COMMENTATORS: Jim Ross, Excalibur, & Tony Schiavone
Chris Jericho celebrates his 30th year as a professional wrestler this week on Dynamite, teaming with Inner Circle member Jake Hager against the team of Serpentico and his longtime friend/rival Luther. But that’s not all that’s going on this week, as THREE CHAMPIONSHIPS are defended, one in a goddamn Dog Collar Match. It’s been about 9 months since I watched an entire Dynamite, is this going to bring me back in? Let’s find out.
- AEW WORLD CHAMPION: Jon Moxley
- AEW WOMEN’S WORLD CHAMPION: Hikaru Shida
- AEW TNT CHAMPION: “The Exalted One” Mr. Brodie Lee
- AEW WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS: FTR (Dax Harwood & Cash Wheeler)
- Brian Cage [c] vs. Will Hobbs for the FTW WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP (***)
- FTR [c] vs. The Hyrbid2 for the AEW WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP (***)
- DOG COLLAR MATCH: Brodie Lee [c] vs. Cody for the AEW TNT CHAMPIONSHIP (****)
- Big Swole vs. Serena Deeb (***)
- Chaos Project vs. Chris Jericho & Jake Hager (**)
-OPENING VIDEO: Various AEW roster members talk about the influence Chris Jericho has had on their careers.
-Ross, Excalibur, & Schiavone are joined on commentary by Taz and Ricky Starks for the opening contest.
“THE MACHINE” BRIAN CAGE [C] DEFEATED WILL HOBBS VIA PINFALL TO RETAIN THE FTW CHAMPIONSHIP (9:09)
Both dudes are jacked, both dudes got athleticism I can only dream of. Cage takes Hobbs down with a back elbow, Hobbs immediately gets to his feet and belts the champ with a clothesline and a crossbody for an early two-count. Cage takes control, throwing Hobbs to the mat and hitting a standing shooting star press for a two-count. Hobbs finds his footing, countering a headlock with a belly-to-back suplex and hitting a powerslam for a two-count. Cage catches Hobbs with a pumphandle faceslam and follows up with an F-5 but it’s not enough to put his challenger away. A double clothesline knocks both men down, the sound loud and nasty. Hobbs connects with a spinebuster but Cage kicks out in the nick of time, Taz and Starks freaking out on commentary as the challenger is a lot better than expected. Hobbs decides to think out of the box but it costs him as he misses his frog splash, Cage finishing him off with a Drill Claw for the 1…2…3.
- Good match, INSANE to see the f*cking FTW Title defended on a wrestling show in 2020. Is Sabu going to challenge for it at one point? I’ve seen clips of Will Hobbs saving Jon Moxley on YouTube but this was the first match of his I’ve watched and I’m glad I’ve been introduced. He rocks. Cage rocks as well. All-around good way to start the show. (***)
Starks heads to the ring, Taz gets on the house mic and tells Hobbs he has two options: join Team Taz or get beat up. Before anything can happen Darby Allin makes his way out, calmly chasing away Team Taz. Taz warns Allin that he’s going to regret getting in their business one day.
-VIDEO: Slash, Dennis Miller, Hiroshi Tanahashi, and Ted Irvine send well-wishes via video messages. Irvine is Jericho’s father and a former NHL player. I’m sure you already knew that but I want to max this word count out and make this daunting to read.
-VIDEO: Lance Archer brings up his loss to Moxley earlier in the year at Wrestle Kingdom but says things will be different next week when he challenges for the AEW World Championship. What happens won’t be pretty. Jake “The Snake” Roberts can be briefly seen but for once he has nothing to say.
FTR (DAX HARWOOD & CASH WHEELER) [C] [W/ TULLY BLANCHARD] DEFEATED THE HYBRID2 (JACK EVANS & ANGELICO) VIA PINFALL TO RETAIN THE AEW WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP (13:38)
The Young Bucks (Nick & Matt Jackson) can be seen watching the match backstage at purposely awkward angles to throw some light shade at the competition. I think, anyway. Maybe that’s how they watch TV, I shouldn’t judge.
Evans almost sneaks out a pinfall early with various roll-ups, but ends up tweaking his knee with a senton on Angelico, Wheeler, and Harwood, giving the champs a limb to work on through the picture-in-picture commercial break. Cash even shows off some dance moves to mock Angelico. After taking further punishment to his knee Evans manages to get the tag to Angelico who locks in a double submission hold on both Harwood & Wheeler. H2 hit a foot stomp/slam combo but Harwood kicks out of the pinfall attempt. Evans hits an assisted 450 splash, Angelico covers but it’s not enough. Harwood hits a rolling German, sending Angelico into Wheeler for a Dragon Suplex but Evans breaks up the pinfall attempt. Evans misses a splash completely so he goes back up for a moonsault but Harwood breaks the count. Evans kicks out after a Tiger Driver but FTR manage to finish him off with a superplex/splash combo.
