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The Ins And Outs Of AEW Dynamite 6/17/20: Starks And Blonds

A Different Perspective

First things first, Elle Collins here. I’m giving Brandon a break by covering the column this week, and plus it gives me something to do. With NXT UK on Indefinite Pandemic Hiatus and Impact still veering between Nigh Unwatchable and Merely Quite Bad (despite some excellent additions to the Knockouts Division) I don’t have as many recaps to write at the moment as I’d like to. So this week, you get me in this space, but Brandon should be back next week.

So I’ll be up front and say that I liked this episode a lot, and the reason I didn’t use the “All In/All Out” format on the section headers is that they were honestly all going to be “All In.” The only thing I thought about objecting to is that all we got this week to build the Mox/Cage story is dueling promos. But then I realized they just destroyed a whole car with each other’s bodies last week, and their actual match is coming up in another couple of weeks, so just doing promos makes sense this time around. And of course Mox and Taz are great talkers. They even let Brian Cage get a few words in this week, which went fine, even though he’s a little bit “Yeah, I can’t wait to beat him, yeah!” Cage is kinda like Chester the Terrier’s brain in Spike the Bulldog’s body.

Tag Team Tensions

First up this week: Two tag teams plagued by interpersonal issues. Actually, Kenny Omega and Hangman Page seem to be getting along better since they shared a toast of milk and whiskey during the Stadium Stampede, and they’re certainly more than capable of holding on to the AEW Tag Team Championship for a while yet.

Then there’s the Natural Nightmares. QT Marshall has fallen under the seductive sway of Allie, to the chagrin of Dustin and Brandi Rhodes. I find all of this a bit confusing, to be honest. Allie’s not the Bunny anymore, and doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the Butcher and the Blade, but I can’t figure out if Dustin and Brandi and even QT remember that she used to be a fetishy masked steampunk mercenary, or if this is like a whole new Allie. For that matter, does anyone remember when Brandi Rhodes briefly led a hair-cutting cult? Mel is still sitting in the crowd with her hair barely starting to grow out, but I guess as long as they don’t mention her or put her in the ring, we don’t have to talk about who shaved her head and why.

To be clear, I like that AEW is willing to let people change directions when their characters aren’t panning out. I just don’t always understand exactly what level of reality we’re living in from week to week. I was ready to believe that Allie worked in a butcher shop even though she’s a devout vegan in real life. And even though I know she’s married to the Blade in real life, I’m now willing to believe that they were never married in kayfabe because he’s spending his time beefing with the Bucks and FTR and doesn’t care what she does with QT Marshall. UNLESS this is all some kind of plan by the Butcher, Blade, and Bunny to mess with the Natural Nightmares for some reason. It’s probably either that or they don’t remember each other at all, I just can’t figure out which.

Anyway, the match itself was good, even if the Natural and the Apple were clearly never going to beat Omega and Page. Allie was banned from ringside by Dustin, but showed up anyway, but then didn’t contribute too directly to their loss. It’s the right way to play that for now. Presumably this all leads to another Brandi versus Allie match, which I’m not wildly excited about, but I wouldn’t mind if QT and Dustin are involved in that too.

Between A Zombie And A Dark Place

I thought this was a fun swerve! We got a whole little video package introducing Anna Jay, the newest member of the women’s roster (or so we thought). We didn’t know who her opponent was going to be, so when it turned out to be Abadon the obvious thing was to assume the new full-time wrestler would prove herself by beating the guest jobber. Except then Abadon won, easily and viciously, because actually she’s the newest member of the women’s roster!

And let’s talk about Abadon! If you read my Impact recaps, you know that I love a monster girl, but Abadon takes it to a whole other level. Abadon is like somebody watched Su Yung do her Undead Bride thing and said, “I feel like this could be scarier, grosser, and more J-horror.” And honestly, that’s true. Su’s great, but she has plans and goals, and these days a whole other human-looking alter-ego. Abadon’s just a demonic zombie who wants your soul and never seems to be having anything we might recognize as human thoughts. If they’re careful and find the best ways to use a monster like her, she could bring a lot to the women’s division.

