By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
AEW Dynamite on TNT (Episode 25)
Aired live on March 25, 2020 from Jacksonville, Florida at Daily’s Place
Tony Schiavone, Cody Rhodes, and Kenny Omega were on commentary to start the show. Cody will be in the first match. Darby Allin and Kip Sabian are scheduled, as well as Jake Hager in action, Brodie Lee vs. QT Marshall, and Kenny Omega vs. Sammy Guevara. Chris Jericho will also confront Matt Hardy later on. Cody Rhodes left commentary to head to the ring and face Jimmy Havoc. There were some audio issues initially with Cody’s music, but it was quickly fixed.
Brandi Rhodes was the ring announcer, and the referee as Aubrey Edwards. Jimmy Havoc made his entrance, and the announce team did their best to make him out to be a threat at 3-0. Kenny framed it as a big potential victory for The Elite. We did not see anyone at ringside like there was last week.
1. Cody Rhodes vs. Jimmy Havoc: The early offense was dominated by Havoc. He went for a few early pinfalls, but Cody quickly kicked out. Cody kicked out a chain of counter pinfalls with a sunset flip, and it ended in a stalemate. Jimmy Havoc hit a hard right hand, but Cody quickly turned things around with a Cody Cutter. He then applied a Figure Four, and Havoc eventually escaped with an eye poke. Edwards admonished him but did not disqualify.
Havoc rolled to ringside, and Cody followed with a suicide dive. Several talents were shown watching the match backstage. Jericho joined then and cheered on Havoc. Both men ended up on the stage. Havoc put on a headset from the announce desk and talked trash before landing an uppercut. Back in the ring, Havoc flung Cody into the corner, and then stomped on his hands as he lay on the mat.
Cody got himself back into the match with a back body drop out of the ring and onto the rampway. Cody then hung Havoc on the top rope, and then ran to the back before charging out and landing lariat that sent Havoc back into the ring. Cody tossed his weight belt to Brandi, and went for a Disaster Kick, but Havoc pulled him into an armbar. Cody rolled Havoc up, but he quickly pivoted and rolled back into the hold.
Cody managed to break free, but Havoc continued to target the arm. He then landed a lariat and covered Cody for a near fall. Havoc sent Cody into the corner and climbed onto the second rope, but Cody slipped out and landed a reverse suplex. He then followed up with two CrossRhodes for the win.
Cody defeated Jimmy Havoc at 10:21
After the match, Cody celebrated with Brandi. Shawn Spears and Jericho were upset, and Gunn Club celebrated backstage. The announce team then threw to a video package from Jake Roberts. He said that Archer was biting at the bit to get in the ring with someone from AEW. Jake lamented that his phone didn’t ring when AEW started up, and said that Cody saw what Archer was doing elsewhere and was afraid of him. He demanded a match with Rhodes, and offered to let Cody put anybody in the ring with Archer to show that he was ready. He threw in some insults, calling Arn Anderson and old man and calling Brandi “Monica”. Jake told Cody that all he needs is one meeting with him, and to trust him…[c]
My Take: Cody and Havoc worked hard to put on a decent match. Some parts of it worked, and some didn’t. The Muta running Lariat and Havoc putting on the announcers headset didn’t really seem to fit into the rest of the match. That said, overall it was very enjoyable. The Jake promo was easily my least favorite of what he has done so far. It lacked focus, and was harder to follow than it should have been for a pre-tape.
Cody joined back on commentary and called Jake bitter and jaded, and said that if Archer wants a match in AEW, he doesn’t start with him. He said he can debut next week, but he doesn’t have a body of work in AEW. They then threw to a video package from Darby Allin. He was driving in a beat up truck, and said that Kip Sabian didn’t seem so Superbad to him. He said he’s known some superbad people, and he wanted to learn how bad it could get before he learns his lesson. He lit a table on fire with effigies for Sammy Guevara, Chris Jericho, and Jake Hager.
In the arena, Kip Sabian made his entrance with Penelope Ford, followed by Darby Allin. Colt Cabana was shown last week slapping around Kip Sabian. Cody compared Darby Allin to a young Sting on commentary.
