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AEW Dynamite
August 27, 2020

by Samoa Rowe

AEW Dynamite

Live on THURSDAY from Daily's Place in Jacksonville, Florida, before about 500 paying customers. Dynamite is once again preempted by the NBA Play-offs, despite the fact that all Wednesday games on TNT were postponed when the Milwaukee Bucks and others went on strike. Our hosts are Jim Ross and Tony Shiavone.

Chris Jericho joins commentary and gives the fans a chance to sing along to "Judas" right away.

Tag Team Gauntlet Match:

First up are The Young Bucks vs. The Natural Nightmares. Full disclosure, more often than not, I dislike gauntlet matches, but this is the first time AEW has attempted one, so I'm keeping an open mind. They keep a quick pace early, and Matt overwhelms Dustin with rapid arm drags. Dustin insists on catching his breath and it pays off with power slams. Nightmares take control of Matt with quick tags. Nick's blind tag leads to an elevated missile dropkick. QT gets knocked off the apron for some TLC from Allie. Bucks briefly work over Dustin before he makes the veteran comeback and Canadian Destroyer. QT runs wild on a hot tag but Bucks cut him off with a SUPERKICK PARTAY! Bucks finish Marshall with stereo knees to the head at 6:19. This gauntlet is off to a strong start.

Round two is Young Bucks vs. Best Friends. Doesn't take long for Trent and Chuck to hit a double team shoulder block on a weakened Nick. Chuck seems to tweak his knee and Nick hits him with a facebuster, but Trent stops the come back with a spear at ringside. Best Friends work over Nick and picks up a few good nearfalls. Nick desperately counters Trent with a German onto the ring frame. Matt gets a hot tag and goes on a punching spree. Trent escapes a piledriver but Matt improvises with a blockbuster. Matt serves Rolling Northern Lights but Trent counters the final one with a tornado DDT! Chuck stops the comeback with a brutal looking spinebuster. The Sole Food/Half n Half combo leads to a Best Friends hug. Bucks hit Trent with a draping somersault senton off the ring frame. Bucks hit a tandem 450 splash but Trent kicks out! Bucks look for the Meltzer Driver, but Hangman Page grabs Nick's leg while Matt gets rolled up and Best Friends win at 9:52! Page's bloodshot eyes have a remorseful look to them, but the Bucks are fuming. This was a stellar meeting, I'd welcome a proper Bucks/Friends match down the road.

Final round is Best Friends vs. FTR, with Tully Blanchard and matching jackets. The fight starts during a picture-in-picture break with FTR launching Best Friends off the apron for the early advantage. They return with FTR making quick tags to dissect the knee of Chuck Taylor. No hot tag is ever made and Chuck taps at 5:22! I love that finish, as I didn't see it coming, because I was expecting the obligatory hot tag to Trent. This is probably the best gauntlet match I've seen in the last 20 years, which isn't saying much, but this entire package is ***½.
Winners: FTR

Darby Allin video package. He's still got tacks in his back and is jumping off bridges in a Ricky Starks mask. Allin is announced for a Casino Battle Royal at All Out, which means we're not getting him vs. Starks, which gets a mild "awwww" from me.

Lance Archer (with Jake Roberts) vs. Sean Maluta

Archer is also confirmed for the Casino Battle Royal and attacks some trainees at ringside before the bell. Archer simply unloads on Maluta and no-sells the jobber's token offense. Archer resumes his brutal beatdown and hits a Chokeslam from Hell, but pulls Maluta up for more punishment. Archer hits the Blackout and slams Maluta's head into the canvas numerous times before pinning him at 2:57. Nasty squash here.
Winner: Lance Archer

Jake Roberts talks up Archer's chance of winning the Casino Battle Royal. In fact, Archer BETTER win the match, because he needs to wipe off the blemish from his record after losing to Cody back in May. Jake loves watching Archer abuse people, but they're interrupted by Taz, Ricky Starks, and Brian Cage. Jake makes some Flintstones jokes, but Taz no-sells and claims one of his guys will win the Battle Royal. They tease a brawl when Darby Allin skates in and blasts Starks with a shotgun dropkick and DDT onto the stage, while everyone else watches like goofs. Well, Cage might have helped his partner, but he's too busy making mean faces at Archer.

