By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite on TNT (Episode 34)
Aired live on May 27, 2020 from Jacksonville, Florida at Daily’s Place
[Hour One] Dynamite opened with a recap of the Double Or Nothing pay-per-view… The Inner Circle members stood backstage by a truck and boxes of Inner Circle Stampede Championship t-shirts. Jericho assumed there were only a few boxes, but Santana and Ortiz opened the back of the truck to show that it was filled with the t-shirts… The Dynamite opening aired…
Pyro shot off on the stage and the spectator wrestlers were shown applauding while the broadcast team of Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone, and Excalibur checked in on commentary. They hyped the battle royal and Schiavone noted that he would be interviewing TNT Champion Cody during the show. They also hyped SCU vs. Kip Sabian and Jimmy Havoc with the winning team challenging for the AEW Tag Titles next week, and appearances by Brian Cage and Taz, and new AEW Women’s Champion Hikaru Shida…
Powell’s POV: Didn’t Best Friends become No. 1 contenders to the AEW Tag Titles on Saturday? Are they getting a title shot tonight or being skipped next week? Anyway, I’m filling in for Jake Barnett tonight due to an internet issue in his neighborhood. Jake isn’t pleased, but his daughter is even more upset because she was in the middle of a movie. Poor kid.
During entrances for the opening match, a pre-taped Matt Hardy and Young Bucks promo aired. Hangman Page and Kenny Omega were with them, but they both dismissed themselves. Matt Jackson asked if they could get a different version of Hardy. Broken Matt walked off and returned as Version 1, then he made another exit and came back wearing an All Delete t-shirt, and the Bucks were pleased with this version…
1. Matt Hardy and “The Young Bucks” Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson vs. Joey Janela and “Private Party” Isiah Kassidy and Marq Quen. The ring apron had HBO Max logos along with the usual AEW and TNT logos. Ross noted that this version of Hardy was Old School Hardy. He performed a moonsault onto all three opponents.
Private Party came back with stereo flip dives onto the Bucks at ringside. Excalibur noted that Quen came up hobbled. The broadcast team said the match basically became a handicap match. The Bucks hit More Bang For Your Buck on Kassidy, and Hardy made the cover for the win.
Matt Hardy and The Young Bucks defeated Joey Janela and Private Party in 8:55.
After the match, Hardy joined the other team in helping Quen to the back. Once they were backstage, The Butcher and The Blade attacked The Young Bucks. A truck drove into the venue and the former Revival duo of Dax Hardwood Cash Wheeler exited the truck and headed to the ring.
The broadcast team said the duo go by FTR. They teased going after the Bucks, but they took out Butcher and Blade instead. Once Butcher and Blade were cleared from the ring, FTR and the Bucks had a staredown. FTR left the ring. Wheeler picked up one of the Young Bucks dollar bills and smiled while walking back toward the truck with Harwood… [C]
Powell’s POV: While everything pointed toward FTR debuting for AEW soon, it’s still very cool to see it happen. They had a great NXT run before they were criminally underutilized on the WWE main roster. As much as I’m excited to see them work against the Bucks, I’m also looking forward to seeing them work with Private Party, who can learn a lot from the veteran tag team. By the way, I assume the Quen injury was a work designed to soften the blow of the loss and also to give Hardy a storyline reason for going to the back with them, which left the Bucks alone for the post match angle.
AEW Champion Jon Moxley made his entrance while highlights were shown of his win over Brodie Lee at Double Or Nothing. Moxley joined the broadcast team and said he hasn’t been able to do much over the last few days because of the war he went through at the pay-per-view. Moxley mentioned Brian Cage earning a title shot and said he was there to get a bird’s eye view of him in action. Highlights aired of Cage winning the Casino Ladder Match at Double Or Nothing…
2. Brian Cage (w/Taz) vs. Lee Johnson. Johnson’s entrance was not televised. Cage attacked Johnson before ring announcer Dasha Gonzalez could finish the introductions. Taz watched from the ramp while holding an orange towel in his hand. Cage dominated the match and won with the Drill Claw finisher…
Brian Cage defeated Lee Johnson in 1:15.
After the match, Taz entered the ring and delivered a promo. Taz told Moxley it was good to see him. Taz said Moxley is dealing with something different when he faces The Machine at Fyter Fest. Taz said Cage would tear Moxley’s heart out of his chest. “Beat him if you can, survive if he lets you,” Taz said. Cage glared and smiled at Moxley, who returned the death stare… [C]
Powell’s POV: The squash match was exactly what it needed to be, and Taz was very good in his brief promo. I like that he’s bringing back his old catchphrase and using it for Cage. On a side note, they still haven’t set a date for Fyter Fest, which Tony Khan revealed was supposed to be the company’s London debut. Unfortunately, the pandemic happened, so the London debut will have to wait.
