Coming off of three straight excellent shows, this week’s Dynamite had the unenviable task of delivering a knock-out go-home show, especially given that last week’s show was so great and felt like a perfect lead-in to a pay-per-view.
Last week, we were treated to a tag team battle royal to determine the number one contenders (The Young Bucks) to Page and Hangman’s titles. Mox fended off yet another obstacle in his way to Le Champion. And Cody blindly launched himself off the top of a damn cage, in a moment that will be remembered a long damn time in wrestling circles. What’s really left to do before Revolution?
The answer, as it turns out, is plenty. Let’s find out what’s Getting Over in the final show before AEW’s first PPV of 2020:
Main Event Shit
–It’s an interesting thing when the opening match of your weekly show seems like it could be a main event of a major pay-per-view. This week’s Dynamite led off with the 30-minute Iron Man match between PAC and Kenny Omega. The story here is that serves as the rubber match between the two.
Back in New Japan Pro Wrestling, where Kenny Omega regularly had long, remarkable five star classics, The Young Bucks would regularly join him at ringside to cheer him on. This week, the Bucks reprised that role, coming out with Omega and stayed at ringside, pounding on the mat like the good old days. And like those classic battles in Japan, this match was illustrated why Omega is truly one of the best in the world. And of course, PAC isn’t too shabby himself.
This match, from start to finish, didn’t disappoint in the least. Omega controlled the match early, going through his regular array of offensive moves. PAC’s selling is just out of this world, truly making Omega look like a million bucks. At one point, about eight minutes in, PAC hit a top rope brainbuster that looked completely insane, although he was too exhausted to capitalize.
At roughly 12-14 minutes into the match, there was a flurry of suplexes and V-Trigger knees by Omega that, at long last, showed why he was The Best Bout Machine in New Japan. For those of us longtime Omega fans, this singles match served as a reminder of what we fell in love with. For AEW fans that started watching when Dynamite started, this was an introduction of sorts to Omega the marathon match superstar.
A little past the halfway point, PAC sacrificed the first score of the match, hitting Omega with a chair, earning the first disqualification in Dynamite history. However, after punishing Omega with the chair, PAC hit a Black Arrow for an immediate fall, pushing the score back to a tie (1-1).
At 23 minutes in, a ref bump allowed PAC to set up a table on the outside, ultimately hitting an insane shooting star press on Omega on the table.
That led to a near double countout, but both men were able to just sneak in the ring, Omega with a little assist from the Bucks.
The 30 minute match ended in an apparent tie with Omega fighting off the Brutalizer for nearly the entirety of the final three minutes. At the idea of a tie, PAC destroyed the ref. Justin Roberts then announced that the match would not end, instead going to a sudden death finish. Omega delivered a V-Trigger to an unsuspecting PAC and continued his attack with multiple knee strikes. Ref Aubrey Edwards ran in just in time for Omega to hit the One Winged Angel.
This match worked on a number of levels, which is admittedly underselling the awesomeness more than a little. The action was phenomenal, and there were multiple call backs to their past matches. This was definitely a main event caliber match, and the crowd was into it the entire time, elevating it to a near five star match that you really need to go out of your way to see. While it effectively ends the PAC-Omega feud for now, they can always go back to it at some point, with PAC pointing out that Omega go an assist to avoid a countout. Phenomenal start to the show.
After the match, Tony Schiavone interviewed a pissed off PAC on the ramp. PAC insulted Schiavone, and Orange Cassidy showed up out of nowhere, prompting a serious ass kicking from PAC.
More on this in a minute.
–Later in the show, Jim Ross did a phenomenal pretaped in-ring sit-down with The Bucks, Omega, and Hangman Page. Matt Jackson talked about how surprised he was that Omega and Page are the tag champs, but also how proud the Bucks are of their real life (not just business) friends. Page had a drink in hand (obviously) and appeared generally annoyed, so JR began digging into why Page was so ticked off. Page tried to walk out, but Nick began insulting him, saying that they made him a star after he was a jobber in Ring of Honor.
Page then leaves, and this Revolution title match now has even more tension. In a way, this was the Bucks showing heel tendencies, but Page is being played up as the bad guy. These in-ring interviews are JR at his best, and I hope they continue to do them. That said, I have literally zero clue what AEW does with this match at Revolution. There’s about 10 different options, and it’s fun when there’s so many directions they can go with it. I can’t wait to see how it plays out.
–The big-match contract signing is right up there with the battle royal as my typical wrestling trope pet peeves, so I’m kind of glad that AEW decided to do a weigh-in instead of a contract signing for Mox and Jericho.
