By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
AEW Dynamite on TNT (Episode 26)
Aired live on April 1, 2020 from an undisclosed location
Tony Schiavone was joined by Cody Rhodes and Pharoah to start AEW Dynamite this week. They were in a much smaller space that looked like a curtained off portion of a larger space. Several talents surrounded the ring at a distance. The unrevealed half of the TNT Championship Tournament was shown. Kip Sabian vs. Dustin Rhodes, and Lance Archer vs. Colt Cabana were the matches announced.
The Natural Nightmares will make their debut tonight, which is a tag team of QT Marshall and Dustin Rhodes. Lance Archer will also debut, along with Hikaru Shida being in action later. The main event will be Cody and Darby Allin vs. Shawn Spears and Sammy Guevara. This is a preview of the matches for the TNT Championship tournament starting next week. The first match of the night will be Kenny Omega vs. Trent, coming up now.
Trent made his entrance first accompanied by Chuck and Orange Cassidy, and he was followed by Kenny Omega.
1. Kenny Omega vs. Trent: They locked up to start and Trent was able to land a headlock takeover. Omega replied with a headlock of his own, followed by a shoulder block. Trent responded with a jumping knee strike, and then both men traded punches. Kenny won the strike contest and then landed some kicks to Trent’s back while he was seated. It might just be the camera perspective we’re seeing, but the ring seemed a bit smaller than what they use normally.
The action spilled outside, and Omega landed a suicide dive onto Trent, OC, and Chuck. Omega then put his arms out for a hug from Orange Cassidy, and he nearly gave Omega one, but Chuck pulled him aside. Back in the ring, Omega landed a Kotaro Crusher for a near fall. Omega then landed a backbreaker. Omega continued to push the pace and tossed Trent hard into the turnbuckle, and then landed a high back body drop a moment later.
Trent got back into the match by stomping on Omega’s hand, and then pressed the attack on the hand using the ropes and knee drops. Omega escaped to the floor, but Trent rolled out and slammed Omega’s hand on the apron. He then followed up with a stomp, but Omega got out of the way of a knee drop. Omega then grabbed Trent and gave him a deadlift German Suplex off the apron.
The ref checked on Trent, and then Omega tossed him into the ring barricade a couple of times. He then tried to toss him into a support beam that was nearby, but Trent blocked it. Omega then picked him up, and then tossed Trent back first into that support post back first. The action went back to the ring, where Omega hit a modified version of an Ushigoroshi for a near fall. Omega picked him up again, but Trent reversed out and landed a tornado DDT.
Trent then placed Omega in between the ropes and landed a baseball slide german suplex…[c]
Omega and Trent traded blows, and Trent put an end to the brawl with a piledriver for a near fall. Cody and Schiavone started putting out the possibility that Trent could take Omega to the 20 minute limit. After a series of reversals, Omega landed a snap dragon suplex. He then picked up Trent for a second one, but he fought free and landed a big lariat. Omega recovered and landed a powerbomb, followed by a V-Trigger Knee.
Omega climbed up to the top, and Trent followed. Trent landed a German Suplex off the second rope and Kenny landed ugly. Trent followed up with a running knee strike for a near fall. Omega recovered and landed the One Winged Angel after shoving Trent into the ropes and covered for the win.
Kenny Omega defeated Trent at 19:14
After the match, Kenny shook Trent’s hand and headed to the back. The show then threw to a video package that covered the debut of Matt Hardy to confront Chris Jericho from last week, along with the brawl at the end of the show…[c]
My Take: Omega and Trent had a strong match, but I don’t know why they are killing each other like that in front of nobody. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the effort, but there are several pretty dangerous spots in that match that probably wouldn’t have been missed if they weren’t there. Another win for Omega makes 7 in a row, and he’s off to a fantastic start to the year in terms of consistently delivering very compelling matches. The Matt Hardy debut still feels like bread that’s starting to get stale to me.
We got a Hikaru Shida video package that showed some highlights and recapped her limited character development. She then made her entrance in the arena. Her opponent Anna Jayy was already in the ring.
