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by Samoa Rowe
April 22, 2020
From the One Fall Power Factory in Norcross, Georgia. Our hosts are Le Champion and Skee-a-vone.
Cody sits in a branded Nightmare Family chair and scouts his competition on a wall of monitors. Cody reflects on what his critics have said about him. He knows that now is not the time to be complacent.
TNT Championship Tournament - First Round: Darby Allin vs. Sammy Guevara
Guevara meets Allin with a flying crossbody before the bell. Guevara sets Allin on a bridged ladder and nails a top rope splash! Referees consider calling off the match as they head to commercial. They return with Sammy hauling Allin in to officially start the match and gain a nearfall. Allin desperately claws back into the match by removing Sammy's boot and attacking the ankle. Guevara is hobbled, but still hits an enziguri and springboard cutter. Allin surprises with a grapevine ankle lock, and they exchange slaps and kicks while working the hold. Both guys look damaged heading into a second commercial. Back from break, Allin totally misses a suicide dive and torpedos into the guard rail. Guevara hits the 630 splash but Darby gets the ropes. Allin comes back with his jawbreaker, but Guevara blocks a springboard coffin drop, Darby blocks Go 2 Sleep, and pulls him into the Last Supper for the submission at 10:54! Good stuff here, with both guys punishing each other and going into survival mode, ***½.
Winner: Darby Allin
Matt Hardy rants and raves from the Hardy Compound. He's irritated that Jericho didn't answer his challenge, instead choosing to goof around on the Bubbly Bunch. Since Sammy Guevara was the only Inner Circle member to even mention him, maybe Sammy should come face him instead. He reverts to normal, non-Damascus, Matt Hardy persona for a more rational take on the situation. Mortal Matt makes the argument that AEW is a platform for the future and he's going to keep kicking Inner Circle ass until he reaches Jericho.
Taz breaks down just how deadly Kenny Omega's moveset is.
Alan Angels vs. Kenny Omega
Looks like I owe Mr. Angels an apology for misspelling his name last time, as now he has music and entrance graphics. Angels gets a glancing kick, and manages to reverse Omega into a hammerlock. Omega busts out with a shoulder block. Angels blocks a snap drag, so Omega lights him up with chops. Angels manages a step up senton onto the back, but Omega comes storming back with a vicious backbreaker. Angels continues to hang in there, even pulling the apron out from under Omega to gain a 2 count. Jericho doesn't know how to say or spell the jobber's name either, so I feel better about myself. Angels puts together a combination of quick attacks, but Omega shuts him down with a snap dragon. V-Trigger only gets 2 (for real?). Powerbomb by Omega and a proper V-Trigger to the face ends it at 6:22. Great audition match for Angels, but this didn't help Omega to get punked out so badly for so long by a job guy.
Winner: Kenny Omega
Scorpio Sky video package to flesh out who he really is as a person and chronicles the time he came back from a crippling back injury.
Cody listens to his voicemail and his brother, Dustin, vows to retire from AEW if he cannot beat Kip Sabian in the TNT Championship Tournament.
Plug for Being the Elite Episode 200, which features a fabulous street fight between Nick and Matt Jackson.
Jimmy Havoc vs. Orange Cassidy (with Trent and Chuck Taylor)
Havoc ambushes OC while he's chatting with his Best Friends. Havoc ties OC's arms up in his own jacket for some cheap shots and then chokes him with it. Havoc pulls up OC's t-shirt for a knife edge chop and then chokes him with that too. Jericho hams it up about OC being beaten to a “pulp” while Havoc dominates. OC gets no offense in with almost 5 minutes gone, but he keeps kicking out at 2. OC shows rare emotion as he flops around to escape a cross armbreaker. Havoc twists, hyperextends, and bites the hands! Havoc shoves OC's hands back into his pockets, which gives OC his second wind: he hits a dropkick, dive through the ropes, and top rope dropkick. OC's tornado DDT gets 2! OC blocks a superplex and hits an intentionally lazy falling headbutt for 2. OC avoids a lariat and hits one of his own. Penelope Ford struts onto the apron, but Chuck pulls her into a split. Kip Sabian rushes through the ring to hit Best Friends with a dive. Ford misses a dive onto OC, and he pulls Havoc into a roll-up for the win at 9:08. Match was fun, but I would have saved OC winning a singles match for a live audience, **¾.
