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by Samoa Rowe
April 29, 2020
Show opens with a Darby vs. Cody video package. Last summer, Darby took Cody to a draw in his debut match. This past January, Cody beat Darby after an assist from Arn Anderson. Now, they meet in the TNT Championship tournament. Not bad for a company that “doesn't tell stories.”
From QT Marshall's Secret Clubhouse in the reopened state of Georgia. Our hosts are Chris Jericho and Tony Shiavone.
TNT Championship Tournament -Semifinals:
Darby Allin vs. Cody (with Brandi Rhodes)
Both guys are cautious during the feeling out process. Cody appears to tweak his knee while kipping up. Darby shoulder tackles the knee and the fight spills to ringside where Cody inadvertently sends Darby crashing into Brandi! Cody looks callous as Billy Gunn helps Brandi out while he's busy putting the boots to Allin. COMMERCIAL! Cody controls the action through the break. Darby takes a long ass kicking before attacking the knee to gain an opening for a Code Red, and goes for the Last Supper. Darby puts Cody into a Tree of Woe for a back splash into the buckles. Darby relentlessly goes after the bad knee. Britt Baker hits Cody with a shoe just because. I imagine by this point in the tapings, they've approached the eight hour mark and everyone is going crazy. SECOND COMMERCIAL! They return with both guys selling exhaustion. Cody strings together some offense, including the Disaster Kick. Cody decides NOT to whip with his weight belt, and it nearly costs him as Darby steals Cross Rhodes for a good nearfall. Darby applies a Figure Four just as Brandi limps back with a bottled water. Cody takes a swig, but Darby hits him over the head with it. Cody blocks a Coffin Drop and nails a clothesline to send them both to the mat. Darby hits his Jawbreaker, but Cody blocks a springboard attempt and hits Cross Rhodes, but Darby kicks out! I guess if Shawn Spears can kick out of Cross Rhodes, so can Darby. Cody steals the Coffin Drop, but Darby gets his knees up and hits it properly, but Cody reverses the pinfall to steal the win at 20:17! Awesome finish, as Cody wins fair and square, but leaves the door open for this rivalry to continue down the road, ***½.
Scorpio Sky is profiled in another video package. He worked hard to not just be the third guy in SCU. Sky considers his World title match against Chris Jericho on national TV to be a huge accomplishment.
MJF gives us an injury update from his estate. He's been busy rehabbing his hangnail, and his nail doctor has never seen such a miraculous recovery. Sadly, MJF removes his scarf to reveal a neck brace, as he nicked his neck. So good of MJF to put on a brave face.
Musa vs. The Wardlow
Musa runs right into a choke slam. Wardlow fills time with shoulder thrusts and pacing. Musa manages an ineffective slap to the face and a back handspring heel kick. Wardlow plants Musa on the buckles, gives him a thumbs down, and pulls his face into a knee lift! That was gross. Wardlow finishes with the airplane spin slam at 2:23. Another good squash for Wardlow.
Winner: The Wardlow
The Inner Circle have another virtual meeting on the Bubbly Bunch. Jericho is exercising in his leather pants while his dogs watch. Jericho suggests a virtual fight club with a host of guest stars. Basically, someone pretends to punch their screen and the camera cuts to a shot of another guy selling the shot. And people say AEW wrestlers don't know how to sell. This goes on for a while, with a bunch of guest stars, including Kevin Smith and other people I don't recognize and earns some chuckles. Jericho ends the “Manitoba Melee” and questions if he just saw Lou Ferrigno with a taser (he did).
Jimmy Havoc and Kip Sabian (with Penelope Ford) vs. Best Friends (Chuck Taylor and Trent, with Orange Cassidy)
The Brits ambush before the bell, but Best Friends clear the ring for Trent's dive over the ropes. Havoc grabs a chair and throws it at OC for good measure. Havoc soon suplexes Chuck onto a pile of chairs. Trent saves Chuck with a spear on Havoc. Sabian dives onto Trent and puts the boots to him while Havoc fills the ring with plunder. Havoc throws a ladder at Trent and delivers a catapult. Taylor returns just in time to save Trent after a tandem backstabber. Havoc tries to whip Sabian into a seated Trent, but it backfires. Best Friends come back with chair shots and the Sole Food Suplex. Sabian throws Chuck through a bridged chair, but Trent catches him with a tornado DDT. Trent kicks a chair into Sabian's face, but Havoc saves the match. A ladder gets bridged on the ropes and several spots are teased until Havoc pulls Trent onto it. Trent gets draped on an open chair for Sabian's double stomp, but Taylor breaks the cover. Taylor slams Havoc onto chair legs and piledrives Sabian onto a chair, but Ford saves the match! Havoc backdrops Taylor onto a ladder. OC returns and throws a chair into Havoc's forehead. Ford misses a running kick and hits Sabian, and OC side steps to send her tumbling into her fiance yet again. OC dives onto Sabian and Ford while Taylor slams Havoc onto a pile of chairs for the win at 13:25. Just a shameless stunt show, with lots of violence crammed into a relatively tight package, ***.
