Is pro wrestling essential? Florida says yes, so whatever you feel about that decision, the good part is that AEW Dynamite will return to live action next Wednesday. For tonight, it’s still a taped edition with Tony Schiavone and Chris Jericho on commentary, calling the semifinal TNT Championship matches and whatever else is in store. Let’s get it.

We’re not wasting any time tonight, as we’re getting right to the tournament matchup between Cody and Darby Allin, the third time they’ve faced off in AEW. Cody won one and they fought to a time limit draw in the other, but as Cody notes, a draw is a loss to him, so in his mind he’s 1-1 against Darby. At least I think that’s how it works.

Match 1 – Darby Allin vs. Cody (w/ Brandi Rhodes) – AEW TNT Championship Tournament Semifinal

The first twist in this tale comes when Cody tries to hurl Allin into the barricade on the outside and ends up chucking his foe into his wife. Chris Jericho says Cody did it intentionally, because that’s what he does. The American Nightmare has to fight through damage to his left knee and decide whether or not he wants to use his weight belt as a weapon. He opts against it, probably figuring he’d be disqualified. Jericho says he’s openly rooting for Allin now as he uses some of Cody’s signature moves against him. The ending is both cool and a little confusing at the same time, as Cody goes for a Coffin Drop on Allin, who gets his knees up and connects on his own — but then Cody rolls over just a bit so it’s Allin’s shoulders who are pinned for the three count. That means Cody will face either his Lance Archer or his own brother in the final.

After an interesting look into his early career last week, Scorpio Sky discusses his time with SCU, getting a world championship shot, and wanting to be a legend. Speaking of a legend (in his own mind), MJF gives us an update on his injury status. Seems he has recovered from his hangnail but nicked his neck shaving. Sorry all, he won’t be in action tonight.

Match 2 – Musa vs. Wardlow

Because someone needs to be sacrificed to Wardlow tonight, it may as well be Musa. Thanks for coming, young man.

By popular demand, The Bubbly Bunch is back. There seems to be some disagreement among the Inner Circle, and possibly Jericho’s dogs, over who won their dance contest last week. Tonight, they decide to “fight” by executing moves through their phones, even dragging a host of other AEW wrestlers and celebrities into the action. Vicki Guerrero, is that you? Jericho loves the “Manitoba Melee” and asks if one of the people was Lou Ferrigno with a taser. Yep, sure looked like it.

Match 3 – Jimmy Havoc and Kip Sabian (w/ Penelope Ford) vs. Best Friends (w/ Orange Cassidy) – No Disqualification, No Countout Match

Thanks to the stipulations, it’s more a question of when, not if, Ford and Cassidy will get involved. Havoc tries his best to ensure Cassidy won’t interfere, throwing a chair in his face. Right at home in this kind of match, Havoc brings more chairs and ladders into play, then bites Trent’s ear. Trent fights back, though, with Schiavone and Jericho talking up how impressive he has been in recent weeks. Cassidy’s return prompts them to argue when Schiavone goes full hyperbole and calls him one of the best wrestling managers ever. Look, we all love Freshly Squeezed but let’s not go crazy here. Chuck hits Sabian with a running move onto a pile of chairs and Best Friends earn a hard-earned victory.

If you ever wanted to see Dr. Britt Baker, D.M.D. in her own dentist’s office, berating subordinates and such, here’s your chance. She has more tips for being a role model, gets in a shot at her favorite whipping boy Schiavone, and continues to take her heel game to another level.

Match 4 – “The Chairman” Shawn Spears vs. Baron Black

All it took was a global pandemic for Spears to get some regular TV time, but then again Black is probably happy to get even several minutes of the same. And that’s really all he receives here.

Match 5 – “Mr. Fun Size” Mark Stunt vs. “The Exalted One” Brodie Lee

Jericho explains that he now has respect for Stunt instead of disdain before launching into a theory about Jim Ross being a member of the Dark Order. Can’t disprove that for now. Stunt is as game as ever but that isn’t enough to keep him from taking a big L to the Exalted One.

AEW World Champion Jon Moxley says his big victory seems like a lifetime ago instead of eight weeks. He reflects on all the things he is thankful for, including his wife, steel chairs, and AEW Dynamite going live again next week. And he will be there.

Main Event – Lance Archer vs. “The Natural” Dustin Rhodes (w/ Brandi Rhodes) – AEW TNT Championship Tournament Semifinal

So we’re either getting brother vs. brother or Cody vs. an undefeated Archer in the final. Which way are you leaning? The announcers debate the meaning of Archer’s nickname, the Murderhawk Monster, while putting it over just through sheer repetition. Bloodied by Archer’s nonstop assault, Rhodes makes a heroic late rally, even escaping from the Blackout. But after using an exposed turnbuckle to soften Dustin up (and presumably referee Aubrey Edwards is too scared of Archer to DQ him), Archer smashes his head into the mat a few times and pins him. Hey, Cody and QT Marshall tried to throw the towel in for him, but he wouldn’t let them. Them’s the breaks, and we’re out of time, so 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.