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The John Report: AEW Dynamite 03/18/20 Review

Welcome to the AEW Dynamite review on TJRWrestling. The world has changed so much since last week’s Dynamite that had a crowd in an arena and now here we are seven days later at a time when “social distancing” has become the most popular phrase in the world. No fans at AEW Dynamite this week. They held the event at the Daily’s Place venue in Jacksonville that is owned by Tony Khan’s family and so that means it’s a different type of show.

Live from Jacksonville, Florida, this is episode #24 of AEW Dynamite. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Thanks to Melo Man for the banner up top. Here’s my AEW Dynamite TV review archive. I’m watching on TSN2 in Canada as usual.

The show began with Cody standing in a darkened ring with nobody else around him and no fans in the building.

Cody stood in the ring saying he has never thought of his world as small before, but recent events put into perspective how small we all are. It also clarified how big the service they provide is. Cody said he’s about to ask three of the best athletes in the world to discard their petty differences, put aside the squabbles and come together. Cody said that human beings need to stand together. For many of us, that will mean standing at a distance. Cody said that we have to be informed, be held responsible and listen to science, but there is a profound difference in that and living in a prison of fear. Cody said that he refuses to live in fear. Cody said he feels alive and he hopes we feel alive. Cody said he knows Matt Jackson is listening, he said other than Tony Khan maybe AEW doesn’t exist without here. Cody said that he needs Matt to carry Nick Jackson back and they can win at Blood & Guts. Cody put over “Hangman” Adam Page talking about how talented he is, he said he lost to Chris Jericho for the AEW World Title, but so did Cody. Cody said Page should be the difference-maker for The Elite at Blood & Guts. Cody said that he may not always see eye to eye with Kenny Omega, but he needs The Elite to be…elite.

Analysis: I like Cody and his intentions, but being smart about being with the Coronavirus has nothing to do with living in fear. It’s common sense to beat the virus that you practice social distancing. It’s not like this is a war against another being. It’s a virus. Maybe that line was about his pro wrestling feud. I don’t know. Anyway, I’ll move on.

Kenny Omega and Matt Jackson walked out to the ring to talk to Cody. Omega said normally when you have a microphone you’d be in front of an arena of people, but here they are talking to friends. Omega said that there have been times when he and Cody were at eachother’s throats and Kenny said the world is falling apart, they don’t know if they’ll have Dynamite next week, but if it’s up to him he wants to go out how they came in as The Elite.

Matt Jackson said that he appreciates Cody’s call to action and Omega saying they are The Elite. Matt said his brother Nick was taken out last week and he can’t even get on a plane to come here. Matt said it’s just the three of us while asking where “Hangman” Adam Page was. That’s when Page showed up on the stage. Matt asked Page if he will stand with them tonight and at Blood & Guts. Page raised his glass, said “yep” and then he walked to the back.

Omega said he’s talking to the people in TV land. Omega said he wants the best for everyone out there in the world and all we can do is give you the best show they can give. Omega said they’ll give us the best possible show that they can give. Omega said hit the lights, hit the pyro and let’s start Dynamite. That led to the pyro going off in the arena and the lights came on to start the show.

Analysis: It’s a unique show with no fans, so starting it in a different way like this was understandable and I liked the idea of having Kenny welcome us to the show as the lights came on. I thought they handled it very well.

The announce team of Jim Ross, Excalibur and Tazz were there. Tazz was replacing Tony Schiavone on commentary this week although Tony was there too. They plugged the matches coming up this week.

Maxwell Jacob Friedman was interviewed by Tony Schiavone in the building. MJF said that he’s going to sit back and rest his undefeated body, so he’s going to let them kill themselves out there. Shawn Spears was there with Tony wondering if they were betting on the matches. MJF asked if Tony the old man wanted in on the action. That was funny.

Analysis: I miss gambling. Bring me back my sports to bet on!

Brandi Rhodes was the ring announcer for this week’s show replacing Justin Roberts, who had travel issues getting to the show. Brandi was a ring announcer in her WWE days, so she has experience in that role.

There were other wrestlers on the AEW roster sitting at ringside watching the matches. Orange Cassidy was on commentary for this match, but he never speaks so he just sat there. JR called him a “soundbite machine.”

