By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
AEW Dynamite on TNT (Episode 17)
Aired live on January 29, 2020 from Cleveland, Ohio at Wolstein Center
Footage was shown of Hangman and Omega winning the Tag Team Championships, Cody and the Young Bucks getting a measure of revenge on MJF, and Moxley earning an AEW Championship Match.
Pirate John Moxley made his entrance through the crowd with an eyepatch. The crowd looked much louder than they came across on television. Commentary appears to be a much higher priority in the audio mix. Eventually Moxley grabbed a microphone and addressed the audience. They were much louder once the audio mix shifted to Moxley in the ring.
Moxley said it occurred to him when he was stabbed in the eye that the fun and games with Chris Jericho are over. He said they would meet in Chicago for the AEW World Championship, and called Jericho the final obstacle to him reaching the top of the mountain in AEW. He said the obstacle is not just arguably the greatest of all time Chris Jericho, but also everything that comes with him. He mentioned the inner circle, and all of Jericho’s dastardly deeds in wrestling. He brought up Dustin Rhodes arm, Cody’s face, Rey’s mask, and said he punched a woman in the face.
Moxley said he wasn’t a black hat or a white hat, but he had a code and he could sleep comfortably at night. He said he looks at Jericho and sees a deeply insecure bully, and boy does he hate bullies. Moxley said he would look down the barrel of that gun, and he would take the AEW Championship from him at Revolution. Moxley said this was not about the man Jericho is, but the kind of man that he isn’t.
He said he knew he had a target on his back, and rather than put his one eye behind his head until Chicago, he challenged Jericho to come out to the ring and take his beating like a man for once in his life. Jericho’s music hit and he walked out on the ramp. The crowd sang his entrance song for a moment, but then started booing.
Jericho called them typical Cleveland idiots. He said it makes him laugh when he hears Moxley talk about what he’s done and what he’s earned, because all he earned was a spike to his eye. He said all he had to do was accept his offer to join the inner circle, and instead now he looks like Captain Jack Sparrow. Jericho said he was stupid, and that he saw him mother backstage earlier. He said she was looking fetching, and that he’d give her a call later.
Jericho said he apologized to her because he offered Jon the keys to the kingdom, and instead he smashed a bottle over his head. Jericho then said Moxley doesn’t have what it takes to challenge Le Champion, he doesn’t even have what it takes to blink with both eyes. He teased going to the ring, and told the crowd to go to hell. He then brought out the rest of the Inner Circle.
Moxley said Jericho probably thinks he’s going to walk into another 5 on 1 beat down because he’s crazy and stupid, but that’s where he’s wrong. Moxley said he was born and raised in the great state of Ohio (he did the OH IO call and response), it was 5 against him and the entire arena, and he kind of likes those odds. Moxley then rolled up his sleeves and headed up the ramp. Jericho called him a stupid son of a bitch, and said they had even more backup. Santana and Ortiz called out some NYC street thugs, who walked out onto the stage.
Ortiz had an axe handle in hand, but ate a DDT from Moxley. There was a brawl at that point, and referees separated them. Moxley’s eye patch slid out of position to reveal he had another skin colored patch underneath. Moxley gave a DDT to one of the AEW officials, and then took off through the crowd. The announce team asked what would happen over the next 30 days. They plugged Darby Allin and Private Party vs. Jericho, Santana, and Ortiz, Kip Sabian vs. Cody, and Big Swole vs. Britt Baker. Young Bucks vs. Butcher and Blade is next.
They then threw to a video package from MJF, where he met with Butcher and the Blade in an actual butcher shop, and handed them an envelope with The Young Bucks names on it. The Butcher, Blade, and Bunny made their entrance with MJF and Wardlow in tow.
My Take: A long opening promo started the show. I’m not complaining, but hopefully it doesn’t become a normal format element for Dynamite. Moxley and Jericho have great chemistry together, and the crowd is into this feud. The promo didn’t really establish anything new, but it reiterated how much Moxley wants to get his hands on Jericho one on one. I wonder if this will lead to a stipulation match at Revolution.
MJF joined on commentary as The Young Bucks made their entrance. Wardlow stood next to him. He complained that he didn’t know how to swim and The Young Bucks nearly killed him last week.
