By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
AEW Dynamite (Episode 27)
Taped last week in Norcross, Georgia at One Fall Power Factory
Aired April 8, 2020 on TNT
Jake Roberts sat down in chair. He said his history will not be his destiny. He asked if anyone would jump on the tracks in front of a train, or jump out of a plan without a parachute. He said it’s the same as facing Lance Archer in the ring. You’re done. He addressed Marko Stunt, and said nobody wanted that match, but he thought he could prove he was a man. Jake then said it was better to be thought a fool than open your mouth and remove all doubt. He then talked trash to Cody, saying that he might lose to Sean Spears just so he could duck Archer. He asked him if he was a man or a mouse, and said he would show us tonight.
Chris Jericho was on commentary with Tony Schiavone. Tony asked Jericho about Jake Roberts, who called him a mastermind and a manipulator. Lance Archer made his entrance.
2. Lance Archer vs. Alan Angels(sp): Archer beat down Alan, and threw him in an overhead suplex from a chokeslam position. Archer quickly hit the Blackout and covered for the win.
Lance Archer defeated Alan Angels at 1:39
After the match, the announce team plugged Britt Baker vs. Hikari Shida, along with Best Friends vs. Omega and Michael Nakazawa. We’ll also hear from Matt Hardy, and Sean Spears will face Cody in the Main Event. In the arena, Britt Baker made her entrance, followed by Hikaru Shida. Dasha Gonzales made ring announcements. Jericho and Schiavone talked about how wins and losses matter, and that Shida was due a title shot unless Baker had something to say about it.
2. Hikaru Shida vs. Britt Baker: Shida went for a dropkick early, but Baker held the ropes and took a powder. Shida tried to follow, but Baker slid back into the ring. As Shida returned to the ring, Baker pounced and landed some knees and kicks. She then landed some hard strikes to the face, and then choked her with her boot in the corner. Baker then landed a mafia kick in the corner and covered for a two count.
Baker then choked Shida on the ropes again and talked trash to her as she sat on the apron. Britt then spoke to the camera and told Tony to tell the TV audience that this is her division. Shida then landed a kick, but Baker replied by tossing Shida into the barricade. Shida recovered and placed Baker on the barricade. Some of the local talent cheering at ringside held Baker in place while Shida landed a running high knee…[c]
My Take: A good show opening promo from Jake, and Archer continues to look impressive. The women’s match is a bit sluggish so far, but they are starting to pick up the pace.
Shida pulled Baker into a Triangle, and she had to scramble to reach the ropes. Baker replied with a slingblade and landed a butterfly suplex for a close near fall. Baker then landed a side russian leg sweep and went for Lockjaw, but Shida was able to quickly escape. Both women traded kicks, and both of them were down. Baker was bleeding from the nose, and Shida landed a Falcon Arrow. The ref had to check on Baker, who reversed the pinfall into a two count.
Baker went for another lockjaw, but Shida avoided it. Baker was bleeding heavily from the nose. Shida landed another knee for another near fall. Baker replied with a superkick. Britt tried to stomp on her head when it was set on the ropes, but Shida blocked it. They traded more strikes, and then both women ended up scaling the turnbuckle. Shida ended up dropping Baker back first onto the top turnbuckle, and then landed a running knee for the win.
Hikaru Shida defeated Britt Baker at 16:20
After the match, Shida celebrated and the ref checked on Britt Baker. The announce team threw to Kenny Omega’s blog earlier today. Kenny spoke about them teaming in DDT, and said they needed a team name. Nakazawa said they should use the name Best Friends. Omega objected because of the existing team, but Nakazawa wanted him to use his power as EVP to change it. Orange Cassidy and the Best Friends burst into the trailer, and they demanded that they put the name on the line in match. Spears vs. Cody, and a look at the empty arena match between Moxley and Hager are coming up…[c]
My Take: A very strong finish to the women’s match. The blood probably freaked some people out in this Covid-19 world, but from a drama perspective it definitely added to the match. The Best Friends/Omega promo was either terrible or “so bad it’s good” depending on your sensibilities.
Excalibur ran through the AEW rankings in a video package. We then saw another video that highlighted more of the story about Jake Hager and Jon Moxley’s upcoming empty arena match. Hager was shown in the MMA Gym, and he said he’s not doing it for the love of the sport, he’s doing it because it pays more. Moxley said he doesn’t think people realize how much pain you go through to become champion, but he wouldn’t have it any other way. Catalina Hager said that they are a house of winners, so unless he’s a winner he doesn’t come home.
Moxley spoke about being in love with violence, and how much he enjoyed his difficult battles with Kenny Omega and Chris Jericho. They returned to Hager, who said he never thought Moxley would be Champion for long, but he didn’t know it was going to be him to dethrone him. A training partner said he’s in the best shape of his life. Hager said Moxley would be hit harder than he had been in his entire career. His train partner incorrectly said nobody has ever done MMA and Pro Wrestling simultaneously like Jake has (Dan Severn, Bobby Lashley, Brock Lesnar, Ken Shamrock).
