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    Thursday, January 9, 2020

    Reviewing the Elite (1/8/20): Total Nonstop Angles

    Ain’t that a triggering title? “Total Nonstop Angles Nico? Are you saying this episode of AEW Dynamite felt like an episode of TNA?” Well, if I had to be truthful, this week’s Dynamite installment did feel like they crammed too many ideas in one episode like the older Impact installments of yore. Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily.

    This was definitely an entertaining episode of Imp-sorry, Dynamite, and one that focused on angles more than most. Don’t worry, there was still a ton of good wrestling in the show and the storylines make sense, for the most part, but the episode also doubled down on things some fans don’t like about AEW, namely The Dark Order and Brandi Rhodes’s Nightmare Collective.

    We also got an odd sense of deja vu since almost every wrestler who appeared last week was also in this episode. AEW is usually pretty good at rotating their talent for each episode, making sure no one is overexposed. However, seeing Cody, Kenny Omega, Dustin Rhodes, Sammy Guevara, and MJF in matches and segments two weeks in a row almost made things feel too familiar. It’s a very minor nitpick and one that looks to be solved next week, so I’ll let it slide.

    Now, on with the show.

    Fill My Dark Soul With Light

    Props to anyone who got that Devil May Cry reference but man, this show gave us too much of their “dark” factions. 

    Admittedly, I did like the Dark Order angle they ran with this week. Evil Uno, Stu Grayson, John Silver, and Alex Reynolds attempted to induct Christopher Daniels into their group after he lost to Sammy Guevara but the Fallen Angel declined. Just when it seemed like The Dark Order had the numbers game again, Daniels’ SCU stablemates, Scorpio Sky and Frankie Kazarian, along with The Young Bucks made the save, looking victorious over the stable after the beatdown they got back on December 18.

    On paper, that sounds fine, right? The problem was, it came right after a segment with Brandi Rhodes’ Nightmare Collective, which actually made this angle look overdone and unoriginal since both stories were told back-to-back.

    First of all, Brandi's Nightmare Collective ruined a perfectly good match between Riho and my alien lord and savior Kris Statlander for the AEW World Women’s Championship. No joke, these two women were having a great little bout but once Mel and Awesome Kong got involved, things got messy. Rather than go for a DQ finish, Kong tripped up Statlander and helped Riho pick up the win. I can’t believe I’m going to say this but I actually would have preferred a DQ if only to protect Statlander from getting pinned.

    The Nightmare Collective also revealed that they have a male member in Japanese deathmatch legend Dr. Luther. While I’m sure he’s a fine wrestler with a good reputation, just throwing him out in an angle like this was more confusing than anything else.

    Now, it wasn’t all bad. Riho cemented her babyface status by helping Statlander fight off the Nightmare Collective after the match, not being happy with the way she got the win and the crowd loved her for it. The two women also got help from Hikaru Shida, Big Swole, and Sonny Kiss, which could mean a mini-faction angle and that could be good since it might give those talents some time to shine. Britt Baker’s heel turn is also going well since she didn’t join Shida to help the babyfaces, even though she was there at ringside with her.

    In my honest opinion, they probably could have saved the Dark Order angle for next week to keep these two stables away from each other. Having these angles happen one after another made them feel annoyingly similar to each other and felt like a repetitive viewing experience. There is good stuff to be found on both stories but some space between the two would have helped, that’s all.

    A Little Bit of the Swerve-y

    Not gonna lie, they got me good here.

    Just when it seemed like Jon Moxley was going to decline Chris Jericho’s offer to join The Inner Circle, he said yes, claiming a need to dominate the AEW roster. This main event angle ran for a good number of minutes and they even played the theme songs of Moxley and Jericho to make it seem like the show would end.

    Moxley even revealed an Inner Circle shirt under his jacket! That part of the segment convinced my little peabrain that Moxley was joining Jericho’s group and that Vince Russo was secretly writing this show.

