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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (Jan. 22, 2020): Cruisin’

AEW Dynamite (Jan. 22, 2020) emanated from Nassau, Bahamas on the Jericho cruise ship. It featured new tag team champions, a new challenger for Chris Jericho, and MJF being thrown into a pool.

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

This week’s show featured a cool cruise ship setting as the action was taped aboard Chris Jericho’s Rock ‘N’ Wrestling Rager at Sea. Thumbs up for the change of pace and having a wrestling show on a cruise ship. Unlike last week’s Bash at the Beach, this week made use of the surroundings. Crowd surfing, the pool, and brawling down stairs were all unique touches. Seeing hair blow in the wind made me feel like I was there. Even the splashy graphics worked well with the theme.

Victory beer

The World Tag Team Championships were on the line as SCU defended the belts against Hangman Page and Kenny Omega. It was a tightly contested matchup. Both teams brought their top effort.

Hangman and Omega only had one snafu as a squad. Hangman unintentionally hit Omega with a buckshot lariat after the intended target escaped. The duo kept their wits and remained focused. Other than that, they were smooth sailing, such as their dope sequence of a rolling slam by Omega then a running moonsault by Hangman then a proper moonsault by Omega.

Both teams had a couple of close calls that really had me believing the end was there. For example, SCU clobbered Omega with the SCU Later. Sky tried to block Hangman from breaking the pin, but Hangman bull rushed Sky onto Kaz to stop the pin count. That led into the finish.

Hangman dragged Omega over to the corner for the tag. He hit Kaz with a pop-up spinebuster then a discus lariat. Hangman attacked Sky on the ramp with a buckshot lariat. Back in the ring, Hangman launched for buckshot lariat to Kaz. 1, 2, 3! Hangman and Omega are the new tag team champs.

After the match, the Young Bucks came out to celebrate. There was a little tension from Hangman since the Bucks were more focused on congratulating Omega. Hangman went to the people to chug beers and crowd surf.

Later in the evening, Tony Schiavone interviewed Hangman and Omega. Hangman was sipping on whiskey, while Omega carried a cup of tea. Omega addressed PAC’s threats. PAC will get his rubber match in time when Omega can squeeze in a bout. For now, Omega is focused on the tag team belts.

Hangman mumbled drunkly about how he won single-handed. Schiavone rudely cut Hangman off and asked more questions to Omega. When Hangman was questioned again, the Young Bucks interrupted to heap praise on Omega. Hangman was annoyed and blurted out that he was surprised they won the tag titles before the Bucks did. The Bucks made sour faces, and Omega tried to soothe everyone’s feelings.

The tag team title contest was one of the better matches in the short history of Dynamite. It was action-packed, never dull, tricked me a few times thinking a win would be had, and created a memorable moment with Hangman crowd surfing.

As for the choice of winner, time will tell if I agree with the decision. SCU were workhorses without a bad match. If this title change is a story set up to put the belts on the Young Bucks, then I would have preferred that SCU keep the straps. If Hangman and Omega have a lengthy run, then I’m cool with SCU losing.

I really like the direction of Hangman feuding with the Young Bucks. I’m not a fan of the Bucks’ characters, so it pleases me to see Hangman needle them. I also like that Hangman is walking a line between face and heel. He’s not being an outright jerk that forces me to root for the Bucks. Thanks for that, Hangman. He’s also not entirely wrong for how he feels. When push comes to shove, it will be interesting which side Omega chooses.

Mox gets his shot

Jon Moxley battled PAC for the #1 contender spot to challenge Chris Jericho at AEW’s Revolution PPV on February 29. Moxley competed with an eye injury. Jericho stabbed a spike into Moxley’s ocular unit last week. Moxley was bandaged around his head to protect the eye.

PAC used a strategy of focusing strikes on Moxley’s tender peeper. That affected Moxley’s peripheral vision and equilibrium. Still, Moxley had enough wily know-how to make it a fight. At one point, the two brawled up and down the cruise ship’s stairway.

Near the end, PAC hit Moxley with a superplex then locked in the Brutalizer submission. Moxley’s grit and determination allowed his body to wriggle over to the ropes for the break. The two tussled a little longer before Moxley got PAC with a DDT then the Paradigm Shift to win. Moxley earned the World Championship shot against Jericho.

I have two minds about this result. On one hand, it is fun seeing Moxley be a badass. His upcoming match against Jericho should be fiery and intense. On the other hand, PAC was done dirty. He is a honey badger that gnaws faces. How can PAC lose to a one-eyed man? I wonder if he’ll lose his marbles now. With Omega tied up in the tag division, who will PAC feud with to get on the PPV card?

Time for a swim

MJF and Cody Rhodes added another chapter to their feud.

