After taking last week off for Thanksgiving, I am back and jacked to be reviewing this week’s episode of Dynamite. I certainly would have liked to have met up with you all here at our weekly Getting Over hangout, but I had a crowd of family members at my house from Wednesday night until Saturday morning and precious little time to enjoy the wonders of professional wrestling, try as I did to get everyone to gather round and enjoy some Dynamite and a little bit of the bubbly.
Regardless, it’s back to our regularly scheduled programming, and you know what that means: It’s time to find out who is GETTING OVER!
Main Event Shit
–Starting Dynamite with a Young Bucks match is rarely a bad idea, and the truth stayed the truth this week, as the Young Bucks teamed with Dustin Rhodes (wearing boot tassels no less) to take on Sammy Guevara, Santana, and Ortiz. This was a total PWG-style match, which works great for these guys and this crowd.
To be honest, though, the real star of this match was Dustin Rhodes. At this point, this shouldn’t be a surprise, since he great in basically everything he does, but this should have been a total style clash and, yet, he made it work.
There were a ton of great moments in this match, with Matt Jackson’s rolling northern lights suplex gimmick remaining awesome, the Dustin hot tag to Nick leading to a phenomenal sequence of action, and Guevara live vlogging himself going to the top only to get double superkicked by the Bucks. Just an awesome match to start the show.
–A little later in the first hour of the show, Cody comes to the ring for his promo. In a reference that, quite honestly, I don’t know how many people got, Cody begins by quoting the Garth Brooks’ song “Standing Outside the Fire,” saying, “We call them cool, those hearts that have no scars to show.” Weird, but I’m always down for a Garth reference. Go on, Cody and do your thing. He calls out Butcher, Blade, and Bunny for their attack on him last week, challenging them to a match and even letting them pick his partner (later revealed to be QT Marshall). Then, the promo really picks up in intensity, and Cody shows why he is one of the best in the business on the mic.
Going full Flair (and, trust me, it’s a dangerous game to go full Flair), he starts offering MJF cars, watches, shoes, and cash to give him a match. All this after MJF said that he’d never wrestle Cody.
This display of wealth is such a privileged heel move, but we have to remember that, even as the son of a plumber and noted everyman, Dusty Rhodes would cut this type of promo all the time. Coupled with a challenge to a cowardly character like MJF, I thought Cody came off pretty damn good here. The best line for my money came when Cody called out MFJ’s horrid Crossroads from last week: “At least they’re botching it on two channels now.” Nice little dig at NXT and Damian Priest.
–Since Dynamite started, we’ve almost been guaranteed both a Cody promo and a Jericho promo every week. You certainly won’t find me complaining, and the same holds true this week, as Jericho got his allotted time and made the most of it. In a riff on his famous WWE “List” gimmick, Jericho introduced “The Lexicon of Le Champion.” Of course, the crowd erupted at the idea of a new “List,” but, in true Jericho fashion, he chastised the Champaign, Illinois, crowd, telling them, “Seriously. Get out of 2016.” If you do nothing else today, please take a minute and watch this in all of its glory. Truly classic Jericho.
Eventually, the Jurassic Express comes out to seemingly accept Jericho’s challenge. After Luchasaurus cuts a surprisingly entertaining promo, Jericho shoots down the idea of wrestling Lucha or Marko Stunt. It becomes clear that we’re building towards a Jungle Boy/Jericho mini-feud, seemingly culminating in a 10-minute challenge (since Jericho said Jungle Boy couldn’t last 10 minutes with him) on the December 18th episode of Dynamite. I, for one, am pumped about the possibilities of this, and I love how they just keep using these in-between programs for Jericho. I’ve said it before, but I’ll repeat it here: The more people that get the rub by being in the ring with the champion (or Le Champion, as the case may be), the better.
–The last best thing on this show was the main event between Moxley and Joey Janela. I’m not a huge Joey Janela fan, but I think it would be hard for him and Mox to have a bad match together because of the way they both seem intent on doing bodily harm to the other guy. The announcers did a great job of putting Janela over in this match, and he really didn’t feel totally out of place. The fact of the matter, though, is that Moxley is the guy going forward in 2020.
