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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (Jan. 1, 2020): The Elite are still elite

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AEW Dynamite (Jan. 1, 2020) emanated from Dailey’s Place in Jacksonville, Florida. It featured The Elite getting their groove, Riho defending the women’s title in a four-way, and MJF revealing his stipulations for Cody Rhodes.

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

The Elite are still elite

The main event was the Young Bucks and Kenny Omega as The Elite against the Lucha Bros and PAC. The main story pumped by commentary was the question if The Elite are still elite. Time to find out. The side stories were the Lucha Bros being so familiar with The Elite and PAC getting his hands on Omega, albeit not as a singles rubber match.

The contest had all the high spots you would expect, such as Fenix rope-bouncing into a hurricanrana.

When Omega and PAC finally went toe to toe, they unleashed fury on one another.

They were a handful of dramatic close finishes, which were usually saved by a partner breaking the pin. In the end, Fenix got the tag from PAC and took flight for a springboard whirling kick. However, Omega clobbered Fenix with a huge knee.

Omega finished the job with a One Winged Angel to pin Fenix.

That was a heck of a main event. Put those six in the ring and they will give you a stunner every time. Good on Fenix for running across the ring to get an official tag from PAC at the end, so he could be the proper man to be pinned. It would have been quite easy for Omega to pin the unofficial man and sweep that under the rug.

With that win, I guess The Elite are still elite. I hope that slump story is over, but I’m not sure if it is. Their goals have always been the title belts. The Young Bucks just lost to SCU in a title bout. Will there be enough time to build interest in a rematch at the Revolution PPV on February 29? I have zero interest in that, so AEW will have to work some story wrinkles into the mix.

Omega should have his eye on Chris Jericho and the World Championship, but Le Champion may have to deal with top contender Jon Moxley at the PPV, depending on how that Inner Circle story plays out. In the meantime, PAC still hasn’t had his rubber match with Omega. If Omega loses, does that mean we’re back to the slump story again?

There is also the issue with Hangman Page. Cody Rhodes came out to celebrate with his buds after their win. Hangman had been on commentary. The foursome waved for Hangman to join, but he gave a thumbs up and declined. Earlier in the evening, Hangman got into a verbal spat with Private Party over a glass of whiskey. It was announced Hangman and Omega will team against Private Party next week. Perhaps Hangman will end up occupying Omega’s time until he is ready for a World Championship opportunity.


Jon Moxley will answer next week

Speaking of Jon Moxley, he won a hard fought bout against Trent. For the finish, Trent attempted a flying maneuver, but Moxley kicked him in the gonads then hit him with a Paradigm Shift on the entrance ramp.

A Paradigm Shift in the ring won the match for Moxley.

There was also a humorous exchange between Orange Cassidy and Moxley. Cassidy entered, put his hands in his pockets, and was met with an emphatic hip thrust from Moxley. I so badly want to see Cassidy versus Moxley next week. Put me in the camp that enjoys seeing Cassidy get beat up. A beating from Moxley would be like no other.

After the match, Sammy Guevara entered through the crowd purposely spilling soda and throwing popcorn on fans. He was there to usher in a message from Chris Jericho.

Jericho offered equal leadership, 49% in Inner Circle LLC, and a sweet Ford GT. The car even had a customized Mox license plate. All Moxley needs to do is say yes to becoming a member of the Inner Circle. Jericho will wait for Moxley’s answer when he is ready. Le Champion drove off in the Mox-mobile.

Back in the ring, Moxley let us know he will answer next week. Moxley always considered Jericho a friend and mentor. Out of respect, he will give Jericho an answer in person.

That was an entertaining story step to sweeten the deal for Moxley to join the Inner Circle. My only issue is the advertising. AEW presented it as Moxley responding to Jericho. That kind of implied that we would get an answer. Perhaps it would have been better if they advertised Jericho’s big surprise instead. That way there would have been no letdown when Moxley put his answer off until next week.


Arn Anderson earned his pay

Cody Rhodes and Darby Allin had their rematch to open the show. Arn Anderson accompanied Cody ringside. Anderson had been hired to manage Cody. The ring story was Cody targeting Darby’s leg and Darby targeting Cody’s shoulder. It was a barn burner as Darby brought the fire.

I fully expected a victory from Cody, but Darby had me believing in an upset after his super Code Red.

For the finish, Cody was down after running into an exposed turnbuckle. Allin climbed the corner for a flying maneuver. Anderson hopped on the apron to get Cody’s attention for strategy. Cody listened and put his knees up as Allin was in the air. Cody picked up the win with a roll-up.

Cody’s success was big, but my takeaway is Anderson’s work as manager. It was interesting to see how he consulted Cody a few times. It was like a real sports coach. Anderson earned his pay with the perfect advice at the end. Commentary mentioned Anderson is coach of the Nightmare Family and set seeds that he might be with Dustin or even Brandi in the future.

Allin took the loss, but it did no damage to his reputation. The kid has guts. I noticed that he worked heel in the match by attacking Cody for trying to prevent a count-out to Allin and also removing the turnbuckle pad. I wonder if Allin’s cheap tactics will continue in the future.

MJF’s three stipulations

Later in the evening, MJF came out to propose his three stipulations for a match against Cody at the Revolution PPV.

