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    Tuesday, August 25, 2020

    Reviewing the Elite (8/22/20): Saturday Night Squash

    It’s time to join The Dark Order, guys.

    The past few weeks have been something of a resurgence for this stable. They picked up a huge win over The Elite and FTR a few weeks ago, Alex Reynolds and John Silver were able to get over in a match that was supposed to showcase Matt Cardona, and now, Mr. Brodie Lee is your new TNT Champion. We all thought Cody was going to get a really long reign with the belt, but wow, were we wrong.

    Mr. Brodie Lee’s TNT Championship win was a highlight in a fairly average episode of AEW Dynamite. AEW’s reputation for putting on quality matches every week makes episodes like this feel fairly weak in comparison, especially since this was a case of a bad first hour and a fairly good hour two. To get to Kenny Omega’s continuing heel turn and Matt Hardy beating the shit out of Sammy Guevara, you have to get through a rare weak MJF segment and a surprisingly disappointing eight-man Ttag that was only saved by a post-match promo from Eddie Kingston.

    No, this isn’t the end of Dynamite or anything like that. Weekly wrestling television will always suffer from bad-to-average episodes, and next week’s installment already looks pretty good. 

    The Exalted Champion


    While his Mr. McMahon-esque character has led to mixed reactions from fans, it’s clear that Mr. Brodie Lee was a good get for AEW. His good mix of strong strikes, power moves, and an occasional high-flying move makes him a captivating performer when he decides to put on his working shoes. One only needs to look at his excellent Double or Nothing match against Jon Moxley or that incredible 10-Man Tag a few weeks ago to know that he’s a talent worth investing in.

    But should he have been the one to beat Cody for the TNT Championship? I’ve been a big fan of his since the Luke Harper days, so my answer is yes, but there are definitely valid complaints against his win. The fact that Mr. Lee is 40 and a former WWE talent will likely be used against him. Some might even call it a TNA move and I can’t blame them for that.

    Even with all of that, I’m pretty happy seeing Mr. Brodie Lee win the TNT Championship. The fact that he squashed Cody, who had been fairly competitive against everyone else who has challenged him, was an impressive sight to see, and the post-match angle was the cherry on top. Having them beat up Cody after he was supposed to be stretchered out was already pretty big heel heat but bringing out the corpses of Dustin Rhodes and QT Marshall added even more to the angle. 

    Add Mr. Lee hitting Cody with the remains of the old (and ugly) TNT Championship, not to mention Anna Jay choking out Brandie Rhodes as she tried to protect her husband, and you had a great wrestling angle to end the show. Bravo.

    Kenny Omega Heights You


    It’s amusing how Kenny Omega’s ongoing heel turn often results in him beating up small dudes. The guy first showed villainous tendencies when he beat up Marko Stunt and now he’s trying to powerbomb Five (Alan Angels) on steel chairs. This has made Omega a more compelling figure on television and I think he’s finally going to go all out on it during, well, All Out.

    Omega’s heel tendencies capped off a fun match where he and The Young Bucks beat very game members of The Dark Order. Three (Alex Reynolds), Four (John Silver), and Five were pretty good in this match, while the Jackson Brothers were their usual spot-monkey selves. Reynolds, Silver, and Angels have been consistently great for the past few weeks so I really want to see them do more.

    Fear the Revelation


    Oh man, seeing heel FTR wrestle again is pure bliss. I didn’t hate their babyface run but having them be heels who beat you down and prevent tags in creative sequences is what made FTR a beloved team in the first place. All of that helped elevate this match against Private Party, which was a pretty solid opener.

    Having Tully Blanchard as their manager is also a pretty inspired move since the duo has constantly said that Blanchard's team with Arn Anderson was a big inspiration for FTR. With Blanchard also managing Shawn Spears, one has to wonder if Hangman Adam Page will be joining this group as a spiritual successor to The Four Horsemen. 

    Considering how Hangman actually had a beer with FTR—after angrily confronting them first for faking a knee injury and beating up old dudes, Thank God, that seems like a possibility.

    Final Grade: The first hour was a bit dull but hour two elevated this show to a solid B.

    Elite Thoughts:
    • I was surprised to see Diamante and Ivelisse beat The Nightmare Sisters since I thought this whole tournament was done to get Brandi and Allie over so this was a pleasant shock. The match itself was also fairly decent, though I wish Allie was pinned with a better finisher.
    • MJF is normally my jam but the whole “ban this finisher” shtick is one of my least favorite wrestling storylines ever. His performance was good and the character he plays would totally ask for this stipulation, but it’s just a wrestling cliche I’ll never be a fan of. Thankfully, Jon Moxley actually wins with other moves, so I won’t mind it too much if they do ban the move.
    • Here’s hoping Thunder Rosa challenging Hikaru Shida for All Out is a sign that AEW and NWA are open to more crossover matches. 
    • We’re getting Jericho vs. Cassidy III so here’s hoping they do the right thing again. Also hope Jericho learns how to sell a Dragon Screw.
    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 (8/22/20): Saturday Night Squash Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Nico Parungo
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