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Dynamite recap & reactions: War of attrition

SB Nation logo SB Nation 9/24/2020 Manolo Has Pizzazz
a couple of people that are looking at the camera © AEW’s YouTube channel

AEW Dynamite (Sept. 23, 2020) emanated from Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, FL. The show featured Orange Cassidy challenging Mr. Brodie Lee for the TNT Championship, the surprise return of Cody Rhodes, and Jon Moxley going to war with Eddie Kingston over the AEW World Championship.

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

War of attrition

The previously planned main event of the evening hit a snag when it was announced earlier in the day that Lance Archer tested positive for coronavirus. That news forced a cancellation of the much anticipated 6-man tag between Archer, Brian Cage, & Ricky Starks against Jon Moxley, Darby Allin, & Will Hobbs.

Moxley is a man with fighting spirit, so a new main event was made for him to defend the AEW World Championship against Eddie Kingston. The challenger was given the opportunity due to his claim that he was never officially eliminated in the Casino Battle Royale at All Out.

Kingston hit the ring early in the show for a promo explaining that news.

18 years in the business says he earned this shot. Kingston and Moxley used to be cut from the same cloth, but Mox sold out to the land of sports entertainment. Moxley came to the ring for a staredown before being separated by officials. It was an effective segment to build enough hype in a hurry.

When it came time for the main event fight, fight is exactly what Moxley and Kingston did. It was a war of attrition with intensity and aggression. For once, Moxley met someone who brawls uglier than him. The vibe was set from the get-go as they exchanged heavy chops.

On the floor, suplexes were hit and bodies were thrown into tables and guardrails. Moxley came close to winning early with a suicide dive, knees in the clinch, and a piledriver. Kingston was barely able to get his foot on the ropes to survive.

Kingston rallied back with a big powerbomb, however, he could never connect on his spinning backfist finisher. Kingston was able to put Moxley down with two consecutive back drop drivers, but he was loose on the cover. Commentary believed Kingston was too disoriented from the physicality to secure a proper pin.

In the end, Moxley blocked a spinning backfist then jumped on Kingston’s back for a rear naked choke. As they went down to the mat, Moxley transitioned to a bulldog choke. The referee called for the bell once he noticed Kingston pass out.

Those are the style of matches I enjoy from Moxley. It is as if I can feel the physicality through the screen. Kingston did as well as could have done given that he was obviously not going to win. I enjoyed the way Moxley changed choking techniques during the finish. It’s like Moxley knows a Paradigm Shift won’t be good enough to put down a man with heart, so he decides to squeeze the life out of them instead. Count me as a satisfied consumer.

Afterward, the Lucha Bros ran out to superkick Moxley. That led to Will Hobbs making the save, but he went down due to the numbers game. Darby Allin came on the scene with his skateboard to clean house. Too bad for him that Ricky Starks was lurking with a spear at the ready. The heels stood tall to close the show.

The closing skirmish was a good audible considering Archer’s cancellation. I’ll always be delighted when new blood get to participate in the main event angle. Lucha Bros, Hobbs, and Starks are some of my favorites, so that only adds to my excitement. Heck, Starks even got star treatment as it was his music playing when Dynamite faded to black.

TNT stinker

Orange Cassidy was granted a title shot against Mr. Brodie Lee for the TNT Championship. Despite my disinterest in Cassidy’s sloth style, I was actually interested to see how this match would play out. Cassidy has been on a roll lately and also been taking his matches seriously. I was expecting to be pleasantly surprised with a cool contest.

Unfortunately, that did not happen. The TNT match stunk. It was channel changing bad, in my opinion. Let me be clear. That’s not a knock on the skills of either man. My criticism about the story told in the ring.

Cassidy was back to his lazy antics by starting with hands in pocket and did his shin kick routine. If it was supposed to be a strategic ploy, it did not work. Mr. Brodie beat Cassidy up for over ten minutes. I don’t think Cassidy landed one strike in that entire time. It got so bad that even commentary was calling for the referee to stop the bout. My problem as a viewer is that the beatdown was slow and without cool moves. It was too long to sit through waiting for Cassidy’s inevitable babyface comeback.

