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    Saturday, July 25, 2020

    Reviewing the Elite (7/22/20): Stepping Up

    Hot damn, that sure was a newsworthy show.

    While SmackDown Live once called itself the “land of opportunity,” which is a joke since we’ve seen talents there get over on their own accord and get nothing in return, this week’s episode of AEW Dynamite was certainly fitting of that moniker. You could argue that AEW has been like that for a while, giving younger stars like Darby Allin, Jungle Boy, and Private Party the chance to shine on a bigger stage with established stars like Kenny Omega, The Young Bucks, and Jon Moxley, but this week’s episode carried that theme better than usual.

    Everyone who had something to prove did so with flying colors in this fairly explosive stick of Dynamite. Eddie Kingston had social media buzzing when he took Cody to the limit in a fantastic No DQ match for the TNT Championship. The Butcher and The Blade did more than hold their own in an incredibly fun Falls Count Anywhere match against The Young Bucks. The former Alan Angels, now going by Five of The Dark Order, also had a surprisingly competitive match against Hangman Page. Just good effort from everyone all around and I loved it.

    It’s also worth noting that this theme of opportunity will seemingly be prevalent in next week’s episode and beyond. We’re actually getting a tag team tournament that will showcase AEW’s women’s division, which is a big step in the right direction for this company given how they’ve been criticized for this aspect. 

    Let’s hope that Sammy Guevara also steps up now that he’s back from suspension. He never deserved to be fired but his words from 2016 were stupid and horrendous so let’s hope that the man has learned his lesson.


    I went from not knowing what an Eddie Kingston was to wanting more of him in the span of a few minutes. This might have been the guy’s first night in Dynamite but he carried himself like a superstar with all of his actions, whether it was threatening to take out Arn Anderson’s eye or beating the crap out of Cody. How has Kingston not gone All Elite yet?

    His promo on Cody and Arn was fire, as was the No DQ match he took part in. The fact that Eddie never did anything too flashy in this match really shows us how wrestling isn’t just about how cool your moves are. No joke, his biggest moves in this match were a powerbomb and a DDT for crying out loud. Kingston’s selling was also on-point since he damaged his leg early on and proceeded to wobble his way throughout the whole match, which made Cody winning with his Figure Four more sensical.

    Cody also deserves credit for taking a beating like a man after spending weeks beating up “children” and Jake Hager. I really wish he didn’t take a thumbtacks bump but The American Nightmare wants to show everyone how tough he is. Pretty sure we all would have been okay if he took a break next week but the TNT Champion is has a date with Warhorse.

    Overall, great match and segment. I’ll be rewatching Kingston’s opening promo for weeks on end. #SignEddieKingston

    Meat and Tables


    Despite my hatred for their ‘70s era names, I’ve grown a bit fond of The Butcher and The Blade. While not the best tag team in the world, these two have consistently put on solid matches whenever they appear on Dynamite. Most people probably assume that the two were carried during the 8-Man tag at Fyter Fest so seeing them hold their own against The Young Bucks in this Falls Count Anywhere match was so great.

    While not a Match of the Year contender or anything like that, this match was pure fun. There’s something about seeing wrestlers do moves in backstage areas that tickles my smarky brain and there were a ton of those here. Seeing The Young Bucks get powerbombed and suplexed on those metal tables was just gratifying in ways I can’t explain.

    Though the match was super fun, some scary spots did hamper it a bit. The Blade hurt himself with a nasty dive that was supposed to go through a table but he missed and landed on his ass badly. He seemed fine and was able to finish the match but that was scary as hell. I also thought the match-ending stage dives The Bucks took to win were a bit too much and reports of everyone being banged up does not surprise me.

    Go out of your way to see this, whether you like The Young Bucks or enjoy seeing them get beat up. I’ll always enjoy seeing wrestlers get creative with backstage spots.

    Final Grade: I’ll get into it in a bit but this was a phenomenal show. Not the best Dynamite ever but an enjoyable night of wrestling nonetheless. A.

    Elite Thoughts:

    • Like most people, I have mixed thoughts about Sammy Guevara’s return. Don’t get me wrong, he shouldn’t have been fired and 30 days without pay is punishment enough, but treating his return like a big deal was a bit odd. They probably just wanted another big moment for the show but why not just have him come out with The Inner Circle and have the announcers explain that he’s served his suspension? 
    • It’s also a shame that Guevara’s return overshadowed the Inner Circle/Jurassic Express match since it was really good. Chris Jericho put on his working boots tonight and performed at a better level than he usually does. Jungle Boy is always great, Luchasaurus is awesome, and Jake Hager had some cool moments.
    • That MJF squash match was a pretty effective way of getting heat. It was that classic bullying tactic of “say the thing” and was pretty effective here. Plus, it shows that MJF isn’t over losing that tag team match, which should make for some fun television when he finally gets pinned or taps out.
    • Kenny Omega’s eventual heel turn is going pretty well. His attacking of Marko Stunt last week was shocking and his being late to save Hangman Page adds to that. It also seems like they’re teasing Hangman’s own version of The Elite with FTR and I’m down for their beer drinking misadventures.
    • The Diamante/Ivelisse match wasn’t great but that small bit where they were giving each other stiff strikes was cool. It’s also good to see AEW push other women for once, even though it reeks of “shit, the top stars in our women’s division are injured and we gave Big Swole a kayfabe suspension even though she can wrestle, so we better push someone else.” 
    All 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 (7/22/20): Stepping Up Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Nico Parungo
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