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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (May 20, 2020): Lone Hangman

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AEW Dynamite (May 20, 2020) emanated from Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, FL for their go-home show to Double or Nothing on May 23. Dynamite featured Jon Moxley sending a message via broken bones, Nyla Rose and Hikaru Shida in a collision crash, and an Elite surprise to hype the Stadium Stampede.

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

Hangman surprise

In the main event of the evening, Matt Hardy defeated Sammy Guevara. That provided Hardy a tiny bit of retribution for the Inner Circle destroying Vanguard 1 last week. For the finish, Hardy removed Sammy’s boot and bit his toes. Sammy was unfazed as he attacked with a rising knee strike and a springboard cutter. Sammy went high risk to end it, but Hardy got his knees up on a shooting star press. A Twist of Fate gave Hardy the victory.

The real excitement happened after the match. Hardy grabbed a chair to inflict true pain on Guevara. That’s when the Inner Circle flashed on the big screen. They had Kenny Omega surrounded 4-to-1 on the football field. Jericho swung his bat into Omega’s ribs.

All of a sudden, the Young Bucks magically appeared.

They took flight with a pair of crossbodies off the wall. The Bucks cleaned house with the aid of steel chairs. The Inner Circle eventually regained control.

That was until Hangman Page sprinted 100 yards down the field to deliver a couple of clotheslines and whoop some ass.

The Inner Circle retreated to wait for the Stadium Stampede at Double or Nothing. The Elite were feeling tough and tight as a unit. Then, Hangman walked off into the sunset to leave his compadres high and dry.

That finishing scene was bonkers. Yes, there are logic loopholes, such as why were the Young Bucks waiting around while Omega was being pummeled. That doesn’t matter though. The fighting was energetic and the surprise returns were wonderful. Hangman takes the cake with his sprint to action.

I’m a big supporter of Hangman in his beef with the Bucks, but I have to ask what was his problem this time. On one hand, nothing was ever resolved, so he had no reason to hang out with them. On the other hand, quit being so salty. Absence is supposed to make the heart grow fonder. At a time like this with the coronavirus pandemic, I figured it would be easier for Hangman to let bygones be bygones and at least be on board for the Stadium Stampede. AEW needs to make sure they don’t portray Hangman as being selfish. That could lose some of his fan support.

Good news, bad news

We have some good news and some bad news for the women’s division. The good news is that the women had the best match of the evening and went out with a bang to hype Nyla Rose defending the Women’s Championship against Hikaru Shida in a no DQ contest. The bad news is that greatest wrestling dentist of all-time may have a knee injury.

Hikaru Shida & Kris Statlander faced off against Nyla Rose and Dr. Britt Baker DMD. Baker was not looking to be part of the contest. She refused the tag until Rose goozled her and forced Baker in the ring. Rose did most of the heavy lifting in the match, but Shida and Statlander did heavy lifting of their own on a double team slam on Rose into Baker in the corner.

Unfortunately for Baker, the brunt of Rose’s weight landed on the dentist’s leg. The ringside medic was in screen checking on Baker’s knee. She did not participate much in the rest of the match.

The finish came after a Beast Bomb from Rose to Shida for the win. Afterward, Rose wanted to add injury to insult. She set up a table with the intention of a flying splash onto Shida. Statlander popped up to hug Rose’s waist to prevent liftoff. That led to Shida executing a superplex through the table. Holy Shida!

Rose lived up to her nickname, “The Native Beast.” She beasted through two top competitors to win. Shida stood tall in the end, but she needed dire assistance from her alien friend. I have to say that Rose remains the heavy favorite. Shida did show that she will go through whatever pain is necessary to claim gold. That fight should be a doozy.

Well wishes to Dr. Britt Baker DMD. Let’s hope she did not sustain any serious damage to her knee. Baker has worked hard on getting over in a way no one saw coming. The world needs a role model in these harsh times.

Debt collection

Mr. Brodie Lee opened the show flanked by 10, Alex Reynolds, John Silver, and a few creepers. Mr. Brodie spoke to the people at home. Viewers have a tough time relating to a supremely powerful athlete at the top of his game, but he is no god. Mr. Brodie is a man who puts his pants on one leg at a time. Mr. Brodie transitioned from his recruitment pitch into explaining how the Dark Order are the lions of AEW. Mr. Brodie has to beat Jon Moxley at Double or Nothing to satisfy his own hunger and desire as well as to pay off the loyalty of his men. Mr. Brodie turned to 10 and promoted him to high knight status. Rise and go hurt Moxley. The Dark Order exited to leave 10 alone to handle Mox.

10 was no match for Moxley in their bout. Mox unloaded a running high knee as the opening bell sounded. He followed with a few suplexes. 10 used a referee distraction to get some shots in, but Mox rebounded with a DDT and Gotch piledriver. A Paradigm Shift won the contest for Moxley, but 10’s evening was not over yet.

Moxley had a message for Mr. Brodie about stealing his property. Moxley gave him ten seconds to come out or else he would break 10’s arm. Mr. Brodie answered on the big screen. Taking Moxley’s belt was business. Now, it is personal. Mr. Brodie will put Moxley to sleep at the PPV. Unfortunately for 10, they all have to make sacrifices. Mr. Brodie exited the screen, so Moxley broke 10’s arm with a pair of chairs.

That was one heck of a message sent by Moxley. He wasn’t joking around when he said he would collect with interest last week. I am extremely confident that Moxley will retain at Double or Nothing. The question for me is if Mr. Brodie will have to live by his words about making sacrifices as Moxley breaks his arm too.