Lucha Brothers (Rey Fenix and Pentagon) vs. Best Friends (Trent and Chuck Taylor)

Trent and Fenix exchanged punches, then forearms, Fenix with a punch to the jaw and Trent with a jumping knee attack. Trent with a snapmare followed by a kick to the back. Taylor in leading to a double team shoulder tackle and Taylor hit a belly to back suplex for a two count. Cassidy looked like he was sleeping on commentary. Double team suplex by Best Friends on Fenix for a two count. Trent with a running back elbow on Fenix. Taylor with a dropkick on Fenix for a two count. Fenix stomped on the foot of Trent and then a kick to the back of the head. Pentagon tagged in with a superkick on Trent, Fenix with a kick to the knee and Lucha Bros hit a double superkick to the head for two. Pentagon with two hard kicks to the legs as Spears and MJF were drinking wine at ringside as they bet on the matches. Fenix tagged back in, multiple kicks to the leg and Pentagon flipped Fenix around to splash Trent. Cassidy stood up on commentary. Trent dove on Pentagon and then Fenix jumped over the top onto Trent on the floor. Taylor with a running clothesline on Fenix, so all four guys were down on the floor.

(Commercial – Taylor sent Fenix into the ring post while Trent was working over Pentagon on the other side of the ring. Pentagon whipped Trent into the barricade as Taylor rolled Fenix into the ring. If they cared about countouts then there would have been a countout, but they don’t care. Fenix with a kick to the head of Taylor while on the floor while Pentagon brought Trent into the ring. Fenix had control of Trent with a chinlock in the ring.)

Pentagon tagged in with a roll through on Trent and then a superkick for a two count as Cassidy looked sleepy on commentary. Trent with a forearm, Pentagon with a kick to the leg and Trent with an armdrag. Trent stepped off the ropes leading to a Tornado DDT. Taylor got the tag with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker on Fenix. Pentagon was in there, Taylor with a rising knee and Best Friends hit a double team Cutter on Fenix. Best Friends were about to hug, but then they touched elbows. Lucha Bros with superkicks. Cassidy walked towards the ring at this point, so Lucha Bros stared at him. Chuck shoved the Lucha Bros off the stage and then Cassidy with a back splash onto both Lucha Bros. The referee didn’t see that. Taylor with a piledriver on Pentagon for two. Pentagon with a low blow kick on Trent that the referee didn’t see, a kick to Taylor and Fenix jumped off the top with the package piledriver/double foot stomp into the pinfall win for Pentagon on Trent. It went about 14 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Lucha Brothers (Rey Fenix and Pentagon)

Analysis: ***1/2 Good work by two teams that know eachother well and are all veterans out there. It’s so weird watching without a crowd, but they did their best to have a competitive match. The story was that it was an even match until Pentagon hit the low blow and then Lucha Bros capitalized on that for the win. Best Friends are a good team, but they don’t seem to go on winning streaks that lead to a push. Lucha Bros have been on the receiving end of a push since they aligned with Pac, even though he wasn’t there. Fenix is one of the five best workers in the company. I love watching him in the ring.

Lucha Brothers celebrated the win. MJF celebrated that he won his bet with Spears at ringside.

The losing team of Taylor, Trent and Cassidy were interviewed on the stage by Schiavone, who said that Death Triangle made an impact. Taylor said that Death Triangle kicked his partner in the dick (he said it) and he wanted them to have a fight. Trent said they wanted a fight in a parking lot next week on Dynamite with Death Triangle. That match was made official later in the show.

There’s a women’s 4-Way match up next. The introductions of Penelope Ford and Riho were shown.

(Commercial – Kris Statlander the alien chick was up next. Hikaru Shida was the fourth woman in the match.)

