By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
AEW Dynamite on TNT (Episode 13)
Aired live on January 1, 2020 from Jacksonville, Florida at Daily’s Place
The show opened with a video that questioned whether or not The Elite were still elite? It showed their various defeats and betrayals, and said the word elite about 15 times. JR and Tazz were on commentary, with Schiavone on assignment this week. They were joined by Excalibur. They announced Moxley vs. Trent, Dustin Rhodes and Sammy Guevara, The Women’s Fatal Four Way for the AEW Women’s Championship, and The Elite vs. Pac and The Lucha Bros. They then announced Cody vs. Darby Allin, and said MJF will answer Cody on the show.
The show then moved to a video package for Darby Allin, where he skated around a gothic looking cathedral wearing a mask of Cody’s face. He then lit it on fire with a candelabra. Cody made an entrance along with a man in a Cody mask, who Tazz explained as Eric Whitney from the band Ghostmane. He wore another disfigured mask underneath the Cody paper one. Cody then made his entrance along with Arn Anderson. They announced Arn as the head coach of the Nightmare Family, which may or may not be the parent company of the Nightmare Collective.
1. Cody Rhodes vs. Darby Allin: The match began with Cody using his size advantage to knock Darby down with shoulder blocks. They then traded a few pinning predicaments, and ended up in a stalemate. Cody leaned into Arn for some pointers, before he and Darby went back and forth trading reversals. Cody eventually tossed Darby hard into the corner, where he hit the post and sailed to the floor.
Cody climbed out on the apron, but Darby caught him with a leg sweep and he crashed hard on the apron. In the ring, Darby hit a springboard back elbow, and then hit a suicide dive when Cody escaped to the floor. Darby tried to work on Cody’s shoulder, but was shut down by a disaster kick. Darby regrouped and worked on Cody’s left shoulder, driving him into the rope and the turnbuckle.
Cody swept Darby’s legs out from under him and applied a figure four. Darby eventually turned it over and got a finger on the ropes to get the break. Darby hit a dropkick that sent Cody’s shoulder into the ropes, and then applied an armbar. Cody eventually got to the ropes, which caused Darby to get up angrily and strip the turnbuckle pad from the corner. Cody sent Darby into that corner and out of the ring into the stage.
Darby quickly recovered, but Cody quickly regained some space with a powerslam. He then gazed at Arn Anderson before hitting mounted punches in the corner, and a Cutter. Cody placed Darby on the ropes in the corner, and then hit a reverse suplex for a near fall….[c]
Cody charged at Darby and ran into the exposed buckles. Darby then climbed up for another Coffin Drop, but Arn gave Cody a signal to bring up his knees, and Darby dropped on them and got rolled up for a 3 count.
Cody Rhodes defeated Darby Allin at 17:24
Backstage, SCU spoke about how everyone was coming after them. Scorpio Sky said nobody likes it when spooky perverts ruin your finish, in reference to the dark order. Sammy Guevara showed up and talked trash, mostly directed at Christopher Daniels. Sammy questioned whether Daniels still had it, and he said he could find out next week. He then smudged his phone cameras with his fingers.
My Take: A high quality and energetic opener from Cody and Darby. Thus far, Arn feels like a bit of a superfluous addition to Cody’s act, but I’m sure they have bigger plans for him. Darby Allin continues to have very competitive matches with Main Event talent, but could use a couple of wins coming out of this one.
We then got entrances for the Women’s Fatal Four Way match for the Championship. Nyla Rose was out first, followed by Hikaru Shida, Britt Baker, and Women’s Champion Riho.
2. Nyla Rose vs. Britt Baker vs. Hikaru Shida vs. Riho (c) for the AEW Women’s Championship: Just before the bell, Nyla blindsided Riho and Britt Baker. Hikaru Shida took her practice sword and cracked Nyla with it several times sending her to the floor. Riho and Shida traded offense until Nyla Rose pulled Shida to the floor. Rose set up a table on the outside and brawled with Shida. Riho came off the top rope and splashed Shida, while Rose got out of the way. Baker followed to the floor and the brawl continued…[c]
During the break, Rose used her power advantage to abuse Baker and Riho in the ring. She took out Baker with a Samoan Drop, and then powerbombed Riho on top of her. Shida recovered and entered the ring, and impressively reversed out of a Powerbomb from Rose with a back body drop. She then went for a suplex, but Rose reversed and set her on the top rope. Rose then hit a flying knee to the back of Shida’s head, which sent her to the floor.
Rose placed Shida on the table on the outside, and then put her through the table with a senton splash. Riho then climbed to the top and hit a double stomp to Rose’s lower back. Baker then hit a draping DDT pulling her into the ring, and covered for a near fall. Baker then went for Lockjaw, but Rose was too powerful to apply the hold. Baker transitioned into a triangle, but Rose reversed into a powerbomb. Riho broke up the fall, and then hit two double stomps, but Baker prevented a pinfall. Baker then landed a neckbreaker on Riho, but only got a near fall.
