AEW Dynamite 07/10/20- 30 Years Of Jericho!
Hey everyone, my name's Mick and I'm here to review the hottest new thing in professional wrestling today, All Elite Wrestling! But it's not quite "out with the old and in with the new", because on this edition of AEW Dynamite, we celebrate the legendary career of Chris Jericho. Beginning in Calgary (dramatic pause), Alberta, Canada in 1990, Jericho has been doing his thing in wrestling at the highest of levels for 30 years now... almost as long as I've been alive!
Let's do this!
The cold open of Dynamite features current AEW wrestlers talking about the influence and success that Chris Jericho has had. Talking heads include Jungle Boy, Darby Allin and Britt Baker.
Inside Daily's Place, we go to the announcers. Jim Ross introduces his usual cohorts of Tony Schiavone and Excalibur, as well as Ricky Starks and Taz as guest commentators. JR cocks up Starks' name which he is none too pleased with.
Match 1: FTW Championship- Brian Cage (c) def. Will Hobbs (at 9:08)
Thoughts: This was a HOSS BATTLE. JR likely needed a smoke after this one. Both men displayed great power and athleticism, beginning with the "two bulls" trope of charging shoulder blocks, but quickly upping the pace with running the ropes, leapfrogs, drop downs, all the good stuff. Hobbs, a new addition to the AEW roster, hits a nice snap powerslam for a near fall that panicks Taz somewhat. A big spinebuster- almost a Lo-Down- follows, but with no weight on the shoulders, Cage is able to roll out. The champ regains the advantage and scores with a standing moonsault, which is just ridiculous for a 300 pounder. Hobbs with another huge spinebuster, but is able to get a tighter pin this time. Cage still somehow kicks out. A perplexed Hobbs goes up top and goes all in with a frog splash, but this deviation from the game plan costs him. Cage rolls out of the way and hits a rough-looking Drillclaw FTW- not F*** The World, but For The Win. Tremendous big man action to set an energetic tone for the show. (***1/2)
Post-match, Brian Cage and Ricky Starks look to inflict more punishment on Will Hobbs. Taz stops them, and extends an invitation to Hobbs to join Team Taz... or Starks and Cage will bear the hell out of him. Before Hobbs can answer, Darby Allin hits the ring, skateboard in hand, to make the save. The heels bail to end the segment.
Well-wishes and congratulations air from a variety of celebrities for the man of the hour(s), Chris Jericho. The names include Slash, Dennis Miller, Hiroshi Tanahashi!!!, Bully Ray and Ted Irvine (Jericho's dad).
Promo with Lance Archer, who has a shot at Jon Moxley and the AEW Championship next week on the Dynamite anniversary show. Archer references the Texas Death Match in NJPW at Wrestle Kingdom- all by name, accompanied by still shots. Very interesting, especially following Tanahashi's cameo. Archer says that this time will be different.
Match 2: AEW Tag Team Championship- 20 Minute Brush With Greatness- FTR (Cash Wheeler & Dax Harwood) (c) def. TH-2 (Angelico & Jack Evans) (at 13:50)
Thoughts: Solid clash of styles between these two. TH-2 had the early advantage, throwing FTR off their game with quick pin attempts. Angelico went for a cross body off the stage, FTR caught him, and Jack Evans wiped out everyone with a top rope senton. Evans came up favouring his knee though, so the Top Guys began their methodical dissection of the high-flyer's leg. Angelico gets the hot tag and wraps both Wheeler and Harwood in a double submission. Quick tags in and out see TH-2 build momentum, but some great tandem offense swings it back to the AEW tag champs- a German Suplex into a Dragon Suplex into a jackknife pin. Absolutely brilliant. Later, Angelico goes for a flip dive to the outside, lands on his feet, but takes a Gory Bomb on the apron. Tiger Driver by Harwood on Evans in the ring gets a near fall. FTR quickly follow with the superplex/top rope splash combo to retain the gold. More competitive than I thought it would be, definitely a performance that the underrated TH-2 can build off. Hopefully they get more opportunities on Dynamite as opposed to Dark coming off this performance. (***1/2)
We cut backstage to The Young Bucks, who were shown on the monitor watching throughout the previous match. They just now realise that the camera was on them (LOL), so they superkick the cameraman. They go to pay their fine, but both Bucks apparently forgot their wallet. Whoopsie. An image appears on the big screen of FTR dressed as hotdogs... or weiners. Har har har. Schiavone's sigh pretty much sums up my feelings on that gag. This brings out Best Friends, wearing that image on their shirts. As comedy geniuses, they explicitly explain the joke, but what is not a joke- they've got a tag title shot next week. They clear FTR from the ring in a quick brawl. Anddddd... scene.
