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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (Jan. 29, 2020): Hold my beer

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AEW Dynamite (Jan. 29, 2020) emanated from Cleveland, Ohio. It featured Hangman Page stealing the show, Jon Moxley confronting the Inner Circle bullies, and an overbooked hot mess involving Cody Rhodes.

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

Hold my beer

Hangman Page has become my favorite story on Dynamite. He wasn’t in a feature role for this episode, but he maximized his minutes for the short time on screen.

The first bout of the evening was MJF hiring Blade, Butcher, and Bunny to get revenge on the Young Bucks for throwing him in the pool on last week’s cruise show. An awesome vignette was played to show MJF enter the BBB lair and hand over an envelope of money.

That’s the kind of material that makes BBB an interesting threat for violence. Too bad they didn’t earn that wad of cash. The Young Bucks did their thing and were victorious via Meltzer Driver. One gripe I have about BBB is that they don’t wrestle like hired mercenaries. I’d assume they would be more focused on dishing out pain rather than winning. Inflicting punishment is the job they are being paid to do.

Just as I was questioning BBB’s wrestling style after their loss, Butcher attacked after the bell. BBB beat up the Bucks. That led to Kenny Omega making the save with a V-Trigger. Hangman Page trotted out later. He handed his beer to Matt Jackson then launched for a buckshot lariat to Blade.

I love how Hangman can guzzle beer yet still handle his business. It’s like a calmer version of a different Texan who is fond of beer and opening cans of whoop ass. Despite Matt being befuddled by holding beer, the Bucks did thank Hangman for his help.

Later in the evening, Lexy Nair interviewed the Bucks about their future plans. They are putting their feuds with Santana & Ortiz and the Dark Order aside to go for the tag team titles. Omega came over and sort of brushed off those desires. They will cross that bridge when they come to it. Enter Drunkman Page. Drunkman showed off the new nameplates on the tag belts. Drunkman had nameplates made for the Bucks as well, then he awkwardly rubbed in that he is a tag champ and they are not. Omega tried to play peacemaker.

It feels like I often mention how the Bucks characters’ rub me the wrong way. Well, I have to say it again this week. I don’t like their facial expressions of superiority toward Hangman. That’s why I get a kick out of Drunkman needling the brothers with digs about their lack of winning the tag titles.

We won’t have to wait long to see if the Elite and Hangman can keep together. They will be on one side of an 8-man tag next week against Blade, Butcher, and the Lucha Bros. I hope the Lucha Bros have a secret lair too for MJF to enter and hand them a fat stack of green.

Mox hates bullies

Jon Moxley opened the show to address his new status as #1 contender for the AEW World Championship. The fun and games are over. Chris Jericho is all that stands before Moxley to reach the top of the mountain in AEW. Moxley is far from perfect. He is no saint or role model, but he has honor and lives by a code. Jericho does not. Jericho is a lying, manipulating, cowardly bully. Mox hates bullies.

That led to Le Champion coming out with the Inner Circle and five extra South Bronx street thugs courtesy of Santana and Ortiz. That made the odds 10-on-1. Moxley attacked anyway. He headbutted Ortiz and smashed him with a DDT. Security personnel tried to cease the assault, but it resulted in a tame pull-apart squabble. Moxley crushed one security guard then left to be with the fans.

Fast forward to the main event of Jericho, Santana, and Ortiz against Private Party and Darby Allin. Allin was the star of the match. His style of suicide dive will always get me excited.

The bout broke down into chaos at the end. Jericho bludgeoned Isiah Kassidy with the Judas Effect elbow strike to win. I wish AEW posted a GIF of that finish. Kassidy sold it superbly. After the loss, he couldn’t get up off the mat and just rolled to drop off the apron down to the floor.

The Inner Circle celebrated then returned to the ring to dish out more pain. They targeted Allin. Jake Hager blasted Allin with a running knee to the balls. Sammy Guevara used Allin’s own skateboard for a throatbuster. Eventually, Moxley came down the ramp with a baseball bat to put an end to the bullying.

The bookend segments of Dynamite worked well together. Moxley will constantly be outnumbered on his way to the Revolution PPV on February 29. Perhaps Moxley will now have an ally in Allin. Those two are a perfect pairing. I hope it leads to wacky backstage scenes and also brutal hit and runs on the Inner Circle.

I have to compliment Jericho’s Judas Effect once again. I’d say Moxley is the heavy favorite to dethrone Jericho as champ, but the way Jericho destroyed Kassidy with such torque on impact makes me think he can beat Moxley clean.

AEW knows how to deliver the overbooked hot mess

Matches that are overbooked hot messes can either be so bad they become foolish or so bad they become good. AEW seems to have mastered the so bad it’s good style. For evidence, I point to Cody Rhodes versus Kip Sabian.

