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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (Aug. 27, 2020): Insecure Drunk

AEW Dynamite (Aug. 27, 2020) emanated from Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, FL for a special Thursday night episode. The show featured Hangman Page making a terrible character turn, Sammy Guevara and Matt Hardy stealing the show with a tables match, and Orange Cassidy getting rowdy with Chris Jericho.

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

Insecure drunk

The show opened with the #1 contender gauntlet for the tag team titles. The format was #4 Natural Nightmares vs #3 Young Bucks, winner vs #2 Best Friends, winner vs #1 FTR. The bigger story coming out of this segment was Hangman Page being an insecure drunk.

The Bucks’ strategy was to quicken the pace against the aged veterans of Dustin Rhodes and QT Marshall. In the end, QT tried to be too flashy and it cost him. The Bucks evaded a QT Special and superkicked him. They unloaded another double superkick to Dustin on the apron. QT still had a little fire left, but it was extinguished when a cutter attempt turned into a foot to the face. The Bucks finished him with a BTE Trigger to win.

Bring on the Best Friends. Chuck Taylor gimped his knee early. Despite that injury, Best Friends had hugging momentum then went for their Strong Zero finisher. Matt Jackson grabbed Chuck’s foot to stifle lift-off. That’s when the Bucks found their groove. Nick Jackson was the highlight of this bout with a flipping senton to Trent hanging off the apron and a 450 splash to a rope-hung Trent. The Bucks set up the Meltzer Driver...

Out of nowhere, Hangman showed up to cheat the Bucks. He hooked Nick’s foot to prevent the finisher. Trent capitalized with a roll-up to win. Hangman was immediately remorseful at what he just did. He couldn’t even look the Jacksons in their eyes. Hangman walked away with his head hanging low.

Final chapter versus FTR. Cash Wheeler and Dax Harwood focused on Chuck’s tender knee and never let up. Chuck had a chance for a hot tag, but Cash knocked Trent off the apron. Dax locked in a leg submission and Chuck tapped. The finish came a little unexpectedly. There was no big moment. FTR just beat Chuck down until he couldn’t take the pain anymore. FTR are the #1 contenders to wrestle champs Hangman & Kenny Omega at All Out on September 5.

Later in the show, Dasha Gonzalez caught up with Hangman at the bar. The Bucks stormed in to interrupt the interview. They were very angry at Hangman’s actions. Nick said Hangman decided to be a jobber by ducking them. Matt said Hangman is nothing but a drunk and threw whiskey in the cowboy’s face. They kicked Hangman out of the Elite. Hangman stared into a broken mirror with Millennial angst.

I don’t like this direction for Hangman Page. Not one bit. The Hangman character has been presented differently between TV and Being the Elite. What made Hangman cool on TV was that he enjoyed drinking and kicking ass. What now makes Hangman uncool is drinking to hide his insecurities. This is more his vibe from BTE, which showed him as a clear alcoholic. This TV segment crossed that line from drunk cowboy to alcoholic cowboy.

The Bucks were accurate in their assessment, despite their whiny crybaby delivery. I’m curious how the Hangman character can recover from this. If he stays the course, then he becomes a sad, pathetic person. To make matters worse, he now has remorse to send him deeper into the whiskey bottle. If he ditches the booze, then he loses one gimmick that got him big pops from the crowd.

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse and/or mental health issues, you can get information and treatment referral by calling 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

As for the gauntlet match, the action was solid. Each contest felt unique enough to separate itself from the rest. FTR winning was the right call. I’m glad AEW didn’t try to shoehorn the Bucks into a title three-way. The story of FTR’s quest to become the best has a chance to breathe at All Out. They can now stand on their own in a make-or-break match against Hangman & Kenny Omega. There is plenty of time for a showdown with the Bucks. If I had my druthers, FTR would beat the champs, the Bucks would then beat FTR down the line, and that could lead to a three-way rubber match to see which duo is truly the best.

No deletion of the Spanish God

Sammy Guevara and Matt Hardy occupied the main event slot for a tables match. They were given less than 10 minutes in the broadcast to get busy. And getting busy is exactly what they did. This match was a sprint with table spots, chair spots, and blood.

