ADAM PAGE & MATT HARDY vs.TH2- 6/10
Page’s graphic told us that he had “recently hired a shady legal team,” so right away we’re turning the show into a joke.
Hardy didn’t seem upset at Page at all, so I guess he hasn’t bothered to read the contract he signed last week yet. What a moron. If he thought he was getting such a good deal, you’d think he would have taken it to his lawyers right away, where they would have read it and informed him that he had been hoodwinked (although a contract signed when you think it’s something else isn’t legally enforceable, so he didn’t really get screwed, but you’d think he’d be angry at Page for foiling his plan and trying to screw him). They also worked together just fine and were friendly after the match.
This was a fine opener. Jack came up short on an attempted Phoenix Splash, but Matt was smart enough to not sell it and they just moved on, like veterans do.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- mixed feelings
Page reveals that he switched the papers on Matt. Matt says he didn’t read the contract and sent it straight to his lawyers, so have they not read it yet? Or did they just didn’t think it was suspicious at all that the contract Matt returned was not the same one they helped him draw up?
Anyway, Page asks for someone from the JAG team to ring the contract out. The JAG is a military lawyer so that makes no sense, but of course they had to have Page say that because they wanted to do to a joke with the Jaguars mascot bringing the contract out, once again making this whole thing into a joke (and the reason they decided to have the jaguar out here makes it make even less sense, but I’ll get to that in a moment).
It turns out that instead of a representative contract, Page got Matt to sign a contract for a match at Revolution 2021 where if Matt loses, Page gets ALL of Matt’s earnings for the first quarter of 2021.
Matt was unhappy, but accepted that he had been out-cheated. He agreed to the match, but asked that Page also put the entirety of his earnings for the first quarter of 2021 at stake, and Page agreed.
At this point I was actually really liking this. I’ve harped on the fact that the contract isn’t enforceable, but they found a way around that but having this verbal contract here, creating the same situation of poetic justice while creating legal viability so that Matt doesn’t come off as an idiot for missing an obvious legal out to a match he doesn’t want. I also liked Page agreeing to put his money up, so this way there is something at stake for the babyface, too.
One tweak I would have made if I was booking is that instead of Page putting his money up, I would have had him have to abide by the terms of the “30% of your earnings” contract that Matt tried to get him to sign. Not only is that even better storytelling in my opinion (because then they are essentially fighting over the contracts they tried to trick the other into signing), but a match for money is the sort of thing that I don’t think works well in wrestling without a lot of follow-up (in this case, showing the loser be truly affected by the loss of income). If Page is forced to sign Matt’s contract if he loses, it is still a monetary issue for Page, but you don’t need to do as much follow up focusing on the monetary part because the fans will be reminded of Page’s loss every week, both when the announcers bring it up when he wrestles, and whenever Matt interacts with him. I also like the storytelling possibilities better with Matt now having incentive to interfere on Page’s behalf and Page not wanting it… but possibly being temped later, because with Matt taking 30% of his money, he does need to win more often to maintain his lifestyle).
After they shook hands, Matt told Page he was finished, and the mascot attacked Page before revealing himself to be Isaiah Kassidy. Matt then paid TH2 to help Kassidy beat Page up, but the Dark Order made the save (and yes, they had Brodie’s kid out there), so that keeps the Page/Dark Order thing going.
The mascot thing bothered me for three related reasons (other than he “making it a joke” thing I mentioned above). First, the only way it makes sense is if Matt knew that Page was going to have the mascot bring the contract out, which is something no one had any reason to think would happen before Page made his dumb joke five seconds before the mascot came out with the contract.
Secondly, it wasn’t necessary at all, because you could have achieved the same thing by having Matt kicked Page in the stomach and then offer TH2 the money to beat him up.
Thirdly… all you need is one little change to this segment to make everything make sense. Instead of Page being the one who was prepared to do the big reveal of the contract, have it be Matt. Yes, Page has incentive to have the contract revealed to Matt, but he’s an EVP, so once Matt asks Tony Khan or whoever if he can do this big reveal with the mascot, Page would know about it and thus wouldn’t need to set up a reveal because Matt is already doing it. That one change (and giving Matt the JAG) pun means that Matt is the one who has the mascot out there, so he could have one of his guys use the costume for the segment (which he would probably want just in case Page get angry and attacks him over the unfair contract Matt thinks he tricked Page into signing).
So yeah. I’m not buying Meltzer’s claims of Tony Khan being a “detail” guy. Not one bit.
ALEX MARVEZ INTERVIEWS THE INNER CIRCLE- awesome!
LAX cut a promo saying this was their first title shot because everyone has been afraid of them. Whatever. MJF cuts a promo on Sammy demanding that he apologize. Jericho then scolded MJF for goading Sammy to the breaking point… then but then said he blamed Sammy more because “when you walk out on the Inner Circle, you walk out on Chris Jericho, and Sammy Guevara: You are dead to me!”
