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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (Mar. 4, 2020): The Snake has arrived

AEW Dynamite (Mar. 4, 2020) emanated from Denver, Colorado as the fallout show from the Revolution PPV. It featured cowboy shit, the Inner Circle standing tall over Jon Moxley, and Jake “The Snake” Roberts arriving with a surprising target.

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

Jake “The Snake” Roberts

Yes, you read that right. Jake “The Snake” Roberts made a surprise appearance on Dynamite, and it had real substance as part of a story.

This was the segment of the night. It began with Cody Rhodes in the ring reacting to his loss to MJF. Cody said the only way he could accept it professionally is if MJF came out, looked him in the eye, and said he beat Cody fair and square. I didn’t quite follow that logic from Cody, since MJF clearly cheated. That’s a moot point, because Roberts answered the call instead of MJF.

Roberts was tired of listening to Cody cry and bitch. He wasn’t there to praise him, but to slay him. Roberts was there on behalf of a client. The dark side will be coming to AEW. The roots will take hold and rise like a phoenix from the ashes. Roberts isn’t interested in taking the whole AEW pie, just Cody’s share. Roberts finished with words of wisdom. Never turn your back on somebody you respect or that you are afraid of. He proceeded to turn his back to Cody while exiting the ring.

That promo from Roberts was fantastic. We had a surprise appearance, a tease for new talent, new story direction, acknowledgement of fans’ critiques of Cody being soft, and blatant badass disrespect. The way Roberts’ turned his back on Cody at the end was cold. Zero fear of crying Cody.

One nitpick would be using the word “dark.” AEW has too many factions with dark imagery. There is the Dark Order, the Nightmare Collective, the newly formed Death Triangle (more on them later), and whatever misdeeds Jimmy Havoc finds himself in. They all sound like video game villains. AEW needs to mix up the verbiage to make the groups stand apart.

As for who could be Roberts’ client, Lance Archer and Luke Harper are the likely candidates. I’m leaning toward Archer. It seemed like he was set to debut tonight, but Archer was not shown on-screen. Based on this tweet earlier in the day, Roberts may be part of Archer’s plan.

The other sign I’m looking at is Roberts’ haircut. The one-side shaved hairdo could be a hint to match Archer’s long-haired mohawk. You can catch a glimpse in this image.

The idea of Archer killing the Elite sounds good to me. Even better will be Roberts by his side.

Moxley put down

The show kicked off with a fan-friendly promo from Jon Moxley about winning the AEW World Championship. He will defend the title with his life. Moxley is no dummy though and knows the feud is not over with the Inner Circle. He had a message for them. “I dare you.”

Enter Chris Jericho and the Inner Circle. In typical Jericho fashion, he cut an amusing promo with twisted heel logic. Jericho called Moxley a liar and a cheater for fighting with two good eyes in their match. Since Moxley won unfairly, that means the Inner Circle will eschew their good-natured ways to become a hit squad. The AEW roster was put on notice. The Inner Circle will hurt people, starting with Mox. In fact, Jericho claimed that he would leave AEW for 60 days if Moxley walks out tonight on his own two feet after the main event.

That was a great hook to set up intrigue in the main event of Le Sex Gods versus Moxley and Darby Allin. Jericho is a busy man with his music career, so it would be believable that he could be written off Dynamite for awhile.

When it was time for the main event, Jericho had a plan. Hager, Santana, and Ortiz ambushed Moxley during his entrance as masked thugs. They beat Mox up in the concession area, and Hager applied the arm triangle choke to send Mox into unconsciousness.

Darby Allin took the match anyway despite being outnumbered 5 to 1 (2 legal men and 3 on the outside). Allin fought valiantly. In the end, he had momentum after a Coffin Drop onto the entire Inner Circle.

Allin nailed Sammy with a stunner then a Coffin Drop. Jericho broke up the pinfall. Allin knocked Jericho out of the ring then charged with a suicide dive. Jericho anticipated and blasted Allin with a Judas Effect in mid-flight. Allin was out cold. Sammy picked up the victory.

After the match, Moxley returned with a chair. The Inner Circle got him though and ended up powerbombing Mox through a table to close the show.

That was an action-packed main event. I did fear Allin was getting a little too strong at the end by demolishing the Inner Circle. It would have made the Inner Circle look like chumps if he won. Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed and so did the Inner Circle. Allin lost, but he once again looked like a star in the process.

The story idea was an interesting progression of the feud, but the execution wasn’t quite there. Jericho claimed Moxley wouldn’t be able to walk out. Moxley wasn’t standing tall at the end of Dynamite, but I don’t doubt he would get up eventually once the cameras stop rolling. Moxley is one tough dude. We’ve seen him get up from worse. I needed something more convincing to match the significance of Jericho’s promise to leave for 60 days.

Cowboy shit

Hangman Page treated us to an excellent load of cowboy shit.

