1984 Mid-South Wrestling is considered by many to be some of the best episodic wrestling television ever produced. Available on the WWE Network, 1984 Mid-South still holds up excellently even today, nearly 40 years later. Why? The matches were good to great, the episodes built programs week-to-week, and the company gave fans characters to care about. It sounds easy, but, given the wrestling product over the last 20 years or so, it definitely is not.
Like Mid-South all those years ago, AEW is firing on all cylinders since the new year. In the build to the Revolution pay-per-view, I’d like everyone reading this to take a step back and appreciate what we’re watching. We wrestling fans are being treated to some of the best episodic weekly wrestling shows in quite some time. In many ways, I don’t even want Revolution to come because I know that, at that point, we’ll have to move on from some of these angles that AEW is currently hitting out of the freaking park.
In the meantime, though, let’s bask in the moment of what is Getting Over:
Main Event Shit
–I am not generally a huge battle royal guy. The Royal Rumble is a fun event, but all too often I feel like battle royals can be sloppy and cliched, with guys standing around waiting for their pre-planned spots. And, to be honest, there hadn’t really been a great AEW battle royal yet. That changed with this tag team battle royal. With a shot at the tag team titles at stake, this battle royal held genuine intrigue throughout, and there was action to match.
Full of inventive spots for nearly every team, this battle royal saw the continuation of a number of current programs. Private Party got their high spots in.
The Dark Order/SCU feud took any step, with even more teasing of the arrival of the Exalted One. In a nice bonus for us old WCW/ECW fans, Raven was shown slouching in a chair in the crowd during the Dark Order spot.
Ah, just like old times.
We also saw the The Butcher and The Blade begin a blossoming program with Best Friends, complete with some good Orange Cassidy spots.
The action truly picked up when the Butcher got eliminated, leaving Matt Jackson alone with Santana and Ortiz. Nick was surprisingly eliminated earlier in the match, but everyone and their brother knew that this was the Bucks’ moment. The company has been slowly but excellently building towards a splintering of The Elite, with Hangman and Omega as tag champs and The Young Bucks as challengers. So the outnumbered underdog Matt Jackson stuff played hot as hell here.
Santana and Ortiz hit their Street Sweeper finisher on Matt and tossed him over the top, but of course he hung on, coming back in the ring for a Superkick Party. Matt superkicked Ortiz off the apron and then hit an interfering Sammy Guevara with a superkick that was shades of HBK and Shelton Benjamin.
Then came the finish with Matt clotheslining Santana out and to the floor for the win. I’m gonna be honest: This finish, even though it was expected, had me marking out like a giddy kid. Sometimes, I don’t want to be shocked or surprised by the outcome. Sometimes I just want it done right. That’s what happened here.
–While the women’s division has been muddled to say the least, last week we were treated to a reset of sorts with Nyla Rose’s title win. This week, AEW seems to be pushing Kris Statlander as one of the babyface challengers to Rose. Statlander beat Shanna in a match that was fine, although it basically served as a way to get Statlander a win and have Britt Baker do entertaining commentary.
If that was the only attention the women’s division got on this week’s Dynamite, it would have been disappointing. Luckily, we got another segment with Tony Schiavone interviewing Nyla Rose. Rose was a little shaky on the mic to start, but she has the clear ability to be very good in the future. Rose got over the fact that she represents power and that, in her words, she “breaks bitches.”
Pretty good stuff.
During this interview, both Statlander and Big Swole came out, so maybe they’re building towards something with those three at Revolution? It’d be fine with me, as I’ve said multiple times in this space that Statlander and Swole are two of the most charismatic women in the division. While not perfect, it seems like there is at least a plan and direction for the women’s division, which is more than could be said a month ago.
–Last week, Chris Jericho announced that he was bringing in Jeff Cobb to be his hired assassin to take out Jon Moxley. This week, that match happened, with Chris Jericho, Jake Hager, and Sammy Guevara watching from ringside. The match was a hard-hitting, New Japan-style match with suplexes and chops aplenty. The action was good, and, even though Mox took a bunch of punishment, the result was never really going to be in question: Mox was going to win, and he was going to get beaten down afterwards. Even though everyone knew this going in, these guys worked their asses off.
In the end, Moxley won with a surprise inside cradle out of a Cobb superplex, which led to the inevitable beatdown. This gave way to a Dustin Rhodes save and the real moneymaker of this segment: Darby Allin’s return. He and Mox have been tied together for months, and when Allin’s music hit, the crowd exploded. Allin held his own against the Inner Circle, taking them out one by one.
Then, Cobb went for a suplex, but Allin landed on his feet and Mox delivered a Paradigm Shift to Cobb.
At this point, Mox and Jericho were left in the ring and had a quick brawl that the crowd ate up. This segment did exactly what it needed to.
–After the Young Bucks became the #1 contenders, the skeptic in me started to worry that Page and Omega were going to drop the straps to the Lucha Bros. It wouldn’t have made a ton of sense at this point, as everyone wants the payoff to the splitting of The Elite angle, but we as fans have been so conditioned to being swerved that it’s almost a surprise when things go how they should.
All of that is to say that Page and Omega won this match, as they should have. But I don’t want to undersell this either: This was a tremendous tag match. In another timeline, the Lucha Bros would be the most celebrated tag team in the world. They are so incredibly good. That Page and Omega, a true team for only a few short months, look every bit as good as the Lucha Bros is pretty damn incredible. There were moments in this match where I literally thought that the action could not get any better.
This, like the very best parts of AEW, was simply so much damn fun.
I’m so curious as to how AEW is going to handle Page and Omega vs. the Young Bucks. Logic would say that it’s time for the Bucks to have the titles. Page, however, is arguably as over as anyone in the company.
Is he going to be a heel? That’s probably impossible at this point, at least in the traditional sense. I can’t wait to see how this plays out.
–In the main event of this week’s Dynamite, we get the company’s first ever cage match, and the final stipulation set forth by MJF: Cody vs. Wardlow. For 99% of the audience, this is the first time seeing Wardlow actually wrestle, which is crazy: Here Wardlow is, in the main event of a huge Dynamite, against Cody in a steel cage. No pressure dude.
From the moment the cage dropped, this match felt absolutely huge. The cage looked great, and, given what I laid out with regards to Wardlow, he looked about as good as a guy can look in this spot. He simultaneously sold his ass off for Cody AND looked like a monster. That is a hard combo to pull off.
One of my favorite spots of this match had Cody thrown through the cage door, with Arn Anderson standing by. MJF yelled at Arn to do to Cody what Arn did to his daddy Dusty, referencing Arn slamming Dusty’s head in a cage door once upon a time. Instead, Arn gave MJF a face full of cage, in a very satisfying spot.
Going into this match, I would have bet the lives of my entire family that 1) Cody was gonna bleed like a mother
And 2) Cody was gonna find a way to jump off the cage in his hometown.
Of course, that’s exactly what happened. After hitting Wardlow with a CrossRhodes and only getting a 2-count, Cody scaled the cage and hit one of the best goddamn cage spots you’ll ever see.
And another angle:
This was one for the ages.
The Final Bell
-For the second time in as many weeks, I have no serious complaints about this show. Go ahead and call me a homer, but if you didn’t enjoy pretty much every moment of this week’s Dynamite, you’re a buzzkill plain and simple.
This was the third insanely good AEW Dynamite in a row. Can they keep this up forever? No, of course not, but this company shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon. They are on fire. More importantly, they are not doing it the cheap way. They’re not swerving fans or hotshotting angles to pop a rating. They’re building and giving us the payoffs we want. This is the wrestling that wrestling fans deserve.