Could there be a more fitting locale for AEW Dynamite than Champaign when its champion enjoys A Little Bit of the Bubbly? I submit to you that there could not. Tonight we’ll see Jon Moxley and Joey Janela clash, plus hear from Le Champion, so let’s light the fuse and go live on TNT.

Match 1 – The Young Bucks and “The Natural” Dustin Rhodes vs. Sammy Guevara, Santana and Ortiz

A couple things I love about this match right off the bat. First, Santana and Ortiz were not announced as Proud and Powerful, so that seems to be dead. Second, Rhodes has fringes on his boots to match the Bucks, and finally, the graphic introducing Santana and Ortiz let us know the loaded sock was their weapon of choice. That’s helpful information. One cool spot sees all three heels pass Matt Jackson around on a hanging vertical suplex, but he escapes and hits a superkick. The loaded sock makes an appearance, softening up Rhodes for a 630 senton by Guevara, but The Natural manages to kick out. Does that foretell a happy ending? Well, yes, in this case.

Jim Ross tells us that State Farm is good people. That’s also helpful info.

Match 2 – Trent (w/ Chuck Taylor and Orange Cassidy) vs. Rey Fenix

The narratives set up by the announcers for this one are that Fenix has been sensational for the last few weeks and that Trent is talented but has barely tapped into his potential as a singles wrestler. J.R. keeps calling Trent by his former last ring name, Beretta, and sneaks in a plug for the college football championship games this weekend (because Oklahoma). Fenix picks up the win to run his singles record in AEW to 2-0.

Cody hits the ring with his personal interviewer, Tony Schiavone, to address his recent ambush by Butcher Blade Bunny and his slightly less recent betrayal by MJF. That mental backstabbing hurt a lot more than the physical scar from BBB, and he unleashes some nice verbal barbs while kind of avoiding the fact that holy crap, MJF was absolutely going to betray him. Cody tries something I’ve never seen before, essentially bribing MJF to wrestle him by offering his truck, watch, shoes (yes, really) and a briefcase filled with more than $50,000.

So when you cut a promo like Joey Janela does and claim that Jon Moxley will have to kill him to beat him, you don’t want Mox to actually hear it, right? That might turn out poorly for him later tonight. Elsewhere, the story of the poor guy who wants to join the Dark Order for the wrong reason takes a turn for the worse. Weird but creative, so I don’t hate it.

Match 3 – Nyla Rose vs. “The Librarian” Leva Bates

As you might expect since the Librarian is part of it, this match is a squash. After she wins, Rose continues assaulting poor Bates, and Shanna gets a taste of Rose’s power too when she tries to play hero, eventually getting driven through a table.

“Who’s better at professional wrestling than Chris Jericho?” J.R. asks, perhaps rhetorically. Continuing his streak of great promos, Jericho reveals:

  1. You can actually buy a bottle of A Little Bit of the Bubbly.
  2. He has a new list called The Lexicon of Le Champion that contains all the people he’s refusing to wrestle for the rest of the year. Moxley is on a bunch of times.

However, the Jurassic Express is not on there, so one presumes one of them might be the opponent for the final match Jericho is contractually obligated to wrestle in 2019. Also, surprise! Luchasaurus can talk, is funny, and has a master’s degree in medieval history. This is all building to a challenge from Jungle Boy, who vows to kick Jericho’s ass and slaps him in the face (after plenty of verbal provocation from Le Champion, to be fair), setting off a five-person brawl since Jake Hager is in the ring too. Looks like it’s Jericho vs. Jungle Boy on Dec. 18. Get your tickets now!

Match 4 – Kris Statlander vs. Hikaru Shida

The conceit that Statlander is an actual alien whose ship crashed near a wrestling school is … well, it’s something. That shouldn’t detract from the fact that she does indeed look like a legit talent, and is rewarded with a victory over Shida. Right after the bell, though, Awesome Kong and Brandi Rhodes come down the ramp. Rhodes reveals that she and Kong are the Nightmare Collective, something of a black ops wing of the Nightmare Family. She offers Statlander a chance to join up, but she needs to do it immediately. A “fan” in the front row wants to pledge herself to the Nightmare Collective instead, even offering a chance for Kong to cut her hair. Strangely, this still makes slightly more sense than the recruitment process for the Dark Order.

Match 5 – Christopher Daniels vs. Pentagon Jr.

Driven by a desire for revenge, Daniels doesn’t even wait for Pentagon to make it to the ring before he attacks. While this is entertaining, it’s weird that two guys with three tag team partners between them don’t get any help, right? Well, Rey Fenix does show up to support Pentagon, who uses a low blow when the ref is distracted to set up his victory. Good night for the Lucha Brothers.

Bunny explains why BBB targeted Cody last week. Namely, that they’re in AEW to cut the head off the snake. As one does.

Main Event – Joey Janela vs. Jon Moxley

So the idea here is that this is going to subvert expectations by being a wrestling match and not a hardcore collision. It’s not too shabby at all in that regard, with Moxley showing off some creative moves and Janela wildly taking flight several times. With these two, though, something crazier is going to happen at some point, and that comes when Janela leaps to the floor and sends Moxley through the timekeeper’s table. That’s not enough to pin Mox, who hits a Paradigm Shift on the top turnbuckle and another on the mat to claim victory. Jericho returns the favor from last week’s show by appearing in the crowd, flanked by his Inner Circle muscle. Alas, there’s only the tease of a confrontation at this time, and we’re out of time. See you in seven!

Nick Tylwalk has been with SLAM! Wrestling since the dawn of time, or at least since before the turn of the century. He spends his days doing PR things, but he’ll always make time to sneak away for some wrestling.