Moxley reflected on Hager shrugging off his DDT a few weeks ago, and how intimidating that was. But this time it would be No Holds Barred, and that changes some things. Hager promised to be Bellator and AEW Champion simultaneously. Moxley said people would see and hear every moment of hell he has to go through to retain his title in an empty arena…[c]
My Take: Another solid video package for the Hager and Moxley match. It’s probably playing out far better than any in ring promos would have between the two. Particularly with Hager’s known deficiencies when in high pressure microphone situations. His wife seemed like a nutter butter talking about how they have a house of winners, and he doesn’t come home if he loses.
We returned to another video package with Cody being interviewed wearing a Ribera Steakhouse jacket. Cody said he felt lucky being in the tournament due to being unable to challenge for the AEW Title. Sean Spears said he wasn’t nervous about facing Cody, he was looking forward to revenge after 8 months of waiting for a rematch. He said he didn’t owe anyone an explanation for hitting Cody with a chair.
Cody said some guys get to the top and some don’t. He said he was a slow learner, and it took him 15 years to get there. Spears said the tournament was his, because he was being overlooked. Cody said he will win because he’s the best wrestler in the tournament. In the arena Best Friends made their entrance. They were followed by Omega and Nakazawa.
3. Kenny Omega and Michael Nakazawa vs. Best Friends (Trent and Chuck Taylor): Nakazawa had his oil underneath the ropes in the corner. Jericho told him he should conceal it better. He then said if he got searched, you’d find a fork and brass knuckles. He threatened to tear a bitch up with a fork as a joke. Schiavone laughed and recalled Abdullah the Butcher. The match started slowly with Chuck and Trent working Omega’s arm. Nakazawa tagged in and landed a big chop on Trent. Nakazawa applied the oil to his chest, and Trent’s chops slid right off.
Omega tagged back in and he and Nakazawa did some tag team stomps that were called the “Mini Skirt Police”. Omega then continued the assault on Trent. Nakazawa pulled Trent’s legs through the bottom ropes and grabbed them. He then started running, pulling Trent’s groin into the ring post…[c]
Nakazawa placed Trent crotch first on the ropes, and then used baby oil to drag him across the top rope. Jericho called it the Hentai Slide, which is disturbing to say the least. Omega tagged in and traded strikes with Trent, who broke free and made a hot tag to Chuck. He cleaned up quickly, and have Nakazawa a drop toe hold into Omega’s groin. Orange Cassidy got in the ring for a hug, but Trent and Chuck were pulled out of the ring. Omega and Nakazawa tried to hug him, but he moved.
Nakazawa then completely whiffed a double clothesline attempt. We got another OC gag where Nakazawa stole his sunglasses, but he produced another pair. OC then splashed Omega on the floor. Trent landed a tornado DDT on Nakazawa for a near fall. Nakazawa landed a spear, and tagged out to Omega.
Omega landed a backstabber on Trent, but Chuck caught him with a kick. Trent landed a running knee, and then Chuck landed a Powerbomb on Omega. Nakazawa had to break it up. Trent climbed to the top. Omega grabbed Chuck and powerbombed Trent into him in the corner. Nakazawa then threw Trent back into the ring with a slam from the top.
Nakazawa pulled his underwear out of his trunks and put them on his hand. He then eventually tried to give Trent the venom arm, which is a palmface with the underwear, but Trent blocked it. Eventually he applied it, but Trent escaped the pinfall. Nakazawa then accidentally gave Omega the venom arm, and Trent hit him with a piledriver for a near fall. With Omega on the outside, Chuck and Trent landed a Strong Zero from the top for the win.
Best Friends defeated Omega and Nakazawa at 16:24
We then threw to a video package of Brodie Lee. He addressed three creepers. Two were in jumpsuits, and the third was in a button up shirt with the tie. He singled out the tie wearing creeper as the correct one, and chastised the others for looking ordinary. He said he was trying to make everyone’s experience in the Dark Order extraordinary, and he can’t do that if some of them aren’t taking it seriously. He told them they are on the off ramp instead of the highway. He told the tie wearing creeper that he had an opportunity for him, and left the other two outside as he entered the building…[c]
My Take: We got a match with a lot of comedy influence from Best Friends, Omega, and Nakazawa. It was good for what it was, but it’s not my cup of tea anymore. If I was 14 again and this was the attitude era, I would have thought it was the greatest match I’d ever seen. Brodie Lee continues to heavily allude to Vince McMahon’s personal behaviors, which I still argue will be limiting for him long term.
Backstage, Britt Baker called Hikaru Shida a dirty wrestler, and said she’s lucky she didn’t touch her teeth, but even if she did she could fix them herself because she’s a dentist. We then got more footage from Jake Hager, where he talked about wanting to be AEW champion because he needs to provide for the people that have sacrificed for him. Moxley repeated that the match has no rules, and will not be for the faint of heart.
