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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (Nov. 20, 2019): Top of the food chain

AEW Dynamite (Nov. 20, 2019) emanated from Indiana Farmers Coliseum in Indianapolis, Indiana. It featured Jon Moxley and Darby Allin in a clinic of craziness, Fenix and Nick Jackson in clinic of flippiness, and Chris Jericho and Scorpio Sky in a clinic of tomfoolery.

Get caught up on all the Dynamite details with the excellent live results and play-by-play from Claire Elizabeth.

Jon Moxley is top of the food chain

The main event action between Jon Moxley and Darby Allin began with about ten minutes left in the show. For having limited time and being a relatively clean bout, it delivered the goods.

It started with a bang as Allin hit Moxley with a surprise suicide dive.

The story was Moxley as the more powerful badass and Allin as the rabid squirrel.

Allin competed with heart, but it wasn’t enough. Allin resorted to strategically stepping on Moxley’s fingers in the turnbuckle link.

That played a role in Moxley being unable to close his grip to execute certain moves.

The moment of the bout involved a body bag. Allin had brought one down to the ring as part of his entrance. Bad move. Moxley stuffed him inside that bag and pounded him until the referee halted the action with threat of disqualification.

For the finish, Allin had momentum for a Coffin Drop. Moxley astutely shifted his position so Allin fell right into a rear naked choke.

Awesome counter. Allin had an awesome counter himself by rolling backward to get Moxley’s shoulders on the mat. Moxley had to release the hold otherwise be counted down for three. The fight carried up onto the turnbuckles. Moxley bit Allin in the face then delivered a super Paradigm Shift DDT to win.

Moxley is still the top of the food chain in AEW.

Electric fight. Both men are so similar in spirit yet fight in very different styles. Even though Moxley proved he is better, Allin still came out looking like a star.

It will be interesting to see which direction they head. Will Moxley continue facing challenges from the dregs of society? Based on the Kenny Omega vignette earlier, I assume a rematch will eventually take place down the line. Until then, we can enjoy Moxley kicking ass and taking names. As for Allin, I have no clue. I’d be interested in seeing Moxley mentor Allin. Maybe tearing up the tag division for awhile.

Thanksgiving Thank You Celebration

During the commercial break, Chris Jericho and Jake Hager walked backstage to the ring. They bullied the Librarians then little boy Marko Stunt.

Jericho’s big announcement was that there will be a Thanksgiving Thank You Celebration (French accent) from Le Champion. Jericho began by apologizing for last week’s temper tantrum after being pinned by Scorpio Sky in tag action. Jericho was fined and said sorry for his conduct not conducive of a true champion. Well, sort of. Jericho couldn’t muster the word ‘sorry’ and had Hager say it. That led into Jericho’s announcement of the party next week.

S-C-U! Scorpio Sky came out to bait Jericho with reverse psychology into a shot for the World Championship. It was a goofy segment, but Sky closed with on a serious note to sell the match. Jericho may think Sky has no chance, but Sky has been waiting 15+ years for an opportunity just like this.

At that moment, Jericho popped Sky with the microphone. The rest of the Inner Circle ran out for that numbers game. They handcuffed Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian to the ropes. Michael Nakazawa and Brandon Cutler tried to make the save. No dice. Jericho cleaned Sky’s clock with the Judas Effect.

Marko Stunt ran down for the save. That was unexpected but makes sense from the commercial break teasing. He was promptly pummeled. That led to Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus running down. Luchasaurus and Hager had a big-man staredown as the top moment of the scene. Hager decided to back away instead of partaking in fisticuffs with the dinosaur.

This segment was a little too simplistic mentally for my tastes. It was obvious from the get-go what SCU was up to. I expected Jericho to be a little shrewder in negotiations. That said, it did do a good job setting up next week’s title match. Sky’s serious line at the end portrayed him as the underdog reaching for a dream. That story never gets old.

More importantly, hoss fight! I so badly want to see Luchasaurus fight Hager. Great job of not giving us the goods just yet. That is something I’d pay for as part of a strong PPV card.

Dynamite Dozen Battle Royal

AEW had a special battle royal where the ultimate prize is a 7.85 carat diamond ring with a value of $43,000. The final two remaining in this bout will face off on Nov. 27’s Dynamite.

The order of elimination was:
1. Pentagon by Chuck Taylor
2. Sonny Kiss by MJF
3. Jimmy Havoc by Billy Gunn
4. Marko Stunt by Billy Gunn
5. Joey Janela via chairshot from Shawn Spears (elimination officially credited to Hangman Page?)
6. Orange Cassidy by MJF
7. Billy Gunn by Hangman Page
8. Chuck Taylor by Kip Sabian
9. Kip Sabian by Jungle Boy
10. Jungle Boy by MJF
Winners: MJF & Hangman Page

There were several notable moments. Christopher Daniels came down in a Fenix mask to surprise Pentagon. Jimmy Havoc stapled everyone after his elimination until the referees corralled him to the back. Orange Cassidy got a big pop with his super kick routine before MJF tossed him out. Billy Gunn beat up MJF until Wardlow appeared ringside. That led to Hangman Page with a buckshot lariat to eliminate Gunn.

The finish came down to Jungle Boy eliminating Kip Sabian. Jungle Boy thought that made him and Hangman as the last two. MJF was creeping on the floor then pulled Jungle Boy off the apron for the elimination.