Tony Schiavone stood on the stage and hosted “The Rules of Being a Role Model” for Britt Baker, who was in a wheelchair and was accompanied by Rebel. Baker read through her rules while Rebel turned the page on the poster board.
Rule No. 3 on her ongoing list was don’t hurt the role model. Baker said the injury she suffered last week was no accident it was a conspiracy. Still shots of Baker suffering the injury appeared on the screen. Baker said that there’s no women’s division without her. Baker told “Reba” to flip the page.
There was a photo of AEW Women’s Champion Hikaru Shida. Baker complained about her using a kendo stick. The next photo showed Nyla Rose. Baker said she’s seen Rose leap off the top rope with precision in the past and played up her conspiracy theory.
Rebel brought up a new poster board that had “a web of evil” with Rose, Shida, Kris Statlander, and “the brains of the operation” referee Aubrey Edwards. Baker said Edwards is there whenever she’s injured. Baker announced that she will return at All Out (Labor Day weekend). When Baker wheeled away, the back of her chair read “Roll Model”… [C]
Powell’s POV: The spectator wrestlers did their best, but the live crowd was definitely missed. Baker was drawing some great heat when crowds were so present and I’m sure this would have done the same. Without the crowd there to react to her lines, it just felt a little flat.
Ads aired for the AEW podcast and action figures…
Alex Marvez interviewed the Inner Circle on an interview set. Chis Jericho was playing up the pep rally as being one of AEW’s greatest spectacles. Orange Cassidy wandered into the picture and Jericho stopped talking. Jericho asked the other members if they saw it. A ticked Jericho ended the promo and everyone walked away…
3. AEW Women’s Champion Hikaru Shida vs. Christi Jaynes in a non-title match. Ross noted that Jaynes’s mother was single and raised four kids while getting her doctorate. Schiavone plugged HBO Max, which was also listed on the ring post.
A graphic listed Mike Tyson as appearing later in the show. Jaynes got a little offense in before Shida regrouped and took offensive control. Shida placed Jaynes over the apron, then delivered a running knee strike from the floor.
Shida went to the ropes at one point, but Jaynes ran up and knocked her down. Jaynes went up top and performed a sunset flip and then a kick, which led to a two count. Jaynes went for a Lionsault, but Shida avoided it. Ross said Jaynes has upside and looks pretty good going down too. Shida ended up hitting a Falcon Arrow for the win…
Hikaru Shida defeated Christi Jaynes in a non-title match in 5:20.
Powell’s POV: This was a bit more competitive than I anticipated. Jaynes has a good look and perhaps they will end up doing more with her. It just seemed like this should have been all about Shida given that she just won the title on Saturday.
They cut to a split screen commercial break. They showed Shida celebrating and then they cut to a shot of Hangman Page and Kenny Omega either in a hotel room or in a backstage area. They spotted the wall camera. Page approached it and looked right into it. Page was drinking beer and he toasted with milk drinking Omega. Despite Page being the one boozing it up, Omega was the one who actually spilled while he was refilling his glass…
Highlights aired from Double Or Nothing of Cody defeating Lance Archer to become the first TNT Champion. The footage included Mike Tyson raising the hand of Cody afterward…
Cody made his entrance for an in-ring interview conducted by Schiavone. Cody was accompanied by Arn Anderson. Playing off a storyline that started on AEW Dark, QT Marshall was shown talking with Allie while Brandi Rhodes was being shown on camera.
In the ring, Cody noted that Tom Brady is his favorite quarterback. He noted that he’s not from Boston and added that he doesn’t think he’s welcome back in Connecticut. Cody said Brady wasn’t the first pick. Cody said that he wasn’t the first, second, or even third call when Tony Khan started putting the company together. Cody said it doesn’t bother him.
[Hour Two] Cody said he is the champion of the greatest network. He said his story isn’t of nepotism or favoritism. Cody said he was called up way too soon and grew up right in front of everyone’s eyes. Cody said Dustin Rhodes got all the good genes.
Cody credited his mother with teaching him about work. He said that if you stand next to him on the track, he will outlast and outwork you. He said if you are critical of him from a bell-to-bell standpoint, he asks that you judge him based on what he does next.
