Color me surprised, but I was actually able to stick to AEW Dynamite for an entire month! Of course, I mean that not as a swipe at the program itself (however, thus far, it has scored a 7.2, a 5.6, and a 6.2, respectively), but, rather, the glaring reality of why I stopped watching wrestling all those many years ago – time consumption.
When Monday Night RAW became a three-hour program, I stopped watching week-to-week, too preoccupied by work and other things I was more interested in. The month of January has been a busy one, but I was lucky enough to be able to take a few days to myself, unwind, and touch-up some things on Readers Digested (and a new videogame website I am developing!), and, of course, watch some ‘rasslin.
I don’t know a lot about the card tonight, but I am hoping for some competitive matches, meaningful plot progression, and, of course, a reason to care about the matches on the screen! This has been a reoccurring criticism I have had week to week for Dynamite, but I remain optimistic that the program will continue to find its stride as it finds its footing after a rocky, Covid-19 riddled year.
Let’s dig in.
AEW: Dynamite (1/20/21)
Eddie Kingston vs. Lance Archer
I liked this match.
Although I generally enjoy Eddie Kingston in a sparing amount as a mid-card competitor (at least with his current character), I see a major upside to Lance Archer, and have since his days in ECW. Kingston has had a reputation since his time on Dynamite for having hard-hitting bouts that, ultimately, end with his being defeated. For that reason, I expected the same from this bout against Archer. To my surprise, however, they used an old school distraction and brass knuckles in-order for Eddie Kingston to walk away with the victory.
I am not entirely certain what the heel and babyface dynamic is, and am often a little lost in that respect with a lot of Dynamite, but, in that moment, I walked away wanting to see Lance Archer redeem himself over Kingston. I liked the finish, and, in-order for Eddie Kingston to be taken seriously, he will need to be taken seriously as a threat, and this brings heat to him.
As for the match itself, I feel like the multi-man bouts that run wild on Dynamite have made me appreciated the quieter, more intimate fare of a singles content, but I also genuinely appreciated the grounded, rough style that was on-display between them (0-1-0-0-0).
Jon Moxley cut a basic promo about the upcoming Revolution event and the ongoing drama between the Elite, about how Young Bucks and The Good Brothers don’t appear to be on the same page, and that the Death Triangle don’t like him either. He said he has always preferred things simple, and told Pac and Ray Fenix to saddle up for Beach Break when they align.
As prefaced, it was a simple, but necessary promo from Moxley. I appreciated how he acknowledged all the different balls in the air at once, and it helped build anticipation for Beach Break (0-2-0-0-0).
Darby Allen and Sting stand in-front of an old, rundown building, and speak about their upcoming bout against Ricky Starks and Brian Cage at Revolution. The segment mostly features them addressing the accusation Tazz made about them being “hoodlums,” which sees them both agree, once Darby throws his skateboard through one of the windows and Sting hammers out a few of his own with his black baseball bat.
The segment was alright. I have noticed I like Sting more when he speaks softer and is more subdued, less enthusiastic, because I think it adds more to his mystique and it brings you in and makes you listen (an old trick Jake Roberts pioneered). Seeing Darby Allen chuck his skateboard through the window may have had an unnecessarily comedic effect. How many skateboards does he have? Does he have to go and find a way to get his skateboard back? Maybe it would have been better if he knock out a window with the back wheels, because, otherwise, it came off a little goofy. Otherwise though, I’m enjoying the pairing of Sting with Darby (0-2-1-0-0).
Chris Jericho & MJF vs. Brian Pillman Jr. & Griff Garrison
Although it might be my imagination, but it seems like Chris Jericho was trying to make a statement in this bout after the criticisms he received from last week’s outing (my included). The criticism I had mostly dealt with his in-ring conditioning and uncertainties about whether he could safely execute his old-school offense, particularly the Lionsault. This match ended with Jericho hitting a real nice looking Lionsault, after what was, a very solid match.
