Previously on the Ins and Outs of AEW Dynamite: Cody Rhodes debuted Arn Anderson as his head coach and got hit with a bunch of ridiculous, thorough stipulations for a hypothetical match with MJF at Revolution. Plus, Hangman Adam Page has been drinking.
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.
And now, the Ins and Outs of All Elite Wrestling Dynamite, originally aired on January 8, 2020.
All In: Michael Nakazawa Should Stop Going To Shows For A While Until Things Cool Off
This week’s show opens with possible frenemies Kenny Omega of The Elite and Hangman Adam Page of NOT The Elite, still at war with the guy who writes the chyrons for Dynamite, against Private Party. It combines three of the better things Dynamite’s been doing lately: exciting tag team matches, Kenny Omega finally getting his shit together and going on a win streak, and Adam Page cowboy shit-style drinking problem. Let’s address all three:
- AEW’s tag team division is always a lot of fun, whether they’re story-based, such as when Cody teamed with Darby Allin against The Butcher and The Blade in a match that played off months of history and a recent storyline development and set up a singles match for the following week, or one of those bonkers six-man main events where guys just do non-stop Canadian Destroyers to each other until somebody loses. I feel like the best thing AEW can do right now is be different, whether it’s what we’re used to or not, and few things differentiate you from WWE like caring about tag teams. It’s less of a jump while the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic is going on, but that’s still only eight teams, with four from another brand, one with a mystery partner, and another that’s just two singles guys randomly teamed up. So what’s that leave, two actual NXT teams?
- I’m happy that we’re SHOWING Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks being the “best in the world,” finally, instead of just being told how great they are while they constantly lose matches. Omega’s now won 6 of 7. Winning streaks are a good reason to have stats!
- Hangman Page gets along with Omega here, which is an improvement over previous weeks, and makes his character development a little more realistic. Him getting depressed and addicted and distancing himself from his friends is a better story than I AM EVIL NOW. Plus, if you have him go out into the crowd and drink beer with fans after matches, you’re gonna sell some beers.
After the match, One-Hanged Angel celebrates until we find out PAC has once again attacked Kenny Omega’s best friend in the whole wide world Michael Nakazawa. He still wants his rematch, and the beatings will continue until morale improves Omega agrees to fight him. It kinda helps Hangman’s point of view when Kenny Omega won’t even wrestle a guy to save his best friend from a month of nonstop beatings. I hear the Inner Circle’s got an opening!
All Out: The Women’s Championship Match Gets Smothered To Death
I don’t want to write too much about this, as I could probably fill an entire column with dense paragraphs that ask why did you do this like this over and over, but the AEW Women’s Championship match between the champion, Riho, and the challenger, Kris Statlander, was deeply disappointing and maybe the first true stinker in AEW Dynamite history. It’s actually kind of unbelievable what they chose to do with this match.
They’d already had to push back the announced match by a week due to scheduling conflicts and run a fatal four-way championship match in its place on the Homecoming show. Maybe I’m crazy to have thought it, but I figured that’d give us a straight-up championship match on this week’s show without a lot of bullshit. As it turns out, it’s exclusively bullshit.
Just to make it clear, I think Riho and Kris Statlander are both really good, and have great chemistry together. The actual work they were doing with each other was working. The “story” is what trips it up. I appreciate them wanting to give the women’s division a functioning heel faction with some motivation and tell a story with it, but I think we’re still stuck in a mindset where pro wrestling “stories” have to revolve around screwjobs and run-ins. The Attitude Era did that to us. It’s the same thing that made character development and motivation cosmetic, and you can have entire characters that are just vague suggestions based on how they look or dress.
In case you missed it, Brandi Rhodes sits in on commentary. I think that’s when a lot of folks realized something was going to go wrong. Awesome Kong and Melanie Cruise, now simply known as “Mel” (which I assume is a tribute to Vic Tayback’s character Mel from Alice), walk down to the ring. The referee gets distracted (drink), allowing Mel to attack Riho and toss her into the guardrail. Kris Statlander takes her out with a dive, then gets back into the ring and dives out onto Kong. The referee gets so distracted by Riho’s injury that he didn’t see (drink) that he misses Brandi Rhodes walking to ringside and distracting Statlander, allowing a bootleg action figure of Avatar Aang to crawl out from under the ring and distract her again so Kong can attack her. That’s a distraction to set up a distraction to set up a distraction, if you’re keeping score.