The contest had several distractions from Penelope Ford. At one point, she went down from contact on the back swing of a Cody punch. Cody picked her limp body up. That allowed Sabian the opportunity to kick Cody in the face. Ford immediately bounced up to expose her rouse.

Arn Anderson couldn’t take the referee’s lack of action against Ford any longer. He entered the ring to and chest-bump the smaller official. That earned Arn a ticket to the showers. He was ejected from ringside.

Later, Ford hit a sweet hurricanrana to Cody on the floor. As she celebrated with a kiss to Sabian, Joey Janela popped his head up to be smooched instead.

In the end, Cody exploded with fire for a powerslam and three Cross Rhodes to finish Sabian.

There was a lot going on for this bout. Cody picked up the win against odds to keep his momentum rolling. Sabian and Ford established themselves as an entertaining act to pay attention to. The feud with Janela, Sabian, and Ford has a little bit of advancement. Arn Anderson even got some character building as coach when he lost his cool. That is four positives to result from the overbooked hot mess.


Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

Nyla Rose defeated Big Swole. Swole fought hard, but Rose was too powerful. In the end, Rose ducked Swole’s discus strike then crushed her with a spear and a sitdown powerbomb to win.

I very much enjoy Big Swole’s charisma, but there was something off about her ring work that I couldn’t put my finger on. I think I figured it out during this match. Swole’s strikes look softer than marshmallows. There is no oomph. Swole is supposed to be a powerhouse in most matchups. That reputation doesn’t jive with my perception of her striking technique.

Britt Baker is the Baker Cleveland can trust in. The dentist came out for an official promo to ridicule Tony Schiavone, Jim Ross, Riho, and Baker Mayfield. The insults were fun. The important story part was mentioning how Baker will be here every week, but Riho is often absent. I’m curious how that aspect plays out. Of all the women that could dethrone Riho, Baker is not high on my list. Could she interfere to cost Riho the title? That would be much more effective in getting heel heat than Baker winning the belt outright.

SCU defeated The Hybrid 2. Scorpio Sky and Frankie Kazarian were victorious via SCU-Later. It was an okay match with athleticism from all. SCU is back on the winning track.

Dark Order is coming for Christopher Daniels. After SCU’s tag match, Evil Uno popped on the screen to issue a warning. The exalted one is unhappy with CD. As a result, the Dark Order will be targeting his family and friends. I like that direction for the Dark Order and SCU. It will give them both something important to do. While it is nice to see that story pick up, I guess CD’s feud with Pentagon is closed. I was looking forward to a blow-off bout... Unless Pentagon now speaks perfect English and is the exalted one. Do, do, dooo!

PAC is coming for blood. PAC had an intense promo roaming the alleys in his wrestling gear. He put Jon Moxley behind him for the moment. PAC is still focused on getting his rubber match against Kenny Omega. PAC can’t stand the arrogance and audacity of Omega thinking he can fit PAC in when convenient. PAC will be doing things on his terms, and it starts next week. Smooth move by this promo kick-starting that story back into place. I wonder how it will intertwine with a potential feud between Hangman & Omega and the Young Bucks. There are a lot of moving pieces with only four episodes of Dynamite until the Revolution PPV on February 29.

Notes. QT Marshall is a member of the Nightmare Family. It was written on Kip Sabian’s entrance graphic. AEW showed highlights of wins from Dark when applicable to wrestlers in the ring. I like that touch. It shows the person has a little bit of momentum. There was no follow up to Brandi Rhodes’ therapy session about the Nightmare Collective. That’s disappointing. I was most eager to find out another twist in that story. I don’t believe it was even mentioned on commentary.


Stud of the Show: Hangman Page

I already spoke of my enjoyment with Hangman’s antics. He stole the show for me. I have nothing further to add about Hangman, so I’ll showcase these two tweets of his.

Dud of the Show: Nonsensical references to rankings

AEW wants the rankings to be a meaningful tool about wins and losses mattering. Their wrestlers often talk about the quest of getting to the top for a title shot. But then, some really stupid stuff gets said. The Young Bucks declared their top priority is climbing to the top of the rankings. They are currently ranked #3. How difficult will that climb be? Christopher Daniels said the same thing about SCU climbing to the top. They are currently ranked #1. What are these guys talking about? To make matters worse, Excalibur mentioned SCU will be getting a title rematch against Hangman Page and Kenny Omega at some point in the future. If that’s the case, then why even have CD cut a promo of that nature.

Grade: B

This felt like an average outing from AEW. If this becomes the standard for an average AEW show, then I’ll be a happy camper. The stories and matches were fine. Several small moments were quite enjoyable, but I didn’t feel my emotions being titillated at any point.

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