By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
AEW Dynamite on TNT (Episode 20)
Aired live on February 19, 2020 from Atlanta, Georgia at State Farm Arena
Dynamite opened with JR, Tony Shiavone, and Excalibur on commentary. Justin Roberts introduced the tag team battle royal. Everyone surrounded the ring and the bell sounded to start the match.
1. AEW Tag Team Battle Royal: Jurassic Express, Private Party, Hybrid 2, SCU, Butcher and Blade, The Young Bucks, and CIMA & T-Hawk were in the ring. Jack Evans was tossed out quickly after ascending to the top rope. Marq Quen eliminated T-Hawk a moment later. Everyone congregated in the corners so a few people could work in the center of the ring. Alex Reynolds and Jon Silver joined later into the match. The Dark Order cut a promo from ringside directed at SCU, and the distraction caused them to be eliminated. The Young Bucks then quickly eliminated Silver and Reynolds.
Scorpio Sky dove at Grayson at ringside, and Kazarian brawled with other Dark Order members up the ramp. CIMA and Trent traded chops back in the ring, and CIMA managed to hit a Double Stomp and his Iconoclasm slam out of the corner. Santana and Ortiz entered the match, and CIMA was eliminated by a big boot from Luchasaurus. He and Jungle Boy then showed some good team chemistry and they took down both members of the Private Party. CIMA was offered a mask by The Dark Order, and he walked away with it to contemplate.
Nick Jackson used a springboard into the ring to hit a facebuster on Angelico. He then took down several guys with kicks and knees. He charged at Butcher in the corner, and was eliminated with a pancake to the floor. We then got a face to face with Luchasaurus and The Butcher, who traded hard strikes center ring. Luchasaurus landed a spin kick, and Butcher swung around and landed a Stan Hansen style lariat. Private Party was eliminated by Santana and Ortiz after a bit of back and forth on the apron.
Angelico was eliminated after a big headbutt from Luchasaurus, and then Jungle Boy was pulled to the floor after some illegal interference from Sammy Guevara. Butcher and Blade, and Santana and Ortiz then ganged up on Luchasaurus to send him to the floor. We then saw brawls break out both in and outside the ring. Trent and Chuckie T hit some double team offense on Ortiz, and then went for a hug. Chuck was then eliminated by The Butcher.
The Blade attempted to eliminate Trent, but Orange Cassidy made the save by catching him on his shoulders. The blade was eliminated when he ate a dropkick from Matt Jackson and Trent when he tried to skin the cat back into the ring. At this point, the only team remaining are Santana and Ortiz. The Butcher, Matt Jackson, and Trent also remain. Matt and Trent took down Santana and Ortiz, and then superkicked the Butcher. They then gave a bonus hug, but The Butcher quickly focused on Trent.
The Butcher tossed Trent out to the apron and hit a clothesline, but Trent barely saved himself by hooking his elbow on the bottom rope. Trent tried to drag The Butcher over the top rope, and Orange Cassidy stood by to help Trent. Butcher and Trent traded heavy chops on the apron, while Bunny walked over and kicked Orange Cassidy in the balls. Butcher then eliminated Trent with a clothesline. Matt Jackson then speared Butcher through the middle rope, remaining in the match while eliminating the Butcher.
Santana and Ortiz were left with Matt Jackson. Matt hit a double Northern Lights Suplex. Sammy Guevara tripped up Matt as he hit the ropes, allowing Santana and Ortiz to hit the street sweeper. They tried to toss Matt out, but he held on. Matt recovered and went on a Superkick Party and eliminated Ortiz after sending him to the apron. He then landed kicked Guevara and Santana before eliminating Santana with a clothesline.
The Young Bucks won the AEW Tag Team Battle Royal at 18:21
My Take: The match was laid out a bit confusingly, as the team surrounded the ring to start, but then additional teams seemed to stream in as the match went on without any announcement. The action was ok as far as battle royal standards go, but nothing you’re going to remember in a few weeks. Matt and Nick finally get a big victory, though, which they’ve been missing. The story seems obvious for them to challenge Kenny and Hangman Page at Revolution.
