Welcome to the AEW Dynamite review on TJRWrestling. Last week I didn’t write a detailed review just due to being burnt out from all the writing of late. It was the first episode of Dynamite where I didn’t go in-depth with the review. It’s back to normal this week. AEW issued a statement earlier in the week saying that they’re still going to do the AEW Double or Nothing PPV on May 23, but it won’t be in Las Vegas. The location is unknown right now, but they are doing it with no fans.
The opening video featured a video about Lance Archer beating up guys in a ring in a field that was shown a few weeks ago. Jake Roberts talked in a pre-taped video package saying that Lance is going to enjoy this and every time Lance wins, he’ll be closer to what they want. Roberts said he knows what Colt Cabana is capable of, but not near good enough. Jake said that Archer is a “friggin’ animal” and you should listen to him or regret.
The announce team are Tony Schiavone and the great Chris Jericho welcomed us to the show with a rundown of what is coming up this week. Jericho calls Tony “Skeeavone” just like he used to do in WCW in the 1990s. I love that.
The show is at the closed gym owned by QT Marshall and Cody in the state of Georgia just like the past two weeks. They taped several weeks of shows there.
There was a video package about the Colt Cabana match against Lance Archer in the TNT Title tournament. Cabana talked about how he has known he’s a great wrestler that likes to have fun. Cabana said that Archer has dominated the Far East for a long time while Cabana talked about how he’s wrestled all over Japan, China, Australia and all over Europe for years. Cabana said he’s going to prove himself while saying he’s concentrating on Archer.
Colt Cabana made his entrance first for a match with some wrestlers standing behind the barricade in the crowd. Lance Archer entered looking angry. Archer decked a guy in the crowd with a punch. We didn’t see who it was.
TNT Title Tournament Quarterfinals: Lance Archer vs. Colt Cabana
Archer with a punch, Cabana crawled under his feet to avoid a move and Cabana managed to punch Archer out of the ring. Jericho claimed he recommended to AEW bosses that they should hire Archer. Cabana worked over Archer with chops, Cabana charged with a corner attack and Archer hit a Full Nelson Slam for a two count. Archer did some eye gouging against the ropes. Cabana tried some chops, Archer no sold them and hit a stiff clothesline. Archer with punches and knees on Cabana to continue his dominance. Archer with a twisting splash off the ropes for a two count. Archer with another punch to the face, which led to a break.
The match returned with Archer continuing with the punches and clotheslines. Archer went to the middle ropes, he jumped off with a splash that was obviously never going to hit as Cabana moved. Cabana with an elbow to the head, then a headscissors and a running back splash. Cabana jumped off, Archer moved and Cabana hit a weak splash for a two count. That spot was lame. Cabana with jab punches, Archer laughed about it, Cabana with an elbow and then Archer ran the ropes leading to a pounce tackle. Archer gave Cabana a huge Chokeslam or something similar to that. Archer charged in, Cabana with an elbow to the face, Cabana to the middle ropes and Archer picked up Cabana with a Blackout slam for the pinfall win after 12 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Lance Archer
Analysis: **1/2 The match was average with some decent offense from both guys. It was hard to get into the match because it was so obvious that Archer was going to win. I think the match should have been shorter and closer to about seven minutes with Archer winning in dominant fashion. Archer works well as a dominant big man heel while Cabana made him look good.
Post match, Archer made some angry faces into the camera.
They showed a promo with Britt Baker in her dentist’s office. Baker had some rules to follow with “Always Fight Fair” as her number one rule. Baker complained about the blood from her nose in her match against Hikaru Shida last week. Baker ended the promo saying she was a true winner.
The main event is Moxley vs. Hager for the AEW World Title. They showed Ariel Helwani of ESPN MMA making a prediction for the match. Helwani was going with Hager to win. Bad pick, but he went with the MMA guy. AEW announcer Taz said that Moxley will turn this into a fight and he’ll retain the AEW World Title.
They had Taz talk about Jake Hager’s deadly submission finisher where he chokes a guy out on the head/arm. It was informative by Taz explaining why it’s a great move while also showing Hager using it to win in MMA too.
