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[TV Rundown] ‘AEW DYNAMITE’ 01.20.2021 – Inner Circle Tag Team Challenge, Moxley’s In-Ring Return

COMMENTATORS: Jim Ross, Excalibur, & Tony Schiavone

It’s an Inner Circle tag team challenge this week on Dynamite as they fight to see which two members will compete for the World Tag Team Championship. Also on the show Penelope Ford and Leyla Hirsch throw bombs, Jon Moxley returns to in-ring action, AEW celebrates -1’s birthday, and the Sting/Darby Allin mentorship continues.

CHAMPIONS

  • AEW WORLD CHAMPION: Kenny Omega
  • AEW WOMEN’S WORLD CHAMPION: Hikaru Shida
  • AEW TNT CHAMPION: Darby Allin
  • AEW WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS: The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson)

LINEUP

  • Hangman Page & The Dark Order vs. Chaos Project & The Hybrid 2
  • Cody Rhodes vs. Peter Avalon
  • Jon Moxley vs. Nick Comoroto
  • Matt Sydal & Top Flight vs. Matt Hardy & Private Party
  • Leyla Hirsch vs. Penelope Ford
  • INNER CIRCLE TAG TEAM CHALLENGE: Chris Jericho & MJF vs. Sammy Guevara & Jake Hager vs. Santana & Ortiz

*****

Dark Order opened the show to celebrate the birthday of -1, who wore his late father’s ring jacket while riding the back of 10. Before they could dig into the cake out came Dr. Luther and Serpentico to spoil the celebration; Luther vowed to ruin -1’s birthday and the Dark Order immediately attacked. The Hybrid 2 came out to help their teammates and then finally Hangman Page showed up, flattening everyone with a splash off the ring stage. 

  • Luther really brought the “villain on a terrible 90s kids show” energy here and it made me laugh.

“Hangman” Adam Page & The Dark Order (Colt Cabana, Alex Reynolds, & John Silver) defeated Chaos Project (Dr. Luther & Serpentico) and The Hybrid 2 (Jack Evans & Angelico) when Reynolds pinned Serpentico after a Buckshot Lariat/German suplex combo (6:18)
  • Fun enough match to open the show, Page & The Dark Order worked together like they’d been teaming for years. Luther ended up getting thrown into the cake after a kendo stick shot from -1, so don’t worry it reached its logical conclusion. 

-1 hit Serpentico with a kendo stick after the match, then threw THE PAPERS at him to the roar of the crowd. We cut to the ring where Silver gushed over Page once more and asked him if he was going to join The Dark Order. Page said no as celebration banners fell from the screen and dancers came out, forcing Dark Order to quickly put an end to it. Page said he’s had fun with them over the past few weeks but he was already in a group before and it didn’t work out very well. He sincerely apologized and left to the back, taking a bottle of champagne that Stu Grayson was readying to celebrate with. Poor Silver, he was so excited.


Alex Marvez interviewed Chris Jericho & MJF. Jericho was not worried about possible friction that could come from the Inner Circle wrestling each other tonight, but was also confident that he and MJF would get the win. 

-Schiavone introduced Sting and Darby Allin to the ring. Sting told Allin that he reminds him of himself and congratulated him on his TNT Championship defense last week. Team Taz (Taz, Hook, Powerhouse Hobbs, Brian Cage, & Ricky Starks) interrupted on the JumboTron. Taz accused them of fighting dirty and challenged them to a street fight. Sting whispered to Allin, Allin told them to be careful what they wish for as they might get it.

  • Look intellectually I know Sting was always going to wrestle for AEW at some point. But that doesn’t mean I want to see it or have any interest in seeing it, even if they’re going to use the Street Fight thing to make sure he doesn’t do much. That journey ended six years ago man, accept the situation.

-EARLIER TODAY: The Young Bucks rolled up to Kenny Omega’s house for a chat, joined by Alex Marvez and a camera man who also happened to be there. They were ushered into the living room by Michael Nakazawa, where they came across an oil painting of Omega and Don Callis looking VERY RIPPED. Don Callis showed up and said that Omega was unable to attend due to a busy schedule, and had Nakazawa take Marvez and the camera guy to the “Dungeon”. The camera stayed though, catching Callis trying to cut checks to the Bucks to buy them out of their “investment” in Kenny Omega. Bucks obviously took offense to this and the picture went dark as Callis screamed.