I was disappointed in 10’s effort. He came across as a chump. Moxley steamrolled over him. I wasn’t expecting 10 to take Mox to the limit, but I was hoping for more of a fight. The way 10 lost makes him another jobber in the Dark Order’s mix. It was a missed opportunity to establish himself as legit talent not to be taken lightly.

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

MJF defeated Marko Stunt. Wardlow was ringside for MJF, while Stunt went solo. Jim Ross mentioned that Stunt wanted to prove he could win by himself. This match played out like MJF beating up a child. MJF forced Stunt’s finger up his own nose. Stunt had a few flurries of offense, but MJF was never in serious trouble. MJF won with a double underhook shoulderbreaker then a Salt of the Earth armbreaker.

MJF grabbed a mic afterward. Stunt lasted longer than anyone thought he would, so he wanted to give him a present. MJF’s gift was a punch in the face with the Dynamite Diamond Ring. Jurassic Express ran in to chase away MJF and Wardlow.

This segment fell flat for me. It felt like MJF was playing along to allow Stunt to get his spots in. The match desperately needed live fans to cheer on Stunt’s offense. It didn’t have the intended impact with silence.

Enforcer vs Snake. Arn Anderson and Jake Roberts had a sitdown chat in the center of the ring. They got to gabbing about Cody Rhodes versus Lance Archer for the TNT Championship at Double or Nothing. The excitement came when Roberts had tough talk to personally threaten Arn. Arn shot back about Mike Tyson having free reign to roam as he pleases. Arn insinuated that Jake wouldn’t have the guts to put his snake on Iron Mike. Jake backed off with the promise that Archer gets first shot at Tyson. Arn threatened hitting Jake with a spinebuster, so Jake knocked the table over to square up. Referees intervened before we could be treated to an old man fight.

This segment didn’t quite hit for me either. The idea of Anderson and Roberts going at it physically is intriguing, however, their bodies are not capable anymore. That takes out some of the danger when they issue threats. I do like the tease that Mike Tyson will be knocking someone out at the PPV. I really hope AEW delivers on that.

Darby being Darby. Darby Allin put out a vignette. He played poker with his buddies wearing paper masks of competitors in the Casino Ladder Match at Double or Nothing. He pushed his chips all in then climbed a burning ladder.

It doesn’t matter whether or not I like Darby’s weirdo videos. I’ll always support trying something different in wrestling vignettes. And that was certainly different. Allin deserves an A for effort. It looked cool, but I didn’t follow all his symbolism.

Speaking of weird...

PAC promo. PAC had a message for Orange Cassidy. He’s been forced to sit at home and weather the storm. The cocky little prick Cassidy will have his snout kicked off by assassin Fenix. OC will be sent to his maker. Consider himself marked.

It was nice seeing PAC support his fellow Death Triangle mate. That promo gives me hope that he will be the surprise entrant in the Casino Ladder Match. I don’t know what to make of the PAC double vision side by side with his two selves. It gave me vibes that his words were legit and not a figure of speech. I’m worried Pentagon is out there right now murdering people to meet their maker.

Fenix defeated Orange Cassidy. OC dodged all of Fenix’s early offense and showcased his own wrestling skills. Fenix had a nifty step-up springboard leg drop.

OC had moments of success. He unleashed fists of fury then a Superman punch. OC also hit a suicide dive, flying crossbody, and a whirling DDT. Fenix came back with an amazing springboard super powerbomb.

OC had Fenix’s number with multiple counters and escapes. Cassidy was on the verge of victory when Kip Sabian brought out a ladder. He sat atop the steel to watch the action. Fenix used the distraction for a low blow and a rolling cutter to win.

The aftermath was used to hype the Casino Ladder Match. Scorpio Sky and Frankie Kazarian pushed the ladder over to send Sabian tumbling down. Jimmy Havoc ran in to back up his partner. Fenix flew onto all four on the floor. That was in the intention, but he landed badly. Colt Cabana hit an Asai moonsault. The Best Friends came out to hoist Cassidy up in the air onto the bodies below.

Hip hip hooray for Fenix’s win. He resorted to underhanded tactics, but I’ll take it. This performance from Cassidy was still a little too play wrestling for my liking, but I can accept it if that will be his style going forward. As long as he tries. It is supposed to be a fight after all. The high spots were all cool. The brawl at the end checked off all the boxes promoting the dangerous and exciting atmosphere to expect for the Casino Ladder Match.

Shawn Spears News. Spears hosted his own SSN news desk segment. He reported that Dustin Rhodes retired, which isn’t true. It was a ploy to call out Rhodes so he could get booked for Double or Nothing. It worked. The match was quickly announced as official.

That was a heelishly humorous segment from Spears. He went low by making fun of Dustin’s past pill popping. I don’t think this match is necessary for the PPV, but Spears built up some quick heat to give a reason to root for Dustin.

Stud of the Show: 100 yard sprint

Hangman Page’s surprise appearance was awesome. This honor is more for coming out of quarantine and running a 100 yard sprint. That had to have sucked for him, but he cowboyed up to do some cowboy shit.

Dud of the Show: Fenix’s fall

Fenix’s aerial maneuvers are amazing. Too bad his back landed directly on the floor during the post-match melee. Yikes.

I don’t know if anyone is at fault there. Fenix manipulated time and space to float through the air. How are you supposed to gauge for that on the catch?

Grade: B+

As a go-home show, Dynamite did its job to create enthusiasm for Double or Nothing. All the segments built toward the PPV. As for the in-ring action, the matches in the first hour didn’t connect with me, but the second hour was jamming. The finish with the Inner Circle and the Elite was pure fun.

Share your thoughts about this episode of Dynamite. How do you rate it? Did the show get your properly pumped for Double or Nothing? What’s your take on Hangman Page’s appearance?