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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (Dec. 18, 2019): Nightmare heel

AEW Dynamite (Dec. 18, 2019) emanated from American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas. It featured a tag team title main event, a #1 contender bout for the women, Brandi Rhodes implementing punishment, and the Dark Order up to major shenanigans.

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

Nightmare heel

It looks like Brandi Rhodes and her Nightmare Collective will be hunting aliens.

This story began when Brandi had a message for Statlander during Awesome Kong’s squash match entrance. She wanted the alien to come home and join their group. In Kong’s match, she pummeled local talent Miranda Alize with a spinning backfist and a double underhook facebuster. The crew cut Alize’s red hair as a keepsake.

Later, Kris Statlander wrestled Britt Baker to determine the #1 contender to challenge Women’s World Champion Riho on January 1. The match didn’t really engage me until the awesome finish. Baker had Statlander set up for the Lockjaw submission. Statlander powered up with Baker in a crucifix position on Statlander’s shoulders. Baker was then tossed up onto Statlander’s shoulder, whirled around, and spiked with a Big Bang Theory piledriver. Statlander pinned Baker to earn the title shot.

Statlander booped Tony Schaivone’s nose in the post-match interview. Brandi Rhodes came down to interrupt. She wanted an answer about joining the Nightmare Collective. Statlander replied with a nose boop tease then a negative finger wag, “No.”

Kong and Melanie Cruise provided a distraction so Brandi could wallop Statlander in the eye with her high heel shoe. Sadie Gibbs ran down to check on Statlander.

I assume most Cagesiders will be happy with the Statlander victory. Baker doesn’t seem to be a desired flavor atop the women’s division. I’m not against Baker, but I am very pro Statlander. She is enjoyable in the ring. I hope AEW doesn’t mess with our hopes at title glory by with an eye injury diagnosis from Brandi’s heel that would be severe enough to withdraw against Riho.

Thumbs up to Brandi for her facial reactions. She went from hopeful for a boop, to confusion about no, to anger at being rejected, to embarrassment about it in public, to end with confidence about the backup plan of pain. Brandi delivered a Nightmare heel to hammer her point home. There will be repercussions for going against the Collective.

Creeper feature

There were a lot of little threads weaving through Kenny Omega, Hangman Page, Lucha Bros, SCU, and Young Bucks, so I’m going to cover all their parts from start to finish.

Lucha Bros defeated Kenny Omega and Hangman Page. This bout started off as a house show match with all the Cero Miedo fan work from Pentagon. Once it got cooking, all four were working their game well. In terms of team versus team, Omega and Hangman had long stretches of solo action while the other was out of commission. The Lucha Bros performed their usual game plan of teamwork attacks. In the end, Hangman accidentally clobbered Omega with a buckshot lariat when Pentagon ducked out of the way.

That led to the Lucha Bros winning via their teamwork flying stomp package piledriver finisher as Pentagon pinned Omega. Afterward, Hangman and Omega got into a shoving argument. It was tough to read who was the instigator. It looked like Hangman was mopey over his mistake then he got upset all of a sudden.

That match was entertaining. It was what you would expect from these four. One thing I didn’t like came on commentary. They started by over-exaggerating issues between Hangman and Omega from last week. Hangman stole the win, but nothing out of control happened. It felt like commentary was trying hard to push the story that wasn’t told in the ring quite as desired. In this bout, Hangman and Omega worked fine together until the buckshot mishap. That did result in frustrated contact afterward.

PAC sending a message. The fussing between Hangman and Omega was put to a halt when PAC appeared on screen to follow through on his threats about not getting a rubber rematch against Omega.

PAC approached an unsuspecting Michael Nakazawa, who is Omega’s prime pal. The door closed behind PAC, so we couldn’t see what went down. Omega left the ring to rescue his friend, however, PAC and Nakazawa were missing from that room. Omega kept moving and ran right into a Lucha Bros ambush. Hangman eventually caught up to chase off the Lucha Bros.

Alright, alright, alright. Good for PAC to force his hand to get what he desires. The Elite punks don’t appear to be taking him seriously. I look forward to carnage from PAC, which should make for interesting television. The bad part for Nakazawa is that Dynamite won’t return until January 1. Will he be tied up for two weeks? Good thing his skin is probably super soft from all that baby oil. No rope burns for Nakazawa. As for why the Lucha Bros attacked Omega backstage, Fenix still has beef with him over losing the AAA Megacampeonato in a match at Héroes Inmortales XIII in October.

Later in the show, SCU was being interviewed about defending the World Tag Team Championship against the Young Bucks in the main event. The Lucha Bros strolled up to taunt Christopher Daniels. Pentagon played a clip of Daniels’ botch from when they had a singles match. Daniels stepped up to the ninja skeleton, but he retreated with both his head and pride held down low. A short while later in a different scene, Daniels was in a chipper mood as he handed the belts to Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky.

SCU defeated the Young Bucks to retain the tag titles. These two teams met in the main event of the evening. The bout was a bit short by AEW standards. The story was both teams knowing each other well. Several moves were escaped and countered. Sky had a sweet flat-footed jump for a hurricanrana off the apron.

In the end, SCU won clean. Kaz hit Nick with a fancy DDT on the apron, then Matt was pinned after an SCU Later finisher.

Yes! I’m so glad SCU was victorious. I really do not like the Young Bucks as characters on AEW. I strongly suspected a happy ending to their year, so I was surprised SCU won and even more surprised at it being clean. I did notice Jim Ross planting the seeds about the Bucks not being 100% after last week’s Texas Street Fight against Santana & Ortiz. That’s kind of lame that excuses had to be made instead of giving SCU the full rub.

