AEW Dynamite Highlights: Moxley’s Freedom Is Jericho’s Prison (1/29/20)

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AEW Dynamite came through with an excellent all-around night of action as they just made their debut in Cleveland, Ohio in the Wolstein CenterRevolutionbuild is in full swing, and the looming pay per view can be felt in the air. 

There are feuds reaching boiling points, excellently produced video packages for PAC and Dark Order furthering them along, and a whole lot of sparks flying in the ring as always. 

Let’s get right into what went down on AEW Dynamite!

AEW Dynamite Highlights (1/29/20)

Jon Moxley Speaks 

AEW

AEW Dynamite kicked off with Jon Moxley taking the scenic route through the Cleveland crowd on his way to make a statement. Still donning the eyepatch, the pirate version of Mox is still in full force. Including a shout out by Jericho calling him Captain Jack Sparrow “yo ho ho and a bottle of dumb. Because you’re stupid.” Out of all the wrestlers on the planet, Jericho is probably the only one who could say that and pop a laugh. 

Jon was obviously on the mic to hype his Revolution bout with Le ChampionSo, it was inevitable the champ would indeed be here, ala Johnathan Cena. He then insulted Moxley and his mom to further the sophomoric energy around the anger of Jericho. Le Champion also made it clear that this was simply a case of an eye for an eye, pun well-intended. If Mox would’ve been “smart” and joined him, nothing bad would happen. After all, it’d be a shame if something happened. 

And something did indeed happen, as Jericho was backed up by first the Inner Circle and then a wave of “New York street thugs” as they would be referred to by Jericho. All ten of these men didn’t matter though, as Mox attacked Ortiz who lead the charge.  

Jon then dove in as if he were trying to reach home plate at an Indians game. And Cleveland, Ohio cheered him about ten times harder than an actual Indians game for it, of course. This was a simple, old school way of building to a pay-per-view and was well influenced by WWE’s tactics but the freedom they give Moxley is what makes all the difference. 

The Butcher and The Blade (w/ Bunny) vs. The Young Bucks 

AEW’s resident badass old school style tag team took a hefty sum of money in a segment earlier to take on The Young Bucks at the request of Maxwell Jacob FriedmanAs the Butcher hacked away at some meat with a blade (not literally THE Blade, but you get what they did here) he sold the idea of who they were in a bit of an overly nail on the head way. But it still felt like a good way to continue MJF’s “hiring thugs” storyline with them. 

The Bucks started off as expected, taking advantage early. But before long Butcher took one stiff lariat to kill two Young Bucks. The Bunny got involved as expected as well, pulling the leg of Matt in manager 101 fashionWorth noting that she is also the real-life wife of The Blade, so having her husband’s back runs so deep it even invades the world of kayfabe. 

From then on, it was all Butcher and Blade dominating their way through the match. This is desperately what they needed, even though they did ultimately take the loss. They started out with such a bang by attacking Cody, that the rest of their treatment has felt a bit confused. They should be running through tag teams and establishing a fear around their presence. MJF helped this idea along on commentary just as much as the Bucks’ selling helped it in the ring. 

The idea of him being the angry rich heel who invested in thugs that didn’t get the job done really sold the whole dynamic. Having the team beat up on the established Nick and Matt didn’t hurt here either. The match itself was a bit average overall, but it still was smartly worked. But then the internet wrestling community got some pure gold to work with afterward. Instantly turning into a weekly GIF and meme, enter Hangman. 

Having Nick hold his beer as he stood up on the apron, Page then hit his signature Buckshot Lariat off a beautiful front flip springboard and reclaimed his beverage. After Stone Cold-ing the rest of his beer, Hangman walked out and let the fame wash in like an action movie star walking away with the explosion going off in the background. This was a brilliant spot and capped this segment off well. It also made me pop like a firework on the fourth of July. 

Nyla Rose vs. Big Swole 

Nyla Rose was clearly the favorite based upon the way she has been built and this proved the rule. She used her size and power advantage to wreak havoc upon the smaller Big SwoleThey both played their roles well, as Swole felt like a never say die underdog running into an immovable object. 

The underdog dynamic would continue all the way up to Rose hitting a powerbomb for the victoryBig Swole will get her spot at the top, but today was simply not her day and that was painfully obvious throughout.  

Rose is being built like a real monster here, and one has to wonder when the inevitable clash between her and Awesome Kong will come. I think a big name, heavyweight slug fest feud like that would do wonders for a woman’s division that is still finding its way here. 

The outcome was certainly predictable here, but where this division will go is still very much undecided it seems. 

Kip Sabian (w/ Penelope Ford) vs. Cody 

The young and “Superbad” Kip Sabian tried to prove his worth against the most established babyface in the company here, Cody. He rushed out the gates with a smooth dropkick to bring the fight earlySabian also provoked Arn Anderson throughout, leading to the ironic removal of Arn in a very “pro sports coach” style removal spot. 

