Manolo Has Pizzazz
AEW Dynamite (Oct. 21, 2020) emanated from Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, FL. The show featured Kenny Omega with an awesome reinvention, cowboy shit, brother versus brother in a lucha battle, and a war dog mauling a jungle boy.
Get caught up on all the Dynamite details with the excellent live results and play-by-play from Claire Elizabeth.
The best parts of this show came in the form of the #1 contender tournament for the AEW World Championship. All four opening round matches took place, and all four were entertaining in their own unique way.
Omega is awesome
There was one performance that stood out above the rest. That performance belonged to Kenny Omega.
Omega reinvented himself starting with his entrance. Justin Roberts introduced Omega with accolades about the AAA MegaChampionship, wrestler of the year awards, and breaking Dave Meltzer’s star scale. Best of all, there were dancing girls with cleaner brooms. It reminded me of the Schwarzenegger classic The Running Man. I hope Omega’s cheering section of ladies grows over the weeks.
Sonny Kiss was a replacement for Joey Janela, who was pulled due to COVID. In hindsight, perhaps AEW should have let Janela compete and get clobbered as punishment.
The match was quick. Omega warmed up the crowd then connected flush with a V-Trigger knee strike. One Winged Angel finished it as a two-hitter quitter. Omega’s dominant performance makes him the clear betting favorite to win the tournament.
Afterward, Omega picked up Kiss, who was struggling to regain consciousness. Omega did the good sportsmanship routine. It was tough to tell if Omega’s actions were genuine or condescending, especially after he made a weird face during his pin.
This version of Omega is awesome. I’m actually hoping his post-match behavior was genuine, because I really want to root for the guy now. If he can pull off being a stone cold killer without bad intentions, then he’ll become my new favorite babyface. No more emotional drama. Just kicking ass and picking up wins.
Hangman Page took care of business against Colt Cabana. I was pleased to see Colt be more serious and less doofus given the stakes at hand. It didn’t stop Hangman from hitting all his cool moves. My favorite was catching Colt’s running corner smash and countering into a deadweight bridging German suplex. That’s some real cowboy shit.
Colt turned the tide by pushing Hangman hard off the turnbuckles to bounce on the apron then crash to the floor. Cabana followed up with a heavy running splash.
The closing sequence showed the veteran savvy of each competitor. Colt saw a buckshot lariat coming his way. He ran into the ropes, so Hangman wouldn’t have the distance to attack. Colt managed to get Hangman up for a Chicago Skyline, but Hangman wriggled free. Cabana ducked a buckshot lariat and trapped Hangman with a Superman pin. Hangman escaped and eventually crushed Cabana with the buckshot finisher.
That finish was creative and exciting. I never really believed Cabana was going to win, but he did his darndest to make Hangman work for it. This might be Cabana’s best match in AEW. There was no jolliness or acting like a dimwit. Cabana came to compete. Perhaps the Dark Order is actually rubbing off on him as a positive.
Fenix and Pentagon fought in a brotherly battle. The story was them being so familiar with each other’s moves that there were counters aplenty. The top highlight was Fenix with a flying corkscrew.
In the end, Pentagon snapped Fenix’s arm. The skeleton ninja was hesitant to finish his brother, and that turned out to be his downfall. Pentagon ran the ropes, then Fenix surprised him with a wacky Mexican Destroyer to win.
This match delivered on expectations. The action was titillating. I enjoyed the strategy of how the two luchadores were so in tune with each other as brothers. I didn’t really like Pentagon being the one to feel remorse. I’ve never seen him express such a feeling before, and this was not the time to do it first. It will be interesting to see if Pentagon is affected by this loss. Will he start getting hardcore evil, like the Pentagon we all know and love?
The opening bout of the evening saw Jungle Boy trying to solve the riddle of Wardlow. Both men went solo without Jurassic Express or MJF. It set the mood right for the rest of the evening.
The story was power versus speed. Jungle Boy tried to work the legs of the big man, but Wardlow didn’t go down. Jungle Boy also used his agility to evade the powerhouse. He actually made Wardlow look oafish to a fault at times. That didn’t last too long though. Wardlow started crushing Jungle Boy. It took until late in the match for Wardlow to finally go down on the mat. A springboard DDT was the money move.
Jungle Boy had an offensive flurry, but he couldn’t close the deal on a flying knee drop. Wardlow turned the tide when he caught his springboarding opponent on the entrance ramp and dumped him back in the ring via an F10. Wardlow hit a second F10 to finish it.
This was a solid big man versus little man match, and the right guy won. Wardlow is too new as a beast to suffer an early loss in the tournament. The match did a good job in establishing him as a serious threat to go the distance. I’d be surprised if Wardlow upset Hangman based on the story, but I wouldn’t be shocked based on ability.
Jungle Boy played his role well as plucky underdog. He showed heart and smarts to survive as long as he did. Jungle Boy lost the match, but he didn’t lose any steam. His defiant slap across Wardlow’s face is the kind of thing that makes me a fan.
Next week will have the tournament semifinals with Kenny Omega versus Fenix and Hangman Page versus Wardlow. Both matches should be dandies.
Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.
I quit. It was announced that Jon Moxley will fight Eddie Kingston in an I Quit match at the Full Gear PPV on November 7. Mox demanded the contest be made. He had a promo putting out the idea that Kingston was jealous and bitter. Moxley won’t apologize for his success.
