BRM Reivews the 5/13/2020 Dynamite (a VERY mixed bag)

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Big Red Machine
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BRM Reivews the 5/13/2020 Dynamite (a VERY mixed bag)

Post by Big Red Machine » May 17th, '20, 15:45

We start off with Lance Archer tossing a random stagehand from the back through the entrance tunnel and beating him up. No one from AEW seems to give a sh*t about this. There is no security and no babyface wrestlers standing up to this bullying and assault of an innocent crewmember. Where is Cody? You’d think that after the lewd things Jake and Archer did to his wife last week that Cody would be itching for a fight, but I don’t see him out here.
Jake was been asked to apologize for last week’s actions, but he refuses to apologize, then goes for the cheap-heat sexism, which, quite frankly, should be far beneath him.
Cody shows up in a pick-up truck with his ugly neck-tattoo logo on the hood. Does he realize how douchy a pick-up truck with your logo on the hood comes off? Even more douchy is the fact that Cody has apparently gotten his truck modded so that the polarity on his muffler is reversed, because even though Cody’s truck is only now pulling into the parking lot, him revving the engine is loud enough to make Jake’s promo hard to hear when Jake is standing in the arena, with a microphone. His entrance needed three camera, too, including one set up inside his car, because he might want to get revenge for his wife, but not so much that he won’t time his entrance and set it up with the production team to make his arrival at the building as dramatic as possible.
He rammed down a “don’t drive here” security railing… and then just got out of the car. What’s the point of knocking the f*cking railing down if you’re not going to keep driving down the forbidden path? This is exactly the sort of sh*t that you see in Cody feuds that pisses me off so much. It’s pointless, empty “watch me play a badass on TV” bullsh*t that doesn’t wind up making any logical sense, and often actually makes him look like a tool. You could have gotten the same exact reaction by having him just come out from the back (and announcers can tell us that Tony Khan had talked Cody into waiting for Jake to apologize to explain why he didn’t come out until now), but instead we had to have Cody arrive at the building in his “look how big of a star I am! I have my own logo on the hood of my pick-up truck” car, with a f*cking three-camera shoot that makes no sense unless it was set up in advance, and he’s got do the action hero “ram something with your car” spot even though he rendered it entirely pointless by not continuing to drive down that path. And I love how he’s got his fists taped to show us that he’s ready for a fight, but instead of showing up in his wrestling boots and his gear, or in gym shorts and a tank-top or something else that would allow him mobility, he’s got to be wearing his fancy shoes and fancy button-down shirt and slacks to show us that he’s a rich megastar. It doesn’t come off as authentic at all. It comes off as a situation staged and scripted for the purpose of making Cody look as cool as possible. It’s pathetically transparent.
And yet I don’t hear one peep from the usual suspects about how phony this was, despite it being the same type of “fake and contrived” that people complain about when WWE has cameras already in the right place and guys do spots with obstacles that are clearly placed there just so a spot can be done with them. Yeah, it’s not as dumb as WWE’s dashboard-cam, but it’s only slightly.
Andy, Cody waits for Archer to come to him, which was a fine strategic decision. So was kicking archer in the nuts, because his real goal is to get to Jake. Unfortunately for Cody, Archer didn’t sell the nut-shot for long enough to let him get to Jake, which was a poor choice. They brawled a bit. There were some nice twists and turns in this brawl… and then Cody just stopped going after Archer and Jake because I guess he knew the segment was supposed to end now. Either that or after a few minutes of fighting Lance Archer he’d decided that he had had enough, so he’s both a coward and someone who doesn’t love his wife enough to continue trying to get revenge for the great disrespect that was shown to her once he got a taste of how tough doing so would actually be. Whichever explanation you like more.

They advertised Brodie Lee vs. Christopher Daniels as our main event. Their big push for this was Ross telling us that he thinks “Jon Moxley will make his presence felt before this fall is said and done.” Oh goody. A f*ck finish in the main event. Because it’s not like your competition did the same thing last week and everyone hated it.

