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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (Sept. 30, 2020): No regrets

AEW Dynamite (Sept. 30, 2020) emanated from Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, FL. The show featured Cody Rhodes and Mr. Brodie Lee erupting into pandemonium, FTR and SCU stealing the show, Darby Allin finally getting a match against Ricky Starks, and Jon Moxley battling an opponent of Eddie Kingston’s choosing.

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

No regrets

The biggest question on most viewers’ minds was if Cody Rhodes would accept the dog collar challenge issued by Mr. Brodie Lee. We all knew Cody would say yes, but leave it to the Codemeister to elevate the drama.

Cody offered a lengthy speech about the embarrassment of losing the TNT Championship in three minutes. As EVP, Cody could not agree to a match as unsafe, bloody, and violent as was proposed. He exited the ring only to return by shouting about no regrets and no looking back. Cody accepted for next week.

The segment didn’t end there. Mr. Brodie Lee stormed to the ring and pandemonium erupted. Security and jabroni wrestlers in the front row tried to keep the two rivals separated. All of a sudden, Brandi Rhodes ran out for a flipping senton onto a Dark Order pile.

Brandi threw punches with Anna Jay. That led to a random attack from Nyla Rose. She began pummeling KiLynn King.

As for Cody and Mr. Brodie, they engaged in fisticuffs on three separate occasions. Mr. Brodie kept leaving the ring pretending the segment was over only to return in a rush for one more blitz. There were too many bodies between them to land any clean blows.

This segment was delightful chaos and also an overly dramatic train wreck. That’s good or bad depending on how you look at it. I love chaos in professional wrestling, and this was about as chaotic as it could get. Cody’s tease of denial and Mr. Brodie’s recurring run-ins were on the hokey side. Bottom line though is that the skirmish got me pumped. The emotion of Cody screaming his acceptance put a smile on my face in anticipation of next week’s violence.

One criticism I have about Cody is that he showed no character growth in his time away. He is still the same Cody as before. There was no difference in his promo presentation or attitude. The only change is his black hair. That’s a minor bummer as a missed opportunity in storytelling.

20-Minute Brush with Greatness

FTR debuted their 20-Minute Brush with Greatness challenge, and it delivered the match of the night against SCU. It was a PPV worthy contest.

The match was equal parts athletic and hard-hitting. Both teams utilized wily strategy. There were several moments that drew me in to believing close pinfalls. In the end, it was FTR who were too sly. Tully Blanchard hooked Scorpio Sky’s leg on a suplex so he ended up taking the impact. Blanchard then grabbed Sky’s foot and used his weight to prevent a kick out.

This bout showed FTR’s continued penchant for taking shortcuts through trickery. They provided a good mix of putting on an entertaining match but also building desire to see them get their butts kicked one day soon. SCU brought the thunder. They were basically gifted a free title shot, and they made the most of the opportunity. I would definitely be on board for a rematch.

Darby’s revenge

The opener saw Darby Allin finally get a singles match against Ricky Starks. Starks has been a thumbtack in Allin’s side ever since he joined Team Taz. Darby tried to psych out Starks with a vignette of being tossed down a long ramp while inside a body bag. I don’t think that tactic worked, but Allin still brought the pain to Starks.

Allin was all over Starks from the get-go with submission counters and aerial attacks. Allin was in complete control after a suicide dive, so Brian Cage came out to do some pounding. Will Hobbs ran out before Cage could get involved, and those two hefty fellows pounded each other hard. They brawled to the back.

That distraction gave Starks a moment to rally until Starks countered with Yoshi Tonic. When it got down to the end, a sassy slap fight ensued. Darby hit an over-the-top stunner then launched off the ropes for a springboard attack that was met with a surprise spear from Starks.

Starks tried to finish it with a super Rochambeau, but Allin escaped. That led to corner fighting to knock Starks down. Allin followed with Coffin Drop to Starks’ back for victory.

That was a very solid bout with appropriate intensity. Both men had great counters that added excitement. The early distraction from Cage was done well. It gave the rub to Will Hobbs and closed the door on Cage interfering while also allowing Allin and Starks plenty of time to settle their issues in the ring. Basically, it was a cool moment that didn’t overshadow the match.