When Cassidy did rally, it revolved around comedy. Mr. Brodie would stand him up for a discus lariat, then Cassidy would slump back down to the mat before contact. That led to Cassidy revving up with suicide dives to Mr. Brodie and taking out the Dark Order creepers with a Superman punch. All of a sudden, the roles were reversed. Cassidy was in complete control, and Mr. Brodie looked like the joke. Cassidy even hit an Air Raid Crash on Mr. Brodie. I’ll admit that that move was pretty impressive.

In the end, Jon Silver sacrificed himself to take a Superman punch in the ring. Mr. Brodie seized control after that distraction. He retained the TNT title with a powerbomb and huge clothesline.

Cassidy in the ring has never been my cup of tea, but he was earning my interest throughout the Jericho feud. I feel that his momentum might be flushed down the toilet with this match. I can’t say for sure, because perhaps Cassidy intended on trying and Mr. Brodie was just too much to handle in the early-going. In my mind, Cassidy went backward into a niche product due to the match story instead of continuing the path to breakout for the masses.

This bout also knocked Mr. Brodie’s stock down again in my eyes. Regarding the larger story of Cody Rhodes coming back for revenge, why would I think Cody can’t win after Mr. Brodie’s struggles against both Dustin Rhodes and Cassidy? I’m not saying Mr. Brodie should have squashed them, but he should have found a way to win more dominantly than relying on minions to squeak by. Cody is the clear favorite in my book despite being squashed to lose the belt. I’ve lost interest in the TNT Championship aspect of that feud. I still want to see revenge, but it is now more about the spectacle than the sport.

Speaking of Cody...

Dog collar match?

Cody Rhodes made a surprise return following the TNT title tilt. Lights went out. Ominous music played. Then, Cody’s theme song hit.

He came out dressed in black and back to black hair. Cody single-handedly beat up the creepers. Mr. Brodie was nowhere to be seen while 5 was stuck in a figure-four from Cody.

In the next segment, Mr. Brodie told Dasha Gonzalez backstage that Cody is not a man. Only a coward sends his brother and wife out to fight his battles and take beatings for it. Mr. Brodie held up a dog collar with the implication of a special challenge. Cody was one week to answer.

Boy, AEW is really stacking the deck against Cody and Mr. Brodie to make it a great match, aren’t they? I already explained my disappointment in Mr. Brodie losing the monster heat from squashing Cody. Adding a dog collar stipulation on top really makes me cock my head. Serious question. Has there ever been a great dog collar match? Cody has won me over as the king of big-match shenanigans, so I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that he can make it special.

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

Kip Sabian & Miro defeated Sonny Kiss & Joey Janela. Miro’s in-ring debut was the story with powerful swinging slams and gutwrench suplexes. The bout was competitive until Miro took over in the end. He bull rushed Kiss with a thrust kick, stomped on Kiss’ spine, then locked in the Camel Clutch for victory.

An underlying story may be injury status for both Miro and Kip. Miro went over the ropes to the floor when Janela pulled the top rope down. Miro came up noticeably limping and in pain. He pushed through, so it may have just been a rolled ankle. For Sabian, he crashed to the floor on a teamwork leap frog attack. The security barrier blocked the view of observing his impact. Janela loudly asked twice if Sabian was okay, so it must have been an ugly fall.

That was a nice tease of Miro’s skills for his in-ring debut. If he was new to any fans, then I’d like to think he made a positive impression as a brick wall of pain.

Hangman Page defeated Evil Uno. Uno was tougher than expected in this competitive bout. Uno surprisingly had Hangman in peril down the stretch. Hangman recovered to win after a powerbomb then Buckshot Lariat.

Of note, Kenny Omega was on commentary again. He reiterated his desire to compete in singles action. Omega provided more backhanded praise for Hangman, but he did claim that he would not be opposed to helping Hangman if the Dark Order minions attacked. Omega also mentioned that his return to the ring would be when it benefits his ranking the most.

I’d guess that Omega is waiting for Hangman to build a win streak then use Hangman’s momentum to propel himself into the top 5 after beating Hangman in a singles match. With the Full Gear PPV coming up on November 7, that scenario would make sense to give both men a big match.