Also advertised for tonight are Chris Jericho vs. a goofball who has been sitting in the front row and was inexplicably allowed to keep coming to shows even after he blatantly interfered in the Cody vs. Spears TNT Title Tournament quarterfinal, Jurassic Express vs. Best Friends, MJF’s first match since his (possibly kayfabe fake) injury, as well as a four-way match between Penelope Ford, Dr. Britt Baker DMD, Kris Statlander, and Hikaru Shida. More on that last match later.
Also, after having a random street fight against the Inner Circle last week, Kenny Omega and Matt Hardy are now having a normal tag team match against members of the Inner Circle. Isn’t this backwards? I realize that they have two more shows (including this one) to set up the PPV card, but shouldn’t the Hardy & Omega vs. Jericho & Guevara gimmick match have been the PPV match? Neither of those four are currently doing anything, Jericho’s other logical match (a rematch against Moxley) is no longer possible due to Moxley defending his title against Brodie Lee, and even if the plan is Hardy vs. Jericho in a singles match then you’re still not doing anything with Kenny Omega on your PPV.
Plus, that way you can have the Inner Circle interfere in the regular match to cost the babyface the match, then have the babyfaces make the challenge for the Street Fight (“because we all know the rest of the Inner Circle is going to get involved anyway”), the heels accept because they think the babyfaces are dumb, and then the Bucks (and maybe Page) make their big return at the PPV, helping their stablemates, so the babyfaces are outsmarting the heels. For all of the things that AEW does right in terms of protecting their wrestlers stars and letting their wrestlers be themselves on promos, building up cache in ideas or motifs to make things seem more important down the line, I am constantly astounded by the number of simple things they manage to get completely wrong.

AEW TAG TEAM DIVISION VIDEO PACKAGE- This was pretty good, but I had one big issue with it. They framed Nick Jackson’s injury as something that has opened the door for other teams to step up, but made no mention of the match that once of the tag champs hasn’t been around for a long time now. Yes, his absence is perfectly reasonable, but I don’t think that means you should shy away from it WWE-style, and especially in a situation like this where you can essentially turn it into a positive (and this is even worse in hindsight when a few moments later Excalibur puts this exact spin on Dark Order not being able to compete recently and thus possibly dropping in the rankings due to inactivity).

JURASSIC EXPRESS (Luchasaurus & Jungle Boy) (w/Marko Stunt) vs. BEST FRIENDS (w/Orange Cassidy)- 6.5/10
So is the “A Boy and His Dinosaur” name for just the pairing of Luchasaurus & Jungle Boy dead? As someone who loves specifics, I really liked having one name for the pairing and a separate name for the stable in a situation where the team existed before the third member was added. The team of Pentagon Jr. & Rey Fenix isn’t just going to be referred to as the “Death Triangle” from now on, are they?
These teams had a fine action match until it was time for the storyline finish. I actually really like the way they did everything here. I loved the fact that they came up with an intelligent reason for Orange Cassidy to be up on the stage and putting himself in a position where Rey Fenix could easily run out and blindside him (he was getting Trent psyched up, and due to Trent’s positioning and the way AEW’s set-up works, being on the stage was the only place he could go where Trent would see him). The attack on OC not only reignites that feud, but also creates a reason for both Trent and (more importantly) the referee to be distracted so that they don’t see the attack on Jungle Boy by MJF (which builds up to that feud). Said attack would take Jungle Boy out and allow Chuck Taylor to hit the Awful Waffle for the win. I don’t know if Chuck saw this or not, but even if he did, the attack on OC- and Trent running off after Rey Fenix, leaving him alone in this match) can leave him feeling justified in taking advantage of this (and, of course, if he didn’t see it then he has no reason to feel guilty in the moment, either), which can allow for tension between the two teams while allowing Best Friends to still feel like babyfaces if you want to revisit this after the PPV. Alternatively, the two teams can watch the tape and decide to team up against Death Triangle, MJF, and Wardlow (possibly with Shawn Spears as well. Or, instead of Spears, you could put Havoc & Sabian on the heel side and Colt Cabana on the babyface side, but I think that last scenario makes the feud a little too big). I really like segments like this where a booker is able to fit all of the puzzle pieces together to accomplish so much in just one segment.

