Previously on the Ins and Outs of AEW Dynamite: All Elite Wrestling debuted on TNT (drama?) with the formation of Chris Jericho’s evil new heel faction, Cody Rhodes being treated like a conquering hero, and Kenny Omega going through a glass coffee table.
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 Goods and Less Goods of All Elite Wrestling Dynamite, episode two: Attack of the Cronies.
All In: Party All The Time
Well, we’ve got our first, “best match in the history of AEW Dynamite.”
Opening this week’s TNT Drama is The Young Bucks turning Private Party into made men with *hottest possible fire* in the form of an AEW Tag Team Championship tournament match. If you’re one of those folks who “doesn’t get” the Bucks, watch this. They’re every bit the world-traveled master craftsmen and veterans commentary puts them over as being, and they put Private Party over on an almost molecular level as the match progresses. Kassidy and Quen get all the big moments, all the big crowd reactions, the win, the post-match celebration for an entire commercial break, all of it. It’s WONDERFUL.
Private Party’s been on their way up since their first appearance in the promotion, and you can really see and understand why the Bucks would’ve gone through the trouble of going *to them* and offering them AEW contracts in a big gesture in front of everybody. Marq Quen is absolutely BONKERS in the ring once he gets going, and that dive sequence where he does a slightly different dive every time is the Samoa Joe Chimeraplex of high-flying. The Gin and Juice — hilariously called by three men who should probably never be talking about “gin and juice” — is one of those moves you know they’re gonna do, but you kinda forget is in their repertoire until they’re in the middle of it. It’s got a real “RKO from outta nowhere” vibe, which is crazy because it always comes from the same somewhere. Cutters are just wrestling magic, I guess.
An absolute banger, from start to finish.
The only problem I could even have with it, I guess, is that it sets an impossible standard for the remainder of the tournament. I sincerely doubt anything else is going to be able to reach the temperature this got. Maybe Lucha Brothers vs. Jurassic Express, when Pentagon starts breaking poor Jungle Jack in half. AEW, please keep Marko Stunt away from Pentagon, I don’t want to see Tommy Pickles get murdered by a pissed-off ninja skeleton.
— TDE Wrestling (@tde_wrestling) October 10, 2019
Can goth Will Forte defeat the I Like Turtles kid? Find out next, on Dynamite!
Darby Allin vs. Jimmy Havoc was what it should’ve been: another platform for Darby to look good in the ring before getting a shot at Chris Jericho on next week’s show. I think we all knew who was winning this. Allin has gone the distance with Cody Rhodes, jumped off a dude’s back with a thumbtack skateboard, and has basically been the most over young star on all of these shows. He was even the best part of AEW Dark, and he probably needed to (and did, thankfully) actually hit his finisher on the flagship program.
(Please do not notice that his record is 0-1-2, and Havoc’s is 1-3, and that neither of them should be competing for number one contender when PAC’s been pinned one time in the past two years.) (Wrestling isn’t real!)
All In: Circle Jerks
Let’s take a second to appreciate Chris Jericho for being one of the best promos in the history of wrestling. Like we haven’t done that in one form or another in every single column on the site. Jericho finally gets to talk like a human being again, without the “stupid script” to guide him, and he’s so much better off for it. Wrestlers being able to actually listen to the crowd and react to them is so valuable, as we’ve seen from AEW and especially NWA Powerrr, and it makes those hum-drum Seth Rollins or Roman Reigns show-opening “last week” monologues sound even worse.
Here, Jericho uses his star power and skillset to put over every single member of his team in a personalized way, drop the name of his new faction — the Inner Circle, which is awesome and sounds like a PG-13 horror movie involving teenagers and their phones — and, in maybe the best moment of the night, kill the “We The People” chants on the spot. Now if he could do something about the “what” chants, we’ll be in business. He also earns some well-deserved heat for daring to call Dusty Rhodes a “jerk,” which had me putting up my dukes to my television screen. Of COURSE Chris Jericho would hate Dusty Rhodes. Quick question: If they’re the Inner Circle and Jericho’s leading them and holding a title, does that make him the IC Champion?
