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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (Aug. 12, 2020): King Cody

AEW Dynamite (Aug. 12, 2020) emanated from Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, FL. The show featured Scorpio Sky taking Cody Rhodes to the limit, Hangman Page & Kenny Omega proving they are the best tag team, and Orange Cassidy upsetting Chris Jericho in their rematch.

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

King Cody

Cody Rhodes had his hands full with Scorpio Sky in the latest TNT Championship open challenge. AEW did a great job by building Sky up with one promo to feel like a legitimate threat to take the brand new belt off Cody’s waist. It created a riveting uncertainty that was lacking in Cody’s bouts against indie talent.

A lot of fans were behind Sky hoping for a win, but Cody proved his greatness once again in victory. The story was about Cody’s ribs. Despite last week’s difficulty in tag action, Cody claimed his ribs were fine. It didn’t take long to clutch his midsection in this match. Sky often peppered him with hard body shots. Sky even rammed Cody’s ribs into the ring post. Sky had momentum but hurt his lower back on a slingshot cutter on the stage.

The two fighters pushed through the pain. Their desire to win was more important. Cody was in charge on a superplex, but Sky used his core strength to roll over for a pin.

That transitioned into the fiery finish. Cody escaped a TKO to hit Cross Rhodes. Sky kicked out on the cover. Cody went for a tombstone piledriver, but Sky escaped. That led to a slingshot cutter attempt by Sky, but Cody held onto the ropes to avoid impact. Cody pounced with Cross Rhodes to win.

Great match. This fight truly felt like high-stakes sport. I like how Sky didn’t take any crap from Cody. He was there to win gold, not play games. Even though Sky lost, he came out looking better. He deserves more singles bouts on Dynamite. On the other side, Cody displayed his masterful ring awareness by reading Sky’s cutter and grabbing the rope. That was yet another unique way to win the match during his championship run.

When Dynamite debuted, Cody was not a big draw for me. He was entertaining, but I didn’t connect with him. Throughout the open challenge story, Cody has become the king of AEW in my book. His chase of greatness is appealing. I’m glad he won, because I find his quest to be fascinating. I want to see how long Cody can rack up wins. He still needs a few months of successful defenses to cement this run in AEW lore, and I’m happy to ride through that journey. Cody’s open challenge matches have become my favorite segment on Dynamite.

After Cody’s win, his next challenger was revealed. Mr. Brodie Lee threw his name in the ring for Dynamite on Saturday, August 22 (postponed from Wednesday due to the NBA playoffs). Mr. Brodie plans to make Cody pay for his transgressions against the Dark Order. Mr. Brodie was holding the old TNT Championship title. He will take the new gold from Cody and give him back the old belt.

Yeah, yeah, yeah! I’m pumped for that matchup. Mr. Brodie has a unique power style for AEW. No matter the outcome, Cody will leave battered and bruised.

And still the best tag team

On tag team appreciation night, Hangman Page and Kenny Omega proved they are still the best tag team in AEW by defending the straps against Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus. Jurassic Express almost made me believe in the upset with a sequence of a double suplex by Luchasaurus followed by a frog splash by Jungle Boy onto Hangman then a suicide dive to Omega then a springboard rolling DDT to Hangman.

The sequence continued with Luchasaurus pressing Marko Stunt onto Omega on the floor then Luchasaurus slammed Hangman on a reverse Death Valley Driver. Hangman kicked out, but it was close.

The champs regrouped to run through the dinosaur and his boy. Hangman crushed Jungle Boy on a huge powerbomb. Jungle Boy still had fight left, so Hangman and Omega ended his evening with their Buckshot Lariat/V-Trigger combo finisher to win.

When Hangman and Omega are on the serious tip, they never disappoint. In addition to Cody, they are also champs that I could keep watching successfully retain for a long time.

One thing in particular I enjoyed about the contest was the callback to Omega’s post-match attitude punching Stunt a month or so ago. Both men had that interaction on their mind. Stunt hopped on the apron early to get in Kenny’s face, so Kenny slapped him when he wasn’t looking. Later, Stunt laughed at Kenny being thrown out of the ring, so Kenny unloaded a snap dragon suplex to Stunt on the floor. Omega’s snap dragons are always awesome.

