In the world of professional wrestling, the “go-home” show (the last televised show before a pay-per-view) is used to help entice PPV buys, building feuds to a fever pitch before finally (hopefully) giving fans the payoff. So, with Full Gear coming on Saturday, November 9th, did this week’s Dynamite deliver on that promise?
Well, that depends largely on what draws the average fan to buy a PPV, so, without further ado, let’s dive into the particulars in this week’s installment of Getting Over.
Main Event Shit
–In an ideal world, an entire PPV card, from opener to main event, would be built in such a way that fans are engaged in every match. That rarely happens, so does the undercard put butts in the seats? Or is it the top part of the card, the matches that everyone looks forward to? The ones with the biggest stars and that everyone knows will be the last three or four matches of the show?
Based on the last month of Dynamite episodes with this week’s as the capper, Full Gear is definitely being sold on the promise of these three matches:
- Cody vs. Jericho (AEW World Championship)
- Kenny Omega vs. Jon Moxley (“Lights Out” unsanctioned match)
- The Young Bucks vs. Santana & Ortiz
(Honorable mention to Hangman vs. PAC)
Those are some pretty damn good matches to hang your hat on, so there’s no shame in devoting the absolute maximum time to those feuds.
Cody vs. Jericho, in particular, has been an amazing lesson in how to book a feud. Jericho has been over-the-top obnoxious not just in promos but in how he has escaped true punishment for his obnoxiousness, which is “Top Heel 101” stuff. Cody has the entire AEW fanbase behind him every week. The crowd hangs on his every word, which is good because it seems that he is given more promo time than anyone by a good and wide margin. Him being an executive of the company while simultaneously being given more screen time and push as AEW’s top babyface could be seen as questionable, but this week Cody took that premise and addressed it head-on in a must-see promo.
Even Cody haters (mostly people outside of AEW at this point) would have to agree that he spits straight fire here, in a promo that was as good as any I’ve seen since I started watching pro wrestling again. Hell, even The Rock loved it:
There’s two pieces of main news from this promo.
First and less immediate: Cody says that when The Elite and The Inner Circle ultimately face off, “it’ll be a match beyond.” I don’t think I’m reading too much into this, but that means WarGames, bitches. Cody’s dad, Dusty, came up with the WarGames concept, which was first used at the 1987 Great American Bash before being used at WCW’s WrestleWar and Fall Brawls in the early 90s. Now, WWE has the WarGames intellectual property. HOWEVER, Cody owns the intellectual property to “The Match Beyond,” which is what they used to call WarGames once all competitors had entered the double cage. So, it seems that at some point we’re getting an Elite/Inner Circle double cage match. Yes please.
The other news from this promo is that Cody said he would never challenge for the AEW title again if he doesn’t defeat Chris Jericho. Does this up the stakes for the match? Sure. Is it necessary? That is questionable. We’ve already got a 60 minute time limit with a panel of judges. Do we need this added stipulation? I suppose that there is wiggle room here somewhere for Cody to lose and then obviously challenge again in the future, but I’d rather not have to go through the pro wrestling mumbo jumbo of reneging on a stipulation, especially with a company that wants to present itself as something akin to legit professional sports. But, hey, the stipulation gave us a hell of a promo, so maybe I should just turn my brain off and enjoy it (a theme with this particular episode of Dynamite).
If we’re cooking up possible scenarios where Cody could lose, I can see his new best friend MJF throwing in a towel (or scarf, as the case may be) on Cody’s behalf, maybe causing an eventual rift where MJF turns on Cody for major heel heat. I also think that we’re going to have to see the three judges play into this somehow. It’s a weird stipulation to have for it not to come in to play. That said, there’s no way it’s going to be a 60 minute draw deal, and it’s almost definitely not going to be a DQ. There must be some screwy finish that they have cooked up that combines the judges and Cody’s new stip. My guess is that Cody can’t continue. Just spitballing here.
Of course, just a few minutes after Cody’s kickass promo aired, the announcers threw to a video package that Chris Jericho had put together that was, quite simply, hilarious.
I honestly don’t even know where to start with this video, but here were my most favorite parts:
- Mike “Soultrain” Jones: The former Virgil/Vincent shows up in hilarious fashion. Even better is the history of Virgil’s name, a rib on Dusty Rhodes’ real name (Virgil Runnels).
- Sammy Guevara calling the 48 year old Jericho the “youngest AEW champion in history.”
- Chris’ Aunt’s Friend from Church serving as a character witness
- Jake Hager, looking like the world’s most intense PE teacher, staring into the camera without saying a word.
