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    Friday, October 4, 2019

    Reviewing the Elite (10/2/19): Boom Goes the Dynamite

    After years of asking for an alternative to the WWE product, the first episode of AEW Dynamite has landed. The baby of Cody and The Young Bucks (better known as the eponymous Elite) financed by Tony Khan, is finally here to give fans some quality wrestling on a weekly basis, going head-to-head with NXT, arguably the best wrestling-centric brand from WWE. How, you ask, was their opening salvo?

    Well, like anyone who has held a gun or bow and arrow for the first time, they aimed high and didn’t fully hit their target. At the same time, these are talented people who aren’t that new to the rasslin' game, so they didn't completely miss either. 

    Yeah, this first episode isn’t quite the balls-to-the-wall alternative that will leave WWE shaking in their boots. But it doesn’t have to be. All AEW has to do is give us a show about professional wrestling that isn’t filled with 50/50 booking or authority figures throwing around their weight. The first episode of Dynamite provides that and gives the creative team the wrestlers a foundation to build on.

    Starting With A Bang(?)

    I understand what they were trying to do by opening with Cody vs. Sammy Guevara. They wanted to deliver a quality match from the get-go to prove that Dynamite is all about wrestling and not about long drawn-out promos that last for 20 minutes. The two even had a good showing with some fun spots from both men, including a Standing Shooting Star Press after multiple Moonsault attempts from Guevara and a delayed Gourdbuster from Not-Stardust. 

    So, what does this stupid smark whose friends barely tolerate him have to complain about? 

    Well, Cody is the number one contender to the AEW World Championship and he should have been booked stronger. They also would have benefitted from having a shorter match. Having your well-known number one contender barely get the win on your debut show’s very first episode isn’t a good look since he’s fighting the champion in next month’s Full Gear PPV. I appreciate trying to protect Guevara by putting him in a competitive match, but couldn’t Cody at least beat him with his finisher? 

    Despite this lengthy complaint seemingly burying my praise, the match was good and definitely put some eyes on Guevara. But Cody should have looked stronger, especially since he got beaten down twice in this show.

    Speaking of which…

    The Anti-Elite

    Chris Jericho knows that Cody has friends and family in The Young Bucks and Dustin Rhodes, so forming a stable of his own to take on The Elite is a pretty smart move on his part. Recruiting Santana and Ortiz of LAX fame, who have their own beef with The Young Bucks, was smart enough but adding a hungry Sammy Guevara and the returning Jake “Don’t Call Me Jack” Hager to the mix makes things much more interesting. 

    It also adds some context to Guevara shaking Cody's hand after their match. This seems pretty obvious in hindsight, but it seems to me that Guevara purposefully shook hands with Cody to set him up for the attack. Nice.

    The beatdown after that unspectacular six-man tag match was good heat for these heels. It’s good to establish some main villains early on, especially on the show’s debut episode. While they could change their minds later, it looks like they’re going... all in (see what I did there?) with a big stable feud, and I can dig it. 

    Your First AEW Women’s World Champion is…

    Riho!!! The renowned superstar who has won multiple titles in Japan and competed in PWR Live: Championship Spirit a few months ago is your first-ever AEW Women’s World Champion. Riho was an easy pick for fans as the company's first champion since she has a lot of international experience and is pretty darn great in the ring but it was still gratifying to see her win. 

    The match itself was pretty decent, utilizing the usual David vs. Goliath story that works wonders in professional wrestling and movies. There was even a botch that worked perfectly when Riho was supposed to backdrop Rose from a Powerbomb position but failed because of the size difference. It led to Rose gloating, which was a nice heel moment.

    It seems like they’re setting up a rematch between the two if the post-match shenanigans were anything to go by. My only complaint was that they got Kenny Omega to save her instead of Britt Baker, who seemed bored while on commentary and then just left when the match was over. I know Britt isn’t Riho’s friend, but saving her would have been easy babyface points. Why did they even have her out there in the first place?

    At the end of the day, this was a fine show and I can't wait to see how they follow up on this episode. This episode gets a solid B.

    Matches Announced for Next Week: The Young Bucks vs. Private Party to advance in the AEW Tag Team Championship Tournament

    Elite Thoughts

    • Jon Moxley attacking Kenny Omega was neat and that Death Rider through the glass table was a sick spot. Moxley as a rogue anti-hero is a fun idea, but you have to wonder what he'll do after this rivalry.
    • Hangman Page vs PAC wasn't the show-stealer I expected but it was solid enough. Giving PAC an undefeated streak could do wonders for the former Neville and the eventual babyface who beats him.
    • I feel bad for Angelico, Jack Evans, and Private Party for having to participate in that awful Kevin Smith segment. That line Jason Mewes spouted was horrible and makes me want to boycott Jay and Silent Bob Reboot.
    • Why did they give SCU a video package if they were going to get interviewed in the arena anyway? Scorpio Sky does a decent Barack Obama, but this was pointless.
    • MJF continues to be a fun throwback heel. His stuff is pretty basic but the fact that it gets a rise out of fans shows how talented he is. Still can't believe he managed to trigger Joe Manganiello.
    • Jim Ross, Excalibur, and Tony Schiavone are a pretty good announce team. That is all.
    Images from AEW

    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 (10/2/19): Boom Goes the Dynamite Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Nico Parungo
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