Previously on AEW Dynamite: Darby Allin almost won the AEW World Championship with his hands tied behind his back. Plus, Riho defended the AEW Women’s Championship against Dr. Actual Dentist DMD, and Jon Moxley and PAC realized they probably aren’t going to get along.
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 Ups and Downs of All Elite Wrestling Dynamite, episode four: The Ice Cream Of The Future.
All In: Private Party Is Made, Even If They Didn’t Win
By being exceptionally great every time they’re on TV, Private Party has kinda backed themselves into a corner; you want to see the hot new team that upset the Young Bucks in round one of the AEW Tag Team Championship tournament continue their Cinderella run to the finals, but you’ve also had the Lucha Bros attack SCU for some reason and injure Christopher Daniels for pathos. That’s your finals, right? Plus, it’s the goddamn Lucha Bros. Anyone who knows anything about Pentagon Jr. and Rey Fenix knows they go above and beyond the expected parameters of lucha libre action and just fling their bodies at you in the most convoluted and messy ways possible. It’s like if a normal luchador got to drive a truck into the ring to fight you. So what do you do? A fuck finish and a triple threat?
Nah, you just have the Lucha Bros. win. Again, when they’re doing stuff like this …
… you can accept the hot new team going down to them. And you know, losing in the next round of the tournament to the toughest team in the entire thing isn’t anything to be ashamed of, and doesn’t diminish their win over the Young Bucks. They’ll always have that Bucks win, and AEW hasn’t yet created a WWE-like environment where wins and losses feel more like booking decisions than outcomes, and a loss feels like a sign of things to come instead of just a normal thing that happens to wrestlers. You aren’t gonna win all the time, and it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. At least not in a promotion where you might win next week, and aren’t stuck losing the same four-minute tag team match to the same opponent for six straight months at live shows and TV.
All Out: Can I Change My Order
Continuing that story beat is the other semi-finals match in the tournament; the now Christoper Daniels-less SCU defeating probably the worst thing in AEW besides Britt Baker’s Slingblade, the Dark Order. To say I’m “All Out” on the Dark Order would be an understatement. Say what you want about Marko Stunt being tiny, but he’s a more believable wrestling thing than the Dark Order. Especially when their match is longer than the Private Party vs. Lucha Bros match. They could’ve just replayed that match from the beginning in place of the Dark Order and saved us some TV time.
Thankfully it seems as though AEW kinda realizes this, too, and knocks them out of the tournament in their first match. It’s gotta be the worst luck in the world to win a bye in a pro wrestling tournament. It guarantees you’re either going out first, or getting booed for not having as many matches or whatever. Trying to better yourself professionally. Also somebody should really explain to whoever drew up the tournament that if you have to win a match to earn a first round bye, you’re just wrestling a first round match. It’s the same thing.
So yeah, it’s all down to SCU and the Brothers Lucha in the tournament finals. I think that’s what we were all expecting, weren’t we? AEW seems dedicated to presenting The Elite as the “top talent” without immediately putting a bunch of championships on them, so Jericho got the world belt, Kenny Omega’s meandering around in the mid-card with a barbed-wire broom, and the Young Bucks bailed on the tournament in round one to have an Unrelated Match™ at the first pay-per-view. The Inner Circle angle’s a good way to focus that glut of former New Japan and WWE talent into one thing while the rest of the roster establishes and fills itself out, but I also wonder if it would’ve just made more sense to not have active wrestlers be upper management and just putting the gold on the dudes who willed the company into existence. It’s a tough call.
Next Wednesday, Oct 30th on #AEWDynamite we will crown the 1st Ever #AEW World Tag Team Champions. The belts will be presented to the winners of the tournament by the legendary ROCK & ROLL EXPRESS. Get your tickets now at https://t.co/UN1cNj1kQq or watch LIVE on @tntdrama pic.twitter.com/0FYa5Sdc2R
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEWrestling) October 24, 2019
P.S. the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express are going to be on next week’s episode, which I’m considering a crossover episode with NWA Powerrr. If Penta and Fenix don’t win the AEW Tag Team Championship and celebrate by breaking some 60-year old arms, why are we even doing this? Tell me you don’t want to see Pentagon and Ricky Morton trading Canadian Destroyers on live TV in 2019. YOU LIAR.
All In: Cody Breaker
Okay, so, the elephant in the room: It’s hard to address the tropes and fan understanding of how “pro wrestling” works in 2019 without leveraging against the only game in town, WWE. An entire generation of American fans grew up with that as their only understanding of what wrestling’s “supposed to be.” But when you do that, you end up mentioning WWE a lot, which makes you seem like you’re “obsessed” with them or whatever, or wouldn’t/couldn’t exist without them. It’s a tough position to be in. I personally don’t mind the WWE references, at least when they’re about “invisible walls” dividing characters during segments and not, say, a guy smashing a Conan throne with a sledgehammer to make it fart gas.
