Welcome to the first-ever AEW Dynamite Review right here on TJRWrestling. All Elite Wrestling was announced as a company in the first week of January, they’ve run two pay-per-views and two more special events since then. After a lot of anticipation, their first TV episode is here. I’m excited about it. I’m watching on TSN 2 here in Canada. Let’s see what they have in store for us.
Live from Washington, DC, this is episode #1 of AEW Dynamite. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Please visit TJRWrestling.net daily for our regular updates on the wrestling business featuring WWE news coverage along with reviews about wrestling’s past and present. Thanks to Melo Man for the banner up top.
The show began with a brief show open featuring some of the big wrestlers in the company. There was a pyro display on the stage, which is similar to the stage setup they used at the two PPVs this year. Jim Ross welcomed us to the show. The crowd was loud and there was a shot of Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes (Jay & Silent Bob) at ringside.
The AEW Dynamite announce team of Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone and Excalibur (in a mask) welcomed us to the show from the announce table. Schiavone noted it was the last wrestling show on TNT since 2001 (the last WCW Nitro) They were all wearing AEW jackets. They went over the matches that are coming up.
There was a video package to get us ready for Cody vs. Sammy Guevara with Cody talking about how the last thing he wants is to get embarrassed while Sammy said it was the biggest match of his life. Cody is scheduled to challenge Chris Jericho for the AEW World Title at Full Gear, but if Sammy wins, Cody has said that Sammy would take his place.
Cody made his entrance along with his wife Brandi Rhodes. They got a huge ovation from the crowd. There was some fire and pyro that went off for the entrance of the “American Nightmare” Cody. The ovation continued to get louder as Cody posed in the ring with fans cheering him and chanting his name.
Analysis: It was the right call to have Cody make the first entrance on Dynamite since he is one of the “fathers” of AEW.
Sammy Guevara made his entrance with his panda headgear and his nickname is “The Best Ever,” which is a conceited name for a guy in his mid-20s. The crowd didn’t cheer for Sammy.
Cody (w/Brandi Rhodes) vs. Sammy Guevara
There’s a 20-minute time limit. They announce those in AEW. I’m going to refer to Guevara as just “Sammy” in the play by play. They did some mat wrestling early on followed by a taunt from Sammy. The green shirt guy that sits front row at a lot of WWE events was front row here. Cody was in control with a headlock and I noticed Cody had an AEW on TNT belt on. Sammy with a slap to the face, so Cody hit an uppercut. Cody with a powerslam too. Cody slapped on a Figure Four Leglock and Sammy was able to get to the bottom rope to the break the hold. Cody with a standing, delayed front suplex for two. With Sammy down, Cody did some push-ups and flexing. Sammy came back with a spin kick to the face, but Cody got back into it with a springboard into a Cutter for a two count. Sammy with a jumping kick to the face of Cody and then Sammy went to the top rope leading to a Cutter of his own for a two count. When Sammy went to the apron, Cody kicked him to the mat. Brandi went over to Sammy, she talked trash to him and Cody went for a suicide dive. Sammy pulled Brandi in front of him, so Cody accidentally knocked down Brandi. Cody helped Brandi back up and a doctor or somebody checked on her. There were “Asshole” chants. That allowed Sammy to shove Cody into the steel ring post. Back in the ring, Sammy hit a standing moonsault for a two count. Cody set up Sammy against the ropes, Brandi hit Sammy with a shoe to the face and Cody hit a springboard Disaster Kick for a two count. They were at the ten-minute mark. Cody set up Sammy on the top rope and hit a reverse superplex off the top for a two count. Great move that drew a big reaction. Cody got a back elbow to knock Sammy down, Cody went up top and Sammy jumped off the top with the Spanish Fly slam for a two count. Great spot. Sammy went up top with a Shooting Star Press, but Cody got the knees up and got an inside cradle for the pinfall win after 12 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Cody
Analysis: ***1/2 That was a fun, competitive match with some big spots towards the end of the match where each man came close to winning. I liked the sequence where Cody hit a Cutter and then Sammy did it too. Cody accidentally taking out Brandi gave some momentum to Sammy, who nearly capitalized to win the match. I liked the finish with Cody countering a big move from Sammy and the old school nature of an inside cradle to win sets the stage for the future of AEW.
After the match, Cody was supposed to be interviewed by Tony Schiavone, who Cody hugged. Sammy Guevara went up to Cody and shook his hand. That led to AEW Champion Chris Jericho coming out to attack Cody. Jericho beat up Cody with punches and a clothesline. Jericho held up the AEW Title. Jericho hit a Codebreaker on Cody and they went to break after 23 minutes.