I love all battle royals, even stinky ones. This one was a little on the stinky side with several cliche moments. It was peppered with plenty of fun moments though. Perhaps it suffered from the lack of giants. Something isn’t right when Billy Gunn is the biggest man in the ring.

MJF and Hangman Page as winners was a smart choice, although, I think I would have preferred Jungle Boy over MJF after hearing the fan reaction to thinking he would be in the final. A popping crowd would have made for an electric atmosphere in Hangman versus Jungle Boy. Oh well.

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

Fenix defeated Nick Jackson. This was a barn burning buffet of all the super kicks, cutters, and flippy stuff you could desire. The pace was rapid and didn’t even slow down during commercials as Fenix hit an atomic senton. The story was that they know each other well from their tag team feud, but it was Nick’s first singles bout since June 7, 2015. That span lasted 202 matches. Fenix outlasted Nick with a spinning musclebuster to win. Afterward, Nick extended his hand to show respect, but Fenix left him hanging.

Very exciting match. PPV worthy. Fenix was the right choice to win for all the reasons commentary mentioned with Nick not being a singles competitor. I like that Fenix dogged Nick out on the handshake. Fenix was always the more noble of the Lucha Bros, but that act help paints the picture of them being true heels in AEW. I also prefer the win going to Fenix so that it establishes his singles career in the promotion. The Lucha Bros are too good separately to always be in tag action. Hopefully Fenix rises in the rankings while Pentagon is busy feuding with Christopher Daniels. Fenix vs Chris Jericho someday soon? Yes, please.

Hikaru Shida defeated Britt Baker. This bout was #1 vs #2 in the rankings. Shida had the upper hand early by bloodying Baker’s nose and also hitting her patented running knee strike off a chair.

Baker took control for the second half of the bout, but Shida halted her with an eye poke to inside cradle. Kick out. Falcon Arrow slam by Shida. Kick out. A running knee strike ended Baker’s evening as Shida was victorious.

I’m pleasantly surprised Shida got the nod. It felt like AEW has been pushing Baker hard. I like that bit of unpredictability. This was an example were the rankings helped the hype for this bout. With no rankings, it was just a nice match. Being #1 vs #2 made it feel much more important.

Dark Order cult video. In an effort to learn more about the Dark Order, there was a vignette of a portly fellow on a subway watching this video play. Tired of being overlooked, underappreciated, and alone? Then join the Dark Order.

I don’t know what I’m supposed to make of it other than the Dark Order is a cult that preys on emotional weakness as an enlistment tool. I appreciate the effort in trying to provide insight into the group’s character, but I don’t think it was effective. Perhaps it will be the first step in recruiting the lesser souls on the AEW roster.

Luchasaurus squashed Peter Avalon. Two move match. Nothing to see here.

Private Party defeated Santana & Ortiz. The back-alley brutes dominated much of the match. Top spot was a pretty unique delayed vertical suplex where Santana and Ortiz passed Marq Quen back and forth a couple of times before impact.

For the finish, Isiah Kassidy took a bunch of punishment but refused to be pinned. Santana pulled out the loaded sock. Nick Jackson ran down to snatch it away. That distraction led to a comeback from Private Party and a win off Gin & Juice. It got crazy after that with Sammy Guevara helping his buddies then Dustin Rhodes cleaning house to stand tall.

Boo! I did not like that finish. It made sense, but pfft. Sometimes AEW makes their wrestlers too strong by kicking out. It takes me out of the illusion of believing this sport. Santana and Ortiz should have had the win, and the same mass brawl could have taken place afterward.

The win for Private Party also shows me AEW has no plan for their tag team division. That was an important win which has diminished momentum due to Private Party’s loss to the Best Friends on Dark.

Kenny Omega’s path to redemption. There was a very good vignette of Omega explaining how he will come back from his downward spiral. It all started by losing to PAC. Omega will get a chance at revenge in a rematch next week (Nov. 27). Hot damn, I’m sold. I’ve never been invested in Omega before, but this story should be interesting.

Stud of the Show: Darby Allin’s entrance

AEW’s video team continues to impress each and every time. They produced a cool scene for Darby Allin’s entrance against Jon Moxley. Allin rode a skateboard to a concert while dragging a body bag with the letters M-O-X. He put himself inside the bag then was sent on a crowd-surfing journey.

Upon entrance to the arena stage, Allin was carried in by the people helping him crowd surf. He exited the body bag and was ready to fight. It was an over-the-top visual for an over-the-top match. Thumbs up to all involved.

I also noticed Hikaru Shida get a little extra for her entrance video.

Those little touches were home runs.

Dud of the Show: Peter Avalon

Every promotion needs a bottom-rung jobber, but Avalon’s beatdown by Luchasaurus did nothing to make me interested in another Luchasaurus match. He was defeated too easily. Maybe five moves instead of two next time. Avalon seems too inept in the ring that he is a waste of space on screen.

Grade: B+

The opener, women’s match, and main event earn a solid A. The rest of the show kind of tapered down into B territory. The effort was strong, but some parts didn’t jive with my preferences as a fan.

How do you rate this episode of Dynamite? What was your favorite moment? What do you want to see next for Jon Moxley and Darby Allin? Are you excited for Tony Schiavone’s Speedo contest?

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