IN LAIMAN’S TERMS #413
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Got a late start, had to do something first, so I’m about 90 minutes behind.
Thoughts on AEW Dynamite – March 8th, 2023
1. It’s Wednesday night, you know what that means. We’re starting off with another Orange Cassidy opening match title defense. Somehow, a member of Triple J and the Carny Gang has yet again gotten a title shot, but it’s also a rubber match in the series with Jay Lethal. The refs and security immediately break up the group heading down to the ring, which makes you wonder why they don’t always do that, but sure, fine.
2. The commentary team goes all WWA for a few seconds and it echoes throughout the arena. Only a few days after the appropriately titled REVOLU-TION for such things. Someone call Tantric, I see a marketing opportunity.
3. These two are really good together, and Orange Cassidy: Fighting Champion continues to adapt based on which opponent stands in front of him. Has anyone else faced such a variety of opponents and styles in such a short time? I don’t know, but it’s been great stuff.
4. Orange Cassidy dives out of the ring and Lethal catches him in a Fireman’s Carry. I don’t care how much help goes in with posting and coordination, it’s freaking impressive.
5. Despite this being the third match between them, the crowd is really into it. Lethal is working the leg, which is strategy for the figure four, of course. Lethal is dealing with left arm issues himself, so it’ll be a matter of who can take advantage first.
6. Lethal collapses when attempting the Lethal Injection, Orange Cassidy gets the quick Orange Punch in, and Orange Cassidy: Fighting Champion retains again. This continues to be an amazing title run full of many defenses.
7. Lethal again tries to use Stingray’s Golden Globe to go after Orange Cassidy, but Bryce is having none of it. They’re both facing away from the ring while OC stands there, so I’m guessing someone is coming from the other way. Someone who is a ch-ch-ch-chosen one. He hits OC with a guitar, oh that was on the knee. It looked like something else. The late BFFs finally show up to do something about it, but far too late.
8. We see the video of Wardlow’s title being stolen, which makes me wonder if it’s a work, but either way, we’re backstage with Powerhouse Hobbs and Renee. Hobbs takes the position of “that wouldn’t have happened to me.” Which is a unique way to approach it, but an interesting one nonetheless.
9. Mr. Neon Vaporwave is here in another amazing shirt to fit in with the galaxy. He gets to address finally overcoming the feud and his amazing week for all that he’s done. Time to find out what’s next, and that’s a great question. Is he headed after MJF again, or something else?
10. A Bullet Club logo suddenly appears on the screen, and in the second attack from behind in about two minutes, Juice Robinson hits the ring and takes him out. I can safely say that was not the next step I was expecting.
11. We come back with Tony and Wardlow in a 7-Star FTR shirt. I love that he’s selling it because he lost his clothes too. Wardlow insists on a falls count anywhere match, so that should be interesting. I wonder if that’ll create an excuse to get the title off Wardlow and get him into a long overdue program with MJF? Who knows?
12. Next we’ve got Ruby Soho with the ever-busy Renee to explain her actions. Face or heel, Tazz singing the wrong lyrics to her entrance theme will always be a delight.
13. Are we seriously going to have an “each and every one of you” heel turn justification? Say it ain’t so.
14. At least it has some proper context going back to the Statlander match and the response Ruby got for winning. I like that we don’t have to pretend to not remember things or acknowledge how the crowd reacts.
15. Ruby claims that no one would ever come to her defense, despite the fact that she has a Willow Nightingale, but sure, fine. Her problem seems to be with the flighty crowd reaction variance, which does have to be frustrating on some level, so I like that they’re incorporating it.
16. Ruby gets an STFU chant going. Despite my fear of the original justification diagnosis, this is easily the best she’s sounded since coming to AEW.
17. Skye Blue gets a match with Ruby Soho, and it’s safe to say I don’t like her chances. But if it’s anything like her showing against Jade a little bit ago, it’ll at least be another small bit of progress in her run.
18. Vicious Ruby Soho is a lot different of a wrestler than face Ruby, and she’s demolishing Skye, as much as she’s hanging in there. I’m interested to see where this angle does now. I’m sure Shida will be involved somehow, but I wonder if Statlander has angle there too, since she was one of the few mentioned by name specifically. As much as I want Statlander to be the one who ends Jade’s streak, this would be a good place for a return too.