There will be no touching from Cody before the PPV, a cage match against Wardlow, and 10 lashes. 10 lashes refers to belt lashes as Cody’s gets down on all fours. I believe Cody is supposed to give his answer next week. We know he will say yes, but that will be a heck of a punishment to endure. The lashing could set up real creepy TV. MJF’s goal is to humiliate, so it could get uncomfortable depending on how long it drags out.


Riho retains

Riho got a raw deal when she was placed in a four-way to defend the Women’s World Championship after AEW screwed up in giving Kris Statlander number one contendership when she was already booked elsewhere. It didn’t stop Riho from fighting with all her might.

This bout was badass, mostly due to Nyla Rose being a beast. She powebombed Riho onto Britt Baker, clobbered Hikaru Shida with a flying knee drop, and crushed Shida through a table on a running senton off the apron.

In the end, Riho prevailed to retain gold. Baker was working for the Lockjaw submission on Shida, but Shida rolled her over for a pin count. Baker escaped. Riho shot in to roll-up Baker for the 1, 2, 3.

After the match, Rose demolished Riho with a flying splash through a table.

Riho is scheduled to defend the belt against Statlander next week.

Later in the show, Riho had an interview, but Baker interrupted to throw a hissy fit. She complained about being there every week as the face of the women’s division despite her dental practice on the side, while Riho is only present on ocassion.

Three cheers for Riho retaining. It has been discussed how a champ should be on TV every week, but I don’t agree. My evidence is that Riho received the loudest entrance ovation by far out of the four match participants. The fans love her. That means conventioal rules need not apply to Riho.

I’m a little perpelxed about Nyla Rose’s post-match attack. I thought for sure it would be a set up for Shanna to return and do that feud. Nope. I guess we’ll have to see if that table splash moment leads anywhere. I hope it won’t be used as an excuse next week if Riho loses to Statlander. Statlander deserves a clean win with no excuses if AEW decides to dethrone Riho.


Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

Christopher Daniels’ wrinkles. Jenn Decker interviewed SCU when Sammy Guevara interrupted.

Sammy applauded SCU for having the tag titles, although, Santana & Ortiz will take them in time. Sammy turned his attention to CD. Sammy asked, “What do you got besides wrinkles on your face?” CD will prove to Sammy that he still has it next week in a match against one another. The scene ended on a silly note. CD smudged Sammy’s vlogging camera. Sammy tried to use Jenn’s dress to wipe before she ran away.

Superbad. Joey Janela was being interviewed when Penelope Ford crushed his nuts from behind. Kip Sabian stood over the fallen Janela. The Superbad pair walked away smiling.

Exalted one. The Dark Order played a paid message.

Evil Uno spoke to a mystery fellow about taking down The Elite two weeks ago. A creepy voice answered, “Wonderful.” That feels like a page out of Lucha Underground, and I love it. A big bad leader is what the Dark Order desperately needs to be elevated as a serious threat. The overwhelming numbers game won’t work in winning matches. A dominant leader will.

Sammy Guevara defeated Dustin Rhodes. Rhodes was mostly in control, although, Jake Hager proved to be a physical distraction. In the end, Rhodes went his his big ball kick in the corner, but the referee intervened. Sammy grabbed the ref, which allowed Hager to enter the ring to knee Rhodes in the cojones. Sammy won via roll-up.

Jungle Boy. He appeared on the show via backstage interview from Jenn Decker. His Jurassic Express pals were there as well. Jungle Boy is looking for momentum from lasting ten minutes with Chris Jericho to pick up his first official win in AEW. Luchasaurus had something to say, but music played over and I couldn’t hear him. Marko Stunt acted like a letch by lunging for Jenn.

Taz on commentary. Taz replaced Tony Schiavone this week. He did quite well. Taz brought his personality without stepping on the toes of Jim Ross and Excalibur. If the call gets made to make Taz a permanent fixture, I would be on board with that decision.

Underwear sponsorship? One odd thing that stuck out to me was seeing the underwear waistbands of Jon Moxley, Kip Sabian, Jungle Boy, and others. I couldn’t read the brand name, but they all looked the same style. Did AEW sign a product placement deal for underwear?


Stud of the Show: Kenny Omega

Kenny Omega gets the stud honor specifically for glove slapping Pentagon across the face. Everyone always stands there while Pentagon takes a long time to remove his glove then toss it into the air before flashing Cero Miedo and/or a big chop. This time, Omega caught the glove then duel slapped Pentagon. Excellent.

Pentagon’s reaction was also excellent as he went berserk and tried to maul Omega’s face.

Dud of the Show: Darby Allin’s Cody mask

Prior to Darby Allin’s match against Cody Rhodes, there was an intro video of Allin skateboarding while wearing an odd looking mask of Cody’s face. It looked kind of stretched out like a trollface meme. Allin went on to burn the paper mask.

During Allin’s actual entrance, a musician buddy sported the mask.

I don’t understand the symbolism, if there was any, so this bit of theatrics came off as dorky in my eyes. I guess A for effort for experimenting with an idea, but it did nothing to add mystique to Allin’s persona.

Grade: A-

That was a cool little show. The majority of the matches were exciting. The in-ring promos did well to set up answers from Moxley and Cody. I also appreciate that seeds for several mid-card feuds were planted. There were no wasted segments this week.

We’ll close with a fan kissing MJF’s diamond ring.

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