Also of note, the Dark Order was on the entrance ramp in support for Uno. Colt Cabana was there as well. I believe that’s the first time Cabana has been in that scrum unless invited by Mr. Brodie Lee. Uno sent them to the back when they encroached too closely to Hangman. If the story is that Uno wants to prove himself, then I applaud his efforts. It makes him look tougher even in defeat.

Young Jerks. Tony Schiavone interviewed Matt Jackson about the Bucks’ recent bad attitude. Matt admitted that they were out of line with the superkick attacks. He condescendingly asked fans to understand that they lost a title shot and also lost a relationship with friends. When Schiavone asked about FTR, Matt became rude and smashed Tony’s phone. Matt threw money in the air to pay for a new phone after he couldn’t shove it into Tony’s coat pocket.

For that scene by itself, it effectively builds the Bucks as jerky heels. However, the PPV is quickly approaching and it seems likely that they will wrestler FTR for the tag titles. These behavioral issues make me confused about doing heel vs heel. If that is the case, then I wish there was a full crowd live in attendance for that match. I’m curious who they would choose to root for.

Jericho’s next challenge. Matt Hardy ran down a list of suspects for who assaulted him last week. MJF, Mr. Brodie Lee, and the Inner Circle. He accused Jericho as the culprit. Jericho came out to deny any involvement. Isiah Kassidy ended up challenging Le Champion for a bout next week due to last week’s post-match activity.

Good call to give Private Party feature mic time. That helped build their personalities to more than being party guys. I’m not so hot on the prospect of this leading to a PPV bout between Jericho and Hardy. I feel like that ship has sailed after the Stadium Stampede. Both men are electric entertainers, but Father Time has caught up to their bodies.

20-Minute Brush With Greatness. Tully Blanchard declared that he changed the rules for FTR’s title defense. In an effort to treat new fans to FTR’s greatness, they will defend with a 20-minute time limit. If it goes the distance, then that officially counts as a win for FTR. SCU will be up first next week. After FTR insulted Best Friends as backyard comedic wrestlers, Trent and Chuck Taylor issued a rebuttal. They challenged FTR to a match right at that moment, but FTR backed away claiming Best Friends need time to heal after last week’s parking lot fight.

I like this concept from the genius mind of Blanchard. It allows for fresh matches outside the top 5 with potential for chicanery from FTR. For example, it would a funny heel move for FTR to not allow Scorpio Sky to compete next week as part of SCU.

Hikaru Shida & Thunder Rosa defeated Ivelisse & Diamante. The champs had good chemistry as a team, even though, there was accidental contact between the two. They overcame in the end when Rosa saved Shida from a Code Red by Diamante. She picked Diamante off Shida for a Death Valley Driver. Shida hit the Falcon Arrow slam, but Ivelisse made the save. Shida went right back at Diamante with her running knee finisher to win.

The streak of high quality women’s matches in AEW continues. Since there was no beef between champs, I sense that this could be the end of Thunder Rosa’s run. She got the rub of victory and being friendly with Shida on her way out.

Respect. Chris Jericho and MJF shared a backstage scene smoothing over last week’s meeting when they called each other a loser. MJF claimed he was talking about the limo drivers. Jericho claimed he was talking about Tony Schiavone. The two parted as pals.

That was a funny interaction between two smarmy gentlemen. I appreciate that they were aware of the loser comment. It doesn’t insult our intelligence that they couldn’t have just watched the show or seen the clip.

Stud of the Show: Cody Rhodes

It was only a matter of time before Cody returned, and he still caught me by surprise. Cody came back with appropriate fire to wreck the Dark Order creepers.

Dud of the Show: Wiener hug

In lieu of placing the TNT Championship match here, I’m going with Chuck Taylor’s big climatic insult of showing FTR how to hug. Excalibur immediately shouted, “Got to give the people what they want!” Good ol’ JR no sold it. I’m with Jim Ross. Chuck had called FTR weenies. Sorry, but he made the Best Friends look like weenies on that one.

Grade: B-

Overall, it was a decent show. Most of the matches had obvious winners that never really sucked me into believing an upset was near. That tends to be a negative issue when the bouts are so long. The action was fine, but it isn’t as enjoyable without suspense. I’m not a fan of lengthy in-ring segments being back-to-back, as was the case with Matt Hardy and FTR. On the plus side, there were interesting story developments, Cody’s return was fire, and the main event delivered as a true fight.

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

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