2. Hikaru Shida vs. Anna Jayy: They tied up to start and Shida backed Jayy up into the ropes. They broke clean and Jayy flipped her hair into Shida’s face. Shida blocked an arm drag, but then missed a dropkick. Jayy then capitalized with a knee to the chest. Shida tried for a suplex, but it was blocked. A moment later, she then landed a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Shida went outside to give Jayy a knee strike as she was draped over the apron.
Both women traded forearms to the chest, as Shida begged Jayy to give her best shot. Shida then responded with a forearm of her own that floored Jayy. After a short time, Jayy recovered and landed some kicks. Shida missed an enziguri, and rolled up Shida for a near fall. She then tried a backslide and got a two count. Shida countered a third pinning attempt into a triangle submission, but Jayy reached the ropes.
Shida landed a vertical suplex, followed by a knee to the back of the head. She then picked up a victory with a Falcon Arrow.
Hikaru Shida defeated Anna Jayy at 5:13
After the match, Shida approached Britt Baker at ringside. She kicked the barricade, but Britt didn’t respond because she was eating a sandwich. She did take her show off, but Shida just walked away. Trent handed her a bouquet of flowers to celebrate with…[c]
My Take: It sounds like Jayy was a local talent, and she did fairly well for herself here. It wasn’t a perfect match, but it also avoided the trap of attempting to do too much. The announce team did a nice job of putting over Shida and the fact that she’s on a roll winning 7 of 8 matches.
The announce team spoke about Jon Moxley, and threw to a video package that showed some of the setup for Jake Hager and Jon Moxley’s upcoming match. It showed some sit down interviews from Moxley, Jericho, and Hager. Hager didn’t think Moxley was in his league due to his MMA bonafides. Moxley said he didn’t need a posse to be a success, and Jericho pointed out that they put him through a table four days after winning the championship. Moxley acknowledged that Hager could strangle him with his bare hands, and he knows Hager wants to bring the title back to the Inner Circle.
Guevara piped in and said he and the rest of the inner circle would do everything possible to make Jake Hager the World Champion. Jericho then said that The Inner Circle doesn’t fight amongst themselves, they don’t hit each other with their own finishers, he would welcome him becoming AEW Champion. Moxley then said Hager is just a man, so there’s a way to beat him. He said he’s not looking for applause when this is over. He just wants to fight Jake Hager and show him that he can be beaten. The match will take place in 2 weeks in an empty arena…[c]
My Take: That was a solid video package. Jericho and Moxley were particularly good delivering their sit down lines. AEW is fairly lucky that Hager carries the immediate threat of being an MMA fighter, because the body of his work in AEW was pretty slim pickings for the video itself.
Colt Cabana joined in on the commentary, and said it was good to get time on TV in AEW. He said hi to his Mom, and also wondered where he’s suit jacket with the AEW logo was. Marko Stunt made his entrance for the next match. Jake Roberts then appeared on a video package and said Lance Archer was about to destroy Marko Stunt. He accused Cody of playing games with them, and said children play games, but they don’t play. He called Archer a bullet that would come through the curtain and tear things up. He said Cody might be smart than he thought, smart enough to be afraid. Jake wondered if Cody’s wife was the smart one, because he was pretty sure she wore the pants.
Archer made his entrance and destroyed someone at ringside, but it was someone from the production staff. Archer gave Marko a lariat before the bell.
3. Lance Archer vs. Marko Stunt: Archer dared Stunt to give him his best shot. Stunt gave him a few weak punches, and then Archer killed him with a right hand. He then gave Stunt a suplex that tossed him across the ring. He then dug his knee into Stunt’s head, before landed a rough spinning side slam. Stunt avoided a lariat, and rolled to ringside. Stunt used his quickness to dive at Archer, but it had little impact. Stunt was able to land a sequence of kicks, but Archer replied with a Monty Brown Pounce style shoulder block that sent Stunt out to the floor.
Archer then landed a huge chokeslam and covered, but pulled Stunt up at 2. He then hit the Blackout, which was an inverted Razor’s Edge Crucifix hold into a slam.
