By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite (Episode 30)
Taped in Norcross, Georgia at One Fall Power Factory
Aired April 29, 2020 on TNT
[Hour One] Dynamite opened with a video that featured Darby Allin and Cody looking back on their draw from the Fyter Fest event and discussing their TNT Title tournament semifinal match. Cody said they can have all the respect in the world for one another, but they will try to take each other’s heads off…
The broadcast team of Tony Schiavone and Chris Jericho checked in and hyped the tournament semifinal matches while the bracket was shown. Jericho said Cody vs. Allin is an example of a match where he wants to see two idiots beat the hell out of each other and eliminate each other from the tournament. They also hyped Jon Moxley’s appearance, another Bubbly Bunch, Shawn Spears in action, and previously advertised matches…
Powell’s POV: You’re stuck with me again. Jake Barnett, who normally reviews Dynamite, needed to swap coverage nights for the next few weeks, so you’ll get me covering Dynamite while Jake takes over Smackdown coverage during that time.
1. Cody (w/Brandi Rhodes) vs. Darby Allin in a TNT Title tournament semifinal match. Shawn Spears was among the small group of wrestlers in the crowd and he glared at Cody during his entrance. There was an early spot at ringside where Allin charged toward Cody, who moved, causing Allin to run into Brandi and knock her down. Cody kicked Allin and then checked on Brandi. Jericho barked that Cody knew his wife was there and called him a despicable human being. Brandi was helped to the back while the match continued in the ring heading into a break. [C]
Allin applied a leg lock, but Cody reached the ropes to break the hold. Allin continued to target the knee of Cody, who rolled to ringside where Britt Baker, who was amongst the groups of wrestlers behind the barricade, hit him with her shoe. Back in the ring, Allin threw a chop at Cody in the corner heading into another round of commercials. [C]
Allin hit Cody with his own CrossRhodes finisher for a near fall. Allin applied a figure four. Brandi slowly walked back to ringside while holding her ribs and a bottle of water. Cody took a sip of the water and then Allin took the bottle and hit Cody with it. Cody stuffed a springboard coffin drop and caught Allin with a short-arm clothesline. Cody put Allin down and went for Allin’s Coffin Drop, but Allin put his knees up. Allin went to the ropes and landed the Coffin Drop, but Cody rolled him into a pin.
Cody defeated Darby Allin in 20:10 to advance to the finals of the TNT Title tournament.
After the match, Cody checked on his wife and flashed a big grin over getting the win… The broadcast team hyped MJF and Wardlow, and Scorpio Sky as coming up… [C]
Powell’s POV: A very nice match with the expected outcome, as it’s looked from the start like this tournament was set up for the first Cody vs. Lance Archer match in AEW. I guess we’ll find out later tonight if that’s the plan. It was disappointing that there were a pair of commercial breaks that did disrupt the flow of the match, but it was still entertaining. Allin looked good and gained something in defeat. They can definitely go back to this pairing again.
The next part of the Scorpio Sky sit-down interview video aired. He said that Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian were looking for a third guy for a while. He said he was completely onboard because he always looked up to them, but he said he was intimidated a bit and didn’t want to be just the third guy. He said it didn’t seem like the SCU trio hit until “the worst town” routine became their thing. Scorpio said they have been a huge part of his career and development. Scorpio said he doesn’t want to be good or even great. “I want to be a f—ing legend,” Sky said in a censored moment…
MJF checked in from his “rat’s estate in Massapequa, New York. He said his nail doctor said he’d never seen someone make such a miraculous recovery from his hangnail. MJF said his doctor told him that he has the strongest nails in the world. MJF said he was excited to be back in AEW and was trying to get TV ready when the unthinkable happened.
MJF lowered his scarf and revealed that hew as wearing a neck brace. MJF said he nicked his neck. He said a normal man would have died, but he is a warrior. He said he was foaming from the mouth at the thought of working in front of “six or seven of my peers.” Funny. He said he would be back, not just for the fans, but for himself. MJF said he is the voice brave enough to cry out, the storm thundering across the horizon. MJF closed with his catchphrase…
2. Wardlow vs. Musa. Musa charged at Warlow, who immediately slammed him to the mat. Musa performed a handspring into the ropes and hit Wardlow with a knee. Wardlow came right back and ended up performing his airplane spin style slam and scored the pin…
Wardlow defeated Musa in 2:20.
The broadcast team hyped the other semifinal match, questioned what Jon Moxley’s announcement would be, and plugged the tag team match and another Bubbly Bunch… [C]
Powell’s POV: Another dominant win for Wardlow, which is absolutely the right approach to take with him at this stage in his run with the company.