19. Ruby gets the win in a match that wasn’t that competitive for how long it was, and now we’re going to pretend the spray paint gimmick isn’t ridiculous. Hey, there’s Willow Nightingale, who rightfully has a problem with everything Ruby said. She’s wearing a generic AEW shirt so that can’t be good for her prospects.
20. The heels powder but then come back and attack again. What Ruby’s justification could be for attacking her isn’t known, but heels gonna heel. Maybe it was that awkward tension they demonstrated at times in some of those pretapes during their brief alliance. I have to admit though, it is really weird for a heel to have such an upbeat theme.
21. Renee, busy as ever yet again, is backstage with Hangman, who said his heart blackens. Renee asks if things between her husband and Page are finally done, and he apologizes to her for everything she (and we) had to see. I like that, he’s clearly not celebrating for the point to which he was pushed. Has anyone been given better long-term booking in multiple feuds in AEW than Hangman? I don’t know.
22. MJF gets to gloat, unfortunately. He turns it up to 11 yet again, so I wonder who is coming after him next. The Reign of Terror has still just begun, despite it having just begun each time previously, but okay. Curious to see what he’ll do for a birthday shindig in Winnipeg. Almost makes me want to take the drive up across the border to find out. Almost.
23. FTR and their amazing theme are finally back. Speaking of vaporwave, Dax’s shirt. Enough said.
24. Tony stands in the ring with FTR to give us another in-ring promo, and the crowd chants are deafening for them. Amazing. I’m disappointed I didn’t get to see them in Seattle, but I’m glad they’re back.
25. Cash talks about how bad the last few months were for them, accounting their rough losses toward the end of the year and all their belts, but most importantly, the loss of Jay Briscoe. But what brought them back was the Juniors Ass calling themselves the best, and FTR thinks it’s time for them to get off their lawn.
26. Dax brings up the fans and their love for them. Some part of that is still weird given how long it was the opposite, but they’re just so awesome that it can’t be helped. I can’t imagine how rough it was on them to conclude such an amazing feud with the Briscoes and then for tragedy to strike so suddenly and so soon after. Framing it with that as their last memory being ruined by the Gunns attacking, which of course couldn’t have been known at the time, but is the perfect framing retrospectively.
27. Damn Renee, backstage again, this time with Renee. Jade is incredulous about the idea of being challenged, which is completely justified. Nobody’s been anywhere close recently. They set up a match of “charity” for a Canadian wrestler to be #54, so that’ll be interesting.
28. Trios time, despite there being six of them. Once there were eight, but we haven’t seen Anna and Tai much. It’s noticed, and not just for the lack of excessive PDA. Biff Hager appears to be wearing whatever stuck to him off the laundry line at Churchill Downs when he was chasing down some kid on a hoverboard along with his hat. They’re facing AR Fox and Top Flight, who have had some great trios matches with mixed results as of late. If this match can be half as good as their matchups with the Bucks/Elite, this will be good to see.
29. Fox goes over the top rope and almost falls too short. In his defense, Jericho was standing really far out there at ringside too, but that was nearly very ugly.
30. So much picutre-in-picture, so little time. Nice to have FITE back again, no American ads and no interruption in the matches.
31. This is much more of an old-school, cheap heel heat kinda match, and that’s okay. It can’t always be 100mph beginning to end, but once the hope spot comes, let’s see what happens to the pace.
32. We come back with Daniel Garcia doing… some kind of dance while facing the crowd. That’s certainly a thing that happened. AR Fox finally gets the tag to almost no reaction, that’s odd for this crowd that’s been sufficiently hot.
33. The moves are getting reactions, the wrestlers on the face side are not so much. Or maybe the crowd isn’t mic’d well right now? I’m not sure. It does seem to be picking up a little bit.
34. JAS wins due to outside shenanigans, which were prevented from happening in the first match, but not this one with a team notorious for getting involved having three extra people at ringside. Consistency, not the greatest in overall show logic, but I guess that’s why it had to happen.