After Abadon buried Anna Jay under the ground, Mister Brodie Lee and his Dark Order came out to dig her up (and also bring some paperwork to Colt Cabana in the audience). I’m excited for the Dark Order to have a female member, and curious whether they’ll put her under a mask. Whether they do or not, the Anna we met in that video package is probably gone already. Also, and I’m just thinking out loud here, but what if Abadon works for the Dark Order too? They were ready to come out and help Anna up pretty quickly. What if Brodie sends the Living Dead Girl out to destroy people, specifically so that the Dark Order can then offer to help build them back up? Just a thought.

Old Guys Putting Over Young Guys

Honestly, I don’t care very much about Billy Gunn or his sons. MJF is great, though. And beyond that, I like that pretty much every time we see an older guy in AEW, they’re around to help the younger guys look better, whether by losing to them or in a managerial role. That’s how wrestling should work, and it’s great that at least one televised company remembers that.

I also didn’t mind MJF winning with his diamond ring punch. I was behind him winning the competition for that ring, but I thought it would just be something for him to smugly show off during promos to “prove” he’s the best. The fact that it’s big enough to work as a Foreign Object is even better! Young as he is, MJF is such a delightfully old-school heel that I’m fine if he never wins clean. He’s got a big ass ring to hit people with, and a big ass henchman to hand it to him and also beat people up. It’s perfect.

This match also leads into MJF and Wardlow brawling with Jurassic Express, which hopefully leads into that Luchasaurus/Wardlow match that it’s beyond time for. Or maybe it just leads to Wardlow/Marko Stunt. It’s been a few weeks since Marko’s been thrown across the arena by a dude three times his size, and they do seem to love that.

Garbage Wrestling

Doctor Britt Baker continues to be amazing, and thank god they’re keeping her on TV through her injury. Even better, they’re still building her feud with Big Swole, which means 1) More than one women’s storyline, 2) Britt has somebody to be mean to besides Tony and Rebel, and 3) We also get to see Big Swole building her character outside the ring, which is a plus for her and the division as a whole.

The reveal that Swole was driving Britt’s cart instead of Rebel was great. It was some real Steve Austin shit on Swole’s part, and it was only possible because we had a few weeks of setting up how Rebel drives Britt around in the back of this cart while Britt shouts at her, which created expectations that can then be subverted.

Also, it wasn’t just one segment! It was followed up on later in the show! I know that sounds basic, but it’s pretty new for AEW, especially with women’s segments. And even better, we didn’t see Swole dump Britt in the dumpster. The question of where she’d ended up and then the reveal when Rebel went looking for her were perfect. And as a connoisseur of classic comedy, I really appreciated that Britt was dedicated enough to the classic tropes of being dumped in the trash that she actually wore bananas peels on her head. That’s how you know someone’s been dumped in the trash — the banana peels!

By the way, is it just me or is Rebel getting way more shine as Britt Baker’s assistant than she ever did as an Impact Knockout? Despite Britt always calling her by the wrong name (which is also funny), Rebel’s showing off her own comedic abilities here and clearly having a lot of fun. Plus, I feel like the fact that she’s a wrestler is the as-yet-unmentioned secret weapon of these segments. Not that Rebel was ever great in the ring, but if she’s called on to take a bump, or to eventually lose patience and suplex Britt outta nowhere, she can handle that sort of thing.

Special Guest Starks

One of the things I love about AEW is that they’re invested in being part of the larger wrestling community. Unlike WWE, they don’t pretend that the only two things that exist are their own company and “all over the world.” That enables them to honor and memorialize wrestlers who never set foot in their ring, and it gives a lot more weight to surprise debuts like former NWA World Television Champion Ricky Starks, or FTR for that matter. AEW exists in a society, you might say, and doesn’t pretend otherwise.

Ricky Starks rules, by the way. He’s charismatic and handsome as hell, and he knows what he’s doing in that ring. I was thrilled just to see him as a guest challenger for this one match, and now that the word is out he’s officially signed, that’s even better (although I wouldn’t mind seeing some actual one-time guests challenge for Cody’s title either). No disrespect to Jungle Boy Jack Perry and Party Boy Marq Quen, but this was easily my favorite TNT Championship match thus far. I don’t know where Starks is going next, but there’s no shortage of great matches he can have in AEW.

