IN LAIMAN’S TERMS #458
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Thoughts on AEW: Dynamite – November 22nd, 2023
1. Last year, the day before Thanksgiving, I made the egregious mistake of driving to Chicago for AEW Dynamite at the Wintrust Arena. The mistake was not going to the show, but choosing to be on any Interstate anywhere on this travel day in America. For those who don’t know, driving in Chicago is a nightmare at any normal time, but what is normally a 5.5 hour drive took about 9. Even with that acknowledged, we were gonna go down again this year, until we saw that next week, they’ll be here in town for the first time since Quake By the Lake. Why they took so long to come back here when they’ve hit some arenas at least twice, if not more, since then, I don’t know. We’re planning on going though, so I’ll be trying to write next week’s column from my phone at the arena.
2. I’m relieved to hear that the Continental Classic issue with the belts is consolidating rather than adding. Each match graphic is getting audible reactions, that’s a good sign. The crowd was pretty subdued when we were there, at least comparatively.
3. We’re opening up with Swerve against Jay Lethal for the first Continental Classic match. Good idea, start with the first guy since the Cable Guy in 1996 to make a staple gun scary.
4. I know it’s a low bar, but I’m glad they acknowledged the brutal match that Swerve had this past weekend, and the effects they have wrestling again this soon. Too often, wrestling is presented like the storylines are continuous, but the body’s kept score isn’t.
5. Swerve is where MJF was a year ago, in terms of being a diabolical heel, but is so ridiculously over and getting cheered regardless.
6. They’ve done a great job at making this tournament feel like a very big deal very quickly. Hyping it up, explaining it well, and even just having someone like Swerve after what he went through very recently compete for it despite still being wrapped up from it, all of it adds to the initial mystique.
7. During the break, Taz takes something a little too literally, and they bust on him for making smart-ass comments. PiP commentary continues to be the bestentary.
8. Talking about a point system for the tournament makes me miss the tracking of statistics and a power rankings system that they abandoned. It was one aspect of the show that made it feel distinct.
9. Swerve wins with the Ghetto Stomp and gets the first three points. No way in hell he wasn’t winning this match, despite the circumstances. It was a fun, if mostly heatless match. Technically heel vs. heel but Swerve gives no shits about disposition.
10. We go back to Renee who is asking Orange Cassidy a question, as he’s in a trios match tagging with Hook and Shibata, so naturally someone’s going to interrupt him within a sentence. Wheeler Yuta comes by to be a little shit and completely robs OC of his time for an “announcement.”
11. MJF and Adam Cole are here! Maybe the drive would’ve been worth it just to see these two generational HAMs.
12. Adam is still on crutches, and MJF has a cane. I’m surprised it’s only that after the hip bump he took on the floor. But hey, as we all know, Limpin’ Ain’t Easy.
13. MJF throws down some scumbag shit, puts over Jay White in the process, and lists his career accolades so far. He puts over nothing more than his own humility. Of course.
14. Adam Cole’s reaction has been reduced to everyone screaming AAAAAAAAAAADAM now. Thank you, Roddy.
15. They do what was seldom mentioned at Full Gear, bring up the Devil. In conjunction with Adam saying that he’s not close to getting back yet, but also that he’s worried about MJF because of the entire roster going after him.
16. Sudden cutaway to the Devil on-screen, and he does himself a laugh. The plot… thickens? I guess.
17. Here comes Samoa Joe, and if you might say, it’s time the devil gave him his due, so to speak. Joe is coming to collect his part of the deal.
18. MJF reneges on his offer, which might be the dumbest thing he’s ever done, but… I mean it is MJF. Adam saves him from Death wrapping his hands around his neck. He calls on him to be a man of his word. Is that all a part of his plan that he seemed to be initiating on Saturday? And hey, MJF makes another thinly-veiled reference to a certain Chicago son too…
19. Joe refuses to face him in Chicago right now because he’s not a hundred percent and doesn’t want the internet chatter to reflect that. MJF’s chatter, that is. Joe suggests At World’s End, which is in Long Island. Cause New York went so well for him last time. MJF calls New York the greatest place on Earth. MJF got boos twice in this promo, that is somehow unusual. That’s almost startling, but then again, it is Chicago.
