match?) and he doesn’t take it for granted. MJF said he’ll do anything to win. He got sinister and emphasized, “Anything.”
Ortiz said he and Sammy don’t want him in the Inner Circle, and Santana is iffy. He said he and Sammy want to face him and Wardlow next week on Dynamite, and if they have their way, he won’t ever make it to the PPV. Ortiz shrugged at Jericho and they followed Sammy and Santana out of the ring as MJF soaked up the situation.
(Keller’s Analysis: Ultimately, I liked this segment. There was some fat to trim, some acting that was below par and too slapstick or corny, but overall it nicely built up next week’s tag match and a big match at Full Gear. I suppose the logic is, if MJF beats Jericho, Jericho believes MJF can be an asset worth the risk for their organization. But the fact that Santana and Sammy don’t want him, and Jericho seems to be disregarding that, is hard to reconcile. The use of Bischoff in cameos is a nice touch for AEW from time to time.)
-Highlights aired of AEW Dark with Will Hobbs winning his match. They showed Ricky Starks reacting from the commentary table. Taz then stood with Starks and Brian Cage. Taz said they’re impressed by him. He told Hobbs he needs to make a decision soon. Cage asked, “Are you in or are you out?”
-Orange Cassidy made his ring entrance. [c]
-Cody made his ring entrance, with Arn Anderson, Dustin Rhodes, and Q.T. Marshall. Schiavone said Cody has his work cut out for him. Excalibur said Dark Order vowed to interfere and attack Cassidy, thus it became a lumberjack match.
(2) CODY (w/Arn Anderson, Dustin Rhodes, Q.T. Marshall) vs. ORANGE CASSIDY – Lumberjack match for TNT Title match
Cody charged. Cassidy ducked and went for the Orange Punch. Cody ducked and tried to counter. Cassidy outmaneuvered him. They circled. Cassidy took Cody down with a hiptoss into a side headlock. Schiavone liked Cassidy shaking up his pace early. Excalibur said Cassidy has a background in Lucha Libre. When Cody got cocky and did push-ups after a suplex, Arn stood on the ring apron and scolded him, telling him to get serious. When Cody knocked Cassidy off the ring apron, the Best Friends caught him. Seconds later, Cody got “knocked off the ring apron” in the same way in the same place (it looked weak and orchestrated), and the Best Friends caught him, too, but then dropped him. He got upset, but Dustin gave him a quick pep talk to get back into the ring. Trent took a cheap shot at Cody.They cut to a break, but stayed with the action on split-screen. [c/ss]
During the break, they got into a fight with the lumberjacks. As the fight continued with the lumberjacks. Cody then suplexed Cassidy off the top rope onto the lumberjacks, then scored a near fall back in the ring. Cassidy made a slo-mo comeback that turned fast quickly, but Cody cut it short with a clothesline. Cassidy came back quickly, though, with a corkscrew DDT and a Beach Break for a near fall. John Silver attacked Cassidy with a pump kick. Arn then punched Cassidy from ringside. Cody threw Silver out of the ring, then gave Cassidy the Crossroads for the win. The announcers noted Cody didn’t see the interference.
WINNER: Cody in 13:00 to retain the TNT Title.
-Afterward the Gunn Club (Billy & Austin Gunn) attacked Dark Order. They showed Darby Allin in the stands watching as Excalibur noted he’ll be facing Cody for the TNT Title at Full Gear.
(Keller’s Analysis: Solid match. The idea that Cody was cocky early and Arn was telling him to focus, only to have Arn cheat on his behalf with Cody not realizing it, is sending conflicting signals on how we’re supposed to feel about Cody and Arn and the dynamic between them. Cassidy was likable, the Dark Order weren’t, so at least that’s clear.) [c]
-Alex Marvez approached the Best Friends for an interview. Miro and Kip Sabian walked up and said they forgive them for the destroyed video game. They had Penelope Ford present them with a gift wrapped box of some kind. Miro and Sabian then attacked them. They fought into a locker room. Sabian said they’re not forgiven, they’re idiots. Miro said he will never forgive Chuck. They then revealed the gift was the video game controller base board.
