Every week, well at least the last three, I’ve written some notes on the latest episode of AEW Dynamite, so far it has gone down quite well. It is by no means meant to be a comprehensive review but more what stuck out to me. After you’ve read what I thought let me know what you thought of the episodes in the comments below or on Twitter @Sir_Samuel.
I could watch Darby Allin and Sammy Guveara wrestle each other forever and I would be a pretty happy guy. Even though it was only a small thing I love how Sammy got the headstart on Darby this time after Darby did that to him at Revolution. Every time they meet they do something different and this was no different with the two having a much more vicious and grounded match.
The Broken Matt Hardy schtick is exactly why people think wrestling is silly, it is absurd, it isn’t funny and it is nowhere near as creative as people like to think it is. When they cut to actual Matt Hardy he cut one of the best promos I’ve ever seen from him, finally made sense of this feud with Chris Jericho and his reason for supporting The Elite and actually made me want to see them fight. More of that please, less of the silliness.
Loved the Scorpio Sky video piece, he has the look and athleticism to be a singles star. I really hope he is in the next wave of singles talent to really hit the top level.
The Kenny Omega match was fantastic, Omega looked like a guy stretching his legs, testing things out until Allen Angels started to pull some cheaper tactics and Omega immediately put him in his place with some vicious V-Triggers and a brutal dead-lift powerbomb.
Shame there was no women’s match, it seems like they haven’t been able to get the bulk of the women’s wrestlers out to this taping and it is a shame for the division which is better than most give it credit but still clearly lags behind the men’s singles and tag.
The Dustin Rhodes ‘retirement’ match felt strange, it wasn’t even announced as such last week so I never felt like there was any danger of him losing and actually retiring in a match with zero hype. It was a good match but felt anti-climatic because of the stip they chucked on it seemingly at the last minute.
Another solid but not spectacular Dynamite, I wonder how many more they have in the can before they have to re-tape?
An Ode To Judas
There have been many great wrestling themes over the years, from the unapologetic patriotism of Hulk Hogan’s Real American, to the simple impact of Stone Cold’s glass breaking, to the verbose orchestral sing along of Shinsuke Nakamura’s Rising Sun theme. However there are few entrance songs as lyrically perfect as Chris Jericho’s self-authored tune Judas, the theme he has been using since leaving the WWE in 2017. While it has become incredibly popular with AEW crowds as a singalong, the hard rock vibes and catchy chorus mask the dark tale of a man who has lost himself and become the complete opposite of what he once stood for.
The character Judas is most famous for being the disciple that betrayed Jesus in The Bible, the man who sold out the son of God for forty silver coins. As a result Judas has become a label reserved for the most untrustworthy of people, a betrayer, a breaker of oaths, someone who will sell out people who trust them for personal gain.
When it comes to Chris Jericho’s journey, the character Judas actually pops up earlier than his current theme song. In his WWE entrance theme Break The Walls Down, the opening verse contains the line, “Baby you know you’re Judas and I’m your priest,” later in the song he even invokes the biblical metaphor of The Good Shepherd, “I am the pastor, flock you like sheep,” and in his debut promo he proclaimed himself a modern day knight in shining armour for the audience. This almost biblical idea of Jericho as a saviour in WWE would only be reinforced upon his 2007 return when he announced himself with videos proclaiming the message, “save us Y2J”. Even at his most vile in 2009, Jericho remained a man of principle to a fault, becoming someone who tried to save the audience and other wrestlers from themselves, pointing out the harsh truth of their own hypocrisy and standing up for his own righteousness.
All of this sits in stark contrast to who Jericho has now become. In his original theme he is placed as the healer of Judas, someone who will save people from their worst selves. However Jericho was never able to fully become the saviour he wanted to be in the WWE and over time that burden took its toll on him. Backstage and in the ring, an idealist was worn down by the corporate machine and in the end all that was left was the burnt out, bitter man, who would emerge at Wrestle Kingdom 12, revealing his true colours in a bloody match with Kenny Omega.
You are innocence personified
And I will drag you down and sell you out
No longer was Jericho a saviour, Jericho had become a man who saw a wrestling butterfly in Kenny Omega and wanted to pull the wings off him. It was a story that would play out in the lead-up to the match and in the ring on the night, with Jericho dragging Omega into a violent brawl, a match that was a sharp juxtaposition to the mythic ‘six star match’ Omega had with Kazuchika Okada at Wrestle Kingdom the year before.Someone so consumed with jealousy and anger would never be willing to settle for just one victim. Jericho set out to brutalise and tear down the New Japan’s crown jewels, Tetsuya Naito, the most popular face in the company and then Kazuchika Okada, the Ace of New Japan. Each time Jericho appeared, he would be darker, more brutal and more twisted. Where Jericho once graced the cerulean canvas as a high flyer, he would now stain it with blood in a series of violent bouts that felt almost alien in a company known for its highly athletic professional wrestling.
Even in his lighter moments no hypocrisy is now beyond him. Jericho’s first year in AEW was spent demanding thanks from the company and saying the promotion was created to prove Jericho’s star power. Yet at the same time he spent the better part of two months chastising Cody Rhodes for making the company an ego project for Cody’s legacy and vehicle to promote Cody’s family and friends.
“I am cold like December snow
I have carved out this soul made of stone
And I will drag you down and sell you out
Embraced by the darkness, I’m losing the light
Encircled by demons, I fight”
The evolution of Jericho into Judas has been made complete in The Painmaker character he now pulls out for his biggest fights. Gone is the man who invited his fans to “step into the light”, Jericho is now “embraced by the darkness,” replaced by an inversion of the beauty and pageantry of pro wrestling. Instead of the beautiful robes adorned in perfectly toned and tanned physiques, The Painmaker paints his face in a macabre black and white, wears a black Clockwork Orange inspired fedora and completes the outfit with a spiked leather jacket. Where other wrestlers want to inspire hope, Jericho now wants to inspire fear
“What have I become, now that I’ve betrayed
Everyone I’ve ever loved, I pushed them all away
And I have been a slave to the Judas in my mind
Is there something left for me to save
In the wreckage of my life, my life
I’m becom-, I’m becom-, I’m becoming
I’m becom-, I’m becom-, I’m becoming
Judas in, Judas in my mind”
Chris Jericho is not the first wrestler to pen or even perform his own entrance music, but the beauty of Judas is that now every time Jericho walks to the ring he does so to a song that tells the tale of his own evolution. A man who left behind a company that he worked in for nearly twenty years, a company he once wanted to save but left him so bitter and twisted he has now become the very thing he once stood against.
Today’s main column was my first round entrance into The Pond Invitational, a writing tournament currently going on in the Columns Forum. It is currently the Write-Off Round to get into one of the ten spots that will go through the main rounds.
Even this early the quality is incredible with pieces from former main pages Triple R and Skitz, forum mainstays Super Hoody and TheLAW and my pick of the bunch, a sizzling debut column by Holy Mackerel on Ted DiBiase v Randy Savage at Wrestlemania IV. You can check out all the action in the Columns Forum here.
Missed my last AEW column? Check it out here.
Jon Moxley v Jake Hager, A Perfect Build To A Not So Perfect Match