From a sporting perspective, I was a little disappointed in Starks. He pretty much got his butt kicked. Starks had some offense, but it was Allin’s show. Allin had the better game plan with submissions, as evidenced by Taz’s surprise on commentary, and the bigger moves. It was an important win for Allin as he moves closer toward a clash with Cage.

King’s choice

Jon Moxley was back to defend the AEW World Championship. The twist was that Eddie Kingston got to pick the opponent.

Before that occurred, Kingston had words for referee Bryce Remsburg. He was upset that Remsburg called for the bell last week even though Kingston never quit. Remsburg stated that it was his job to save Kingston from himself. Kingston didn’t like that answer, so Remsburg became the one who needed saving. Moxley entered the scene before the Lucha Bros did any damage to the ref.

The fight turned out to be a little slower in pace than I was hoping. I wanted a beef battle. Instead, they gave a more nuanced approach. Butcher heavily focused on Moxley’s leg. It got to the point where Moxley was hurt so bad that he couldn’t run. That doesn’t mean Moxley is one to be counted out. He used his championship spirit to overcome.

Moxley sprang up for a superplex. Butcher rolled through after impact for a single-leg crab. Moxley countered to send Butcher into the corner. Mox then attacked with a piledriver, however, Butcher was able to kick out and continue the fight.

Butcher brushed off a second superplex to leap for a flying crossbody.

Moxley ducked a clothesline then struck with a DDT and transitioned into a bulldog choke. Butcher was forced to tap. Mox stared down Kingston to close the show.

This was a rugged, physical bout. I would have preferred a quicker pace into maximum fury. The transition finish by Moxley was sweet, as was Moxley staring into Kingston’s eyes as Butcher quit. Compared to the other matches on the card, it wasn’t the best fit as main event. I would have given that honor to Allin and Starks due to their more developed feud.

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

Top guys. FTR had a pre-match interview insulting the Best Friends as backyard participation trophy wrestlers. SCU received a championship match since they have the resume of success. When asked about the Young Bucks, FTR correctly mentioned how the Bucks have blown every opportunity.

I enjoy FTR’s logic being focused on sports and not Meltzer stars performance art. They were rude about how they expressed themselves, but I don’t disagree with the substance of their points.

Young Jerks. The Young Bucks interrupted an FTR interview to double superkick Tony Schiavone. FTR taunted the Bucks as cowards for not trying the same to them.

The Bucks continue their decline into madness. On one hand, the superkicks are funny. On the other hand, I’m losing patience in waiting for the Bucks to get comeuppance. I’m wondering if the announcers are close to mutiny. They were pretty upset about their colleague eating feet.

Unfinished business. As SCU was going through the curtain for their championship match, Shawn Spears was standing there side eyeing Scorpio Sky. He wished them luck with a wry smile.

This was a short and effective way to build on a feud between Spears and Sky. It was made clear Spears and Sky want to scrap, but it didn’t take anything away from the matters at hand.

Sad cowboy. Hangman Page was on commentary for FTR versus SCU. He didn’t want to concede that his partnership with Kenny Omega is over. When informed of Omega’s declarations of going solo, Hangman was in denial since Omega hasn’t competed in singles action yet since the split. That led to the announcement of a #1 contender tournament with Jungle Boy, Fenix, and Omega as three of the eight participants. Hangman’s illusion was shattered upon hearing that news.

I want to side with Hangman, but he is coming off a bit pathetic lately. I too would love to see a reunion since I really enjoyed Hangman and Omega as champs, however, Hangman needs to take the strong hints that Omega has been sending. It seems likely that they will meet in the tournament final at Full Gear on November 7. I like the potential scenario as forced competitors rather than enemies. It leaves room for the story to explode, or maybe swerve back to being pals.

Chris Jericho defeated Isiah Kassidy. Kassidy was too quick for Le Champion. He scored several close pinfalls. Kassidy went to the springboard well once too often and launched right into a Judas Effect.

This contest elevated Kassidy’s status. I viewed him as the weaker member in Private Party, but he more than held his own against Jericho.

The real excitement for me was side shenanigans between Jericho and Luther. During the bout, Jericho ended up in the front row. He shoved Luther. Luther responded by clotheslining Jericho over the guardrail. After the match, Jericho didn’t forget and punched Luther. That led to a mini brawl with those two, Jake Hager, and Serpentico. A tag match was announced for next week.

