This has been quite the last seven days, to say the least. With the world reeling from the coronavirus outbreak and sports all but shut down, there’s not much left in terms of live entertainment left. While a debate could certainly be had about whether AEW should even be running Dynamite, let’s assume they have taken every possible precaution and enjoy a crowdless show from Jacksonville. To TNT we go.
Tonight’s show begins with Cody standing alone in the ring, talking about how small the world is but how big a service AEW provides during times like this. He says he’s going to ask three of the best athletes in the world to put aside their differences and stand together, just as everyone in the world must right now. Cody pivots to the men on his Blood and Guts team: Matt Jackson, “Hangman” Adam Page and Kenny Omega. He needs the Elite to be the Elite, but while Omega and Jackson are onboard, Page is a question. Jackson flat out asks Page if he will stand with them, and he seems to indicate between sips of an adult beverage that he will. Hit the pyro and let’s start dynamite!
A video package tells us everything we need to know about Death Triangle, except why they chose that name. Out at ringside, MJF and Shawn Spears may or may not be gambling on the action, perplexing Tony Schiavone.
Match 1 – Best Friends (w/ Orange Cassidy) vs. Lucha Brothers
AEW is really making the most of its essential personnel, with Brandi Rhodes doing the ring announcing, wrestlers out in the seats and Cassidy as guest commentator. He’s, uh, not very talkative. He does eventually wander over to the stage right after his pals play it safe and opt for elbow bumps instead of hugs. Responsible. Cassidy dives off the stage, hands still in pockets, but the Lucha Brothers get the pin. Frustrated, the Best Friends challenge Death Triangle to meet them in the parking lot next week.
Match 2 – Penelope Ford (w/ Kip Sabian) vs. Riho vs. Hikaru Shida vs. Kris Statlander
Sabian tries to lend an early hand but ends up eating forearms to the face from Shida and Statlander, and later takes a running knee to the face from Riho as well. Bumping for your partner is good business. Ford gets some time in the spotlight for the first time, but Shida deservedly wins and likely moves closer to a title shot.
Colt Cabana tells Tony Schiavone that it’s weird to be there without a crowd but he’s happy to be there. He gets into a bit of a verbal tiff with Sabian and also slaps him in the face, saying “I’m also a wrestler.” Heh. Earlier today, Jon Moxley was kept outside the arena because he wasn’t medically cleared, but he decides not to press the issue and lets Schiavone know he plans on continuing to be in the Inner Circle’s blind spot before hopping back in his Ford GT and driving off. Glad to see that plot point didn’t get forgotten.
Match 3 – The Butcher & The Blade vs. Jurassic Express
Guess the Bunny and Marko Stunt aren’t essential enough to be on hand tonight either. The early action serves merely as an appetizer to Luchasaurus running wild after a hot tag, which does happen. He gets the pin as well, but only after a weird sequence where Jungle Boy looks like he is going for a tope suicida, sees his foe is still down on the outside and simply slides out and stomps on him instead. Sometimes you have to improvise.
Evil Uno wants to speak directly to “his people,” telling them the Exalted One is near. As in, here tonight near? Christopher Daniels and Kazarian (but mostly Daniels) have heard enough. But wait, there actually is an Exalted One … and it’s Brodie Lee! He appears in the ring and makes quick work of SCU. One mystery solved.
Jake “The Snake” Roberts still wants a match with Cody for his client, Lance Archer, who is also the subject of a pretty weird promotional video where he takes on all comers in a backyard wrestling ring out in the boonies somewhere. I desperately want to believe that was a real thing even though I know it’s not.
Main Event – Inner Circle (Santana, Ortiz and Jake Hager) vs. Cody, Matt Jackson and “Hangman” Adam Page (w/ Arn Anderson and Kenny Omega)
Le Former Champion joins the commentary table after Sammy Guevara does some of the worst singing ever. Also, it’s now Adam “Handswash” Page, which is a good message for everyone in the current climate. Plus his tagline says he has been “social distancing since November.” Heh. This is a good match that gets a lot of time to run, with Santana stealing a pin at the end. Unable to help himself, Jericho takes the last few minutes of the show to brag about the Inner Circle’s superiority and the way they will defeat the Elite (sorry) at Blood and Guts. After all, the Elite is outnumbered with Nick Jackson on the shelf, right? Maybe not. A drone flies in before the show ends, and longtime wrestling fans might have an idea what that means. Sure enough, Matt Jackson says he made a call to a friend who owed him a favor, and the cameras pan up to find Matt Hardy up in the upper deck. Looks like it will be five on five, and if there’s still a Dynamite next week, we’ll 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.