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    Sunday, April 12, 2020

    Reviewing the Elite (4/8/20): Blood and (Body) Oil

    This sure was an interesting episode of AEW Dynamite, wasn’t it, Dynamates? It seems like wrestling Twitter is a bit divided over the episode and they have good reason to be, since there was a lot to digest in the fourth week of not-so-empty arena shows.

    Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of positives in this week’s episode of Dynamite. Britt Baker had one of her best matches in the promotion against Hikaru Shida, while Cody advanced to the quarterfinals of the TNT Championship in a pretty good main event against Shawn Spears. However, there also seems to be some division in regards to the tag team match where Kenny Omega, Michael Nakazawa, and The Best Friends re-embraced their comedy routes.

    Personally, I was mostly fine with everything here since the differences in matches did freshen things up a bit. Admittedly, some of them went a little long, which is a risk in these semi-empty arena episodes, but we can’t blame anyone for trying to entertain us. I’m just glad that most of these episodes have been taped, since it means the wrestlers can catch a break after.

    Bloody Baker


    What a match.

    I’ve been critical of Britt Baker’s wrestling before, but it seems like she’s found her stride as a heel, since she is much more compelling to watch now. It also helps that she also took on one of the best women’s wrestlers in the company in Hikaru Shida, but it takes two to make a great match, and this was indeed great.

    Both wrestlers worked really hard here, with Baker bleeding profusely from the nose at one point. I’m amazed they didn’t just stop there and patch things up since this was taped, but it made for a great visual that elevated this match, though their work was already pretty darn great beforehand.

    Shida has really benefitted from these empty arena shows since she’s on a pretty neat winning streak. Baker loses nothing here since she looked like an absolute beast in defeat, aggressively trying to put on her Lockjaw submission at various points with a broken freaking nose. Give this a watch and don’t sleep on AEW’s women’s division.

    Now, where is Kris Statlander?

    Rehabilitating the Chairman


    2020 has been an odd year for Shawn Spears as the former Perfect 10 has been relegated to AEW Dark, where his current storyline has him trying to find a tag team partner. It’s resulted in a number of losses for Spears, which has weakened his credibility a bit, though it’s better than doing nothing in WWE, I suppose.

    Thankfully, his match with Cody here helped solidify him as a great talent with main event potential. While it wasn’t as impressive as Trent taking Kenny Omega to the limit last week, Spears did get to put The American Nightmare through a table and kick out of two Cross Rhodeses. Sure, the Cross Rhodes isn’t as protected as Omega’s One Winged Angel, but it still gets Cody the win, so this is still impressive.

    While the main event is worth watching, I do have a couple of complaints. Referee Aubrey Edwards didn’t disqualify Spears when he put Cody through a table, which is just dumb. It makes these referees look powerless and has us wondering if there should even be rules in AEW matches. I respect the fact that they don’t want to have a lot of DQ or count-out finishes, but just announce this as a No-DQ match or something.

    Still, a good match, and one that will hopefully give Spears more opportunities.

    Naks naman


    It’s been a while, but Kenny Omega and Michael Nakazawa have teamed up again to take on The Best Friends in a comedy match, which has divided a lot of wrestling fans.

    This was technically well-wrestled and they accomplished what they wanted to do. Naks used body oil a number of times to comedic effect and even used the thong he was wearing for a gross version of the Iron Claw. To be perfectly honest, while I thought it was fine for what it was, this would have been a lot better with a crowd that was really into Nakazawa’s comedy.

    Personally, this wasn’t a bad match for me, but when you consider how something like PAC vs. Orange Cassidy was able to balance humor and serious wrestling, this falls a bit flat when compared to it. The match was also a little too long, which might have been done to make these guys look good, but it’s still worth mentioning.

    Still, it gives Trent and Chuck Taylor a win, which I’m more than fine with. When COVID-19 subsides, I hope the Best Friends get a title match against Omega and Hangman Page.

    Final Grade: For two good matches and a solid attempt at comedy, I’ll give this week’s Dynamite a B.

    Elite Thoughts

    • Lance Archer gets his first real challenge next week when he takes on Colt Cabana. We all know Archer is winning, but I’m curious if he can nail that sick Blackout powerbomb on the guy. Cabana is much bigger than the jobber this week and Marko Stunt, that’s for sure.
    • If you thought the internet was split on that comedy match, try typing out Brodie Lee on Twitter. While the Vince McMahon parody can be seen as low-brow stuff, you can also look at this character as a ruthless leader with OCD and that wouldn’t be a problem at all. We don’t see this type of character in wrestling a lot so if you can take the VKM stuff out of the equation, you’ll probably enjoy Lee more but that’s just me.
    • Really enjoying the build to Jon Moxley vs. Jake Hager. Massive props for the impressive video montages we got in this episode, though most of us wouldn’t have minded if we got just one instead of two. 
    • The Broken Matt Hardy stuff is a guilty pleasure of mine but do we really need another big cinematic match after WrestleMania and NXT? Hopefully, AEW doesn’t rush into whatever this Elite Deletion is since we need a small break from them.
    • Chris Jericho was really good in commentary this week. Hoping Le Champion considers this role once he retires.
    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 (4/8/20): Blood and (Body) Oil Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Nico Parungo
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