By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite (Episode 16)
Taped January 21, 2020 on the Jericho Cruise
Aired January 22, 2020 on TNT
[Hour One] The show opened with a shot of the ring on the Jericho Cruise ship. The broadcast team of Jim Ross, Excalibur, and Tony Schiavone checked in and ran through the list of advertised matches… Ring entrances for the AEW Tag Title match took place…
Powell’s POV: The setting looks good on television with fans on the main floor (or deck) and additional fans in the balcony area. In a nice touch, they have life preservers hanging on each of the ring posts. The broadcast team is on the stage, which has good lighting and some of the pyro. I don’t know if the setting looks unique enough to grab the attention of channel surfers, but the important thing is that it’s not the type of setting that will turn viewers away either. I’m filling in for Jake Barnett this week, as he will be filling in for me on WWE Friday Night Smackdown coverage while I cover the NWA Hard Times event on Friday night.
1. Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky (w/Christopher Daniels) vs. Kenny Omega and Hangman Page for the AEW Tag Titles. Ring announcer Justin Roberts delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. The crowd chanted “cowboy shit” as Page started the match with Kazarian. Page eventually tagged out. Ross said it looked like Page tagged out begrudgingly.
Later, Kazarian was dumped into the front row. Omega and Page teamed up for their moonsault combo. Page dove from the top rope onto Kazarian in the crowd, which drew a holy shit chant. In the ring, Omega had a good near fall on Sky. Omega blasted Sky with the V-Trigger knee and then went for his finisher, but Sky escaped. Sky caught Omega on the ropes and pulled him off with a huracanrana.
Omega held Sky while Page went for a Buckshot Lariat, but Sky escaped and Page hit Omega instead. Sky followed up with a near fall on Omega and they cut to a split screen commercial break while the match continued. [C] There was a cool spot with Omega tossing Kazarian into a German suplex from Page. Moments later, Page performed piledriver on Kazarian for a good near fall.
Omega set up for a V-Trigger on Kazarian, but Sky cut him off. Kazarian had Omega pinned, but Page returned and shoved Sky into the pin to break it up. Kazarian showed frustration over not getting the pin. A short time later, Page dumped Sky onto the ramp and followed up with a Buckshot Lariat. Page performed the move again on Kazarian in the ring and then pinned him.
Kenny Omega and Hangman Page defeated Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky in 19:20 to win the AEW Tag Titles.
After the match, the Young Bucks came to the ring to celebrate with the new champions. Page went to ringside and drank a fan’s beer, then crowd surfed while continuing to drink. Page ended up by the broadcast team and held up his title while Omega did the same while standing inside the ring…
Powell’s POV: A top notch tag team match to open the show. The tag title change surprised me (I didn’t read any spoilers) and yet it makes sense in that it gives an even bigger spotlight to the Omega and Page storyline. On a side note there’s not as much room at ringside as usual, which is likely the reason that they did the spot with Page diving onto Kazarian in the crowd.
A video package aired on the AEW Revolution pay-per-view that will be held on February 29…
2. Priscilla Kelly vs. Britt Baker. The broadcast team played up Kelly’s gimmick as “hell’s favorite harlot.” They went to a split screen break early in the match. [C] Baker threw a couple of clotheslines and followed up with a high knee. Baker performed a sling blade clothesline and covered Kelly for a two count.
Kelly came back with a jumping kick and a nice Russian leg sweep style move that resulted in a two count. Baker avoided a knee strike and hit Kelly with a superkick. Baker went for her finishing hold. Kelly nearly reached the ropes, but Baker pushed off the ropes with her foot and rolled Kelly over before applying the Lockjaw for the submission win…
Britt Baker beat Priscilla Kelly in 6:10.
After the match, Schiavone entered the ring and said something about Baker being aggressive and the ending of the match being questionable. Baker told Schiavone not to question her character. She said everyone loves him and happy he had a meal ticket given that he was working at Starbucks. The fans chanted something at Baker that was censored. She said she’s a role model and the hottest girl on the boat. Baker said she’s smart, educated, and brilliant. Ross interjected on commentary and said they’d heard enough and were going to break… [C]
Powell’s POV: There were a couple of weak clothesline attempts by Kelly that Baker ducked under. Ross was there to quickly say that Kelly was missing by a lot and it was probably because she was dizzy. By the way, Ross noted that it was too windy on the boat for him to wear his hat, and he noted on social media that it was his first time he called a show without wearing a hat since the mid-nineties. I felt like Schiavone and I watched a different match because I wasn’t sure what he was talking about, but I do like the idea of using Schiavone and the real life story of him working as a barista to put heat on Baker.