Baker was prevented from landing further offense on Riho by Shida. Shida landed a suplex and a backbreaker on Baker. Rose then intervened and started stacking up opponents in the middle of the ring. She then went up top for a Swanton, but everybody got out of the way. Shida hit an impressive Michinoku Driver on Rose a moment later, but only got a two count. Baker entered the picture again and nearly had Lockjaw applied on Shida, but she reversed into a pinfall for a two count. Riho quickly entered the picture then rolled up Baker and got the win.
Riho defeated Nyla Rose, Hikaru Shida, and Britt Baker at 10:34
After the match, Nyla Rose assaulted Riho with a lariat. Rose then placed her on a table, and put her through it with a big splash in the middle of the ring. Rose then celebrated on the stage as the announce team said Riho had another defense next week against Kris Statlander.
Backstage, Joey Janela was interviewed about his plans for 2020, before Penelope Ford low blowed him from behind. Ford and Sabian then walked by the camera and out of frame with serious looks on their faces.
My Take: Another enjoyable and well wrestled match, but the outcome was pretty obvious when it was announced. That said, they did nicely set up Riho as being behind the 8-ball with the post match attack from Nyla Rose. Baker and Shida were the odd women out here. They had strong moments during the match, but are left in a bit of creative limbo by the outcome.
There was another video package that highlighted The Dark Order and their attack on The Elite. The video ended with a threat that we’d soon see the true reach of The Dark Order, along with introducing a thus far not seen leader called The Exalted One.
In the arena, Best Friend and Orange Cassidy made their entrance. Jox Moxley then made his entrance through the crowd. He was greeted like a superstar. Excalibur then made mention that Trent could rocket up the rankings with a win here, because wins are weighted. That might be the first time they’ve disclosed that.
3. Jon Moxley vs. Trent: They went back and forth unloading chops on one another in the early going. Trent landed some double knees to gain an advantage, but Moxley quickly responded with an elbow strike. He then picked up and dropped Trent on the top turnbuckle. Trent ended up on the ramp…[c]
Moxley controlled the offense during the break. As the show returned, he tossed Trent into the barricade on the floor, but Trent fired back with a spear. Back in the ring, Trent hit a half and half suplex, and Moxley recovered on the floor. Trent then hit a dive to the outside. In the ring, Trent hit a tornado DDT for a near fall. Moxley fired back with a knee strike and a facebuster for a near fall. We then got a series of pinfall reversals, punctuated with a lariat from Moxley. A moment later, Trent hit one of his own for a near fall.
[Hour 2] Orange Cassidy entered the ring and stuck his hands in his pockets in front of Moxley, who was not entertained. He then put his hands in his own pockets, which allowed Trent to hit a running knee strike and a piledriver for a close near fall. Moxley rolled onto the stage, and Trent jumped at him. Moxley kicked him in the gut and hit a paradigm shift on the ramp. He then hit an elevated Paradigm Shift in the ring for the win.
Jon Moxley defeated Trent at 11:01
After the match, Moxley celebrated on the turnbuckle. Sammy Guevara then appeared in the crowd where Mox had previously made his entrance. He told he sees why he does it, since he gets to have some drinks and free food with the crowd. Moxley grabbed a chair, but Guevara told him he wasn’t there to fight. He said they promised him a surprise for the New Year, and played with some cheap party favors.
Sammy said they had a surprise for him….right Chris? They then threw to pre-tape from Jericho, where he spoke about the factions in AEW that are recruiting. He said he wasn’t offering a black mask, he was offering him co-leadership and the role of Executive Vice President if he says yes. He then offered a Ford GT, with a Mox license plate. He said he’s have 49% of The Inner Circle, LLC, and they could run AEW together. They could pull Cody’s pink tie out of his ass, the could embarrass The Young Bucks and Kenny Omega so bad, they’ll feel as stupid as anybody that lives in Jacksonville. Jericho told him he looked forward to hearing from him soon, and hoped he made the right decision.
Moxley had microphone in hand. He said he had always considered Chris Jericho a friend and a mentor, and said he would give him his answer live and in person….next week. He then said everybody would find out what’s in store for 2020…live on Dynamite next week. The crowd wasn’t happy as he left.
My Take: Another quality match from Trent and Moxley, but I don’t know why Moxley has to give up so much offense at this point to lower card guys. He got a mega star reaction for his entrance, and is probably the most over guy in the company at this point. He also looked less than enthused delivering his line about giving his answer to Jericho next week. Moxley is a lot of things, but he’s always been more impulsive than indecisive, so the moment felt a bit out of character.
Sammy Guevara was still in the ring, and Dustin Rhodes music hit. He snuck up from behind Sammy through the crowd, and began his assault.
4. Sammy Guevara vs. Dustin Rhodes: The early going was all Dustin, as he tossed Sammy around and sent him to the floor, followed by a splash from the apron to the outside. Dustin got set up on the top rope, but Jake Hager walked out onto the stage and made him pause. Dustin hit a powerslam on Sammy on the floor, and then stared down Hager. Guevara hit a dropkick through the ropes, sending Dustin into the barricade…[c]
Hager attacked Dustin on the outside while Sammy distracted the ref. Dustin then struggled to get back into the match, as they traded offense with Hager looking on from the floor. Sammy whiffed on a shooting star press in the ring, and Dustin quickly hit a snap powerslam. Dustin landed several lariats and his signature kneeling punch. He then hit a spinebuster for a quick near fall. Guevara got to his feet and landed a running shooting star for a near fall of his own. A moment later, Dustin hit a destroyer on the apron, and then tossed Guevara into Hager on the outside.