I appreciate the attention to detail by revisiting that story. Even if it doesn’t lead anywhere, it makes their universe feel more complete.

Bring on the trilogy

The main event of the evening was the rematch between Chris Jericho and Orange Cassidy. $7,000 was on the line for a Jericho win to repay for juice damage to his previously not-cat-piss-smelling white jacket. Best Friends and Inner Circle were banned from ringside. Jericho also had a ploy in play to entice former WWE referee Mike Chioda with an AEW job offer.

Cassidy fired off offense immediately after the opening bell. He dominated the early-going. Jericho turned the tide to dominate with vertical suplexes throughout the commercial break. The match began heating up after that. The big moments included OC going for a Superman punch but running right into a big boot, Jericho countering a flying hurricanrana into the Walls of Jericho, and a surprise Codebreaker from Jericho.

The finish got wild and woolly. Jericho wanted Chioda to turn his back, so he could use Floyd the bat. Chioda acquiesced at first then changed his mind to snatch Floyd out of Jericho’s hands. OC used that stalling to his advantage for a Michinoku Driver and a Superman Punch.

That’s when Santana and Ortiz brawled with Best Friends on the stage. Jake Hager swooped in for a big slam to OC. Jericho went for the pin, but OC kicked out. Jericho connected on a mule kick low blow. He wound up for Judas Effect, but OC ducked and locked in an ugly Mouse Trap pin for the upset victory.

I’ve been vocal about my dislike for Cassidy’s shtick. He’s not my style of juice, but I’ll give him credit here for his performance. His aggressive style was a version I can comfortably watch. Too bad the finish was an overbooked mess. The big stipulation banning outside interference was ignored, and it didn’t even matter in the outcome.

A trilogy between Jericho and Cassidy has been telegraphed ever since OC dumped OJ on Jericho. This bout tonight did nothing to make me desire a rematch, let alone pay for it on PPV. Cassidy just won despite so many shenanigans. AEW will have to get creative with a stipulation for the third contest, but they have to pick one that doesn’t tip the hand for who will win.

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

Young Bucks defeat Dark Order. Alex Reynolds, John Silver, and 5 ambushed the Bucks to soften them up for Evil Uno and Stu Grayson. The Bucks overcame the early disadvantage to unleash their flippy arsenal of moves on tag team appreciation night. Grayson employed smart strategy in the end. He tossed Matt Jackson into the tunnel then had the creepers stand guard to block the path back to the ring. Dark Order set up for their Fatality finisher, but Nick Jackson countered for a sunset flip pin on Evil Uno to win.

The action was exciting. Grayson was walking on heads through the air for crying out loud.

However, the finish wasn’t too cool. I wasn’t a fan of how the Bucks overcame the odds to win. The booking went to the creative effort to show the Dark Order’s intelligent use of their numbers advantage then flushed it down the drain by losing. It makes the Dark Order look like incompetent bozos. The Dark Order had my interest for that brief moment in what could have become a recurring gimmick in ‘cheating’ to win. At least, Nick won in a sly manner without any Super Cena moment.

#MJF2020. During the hallway walk to the ring, Lee Johnson put his hand in front of MJF, so MJF shoved him into the wall with instructions to stay out of his camera shot. MJF’s message was that Jon Moxley is afraid of change and afraid of MJF. When MJF wrapped his speech, Mox’s music hit. MJF sent all his men to intercept Mox at his usual point of entry in the stands. Moxley deviated from standard protocol to enter through the tunnel instead. He attacked MJF with a Paradigm Shift. MJF couldn’t move his neck afterward.

Moxley then cut a backstage promo. That Paradigm Shift doesn’t make them even for when MJF interfered in last week’s title match. Mox will teach MJF a painful lesson in humility at All Out on September 5.

The MJF speech felt like treading water as they approach the PPV. It picked up a notch very quickly with that ambush by Moxley. I was already interested in their PPV clash, but the physical contact and Mox’s promo have earned my interest toward the upcoming TV segments. With how MJF writhed in neck pain, I can’t help but think that he will pull a Bobby Heenan and wear a neck brace next week. It is too bad the PPV is so soon, because I’d love to see MJF milk that injury for as long as he can.

