Manolo Has Pizzazz
AEW Dynamite (Dec. 9, 2020) emanated from Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, FL. The show featured big appearances with Sting, Shaquille O’Neal, Kenny Omega, and the Inner Circle all scheduled for promo time. On the wrestling side, the main event duel between MJF and Orange Cassidy for the Dynamite Diamond Ring erupted into chaos.
Get caught up on all the Dynamite details with the excellent live results and play-by-play from Claire Elizabeth.
Cody Rhodes was in the ring with something to get off his chest when he was interrupted by… Sting! Cody didn’t have a chance to say a word before Sting crashed his promo time. Stinger spoke like his normal self. No brooding or moodiness. He yucked it up with pal Tony Schiavone on a call of, “It’s Sting!”
Cody butt in to welcome Sting back to TNT. He got straight to the point. Cody has been waiting a very long time to share the ring with The Icon. Sting cut Cody off with a friendly acknowledgement of Darby Allin sitting in the bleachers. Sting isn’t there for Cody, at least not right now. Cody sassed Sting with a glare. The annoyance was obvious in Cody.
Sting is officially signed to AEW and plans on being around for a long time. How he chooses to play is his business. Sting finished with a condescending pat on the back and, “See you around, kid.”
That segment was fun. Sting still has the novelty factor to create a moment. They treated the fans to a nostalgic call from Schiavone. The tension from Cody was sticky hot. He is used to having the attention, so it was amusing to see Sting stifle him. The closing comment from Sting was tough to read from his end. Does he still view Cody as the kid he saw growing up over the years? Was there any intentional disrespect in it? That provided enough mystery to let the soap opera continue for next week.
That segment was also a bit of a letdown, since we didn’t learn much of anything. My gripe is that Sting was the one who interrupted Cody, and Sting didn’t even clear up why he is there in AEW. I think it might have worked better with Cody as the interrupter. I considered that perhaps Sting sensed a challenge coming and wanted to put out that fire before it even started to spark, but he didn’t really achieve that with the wisecrack at the end.
Shaquille O’Neal joined Tony Schiavone and Brandi Rhodes for a sit-down chat.
Brandi’s arm was in a sling from the attack by Jade Cargill. Shaq supports Jade, but he didn’t appreciate how she attacked Brandi. Shaq also explained that he was just messing around with Cody. It didn’t sound like he was interesting in stepping up for a match. However, Shaq would be excited to see Jade wrestle Brandi. On Brandi’s way out, Shaq told her to that she could learn from Jade. Brandi responded by throwing a drink in Shaq’s face.
That was a bad look for Brandi’s character. She was rude from the get-go by chastising Schiavone for not kissing her ass with enough praise. Then, she was ill-mannered by tossing water in Shaq’s face. Shaq’s remark didn’t deserve that reaction. Brandi came of as the heel, in my view. Now, it is heel vs heel with Brandi and Jade.
Kenny Omega speaks
Kenny Omega and Don Callis arrived via helicopter, and it was awesome.
Omega even had two more dancing broom girls to make four. AEW must have upped his entrance budget now that he is top champ.
Unfortunately, their promo was underwhelming, since it rehashed the same talking points from their Impact promo. You might have a different viewpoint if you didn’t watch Tuesday night. Callis has been the invisible hand guiding Omega’s career. They plotted and planned to pull off the championship win as fine art. Omega and Callis laid it on thick as scumbag heels. They closed by claiming they are just getting started with the surprises.
I understand reiterating the motivations, since it is an important story point and not everyone tuned in to Impact. They didn’t add anything beyond that for those of us that did watch. It also hurt that they teased a big announcement and didn’t deliver. On the plus side, Omega and Callis were very effective being bad guys. I can’t wait for Jon Moxley to return and wring their necks.
Inner Circle speaks
The Inner Circle had a fantastic flow of banter to be the best segment from all these promos. They took to the ring to address the ultimatum issued last week from Chris Jericho. Either be one or be done.
Grievances were aired. The result was Ortiz recognizing the value that MJF and Wardlow bring with their talent. He encouraged Sammy Guevara to be the better man and shake MJF’s hand. Guevara obliged, but with a warning. One more incident from MJF, and Sammy will quit the Inner Circle. Peace was restored, and they prepared to back up MJF for his main event match against Orange Cassidy. They sealed it with a middle finger salute.