That was a random skirmish, but I’m all for it. Jericho and Luther are friends in real life, so it is cool to see Jericho give Luther a spotlight moment. I’m not familiar with Luther’s past work, but I really enjoy his wild power game on Dark.

Best man. Miro was stressed about providing the best bachelor party for Kip Sabian. Some random dude (video game extraordinaire Billy Mitchell) offered to help. This vignette did nothing for me, but I’m keen on seeing where it could lead.

Weenies. FTR needled the Best Friends again. They are main-eventers, while Trent and Chuck Taylor are mid-card comedy relief. Best Friends made FTR flinch with a fake punch, then Orange Cassidy called them weenies. In my opinion, Best Friends lived up to FTR’s assessment in that exchange.

Orange Cassidy defeated 10. 10 was dominant early, but he made the mistake of wasting time. Cassidy recovered and won with a sequence of a flying crossbody, swinging DDT, Superman punch, and Air Raid Crash.

This was an effective use of Cassidy, because the match was short. There was no boring extended beatdown. I appreciated Cassidy kicking out at 1 on early pinfalls. That showed he wasn’t being lazy despite being thrashed.

MJF bringing gifts. MJ entered the Inner Circle’s locker room to offer custom jackets as a present. Unfortunately, he happened to overlook a jacket for Sammy Guevara. Jericho smoothed out the situation. He then asked MJF if he wanted to join the Inner Circle to which MJF replied if Jericho wants him to join. Upon MJF exiting, Sammy called him a loser. Jericho stifled that notion to think perhaps he’s not.

This was the funniest backstage scene of the show. Jericho and MJF have perfect chemistry for back and forth banter. I still have no clue where this is leading, and I love that mystery. If it gives us Sammy vs MJF, then count me in.

Dr. Britt Baker DMD defeated Red Velvet. Dr. Baker showed no rust in this showcase bout. She was efficient in victory with a swinging neckbreaker then a running boot to the head. After the match, Dr. Baker applied the Lockjaw submission for good measure.

Dr. Baker looked good. She was smooth with her moves, and her body had a little more size. Commentary put over how she has been hitting the weights. Dr. Baker is not thick by any means, but she is now thicker than a stick. That’s positive progress for her long-term career.

Stud of the Show: Darby Allin’s submission style

I was very impressed by Allin’s evolving skills. Allin countered an early spear into a guillotine choke. He also had a nifty moment of adapting an armbar. Allin had Starks’ arm. As Starks reached for a rope break, Allin snatched Starks’ other arm to stretch both limbs behind Stark’s back. I’m much more invested in this version of Allin. Give me smart strategy over mindless stunts. Allin is finally making me a believer that he could take the next step toward bigger things.

Honorable mention to Taz for the funniest line of the night about his spelling acumen. “I can spell cerebral if you give me Google.” In my opinion, Taz in consistently the best color commentary man in professional wrestling.

Dud of the Show: Referee Paul Turner

Turner was as incompetent as it gets in the tag title bout. FTR tricked him into believing Christopher Daniels tripped Cash Wheeler on purpose while running the ropes. Wheeler was not touched when he fell to the mat. Turner did not see the incident, but he took FTR’s word anyway to eject Daniels. That was a quick trigger considering all the interference running rampant in other matches.

Turner bumbled again on the finish. Tully Blanchard cheated Scorpio Sky by meddling with his foot on a suplex. Blanchard also leaned on Sky to prevent a kick out. Turner missed both, but what really stood out as ineptitude was that Sky was super close to the ropes and Turner never bothered to look up to check positioning. Sky could have easily got his foot on the rope if not for Blanchard. Turner would have clearly seen the interference had he been checking.

I understand that cheating and referee errors are part of the game, but AEW needs to be a little slicker than that to make it believable.

Grade: A-

This episode zoomed by. It was 90 minutes before I checked the clock. All the matches were enjoyable. Most of them had enough prior story or intrigue to build heat. The storyline advancements ranged from subtle to explosive. This was one of those shows where every segment served a purpose.

Share your thoughts about Dynamite. How do you rate it? Who stole the show?

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