By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
AEW Dynamite on TNT (Episode 18)
Aired live on February 5, 2020 from Huntsville, Alabama at Von Braun Center
We got some footage to recap Jon Moxley and Chris Jericho’s feud, as well as footage recapping recent events for Cody, MJF, and The Elite. In the arena, the announcers welcomed everyone to Huntsville, and then Jon Moxley was introduced for the first match of the night. He sported a new and improved eyepatch. He was then followed by Ortiz. Santana accompanied him to the ring. Chris Jericho then walked out onstage with Moxley and Sammy Guevara and joined in on commentary.
1. Jon Moxley vs. Ortiz: They brawled briefly to start and then the action spilled outside. Moxley grabbed a chair, but he wasn’t able to use it as Ortiz escaped back into the ring. A distraction from Santana allowed Ortiz to take over and toss Santana back out onto the floor. He then tossed Moxley into the ring steps on the outside. Ortiz got the first near fall with a sit out powerbomb a moment later. Moxley recovered and turned the tables with a figure four.
Moxley got a near fall of his own with a spinning side slam, but Ortiz recovered and dumped Moxley to the floor. He then dove at him through the middle ropes. In the ring, Ortiz hit a splash from the top for a near fall. He then climbed up again, but Moxley caught him and hit a lariat. After a bit more back and forth, Moxley ducked a lariat and landed a Paradigm Shift for the win.
Jon Moxley defeated Ortiz at 10:14
After the match, Moxley stared at Jericho at the announce desk. Satana tried to assault him, but Moxley landed another Paradigm Shift. Moxley then showed the crowd his Ford GT keys, and threatened to jab Santana with it. Jericho sent Hager and Guevara down to the ring, but they were too late. Moxley spiked Santana’s eye and ran into the crowd. Jericho ran down to the ring and barked at Moxley. The announce team sold the issue like Moxley had gone too far because two wrongs don’t make a right.
The announce team plugged Cody taking 10 lashes later on tonight, as well as Britt Baker vs.Yuka Sakazaki, and the 8 man main event of The Elite vs. Lucha Bros and The Butcher and The Blade. In the arena, Best Friends made their entrance…[c]
My Take: A decent opening match, but the story was the post match attack. The tone of the commentary would lead you to believe that they are trying to introduce doubt about Jon Moxley’s character, but the crowd didn’t feel the same way. They seemed to think he was justified, and the storytelling up until this point led me to conclude the same. We’ll see if they continue to push Moxley further into unhinged territory as time goes on.
SCU made their entrance for the second match of the night.
2. SCU vs. Best Friends: Trent and Kazarian started the match. There was a double knee spot botch, with Trent not quite landing everything. He tagged out to Chuck, and Kazarian made a tag to Scorpio Sky. He and Chuck traded some holds, until Chuck landed a lariat and posed for the crowd. He then landed a back elbow and climbed to the second rope. Chuck went for a moonsault, but Sky moved out of the way and landed a drop kick.
Kazarian tagged back in and SCU landed a double elbow. Chuck pushed Kazarian back into his corner and tagged in Trent. Kazarian avoided the double team and and sent Trent to the floor. Scorpio Sky entered from the outside and landed a springboard cutter on Chuck. Things broke down as all four men ended up down on the outside after multiple neckbreakers on the floor. Orange Cassidy then walked over and layed down with everyone…[c]
Scorpio Sky sent Chuck crashing from the apron to the floor, and then double stomped Trent’s back. Kazarian tagged in and tossed Trent hard into the corner, and he came up holding his neck. Trent recovered and hit a rising knee to Scorpio Sky, and then a Sole Food and Half and Half Combo onto Kazarian. Best friends went for a hug, but that gave SCU too much time to recover. Kazarian got the pin on Trent with a Yoshi Tonic after Sky kicked Trent in the face.
SCU defeated Best Friends at 9:32
After the match, The Dark Order ran in and took out both teams. Orange Cassidy entered the ring and confronted them, and they offered him a Dark Order mask. He put his hands in his pockets, and then Stu gave him a knee lift. Daniels ran out and made the save, and begged Dark Order to fight him. They backed off and left.
We got a recap of MJF’s promo last week about Cody not being able to make it to 10 lashes. Taz was then shown commenting on how MJF has taken things too far, but it also shows how bad Cody wants to get his hands on him. Britt Baker then made her entrance in the arena…[c]
My Take: Nothing about Best Friends or The Dark Order interests me in the slightest. The match was entertaining, but Best Friends is overshadowed every time out by Orange Cassidy, and the Dark Order continues to seem like it’s going nowhere fast. It’s not as bad as it once was, as they are no longer being pushed into the main event, but there’s just nothing particularly engaging about a Cult with a vaguely defined mission.
Yuka Sakazaki made her entrance. The announcers had no idea what to say about her, and so they rambled about her clothing and mentioned she worked at Tokyo Joshi Pro.
