By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
AEW Dynamite (Episode 38)
Live from Jacksonville, Florida at Daily’s Place
Aired June 24, 2020 on TNT
The show began with the lumberjack match. JR, Excalibur, and Tony Schiavone were on commentary. Wardlow made his way out first with MJF. He was followed by Luchasaurus. JR gave his version of the history of Lumberjack matches, which he claimed originated in the PNW.
1. Warlow vs. Luchasaurus: Heavy blows were traded early on between both men. Wardlow took over with a spear in the corner, and tossed Luchasaurus to the outside. Several wrestlers attacked Luchasaurus, but he cleared them off quickly. Back in the ring, Wardlow landed a suplex and then some stomps. Wardlow went after the mask of Luchasaurus, but the referee put a stop to it.
Luchasaurus fired back with a big kick. He attempted a chokeslam, but Wardlow shrugged him off. They battled in the corner, with both men ascending the ropes, where Wardlow landed a superplex for a near fall. Wardlow fired up and landed a flying head scissors. There was a clumsy moment that resulted in Luchasaurus landing on top of Wardlow for a two count. Both men spilled out onto the ramp, where they traded reversals and Wardlow hit a powerslam on the stage. Jungle Boy tried to motivate Luchasaurus, and then things broke down between all the Lumberjacks.
Things continued to break down with Luchasaurus landing a roundhouse kick that sent Wardlow into the Lumberjacks. Luchasaurus then leapt into them with a Shooting Star Press. Back in the ring, Luchasaurus landed a tail whip and a chokeslam. MJF distracted the ref to prevent the cover, and Jungle Boy took him out. Wardlow capitalized and landed a low blow and an F10 for the win.
Wardlow defeated Luchasaurus in a lumberjack match at 9:10.
After the match, MJF jumped Jungle Boy in the ring, and the lumberjacks spilled in to have a big brawl. After the brawl, Schiavone announced Tony Khan had booked MJF and Wardlow vs. Luchasaurus and Jungle Boy at Fyter Fest. We then saw a brief video package with Taz breaking down the effectiveness of Brian Cage’s moveset and physicality.
Up later, Colt Cabana and Brodie Lee will face Joey Janela and Sonny Kiss, Santana will face Matt Hardy, and SCU will face FTR. Also, we will see a faceoff between Orange Cassidy and Chris Jericho. Footage from a Chris Jericoh and Jake Hager press conference will be shown, and Hikaru Shida is up next. Britt Baker passed Tony Schiavone a note about Luchasaurus’s green tongue. She was encased in plexiglass and had a drink in her hand.
My Take: The lumberjack stipulation seemed like a bad idea in a Covid-19 world, and I don’t think it added a lot to this match. They could have just as easily done 90% of the same match with MJF and Jungle Boy at ringside. I might have also gone a bit shorter on this, as both guys seemed to slow after the 5 or 6 minute mark.
Hikaru Shida made her entrance, and talked trash with Penelope Ford and Kip Sabian at ringside. The ref directed her to get in the ring, and Ford gave her a slap across the face. The ref then pulled the Kendo Stick out of her hand as she tried to retaliate.
2. Hikaru Shida vs. Red Velvet: Shida landed a running knee and a Falcon Arrow for the win.
Hikaru Shida defeated Red Velvet at :07
After the short match, Shida attacked Ford and Sabian on the outside. They brawled into the crowd and had to be separated by officials. We saw footage of the press conference conducted. Cody was sitting with his entourage. A woman from AEW management who’s name sounded like Megan (Mega?) took a question from Pro Wrestling Illustrated. They asked Arn if he was surprised if Jake Hager wasn’t there. He questioned whether Hager was committed to winning the TNT Title, and said that Cody is working harder than anyone right now and would retain his championship.
Another question asked Cody how he felt about being the TNT Champion. Cody referenced Ricky Starks and spoke about how he was committed to hope and the American Dream. He said Starks showed up to Dynamite with 3 dollars in his checking account and left with a job. He talked about how proud he was of the TNT Title, even though everyone was aware it was unfinished. He also mentioned how he loves to fight, and loves professional wrestling, and didn’t like play fighting or cosplay wrestling. He mentioned loving the taste of his own blood.