The latest Bubbly Bunch video aired. There was some debate as to whether Chris Jericho or Sammy Guevara had the better Flim Flam video last week. Guevara said anyone who didn’t think his was the best could suck his big bottle of hand sanitizer (his prize for winning). They started hitting each other through their cellphones. They included Peter Avalon, Jungle Boy, Sonny Kiss, Dr. Luther, Ted Irvine, Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk!), someone I didn’t recognize, Duff McKagan(!), Jay, Silent Bob, Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias, Brad Williams, another person I didn’t recognize, Virgil, and Vickie Guerrero. Vickie yelled “Are you kidding me?” several times. Jericho yelled stop “because that was awesome.” Jericho said it was one of the best Manitoba Melees that he’s ever been a part of…
Powell’s POV: A really fun video with all sorts of celebrity cameos. And while it was entertaining and that’s not easy to do in these strange times, it’s definitely time for the Inner Circle to get back to seeking heat. They’ve been a little too fun lately for a top heel stable.
3. “Best Friends” Chuck Taylor and Trent (w/Orange Cassidy) vs. Jimmy Havoc and Kip Sabian (w/Penelope Ford) in a no DQ, no count-out match. Tables and ladders were introduced early in the match. The Best Friends ended up with chairs and threw them both at Havoc, then met in the middle of the ring and hugged. Sabian came back and ended up running Taylor into a chair that was wedged between the ropes.
A short time later, Trent went to the ropes and was above a ladder that was propped up under the middle rope. Havoc tripped Trent, who fell onto the ladder. Trent was placed onto two chairs that were landed on their sides, then Sabian double stomped him from the top rope.
[Hour Two] Taylor came back and gave Sabian a piledriver onto a chair. Taylor had the pin, but Ford pulled him off Sabian to break it up. Cassidy got involved and broke up Havoc going for a move. Cassidy hit Havoc with a chair. Sabian pulled Cassidy to the floor and held him while Ford went for a kick from the apron. Cassidy moved and Sabian took the kick instead.
Cassidy went to the ropes where he was met by Havoc. Cassidy fought off Havoc, then dove onto Sabian and Ford. In the ring, Taylor hit Havoc with his Awful Waffle finisher onto a pile of chairs and scored the pin. Jericho played up the idea of Best Friends being top contenders for the tag titles…
Chuck Taylor and Trent defeated Jimmy Havoc and Kip Sabian in roughly 13:00 in a no DQ, no count-out match.
Schiavone and Jericho hyped previously advertised segments going into a break… [C]
Powell’s POV: The wrestlers worked really hard and they did have an angle that set up the match last week, but I still felt pretty numb to what I was seeing. The issue is simply that I’m not invested in these characters based on what AEW has done with them on television thus far. There was a lot of talent in this match, so hopefully they get the character development and storyline support they need.
Britt Baker welcomed viewers to her dental office. She introduced her makeup artist Rebel. Baker mispronounced her name, then Rebel said it properly when she was interviewed separately. Baker interrupted that interview and could be heard telling Rebel to refer to her as “doctor” and said she would need to do things as they discussed if she’s going to give her a big break. Rebel gushed over Baker in the next shot.
Baker showed off the rules of being a role model. The second rule was that not everyone can be a role model. She said you shouldn’t wear glasses to try to look smart. She also said fat people can’t be role models. Wannabes and snaggle tooths are not okay. Tony Schiavone was her example for each category…
Powell’s POV: A fun segment with Baker and Rebel, who wrestled in Impact Wrestling previously. Baker’s office segments are entertaining and she remains on point by being a heel. Was that part of Adam Cole’s face in the collage of photos of Baker and Schiavone?
4. Shawn Spears vs. Baron Black. Schiavone said he’s not a snaggle tooth. Jericho said he thought he saw Baron Black at a death metal festival and they were terrible. Funny. Spears performed his C4 move and then applied a modified Sharpshooter for the win…
Shawn Spears beat Baron Black in 3:40.
The broadcast team hyped the remaining segments… [C]
Powell’s POV: Another showcase win for Spears. They are working with a skeleton crew and we’ve seen Spears win a couple of squash matches since he lost his tournament match to Cody. I hope we get more of Spears in singles matches on Dynamite and less of Spears searching for a tag partner on AEW Dark once we get through these taped shows. I reserve the right to change my mind if they have a good payoff to that tag team saga, but so far it’s just been Spears walking out on partner after partner.
Taz broke down Lance Archer’s finisher in a brief, yet good segment… A video package recapped Archer destroying Marko Stunt. It included footage of Stunt being interviewed and saying that a lot of people think he doesn’t belong. Stunt said he’s part of a trio, but due to unfortunate circumstances his partners are not able to be present. Stunt said he would keep going out there and he can take “a lot more than that”…
5. Brodie Lee vs. Marko Stunt. Jericho said he will beat Stunt’s ass when he gets in the ring with him, but he now has respect for him. Stunt leapt from the top rope and Lee caught him and performed a sidewalk slam, then followed up with a sit-out powerbomb for the win…
Brodie Lee beat Marko Stunt in 3:15.