Gary Michael Cappetta is brought in to do the MC-ing of the weigh-in, and I have to say, I love GMC. Back in the day, when I was doing my wrestling radio thing, I met Cappetta and he couldn’t have been nicer. Somewhere, I also have a signed copy of his Bodyslams! book. So, yeah, I’m a Cappetta mark. Personally, I hope that AEW finds a Michael Buffer-like role for Cappetta.
As for the actual weigh-in, Jericho stalls and then mocks Cappetta, joking that GMC is the reason WCW went out of business. Mox goes first and weighs in at 234 pounds. Jericho puts one foot on before stepping off and talking shit to the crowd.
Mox delivers a headbutt that draws blood (the hard way, it seems), of course drawing the now weekly beatdown by the Inner Circle.
Dustin Rhodes arrives and brawls with Hager all the way back to the concession stand. Darby Allin and Sammy get into it as well, with Sammy destroying Allin with a skateboard. Jericho and Mox mix it up until Santana delivers a low blow to Mox, allowing Jericho to hit the Judas Effect and a Paradigm Shift onto the scale.
The show closes with Jericho and the Inner Circle preening in the ring.
This match-up didn’t really need any more buildup, but this segment definitely did its job. The heat for Jericho was crazy, and this segment did the classic go-home build: Allow the heel to get one over on the babyface, so the crowd can’t wait to see the heel get his comeuppance on the pay-per-view. Now, whether that happens or not is another deal. At this point, I’d be surprised if Jericho drops the strap. I’m guessing something screwy happens, and Mox gets the win in an eventual rematch.
Mid-Card Mixed Bag
-The Jurassic Express (Luchasaurus, Jungle Boy, and Marko Stunt) defeated the Inner Circle (Santana, Ortiz, and Sammy) is a sprint of a match. At first blush, it seems a little backwards that Jurassic Express got the win here, but, ultimately, it made sense. There was really fun action through, with lots of multi-person moves that got everyone in this match over.
For the finish, Jungle Boy is down and Sammy has Ortiz’s loaded sock. Suddenly, Darby Allin shows up for the distraction, allowing Jungle Boy to hit his hurricanrana into a cradle for the win.
The finish felt a little forced, but I get what they were going for here. Personally, I’d like to see the Inner Circle stop taking so many losses. They don’t need to be indestructible, but Sammy has been pinned multiple times in past weeks. It hasn’t really hurt him, but at some point it will.
–The Butcher and the Blade took on Best Friends in another really damn good tag match that couldn’t have been more different in pace from the six-man tag that it followed. I was not a fan of either of these teams initially, but I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve come around quite a bit. A huge part of that is due to how they’ve been booked and slotted into the appropriate spots in the card. This match alternated between slobberknocker when Butcher and Blade were in control and fun when Best Friends had the advantage. The finish came when Orange Cassidy got involved, as him and Bunny entered the ring to pick up from last week, when Bunny gave OC the crotch shot.
This week, she took Orange’s sunglasses and he took her bunny ears in a spot that obviously popped the crowd big time. Then, Orange hit a suicide dive on Butcher, while a Strong Zero finished the Blade, giving Best Friends the win. Good, stupid fun.
After the match, Tony came to the ring to announce PAC vs. Orange Cassidy for Revolution, which immediately becomes must-see television. Chuck Taylor suggests that Orange might actually try, which prompts a thumbs up from the Freshly Squeezed One.
With his feud with Omega getting the blow off, PAC didn’t have anything for Revolution, and putting the mean ass hell heel against one of the most over babyfaces in wrestling is gonna be a lot of fun.
–The women’s division continues its push towards legitimacy with a four way match of Yuka Sakazaki vs. Big Swole vs. Shanna vs. Hikaru Shida.
Based on last week’s angle with Big Swole, the assumption was that she’d be going over here. It was not to be, though, as Shida got the win. Every person in the match got a chance to show their stuff here, and the match was fine, although the crowd was definitely less into it than the other segments. The angle here is that Shida is set up to take on the winner of the Revolution title match. Given how things were playing out, I would have preferred Swole to get the win, but Shida is better in-ring so I get it.
–A Dark Order video aired, with Evil Uno talking shit on SCU ahead of their match at Revolution, but the big news here is that he said the Exalted One is near and that Christopher Daniels will be “obsolete.” Matt Hardy, a free agent as of March 1st, has used “obsolete” multiple times in his “Broken” Matt Hardy gimmick.
This was obviously intentional, but it could just as easily be a swerve as the real thing. Time will tell.
The Final Bell
–While not as good as last week’s show, this episode of Dynamite started with a must-see match and ended with a tremendous closing segment. The in-between stuff ranged from good to great. In all, this was an extremely effective go-home show that should build even more interest in this weekend’s Revolution.