Hager finally showed up, and they had a brief face to face. Hager put his fist to Cody’s face and he shoved it away. Catalina Hager then threw a glass of water in Cody’s face. Dustin asked for her to be taken off the stage. Cody said they were done, and the Hager’s walked away…[c]
My Take: The Arn and Cody speeches were good, though it was odd that Cody never really referenced Hager at all, and they left that work to Arn. I liked Hager’s heel tactics to get inside Cody’s head, though it seems like they are starting too late in trying to frame this as Cody defending Pro Wrestling from a guy who is partially committed to MMA in Hager.
We then saw a video package that featured Sonny Kiss and Joey Janela. They teamed up to take down some men who tried to mug Sonny while he was pumping gas. Janela walked out of the convenience store from buying snacks to offer an assist.
In the arena, Sonny and Joey were already in the ring. Colt Cabana and Brodie Lee made their entrances.
3. Sonny Kiss and Joey Janela vs. Brodie Lee and Colt Cabana: Kiss and Brodie Lee battled early on, with Kiss using his speed to avoid the power offense of Lee. Kiss went for a bulldog, but got shoved into the corner. Janela tagged in along with Cabana, and Janela won a strike battle and tagged Kiss back in. After a well timed kick from one of the Dark Order members on the outside, Cabana took over with a bionic elbow. Cabana was unaware he had gotten any help from the outside…[c]
Lee tagged in during the break and continued to work over Kiss with knees and elbows. Cabana and Lee had a conflict, which allowed Kiss to break free and tag in Janela. He landed a splash on Cabana, who then rolled to the outside. Janela and Kiss then took out Cabana and Lee with dives to the floor. Sonny landed hard into the barricade. In the ring, we saw more splashes on Cabana from Kiss and Janela, but Lee broke up the pinfall attempt.
Kiss landed boots to the face of Lee, and they set up Cabana for a Doomsday Device. Cabana avoided the clothesline and rolled up Janela for a near fall. Janela took out Cabana again with a kick, but he was pulled from the ring by the Dark Order members at ringside. Janela missed a suicide dive, and Brodie took him out with a discus clothesline. He then waved in Cabana to make the pinfall.
Brodie Lee and Colt Cabana defeated Sonny Kiss and Joey Janela at 8:35
After the match, Cabana seemed surprised he won. Lance Archer then made a surprise attack on Sonny Kiss on the outside. Janela threw a chair at him, but he shrugged it off and pummeled him with punches. Jake Roberts pulled him away and told him to pick somebody else. Footage was shown of Tully Blanchard helping Shawn Spears load up his black glove on AEW Dark…[c]
My Take: I like Sonny Kiss and Janela as a team. They are still working on perfecting their team maneuvers, but they have an energy about them that makes them really fun to watch. Colt getting handed a victory on a platter is the latest in his Dark Order recruitment drive, but it’s still moving a bit slower than I might have expected. Maybe there will be a payoff during Fyter Fest.
SCU made their entrance for the next match, followed by FTR in their pickup truck. The announce team pretended they arrived perfectly on time in their gear from North Carolina.
4. “FTR” Cash Wheeler and Dax Harwood vs. “SCU” Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian: Allie and Brandi were shown at ringside. Kaz started the match with Dax Harwood. Wheeler tagged in quickly as they attempted to keep Kaz grounded. Daniels got a blind tag as Kaz was thrown into the ropes, and Cash ate a dropkick for his trouble. All four men ended up in a shoving match and then brawled out to the floor as tempers flared…[c]
Harwood tagged into the match as it returned and landed some punches and suplexes on Daniels and Kaz. He then landed a slingshot suplex and covered for a near fall. There was an inside cradle attempt by Daniels, but Cash was able to help Dax reverse it when the ref was dealing with Kazarian. Wheeler and Kaz then tagged into the match, and traded heavy strikes.