Cody Rhodes was shown walking backstage with Brandi and Pharoah. The announce team then plugged the cage match main event. Britt Baker joined on commentary as Shanna made her ring entrance. Baker immediately insulted Schiavone by bringing him a non-fat latte to keep his figure under control. Kris Statlander then made her ring entrance.
2. Shanna vs. Kris Statlander: Statlander decided to boop Rick Knox on the nose, and then the women tied up. The announce team tried to explain Kris Statlander’s character, but everyone treated it like a joke. Statlander cartwheeled around the ring, and eventually did a headstand and surprised Shanna with a head scissors. The women traded increasingly angry boops on the nose, and then pie faced each other. JR went off about pie facing, and asked why it couldn’t be cake. He was surprisingly passionate about it. Both women continued to trade offense in the ring without a clear advantage…[c]
Shanna went on a hot streak during the commercial break, but Statlander started her comeback as TV resumed. She landed a running mafia kick and a sit out powerbomb for a near fall. Statlander then went up top, but too much time was wasted and Shanna kicked her down into the tree of woe. She then ascended to the top and landed a double stomp for a near fall. Shanna attempted a double underhook lift, but was stuffed. She did manage to recover and hit a DDT for a near fall.
Shanna landed a dropkick while Statlander was laid out over the bottom rope, and then covered for another near fall. Statlander recovered and quickly hit the Big Bang Theory for the win.
Kris Statlander defeated Shanna at 8:20
Baker told Tony to fix his teeth, and then left commentary. The announce team then threw to footage of the Women’s title change from Riho to Nyla Rose last week.
My Take: The match was much better after they got to the stronger offense after the break, but the announce team was completely off the rails in this match. They didn’t do either competitor any favors and openly mocked Kris Statlander’s gimmick. I like both of these competitors, but AEW isn’t going to succeed in getting them over with the broader TV audience if they aren’t taking them seriously in the context of the presentation.
Tony Shiavone stood by the ramp near the ring and introduced Nyla Rose for an interview. She made her entrance with some new fiery pyro. Tony made his way up to the stage once the fire cleared up. Nyla immediately went after the crowd for greeting her improperly. She said they all sounded like annoying bees buzzing around. She claimed she should have been the first champion, and the highest paid woman in the locker room. Nyla said waiting made her hungry, and what she does when she’s angry is break bitches.
She said she broke her and cut her strings. Shiavone tried to say Riho showed courage, but Nyla grabbed the mic away and said it got her nothing. She said she represents unbridled power, and at the end of the day she’s the queen bee in this hive. She held up the championship and told the crowd to listen up. Nyla said she would be a one time champion because nobody could beat her, and nobody was a beast like her.
Kris Statlander walked out and booped the Women’s Championship. Aerial Monroe then walked out and got in Nyla’s face and asked her to prove she was the queen bitch. Monroe and Statlander then had a brief staredown before refs cleaned up the situation. We then got some video footage of Jeff Cobb’s debut from last week. Back in the arena, Jon Moxley made his entrance.
Tazz randomly appeared on commentary and gave his scouting report on Moxley vs. Cobb. It seems he has replaced Tony Shiavone. He talked about Cobb’s amateur wrestling history, and said Moxley could be in for a whoopin’. Jeff Cobb then made his entrance after Justin Roberts made Moxley’s ring introduction. Chris Jericho’s music hit after Cobb reached the bottom of the ramp. Jericho was shown in the crowd with a ticket, apparently the kind of ticket that gets you a televised entrance. He was accompanied by Jake Hager and Sammy Guevara. The crowd sang Jericho’s song.
3. Jeff Cobb vs. Jon Moxley: Cobb suplexed Moxley straight away, and then chopped him down. Moxley fled to ringside, and Cobb followed. Moxley returned fire briefly, but Cobb slammed him into the steps and tossed him back in the ring. Moxley knocked Cobb off the apron, and then landed a springboard splash on the floor. Moxley chopped Cobb several times, and then sent him into the ring. They traded offense in the ring, until Cobb got an advantage with a hard irish whip into the corner that Moxley took chest first. Moxley rolled out to the apron, and then got sent into the barricade by a Cobb shoulder block…[c]
My Take: A solid promo from Nyla Rose. I’m not sure Statlander and Big Swole are over enough to feel like credible opponents, but it’s a start. Tazz replacing Schiavone is interesting. He did sound like he might have had a bit of laryngitis coming on, so perhaps that was the reason. Cobb and Moxley are off to a good start.