Analysis: Good way to get some heat on Jericho heading into the Jericho/Cody AEW Title match at Full Gear on November 9. It was a predictable attack. Going 23 minutes without a break is nice to see as well, but that probably means shorter intervals with breaks throughout the show.
The show returned with Jericho still in control of Cody as they battled outside the ring. Jericho pulled out two chairs that he opened up on the floor. Jericho gave Cody a Powerbomb on two chairs. A ringside attendant pushed Jericho to basically tell him to get out of there. Jericho shoved Schiavone out of the way.
Jericho did a promo on the stage saying he is Chris Jericho and he is “Le Champion” of AEW. They showed replays of Jericho’s attack on Rhodes from before the break. During the break, Jericho hit Cody with a chair to the back.
Analysis: That was a bit awkward with Jericho doing the attack, then the guy pushed him up the ramp to get him moving and Jericho’s promo was very brief. It was a bit organized, which is to be expected for a new wrestling company.
Brandon Cutler entered for a match. Excalibur let us know he was a school age friend of The Young Bucks, got into the business with them, then he stopped wrestling and got back into it. This was his first AEW match.
MJF made his entrance to let us know he’s the fastest rising star in the history of professional wrestling…Maxwell Jacob Friedman. MJF insulted Cutler for being a guy that should be being the guard rail because he’s a complete loser. MJF said that Cutler will find out that Dungeons & Dragons is not real, but MFJ is better and you know it.
MJF vs. Brandon Cutler
MJF tripped up Cutler, who came back with a hard slap to the face and Cutler hit a sunset flip into a pin for two. Cutler picked up MJF, who did an eye rake and MJF drove the left arm against the top rope. Schiavone said he wanted Cutler to “shut this little prick’s month” when speaking of MJF. MJF sent Cutler shoulder first into the ring post. MJF worked on the shoulder a bit, Cutler sent MJF out of the ring and Cutler hit a suicide dive followed by punches. Cutler went up top, then slipped off and favored his left knee. The referee tried to keep Cutler back, so MJF hit Cutler with a forearm and MJF slapped on the Salt of the Earth armbar for the submission win after three minutes.
Winner by submission: MJF
Analysis: *1/2 Easy win for MJF as expected since he’s a future star and Cutler is just a regular guy on the roster. I like how MJF got some cheap shots in to help him get the win. Heels should cheat. I like seeing that.
They went to break right after MJF had his hand raised as the winner.
They showed interviewer Chris Van Vliet at ringside with Kevin Smith and Jason Mews of Jay and Silent Bob, which comes out on October 1
5th and Chris Jericho is in it. Smith says Jericho plays a bad guy in the movie. Smith said that this is amazing and there was an interruption. It was Jack Evans and Angelico. Evans trash talked Mewes and Smith, so Mewes said they were even good enough to win a match. That led to the Private Party tag team to show up at ringside. They left.
Analysis: They got in a movie plug and showed off two tag teams, so at least they are getting people on the show without putting them in matches.
There was a plug for the AEW World Tag Team Championship Tournament starting next week.
The SCU trio of Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky did a video in Washington. Sky did a bit of an Obama impression, then said this is the worst town they’ve ever been in (their catchphrases) and they let us know they were SCU.
There was an interview by Schiavone where he talked to Sky, Daniels and Kazarian on the stage. Sky said “DYNO-MITE” like Jimmy Walker. Google it, kids. Sky said that he is very confident that any two of the three of them would walk out of the tournament with gold around his waists and Sky said he’ll sit this one out to let the experience of Kazarian and Daniels to be in the tournament. The Lucha Brothers Pentagon and Fenix showed up to interrupt. They got a big ovation. Fenix said they are the best tag team in the business, Pentagon said “Ciero Miedo” meaning “no fear” and SCU said “SCU” at them. There was a water spit after that, and it led to a brawl with referees breaking it up.
Analysis: All of that was a good way to promote the tag team division and mention the tournament for the titles. That was the third commercial in about 20 minutes, so they broke them up nicely.
When they returned from break, they showed the crowd in the arena for about ten seconds, then some music played and JR noted there were over 14,000 fans in the arena.
The trio of The Young Bucks and Kenny Omega were shown backstage getting ready. Chris Jericho had a chat with his partners Santana and Ortiz with Jericho telling them it’s the most important night in wrestling history.
Hangman Adam Page got a good ovation from the crowd and there was some pyro for his entrance. Page lost to Chris Jericho in the inaugural AEW World Title match at All Out in August.