Winner: Jimmy Havoc
Havoc is irate and drops OC with a DDT. He stands tall with Sabian and Ford while Best Friends check on their pal.
MJF promo from his home on Cape Cod. The COVID-19 crisis has been extremely depressing, but mostly because he hasn't been wrestling on Dynamite. He reveals that he's suffered a life-threatening injury: a hangnail. He vows to return and prove why he's better than us all.
Lee Johnson vs. The Wardlow
Like the other jobbers, Johnson has music and graphics, but I don't like his chances here. The heels in the audience chant "Wardlow's gonna kill you." Johnson runs into a shoulder block, but escapes a press slam to hit a dropkick. Wardlow hits a Jackhammer and then a series of release suplexes. Wardlow pulls Johnson off the buckles into a knee strike. Airplane spin slam finishes the jobber at 2:42. Fine hoss squash, makes you wonder how Vince and co. missed this guy.
Winner: The Wardlow
Some random loser gets dumped by his girlfriend over voicemail while he downs a beer and surfs the internet. He heads straight to the Dark Order's website and posts an angry message. This leads him to a face to face meeting with the Exalted One Mr. Brodie Lee for an interview. Lee asks about his height and football career. Lee says that a lot of people around here are afraid of success and offers the guy a mask.
Justin Law vs. Mr. Brodie Lee
It's hard to make Lee look like an intimidating cult leader when social distancing rules means he can't be surrounded by underlings. Marko Stunt seems unimpressed from the audience. Lee tears right into Law with clubbing uppercuts and chops. Superkick by Lee followed by a combination of suplexes. The Black Hole Slam and Discus Lariat end it at 1:57. This was every bit the slaughter it needed to be.
Winner: Brodie Lee
Lee smirks at Stunt before taking off.
Best Friends and Orange Cassidy are interviewed backstage. Taylor wraps himself in a chain as he talks tough. Trent is in a calm state of being pissed off but still wants a piece of Sabian.
It's time for the Bubbly Bunch! The Inner Circle enjoy another Zoom meeting and are completely adorable in the process. How am I possibly supposed to hate these guys going forward? I mean, Guevara has a CAT IN HIS LAP! Jericho offers up a bottle of hand sanitizer to the winner of a Flim Flam contest. Jericho is upset that Sammy steals the show with his dancing.
TNT Championship Tournament - First Round
Kip Sabian (with Penelope Ford) vs. Dustin Rhodes (with Brandi Rhodes)
If Dustin loses, he will retire. He offers Sabian a handshake to no avail. They lock up and Dustin controls the wrist. They run the ropes until Dustin outsmarts Sabian with an uppercut. Ford grabs Dustin's ankle to give Sabian an opening to hit a running kick for 2. Ford pulls Dustin's neck onto the ropes until Brandi shouts her away. Sabian is in charge heading into the commercial. Dustin gets back into it during the break, but misses a head of steam into the buckles, and Sabian retakes control. Sabian's discus lariat gets a close nearfall. The babyfaces cheer on Dustin to help him break a chinlock, but Sabian hits a snapmare and kick. Dustin rallies with an atomic drop and bulldog. Powerslam by Dustin gets 2. Leaping DDT by Sabian gets another good 2 count. Sabian loses control pounding Dustin into the mat and referee Aubrey Edwards admonishes him. Brandi and Ford get into it and Brandi nails a spear! The distraction allows Dustin to hit a Destroyer and win at 14:15! Absolutely solid outing that benefited from the retirement stipulation, ***.
Winner: Dustin Rhodes
Final Thoughts: Good no-fans show anchored by good tournament matches and productive squash matches (well, not Kenny's match, but I digress). Still, the longer this pandemic continues, the harder it is to accept this status quo.
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