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AEW Dynamite
March 25, 2020

by Samoa Rowe

AEW Dynamite

From an empty Daily's Place in Jacksonville, Florida, thanks to the continuing COVID-19 crisis. The previously advertised Blood and Guts match has been postponed for the obvious reasons. I'm anxious to see how AEW continues handling the empty show format. Last week's initial outing was a rousing success, but also had the benefit of big debuts from Brodie Lee and Matt Hardy, so they have their work cut out for them now. Our hosts are Tony Shiavone, Cody, and Kenny Omega. Brandi Rhodes is filling in as ring announcer.

Backstage, Shawn Spears and some other guys appear to be gambling. State laws go out the window during pandemics.

Cody vs. Jimmy Havoc

Sadly, there are no wrestlers at ringside this week (guessing Florida officials caught up to them). They maintain a lively pace early on and get a break after some rapid pin attempts. Havoc accepts a friendly handshake, but then goes after the head. Figure Four by Cody followed by a dive. Cody whips Jimmy into the stage and rails. Backstage, the heels are cheering for Havoc. Meanwhile, Havoc hauls Cody over to the announce table and talks some smack on the headset. Back to the ring, Cody hits his patented uppercut but then charges into Havoc's overhead armdrag into the buckles. Cody answers with a backdrop onto the ramp way and slams Jimmy gut-first onto the ropes. Cody sprints from the tunnel to lariat Havoc into the ring. Havoc counters the Disaster Kick into an armbreaker! Jimmy headscissors Cody into an armbar but Cody rolls into the ropes. Lariat by Havoc gets 2. Cody hits a reverse superplex, sells his sore elbow, and hits Cross Rhodes! A second Cross Rhodes finishes it at 10:43. Good match, strong showing for Havoc against a top guy, but hampered by circumstances, **¾.
Winner: Cody

Cody's celebration is interrupted by spooky footage of
sitting at a campfire. Jake complains that AEW didn't recruit him during the company's formation. Roberts calls Cody "Caesar" again and dares him to bring his people to a contract signing with him and Archer. "Trust me." I'm digging this use of Roberts.

Cody rejoins commentary. He says he doesn't want to be a "whining-ass babyface" but Archer has no body of work in AEW, and he has to start somewhere, and it's not with him.

Darby Allin is driving a POS car with a cracked windshield into a field. He drinks a bit of the bubbly in a cracked shot glass, while he's surrounded by men wearing Inner Circle masks with the eyes cut out. Allin sets the table on fire. Looks like he's going to make an example of Kip Sabian before he finishes dealing with Jericho and Co.

Kip Sabian (with Penelope Ford) vs. Darby Allin

Allin gets the best of Sabian early on. Allin scores a springboard armdrag, which forces Sabian to regroup with Penelope, who pulls her boyfriend to safety when Allin charges into the barricade. Sabian begins working over the back as they abruptly cut to commercial. Back from break, and it's time for an Allin hope sequence. He shotgun dropkicks Sabian into the buckles and the leaping jawbreaker. Sabian cuts Allin off and stretches him into the ring post. Sabian uses Penelope to shield a tope, but Allin hits one anyway. Ford grabs Allin's ankles and Sabian hits a springboard dropkick and draping Vertical suplex for a good 2 count. Darby shows some fire but Sabian answers with a knee to the face and uppercut. Allin uses the Last Supper (Gibson Leg Lock) to pin Sabian out of nowhere at 10:20. Another good match, plus a strong win for Darby, ***.
Winner: Darby Allin

Jake Hager vs. Chico Adams

Hager sends Adams straight into the buckles, which seems to injure the jobber's shoulder. Hager hits a Vader Bomb. Desperatio punch by Adams, but Hager cuts him off with a uranage into an arm triangle choke hold for the win at 1:11. Good squash.
Winner: Jake Hager

AEW World Champion Jon Moxley marches to the ring and puts Hager down with a Paradigm Shift. Hager surprises with an ankle lock, but Moxley kicks him off through the ropes. Hager backs off, and it looks like we have Moxley's next challenger lined up.

Backstage, Moxley yells at the camera about how he told everyone that he was in the Inner Circle's blindspot and out for blood. He is eager to defend his title or die trying.

"The Exalted One" Brodie Lee enjoys a steak dinner while his Dark Order minions watch on. Lee says the Dark Order are the lions of AEW and they prey on the weak. He forbids them from eating until he finishes his dinner. Alex Reynolds sneezes and gets chased out of the room, which is what we should all be doing during this COVID-19 era. Actually, it appears Lee is playing Mr. McMahon, and I suppose that makes the Dark Order members stand-ins for WWE employees who take his nonsense. This whole angle just got really meta.