Wardlow takes out Marko Stunt, just to be a dick. He has a stare-down with Luchasarus, who elects to tend to Marko rather than go after Wardlow. My only caveat about liking this is that they really need to follow up on it, as they seem to love teasing angles with these guys (and with Luchasaurus in particular) but rarely seem to go anywhere with them (they did it with the Dark Order, plus I think there was a tease of Luchasaurus vs. someone in the Inner Circle that never went anywhere, either).

MOXLEY ARRIVES AT THE BUILDING- He’s late. Not cool, bro.
He rejects an interview and slaps a camera. That part was good. I was worried he was going to choke the interviewer or something.

In the run-down of tonight’s card after the first segment, Excalibur promised us that this match “will almost certainly have ramifications in the Women’s World Championship hunt,” and before this match he told is that it would “almost certainly have world title implications in the women’s division.” That’s nice to say, but does anyone really believe that at this point? They say that about all of these matches, and every week Hikaru Shida wins and she’s been the top-ranked contender for months now yet STILL hasn’t gotten a title shot, even now that the champion is back on the show and got to wrestle a warm-up match next week. Is it really that hard to just book a three-way instead and announce that Shida is getting a title shot at the PPV in a week and a half? If you want to focus on Shida this week, do a video package so that we can actually learn something about here other than “she is a female wrestler from Japan.” That way not only are you not continuing to make wins in this division- as well as your entire ranking system- feel worthless, but by not having Shida in the match, someone else can win and you can use this win to start building that woman for the next title shot?
And for bonus points, why not put Brandi in this match so she can try to get revenge on the person who attacked her from behind for no reason last week? Once again, AEW completely fails to book the obvious match that stems from the previous week’s events. They are the worst kayfabe promoters ever.
Jim Ross doesn’t seem to give a sh*t that Statlander is illegally going after Britt’s nose with a submission hold. I’ll remember this the next time he complains about something a heel is doing. Like, for example, Kip Sabian jumping up onto the apron and restraining Shida. Yes, I know, there are no DQS in a four-way, but that’s so f*cking dumb, and if Ross didn’t get upset about Statlander doing something that wasn’t technically against the rules, why did he get upset about Sabian and Ford doing so?
This match was full of big moves and lots of exciting action. There was a bit of a story with Britt Baker trying to go after Shida as revenge for breaking her nose, but the majority of this was just action. Shida won clean. Meanwhile, Britt Baker was an idiot, locking Statlander in the Lockjaw on the outside, where you can’t actually win the match, and where she should quickly get back to the ring to break up a pin (and she didn’t even let go of the hold when she heard the referee counting). She also kept the hold locked in long after the bell. The announcers pushed that Britt’s obsession with causing Statlander pain cost her the match, which might be a fine angle they had already been feuding, or the idea of Britt being a sadist had been in any way part of her character. And if this is intended as the start of an angle between these two, that would make Statlander by my count the fourth person Britt is now in an angle with (Shida for the broken nose, they did an angle with her and Brandi last week, she and Big Swole cut promos on each other right before the world shut down, plus they never did anything with Britt knocking out Yuka Sakazaki’s teeth after a loss).

SUGE D/SUGAR DUNKERTON/PINEAPPLE PETE PROMO- This started off good, but then ended extremely abruptly, like AEW screwed up the timing and realized a commercial was about to start, so they let him finish his sentence and quickly cut away to a graphic so that it wouldn’t get cut off in the middle of him talking and look like an amateur mistake.

They’ve FINALLY announced Nyla Rose vs. Hikaru Shida for the women’s title for Double or Nothing 2020. It’s about f*cking time that Shida is getting her title shot.

