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    Friday, January 1, 2021

    Reviewing the Elite (12/30/20): For Brodie

    It’s a new year. You know what that means.

    This is probably the best episode of AEW Dynamite in 2020 and it’s also an episode I wish never happened. All the outpouring of love for Jon “Mr. Brodie Lee” Huber has received shows us that he really was taken too soon. His career was just in the early stages of its resurgence and I’m positive he would have been AEW World Champion in a year or two. More importantly, he left a wife and two kids before it was his time.

    One more time with feeling: FUCK 2020.


    Wrestling tribute shows are almost-always good and this was no exception. You have to give props to AEW for going all the way to make this night feel like a true celebration of life for Brodie Lee. 

    Knowing that Brodie wanted to help the struggling Dark Order when he joined the company last year makes the faction’s win-streak in this episode even more special in hindsight as they all showed everyone what The Exalted One always saw in them.

    Unsurprisingly, a lot of them went above the call of duty and showed everyone that they can all be stars. Colt Cabana had incredible babyface fire in the opening match, as did OG Dark Order members Evil Uno and Stu Grayson. Anna Jay and Preston “10” Vance also had good showings in their tag matches.

    However, John Silver was my star of the night as he and Alex Reynolds put on one hell of a show in their win against The Inner Circle. The fact that they teamed with Hangman Page was a nice touch since he’s been involved with this Dark Order story for the longest time and his interactions with the two have been fun, though that changed to emotional on this show for obvious reasons. Seeing Silver win with Brodie’s signature Discus Clothesline, only to break down after was hard to watch and I’m genuinely getting teary-eyed just typing that sentence.


    Seeing a number of the wrestlers fighting off tears as they paid tribute to a fallen comrade really gave you that sense of the wrestling world being a community, maybe even a family. The tribute video at the end which had photos of wrestlers in WWE and other indie companies only solidified that so I hope we're all kinder to each other after this wonderful show. 

    It wasn’t just the wrestling that made this tribute to Brodie Lee great as AEW also went out of their way to celebrate the man’s entire wrestling career. Moments like Lance Archer dressed up as Luke Harper, Evil Uno recreating The Exalted One’s big boot spot from an obscure indie show, and Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D. making a “big rig” joke shows just how beloved this man was and why his life is being celebrated in the first place. 


    Excalibur also constantly brought up Brodie’s history with the various wrestlers in the show, pointing out cool details like The Blade being one of his early indie rivals or how he and Colt Cabana had a series of matches prior to AEW. We even got bits of his hockey fandom as that sport is, apparently, why Anna Jay has the codename 99.

    You also can’t mention Brodie Lee’s career without mentioning his WWE run so seeing his longtime partner Erick Rowan/Eric Redbeard make a run-in to help Silver, Reynolds, and Page popped me. I was so happy seeing him give Wardlow a claw slam before he brought up his tribute sign for his fallen Bludgeon Brother, which made me tear up again. 


    Admittedly, there were moments that made me uneasy. Having The Acclaimed and Eddie Kingston rip on The Dark Order surprised me but seeing MJF shout at Brodie Lee Jr. aka -1 was uncomfortable. I almost went crazy when Friedman took off the boy’s mask but the kendo stick shot he got after more than made up for it. It was also weird seeing Thunder Rosa attack Britt Baker on this show since this story actually has some meat and we would have been more than okay with the match just being announced for the New Year’s Smash show.

    Even with all of that, this was an outstanding tribute show for Brodie Lee and is up there with the Eddie Guerrero tribute in 2005. Seeing all the love Brodie's family received was amazing and the fact that Tony Khan gave that beautiful TNT Championship to -1 was such a classy move. The belt itself isn't retiring as Tony Schiavone confirmed that Darby will be getting a new design of the championship but what a loving move.

    Rest in peace John Huber. You are truly The Exalted One now.

    Final Grade: A+

    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 (12/30/20): For Brodie Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Nico Parungo
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