LAX was fine, MJF was great, and Jericho was absolutely perfect.
JAPANESE BRACKET OF THE WOMEN’S WORLD TITLE ELIMINATOR RECAP- good
And they plugged where we could watch other first-round matches, from both the US and Japan (on YouTube on Monday).
WOMEN’S WORLD TITLE ELIMINATOR TOURNAMENT FIRST ROUND MATCH: Serena Deeb vs. Riho- 8/10
In his latest ridiculous mistake in attempting to put over the women’s division, Jim Ross gave credit to “all of the guys who have worked with the ladies have done a phenomenal job on progressing their games.” Ross also thought it was important to explain to us why Deeb would not want a doctor to rule her unable to continue (because apparently he thinks we can’t figure that out on our own). Even worse, the reason he cited was missing out on the winner’s purse. He said nothing about the fact that this match was part of a single-elimination tournament for title shot. Why is this man still on commentary?
During the commercial break, there was a spot where Riho was on the outside, unmoving F*CKING FOREVER while Aubrey Edwards just stared at her instead of counting her out. DO YOU F*CKING JOB, REFEREE! What makes this even more frustrating is that while this was happening, a ringside doctor/trainer/whatever, was checking Deeb’s injured knee, and this would have been the perfect thing for Aubrey to distract herself with (she need to know how Deeb’s knee is so she can make a decision about calling the match), but instead, she went and looked at the worst thing to be looking at: something that would expose her as not doing her job.
Other than that one spot, this was tremendous. Deeb had a bum knee going in, and that was the story of the match. This was a fine example of giving two talented wrestlers time and letting them deliver. More promotions need to be doing this.
SHAQ AND JADE CARGILL TRAINING MONTAGE- bad
They trained for their wrestling match by playing a lot of basketball.
DR. LUTHER (w/Serpentico) vs. ORANGE CASSIDY (w/Chuck Taylor)- DUD!
Continuing our theme of inexcusably bad referee, Bryce Remsburg called for the bell while 1) Orange Cassidy was in the middle of taking off his jacket, and 2) Chuck Taylor was standing on the apron right in front of him.
Luther beat OC up for a bit until OC powerbomed him on the floor. Chuck Taylor and Serpentico got two spots all to themselves in this short match. OC won with the Orange Punch. My takeaway from this match is that Jericho’s fat, old friend needs to not be on TV anymore.
TEAM TAZ CALLS OUT STING- very good
Taz blamed Sting’s snow for Ricky Starks and Will Hobbes not being able to be here tonight. Sting came out and Taz goaded him into throwing his bat away and starting a fight, which Team Taz won because of their numbers advantage. Cage laid Sting out with a powerbomb. This was a perfect example of how to get a lot out of one move.
EDDIE KINGSTON PROMO- great!
Kingston is much better when he keeps his promos short. He simply went through all of his opponents tonight and why he NEEDS to get revenge on them.
ALEX MARVEZ AT SOME SORT OF ELEMENTARY SCHOOL WITH MICHAEL NAKAZAWA, DON CALLIS & “WWE CHAMPION” (YES, ROSS SLIPPED UP) KENNY OMEGA- Just when I was starting to think that this might be one of the best episodes of Dynamite, THIS happened.
He read them a sentence from the Young Bucks’ book, then Callis said they had to go. Kenny now has a publicist named Margaret, who told them this was raising Kenny’s popularity. Don Callis talked about how they were trying to break into the “nine-year-old demographic.” The kids wanted Kenny to stay and play with them, but Callis told them Kenny couldn’t, and offered them Nakazawa instead. The children said they hated Nakazawa and assaulted him. This was all exceedingly stupid and served no purpose because we already know that Kenny and Callis are jerks (and even if we didn’t know that, there are much more productive ways to show it). This really does rank up there in terms of the worst segments I’ve ever seen. It was just random stupid and didn’t accomplish anything. The fact that it even made air says volumes about AEW’s leadership and vision.
AEW WORLD TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH: The Young Bucks(c) vs. the Inner Circle (Santana & Ortiz) (w/the Inner Circle)- 7/10
We were shown Kenny Omega, Don Callis, and Kenny Omega watching from backstage.
This was a typical Young Bucks spotfest (and LAX are usually pretty spotty, too). Ortiz was an idiot and shouted about how they were the best for a long time before getting back into the ring after powerbombing Matt into the crowd, so when he got back into the ring, Nick rolled him up for the win, making him look like an idiot.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- mixed feels
The Inner Circle attacked the Bucks. We cut back to the Callis group backstage. Kenny seemed to want to help but Callis talked him down. The announcers shouted about how these supposed “best friends” of the Bucks weren’t helping. The Bucks “childhood friend” Brandon Cutler came out to help. I realize that this was intended to be a contrast to Kenny and the Good Brothers, but it just made me wonder why Cutler has never come out to help the Bucks before.