2. Kip Sabian vs. Darby Allin: The match started slowly. Cody inferred that Colt Cabana has a thing for Penelope Ford, and that’s why he got into it with Kip last week. Darby took control in the ring and sent Sabian to the outside with a springboard arm drag. Sabian retreated to the floor, and Darby attempted to follow. He charged and Ford pulled Sabian out of the way. The announce team threw to a break that never came. Cody then immediately insulted WWE by saying AEW’s barricades hurt more…[c]
Darby landed a shotgun dropkick and then a splash in the corner. He then landed an over the shoulder Stunner for a near fall. Sabian escaped to the floor, and escaped a splash by pulling Ford in the way, causing Darby to pull up. Allin then splashed Sabian as he walked around the other side of the ring. After some interference from Ford, Sabian landed a hanging neckbreaker using the top rope for a close near fall.
They went back and forth for a second, but Darby pulled Sabian into a Gibson Leglock he calls the Last Supper for the win.
Darby Allin defeated Kip Sabian at 11:31
Darby celebrated on the ramp after the match…[c]
My Take: Ford got involved multiple times, so much so that Cody said Darby should complain about the ref to management. It doesn’t make Sabian look very good to cheat multiple times and still lose, but this was a fun match at times. I kept waiting for them to really push the pace, and it never quite came, but it was a good effort regardless. It’s probably difficult to summon next level energy in an empty building.
We got a Jake Hager hype video that basically showed all the times he kicked the crap out of Dustin Rhodes and QT Marshall. It also showed him putting Moxley through the table off the stage a few weeks ago. AEW jobber Chico Adams was already in the ring.
3. Jake Hager vs. Chico Adams: Hager stomped out Chico, and then landed a Vader Bomb from the corner. Chico got in a hope spot lariat, but Hager hit a Uranage and then applied an arm triangle for the win.
Jake Hager defeated Chico Adams at 1:01
After the match, Jon Moxley walked out to the ring and traded some punches. Moxley landed the Paradigm Shift, but Hager quickly recovered and pulled him into an Ankle Lock. Moxley escaped and flung Hager away. Moxley swung the belt at him as he left the ring, and Hager walked off while teasing Moxley…[c]
My Take: Not much to that match. I can’t say I’m particularly excited about Hager vs. Moxley. I’ve seen that before a few times covering WWE over the years, and it never really lit my fire. I hope to be proven wrong.
Moxley cut an promo backstage, and said he told Hager to check his blindspot. He said he was ready to get back to action and he was out for blood. Moxley told Hager that when this comes to a head and his title is on the line, Hager will get carted out on a stretcher or Moxley will die trying. The announce team then threw to a video package of Brodie Lee’s debut last week. It was clipped together from previous content. It boiled down to the Dark Order doing what they want, when they want. Cody said Brodie Lee would get in the ring next, and he thinks people should be scared.
We got another video of Brodie, this time in a suit. He was seated with Jon Silver and Alex Reynolds. He lectured them about strength in numbers, and how they will do what they want and prey on the weak. They were in a steakhouse, and Brodie wouldn’t let them eat until he was finished. He berated them for picking up their silverware, and then kicked one of them out for sneezing. This was very clearly some personal shots taken at Vince McMahon’s personal issues. In the arena QT Marshall made his entrance. Brodie Lee followed with a minion from the Dark Order.
Cody essentially called Brodie Lee a cult leader, and said that it’s based on Social Darwinism.
4. The Exalted One Brodie Lee vs. QT Marshall: Brodie landed a big boot and then sent Marshall to the floor. He tossed him into the barricade then landed some chops. Back in the ring, Brodie landed two back elbows and two vertical suplexes. QT landed a few shots and an Enziguri. He climbed to the top, but Brodie avoided him and landed a spinning side slam. He then pulled QT up and landed a discus lariat for the win.
The Exalted One Brodie Lee defeated QT Marshall at 2:53
The creeper entered the ring and gave QT a mask. They then exited up the ramp…[c]
My Take: A solid debut for Brodie, who didn’t display any ring rust of any kind. The overt Vince McMahon elements of the character will probably have a short shelf life, but I’m sure it will fire up a portion of the hardcore audience. I’m curious to see Lee cut a live promo, and how they develop his cult leader personality independent of taking shots at WWE and Vince.