That’s sort of the basis for the Cody and Chris Jericho segment this week, and the reason certain Internet workrate darlings didn’t like it. Personally, I think I like these characters enough to excuse the inconsistencies. El Círculo Interior — without Jack Swagger, aka “in their best form” — show up and occupy a skybox, WCW-style, so they can shit on Cody and his “career announcement.” Cody mentions that he can just walk up the steps and kick their asses about it, and enlists Claydust, Maxwell Jacob Heelturn, and DIAMOND DALLAS PAGE to help him out. Bless the world that gave us Jericho and DDP brawling on TNT in 2019. Cody solves the final riddle of the Inner Circle by wrapping a scarf around his fist and punching out a window, and Everybody Fights. The best part is probably Jericho making fun of MJF for wearing a scarf.
Also, the Dippin’ Dots spot. The Dippin’ Spot.
Dippin’ Dots already has an AEW flavor coming out now, because capitalism and synergy. They should mail out pints of it when you buy overstock AEW designs on Pro Wrestling Tees. I’m excited to see which wrestler is the first to put on a Cracker Barrel and jump into a Double Dare-style plastic tub of Future Ice Cream.
All In: Joey Janela In A REGULAR MATCH
One thing I really appreciated about this episode is how they addressed some concerns about the random SUPER HARDCORE “lights out” match they had on the dark match show between Joey Janela and the “Best Bout Machine” for no discernible reason beyond maybe showing that Kenny Omega can “get hardcore.” They decided to run a sanctioned rematch, this time within the functioning rules of pro wrestling, that both establishes Omega as a “top guy” in the singles division as advertised and shows that Janela can “go” in a regular wrestling match. I’ve been a little confused by the segregation of the hardcore guys into this weird little niche in the middle of the shows where they do crazy shit but rarely win, to the point where you’re like, “hey man, put down the ladder and try a headlock, it might work better.”
This is the most I’ve liked Kenny Omega since Dynamite began, too. It’s nice to remember that he’s the “best wrestler in the world” because he spent like two years having all the best wrestling matches, and not just because he said he was good on Twitter or whatever and somebody put it on a shirt.
All In: Orange You Glad I Didn’t Say Superkick Party
Kenny Omega might be the “top” competitor on Dynamite, but the BEST is Orange Cassidy.
He gets a little TV time this week during the Young Bucks vs. Best Friends match, centered around reestablishing the Bucks as the Best Tag Team In The World now that they’re out of the otherwise consequential championship tournament. I do think the Bucks should’ve been AEW’s first Tag Team Champions just because, but I understand why they aren’t. They’re the Young Bucks. You’re gonna like them or not like them, and the title belts have nothing to do with it. Chuck and Trent are also pretty good at this, but are more or less just conduits for Orange Cassidy TV time right now.
After the match, the Bucks accept Santana and Ortiz’s challenge (by way of Chris Jericho, technically) for a match at Full Gear. It feels like if you’re having a match to prove who the best tag team in the world is, you’d want the title belts that objectively make you the “best tag team in the world” in play, but it’s fine. Just make sure you give us Orange (1) in an actual match soon, (2) possibly in a pay-per-view match, and (3) doing anything he wants until he retires.
All Out: PLEASE LIKE BRITT BAKER EVERYBODY
You know who is fucking great? Jamie Hayter. She’s the latest in AEW’s series of condescending goths who happens to be the ace of EVE, a member of Oedo Tai, and the kind of woman who sits on your back and gives you a Wet Willie during a wrestling match. Total heart eyes for pretty much everything she does. And she’s in there against Britt Baker, who is … Britt Baker.
I don’t want to verge on “hot take” with any of this, as I see the upside in Britt Baker and think she’s a talented and accomplished performer. I just also have been super non-plussed by everything she’s done in AEW so far, especially since she’s weirdly positioned as the best and most important woman on the roster. She’s in all the media and hype videos, a focus of all the commercials, and wrestles pretty much every week it seems like. She seems weirdly conscious of what she’s doing in the ring, where you can kinda see her slowly setting up for moves or preparing herself to receive them. Nothing feels natural, I guess. And then you put her in there with someone like Hayter, and you’re like, “oh, that is how it’s supposed to be.” Maybe Baker will get comfortable in the ring soon and adjust to what everyone else is doing, but right now she feels a little too much like Erik Watts, beating a few too many Arn Andersons on her way to legitimacy. I think if she just stopped doing those Slingblades she’d be 60% better.
