The first hour of AEW Dynamite featured a lot of action and chaos, the debut of Matt Cardona, and some set up for the All Out PPV. Still to come is Hikaru Shida in action, MJF's State of the Industry Address, and the main event. Let's get to the recap.
AEW Dynamite 7/29/2020 Part 2
Diamante is in the ring after the break. We see a video package about her. Hikaru Shida comes out. This is, I believe, a non-title match.
Hikaru Shida vs. Diamante
Shida offers a handshake to start, but Diamante shoves her face instead. They trade blows, with Shida coming out on top of the first exchange, then roll around on the ground punching each other until both women roll outside. Shida sets Diamante up on the ring rails and hits a running knee lift. She throws Diamante back in the ring and hits a missile dropkick. Shida gets a two-count on the pin attempt.
Shida grabs Diamante by the arm and hits her in the face with some elbows. Diamonte gets to her feet, and they trade punches while continuing to hold onto each other's wrists. Shida hits another knee that sends Diamante to the apron. Shida gets on the second turnbuckle and tries to suplex Diamante inside, but Diamante blocks. She lays some chops on Shida in the corner. Diamante hits a stunner and goes for a pin, but Shida gets her shoulder up.
Diamante hits a kick to the gut and tries a sunset flip, but it flips Shida right into the ropes, so no pin. Shida hits a falcon arrow, but Diamante kicks out. She hits a running knee, and that does it.
Winner: Hikaru Shida
There was a lot of sloppiness in that one, particularly at the finish. Not sure what's going on tonight. Maybe it's too hot and humid. Things just feel slightly off. The lack of Excalibur doesn't help, as he usually holds things together. Tony Schiavone tells us about the AEW Women's Tag Team Cup tournament, and then we see the trophy. Hopefully, this will result in some new talent being added to the Women's division.
Speaking of which…
Dasha interviews Nyla Rose and Vicki Guererro backstage. Nyla chooses the color purple, which is apparently how you get paired up with your partner (I admit I didn't pay attention when Tony explained it). Dasha says someone already has that color. It's Ariane Andrew, former Total Divas star and former Funkadactyls tag team partner of Naomi in WWE (where she wrestled under the name Cameron). I'm not sure what she's been doing since leaving WWE, but I'm glad to see her getting another chance. Yes, she is the subject of mockery for a lack of wrestling skills. Famously, in her Tough Enough debut, she named some bullshit divas match as her favorite and got berated by Stone Cold Steve Austin. But she can talk, and she has experience. Plus, her run was during pretty much the darkest time of WWE's pre-Evolution women's division. She deserves a chance, and AEW needs women with experience and personality. So I'm all for this. Plus, I'm a Total Divas mark.
MJF makes his way to the ring, and Dynamite goes to commercials.
Dynamite Promo – MJF State of the Industry Address
MJF is in the ring with security and Wardlow, and he's got a podium. He insults wrestling fans for being stupid and says he's luckily got a lot of time to get his point across. MJF tells people at home to tweet with the hashtag #MJF2020 and #NotMyChampion. MJF complains about how little he's been featured on Dynamite. MJF says that AEW started as a revolution built on change, but Jon Moxley has been getting to do whatever he wants at the top of the card just because he came from WWE. That's not changing; it's the same old shit.
MJF complains about all the spotfests in AEW and how the fans have been brainwashed into thinking that's wrestling. It all goes to the top, and that's Jon Moxley. He accuses Moxley of cosplaying as Stone Cold Steve Austin. MJF talks about the ratings. Moxley has name value, so everyone thinks he's responsible for the ratings. But MJF says that he draws better ratings on average than Moxley. He says Moxley's been trying to cover that up. MJF says it's time for a new guard in AEW because the old guard has failed. He blames Moxley for everything wrong with the world today.
MJF says his talent outweighs Moxley's tenure. He's the future of the company. He wants everyone in AEW to "stop gladhanding each other over being the alternative" and actually transform AEW into the pinnacle of professional wrestling. MJF officially challenges Moxley for a match at All Out.