Providing the talent with the freedom to put together their own promos like Cody or their own video packages like Jericho is one of the things that is great about AEW. You can tell immediately that this isn’t scripted drivel provided to the wrestlers from some hack writer that doesn’t know the first thing about connecting with an audience. Of course, as I’ve pointed out before, it helps if you have people with the talent of Chris and Cody. Because the downside of this freedom is that you also get something like the Brandi videos, which is a pretty good balance in the end I guess.
–Omega/Moxley and the Bucks/Santana & Ortiz feuds also reached a boiling point on this show. Dynamite’s main event was Kenny & Hangman vs. Jericho & Sammy.
This was a very good match, as Sammy took the brunt of the punishment and Omega got a chance to show off his offense a little bit. In the end, PAC interfered, allowing Jericho to pin Hangman.
This kicked off a very long, sometimes clunky, but mostly awesome show ending brawl. Again, this was one of those instances where it’s best to just turn your brain off and enjoy the mayhem. After the match was over, the Inner Circle administers a beatdown, only to be stopped momentarily by Cody. Then Moxley enters through the crowd with a barbed wire bat as only he can do.
Seriously, is there anyone in wrestling who looks cooler and more badass than Mox right now? The answer is no.
So Mox is there. Omega’s there. Before a proper brawl can ensue between those two, Santana and Ortiz attack. Of course, this prompts an entrance from the Bucks. Everyone ends up on the stage, all going at their Full Gear opponents.
Although nearly every week of Dynamite has ended with an AEW CHAOS BRAWL, I don’t even care. If I turn off the part of my brain that has a tendency to pick apart wrestling critically, this was pretty damn awesome. It also did its job, which is to make fans want to buy Full Gear. I want to see all of these people kick the shit out of each other. Mission accomplished, in other words.
–It would be easy to overlook PAC. He’s definitely one of the top guys in AEW and a major player, but, as of right now, he’s on the periphery of the main event scene. I have to wonder if PAC emerges as a title contender if Cody takes the belt from Jericho this Saturday. This week, PAC was awesome, eventually going over Trent Beretta. As good as PAC’s offense is (and it’s pretty amazing), his ability to make other guys look like a million bucks can’t be overstated. I enjoy everything he’s done on Dynamite thus far, although him kicking Orange Cassidy’s head off of his body this week might have taken the cake.
Mid-Card Mixed Bag
–For as good as the build has been at the top of the Full Gear card, I feel the undercard has been equally undercooked. Who are the other matches? What is the women’s match? What’s the tag title match? Well, we got answers to those questions this week, although I think we’re close to the too little too late category.
–I’ve been calling for weeks for AEW to build up the women’s division. Before last night, I didn’t even know who Riho was going against on Full Gear. Apparently it’s Emi Sakura, Riho’s former trainer. That’s all well and good. It’s a time tested story, but there’s been less than zero build to this match. Now, on the go-home show, we get a tag match where Sakura pins Riho, which does add some intrigue to the match on Saturday. But why should I care about this? They haven’t given me a reason. On the flip side, the star of this match sure looked to me like Jamie Hayter.
She’s a fantastic heel, and her bruising style played well when tossing the tiny Riho around the ring. Let’s build up Hayter and give her the strap.
–You’d think that AEW would want to make SCU’s first tag title defense relatively special, but we were informed on this show that they’re doing a triple threat match with the team they just beat and the winner of Private Party/Dark Order. It sort of cheapens the tag tourney to immediately award a rematch to the 2nd place team, in my opinion. As for the Private Party and Dark Order match, it was perfectly fine, although I don’t really get Dark Order. Luckily, Private Party got the win, and they continue to impress.
Inexperience aside, Private Party have taken their opportunity and ran with it. They looked really good here, selling effectively while hitting all of their fun offense.
–I truly think that most episodes of Dynamite could cut a match and replace it with some sort of character-defining video package or promo, and we’d end up more invested in more wrestlers in the long term. This week, I’d have cut Brandon Cutler vs. Shawn Spears. This match added nothing to the episode and could have easily been replaced by a video on Darby Allin or Jungle Boy or whoever. That would have been miles more effective in establishing character than this squash between two guys that, quite frankly, should be on AEW Dark instead.
The Final Bell
I really enjoyed this week’s episode of Dynamite, even if it might not seem like it from my criticisms. In some respects, it seems like AEW doesn’t have enough time to build all of these feuds. With two hours every week, there’s only so much to focus on. However, I do think a balance is possible. If they’re able to channel some of the focus that they’re using to make the top tier programs red hot and apply that to the undercard, then the sky really is the limit for a company that continues to put on a fun, entertaining television product.