20. I hear 2.0’s music over the commercial break graphic, so yeah… OC, Shibata, and Hook are winning. It’s a good few seconds of synthwave though, so that’s a good thing.
21. We come back with, ohai 2.0 and Biff, didn’t see you come in.
22. What a trio we’re putting out there here. Will Orange Cassidy still be able to succeed despite not being in his prime Dynamite matchup slot? We’ll see. (Yes, yes he will.)
23. Orange Cassidy brings out his Thanksgiving surprise. Oh damn, it’s Danhausen time! That “next week” when he was returning had a two week delay or so. That won’t distract from the match at all, how will we ever know who is going to win this extremely equal contest of fortunes?
24. The crowd starts chanting something at Biff, I can’t make it out. Oh, it’s “where’s your hat?” Good question, it made him so happy. And Jericho paid for his sins by… getting to tag up with one of the best wrestlers of all time? Things make sense.
25. Shibata gets the hot tag, and they make out like the showdown of he and Biff is a big deal. Unless Biff’s almanac has some convincing intel, I don’t like his chances.
26. Speaking of intel, Danhausen has some, and he breaks out Biff’s old hat as a distraction. Well, the crowd asked where it was. There. He has it.
27. You know who won, I don’t need to tell you. Ang’s flirtship with Ruby Soho did not motivate him to victory, but it’s hard to fight a curse with awkward meetcutes.
28. Renee is interviewing Adam backstage, so how long before Roddy screams at him?
29. Yep, there he is. Adam goes dark mode out of frustration, saying he’s not his best friend anymore, and leaves that poor, injured man absolutely devastated. Or something.
30. Did you know they’re going back to Wembley in August? Damn, you think they’d mention that a time or two.
31. Christian Cage is now here to justify leaving a pet dinosaur to be overwhelmed by the Eric Draven gang. He, like MJF, is here to put over his humility.
32. Christian denies losing the match while hinting that he blames his dino-son for the loss. He’s gonna recreate them in his image. Okay?
33. Christian tells Luchasaurus to go down on bended knee like he’s belting an R&B song in the early 90s. Because of the loss, the name will be associated with being a loser, so he’s getting a rebranding? And he’s gonna call him… Killswitch?
34. Unlike Luchasaurus, Nick is scolded for getting on his knees. He is redubbed The Prodigy. Prodigy, Killswitch, did he just scan his playlist before he did this promo?
35. Ohai mom, can’t wait to see how much better this one goes as opposed to all the other instances. He says that she makes 40 grand a year being a waitress. Damn, where the hell is she working to be pulling that much?
36. Christian is so brilliant, managing to be cartoonishly evil and still hit on Nick Wayne’s mom. That’s it, Luchasaurus has seen enough. 65 million years of isolation, but you don’t be mean to that kid’s mom! The crowd chants for him, but if it goes as fast as Wardlow’s eventual turn on MJF, Luchasaurus will finally turn on him sometime in 2025 or so.
37. Christian shoves Luchasaurus into Mom. Nick goes under the ring… to get a fucking chair. Holy shit, there’s no one else in this company who wants to stop a non-combatant from being con-chair’to’d?
38. Luchasaurus is given the chair instead, and he continues wrestling with his conscience. Finally, Edge bothers to get his ass out there. Nobody else in this entire company was willing to do so, eh?
39. Luchasaurus saves Daddy Killswitch, but that leaves Nick Wayne to get speared, and the camera manages to catch the second half of an Impaler. Christian screams “that’s my child.” Gold.
40. Copeland is gonna do the Conchairto to Nick in front of his mom, and he doesn’t hesitate at all. That’s not traumatic at all, what the hell, Adam? She wasn’t scarred enough from being bowled over by a dinosaur?
41. Backstage, the losing trio team fight about everything they’ve failed at. The dancing, the girlfriend, the hat… But Anna Jay isn’t taking any of this shit anymore. She’s managed to get herself in the Dark Order all over again. Ruby shows up on Ang’s phone though, even though Anna’s facing her later tonight. Oh dear.
