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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (Apr. 1, 2020): Darby punched Cody!?!

AEW Dynamite (Apr. 1, 2020) emanated from an undisclosed location. The show featured Kenny Omega and Trent in one heck of a battle, Lance Archer’s destructive debut, Chris Jericho releasing the hounds, and Darby Allin punching his partner Cody Rhodes.

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

TNT Championship tournament

The show kicked off with the reveal of the full TNT Championship tournament bracket. Four participants were announced on Dark. Dynamite announced the remaining four participants.

  • Shawn Spears vs Cody Rhodes
  • Sammy Guevara vs Darby Allin
  • Kip Sabian vs Dustin Rhodes
  • Lance Archer vs Colt Cabana

I’ve already given my thoughts on the left side of the bracket (here). The matchups revealed on Dynamite are so-so. They’ll most likely be entertaining in the ring, but it seems predictable that Dustin and Archer will advance to the semifinals. Predictability in a tournament dampens the excitement.

Looking at the tournament as a whole, the roadmap appears to be Archer inflicting pain on Dustin before he meets Cody in the finals. The only monkey wrench I see could be Darby Allin. The fallout from the main event strengthened that possibility.

Darby punched Cody!?!

The main event had Cody Rhodes and Darby Allin teaming up to wrestle Shawn Spears and Sammy Guevara. There were three specific moments in this match that brought a smile to my face. First was Spears and Guevara gambling about stalling suplexes to Allin.

Second was Cody being tossed into the heel section then being stomped by heals.

The third was Allin climbing a pole for a super high Coffin Drop.


The finish came down to Guevara sliding in a chair for Spears to use on Cody, Allin snatching the chair, Guevara taking the chair from Allin, then Spears winning with a surprise roll-up on the distracted Allin.

In the aftermath, Cody tried to be a good teammate and console a frustrated Allin. Allin was so infuriated that he sucker punched Cody onto his keister.


Allin then stormed off.

Bro! Dude! Bro! I did not anticipate that coming at all. Excellent swerve. Allin has tweeted his frustration with losing in the past and also tweeted that he will prove everybody wrong by winning the TNT Championship. Knowing that, it makes sense why Allin exploded on Cody. I don’t agree with it, but I understand it.

The best function of Allin’s misbehavior is that it makes him a strong underdog to upset the apple cart of the likely tournament final of Cody versus Archer. It also makes Allin’s future tournament matches must-see TV. I’m really hoping he’ll get past Guevara so we can see Allin vs Cody. The intensity will be off the chart. AEW likes to put over their sporting identity and how wins and losses matter. There is no doubting that with Allin.

Match of the Night

Kenny Omega and Trent put on a heck of contest in the opener. It turned into a feisty fight of physicality. In the words of Tony Schiavone, “These two guys are kicking each other’s ass.” Omega targeted Trent’s back, while Trent targeted Omega’s injured hand. Highlights were a springboard moonsault from Trent, a tope con hilo from Omega onto the hugging Best Friends and Orange Cassidy, a deadlift German suplex from Omega on the floor, Omega powerbombing Trent into a post, and a sliding snap German suplex from Trent.

This bout went down to the wire of the 20-minute time limit. At the 15-minute mark, the drama picked up with big moves and pinfall attempts. Under 2 minutes to go, Trent hit a super German suplex.

After a big knee from Trent, Omega kicked out of the pin cover. Omega fought back with two knee strikes then the One Winged Angel to win with under 60 seconds remaining.

Awesome match. Flippy stuff is cool, but the rugged fights are what really draw me in as a wrestling fan. Trent and Omega had a donnybrook of a barn burner. I was not expecting it to be so close. After last week with Omega getting beat up most of the match against Sammy Guevara, Omega brought the aggression to Trent this week. Trent responded in kind. That intensity from both men made this match fire. By the end, I was hoping it would be a draw so we could get a rematch. This is one duel I want to see again as soon as possible.

Lance Archer makes a statement

Lance Archer’s opponent for his debut was Marko Stunt. I laughed out loud when Stunt’s name was called. It was clear that things would not end well for the little man.

Jake “The Snake” Roberts provided an intro promo for his client. Ring the bell, hell’s fixing to break loose. They are tired of Cody’s silly little games. Archer is pissed. Cody is delaying the inevitable.

Archer was indeed pissed. He knocked out a stagehand on the way to the ring. Archer proceeded to brutally kick Stunt’s ass.

Stunt had spirit by using speed to evade, but Archer still murdered him. The big man won the match with his Blackout crucifix bomb finisher.

After the match, Archer used a chokeslam to toss Stunt off the apron and onto Billy Gunn and Orange Cassidy.

That sure was an effective use of Stunt in a squash match. Credit to him for taking a beating and making Archer look menacing. I’m eager to observe Archer wreck someone a little larger. It will be interesting to see how quickly he shuts Colt Cabana’s big mouth in their tournament match.

Until then, I’d really like to see Archer against Billy Gunn or Orange Cassidy. Manhandling Gunn would make me take notice, but I would understand if Gunn isn’t interested in taking those bumps. Might as well feed OC to the Muderhawk then. OC doesn’t need any momentum until PAC comes back, and OC also does a great job of taking a beating.

Release the hounds!

The latest chapter in between Chris Jericho and Matt Hardy was another recruitment pitch from Le Champion to Vanguard 1.