Dr. Britt Baker vs. Cassandra Golden
Baker was in control early with a kick to the jaw. The announcers talked about how successful Baker is even though she lost last week. Golden’s mouth was up against the bottom rope and Baker kicked her in the back with Golden selling it like it was a big move. Baker covered to win. This went about one minute.
Winner by pinfall: Dr. Britt Baker
Analysis: 1/4*A squash win to put over Baker after she lost last week. Baker’s finish fit her gimmick as a dentist that likes to hurt the teeth of her opponent.
They had comedian Ron Funches offer a prediction for Moxley vs. Hager and he picked Moxley to win. Mike Goldberg of Bellator MMA hyped up the match went with his buddy Hager to become the AEW World Champion. Goldberg said his “here we go” catchphrase to end it.
Analysis: Mike Goldberg was the long time voice of UFC before moving on to Bellator. Goldberg nearly signed with WWE in the mid-2000s, but he is not a wrestling fan, so he stayed in UFC for many more years.
There was a commercial promoting AEW Double or Nothing on May 23.
The Bubbly Bunch
They showed a video of Santana of the Inner Circle talking into a phone while ripping on the Young Bucks. Ortiz laughed about how they beat up Nick Jackson against that garage. Sammy Guevara talked trash about Matt Hardy. Jake Hager was at the pool of his house with his kids. Swagger said he was going to “beat the shit” out of Moxley to become AEW Champion while telling his kids to cover their ears. Chris Jericho was excited about Swagger becoming AEW Champion and put over Sammy for being sexy. Jericho said he hasn’t seen “Hangman” Adam Page and made a joke about him. Jericho had a lot of dogs and cats in his house apparently while spilling orange juice as he tried to pour it into a glass. Jericho complained about toilet paper to end it. That was the end of The Bubbly Bunch.
Analysis: It was a decent segment to kill some time. I like the group a lot, but it’s hard to be as entertaining in that format where they’re doing promos into their phones. I did chuckle at the spilling orange juice bit.
Suge D vs. Sammy Guevara
Suge D has been known as Sugar Dunkerton in his career, but he’s going with Suge D here. Sammy with a takedown, then they did some comedy thing and Suge hit an armdrag off the ropes. Sammy with a jumping knee to the face. Jericho asked how sexy Sammy is with Tony saying he’s very handsome. Sammy with a kick to the back that sent Suge to the floor. Back in the ring, Sammy did a delayed vertical suplex for two. Sammy had Suge on his shoulders, then he did squats and hit a Samoan Drop. Sammy with a hard chop, but Suge hit a chop and a rollup for two. Sammy with a running clothesline followed by a Jericho-like cocky pin for two. Sammy missed a corner splash, Suge moved and Suge with an uppercut. Sammy sent Suge into the ropes leading to a jumping knee to the head. Sammy with a slam off the shoulders followed by a knee to the face for the pinfall win after five minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Sammy Guevara
Analysis: *1/2 An easy win for Sammy over a guy that is not a regular in AEW. There was not a point in the match where it looked like Suge would win, so it was a match lacking drama. Sammy’s finisher looked good.
Post match, Sammy said that he’s going to beat the shit out of Darby Allin in the TNT Title tournament. Sammy said that he’s going to beat the hell out of that face painting weirdo. Sammy stomped on Suge a bit, so Darby Allin went in for the save and Sammy ran away. That was it.
The famous MMA referee “Big” John McCarthy of Bellator said that Jake Hager is going to beat Jon Moxley to win the AEW World Title. AEW announcer Excalibur said it’s going to be a fight that will go anywhere and he’s picking Moxley to retain the AEW Title.
Kip Sabian made his entrance with manager Penelope Ford. They recently got engaged to get married as well. Chuck Taylor was joined by his buddy Orange Cassidy, but no Trent. Jericho said he didn’t like Cassidy and his laissez-faire vibe.