Maybe they actually are getting rid of individual tag team names within stables, as Santana & Ortiz were referred to only as “the Inner Circle” and introduced merely as “Santana & Ortiz” instead of “Proud N’ Powerful” (which was a terrible name that needed to go, so at least that’s one positive to come out of this possible change).
Santana & Ortiz jumped Kenny during his entrance. Being the great ally that he is Matt Hardy decided to wait until his music hit, then slowly come out onto the stage like he normally would for his entrance while his teammate was getting beat up two on one. What a dick.
Fortunately for Matt, while he might be a dick, his opponents are idiots, as they decided to have Santana attack him while Ortiz just stood in the ring and watched. Not to have Santana attack Matt while Ortiz kept beating on Kenny, because Ortiz clearly wasn’t doing that. He was just standing there and watching his partner fight (and get beaten by) Matt Hardy. Fire went off on the stage for no real reason. If it’s supposed to be Matt Hardy using magic then it buries Santana that Matt wasn’t even distracted enough by fighting him to prevent him from magically shooting fire. If it’s some backstage worker doing it, then that person should be fired for recklessly endangering both of these wrestlers.
The babyfaces won cleanly in a match that felt like it dragged on for WAY too long. At one point Sammy Guevara came out in a neckbrace to try to interfere with a chair, just to get hit with a Twist of Fate by Matt Hardy, so his career might be over.
Hardy and Omega getting the win here bothered me a bit. The announcers pointed out that this team that only teamed together for the first time last week just beat one of the best teams in the world. On the one hand, I think Kenny Omega and Broken Matt make an interesting pairing, and the idea of Matt getting another partner who he finds instant success with while Adam Page is absent for perfectly acceptable reasons would do a great job of setting up some intrigue for when Page returns (and, quite frankly, I think the possibility of that angle mitigates the criticism that Matt is just being plugged in as a replacement for Page, which may or may not be true- and even if it is true, it doesn’t mean AEW is doing something bad under the current circumstances- but no matter whether it’s true or not, it has felt like the case at times.
On the other hand, LAX sure seems to lose A LOT for a team who are supposedly one of the best in the business. Their last tag team victory in AEW (not counting six-man tags) was on an episode of Dark in late December. Their last win on Dynamite or a PPV was at Full Gear against the Bucks, OVER SIX MONTHS AGO. In six-man tags with various partners, they’re 4-2 in AEW, and 8-7 overall… 9-8 if the Jericho Cruise matches that weren’t televised count. They’re under 500 in tag team matches (or at 500 if you don’t want to include the battle royale). And while they might have won at Full Gear, they did lose that feud to the Bucks, and have lost every big match they’ve been in since then. This loss is yet another step in them feeling like a WWE midcard team where Michael Cole keeps insisting that they’re really great, but you know they’ll never win anything important. And if the big idea here is to put the team of Hardy & Omega over, then why did you have them lose last week? What did the Inner Circle winning accomplish that wouldn’t have been accomplished by a roll-up win for the babyfaces and then the heels beating them down, other than Hardy & Omega now not actually being undefeated?

He first (finally) explains this “Casino Ladder Match” to us. It’s just a ladder match for a title shot. Well… that’s a lot less exciting than they were making it sound, isn’t it? This is the second time that AEW has teased something new and different then just given us something we’ve seen a million times before.
Taz said that he feels like he owes Darby an apology after last week’s show. Then he just kept going without apologizing and got two words into his next sentence before he realized that he hadn’t apologized, quickly added “so I’m sorry,” and then continued with his sentence. This was so wonderfully human and authentic, and I think that Taz is the only person who could have pulled off while both seeming completely natural and not seemingly like he was trying to be a dick.
Then he proceeded to explain how Darby got pinned in a way that made it seem like Darby was an idiot for getting pinned that way and even more of an idiot for rejecting his offer. Darby turned Taz’s “you don’t get it” back on him by pointing out to Taz that Darby does, in fact, know the basic amateur move that Cody used to beat him and telling Taz that he placed third in his state in amateur wrestling in high school. Taz admitted that he didn’t know this, but his attempt at further conversation was ended by Darby once again walking off.
On the one hand, as I said before, Taz is uniquely suited to say things like this while not coming off as a dick. AEW has found an excellent role for him, and I think Darby is a wonderful person for him to play off of, and I’m interested to see where this goes. That being said, for Darby’s first time speaking live, this had very little gravitas to it, and the Darby knowing the move Cody used to beat him just makes him look like even more of an idiot for losing to it. That whole finish was so ill-advised it’s painful.