The match somehow continues after this, because the referee missed all of these things in every direction. Just wanna say out-loud one good time that I know this isn’t the fault of the referees themselves; AEW has a good roster of referees, and my love for Bryce Remsberg is undying, but they’re being put into too many situations on TV where they look like complete idiots. It’s not even innocent wrestling cheating stuff, it’s a guy standing on the side of the street watching an entire parade go by and then turning to the person next to him like, “when’s the parade showing up?”
Statlander picks Riho up into position for a Tombstone Piledriver and walks over toward the ropes for some reason. This allows Awesome Kong to trip Statlander, causing Riho to fall on top of her for the pin. This is made possible by another distraction from Mel (drink). At this point even the New World Order is like, “c’mon, ref.” With the match finally over, Mel and Kong get into the ring and attack both women, because reasons. Hikaru Shida hops up from her seat in the crowd to make the save, with wandering-in backup from Sonny Kiss and Big Swole. Britt Baker, who is a dentist, doesn’t help.
And that’s the Women’s Championship match.
All In: Let’s Get Back To The Tag Teams
If you’re looking for your crowd pleasing match of the episode, look no further than Jurassic Express versus Best Friends and Orange Cassidy. It’s not necessarily what you’d call a “good match,” but it does what it’s supposed to: make a crowd who is ready to laugh at stuff laugh at stuff. It’s all here: Orange Cassidy putting his hands in his pockets and doing the little kicks and dive, Marko Stunt flossing, the works. My only real complaint is that we didn’t get Orange Cassidy vs. Marko Stunt, with Cassidy trying to figure out how to floss with his hands in his pockets.
And hey, Jungle Boy got the pin! There are much worse ways you could spend 10 minutes.
(I’ve gotta say though, the Canadian Destroyers really are getting out of hand. I feel like literally everybody on the roster does one, from both Lucha Bros. to the Young Bucks to Marko Stunt to Ricky freakin’ Morton. They should make an AEW Dynamite video game where everyone’s light grapple is a Canadian Destroyer. I think the one Marko Stunt did to Trent here is the least believable one I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen Buff Bagwell do one. Marko’s feet can’t even rest flat on the ground when he’s got Trent’s head between his legs.)
Speaking of the Lucha Bros, they have a fun match with the-
… with the Rhodes brothers. The Rhodes boys tagging is always, always a good idea. I do wish the Lucha Brothers had more to do as characters, as they’re stuck subtweeting Christopher Daniels and being called the “best tag team in the world” by the announce team while their 0-1 and 6-6 records flash on the screen. One of the downsides to keeping stats like that is the ability to say somebody’s the best at something when the numbers say differently. I think the Cleveland Indians are the best, but they still finished eight games behind the Twins and missed the playoffs, you know?
After the Rhodes brothers defeat the best 6-7 tag team in the world, Tony Schiavone pops into the ring to try to get a response from Cody re: MJF’s stipulations from last week. Head Coach Arn Anderson interrupts, saying they’re still gonna talk about it, and get back to him about it later. Okay! Arn’s totally going to volunteer to take Cody’s 10 lashes, isn’t he?
Mostly In: It’s Me, It’s Me, It’s TNT
When it’s clear Cody’s not going to provide any answers, MJF shows up with Wardlow & Associates and calls him a “little bitch” about it. That brings out, of all people Diamond Dallas Page, who is still very good at this but cuts a very 1998 kind of promo where he makes fun of Wardlow’s “man bun” — it’s a ponytail, man buns are different — and calls MJF, “Motormouth Jackoff Friedman.” It goes on for too long, so MJF starts tweeting in the ring.
Will this old fart ever shut up?
— Maxwell Jacob Friedman™️ (@The_MJF) January 9, 2020
Once Page starts talking about having one more match, presumably so he can be like The Big Show and say he wrestled a match in this decade before it gets too deep into the decade, MJF starts puffing up his chest and telling Page that even in his prime, Page couldn’t lace his boots. When DDP steps to him, MJF cowers and calls out The Butcher and The Blade to back him up. I know MJF’s trying to be the new Rock or whatever, but he really might be better suited being the new Bobby Heenan. He’s good on the mic, but to the point that it’s like ten times more valuable and important than anything he does in the ring. That’s not an insult in the slightest.
MJF gets confident with his S&M club friends hanging out in the ring, and starts joking about how he’s going to “bang” (get it) one of DDP’s daughters. A fight breaks out, both occupational perverts get hit with Diamond Cutters, and MJF survives by shoving Page into Wardlow and then kicking him in the balls. He starts making some big threats of violence, but QT Marshall and Dustin Rhodes show up to make the save. This sets up a six-man tag team match for next week, where the combined age of the babyface team is 147. That’s 124 years older than MJF.