I wasn’t expecting Ortiz to be the one who would shine. He was all business with no goofiness. Two things in particular made this segment great for me. First was Jericho calling out MJF’s garbage when lying about Sammy trying to throw in the towel last week. Le Champion watches Dynamite and saw for himself what actually happened. Second was addressing the constant stares between Jake Hager and Wardlow. Neither man wanted to back down and lose points on the machismo scale. It is the attention to those details that added layers of comedy and logic to enhance the promo.
Dynamite Diamond Ring chaos
For the main event, MJF attempted to retain the right to wear the Dynamite Diamond Ring for one more year. All that stood in his way was a man with no desire for jewelry. Orange Cassidy did have desire to ruin MJF’s evening.
MJF wasted no time in punishing Mr. Hands-in-Pockets. MJF stomped the juice out of Cassidy and even crumpled his sunglasses. MJF took full control after Cassidy hit the ring post on a Superman punch when MJF ducked out. MJF focused all his efforts on damaging Cassidy’s right hand. MJF executed a creative powerbomb spot by placing OC’s hand in his back pocket to take all the impact against the apron.
The Inner Circle had been aiding MJF, so the Best Friends exited then returned with reinforcements in Brandon Cutler, Varsity Blondes, and Top Flight.
Cassidy eventually came back and delivered a Superman punch and a Beach Break. MJF surprisingly stayed alive. Shenanigans ensued with mass chaos resulting in Miro blitzing the ring to crush Cassidy with a clothesline. MJF crawled on top for the pin.
I’m giving this match story a thumbs down. There was too much mischief, and a man not even involved was the star as cameras faded out.
Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.
Young Bucks defeated TH2. As much high flying as expected was delivered. What was unexpected was Angelico kicking out of the Risky Business combo finisher as well as a double superkick. In story beats, Matt Jackson powerbomb tossed Jack Evans onto The Acclaimed in the fan section. Matt also tweaked his knee again with his flipping and flopping. For the finish, Angelico couldn’t kick out of a double superkick followed by a BTE Trigger.
After the match, the Acclaimed plotted a sneak attack as payback to the Bucks, but the SCU duo of Frankie Kazarian and Christopher Daniels foiled their plan. The Acclaimed versus SCU was made for next week.
The high-energy opener set a good tone. It was nice to see TH2 receive the star treatment with dramatic kick-outs and believable close calls for victory. As much as I wanted to see Evans and Angelico victorious, I’m glad the Bucks pulled it out in the end. I don’t like the ‘beat the champs to earn a title shot’ stipulation when used willy-nilly, because a loss waters down the greatness of the title holders. TH2 served the greater good in their defeat.
FTR defeated Varsity Blondes. Total domination in a lengthy showcase bout. FTR won with Goodnight Express to Brian Pillman Jr. Later in the show, Tully Blanchard explained how they work best as a complete unit. The implication was that he would have prevented any deviating from the game plan against the Young Bucks.
Excellent rebound effort from FTR. They were rough and mean to get their nasty edge back. That’s a style I could see taking the tag titles from the Young Bucks.
Dustin Rhodes defeated 10. This bout had an awkward finish as if it received the short end of the stick on timing. 10 was in control then Aaron Solow inexplicably grabbed his arm. 10 pump kicked him as retaliation.
Rhodes seized the moment in the ring for a running bulldog to win. It was an abrupt moment and didn’t have the typical flow of an AEW match.
Number 7 of the Dark Order? After the match, Evil Uno asked if Dustin wanted join the Dark Order as 7, which was a reference to one of Rhodes’ WCW personas. Uno framed it as Dustin not receiving proper respect as the third most important Rhodes in AEW. Dustin teased doing the Dark Order claw then slapped Uno across the face instead. Uno prevented the other goons from jumping in. When Dustin sees the light, he’ll come back begging for the Dark Order.