We got a recap of Matt Hardy’s debut last week. It included some promo footage where he said The Inner Circle would be broken and deleted. Schiavone said we would see Hardy later, They then threw to another video package that would give an update on the health of Nick Jackson. First, we saw footage of Nick Jackson being stretchered out a few weeks ago. We then got an update from Vanguard 1 on Nick Jackson’s health. We saw some drone footage of Nick working out in his garage, and then the drone flew away when he approached it. The video indicated that Nick Jackson was at 61% health.
In the arena, Sammy Guevara entered. There were some drawings on cardboard of Brandi and some of the other inner circle members at ringside…[c]
My Take: Interesting use of Vanguard 1. Matt Hardy’s debut promo material felt a lot like a rehash of Broken Matt. Hopefully they introduce some tweaks because I think the original iteration is pretty played out.
Guevara did some push ups in the ring while Kenny Omega made his entrance. Kenny had his wrist in a wrapped brace, but Cody said he thought it was healed 100%. Brandi conducted ring introductions.
5. Sammy Guevara vs. Kenny Omega for the AAA Mega Championship: We got some back and forth early on. Sammy landed a dropkick and forced Kenny to the floor, and then Kenny taunted him from the ring. Schiavone and Cody got into a Star Trek conversation while Guevara targeted Kenny’s hand on the outside. Aubrey Edwards started counting, and took about 10 seconds between counts.
Guevara jumped the barricade and spoke to the Brandi poster at ringside, and then suckered Kenny in for punch. He then made out with Brandi’s caricature while she looked on deeply disturbed…[c]
Sammy creeped on Brandi on the floor, and Kenny got in his face. Brandi then slapped him, and Kenny landed a suplex on the floor. He then tossed Sammy into the barricade. Back in the ring, Kenny landed a frog splash for a near fall. We then had brawl break out between Billy Gunn and Shawn Spears on the picture in picture view. Sammy pulled Kenny into a an armbar, but Kenny got his foot on the ropes quickly.
Guevara went for a moonsault on Kenny’s arm and missed, which allowed Kenny to land some hard chops. Kenny then faked out Kenny with a punch, and landed a headbutt. Omega picked up Guevara in position for a Death Valley Driver, but Sammy bit his hand. Sammy then picked up Omega for a back suplex and kicked him in the back on the way down.
Guevara then dropped an elbow on Kenny’s hand, and applied a wristlock. Kenny fought to his feet, but couldn’t break free as Sammy transitioned to a front facelock…[c]
Kenny landed a big kick in the corner, and then landed a trio of double axehandles. He covered, but only got a near fall. Guevara resisted some Irish Whip attempts, but Omega replied with a low dropkick and Kotaro Crusher for another near fall. Omega pulled Guevara to his feet for a snap dragon suplex, but Guevara avoided it and landed a double stomp. He then hit a running shooting star press for a near fall.
Guevara kicked Kenny’s hand and landed a springboard cutter. Kenny rolled to the floor, only for Guevara to land a suicide dive on the outside. Guevara attempted a springboard head scissors, but Omega reversed into a powerbomb. Omega went for a Liger Bomb, but Guevara reversed into a head scissors for a near fall. Guevara then went up top and went for a Shooting Star Press, but Guevara missed. Kenny landed a V-Trigger, and then Guevara bit his hand. Kenny then hit another knee in response.
Omega then went for a Snap Dragon, but Guevara escaped and landed a kick. He then hit his Burning GTS, but Omega popped right back up and landed a V-Trigger. Guevara gave him the finger, so Kenny gave him another knee and the One Winged Angel for the win.
Kenny Omega defeated Sammy Guevara at 23:25
Omega celebrated with his title after the match, and then walked to the back….[c]
My Take: Another very high quality workrate match from Omega in 2020. It had a few things working against it. I don’t think anybody expected a title change, and the lack of selling for some of the big moves down the stretch was a bit of a shame. But both guys worked very hard and pushed the pace in the final minutes.
