Previously on the Ins and Outs of AEW Dynamite: Chris Jericho held a Festival of Friendsgiving, Orange Cassidy dressed up like a flying turkey, and Cody Rhodes was randomly attacked by three concerning people from your local sex club. Plus, Kenny Omega redeemed himself against PAC, and MJF won an expensive diamond ring that caused him to be an expensive dick to Diamond Dallas Page.
If you’d like to keep up with this column and its thinly veiled Best and Worst format, you can keep tabs on the Ins and Outs of AEW Dynamite tag page. Elle Collins is also covering AEW Dark for us, and you can keep track of all things All Elite here. Follow With Spandex on Twitter and Facebook. You can also follow me on Twitter, where everything and everyone is terrible.
And now, the Ins and Outs of All Elite Wrestling Dynamite, originally aired on December 4, 2019.
All In: Young And Natural
Let’s start off the report with the very best part of the episode: Dustin Rhodes in Young Bucks gear, teaming with the Young Bucks against Vlog Wild Sammy Guevara, Santana (Proud), and Ortiz (Powerful). To say that Dustin appears to be aging backwards is actually incorrect, as I saw Young Boy Dustin Rhodes wrestle, and he was never this quick and agile. Back in the day, he was like a Barry Windham with Dusty Rhodes’ genes. In the year of our Lord 2019, the man is out-pacing Sammy Guevara. High-flying, 26-year old Sammy Guevara. For lack of better phrasing, Rhodes is leaving him in the dust.
This is easily one of the most fun matches I’ve seen on Dynamite to date, as almost the entire thing can be turned into a GIF. In fact, I recorded the ending to get a specific GIF and ended up making three. For example, the finish is — and I struggle to explain this succinctly — a combination double Meltzer Driver/top rope senton, wherein Matt Jackson and Dustin hold Santana and Ortiz in position for Tombstones, Nick Jackson jumps off the top rope and double stomps Santana and Ortiz in their asses to force the piledrivers, and then falls backwards onto Guevara. Here, just watch the GIF. But then here’s also the Bucks and Dustin Dust hitting a triple team double superkick and Shattered Dreams combo in the corner. Can these guys team up every week? Holy shit.
It’s a great bout to open the show and the right team wins, in a world where we’re convinced that heel wins are the only way to build and continue feuds — thanks, WCW Monday Nitro — and dominant jerk babyfaces have to “overcome the odds” in some ridiculous way for their win to matter. Sometimes you just wanna see wrestlers you like win a match you like. It’s fine! Really, my only complaint (and it’s a minor one) is that some of the spots were too ambitious to allow for the full suspension of disbelief, like this double superkick to counter Guevara’s shooting star press.
Yes, it’s a great visual that popped the crowd, but like … what was Sammy going for there? There wasn’t anybody under him to take the move. If there was, the camera being up in his grill the entire time so you didn’t see the Young Bucks getting into position hid it. All you’re left with is Sammy ostensibly being like, “welp, I’m up here and I see two guys approaching, I might as well try this backflipping headbutt attack.” It’s like the Jumping Nothing, usually into RKOs, that I hate so much in other companies. At least when Adam Cole’s doing wacky superkick counters, it’s in the heat of a match, and the person he’s kicking’s actually about to do a wrestling move to him.
Update: Per an alternate fan angle, Matt actually moved out of the way to set up the spot. Why didn’t you show this on TV? Get the cameras out of people’s faces when they’re on the top rope!
Anyway, ignore me, it’s still really good. Buckdust for life.
All In: The Lucha Brothers Are Winning Matches!
From last week’s column:
What I’m not totally digging is AEW’s total misunderstanding of how cool Fenix and Pentagon Jr. are. Like, what are you doing, guys? This isn’t El Dandy and Silver King at the bottom of your roster on Nitro in 1997, this is two of the coolest, most dynamic, most interesting looking, and most, let’s just say it, objectively beloved performers on your roster. They are two of your biggest gets. Why in the fuck is Trent Question Mark pinning Pentagon Jr. on Dark to set up a comedy duo that is somehow the least important part of their own comedy duo pinning Pentagon AND Fenix on Dynamite? You know this is fucking Pentagon, right? I’m not gonna say it’s the equivalent of WALTER showing up at Survivor Series and getting dorked out of the match two minutes in, but shit, no amount of AEW fanboyism is gonna make me believe a pissed-off ninja skeleton and his brother who might literally be able to fly are losing to two guys I barely believe can be arsed to get through a YouTube video.