Shout-out to AEW though for (1) putting over a wrestler in their hometown and making it feel like a big deal, instead of instilling shame and disappointment in both the wrestlers and the towns from which they hail, and for (2) the Steely McBeam cameo. Use those Jags connections to make every Dynamite feel like a local mascot’s birthday party, please and thank you. Give me Pentagon breaking Chomps’ arm in Cleveland.
Anyway, for real, I hope they’ve signed and secured Jamie Hayter. Put her and Bea Priestly together, bring in Harlow O’Hara, toss in a Jessicka Havok and maybe bring Angelus Layne back from the dead or whatever to form the ultimate pissed-off faction of angry WrestleGoths to put the fear of God into any normcore dentists or 95-pound sprites on the roster.
All Out, But Hilarious: The Curse Of Brandi Rhodes
After the match, Jamie Hayter’s “I feel BADLY about LOSING” promo gets cut off, super randomly, by an attack from Brandi Rhodes. When Jenn Sterger tries to get some answers, Brandi goes full Wicked Witch of the West on her and does … something? You can see the GIF above. I don’t know if she’s putting a pox on her house or what, but I think that vaguely defined wrestling Satan all those skulls and darkness wrestlers worship lives inside Brandi right now. Super weird. Somebody put the The Fiend Attacks music to it.
All In, Mostly: AW NUTS WE’RE OUT OF TIME
I liked PAC vs. Jon Moxley as the night’s main event, and thought it was a lot of fun from beginning to end. I don’t even mind the time limit draw, as they’ve established time limit draws are a thing on AEW TV and they’re gonna happen. It’s a good way to leave the audience wanting to see more without having the same two dudes trade half-assed victories every week. What I didn’t totally vibe with was the “TV time limit remaining” running out, and then the cameras hanging out for another minute or two to watch Moxley stomp around like the ring all mad and beat up a referee. Seems like y’all had a little more TV time, huh? Couldn’t have gone a full 13 instead of calling the bell at 12:20 so a guy could get a pinfall?
Regardless, it continues to be a joy to watch Jon Moxley wrestle with a soul in his body, and PAC is about as good as I think a wrestler can get. It’s just the difficult balance of being frustrated as a fan because you didn’t get a decisive outcome, and the reality of being in a “Wednesday night war” where you’ve gotta book marquee matches like this every week to stay hype and relevant when a slower build full of jobbers and honest promos would probably create a better overall product. Running a live 2-hour cable wrestling show opposite the best product from the most widely known and seen wrestling promotion in history has its challenges, who knew?
Best: Top 10 Comments Of The Week
The Voice of Raisin
*Cody gets to Heaven*
Dusty: My son, it’s good to see you! Tell me, what did you do in life after I passed on?
Cody: It was great, Dad. I left WWE and started my own company in your image. Focus on the wrestling, classic simple stories. And we kicked off our national tv show with a tournament to crown our first tag team champions!
Dusty: that’s wonderful, son! Where was the finals held? Chicago? Philly?
Cody: Charleston, West Virginia.
Dusty (tearing up): Charlesto- Oh, my boy. Give your daddy a hug.
Britt: *whispers* I went to the bathroom and didn’t wash my hands btw
Hayter: AHHH TAP TAP TAP
The Real Birdman
Honestly a Brit facing a dentist should be a huge psychological advantage
I like to think Hager is at will call trying to call Jericho for his ticket but he keeps hitting ignore
Imagine the levels of despair we’d descend to if the announcer constantly reminded us how many minutes of Raw were left.
Baron Von Raschke
Goldberg: So THAT’S how you punch a window!
JR: “These guys want to kiss their sisters here “
Tony: “……………………………wait, what?”
Dave M J
I think one of the biggest issues with the Dark Order is that you’ve got one guy named EVIL UNO, which is awesome, and the other is…STU.
LIKE OH NO IT’S STU. I AM TERRIFIED.
Brandi is sick of all the Hayters criticizing her wrestling skills
If you participate in both sides of a dueling chant the crowd should be allowed to call you a “Centrist” and shame you to wait out the rest of the match in the lobby
That’s it for this week’s Dynamite. Thanks for helping it BLOW UP! Hi, I am a professional writer.
As always, thanks for reading. Drop down below to let us know what you thought of the show, give us a social media share to get more people reading about the desperate push to keep pro wrestling from being monopolized by the same people who brought us WWE 2K20, and be here next week for a tournament final to crown Tag Team Champions. See you then!