Cody said he will hold an open challenge for the TNT Championship on a weekly basis. Cody noted that it was the pandemic era of wrestling, but the fans give them two hours of their time every Wednesday night. Cody said the fans bought the pay-per-view and blew away the projections. “So follow me because this is where the fun begins,” Cody said… [C]
Powell’s POV: For those who missed the pay-per-view, the TNT Title belt is not finished. It was noted during the show that they still have gold plating to do and it was delayed due to the pandemic. The actual promo was solid and I love the idea of a weekly open challenge. It could eventually be some of the wrestlers cut by WWE, and it could also be one of the AEW regulars just depending on the week. Either way, it’s a great weekly hook for Dynamite.
4. Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky vs. Jimmy Havoc and Kip Sabian (w/Penelope Ford) for a shot at the AEW Tag Titles. Excalibur noted that Best Friends will get the AEW Tag Title match they earned on Saturday at the Fyter Fest event. Schiavone hyped AEW Dark while a graphic touted the Tuesday night online show. They cut to a break while the heels had Kazarian isolated around 5:30. [C]
Havoc performed a Death Valley Driver on Sky, then tagged in Sabian, who double stomped him from the top rope. Sabian covered Sky for a near fall. The SCU duo came back and set up Havoc for their finisher, but Ford grabbed the leg of Kazarian to prevent it. Havoc held up Sky, then Sabin hit him with a dropkick into a Havoc move that resulted in a three count…
Jimmy Havoc and Kip Sabian defeated Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky in 12:10 to earn an AEW Tag Title match next week.
Powell’s POV: A nice tag match with a surprising outcome. I was ready to pencil in the Page and Omega vs. SCU rematch for next week, but they went with the heel duo instead. Havoc and Sabian are both talented. They just haven’t had enough character development yet so perhaps this is the start of something for them. Havoc is a really good talker and needs more mic time.
A pre-taped MJF promo aired. MJF delivered a promo while Wardlow stood behind him. MJF said he’s the breakout star of the promotion and he didn’t have to come from another place to get that handle. He said he’s been unbeaten for a year and its perplexing to him that he hasn’t had an AEW Title match yet.
MJF wondered if a certain someone in the office doesn’t like him. MJF said that when he heard that this certain someone was holding a battle royal in order to see how his first challenger would be, he wanted to make sure that certain someone gets good competition. MJF said that Wardlow would also be in the battle royal as his insurance policy.
“But…” Warlow said. MJF screamed, “But nothing.” MJF backed off when Wardlow looked pissed and acted like he was joking. MJF said they were going to have fun out there. Wardlow was still seething after MJF walked away… MJF made his entrance for the battle royal heading into a break… [C]
Powell’s POV: A good promo from MJF that played into his history with Cody. I was surprised to see some tension between him and Wardlow. Is it a swerve? I hope they’re not breaking them up already.
5. A battle royal for the first shot at the TNT Championship. A bunch of wrestlers were already in the ring. Billy Gunn was at ringside with his son Austin when his music played and he headed to the ring to take part in the match. The bell rang to start the match while Orange Cassidy was making his entrance. Santana and Ortiz attacked Cassidy from behind on the stage and then headed to the back with Cassidy down on the floor.
The entrants were Cassidy, MJF, Wardlow, Gunn, Luther, Luchasaurus, Marko Stunt, Colt Cabana, Brandon Cutler, Peter Avalon, Sonny Kiss, Christopher Daniels, and Jungle Boy. Luchasaurus eliminated Luther. Wardlow eliminated Kiss. MJF rolled to ringside and put the boots to Kiss. “MJF is an arrogant Richard,” Ross said. He also noted the advantage that the Jurassic Express had with all three members in the match.
Gunn eliminated Cabana. At ringside, a man handed Cabana a Dark Order flyer. They cut to a picture-in-picture break. [C] The Tyson graphic appeared on the live action screen to promote his appearance. Stunt eliminated Dnaiels, then jumped into the arms of Wardlow, who tossed him onto Daniels to eliminate Stunt from the match.
The final five (not counting Cassidy or anyone hiding) were Luchasaurus, Wardlow, Gunn, MJF, and Jungle Boy. Luchasaurus and Wardlow were firing away at one another when MJF chop-blocked Luchasaurus. Gunn got in the face of Luchasaurus. Both men were shoved over the top rope by MJF and Wardlow.
Cassidy rolled into the ring, so the final four were Cassidy, Wardlow, MJF, and Jungle Boy. Cassidy gave MJF a light shove, so MJF responded by shoving him and knocking him to the mat. MJF put his Dynamite Diamond Ring on and tried to hit Cassidy, who escaped from Wardlow’s grip. MJF hit Wardlow with the ring and was then eliminated. Cassidy and Jungle Boy eliminated Wardlow.
Jungle Boy tossed Cassidy over the top rope. Cassidy skinned the cat and used one hand to hold the top rope for a moment. Jungle Boy performed a running huracanrana that sent Cassidy over the top rope and to the floor.
