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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (Nov. 18, 2020): Mysteries and swerves

AEW Dynamite (Nov. 18, 2020) emanated from Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, FL. The show featured a variety of mysteries and swerves as Pentagon chose family over friends, Jon Moxley was brutally assaulted, and Team Taz bolstered their ranks with a powerful surprise.

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

Team Taz swerve

Team Taz added a new member. He goes by the name of Will Hobbs.

In the main event of the evening, Brian Cage & Ricky Starks took on Cody Rhodes & Darby Allin. Team Taz was finally getting their hands on those two fake blondes in a proper contest, but Cage and Starks had trouble early. That forced Taz to leave the commentary table to lend his coaching wisdom ringside.

Taz provided shifty interference unseen by the referee’s eyes. Arn Anderson lost his cool and threw a chair into the ring. That earned Coach Arn an ejection.

The match eventually broke down into big moves. Allin almost pulled a surprise win by countering Cage’s powerbomb into Yoshi Tonic. Starks barely made the save in time.

The action continued with a Cross Rhodes from Cody to Starks, a discus clothesline from Cage to Allin, and Cage slamming Cody hard. For the final blow, Cage set Allin up for a Drill Claw off the middle turnbuckle. What a maneuver!

Cage covered Allin for victory. One of the biggest questions coming into this bout is who would take the pin. Cody and Cage were unlikely to go down as the big stars. Allin was the newly crowned TNT champ. That left Starks as the top candidate, but he needed to stay strong for his likely title bout against Allin. That speaks to how the match maintained an essence of unpredictability. Much to my surprise, Allin took the lose. He did so on such a powerful move that he didn’t lose any luster on his status.

Business picked up after the match. Team Taz put the boots to their opponents. Time for another save by Will Hobbs, or so we thought. He initially chased away Cage and Starks with a chair. Hobbs then picked up the FTW title and shockingly clobbered Cody with it. That action signified taking up Taz’s offer to join the squad.

Great surprise. It was one of those moments where I had to see it to believe it. Hobbs is a good fit for Team Taz. He should thrive under Taz’s tutelage. One thing that has me curious is who will replace Hobbs to have the backs of Allin and Cody. There is a large void to be filled. A giant void, if you will. Could it lead to Shaq making an appearance in trios action before he tangles solo with Cody?

Mystery attacker

This episode was supposed to have the contract signing for the December 2 world title fight between Jon Moxley and Kenny Omega. That did not go as planned.

Early in the show, Moxley cut an excellent promo about advice from his father. Little Jon Jon was picked up at the police station, and Papa Mox told him that father and son are the good guys. No matter what happens, Moxley is the good guy. That advice stuck with Moxley through thick and thin in all these tough situations as champ. Mox affirmed that he will show Omega who is the best wrestler in the world.

Oh, Moxley also announced that Renee Young is pregnant. Congratulations! I can’t wait to see AEW’s band of hooligans attend the baby shower.

When it was time for the contract signing, Omega entered first. Justin Roberts read off a list of achievements matching Moxley and also a few things trumping Mox.

When it was time for Moxley’s entrance, he never appeared. Cameras discovered his unconscious body with a bloody nose. Medical staff attended to Moxley’s neck. Omega was a bit befuddled but not concerned. He signed the contract anyway hoping that Moxley shows up on the scheduled date.

This was a tough segment to judge. On one hand, mystery attacker! I always love a good mystery attacker angle. Heck, I even enjoy bad mystery attacker angles. It is all about the surprise reveal. On the other hand, seeing Moxley down let the air out of the balloon for anticipation of the big match. I want to see these two battle at peak performance to determine who is the best. An injured Moxley cheapens a potential win by Omega.

As for suspects, I’m looking in only one direction. It is toward Lance Archer. He’s been making threats for months. If this turns out a ploy to delay the big match for PPV in 2021, I’d be slightly disappointed at the swerve but okay with it overall as long as Omega fights Archer in the meantime.

Death Triangle swerve

PAC returned to the ring after being stuck in England due to COVID travel restrictions. He fought Blade in step one of taking down Eddie Kingston. The match started a little ugly with Blade trying a suplex into the ropes but PAC took the impact on his knee instead of his stomach. PAC also stumbled on a slingshot DDT attempt. Both men eventually found their groove to provide quality action. PAC was victorious after a shooting star press to Blade’s back then the Brutalizer submission.

The story became juicy in the aftermath. PAC grabbed a mic to yell at Kingston, but Butcher and Blade put the boots to the bastard. Fenix ran out for the save. The numbers game got him though. This was all setting up for Pentagon to arrive and make a decision. Would he protect his brother? Or would he stand firm with his new family? Pentagon chose Fenix and PAC as they reformed Death Triangle.

Pentagon picking his brother warms the cockles of my heart. That’s a story we can all relate to in theory. It’s one thing for Pentagon to beat up Fenix. It’s a different thing seeing someone else do it. I’m all aboard the Death Triangle train full steam ahead to beating up big mouth Kingston. Eddie does such a great job at being unlikable, so it will be satisfying to see PAC put him down. Tony Schiavone will probably be cheering for that outcome, since Kingston is always rude to him on commentary.

Not so mystery attacker

Dr. Britt Baker DMD and Thunder Rosa had heated words over the Twitter machine when AEW announced an NWA Women’s Championship contest between Serena Deeb and Thunder Rosa. That sass spilled over into violence during the broadcast.

