Previously on the Ins and Outs of AEW Dynamite: Lance Archer turned Dustin Rhodes inside out to send a message to Cody, Dr. Britt Baker hung up inspirational posters of herself in her own office, and Vickie Guerrero of all people won an app-based “Manitoba Melee.” Let the record books show that Vickie has victories over both Jay AND Silent Bob.
And now, the Ins and Outs of All Elite Wrestling Dynamite for May 6, 2020.
All In: The Secretly Evil (?) Cody Rhodes
One of my favorite ongoing undercurrents of a story is the notion that hero of the people and Face That Runs The Place, Cody Rhodes, is actually secretly evil. It makes sense if you think about it. I’m not sure I can have a cork board ready with all the connections I’ve made — CAROL! CAROL! — but let’s break it down.
A lot of people cut promos on Cody, but the three major, ongoing contributions come from MJF, Shawn Spears, and Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts. MJF was Cody’s right hand man for a while but turned his back on him, with the rationale being that MJF was never Cody’s friend, and was just coattail-riding him to the top. There’s another possible explanation, though … MJF WAS Cody’s friend. The evil Cody. The “American Nightmare” who was (kayfabe) one of the worst people on Earth during his time in New Japan. The guy who spent most of his time in WWE either chilling with Randy Orton, teaming up with bottom-feeder Damien Sandow, or wearing a protective mask like he’s the Phantom of the Opera and putting paper bags on people’s heads. He’s been a bad guy more than he’s been good, and I think that’s what MJF latched onto. I think MJF was just waiting for Cody to flip the switch and reveal his wicked master plan, but Cody got too into the positive crowd reactions and the day-to-day operations of setting up a televised wrestling promotion and forgot to do it. MJF betrayed him, and then spent a long time trying to goad Cody into doing the worst things at the worst times. It’s like he secretly still believes in his friend’s capacity for terribleness.
Spears has had beef with Cody since that time he tried to cave in Cody’s skull with a steel chair. Cody’s victories over Spears pushed him to the bottom of the card where he languished among the Librarians and Brandon Cutlers of the roster, trying to find a tag team partner to face other tag teams on the pre-show. Spears and Cody had a match in the first round of the TNT Championship Tournament, however, and it was Spears’ best performance in ages. He followed that up by busting out the best looking Sharpshooter we’ve seen on TV since Bret stopped doing it, and now he’s got enough confidence to start sticking his nose back into Cody’s business.
For example, this promo.
In it, Spears rationally explains how the person responsible for Dustin Rhodes’ massacre at the hands of Lance Archer is Cody, and Cody alone. Dustin’s out there just trying to do his job and stick up for his little brother. QT Marshall’s at ringside trying to throw in the towel, because he doesn’t want to see his tag team partner and friend’s face get turned into hamburger meat by a crazy person. But Cody showed up and prevented the towel from being thrown. Cody’s the reason Archer’s on this rampage in the first place, because he wouldn’t just give Archer a match. And speaking of that …
Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts makes it very clear that Cody is “Caesar;” a flawed, opportunistic leader who purports to promote the interests of the people but is really only in it for himself. Roberts’ client, Lance Archer, wants a match against Cody. What does Cody do? The honorable babyface thing of, “I never back down from a challenge, how about we do it RIGHT HERE TONIGHT?” Nope. He says Lance needs to prove himself in AEW and can’t just waltz in and start challenging the top stars. Then he goes on Dark to wrestle Joe Alonzo and spends his off weeks from the TNT Championship Tournament wrestling Joey Janela, who is a challenge, sure, but not exactly Lance fucking Archer.
Archer has a match against QT Marshall, which plays into Archer’s quest to outright murder everyone Cody cares about, and is comparable to a fully grown rhinoceros fighting your grandmother. Archer turns apples into apple juice, and when Dr. Britt takes shoe-related matters into her own hands and lays out Brandi Rhodes, Jake Roberts can execute the next step in his plan. Archer can’t beat Brandi bloody and claw her to death, that’d be overkill … but they can bring back Jake’s old standby and humiliate her by planking over her unconscious body and letting a snake crawl over her. And where was Cody when his wife was out here five feet away from a guy who wants to kill him, an evil mastermind, a belligerent dentist, and a literal jungle predator? Not there. JR tries to explain that the locker rooms are far away from the ring because of social distancing, but bruh, even Goldberg with a police escort could’ve gotten out there in time to at least save face and run them off.
Anyway, I’m not saying Cody’s actually evil, necessarily, but I love that they’ve given us enough character development and played on observable character histories enough to let me think about it, and back it up. It’s hella preferable to the alternative, which is Cody losing to Archer on Dynamite four weeks in a row and then pinning him at Double or Nothing, and everyone being a cardboard cut-out.