Penelope Ford (w/Kip Sabian) vs. Riho vs. Kris Statlander vs. Hikaru Shida

Ford tossed Riho out of the ring. Statlander with a forearm to Ford. Statlander and Shida went to the ropes, Sabian pulled them out of the ring, so the women punched him to knock him down. Ford missed a diving attempt. Riho went up top and hit a cross body block on the three women on the floor. Sabian pulled Ford out to safety. Riho with a dropkick on Shida and Statlander with a backbreaker on Riho. Shida suplexed Statlander into Riho against the ropes. Shida with an eye poke on Statlander into a rollup for two. Statlander with a running clothesline on Shida. Ford missed something on Statlander, but then Riho hit a headscissors on Kris and Shida hit a missile dropkick on Statlander. Riho and Ford hit a double suplex on Shida. Riho and Ford exchanged forearms, Riho knocked Sabian down and Ford hit a handspring splash onto Riho against the turnbuckle. Sabian was holding Ford’s hands for a pin attempt and the referee did nothing about it. Riho with a jumping knee to knock Sabian down. Shida with a knee to Riho, Ford with a boot to Shida and Shida with a step up enziguri on Statlander. Front suplex by Statlander on Shida. Statlander slammed Riho onto Shida. Ford with a reverse hurricanrana on Statlander to send her out of the ring. Shida with a dropkick on Ford and a Falcon Arrow slam on Ford for two. Shida with a running knee on Ford for the pinfall win after six minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Hikaru Shida

Analysis: **3/4 A solid match with a lot of action. They didn’t have a lot of nearfalls to build up the excitement, so I think that hurt the match a little. That blown spot by Ford was very noticeable, but to their credit they just kept on moving forward after that. It was silly how Sabian was blatantly cheating and the referee didn’t eject him from ringside. Shida’s win should lead to her getting a title shot against Nyla Rose soon.

Colt Cabana was interviewed at ringside by Tony Schiavone with Colt holding a 2-0 record in AEW. Cabana said this is very weird, he’s doing some scouting and he’s getting paid to sit there. Cabana said that Ford would be a lot better if she wasn’t scheming with her boyfriend. Sabian went up to Cabana, so Cabana shoved him in the face and told him to get out of there. Sabian left with Ford. Cabana said it was great to be there and he looks forward to wrestling more.

(Commercial)

The AEW World Champion Jon Moxley was interviewed in the parking lot by Tony Schiavone in an “earlier today” segment. Tony noted that Moxley was not medically cleared to enter the arena, Moxley said he should be able to go in and wondered when he’s been medically cleared his entire career. Moxley said that he’ll go on a drive and let off some steam. Moxley warned the Inner Circle by saying he’ll be lurking around the corner and when Blood & Guts happens, he’s not going to miss that party. Moxley drove off in the expensive car he “stole” from the Inner Circle.

Analysis: The expensive car is owned by Tony Khan’s father, so that’s why it was there.

Jurassic Express (Luchasaurus and Jungle Boy) vs. The Butcher and The Blade

There was no Bunny with “The” boys and no Stunt with Jurassic Express. MJF gave The Blade some cash to motivate him.

Boy got a pin attempt on Blade for a two count. Boy with an armdrag takedown, Blade with a knee to the ribs and Boy was down after that. Luchasaurus got the tag, he lifted up Boy into a neckbreaker that got two for Luchasaurus. Boot to the chest by Luchasaurus and a splash by Boy on Blade. Boy went for an attack over the top, but Butcher and Blade caught him and tossed him into the steel barricade. The heels sent Boy face first into the apron. Butcher stomped away on Boy followed by a hard chop to the chest. Blade with a clothesline on Boy and Butcher tagged in with a leg drop for two.

(Commercial – The Butcher and Blade made quick tags to continue to work on Boy including a double team shoulder tackle. Basic tag team stuff.)

Boy hit a running clothesline on Blade to get some momentum going. Blade prevented Boy from tagging out and Butcher shoved Boy back first into the ring apron. Boy fought his way out of the heel corner, Luchasaurus got the tag and knocked down Blade with three kicks. Luchasaurus with a moonsault off the apron onto Butcher on the floor with his knee hitting him in the head. Luchasaurus drove Blade’s face into the mat. Spin kick by Luchasaurus and a slam off the shoulders, but Butcher was in there to make the save. Boy was back in and they messed up some spot that led to Boy and Blade bumping to the floor. Luchasaurus was battling Butcher in the ring with Luchasaurus hitting a kick to the ribs. Blade was the legal man as he hit a running kick, then a chop and Butcher hitting a spinning slam for two as Boy made the save. Butcher with a backbreaker on Boy. Luchasaurus with a tail whip kick on Butcher, Boy dropkick on Butcher and Jurassic Express hit a double team slam into a Cutter and Luchasaurus covered Blade for the pinfall win. Boy ran out of the ring to stomp on Butcher because I think he wanted a dive, but Butcher was on the ground. It went about 13 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Jurassic Express (Luchasaurus and Jungle Boy)

