With apologies to the many great wrestling cities around the world, Jacksonville is the current wrestling capital of the globe. That’s because AEW is doing its thing there and only there for the foreseeable future, including tonight’s episode of Dynamite. Just three days out from Double or Nothing, we should see the final pieces fall into place. Live to TNT we go, and it should be a good way to spend two hours.
Tonight’s show begins with a limo arriving at the arena, and it’s carrying Chris Jericho, his baseball bat, and his Inner Circle flunkies. They have a surprise for The Elite and leave with the interviewer’s tie clip. I did not make that up.
I think it’s worth pointing out that Jimmy Havoc has been ready for pandemic life all along since he’s always wearing a face covering. He and ninjas were always ahead of the curve.
Match 1 – 10 (w/ “The Exalted One” Mr. Brodie Lee) vs. Jon Moxley
Lee still has Moxley’s championship belt and also would like to say a few words to the viewers at home prior to the match. It’s great that he’s getting heckled even though the “crowd” consists of other wrestlers. In any case, Lee claims his methods may be unusual but his results speak for themselves, conveniently omitting the fact that he literally stole the gold. He makes 10 a Knight of the Dark Order, which I did not know was a thing until just now. Though his new rank inspires 10 to actually get some offense in on the champ, it doesn’t keep him from his just reward of a Paradigm Shift. After his win, Moxley puts 10’s arm in-between a chair and gives Lee 10 seconds to appear before he uses another chair to break said arm. Lee answers on the big screen but says everyone needs to make sacrifices, leaving the arena with the rest of his minions. “See you Saturday,” Mox says before making good on his threat.
Match 2 – MJF (w/ Wardlow) vs. “Mr. Fun Size” Marko Stunt
Excalibur says Stunt happens to be one of the smallest competitors in AEW, but who, pray tell, is smaller? Before the match gets started, J.R. gives a nice tribute to the recently deceased Shad Gaspard, a classy move. All the announcers join in framing MJF’s upcoming bout with Jungle Boy as a meeting of two men who could be huge stars, which is a very solid opinion. MJF’s facial expressions and selling ability are at their very best in a match like this. He makes Marko tap out and smacks him with his diamond ring before Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus before he and Wardlow take a powder.
Next up is a sitdown interview with the mouthpieces for both the AEW TNT Championship tournament finalists, Arn Anderson and Jake Roberts, moderated by Tony Schiavone. Honestly, I could listen to these guys go back and forth for an hour — and maybe even throw down, even at their ages. They tease exactly that after the verbal jabs are thrown, but a handful of referees quickly puts an end to that idea.
As with all of Darby Allin’s videos, I’m not sure of all the symbolism in this one, but it appears to be saying he’s willing to risk more than any of the other competitors in the Casino Ladder Match at Double or Nothing. Also, he looks like he may have lit his clothes on fire while standing atop a ladder at the end, which is something you don’t see every day.
Match 3 – Orange Cassidy vs. Rey Fenix
Turns out Fenix’s hyperactivity and Cassidy’s nonchalant demeanor are a perfect blend, though Cassidy gets upset enough after trading blows for several minutes to show some real fire. A really entertaining bout ends when Kip Sabian brings a ladder down to watch from the ramp, distracting Cassidy enough that Fenix can use a low blow to set up the finish. SCU’s Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky get into it with Sabian and Havoc, Fenix and Cassidy nearly kill themselves on dives to the floor (Rey undershooting his, Orange slightly overshooting his), and it’s all a hectic little preview for Saturday night.
Match 4 – “The Galaxy’s Greatest Alien” Kris Statlander and Hikaru Shida vs. Dr. Britt Baker, D.M.D. and “The Native Beast” Nyla Rose
These four women all have beef with each other in various combinations, and that leads to a brawl before the bell even rings. Fittingly, Shida and Rose get to face off for a bit, then the women’s champ goes it alone while doctors check on Baker for what could be a legit injury. Rose wins anyway, and hopefully Britt is OK.
Mox gives a pretty humorous backstage interview with his perspective on what’s been going on between him and Lee. He vows that the Exalted One will have nothing left after Saturday but a three-piece suit and a bunch of dudes in creepy gimp masks to repair his shattered ego. Sounds potentially quite accurate.
Wait, who gave Shawn Spears his own cable news network? SSN, eh? OK, let’s roll with it. Spears lauds Dustin Rhodes for retiring and complains about not having a match at Double or Nothing. Saying maybe he should just go into business for himself, he challenges Rhodes. It’s a bold strategy, Cotton, let’s see if it pays off for him. The announcers seem to think it’s a done deal.
Main Event – “Spanish God” Sammy Guevara vs. “Broken” Matt Hardy
Here’s the narrative around the Stadium Stampede match at Double or Nothing, which includes both of these gentlemen: Will The Elite even have a full team? It’s a valid question because as J.R. and Schiavone take pains to point out, we haven’t seen Hangman Adam Page or the Young Bucks at the arena in months. I believe that might be some serious foreshadowing, but we’ll see. Given plenty of time to work, the two wrestlers give us an entertaining past vs. present-type matchup that sees Hardy ultimately prevail. But look, up on the big screen! The rest of the Inner Circle is out beating up Kenny Omega out in the football stadium until the Young Bucks make their long awaited return to bail him out. Hardy joins in the fun as we see the screens at either end of the stadium have the two groups’ logos on them. Very cool. Someone is sprinting from the other end of the field, and that someone is Page. The Inner Circle eventually leaves to lick its wounds, Page wanders off as he is wont to do, and Hardy, the Bucks and Omega stand tall just behind the end zone. Definitely a nice way to end the last show before a PPV, and it’s hard not to be excited for Saturday. Enjoy the show, stay safe, and we’ll see you in seven … but maybe at a new URL. What does he mean? You’ll find out soon!