I Also Knew Judas and He Was Chill Except the One Time: AEW Dynamite Recap and Review

Cody, please let me interview you about Star Trek.

With Blood & Guts postponed on account of pandemic, AEW Dynamite this week was a hodgepodge of matches and ideas that weren’t part of the show’s narrative plan. This being the second week of Dynamite in an empty football practice facility, it’s pretty notable as to how far scaled back the production was this week. Three out of the four announcers who worked Dynamite last week were at home. The ringside area wasn’t populated with wrestlers. The pyro was saved until it had a purpose at the end of the show. There were generally fewer people involved in each segment.

If last week’s Dynamite was AEW trying to put on an AEW show to ease our anxiety about the state of the world, this week’s Dynamite was the wrestling equivalent of fast food chains putting out commercials saying that they’re still slinging hamburgers during all of this. You can see all of the precautions, but there’s still a genuine unease about the experience. How was the hamburger served up by All Elite Wrestling this week? I mean, I ate it, but I can’t say it was memorable.

Cody Rhodes def. Jimmy Havoc

If there’s something I don’t really like, it’s Good Competitive Matches between people on Cody’s level and someone on Jimmy’s. I get where it’s coming from—Ric Flair used to do these 10-15 minute matches with TV job guys or local heroes where it looked for all the world that there’d be a new world champion until Flair stopped fucking around—but it’s a well AEW returns to on a near-weekly basis, and this time it’s with Havoc, a guy whose usefulness diminishes every time you watch a death match. The best thing happening here is Kenny Omega’s commentary, where he’s like some 1980s aww-shucks babyface upset that the mall goth wearing trash bags isn’t being a sportsman during this nice show. The second best thing is Kenny Omega describing Stardom in detail for Tony Schiavone, noted lover of joshi puroresu.

Grade: Yeah.

More Pro Wrestling:

Promo: We get a video promo from Jake “The Snake” Roberts, who is wisely self-isolating. I love Jake “The Snake” Roberts. There’s a poem about him in my book. His promos are part of the reason I love language the way I do. But I won’t lie—there is nothing going on in these promos. When it’s Lance Archer murdering people in a backwoods wrestling ring, I’m in. When it’s Jake Roberts talking about Caesar this and Lance hasn’t debuted yet that, it wanders. On Twitter I called this Roberts’ worst major promo work, and while that may be harsh it is clear that he’s struggling to adjust his routine to fit the role of being someone’s second. Cody gets real mad about it when he goes back to the announcer’s desk and says Lance can debut next week for all he cares.

Promo: Darby Allin has another student film for us, where he says that Kip Sabian is a sacrifice to the Inner Circle. He wears a bunch of homemade masks of the Circle’s faces, sets them down on a table, then sets the table on fire. Spoooooky.

Darby Allin def. Kip Sabian

Just two dudes wrestling. Like most Darby Allin matches, this is about watching him endure punishment until he figures out a counter and gets on a roll. Tony says of Darby that he’s “like a piece of leather, you can keep beating him and beating him,” really hitting the nail on the head as to why wrestling Twitter is so horny for him all the time. Darby ends up getting the win with “The Last Supper” which is a pretty looking leglock pin. Absolutely good idea for him to have a secondary finish, and there’s no time like now to experiment.

Grade: Yeah.

Jake Hager vs. Chico Adams

Cody is really orgasmic about Hager’s folk wrestling ability, “folk” being a much cooler thing to say than “freestyle” or “collegiate.” Hager roughs this guy up and wins with the short arm triangle of doom.

Grade: Yeah?

After the match, Mox comes out and starts brawling with Hager. He gets the Paradigm Shift in, but Hager recovers quicker than most and goes for an ankle lock. After this brief scuffle, Hager departs and Mox cuts his usual “I’m going to kill you” promo, a few lines from which I’m sure were borrowed from Tom Cruise in Jack Reacher.

Promo: We get a Brodie Lee video package, where he is chowing down on a fancy steak dinner while John Silver and Alex Reynolds look on in terror. He’s explaining to the Beaver Boys how things work in the Dark Order now that he’s around, how things are different and they need to get with the program. When John Silver tries to eat his steak, Lee screams at him about not eating until he’s done and throws him out of the room. Reynolds’ sin is sneezing, which, given how poorly he covered it, I’d be pissed off too. This fucking ruled, putting a lot of distance between Lee’s previous characters and this one, less swamp/truck stop and more a respectable corporate cult leader. You know, from one kind of problematic hot guy to another.

Brodie Lee def. QT Marshall

There are two things that Cody Rhodes will not stop saying during this match. The first is that he knew Brodie Lee under a different name. The second is “daddy eats first.” Luckily, this match is brief. It’s everything you want in a squash match, as a big, powerful dude wrecks someone else’s shit in short order, and I’m a geek for Brodie’s opening match big boot.

Grade: Yeah!

Promo: Matt Hardy’s drone spies on Nick Jackson, who lives in a big house and is doing fine.

AAA Mega Championship: Kenny Omega (c) def. Sammy Guevara

Unlike the opening match’s air of Good Competition, I was actually pretty invested in this because I’m the only person in the world who fucking loves Sammy Guevara, who came out to address his loving crowd of caricatures drawn on signboard. Unlike any match in the history of professional wrestling, this match features a full blown conversation about goddamn STAR TREK, wherein I learned that a) Tony Schiavone’s favorite captain is Benjamin Sisko and b) Cody Rhodes thinks that Sisko sucks (he blew a fucking raspberry!!) because he was “only” a commander until he was given the Defiant. Like, look Cody. First of all, Sisko is in charge of a space station that’s sitting on the doorstep of a wormhole that determines the fate of the entire Alpha—oh my God, Sammy is making out with his Brandi Rhodes caricature. Tongue and all. Ahem. Anyhow. This match is about how mean Sammy is as a result of his tutelage under Chris Jericho, as he works on Omega’s injured hand and keeps wiggling out of suplexes. But the Spanish God can only weather so many V Triggers before Omega puts him down with the One Winged Angel. Please establish a secondary title so Sammy can win it.

Grade: Yeah!

Promo: Chris Jericho is here, and he’s gonna talk about these uncertain, unprecedented times. One more change as a result of said times: Jericho is wearing a mic as opposed to speaking into the normal wrestling mic. Cody and Kenny and Tony kinda play it off like this is a weird, eccentric quirk Jericho has, but nah, that’s probably what should have happened three weeks ago industry wide. Anyhow, Jericho is interrupted by Matt Hardy’s drone, and from this moment forward I spent the rest of the show wishing to perish from this earth.

I know how I’m supposed to feel about Broken Matt Hardy. It’s a camp exploration of the potential of professional wrestling … or whatever. But look, y’all—wrestling is already camp, and most intentional explorations of the subject are pretty fucking bad. This is the third iteration of a character I’ve never had much use for, so by the time we get to the elite/delete bit and Hardy saying that he knew and was betrayed by the real Judas, I’m just begging for this to end, knowing full well that it won’t for weeks. The spirits of Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. are there to watch Hardy get smacked by Jericho, who gets leveled in one punch. Jericho brings out his (much reduced) Inner Circle to get the upper hand for a moment, but Cody and Kenny come to Hardy’s rescue with steel chairs. At least it ended.

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Colette Arrand

Colette Arrand is a minor transsexual poet and nu-metal enthusiast.

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