Chuck Taylor (w/Orange Cassidy) vs. Kip Sabian (w/Penelope Ford)
Taylor with a shoulder tackle followed by a takedown into a single leg crab submission with Sabian crawling to the bottom rope to break free. Sabian went to the floor to create space, Taylor chased like a dummy and he hit a springboard kick on Taylor on the apron. Taylor hit a slam on Sabian followed some chops to the chest. Sabian with a knee strike to send Taylor off the apron to the floor. Taylor gave Sabian a suplex into a slam on the apron. Jericho complained about Taylor waving at the camera. Taylor missed a moonsault when Sabian moved, so Sabian hit a springboard missile dropkick for two. Sabian with an uppercut, a running kick to the head and a kick to the chest for two. When Taylor was sent to the floor, Ford kicked and punched Taylor while the referee wasn’t looking. They battled on the turnbuckle, Taylor missed a moonsault, but he landed on his feet and Taylor hit a slam off the shoulders. Sabian charged, but Taylor hit a sitout Powerbomb for two. Taylor went up top, missed again this time with a double stomp, Sabian with a knee and a forearm for two. Sabian hit a slingshot neckbreaker for another two count. Cassidy let Sabian know it was a two count. Sabian sent Taylor into the turnbuckle, Taylor with a boot to the face and Ford distracted Taylor while she was on the apron. Sabian punched Taylor and then Sabian kissed Ford. Cassidy tried to distract Sabian, so Jimmy Havoc (who was in the crowd) grabbed Cassidy and hit a DDT on the floor. Sabian distracted the referee, so Ford hit a hurricanrana and Sabian got a ROLLUP OF DEATH~! on Taylor for the pinfall win after about 11 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Kip Sabian
Analysis: **3/4 It was a solid match with Sabian picking up the win. A lot of back and forth action. I didn’t like the finish because it made Taylor look weak since he lost due to a 110 pound woman giving him a headscissors. The rollup is so deadly, I guess. Neither of these guys are featured that much when the full roster is there, but Sabian is a younger guy with a bright future while Taylor is more of a tag team guy. Sabian winning made sense since he’s in the TV Title tournament while Taylor is not, so it’s smart to put over the guy in the tournament.
Post match, Sabian got a kiss from Ford and a hug from his buddy Havoc for the assist.
There were predictions with actor/comedian Dan Soder picking Jon Moxley to win the match over Jake Hager. Ortiz of the Inner Circle group supported his Inner Circle buddy Hager in the match against Moxley. Ortiz yelled “the best” repeatedly. Sammy Guevara also supported his Inner Circle buddy Hager in his AEW Title match against Moxley.
They showed highlights of Cody beating Shawn Spears in the AEW TV Title tournament last week. On AEW Dark this week, Spears beat Billy Gunny in a meaningless match.
Shawn Spears vs. Justin Law
This Law guy might as well be called Generic Young Indy Wrestler because that’s what he looks like. Spears did a snapmare takeover two times. Spears went on his knees to let Law roll him over for a two count. Spears with kicks to the ribs and a lefty clothesline. Spears hit the running C4 slam off the shoulders for the pinfall win after about two minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Shawn Spears
Analysis: 1/2* A basic match with the guy that has the contract beating the enhancement talent. Spears is a good talent, but they weren’t pushing him before the pandemic has caused things to change in AEW with the limited roster.
There were comments from Josh Thomson of Bellator MMA picking Jake Hager over Jon Moxley. Santana of the Inner Circle group also picked Hager to be the winner of the match.
It’s main event time with Jim Ross taking over on commentary for the match. JR called the match from his house, I believe.
Jake Hager made his entrance with a 5-0 record in AEW and 4-0 in 2020 in AEW. This match was taped at the Daily’s Place venue in Jacksonville several weeks ago before they taped in Georgia.
The AEW World Champion Jon Moxley entered for this title match. Moxley entered in different part of the arena to continue his gimmick of walking in through the crowd.
No Holds Barred Match for the AEW World Championship: Jon Moxley vs. Jake Hager
The first few minutes featured some mat wrestling as they tried to overpower eachother. Hager hit a punch or forearm to the head, then backed away and Moxley got back up. Moxley grabbed onto the ankle, Hager got away form it and then they battled by the turnbuckle again. Hager with knees by the turnbuckle, Moxley came back with chops and an armbar. Hager took down Moxley with a waistlock takedown followed by kicks. Hager and Moxley exchanged punches, Moxley with a knee followed by a toss out of the ring. Moxley went over the top with a weak looking dive on Hager. Moxley tried an armbar, but Hager punched his way out of it.