Jericho was drinking a little bit of the bubbly in a hot tub on his palatial estate. He was celebrating the April Fool’s holiday. He’s never met a bigger group of fools than the Elite. Omega is the biggest pumpkin-head dipshit. Nick is on leave with a newborn bebe. Hangman is tipsy in Tennessee. Cody Exotic is the leader of that menagerie of miscreants and morons. He made the stupid move of hiring “Dumbass-cus” Matt Hardy.

Vanguard 1 swooped by. Jericho got out of the hot tub to reveal he was wearing pants in the water. Jericho tried to apologize but couldn’t spit out the word sorry. He still wanted Vanguard to join the Inner Circle. Jericho hooked a little baby Inner Circle t-shirt to the drone. Vanguard flew away. Jericho through his bottle then yelled to release the hounds. A pack of non-menacing dogs scurried out of the house. Jericho shouted, “I’m going to get you!”

That skit was comedy gold. I cracked up at Jericho wearing pants in the hot tub and absolutely lost it when his dogs ran out.

This will go down in the annals of my classic Jericho memories.

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

Hikaru Shida defeated Anna Jayy. Shida received a sweet highlight package prior to her introduction. Jayy debuted from the Nightmare Factory and was trained by QT Marshall and Glacier. Her gear resembled a Chippendale sheriff. There was a minor side story of Shida flapping gums with Britt Baker in the fan section.

Perhaps we’ll get that matchup in the near future.

This bout was a competitive showcase for Shida. Jayy fought tough, but Shida came out on top with a vertical suplex, knee to the back of the head, then a Falcon Arrow slam to win.

AEW did a good job of pumping up Shida. The highlight package combined with Shida’s personality during the match showed she should be the one to be built up as Nyla Rose’s title challenger at Double or Nothing on May 23, assuming that show doesn’t get canceled. I originally thought that would be too long of a wait for Shida, but the time should fly by given the current coronavirus circumstances.

Jon Moxley versus Jake Hager for the world title. AEW played a slick interview package to promote an empty arena title fight between Moxley and Hager in two weeks.

Moxley knows Hager well. He’s not scared, but he does understand that Hager can strangle him with his bare hands. Jericho was excited for Hager to bring the title back to the Inner Circle. That way there will be two champs, Hager and Le Champion.

These two have done the physical work to build the match. The video package did the verbal work to sell the match. It built anticipation and excitement in an effective manner. My biggest takeaway was Jericho giving his blessing for Hager to win. He reiterated the idea that the Inner Circle is a unified unit. I’m pleased that Hager has Jericho’s support, because I’m not ready to see the Inner Circle break up.

Mr. Brodie. The Exalted One belittled his minions for the second straight week. This time, Brodie Lee demanded to be called Mr. Brodie instead of Mr. Lee or the Exalted One. He also got upset when a creeper yawned. Tiredness shows weakness. He can’t have that.

AEW continues to do a great job of cementing Mr. Brodie as a jerk. I have no desire to root for him at all, and I have a high desire to see him get his ass kicked. Success!

Natural Nightmares defeated Dark Order’s 8 & 9. This match continued the story of last week when Mr. Brodie offered QT Marshall a creeper mask. 8 & 9 were two random jabroni creepers. QT still had the mask and tossed it in their faces. The Natural Nightmares were victorious via teamwork flapjack as Dustin Rhodes pinned a creeper.

Afterward, Mr. Brodie came out. Dustin didn’t back down, but Mr. Brodie had other intentions. He powerbombed one creeper and stared at the other creeper. That was a message about failing to win.

Repeat my same thoughts above about Mr. Brodie. I like Dustin not backing down. Displays of enormous grapefruits always intrigue me. That encounter also did a nice job of weaving everyone together. Maybe we’ll get Dustin versus Mr. Brodie down the line. Maybe not. At least it shows general awareness from talent of what else is going on in the AEW world.

Nick Jackson update. Matt Jackson took Nick to an outdoor wrestling ring to get in ring shape. Nick has no memory of what happened when he was sent to the hospital. They went through a light workout. This has taught Nick that we can’t take life for granted. Afterward, he stated that he wasn’t ready to get back to wrestling yet.

Perfect use for filler video. It advanced the storyline and developed character for Nick.

Other thoughts. Having wrestlers back in the fan seats to provide noise made a positive difference. The best crowd moment was Jimmy Havoc offering a wrench for Trent to use on Omega during a commercial break. Also, three arfs for the return of Pharaoh.

Stud of the Show: Trent’s creativity

During Trent’s match against Kenny Omega, he executed a sliding snap German suplex as Omega was hung in the ropes.

Whoa! That stupendous maneuver widened me eyes. I’ve never seen that type of German suplex before. Outstanding creativity from Trent.

Dud of the Show: Poor strategy from Shawn Spears and Sammy Guevara

This was a missed opportunity for Spears and Guevara. Both are conniving heels. I would have liked to see them try to injure Cody and Darby, who will be their respective first-round opponents in the TNT Championship tournament. It was a chance to get an edge for a greater prize. That thought didn’t seem to cross their minds once.

Grade: B+

Even though this episode lacked big matches, I really enjoyed Dynamite. All the outside promos were well done. The action in the ring was physical. Kenny Omega versus Trent was a surprise treat. Chris Jericho stole the show with his hounds.

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

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