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by Samoa Rowe
January 1, 2020
It's been a long two weeks since AEW signed off for 2019 with an instantly infamous Dark Order beatdown on Cody, Young Bucks, Omega, and Dustin. That particular episode also did a particularly low rating (losing to a Takeover-level edition of NXT), and one of their smaller live crowds (3,500 fans in Corpus Christi). But here we are with a soft restart, all the Win/Loss records are reset, and with 2 weeks of inactivity, a chance for viewers to have missed them. I'm ready and eager to see what's next (holding my breath for something special).
Opening video package puts over the numerous setbacks suffered by all the guys in The Elite throughout 2019.
From Daily's Place in Jacksonville, Florida. The amphitheatre is not sold out, but there's a huge crowd on hand. Our hosts are Jim Ross, Taz, and Excalibur.
Somber music plays as we see Darby Allin skating around with a paper Cody mask over his face. He's been consumed ever since wrestling Cody to a draw at Fyter Fest last summer.
Darby Allin (with the guy from Ghostmane) vs. Cody (with Arn Anderson)
Cody shakes off a Darby hammerlock and hits a shoulder tackle. Darby goes for the arm to loud "Cody" chants and nearly steals a crucifix pin. Cody bridges to his feet they trade pinning predicaments until reaching a stalemate. Coach Anderson offers Cody some advice. They sprint through rapid counters, each guy has the other well scouted. Cody loses his temper and throws Darby threw the ropes. Darby hits a leg sweep on the apron and Cody seems to injure his shoulder. Darby hits a hard dive. Cody surprises with a Disaster Kick, but Darby cuts him off by attacking the bad shoulder. Cody desperately answers with a Figure Four! Allin briefly reverses the hold before barely getting a rope break. Allin sends Cody shoulder-first into the buckles with a shotgun dropkick and floats over to apply an armbar! Rope break by Cody, and Darby is furious to have to let go. Darby tears up a buckle pad and gets BOOED by the fans. Cody counters by tossing Darby onto the entrance platform, but gets blindsided by his quick flying crossbody. Desperation power slam by Cody, who then rallies to massive crowd approval. Cody's cutter buys him time to massage his bad arm. SUPERPLEX by Cody but DARBY KICKS OUT! The match continues on picture in picture through a commercial. Darby survives another Figure Four, so Cody slams him on the platform. Darby counters with CODE RED off the buckles! Back from break, Darby hits a stunner and COFFIN DROP on the apron! If you remember, that move backfired at Fyter Fest. Taz and J.R. aren't sure if Cody countered that or not. Darby avoids a Cutter, but Cody nails Cross Rhodes, but DARBY KICKS OUT! Cody misses a head of steam into the exposed buckle, Arn hops on the apron to yell a warning, which allows Cody to block the Coffin Drop with his knees and gain the pinfall at 17:16! Highly entertaining match with a good storyline, both guys fighting for personal stakes, and a red hot crowd, ****.
AEW Tag Team Champions SCU are interviewed backstage. Scorpio Sky addresses the Dark Order for sticking their noses where it doesn't belong and calls them "spooky perverts." Frankie Kazarian talks some smack about Santana and Ortiz. Sammy Guevara arrives on cue to wonder out-loud if Christopher Daniels still has what it takes to be a part of SCU. Daniels goes for his phone and shakes him off.
AEW Women's Championship:
Riho © vs. Nyla Rose vs. Hikaru Shida vs. Dr. Britt Baker
Nyla blindsides Riho before the bell and swings the belt around. Shida hits some kendo shots while she can. The bell rings and Shida is the only woman standing but can't steal a quick pinfall. Shida whips Riho into Baker and then hits an armdrag. Rose pops the crowd by setting up a table at ringside. Riho looks for a flying crossbody on Rose and Shida, but only hits Shida. Baker joins the fray as the match continues through a commercial. They return with Shida reversing a backdrop on Rose. Shida gets hung on the ropes for Nyla's flying knee! Rose sets Shida on the table and puts her through it with a senton off the apron! Rose tries to return, but Riho ambushes with a flying double stomp to the spine. Baker pulls Rose in for a DDT and nearly steals the pin. Rose blocks Lock Jaw and hits a triangle sleeper powerbomb. Riho saves the match and double stomps the gut of Rose. Flying double stomp by Riho but Baker saves the match via superkick. Baker's neckbreaker gets 2 on Riho. Shida wakes up and suplexes Baker over the ropes. Shida suplexes Riho onto Rose. Shida hits Baker with a backbreaker, but Rose saves the match with a German suplex. Rose misses a senton onto Shida and Riho! Shida stops Riho from pinning Rose and gets an excellent nearfall via Falcon Arrow. Baker puts Shida in Lock Jaw, but Riho catches her in a jackknife cover for the win at 9:39. This was tons of fun, with clever, believable nearfalls down the stretch, ***½.
