Will Moxley retain?
In what was a dark day in wrestling history due to the mass firing of staff and wrestler in WWE, AEW put on their weekly show of Dynamite. Will it shine some light through the darkness, or will it just be a dull affair?
As stated in the Raw results from Tuesday, In a time where entertainment news is space or revolving around the ongoing pandemic; where sports events and tv shows have been postponed, there has been one constant. Wrestling.
With wrestling being consistently released every week, despite ongoing circumstances, now seems like a perfect time to go over each match in a short detail and give them a grade. We aren’t the first site to do this, but this will be based entirely on the writer’s opinion.
This week’s AEW begins with a Snake and a Murderhawk:
“Listen to me, or regret it.”
Jake the Snake stars in a vignette, hyping up Lance Archer before his match against Colt Cabana. The promo was excellent and made Lance Archer look like a monster, as he should be. There is also a Colt Cabana promo vignette, where he states that he too has achieved great things around the world, just like Archer. The announcement team for this week is revealed to be Tony Schiavone and Le Champion, Chris Jericho. Both are excellent throughout the night, with particular praise to Jericho for making some very funny and memorable remarks later on.
The first match of the night features Lance Archer vs Colt Cabana. What could have been a simple squash match, turned into a great battle between the two, one which still made Archer look like a monster but allowed Cabana to put up a fight all the same. Archer’s entrance was excellent as always, attacking someone from behind the crowd barrier before entering the ring. Colt Cabana was very entertaining, especially early on in the match, he had some great bouts of offence which stunned Archer temporarily. However, Archer slammed Colt down on the mat hard, before performing a Ripcord Lariat. Colt makes Archer’s moves look devastating here, selling excellently and showcasing him as the monster he is. Colt has a small comeback with elbow strikes to the face, but this ends with Archer pouncing on Cabana, nearly forcing him out of the ring, similarly to his match with Marko Stunt. Archer hits the Blackout for the pinfall victory and continues to the next round of the TNT tournament, with his opponent being decided next week.
Lance Archer defeats Colt Cabana via Pinfall – Grade: B+
Archer still looks like a serious contender in AEW without damaging Cabana, this was exactly what this match should have been. It is soon followed by a quick promo by Britt Baker in a dentist’s office, in which she talks about Hikaru Shida and the events in their last match which led to Baker bleeding heavily from her nose.
Taz presents Technique by Taz, where he analyses Jake Hager’s arm triangle hold ahead of his match in the main event tonight against Jon Moxley for the AEW World Championship. This was a good example of the real sports feel promised by AEW when the company was first announced over a year ago, it also helped to showcase the offence of Hager, making him a viable threat to Moxley’s title.
Cassandra Golden is out next to face Britt Baker, in what is a showcase squash for Baker. Britt confronts Shida during her entrance, continuing their feud. During the short match, Baker kicks Golden in the face before posing in front of her on the apron. She uses the ropes to her advantage, putting Golden’s teeth between the ropes before stomping the back of her head, scoring the pinfall victory as well. The ending to this match was unique, despite being a squash, and made Baker look great too.
Britt Baker defeats Cassandra Golden via Pinfall – Grade: B-
The Inner Circle star next in a comedy segment where each member verbally attacks members of The Elite over the phone, in a comedically edited promo from their homes. This segment is really made by Jericho’s comment asking, “How sexy does Sammy Guevara look today?” A line he again asks later on commentary. Next up, it’s the sexy Spanish God himself, Sammy Guevara.
Not Brandi Rhodes Favourite
Sammy Guevara comes out, with the statement of “Not Brandi Rhodes Favourite” across his entrance graphic. He faces Suge D in a surprising match. During the match, Guevara hold Suge in a vertical suplex before planting him on the mat, however, Suge kicks out of the cover. Jericho is a highlight on commentary here, referring to Suge as Pineapple Pete while asking Schiavone how sexy Sammy is. Guevara kicks the rope into the throat of “Pete”, before putting him on his shoulders and squatting. Suge again kicks out of the next cover and somehow rolls Guevara up for a two-count, going further as to avoid his next moves and hitting a European Uppercut. The comeback is ended swiftly with Guevara performing a running knee strike to the back of Suge’s head, followed by an inverted torture rack and a knee to the face for the three-count.
Sammy Guevara defeats Suge D via Pinfall – Grade: B
This match was much longer and better than expected, even going so far as to cast a small amount of doubt on whether Suge D could actually pick up a shock win. Sammy picks up a mic for an in-ring promo, in which he states that it was, “light work for the Spanish god.” He goes on to talk about the TNT Championship Tournament, stating that he is going to beat the shit out of Darby Allin. He begins to beat down Suge, before Allin storms the ring, chasing off Guevara to end the segment.
The Chucky Cheese
The next match features Chuck Taylor, accompanied to the ring by Orange Cassidy, versus Kip Sabian, accompanied by Penelope Ford. Both wrestlers go back and forth throughout, with Kip being helped to the ropes by Penelope Ford after being caught in a single leg crab submission. There are plenty of kick outs in the match (maybe too many…), one of which included Chucky T hitting an elbow, with Kip Sabian kicking out of the cover.