In a nice change of pace this week, both Rey Fenix and Pentagon win their matches. Fenix gets a strong win against Trent to end his winning streak, and actually manages to win cleanly, which I appreciate. I know my adoration for Lucha Underground colors these guys in a way a lot of people might not see, but shit, even a blind person can see that Fenix and Pentagon are cool as shit and should at least be among your top acts. Fenix does some shit in the ring that is beyond even lucha libre understanding sometimes.
Note: In case I’m able to wish things into existence in this column, can I move on to requesting you not employ Orange Cassidy if you aren’t going to have him wrestle? Why is Orange Cassidy a weird manager for a far less interesting tag team? Put his ass in the ring and let him do all the wonderful stuff he can do, beyond the falling off the top rope and lazy superkick spots. He rules, and folks who don’t get the gimmick don’t even know it yet. Don’t be afraid to get weird. Give me the weird. The weird is what makes you different. Otherwise you’re running Tye Dillinger vs. Trent Beretta or whatever and yeah, I know a lot of people tune in to see that, but we’re talking the now, not the seven years ago Hulu.
I didn’t like the Pentagon win as much, because it was set up with a referee distraction — AEW is almost as into making their refs look stupid as they are into creating goth cults — and a low blow. Whatever, at least Pentagon won. Pentagon losses should be rare, my dudes. Also now I’m dying to watch him wrestle Kairi Sane, Mayu Iwatani, and Io Shirai in the same hour again.
By the way, I hope everyone knows how much I love Christopher Daniels, and how I think he’s an ageless miracle of a professional wrestler who has been one of the best and most underutilized/under-appreciated talents in the business for over 20 years now. I also want to share this clip of him messing up an Arabian press, which I couldn’t make a GIF out of because it’s the call and the sound that really make it.
— Ryan / WrestleBotch (@WrestleBotch) December 5, 2019
There’s just something about trying to springboard on TNT that doesn’t agree with him.
Mostly In: Watch Me Do Me
Cody Rhodes is consistently delivering high quality promos on the regular these days, and this bit where he offers MJF his red-bottom shoes, his Tony Khan-gifted wristwatch, and a Money Outside of the Bank briefcase to face him. He even gives out real money to an extremely not-excited-about-it kid who had already had front row seats. Can we give that to a kid in the nosebleeds next time? But anyway, yeah, I can see the criticism that while it’s a good wrestling promo that plays on the personae of the performers involved, it’s still more or less a rich guy offering another rich guy rich guy stuff to fight him. More Ric Flair trying to start beef with Tully Blanchard than Flair vs. Dusty, you know?
What I very much don’t like about this is that MJF’s response, which is just as good of if not a better promo, wasn’t actually featured on the show. You had to go to social media to find it. That’s bad enough in itself, but worse when you realize it featured super important information about the story; namely, that MJF was the guy who paid off The Butcher and The Blade and The Bunny to attack Cody.
You gotta get this on the show, man. It’s good, and it’s two minutes of crucial information. You can cut two minutes from the 11-minute Fenix vs. Trent match to get it on TV, you know? I’m not asking for a bunch of promos to interrupt the matches necessarily but anything a preliminary match like that could accomplish can be done just as easily in 8 minutes as in 11 if you need two to get foundational information across about a main-event feud. Hell, the Jericho vs. Jungle Boy promo could’ve lost two minutes of random stalling, and I’m like the world’s leader in wanting to hear Chris Jericho ramble on TNT about obscure bullshit he thinks is funny. Merge your three heel cult factions into one segment, I don’t know. There are ways around it.
Disclaimer: Running 2-hour live wrestling shows that please everyone and accomplish everything you want to do is a lot harder than watching them and blogging about their inconsistencies.