Analysis: *** This was more of a classic tag team match with Boy as the face in peril, they actually paid attention to the rules for the most part and built up to the hot tag well. The finish was awkward. It just felt off. The Jurassic Express team can beat a lower card tag team like these guys, but when they face the bigger names they are usually losing. A sustained push for Jurassic Express would be nice to see because they are a popular team that works well together.

(Commercial – They had a split-screen commercial showing wrestlers standing around ringside. Not much to it.)

Say Hello to The Exalted One

The Dark Order members Evil Uno and Stu Grayson walked out to the ring. Uno said that the Exalted One is near and when he arrives, he’ll breathe new life into the Dark Order. Uno said that he has promised his group the arrival of the Exalted One and he promised the fans the arrival. Uno said that he never breaks his promises because he cares about us. Uno said that together we are one and the Exalted One is near…which he said a few times.

Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian of SCU said they should stop running their mouths. Daniels said that it’s been like this for three months straight. Daniels said that they haven’t made Alex Reynolds, John Silver or anybody else any better. Daniels said that they are sick of it and the biggest one is that there is an Exalted One while Daniels claimed it was just those two guys.

A video aired featuring The Exalted One telling us that in a very short time we’ll be up to speed as to who he has. He said they do what they want, when they want and if he wants something, he’ll take it. If they come and knock on our door, let the Dark Order in and if you don’t, the Exalted One will kick that door down. It was Brodie Lee (former Luke Harper), who said let’s make this clear for Daniels and the word is out that Daniels is very unsafe. Lee told Daniels he won’t go unpunished while calling him an “out of touch old man” that didn’t believe in him, but he will make damn sure that he will be the last. Lee introduced himself saying: “My name is Brodie Lee and I am the Exalted One.” That was it.

Brodie Lee was in the ring with his Dark Order buddies, then Daniels and Kazarian turned around. Lee hit Daniels with a boot to the face followed by a spinning clothesline. Lee stood tall with his Dark Order buddies as they chanted “We Are One” behind him.

Analysis: That was very cool in how they did the reveal in the video and then the attack in the ring. I’m a huge fan of Lee from his years as Luke Harper. There was comment in there about the “out of touch old man” that didn’t believe in him and that’s definitely a reference to WWE’s Vince McMahon, who stopped using Harper over the last year, which is what led to his departure. I think Lee will strive here as a veteran wrestler that is one of the tallest guys on the roster as well. The Dark Order stable hasn’t been that exciting to me, but the presence of Lee will definitely help the group.

(Commercial – Kazarian helped Daniels out of the ring and they walked to the back together.)

The great Jake Roberts was at ringside with Lance Archer as Tony Schiavone was there to interview them. Roberts said that Archer wasn’t there to talk. Roberts called out Cody saying that he’s a Hall of Famer and you should pay attention to him. Roberts said that they don’t play games and it’s one thing to keep away from them, but to ignore them is like spitting in Jake’s face. Roberts said he heard Cody bitching like girls worried about who is going to the prom. Roberts said that it is time for Cody to step up and meet the man. Roberts said that it has become personal, Cody had his chance to meet them straight on and now they will get his attention. Think about it.

Analysis: Good promo from Roberts as usual. He can still deliver when it comes to being a scary heel.

There was a clip of Lance Archer and Jake Roberts entering some ring in a field with smaller wrestlers and the wrestlers were encouraged to try to beat Archer. It featured clips of Archer beating up these smaller guys and looking like a badass while doing so. Archer yelled: “Everybody dies.” Archer hit a running shoulder tackle on a bigger guy. An even bigger guy went into the ring and Archer took him out with a clothesline. At the end of it, Archer stood tall while all the wrestlers were down. An image was shown of Cody that said “CAESAR” on it because that’s what Jake called him. Another guy went up to Archer, so Lance gave him a Chokeslam onto the hood of a car.