3. Britt Baker vs. Yuka Sakazaki: Baker controlled the early going with her size and power advantage, but Sakazaki surprised Baker with a flying headscissors and a kick. Baker retreated to the floor, where Sakazaki leapt at her with the Magic Girl Press, which looked like a flying Thesz Press to the floor. They traded forearms in the middle of the ring, but Baker stopped took control with a Superkick and a swinging neckbreaker.
Baker tried to transition into Lockjaw, but Sakazaki escaped and turned it into a crucifix pin for the win.
Yuka Sakazaki defeated Britt Baker at 3:50
After the match Baker attacked Sakazaki with the ring bell, and then placed her jaw on the bottom rope before stomping it. Sakazaki had some blood coming out of her mouth, and then had what looked like a tooth in her hand. Baker then applied lockjaw before finally ending the assault. Aubrey Edwards checked on Sakazaki, who appeared to have all of her teeth. The announce team then showed an advertisement for Revolution.
Justin Roberts was in the ring, and he announced the 8-Man Tag. The 10 lashes will be in the main event segment. The Butcher and The Blade made their entrance with The Bunny. They were followed by the Lucha Bros, and then finally The Elite. Page walked out to the ring quickly in front of everybody else.
My Take: The tooth thing was pretty silly, as they showed camera angles afterward with Baker applying lockjaw where she clearly had all of her teeth in. I did like the continued effort to get Baker over as a heel, but why make her look weak with the loss? Seemed like a DQ might have been a good option there.
4. The Elite vs. The Lucha Bros, Butcher and Blade: Page started the match with The Blade, and The Elite showed some good teamwork early by isolating him and making quick tags. Hangman kept himself a but further away from the rest of the team on the apron. The Bucks and Omega cleared most of the opposing team from the ring, and then hit a triple dropkick on The Butcher. They then dove on the other three at ringside. Page just stood on the apron. Rey Fenix splashed all of the Elite members on the floor after he recovered…[c]
Nick Jackson fought off The Blade and Pentagon to make a tag to Nick. He landed some locomotion Northern Lights suplexes on Pentagon and Fenix. Kenny entered the ring, and Fenix managed to take them both out with an arm drag. Pentagon entered and they managed to hit a double team piledriver on Nick Jackson. Kenny remained in the match and was isolated by the heels. Butcher and Blade worked over his back with some knees and a backbreaker.
Kenny escaped and tagged in Page, who cleared the heels from the ring and landed and overhead belly to belly on Pentagon. He then went up top and landed a moonsault from the top on all four heels on the outside. He also looked like he might have twisted or jammed his knee with an awkward landing. It could be a planned event. The match got out of control with all four members of the elite in the ring. The heels recovered and pulled everyone but Nick Jackson from the ring. They got a close near fall after a sitout powerbomb from The Butcher, but Omega broke it up.
He dished out snapdragon suplexes to Pentagon and The Blade, but couldn’t get The Butcher over. The Young Bucks recovered and hit superkicks and sliced bread on The Butcher. We then got a million thigh slaps with rapid fire knees and superkicks from Omega and The Bucks. Page hit a Buckshot Lariat on The Blade. He then landed a fallaway slam on The Butcher. He tried to Kip up, but the knee gave out.
He refused to tag out to The Young Bucks, and they got taken off the apron by The Blade. Pentagon and Fenix managed to land a spike piledriver, and got the pin on Hangman.
Lucha Bros, The Butcher and The Blade defeated The Elite at 13:48
After the match, The Bucks were furious, and Omega ran interference for hangman…[c]
My Take: A match full of insane rapid fire spots, as we’ve come to expect whenever The Elite and Lucha Bros are involved. Page continues to be the story for The Elite, and his beef with the Young Bucks is on it’s way to an implosion. I don’t hate the story, but I feel like we aren’t getting enough exposition verbally on Dynamite. We need to hear more from The Elite in a promo or even backstage.
Kenny Omega was supposed to be interviewed by Tony Shiavone, but Pac appeared on screen and said it was his interview now. He said he might have left Michael Nakazawa for dead, but we’d find out how much he cared about little Riho, who was standing nearby. Omega said he could have his match. Pac said he hoped Kenny didn’t think he would put his hands on a woman. He might be a bastard, but he’s not a beast, she is. Nyla Rose then approached from behind and assaulted Riho. She then powerbombed her into a table, which didn’t break.
The announce team threw to a Darby Allin video package, where he coughed as footage was shown of his throat being damaged by a skateboard last week. He then lit up a stand up poster of Jericho and Sammy Guevara hugging with a flamethrower. Back in the arena, Kip Sabian made his entrance with Penelope Ford…[c]
My Take: I was hoping we’d hear Kenny talk about Adam Page there, but we got Pac instead. Pac continues to be one of the better promos on the show. Hopefully they find a more prominent role for him. I think he’d make a great feud for Cody once he gets past MJF.
Joey Janela made his entrance after the break. The announcers said Nyla Rose will take on Riho next week for the Women’s Championship, and SCU will get their rematch against Omega and Page for the Tag Team Championships.
5. Joey Janela vs. Kip Sabian: We got a brawl to start. Janela got the early advantage, but Sabian took over with a couple of kicks. The crowd booed as he stuck a pose. Janela avoided a charge into the corner, and landed some chops. They got into a kicking battle, but Sabian opted out of it by grabbing a chinlock.