Kazarian landed an Unprettier/Killswitch on Wheeler, and covered for a near fall. Wheeler countered a double team move, and catapulted Daniels into the corner. FTR then landed a double team leg drop combo for a near fall. Harwood placed Daniels on the top rope for a Superples, but Daniels reversed and splashed on Harwood for a near fall. SCU then landed a powerbomb/neckbreaker combo for a near fall. Daniels then set up for and landed Angel’s Wings, but Wheeler broke up the pinfall. Wheeler then grabbed Kaz out of the air for a powerslam. FTR landed the Goodnight Express on Daniels a moment later and got the pinfall victory.
FTR defeated SCU at 12:33
After the match, Harwood grabbed a microphone and said they weren’t exactly a welcome addition to the AEW roster. He said that there are good guys and bad guys in the world, and called themselves the baddest. Harwood said he was talking to Jungle Boy and his dumbass dinosaur, the AEW Tag Team Champions, and The Young Bucks, and told them that they have bit off more than they can chew with FTR. He said they are eating at the big boys table now…..but their truck was heard revving up.
Butcher and Blade were shown in their truck and said they needed a new meat wagon. He then challenged them to an 8-man tag at Fyter Fest. FTR and the Young Bucks vs. Butcher and Blade and their partners Fenix and Pentagon. The Lucha Bros took down Harwood and landed a spike piledriver on Wheeler. They then left with Butcher and Blade in the pickup truck. We then saw a video package that focused on Best Friends and Hangman and Kenny Omega.
It was a light hearted take on the difference between the best friends and the odd couple of Omega and Page. Trent and Chuck said they hug because it makes them strong. Omega said they were shown to be growing closer, and how they feel they haven’t even tapped into their potential. JR said he didn’t buy it, and thought there were still issues that were unresolved. Omega and Page said Best Friends were good, but they would still whoop their ass.
My Take: FTR and SCU delivered the match of the night so far. Really strong tag team work, and I enjoyed both teams adhering to some semblance of tag rules. I know that’s part of the FTR gimmick, but it created a structure that a lot of AEW Tag matches seem to throw away at times. The Tag Team Title video package for Best Friends and Omega/Page was fun, but it didn’t really portray the best friends as serious challengers. It kind of felt like AEW were saying that the only thing keeping Omega and Page from an easy victory was their potential personal problems.
We got a brief video package on Moxley and Brian Cage. It focused on how Cage’s power, and the danger it represents to Moxley. Joe Cruz was in the ring. Brian Cage then made his entrance.
5. Brian Cage vs. Joe Cruz: Cage tossed Cruz all over the place. He then rolled to the ramp, and tossed Cruz back into the ring with a powerbomb. Cage then hit the Drillclaw for the win.
Brian Cage defeated Joe Cruz at 1:30
After the match, Taz grabbed the microphone and asked where Moxley was. He then looked at the camera and said he could see Moxley sitting on the couch. Taz then said Cage showed up to work, and Moxley sat at home afraid with a bullshit excuse. He said Moxley was done, because Cage was his fate, and it was probably better off that he was at home. Tax told Moxley to ask himself if he can stop the path of Cage…[c]
My Take: They are doing the best they can to heat up Cage, with Taz really put in the work on the microphone, but they also planted a seed that Tax is just barely in control. Perhaps it’s the fact that Cage can’t control himself that will lead to his undoing.
Backstage, Brodie Lee was shown giving Cabana some motivational words. He asked Cabana to allow him to show him one more time what victory looks like, and challenged SCU to a match at Fyter Fest. He told them to bring their best men, because he was bringing his best man. The announce team then ran down some of the known matches of the Fyter Fest card. Joey Janela will face Lance Archer on Night 2, as well as SCU vs. Dark Order (Including Colt Cabana) in a six man tag. The 8 man tag match announced earlier was made official, and Santana and Ortiz will take on Private Party.
Britt Baker demanded Tony Schiavone read a note, and it said Big Swole was the biggest piece of trash in AEW, and she would get her revenge. Swole showed up and talked trash to Baker through the plexiglass, and then swole dumped a can full of trash into the fishbowl from the top of her golf cart.