35. Parker calls what they did the greatest trios win of all time, which okay. They say to light the beam, which I’m sure is a reference to the Sacramento Kings since there’s a sign of it in the crowd. But we’ve got Menard celebrating their one year anniversary with his Clark Kent from Smallville season 7 jacket and all, and they declare themselves as number one contenders for the Trios titles. Oh dear, that’ll be a massacre. Even Biff gets in his one joke. I do love that they phrase it as them “deeming themselves” number one contenders.
36. Jericho puts over the House of Black’s entrance, but calls them out immediately. However, instead of creepy red lights, we get Kansas. Which is many things, but creepy is not among them.
37. Before Omega can deliver what he was going to say, Don Callis cuts him off with a jacket he stole from the slip covers of someone’s couch. Callis puts over Jericho but says the Elite are the true number one contenders. He gets in a huge dig though by saying that Jericho is only the second-best from Winnipeg, and oh hey, aren’t we gonna be there next week? Weird timing, much coincidence.
38. The lights go out again, and Malakai says they’re both equally as deserving to be humiliated in their hometowns. Spoken like someone who wrestled for a company notorious for that. The lights come back on with the House of Black in between the Elite and the JAS, and it says something about their intimidation factor when it would be 9+ on 4 and nobody even makes a move toward them. Badass. Lights off, lights on, HOB out. Guess we’re getting a triple threat trios match, which will likely be insane.
39. Backstage with Tony Khan, they announce an “open” challenge that’s already taken by Jeff Jarrett challenging Orange Cassidy. So it’s not so much of a open challenge as just a challenge, but fine. And hey, they already managed to record a hype video with the crossover with the Shazam that isn’t a song-finding app. It’s now the International title, which it probably should’ve been from the beginning, but at least they’ve made the correction.
40. When we come back, we see Danielson in tears talking about his kids. He admits Max was right, and that he gave up on his first instinct to fight, but he realized he couldn’t feel his arms or his leg. It’s heartbreaking, and he says it’s time for him to go home. Oh no, I really hope that’s not it for Danielson, but I’d completely understand if it was. Someone broke him, after that three month build, so it was a deflating end to that incredible run of matches, which has been the Danielson story in AEW in terms of title matches since he got there. I don’t know how to feel about it.
41. Next, the increasingly heel BCC against the Dark Order, who get another televised match, so that’s a good thing. The fact that Mox is wrestling at all after that match on Sunday is legendary toughness on its own.
42. It’d be nice to see Johnny Hungee on the winning side of a match that’s televised for a change, but I’m not holding my breath, especially with the BCC’s recent heel viciousness upping its game lately.
43. This match doesn’t appear to have a lot of heat to it. That might be because the Dark Order haven’t done well on television since the initial trios tournament, but also because I don’t think they want to boo Moxley or Claudio. Also understandable. It’s weird how a ruthless group of wrestling badasses can go from being huge babyfaces to huge heels with very little change in their presentation or style, but they’ve managed to bridge that gap seamlessly.
44. Johnny Hungee gets to feature his speed, strength, and mat abilities with Moxley. But Reynolds gets countered from a stunner into the bulldog choke, that should probably be it. Eventually it is. Decent match but another match where the winner was never in doubt.
45. Mox refuses to let go, which further solidifies their heel status. Hungee tries to make the save, but fails pretty quickly. Evil Uno comes out to make the save to another barely-reaction. He does his best, but Yuta then attacks from behind, khakis and all. If there was any doubt of the BCC being heels, it’s pretty well-stated now.
46. Guess Hangman isn’t as done with Mox as he thought, because he makes the save. Hey, now the crowd’s awake. Claudio tries to stop him and he punches him right in the fuck. They then attack Page three-on-one, which gets much more heat. It turns into a brawl, again. Status quo for these two teams as of late. Excalibur says they have to restore order (no Dark) as they go into commercial.
47. The Acclaimed and Senior Ass now interview with Renee, the busiest person in AEW. It’s an AEW interview, so it gets interrupted, this time by 2.0. They try to imply that they’re sports entertainers at heart, and the Acclaimed laugh it off. That was weird.