JR said during his entrance that he has “rattlesnake tendencies,” and I don’t think that was an accident. They’re building him like a Stone Cold-type character. After hitting two Paradigm Shifts for the win (one on the top turnbuckle ftw), Jericho appeared in the crowd, holding up his belt and taunting Mox. It’s pretty clear at this point that they’re building to Mox eventually being the man who takes the belt from Jericho, which is the right move. He is great in the ring and it would be hard for him to be more over than he is right now. I’d bet that in February of 2020, we’ll be calling him the AEW world champ.
Mid-Card Mixed Bag
–The Trent/Fenix match was really good, but it had the unfortunate task of following the 6-man tag opener. Even if they’d have plugged in a video package or promo (like the Cody promo or the Mox/Janela video that ran later) between the two matches, it would have given the crowd a chance to breathe. Instead, the crowd wasn’t as hot as they could have been. That said, Rey is a complete star, and his timing is just insane.
I also like how AEW isn’t afraid to give wrestlers in tag teams singles matches as a way to build investment in the characters.
–We got Dark Order recruitment video that really did nothing to answer questions about the group. They remain weird AF. I feel like this is some sort of meta commentary about wrestling fans, but I don’t know what it is.
–If the Dark Order video didn’t scratch enough of the goth cult itch, well don’t worry. AEW has got you covered. It seems that Brandi and Awesome Kong’s Nightmare Collective is also recruiting members. These two came out after the Kris Statlander/Shida match. It’s kind of a shame this segment had to end with a weird fan running to join the Nightmare Collective because the actual Statlander/Shida match was good. Shida has been on a little run as of late (3 wins in a row) and was the #1 contender going in to this match.
However, Statlander gets a surprise win and resists the Nightmare Collective’s pitch, so she’s apparently being groomed for that top contender spot now.
If you take away the weirdness of the Nightmare Collective thing, it was a really good night for the women’s division. The other women’s match on the show, a Nyla Rose squash of “The Librarian” Leva Bates worked to set up a feud between Nyla and Shanna, who did a run-in after the Rose match. For her troubles, Rose put the ref and Shanna through a table.
Unfortunately, this happened during a commercial break, so it only got the picture-in-picture treatment, which is kind of a metaphor for the women’s division this week. Yes, it was featured prominently, but it still felt somewhat secondary with the Nightmare Collective angle staining an otherwise solid showing.
–The Christopher Daniels and Pentagon Jr. match is a long-built revenge match for Daniels, as Pentagon was the one who put him out of action on the very first episode of Dynamite. I’m a self-professed Daniels homer, who I was begging WCW to sign over 20 years ago. While he can still go a little, Daniels looks so much slower than someone like Pentagon. He also botched a move on the ramp, but the announcers, to their credit, played it off pretty well. This match wasn’t bad and it needed to happen logically, but it just wasn’t very good either.
–Hey, we have the Dark Order. We have the Nightmare Collective. You know what else we need? Definitely another weird cult asking for members to join. Enter the Butcher, the Blade, and the Bunny. Unfortunately for the latter group, they’ll probably be seen as the lesser version of the Dark Order despite actually being better. This is less about them as a faction and more about the idea that no one at AEW thought to consider whether having three factions that are basically the same is a good idea. I get the idea and appeal of giving wrestlers the freedom to do their own thing and not be overly scripted, but, also, sometimes an editor isn’t a bad thing.
The Final Bell
While this show wasn’t at the level achieved over the course of the last month, it was still very good. Two great promos, a slew of solid matches, a couple weird moments, but, in all, this Dynamite flowed really well. A couple of things that I liked but didn’t mention above: The ramp being level with the ring. This is an old WCW thing, and I freaking love it.
Also, the little narrative asides added to the wrestler graphics during intros like having Dustin Rhodes’ say “First match back after fracturing his forearm” or whatever. First off, it shows a sense of acknowledging a larger narrative. It also makes things easy for fans, which is also a good thing. Someone just tuning in can pick up a good amount of information from just a single line of text. That’s valuable.
That does it for this week. Follow me on Twitter @JMitchellTGS and let me know what you thought of this week’s episode of Dynamite. See you next week for more Getting Over.