One fantastic rule AEW instituted is that the winner must put an opponent through a table with an offensive maneuver. I always hated accidental wins in table matches. None of that here.

Sammy tried to win early with a twisting leap over the ropes, but Matt moved and Sammy crashed through a table. Sammy was bleeding profusely from the side of his head when he got up. Matt also went through wood on his own accord. He hit a Flatliner on the apron then missed a running elbow drop off the apron.

The most vicious move came courtesy of Hardy as he connected with a Twist of Fate onto an open chair.

In the end, Matt had a special table with Deletion painted on it. He placed if over an open chair. Matt climbed the turnbuckles, but he was too woozy. Sammy pounced for a superplex through the table to win.

Damn. That was an awesome fight. It perfectly fit into their feud. Round of applause for both men for putting their bodies on the line.

Orange blitz

Immediately after the main event, Orange Cassidy sprinted across stage to attack Chris Jericho on commentary.

The two brawled with OC connecting a Superman punch.

I’ve been lukewarm on this feud and the upcoming Mimosa Mayhem Match for All Out, but that emotion from OC just sold me on it. No more Mr. Cool Guy. Cassidy’s intensity was badass.

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

Fearless, Murderhawk Monster, FTW. This segment contained a vignette, a squash match, an in-ring promo, and a brawl. It all rolled into one story announcing the 21-man Casino Battle Royale at All Out with the winner earning a future shot for the AEW World Championship.

First up was Darby Allin providing a vignette jumping off a bridge truss into the water below. His dive looked like fun. The message was not being afraid of Ricky Starks.

Next was Lance Archer defeating Sean Maluta. It was pain and punishment for Maluta in his AEW debut. Archer finished it with a chokeslam, Blackout, then smashing Maluta’s skull into the mat for victory.

Business picked up with an in-ring promo. Jake Roberts extolled the virtue of feeding jabrones to Archer. Talk transitioned to winning the Casino Battle Royale. Team Taz came out hyping Brian Cage and Ricky Starks as would-be victors. Cage and Archer exchanged glares. Enter Darby Allin on his skateboard to brawl with Starks.

Each portion was interesting in its own way, but I applaud how it is was all part of a bigger picture. The idea of Archer versus Cage has me salivating. Doing it in the Casino Battle Royale is a smart way to give us what we want while also preserving their status and saving a big money clash for down the road.

AEW vs NWA. A strong vignette promoted Hikaru Shida vs Thunder Rosa at All Out. It ended with a contract signing and staredown.

Yes! I can’t wait for that match. It is my most anticipated for All Out. It was a nice touch how NWA owner Billy Corgan provided soundbites explaining his decision to allow Thunder Rosa to prove she is the best. I fully expect Shida to retain, but the friendly relationship between promotions throws a little doubt in the picture that perhaps it could be part of a larger story. That’s enough to keep the match unpredictable.

Contract signing. MJF wanted Jon Moxley to sign paperwork banning the Paradigm Shift for their championship fight at All Out. MJF signed first then spoke about being a pro wrestling prodigy. He’s not going to let the match get ugly on the floor. MJF plans to take Moxley apart systematically by pinpointing weaknesses with the precision of a brain surgeon. MJF hit Clubber Lang levels of rudeness with the line about Moxley not being man enough to win without the Paradigm Shift. If that’s the case, MJF instructed Moxley to tell his hot, little wife (Renee Young) that MJF is single.

Moxley had no problem signing. This will force him to get creative in ways of snapping limbs and choking MJF out. MJF celebrated thinking he duped Moxley. It turns out that Mox added a 17th page stating that he will wrestle MJF’s loudmouth lawyer next week. And the Paradigm Shift will be legal for that match.

I love contract signing violence. I don’t care if it is cliche. That’s why I was a little disappointed in the lack of destruction. At least Moxley made up for it with his surprise addendum. On paper, Mox vs a nobody doesn’t matter. However, AEW did a great job of making MJF’s lawyer quite smarmy and much deserving of a Paradigm Shift.