-A soundbite aired with Serena Deeb who talked about becoming the new NWA World Champion last night over Thunder Rosa. As she stared at the NWA belt, she said it’s legacy in her hands. She said she will show everyone why they will respect her.
(Keller’s Analysis: Clunky. I hope that was the first take and everyone said “good enough.” It wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t good, and this was a chance to really establish who she is and why people should care one way or another about her.)
(3) SERENA DEEB vs. “LEGIT” LAYLA HIRSCH
Excalibur said Deeb jetted to Dynamite after her barn-burner of a win last night over Thunder Rosa to defend the title on Dynamite tonight. Good back and forth action for a few minutes. Hirsch got Deeb in an armbar, but Deeb leveraged her shoulders down for a two count, forcing a release. Hirsch stayed on Deeb’s arm, and threw her hard arm-first into the corner turnbuckle. [c/ss]
Hirsch found a half dozen creative ways to work over Deeb’s arm during the break. They went to full screen commercial mid-way through the break. Deeb moved out of the path of a top rope Hirsch moonsault. She followed up with two neckbreakers and then a tapout from a half crab with a trapped arm submission. Excalibur thanked the NWA for letting that title be defended on Dynamite tonight. Ross threw out Billy Corgan’s name.
WINNER: Deeb in 8:00.
-Marvez interviewed Hikaru Shida backstage. Marvez asked about how Nyla Rose is refusing to wrestle until she gets a title shot. Shida challenged her to a match at Full Gear.
(Keller’s Analysis: Has Nyla done anything on Dynamite in months? Why not tell a story in recent weeks of her earning a title shot, or catch Dynamite viewers up if that’s been happening on AEW Dark?)
(4) SHAWN SPEARS (w/Tully Blanchard) vs. VSK
Spears immediately hit a C4, a running Death Valley Driver.
WINNER: Spears in under 10 seconds.
-A mascot was throwing candy at Spears from the crowd. Spears went after him and threw him into the ring. Spears conveniently turned his back to put on a foreign object. The mascot revealed himself as Scorpio Sky, who gave Spears a quick TKO. Sky took off the outfit and eyed Tully on the ring apron. Tully backed off.
-They went to the announcers at ringside who hyped the line-up for Full Gear.
-Pentagon Jr. made his way to the ring, high-fiving Rey Fenix on his way to the ring. They showed Kingston convincing the injured Rey Fenix to give Pentagon the opportunity.
(Keller’s Analysis: Is that how it works, now? If someone gets injured, the injured person gets to decide who replaces them in a match or tournament? Shouldn’t AEW management have a say in this, or at least make it seem like they saw it as a reasonable option and approved it.)
(5) KENNY OMEGA vs. PENTA EL OM (w/Rey Fenix) – Semi-Finals of AEW World Title Eliminator Tournament
Justin Roberts narrated a new list of acclaim and accomplishments. “That’s a hell of a build-up, man,” said Schiavone. Women danced on the stage with brooms, playing off of The Cleaner gimmick (that’s never been explained to the U.S. audience in 12-plus months on Dynamite; I’d suggest now would be a good time to explain it or abandon it.) Kenny came out in a t-shirt and seemed very pleased with himself. Excalibur said Penta will be more prepared than Sonny King was. Excalibur noted their first match was at All In on Sept. 1, 2018. Kenny mouthed off to the camera from the ramp. Excalibur said Fenix was really unhappy about this turn of events, but he’s happy for his brother.
Omega wrestled with the t-shirt on at the start of the match, which is usually reserved for overweight, out of shape veteran stars, but it appeared he was hiding something. Omega then lifted his t-shirt and revealed the AAA Mega Championship belt under his shirt, which he won from Rey Fenix. Ross said Omega is showing some attitude, but without a tone of judgment. Fenix stood on the ring apron, angry over the taunting.