Winner and still AEW Women's Champion: Riho
Rose is a sore loser and sets Riho on a table in the ring! Rose MURDERS Riho with a flying crossbody through the table!
Joey Janela is interviewed backstage about his 2020 plans. Before he can say anything, he collapses due to Penelope Ford sneaking up for a low blow. Kip Sabian leads her away, pleased with her work.
Time to address the elephant in the room. Evil Uno of the Dark Order hosts a paid message, where they gloat over the beatdown on all the top guys they dished out 2 weeks ago.
Trent (with Chuck Taylor and Orange Cassidy) vs. Jon Moxley
Crowd gives Moxley a superstar ovation. Bell rings and Moxley escapes a leg scissors and applies a side headlock. Trent fights back with a shoulder block and seems to just anger Moxley with an open hand shot. Moxley fires away chops. Trent hits a leaping double knees to the chest. Trent unloads some chops but Moxley floors him with a hard forearm. Moxley viciously slams Trent gut-first onto the ropes as they head to commercial. Moxley dominates through the break, hitting a superplex to set up an STF. They return with Trent desperately hitting a survival spear at ringside. Half Nelson suplex by Trent, followed by a somersault senton to ringside! Trent's tornado DDT only gets 2. Moxley answers with a drive by knee strike and double underhook power slam for 2. They exchange nearfalls until Moxley nails a lariat. Trent answers with a hard lariat for a good nearfall. Orange Cassidy nonchalantly enters the room and puts his hands in his pockets. Moxley imitates Cassidy but turns around to eat Trent's dropkick and piledriver, but MOXLEY KICKS OUT! Trent misses a dive onto the platform and eats Moxley's Paradigm Shift! A second Paradigm Shift in the ring ends it at 10:59. This massively overdelivered, with Trent teasing a believable stunning upset, only to come up short, ***½.
Winner: Jon Moxley
Moxley's celebration is interrupted by Sammy Guevara in the stands with a microphone. Sammy says he sees why Moxley enters through the crowd, as he gets to help himself to some free soda and popcorn. Moxley grabs a chair and dares Sammy to fight him. Guevara says he's not here to fight, he just wants to remind him that the Inner Circle is planning a big surprise for the new year. Chris Jericho appears on the screen, he's hanging out in the parking lot. Jericho puts over Moxley's performance. Other factions are recruiting members too, but only the Inner Circle can offer him 49% of their LLC, a vice president position, and a fancy blue car, complete with a "MOX" vanity plate. Jericho lists off all the terrible things they could do to AEW talent and asks him to think it over some more. Jericho hops into the car and peels off. Moxley grabs a mic and says fancy cars aside, he considers Jericho to be a friend and mentor, so he'll give him an in-person response next week.
Sammy Guevara vs. Dustin Rhodes
Dustin sneaks in behind Sammy to ambush him at the opening bell. Dustin methodically picks Sammy apart. Dustin clotheslines Guevara to ringside for a somersault senton off the apron. Dustin is thrown off by the arrival of Jake Hager on the platform. Sammy tries to capitalize but eats a power slam at ringside. Dustin talks some smack at Hager, allowing Sammy to hit a baseball slide dropkick to gain control heading into a commercial. Dustin avoids a beatdown, but seems to lose his temper by grabbing a chair. The picture in picture cuts out. Back from break, and Sammy is working a chinlock. Dustin survives but eats a clothesline for 2. Sammy misses a SSP and Dustin hits a needed powerslam to get back into it. Dustin nearly slips hitting a spinebuster but it works for 2. Enziguri by Sammy and a running SSP (nearly botched) gets 2. Dustin hits a Canadian Destroyer on the apron! Crowd LOVED that. Dustin has to punch Hager off the apron and then backdrops Guevara onto him. Dustin gives Sammy a wedgie and positions him for the Golden Globes, but the ref won't allow it. Hager runs in for a sneak low blow, and Sammy steals the win at 11:25. This kept a good pace and Dustin put in a great babyface performance. A few sloppy moments and a flat finish drag it down a touch, **½.
