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    Friday, September 25, 2020

    Reviewing the Elite (9/23/20): Back in Black

    Cody Rhodes back in AEW

    Hoo boy, I’m sure Taz regrets making that “sloppy shop” comment now.

    Sorry, didn’t want to start this week’s AEW Dynamite review with a downer but with the recent COVID-19 outbreak, it’s hard not to comment on the matter. Lance Archer confirmed that he had COVID-19, canceling the anticipated six-man tag match for this episode. Ben Carter, who impressed fans with his performances in AEW Dark and the one-hour Late Night Dynamite also has it.

    Now, this is less about AEW running a sloppy shop and more of this being an inevitability. As long as AEW runs shows during a pandemic, people are going to get this virus no matter how legit the company’s COVID-19 tests are. I know the company enjoys having fans back but it might be time to remove them for now. We’ll just have to wait and see.

    Anyway, before I talk about this week’s show, check out that Late Night Dynamite episode. At only 44 minutes it featured three pretty good matches. Ben Carter, as stated earlier, put on a hell of a match in a losing effort against Scorpio Sky. It was arguably the best AEW match this week and they need to sign Carter ASAP once he recovers. Anna Jay beat Brandi Rhodes in a great match that surprised me, mostly because I don’t see these two wrestle a lot. Jay could be a star and we all know AEW needs to push more women. Shawn Spears defeated Matt Sydal in another good match where the former Evan Bourne dominated most of it, with AEW’s chairman (does he still use that nickname?) needing to cheat for a win.

    Anna Jay and Brandi Rhodes on AEW Dynamite

    Back to reality. The COVID-19 outbreak really affected this show and you could see how. Lance Archer’s absence led to Eddie Kingston getting an AEW World Championship match against Jon Moxley. It was a pretty good main event with a lot of hard hits and Eddie looked pretty good in defeat, even though most of us knew he was losing, given the last-minute decision. We then got a long beatdown where The Lucha Bros, Kingston, and Ricky Starks looked dominant against Moxley, Will Hobbs, and Darby Allin. Clearly, something that wasn’t planned in advance but it’s a solid consolation.

    It wasn’t all bad, despite a lot of AEW’s plans going to hell. Cody returned with his black hair, which is a hundred times better than his blonde look and he beat the hell out of Five, the former Alan Angels. The announcers put over Cody being more vicious before and I hope that means he keeps his black hair. Please? For me?

    Chris Jericho and MJF also had an immensely entertaining backstage skit. They started complimenting each other again before they both asked “why’d you call me a loser?” The two gave some pretty convoluted explanations as to how they didn’t actually call each other a loser and it was really funny, mostly because you know they don’t buy it. This is gonna be a really slow build and I loved this little segment.

                

    Prior to Cody’s return, Mr. Brodie Lee put his TNT Championship on the line against Orange Cassidy in a solid enough match. I was disappointed that Cassidy went back to his lazy ways since he seemingly got a new attitude after beating Chris Jericho but he still put on a good match here. He even hit Mr. Lee with an Air Raid Crash, though that wasn’t enough and The Exalted One ended up retaining his belt.

    Speaking of disappointing: Miro’s debut. I hate to say this, on Miro Day of all days, but having his debut be in a tag team match against Joey Janela and Sonny Kiss was pretty lame. Granted, he got a few cool spots and his physique is better than ever before, but it looks like the guy needs to lose that ring rust. The match itself was kind of a disaster, with Miro tweaking his ankle at one point and Kip Sabian almost landing on his head during a spot. 

    Miro (Rusev) and Sonny Kiss in AEW Dynamite

    This just wasn’t a hot episode, despite a few bright moments. Check out Jon Moxley vs. Eddie Kingston and all of Late Night Dynamite but it felt like this show was done on the fly. Not the worst show ever and AEW did the best they could, given the circumstances, but it still felt sloppy.

    Final Grade: B- for Dynamite. B+ for Late Night Dynamite.

    Bullet Point Party:

    • FTR announces that they will have 20-minute title matches where Dax and Cash can choose their opponents. If they aren’t pinned within 20 minutes, they still win: Tully Blanchard must be the best manager in the world if he could get that ridiculous stipulation over. It looks like we’re getting an FTR/Best Friends match soon since they still want to save FTR vs. The Young Bucks for a pay-per-view.
    • The Young Bucks are still assholes: Seriously Matt, you didn't have to break Tony Schiavone's phone. Douchebag. 
    • Hangman Page beat Evil Uno in a solid match with Kenny Omega on commentary: More of the same from last week, though it still adds to the great story of Hangman Page. This was going to be a tag match, Omega declined, it was turned into a singles, and we got a fun match between Page and Uno. It’s weird how Uno is being semi-honorable by having The Dark Order go backstage during his match. Is he gonna become Honorable Uno or something?
    • Hikaru Shida and Thunder Rosa beat Diamante and Ivelisse in an ugly match: Not a good match. It was pretty sloppy and at one point, Diamante and Ivelisse forgot that they tagged each other in. Not a lot of Rosa/Ivelisse action, which is probably a good thing.
    • Matt Hardy and Private Party get into a promo battle against Chris Jericho: Solid little segment here where Isaiah Cassidy and Marc Quen got to punk out Jericho on the mic. Their mic skills aren’t super good but they showed good confidence, particularly Cassidy. “Le Champion bitch” isn’t a great line but he said it well.
    • Mr. Brodie Lee cuts an awesome promo on Cody: Definitely look for this since it was so good! All of his promos have been great since he debuted on AEW and this was no exception. Also, the line "what kind of a man lets his wife post thirst traps on Instagram" had me rolling. Hoping that the dog collar match will be good.
    Images from AEW

    Nico Parungo is a freelance contributor for Geeky PH and previously wrote for Epicstream. He provides weekly recaps of AEW Dynamite for Smark Henry and has contributed several reviews of PWR and MWF shows. 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 (9/23/20): Back in Black Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Nico Parungo
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