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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (Jan. 20, 2021): Better than you

AEW Dynamite (Jan. 20, 2021) emanated from Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, FL. The show featured Hangman Page leaving the Dark Order hanging, the Elite bringing chuckles and violence, and the Inner Circle in a three-way main event to determine top dogs.

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

Better than you

The Inner Circle had the main event slot. They battled among themselves to determine the top tag team to represent the crew. It was Chris Jericho & MJF versus Santana & Ortiz versus Sammy Guevara and Jake Hager. The team of Sammy / Hager even received a pre-match message from Sammy Hagar.

Before the action took place, MJF was backstage trying to manipulate emotions. He had an early promo with Le Champion. MJF questioned if Jericho was worried about dissension. Jericho was confident that this contest would make the Inner Circle stronger than ever.

Later, MJF chatted with the rest of the sexy hooligans. He played it off as being against the idea. MJF loves and respects his buddies. He wants what is best for the group. Sammy was the only one not buying that bull.

Ding, ding, ding. Let’s get it on! MJF and Guevara started the match. MJF promptly tagged out to Jericho. Le Sex Gods had a little tension when Jericho slapped Sammy. Guevara responded by knocking Jericho out of the ring then doing a backflip into a sexy pose. Jericho smirked at the young stallion.

Sammy / Hager were the stars of the match. Sammy was flying high, while Hager ran wild.

The pace was constant action that ran down to the wire with cameras fading right after the finish. Jericho tried to cheat by using Floyd the bat. Hager caught him red-handed. Jericho shrugged and ate a big boot. Hager also caught MJF trying to use the Dynamite Diamond Ring. The big man coldcocked MJF. A series of believable false finishes took place for each team. In the end, Sammy had MJF up for his GTH finisher, but he bumped into Wardlow on the apron. MJF escaped for a roll-up victory by grabbing the tights.

Congratulations to MJF. He proved once again that he is better than us, and we know it. The man found a way to win, and that’s all that matters for the Inner Circle. The match itself exceeded expectations. I didn’t know who would win going in, and it maintained unpredictability throughout. Sammy is emerging as a true star. It’s a shame that Santana & Ortiz didn’t win, but MJF’s sneakiness plays better for the overall story. It’s only a matter of time that he turns the tables to rally support in kicking out Jericho.

Party pooper

Dynamite kicked off with the birthday celebration of Brodie Lee Jr. The Dark Order was on stage with Mr. Brodie Lee’s son and cake. Unfortunately, the party was pooped upon, and it wasn’t from who you would expect.

As the Dark Order led the crowd in singing, “Happy Birthday,” Luther and Serpentico came out to crash the festivities. They were going to ruin -1’s birthday. John Silver, Alex Reynolds, and Colt Cabana rumbled with the bad guy duo. TH2 came out to defend their tag partners. The brawl spilled to the floor. Hit Hangman’s music. The cowboy ran over to leap off stage onto bodies below.

Those eight men were the participants of the opening bout. One move in particular stuck out to me. Hangman, Silver, and Reynolds performed a piggyback triple senton maneuver.

It reminded me of the triple splash of Kenny Omega and the Good Brothers. The main difference was that Hangman and the Dark Order fell backward for impact, while the other trio fell forward. Could that be a little hint at a future feud between those two factions?

Brodie Jr. ended up getting involved. Luther intended on powerbombing Cabana onto the cake, but -1 hit him in the back with a kendo stick. Cabana mushed Luther’s face into the dessert. Back in the ring, Hangman and the Dark Order took care of business to win on a buckshot lariat into German suplex combo.

After the bout, -1 hit Serpentico in the head with a kendo stick.

The real draw for this contest was whether or not Hangman would join the Dark Order. He promised them an answer. Silver dropped to one knee and popped the question to the handsome cowboy. Hangman was slow to answer... “I can’t.” He explained that he’s done the group thing before, and it did not end well. Hangman grabbed a bottle of whiskey and left.