Lance Archer defeated Marko Stunt at 3:54
After the match, Archer almost left, but Archer returned and picked up Stunt on the apron and chucked him into the crowd of wrestlers at ringside. Schiavone and Cabana threw to another Brodie Lee video package. He was in a conference room with creepers, standing in front of a TV with static on it.
He said he was once downtrodden and beaten down, but now he stands before them as the Exalted One. He demanded one of the creepers call him Mr. Brodie, and he instead called him the exalted one by mistake. Brodie threw a glass against the wall and told him to say what he told him to say. He screwed up the line, and was told to sit down. Another creeper yawned and Brodie got right in his face and asked him if he had problems at home. He asked the creeper if he knew what tiredness told the rest of the world? He told the creeper not to yawn in his presence ever again. Everyone left and Brodie stared at the camera…[c]
My Take: I liked the Archer debut match. It was a very good use of Stunt, and Archer looked like a killer in the process. The Brodie promo will be seen as another shot across the bow at Vince McMahon. My hope is that this is temporary as a way to get attention, because it makes little sense if these videos are meant for recruitment to some kind of organization. They also don’t tell you much about Brodie Lee, as it’s pretty clear most of the audience is aware this is meant as satire and wit.
In the arena, 8 and 9 from The Dark Order made their entrance. They were guys in creeper masks. The Natural Nightmares (QT Marshall and Dustin Rhodes) made their entrance with Brandi Rhodes.
4. The Natural Nightmares vs. The Dark Order (8 and 9): QT started the match by tossing the creeper mask he was offered last week, and then slapped one of the creepers in the face. Dustin then started the actual match, and landed an arm drag. QT tagged back in and landed a somersault senton for a near fall. Dustin tagged in and landed a back suplex for a two count that was broken up by the other creeper.
QT tagged in and was caught by a kick in the back from the apron by the creeper on the outside, and then hit by a lariat. The Creepers tagged in and out and worked over QT briefly, but he quickly fought back with an inverted STO and then a vertical suplex. Dustin tagged in and landed some clotheslines and an atomic drop. He then hit a snap powerslam, and sent both Creepers out of the ring.
Dustin landed a somersault off the apron, and then QT landed a splash through the ropes. Dustin then picked up one of the creepers for a flapjack and cutter combo with QT for the win.
The Natural Nightmares defeated Creepers 8 and 9 and 4:44
After the match, QT and Dustin celebrated on the stage with Brandi. We got some creepy music that hit, and Brodie Lee walked out. Dustin stared him down, and he walked directly to the ring. He gave the smaller creeper a snappy powerbomb, and stared daggers in the other creeper before walking away…[c]
My Take: Not much going on in this match. There were a few showcase spots for QT and Dustin, but the creepers still feel like a joke and thus it was hard to get into. Brodie giving one of them a powerbomb after it was over might have been the most interesting development.
The announce team tossed to a video package from Chris Jericho’s hot tub. He said he was at home because it was a holiday, April Fool’s Day. He called The Elite the biggest fools he’s ever met. He called Omega a pumpkin headed dipshit, and said Nick Jackson was at home with his new baby. He told him to stay there, and hire his brother Matt to mow his lawn. He said Hangman Page is drunk with his horse in TN, and Tiger King Cody Rhodes decided to hire that idiot Matt Hardy.
Vanguard 1 started flying into view as Jericho was running down Dumbasskiss Matt Hardy. Jericho tried to convince him to join The Inner Circle again, and even hung a t-shirt on a hook on the drone, and he still flew away. Jericho sicked his dogs on Vanguard 1, apparently forgetting they can’t fly. Jericho then chased Vanguard One away as he flew off past Jericho’s boat dock.
The announce team hyped the upcoming matches for next week’s show and the TNT Championship Tournament, and Moxley vs. Hager in two weeks. They then tossed to a second video package, this time regarding Nick Jackson. Matt and Nick were shown walking up to ring in Nick’s backyard. Footage was shown of Nick being carted off in an ambulance, and Matt called it one of the worst days of his life.
