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    Monday, May 4, 2020

    Reviewing the Elite (4/29/20): The Road to Hell…

    You get the drill. Good intentions and all that. That phrase works really well for the current arc of Cody, who seems to be letting some of his arrogance out in this TNT Championship tournament. His recent promos have been particularly snarky, which has us wondering if he’s going to turn heel, and the match he had against Darby only added fuel to the flames.

    Unfortunately, this phrase also works for AEW as a whole since the company has made the decision to have AEW Dynamite go live next week, with “good intentions” I’m sure, but it still sucks that they’ve decided to go in that direction.

    I thought about it for a bit and decided to keep reviewing their live shows, even if it’s a really bad move on their part. If we’re lucky, they’ll eventually start taping shows in advance but no such announcement has come from them yet.

    As for this stick of Dynamite, it’s pretty much what you’d expect from the COVID-19 era that every wrestling company has been adapting to. This episode had a pretty similar structure to the previous ones, which means a mix of competitive wrasslin', squashes, and video packages. To the credit of the wrestlers, the actual wrestling matches were pretty good this week. In terms of video packages, Britt Baker had an awesome showcase of her character and we got our best episode of Chris Jericho's Bubbly Bunch yet.

    I still wish they weren’t going live next week but it can’t be helped, apparently.

    Is Cody Turning Heel?


    The semi-finals for AEW’s TNT Championship tournament took place in this episode and we got some really good matches out of them. Cody vs. Darby Allin was clearly the superior bout. While the two had a better match in the first 2020 episode of AEW, they still wrestled their asses off here and did enough new things to keep this rivalry fresh.

    Cody’s heel tendencies showed a bit, attacking Darby after accidentally shoving the edgelord to his wife Brandi at ringside and acting extra aggressive throughout the match. Darby showed great babyface fire though, fighting back with submissions, hitting Cody with the Cross Rhodes, and even hitting his Coffin Drop finisher. The American Nightmare barely picked up the win when Cody seemingly rolled Darby up after getting hit by his finisher, though a part of me wondered if the Sk8r Boi actually overshot the move, giving his rival time to move and pin him.

    My only complaint was that random bit where Britt Baker hit Cody with her shoe. She’s a heel (lol, because she hit him with her shoe) sure, but what does she have against Cody? Shawn Spears was right there, it would have made more sense if he attacked Cody since he was beaten by him a few weeks ago.

    Definitely watch this match. Easily the match of the night on Dynamite. I can’t wait for Darby to eventually beat a (hopefully) heel Cody.

    R.I.P. Dustin Rhodes


    So Dustin Rhodes put his career on the line against a cruiserweight like Kip Sabian, but when it’s a super-heavyweight like Lance Archer, you think “my career’s fine against this guy?” What a weird mindset.

    Anyway, this match was brutal. As expected, Dustin gave Lance Archer his biggest challenge yet in AEW, almost pinning him with a crucifix near the end, but The Natural was no match for Archer. At one point, The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust bled after getting his head rammed multiple times on an exposed turnbuckle, which SHOULD BE ILLEGAL but I guess Aubrey Edwards is a sucker for clean finishes.

    The end was rough since Q.T. Marshall came out and considered throwing in the towel before the younger Rhodes brother came in and took it, asking his brother if he wanted to quit. There was a moment when Dustin took the towel away but it was all for naught since The Murderhawk slammed Rhodes’ bleeding head a number of times before pinning him.

    We’re getting Cody vs. Lance Archer at Double or Nothing. I was hoping for Darby Allin vs. Archer to save the inevitable Cody match for another day but it looks like they felt the time was right for the upcoming pay-per-view. It’s not like Jake “The Snake” can keep cutting the same promo until the match is made.

    Orange You Glad This Match Happened?


    It looks like this mid-card/filler rivalry between The Best Friends and Kip Sabian and Jimmy Havoc has come to an end. You’d think they would go for a regular tag match but they decided to go No DQ and No Countout, which made their little affair more entertaining, I'll have to admit.

    Oddly enough, despite the use of chairs and ladders, this felt less brutal than the Dustin Rhodes/Archer match. Maybe it’s because the main event match had more drama and blood or this match didn’t have high stakes but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t fun while it lasted. It probably wasn’t “fun” for these wrestlers since they did take a few brutal spots, like Trent getting a diving foot stomp while lying on chairs. Ouch.

    Thankfully, they didn’t do anything too stupid. This wasn’t an outstanding hardcore match, but they worked hard and it was nice seeing them given plenty of time. If the quarantine era of wrestling benefited anyone, it was these guys who decided to stick it out despite the scary circumstances and I hope their loyalty is rewarded.

    We also got the best image of these three together. How can you hate that?

    Final Grade: B. Solid effort all around. I just wish everything was still taped going forward.

    Elite Thoughts:
    • Did they have Jon Moxley drop the news of Dynamite going live so they’d get less heat? Because it’s not working. No one is going to blame Moxley for this. At the least, he cut a good promo and I laughed when he told people to check on their grandmothers. Guy’s a treasure, that’s for sure.
    • Scorpio Sky wants to be a “fucking legend” as his video package told us. Does that indicate a huge push for the SCU member? I really hope so.
    • If you haven’t yet, check out the latest Bubbly Bunch episode. Plenty of fun cameos from AEW wrestlers we haven’t seen in a while and random celebrities like Lou Ferrigno, Kevin Smith, and Gabriel Iglesias.
    • Have said this a number of times but I’m glad they’re giving Shawn Spears some wins. He’s someone who has really benefitted from the Quarantine era and should have some sort of reward for working in these conditions.
    • Going to sound like an AEW mark right now but Britt Baker really does the role model stuff better than Bayley. I know the ex-hugger started calling herself one first but Britt is the one who puts more effort into showing why she is (and isn't) one. If it makes you all feel better, Bayley is the better wrestler in terms of in-ring skills so put down the pitchforks.
    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 (4/29/20): The Road to Hell… Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Nico Parungo
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