Or, alternate idea, when The Bunny’s explaining why her team attacked Cody, mention that MJF paid them off there That way you get the reason on the show beyond, “we are bad guys and want to cut the head off the snake,” and we can go to social to see Maxwell’s followup. Do not under any circumstances remove Rapture Allie from your programming, though. I have waited too long for a wrestling faction featuring American Pieter, a gimp, and Mr. Peanut.
All Out: Running The Important Stuff During Commercial
Nyla Rose squashes Leva Bates in about a minute and a half. It’s what it’s supposed to be. I have a soft spot for Leva, as well as the existence of a straight-up GLOW-level gimmick randomly happening by itself in the middle of a modern wrestling show. It’d be like if NXT was an hour-45 of hard fought wrestling matches between little Ring of Honor dudes and then suddenly Keith Lee was wrestling a guy in an astronaut costume* who called himself THE ASTRO-NUT. I also enjoy that The Librarians apparently don’t get disqualified for hitting people with books, because it’s notably less effective than hitting someone with their fists. It’s like taking off a glove and slapping somebody with it, but somehow less painful.
*Yes, long-time readers, this is a reference.
What I thought was weird is that they ran the point of the segment — Nyla Rose putting the referee through a table and then powerbombing Portugal’s Perfect Athlete Shanna onto him, an action that we’d later find out got Rose suspended from the company indefinitely — happened in a tiny picture-in-picture off to the side of a YouTube commercial during a break. Sure, the Fite version of these shows has the full-sized version integrated in like it’s part of the show, but are we supposed to watch THAT instead of the TNT version? Isn’t selling the TNT version the important thing, since everybody’s still so bent out of shape about ratings?
As a side note, they also ran a twee reference to Britt Baker’s appearance at NXT TakeOver War Games during this commercial.
DR Britt Baker always steals the spotlight😌😌 pic.twitter.com/2WF3fSMrz6
— FoxTube🦊✨ (@TheFoxyDentist) December 5, 2019
Unless you’re gonna have Adam Cole watching Britt like that from the crowd, it’s probably best to stop trying to get Senpai WWE to notice you.
All In: Kris Statlander
My favorite one-on-one match of the night was Hikaru Shida taking a surprising loss to Kris Statlander. Krisstat rules and is the best signing for AEW’s women’s division since Dynamite began (assuming Jamie Hayter still isn’t signed), and although I don’t totally get her vague “alien, question mark” gimmick and Spencer’s Gifts-designed entrance video, I think (1) more Kris Statlander wins, and (2) more competitive matches in the women’s division with unexpected results, like what might happen if this was actually a pro fighting division, are both extremely positive.
The post-match, though … well, let’s go ahead and talk about this.
All Out: At This Point It’s Like, Who In AEW ISN’T In A Goth Cult?
You think I’m kidding about the glut of goth cults in All Elite Wrestling, but there are seriously a bunch of them. You’ve got:
- Brandi Rhodes, who is a witch now, cutting people’s hair off for the benefit of Awesome Kong (for some reason). They represent the Nightmare Collective, a goth cult, question mark. After the Statlander match they offer her a spot on the team, which she doesn’t take because a random fan, of all people, volunteers for tribute. This is Melanie Cruise — catchphrase: “see you on the Melanie Cruise” — as the Serena Deeb in AEW’s quasi-reappropriation of the Straight Edge Society. She even gets her head shaved (during commercial break).
- The Dark Order, who are now dragging wrestling dorks into the woods and killing them (?). I’m not sure. If they’re exclusively recruiting uncool wrestling fans to have bonfires in the woods and talk about how the world is mean to them, they should call themselves Jay White Supremacists.
- The Butcher And The Blade And The Bunny, who haven’t clearly been established as a cult yet but dress in black, wear masks, live under the ring, and cut promos in metaphor
That’s three separate goth cults in 10 episodes. You’re either a cult, or a comedic gathering (The Elite, The Inner Circle, SCU, Jurassic Express). Any chance we can just merge them into one big thing? We don’t need Cult Hollywood, Cult Wolfpac, and the Latino World Cult on the same two-hour show you’re already having trouble getting everyone and everything onto. Wouldn’t a big faction of murderous occult jerks led by a sexy witch and a sexy bunny be more constructive?