- There’s a good chance I mixed up FTR’s names, still getting used to them. A solid title defense here, FTR must be having the time of their lives actually getting to wrestle meaningful matches while getting managed by Blanchard. Hybrid2 were fun as hell to watch also, I don’t think I could ever tire of Jack Evans’ insane high-flying moves. (***)
An animation of FTR dressed as hot dogs show up on the jumbotron and out come Best Friends (Chuck Taylor & Trent). Trent explains the joke, Chuck lets them know they are challenging FTR for the titles on next week’s anniversary show. Brawl breaks out, FTR flee but leave the belts, allowing Best Friends to raise them in victory. A potential foreshadowing of next week? Perhaps.
-VIDEO: MJF tells a story of the first time he met Chris Jericho. He says he may or may not come out tonight to say nice things to Jericho in person.
-VIDEO: Shaquille O’Neal, Gene Simmons, Don Callis, Lars Ulrich, and Don Callis send their well-wishes to Chris Jericho on his 30 years.
-RECAP VIDEO: The Cody/Brodie Lee feud.
DOG COLLAR MATCH
“THE AMERICAN NIGHTMARE” CODY [W/ ARN ANDERSON & BRANDI RHODES] DEFEATED MR. BRODIE LEE [C] [W/ JOHN SILVER & ANNA JAY] VIA PINFALL TO WIN THE AEW TNT CHAMPIONSHIP (20:26)
Greg “The Hammer” Valentine is shown in the arena, having wrestled a legendary Dog Collar match himself back in 1983. If you’ve never seen his Dog Collar fight with Roddy Piper from Starrcade…that’s fine, but also maybe make some time for it. Cody is rocking his dark hair again I guess.
Cody clocks Silver with the chain immediately, busting the Dark Order member open, but it distracts him long enough for Lee to hit a big boot. Cody tries to use the ropes, Lee uses the chain to yank him down. Action moves to the floor, Silver takes a seat and Cody dropkicks him out of RUDENESS. Lee DDTs Cody on the chain, busting him open. Cody slides under Lee’s legs, yanking the chain so he punches himself right in the jewels followed by a chain-assisted Russian legsweep. Action goes back to the floor, Cody sent into the “crowd” and pulled into the guardrail before flying back into the ringside area. Lee throws chairs in the ring and sets up the timekeeper’s table, helpfully branded with the AEW logo. Cody pulls Lee off the apron and into a cutter as the action moves picture in picture. They fight on the apron and Cody puts Lee through the table with a package piledriver, busting the champ open must worse than the challenger. Cody whips Lee with the chain and wraps it around the post to choke the champ. Lee flings a chair at Anderson, who enters the ring full of rage. Alex Reynolds runs in and eats a spinebuster, Lee then attacks him. This awakens the rage in Cody, who wrecks Lee with the chain and hits a moonsault for a two-count. Cody hits the Cross Rhodes, Lee kicks out at ONE and hits a middle-buckle superplex that stuns both competitors. Cody ducks the Discus Lariat and hits the Final Cut, then wraps the chain around the mouth and eyes of Lee, Valentine likely having unnerving flashbacks while watching. Cody rains down elbows then, with Lee’s face still wrapped in chain, hits another Cross Rhodes for the 1…2…3.
- This match RULED. Love the blood, love the brutality, some inventive ways to use the chain. The Package Piledriver table spot happening during the commercial PiP was a little lame but they couldn’t help that I guess. This should have been the main event of the show, Jericho’s 30th anniversary be damned. (****)
Cody cuts an emotional promo after the match, saying that pro wrestling is his life’s work and will stand by the fans. Cody is asked by Schiavone about his next challenger, and suddenly out comes Orange Cassidy. Cassidy thumbs up, Cody thumbs up, match is on for next week’s Anniversary show. Hell yeah.
-Ross & team discuss the upcoming eight-man tournament for a shot at the AEW World Championship, the finals of which happen at the next PPV Full Gear. Last week Jungle Boy, Rey Fenix, & Kenny Omega were announced as participants, this week it’s announced that Wardlow, Colt Cabana, and Omega’s tag team partner Hangman Page will be joining them.
–Alex Marvez interviews Omega. Omega is psyched up about the tournament, bragging about how many he’s won over his career. They can throw anyone at him, even a Cowboy or Hangman Page or his tag team partner, it doesn’t matter at all he doesn’t care. A great promo here I did not do justice, Omega delivered it so well.