Jungle Boy won a battle royal in 11:45 to earn the first TNT Title shot.
Powell’s POV: So Jungle Boy will challenge Cody for the TNT Title on next week’s show and then I assume the open challenge will begin the following week. The battle royal was fast paced and I like the end result, as Cody vs. Jungle Boy should be a good match, and they’re not giving away anything that should be saved for pay-per-view.
The broadcast team hyped Cody vs. Jungle Boy for the TNT Title, Page and Omega vs. Havoc and Sabian for the AEW Tag Titles, and Chris Jericho in action for next week. Ross also hyped Moxley vs. Cage for the AEW World Championship for Fyter Fest “sometime this summer”…
A video package recapped the Stadium Stampede match that headlined the Double Or Nothing pay-per-view… The Jacksonville Jaguars cheerleaders danced on the stage in Inner Circle t-shirts… [C]
The cheerleaders continued to dance by one of the entrance chutes when Vickie Guerrero came out in an Inner Circle t-shirt. She took a couple of pompoms and belted out introductions for the Inner Circle pep rally.
Chris Jericho, Santana, Ortiz, Sammy Guevara, and Jake Hager made their entrances and met up in the ring where a table was set up with various items on top of it. Jericho and his crew threw out “First Ever Champions” t-shirts that featured the Inner Circle for the Stadium Stampede on them. Some of the spectator wrestlers threw the shirts back.
Guevara, who was using a crutch, said they didn’t win the Stadium Stampede, but what they did do was participate. Guevara handed out small participation trophies. Jericho noted that his read “King of Dad Jokes.” Guevara said there’s a pandemic going on.
Santana handed out some gifts to his teammates. Hager got a pair of work boots, and Jericho got a framed photo of Marc Anthony. “He’s my hero,” Jericho exclaimed. Jericho gave Guevara a scooter. Jericho recalled Ortiz getting his bell rung, and Ortiz acted like he couldn’t hear. Jericho gave him earmuffs and Ortiz acted like he could hear again.
Hager read a poem about the Inner Circle. Hager said he can’t wait to run each Elite member over with his Tesla and called them the biggest bitches on AEW Dynamite. Hager said he will find them all. He said he knows where they live and where they sleep. Jericho had to cut him off. “The end,” Hager said. Funny.
Guevara asked Jericho what he wanted. “What I really want is Mike Tyson’s head on a platter,” Jericho said. He added that he didn’t forget what Tyson did to him on January 11, 2010 “on a Monday night.” Jericho said Tyson turned traitor on him and ever since then he’s dreamed of getting his hands on his “fat head.”
Guevara said he couldn’t get that, but he got him something that might be better. He removed a veil from what was supposed to be a cheese platter and bubbly. The platter was nearly empty. Guevara said it wasn’t supposed to be like that.
Mike Tyson made his entrance along with what Ross described as his posse, which oddly included one dude wearing a bunch of black eye makeup. They all entered the ring and went face to face with the Inner Circle. Jericho said he’s been dreaming of this moment for ten years.
Tyson told Jericho that he was wrong and he stole the championship and deserved what he did to him. Jericho told him to shut up, then said he was giving him one chance to apologize or he would knock him the hell out. Tyson ripped off his AEW t-shirt and flexed in Jericho’s face. Jericho told him to apologize. Tyson shoved Jericho, who returned the favor.
The posse and Inner Circle fought for a moment and then a bunch of wrestlers entered the ring to pull them apart. Cody was among the people who led Tyson backstage while the pushing and shoving continued in the ring. Tyson charged back onto the stage and was pulled to the back while Jericho was held back by a group of wrestlers in the ring. Ross apologized for the chaos, but said it is what it is. Jericho yelled Tyson’s name several times as the show went off the air…
Powell’s POV: Woof. That was a rough segment. The Inner Circle comedy had a couple of decent moments, but they’ve definitely been better. Tyson is always a hot mess during pro wrestling angles and it was obvious that Jericho was doing his best to keep him under control while also being mindful of the time. All of that said, Tyson vs. Jericho in some fashion would be a lot of fun and presumably big box office if that’s where this is going.
Overall, the show peaked for me during the first hour. I mentioned in my AEW Double Or Nothing Hit List that AEW has a chance to create the old Monday Night Wars feeling that you have to watch because you never know who will show up next. I thought they’d have to wait until some 90-day non-compete clauses expire to go there, but with FTR showing up and then former Impact World Champion Brian Cage working the next match, it feels like they are already on their way. Throw in the comedic Vickie Guerrero appearance and Tyson at the end and AEW Dynamite felt like a spectacle. 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 by assigning it a letter grade via the poll available on the main page.