  • Excellent douchebag behavior on the part of Don Callis, trying to isolate his meal ticket from his actual friends so he can exert control over the impressionable World Champion. True scumbag behavior, Callis is KILLING it.

“The American Nightmare” Cody Rhodes [w/ “The Enforcer” Arn Anderson] defeated “Pretty” Peter Avalon via submission with a Figure Four Leglock/threat to slap Avalon in the face (9:15)
  • Rhodes had the match won almost as soon as the bell rung but Jade Cargill came out to provide a distraction and Avalon took advantage, but not enough to get the win. I applaud Rhodes for giving Avalon the shine, and the finish of Avalon tapping out to avoid being slapped in the face was funny, but this was way too damn LOOOOOOONNNNNNG and mostly dull. I have absolutely NO interest in whatever Cody/Shaq beef is going on so Cargill’s distraction did nothing for me either and since it helped cause this match to be almost ten minutes I hate it even more than when it happened. Cargill does look like she could break Rhodes in two though so this BETTER lead to an intergender match. It won’t but it BETTER.

FTR and Tully Blanchard were confronted backstage by the Jurassic Express (Jungle Boy, Marko Stunt, & Luchasaurus). Jungle Boy said he could beat any member of FTR, Dax Harwood stepped up and the match was made for next week’s show. Odd bit of business where Harwood said he didn’t need Wheeler or Blanchard at ringside but Luchasaurus insisting they be there anyway and that he’d keep them in check. Didn’t make a lot of sense.


Jon Moxley defeated Nick Comoroto via KO with a sorta Bulldog Choke (3:56)
  • Match might look short on paper but this was a competitive and relatively hard-hitting contest, with Comoroto (looking like a JACKED Bruiser Brody) getting a fair bit of offense and relentlessly put over on commentary as the only man willing to face Moxley in his return match. He’s been on Dark a few times apparently but this is the first time I’ve seen Nick Comoroto and I hope it’s not the last. This dude rules. Moxley was kick ass as always too, and I liked that instead of getting the win with the Paradigm Shift he switched gears to choke Comoroto out instead.

Moxley got on the mic afterwards and said that Omega adding The Good Brothers into the mix only made him more pumped because he could break more bones and spill more blood. Moxley vowed to reach the top of the mountain once more and that all roads in professional wrestling run through him. Another great promo by Moxley, not too long and right to the point.


Dasha Gonzalez tried to interview Eddie Kingston (flanked by The Butcher, The Blade, & The Bunny) but was quickly interrupted by Lance Archer and Jake “The Snake” Roberts. Roberts vowed to put Kingston down in their match next week and even Roberts got to get some sass in to really earn his paycheck this week. Kingston appeared to still be preoccupied with his loss to Pac on last week’s episode.

Alex Marvez was brushed off by Kenny Omega as he entered the arena, wearing the goofiest purple shirt and pair of boots, looking like a 90s club hound. Omega found Don Callis in the locker room, sporting a black eye and Callis “reluctantly” told him that it was The Young Bucks who did it. Marvez tried to get further information but was shooed out by Omega and Callis.


“Big Money” Matt Hardy & Private Party (Isiah Kassidy & Marq Quen) defeated Matt Sydal & Top Flight (Darius & Dante Martin) when Quen pinned Dante following a Shooting Star Press (10:18 or so)
  • Private Party’s big win on last night’s Impact Wrestling was hyped up on commentary, even by Schiavone who ADMITTED to watching the show. Tony, take it from me: never admit to watching Impact in public, it never ends well. This was a good trios match, Top Flight & Private Party are second to none when it comes to athleticism and it was hard to keep up with at times in the best way. But the big story was Private Party finally accepting Hardy’s advice in the end, Kassidy using a chair on Dante Martin behind the ref’s back and a smiling Quen finishing him off with the Shooting Star Press. 

Sydal and Darius confronted Private Party after the match about their cheating ways and were attacked for their troubles, Hardy hitting both with a Twist of Fate to stand tall with his clients, no doubt excited to be getting his 30% cut of their pay tonight.

  • Private Party didn’t seem to be into the interference that happened on Impact Wrestling last night, making them #1 contenders to The Good Brothers, but decided to embrace things tonight and honestly I kind of dig it even though it feels out of left field. Seemed like the story was going to be Private Party eventually fighting their way out from Hardy’s insane contract and maybe that still happens but before then we’re going to get some fun heel moments and more BIG MONEY MATT. Matt Hardy has reinvented himself so much over his career and damn near every time it’s something great (we’ll ignore his weird YouTube emo phase).