Omega joined back on commentary as Chris Jericho made his entrance. Jericho walked to ringside and grabbed the camera so the camera operator could sing his theme song. He sang badly, and Jericho told him he nailed it. Jericho didn’t have a microphone, and spoke about the big debuts last week of Brodie Lee and Matt Hardy. He spoke about how the arrogant sons of bitches in the elite got Matt Hardy to join them last week. Jericho said he wanted to offer Matt a chance to make the right decision and join the inner circle.
Jericho demanded Matt make his appearance, and Vanguard 1 flew into frame. Jericho addressed the drone and said he didn’t like it. He called it a piece of shit and said he didn’t like his political views on social media. He then said even though he didn’t like him, he respected him, and he made and offer for Vanguard 1 to join the inner circle. He said they would pour the bubble right in his gas tank, and the instagram drone models would be following him everywhere.
Vanguard flew away, and Jericho called it a son of a bitch and said he would regret it as long as he lived. Matt Hardy’s music hit, and they used some video effects to make it appear like he teleported around the arena and then into the ringside area. Hardy called Jericho “Maker of Pain”, and said he knew he’d come. Jericho said they booked the segment last week, but asked how he teleported down to the ring. Matt said he was magic.
Jericho said it was an honor to have him in AEW, and then set off to explain how the show worked. Jericho said it was his show, and AEW was put into the mainstream on his back, so he’s who you want to join with when you come to AEW.
Hardy said he owed the Bucks of Youth a debt of gratitude for resurrecting Broken Matt Hardy. He said AEW represents freedom to him, and it is his Arcadia, so it must be protected at all costs. Jericho said he brought Jon Moxley to AEW, he made Sammy Guevara, Santana, and Ortiz, so he has to understand that he is AEW.
Hardy said Jericho has no idea who he’s dealing with. He said Jericho may recognize his Vessel, but his name is Damascus and he is over 3000 years old. Hardy referred to himself as a near perfect being. Jericho said nobody knows reinvention more than Jericho, and while Matt looks different on the outside, on the inside he’s the same old Matt Hardy. Hardy said he could say the same for him, as he’s just as corrupt as he’s ever been.
Jericho said he was the same Matt Hardy, always living a step behind in the shadows. The shadow of his younger brother, or the shadow of bad booking. Jericho demanded to know whether Hardy was with the Inner Circle or The Elite. Hardy chanted delete, and Jericho said Elite. Hardy sang a funeral dirge for the Inner Circle, saying they would be obsolete. This went back and forth until Jericho demanded he shut up.
Hardy spoke about the essences in the building. He mentioned Martin Luther King and his son Maximilian. Jericho kept telling him there is no one there. Eventually Jericho got frustrated enough to slap Hardy, who punched him in return. Jericho said he had a few magic tricks of his own, and summoned Sammy Guevara to attack him from behind. Omega and Cody ran down with chairs and made the save. Jericho and Guevara scrambled up the ramp, but Hardy triggered some fiery pyro with his delete gesture as they stood on the stage…[c]
My Take: Jericho did a great job here keeping the bizarre Hardy character somewhat connected to Earth throughout the promo. It’s too early to tell how Matt Hardy’s new Damascus persona will differ from the others, but this all felt very similar. Personally, I enjoyed Jericho’s performance a lot more than Hardy, which really seemed to suffer without the loud crowd reactions to all of his manic shouting and delete gestures. Jericho cutting a promo on a drone might have been even more surreal than the interaction with Hardy. If nothing else, it was a newsworthy segment for just how experimental it was in a lot of ways. Overall, this show felt pretty spartan without anyone at ringside, and despite everyone working very hard, it’s still a wrestling show in an empty arena. No matter what you do it feels like dress rehearsal.
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Jake Barnett co-hosting the Boom and Dot Net Weekly combo show. Jason and Jake discuss Becky Lynch announcing her pregnancy, Alberto Del Rio being accused of sexual assault, WWE's IC Title tournament, Mike Tyson appearing at AEW Double Or Nothing, Undertaker's Last Ride documentary, AEW Dynamite and NXT TV thoughts, and more...