Omega chopped Pentagon, strutted, and took off his shirt. Pentagon slapped Kenny’s bare chest, then did some trash-talking of his own. Kenny chopped back and then laughed and strutted. Pentagon then pulled off his glove and tossed it to Omega. Omega slapped him with the glove across his face. Then he aggressively went after Pentagon with stomps and strikes.
Ross said Kenny has remade himself a little bit after a bit of a sabbatical. Kenny showboated after outmaneuvering Penta, but Penta chopped him. Schiavone said he celebrated too early. Excalibur said everyone wants to see Page vs. Kenny in the finals, but Penta won’t go quietly into the night. Penta dove over the top rope onto Kenny a minute later. Both were down and slow to get up, with Penta clutching his knee. They cut to a break, but stayed with the action on split-screen. [c/ss]
During the break, Penta kicked Kenny at ringside. He stayed aggressive in the ring, choking Kenny against the ropes, then throwing him back to ringside. He clotheslined Kenny over the top rope into the seating area. Kenny fought back by sliding a cooler at Penta’s feet. Back from the break to full screen, Omega flip-dove over the top rope onto Penta at ringside. He shook the barricade and cupped his ear. After that showboating, Penta kicked him in the face as he stood on the ring apron. Then he leaped off the top turnbuckle onto Omega at ringside. Ross said Omega vs. Page is the match a lot of people want to see.
They battled back and forth in the ring. Penta hit a slingblade for a two count. Penta leaped onto Omega’s chest off the top rope as Omega was nice enough to hold himself in position horizontally out of the corner. Excalibur said Omega is used to tag wrestling, so could he keep up with the pace. Omega came back with a snap dragon suplex. He sat up and showed fire, then delivered another snap suplex. Penta came back with chops, brushing off the suplexes. Kenny immediately countered with a knee and then a powerbomb and V-Trigger for a near fall. He delivered another V-Trigger, then a spin hook kick to the back of Penta’s head. Ross touted the offensive accuracy of both. Omega set up a suplex off the ropes to the ramp, but Pentagon headbutted him. Then he dove at Kenny and landed a Destroyer on the ramp.
Back in the ring, Pentagon stayed in control, landing a package piledriver for a near fall. Ross said Kenny is having more fun going solo. Omega caught Penta with a knee to the chin. Penta went down in a heap, but suddenly was instantly fine and fought off a One-Winged Angel. He snapped Omega’s arm back. Omega sold an injury. Penta did a throat slice gesture. He lifted Kenny, but Kenny fought free and threw back elbows and chops. When he charged, Penta kicked him in the face. When Penta leaped at him with a knee, Omega countered with a quick One-Winged Angel for the win. They showed Rey hanging his head at ringside in disappointment. Ross said Full Gear will be an amazing event.
WINNER: Omega in 17:00 to advance to the finals.
(Keller’s Analysis: Really good TV main event. Ross touted the crisp offense, and he was right. On the downside, there was some big-time brushing off of major moves, especially by Penta, where he took a huge move and then three seconds later was 100 percent and on offense. There’s always a trade-off between selling and getting back to the action, but his body language and facial expressions (such as they are under the mask) conveyed no sense of pain or recovering from a brutal strike. The announcers hinted at Kenny’s attitude, but also touted that he seemed to be having more fun lately. I just don’t think there’s any focus right now on who Kenny is and how fans are supposed to relate to him. Are viewers supposed to see him as a huge star with international acclaim who is so good you can’t help but cheer him, or an egomaniac whose head is too big because people have heaped praise and gushed about him so long that you start to resent his success and want to see him chopped down? Next week would be a good time to solidify that and avoid ambiguity or mixed messaging. Let’s get to it. Decide who he’s going to be and have him and the entire company lean into that in a unified voice. He’s too good to dilly dally around and keep saying “You just wait! Someday you’re going to see what a big deal he is!”)