Preview by Bryan Rose
After months of hype, AEW TV debuts tonight as the Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C. hosts the first episode of Dynamite.
Kenny Omega will team with The Young Bucks to take on the team of Chris Jericho, Santana & Ortiz. The team formerly known as LAX made their AEW debuts at All Out by attacking The Young Bucks and The Lucha Bros. Santana & Ortiz were later revealed to be Jericho's mystery partners for tonight's six-man tag.
A new champion will be crowned tonight, with Nyla Rose facing Riho to determine the inaugural AEW Women's Champion.
Other matches for tonight include Hangman Page vs. PAC and MJF vs. Brandon Cutler. Jon Moxley will also make an appearance, his first since being sidelined from All Out due to an elbow infection.
Cody Rhodes vs. Sammy Guevara has already been announced as the opener for tonight’s program.
Our live coverage will begin at 8 p.m. Eastern time.
Excalibur, Tony Schiavone Jim Ross are on commentary. Aubrey Edwards is the official for tonight's first match.
Cody (w/ Brandi Rhodes) defeated Sammy Guevara
Cody received the massive debut response you expected him to get from this crowd, practically exploding out of their seats. Guevara came out with an animal skin on his head. Once the chants died down a little, they grappled on the mat a bit with solid work but nothing flashy. The match began to build with the crowd when Rhodes hit a snap powerslam. The crowd began whooing when Rhodes locked in a figure four.
Schiavone said #AEW is trending on Twitter. JR then plugged his personal Twitter account. Rhodes used a jump kick and knocked Guevara out to the floor, then tried a tope suicida through the ropes and took out Brandi Rhodes by accident as Guevara placed her in harm's way. A minute later, the crowd was chanting "a**hole" Guevara's way. Rhodes later hit Guevara in the face with her heel behind the ref's back.
The crowd began losing it for the near falls, especially after Rhodes landed a reverse gourdbuster superplex that elicited the first "holy sh*t" chant of the night. Guevara later countered with a super Spanish Fly off the top, like Volador, for another close call. When Guevara next went for a shooting star splash, Rhodes got his knees up and rolled him into a cradle for the clean win in just over ten minutes.
-- Tony Schiavone congratulated Rhodes in the ring after the match and was set to interview him, but Guevara interrupted and he and Rhodes shook hands. The crowd seemed to love this. The shot they held on those two looked great and the place in DC tonight is looking packed. As the two congratulated each other, Chris Jericho came out and laid Rhodes out from behind. Jericho continued to attack Rhodes as they went to the break.
-- Jericho stole a photographer's camera and took pictures of Rhodes in the ring, then himself. It was really funny to see him beating on Rhodes with a chair outside the ring while commercials for Bubly sparkling water played to the left.
MJF defeated Brandon Cutler via submission
The crowd chanted "a**hole" at MJF as he cut a promo in the aisle on the way to the ring. He said that Cutler got lost on the way to his seat behind the guardrail. He did his "I'm better than you and you know it" catchphrase and also insulted Dungeons & Dragons players. The announcers spent a lot of time explaining Cutler to the television audience and his background in California with the Young Bucks.
Schiavone called MJF a prick and it was very convincing. It's not like MJF makes it difficult for you to dislike him. MJF yelled to Cutler: "Look into the camera and tell your kids you're a bum!" Cutler did a dive onto MJF and then punched him in the mount like Steve Austin did after a Thesz press. Here, Cutler just flew to the floor. Moments later, MJF snuck a cheap shot in behind the ref's back and locked in a Fujiwara armbar for the win.
--There was no split screen during the next commerical break.
-- Chris Van Vliet was ringside when they returned from the break. He introduced director and writer Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes. (Is Smith ok?) Jack Evans and Angelico came out and Evans started in with Mewes, who told him Morris Day & the Time suck. I guess he's more of a Cameo guy. Mewes took the mic and made fun of them for not having won a match. The cameras then cut to Private Party, who were walking around ringside with drinks in their hands. They interjected on Smith and Mewes' behalf.
-- They played a pre-recorded promo where Scorpio Sky cut a promo like Barack Obama and SCU was dressed like Secret Service members because they're in DC. Sky's Obama impression is excellent, the first real swerve of the night.
-- They cut back to the arena and SCU cut a promo in front of the entrance like Gene Okerlund used to do on Nitro. Fenix and Pentagon came out and said they were the best team in the universe and the teams got into a pull apart. The content was basic but the promos were solid. They're setting up basic stories with a handful of wrestlers who are really, really good at cutting promos. It worked and it looks like they're going in the SCU vs. Lucha Bros direction in the next few weeks.
-- After the next break, they cut to Jericho chatting with Ortiz and Santana backstage. Ross then apologized to the audience for eavesdropping on their conversation. This was a small but really nice touch.
Pac defeated Hangman Page via submission
When the show returned from break, the two were trading hard forearm shots in the ring. Earl Hebner was ref for this match. The crowd was red-hot for this match and it made it feel like a big deal. The two brawled on the foor early on. The crowd on the hard cam watched intently through a lot of this, were quiet when the match needed them to be, and erupted for big spots like when Pac hit a perfect Asai moonsault to the floor midway through.
The crowd looked to really enjoy booing the hell out of Pac who continued to dominate on offense at a deliberate pace while pouting and shouting about not being able to put Page away. The loose story was that Pac's offense wouldn't work. Page came back with a top rope fallaway slam and a new tombstone-esque maneuver for two counts. Pac was able to knock Page back to the floor, where Page mosly stayed selling during the next commercial break. They used a split-screen again here which saw Pac continue to work Page over slowly. He'd kick and let Page sell, lay in another hard kick, wait for some boos and then play to the crowd, and then go back to Page with more punishment.