A Jon Moxley video aired. He was outdoors, presumably in Nevada. He said it was just eight weeks ago that he won the AEW Championship. He asked what the hell happened. He said that instead of screaming your lungs out at an AEW event, you’re watching safely from your home. “And we thank you for that,” Moxley said. He said we’ll all be together again, but it’s a good time to reflect on the things you’re thankful for.
Moxley said he’s thankful for his wife because it takes a hell of a woman to be stuck in a house with him for weeks on end. He said he’s thankful for steel chairs. He said he’s most thankful that AEW is live next week. Moxley said he still has a job to do despite the circumstances. He said he will throw the dogs and a couple of Metallica CDs in his truck and drive east.
Moxley warned potential opponents that when they step up to the world champion they do so at their own risk. Moxley said it’s a time of togetherness. He told fans to be nice to their neighbors, order takeout, and don’t forget to call your grandmother…
The broadcast team hyped the main event… [C]
MJF’s return, Jon Moxley vs. Frankie Kazarian in a non-title match, and Kenny Omega and Matt Hardy vs. “Le Sex Gods” Chris Jericho and Sammy Guevara in an anything goes street fight was all announced for next week…
6. Lance Archer vs. Dustin Rhodes (w/Brandi Rhodes) in a TNT Title tournament semifinal match. Jericho also said Jake Roberts was on the phone with Archer all day. Dustin knocked Archer off his feet with a summersault dive from the apron onto Archer at ringside. Back inside the ring, Archer stuffed a powerslam attempt and then hit Rhodes with a shoulder block that sent him to ringside.
Archer followed to the floor. Rhodes picked up a chair and wound up to hit Archer, who kicked it into the face of Rhodes. Dustin bladed and was down in the ring heading into a break. [C]
Archer remained on the offensive coming out of the break. Jericho was surprised when Schiavone told him that Archer was a college football quarterback (at Texas State University), then said he might have to give Roberts a call about getting Archer in his group.
Rhodes fought back and set up Archer in the corner and delivered the Shattered Dreams kick. Archer ended up coming back moments later. Jericho compared Archer to the Michael Myers character from the Halloween movies. Archer put Rhodes down with a clothesline, then calmly looked into the camera and smirked. [C]
Archer and Rhodes traded punches in the middle of the ring. Rhodes put Archer down with a clothesline. Rhodes performed his powerslam and let out a couple of primal screams. Dustin started to throw punches at Archer in the corner and the wrestlers at ringside counted along. Moments later, Rhodes performed CrossRhodes and went for a cover, but Archer kicked out at one. The broadcast team acted stunned that Archer kicked out after taking the move.
Rhodes went to the top rope and leapt at Archer, who caught him by the throat and chokeslammed him. Archer covered Rhodes for a near fall. Archer did the old school rope walk and then did a moonsault from the ropes, which led to a near fall. “This man’s unstoppable,” Jericho exclaimed. Archer performed another chokeslam for a two count, then Dustin hooked him into a pin for a really good near fall.
Archer ripped one of the turnbuckle pads off, then slammed Rhodes’s head into the exposed turnbuckle three times. Referee Aubrey Edwards checked on Rhodes. QT Marshall and Brandi Rhodes both checked on Rhodes. Cody came out and took a white towel from Marshall, then checked on Dustin, who grabbed the towel and was dragged to the middle of the ring by Archer. After tossing the towel to ringside, Archer put his EBD Claw on Rhodes and slammed his head into the apron several times before pinning him.
Lance Archer defeated Dustin Rhodes in 22:45 to advance to the finals of the TNT Title tournament.
Schiavone hyped Archer vs. Cody in the finals of the tournament for the May 23 AEW Double Or Nothing pay-per-view…
Powell’s POV: I thought AEW may have been better served saving the Darby Allin vs. Cody for the main event slot. I also thought they would have been better off keeping Archer vs. Rhodes fairly short to make sure Archer came off looking like a monster. I was dead wrong in both cases. This was a hell of a match and Archer looked like an absolute beast despite the length of the match and thanks to the effort of Dustin Rhodes. This is definitely among my favorite matches of the empty venue era. Granted, the bar is low, but the wrestlers were great and the broadcast team, particularly Jericho, did a really nice job of telling the story.
Overall, this was a big improvement over last week’s Dynamite. It helps to have two matches with high stakes, but more importantly both matches were really fun. AEW continues to benefit from having a small group of wrestlers at ringside providing background noise. WWE really should have followed their lead instead of having Stephanie McMahon grumble about it publicly, as it would have helped their own product dramatically. I will have more to say about this episode in my same night audio review for Dot Net Members. Let me know what you thought of the show in our weekly post show poll available on the main page. Stay safe.