BIG SWOLE DEFEATED SERENA DEEB VIA PINFALL (7:23 SHOWN)
Swole’s entrance f*cking rules. I need that kind of energy in my life. The two trade counters to start, Swole asks for a test of strength and immediately muscles Deeb down to the surprise of no one. Swole connects with a whole lot of forearms to the spine followed by a backbreaker, Deeb fights back with a lariat so vicious it pops Schiavone on commentary. Deeb weakens Swole’s left knee with a dragon screw over the middle rope and continues to work the leg over during the picture-in-picture, which turns into ALL ads at the end for some reason. Back live the two collide skulls, Swole mounts a comeback and ends things after a headbutt, kick, and rolling forearm combo.
- Unenviable position of following up that Dog Collar match but damned if they didn’t have a good match anyway. Deeb was a delight to watch cycling through submissions and Swole looked great muscling her around and hitting all of the headbutts. Sleeper match of the night, to be honest.
-VIDEO: Jon Moxley walks the desert/hangs out at a bar and talks about his defense against Lance Archer next week. He says he’s had no time to celebrate AEW’s anniversary because as champion he has a target on his back but he’s fine with it. He also says that everyone falls one day and he could very well fall to Archer next week, giving himself and his opponent a 50/50 chance of winning next week. Either way Moxley is going to leave everything in the ring.
-VIDEO: Lance Storm, Kevin Smith, Eli Roth, Gabriel Iglesias, Chavo Guerrero Jr., Steel Panther, Ultimo Dragon, and Paul Stanley all congratulate Jericho on 30 years.
THE INNER CIRCLE (“DEMO GOD” CHRIS JERICHO & JAKE HAGER) [W/ SANTANA, ORTIZ, & SAMMY GUEVARA] DEFEATED CHAOS PROJECT (LUTHER & SERPENTICO) VIA PINFALL (9:05)
Excalibur brings up the history between Jericho and Luther, their first match together being in 1991 and their last in 1996. They have been both partners and rivals.
Serpentico starts the match off against Jericho, hitting a rana out of the corner but running directly into a clothesline. Luther happily tags in and trades blows with his old friend/enemy, hitting a big boot and clothesline. We move into picture-in-picture as Jericho hits a Lionsault then tags out to Hager. Stiff jabs between Hager and Luther, Luther counters the Swagger Bomb with a pair of boots. Luther uses his own partner as offense, slamming Serpentico repeatedly on Hager. Jericho tags in, delayed vertical suplex to show off the GUNS. Jericho and Hager sent to the floor, Luther backdrops Serpentico onto them then hits a top rope cannonball on everybody (except Ortiz & Santana who knew better). Jericho tries to use “Floyd”, his baseball bat, but Luther grabs it and hits Jericho with it followed by a big boot but Jericho manages to kick out. Luther knocks Guevara off the apron, Jericho drops him with the Judas Effect and that’s all folks.
- I’ve got a lot of respect for Chris Jericho as a friend, having Luther main-event with him on his 30th anniversary. That’s a class move. However this match was real bad, and a BIG step down from the rest of the show mostly due to Luther and Hager who both stumbled and looked real bad in their few minutes in the ring. Flat way to end the show wrestling-wise. (**)
Jericho gets on the mic to thank the fans, but is quickly interrupted by MJF and Wardlow, the ladder leading someone covered in a sheet to the ring. MJF reveals it’s a clown holding a gift, which turns out to be a big ol’ picture of MJF. Jericho breaks the picture over the clown and knocks him out with a Judas Effect; Jericho tells MJF he hates clowns and to never interrupt him again. Things look like they’re about to get serious until they both laugh it off, music hits, and a lot of the AEW roster comes out to celebrate with Jericho COMPLETE WITH F*CKING END CREDITS LIKE AN EPISODE OF SNL. HEH?
FINAL THOUGHTS: The interesting thing about this week’s Dynamite was how good it was EXCEPT for all the Jericho 30 year stuff. The well-wish videos were fine but that ending match/segment was dire and put kind of a wet blanket on what had been a hot night of professional wrestling. Having that excellent Dog Collar match happen mid-show felt like a waste and was the peak of the entire evening; it should have main evented, celebrations be damned. I liked this episode well enough but the Jericho 30 stuff…wholly unnecessary and leading to nothing interesting other than weird ass SNL ending.
- MATCH OF THE NIGHT: Cody vs. Brodie Lee
- MOMENT OF THE NIGHT: The show having a weird SNL-style ending. Everything else was kinda bad but that was so f*cking weird and out of nowhere that I couldn’t help but enjoy it.