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    Saturday, January 16, 2021

    Reviewing the Elite (1/13/21): Overachievers

    It’s AEW Dynamite. You know what that means.

    New Year’s Smash Night 2 was fucking great. A+. Good night folks.

    Okay, I won’t leave you guys hanging like that but wow, this was a damn good stick of Dynamite. This was one of those rare episodes of Dynamite—hell, rare episodes of wrestling—where every angle and match succeeded in what they set out to do, maybe even overachieving a little. To be honest, I thought New Year’s Smash Night 2 was a better show than last week’s, even though that one had a superior main event.

    Apologies in advance, I’m going to be gushing a lot in this review.

    Let’s start with the fantastic main event match between Darby Allin and Brian Cage. Holy shit, this was a violent and sometimes scary showdown where Cage looked like an absolute monster. 70% of this match was just Cage destroying the skinny 28-year-old with powerbombs and suplexes. I thought Cage giving Darby a military press from the ring to a table outside was going to be this match’s peak but they proved me wrong.

    I love it when they do that.

    Even though Cage was in control for most of the match, Darby looked like a star throughout too. His kick-outs at 1 after all those power moves showed just how resilient the Sk8r Boi is, and his comeback where he clawed and literally bit his way to get on offense was a treat. Darby even used Cage’s strength to his benefit at one point when The Machine kicked out of a move, as the man is so strong that he threw Darby off him and onto the middle rope, which led to a diving double foot stomp from the TNT Champion.

    *chef’s kiss*

    All of that was great but the finish is what put it over the damn top. First, Team Taz interfered and then Sting came out and ACTUALLY DID STUFF. Yes, it was just hitting Ricky Starks with his bat but it was something that wasn’t just staring, thank goodness. Second, Cage tried to give Darby an F-5 from the top but the champ countered it into a pitch-perfect crucifix bomb for the win.


    Oh, man. As if that finish wasn’t great enough, many fans pointed out how this was a callback to Darby not being able to hit a crucifix on Cody properly a few months ago. Fuck me, I’m gonna need a cigarette.

    If all that orgasmic writing wasn’t a hint, that match was the highlight of Dynamite, in an episode FILLED with highlights. Seriously, everyone in this show had an extra bit of pep in their step that made this episode feel special, while every angle also made sense and moved forward in a positive way. 


    PAC dominating and beating Eddie Kingston was great, with The Mad King selling his ass off for The Bastard. Miro making Chuck Taylor his young boy was short but sweet, with the Bulgarian looking like his old self again in the ring while Chuck showed us that he’s a hell of a wrestler in his own right. Even Orange Cassidy was great with his facial expressions when he saw Chuck being dragged away by Miro. 

    Why was this Dynamite SO GOOD?!

    The Inner Circle’s New Year’s Resolution was also better than it should have been. It’s clear that this group is going to implode slowly and next week’s triple threat tag match should be a hell of a bout. Speaking of tag team matches, FTR vs. Jurassic Express was also a really good match and I actually wanted that damn Marko Stunt to pin one of those southerners so badly, a shame it didn't happen.


    AEW’s women’s division was also used really well this week, which means a lot since I sure bitch about that on the reg. Cody Rhodes appearing in Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D.’s Waiting Room was used to bring back Jade Cargill who, I always forget, is fucking huge. She would kill Cody, let alone Red Velvet. Thunder Rosa cut a promo, revealing that her match with Baker is the first one to be official for Beach Break in February, which is great! 

    They made a women’s match feel important, it really does feel like a new year for the company.


    Let’s talk about Serena Deeb briefly, since she gave Tay Conti her best match ever. This woman is a treasure as she’s gotten some really great matches out of some green talent. They could probably give her a bit more character but it’s hard to complain when she’s putting on some solid women’s matches. A true hidden gem, she is.


    Finally, let’s talk about The Elite’s segment, which was, shocker, pretty good. 

    A lot of fans were wondering if we were going to see Kenny Omega team with The Young Bucks or The Good Brothers. The fact that these ads only had that generic logo of The Elite made people think it would be the latter and they were right. Small details like Tony Khan and The Bucks watching in disbelief backstage, along with Gallows and Anderson coming out with no music, really added to this Elite story. 


    What also helped was The Elite’s match which actually made their opponents look good, particularly, Danny Limelight, though I am a fan of The Varsity Blondes. Jon Moxley and The Lucha Brothers soon came out for an entertaining brawl, making this small Impact invasion story feel pretty damn important.

    Holy shit that was everything in this show. Oh, wait, Hangman Page finally tells The Dark Order if he's joining them next week and Matt Hardy is a dick to Private Party. The Hardy Party stuff was probably the weakest thing in this episode and it still makes sense, while y'all know I love me some Hangman conflict.

    Final Grade: A+. Not the best Dynamite of all time, but the fact that every angle and match worked made this a really enjoyable two hours of wrestling.

    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 (1/13/21): Overachievers Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Nico Parungo
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