1. The Young Bucks vs. The Butcher and The Blade: Butcher started the match with Matt Jackson. The Bucks made some quick tags and used their speed to gain an early advantage. Blade tagged in and mixed it up with Nick Jackson. The Bucks hit a double superkick, but were quickly taken down with a double lariat from The Butcher. They quickly recovered and went back on offense, but were shut down by some interference by The Bunny out on the apron. The Blade took out Matt at ringside with a kick, and then looked to isolate Nick in the ring by cutting him off in the heel corner in the ring…[c]
Butcher and Blade traded hitting lariats on Nick in the corner. They then hit a double team gutbuster. Blade followed up with a Doctor Bomb for a near fall. JR started plugging his comedy show in Huntsville for some reason, but Nick managed to escape from the Blade and tag in Matt Jackson. Matt took out Butcher at ringside and then hit Sliced Bread on Blade. He then went out to the floor and landed another superkick on Butcher, followed by an elbow drop on the Blade in the ring for a near fall.
Nick made a tag and hit a senton on Blade, but Butcher broke up the tag. The Young Bucks then hit him with a double superkick. The Bucks then set up for Meltzer Driver on Blade, and landed it for the win.
The Young Bucks defeated The Butcher and The Blade at 8:38
After the match, Butcher stomped on The Bucks until Kenny Omega ran down for the sale. Hangman Page walked out with a beer and asked Matt to hold it before landing a Buckshot Lariat on The Blade. Page then left. Kenny and The Bucks celebrated in the ring.
My Take: A fun match while The Bucks were on offense. Butcher and Blade just seem to be missing some polish as a team, but individually they have some pretty impressive offense. The story of Hangman Page is funny, but I don’t think we’ve seen the real darkness yet.
Nyla Rose made her entrance, followed by Big Swole.
2. Nyla Rose vs. Big Swole: Early on Big Swole went after Nyla’s knees, and made quick cover for a two count. She then hit a glancing blow that Nyla sold and rolled to the floor. On the outside, Nyla tossed Swole into the barricade. Swole fought back briefly, but ended up hitting a forearm smash into the ring post…[c]
Big Swole grabbed a hanging front chancery, but Rose fought her way out. Big Swole then landed a superkick and some headbutts. She then went out to the apron and landed a cutter through the second rope for a near fall. Swole then hit a flatliner, but Nyla fired back with a spear. She then hit a sit out powerbomb for the win.
Nyla Rose defeated Big Swole at 8:16
After the match Nyla celebrated in the ring, and match highlights were shown. The announcers then threw to an AEW merch commercial.
My Take: Not the best outing for either woman here. They struggled at times to get on the same page. This wasn’t anywhere near as bad as the Nightmare Collective Tag Match a few weeks ago, but there was a lot of daylight for most of the strikes, and a general lack of familiarity leading to some awkward moments.
Kip Sabian made his entrance with Penelope Ford. He was followed by Cody Rhodes, who was joined by Arn Anderson.
3. Cody Rhodes vs. Kip Sabian: Kip took a run and hit a shotgun dropkick to start the match, but Cody shook it off quickly and hit a pump kick. Sabian rolled to the outside and shoved Arn Anderson. The ref yelled at Arn Anderson for getting in Kip’s face, which the announce team questioned. Cody landed a dropkick, which caused Kip to roll to the outside again. Penelope Ford feigned an injury after Cody bumped her, and that opened up a window for Kip to kick Cody in the face. Ford got up like nothing had happened, and she planted a kiss on Sabian..[c]
The underhanded tactics continued, with Kip feigning an injury of his own and asking to be checked out by AEW officials. That led to Cody turning his back and getting caught with a DDT. Cody recovered and landed a lariat and 10 punches in the corner. Sabian avoided a splash in the corner, but then ran into a scoop powerslam from Cody. Penelope grabbed Cody’s weight belt, but it didn’t work as Cody hit a disaster kick.
Ford then threw her shoe into the ring, and that delayed the ref count. That caused Arn to get in the ring and throw her shoe into the crowd. Arn then shoved the referee, which caused Arn to get ejected to the back. Cody was fine with it, and walked him towards the ramp. Sabian distracted the ref so Ford could hit a flying head scissors. Sabian then landed a suicide dive. They went to kiss near ringside, and Joey Janela appeared and got in between them and he got a kiss on the cheek from both.