That's the best promo I've seen MJF cut. It was on another level from his usual (but still great) classic heel schtick. JR, Taz, and Tony struggle through announcing next week's card without Excalibur, and then Dynamite goes to commercials again.
Darby Allin comes to the ring first for the main event. Or at least, his music plats. Allin doesn't come out. Moxley comes to the ring from a door near the upper deck. The cameras go backstage, where Taz is standing with Brian Cage and Ricki Starks. Taz mocks Moxley for being all alone. He thinks Allin must be afraid after getting beat up last week. He puts over Cage's muscles. He gives Starks the mic, and Starks cuts a promo. Starks puts himself over. He says Moxley dresses like Pigpen and wrestles like a crash test dummy. Basically, they're gonna win tonight.
Darby Allin and Jon Moxley vs. Brian Cage and Ricky Starks
Cage and Starks walk out onto the stage, and Darby Allin flies out of the sky (off the set?) with a coffin drop onto both of them. It's a tornado tag match, so no tags required and weapons are allowed, not that that makes much of a difference in AEW. Cage beats down Moxley at ringside while Allin beats up Ricky Starks in the ring. Allin goes for a dive over the top onto Cage. Cage is supposed to catch him, but he misses. Oof. Cage hits some kind of move, but I'm too distracted by how yellow Darby Allin looks next to him. Is he jaundiced? Allin should get his liver checked. Mox pulls out a garbage can, the weakest of hardcore weapons, and Dynamite goes to commercials.
Starks and Cage are beating down Darby Allin in the ring. Cage tosses Allin with a German Suplex right into a pin from Starks. Cage holds Allin for a running move by Starks, but Moxley hips in the ring with a chair to Starks's face. Everyone takes turns hitting moves until Cage and Moxley are left standing. Moxley hits a piledriver on Cage. He transitions to an armbar, but there's some confusion as Edwards starts to count a pink with Cage's shoulders up. Cage gets a garbage can, and he and Starks hit a double spinebuster on Moxley into the can.
Allin gets involved and dumps Starks from the ring. Cage tries to buckle bomb Allin, but Moxley catches Allin. He DDT's Cage as Allin hits the coffin drop onto Cage's back. Moxley hits a suicide dive on Starks as Allin gets a two-count. Allin grabs a skateboard with tacks glued to the bottom of it. He jumps off the top turnbuckle onto Starks's back with the skateboard, and a bunch of the tacks are embedded into his back. Ouch! Allin gets the pinfall while Moxley holds Cage with an armbar.
Winners: Darby Allin and Jon Moxley
Cage and Starks make their way to the back. Moxley poses with the belt as Allin points at Moxley with his skateboard. Allin wants a shot at the title. Tony Schiavone tells us that Tony Khan has just made that match for next week. Dynamite goes off the air with Moxley and Allin face to face in the middle of the ring.
This episode had some bright spots, most notably the MJF promo, which I think may be the breakout moment for MJF everyone's been waiting for. Like most great villains, MJF is kinda justified in everything he said, or at least you can understand why he feels that way. It may be time for MJF to win the title at All Out. Some of the matches were a little sloppy and disorganized. The wrestlers were a little bit off-balance, as were the refs. But most of all, the commentary team was unfocused without Excalibur there.
I understand why he (probably) wasn't, assuming it's the racial slurs from those old PWG promos and not COVID. I don't know what the future holds for Exalibur. But if they're going to dump him, either AEW is gonna need to bring someone in who can fill that role or someone on the team is gonna need to step up. That being said, assuming Excalibur was kept off the show because of the slurs, then it all went down at the last minute, and so a little bit of confusion (and maybe even resentment from Jim Ross) during the broadcast was to be expected. Even a bad Dynamite is a good Dynamite. This wasn't a bad Dynamite, though. It was just… a little off.
This post is part of a multi-part series: Wednesday Night Wars 7/29/2020.