That’s more of an observation than a criticism, though, as I love Dustin to death and will never not pop for a Diamond Cutter. I just hope QT Marshall gets “injured” or something before the match and the sub in Glacier for an official Team WCW at Bash at the Beach. Tell me you don’t want to see Glacier freezing Allie in place with FROST MIST.
In The Middle: Christopher Daniels Is Having Some Problems
I like the story they’re telling with Christopher Daniels, and how he’s trying to regain his confidence after his first big TV botch in like 20 years. They’ve been continuing the story on AEW Dark by having him not be able to do the Arabian Press for fear of messing it up again, and they have Pentagon show up to condescendingly yell at him about his moonsault on Dynamite. This distracts him, allowing Sammy Guevara to kick him in the back of the head and win the match. All In for Sammy getting more wins, Pentagon being a dick, and Daniels telling a physical yet psychological story of how internal and external struggle sometimes collide. All Out for running the Women’s Championship match and this back to back for consecutive fuck-finishes.
After the match, the Dark Orders shows up en masse and make the fairly logical choice of asking the former spooky wrestling cult leader Christopher Daniels if he wants to join up with their spooky wrestling cult. He refuses them, which brings out the Young Bucks and SCU for some revenge on the Order. I hope we haven’t seen the last of this, because “the Exalted One” being a secondary, evil personality of Christopher Daniels could be a fun story. Note: I still hope it’s Kevin Sullivan, don’t @ me.
Mostly In: The Name On Everybody’s Lips Is Gonna Be, Moxley
Sammy returns for the main event segment, once again shooting his shot during the picture-in-picture commercial break. Victoria Justice’s sister to Salma Hayek is a pretty big jump in expectation, but it’s Sammy being Sammy. Where do you go from Salma Hayek? Monica Bellucci? Carla Gugino? AEW should seriously contact one of these celebrities he keeps calling out and get them to call him on his bluff in some backstage segment down the road. Like when Max Fischer’s teacher finally calls him on his shit and embarrasses him.
Anyway, the main event is Jon Moxley giving his answer the Inner Circle: yes. Except of course he means no. “I was just kidding. I would never join the Inner Circle. It’s a stupid group.” Everyone in the segment does good work, and they sell the hell out of it, keeping it going long enough to convince the crowd that it’s legit and get them chanting “you sold out” at Mox. I think it actually went too long, considering that there was no way they’d have Moxley join the group with like five minutes left in the show. I appreciate that Moxley gave a big wink to the camera early on to let us in on the bit.
It was more Dean Ambrose than Jon Moxley for my liking, but I guess I need to come to terms with the fact that he’s going to jump back and forth between them. It was solid sports-entertaining. I’m mostly just happy he thought to take the car keys before he swerved them. I hope Shota Umino drives it to the next Young Lion Cup.
All In: Top 10 Comments Of The Week
Kris Statlander looks like someone tried to draw The Riott Squad from memory
The Dark Order is what I call a leg & thigh meal from Popeyes
On second thought, let’s not join the Inner Circle. It is a silly place.
Baron Von Raschke
Arn now has TWICE as many Rhodes to turn on during this match!
Chuck Taylor finally gets to kill a kid under the age of ten and can’t finish the deal.
Moxley is just biding his time so he can eventually jump out of Jake Hager to ambush Jericho
The Real Birdman
“I’ve thought about what you’re offering, but you’re selling alcohol in an already oversaturated market, your shares are currently at a very low number, upkeep on a car like that will be too much to handle not to mention how much it has depreciated since you drove it off the lot. Combine all this with your penchant for attacking friends from behind & being generally underhanded, and for all those reasons, I am out” – Shark Moxley
The real feud is Sammy’s tights vs his butt crack week to week
Aubrey’s reactions get moves and matches over better than any 3rd man on a commentary team ever could
Sammy Guevara doesn’t get The Simpson’s reference because he wasn’t born yet. Jake Hager doesn’t get it because his parents wouldn’t let him watch Fox.
Next week, AEW Dynamite gives us Darby Allin vs. PAC, Mel and Awesome Kong vs. Kris Statlander and Hikaru Shida, and a six man tag team match teaming MJF and the Butcher and the Blade versus Dustin Rhodes, QT Marshall, and Diamond Dallas Page. Plus it’s BASH AT THE BEACH, which means there’s at least a chance of Dennis Rodman showing up. If they can honor legends of Memphis wrestling before this week’s show, they can honor legends the nWo when they’re on a Florida beach.
As always, thanks for reading. You guys make this fun every week. Drop down into our comment section to let us know what you thought of Homecoming Dynamite, give us a share on social media to help us out — it seriously only takes a second, stop not doing that — and join us next week for Thunder In Dynamite. See you then!