Moxley went for a cross body, and then narrowly escaped a Tour of the Islands. Moxley then torqued Cobb’s knee, and made that the focus of his attack. He wrapped the knee around the post several times, but Cobb quickly recovered and landed a twisting suplex. He covered, and pulled Moxley up at two. Moxley applied a sleeper, but Cobb quickly escaped. Mox then attempted a knee bar, but Cobb escaped to the floor. Moxley attempted a splash, but Cobb caught him and landed an overhead suplex.
In the ring, Cobb landed an Oklahoma Stampede for a near fall. Moxley then fired back with strikes and a lariat. Cobb replied with a superkick and a lariat of his own. After a series of reversals, Cobb landed a running uppercut in the corner. He then pulled Moxley to the top and landed a superplex. Moxley then grabbed a surprise pinning attempt off the superplex and got the win.
Jon Moxley defeated Jeff Cobb at 11:32
After the match, The Inner Circle swarmed Moxley. Dustin Rhodes ran in for the save, but was quickly overwhelmed. The lights then went out, and then Darby Allin took his sweet time making an entrance. He then cleaned house on the heels with his skateboard, with an assist from Moxley and Dustin Rhodes. Moxley was then left in the ring with Jericho. They scrapped briefly but Jericho quickly made his escape…[c]
My Take: Moxley continues to find a way to win, and they did it in a way that Jeff Cobb still looked very strong. Since Jeff Cobb isn’t full time talent, the finish makes sense. The post match angle was a little wonky with Darby Allin soaking in the reaction while his friends were potentially getting the snot beat out of them in the ring, but the crowd loved it.
The Lucha Bros made their entrance, followed by Hangman Page. He and Kenny Omega made separate entrances. Justin Roberts made ring introductions.
4. The Lucha Bros (Pentagon Jr and Rey Fenix) vs. Kenny Omega and Hangman Page for the AEW Tag Team Championships: Hangman Page and Fenix started the match. Page offered his jaw and Fenix decided to punch him a few times. Page fired back with a big boot, and then tagged in Omega. Page landed another big boot, and then Kenny landed a Kotaro Crusher for a two count. Tony Schiavone was back out for this match. Page tagged back in, and Fenix tried to start a comeback with some chops. Page got angry and landed a pumphandle suplex into a bridge pin, and Pentagon entered to break it up.
Omega tagged in we got a standing shooting star and moonsault combo from Omega and Page. Fenix kicked out at two, and then started a comeback with some elbow strikes. He made a tag to Pentagon, and they used the lack of tag team rule enforcement to punish Page and Omega with double team strikes for about 30 seconds…[c]
Penta and Fenix isolated Omega during the break, and focused the attack on his left leg. Fenix attempted to splash Omega, but he got the knees up. He then landed a DDT on Pentagon and made the tag to Page. Hangman entered the ring and landed strikes on Penta and Big Boot on Fenix. He then tossed Pentagon with a suplex, and landed a splash on Fenix out on the floor. Omega took a tag back into the match despite limping.
Pentagon landed superkicks on both Page and Omega, but they quickly recovered and Page landed a suplex on Penta. Fenix entered back into the match and hit a Tornillo Cutter on Page, and Pentagon landed a Destroyer on Omega. Pentagon and Omega then traded blows on the apron. Fenix landed a soccer kick after walking along the top rope. Omega narrowly avoided a package piledriver on the apron. Fenix flew into the picture and landed a spanish fly, and then Page landed a moonsault on Pentagon on the floor.
Back in the ring, Page landed a discus lariat for a near fall. Page tagged Omega despite him not looking like he was ready for it. Penta and Fenix took out Page with some kicks. The match broke down and Page ended up landing a Buckshot Lariat on Omega after another mistake. Penta landed a Penta Driver for a close near fall on Omega. They setup for a spike piledriver, but Omega spun out and landed a V-Trigger as Fenix jumped at him. He then landed a Tiger Driver ‘98 for another close near fall.