Santana made his entrance for the next match with Ortiz. He was followed by Matt Hardy, in his broken form. NEO 1 assisted with the entrance.
6. Matt Hardy vs. Santana (w/Ortiz): Ortiz talked trash at ringside. Santana and Hardy tied up, and Satana got the better of it. He then chopped and punched Hardy in the corner. The action spilled outside, where Hardy pressed Santana’s face against the ring post, and then tossed him into the barricade. Santana distracted the ref, which allowed Ortiz to wrap up Hardy in the ropes. Santana then took advantage with a running kick…[c]
Santana remained in control during the break. Hardy avoided an enziguri attempt, but Santana countered a Side Effect into a uranage. He then landed a springboard moonsault for a two count. Santana went for a frog splash, but Hardy got out of the way. They then traded blows, but Hardy got the better of it. Hardy appeared to be limping heavily, but continued the offense by slamming Santana into all three turnbuckles in the corner. He then landed a corner clothesline, and a side effect that only got a one count.
Matt then hit a second side effect for a two count. He then landed a third, and got a close near fall. Hardy then went for a side effect, but Santana avoided it. He was able to hit an inverted DDT for an ear fall. Santana landed a sit out powerbomb, but Hardy managed to reverse into a pinning situation and got the victory.
Matt Hardy defeated Santana at 11:19.
After the match, Santana and Ortiz managed to get a measure of revenge by landing the Street Sweeper on Hardy. Private Party ran out to clear them from the ring…[c]
My Take: Hardy seemed really sluggish in that match. He may have been hurt or aggravated a previous injury, because he seemed to be moving more gingerly than usual after the midway point in the match. The character is also more confusing than ever, which makes it difficult to evaluate. Santana, for his part, kept the match lively by creating as much movement as he could.
Orange Cassidy made his ring entrance, followed by Chris Jericho. Jericho had a microphone, and told the old joke of why the chicken crossed the road. Jericho said it was amusing, but also stupid. He said that’s Orange Cassidy. The more he sees him, the more annoying he becomes, and he pisses him off.
Jericho said when he first saw Orange Cassidy and his matches, he thought they sucked. He asked Cody, Kenny, and The Bucks why they brought him into AEW, and they all told him that everybody loved him. Jericho congratulated him on getting over on his own by being himself. Jericho said his appeal is being just like the crowd, a bunch of lazy slackers. He said he doesn’t have what it takes to make it to the top, and he made a mistake by stepping out of his lane and taking on Le Champion.
Jericho said if he tries any of that shin kick crap with him, he will knock his teeth down his throat and beat him in 30 seconds. He said at Fyter Fest, he would need to bring the best version of Orange Cassidy, because he plans on making sure he runs out of juice. Cassidy then grabbed the microphone and mocked him by doing his shin kicks and put his hands in his pockets. Jericho looked annoyed and took off his glasses and twisted them apart.
Cassidy then fired up and tackled Jericho. They spilled to the floor and brawled into the seats. Jericho pulled Cassidy’s jacket over his head and landed some hockey punches. They had a walking brawl to the stop of the stands to an equipment area, where Jericho took out Cassidy with a camera jib. Jericho attempted to press slam Cassidy into the stands, but Cassidly landed on his feet and slammed Jericho into a railing. Cassidy was bleeding from the ear, and landed a leaping Superman Punch that sent Jericho off a crate through a nearby table. Cassidy put on his sunglasses and gave a half hearted thumbs up to close the show.
My Take: This is another segment that probably would have been a lot better received in front of a crowd. Jericho hit all the right notes in his promo for antagonizing fans of Cassidy, but there’s something missing in the sense that Cassidy doesn’t articulate anything in response. Even a couple of words would have made a big difference. I think getting the better of Jericho in the walking brawl was a good moment for Cassidy, but I would have rather seen him show a little fire at the end of it rather than return to the status quo. I think it was the blood pouring out of his ear that made it stand out as odd more so than usual.