Janela broke free and landed some forearm shots, and landed a low dropkick. Janela ended up on the apron, and he got tripped into the ring steps. The crowd was mostly silent for this. Ford then walked over and shoved Janela’s head into the steps a second time…[c]
Sabian continued to work over Janela during the break. He landed some stomps in the corner and then a short arm clothesline. He then hit a suplex and covered for a near fall. Sabian attempted a springboard flying nothing, and got sent outside for his trouble. Janela hit a suicide dive and trash talked Penelope Ford. That led to Sabian soccer kicking him in the face. Janela avoided a somersault splash on the outside, and landed a german suplex on the floor.
Back in the ring, Janela hit a running lariat for a two count. Sabian countered with a kick and a backstabber. Sabian spit in Janela’s face, and then ran into a Death Valley Driver for a near fall. Ford jumped up on the apron and gave Sabian a kiss. Janela ran at him and ended up hitting Ford. Sabian then rolled up Janela with the tights for the win.
Kip Sabian defeated Joey Janela at 11:17
Backstage, Alex Marvez interviewed the Inner Circle. Jericho asked what kind of person sticks a key in another man’s eye? Santana stood up and said it was no secret this was the worst month of his life. He then said he would have to bring out a side of himself nobody has ever seen, and that next week it would be an eye for an eye….[c]
My Take: That match was too long. Sabian and Janela didn’t need 11 minutes to tell that story, and the crowd wasn’t into it in the process. I think both Janela and Sabian have improved and shown great potential, but I think we needed to hear more from both men about the nature of their beef before we got to the part of the feud where they were having 11 minute TV matches.
Backstage, Hangman Page was approached by interviewer Lexy. The Bucks walked up and said they were going to ask him what his problem is, but he already knows what it is. Matt grabbed his beer and walked off. Hangman produced a pitcher of beer and took a drink directly from that to loud cheers from the crowd. The announce team reiterated the tag title match next week, and said there would be a Battle Royal to determine who would challenge for the Tag Team Championships at Revolution in Atlanta in two weeks. In 3 weeks, there will be an Iron Man Match between Kenny Omega and Pac.
Footage was shown from earlier today, and Dustin Rhodes gave his perspective on Cody taking 10 lashes from MJF. Dustin said Cody is much tougher than MFJ thinks, and the whole world is behind him. MJF made his entrance in the arena. The announcers called MJF a boil on the ass of life, and a miserable human being. He flashed his belt as he walked to the ring. Cody then made his entrance…[c]
My Take: Hangman is an alcoholic that gets cheered for his alcoholism. Might have to tweak how they are telling this story.
MFJ told Cody that his belt is too nice to touch his flesh, and demanded Cody give him his belt. Cody took his belt off and MJF paced around with it. MJF motioned with his finger for Cody to turn around, and then cracked the belt by making a loop with it to psyche him out. The first crack went over Cody’s right shoulder. MJF paused and took off his jacket. The Butcher, Blade, Bunny, Kip Sabian, Britt Baker, and Sammy Guevara walked onto the stage.
MJF took the second shot and Cody got in his face while MJF demanded that he hit him. Cody calmed down and MJF took the third shot, and Cody buckled. Arn Anderson walked out and MJF taunted him and said he couldn’t save it. Arn told Cody not to give him the satisfaction and to get up. Cody got to his feet and MJF continued to bark at Arn. Cody took the fourth lash and collapsed again. MJF asked him if he wanted to quit.
Cody fired up and MJF took another shot right down the spine. Dustin Rhodes then walked out and got into the ring and demanded MJF allow him to take the rest of the lashes. MJF said that’s now how this works, and demanded he get out of the ring and watch like everybody else. MJF hit two quick shots for number 6 and 7. The Young Bucks walked out and Cody rolled to ringside. He was comforted by everyone and had some tears in his eyes.
He got back into the ring and MJF talked trash. Cody demanded he do it now. MJF swung number eight and told him to “stay down, bitch.” Cody fought back to his feet, and then went back down to a knee. He gave MJF the finger and Wardlow asked to take a shot of his own. MJF granted him one of his lashes, and Wardlow unloaded on him. Cody had some nasty purple spots forming on his back.
Brandi walked down to the ring and both Cody and Brandi were crying. She said he had one more, and he fought to his feet. MJF landed the last shot across Cody’s chest. Just as everyone helped Cody to his feet, MJF kicked Cody in the balls and ran away through the crowd to close the show.
My Take: I understand playing that segment up for all the drama you could. They definitely pulled all the strings they could to make you want to see Cody get his revenge on MJF, and I think the crowd was fully involved by the time it was over. The question now is how they can maintain the momentum for this until Revolution, and if they will have peaked too early. There’s also the question if Cody can get a great match out of MJF, which is no guarantee. There was definitely more positive than negative on this episode of Impact, and also some things to improve going forward. Some of the feuds get a lot of promo time, and many don’t get nearly enough. More balance needs to be struck there.