The title tilt received plenty of time for the competitors to operate. It began with mat work and escalated to stiffer moves as the intensity increased. Thunder Rosa had momentum with a German suplex then a flying missile dropkick to send Deeb out of the ring. That’s when Reba caused a distraction to the referee. This allowed Dr. Baker to run in for a swinging fisherman’s neckbreaker to Thunder Rosa on the entrance ramp.

Deeb was unaware of what happened and attacked with a powerbomb. 1, 2, Thunder Rosa shockingly kicked out! The match continued for another stanza. After a nifty exchange of roll-up reversals, Deeb came out on top with an arm-trap facebuster to retain NWA gold.

As Thunder Rosa was dejected in defeat, she spotted Dr. Baker in the front row. Fisticuffs ensued for an energetic pull-apart brawl. Thunder Rosa was in no mood to let that interference slide.

The execution of this story left me with mixed feelings. The NWA title match was very good and gearing up for the climax when Dr. Baker butted in. I’m not a fan of new feuds starting like that during a championship clash. On the flip side, I am pumped to the max to see Thunder Rosa get revenge. The skirmish at the end sold me into wanting to see that future fight. In that sense, Dr. Baker’s interference was very effective.

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

Young Bucks defeated Top Flight. The newcomers looked good with plenty of fast-paced offense, but they couldn’t outdo the Bucks at their own game. Top Flight almost stole the win on a crucifix pin, however, the Bucks regrouped for a BTE Trigger. TH2 attacked Top Flight after the match, and the Bucks ran them off.

Good, high-energy opener. Top Flight is definitely a team to keep an eye on at only 21 and 19 years of age. The Bucks gave up enough offense to let Top Flight shine. The best part was the fantastic video package to introduce the team to the audience. It made Top Flight easy to root for.

Las Vegas! MJF treated the Inner Circle to a Las Vegas vacation. It played over two parts during Dynamite. The first half saw the crew gamble with MJF stealing Sammy Guevara’s cards during Blackjack, Wardlow and Jake Hager always mean mugging each other, visiting an after-hours club, MJF and Chris Jericho getting bombed off Everclear, Konnan taking the party to the next level with some smoke, and more shenanigans.

The second half imitated The Hangover as everyone woke up in the hotel suite. Sammy got married three times, and they found baby Hornswoggle in a diaper.

This sketch was silly fun. I think Ortiz vigorously pumping lightweight iron was the top highlight for me. I’m not sure if anything was advanced in terms of story. Sammy still hates MJF. Wardlow and Hager are still sizing each other up. MJF and Jericho are still measuring egos. If they do an Elvis musical skit next week, then I’ll be happy. After all, he is the newest member of the Inner Circle.

Boundless. AEW released a short film promoting the company. It has an interesting mix of real quotes blended with the backdrop of character scenery.

Orange Cassidy defeated Kip Sabian. Penelope Ford was the only associate ringside. Miro was on commentary. OC sent the Best Friends to the back. Close pinfall calls included a diving DDT from OC, a penalty kick from Sabian, and an inside hook driver from Sabian. In the end, OC countered off the ropes for a mousetrap pin to win. Miro rushed to the ring in a rage to clothesline Cassidy.

That was a creative finish for Cassidy to seal the win. The best part was Miro exploding with impressive athleticism at the demise of his friend. The way Miro hopped over the ropes made me pop. I sure hope Miro isn’t sacrificed at the orange altar.

Altercation! Cameras caught an altercation in the back as Jade Cargill stomped the arm of Brandi Rhodes inside a folding chair. Nyla Rose and Vickie Guerrero held back officials. Big Swole, Red Velvet, and Serena Deeb ran in to protect Brandi.

Say what you want about Brandi, but I think she has an exceptional knack for making a scene. The stories don’t always pan out, however, the moments always create excitement for me. In this instance, she just helped Cargill become a mega heel. I also like the babyface save. It felt old school where good guys and bad guys stuck with their own ilk. AEW just created six weeks or more of future material for Dynamite. We now have a variety of match directions with all parties involved.

AEW women’s title fight. John Silver announced that Anna Jay will compete against Hikaru Shida for the title next week. Mr. Brodie Lee demanded the opportunity due to Jay winning four in a row and breaking into the rankings this week.

If AEW is starting to turn more attention to their women’s division, then this night may prove to be the key turning point. They had one lengthy match, two angles, and an announcement for a big bout next week. Most important, all the segments were really entertaining. Tuesday night on Dark, AEW also aired a bunch of good women’s matches and debuted Dr. Baker’s new talk show. Time will tell if this is a positive trend or a blip on the radar.

Pants on fire. Darby Allin was back with another freaky yet mesmerizing video. It ended with his pants on fire. I was wondering if Allin was paying the price for being a liar. Not that I’m aware of any lies. I’m just going with the old phrase, “Liar, liar, pants on fire.”

Stud of the Show: Brian Cage

Cage’s Drill Claw off the top turnbuckle was mighty impressive.

Dud of the Show: Contract signing pen

Note to self: Always make sure the pen works before a live contract signing. Kenny Omega had some trouble trying to put his name on the dotted line. It was a little detail that made the proceedings look cheap.

Grade: B+

This episode of Dynamite delivered strong with mysteries and swerves. It left me eager for next week. One thing that felt off all night was the timing of these adventures. The arrivals of Hobbs and Pentagon seemed delayed. That has also happened in past weeks. The teases of treachery took a slight touch too long, in my opinion. A few seconds quicker would have made the moments crisper.

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

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