42. Rush vs. Switchblade is next? Damn, this is gonna be insane. Oh wait, Jay White was completely so ruined like forever and ever because he took one pinfall loss since he’s been with the company, I doubt he’ll even show up to the match at all. He was beaten by the year-long reigning world champion, which is basically like losing to the Serpentico blindfolded. Yeah, I don’t know why I’m not on social media anymore either.
43. Jay White didn’t read the terms and conditions, and brought his Juniors Ass with him. They somehow manage to be completely surprised by being thrown out.
44. This match is HAM-to-HAM combat at its best. Switchblade does a Timber sell to a chop. He also flinches and covers up for a corner dropkick, but Rush pulls up and does his silly pose instead.
45. During the commercial break, PiP commentary has them debating who should tell Tony Khan to not let Christian have the mic anymore.
46. A fantastic wrestling match ends with shenanigans, as Jay White sneaks a quick ref distraction in for yet another low blow leading to the end. I say yet another because it felt like every match had one on Saturday. Jay White wins an otherwise very good match.
47. We get a recap of the ladder match from Full Gear, then of Jericho and Omega winning. We then see an interaction at the media scrum, followed by Jericho being jumped by Ricky and Bill afterward. They don’t bring up things that happen at the media scrum very often, that’s different.
48. RJ and Renee are out like they’re at an award show, complete with note cards in the envelope. This is delightful. RJ City has been brilliant in this story. I’d say Renee has been too, but that’s literally always the case.
49. Toni comes out of the crowd, and the music is oddly fitting. She trips on the way up the ramp, which somehow is also oddly fitting. Mariah comes out to give her the title. The HAM is overwhelming. And over, no way this is getting beaten.
50. The crowd chants for “speech.” Well done, Chicago.
51. She starts to get played off after one sentence. Toni mentions the “little Toni Storms out there.” The camera cuts to a young girl who looked vaguely disinterested, but somehow it all makes sense.
52. Suddenly, colors! Blue specifically. HOW DARE YOU INTERRUPT THE SHOW, HOUSE OF BLUE?!
53. Menard has a shirt that says “Daddy says NO.” Actually from what we saw earlier, he says “change your name to Killswitch.”
54. Dammit, give Ruby the Rancid song back already!
55. The beginning of this match is… not good, but the faces Ruby and Ang make at each other are precious.
56. The Rancid may not be back, but Taz singing it makes a welcome return! Meanwhile, Saraya gets in an argument with Slim Shady in the crowd.
57. Ruby gets kicked off the apron and into the arms of Ang. They make nice eyes at each other while their alleged friends hate love and happiness, so they break it up. Meanwhile, Skye Blue gets the win in her hometown, so good for her.
58. Ruby and Saraya yell at each other the whole way up the ramp. The OUTCASTS… EXPLODE! Like the exploding barbed wire death match explosion, but an explosion nonetheless.
59. Meanwhile, Wardlow gets an interview with Renee, and will someone be unfortunate enough to interrupt him too? Yes. Yes he will. AR Fox gets headbutted for his trouble. I hope he didn’t actually have to bump on that floor.
60. They’re only gonna give these guys eight minutes? I knew the two promos went incredibly long, but I didn’t realize they were THAT long, hell.
61. It’s Potato-Mania, baybay! And this happening between these two is as surprising as Mox bleeding in a match.
62. Speaking of Potato-Mania, Eddie Kingston and Brody King later this week? That’s a whole mash.
63. Really? We’re gonna go to PiP at 8:56 central time? Come on.
64. Oh wow, suddenly Briscoe is busted wide open. The crowd apparently just figured it out too, and they react in kind. Too bad this happened while most are seeing this in a small corner while some insurance company tries to out-nonsequitor the other.
65. The crowd is so into this match, despite Mox probably not losing again after putting Orange Cassidy over. It was a ton of fun regardless though, and Mox does end up winning.
66. The tournament matches were really good. Toni’s segment was HAM gold. Everything else just felt a little off, perhaps weirdly paced? I think? I’m also extremely tired, as I’m still getting used to this new job and the shift, so do forgive me if I missed an awesome show and it just seemed to me like a mediocre one due to exhaustion.
Toni won tonight, and I don’t think I can make a call between Toni and MJF for HAM of the Year. Though it’s technically a three-way split because Adam Cole was involved in the best HAMmy segments.