EXCALIBUR EXPLAINS THE CASINO LADDER MATCH TO US- Ah. What Taz failed to mention is that there are going to be nine entrants who will entered in a staggered fashion. That does make this new. Also, unlike with War Games, you can grab the briefcase before all of the participants have entered, so the first two people in have a distinct advantage.
Already announced for the match are Orange Cassidy, Rey Fenix, Colt Cabana, and Darby Allin. It’d be nice to know how they’re going to determine who gets the major advantage of being the first two in (and even nicer to know that it will be decided via merit, not luck, but the name doesn’t have me hopeful).
On the negative side, something funky happened with the audio here and Exaclibur’s voice became very deep. Either they had audio issues, or Excalibur just decided to use a funny voice. Neither of which are a good look for the company.

Nyla Rose quickly interrupted this (which was good, as Shida’s English is fluid in her pronunciation, but she seems to be confusing some of her vocabulary) to hit Shida in the head with a Kendo stick she was hiding behind her back. Nyla is a great heel. She’s entertaining, but the thing about her that is entertaining is that she is so proud of the lines she has come up with, even though everyone else in the world probably thinks they’re not very clever. Hopefully she will replace the role in my wrestling fandom that was left vacant when Absolute Andy turned babyface back in February.

LEE JOHNSON vs. MJF (w/Wardlow)- squash
The announcers told us that Rey Fenix vs. Orange Cassidy has been announced for next week, and Britt Baker vs. Kris Statlander has been added to the PPV. Still waiting for the follow-up on her angle with Brandi. Also on the pre-show is a #1 contendership match between Best Friends and Private Party. How the f*ck are Private Party in a #1 contendership match? Yes, they’re 3-1 since the last PPV (and 3-0 in two-on-two matches), but none of their wins have been over actual teams, and they’re 4-7 overall since their previous tag title shot (5-9 if you include the Jericho Cruise) and 4-5 in two-man team matches (5-6 if you include the Jericho Cruise… and keep in mind that three of those wins are over scrub teams, as I noted above). If you’re going to keep track of records and talk about quality of opponents, you have to actually hold to it, otherwise you expose all wins and losses as being meaningless.
MJF won. Shawn Spears was happy.

He confused everyone by saying that he signed an open contract that Marko Stunt had for a match this week when apparently he was supposed to say next week.

AEW should fine Jim Ross $500 every time he insists on referring to Jungle Boy as “Jack Perry.”

SUGE D vs. CHRIS JERICHO (w/the Inner Circle)- squash
Sammy Guevara is apparently fine even though who took a bump on his head while wearing a neck brace. He actually seems to not be injured at all, which is baffling when you consider that earlier in the night he was hobbling down to the ring in a situation where his ally was in real danger. Stupid f*cking comedy horsesh*t. This is why you don’t do that dumb crap.
Suge got some offense in, then lost to the Judas Effect. This whole exercise has been pointless and stupid.

Jericho cuts a promo challenging The Elite to a “Stadium Stampede” match at the PPV. No explanation of what that is, of course. That’s the second match like this on this PPV alone! If it’s a street fight like Jericho implied, then just say so. Also, who is going to be in this match on the babyface side? I mean… I guess Kenny, Matt, Nick, Page, and Hardy is possible, but it feels like such a waste of Nick Jackson’s return. Also, doing another weapons gimmick match is going to take away from War Games (assuming they’re actually still planning on doing that).
Vanguard One showed up and now Jericho is the idiot goofball who wants the drone to join his group and claims to have pressed charges of grand larceny against it for stealing a shirt. They assaulted Vanguard One with a baseball bat, hopefully destroying it forever.
Matt Hardy finally came out, and despite there being one of him and five members of the Inner Circle- one of whom has a baseball bat- they all ran away. Jim Ross actually did a great job of making you understand why Matt would give a sh*t about this, but it still doesn’t explain why the Inner Circle didn’t just beat the sh*t out of Matt, too?

That’s now THREE weapons matches on one show (and they did one last week on TV, and one the week before that), and this one after one small angle. If you absolutely must make this a gimmick match then please at least limit it to “Kendo sticks are legal” or “Kendo stick on a pole” or something narrower.

