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AEW Dynamite
April 1, 2020

by Samoa Rowe

AEW Dynamite

From an undisclosed location, because the parking lot at Daily's Place is right next to a COVID-19 testing site, and apparently fans were gathering outside the venue to try and score autographs from the AEW roster. Based on the little I've heard of these tapings, I'm not too optimistic that the next few weeks of Dynamite are going to live up to their usual standards. The new studio is intimate and there are a handful of "fans" hanging out around the ring.

Tony Shiavone welcomes Cody and Pharaoh to discuss the tournament for the new TNT Championship and run down tonight's happenings, which suggests jobber matches. Dasha Gonzalez is filling in as ring announcer.

Trent (with Chuck Taylor and Orange Cassidy) vs. Kenny Omega

Omega gets the better of Trent in the opening sequence, but Trent scores some kicks to shift the tone. Omega answers with forceful kicks of his own and chokes with his boot. Trent comes back with a double stomp to the chest and springboard moonsault, prompting his Best Friends cohorts to hug him (c'mon, guys, SOCIAL DISTANCING IS KEY!). Omega takes advantage with a surprise dive, but seems to tweak his own shoulder. Omega taunts Best Friends by asking for a hug, and OC would have obliged had Taylor not blocked him. Omega serves a targeted attack to the spine. Trent loses his temper and viciously stomps at Omega's previously broken arm. Cody and Tony are taken aback by Trent's mean streak as he works the arm over. Omega pays him back with a belly to back suplex off the apron! Omega drives Trent through some rails and powerbombs him into a metal post! Back to the ring, Kenny hits an ankle lock backbreaker for 2. Desperation tornado DDT by Trent and he then sits Omega in the ropes for a baseball slide German suplex! Cue the commercial! The action resumes with a slugfest. Trent hits a German suplex, followed by a piledriver, but KENNY KICKS OUT! Omega maneuvers into a snap Dragon suplex. Trent blocks One Winged Angel and hits a lariat. Powerbomb by Omega and V-Trigger leaves both guys down. Trent slips a bit but still manages a superplex. Omega took a bad landing and eats Trent's running knee for a great nearfall. Omega hits the One Winged Angel for the win at 19:06. I wanted them to hit the time limit draw, but oh well. No story here other than two guys trying to have a great match for the sake of a great match, but Trent's stock should go up as a result, ***¾.
Winner: Kenny Omega

Video recap of Broken Matt Hardy weirding out Chris Jericho in a polarizing segment due to Hardy "teleporting" around Daily's Place and Jericho cutting a promo against a drone.

Hikaru Shida vs. Anna Jayy

They get a break, so Jayy whips her hair in Shida's face. Shida blocks an armdrag, but Jayy hits a knee to the face. Shida blocks an Exploder and hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Britt Baker distracts from the front row, which allows Jayy to hit some token strikes, which Shida welcomes and no-sells. Jayy paintbrushes the face, so Shida punches her down. Jayy hits a pair of kicks and a neckbreaker for 2. Jayy gets a series of way-too-close nearfalls until Shida traps her in a triangle choke. Shida's vertical suplex gets 2, so she hits a Falcon Arrow for the win at 4:59. I think that's the first time I've seen the Falcon Arrow end a match in a decade. This needed to be a slaughter, but was a dragged out exhibition instead, *½.
Winner: Hikaru Shida

Baker is enjoying a sandwich when Shida kicks the rail into her. Great, now I'm hungry.

Jon Moxley video package. He's been kicking lots of ass lately and is ready to take on Jake Hager, the undefeated MMA fighter. Moxley likes to play dangerous games and he took the fight to Hager because he knew he would need to face him eventually. Chris Jericho and Sammy Guevara chime in with platitudes about Hager's toughness and how the Inner Circle is such a great unit that they would continue to dominant if Hager were to win the AEW title. They will square off in 2 weeks in an empty arena street fight.

Colt Cabana joins Tony Shiavone on commentary and marks out over getting screen time on TNT.

Jake Roberts cuts a shadowy promo about how mean and scary Lance Archer is, as well as question Cody's manhood.

Marko Stunt vs. Lance Archer

Ah man, I had liked that AEW had avoided using Stunt in the jobber of the week role thus far. Archer knocks down a ringside attendance while storming around the ring and clotheslines Stunt before the bell. He dares Stunt to hit him before easily knocking the little guy down again. Archer launches Stunt across the ring with a fallaway suplex. Uranage by Archer, and Stunt slides out and lures him into position for a dive! Archer stands right up, but Stunt blocks a chokeslam and hits rapid kicks before getting POUNCED through the ropes! Archer hits the chokeslam but breaks the cover in order to hit the Blackout and win at 3:53. Great showing by Archer, even though he let Stunt have a generous hope sequence.
Winner: Lance Archer

Archer isn't finished and throws Stunt over the rail onto the Gunn Club (who almost fail to catch him).