Promo with MJF. He congratulates Jericho on 30 years, and tells a story about receiving advice from Le Champion at a AEW after-party. He closes by saying he might be out there tonight to congratulate Chris in person. Hmm... foreshadowing?
More well-wishes from celebs. Shaq, Gene Simmons, Don Callis, Lars Ulrich and DDP.
Promo airs for the Cody vs. Brodie Lee Dog Collar Match. Big fight feel.
Match 3: TNT Championship- Dog Collar Match- Cody def. Brodie Lee (c) (at 20:35)
Thoughts: This was a PPV main event quality match. Outstanding. A lot of moving parts here- Lee had Anna Jay and John Silver at ringside, while Cody had Brandi Rhodes and Arn Anderson. They were used to great effect, as Silver took the bullet for Mr. Brodie Lee early and got busted open, and Arn had a chair launched at his head, confronted Lee, and wound up taking a chain shot. He did hit his patented spinebuster on an interfering Alex Reynolds though. This was bloody and violent, with Cody wearing the crimson mask early after a DDT on the chain, and he later returned the favour, hitting a package piledriver off the apron through a table. They used the chain in a variety of inventive ways, including Cody dragging Lee off the apron right into a Cody cutter, Lee using the chain like a clothesline, Cody whipping Lee with the steel, Lee hitting a massive powerbomb on the chain... and the final blow. Cody wrapping the steel chain around Lee's face multiple times and hitting Cross Rhodes. My god. This was like old school NWA meets the original ECW, and I am so here for it. Possibly the best match we've seen on Dynamite? It's got to be this or the Omega vs. Pac Ironman- two wildly different battles, but both brilliant all the same. This Dog Collar match was better than anything we've seen on PPV for months- even including AEW's shows in that. What an emotional, violent, dramatic thrill ride. (****1/2)
Post-match, Cody cuts an impassioned promo. He talks about doing it for the fans, it's his life's dream to be a pro wrestler. He wants to defend the TNT Championship next week. Tony Schiavone asks who it might be. Orange Cassidy walks out onto the stage, and with the signature thumbs up, Cody vs. Orange appears set for the stacked anniversary show.
We throw to the announce team, who discuss the tournament that will conclude at AEW Full Gear, the next All Elite PPV. Jungle Boy, Rey Fenix and Kenny Omega have already been announced as competitors, and Excalibur reveals the next batch of participants- Wardlow, Colt Cabana and "Hangman" Adam Page. The winner gets a shot at the AEW World Championship.
Alex Marvez interviews Kenny Omega. He asks Omega how it feels to be back as a full-time singles competitor. An exuberant Kenny answers, "Oh boy, does it feel good!" He talks about his history and success in tournaments. When Marvez brings up Adam Page, Omega dismissively refers to him as "a tag team wrestler" and says it doesn't matter who he has to face, he will win the tournament and become champion. Even if he has to face Hangman Page.
Match 4: Big Swole def. Serena Deeb (at 8:34)
Thoughts: This was one of the better showings for AEW's women's division on Dynamite. Not the smoothest match, but nice energy, beginning as a technical exchange of holds that Swole got the better of, but Serena managed to connect with a stiff-looking clothesline to turn things around, as well as a nasty Dragon Screw in the ropes. Swole showed impressive power by turning Serena's octopus hold into a pinning attempt for a near fall. Serena works the back and locks in a straitjacket hold. Swole fights out and they inadvertently crack heads. Both ladies trade strikes and Swole nails an intentional headbutt for another near fall. Near fall for Serena after countering a leap off the ropes into a Backstabber. Bit of awkward miscommunication down the stretch as they both run the ropes and half hit strikes on each other. Swole rallies with a pump kick, an uppercut and a roaring elbow to put this one away. Definitely rough at times, but the effort was there. (**1/4)
Promo from AEW World Champion Jon Moxley, sitting in a bar. Mox understand that at some point, everyone's number gets called, and Lance Archer just might be the guy to do it. Recalling the battle in Tokyo, Mox says wisely, "You don't beat Lance Archer, you survive Lance Archer." He vows that Archer will have to take the belt off his dead body, but it's like Lance says, "Everybody dies." He downs a shot and leaves. Damn, Mox just exuded cool in this promo. Puts over Archer massively, doesn't talk himself up much, but there's an understated toughness in the way he acknowledges his mortality as champion.