All In: Wyatts Vs. Shield Forever
While we’re on the topic of reformed bad guys being hunted down and exposed by their old adversaries, here’s AEW World Champion Jon Moxley being attacked by The Exalted One Mr. Brodie Lee, breaker of chains and mother of dragons, after a match against Frankie Kazarian. The match is really good, actually, but the fact that the highlight video begins with the last move of the match should show you how much drama was involved. Mox going out here and doing his best to prop up guys who desperately need it deserves just as much credit as what Cody’s doing.
Anyway, I’m not sure what I find more entertaining … the fact that a former member of the Wyatt Family built his own cult, Gretchen from Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt-style, and is using it to attack a former member of The Shield, or the fact that a guy with a Vince McMahon gimmick is out here making Jon Moxley’s life miserable. There’s meta, and then there’s meta.
Jobbers Of The Week
Nyla Rose figuratively and literally squashes 18-year old Kane student (no, seriously) Kenzie Paige in this week’s one women’s division match. Hikaru Shida makes concerned faces during the finish, and Kris Statlander makes an aggressive face and gesture afterward. It’s a delightful trouncing, but I sincerely wish the women’s division could get a story better than, “here is the champion, and the champion has a couple of challengers, I don’t know.” Even the NFL films video package about the division is basically just like, “here are the wrestlers!” They aren’t doing anything, though. Why is Britt Baker the only person in the division allowed to have character development?
All In: Golf Cat Attacks, Scissor Lift Moonsaults, And Ice Chest Transformations
Last and certainly not least we have the falls count anywhere street fight teaming Matt Hardy and the guy named after Matt Hardy’s old wrestling promotion against Le Sex Gods. It’s the perfect main event to celebrate the show’s return to Daily’s Place — not exactly a civic center full of fans, but we’ll take what we can get — and to play on the company’s obsession with having matches wander into that concourse. They fight in that thing so often it might as well be a selectable arena in the AEW video game.
Highlights from the match include Chris Jericho doing an impersonation of the Wicked Witch of the West while wearing a traffic cone on his head, Sammy Guevara getting brain-busted by a golf cart piloted by a 3,000 year old spirit, and Kenny Omega achieving Bad News Barrett’s ultimate form by hitting a picture-perfect moonsault off a scissor lift. Holy shit, though.
Also of note, Matt Hardy does multiple character transformations during the match, going from Broken Matt to classic Hardy Boyz Matt by getting abandoned in the entrance tunnel, and transforming again into DAMASCUS because he got trapped in an ice chest. WONDERFUL. Le Sex Gods end up winning, however, because of the damned numbers game. Santana, Ortiz, and a boat-ready Jake Hager show up to make it a 5-on-2 attack, and Jericho’s able to powerbomb Omega on the top of the cart and pin him. The Young Bucks, per commentary, are at home due to COVID concerns. Hangman Page smartly bailed on this pandemic shit RIGHT AWAY.
Cody’s still chilling in the back, though. [shifty eyes]
All In: Top 10 comments Of The Week
Cannot overstate how much I love AEW. It’s by & for people who love wrestling & pay attention to what makes it great.
The Voice of Raisin
Sammy Guevara graduated from the Prometheus School of Running Away From Things.
Woj just tweeted that AEW is opening an investigation to see if Spears was using the airhorn to tell the heels when to swing.
The one Dark Order guy with his shirt off is like when the enemies start to get harder in a 90s beat em up game
Statlander not wearing a space suit to protect herself at ringside feels like a swing & a miss
Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer
I just want to point out that Dr Britt Baker DMD got her shoe back. A national disaster was averted.
Spears really shouldn’t wear a shirt that says “HEATLESS”
Britt gave Brandi a DDT before feeding her to Jake Roberts. Nice one, doc.
Pineapple Pete vs. Jericho
- Yes, I already miss Chris Jericho on commentary.
- There should be an AEW Ben and Jerry’s flavor called “Chris Jeri-cone.”
- The best commentary moment of the night is Excalibur laughing for real when Matt Hardy yelled “I NEED YOU TO DOC-UMENT THESE EVENTS” from the driver’s seat of a golf cart
- I hope Darby Allin’s not depressed. I don’t want him to go FULL skeleton face. He already looks too much like the I Like Turtles kid.
- MJF having a face mask in the same print as his one Burberry scarf is pretty funny
- Also, MJF as the most (delightfully) derivative heel of a generation claiming to be the first of his kind is really entertaining. You can go far with Chris Jericho’s scarf, The Rock’s Nation of Domination haircut, and a prodigious talent for having no filter and saying the meanest possible thing you can think every second you’re awake
- anyway, he’s great and I love his ending to Fight Club Zoom background
That does it for this week’s column. Thanks for reading about Dynamite! Leave us a comment below, give the column a share on social media, and make sure you’re back here next week for a stacked card featuring MJF, Brodie Lee vs. Christopher Daniels, Best Friends vs. Jurassic Express, Penelope Ford versus Hikaru Shida versus Kris Statlander versus Hateful Dentist, and the epic confrontation between Chris Jericho and Pineapple Pete. See you then.