Omega then went for a One Winged Angel, but Fenix avoided it. Page got a blind tag, and they landed a V-Trigger Buckshot combination for the win.
Hangman Page and Kenny Omega defeated The Lucha Bros at 15:15
After the match, The Young Bucks made their way to the ring and checked on Kenny Omega. Page tried to help, but The Bucks pulled Kenny away from him. He then retreated to ringside and drank from a pitcher of beer…[c]
My Take: Another very good match, but the problem with all these wild tag matches is that they just lose their impact after the 14th superkick or twisting tornillo cutter for a near fall. The Bucks vs. Omega and Page match is a more exciting possibility simply because they have an opportunity to have a story driven match. The amount of spotfest tag matches on Dynamite is just too damn high.
We got a video highlighting AEW’s upcoming action figures, followed by a video package for the Cody vs. Warlow cage match that covered the ongoing feud with MJF. After the video, the large AEW cage was lowered onto the ring. It featured a lot of chain link with large trusses on the corners and along the top….[c]
My Take: This looks like a stable cage that was probably easier to build due to the large trusses providing extra support.
Justin Roberts introduced the main event match. Wardlow made his entrance first with MJF, followed by Cody. He was joined by Arn Anderson and Brandi. The announce team made mention of classic Dusty Rhodes cage matches in Atlanta with the Horseman.
5. Cody vs. Wardlow in a Steel Cage Match: Cody landed a high kick, and Wardlow didn’t flinch. Cody then grabbed a waistlock, but Wardlow picked him up and tossed him away. Cody landed an uppercut and a disaster kick, but Wardlow never left his feet. He then turned Cody inside out with a powerful lariat. Wardlow then tossed Cody like a dart into the cage, and then clobbered him with a right hand…[c]
Wardlow continued the assault during the break, tossing Cody into the cage, and then powerbombing him into it. Cody landed awkwardly in between the cage and the ring apron. He also had some color on his forehead. Cody showed some power and pancaked Wardlow, and then landed a Cody Cutter. He then fired up and landed 10 punches in the corner. Excalibur kept slipping in plugs for the Hot Ones TV show after Dynamite, some more awkward than others.
Warlow collected himself and picked up Cody onto his shoulders. He then spun him off his shoulders and tossed him about 6 feet. He then ground Cody into the cage, and threw him into the door. The door popped open, and MJF walked up and told Arn to smash it into Cody’s head like he did his Daddy. Arn slammed the door into MJF instead. Back in the ring, Cody landed a big running clothesline and threw Wardlow into the cage. He then landed a snap powerslam for a near fall.
Cody climbed up top, but Wardlow caught him in a military press and tossed him into the cage. He then climbed up top and landed an impressive senton for a near fall. MJF handed Wardlow the Dynamite Diamond, but Cody kicked him in the balls instead. Cody grabbed the ring, which caused MJF to climb the cage structure. Brandi hit him in the ass with a chair, and MJF got in her face. Arn then tossed him into the crowd. Cody then his CrossRhodes in the ring, and got a close near fall.
Cody looked to the top of the cage, and made the climb to the top of the structure. He quickly landed a moonsault and made a cover for the win. There was not a lot of contact on the moonsault, but it looked fantastic in the air.
Cody defeated Wardlow at 11:48
After the match, Cody celebrated on top of the cage as the announce team showed several angles of the moonsault. MJF looked at Cody on top of the Cage in disbelief.
My Take: A good if not quite great cage match. It was about as good as you could have expected with a relative unknown like Wardlow involved. He held up his end of the match well, and made a valiant effort on the catch for the moonsault at the end. Cody has his father’s love for color in matches, and I honestly don’t think it really added much here. It just felt like it was there because it was a cage match. They didn’t overdo the MJF drama on the outside, which was welcome. Here’s hoping he has a major heat segment next week before the Revolution PPV in Chicago. Overall, this was an above average show, but perhaps not quite as good as the very strong effort from last week. I don’t think anybody who watched left this show feeling disappointed.