AEW Dynamite airs tonight from The Nightmare Factory in Norcross, Georgia.
The TNT Championship Tournament will begin with a first round match between Cody and Shawn Spears. Cody and Spears last squared off at AEW All Out last August in a match where Cody was victorious.
Britt Baker will take on Hikaru Shida in a women's division match. Baker taunted Shida from the sidelines during Shida's match last week, setting up this contest. Baker also threatened to attack Shida with her shoe.
Kenny Omega and Michael Nakazawa will team against the Best Friends duo of Trent and Chuck Taylor. Omega holds the AEW World Tag Team titles with Hangman Page, but Page has not appeared on Dynamite in recent weeks.
Lance Archer and Brodie Lee are also scheduled for singles bouts tonight against unnamed competitors, likely in squash matches.
The commentary team for tonight's show will be Tony Schiavone and Chris Jericho.
Our live coverage begins at 8 p.m. Eastern time.
The show opened with a strong Jake Roberts promo. He asked Cody if he was a man or a mouse and asked him to squeak up and tell him.
Roberts said he expected Cody to slip on a banana peel and lose tonight so he wouldn't have to face Lance Archer later in the tournament.
Lance Archer defeated Allen Angels
Angels didn't get a graphic. Archer won a squash with the Blackout.
Chris Jericho and Tony Schiavone previewed the rest of the card. Jericho put over Britt Baker's ring gear, he said he loves sparkly outfits.
Hikaru Shida defeated Britt Baker
These two beat the hell out of each other. The match went a little long but was very intense and very good. Maybe the best match of Baker's career.
Tony commented that Baker had an attitude change in recent months. Jericho said he was in the same place as Baker in 1997. Then he started shaking babies and kissing hands rather than the other way around and became the Jericho we know today.
Baker used underhanded tactics to take control on Shida. Baker hit a very real punch to the face on the mat. Baker started playing to the camera, allowing Shida to come back with an attack on the floor. Shida hit a knee lift before a commercial break.
Shida was still in control after the break. Baker used a quick cradle for a two count. Shida used a triangle choke but Baker forced a break.
Baker hit a slingblade and a double arm suplex for a near fall. Baker went for Lockjaw but Shida forced a rope break.
They traded stiff strikes. Baker ended up with a bloody nose. Shida hit a Michinoku driver for a near fall. They traded cradles for near falls.
Baker hit a swinging neckbreaker and a superkick for near falls.
The finish saw Shida hit a gutbuster on the top rope, then follow up with a shining wizard for the pin.
Kenny Omega and Michael Nakazawa met backstage. Omega said they're teaming tonight and they used to be a great team in DDT but they need a team name. Nakazawa suggested "Best Friends."
Orange Cassidy and Best Friends entered and they had a comedy pull-apart. Omega said if he and Nakazawa win tonight they get the Best Friends name.
A video package detailed the latest AEW rankings. I hope they do this every week.
A strong video package aired hyping the Jake Hager vs. Jon Moxley title match next week.
Moxley said he's not in the business of putting smiles on faces. He said he's going to beat Hager and it's going to be ugly and violent.
Hager did a much better promo than last week in this package. His wife Catalina Hager said that either Hager comes him a victor or he doesn't come home. Hager's MMA coach put over his dedication.
Moxley said Hager popped right up from the move that's put down everyone in this business in the Paradigm Shift. He said they don't get paid by the hour and next week's match could go three or thirty minutes.
Best Friends defeated Kenny Omega & Michael Nakazawa
Taylor and Trent won after hitting Strong Zero on Nakazawa.
This went approximately as long as Edge and Orton at WrestleMania.
Nakazawa did his baby oil and underpants spots. That's fine. It just went way too long.
Omega and Nakazawa cut off Taylor, then Trent, then Taylor, then Trent. Orange Cassidy jumped in and did some comedy spots with Nakazawa.
Schiavone and Jericho weren't burying this on commentary but they weren't sure how to sell it either.
A Brodie Lee video aired. He ripped on two minions for not dressing as sharply as another minion and wearing a tie. Lee said perception is reality and the perception when walking through an airport is important.
Britt Baker cut a promo. She said Shida is the dirtiest wrestler she's ever been in the ring with and she's lucky Shida didn't touch here teeth. Baker said actually, if Shida had broken her teeth, Britt could fix them herself because she's a dentist.
We got another Moxley/Hager video package. Moxley cut a great promo about how there are no judges or scorecards when Hager steps in the ring with him.
Moxley said in no uncertain terms, he's going to "f*** Hager up."
Hager's talking was not very good in this video. He said AEW will be better off with Hager as champion.
A Matt Hardy promo aired.
He ripped on Jericho for targeting his allies The Elite. He said he won't allow the circle that's internal to take over AEW.
He said Sammy Guevara is a false god and a false Latino. He said he can't wait to eat Proud and Powerful because he loves Puerto Rican food. He said all Hager needs to complete his transformation to a Jakenstein is two bolts in the side of his head.
Hardy called on Vanguard 1 to bring him the Inner Circle shirt from Jericho. Vanguard said Jericho's shirt was a dumpster fire.
Hardy challenged Jericho to come to the Hardy compound and face him in The Elite Deletion.
I think the Broken gimmick is stale and doesn't fit in AEW but if you disagree, you would probably enjoy this promo.
Brodie Lee defeated Lee Johnson
This is the second Lee Johnson match I've seen this week. I've learned that he throws a great dropkick and takes a hell of a flip bump.
Lee won a quick squash. He suplexed Johnson right on his head, hit a black hole slam, then used the discus lariat for the pin.
Cody (w/Brandi Rhodes) defeated Shawn Spears
Cody came out of the gate strong and used a cutter for a near fall. Cody used a variety of holds and got some quick covers for two counts.
Cody really made a point of covering chest to chest and not hooking legs as he brought up on commentary last week. I'm not sure which technique would be more effective in a shoot. But after years of hooking a leg being emphasized in pro wrestling, it looks weird to see a different cover.
Cody missed a moonsault which allowed Spears to take over before the first commercial break.
Spears hit a suplex on a guardrail on the outside, then continued to beat Cody down in the ring. Spears missed a springboard frog splash and Cody got his knees up.
Cody made a comeback with his weight belt. Cody missed a Disaster Kick. Spears hit a spinebuster for a two count before the second commercial break of the match.
Spears pulled a table from under the ring. Cody nailed him with a suicide dive. Spears hit a double underhook superplex but could not follow up with a cover.
They did a spot where they teased Brandi going through the table off the apron. Instead, Spears tossed Cody over the top through a table. Cody made it back in after a countout tease.
Cody blocked a C4 and hit two Cross Rhodes. Spears kicked out.
The finish was unique. Cody locked on a figure four. Spears put his shoulders on the mat in the hold and Aubrey Edwards counted the pin.
This show had some life thanks to the presence of extras and enhancement talent serving as the crowd for the night. Way more than ten people in the room if that's still a thing we're talking about.
Shida and Baker had a killer match and Spears and Cody were solid in the main event.
The promos and hype videos were mostly good. I'm down on the Matt Hardy stuff and thought the comedy tag match went way too long, but otherwise enjoyed the show.