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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (Feb. 5, 2020): Intestinal fortitude

AEW Dynamite (Feb. 5, 2020) emanated from Huntsville, Alabama. It featured ten lashes to Cody Rhodes’ back, an eye for an eye from Jon Moxley, Britt Baker breaking teeth, and Darby Allin with a flamethrower.

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

It has a rough night for AEW’s medical staff. They had to attend to Cody Rhodes’ lashed back at the hands of MJF, Santana’s eye stabbed by Jon Moxley’s car keys, and Yuka Sakazaki’s broken teeth after a Britt Baker curb stomp. Let’s break down all that carnage.

Stipulation #1

Cody Rhodes showed tremendous intestinal fortitude to withstand the ten lashes from MJF’s first stipulation in order to secure their one-on-one bout at the Revolution PPV on February 29. The hook for this segment was that Cody had to take all ten lashes to complete the task, or else no match against MJF. AEW cranked up the drama by having little moments between each lash in the ten-minute main attraction.

Cody entered the ring ready for pain. MJF demanded that they use Cody’s own belt. After lash 1, Blade, Butcher, Bunny, Kip Sabian, and Sammy Guevara came out on the entrance ramp to enjoy the festivities. After lash 2, MJF tried to get Cody to hit him. Contact from Cody would have violated one of the stipulations and canceled their future match.

Lash 3 sent Cody down to his knees. Arn Anderson came out for a pep talk to Cody. Lash 4 sent Cody down to the mat. After lash 5 across the spine, Dustin came out. He offered to take the five remaining lashes, but MJF would not allow it. Lashes 6 and 7 were rapid fire back to back. That brought out the Young Bucks for support. After lash 8, Cody responded with a middle finger. Wardlow stepped in to deliver lash 9. He wound up hard and caused blood to trickle from Cody’s back.

Cody was down and had trouble getting up for the final lash. Brandi came down to rev Cody up. Cody arose to stand tall. Right as he turned around, MJF lashed Cody across the chest.

Cody survived to complete MJF’s first stipulation. MJF was livid that Cody lasted, so he kicked Cody in the nuts and ran away through the crowd. MJF had to fight off a random attacker as the show went off the air. That skirmish felt like a planted person rather than a paying fan.

That was high drama fit for TNT programming. It was over the top with the lashes, cheesy with the emotional support of friends and family, and contained vile scumbaggery from the villain. Blend that all together and we were treated to a very memorable moment in professional wrestling.

The big question is if the emotional manipulation of the scene was effective. I’d answer with not really. It was riveting television, but I don’t feel any stronger about rooting for Cody. I would have preferred to see Cody with more defiance in the face of pain rather than needing friends and family to come out after every lash.

Stipulation #2 for Cody will be a cage match against Wardlow in two weeks on Dynamite.

An eye for an eye

Jon Moxley started the show in a match against Ortiz. It was a solid fight highlighted by suicide dives.

In the end, Moxley was too savvy. He dodged a running Ortiz, who bumped into Santana on the apron. Ortiz turned around and ran into a DDT. 1, 2, 3, for Moxley.

Santana attacked after the match, but Moxley rebounded with kicks and a DDT. Moxley took out the car keys of Chris Jericho’s gifted Ford GT from his pocket. Jericho, Sammy Guevara, and Jake Hager had been on commentary. Moxley stared them down and shouted an eye for an eye. Stab!

Moxley stabbed Santana in the eye with the car key. Later, Santana delivered a fiery promo to challenge Moxley in an Eye for an Eye match next week on Dynamite.

Whew! Santana was blazing. That showed why he my favorite member of the Inner Circle. Can’t forget to giggle at Jericho’s hypocritcal outrage at Moxley doing the exact same thing done by Le Champion.

Moxley’s strategy has been well-played thus far. He has beaten 2/5 of the Inner Circle while increasing the rate of damage done each week. Can Moxley eliminate the Inner Circle temporarily to get Jericho alone at Revolution? Santana will be no easy task next week. Plus, Jericho will eventually scheme to get the upper hand at least one more time. The chess match will be a doozy.

Britt Baker doing dental work

Britt Baker squared off against Yuka Sakazaki. It was a clunky affair won by Sakazaki. For the finish, Baker was in control and tried for the Lockjaw submission. Sakazaki transitioned into a crucifix pin for the surprise victory.

Baker went into a rage after her loss. She grabbed the ring bell to strike Sakazaki in the back. Baker then placed Sakazaki’s mouth around the bottom rope for a brutal curb stomp. Sakazaki spit up blood and broken teeth.

Hot damn! This whole match and segment had an awkward flow, but it sure was a heck of a story turn. Baker going rogue to break off chompers was quite the twist. The poetic justice ending to this story has to be Baker’s teeth being knocked out, right? That would be wild. It is also nice that Baker lost, so we can get some fresh talent cracking the top 5 of the women’s rankings.

As far as Yuka Sakazaki’s debut on Dynamite, I was not impressed. She didn’t stand out much. Her big move was a flying hug? It was called a splash, but both Sakazaki and Baker ended up in a standing position on the floor. I’ll have to see Sakazaki more before forming a firm opinion.

As the Hangman turns

The soap opera between Hangman Page, Kenny Omega, and the Young Bucks turned another page in that chapter. That foursome competed in an atomicos match against the Lucha Bros, Blade, and Butcher. The action was chaotic. There were too many cool flippy moves to list. Here are two in particular; triple slingshot planchas from the Elite and Fenix flying high.

The story as it pertains to Hangman was his disfavor for the Young Bucks. The Bucks and Omega worked fluid as a threesome. Hangman was often the odd man out. He would only make tags with Omega. I don’t believe the Bucks ever tagged in Hangman. Hangman had been dealing with a knee injury suffered early. For the finish, he wanted to make the hot tag to Omega, but Omega had been pulled off the apron by one of the bad guys. Hangman declined to tag in the Bucks, then he walked right into a slingblade from Pentagon.