48. TNT title match will be the main event, Wardlow and Powerhouse Hobbs in Falls Count Anywhere. Given tonight’s themes, I’m expecting a lot of shenanigans. Wardlow’s theme dropped the badass slow drum intro and is now a big fan of Grey Wind. We don’t get an entrance though as Hobbs attacks Wardlow at, appropriately enough, a car. Hobbs carried the Sonic ring with him even there and that’s the first weapon used.
49. At least it’s not an Iron Circle match, there’s always a silver lining. What’s either a keg or a trash can takes out the back window of the car, and they continue to fight all over it. Hobbs gets back body dropped into the windshield. Ouch, there have been some devastating-looking falls in the last few days. I’m just glad neither of them slipped on the hood.
50. Well we’ve had 14 seconds of match, time for more picture-in-picture, of course. And oh hey, a random metal detector just haninging out in the middle of the backstage area for no particular reason. Good thing Hobbs left the ring in the car.
51. They head into the video truck which has mostly cords and a few outfits. Wardlow throws Hobbs through the middle divider, which I think was probably created just for that moment, but it was cool regardless. At least VM Varga wasn’t back there spying on people.
52. It spills into… a backstage ampitheatre? Sort of? The NBCSports commentator set, extra tables, they’ve got all sorts of fun things we don’t usually see in wrestling matches. Wardlow then hits Hobbs with a… um… not hard chair shot, but after he’s thrown Hobbs into multiple giant things, so it’s not a total loss.
53. Hobbs hits his spinebuster, which has been wrecking fools for months now, but Wardlow completely no-sells it. Wardlow sees the spinebuster and raises Hobbs an F-5. Of course this crowd wants tables, when don’t the crowds want tables? We’ve seen windshields and semi-trailers, but gotta get in the rickety-ass wood crunchies.
54. Wardlow gets sent through the barricade, and Hobbs decides to oblige the crowd’s thirst for flimsy pine-related construction. He set it up, so he’s probably going through it. Wardlow knocks Hobbs onto the table and does a Swanton Bomb through Hobbs to the outside, holy shit that was awesome. Hobbs kicks out too, which puts him over as a badass whether or not he wins.
55. Hobbs gets slammed on the rampway too. I would not want to have Hobbs’ back tonight. Someone off-screen hits Wardlow with a chair and it’s… QT Marshall? What? Of all people? Tony tries to recall by “remembering the Ricky Starks.” That helps.
56. The two of them combine to slam Wardlow through one of the stage sets, and the ref starts the count. Hobbs wins the title, which I thought he would, but I didn’t think it would be at the behest of QT Marshall. His word was apparently his bond, which I don’t remember, but whatever. That was also a weird way to put over Powerhouse Hobbs as a beast, by needing the perennial feud-loser’s help.
57. This show was very obviously a hard-reset after Revolution and its three month-plus build, which I guess it had to be. I don’t know, it felt weird. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t that good either. It started off pretty well, and some new lines were established, but it didn’t seem to click with the crowd. I don’t think having QT Marshall’s help does Hobbs any justice when he’s been on the one-man wrecking book club as of late, but he got the title nonetheless. Hopefully Wardlow moves on to bigger things now. Not my favorite episode of Dynamite ever, so I’m guessing we’re gonna hear more funeral dirges about its bitter end now.
1/4/23 – The Gunns
1/11/23 – Daddy Magic
1/13/23 – Danhausen
1/18/23 – Sonjay Dutt
1/20/23 – Stokely Hathaway
1/25/23 – Tony Schiavone
1/27/23 – Danhausen
2/1/23 – Jade Cargill
2/3/23 – Ethan Page
2/8/23 – MJF
2/10/23 – STIIIIIIING
2/15/23 – Ruby Soho
2/17/23 – Dustin Rhodes
2/22/23 – Chris Jericho
2/24/23 – Matt Hardy
3/1/23 – Big Bill
3/3/23 – Jungle Boy
3/5/23 – MJF
There wasn’t much HAM at all on this show. Maybe that’s part of the reason it fell so flat to me. I guess I’ll give it to Anthony Bowens for his over-the-top laugh at Parker and Menard, but it wasn’t any great HAM of merit.