MJF limps in with a neckbrace and walker, but still manages to menace his campaign team.

Video package highlighting Thunder Rosa's credibility, including some footage from NWA Powerrr! NWA President Billy Corgan makes a cameo in a voice over. There's a clip of Hikaru Shida and Rosa almost coming to blows at a private contract signing. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't pumped for their match at All Out.

It's time for the official AEW Championship contract signing for All Out. MJF oversells his injury after suffering a Paradigm Shift by limping into the ring, accompanied by Wardlow and company. AEW World Champion Jon Moxley makes a socially distant entrance through the crowd, and I'd almost forgotten that there were live fans here (it's hard to make a lot of noise when they're so spread out). Shiavone touts Moxley being named #1 in the PWI Top 500, which gives Jericho a chance to feign outrage. MJF's manager clarifies that the contract bans the Paradigm Shift from their match at All Out. MJF says that although contract signings are supposed to end with violence, he's not an animal and wants Moxley to practice social distancing (like his hairline!). Moxley laughs it off, because it'll happen to MJF when he hits puberty. MJF doesn't get the hype behind "Dictator Jon" and his craaaazy act. Even MIke Tyson said he wouldn't want to be in a dark alley with Moxley. MJF isn't scared, because they will be in a wrestling ring and he's a wrestling prodigy. The live fans have been giving MJF a load of sh!t and he's more than happy to give it back to them. Moxley grew up idolizing hot garbage like Sandman, while MJF idolized real wrestlers like Buddy Rogers, Ernie Ladd, and Tully Blanchard, therefore MJF will become champion at All Out. MJF stirs the pot, saying that if Moxley needs to use the Paradigm Shift, he should tell his "hot little wife" that he's single. Moxley almost loses his temper, but while he'd love to cause MJF some permanent neck damage, losing the Paradigm Shift will just force him to get creative about all the ways he could hurt him. Moxley stares MJF in the eyes and says none of this matters because he's a dead man at All Out and signs. The lawyer is thrilled, and Moxley says it's great that they're so cool about what he added, and it turns out the lawyer has to wrestle Moxley or the title match is thrown out. This entire segment was delightful.

Santana and Ortiz officially refuse to apologize to Trent's mom for her destroyed van. It's time for Best Friends to pay their dues to the illest.

Lucha Bros (Pentagon Jr. and Rey Fenix) and The Butcher and Blade (with Eddie Kingston) vs. Joey Janela, Sonny Kiss, Griff Garrison, and Brian Pillman Jr.

Janela leads the charge for his oddball team, but the match breaks down when the Blade has him on the ropes. Lucha Bros. hit stereo dives to clear the ring and punish Garrison with chops against the rails. Butcher and Blade hit Griff with a boot to the head/gut wrench combo. Garrison regains his composure and tags in Kiss to hit Blade with a rana. Kiss hits a back handspring slap and forceful elbow. Kiss and Janela swarm Blade, but Butcher tags in and Janela gets piled on in the corner. Cue the commercial! They return with Kiss getting a hot tag and cleaning house in athletic fashion. Picture goes back and returns with Janela hitting Fenix with a DVD on the apron, and Pentagon answering with a package piledriver. Pillman Jr. chops away at Butcher, who responds with a decapitation lariat. Butcher and Blade plant Pillman with a neckbreaker/powerbomb. Fenix walks the ropes to double stomp Pillman out of Pentagon's arms, and end this glorified squash at 8:40. Nice showcase for the bad guys, **½.
Winners: Lucha Bros. and Butcher and Blade

Eddie Kingston celebrates with his guys and announces them all for the Casino Battle Royal. He vows that one of them will win it all.