Dark Order demolition. The night did not end there after the main event. There had been teases of the Dark Order all broadcast long, such as promoting their website, but I did not see an invasion coming. The creepers surrounded the ring with SCU and the Young Bucks still present. Lights out.

Lights on. Evil Uno and Grayson were at the entrance ramp. Normally, Uno would extend an invitation to the Bucks after their loss, but it wasn’t a recruitment. It was an initiation. The Creepers attacked. Alex Reynolds and John Silver were maskless creepers. The bad guys utilized the numbers game to inflict pain. Kenny Omega, Cody Rhodes, and Dustin Rhodes all ran in for failed saves. There were just too many creepers.

Hangman Page was conspicuous by his absence. Based on the last few episodes of, “Being the Elite,” I suspect he was drunk backstage.

Evil Uno handed purple masks (creepers wore green masks) to Reynolds and Silver. “We are one.” Uno then stuck his hand into a Jackson mouth. I’m not sure why. It sounded like he was going to rip out a tongue, but there wasn’t enough blood on Uno’s hand. The Dark Order stood tall to end the show.

That closing chaos was great. There was a general sense of shock at what was going on, a reveal of jabrones joining, and the mystery of Hangman’s whereabouts. I have no clue where this story is leading, and that aspect intrigues me. It should be fun to see creepers be treated like cannon fodder in the upcoming battle.

A Jungle Boy can survive

Chris Jericho and Jungle Boy went toe to toe in a ten-minute time limit non-title match. Le Champion had Jake Hager by his side, while Jungle Boy was flanked by Luchasaurus and Marko Stunt. Those three were ejected early when Hager smashed Jungle Boy into the guardrail, exchanged blows with Luchasaurus, and hammered Stunt with a vicious forearm.

That was a glorious little scene. Every time Hager and Luchasaurus start fisticuffing, I get excited for an eventual sanctioned showdown. Stunt took one for the team by being blasted. Hager’s gleeful grin is the cherry on top.

For the match, Jungle Boy was aggressive with his speed, but Jericho would slow it down to take control. The drama came down to the final ninety seconds. Le Champion locked in the Walls of Jericho. Jungle Boy made the dramatic crawl to the ropes, but Jericho dragged him back and sunk the hold in even deeper. Jungle Boy withstood the pain to last the final thirty seconds for an official time-limit draw. Jericho demanded five more minutes on the clock then left when Jungle Boy was picking up steam for a possible upset.

This was a nice little story of plucky underdog not knowing the word quit. Did it make me think Jungle Boy is a serious threat? Not really. I was hoping for a closer contest to catapult Jungle Boy’s status. With the way the match played out, Jericho losing was never in doubt. You knew it would go down to the end, so Jungle Boy’s close pinfalls early didn’t suck me in. The overtime from Jericho was a classic heel move. He thought he could pick Jungle Boy’s bones but skedaddled when the going got tough. The fans were super excited then immediately upset with boos.

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

Cody Rhodes and Darby Allin defeated Blade and Butcher. BBB looked tougher this week. They were more powerful with teamwork maneuvers, and Bunny was more vicious ringside when she sent Cody into the ring post. Cody and Darby were on the same page as a first-time team. They hit their moves without getting in each other’s way. In the end, Allin flew for a Coffin Drop to Butcher on the apron.

Cody cleaned up Blade with a flying springboard cutter to win. Afterward, Darby eyeballed Cody about that rematch. Darby wants a chance to beat Cody after their draw at Fyter Fest.

Quality win for Cody and Darby, but where does it leave BBB? They failed at their task of taking out Cody. I doubt MJF will continue to pay them. I don’t mind it if the plan all along was a short stint for Butcher and Blade. Bunny is a different story. This is Allie’s new identity. What is her future?

Giant surprise for Jon Moxley. After Jericho’s match with Jungle Boy, he came back out to remind us all about his offer to Moxley to join the Inner Circle. Jon can take his time and choose wisely. On January 1, Jericho will have something huge for Mox.

Tully looking for tag. Shawn Spears and Tully Blanchard cut a promo in the locker room about potential tag partners for Spears. The right guy must be able to be molded and be palatable. The scouting shall carry on.

Stud of the Show: Hangman Page

My favorite move sequence of the show was Hangman busting out acrobatic cowboy shit for a fallaway slam, kip-up, slingshot tope to the floor, run across the ring for a clothesline, run back for a suicide dive, and finish with a second suicide dive.

He was gasping for air afterward, and I can’t blame him. That was high-octane wrangling.

Hangman also executed this nifty dropkick/moonsault combo. That’s impressive for a man of his size.

Dud of the Show: MJF’s wealth?

This is the second time on Dynamite that MJF’s wealth has been brought into question. A few weeks ago, Cody Rhodes claimed MJF’s scarf was a fake Burberry. On this show, Jim Ross claimed MJF was using his watch as collateral to finance his operations against Cody. If these teases don’t pay off down the line as MJF being broke, then it is an extremely crappy job by Cody and JR to ruin MJF’s rich-boy character.

Grade: B+

This episode flew by. There were big matches with memorable moments. I enjoyed the way different stories flowed together as one giant caper. The Dark Order finish should do its job by getting people talking as a cliffhanger until Dynamite returns on January 1.

We’ll close with a Star Wars opener for the show that was posted on social media.

How do you rate this episode of Dynamite? What was your favorite moment? Who was your stud and dud of the show?

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