Analysis: This was a unique video package that put over how much of a big guy Archer is and how dominant he can be. I give AEW credit for coming up with something different for a video like that. It wasn’t just a guy talking about how great he is. They showed us how he can dominate in the ring. I liked it.

The announcers talked about what’s coming on Dynamite next time. A Lumberjack Match with Wardlow facing Luchasaurus, Best Friends vs. Lucha Bros in a Parking Lot Fight and the Blood & Guts match with Inner Circle facing The Elite. There’s likely no Nick Jackson in the match due to internal injuries.

Analysis: The announcers and graphics said “Next Dynamite” because it’s unknown for sure if there’s an episode next week. There likely will be, but who knows in today’s world. The Nick Jackson injury is just a work. His wife is due to have their third child any day now. It’s not officially known if the Blood & Guts match will be next week.

The Inner Circle group of Santana, Ortiz and Jake Hager entered for the main event match with Sammy Guevara joining them.

(Commercial – The Inner Circle guys were in the ring. Sammy Guevara had some signs with him.)

Chris Jericho made his entrance on his own as the leader of the Inner Circle group. It was funny watching Guevara and Shawn Spears (with beer in hand) singing the “Judas” song the way that the fans do. MJF joined in. Sammy was singing on the microphone and that was pretty funny. Jericho was laughing about it. Sammy kept on singing after the music stopped. Jericho joined the announcers for this match saying Sammy did an amazing job of singing.

The Elite team made their entrance with Cody joined by Arn Anderson and Jericho called Cody a pompous son of a bitch. Jericho said Arn had a Waffle House menu with him. That made me chuckle. Jericho mocked Cody’s neck tattoo saying that it looked like Excalibur painted when he was five years old. Matt Jackson of the Young Bucks was one of the partners. The third man was “Hangman” Adam Page joined by Kenny Omega and they are the AEW Tag Team Champions. Jericho talked about how everybody in AEW has put on a great show tonight. Cody tossed his shirt to his wife Brandi at ringside.

The Inner Circle (Jake Hager, Santana and Ortiz w/Sammy Guevara) vs. Cody, Matt Jackson, “Hangman” Adam Page (w/Kenny Omega)

The winners of this match get the advantage in the “Blood & Guts” match.

Cody started the match for his team while MJF mocked him from his spot in the crowd. Cody with a powerslam on Santana with Jericho saying that it was one of the best powerslams in the business. Ortiz tagged in with a double team suplex on Cody. Ortiz tried a suplex, but Cody countered it into a suplex into a slam. Matt and Page bickered on the apron, Matt got the tag and Page went into the ring for a boot to the face. Page refused to give Matt a high five, so he just walked away. Ortiz with a kick on Matt, then Santana was in there and Matt hit him with a Spear. Page tagged Matt’s back to become the legal man. Page took over with some hard chops on Santana followed by a bridging pin for two. Cody tagged in, cheap shot by Ortiz and Santana sent Cody to the floor. Ortiz drove Cody into the ring apron. The heels focused their attack in their corner.

(Commercial)

The heels remained in control with the Inner Circle did their “pass the suplex” spot as Ortiz hit a delayed suplex on Cody for a two count. Jericho said that he’s already a coach and he’s much better than Anderson as Ortiz whipped Cody into the guard rails. Matt went after Ortiz on the floor. Santana continued the offense against Cody with an enziguri kick to the head. Hager worked over Cody with punches, then a snapmare and a wristlock. Ortiz tagged back in with a punch to the ribs of Cody followed by some dreaded back scratching. Ortiz got an inside cradle on Cody for two. Santana stomped on Cody’s arm while Excalibur plugged Jericho’s new shirt and Jericho told him to shut his ass. Cody managed to hit Cross Rhodes on Ortiz, but Cody was too beat up to make the cover. Hager got the tag, Cody dumped him out of the ring and Santana knocked Cody’s partners off the apron to prevent a tag.

(Commercial – The heels remained in control of Cody in their half of the ring. It was just typical heel work to keep the babyface isolated to build up to the hot tag.)