Hmm, I don’t know what to make of this story turn. I guess Evil Uno had nothing to lose by asking. Had Dustin accepted, that would have been quite the coup in a prominent new member. It would also make it easier for others to follow Dustin’s lead and join. On the flip side, Dustin cut a promo on Dark about hunting the Dark Order until extinction. I guess this could have also been mind games from Uno to distract Rhodes from his true goal.
Eddie Kingston, Butcher, & Blade defeated Lance Archer, Pentagon, & Fenix. The match started with a bang as Archer charged down the ramp for a leaping crossbody into the ring.
The masked skeleton ninja was taken out early with a suplex through a table. He was escorted to the back by officials.
It was now 3-on-2 for the majority of the action. The Kingston family strategically dissected Archer by attacking his knee. Fenix was his usual wild self. He attacked Kingston with a tope con hilo through the ropes and crunched his own head and neck onto the floor.
Back in the ring, Blade kicked Fenix in the gut then put the luchador down for three on a teamwork powerbomb neckbreaker combo. After the match, Archer still wanted to murder the Kingston family. Eddie escaped, and Butcher saved Blade from a Blackout.
That was a hard-hitting bout. I appreciate the tactic to focus on Archer’s knee. Once the Kingston family weakened that joint, they never let up. It was only thanks to Archer’s toughness that he could keep the match flowing to tag Fenix. A lesser man would have crumbled to the pain.
Abadon defeated Tesha Price. Abadon slobberknocked her way to victory with a Gory neckbreaker. She continued her assault after the bell. Hikaru Shida ran in to whack Abadon in the head with a kendo stick. Abadon revived with no pain, so Shida and Price exited with haste.
Abadon’s post-match attack was an excellent way to build heat for fans that would cheer the ghoul gimmick. Now they have a legit reason to see Abadon as evil. I like that Price displayed a feeling of fear and confusion on her face to sell the oddity known as Abadon.
Notes: The Young Bucks had no answers about Kenny Omega’s recent behavior. They haven’t seen or talked to him in over a week. Thumbs up to AEW for the small detail of asking that question.
Darby Allin had a Rorschach test vignette. He identified Ricky Starks as a wolf in sheep’s clothing, Will Hobbs as a snake in the grass, and Brian Cage as a puppet. Allin also identified Cage as the #1 contender for the TNT Championship. When shown a picture of Sting’s face paint, Allin smiled with a giggle.
Team Taz mocked Cody’s interaction with Sting and informed us that Taz’s son is training at their dojo.
After FTR’s win, they mixed it up with Jurassic Express ringside.
Alex Marvez interviewed Hangman Page, who had a whiskey in hand. Hangman is booked for a trios bout next week against Matt Hardy and Private Party, but he has no partners. Alex Reynolds and John Silver popped up from behind the bar to offer their services as teammates. Hangman initially declined but then accepted when realizing he doesn’t have anyone else. He made it clear that this was a one-time deal and not a gateway toward joining the Dark Order.
Lee Johnson was ringside support for Dustin Rhodes. Johnson didn’t play a role in the match, but, at least, he got to wear the Nightmare Family gear. That’s progress.
Cameras cut in to show Jade Cargill, Nyla Rose, and Vickie Guerrero attacking Red Velvet backstage. Serena Deeb and Big Swole made the save, then Ivelisse and Diamante walked in to start more trouble toward the babyface crew. Efficient way to build drama and get as many faces on screen in a way that makes sense.
Maybe I missed it, but I don’t recollect any mention of Kenny Omega’s upcoming AAA MegaChampionship defense at Triplemania this weekend (Dec. 12). It seems like a missed opportunity to fit it in with his belt collector hobby. Omega will wrestle Laredo Kid. Could it be foreshadowing that Laredo Kid will be winning the AAA title and AEW is going to brush it under the rug?
Stud of the Show: Hikaru Shida
Shida heroically whacking Abadon in the head with a kendo stick was badass.
Dud of the Show: Varsity Blondes
Tonight was a major chance for Brian Pillman Jr. and Griff Garrison to make the world take notice. They barely made an impression in getting their butts kicked.
This was a solid show, but it didn’t maintain the amazing momentum from last week. The big appearances made for fun moments, however, substance was lacking.
Share your thoughts about Dynamite. How do you rate it? Who stole the show?