Later, Kingston explained that he had to act out, even though, he hates who he’s become. It worked, since he now has another title match.
I’m not a fan of the quick feud explanation. It is too basic and simplistic. The jealousy has been hinted at, but it was never front and center. During Moxley’s promo, I was thinking it made Kingston look like a chump. Thankfully, Kingston made it interesting by showing his actions are only a means to an end to become world champ.
I am a fan of the I Quit stipulation. Neither man will be an easy out, so there is going to be an insane amount of punishment.
On a night with many weird moments, I think the weirdest was this scene of Kingston in the shower during the Moxley promo package.
It gives me a chuckle to think about the awkward conversation between Kingston and the cameraman to plan that shot.
Le Dinner Debonair. Chris Jericho and MJF met for a steak dinner. One-upmanship resulted in ordering bloody rare meat. Jericho will have an Inner Circle town hall next week to see if MJF deserves to join. As MJF pitched his case, a song and dance number broke out. Both men crooned as if in a Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin routine. When their steaks arrived, Jericho and MJF were disgusted and sent them back.
That was weird, wild stuff. It is something you have to watch for yourself instead or reading about it. Mileage will vary by viewer on whether they enjoyed it. The style wasn’t my cup of tea, but I give AEW credit for taking that risk. Is that the first song and dance scene of that nature in professional wrestling history? It seemed to be live, so I was very impressed that there were no mistakes. The effort in preparation was clearly there.
Dr. Britt Baker DMD defeated KiLynn King. Baker has really improved in the ring. I enjoyed by her nifty mat work and side clinch to deliver heavy knees. I was impressed with Baker’s aggression on a Flatliner into the middle turnbuckle and twisting torque on a swinging fisherman’s neckbreaker. Baker finished the job with a Lockjaw submission. I’m looking forward to Baker’s rise up the rankings.
One thing I found annoying came from referee Paul Turner. He yelled at Baker for dishing out too much punishment before she applied the Lockjaw. Hey ref, quit being a jabrone. If it was so bad for King, then stop the match. Don’t be a busybody getting in the way of the role model.
Young Bucks #1. The Jacksons earned a tag title shot at FTR by winning a four-way against Private Party, Butcher & Blade, and Alex Reynolds & John Silver. The main event had plenty of flashy moves. My favorite spot was Private Party paying back the Bucks by lulling them into a false sense of security for a superkick.
The finish saw Marq Quen save Isiah Kassidy from a Meltzer Driver. Kassidy rolled up Matt, but Matt reversed top position to steal the win.
This match never hooked me. It was predictable that the Bucks would win, so I was just counting down the clock until the end.
Afterward, a sneaky Tully Blanchard helped FTR spike piledrive Nick and smash Matt’s leg in a chair.
If this was an attempt to build sympathy for the Bucks, then I’m not buying. It helped FTR look like jerks, but the Bucks have yet to be redeemed for their superkicking spree. The match alignment is still bad guys versus worse guys.
Notes: It was amusing to hear commentary say Le Dinner Debonair in haughty voices. It would make for a nice ringtone.
Tony Schiavone interviewed Orange Cassidy for a comedy cut. Schiavone blew him off after not providing insightful answers. Dasha Gonzalez interviewed Cody Rhodes. He has put on muscle to shift into heavyweight territory as AEW’s giant killer. A lumberjack stipulation was later announced for their TNT Championship rematch next week. It was explained to keep Dark Order from interfering, and yet Dark Order creepers were in the match graphic as lumberjacks. Go figure. That doesn’t seem like an intelligent move by AEW management.
John Silver cut a funny promo about the Dark Order winning all the gold. That’s a much better use of him than incompetent goober.
After Cabana’s loss, the Dark Order picked him up and took him to the back as an apparent sign of solidarity.
Team Taz wanted an answer from Will Hobbs about joining. Ricky Starks threatened violence toward Darby Allin. Bonus points to Taz for using the word fugazi in reference to the finish when Allin defeated Starks. More bonus points for explaining that Allin earned a TNT title shot based on that win. It closed the door to any logic traps.
Matt Hardy versus Sammy Guevara was announced for Full Gear in a Elite Deletion match. During the main event, Sammy attacked Matt and they brawled to the back.
Darby Allin was back with Steve-O for a stunt. Allin stepped inside a body bag to roll down a skateboarding vert ramp. That trick made me laugh at Allin, not with him. It is a short-sighted decision to risk injury so close to a major title opportunity.
The Bunny was out with Blade and Butcher. They showed the clip from Dark, but there was no additional explanation provided for why Allie went back to being The Bunny. That would be garbage storytelling if it never gets addressed.
Stud of the Show: Kenny Omega
Everything about Omega was awesome in this episode. I loved it.
Dud of the Show: No build for Hikaru Shida
I’m generally not one to harp on the state of the women’s division in AEW, but Shida was noticeable in her absence. There are only two more TV episodes until the PPV, and there has been very little to fire up a feud for the champ. Nyla Rose called out Shida a few weeks ago on Dark, and there has yet to be a response. A cold rematch does neither of them any favors. A simple interaction would have sufficed if Dynamite was short on time.
This episode had five matches with important stakes toward the Full Gear PPV on November 7. The tournament bouts were all smooth with different enough styles to make them stand out. It was a real quick show up until the main event.
Share your thoughts about Dynamite. How do you rate it? Who stole the show?