The Lucha Bros promptly ended the bout with their teamwork flying butt stomp into a package piledriver. Hip hip hooray for a win by the Lucha Bros. Back to the Hangman story.

After the match, the Bucks were upset with Hangman. He exited through the crowd to drink beer with the fans. Omega once again tried to smooth things over. Omega was a little more animated in defense of Hangman this time. The Elite trio shook hands in camaraderie before leaving the area.

Later in the evening, Hangman, with a beer in hand, was interviewed backstage by Lexy Nair. The Bucks rolled up to confront the cowboy. They yelled at him about not making the tag. Nick said Hangman would be losing the tag titles if he keeps that up. Matt blamed Hangman’s problem on beer and snatched his cup out of Hangman’s hand.

In a master stroke of camerawork, the zoom went to Hangman’s upper arm as the Bucks exited the scene. All of a sudden, Hangman magically lifted a full pitcher of beer to take a swig as a humorous surprise to viewers.

The Hangman story continues to captivate my attention. It is clear Hangman is not comfortable being with the Young Bucks any longer. I’m waiting for the moment when he delivers a sober promo that tears them to shreds. I also enjoy Omega getting slightly more snippier at the Bucks for their complaining. I’m pulling for Omega to stick with Hangman. When that tag match eventually takes place, I want to see both teams at the top of their game. No excuses for losing.

In typical Young Bucks fashion, they came off as buttheads again. Yes, they did have a point of Hangman not making the tag, and they have every right to be angry. But, who are they to criticize him about losing the tag belts in the future. Hangman and Omega work fine as a pair, meanwhile, it is the Bucks who have failed to deliver on the biggest stage of their career. Instead of searching for the underlying reason of discord, the Bucks blamed the beer. Never blame the beer. That’s a heel move in my book. Boo, Young Sucks.

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

PAC gets his rubber match. Nyla Rose gets her title shot. After the 8-man tag bout, Tony Schiavone attempted to interview Kenny Omega. PAC promptly interrupted to request his much desired rubber match. PAC pointed out that Michael Nakazawa must mean nothing to Omega. The camera widened out to reveal Riho standing next to PAC. PAC insinuated that Riho would be next to feel the pain. Omega shouted that he accepts the match. PAC revealed that he had no intention of laying hands on Riho. He may be a bastard, but he’s not a beast. Cue Nyla Rose to come in and powerbomb Riho onto a table. Rose will have her championship match next week on Dynamite. PAC vs Omega III will be a 30-minute Ironman match in three weeks (go-home to Revolution).

Fantastic segment. It set up two huge matches in under two minutes of screen time. PAC and Nyla Rose both came off as dastardly heels worth jeering. That will hopefully add an emotional investment for fans to root for Riho and Omega.

SCU defeated Best Friends. #1 vs #5 in the rankings. Here’s the obligatory Orange Cassidy clip. After everyone knocked themselves silly on the floor, OC decided to take a load off and join them.

Best Friends had momentum at the end of the match. They went were a fateful hug in the center of the ring. That delay bought time for SCU to recover. Best Friends went for Strong Zero on Kaz, but Scorpio Sky knocked Chuck Taylor off the turnbuckles. Sky then hit Trent with a big knee to send Trent into Yoshi Tonic from Kaz and the 1, 2, 3. SCU for the win.

It will be interesting to see if the Best Friends quit hugging, since it cost them the match. Quality with from SCU. SCU will be getting a title shot against Hangman and Omega next week on Dynamite. This win did not play a role in earning that bout. It was a previously announced rematch for the ex-champs.

Dark Order attacks. Immediately after that bout, the Dark Order pummeled everyone in the ring. Orange Cassidy entered the ring. Evil Uno offered him a creeper mask. OC put his hands in his pockets to decline. Stu Grayson blasted OC with a forearm for his refusal. Christopher Daniels ran down to make the save. CD wanted to fight, but the Dark Order backed away.

Later, there was a Dark Order commercial in the pharmaceutical style.

Kip Sabian defeated Joey Janela. This feud raged on. For the finish, Sabian was smooching Penelope Ford on the apron. Sabian had one eye turned toward Janela to see him charging. Sabian moved, and Janela collided with Ford to knock her down to the floor. Sabian rolled up Janela with a handful of tights to win. Sabian carried an injured Ford to the back after his success.

This bout didn’t grab my attention. I think I’d prefer this feud to continue as mixed intergender tag with Janela finding a partner. Ford is the star out of those three, so give her a larger chance to shine.

Stud of the Show: Darby Allin with a flamethrower

After last week’s skateboard throatbuster by Sammy Guevara to Darby Allin, Allin is focused on revenge. This week, Allin had a video segment from I presume his home. Allin broke out a flamethrower to torch the cardboard cutout of Le Sex Gods.

That scene was so cool. Great way to keep Allin hot without him being at the show. I hope Allin gets time for a quick video each week he isn’t scheduled to be in the ring.

Dud of the Show: Britt Baker vs Yuka Sakazaki

There was no one moment from Dynamite that stood out as deserving of the dud honor, so I’ll go with the match between Britt Baker and Yuka Sakazaki. It wasn’t boring, but it certainly was not wrestled with efficiency. At times, it was like two uncoordinated toddlers colliding.

Grade: A-

A very entertaining episode. The wrestling was solid, for the most part. The stories were what lifted the show. How often do we see a stabbed eye, broken teeth, a cowboy drinking a pitcher of beer, a flamethrower, a powerbomb onto a table, and ten lashes all in one sitting? This week was jam-packed with super shenanigans of sports entertainment.

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

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