Penelope threw a shoe into the ring as a means of distraction and Arn decided to gift it to the cheap seats out of anger. He crossed the imaginary line involved in all of sports by putting hands on the referee in protest. Just ask Kevin Owens and Shane McMahon, that can get you fired. 

The referee, as he should, then removed Arn from ringside much to his disdain of course given the shenanigans of the other manager involved here. This was further proven by Cody getting hit with a hurricanrana from Penelope while the ref dealt with the situation at hand. 

Ford also got involved once more as she stood behind Cody until he accidentally knocked her off the apron and down to the outside. She then played possum milking the injury long enough for Sabian to take advantage in a great heel spot. They definitely went to the well a bit too much with the manager shenanigans, but it still felt fitting given the Arn story that developed. 

Once all of the distractions settled away, Cody hit the Cross Rhodes, times three. Having already killed him two finishers ago, Cody then took the pin. Babyface overcomes the odds of the heels, and gains some momentum toward the pay-per-view in the process. Wrestling booking at its most simple, but still fun along the way. 

Tony Schiavone Interviews Britt Baker 

Britt Baker came out to try to build off her heel turn on the Jericho cruise. Still laying into Schiavone’s Starbucks barista past, she also took aim at JR for cutting her promo off prematurely last week on AEW Dynamite. 

This attacking the staff idea is simple classic heel work, and this felt much more polished and comfortable than last week’s rendition. Attacking JR personally with shots at not pronouncing names correctly and mentioning her dentist past too much felt very real and played off the smart mark crowd very nicely. 

This change of direction for Britt was well-timed and well-needed, and it feels like they are building toward something grander for her. She has all the potential star power, now it is up to AEW to find a way to maximize it. Worth keeping an eye on, that’s for sure.  

SCU vs. TH2 

SCU paid tribute to the late great basketball legend, Kobe Bryant, as they came out for this contest wearing different versions of his jersey. With so much love from southern California, this felt like a very fitting way for SCU to subtly nod their head to the awful tragedy that ripped the sports world apart. 

This match was a slow builder, something of an outlier for these two teams and the division as a whole for that matter. A technical swapping of holds and counters dominated the opening minutes. TH2 would stay competitive throughout, but ultimately, we knew they weren’t going to win after SCU dropped their titles. 

This was a means of recovering momentum for SCU. But given the lack of attention to TH2, that didn’t achieve much in that sense. Angelico and Evans are stuck waiting in an ever-growing line of tag teams, and desperately need a reason for relevancy. Perhaps joining the Dark Order, whom interrupted the celebration of SCU after the match. 

Evil Uno and Stu Grayson made it clear that Daniels was in their crosshairs for not joining them. Perhaps this leads to a recruitment of the losers of this contest. But one thing is for sure: SCU and Dark Order are clearly on a collision course of some kind. 

Chris Jericho, Santana, and Ortiz vs. Darby Allin and Private Party 

The brilliantly named unlikely trio of Private Darby (pure gold, Excalibur you masked genius) capped off the night with an electric main event against Chris Jericho and PnP of the Inner Circle. Sammy Guevara and Jake Hager joined along too to show support for their stablemates in the AEW Dynamite main event. 

Allin started off across the ring from Jericho for the first time since he had his hands tied behind his back in their last contest. Ortiz would get the quick tag as Jericho wanted nothing to do with the crazed, high-energy Darby. Isiah Kassidy and Marc Quen got involved and picked up the pace early on as well, showing that their frenetic pace would define this contest. 

The Inner Circle battled back, however, using their cohesion and teamwork to their distinct advantage. Isolating Kassidy by using constant tagging and double team offense started the slow descent of Private Darby. They would fight back near the end, but ultimately a Judas Effect out of nowhere would spell the end of the unlikely partnership with authority. 

Inner Circle then did the heel stable thing to do, attacking their opponents after a grueling main event. Allin would get attacked with a skateboard to the ribs and then finally the throat before his big brother, Jon Moxley, came down to make the save. Using the old Sting equalizer, he had a bat in hand whilst running off the members of nWo…I mean Inner Circle in a very WCW-like moment. 

Continuing to be home of some of the most interesting stable wars in modern memory, AEW is really selling Jericho’s group as the penultimate heels in the company. With Moxley taking the group head-on, we have a lot of fun left in store between now and February 29th when Revolution rolls around in Chicago. 

Moxley is coming for you, Le Champion. And he’s here to kick ass and take cars. And you’re all out of cars, Mr. Jericho. 

Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world. You can catch AEW Dynamite every Wednesday night at 8:00 pm Eastern, 6:00 pm Pacific on TNT and internationally on AEW Plus on Fite TV

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