Winner: Sammy Guevara
Private Party are hanging out at the bar while Hangman Page plays bartender. Quen admits that they're worried about Page, which triggers him. Page declares he could kick both their asses and throws a drink at them before storming off.
Maxwell Jacob Friedman and Wardlow come to the ring to talk. MJF says the fans can keep booing him, but they fail to see that he's the good guy, but their heads are so far up their own asses, they can't see sh!t clearly. MJF addresses Cody's challenge and lays out some stipulations: the match must happen at Revolution, Cody cannot touch him beforehand or the match is off, Cody must beat Wardlow in a cage match first, and Cody must get down on all four limbs and allow MJF to whip him. This was another money promo from MJF, which seemingly sets up all sorts of big events for the following month of Dynamite.
Jen Decker interviews The Jurassic Express backstage. Jungle Boy holds his head up high for lasting 10 minutes against Chris Jericho. Now in 2020, he wants to pick up a win. Luchasaurus says something too, but music plays over him.
Hangman Page joins commentary for the main event.
Riho is interviewed about her title defense against Kris Statlander. She's interrupted right away by Britt Baker, who is mad that Riho disappeared for weeks on end while Baker has been working her ass off. Baker is a DENTIST in her free time, don't you know? Riho just stares blankly.
Lucha Bros. (Pentagon Jr. and Rey Fenix) and Pac vs. Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks (Nick and Matt Jackson)
Crowd is jazzed for this at the opening bell. Pentagon dramatically removes his glove, and Omega throws it back in his face. They exchange stiff shots. Pac cheapshots from the apron, allowing a tag to Fenix, but Omega saves himself with a double dropkick to the knees and a bulldog/leg lariat combo. Nick tags and exchanges shoulder blocks with Fenix. They KILL THE INDUSTRY with a spotty sprint that lasts minutes. They both go down with roundhouse kicks. The gloves come off as the crowd chants 'AEW" and they cut to commercial. They return with the crowd reacting to cool stuff, but Pac trips up Omega and hits a running dive. Omega avoids a lengthy isolation and makes a hot tag of sorts to Nick. The Young Bucks catch Pac with a tandem wheelbarrow Destroyer! Young Bucks follow with double Destroyers, and that's it, the industry is killed, wrestling can't survive this sort of choreography. Nossir. Omega and Pac exchange blows, Pac hits a snap German, but Omega knees the head and answers with his own snap Dragon. Omega's sitout powerbomb is good but Penta breaks the cover via kicking the head. Pentagon hits slingblades on the Bucks and a backstabber on Omega. Young Bucks catch Pentagon with a SUPERKICK PARTY, but Fenix puts them down with a double DDt. Omega goes for a snap Dragon, but Fenix rolls through for a cutter! Pac hits the Black Arrow on Omega, but the Bucks make a last second save. Pac settles for the Brutalizer, but Matt makes a timely save with a SUPERKICK. Fenix springboards into Omega's roundhouse kick, and the One Winged ANgel finishes at 12:24! The Elite set out to make a serious statement here, and mission accomplished, ****.
Winners: Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks
Cody joins his Elite friends for a celebration. They invite Hangman Page to join them, but he'd rather not.
Final Thoughts: This was a great first foot forward by AEW for 2020. This edition of Dynamite provided plenty of great in-ring action and set the stage for numerous story threads heading into the Revolution PPV. I sincerely hope this show does a strong rating.
This flew by and was awesome all the way through. Excuse me while I mark out. Thumbs Up.
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