I do think it’s a little weird that Jericho made references to “The List” and “stupid idiots” while bagging on WWE creative’s reliance on kitschy phrases, especially since Jake Hager was leaning into the “We The People” bit in his MMA career. Anyway, I don’t care what Jericho says, I rep Mex-America for life. I don’t, it was terrible, I’m kidding. Although I DO think they should team up Jake with Guevara and call them, “Sammy Hager.”
Additionally, anyone who speaks while ‘Judas’ is playing should be fired on the spot. Treat that song like it’s Cal Ripken Jr. taking a curtain call after 2131.
All In: Orange Is In Season
— TDE Wrestling (@tde_wrestling) October 10, 2019
No random Kevin Smith cameos this week, but we *do* get the Best Friends watching a video clip of themselves hugging in Canadian tuxedoes for some reason and getting a thumbs up for Orange Cassidy. The world is ready for Orange Cassidy, AEW. Put him in a match next week. DO IT.
Mostly In: Inci-dental Damage
Up next is a 95-pound champion and Dr. Dentist MD against Joshi Freddie Mercury and a Satan worshipper. AEW may not have any household names in their women’s division yet, but they’ve certainly got a wide variety of character types. I dig it.
At some point we’ve gotta ask ourselves: is Bea Priestly awesome for beating the shit out of Britt Baker every time she sees her and always seeming to hurt her for real, or … you know, the opposite? Priestly’s already concussed Britt and now given her a black eye, and I haven’t seen enough of her work to decide if she’s hurting folks by clumsy accident or if she’s just used to wrestling tiny Japanese female wrestlers you have to shoot point blank in the face with a gun to hurt.
Also, Elle got to write about Britt Baker’s dentist-accurate mandible claw in the first edition of AEW Dark, and I’m happy to finally be able to do it here. I love that she’s basically a mouth scientist, to the point that people are emptying their bowels and begging for death the second her fingers touch their teeth. She’s like an anime character that pokes you in the rib and makes your entire body explode. I want to see someone go into a big match against her wearing a mouth guard, or like one of those Glacier face masks so she can’t get her fingers in there.
All Out: Interference Party
One of the creative low points of last week’s show is when Jon Moxley randomly showed up in the middle of the main event, fought Kenny Omega to the back, and put him through a glass table with a Paradigm Shift … only for the referee to be like, “[shrug]” and continue the match 3-on-2. The excuse there was, “referee’s discretion.” This week, Tully Blanchard is cheating pretty blatantly during Shawn Spears vs. Moxley, and again, the announcers have to put over the idea of referee discretion, and how I guess if a referee doesn’t want to disqualify you, he’s just not. It’s … weird, and I think it would work if the show didn’t have the very WCW Monday Nitro tendency of having everyone bad cheat.
I think WWE did that to the ecosystem. You can’t have “bad guys” in wrestling now unless they’re cheating wildly. Every heel faction’s gotta be the nWo, running 5-on-1 attacks and referee misdirects, or whatever. In just two episodes we’ve had Moxley jam up a main event, had Moxley’s match BUILT around a heel manager cheating, and then done another run-in main event finish with a post-match beatdown. I know you guys have to draw in viewers and want to keep them watching from week to week, but SOME of these bad guys SERIOUSLY have to be good at wrestling on their own. They can be booed jerks and still follow the rules. That probably makes me sound like a square, but unless we’re going full lucha libre here with dudes breaking each other’s hands with hammers and shit, your danger and excitement and drama can only develop so far. At some point it’s just chaotic nonsense. Please look at WCW for a great example of this. I’m begging you.
I don’t think this would be a huge deal if we hadn’t basically dedicated both of the show’s two aired episodes to how the referees are blind morons who don’t even know the rules, and how disregarding the structure of the job is how you succeed. You’ve gotta establish the paradigm before you can shift it, you know?
All In: PAC-marked
You’ve gotta love Kenny Omega’s nerdy ass getting beaten down and put through a glass table with a DDT last week showing up for revenge with DRAMATIC STAGE POSING and a broom wrapped in barbed wire. Omega is the most performative wrestling superstar I’ve ever seen. He exists in a weird alternate universe from everybody else, and he’s just so himself that it’s undeniable. Like, nobody else could or should show up with a deadly broom and challenge a guy who cut their face up to a barbed-wire swordfight, you know?