But first, let’s start with MJF’s match against Joey Janela. Janela had momentum until Penelope Ford and Kip Sabian appeared in the entrance ramp to smooch up a distraction.

Janela attempted a flying elbow drop, but MJF moved out of the way. MJF then pounced with his Double Cross finisher to win.

MJF grabbed a mic to address Cody Rhodes’ statements from last week. Cody had said that MJF was just another chapter in Cody’s book. MJF agreed, except that chapter will be the last.

Cody entered the scene to confront MJF. It had been mentioned on commentary that Wardlow was busy training in Atlanta for the future cage match against Cody, but MJF wasn’t worried thanks to the stipulation of no contact prior to the Revolution PPV. MJF taunted Cody by dropping the mic at his feet then kicking it when Cody bent over to pick it up. Cody kept his cool. He couldn’t hit MJF, but he knew two guys that could. The Young Bucks ambushed MJF with a double super kick then threw him in the pool.

As for my personal analysis, chalk another one up for MJF being right about Cody. That was a cowardly move to have the Bucks sneak attack. That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it as sports entertainment. Of course, I did. I’m not one that is going to root for Cody or the Young Bucks, but I loved that segment. Ten cheers for pool shenanigans. It was the kind of silliness I desire from a themed show.

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

The dentist defeated Hell’s favorite harlot. Britt Baker took care of business against Priscilla Kelly in her singles debut for AEW. The finish to the competitive bout began when Baker kicked Kelly in the head. A Russian leg sweep followed. Baker locked in a crucifix position for her Lockjaw submission, but Kelly was close to reaching the ropes. Baker smartly used her own feet to push away from the ropes. She readjusted the crucifix in the center of the ring then latched on the Lockjaw submission to win. In a post-match interview, Baker cemented her snooty turn by insulting the beloved Tony Schiavone.

Kelly looked good in the ring. AEW should keep her around. Baker looked awkward again. I don’t know why. Something about her ring game doesn’t all mesh together.

Inner Circle defeated Jurassic Express. Le Champion Chris Jericho won on his own cruise ship. Hooray! He was joined by Santana and Ortiz in trios action. For the closing sequence, Marko Stunt hit a 450 splash onto Jericho.

Jericho kicked out of the pin. Stunt surprised Jericho with a few roll-ups, but Jericho was able to pop Stunt with the Judas Effect forearm strike to win. Jericho celebrated with A Little Bit of the Bubbly.

By the way, that special bubbly is still available for sale. Buy it here.

A fine bout. Everyone had cool spots. My favorite was the three amigos suplex handoff by Santana and Ortiz. This time was special, because Jericho got involved for the final slam. Luchasaurus cleaning house is always a good time. Since Jericho pinned Stunt, that keeps alive the long story of Jungle Boy one day overcoming Jericho.

Promo videos. AEW aired all the segments from their, “Road to the Bahamas,” video. There was a package for MJF’s feud with Cody Rhodes, and Jungle Boy chatted about advice from his father to chase his dream. The PAC scene was the same in material but in a different setting. Instead of sitting well-dressed in a chair, PAC was in wrestling gear roaming a graffiti area. I preferred the original clip. PAC came across as more calculated. In the clip on Dynamite, his energy was more frantic. Anyway, thumbs up to AEW for airing them on the broadcast. They were effective character building and very well produced.

Stud of the Show: Hangman Page

Hangman Page proved he is worthy by winning the tag team titles. Omega did his fair share, but Hangman was clearly the reason they won. He had the mental acuity to drag his downed partner over for a tag, then he cleaned house for victory. Impressive showing.

Hangman has been growing on me since he left the Elite. He already had a nifty moveset and a cool theme song. I think he’s become more appealing as a beer guzzler and slight frenemy with the Young Bucks. Once Hangman gets his full confidence, I hope he roughhouses all these smaller men in AEW.

Dud of the Show: Joey Janela losing

This isn’t so much about Jenela losing. It is more about how the win over Fenix was wasted with his loss. AEW saved that bout for a YouTube bonus earlier Wednesday. Janela was victorious. Fine. Janela losing his very next match is not fine. The kissing distraction from Penelope Ford and Kip Sabian is irrelevant. Fenix is an elite talent and recognized as such. Beating Fenix should be used as a springboard to greater success.

Yes, this is also me still feeling sour grapes about Fenix losing to Janela. Harrumph.

Grade: B+

It was a basic episode but still enjoyable. The stories were a little light, however, there was enough advancement where it mattered most. The atmosphere was rocking. The wrestling was raging. And it was at sea. Yippee!

We’ll close with a piece of nifty artwork.

How do you rate this episode of Dynamite? What was your favorite moment?

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