Double The Mayhem

Kip Sabian, Jimmy Havoc, and Penelope Ford are the Superbad Squad now, which is not a wildly original name, but it gives them a sense of being a real team instead of just an engaged couple and their goth third wheel. So that’s a plus in my book. Also, Jimmy’s ability to constantly find new things to hit people with is a great running gag. Of course Penelope’s also no stranger to whacking somebody with a WET FLOOR sign and then quickly assuming an “I’m just standing here being pretty” pose at ringside by the time the ref turns around. Basically, all three of these people are utter dirtbags and it’s great.

Of course, the Young Bucks are kind of dirtbags too, despite being Heroic Company Founders, and I wouldn’t have minded seeing them take a loss here. On the other hand, seeing them somehow trick Kip into hitting a piledriver on his own partner (See? Dirtbags) is great too. And that sets up an attack from the Butcher and the Blade, which in turn leads FTR to come out and defend the Bucks so they can beat the hell out of them later. Is this setting up a multi-team match for Fyter Fest? I first thought they’d go ahead and do Bucks/FTR there, but now it’s starting to feel like they may drag that out to All Out (when they probably still think there might be a crowd). As long as they keep things at least this entertaining, I don’t even mind.

Angry Orange

Last week, Chris Jericho and the Inner Circle beat Orange Cassidy to a blood orange pulp. Adding insult to injury, Jericho used a bag of actual oranges as a weapon. Despite the fruity aspect, the beatdown was sold with such seriousness that I honestly didn’t think we’d see Cassidy again for a few weeks. Clearly, neither did anybody else.

So in his absence, his best friends the Best Friends took on Le Sex Gods, aiming for revenge on Jericho. They even put their Fyter Fest championship match on the line. Naturally the Best Friends are underdogs, especially against Le Formair Champion and his protégé, but they came into this match with a relentless need to see the guys who hurt their friend lose.

Plus, Trent is lowkey a really amazing wrestler. And Chuck Taylor? He’s a very funny guy. (Nah, Young Dustin’s great too, but being a great wrestler isn’t, like, his main thing.) The point is they gave it their all, and it never looked like it was going to be enough. And it almost wasn’t! Sammy was just about to finish off Trent when all of the sudden a cameraman tripped him! On purpose! Why would a cameraman do that?

After Trent took advantage and pinned Sammy, the cameraman revealed that he was Orange Cassidy all along! Just imagine, Orange wanted revenge so much that he took on the role of a working man and did some work! And when he attacked Jericho after the match, he was fired up like we’ve never seen him before. Orange Cassidy is amazing, and his match with Jericho at Fyter Fest is going to be a career highlight. Possibly for both of them!

Top 10 Comments Of The Week

Mr. Bliss
Orange Cassidy needs to beat Jericho with a Fozzy Bear doll tonight

The fine print on Colt’s contract to tag with Dark Order says that if Brodie Lee decides he doesn’t want to wrestle with Colt anymore, Colt can’t tag with anyone else for 90 days.

AddMayne

Sammy going from traveling everywhere with a leg scooter to instantly being able to wrestle a whole match with no issue is pretty funny
Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer

Is it too early to call Chris Jericho vs Orange Cassidy at Fyter Fest The Greatest Wrestling Match Ever™ ?

JayBone2

Butcher & Blade: yvan eht nioj

The Real Birdman

Like anybody in Dark Order has the guts to talk to somebody that looks like Anna Jayy in person

Baron Von Raschke

Me watching Britt Baker send a note to Tony via clothesline

Endy_Mion

AEW missed an opportunity tonight with Cody vs. Ricky and Schiavone calling it. They have a Tony, a Starks, yet no Ironman match? or Extreme(is) Rules?

PTI_ITOMMY

so, Tony Khan just makes a match for Fyter Fest official, on a whim, in the closing seconds of the show?! So bush league. In the pros, we sign contracts, with in-ring piss tests!

SexCauldron

AEW: Some lady just stole a golf cart with another lady in a wheelchair in the back
911: You’ll have to be more specific, this is Florida

AEW

That’s about it for this week. Dynamite continues to be the best Quarantine Content in wrestling, at least in my opinion, and with Fyter Fest coming up in two weeks, things are only going to get more intense from here. Next week Brandon should be back, which among other things will mean the column will be funnier and go up earlier in the day!

Thanks for reading about Dynamite! Leave us a comment below, give the column a share on social media, and make sure you’re here next week!

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Written by TheGeek

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