The Exalted One Brodie Lee hosts a Dark Order meeting with TV static on behind him. Lee demands that (Alex Reynolds?) call him Mr. Brodie and hits him for botching his dialogue. I'm guessing that this is more Vince McMahon mockery. Lee berates another creeper for yawning, because it's a sign of weakness.

The Dark Order (8 and 9) vs. The Natural Nightmares (QT Marshall and Dustin Rhodes, with Brandi Rhodes)

I don't *think* 8 and 9 are Alex Reynolds and John Silver, but I could be wrong. Marshall throws away the Dark Order mask from Lee and punches 8 (or 9, who knows) in the face. The wrestlers chant "You still got it" as Dustin goes on a hot streak. The Nightmares control the action with quick tags until QT gets double teamed and eats a lariat. Marshal comes back quickly with a vertical suplex. Hot tag to Dustin and he pops the "fans" with his bag of tricks. Dustin hits the somersault senton off the apron and Marshall follows with a dive. They finish the Dark Order with their double team flapjack at 4:14. Using nameless Dark Order minions as jobber fodder seems counterproductive to me, *½.
Winners: The Natural Nightmares

Brodie Lee shows up and marches past the Natural Nightmares. He powerbombs 8 and stares down 9. Looks like the Dark Order isn't as scary and dangerous as The Exalted One would like.

Chris Jericho enjoys a lil bit of the bubbly in his hot tub. He celebrates April Fool's Day by running down the biggest group of fools he's ever known, He is interrupted by Vanguard1 and fails to apologize for his harsh words from last week, but still wants him in the Inner Circle. He offers a child-sized Inner Circle shirt and attaches it to the drone. Vanguard1 flies off so Jericho "releases the hounds" and his pack of cute dogs chase him off. This is funny stuff.

The Young Bucks, also not practicing social distancing, hang out in their neighborhood. Matt says it was terrifying watching Nick get hauled off in the ambulance after the Inner Circle smashed his face in with a garage door. They work out together in their back yard ring and talk about how the situation has reminded them about what's really important in life. Nick feels good after the workout but admits he's not ready to return.

Sammy Guevara and Shawn Spears vs. Darby Allin and Cody

Cody tosses his shirt to OC and plants a kiss on Brandi. Spears, who hasn't had a match on Dynamite in ages, starts against Cody, and they rekindle their rivalry from last summer. Cody serves Spears up for Darby's axe handle. Sammy is too busy Vlogging to enter the match when Spears needs a tag. He tries to get Brandi on camera, making himself vulnerable to Allin's charge. Allin serves Spears up for Cody's kick between the legs. Cody cuts off Sammy with the uppercut off the mat. Cody and Allin hit stereo dives to send us to commercial. They come back with Guevara cutting off Darby's O'Connor roll while the ref was distracted by Cody. Darby breaks Sammy's chinlock with a jawbreaker, but Sammy rebounds with a double stomp to the shoulder. Sammy and Shawn are still gambling as they bet to see if Shawn can hold Darby in a delayed suplex for a count of 10 (he can) and then if Sammy can hold him for a count of 15 (he can too). I think Spears has found his post-Perfect 10 persona at last. Sammy's running SSP is countered and Cody gets the hot tag. The babyfaces in the crowd chant "Cody" as he hits his springboard cutter for 2. He tosses the weight belt to BRandi and puts Sammy into a Sharpshooter. Cody cuts Spears off with a Figure Four, but Sammy breaks it with a SSP. Cody hits Sammy with Cross Rhodes but Spears then tosses him over the rail. Darby dives onto Spears, while the heels beat up Cody (Baker is using her shoe!). Cue the second commercial. They come back with Guevara and Spears in control of Cody. Standing Moonsault on Spears allows the hot tag to Allin, who enters with a double missile dropkick. Darby hits a springboard coffin drop variation and cleans the ring. Shotgun dive onto Sammy, but Spears blocks a second dive and drives Allin into the rail. Guevara dropkicks Allin off the barricade. Spears hits Cody with the C4. Allin climbs high up the steel pole and catches both Spears and Guevara with a big time Coffin Drop! Sammy cuts off a traditional Coffin Drop, but Cody hits the superplex, but leaves himself vulnerable to Spears' frog splash. Sammy grabs a chair, but Darby takes it away and tosses it, but that allows Spears to roll him up at 21:22! Entertaining main event with lots of clever little touches, surprising spots, and sets up some quick threads for the TNT Championship tourney, ***½.
Winners: Shawn Spears and Sammy Guevara

Darby loses his temper and punches Cody down to the mat. They will meet in the TNT Title Tournament.

Final Thoughts: Like last week, Dynamite opened and finished strong. I feel like I was nitpicking more details than usual, but in fairness, this is not the show they were expecting to be putting on just a few weeks ago, so if it feels like Dynamite is being booked on the fly, it's because it is. I guess the fact that this is a noteworthy development speaks volumes about the quality of the booking over the past few months. Anyways, like everyone else, I'm eager for this COVID-19 crisis to be over so things can get back to normal.

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