Cody splashed Sabian on the floor, but he got caught getting back in the ring. Sabian landed a twisting neckbreaker with Cody hung up on the top rope for a near fall. He then placed Cody on the top rope and positioned himself for a superplex, but Cody fought him off. Sabian managed to pull Cody off the ropes, but he quickly recovered and hit a Cody Cutter. He then hit not one, but three CrossRhodes and got the win.
Cody Rhodes defeated Kip Sabian at 11:38
After the match, Cody recovered his weight belt and tossed it into the crowd…[c]
My Take: I could have done without all the Arn nonsense, and the Janela interference seemingly had no payoff, as he didn’t get physically involved. It was like he made a cameo in his own feud. One thing that’s obvious to anyone is that Cody is mega over, and the crowds see him as a big time star. Sabian and Ford showed some promise as pest heels.
We got some footage of Britt Baker vs. Priscilla Kelly from last week, as well as the post match promo where she went after Tony Schiavone. Britt Baker then made her entrance in the arena. Tony interviewed her one more time. He started to apologize, but she demanded to be called Doctor. She said she wasn’t offended, because they were the stars of the show last week. She called him Mr. Starbucks, and said he held the microphone while she trended on Twitter. She then addressed JR, and scolded him for interrupting her last week.
She said she knows he’s aware she’s a dentist, because that’s all he can talk about. She said he talks trash about her division and her generation, and asked him to be the legend she knows rather than a sloppy BBQ salesman that can’t get their names right. She called herself the leader of the division and the first person signed. Baker said that she would be around every week with her smiling face, which is more than she could say for their champion Riho. She then insulted Tony Schiavone by diagnosing him with generalized gingivitis, and told him to pick up a toothbrush. She then said Cleveland had a Baker they could believe in before walking off.
Backstage, The Young Bucks and Kenny Omega were interviewed by a new reporter Lexy. The Bucks said they wouldn’t forget what The Dark Order and Santana and Ortiz did to them, but they wanted a shot at those AEW Tag Team Championships. Hangman Page barged in and showed off their new nameplates. He was getting angry drunk, and stormed off after handing Matt Jackson a coin with his name on it and said he might need it someday. Kenny said the four of them would face Butcher and Blade and a team of their choosing next week.
In the arena, SCU made their entrance. Scorpio Sky wore a Kobe Bryant jersey…[c]
My Take: Britt Baker was much better here than she was last week with her delivery. She seemed to have a little more confidence, and got through her material without any verbal miscues. There could be some mileage in her character if they can transition from insulting legends on commentary to some quality material about her actual opponents. Drunk Adam Cole has his moments, but I’m still left doubting whether Pro Wrestling is the best medium to tackle alcoholism.
The Hybrid 2 (Jack Evans and Angelico) made their entrance to absolute silence. Uncomfortable silence in fact.
3. The Hybrid 2 vs. SCU: Angelico and Frankie Kazarian started the match. Angelico grabbed a chinlock, but Kazarian broke free and landed two arm drags. He then followed up with a side headlock takeover. Evans tried to get the crowd into the match by screaming at them. Kazarian rolled up Angelico in the ring for a two count. SCU isolated Angelico in their portion of the ring and made quick tags to stay fresh.
The tables turned when Scorpio Sky got caught with a kick, but he quickly got back in the match with Kazarian’s help. They hit a double back elbow on Evans followed by a German Suplex from kaz. More quick tags from SCU, but some interference from Angelico allowed Evans to land a kick to the head for a near fall. They then tossed Sky to the floor…[c]
Angelico and Evans continued to isolate and break down Scorpio Sky in their corner during the break. Sky traded punches with Evans and then grabbed him for a vertical suplex. Angelico tagged in and tried to prevent a tag, but Sky broke free and made the hot tag to Kaz. He hit a dropkick on Angelico and then a hip toss neckbreaker on Evans. He then landed a slingshot cutter on Angelico, but Evans stopped the pin.