Jake Hager defeated QT Marshall in singles action via standing arm triangle choke. (Side note: Marshall and Dustin Rhodes are now an official tag team known as the Natural Nightmares. Brandi Rhodes will be their manager.)

That led to a post-match melee with Hager, Santana, and Ortiz pummeling Marshall and Dustin. Cody ran in for the save, but Ortiz hit him in the back with a chair. Matt Jackson ran down to unleash superkicks, but Hager smashed him with a big slam. Who was next?

Hangman Page was next.

Hangman lollygagged down to the ring while drinking beer. He carefully placed his beverage atop the ring post, then he opened a can of cowboy shit to clean house on the Inner Circle. When the dust cleared, Matt had words for Hangman. It was hard to read if Matt was being confrontational. Whatever the case, Hangman flipped him the bird then humorously collected as many beers as his hands could hold. Matt’s ego was bruised, and he needed a consolation hug from Cody.

That was an awesome moment from Hangman. Everything about it made his stock rise even higher in my eyes as a fan. It gives me hope that AEW’s heel tease for Hangman after the tag title match at Revolution will be rethought. I don’t think they were expecting Hangman to be as over as he was for that match. This little scene showed AEW giving Hangman a moment more in line with the character that the fans want to cheer. Drink beer and kick ass.

Hangman versus Matt is the big-time singles match I want on free TV during this slow stretch building toward the next PPV. My eagerness for that bout is rocket high. Heck, I’d even pay to see it at Double or Nothing if the story can keep evolving until May 23. After their intense encounters during the tag title match, I can only imagine a singles bout would be hot fire as well.

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

SCU & Colt Cabana defeated the Dark Order in 8-man action. My favorite part was the veteran ingenuity of Christopher Daniels to hug Cabana as a way to halt him from running into an attack. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that technique before. This clip also has sweet slingshot action.

The finish belonged to the good guys as Scorpio Sky took flight for a tope con hilo onto three Dark Order members. Cabana cleaned up with a Chicago Skyline drop onto the turnbuckles then a Superman pin on Alex Reynolds. Afterward, an irate Evil Uno warned that SCU’s heads will roll when the Exalted One arrives.

This was a pleasant bout. It had good action with a comedic flavor. If the Dark Order and Cabana continue to tango, I worry that Cabana’s jocularity may make the Dark Order look like clowns. The Dark Order is already treading a thin line to be taken seriously. They need to make a violent example out of Cabana to cement their status as a legit threat.

Big Swole defeated Leva Bates. Swole won with the Dirty Dancing ripcord strike in about two minutes of ring time.

Good for Swole to pick up a win. Having a squash on primetime television would seem that a push up the rankings is coming her way. It is either that or a set up for a feud with Britt Baker. Baker was on commentary and downplayed Swole’s inspirational backstory.

PAC defeated Chuck Taylor. Taylor had momentum, missed a moonsault, then verbally submitted to the Brutalizer. This match didn’t do anything to grab my attention. What came next certainly did.

Death Triangle. After PAC’s match, Trent and Orange Cassidy got in his face to protect Chuckie T. The Lucha Bros ran down to double superkick OC and wreck the Best Friends. PAC grabbed a mic to announce a new alliance. PAC and the Lucha Bros will be known as Death Triangle. Nobody is safe. Pentagon bit OC’s ear to drive that point home.

I like the pairing of PAC with the Lucha Bros. I just hope this gives the Lucha Bros direction. While PAC is clearly the leader, I don’t want to see the Lucha Bros become reduced to pawns taking losses for PAC’s personal feuds. They are too talented and popular for that. If I had my druthers, this threesome would usher in an official trios division with a new championship.

MJF promo. MJF was backstage to speak about his win over Cody. MJF is all about pinning shoulders to the mat and banging rats, aka winning. He went from protege to prodigy. MJF called out Jon Moxley and expressed his intent for go for the gold. Great heel promo. Entertaining yet slimy enough to still boo the man.

Stud of the Show: Chris Jericho

That Judas Effect to a diving Darby Allin was money. The live camera didn’t get a good shot, but the backside replay was magnificent. The timing of both men made it appear like death. It was one of the more vicious moves in recent memory.

Dud of the Show: Darby Allin

I have to call Darby out for not helping Moxley when he was being pummeled. Tony Schiavone tried to cover for Darby by claiming Le Sex Gods beat him up, but it looked like we could see Darby watching Moxley on the big screen when the camera panned out ringside. Moxley wasn’t that far away. Allin could have run up there in under a minute. It didn’t make Allin look good, in my opinion.

Grade: B-

This was a fine show with plenty of entertaining moments. The matchups had background story but fell short in the sizzle factor. It was fairly obvious who would win most of the contests. AEW usually does a better job of keeping it unpredictable. The positive was that this episode of Dynamite was a building block to bigger things. Stories advanced and are taking shape. I expect the coming weeks to be riveting.

How do you rate this episode of Dynamite? What was your favorite moment? Who do you think will be revealed as Jake Roberts’ client?

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