I won’t lie to you, writing about AEW Dynamite this week was a more tasking feat than ever prior. Smack dab in the middle of writing my crime black-comedy novel 52 Corpse Pick Up, and working on a new videogame website and a new version of Mishmashers Publishing, both of which, I am excited to share with all of you, I missed out on the day I normally watch the program (Thursday mornings).
Nevertheless, I wanted to stay committed, in spite last week’s show bolstering the lowest rating I have given since the year began, so I made certain to set aside some time to watch it throughout the week. Thanks for reading The Gray Fox blog, and now, let’s talk about AEW Dynamite!
AEW: Dynamite (1/13/21)
Darby Allen (c) vs. Joey Janela for the AEW TNT Championship
Darby and Joey’s advertised bout kicks off the program. The contest starts with a straightforward, basic wrestling format, but picks up in the home-stretch, ending with Darby defeating Joey in decisive fashion. As prefaced, it was a simple contest, and, because the lack of development, I had been particularly looking forward to seeing Joey and Darby lock-up together. Commentary tried their best to sell it, mentioning their history, but that was not enough to make the contest feel like anything more than a thrown together one-off contest.
In that same respect, I don’t mind it from a logical standpoint. I actually appreciate them not forgetting about the TNT Championship in the midst of Darby’s ongoing alliance with Sting and his feud with Tazz’s flock.
Last week, Tazz said his group would be involved in the match in some fashion, and I appreciate the fact they were not. Last week’s program left a bad taste in my mouth because of the Crash TV approach, and, even more than that, I think allowing Darby to defend his championship in such a decisive way will establish a level of credibility to his reign in the long run. I would call it a logical contest, fought well, and ended properly, but not something that really hooked me in any way (0-0-1-0-0).
In a brief scene with Sammy Guevara and MJF, Sammy confronts Maxwell and claims he is trying to take over The Inner Circle. MJF laughs it off and then claims that Sammy is trying to do the same thing and that he hates Jericho because he is no longer the favorite. Sammy jokingly proclaims he wants to take over The Inner Circle and that he hates Chris Jericho, only to find that MJF has been recording them. The segment ends with Sammy breaking MJF’s phone and punching him in the stomach.
The segment was brief, as most segments in AEW are, but it continued the storyline with Maxwell’s scheming and Sammy poising himself for a babyface run later on. I liked it, and I look forward to when Sammy and MJF officially butt heads with each other (0-1-1-0-0).
Cody Rhodes and Lee Johnson vs. Peter Avalon and Cezar Bononi
Evidently, Lee Johnson has been brought on as a member of The Nightmare Family, a loosely-knitted faction, to say the least. The match was a back in forth contest that saw Lee display a lot of athleticism, but, otherwise, I don’t have a lot else to say about it. Lee Johnson picked up what was portrayed as a surprise victory over Peter Avalon, but the idea of any victory over Peter Avalon being a surprise victory is far fetched in itself. I understand they were trying to highlight the fact that Lee had not yet picked up a victory in AEW, but that fact was too underdeveloped to matter.
Cody Rhodes continues to spin his wheels in All Elite Wrestling, absent anything significant to dig his teeth down into, which I believe is a misuse of what he is capable of and what he could mean to adding depth in the upper card division (0-1-1-1-0). I am certain some might have an argument or opinion about him being an Executive Vice President, and how one of them is already World Champion (Omega) and the others are Tag Team Champions (The Young Bucks), but I imagined they were brought on for their ability to market themselves and others, and that’s harder to do when you are on the sidelines.
The segment with The Young Bucks and The Good Brothers was very short and uneventful, all except for a single aspect – The Young Bucks offering to defend their World Tag Team Championships against Ortiz & Santana next week. That fact is the only reason I mention it. I like how the company has been frequently having their Titles defended and I like how they advertise the bouts so far in-advance (0-2-1-1-0). I also appreciate how Santana & Ortiz will have connotations for Jericho & MJF’s championship bout at Revolution. It is a smart booking decision altogether, I believe.
Ryan Nemeth vs. PAC
PAC scored the victory after a match that went only shy of five minutes, delivering the Black Arrow and submitting Ryan with the Brutalizer. In spite how short the match was, I can’t help but feel like it overstayed its welcome.
Similar to Cody and Peter Avalon’s contest a week prior, I find myself not wanting a competitive bout between them. Like Avalon, Ryan Nemeth’s character is too generic and too bush league to ever be taken seriously, like his attire and his persona were made out of some wrestling character generator.
