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    Saturday, January 25, 2020

    Reviewing the Elite (1/22/20): B.O.A.T.

    You’d think putting dynamite on a boat would be explosive in a bad way but this week’s AEW Dynamite went BANG in a good way. And it didn’t even have DDP!

    First, let’s talk about the setting since seeing a wrestling ring on a cruise ship was awesome. It helped create a unique environment, not just for all the fans in attendance but for the wrestlers. Due to the placement of the ring, the wrestlers had to do more “proper” wrestling rather than go crazy with dives. That seemed like an obstacle on observation but the AEW roster was up to the task and exceeded expectations.

    It also helped that this episode had the first title change in AEW history and a couple of fun matches to boot. If you have yet to check out an episode of AEW, tune into this episode, even if it's just to see the cool visual of wrestlers wrestling on a ship.

    Wrestling (and Drinking) Away My Insecurities

    Having Kenny Omega and “Hangman” Adam Page win the AEW World Tag Team Championships from SCU was a ballsy move, but also one that fits their current storyline. 

    Page’s slow heel turn has been one of the best aspects of recent AEW episodes. We’ve seen Page struggle being in this tag team with Omega, especially with his big losses last year still haunting him, not to mention being in The Elite’s shadow. Hangman’s insecurities have resorted to him drinking away his problems to make himself feel better. Ironically, his liquid devouring has been burning bridges with friends like Private Party and SCU, maybe even The Bucks.

    All of that sorrow and pent-up aggression was put on full display when Tony Schiavone interviewed them, mostly asking Kenny about his problems with PAC rather than putting the focus on both men. Having The Young Bucks interrupt the interview—after they crashed Page and Omega's title win to boot—and giving Omega more props added to that. In a way, The Bucks deserved that little burn Page gave them.

    It’s amazing how Page went from a boring guy who can wrestle to a complex and angst-filled guy who can wrestle. Hangman is probably one of my favorites right now and I’m going to break when he finally turns heel. 

    Now, as for the match itself, I don’t know if I’d call this a Match of the Year contender but it was really good! They started slow and methodically with some fun, technical wrestling before ending with spots galore. As usual, they worked hard to make sure everyone looked good in this match, with SCU looking like they were going to win on a couple of occasions. 

    After 20+ minutes of tag team action where Omega survived an SCU Later and a TKO from Scorpio Sky, it was the Hangman who got the win after giving Kazarian and Sky a Buckshot Lariat each. It was a feel-good victory for Page, even though the Cowboy Shitter is obviously turning to the dark side. 

    Rocking the G.O.A.T.

    Even with only one active eye, Jon Moxley was able to put away “The Bastard” PAC to become the number one contender to Chris Jericho’s AEW World Championship. 

    The result is hardly a surprise to anyone who’s been paying attention to AEW’s weekly show since they’ve clearly been building to this match. Still, with all that build-up, I doubt anyone—even his most loyal followers—actually wanted PAC to win the match. 

    PAC and Moxley have pretty good chemistry so it was a treat seeing them grapple here, even if it wasn’t their best match. I’ll admit that the crowd brawl didn’t do much for me and felt like they were just killing time. Thankfully, it didn’t take too long but I felt that it did slow down the momentum of this entertaining bout.

    Jericho’s commentary was also great, building up PAC and even rival Moxley a number of times. Of course, Jericho also mocked Moxley for not accepting The Inner Circle’s offer and putting all the blame on his rival when it came to his eye injury. Good stuff! I hope Jericho considers a commentating job when he eventually retires.
    Final Grade: This cruisin’ edition of Dynamite gets a B+ for me. Two strong matches, solid story progression, and a unique setting made this a pretty fun watch.

    Matches Announced for Next Week:
    • Darby Allin and Private Party vs. Chris Jericho, Santana, and Ortiz
    • The Young Bucks vs. The Butcher and The Blade (w/ The Bunny)
    • Cody (w/ Arn Anderson) vs. Kip Sabian (w/ Penelope Ford)

    Elite Thoughts:
    • Britt Baker defeated Priscilla Kelly in a pretty bad match. It wasn’t horrible but I can’t lie and say I was entertained, Plus, Priscilla is basically a nobody to most AEW fans since she only appeared once during 2019’s All Out.
    • On the bright side, Baker’s promo was a little more entertaining, officially cementing her as a heel. Going nuts on Tony Schiavone is always going to get heat from fans, especially her line about him working at Starbucks, and having them cut away from the promo was a nice touch since she was clearly out of line and being unprofessional.
    • Chris Jericho’s issues with Jungle Boy and Jurassic Express continue. This six-man tag was immensely entertaining, with all members used well. I was a bit annoyed that Jungle Boy played babyface in peril so much but they did have Marko Stunt eat the pin, so that was fine. This basically ensures another singles match between Jericho and Jungle Boy.
    • Didn’t really think much of the MJF/Joey Janela match, though it wasn’t badly wrestled or anything like that. I like how Kip Sabian and Penelope Ford interfered, essentially costing Janela the match, so that was something.
    • Cody letting the Young Bucks superkick MJF since he can’t is actually pretty smart. I’m genuinely surprised that similar stories haven’t done this, though I could be wrong. It’s not like I’ve seen every wrestling show ever.
    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 (1/22/20): B.O.A.T. Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Nico Parungo
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