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    Monday, August 17, 2020

    Reviewing the Elite (8/12/20): Pockets Full of Sunshine


    Hey folks! Your All Elite reviewer for AEW Dynamite is back. Apologies for missing some shows, real life got in the way and I had to play catch-up with what happened on the previous episodes of Dynamite. Now let’s get to the fun stuff.

    AEW has gained a reputation for building up newer stars and using legends to give them some of the spotlight, but the company has been criticized for never really going all the way with pushes for the younger talent. While there have been a couple of upsets—Private Party beating The Young Bucks comes to mind—Dynamite has mostly given the rub to younger stars while not giving them the win, with many of us wondering when Jungle Boy or Darby Allin are going to get their hand raised over a member of The Elite.

    Thankfully, Orange Cassidy beating Chris Jericho in this episode shows that the company is finally getting behind making their other talents bigger stars. Sure, Scorpio Sky didn’t beat Cody for the beautiful-looking TNT Championship and Jungle Boy ate the pin in a tag team championship match against Kenny Omega and Hangman Page but it seems like this company isn’t lying to their talent with imaginary brass rings. That or they’re upfront with the roles these wrestlers are supposed to have in the company.

    Now if only they’d treat their women’s division better. One Hikaru Shida squash match should not instantly represent the entire division in a two-hour wrestling show. At least the final’s of that women’s tournament is airing on Dynamite next weekend.

    Orange You Glad?

               

    Chris Jericho wanted Mike Chioda to “do the right thing” for his match against Orange Cassidy but that obviously didn’t happen. I’m happier that AEW did the actual “right thing” and had Cassidy beat Jericho clean, giving the supposed comedy wrestler instant credibility.

    While Cassidy did get the big win, there were a couple of things that hampered this match. First, that ending felt rushed. Jericho gave Cassidy a low blow and attempted to hit him with The Judas Effect but then Cassidy evaded the move and pinned Le Champion with a botched cradle pin? That’s just bad. They also ended the show not long after the pin happened, not giving us enough time to bask in this upset.

    Unfortunately, another thing that hampered the match was Jericho himself. The former Y2J is no spring chicken but he shocked everyone with his great performance during his first match with Cassidy in Fyter Fest; we were hoping for similar quality here but nope. Jericho didn’t know how to feel those Dragon Screws from Cassidy and that weird cradle pin was painful to look at since the Demogod did not know how to take the move properly.

    At least Cassidy won. That shouldn’t be taken away from the Freshly Squeezed One. I just wish this match was as good as their first one. Also, whoever named his sick forearm Orange Punch deserves a million dollars.

    WTF FTR?!

                 

    FTR had to turn heel eventually. They may have performed well as good guys but no one wants a pure babyface match when FTR eventually takes on The Young Bucks in this dream tag team clash. While the Jackson Brothers are fully capable of being dicks—just ask Hangman Page—the ideal scenario is for The Bucks to be babyfaces against a heel FTR so I’m glad they finally stopped fiddling with their thumbs and went with a full turn this week.

    And what’s more heelish than hitting a legendary old man with a piledriver? Well, Randy Orton cutting this scathing promo on Ric Flair and kicking him in the head but SHUT UP.

    Tag Team Appreciation Night started a bit drab but got better as it went on. The lack of any special decorations might be why I wasn’t feeling the promo segment right away but things got better when Ricky Morton started talking. Arn Anderson also cut a great promo, praising FTR, but Tully Blanchard stole the show here when he said that The Bucks and FTR couldn’t be called the best because they don’t have the championships to back up that statement.

    Not long after, Cash Wheeler faked a knee injury—which means they might have been faking it last week—and FTR soon hit Ricky Morton with an assisted spike piledriver. This was a heel turn through and through, which was solidified to me when Hangman Page, who had been all buddy-buddy with them for a few weeks, was angrily asking them why they would attack The Rock n’ Roll Express. Great stuff.

    Still Reaching for the Sky

               

    I was happy when AEW decided to make Scorpio Sky a singles star since he really shined during SCU’s reign as tag team champions. It feels like forever since Scorpio gained attention by replacing an injured Christopher Daniels in his street clothes to ensure that SCU had a chance to compete for tag team gold. The guy was also the first wrestler in AEW to pin Chris Jericho, who was World Champion at the time, but his accomplishments have felt downplayed in the big picture of Dynamite ever since.

    His TNT Championship match against Cody would have been a great way to bring Sky back to our radars but it wasn’t meant to be, sadly. 

    While not horribly wrestled, it felt lacking in big moments for Sky, who never really got to show off his stuff here. They tried to play this off as a match that could have gone either way but it felt like it never reached second gear and Sky never felt like a threat to Cody’s belt, which is bad since these matches are supposed to be star-making opportunities.

    You could argue that Cody retaining the belt is a foregone conclusion and the biggest handicap of these open challenge matches, but they never derailed the opportunities of Eddie Kingston, Jungle Boy, or Ricky Starks. I’m not sure what happened but this wasn’t Sky’s best night and is going to go down as one of Cody’s weaker defenses. At least we’re getting Cody vs Brodie Lee next week.

    Final Grade: The big win for Cassidy and some great tag team matches made this a watchable B-.

    Elite Thoughts:
    • No words for that glorious MJF promo. There are valid complaints about his character just being a heel with no real depth but it’s hard to complain when he can be so great on the mic. You really wanted Jon Moxley to hit him with the Paradigm Shift and that made the attack even better.
    • The Dark Order vs The Young Bucks and Jurassic Express vs Omega and Page were the wrestling highlights of this show so check them out if you haven’t. Stu Grayson and Jungle Boy are two guys who will eventually thrive as singles competitors so I can't wait for that to happen.
    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 (8/12/20): Pockets Full of Sunshine Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Nico Parungo
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