No apology. Santana & Ortiz denied Best Friends’ request for an apology of destroying Sue’s van. Ortiz is sorry that Trent’s mom wasn’t in the van when they wrecked it. Quick, simple, and effective heat building for that feud.

8-man action. Lucha Bros, Blade, & Butcher defeated Joey Janela, Sonny Kiss, Griff Garrison, & Brian Pillman Jr. The bad guys were on the same page this week. They closed the win out on Pillman with a teamwork neckbreaker from Blade & Butcher then a teamwork rope-hung flying stomp from the Lucha Bros.

The takeaway for this bout was Eddie Kingston in the bad guy corner. In a pre-match promo, he explained that he will lead them all to championships. Post-match, Kingston declared all five men as entrants in the Casino Battle Royale.

Huh, so that’s what Kingston’s plan is. He is going to use his men as a way to secure a title shot for himself. Pretty crafty. The big question will be what happens when it is down to the nitty-gritty and it is time to be every man for himself. Whoever comes out as world champ from All Out would be a cool match against Kingston for TV. Imagine Kingston and MJF cutting promos. Also, imagine Kingston and Moxley going to war hardcore. I think I just talked myself into hoping Kingston wins the Casino Battle Royale.

Dark Order celebration. It was party time for Mr. Brodie Lee and the Dark Order. They took glee in Lee as the new TNT champ. The creepers brought out a casket to signify the death of Cody Rhodes and the Nightmare Family. There isn’t a soul in the locker room who can stand up to Mr. Brodie. The open challenge is over. Cody will never, ever get the title back.

Eventually, Dustin Rhodes and QT Marshall ran in to fight. They lost to the numbers game. Scorpio Sky tried his luck to no avail. Mr. Brodie left. That’s when Matt Cardona came in to help the good guys stand tall.

This segment completed the reboot of the Dark Order. Mr. Brodie was transformed into a powerful force by squashing Cody. Humor from Being the Elite carried over for the rest of the Dark Order tonight. That’s where all the lawnmowers came from and a rambunctious John Silver being struck by Mr. Brodie. This should be a positive development in giving the Dark Order members distinct personalities. AEW needs to remember to straddle that line of making the Dark Order hated and not getting over with comedy.

Side notes: Anna Jay was officially announced as a member of the Dark Order. She is number 99 and the queen slayer. Afterward, Evil Uno recruited Tay Conti. Conti was partners with Jay during The Deadly Draw women’s tag team tournament. Conti hugged Jay, looked receptive to the offer, but still had apprehension.

Handicap match. Big Swole defeated Dr. Britt Baker DMD, Reba, and Penelope Ford. Baker was so confident that she offered any one-on-one match Swole wants if she can win. Kip Sabian was ringside to eat a Dirty Dancing elbow strike after he distracted the referee on a pivotal pinning moment for Swole. Swole prevailed when Reba accidentally hit Ford with a crutch. Swole pinned the concussed lady.

Fans are back. AEW opted for a 10% crowd adhering to social distancing mainly in the upper levels. Wrestlers were still in the front row. A few moments where their reaction mattered were chanting for Moxley, riling up MJF, and shouting holy shit during the tables match.

Stud of the Show: Tables match

Matt Hardy and Sammy Guevara maximized their minutes by going full-steam ahead. It was violent and extreme in all the best ways. They definitely left me wanting more.

Dud of the Show: Women’s handicap match

The action was on the sloppy side. The story wasn’t all that entertaining with bumbling fools as the losers. I would have preferred a stronger performance from Swole instead of being gifted the win through incompetence.

Grade: B

Good job of having every segment with a purpose toward All Out. I think this show suffered from pacing between matches. The gauntlet was roughly 30 minutes. The next 45 minutes contained one squash bout and that’s it. It felt like too much talk this week. The main event and closing scene were 26 thumbs up. Excuse me while I go find 24 more thumbs.

Share your thoughts about Dynamite. How do you rate it? Who stole the show?

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