They were in the same spot from before the break with Hager whipping Moxley into the barricade. Moxley tossed Hager over the railing/barricade with JR asking why we need security railing when nobody is there. Moxley teased a piledriver, but Hager countered with a back body drop on cement. They went brawling into the stands with Hager kicking Moxley in the chest while Moxley was against a railing. Moxley came back with forearms, then knees to the ribs and Moxley slapped on a Figure Four against a railing. The referee was asking Moxley if he wanted to tap out, so the match could end out there. Hager got back up selling the left leg injury and Moxley followed up with chops and forearms. Hager whipped Moxley into the railing followed by Hager gently dropping Moxley onto the top of the railing. Hager sent Moxley over the railing by ringside, so they were back in the ringside area. Hager whipped Moxley into the steel steps. Back in the ring, Hager sent Moxley into the turnbuckle, Hager missed a dive off the middle ropes and Moxley hit a running knee. Hager worked over Moxley with rising knee strikes followed by a Gutwrench Powerbomb for a two count. There’s way less drama in an empty arena. Hager used to use that as a finisher earlier in his career.
The match returned with Hager hitting three running clotheslines against the turnbuckle, but then Moxley came back with a running clothesline of his own. Moxley with an inside cradle counter for a two count. Hager jumped off the top with nothing, Moxley kick to the gut and a snap DDT. Hager countered a pin attempt into the head/arm choke that Hager has used as a finisher. Moxley managed to get to the ropes to break the hold. Should there be a break in a No Holds Barred match there? I don’t know, but there was. Hager punched Moxley leading to Moxley bailing to the floor. Hager jabbed Moxley in the ribs with a steel chair. There wasn’t much happening as they went back into the ring, Hager sent a charging Moxley into a chair against the turnbuckle and Hager got a two count.
When they returned they were in the same spot they were in before. Hager used the chair to hit the left ankle of Moxley. Hager slapped on the Ankle Lock submission, Moxley swore at him to try to break his “f**king” ankle so they had to bleep it and Mox was fighting it of until he sent Hager out of the ring. Moxley hit a double underhook DDT while trying a submission from the bottom, but Hager countered out of it. Moxley worked over Hager with chops, then forearms and Hager ran the ropes leading to a knee to the groin. That’s not a DQ due to it being No Holds Barred. Moxley threw the chair into Hager’s face to stun him and Moxley hit the Paradigm Shift DDT onto the steel chair for the pinfall win after 31 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Jon Moxley
Analysis: *** The match was okay while also reminding us that it’s not a good idea to go long in empty arena matches. They should have had a better match, but I can only rate what I see. It’s tough to get excited about a match like this when they go that long. If they wrestled a faster paced match then it would have been better. I think the match was lacking drama including nearfalls and submission moments that would have made it more interesting. Moxley getting the win was the right call since he’s been the champion for less than two months, so there wasn’t much drama when Hager tried to win.
After the match, both guys were selling the physicality of the match. JR tried to put this over as a war or a classic match, but it really did not feel that way. Moxley had his hand raised as the winner and sold it by going down to the mat to sell how tough it was for him to win.
Moxley spoke into the camera saying that 2020 is his year, AEW is the hottest promotion in the world and he is on top. Moxley posed with the AEW World Title and that was the end of the show.
Three Stars of the Show
- Jon Moxley
- Jake Hager
- Lance Archer
This week: 5.5 (out of 10)
Last week: —
2020 Average: 7.22
This week’s Dynamite gets a 5.5 out of 10.
This was just an average show. It was all about the main event this week. Hager/Moxley went long with over 30 minutes of TV time, it was just an average match. These wrestling companies need to cut back on the length of some of these matches in this empty arena era. Most of this show is like watching that Dark show, which is like the B show that’s hard to get into in general. There are not interesting angles when the shows are like this, so it’s tough to get excited when you watch it.
If you want a decent wrestling show for two hours then Dynamite in this era is okay. However, it’s tough for me to get excited about the current product until they can use the full roster again and they have fans back to support them.
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