Winners: Best Friends
Britt Baker gives a tour of her real life dental office (bet you didn't know she was a dentist). We meet Britt's makeup artist, Rebel, who is coached to talk about how great her boss is. Britt says that not everyone can be a role model, like fat people, or glasses wearers, wannabes, or people with snaggleteeth (Shiavone is her example for each bullet, hahahaha).
Shawn Spears vs. Baron Black
Spears gives Billy Gunn the finger, perhaps due to an outstanding gambling debt. Match starts with some even mat grappling. Spears doesn't like that and hits some chops while showcasing his strong glute muscles. Black repays some chops but runs into Spears' spinebuster. The babyfaces chant "Baron" so Spears looks right at them while hitting a vertical suplex. Black hits some blows but Spears cuts him off with the C4 and finishes with the Sharpshooter at 3:40. Really good squash for Spears, as he got to showcase some personality along with his moveset.
Winner: Shawn Spears
Taz breaks down the physics of Lance Archer's signature moves.
Marko Stunt is interviewed about facing Brodie Lee so soon after being chokeslammed into the crowd by Archer, all without his Jurassic Express cohorts. Stunt says he's going to give it his all.
Marko Stunt vs. Mr. Brodie Lee
Stunt hits a flurry of ineffective shots and Lee plows through him with a clothesline. Lee delivers methodical shots and blocks Stunt's suicide dive. Lee tries to take a countout win to prove a point but Stunt crawls in at 9. Stunt blocks a suplex but dives into Lee's version of the Black Hole Slam. The Sitout Powerbomb finishes at 3:08. This was fine.
Winner: Brodie Lee
Jon Moxley speaks from undisclosed ruins in the desert. He can't believe it was only weeks ago that he was celebrating his AEW title win in front of a live crowd and has been reflecting on the good things in his life. Moxley will be driving his truck to the live Dynamite next week and dares someone to step up. Also, order takeout and call your grandmother.
TNT Championship Tournament - Semifinals:
Lance Archer vs. Dustin Rhodes (with Brandi Rhodes)
Archer gets the better of Dustin early on with his bruising offense. Dustin takes a breather and hits a somersault senton off the apron. Archer blocks a powerslam and nails a POUNCE! Archer kicks a chair into Dustin's face while Brandi backs off. Dustin is busted open and in trouble heading into a commercial. They return with Dustin attempting a comeback but getting totally cut off by Archer's clothesline. Archer takes his time dishing out Methodical Heel Offense. Dustin wakes up and props Archer for the Golden Globes, but Archer then tackles him down to regain control. Cue the SECOND COMMERCIAL! They return with Dustin attempting to punch his way back into the fight. Code Red by Dustin but he's too hurt to cover. Dustin wins a punching contest and hits an atomic drop and power slam. Dustin blocks a chokeslam and hits Cross Rhodes for 1! Cross Rhodes, as a finishing move, is taking a real beating in this tournament. Dustin leaps off the buckles into a chokeslam for 2. Archer controls the wrist and walks the ropes like Undertaker, but then hits a springboard moonsault (not at all like Undertaker). Dustin blocks the Black Out and eats another chokeslam, but reverses the pinfall for 2. Archer hits a big boot and ripes off some turnbuckle padding. Archer drives Dustin's bloody forehead into the exposed buckle repeatedly. QT Marshall runs in to check on Dustin, and Cody shows up in time to stop him from throwing in the towel. Archer smashes Dustin's head into the mat and stares right at Cody while earning the pinfall at 22:42. This could have easily stood to lose 5-10 minutes, but I applaud the storytelling after the final commercial, **¾.
Winner: Lance Archer
Final Thoughts: Eric Bischoff recently criticized AEW for not telling stories. Clearly, Uncle Eric has not been actually watching Dynamite, because even in the midst of a pandemic that required unexpected rewrites, they put together a series of taped shows that told numerous stories. I'm glad to be moving on from this set of tapings, because I miss seeing the full roster, but these shows have been just about the best case scenario given the circumstances.
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