Dustin then setup Sammy for shattered dreams, but the referee intervened. This allowed Hager to run in and hit a low blow of his own on Dustin. Sammy then scrambled and got the win.
Sammy Guevara defeated Dustin Rhodes at 9:27
Backstage, Private Party was interviewed. They hit on Jenn Sterger before Hangman Page appeared behind them and poured whiskey out on their bar. They had apparently touched his glass, and he was upset about it. He said he could whip both their asses and said their party sucked. He walked off initially, and then came back and grabbed his glass. In the arena, MJF made his entrance.
My Take: A mechanically solid match from Sammy and Dustin, but the story they are telling is progressing. People want to see Dustin get his hands on Hager, so hopefully that’s something they work towards.
MJF attacked the crowd and asked if they were done. He said he thought they’d be aware he was the good guy. He then insulted the crowd and said they’d see shit more clearly if they took their heads out of their own asses. He said Cody it was funny Cody needed him. He called fans a bunch of markboy wannabees. MJF then laid out his stipulations for a match against him at Revolution. He said first, he can’t touch him until revolution. Second, he had to beat an opponent of his choosing, and that was his personal war dog Wardlow. But that wasn’t good enough, so the match would be in a solid steel cage.
He then moved on to his third stipulation, which is that MJF will get to whip him 10 times with his leather belt. MJF then said the scars left on his back will be reminders that his name is MJF and he is better than him….[c]
My Take: There was a good promo in there, and the delivery was good, but the constant asides and insults made it a chore to listen to. There are probably a ton of people who really like that style, but it’s just not for me. I think it could have been a lot more effective with some of the fat trimmed off. The intensity and anger MJF produced were welcome.
Highlights were shown of Jungle Boy surviving his 10 minutes with Chris Jericho. Backstage, Jurassic Express were interviewed, and Jungle Boy said he did what nobody thought he could do, and they were set to get some fresh wins in 2020. For some reason, Marko Stunt decided to pull a Brett Favre and lust after Jenn Sterger for the entire intreview, only held back from Sexual Assault by Luchasaurus. Hangman Page then joined commentary, and JR asked why he didn’t bring them drinks, as he was sipping Whiskey. Page and Kenny was announced for next week against Private Party, and Page acted like he had no idea.
Elsewhere, Riho was being interviewed when Britt Baker showed up and gave her a piece of her mind. She accused her of only showing up to AEW TV to steal wins while she was busy being the face of the division. In the arena, The Lucha Bros and Pac made their entrances, followed by the Elite.
5. The Elite (Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks) vs. The Lucha Bros and Pac: Pentagon and Kenny Omega started the match. Kenny caught Pentagon’s glove and slapped him with hit. Pentagon then shoved it in his mouth. Omega was kicked by Pac has he hit the ropes, leading to a staredown. Omega fired back with a double kotaro crusher on Pentagon and Fenix, and then tagged in Nick Jackson. Fenix tagged in as well.
We got some acrobatic offense from both men right away. Nick hit a particularly slick arm drag on Fenix. They then traded some hard kicks that sent both men onto their asses…[c]
Action was hectic during the break, with the Young Bucks taking out the Luchas Bros out on the floor. Omega prepared to splash them as well, but he was cut off by Pac, who then pulled him to the floor and hit a splash of his own. Omega was isolated and held in the heel corner, but he was eventually able to somersault out and make a tag to Nick Jackson. He entered the match and took out Pac with strikes and a bulldog. Nick Jackson then tagged in and hit Pac with a destroyer. They then hit double destroyers on Fenix and Pentagon.
Omega then tagged back in to face Pac. They traded hard elbows and kick, and Pac hit a German Suplex. Omega avoided an Enziguri and hit a snap dragon suplex of his own. He then landed a sit out powerbomb, but Pentagon broke up the pin. Pentagon then hit a backstabber on Omega, and made a tag to Fenix. They went for a spike piledriver, but Omega escaped. Fenix managed to hit both Young Bucks and Omega with a cutter. Pac went up top and landed Black Arrow on Omega, but The Bucks saved him.
Pac then applied The Brutalizer. Matt Jackson fought off Pentagon, and was able to make the save again. Fenix ended up in the ring with Omega, but jumped into a knee strike from Omega, who hit the One Winged Angel and got the win.
The Elite defeated Lucha Bros and Pac at 16:32
After the match, they invited Hangman Page to the ring, but he didn’t take the invitation. Cody joined in for the celebration.
My Take: The Elite get back on track on January 1st. We’ll have to see if that holds up long term, but this felt like an answer to critics who said these guys had been taking far too many losses in the early days of AEW. Lots to digest about this show, but overall it was a very enjoyable evening if you were looking for quality in ring action. The stories continue to be hit and miss, but I’d venture to say things are improving.