Obviously, no one expected Griff or Brian to come away with the victory, both of them still need more wrinkles in their characters before I could ever seen them as serious contenders in the tag division, but they definitely have the in-ring ability to make an impact on Dynamite. Normally, I don’t like bouts where it feels like an enhancement match that has been “elongated,” but I felt the in-ring competition and the anticipation around Chris Jericho and Maxwell together, and all the developments for the Inner Circle, helped make it feel meaningful (0-3-1-0-0).
Cody Rhodes came out and talked about the confrontations he has had with Shaq and Jade Cargill. After being rundown some by Arn Anderson, Red Velvet was brought out and said she would take Brandi Rhodes‘ place in their eventual Tag Team confrontation. I don’t care about the feud at all, and, for the last few weeks, it has felt very throwaway and inconsequential. On that note, however, I would be remiss if I did not say that this was the best segment to come out with the whole story. I enjoyed hearing Anderson talk to Cody, and I think it offered some well needed structural stability to the feud (0-3-2-0-0).
Adam Page vs. Ryan Nemeth
Adam Page scored the clean victory after a short and sweet bout against Ryan Nemeth. Afterward, Matt Hardy offered his friendship to Adam Page, no strings attached. The match itself was a straight enhancement match, but I did not mind that, considering the added wrinkle of Matt’s involvement and that it was kept brief.
Ryan is WWE Superstar Dolph Ziggler‘s brother, if you weren’t aware, does a lot of his shtick, in-particular though, his shtick also mimicked Rick Rude and other “pretty boy” characters, but failed to bring anything new to it. Used as an enhancement talent, this portrayal might be serviceable, but, in the long term, Ryan should consider something entirely different.
I like the idea of Adam Page and Matt Hardy aligning, at least momentarily, and I would not mind a feud with them either, that benefits Adam Page in the long run (0-3-2-0-0).
Dax Hardwood vs. Jungle Boy
The contest featured some shenanigans, seeing Dax and Jungle Boy’s respective friends handcuffed together in order to prevent interference from them. I could have done without that, I think, but, otherwise, I really enjoyed the match. I have never been sold either on Jungle Boy or on Dax Hardwood, but I actually feel like that changed after this match. I found myself rooting for Jungle Boy in ways I never had prior, and, you know what? I feel like that might have even been a break out match for Jungle Boy (1-3-2-0-0).
Britt Baker vs. Shana
Britt Baker and Shana’s encounter did not do much for me, personally. Britt defeated Shana decisively, which was expected, given Britt’s upcoming match against Thunder Rosa. The match itself was satiable, but I could not bring myself to care about the competitors nor, truly, the upcoming matches on the horizon. I know that a lot of the women’s division has been hurt by the Covid-19 situation, and so, I will cut them some slack, but, man, they really need to find a way to add more depth and significance to the division (1-3-3-0-0).
The Young Bucks & The Good Brothers vs. The Dark Order
The match ended decisively, with The Young Bucks hitting the Meltzer Driver and The Good Brothers ending the match with the Magic Killer. Afterward, the Bucks said there would be a battle royal match to decide the next challengers for their World Tag Team Championships, but, that they would be in the match, and if they won, they would be allowed to handpick their challengers. They hinted that they would choose The Good Brothers for the match. They “Too Sweeted,” and then, Pentagon and Jon Moxley, and others interfered to closeout the program.
I am interested in both the Bucks and Good Brothers, and I look forward to seeing them eventually face off in a match. For that reason, although I never doubted who would win the match nor was I truly invested in the contest itself, it felt meaningful because of all the story involved in it (1-4-3-0-0).
After the last couple of Dynamite episodes have left a lot to be desired, I am happy to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this edition (a 7.5 out of 10.0, which makes it the highest rated show thus year for me). Most of the matches felt meaningful, with a lot less throwaway contests, I came away with a lot to enjoy, especially the Dax and Jungle Boy match. If you seek out anything from the show, I would highly recommend you watch that match. Thanks for reading my opinion, and feel free to let me know what you thought about the show. I’ll see you next week!