Anyway, as you might expect, my very favorite part of this entire thing is PAC sitting in on commentary, clearly explaining his point of view on the busted AEW rankings system and why it’s so hard to assign real-life points and merits to an organic fictional universe actually made up of MANY promotions not operating under the same rules, and then running out and chair’ing Ken in the back of his head to break up the dramatic hardcore standoff. I could listen to PAC calmly deconstruct the wrestling show until he gets sick of it and murders people every week. Kick out Jim Ross and put PAC on commentary.
All In: Pardon Our Dust
The thing you’re gonna notice about the main event is that Dustin Rhodes is officially spending his days off in the Lazarus Pit, and somehow keeps getting younger and better. Everything he does is so smooth and impactful. It’s almost like he’s the son of one of wrestling’s greatest minds and has been doing this for 30 years!
Having Dustin around is going to be one of the most beneficial things about/for All Elite Wrestling and its young talent. What kind of bizarre, magic opportunity is Sammy Guevara and Adam Page getting to be in the ring in the main event of a nationally televised wrestling show alongside Dustin Rhodes and Chris Jericho? It’s like signing onto a movie and finding out all your scenes are with Meryl Streep and Daniel Day Lewis. They’re going to teach you something you can carry with you for the rest of your career on every take.
Dynamite continues its WCW vibes by having the main event descend into ongoing chaos, with Jake Strong pulling a Lucha Underground season 4 by running in to dominate and ruin it. He helps take out an en fuego Dustin Rhodes and give the Inner Circle the damned numbers game™ advantage in the post-match brawl, dividing the heroes up 2-on-1 and one giant vs. one average man. This turns into a staggered entry faction war, with Cody showing up a la Sabu for some reason to take out Guevara, Santana and Ortiz running out to stop him, and the Young Bucks tasseling out to even the odds. The highlight is probably MJF teasing his inevitable heel turn and once again proving to be on the side of the angels, which is oddly one of the most compelling things they’ve done character-wise so far. This guy’s an absolute piece of dog shit, and also he’s a babyface. It’s weird, but it works, I think? Dude could tease a heel turn every week until he retired and I’d buy it every week, because every atom in your wrestling brain is like BAD GUY BAD GUY BAD GUY.
Actually, correction: the highlight is Darby Allin deciding to skateboard down the ramp to attack Chris Jericho. He likes skateboards SO MUCH. Say what you will about AEW being started by and to promote The Elite, but these shows have been ruthlessly dedicated to putting over new talent. Sammy Guevara, MJF, Darby Allin, Private Party, Riho, Nyla Rose, and others are already popping these huge crowds, and are just as important to the promotion as the top guys.
It’s a shame they haven’t already bought back War Games, because two weeks in I’m already ready to see these teams throw down. That’s a good sign.
Best: Top 10 Comments Of The Week
More skateboard-based offense! More, I say!
Baron Von Raschke
Group Name: Fozzy Bears
By the way, underrated part of AEW: Show opens with the announce team running down the card for the night in 90 seconds then getting to the first match right away
Ok, Jericho just walking off and posing with his belt while the rest of his stable get beat down is the best
Baron Von Raschke
JUST LIKE IN COLLEGE, MOVING ON TO THE PRIVATE PARTY WILL COST YOU A COUPLE OF BUCKS!
Cody looking at the AEW tour schedule….figuring out when they will be in Oklahoma…figuring out whose finisher will look best on JR for that night.
Darby and Dustin should press their faces together
Cody: “Pardon me, I had to get my power suit.”
Cool Old Man Jericho >>>>>> Cool Dad Jericho
That chair shot from PAC was stiffer than me watching Wednesday night wrestling.
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEWrestling) October 10, 2019
It’s Darby Allin vs. Chris Jericho in the AEW Championship match you never knew you needed. Imagine how much of a dickbag Jericho’s gonna be to Cody when he’s able to beat a guy who Cody couldn’t. Bonus points if Jericho actually skateboards at any point during the match.
Make sure to drop a comment down below to let us know what you thought of the show, throw us a share on social media to help us keep writing about the mainstream alternative, and be here next week for another attempt at a “boom goes the dynamite” joke. How long can we go? See you then!