MJF and Jericho locked the Bucks in their signature submission holds. Eventually Callis sent the Good Brothers out to help. They came very slowly.
The Inner Circle went over the menace the Bucks’ parents. Mr. Buck shoved Chris Jericho. Considering that the Bucks once superkicked their own father for no reason in ROH, I don’t think they would care that much if Jericho knocked Mr. Buck out. Also, where is security to get between the wrestlers and fans?
The execution on all of this was very good (other than the thing with the Bucks’ parents, which felt like horrid overkill. You just beat them up. You don’t need to threaten their parents), but at this point 1) I don’t trust the necessary fallout between the Bucks and the Good Brothers (and Kenny) to happen in an intelligent way, and 2) I don’t see what the Good Brothers really get out of not helping the Bucks. Helping the Bucks is a way to worm their way into a title shot. Why jeopardize that relationship for no gain?
BRANDI REVEALS THE GENDER OF HER AND CODY’S BABY- Because this is an appropriate use of TV time. If Hunter and Steph had done this, people would have crapped all over it. And rightfully so, because it’s a bad use of your promotion’s precious TV time.
FTR vs. THE SYDAL BROTHERS- 6.75/10
Cody was on commentary for this match. He was there to announce the six-person “Face of the Revolution” Ladder match at Revolution for a shot at the TNT Title (for which Cody, Scorpio Sky, Penta have been announced). Again… the baby’s gender reveal got a video package, but this was announced on commentary while we were watching another match.
This was solid stuff, but I have to ask: Does AEW really need the Sydal Brothers when they have so many other high-flying babyface teams?
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- didn’t like it
FTR went to cut one of the Sydal’s hair, because I guess that’s what they do now. They were thwarted by the lights magically going out. A Luchasuarus video played on the screen, and when the lights came back on, Jurassic Express were in the ring, because I guess they can teleport now. Just come from the back. It’s not that hard. Teleportation doesn’t make you cool. It just makes your show dumb because the power seems to come and go depending on the needs of the script.
I would normally be unhappy about the babyfaces having a numbers advantage, so I was pleasantly surprised to see Marko staying out of the fighting, keeping it two on two. And then Excalibur went ahead and told everyone- for no reason- that the babyfaces had a numbers advantage, even though they weren’t using it.
All of this felt forced. It felt like a segment booked for a wrestling show rather than something that would happen naturally. The teleportation had a lot to do with that, but FTR going to cut Sydal’s hair was part of it, too. Why would they do that when they have no issue with these guys and beat them clean? It feltlike it was done just to set up the big return by Luchasaurus.
They announced a few of matches for the March 3rd Dynamite, including Jurassic Express vs. FTR & Tully.
JON MOXLEY PROMO- very good
Good build for tonight’s main event, his match against KENTA, and his inevitable confrontation with Kenny Omega, which he told us would be coming soon. I also liked that this mirrored Kingston’s earlier promo, talking about three people he needed to get revenge on.
EDDIE KINGSTON, THE BUTCHER, & THE BLADE (w/The Bunny) vs. JON MOXLEY, REY FENIX, & LANCE ARCHER (w/Jake Roberts)- 7/10
The spot where Archer just stood on the rope instead of jumping off so that it could look more impressive when Fenix came off the ropes behind him was very stupid. Other than that, this was a good main event brawl. I was shocked that it was Kingston who got pinned instead of one of his henchmen.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- huh…
The Good Brothers assaulted Moxley. Omega and Callis came out and taunted him. As Jim Ross pointed out, Gallows & Anderson don’t work here… so why is security not stopping them from assaulting an AEW employee?
Omega came out with the contract for their rematch at Revolution. Kenny was inspired by all of Moxley’s talk about crippling people, so he challenges Moxley to make their match an Exploding Ring Barbed Wire Deathmatch. As we learned when ECW tried one of these, if you can’t do it well, don’t do it at all, because the lameness of not doing it well is a very damaging blow. I do think the combination of the pandemic and modern technology probably makes this a lot easier (i.e. they’ll do a cinematic match) so I’m not too worried about the big boom looking lame.
That all being said, I have no desire to see such a match. I’m also a little puzzled as to why Omega would challenge Moxley to this match when his whole thing has been that Moxley can only beat him in weapons matches. I supposed he thinks he’ll be able to count on Gallows & Anderson interfering, but others (probably the Bucks, or maybe Private Party) could just come help Moxley, so that cancels out. I’m also a little disappointed that Moxley is once again doing a weapons match. He showed he can be great without this garbage in WWE, but in AEW, he seems to go there for all of his big matches.
This was a very up and down episode of Dynamite. Lots of good (and even from stuff that I was expecting to hate) but a lot of bad as well. The wrestling was pretty darn great other than the Dr. Luther match, so I’m going to call this a pretty good episode of the show (even if it did have that abomination of an Omega segment on it).
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PWG All-Star Weekend V: Night 2
DGUSA Open the Northern Gate
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