Sabian hits a knee strike, knocking Chucky T out of the ring. He then follows up with a missed Baseball slide, with Chucky T dropping him on apron after. He is then again covered for a two-count. Chuck then goes for a moonsault, which misses and is met by a missle dropkick by Sabian. Saban hits several strikes, including a European uppercut and a kick to the head, but only gets a two-count.
Penelope Ford then attacks Chuck while the ref’s back is turned, before rolling him in the ring for yet another cover and kick out. Chucky T once again gains control and goes for another moonsault, landing on his feet and instead hitting a sit-out powerbomb which Jericho names, “The Chucky Cheese”. Later on, there is a second powerbomb and a (…how many is that now?) kick out, followed by more back and forth wrestling and kick outs.
Ford gets on the apron to distract Chucky T, who is then attacked by Sabian. However, Orange Cassidy then parodies Ford’s attempt before being taken out by Jimmy Havoc, who jumps the crowd barrier. While everyone is distracted, Ford climbs to the top rope and hits a Frankensteiner to Chucky T, allowing Sabian to capitalise for the win.
Kip Sabian defeats Chuck Taylor via Pinfall – Grade: B-
A polarising affair, with an ending I enjoyed greatly, but plagued by constant covers and kick outs. The involvement of Havoc improved the grade for me, and the quality of wrestling kept it from going down to a C grade.
The Chairman Arrives
Next up is a, thankfully, quick match between Shawn Spears and Justin Law. Spears was great here, underestimating his opponent, keeping his shirt on because he believed it would be quick, and even asking Law if, “you sure?” Law almost picks up the shock win, after Spears gets cocky. Spears retaliates by beating down Law and performing a running C4 for the win.
Shawn Spears defeats Justin Law – Grade: C+
This was a squash match. Nothing more, nothing less. But it was an entertaining one, giving Spears a well-needed victory.
Next up, Jim Ross replaces Schiavone and Jericho on commentary for the main event…
This Is Our Show
This one was a long one, at around 30 minutes, it may have been too long. After looking online, this match was very divisive… thankfully I was on the side that mostly enjoyed it. AEW World Champion Jon Moxley takes on the undefeated Jake Hager in an Empty Arena No Holds Barred match.
The match started off with plenty of grappling and feeling out each other, the early stages played out much like an MMA fight, which is what they were going for here. Moxley went for the takedown and attempted a submission, there was a lot of ground-work going on in the early stages of this match. The two square off with Moxley stating, “You’re a big strong bitch aren’t ya.” Moxley again goes for another takedown after focusing on the ankle of Hager, he takes him down with a double wrist lock, attempts to switch to the STF before reverting back to the wrists before Hager escapes and attacks Moxley in the corner. Plenty of strikes in the middle of the ring lead to Moxley throwing Hager out before jumping out and attempting a submission. Hager hits Moxley with hammerfists to escape as the show goes to a break.
The two continue to brawl on the concrete, all the way to the stands, where Moxley slumps over a railing and Hager proclaims that, “This is our show.” Moxley eventually clamps on the Figure Four Leg Lock on the railing, but Hager manages to free himself. Hager and Moxley make their way back ringside where Hager throws Moxley into the steel steps before rolling him in the ring. The champion attempts to fight back, but is halted by the challenger, who attempts a Hager bomb, only to be taken out by a running knee strike. Both go back and forth, with Hager hitting a Gutwrench Powerbomb for the two-count before another break.
Moxley hits a clothesline to take back control of the match, but sells the discomfort and pain from his injured arm/shoulder. Hager attempts an ankle lock but is nearly rolled up by Moxley. He is then hit by a DDT from Moxley but catches him in a Triangle Lock on the ground. Moxley manages to get the rope break and gets out of the ring. Hager uses this time to grab a chair from the time-keepers area and driving it into Moxley’s lower abdomen. Hager then lodges the chair between the top and middle rope in the corner. Both attempt to trick each other into the chair, until Moxley eventually runs face-first into it after charging at his opponent.
Moxley kicks out of the cover but is then struck in the leg by the chair from Hager. The champ makes a comeback, hitting another DDT and attempting a submission before being picked up by Hager. Hager strikes Moxley with what looks to be a low blow, before Moxley surprises Hager with the chair, performing the Paradigm Shift on top of it. Moxley gets the three-count and retains.
AEW World Champion Jon Moxley defeats Jake Hager to Retain – Grade: B
As stated earlier, this match was divisive. It wasn’t the best, but it was far from the worst. Those expecting a much faster-paced affair were met wit a slow grinding MMA style, technical bout. It may have been a little bit too long, but was still and an effective main event for the show and a good first title defence for Moxley.
Overall Grade: B
The show was good given the circumstances. Despite some slow moments and a few throwaway, showcase matches; the quality of wrestling was still high and moves the storylines along well.
Join us on Saturday for WWE Smackdown!
By Jimmy Ioannou
Images provided by AEW