August 10, 2020

AEW Dynamite Review (1/22/20)

On the surface, gimmick episodes of a weekly wrestling show somehow sound both perfectly fitting and possibly one step too far. Last week, we had the “Bash at the Beach” episode, although AEW didn’t really take advantage of the gimmick in any meaningful way outside of the branding and a well-placed lifeguard.

This week, everything from the set-up to the camera shots were unique, and, although a little goes a long way with these gimmicked episodes, the show looked pretty freaking cool. You can’t do these shows all the time but for a couple of shows a year, it definitely helps to differentiates AEW.

So, the show looks cool, but which side of the typical Dynamite line is the actual content going to fall on?: Hot in-ring action supplemented with solid video segments? Or goofy, cartoonish, and tone deaf, as sometimes has been the case? Let’s find out in this week’s Getting Over:

Main Event Shit

–In what became the first title change in AEW history, Kenny Omega and Hangman Page beat tag champs SCU in a really good opening match.

Jason Mitchell | The Tailgate Society

While the in-ring action was action-packed, one of the most interesting things happening in all of AEW is the slow-burn turn of Hangman Page. The fans love him, and he’s a very good worker. Early on, though, he was extremely bland. This tension between him and the rest of the Elite has been built extremely well, even adding in the nice little touch of Hangman turning to the drink to help him cope with his change in mood.

I said a couple of weeks ago that tension between partners works best with established teams, but I’m gonna sort of walk that sentiment back a little with how well this angle has played out. In essence, AEW has taken Kenny and Hangman, two stars that were being treated as anything but and turned them into champions working somewhat begrudgingly together despite being friends.

One particular portion of this match served as a microcosm of the whole angle. Omega and Scorpio Sky were going at it when Hangman tries to help Omega by delivering his Buckshot Lariat to Sky. Sky ducks it, and Hangman nails Omega. Sky went to pin Omega after hitting him with a cutter, but the count was broken up by Hangman. It was a beautiful little piece of storytelling. Then, later in the match after breaking up another pinfall attempt, Hangman dragged Omega to the corner so Page could tag himself in and get the pin, winning the titles for himself and Omega. It comes off as both selfish and helpful. Really good booking.

As far as putting together moves as a tag team, Page and Omega work together extremely well.

Jason Mitchell | The Tailgate Society

I could make an argument that they actually are the best team in the company with combinations like these.

Jason Mitchell | The Tailgate Society

After the win, the Young Bucks come out to help the Elite members celebrate, but Page, as has been typical of his character would rather drink and crowdsurf than hang out with the Elite. So, while they are champs, there’s still plenty of tension to tease out of this angle in the coming weeks.

–The six-man tag between Jurassic Express and the Inner Circle (Jericho, Santana & Ortiz) was a lot of fun. Everyone got their cool spots in. Luchasaurus continues to be over huge without being full exposed as the somewhat-limited wrestler that he is. Jericho was over HUGE, which is obviously to be expected since, ya know, it’s his cruise and all.

In the end, Jericho pinned Marko (after a hell of a flurry and a couple of near falls by Marko), which makes perfect sense.

Jason Mitchell | The Tailgate Society

It keeps Luchasaurus strong, and it keeps the Jericho/Jungle Boy story alive. And, of course, Jericho ended the segment by celebrating with a little bit of the bubbly.

Jason Mitchell | The Tailgate Society

–I’ve made no bones about being a huge MJF fan, based primarily on his promos and ability to generate serious heel heat. But he’s also pretty damn solid in the ring, and put on a nice match with Joey Janela on this episode.

Jason Mitchell | The Tailgate Society

Janela was distracted by former girl Penelope Ford and Kip Sabian (an angle that I truly don’t care about), MJF got the win with a double cross.

More importantly, though, the post-match showdown between MJF and Cody. This is where MJF shines, making fun of Cody’s lisp and talking all the smack in the world knowing that, per the accepted stipulations, Cody can’t touch him. For your viewing pleasure, here’s the whole interaction:

Having the Young Bucks come out, superkick MJF, and throw him in the damn pool is just too great. It’s also a great use of the surroundings. You want a perfect segment:

Jason Mitchell | The Tailgate Society

This was a perfect segment.

–Following that up was the main event, a battle for the #1 contender to Chris Jericho’s title: PAC vs. Mox. Chris Jericho joined the announce team for this match and was hilarious as per usual. As for the match itself, Mox came out bandaged up after Jericho stabbed him in the eye with a spike on last week’s show. Consequently, PAC focused heavily on the face and eye.

Mox, if it’s possible, looks like even more of a badass with his face all wrapped up. This is one of those matches where I really wanted both guys to win, and I truly do hope that PAC gets a title shot at some point down the line. Predictably, though, Mox had to go over here. They’ve been building to Mox vs. Jericho for months now.

The in-ring action was hot AF. These guys are both great, obviously, and worked a stiff, hard-hitting style.

Jason Mitchell | The Tailgate Society

Mox never really had the advantage in the match, as any time he got something going PAC stopped him momentum. PAC, though, also missed two Black Arrows, allowing Moxley to stay in the match. The storytelling in this match was great. For the finish, PAC hit a superplex, transitioned into a Brutalizer, only to have Mox fight his way to the ropes. PAC then ripped off Moxley’s bandage and nailed him repeatedly with fists to the face. Mox hit an inside cradle and then shocked everyone with a Paradigm Shift almost out of nowhere.

Jason Mitchell | The Tailgate Society

This match wasn’t perfect, but it did the job. Moxley vs. Jericho is going to be a banger at Revolution. It’ll be interesting to see if this is the spot where Jericho drops the strap.

Mid-Card Mixed Bag

–In her first appearance since the Casino Battle Royal, Priscilla Kelly wrestled Britt Baker. First off, AEW should keep Kelly (who is Darby Allin’s wife) around. She looked good here. Second, Britt Baker is still bad, but (and I’ll give AEW plenty of credit here) she seems to have cemented her heel turn by insulting Tony Schiavone on this show.

Jason Mitchell | The Tailgate Society
Jason Mitchell | The Tailgate Society

I’m not comparing Baker to Roman Reigns in star power or ability, but at least AEW was smart enough to realize that she was going to be booed regardless, so they turned her heel.

Couple the Baker heel turn with no Dark Order or Nightmare Collective on this week’s show, and it seems like AEW is willing to admit when something is working or not. That’s comforting, although I won’t fully buy-in to that notion until Dark Order/Nightmare Collective disappear completely.

Jobber Status

–Thank God and Tony Khan, nothing to report here this week.

The Final Bell

–This was a tight, no bullshit (albeit a little light on content) show, which makes it two in a row and three out of the last four. AEW seems to be on a bit of a hot streak in the year 2020, and the ratings seem to reflect that. It was another win for AEW this week over NXT, despite being pre-taped with results having leaked earlier in the week.

Everything on this show, as was the case last week, seemed to have a purpose and direction. All in all, things were rocking aboard the good ship Dynamite this week.

Chaplin
Jason Mitchell
Jason Mitchell 57 Articles
Staff Writer

Jason grew up in Iowa but couldn't bring himself to like Iowa or Iowa State. Instead, he married a Cornhusker. Jason has taught junior high, high school, and college English but is now a stay-at-home dad to four kids. He also has an encyclopedic knowledge of reality shows and 1990s professional wrestling.

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