Page came back later on with a spinebuster and pop-up power bomb, and was later able to stick an Orihara moonsault from the top rope to the floor. Back in the ring, Pac was able to land a low blow by using the Mr. Magoo of AEW, Hebner, as a diversion, then landed a Red Arrow to Page, who was stomach down. Pac then applied the Brutalizer, a Rings of Saturn type of crossface submission, which Page tapped tapped to almost immediately. Pac is now 2-0 and Page is 0-2.
Riho defeated Nyla Rose to become the inaugural AEW Women's champion
Dr. Britt Baker came out for commentary on this match. Production used two low angle shots on both wrestlers in the corner as ring announcer Justin Roberts announced both. They started off fast and Riho landed a headscissors. Rose used a splash but Riho bridged out of it. She then tried a double stomp onto Rose but it didn't even register with Rose standing up while Riho was still standing on her back. Rose was effective here and kept things simple.
Riho made a comeback after a few minutes and tried landing a plancha from the top, but Rose caught her mid-air and then walked her around the ring and dropped her with a backbreaker that looked awesome. When Rose went to use a chair, referee Scott Turner took it from Rose's hands. Rose went under the ring and took out more chairs and laid them near the aisle, then missed a cannonball senton onto the pile of chairs. After Riho moved out of the way, she went to the top and did a diving stomp to the floor. The crowd did a "holy sh*t" chant. Back in the ring, you could heard the crowd chanting for Riho, who locked Rose into a crossface lock as they went to break.
We were in split-screen as the match went on but went to commercial. Rose landed the flying knee to Riho who was draped over the ropes, the same spot they did in the three-way match at Fyter Fest. The crowd looked shocked. Rose held Riho in an STF until they came back from commercial. When Riho used the rolling cradle clutch she used to win the aforementioned three-way she got a very close two-count; Rose followed up with a big Death Valley Bomb for another two and the crowd was absolutely losing it. Riho landed a massive superplex on Rose for another close call.
After another big double stomp, Riho scored the pin. It looked like Rose kicked out but it was a three. I'm not sure if it was the planned finish and it wasn't pretty but it worked on an emotional level, for sure. This was an interesting match that got very good at the end.
Michael Nakazawa came out to interview Riho in Japanese until Rose attacked Riho from behind and powerbombed Nakazawa after almost dropping him the first time. Kenny Omega came out to make the save for Riho.
Chris Jericho, Ortiz & Santana defeated Kenny Omega & the Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson)
Omega and the Bucks came out to the "Being the Elite" theme song. Ortiz and Santana are to be called by those names until further notice. Jericho had pyro for his entrance. Omega was in first and wanted Jericho. but he tagged out to Santana. When Jericho was finally in, he put Omega in the Liontamer but the Bucks superkicked him. The crowd exploded. There was a flurry of dives from each Buck here with the crescendo coming right before Omega was about to dive, right until Jon Moxley snuck in from through the crowd and into the ring and attacked Omega.
Moxley and Omega brawled through the crowd and into the VIP area backstage. The tag match went on in the ring, but the cameras stayed on Omega and Moxley. This culminated in Mox using the Death Rider DDT on Omega through a glass coffee table. Talk about making a splash.
The crowd was chanting for the Young Bucks as Ortiz & Santana worked Matt Jackson over for a while in the corner. Omega was out of commission and thus out of the match. When the Bucks and LAX were going full blast, it was impressive. It's cool to see such high qualtity production on modern wrestling. Jericho got tons of heat whenever he was in the match. Nick Jackson made a hot tag later in the match and went on a tear in and out of the ring, "perpetual motion" as JR called it.
The heel team picked up the win after Santana hit a back cannonball into Matt Jackson in the corner. They threw Jackson into Jericho who hit the Judas Effect for the pin and win. Cody came out to defend the Bucks as they were getting beat down and to take out Jericho. Guevara came out for Cody and then Dustin Rhodes came out to clean house, but the surprise was Jake Hager, who came in from the crowd and took out Rhodes and company.
The heels, a satisified-looking Jericho leading the tag team formerly known as LAX, Guevara, and Hager, stood tall in the ring over the faces of AEW as the show went off the air.
It was a sucess. It wasn't perfect, but AEW pulled off a great first show. It was fast-paced, easy to watch, and had a slick look. This looked like how WCW Nitro could have looked if it somehow survived. The setup was simple but tasteful and effective and didn't come off as a downgrade from the other shows they've done up to now. Rhodes and Guevara was fine at best but the crowd gave the match something special; it was never going to fail.
Cutler and MJF told a story and introduced new players for TV. Pac and Adam Page had the match they would have had at Double or Nothing and it was very good. It was slower than some may have anticipated, but it resembled many of Pac's post-WWE matches, grinding the pace of his matches to a halt to soak in every bit of heat from the crowd he can. Riho winning the AEW title was a special, if unexpected, moment, and the ring work itself wasn't shabby but they stayed the course and made it work. The ending looked fudged to me, but they got to where they needed to be. Rose just needs a lot more ring time and while she's good, it's still obvious she's green.
The main event was fun and chaotic, and functioned more to showcase Ortiz and Santana, get the Mox vs. Omega angle over, and bring Hager into the fold. It worked. The crowd loved it. It came across no less important than a show like Fyter Fest or Fight for the Fallen.
Check back next Wednesday for the next Dynamite report with F4W's Ethan Renner, who will take over from next week.