MJF and Wardlow caught up with the rest of The Inner Circle (Santana, Ortiz, Jake Hager, & Sammy Guevara) in Jericho’s locker room and tried to play the peacemaker, saying he wanted what’s best for the group. Everyone fist bumped except Guevara who told MJF he wasn’t there yet.


Penelope Ford [w/ Kip Sabian, Miro, & CHARLES Taylor] defeated “Legit” Leyla Hirsch via pinfall with a pump kick/assist from Sabian (7:47 or so)
  • Hirsch was originally slated to face Nyla Rose until Rose had to bow out due to coming into contact with someone who has Covid. As much as I would’ve dug that version of the match, Rose trucking fools is great, I think we got something better here as Ford did NOT squander the opportunity. She and Hirsch laid into each other and had a damn good match, my favorite of the night. Leyla Hirsch has ALL the potential to be the top women’s star in AEW and I hope she gets a chance to reach it because she’s awesome. This match also saw the debut of CHARLES Taylor, Miro’s “best” friend (butler), forcing Chuckie T to interfere on Ford’s behalf at random points in the contest. 

After the match Miro forced Taylor to tell Orange Cassidy, who was in the audience, that MIRO was his best friend now. Cassidy got up and walked off, his version of dejected (I think), although he shouldn’t feel bad at all since it’s SUPER OBVIOUS that Taylor has to say this stuff. Or at least super obvious for now, maybe Chuckie T likes being a butler and keeps doing after the wedding at Beach Break in two weeks.


The Good Brothers and Kenny Omega beat up Penta El Zero M backstage, Omega using his steel-toed clubber boot to jab him in the eye, while Don Callis cheered them on. Not sure what that was about.

-Announced for next week’s show: Lance Archer vs. Eddie Kingston, Cody Rhodes responds to Shaq, Jungle Boy vs. Dax Harwood, & The Dark Order vs. The Good Brothers & The Young Bucks in an 8-man tag team match. 

-Hyped for Beach Break in two weeks; the Kip Sabian/Penelope Ford wedding and the long-awaited match between Thunder Rosa and Dr. Britt Baker, D.M.D., plus a tag team battle royal where the winner faces The Young Bucks at the next PPV Revolution


INNER CIRCLE TAG TEAM CHALLENGE
Chris Jericho & MJF [w/ Wardlow] defeated Santana & Ortiz and Sammy Guevara & Jake Hager when MJF rolled Guevara up with a handful of tights (12:36)
  • Jericho and MJF entered to a mix of their two themes, which was THE WORST. They kept enough of Judas for the crowd to singalong too though, don’t worry. Anyone else ever feel bad that the AEW roster has to go out there and passionately sing the song for TV time? Just me?
  • The main event for Beach Break was announced mid-match: Kenny Omega & The Good Brothers vs. Jon Moxley, Rey Fenix, & Pac. That should be a banger.
  • I didn’t have a lot of interest in this match going in but as soon as Guevara switched gears following a slap by Jericho I was on board. Each team got a chance to shine, Santana & Ortiz obviously being the best at team-based offense, while MJF spent most of the match just watching the proceedings. Hager even got a cool moment, stopping Jericho & MJF from using foreign objects with his brute force. MJF picked up the win via nefarious means, once again not so subtly hinting that his “peacekeeper” persona is all an act and I’m interested in seeing Jericho/MJF become an actual team. I wonder if Santana & Ortiz truly do accept this or if they finally break away and do other things; they hinted at the idea of the Inner Circle holding them back. Guevara also had a highlight-heavy showing so maybe HE’s being held back as well.

AEW ran out of TV time so the show concluded seconds after the pinfall. More to come next week!

*****

FINAL THOUGHTS: AEW started the year off with back to back supershows, so this was the first Dynamite of the year that was “normal” and it was definitely…fine. I mean I liked pieces of it for sure (Don Callis being a manipulative gold digger jerk, Leyla Hirsch, etc) but altogether it wasn’t what I’d call a standout show. I think that Rhodes/Avalon match took a lot of wind out of my sails, to be honest. Next week should be pretty good though, at least Archer vs. Kingston.

  • MATCH OF THE NIGHT: Leyla Hirsch vs. Penelope Ford
  • MOMENT OF THE NIGHT: The Dark Order’s preemptive celebration after Hangman Page said no to their invitation.

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