Chaos Project make their entrance for the main event. Then we get more Jericho video tributes from stars including Lance Storm, Kevin Smith, Fluffy (w/ Chavo Guerrero) and Ultimo Dragon. Dragon's still around?!? I must be trippin'...
Match 5: Chris Jericho & Jake Hager def. Chaos Project (Luther & Serpentico) (at 8:43)
Thoughts: I think it was super nice of Jericho to use his 30 year anniversary to give a spotlight to his friend, Luther. But this wasn't a great match, in fact it was the weakest of the show. Luther looked decent early, after letting Serpentico start with Jericho to do some lucha things, he comes in to level his buddy with a big boot, followed by a butterfly suplex. Ever the veteran, Jericho finds an opening, hits the Lionsault, and tags to Hager. Luther and Hager square off in a battle of the big men, then Luther interestingly uses his own partner as a weapon, repeatedly slamming Serpentico onto Hager. Near fall by Serpentico on Hager with a seated Meteora (my favourite Linkin Park album). Hager kills the momentum by catching a crossbody attempt and absolutely whipping Serpentico down with a powerslam. The Inner Circle take control from here, until Serpentico counters a back body drop by Jericho into a DDT, and tags out to Luther. The action breaks down in probably the high point of the match, where Serpentico is launched into a tope by Luther, who then follows to the outside with a top rope rolling senton onto all of the Inner Circle members. Back in the ring, Luther hits a top rope knee drop and gets a near fall on Le Champion. He falls off the apron, then get back up to hit a bowling shoe ugly bulldog for another close call. With the ref distracted, the Inner Circle toss Floyd the Bat into the ring- but Luther catches it, smacks Jericho in the gut with it and follows with a big boot that had about 1/8 the impact of the one at the start of the match. Kick out. Sammy Guevara provides a distraction, allowing Jericho to hit the Judas Effect and mercifully end this one. (*1/2)
Post-match, Chris Jericho has a mic, and he's got some celebrating to do! He starts to thank the fans, but is interrupted by MJF. He's not here to steal the spotlight, he's here because he respects "Christopher". He's got a gift FOR Jericho, and it's a person covered in a sheet... revealed to be Clownico The Clown. And the crowd goes mild. The clown is holding another gift... Jericho unwraps it to reveal a framed picture of MJF. Jericho smashes it over Clownico's head and then hits the clown with the Judas Effect. "I hate clowns, and don't ever interrupt me again. You understand me?" Jericho tells MJF. They have an intense staredown... then break the tension by laughing it off. Show music hits and the AEW heel roster walk out with glasses of A Little Bit of the Bubbly (I'm assuming). Credits roll, and every listed name is "Chris Jericho". Even all 8 camera guys.
Man, this was really a tale of two shows! Everything up to the Dog Collar Match was superb, and I was overjoyed at essentially getting a PPV in the form of a Dynamite episode. Then the women's match was pretty shaky, and the main event match really struggled along. The post-match stuff was a bit weird, I get the idea of teasing Jericho/MJF dissension, but it just lacked the punch of a show-closing segment. On a positive note, they did an excellent job of making 30 Years of Jericho feel like a huge deal with all the celebrity cameos and AEW wrestlers talking about what a massive influence and inspiration that Jericho was. Definitely still a thumbs-up show, but not quite the classic it seemed like it was heading towards for the first hour and change.
Overall Score: 7/10
The celebrations continue for Chris Jericho going forward! He's my all-time favourite wrestler, and there's no question in my mind that he belongs in that GOAT conversation. My next article, a career retrospective of Jericho's 30 Years, will delve into the how and why. That will be up within the next few days, so make sure you're keeping an eye out on Snap Mayors for that!
Also, I do a little Twitch streaming, and my next big stream is also themed around 30 Years of Jericho. Monday night at 8PM AEDT, the 12th of October at twitch.tv/robboentertainment! We talk all things Jericho, and re-enact some of his most famous matches on the PS2 in Smackdown: Here Comes The Pain. Hope to see you there!
Until next time, take care,