    Thankfully, by the end, Moxley revealed that he has no interest in joining Jericho’s Inner Circle Jerk (thanks MJF) and gave Paradigm Shift DDTs to Le Champion and his Spanish Sex God Sammy Guevara. 

    I’m sure some fans would argue that Moxley’s actions felt very Dean Ambrose-like but it was still a fun moment. Having a swerve within a swerve shouldn’t be the norm in AEW but for the sake of fooling the fans before making them happy, this was an all-out success.

    Shine Bright Like a Diamond (Cutter)

    Not gonna lie, this segment didn’t start out too well but did get a lot better by the end. MJF started cutting a promo and called out Cody, giving him to the count of 10 to get in the ring with him. He was then interrupted by an agent before repeating himself and redoing the 10-count, before proceeding to insult Cody like he usually does. Weird.

    He was then interrupted by Diamond Dallas Page, the self-shilling hype man who created DDP Yoga, who made a special appearance in Dynamite this week and he did pretty alright for himself. The three-time WCW Champion and creator of the self-high-five annoyed MJF by advertising DDP Yoga and all his social media platforms, before teasing a return to the ring. 

    This seemed to fire up MJF, as the cocky little shit started running down the legend and threatened to beat him up, calling The Butcher, The Blade, and The Bunny down for assistance.

    Surprisingly enough, DDP ended up giving the tag team a Diamond Cutter each before MJF took him down with a low blow. Before any more damage could be done, my main man QT Marshall and Dustin Rhodes came down to the ring to help out the legend.

    Overall, this wasn’t too bad and actually got pretty good by the end. I’m looking forward to seeing DDP’s in-ring return next week. He looks great for someone over 60 and those Diamond Cutters were sick, though I’m not sure how well he’ll do in a full-blown match.

    Final Grade: Despite two repetitive dark faction angles, I’ll be generous and give AEW Dynamite a B this week. The wrestling was pretty good (more on that in a bit) and some angles have real promise, despite their clunky introductions.

    Matches Announced for Next Week:
    • Pac vs Darby Allin
    • Kris Statlander and Hikaru Shida vs Awesome Kong and Mel (w/ Brandi Rhodes)
    • DDP, QT Marshall, and Dustin Rhodes vs MJF, The Butcher, and The Blade

    Elite Thoughts

    • It was another good week for The Elite as Kenny Omega and “Hangman” Adam Page beat Private Party, while Cody and Dustin were victorious over The Lucha Bros. Both matches were great but I was a bit bothered by The Lucha Bros eating another loss. Here’s hoping they get back on track soon.
    • Speaking of Cody, I like how Arn Anderson answered Tony Schiavone’s interview for him. The Enforcer said he and Cody would discuss the match and called MJF’s demands preposterous. He’s absolutely right and I’m digging how Arn is there to make sure Cody doesn’t do anything stupid, which the American Nightmare is prone to.
    • Jurassic Express finally picked up a win, beating The Best Friends and Orange Cassidy in a decent match. Jungle Boy, Luchasaurus, and Marko Stunt are gonna take on Chris Jericho, Santana, and Ortiz in Le Champion’s Rock 'N' Wrestling Rager event so giving them the win was the right call.
    • I was happy to see Kip Sabian and Penelope Ford get a hype package. While Sabian doesn’t have too many wins under his belt, showcasing some of the sly tactics and Ford are capable of was pretty cool. Here’s hoping that the duo gets some of that spotlight this year.
    • Sammy Guevara continues his 2020 winning streak, beating Christopher Daniels thanks to a distraction from Pentagon Jr. In a nice bit of continuity, The Lucha Bro dared Daniels to do a moonsault, which took The Fallen Angel off of this game and led to him eating the pin. I really like how that month-old botch has led to this intriguing story for Daniels, turning chicken shit into chicken salad.
    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 (1/8/20): Total Nonstop Angles Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Nico Parungo
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