Nick said he had no memory of the situation. Nick said he wanted to return, but he didn’t have a date yet. They talked about the injury giving them both perspective, and that it made them value life and family even more than they did before. Matt and Nick worked out in the ring, and afterward Nick said he wasn’t quite ready yet…[c]
My Take: The Jericho video package was utterly ridiculous, but mostly in a good way. Though, I can’t recommend getting into a hot tub in jeans. The Young Bucks finally doing some character development on TV is also a good thing. If anything, this situation has afforded AEW some opportunities to better define their athletes.
Sammy Guevara made his entrance, followed by Shawn Spears, Darby Allin, and Cody Rhodes. They did full ring introductions to kill a few minutes.
5. Cody Rhodes and Darby Allin vs. Shawn Spears and Sammy Guevara: Cody and Spears started the match. Cody landed a front kick and tagged in Darby Allin, who quickly dumped Spears to the floor. Sammy was vlogging on his phone, and walked up to Brandi, who took his phone away. Darby then charged and sent Sammy hard into the barricade. Cody and Darby then ended hitting suicide dives on both men on opposite sides of the ring…[c]
Darby fought out of the heel corner and rolled up Spears, but Cody was getting chastised by the ref and allowed Guevara to take a cheap shot on Darby. Guevara tagged in and applied a sleeper, but Darby broke free with a jawbreaker. Sammy quickly recovered and tagged in Spears. Sammy and Spears started gambling about how long they could hold up Darby with a stalling suplex. Darby won the bet when he held up Darby for 16 seconds. Spears went all in and bet he could hold him up for 20 seconds.
Darby rolled him up instead for a two count. He tried again, and Darby escaped again. Darby landed a slam and made a hot tag to Cody. He came into the match hot and landed a disaster kick on Spears and a springboard cutter on Guevara for a two count. Cody then took off his weight belt and tossed it to Brandi. Cody then applied a Sharpshooter to Guevara, who escaped when Spears entered the ring. Cody applied a Figure Four to Spears, but Guevara broke it up with a standing Shooting Star press.
Spears pulled Cody to the outside and threw him over the barricade on the heel side of the ring. Darby Allin splashed Spears, but Guevara distracted the ref while the heels beat on Cody Rhodes in the makeshift audience…[c]
Guevara worked on Cody a bit before tagging Spears into the match. He entered and landed a hard right hand to the gut, which dropped Cody. He then landed some mounted punches in the corner, but Cody slipped out. Cody broke free and landed a moonsault out of the corner on Spears, and then went to reach for a tag to Allin.
Allin entered with a double dropkick that took out both Spears and Guevara. He then then used the ropes to land a springboard coffin drop on Guevara. Allin then sent both heels to the floor. He splashed Guevara, but was caught by spears and tossed into the barricade. Guevara then landed a dropkick from the apron to the barricade onto Allin. Cody jumped into the picture and splashed spears and Guevara.
Spears and Guevara both beat down Cody for a moment, but Darby Allin surprised them by scaling the nearby support beam and landed on both of them with a Coffin Drop. He went to land another one Guevara in the ring, but ended up getting tossed back to the floor. Cody landed a reverse suplex on Guevara from the top, but Spears splashed him when he landed in the ring. Spears grabbed a chair to hit Cody with it. Darby grabbed the chair, but Spears rolled him up by surprise in response and got the win.
Shawn Spears and Sammy Guevara defeated Cody Rhodes and Darby Allin at 21:20
After the match, Allin was pissed that he lost saving Cody, and ended up decking him after Cody pulled him to his feet. Allin then stormed up the ramp, still irritated.
My Take: An interesting end to the show, probably forecasting an eventual match in the TNT Championship tournament. I like the idea of babyfaces not always getting along, and Cody and Darby did a nice job of selling their uneasy partnership at the start, and it paid off with the ending. The match itself felt overly long, but I think they were in a tough spot when it comes to available talent. Overall, this wasn’t the best episode of Dynamite without an audience, but it felt much livelier than last week with a few more people at ringside. They did a decent job of setting up future matches in upcoming weeks, and it felt like all the major story points got touched in a way that advanced the story.
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...