Hmm, that’s disappointing. I was not expecting Hangman to be the downer of an otherwise fun party. The match was a blast for what it was. Hangman and the Dark Order were rocking and rolling in the ring. But, it wouldn’t be AEW if the story didn’t have emotional twists and turns. I like that the Dark Order didn’t revert back to evil after Hangman declined. Hopefully Evil Uno can keep them focused on changing Hangman’s mind. I think it would be a beneficial relationship for both.

I just have one small request. If the plan is for Hangman to indeed join the Dark Order, then, please, let’s get this train moving. Don’t drag it out for six months before Hangman learns to trust again. Perhaps next week will put a burr in Hangman’s saddle to move the story along. Dark Order is scheduled to wrestle Young Bucks & Good Brothers. I’m hoping the Bullet Club maliciously beats the stuffing out of the Dark Order, which in turn would force Hangman to make the save.

As the Elite turns

Join us for another edition of the Elite soap opera. It started with the Young Bucks visiting Kenny Omega’s house for an Elite meeting. Michael Nakazawa ushered them in, but Omega was nowhere to be found. Don Callis came in to clear the air.

Callis blamed last week’s tag team switch on miscommunication from the production truck. He then tried to bribe the Bucks with lowball money offers to stay out of Omega’s life. The Invisible Hand believes the Bucks are leeches on Omega’s success. Kenny is too nice to cut the cord, so Callis will do it for him. The Bucks ripped up the checks. Violence was threatened then implied as Callis screamed when the camera was blocked.

Later in the show, Omega entered the locker room styling and profiling like a 60s rock star. He blew his top upon noticing Callis with a massive bruise on his face. Papa Don eventually revealed it was by the hands of the Jackson brothers. Alex Marvez butted in before we could hear Omega’s response.

The Elite’s evening concluded with a beatdown of Pentagon. Omega and the Good Brothers pummeled the luchador. Omega used his new pointy boot to jab Pentagon in the eye.

Great segments all night for the Elite saga. They were very entertaining with funny references. AEW finally tapped into the ridiculous over-the-top vibe that makes me enjoy Omega so much when in Impact. Callis as overbearing protector was excellent. That allowed the Bucks to successfully beat someone up without looking like jerks. It also left us with intrigue to find out how Omega feels about them laying hands on The Invisible Hand.

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

Street fighting Stinger. Sting was in the ring to congratulate Darby Allin as TNT Champion. They were interrupted by Team Taz on the big screen. Taz was tired of Sting and Allin fighting dirty, so he challenged them to a street fight. Allin vaguely accepted.

Heat check for Sting? Still going strong. The idea of a street fight is intriguing, but Sting and Allin may have to recruit a third man to help even the odds. When Taz said he would be taking it to the streets, I was hoping the Doobie Brothers song would blast on the speakers and a dance fight would erupt.

Cody Rhodes defeated Peter Avalon. Cody crushed Avalon with a Cross Rhodes in the first five seconds. All of a sudden, Jade Cargill came out as a distraction. That allowed Avalon time to recover and attack Cody’s knee. As the bout progressed, Cody fought back to lock in a figure-four. Avalon slapped Cody in the face. When Pretty Peter saw the anger in Cody’s eyes, he tapped out to avoid being hit in the face.

The wrinkle of Cargill’s distraction was a smart touch to justify a full length contest. This match had no business taking up that much time, but it all made sense as to why. The finish was funny and lame at the same time. It’s a fight. Avalon is going to get hit in the face. If he has a problem with that, then stay out of the ring.

Jon Moxley defeated Nick Comoroto. Nice pick of enhancement talent for a rugged fight. The burly man was ready to rumble. Moxley had his work cut out for him, but he prevailed in the end. Moxley smashed a running clothesline, however, Comoroto absorbed it like a badass. Comoroto picked up Moxley on his shoulders, so Mox keenly transitioned for a sleeper hold. Comoroto crashed to the mat once he was out of oxygen.