Footage aired of Jungle Boy lasting ten minutes in a match with Chris Jericho last month… Ring entrances for the six-man tag match took place. Jericho was out last and received a lot of cheers. The fans also sang along to his Fozzy entrance theme…
3. Chris Jericho, Santana, and Ortiz (w/Jake Hager) vs. Luchasaurus, Jungle Boy, and Marko Stunt. Stunt wore a lifejacket, a baseball hat, and shades. He performed a move in the gear, but then took it off and threw it into the crowd. Santana was getting the better of Jungle Boy as they cut to a split screen break. [C]
Jericho stood on Jungle Boy’s hair and pulled him upward coming out of the break. Jungle Boy came back and rolled up Jericho for a two count. Jericho shut Jungle Boy down quickly with a clothesline. Jericho tagged in Santana, while the heels continued to isolate Jungle Boy.
[Hour Two] Jungle Boy eventually put Ortiz down with a reverse huracanrana and then tagged in Luchasaurus, who cleaned house on the heels. Luchasaurus performed simultaneous chokeslams on Jericho and Ortiz, then performed a standing moonsault onto Jericho for a two count.
Hager climbed onto the ring apron and hit Luchasaurus from behind. Luchasaurus punched Hager and then tagged in Stung. Luchasaurus punched Swagger repeatedly as they headed to the back. Stunt performed a 450 splash on Jericho for a good near fall. Stunt picked up two more near falls on Jericho, who then blasted him with the Judas Effect back elbow and scored the pin.
Chris Jericho, Santana, and Ortiz (w/Jake Hager) beat Luchasaurus, Jungle Boy, and Marko Stunt in 14:20.
After the match, Jericho went to the ramp with his partners and opened a bottle of champagne…
Powell’s POV: A solid match with Luchasaurus looking strong, Jungle Boy looking resilient, and Stunt getting some fun near falls before Jericho stopped him dead in his tracks with the Judas Effect. My only disappointment is that Santana and Ortiz continue to feel like henchmen in the Inner Circle when they should be being showcased as one of the elite tag teams in the world.
A video package recapped the stipulations that MJF demanded in order to wrestle Cody along with Cody’s response to each stipulation…
MJF made his entrance. Ross noted that Wardlow was not with MJF because he was training for his cage match with Cody. They cut to a split screen break. MJF taunted the crowd without a mic in hand during the break. [C] Ross said they were back “live” (they were not) coming out of the break. Joey Janela made his entrance…
4. MJF vs. Joey Janela. Janela had his hair braided like Axl Rose in 2002. The crowd chanted something that was censored. A couple minutes into the match, Janela went up top for an elbow drop, but MJF rolled away, then pulled referee Aubrey Edwards in front of him as a shied. When Janela moved Edwards, MJF hit him with a cheap shot punch. [C]
Late in the match, Janela went up top for his finisher. Kip Sabian and Penelope Ford walked onto the stage and made out. Janela was distracted and eventually went for a top rope elbow drop, but MJF moved. MJF hit his finisher and scored the pin.
MJF beat Joey Janela in 7:45.
After the match, MJF took the mic and said that in a world filled with mumble rappers, Cody is a real lyricist. MJF recalled Cody referring to him as a chapter in his book. MJF said Cody is right. “I am a chapter, and I’m the last goddamn one,” MJF said.
Cody made his entrance and stood on the apron while the fans chanted his name. MJF said Cody was probably excited because Wardlow wasn’t there, but per their match stipulations, Cody can’t lay a finger on him. Cody entered the ring. MJF said that since Cody is his mentor, he would give him the mic. MJF held out the mic and then dropped it when Cody reached out for it. Cody bent over for the mic and MJF kicked it away. MJF dared Cody to hit him and then left the ring while the fans chanted “asshole.”
Cody said MJF was right in that he can’t touch him. The Young Bucks snuck up behind MJF on the stage. Cody said “they can.” MJF turned and the Bucks gave him a double superkick. “Should we throw Max in the pool?” Cody asked. The Bucks took MJF to the pool area and threw him in while the crowd cheered. Cody was shown laughing…
Powell’s POV: The Cody and MJF feud is definitely clicking, but I can’t say the same for the Janela and Sabian feud, which feels drawn out and uneventful thus far.