QT Marshall vs. Brodie Lee (with a creeper)

Lee immediately lands a running big boot. Lee smashes Marshall around ringside. Slingshot senton by Lee and a vertical suplex. Brainbuster suplex by Lee, who then takes a moment to stare down Brandi. Marshall connects with some token offense but Lee cuts him off with a Black Hole Slam. Lee's lariat finishes at 3:02. Great squash for Lee, who looks right at home.
Winner: Brodie Lee

Lee tosses a Dark Order mask to the fallen Marshall. Like WWE, the Dark Order is hoarding wrestlers.

Medical update on Nick Jackson, provided by Vanguard1, Matt Hardy's personal drone. We see drone footage of Nick exercising in his garage and then chasing Vanguard1 away. Looks like Nick is healthier than we thought (about 61% healthy, in fact).

AAA Mega Championship:
Kenny Omega © vs. Sammy Guevara

Guevara puts hand drawn caricatures of AEW stars in the empty seats, and thus making me fall in love with the Spanish God even more. They trade holds and Sammy shows extra bravado by posing on Omega's back. Omega scores a single arm overhead takedown, but Sammy responds with an armdrag and sends Omega to ringside while he poses again. The head games seem to work for Sammy as he controls the action and begins targeting the previously broken hand. Sammy takes time to make out with a Brandi caricature, which disgusts the real Brandi, but Cody no-sells on commentary. Cue the commercial! Back from break, Sammy hits on the real Brandi, so Omega hits a snap suplex on the floor. Sammy uses some timely counters to get back into it and resumes attacking the arm. Kenny dodges a standing moonsault and throws chops with his good arm. They take a second commercial, which always irks me, and return to a slugfest. Omega builds some steam with double axe handles, which sacrifices his bad arm, and gains a nearfall. The Kotaro Crusher gets 2, but Sammy counters a full nelson into a double stomp and running SSP for a good nearfall. Guevara hits a springboard cutter, which sends Omega to ringside out of desperation. Sammy delivers a cool dive but then Omega counters a springboard move into a powerbomb and nails the V-Trigger. Sammy surprises with Code Red for 2. Sammy misses a top rope SSP and Omega hits another V-Trigger. Sammy blocks the Snap Dragon and hits a modified GTS. Omega no-sells and hits a J-Driller. Sammy flips the bird and suffers another V-Trigger and One Winged Angel, and Omega retains at 23:27. This would have torn the house down in front of any AEW crowd, and was a great coming out party for Guevara, who looked like gold even in defeat, ****.
Winner and still AAA Mega Champion: Kenny Omega

Chris Jericho arrives for the main event segment. He steals a camera and tapes the camera man singing "Judas." This is hilarious and all, but imagine how confused someone watching AEW for the first time might be. Jericho wants to give Matt Hardy a chance to join the Inner Circle. Vanguard1 hovers in. Jericho cuts a promo against the drone, which is almost as awesome as Rick Steiner arguing with Chucky. Jericho calls Vanguard a POS and hates his political views on Facebook. Despite this, Jericho offers Vanguard a spot in the Inner Circle. Vanguard turns down the finest mechanical cigars and flies away. Matt Hardy then appears in the balcony, but then teleports around the venue, moving closer to the ring each time. Yes, you read that correctly. Matt says he knew the "Maker of Pain" would come. Jericho wants to know how he teleported, to which Matt declares himself to be magic. Jericho explains that he built AEW on his back, so Matt should be aligning with him and not the arrogant SOB's in The Elite. Matt explains that he owes the Bucks of Youth a debt. He says AEW represents freedom, and the Inner Circle are a threat. Matt declares himself to be Damascus and is here to unleash chaos. Jericho thinks this is the same Matt Hardy he's known for 25 years. Matt agrees, and he knows Jericho to be a "hole of the ass." Jericho demands to know if Matt is Inner Circle or Elite, but Hardy refuses to answer, only screaming DELETE DELETE DELETE! Jericho: "Stop, there is no one here to chant your stupid catchphrase!" Matt says the building is full of essences and souls, and thinks the fans should sing a new song to Jericho about going obsolete. Jericho finally has enough and slaps the face, but Matt punches him off his feet. Jericho has some magical powers himself, and unleashes Sammy Guevara onto Hardy. Cody and Omega run in with chairs and clear out the Inner Circle. Hardy summons the stage pyro to send Jericho and Guevara fleeing to the back.

Final Thoughts: AEW continues to make the best out of a tough situation. This second empty arena show was a bit more like what we should probably expect, now that the surprise debuts and wrestlers acting like fans at ringside are over. Still, Omega and Sammy busted out a great match, and the Hardy/Jericho confrontation, while totally self-indulgent, was some greatly entertaining cheese. Dynamite continues to be a feel-good show, which we can really use at this time.

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