Recap of Brodie Lee squashing Cody like a bug for the TNT title. Jericho thinks Cody should take two weeks off and quit the business.

The Dark Order (Evil Uno, Stu Grayson, John Silver, Alex Reynolds, and Alan Angels) recreate the dancing pallbearers meme as they bring a casket onto the stage. Evil Uno brags about all the lawnmowers Brodie Lee bought with this championship money, in fact the lawnmowers are scattered around the arena. They open the casket and Preston Vance pops up and they metaphorically close the casket on the Nightmare Family. They bring out Mr. Brodie Lee and Anna Jay, and he dishes out high fives and hugs. Shiavone conducts an in-ring interview, and Lee rants about gathering all these losers who nobody believed in while he was "stuck in prison" at home. Now the Nightmare Family has been buried, the TNT title open challenges are over, and Cody will never be champion again! The Dark Order chants "You deserve it!" and Lee silences them with "Shut the hell up!" (LOL). Lee puts Anna Jay over as the "Queenslayer" after she choked out Brandi. Silver gushes about how Lee is the man, so the Exalted One knocks him out. Lee says they're the hottest act in wrestling, but Dustin Rhodes attempts a one man attack and quickly falls to the numbers game. Scorpio Sky is out next and clears out some minions, but Jay slaps him and Lee knocks him down from behind. Lee takes off while the minions beat up Dustin and QT, but Matt Cardona sneaks in to take down Uno and save the day.

The Young Bucks demand answers from Hangman Page and accuse him of being insecure. Matt calls him a drunk and throws his whiskey in his face. Page is officially kicked out of the Elite and stares into a broken mirror.

Big Swole vs. Dr. Britt Baker, Penelope Ford, and Mel (with Kip Sabian)

Britt is dressed to compete, but is still in a face mask and wheelchair. She'll face Big Swole one on one with a victory. Ford and Mel double team Swole, and Ford hits a rough DDT for 1. Ford hits a back handspring elbow and serves her up for Reba, who awkwardly perches on the top rope. Swole clocks Ford and catches Reba with a super rana. Sabian distracts the ref, so Swole knocks him down, prompting Ford to kick her in the face. Reba hits a moonsault for 2. Baker throws in some crutches, but Reba inadvertently hits Ford, and Swole gets the pinfall at 3:10. Really messy outing here, *.
Winner: Big Swole

Britt has a little tantrum as now Swole can demand any match from her at All Out.

Dark Order offers Tay Conti a contract at ringside. Conti accepts the offer and hugs Anna Jay.

Tables Match:
Sammy Guevara vs. Matt Hardy

Bell rings and they tear right into each other. Hardy tosses Sammy out like a "piece of sexy garbage" (according to Jericho) but Sammy cuts him off with the guard rail as they head to picture-in-picture break. Sammy misses a dive and puts himself through a table. I guess that doesn't count, because the match continues, and Sammy misses a head of steam and bounces off another table. That spot busts Sammy open and Hardy hits a Side Effect on the ring frame as they return from commercial. Hardy misses an elbow drop and goes through a table. That makes 2 spots that would have been finishes in WWE tables matches. Hardy hits a nasty Twist of Fate in an open chair! Hardy pulls out a special "DELETED" table but Guevara counters with a superplex for the win at 6:40! Lots of nastiness in a small package, **ΒΌ.
Winner: Sammy Guevara

Orange Cassidy assaults Chris Jericho at commentary and they engage in a pull apart brawl.

Final Thoughts: Kind of a strange episode of Dynamite, as everything in the first 90 minutes was highly entertaining, to the point where I felt like the show should have gone off the air after the Dark Order segment. The women's handicap match was something of a disaster and the tables main event felt rushed, almost like the show's layout was botched and they didn't have the time they were expecting. I also didn't think the live fans added much energy, whether because of how spread out they were or because they weren't well miked, or both. This all makes for a hard episode to recommend if you're not already absorbed into AEW already.

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