The show returned with Inner Circle still in control as Jericho had a Young Bucks bill on his forehead. Cody finally broke free with a boot to the face on Hager and Page got the hot tag. Page with a boot to the face of Ortiz, then he hit a fallaway slam on legal man Santana. Page with a dive over the top onto Hager on the floor. Page with a running clothesline on Santana for two as Ortiz broke up the pin. Cod hit a suicide dive on Ortiz on the floor and Cody threw Ortiz into MJF. Wardlow choked Cody, so Arn hit Wardlow with his clipboard. Matt was in the ring with Santana with Matt hitting the three Northern Lights suplexes. Matt and Page worked together on a double team slam on Hager as Matt and Page stared at eachother. Matt held up Santana, but Hager pulled Page off the apron. Santana rolled up Matt using his legs and sat on top for the pinfall win after 20 minutes. Jericho: “We did it!”

Winners by pinfall: The Inner Circle (Jake Hager, Santana and Ortiz)

Analysis: ***1/2 This was a pretty good match for the most part. It went a bit long at 20 minutes with Cody as the face in peril for about half the match, but I get that they wanted to give it time as a main event level match with six guys involved. The finish was done in a way that made it look close with Santana pinning Matt after hitting a rollup where he sat on top for the win. The heels usually get the advantage going into a War Games style match, so that’s why it was obvious they would win. I figured it would be Hager that won for his team, but I have no problem with Santana getting the big win.

The Inner Circle’s Jericho, Hager, Santana, Ortiz and Guevara celebrated on the stage. They were all hugging eachother – so much for social distancing! They showed highlights of the match with Jericho talking about how they did it and got the win.

Jericho said that he knew they had the advantage as the Inner Circle. Jericho said that he is banning all fans from all future AEW events until he says so. Jericho said he didn’t care if the world was changing tomorrow because we didn’t need “pumpkin-headed dipshits” cheering for The Elite, so they’re gone. Jericho said that after they did to Matt’s brother Nick, they have five guys and The Elite only has four as they did their middle finger routine. Hager was doing push ups to show off. Jericho said they’ve never had a problem in The Inner Circle, they’ve never hit eachother accidentally or had any issues while pointing out that they just win. Jericho said that when it comes time for Blood & Guts, they’ll dominate that as well. Sammy talked about how hot he is as the Spanish God and told Brandi to hit him up since her man (Cody) is a loser.

There was an interruption from the drone known as Vanguard 1. Matt Jackson said what do we have here? Matt said that The Elite isn’t outnumbered. Matt said it’s not just the four of them in the ring. Matt said that he made a phone call to a friend that owed him a favor…

It was Matt Hardy making his AEW debut! Matt was in the upper deck of the arena and he was dressed in his “Broken Matt” attire as the piano played. Matt was doing the “Delete” hand gesture sign. Matt stared at the heels while The Elite were happy in the ring. The show ended with Matt making his “Delete” hand gestures.

Analysis: There’s the AEW debut of Matt Hardy, which was expected for most of the month since his WWE deal expired. That’s another thing on this show that would have generated a huge pop in front of a live crowd. Perhaps they should have saved it for another show since they already debuted Brodie Lee earlier, but I think it fits in the storyline.

 

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Brodie Lee
  2. Matt Hardy
  3. Lucha Brothers

 

The Scoreboard

This week: 7.5 (out of 10)

Last week: 7.5

2020 Average: 7.46

Last 5 Weeks: 7.5, 7.25, 7.5, 8.5, 8

 

Final Thoughts

This week’s Dynamite gets a 7.5 out of 10.

I thought it was a very good episode of Dynamite considering the circumstances they were in with no fans in attendance. The AEW debuts of Brodie Lee as Dark Order leader and Matt Hardy teaming with The Elite were cool. We can say this about the whole show, but those moments would have been incredible in front of a big crowd. I think Brodie is going to be a big deal in this company. Matt’s a creative guy that should have a lot of freedom to come up with some unique things as his “Broken Matt” character.

This wasn’t an all-time great AEW show because they have had Dynamite episodes with better matches. However, I really enjoyed the storyline progression and the big moments they had. Thanks to AEW for putting on a great show. It made me forget about other stuff in the world for a couple of hours. It’s appreciated.

You can contact me using any of the methods below. Go NBA Champion Toronto Raptors and Toronto Maple Leafs.

Thanks for reading.

John Canton

Email: mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter: @johnreport

Personal Facebook and TJRWrestling on Facebook

 

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