Sky got into the match, but was quickly sent to the floor. Evans and Angelico landed a Stomp into a Back Suplex Combo, but Sky broke up the pin. Evans went for a Sasuke Special on Sky on the floor, but face planted instead. They then hit SCU Later on Angelico for the win.
SCU defeated The Hybrid 2 at 12:22
After the match, The Dark Order appeared on the screen and threatened Christopher Daniels friends and Brother in SCU because their leader was very unhappy with him. We then cut to a vignette for Pac, who was in his gear and walking through what looked like stairs in a public park. He promised to pluck out Moxley’s other eyeball if there was anything left of him when Jericho was done. He then addressed Kenny, and said he was coming for blood next week, because he was tired of waiting for him.
The announce team said Cody would take his 10 lashes next week on TV. Jon Moxley will face Ortiz, and Britt Baker will take on Yuka Sakazaki. The main event is The Elite vs. Butcher and Blade and The Lucha Bros. The main event is next…[c]
My Take: Angelico and Evans have a gimmick that no one seems to understand, and they don’t stand out positively in a crowded tag division. I don’t know why SCU needed 12 minutes to beat them, particularly when it was the beginning of a feud. The Dark Order promo was a bit odd, as it just kind of cut out abruptly.
Justin Roberts announced the Main Event of the evening. Private Party made their entrance first, and then Darby Allin. They were followed by Jericho, Santana, and Ortiz.
4. The Inner Circle (Chris Jericho, Santana, Ortiz) vs. Darby Allin and Private Party: Darby Allin started the match with Jericho, who wore a Puerto Rican bandana around his neck. He slapped Allin across the face, but Allin fired up and hit a dropkick and a springboard armdrag. Jericho scrambled to his corner and tagged in Ortiz. Kassidy then entered and landed a kick. He then tagged in Quen, who landed some rapid fire double team offense for a two count.
Quen landed a dropkick, but Ortiz followed up with one of his own from the second rope. Santana tagged in and landed some knees to Quen. Jericho then wanted into the match so he could land some chops in the corner. Ortiz prevented a tag out from Quen, but Quen landed a head scissors that sent Ortiz into Santana. Kassidy then tagged in and got a near fall on Ortiz with a crucifix. He then attempted a victory roll and got a near fall. Jericho got a blind tag and intercepted Kassidy with a springboard dropkick…[c]
Inner Circle isolated Kassidy during the break. They traded off holding Kassidy up for a vertical suplex, cycling through all three of them. Santana then worked over Kassidy’s back. Ortiz helped Santana with an assisted senton, followed by a Lionsault from Jericho. Ortiz then landed a Kokeshi style headbutt, but Quen broke up the pinfall attempt. Kassidy came to life and hit a head scissors, before making a tag to Allin.
Allin hit a Stunner on Ortiz, and then hit a dive on Jericho on the floor. He then hit a Code Red on Santana in the ring for a near fall. He then applied a submission, but Jericho broke it up. Things broke down at this point with Santana hitting a cutter on Kassidy and Jake Hager being taken out with a coffin drop on the floor. Quen then landed on Santana and Ortiz with a dive on the floor. Kassidy hit a Swanton on Jericho in the ring for a close near fall. Jericho quickly recovered and put Kassidy away with the Judas Effect.
The Inner Circle defeated Darby Allin and Private Party at 12:28
After the match, Jericho celebrated with The Inner Circle, and they headed to the back. Or not, as they returned to the ring to put a beating on the babyface trio. Jericho whipped Darby and Mark Quen with the AEW Championship belt. Hager landed a low blow on Allin before Guevara grabbed a skateboard and put it into his ribs. They then set the board under his chin and drove his head into the mat. Guevara then climbed to the top, but Moxley ran down with a baseball bat and ran off the Inner Circle to close the show.
My Take: That wasn’t a particularly stand out main event match, but it served its purpose to setup the post match angle where Moxley could gain some friends to have his back against The Inner Circle going forward. The post match attack was violent and got the crowd’s attention. We’re in for another multi-man tag match to close the show next week, so hopefully AEW shakes up the formula for the rest of the show a bit. I’d hate to see them fall into a pattern where shows begin to feel the same, because that’s one of the stronger criticisms they leveled against WWE’s format.