Tag team appreciation night. The Young Bucks and FTR put over the legacies of Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express. Everyone was hunky-dory until Tully Blanchard grabbed the mic. He put FTR and the Bucks in their place by reminding them that only the champs can say they are the best. Arn took exception, but he noticed Shawn Spears creeping. Arn knew a trap was in play, so he exited the scene.

Ricky Morton punched Tully. Dax Harwood went down with his knee injury in the skirmish. While the Bucks’ backs were turned on the stage trying to corral Tully and Spears, FTR attacked the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express and destroyed Morton with a spike piledriver. Hangman, with whiskey in hand, and Omega came out to stop the damage. Hangman wasn’t happy about FTR’s treachery.

That is a curious way to turn FTR blatantly heel. I have a lot of questions. Why beat up old men? Was it payback for Morton punching Blanchard? Whatever the case, it was effective. I sure want to see Hangman kick their ass now.

Hikaru Shida defeated Heather Monroe. Shida was taking care of business then Monroe almost snuck out a win with a roll-up counter on Shida’s Falcon Arrow slam. Shida finished Monroe off with a unique octopus pretzel submission. Afterward, Shida had a quick interview with Tony Schiavone. She is still waiting for a challenger at All Out. Bring it on.

Solid win by Shida. I like her use of that submission to diversify her finisher moveset. This was my first time watching Heather Monroe. I only know her as a friend of Taya Valkyrie. Monroe was interesting with her sassy loud-mouth style. I wouldn’t mind seeing her again in AEW.

Notes: In honor of tag team appreciation night, a couple of promos were aired asking about a team’s favorite team. Omega gushed about the Young Bucks, while Hangman picked themselves. It led to an awkward moment when Omega thought of them as singles stars put together. Private Party picked the Hardys. Butcher and Blade chose the Road Warriors.

Matt Hardy is out for blood. Hardy received 13 stitches last week after Sammy Guevara hit him with a chair. Hardy is on a 10-day medical suspension, but he will use all his rage and fury to get payback on Saturday night Dynamite next week. Hardy didn’t want to wait and sought to find Sammy tonight. He saw someone dressed similar to Sammy and attacked. It turned out to be an innocent referee.

Later, Sammy did his cue card gimmick with a message mocking Hardy, but Matt had already been escorted from the building.

The camera made it a point to show Frankie Kazarian watching the tag title match from the fan stands. Commentary wondered why he wasn’t with Christopher Daniels.

Santana and Ortiz emptied the Best Friends’ luggage into the shower then poured bleach on their clothes. They won’t be apologizing for last week’s minivan destruction.

Stud of the Show: Tully Blanchard

I loved Tully’s promo during the tag team appreciation segment.

He succinctly explained a point I’ve been arguing for awhile. Hangman Page and Kenny Omega are the best tag team in AEW, because they are longstanding champs. End of discussion. That segment was kind of boring until Tully fired up. Give that man more mic time.

Dud of the Show: Elder abuse?

Lance Archer did his usual entertaining shtick by beating up jabrones. The first guy actually deserved it this week by walking in front of the camera during Jake Roberts’ promo. Then, the relationship dynamic between Archer and Roberts took a weird turn. Archer stripped Roberts of his shirt to reveal a message written in marker on Roberts’ back. “Everybody dies!” Roberts looked uncomfortable with the moment.

So, uh, what’s going on there? Is Archer abusing Roberts now? If so, that’s not a story turn I want to see. Archer is already a very bad man. No need to add elder abuse to his resume of dastardly deeds. It also destroys the aura of Jake “The Snake” as a badass manager. Hard pass on this one.

Grade: B+

Overall, the ring action was plenty of fun and exciting, and the story details were intriguing. One recent trend I have noticed is the increase of in-ring talking segments. I hope that doesn’t become the standard. AEW was usually light on that aspect of sports entertainment, and it created a fresh feeling for their product. I prefer backstage shenanigans to advance stories over people standing around chatting in the ring.

Share your thoughts about Dynamite. How do you rate it? Who stole the show? Who do you think is the best tag team in AEW?

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