Hager then spoke about how much he’s learned from the inner circle, and called them brothers. Moxley then asked Hager if he has what it takes to dig down deeper than him. Hager said no one is better equipped for a no holds barred match than him. He said Moxley won’t be walking out of the arena, and fans can expect a new AEW Champion. Moxley said there’s no way out of that arena next week than through him, and next week we’ll see what happens when Jake Hager than Jon Moxley walk down a dark alley. Hager said AEW is better off with him as champion because he adds legitimacy.
Moxley said, in no uncertain terms, he was going to (expletive) Jake Hager up. Matt Hardy is up next…[c]
My Take: Another strong entry for the World Title match next week. Even in this format, Moxley is clearly the more engaging performer on the microphone. Hager would have been eaten alive doing this stuff in person.
Matt Hardy was shown on video talking trash about the Inner Circle. He called Guevara a fake latino, and said he couldn’t wait to sink his teeth into Proud and Powerful, and called Jake Hager a frankenstein that Jericho has under his power. Hardy then admonished Jericho for trying to recruit Vanguard One. He then summoned Vanguard One so they could burn Jericho’s shirt that he offered him last week. Vanguard One called Jericho a dumpster fire, and burned the shirt in a backyard fire pit. Hardy then challenged the Inner Circle to face them at the Hardy Compound in the Elite Deletion.
Lee Johnson made his entrance, followed by Brodie Lee.
4. Brodie Lee vs. Lee Johnson: Lee hit a double axehandle and a big boot. He then landed a springboard senton, and then a spinning side slam. He then landed a discus lariat for the win.
Brodie Lee defeated Lee Johnson at 1:43
Lee approached Marko Stunt at ringside after the match and stared him down…[c]
My Take: That Matt Hardy promo was rough. I’m sure the Elite Deletion will be a riot, but that promo didn’t do much to make me excited for it. Brodie Lee continues to land all of his greatest hits in squash matches.
Schiavone went over the TNT Title Tournament Bracket. We then got a video package that focused on the previous Cody vs. Spears match. In the arena, Shawn Spears made his entrance, followed by Cody Rhodes. The match graphic said Sean Spears was 5-4 in 2020, but his name plate during his entrance said he was 2-6? Cody then made his entrance. Jericho called him Cody Exotic.
5. Cody vs. Sean Spears: After a slow start, Spears landed some hard chops. Cody nearly applied a Figure Four, but Spears rolled to the outside. He sparred with Billy Gunn, and then threw a chair into the ring. Cody caught Spears with a springboard cutter as he got back into the ring. He then landed a disaster kick for a near fall. Spears then surprised Cody with a rollup for a near fall of his own.
Cody then landed a kick and made a cover, but got two. He then climbed up top for a Moonsault, but Spears got out of the way. Spears then landed a piledriver and got a near fall. The action spilled out to the floor, where Spears hit a neckbreaker…[c]
Spears threw Cody hard into the corner. The action spilled outside again, where Spears pulled the legs off one of the guard rails and leaned it up on the ring. A moment later, he suplexed Cody onto the railing. Schiavone threw to a break, and then immediately announced they were back on TNT, which was a bit confusing.
Spears tossed Cody back into the ring and landed a scoop slam. Spears then climbed to the top for a Frog Splash, but Cody got the knees up. Cody started a comeback with a knee lift, and then grabbed Spears for a snap powerslam for a near fall. He then took off his weight belt, and slammed it across Spears back. Cody threw it into the crowd, and turned around into a sit out powerbomb for a near fall…[c]
On the floor again, Cody slammed Spears on the floor. Cody then set up a table at ringside. Another local wrestler held Spears in place so Cody could land some punches. Cody tossed him back into the ring and climbed to the top, where Spears met him and tossed him into the ring. Brandi got on the apron and trash talked Spears. Cody nearly knocked Brandi into the ringside table by mistake. Spears capitalized and sent Cody through the ringside table with his C4 Fireman’s Carry Slam.
The ref counted Cody out. He got to his feet at 8 and back into the ring at 9. Spears melted down about Cody recovering, and then picked him up to his feet. He went for another C4, but Cody pulled him into a CrossRhodes. He then hit a second one, and Spears kicked out at 2.9. Cody then applied a Figure Four, and the ref counted three while Spears shoulders were down in the figure four.
Cody defeated Shawn Spears at 21:38
After the match, Cody celebrated moving on in the Tournament with Brandi.
My Take: It’s probably been 40 years since someone was pinned in a Figure Four. That match had its moments, but the pacing got thrown off a bit by the repeated commercial breaks. Spears and Cody work well together, but even with the kick out at the end with two CrossRhodes, I never really felt Spears had a chance at pulling out a win. I think the months of him disappearing from Dynamite and appearing on Dark have done a number on his legitimacy as a challenger. Appearing earlier in the show looking for a tag partner didn’t help either. Overall, this was another good show, but you really have to grade a curve without a live crowd. The Moxley and Hager video packages really stood out positively as a good use of the situation.
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...