Thursday, December 19, 2019

AEW Dynamite 12/18 Review

Matches:
1.Omega, Page vs Lucha Bros ***
2.Butcher & Blade vs Cody, Darby ***1/4
3.Kong vs Alize NR
4.10-Minute Challenge: Jericho vs Jungle Boy ***1/4
5.Baker vs Stratlander ***
6.AEW Tag Titles: SCU(c) vs Young Bucks ***1/4

Thoughts:
This is AEW's final live episode of Dynamite in 2019. The news is out that NXT finally managed to beat them in the key demo, though it did take WWE putting out a TakeOver-lite edition to do so. The best takeaway, though, is TNT is still pretty happy with how AEW is doing as are most of the fans watching (including myself). With that, let's dig in.

Since "leaving" the Elite, Page's heel turn teases have become more noticeable especially after his actions last week. This was true once more in this one and when it looked like the tensions were climaxing into a full turn, PAC interrupted to call out Kenny. How the fuck Excalibur knew that was Nakazawa from behind is anyone's guess. Fenix also came off a bit out of sync by the way, but it was still a good match and a solid way to start the episode and the entire aftermatch stuff was decent. Page with the save shows they're still wanting to hold off.

Up next, we got another fun tag match. The recent Jericho interview where he mentioned pushing the roster for "cleaner" rule usage in tag contests has been pretty clearly taken to heart by the roster since the talk took place and it was rather clear at times here, too. I'm cool with chaotic, lucha rules tags on occasion, but this is fine, too. The match was actually fairly good, even with the Bunny stuff, and I liked Cody changing up the finish. It's a bit strange to see the newcomers fall already, even to such a fun duo like Cody and Darby were, but the parity of AEW always proves unpredictable.

Kong with a squash. Jungle Boy with an interview. Sammy with some shots.

Next, Jericho once again showed his selflessness and helped elevate a roster member. If you watch CMLL, this was basically a lightning match with a strong story attached making Jungle Boy going the distance come off like a big deal. It was a smart usage of stipulation and something worth considering.

Jericho, after, wishes Mox a merry Christmas.

Poor CD will never live down his botch.

Stratlander and Baker in a #1 contender's match followed. It looks like they might be moving on a bit from Britt's push as she never really seemed right for the spot they've tried to use her in. Kris, on the other hand, is in the middle of a nice rise on the show and I'm very excited about her title shot. Riho looked terrified when she won, which was a nice touch. The only thing about this whole span I didn't care for was the Nightmare Collective stuff. I just don't care much for how it's been booked so far.

The main event surprised a lot of people who assumed it was scheduled to give the Bucks the belts leading into 2020. I get that assumption and even considered it myself, but AEW has been about pushing everyone, at times in spite of the Elite, so it's logical that SCU retained and since they're a good team it's acceptable, too. The contest itself was nice enough though a bit below the level I had expected from these two pairs.

Ending the episode on a Dark Order segment was an interesting call, for sure. Page was MIA, the Beaver Boys officially joined the heels, and Dark Order stood tall to close the installment. It was chaotic, but I don't think Dark Order should be closing a show yet (if ever) and especially not the last one of the year.

While I didn't have anything here that I considered must-see, this was largely another good two hours of wrestling. I acknowledge that Dynamite is a variety program and not everything will be my cup of tea. That was true this week more than usual yet still remained entertaining throughout. That's the most I can truly ask for but I do hope they hit the ground running with more oomph when the show returns in two weeks.

Overall Rating: 70/100%

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