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    Friday, January 3, 2020

    Reviewing the Elite (1/1/20): Putting The Elite Back in All Elite

    After taking a break during Christmas, AEW Dynamite came back with an explosive episode for the New Year, pun fully intended. With five matches that ranged from entertaining to excellent and some solid story progression, it was really hard not to like this episode.

    Simply put, this was an excellent show with a lot of great wrestling and also addressed some of the major complaints people have had with AEW. Could this be the best episode of AEW Dynamite? Maybe. It's definitely up there.

    The Elite Are Still Elite

    The biggest complaint fans have had with AEW is that the company’s biggest stars—Cody, Kenny Omega, and The Young Bucks, or The Elite for short—don’t win a lot and tend to get beaten down a ton. It’s hard to argue against that since the company’s very first episode had The Inner Circle kicking their asses and the last episode of 2019 had The Dark Order overwhelming them in a one-sided brawl.

    It seems like they took this criticism to heart since all four members of The Elite won their matches tonight.

    Cody was victorious over Darby Allin in an early Match of the Year contender. This was an excellent professional wrestling match that had Cody using his size to try and gain an advantage over Allin, who in turn, used his speed and reckless dives to try and beat The American Nightmare. 

    With the records of all the wrestlers getting a clean slate next week, I’d like to see Darby Allin get more wins in 2020. That being said, I have zero problems with Allin losing clean to Cody for this episode since he looked really strong in defeat, kicking out of the Cross Rhodes and losing to a roll-up. Allin is a star and gets more popular with the fans every time he appears so AEW really needs to capitalize on that sooner or later.

    As for The Young Bucks and Kenny Omega, they beat The Lucha Bros and PAC in the main event that went 60 miles per hour. Blink once and you’ll miss a couple of amazing spots because they were moving so quickly in this high-flying matchup. It was a really good spotfest and the crowd loved seeing Omega and The Bucks get a big win over some of the company’s biggest heels.

    For those wondering about that Michael Nakazawa angle, that was solved in last week’s Being the Elite and the Christmas edition of AEW Dark. He’s fine and it’s kind of annoying how they didn’t solve that angle on television. One New Year’s resolution AEW should make is putting all of their angles on their two-hour TNT show, but I digress.

    Still, a very good night for The Elite. As someone who didn’t hate that Dark Order angle a few weeks ago, I do think these guys lose a lot more than they should so I’m happy to see them get a big win for the New Year. 

    MJF’s Kinks

    This week’s episode of AEW Dynamite finally gave us MJF’s stipulations in order for Cody to have a match with him and they are interesting, to say the least.

    His first stipulation is having the match on AEW Revolution, which makes sense. MJF is a heel and there’s no way he’s going to wrestle a match against Cody on free television. The second stip is that Cody cannot touch him until the pay-per-view, and if he does, they will never have a match. Very old-school, I like it. MJF also wants Cody to wrestle Wardlow in a steel cage match, which can actually protect MJF’s muscle since Cody can just escape to win and get his PPV bout against his rival.

    Now for the odd one out. The last stipulation that Cody needs to follow if he wants a match with MJF is pretty kinky. No joke, Cody must get down on all fours and get whipped by MJF 10 times. It’s a good thing Dynamite isn’t PG because this is going to do someone some favors, if you catch my drift.

    As usual, MJF gave us an excellent performance in this promo. The question is if Cody will really take those 10 whiplashes since that’s pretty pathetic. Yeah, Cody wants a match with MJF but the guy should still have some semblance of pride and he’ll look really dumb if he just takes all 10 lashes. We’ll just have to wait and see.

    Moxley’s Choice

    Before we get into all of the Inner Circle stuff, I just want to say that Jon Moxley vs. Trent was a very good, physical match. Trent continues to be one of AEW’s top talents and I would love to see him get a singles push at some point because he has yet to disappoint in that regard.

    Now, let’s be real here, does anyone honestly think Jon Moxley is going to join Chris Jericho’s Inner Circle? Unless AEW is planning a major swerve, I don’t think it would be wise to have one of your hottest stars join a big heel stable, which already has another hot star in Jericho anyway.

    Jericho’s prerecorded promo was fine and I do like how he mentioned other stables like The Dark Order and The Nightmare Collective might want Moxley, which sort of shows that he’s getting ready for an all-out stable war. It’s a minor detail but one that could have huge repercussions for the future.

    I’m mostly disappointed that they stretched this out to another week, though I suppose it does ensure a Moxley/Jericho appearance on Dynamite, which could pop the ratings. I just hope that they get this bit over with since Moxley vs Jericho would be one hell of a match.

    Final Grade: This wrestling-centric episode of AEW Dynamite gets an A. Simply put, this is a must-watch episode of Dynamite, whether you’re a fan of AEW or pro wrestling in general.

    Matches Announced for Next Week:
    • Riho (c) vs Kris Statlander for the AEW Women’s World Championship
    • Christopher Daniels vs Sammy Guevara
    • Kenny Omega and “Hangman” Adam Page vs Private Party
    • Cody and Dustin Rhodes vs The Lucha Bros

    Elite Thoughts

    • It looks like Evil Uno isn’t in charge of The Dark Order since he seems to be serving some other higher power. Right now, it’s too soon to know who’s in charge, though I would mark out if it were Hangman Page, who continues his slow heel turn. Kenny Omega is my out-of-left-field pick since he’s also been going through some things ever since losing to Moxley.
    • Jungle Boy was only given some brief promo time in this episode but I didn’t mind. His New Year’s resolution is to get a win, which is great since this is something he badly needs. Glad to know it’s not all downhill for Jungle Boy, plus Jericho mentioning him in his Inner Circle pitch to Moxley, shows that AEW has plans for the young wrestler.
    • Sammy Guevara picked up a win over Dustin Rhodes, thanks to a low blow from Jake Hager, which gives him some momentum for his match against Daniels next week. The match itself was a fun one, though I’ll admit that Dustin looks like a dunce for wanting to give Guevara the Shattered Dreams since that’s an instant DQ. Mad props to Guevara for taking a Canadian Destroyer to the ring apron.
    • The 4-Way match between Riho, Britt Baker, Nyla Rose, and Hikaru Shida was fun while it lasted, with the champ retaining. Shida was the clear star of this match since the fans really loved most of her offense in this match, including that amazing Falcon Arrow on Rose. Riho retaining was sort of a given since Statlander is going to have a title match next week, which is a little more ambiguous.
    • Are we getting a Britt Baker heel turn? The fact that she called out Riho for not appearing every week and stealing her pin is interesting. Funnily enough, Riho stole the win from Shida if you watched the match but getting the facts wrong is a heel thing to do, so this might have been intentional.
    • It looks like we’re getting a Kip Sabian/Joey Janela feud, which I’m down for. Sabian and Penelope Ford have proven to be an entertaining duo and Janela is quite the talent, so I’m looking forward to their matches. We need more undercard feuds in Dynamite.
    • Tazz took Tony Schiavone’s place on commentary this week since the latter had some commitments. He did a good job and reminded me of the days when SmackDown had good commentary.
    Images from All Elite Wrestling

    Nico Parungo is a writer for Epicstream.com and has contributed several reviews for PWR and MWF. When he isn't frustrated about the WWE, he's playing video games at home and is bugging his friends with glorious puns. He's new to the world of Twitter drama but is quickly getting hooked.
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    Item Reviewed: Reviewing the Elite (1/1/20): Putting The Elite Back in All Elite Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Nico Parungo
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