Afterward, Moxley grabbed a mic for a message to Omega. Bringing in the Bullet Club only makes Moxley more excited. It is more necks to break as he climbs back to the mountain top.

Effective victory for Moxley to show he is still top dog. Comoroto was put over well by Moxley and commentary. It seems like AEW has plans for Comoroto to stick around on the roster.

Private Party & Matt Hardy defeated Top Flight & Matt Sydal. The lengthy contest was a hurricane of flash and flips. Marq Quen and Isiah Kassidy slowly embraced increased aggression. In the end, Hardy distracted the referee. Kassidy bashed a chair into Dante Martin’s ribs. Quen was shocked at first then smiled with glee at his partner’s tactic. Quen launched for a shooting star press for victory.

Afterward, the losers were angry, so Private Party put the boots to them, and Hardy unloaded a pair of Twist of Fates.

All it took was a little bit of success for Private Party to embrace the teachings of Hardy. They became #1 contenders for the Impact tag titles last night, and now they are riding a winning streak. I like that Private Party has direction to make them interesting. The smile tease from Quen was money. Top Flight and Private Party feel like a perfect match as long-time enemies. I’m eager to see more.

Penelope Ford defeated Leyla Hirsch. Intensity picked up for the final stanza of this competitive bout. Hirsch hit a running knee then a deadlift German suplex. Hirsch continued with a running double knees blast then swinging double boots in the corner. Ford yanked Hirsch off the turnbuckles, but Hirsch popped back with a flip onto Kip Sabian and Chuck Taylor below. As Hirsch re-entered the ring, Ford pounced with a pump kick. Sabian grabbed Hirsch’s foot to prevent a kick-out on the pin.

Solid affair. The quality picked up steam as the bout progressed. I was fully engaged when it was time for the finish. Hirsch excelled when getting aggressive.

Butler Charles Taylor. Miro and Chuck Taylor had been ringside. Chuck was now Charles and wearing a butler outfit. After Ford’s win, Miro demanded that Chuck tell Orange Cassidy that Miro is his new best friend. Cassidy had been watching from the crowd. Upon hearing this proclamation, Cassidy made a sad face and walked away.

I’ll just say that I’m glad the wedding for Ford and Sabian is only two weeks away, so we can move on from this.

Notes: Jungle Boy is sick of FTR. He believes he can beat either one of them. Dax Harwood stepped up for a singles bout next week. Luchasaurus will be ringside to make sure there is no interference. This was a good, fiery setup to continue the feud.

Eddie Kingston will fight Lance Archer next week. It will be one-on-one without Blade and Butcher, or so Kingston claims.

The Beach Break special edition of Dynamite will feature a tag team battle royal to earn a title shot at the Revolution PPV.

A #1 contender tournament was announced for the women’s division. It will be coming soon. The way it was revealed makes me think it could be another special show, like the women’s tag tournament last year. The graphic had an American flag on one side and a Japanese flag on the other. It would be cool if that meant one half would be matches with competitors who are over in Japan at the moment.

Stud of the Show: Hangman Page’s dive

One of Hangman’s best features is when he gets rowdy. Case in point when Hangman ran out to leap onto his foes. That was my favorite moment of the night.

There is another moment that requires honorable mention this week. Gaze at the glory of this beefcake painting.

The low jeans and pose from Don Callis crack me up with laughter so much.

Dud of the Show: Top Flight too flippy

Top Flight is highly entertaining, however, their offense was a tad too flippy at times on this occasion. There were some sequences when I couldn’t figure out how the flips benefit the contact. It came across as flash with no substance.

To be clear, I’m not saying to tone down their style. I enjoy the creativity.

Grade: B

This episode was a fine effort. Most of the matches lacked prior build to induce investment as a viewer, but the action was solid all the way around. The story beats ran the gamut of emotion.

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

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