This was an enhancement match, through and through, where Ryan did not even receive an introduction, and yet, it might as well have been a regular match, and, for the above reasons, I am not for that (0-2-1-2-0).
Max Caster and Anthony Bowens vs. Chris Jericho and MJF
The match was about what you would expect, with a shared amount of offense between each team until Chris Jericho ultimately scored the victory with the Judas Effect. The heel antics, I feel, elevated this bout on some level, however. Maxwell Jacob Friedman sold the punch in the stomach he received from Sammy when it was convenient and ignored it when it wasn’t, also, the tricks imposed by Maxwell and Jericho were amusing, at the very least.
After the match, Sammy came out and informed The Inner Circle, and specifically, Chris Jericho, that he would no longer be a member of the faction, much to Jericho’s chagrin. All in all, it was a decent match and a solid follow up that continues the development of Sammy’s apparent babyface stint (0-3-1-2-0).
It was a short, but important segment in Matt Hardy and Adam Page’s ongoing feud / encounters. Matt was clearly trying to booze up Adam Page in order to trick him into signing a contract that would offer his managerial services in return for thirty percent of Page’s earnings, but, when Hardy’s back was turned, Adam swapped the contracts and they both signed. It will be interesting to see what the repercussions of this will spell out (0-4-1-2-0).
Sting was brought to the ring for an interview, only to be interrupted by Tazz and his crew on the big screen. There, Tazz revealed they had kidnapped Darby Allen and had him hitched to their vehicle, dragging him around in a body-bag. Sting was shown heading backstage to end it. The segment was short, sweet, and I didn’t mind it. At least they are keeping the feud fresh in peoples’ minds.
Kenny Omega was shown at a golf course, asked about his preparation for his match later tonight. Omega stated he had forgotten what it was like to lose and celebrated a hole-in-one with Don Callis that was suggested Don had likely rigged up for him. Once again, short and sweet, but it is the little segments like that that can help develop character and personality (0-4-2-2-0).
Thunder Rosa vs. Leyla Hirsch
After a back in fourth contest, Thunder Rosa scored the victory with the Fire Thunder Driver. The bout was enjoyable and, I believe, the right person advanced in the tournament. Thunder Rosa has more to her character at the moment, and has the built in storyline should she and Britt Baker cross paths again. I am hopeful they can and will continue to build anticipation and interest in the AEW Women’s Championship Eliminator Tournament, as the division is in desperate need of a facelift (0-5-2-2-0).
KENTA and Kenny Omega vs. Lance Archer and Jon Moxley in a Falls Count Anywhere
A lot went down in this match. The athletes found themselves battling all over the arena, including the kitchen. During one spot, KENTA did the double-stomp off the entrance ramp near commentary onto Jon Moxley who was laying on a table. The Good Brothers became involved, as did Jake “The Snake” Roberts, but it eventually came down to The Good Brothers and Omega in the ring, with Omega scoring the victory over Archer with the One-Winged Angel.
This was a fun match. All Elite Wrestling has already made it abundantly clear how much they love their multi-man matches, and I’ve spoke volumes about how I believe they should be used supplementary and not as a main course. Regardless, it is rare that they go in the backstage area and have an all out brawl like this match. Everyone came off impressively, with KENTA showing off some impressive offense, and Lance Archer, especially, I feel, came out of the match better than he entered. There were times when he was really dominant, and I hope it wasn’t a fluke and AEW does more with him.
KENTA and Omega coming away with the victory was a predictable outcome, as was how the outcome came out. I believe it was likely the right decision, as it is important to have Omega and friends look dominant, and, of course, KENTA only now arrived and needs momentum (1-5-2-2-0).
This was not the best we have seen from AEW Dynamite, but it was a better night than last week by leaps and bounds. The tallied score for Dynamite this week was a 7.0 out of 10.0, which is the third best week they have had this year, I believe. (The highest score they have ever had was the last Dynamite of January with a 7.5 out of 10.0) I enjoyed and am invested in the plot developments for The Inner Circle and, smaller stories, like Matt Hardy and Adam Page’s debacle, and am hopeful they’ll do better with the Women’s division with the current tournament.
There is a lot of stuff I could do without, including enhancement matches overstaying their welcome, and a general lack of direction for a lot of competitors and contests. Which isn’t inherently a problem (not everyone can be in the spotlight all the time), but is a problem when they still eat up TV time as if they did.
Compared to last week, Dynamite bounced back a lot, and I look forward to next week’s edition (which is actually today’s edition considering how delayed I was with this. Sorry!).