A video package aired on the Jericho Cruise and showed comedian Gilbert “Fluffy” Iglesias introducing Fozzy along with some other highlights… [C]
Schiavone interviewed Kenny Omega and Hangman Page. Omega appeared to be drinking coffee while Page was boozing. Page said something about whooping both their asses, then got flustered when Schiavone cut him off to ask Omega about Pac challenging him to a rematch.
Omega said he’d give Pac the match somewhere down the line, but the tag titles were his priority. Schiavone asked Page a question, but he was interrupted by the Young Bucks showing up to celebrate. Page said he was surprised he and Omega won the bets before the Bucks and then dismissed himself…
Powell’s POV: I could do without Page being a drunk, but he’s doing a really nice job of showing off his character’s growing frustration even after winning the AEW Tag Titles.
Ross and Excalibur spoke at their desk. Ross wondered if that was a dig from Page at the expense of the Bucks. They announced Jericho, Santana, and Ortiz vs. Darby Allin and Private Party, The Young Bucks vs. Butcher and Blade, and Cody vs. Kip Sabian for next week on Dynamite in Cleveland, Ohio at Wolstein Center. Excalibur said they will also hear from the new No. 1 contender that would be determined in the main event of this show…
Chris Jericho made his entrance and joined the broadcast team for the main event. Pac made his entrance going into a break… [C] Jon Moxley made his entrance coming out of the break. Moxley walked down the steps of the balcony area and had a wrap around his head with a bandage on his right eye to sell last week’s angle…
5. Jon Moxley vs. Pac to become No. 1 contender to the AEW Championship. Justin Roberts delivered in-ring introductions for the main event. Ross noted that next week’s Dynamite would be in Moxley’s home state of Ohio and questioned whether he would return as the No. 1 contender. Another live crowd chant was censored.
Pac targeted Moxley’s covered eye. Jericho said it was Moxley’s fault that he needed to have his eye bandaged. “We didn’t want to do it, Jim,” Jericho said regarding the spike to Moxley’s eye last week. Pac was in offensive control heading into a split screen break. [C]
Moxley and Pac brawled into the balcony area during the break. Back in the ring, Pac set up for a superplex on the ropes, but Moxley shoved him off and Pac flipped over and landed face down in the ring. Moxley went or an elbow drop, but Pac put his legs up. Excalibur noted that Moxley hit the elbow he had surgery on.
Pac threw several kicks at the bad eye. “Just give up, Moxley, you stupid son of a bitch,” Jericho said. He also noted that he beat Pac at Madison Square Garden and said he could do it again. Pac went up top and went for shooting star press, but Moxley put his knees up and rolled Pac into a pin for a near fall. Moxley applied a sleeper, but Pac headbutted his way free and then hit a wicked suplex. Pac went for his Black Arrow finisher, but Moxley moved.
A short time later, Pac applied his Brutalizer finisher. Moxley struggled and reached the ropes with his foot. Pac wrapped the bandages off Moxley’s head. Moxley caught Pac in an inside cradle for a near fall. Moxley kicked Pac and then performed his Paradigm Shift. Moxley performed a high angle version of the Paradigm Shift and scored the pin.
Jon Moxley defeated Pac in 17:20 to become No. 1 contender to the AEW Championship.
After the match, Jericho stood on the stage with the AEW Title belt over his shoulder. Moxley pointed at him from the ring while Ross closed the show by telling viewers they would see them next week from Cleveland…
Powell’s POV: I kept the door open to the possibility that they would crown a different No. 1 contender for a television title match before going to Moxley at the pay-per-view, but it became very obvious that Moxley was going over when Jericho was openly rooting against him on commentary. Even so, it’s the popular outcome with Moxley winning heading into his home state homecoming next week as No. 1 contender.
Overall, a solid show with the first title change in AEW history and a good main event. I wish they would have gotten a bit more out of the unique cruise shop setting. We saw the ring and the pool area and a bit more during the Jericho Cruise video package, but I thought there was an opportunity for promos or even angles in different places aboard the ship. That said, any concerns about the cruise ship making for a bad viewing experience turned out to be unfounded aside from the crowd needing to be censored a few times. I will be back shortly with my weekly members’ exclusive audio review of AEW Dynamite. Let me know what you thought of Dynamite by assigning it a letter grade in our post show poll available on the main page.