Pac, who most fans know as Neville, was up as the opponent and he’s called “The Bastard” Pac officially. Pac got a big win over Kenny Omega at All Out. They went to break before the match began.
This match began a few minutes before the midway point of the show.
Pac vs. “Hangman” Adam Page
This match has a 20-minute time limit. They got into a slugfest as they exchanged punches, the fans were really into it and Pac came back with kicks to the ribs. Pack with a jumping kick and then Page hit a clothesline leading to a flip bump by Pac. Page with a chop, so Pac left the ring and Page went after him and whipped Pac against the barricade two times. Page went back into the ring and then hit a suicide dive that sent Pac into the barricade. Back in the ring, Page with a fallaway slam followed by a standing Shooting Star Press for a two count. Pac sent Page to the apron and then choked his throat across the top rope. Pac stomped on the back of the neck of Page at ringside and then Pac hit a springboard moonsault onto Page on the floor. Pac makes it look so easy. Back in the ring, Pac hit a springboard 450 splash for a two count. It didn’t look smooth, but it got the job done. Pac went up top again, then Page went to the turnbuckle, so Pac followed with a corner dropkick. Pac went up top and Page stopped him with a superkick. Page with a fallaway slam from the middle ropes. Page with a dropkick and a flapjack into a cutter for a two count. Pac sent Page into the top turnbuckle and then whipped him into the steel post. They went to a split-screen break there as JR said, but here in Canada it was a regular commercial break.
Pac was in control as he taunted Page, the fans booed Pac and Page came back with punches followed by a spinebuster. Page wanted the Deadeye slam, Pac avoided it, springboard attack and Page hit a Powerbomb for a two count. Pac bailed to the floor, so Page hit a moonsault onto Pac on the floor. That was impressive and drew a good pop. They almost went crashing into Hebner, so Pac hit a low blow kick to the groin. Hebner asked about it, Pac denied it and Pac went up top. Pac jumped off the top with the Black Arrow splash off the top followed by the Brutalizer submission after about 13 minutes.
Winner by submission: Pac
Analysis: ***1/4 It was a good match with Pac using some cheap tactics to win because the low blow spot was the key to the match. Page’s flurry of offense was impressive, especially that moonsault to the floor that was perfectly executed. The crowd really got behind Page, but then Pac’s low blow stopped the momentum, which led to the finish. Pac is 2-0 in his AEW career with wins over Omega and Page, so he is likely going to be pushed at or near the main event level soon.
They showed replays of the key spots in the match. Pac was shown leaving as the winner.
There was a commercial for the Full Gear PPV on Saturday, November 9: Jericho vs. Cody for the AEW World Title and Moxley vs. Omega are the top two matches.
Dr. Britt Baker made her entrance to join the announce team for the women’s match. Baker is a dentist and the girlfriend of Adam Cole, who is the NXT Champion on the USA Network. Baker talked about how it took eight years to be a dentist.
Analysis: Even though Baker isn’t in this match, she is arguably the top woman in AEW since she was the first women’s wrestler that they signed.
Nyla Rose made her entrance first for the AEW Women’s Championship match. Riho was up next as the opponent. Rose is much bigger.
The introductions took place with Justin Roberts introducing Nyla Rose and Riho. The camera focused on Baker on commentary as well. The AEW Women’s Title was held up by the referee. It’s not that big of a title.
For the Vacant AEW Women’s Championship: Riho vs. Nyla Rose
There’s no time limit for this match. Riho attacked with forearms as the announcers mentioned she was 22 years old and started wrestling at 9 years of age. Riho with a headscissors takedown. Riho charged, but Rose knocked her down with a shoulder tackle. Rose hit a running splash. Riho with a double foot stomp to the back that had no effect, so Rose got back to her feet and put her leg on the back of Riho against the ropes. Rose slapped on a STF submission on Riho on the mat with Riho getting to the bottom rope to break the hold. Rose grabbed a waistlock, Rose with a running back elbow and Riho came back with a running knee strike. Riho with another running knee that sent Rose out of the ring. Riho up top with a diving attack, but Rose caught her and hit a backbreaker on the floor. Good catch. Rose grabbed a steel chair, so the referee grabbed it from her. Rose whipped Riho into the guardrail. Rose brought out four chairs from under the ring. Rose put Riho onto four chairs on the floor, Rose went to the turnbuckle and went for a senton splash, but Riho moved, so Rose hit the steel chairs. The referee could have counted both women out by now, but he wasn’t counting at all. Riho with a double stomp off the apron onto the chest of Rose. Back in the ring, Riho went up top and hit a double stomp to the back for a two count. Riho slapped on a submission, Rose was fighting it and they went to break.
