It’s been said that one can never truly go home again. As usual, All Elite Wrestling is trying to fight against common beliefs, as Randy Orton troll-extraordinaire Tony Khan returns to his Illinois hometown of Champaign for this evening’s edition of AEW: Dynamite. The risk he took for funding the dreams of The Elite cannot be understated, and wrestling fans in general should be thanking him daily for the reinvigoration of our beloved sport in the eyes of television viewers.
To kick off the evening, Dustin Rhodes (and his entrance theme that blatantly rips off Green Day’s “Brain Stew”, but I’ll allow it!) joins the Young Bucks against the Inner Circle collection of Sammy Guevara with Proud & Powerful. The audio on TNT is failing, but Dustin customizing his gear in tribute to Dus-thy Rhodes and the Bucks is loud enough to compensate! The Illinois crowd is on fire for this opener, as a double Meltzer Driver puts away the heels in an entertaining spotfest.
In a continuation of a hard-hitting feud, Best Friends alum Trent(?) squares off against Rey Fenix of Lucha Bros. For the first time in years, Jim Ross refers to Trent(?) with the surname of Barretta, his WWE moniker. His comedy work with Chuck Taylor and Orange Cassidy is beloved by fans, but I’m glad that AEW is giving him the chance to work in singles competition. It’s just not his week, however, as Fenix delivers his spinning Muscle Buster for the three-count.
Lights out, it’s Cody! Which can only mean that Tony Schiavone is about to conduct an interview! He is now lamenting the absences of Dustin and Brandi Rhodes in his life after being attacked by Blade, Butcher, and Bunny last week. MJF is still renting space for free inside of The American Nightmare’s head, calling him a bush-league Chris Jericho. For the opportunity to fight Maxwell, Cody offers him his watch, shoes, and $50,000 in a briefcase (well, $49,900, after giving a ringside fan a c-note). We’ll have to wait for MJF’s response.
Another Dark Order vignette airs, with Evil Uno and Stu Grayson “initiating” the recurring star of these pieces into the society. This week’s offering just didn’t quite hit the same notes as the previous weeks.
Nyla Rose, fresh off of destroying Shanna backstage, is out to squash Librarian Leva Bates. Fellow Librarian Peter Avalon tries to intervene, but gets a chokeslam for his efforts. A Beast Bomb ends Bates’ night. Shanna tries to save Bates from additional pain, but a one-armed powerslam ends any hope of that. Nyla brings in a table and Beast Bombs the referee through Shanna and the wood. How this segment lasted through the commercial, I can’t explain! Either have Rose feud with Awesome Kong, or advance her up the Women’s rankings already!
Le Champion Himself, Jericho arrives with a maroon-clad Jake Hager in tow. He gets his line of champagne over, and presents AEW management with The Lexicon Of Le Champion (every wrestler he refuses to wrestle for his mandatory defense on December 18), and manages to mention Jon Moxley seven times. Absent from this “list” was Luchasaurus, who arrives with Jungle Boy and Marko Stunt in tow. Luchasaurus shockingly gets on the mic to tear down Jericho, but defers to Jungle Boy for his opportunity to face Jericho. The Ayatollah mocks Jack Perry’s Hollywood lineage, but Jungle Boy does not back down and the trio sends Jericho and Hager packing.
Apparently from “another galaxy” (complete with aliens on the video board), Kris Statlander is out to face #1 ranked Hikaru Shida one week after teaming with Shida. Excalibur claims that Statlander’s ship crashed at a wrestling school, which makes her a pretty lousy navigator. However, in this match, her power advantage finally allows her to pick up an impressive win with a cradle Tombstone. Brandi and Kong enter and Brandi announces themselves as the Nightmare Collective. She offers an invitation to Statlander, but a ringside fan offers her hair as a tribute to the Collective instead. Kong obliges, and proceeds to carve off the hair of indie wrestler Melanie Cruise. Well, that happened.
“SCUUUU!!!!” blares, and Christopher Daniels is out to face the man that put him on the shelf during the AEW Tag Team tournament, Pentagon Jr. The Fallen Angel does not allow Penta to even enter the ring, splashing him on the ramp. However, Daniels “botches” later on with a springboard moonsault attempt onto the ramp. A package piledriver nets Pentagon Jr. a decisive win.
The Blade, Butcher, and Bunny air a quick video, with Allie claiming they are sick of Cody’s face being THE face of All Elite Wrestling. As am I! They will not stop until they cut the head off of the snake, which they’ll continue to try to do next week against the tag team of Cody and QT Marshall.
One of the most unlikeliest wrestlers to ever get a pyro entrance, Bad Boy Joey Janela is facing (as Justin Roberts announces him, “JEEEYONNN!!!”) Moxley in a #RERUN of their Fyter Fest match. At least Janela got some better-fitting ring gear, as the constant yanking on his pants was a gear grinder for me. Their last bout was unsanctioned, and the rules seemed similar for this match. Moxley picked the victory with Paradigm Shift, and the episode faded to black with Jericho and Hager mocking Mox’s entrance through the crowd.
JoeStopper’s Elite Of The Week
For the short period of time that she’s been affiliated with All Elite Wrestling, Kris Statlander has been on my shite list (or lexicon, because Jericho says this isn’t 2016). She’s fairly new to professional wrestling, having only crashed here on Earth three years ago. While she has the size and power to become a main event player, I only knew her from some of her botches in previous matches. Which is to say, I knew a LOT about her! But this week, Statlander pulled off a major upset against top ranked Hikaru Shida, sending a shock through the Women’s division. It’s looking more like there will be a multi-woman match for Riho’s next title defense, and The Alien may just snag one of those opportunities. Kris Statlander, you are surprisingly JoeStopper’s Elite Of The Week!