They reminded us that Moxley is here and still hasn’t acted yet. Are you telling me he showed up that angry and hasn’t found Brodie Lee yet? Really?
Arn Anderson and Jake Roberts are going to have a talking segment next week. I don’t give one single, soliary sh*t about this. I’m sure they’ll cut good promos, but I just don’t see what either of these men can possibly say that will sell someone on Cody vs. Archer if the combination of the title being on the line and all of the other angles they’ve done so far hasn’t.

Among other announcements that were made, we were told that we’re getting Matt Hardy vs. Sammy Guevara next week, which I don’t see how anyone can possibly care about when 1) we know we’re getting them on big teams in a weapons match a few days later, and 2) Sammy was such a goof earlier and faked an injury for no reason, resulting in Matt laying him out, and it didn’t even help Sammy’s team win, so where is the heat? From the broken drone? Isn’t that what the PPV match is for?

Also, Mike Tyson will be presenting the TNT Championship to the Archer vs. Cody winner. At first I thought this was completely extraneous and pointless, but the more I thought about it, the more I thought maybe they needed it because this feels a lot more like a grudge match than a match to crown the first champion of a new title… but maybe Tyson’s presence (and the reminder of the title) then takes away from the grudge-match feel? I don’t know. I think it would have been better for this to not be the tournament finals to come up with some other reason that the match was held off until the PPV.

CHRISTOPHER DANIELS (w/SCU) vs. BRODIE LEE (w/the Dark Order)- 6.5/10
Brodie came out wearing the AEW World Title and demanded to be announced as the champion. Props to Jim Ross for answering the question that immediately leapt to my mind when I was told that Brodie Lee was only the #4 ranked contender, putting Brodie over for creating a situation that allowed him to jump to the front of the line.
Stuff happened and there were a bunch of run-ins. This happened while Daniels had Brodie in the Koji Clutch and Daniels let the hold up to go help SCU and Cabana, I guess, but never actually threw any punches. The referee decided that this was not a DQ because neither competitor had ever been touched. If you’re going to do that then just keep the brawl outside of the ring. The reason they didn’t, of course, was because they needed this as a reason why Daniels would break a finishing submission on a hated enemy. My counter to that would be DON’T HAVE SOMEONE HIT A CHAIR SHOT THEN LOCK IN A FINSIHING SUBMISSION ON YOUR BIG BAD HEEL TEN DAYS BEFORE HE CHALLENGES FOR THE WORLD TITLE ON PPV! There was absolutely no reason for Daniels to get this nearfall in. All it does is hurt Brodie, and it wasn’t even convincing as a false finish because we all knew Daniels wasn’t going to win here.
I guess as a way of making up for this weakness they had Brodie kick out of the Angel’s Wings at one. Again, I’d rather just not do the whole thing. Brodie then kicked out of a bodypress version of the BME, countered something off the top rope into a powerbomb, and hit the discuss clothesline for the win. If you want to get away from his WWE stench, you really should change his finisher, too. Hell, they should have changed that finisher anyway because it looks weak (especially compared to his big boot or running Ligerbomb). There was some decent stuff in here, but I thought the big schmoz hurt it.

POST-MATCH SEGMENT- didn’t like it
The Dark Order came back but SCU and Cabana didn’t. I guess they got beaten up off camera?
Moxley FINALLY showed up. He’s angry at Brodie for stealing his title and angry enough to shove a camera, but not so angry that he would run in on a match. That’s nice of him. A little hokey, though.
For the second time tonight a large group of heels backs down from a lone babyface they have outnumbered. Brodie Lee, apparently being an idiot, starts sending his minions at Moxley one at a time instead of all at once. Brodie and 10 (the guy Moxley is facing next week) left, then Moxley cut a very good promo… although maybe a little too good, as I don’t know how you promise a “hailstorm of violence” and deliver without it being yet another gimmick match.

This show was a VERY mixed bag. So mixed that I don’t even have the strength to sift through it for a recap, but I'd say it was about 60-40 in favor of the negative side. Sometimes AEW does stuff I really like, but a lot of the time they due stuff that absolutely confounds me with how stupid or frustrating it is.
Hold #712: ARM BAR!

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