The match returned with Riho going for a move, but Rose’s size prevented Riho from succeeding. Rose decked Riho with a punch. Riho with punches, Rose blocked that with a boot to the face and Riho captured the leg into a pin attempt for two. That was a great nearfall with fans thinking it was three. Rose with a clothesline and a Death Valley Driver for a two count. The crowd was coming alive for the match with most of them standing up and applauding both women. They battled on the top rope with Riho hitting a Northern Light’s Suplex off the top for a two count. Great spot. Riho went for a running knee, Rose avoided it and Riho hit a jumping knee attack to the back followed by double knees to the face. Riho covered for the pinfall win with Rose kicking out after the three count. The match went 14 minutes.
Winner by pinfall and New AEW Women’s Champion: Riho
Analysis: ***1/4 That was a very exciting final few minutes in this match to make it go from being just average to a very good match. It was well put together. Riho is tremendous at working from underneath as the smaller babyface wrestler and I liked the aggressiveness shown by Rose. I thought Riho was the right choice to win the title since she is a babyface wrestler and they already have a heel champion in Jericho. It was the right call to have a babyface champion after this match.
After the match, Michael Nakazawa went into the ring for an interview in Japanese, but Rose hit Nakazawa from behind with a forearm. Rose went for a Powerbomb, nearly dropped him on his head, then picked him up again and hit a Powerbomb. Rose went after Riho, but Kenny Omega ran out to ringside and saved Riho. The fans chanted “Kenny” for Omega, who is in charge of the AEW women’s division. Rose was taken to the back, which led to a break.
Analysis: Omega’s appearance was appreciated by the fans. It would have made more sense for Britt Baker to make the save out of respect for the new AEW Women’s Champion Riho.
There was a brief commercial for the Full Gear PPV on November 9.
The Elite trio of Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) to a big pop from the crowd. They’re in the main event. The time limit was announced as the TV time remaining.
Santana and Ortiz made their entrance for their AEW debut match. They were known as LAX in Impact Wrestling, but LAX is a name owned by Impact, so they are just using the names Santana and Ortiz.
Chris Jericho made his entrance to the song “Judas” by his band Fozzy with Jericho as the lead singer. Jericho got a superstar reaction and there was some pyro for his entrance to make him look like an even bigger star.
Kenny Omega, Nick Jackson and Matt Jackson vs. Chris Jericho, Santana and Ortiz
There were 17 minutes left in the show. Omega was on fire taking care of the heel side. Jericho wanted Walls of Jerich on Omega, but there was a double superkick on Jericho by the Young Bucks. Nick hit a dive over the top onto Santana and Ortiz on the floor. Omega teased an attack, but Jon Moxley showed up. Moxley went after Omega with punches. The referee did not call for the bell for a DQ. Moxley sent Omega out of the ring and then they went brawling into the crowd. Omega tossed a trash can at Moxley, but Moxley came back wit ha knee attack. Moxley sent Omega into a barricade. Omega got his hands on a mop and he hit Moxley in the back with it since Omega is known as The Cleaner. Moxley sent Omega into the door. Moxley picked up Omega and gave him a DDT like move through a glass coffee table. It was Moxley’s back that took most of the bump, but maybe some of Omega’s head hit the table. Hopefully it was sugar glass and not real glass. It’s still a wild spot that you don’t see very often.
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) October 3, 2019
Analysis: I was hoping for a fired-up promo from Moxley, but this was cool too. It was a big spot to continue this rivalry. Moxley really protected Kenny with the bump. Great job by him.
There were about eight minutes left when the show returned. The Jericho, Santana and Ortiz team were in control as Santana and Ortiz took turns hitting splashes on Matt. Jericho tagged in, Lionsault attempt, Matt got the knees up and Ortiz got the tag with a forearm to Matt’s back. Matt stopped Orton with double boots into the face followed by a Cutter out of the corner. Santana tagged in, Matt hit two Northern Lights Suplexes and a double Northern Lights Suplex. That always generates a big pop and it did here too. Nick tagged in to clean house on the opponents including a bulldog/clothesline combination. Nick hit a running kick on Jericho, double stomp on Ortiz and Nick went up top with a twisting moonsault onto Santana on the floor. Matt tagged in, Nick tried an attack, but Jericho intercepted with a Codebreaker. Cannonball attack by Santana on Matt and they whipped Matt into the Judas Effect back elbow by Jericho for the pinfall win after 13 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Chris Jericho, Santana and Ortiz
Analysis: ***1/2 It was fine for a handicap match, which is what it became after Omega was taken out. I think they could have done a better job of trying to explain why it wasn’t a DQ. I guess Omega wasn’t legal, so that’s why, but at least try to tell the audience that. It was cool to see that flurry of offense from Nick and Matt with the crowd coming alive for Nick’s aerial efforts. After that, the heels dominated while Jericho continues to look dominant as the AEW Champion with another victory.