All In: Comedic Gatherings Collide
Welcome to another edition of “Chris Jericho saves the show,” as he shows up having renamed The List the “Lexicon of Le Champion” — Excalibur’s understated comment that Jericho doesn’t know what “lexicon” means was great, and more classic JR than anything Jim Ross has said since Dynamite started — and lists off the people not allowed to challenge him for his final AEW match of the year on December 18. Notable inclusions on this “lexicon” include:
- Jon Moxley, listed so many times you’d think he was an arm bar
- Diamond Dallas Page (was really hoping for this one)
- Uncle Buck
- Buck Owens
- 2 Cold Scorpio
- The Scorpions
- “Kenny Ortega,” which I’m counting as a shout-out to my dad
- Canadian rock star Kenny Shields
- terrible country star Kenny Chesney
- Kenny McCormick
- various fans in attendance
- the one-armed drummer from Def Leppard
- Allen Jones, aka WWE’s AJ Styles
- Evil Uno, as well as “Angry Dos” and “Hateful Tres” who sincerely need to be members of the Dark Order going forward
He ends up getting confronted by Jurassic Express, which leads to even MORE unbelievable tomfoolery, including Jericho noting that Marko Stunt is “short for any age,” a large pro wrestling dinosaur revealing that he’s a history expert and condescendingly namedropping Eleanor of Aquitaine, and Jericho casually mentioning in hilarious fashion that he thinks Jungle Boy is, “a piece of shit.” The only thing it was missing was Jericho shit-talking Beverly Hills 90210.
They agree to Jungle Boy vs. Jericho match for December 18, as Jungle Boy didn’t make the Lexicon of Le Champion, and I’m very excited to see how much of a star Jericho turns him into. Jericho is doing lifetime achievement-quality work to help make AEW a thing, and I hope everyone knows it.
He shows back up for a staredown with MOXLEY — MOXLEY, arm drag, Moss Covered Three Handled Family Gredunza, MOXLEY — after the main event.
The main is Moxley vs. Joey Janela in a “sanctioned match,” as their previous match was unsanctioned and therefore didn’t count, and it’s pretty good. It would’ve been better, I think, if Janela wasn’t so spectacularly physically outmatched, and hadn’t been casually called a “kid” by the jokey ghost of Dean Ambrose in a backstage segment. Still, Mox put in work to make Janela look believable, and Janela’s a much better Actual Wrestler than most folks give him credit for. You know going in that he’s not beating Jon Goddamn Moxley, though, so it is what it is: a strong win for one of the company’s top stars, and the next serious challenger for the AEW Heavyweight Champion. Because of his win/loss record, too, not just because he showed up and randomly pissed off the champion.
All In: Top 10 Comments Of The Week
I thought a lexicon was a meeting of Alexa Bliss cosplayers
Is “Chris Jeri-Goat” chewing on the audio cables?
Orange Cassidy’s titantron needs to have less effort put into it.
AEW tells a better story in PiP during commercials than WWE does during regular air time.
The Real Birdman
Poor Evil Uno just started his own recruitment & then Brandi Rhodes comes out looking like that & people from the crowd start throwing themselves at her
Jake Hager is dressed like what people from the 40s thought people would dress like in 2020
Dark Order were so enraptured by the Nightmare Collective they briefly stopped petitioning for the Snyder Cut
Dave M J
+1 for Moxley for hearing Jericho’s music, not seeing him coming from the entrance, then looking around to see if he was being ambushed instead of just staring at the ramp for 5 minutes.
JERICHO: BRENDA AND KELLY WERE BETTER OFF WITHOUT DYLAN!
(Jungle Boy Destroys Jericho)
“At least they’re botching it on 2 channels now”
” … there’s a goth SKELETON, there’s a WITCH, there’s a bunch of random incels in MASKS, there’s a GIMP …”
That’s it for this week’s Ins and Outs of AEW. Thanks for reading, as always. Drop a comment below to let us know what you thought of the show and/or what goth cult you’d like to join, and give us a share on social media to get more people reading about All Elite Wrestling. And hey, join us next week for he Butcher and The Blade vs. Cody Rhodes and QT Marshall — seriously, was Glacier not available for this? They work together! — as well as The Young Bucks versus Proud and Powerful in a street fight. See you then!