After the match, Jericho, Santana and Ortiz went after the Young Bucks. Cody ran out there for the save with punches on Jericho. Sammy Guevara went into the ring and kicked Cody in the balls. Dustin Rhodes ran out to save his brother Cody and Dustin cleaned house. Jack Swagger aka Jake Hager ran into the ring and he slammed Dustin! The crowd popped big for Hager’s appearance since they obviously know him. Jericho hyped up Hager’s undefeated MMA record. Hager with a clothesline on Cody, a running attack on Matt Jackson and a corner splash on Cody. Hager shook hands with Santana, Ortiz, Jericho and Guevara to show that Hager is a heel. The referee was there to give them time cues. Hager picked up Dustin and gave him a Gutwrench Powerbomb onto a podium table. It was not a regular table you see on wrestling shows. Hager and Santana held up Cody, so Jericho hit Cody with a Judas Effect elbow to the head. Jericho laughed about it.
The heel group of Jericho, Hager, Guevara, Santana and Ortiz stood in the ring together as the show ended right at 10pmET. The camera focused on Hager to end it.
Analysis: Welcome to AEW, Jake Hager. That’s his real name in case you are wondering. They obviously know the Jack Swagger name. This was rumored for a while, so it wasn’t a total shock when he showed up. The crowd reacted to Hager in an “I know him” kind of way since they obviously knew him from his WWE days. I think he’ll do very well in AEW because he stands out as maybe the tallest guy on their roster since they have a lot of shorter guys in the company. Hager at 6’6” looks like a monster in there, so they can use him a big-time heel.
It will be interesting to see if they have Jericho, Hager, Santana, Ortiz and Guevara as a heel stable moving forward. It would make sense since they can put them in a big tag team match against Cody, Nick, Matt, Dustin and maybe Omega as well. It was important to establish some heels on the show and now that Hager is there, they have a big guy as one of the main heels as well. I thought it was good ending to the show.
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) October 3, 2019
Three Stars of the Show
- Chris Jericho
This week’s Dynamite gets a 7 out of 10.
I thought this was a pretty good wrestling show, but at no point did it blow me away and make me think this was some must-see television event. With that said, they did a lot of good things that I liked such as presenting Jake Hager (former Jack Swagger) as a big star as soon as he showed up and he stands out among the pack since he’s taller than most of the AEW guys.
There were four matches around the three-star level, so that means it’s a solid night of wrestling matches. None of the matches really stood out, but I felt like the crowd reacted best to the last few minutes of the Riho/Rose match, so credit to them for that. The Jericho/Cody story was furthered with Jericho getting the advantage two times. In future weeks, I hope there’s a match or two that really stands out as being special, but that’s for down the road.
There were some kinks they need to work on with the announcers, some of the commercial breaks, some of the camera cuts and so on. That’s going to come in the weeks and months ahead. Let’s not be too hard on a company’s first television show. They’ll figure it out as they go. I like that it felt different from a WWE show at times with no backstage interviews or things like that. It was all about keeping the action in front of the fans (aside from Omega’s brawl with Moxley). Some of the refereeing is questionable because of what they allow and rules they don’t enforce. The announcers or somebody needs to explain because rules are part of the story of a wrestling match. If you aren’t counting wrestlers out of the ring during a match then what’s the point in leaving the ring? You need to tease the idea that somebody could get counted out. Instead, they ignore basic things like that. I think they still need to develop characters more. Give us vignettes or interviews or something more to let us know more about these people. Why should I like or hate this person? It’s a television show. Please let us know more about them.
The strong ending helped a lot as we got a look at a potential heel stable, which should lead to a rivalry with the babyface Vice Presidents in the company. It’s an easy story to tell and it should produce some awesome matches along the way.
The next AEW PPV is Full Gear on November 9. Here’s the official lineup so far.
AEW Championship: Chris Jericho (c) vs. Cody
Jon Moxley vs. Kenny Omega
There will be more to come over the next month.
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Thanks for reading.