AEW Dynamite Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from April 1
Once again forced into an empty arena because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, All Elite Wrestling Dynamite brought its passionate viewing audience an action-packed broadcast featuring:
- Cody and Darby Allin vs. Sammy Guevara and Shawn Spears
- The debut of the Natural Nightmares
- Kenny Omega vs. Trent
- The in-ring debut of "Murderhawk" Lance Archer
Who emerged victoriously from the night's in-ring action, what did it mean for AEW's top stars moving forward and how might it affect the upcoming tournament to crown the first TNT champion?
Find out with this recap of the Wednesday broadcast.
Kenny Omega vs. Trent
Best Friends' Chuck Taylor and "Freshly Squeezed" Orange Cassidy accompanied Trent to the squared circle for his showdown with one-half of the AEW tag team champions, Kenny Omega, in the night's opening contest.
Trent scored first, delivering a big moonsault that wiped out Omega on the floor. The tag team champion answered with a tope that left him clutching his own shoulder in pain but also earned him the early advantage.
His mean streak touted by Cody on commentary, Omega delivered a targeted backbreaker and followed with a second. His injured limb, including a surgically repaired left hand, left him prone to a comeback by Trent, who seized control of the bout.
The fight spilled up the ramp and into the staging area, where Omega recovered enough to send Trent into the guardrail despite warnings from referee Aubrey Edwards. He delivered a wicked powerbomb into the set, and the fight returned to the squared circle.
Trent delivered a baseball slide German suplex that downed Omega heading into the first break of the night.
Back from the break and with three minutes remaining, Omega followed up a snapdragon suplex with a wicked V-Trigger. Trent recovered and delivered a German suplex from the top rope that appeared to knock Omega loopy.
Omega recovered and delivered another V-Trigger before hitting the One-Winged Angel for the pinfall victory.
Omega defeated Trent
Tonally, this was strange.
The intensity and aggression, not to mention the brawling early on, conveyed the sort of passionate dislike that would be reserved for the most heated feuds. Cody simply referring to a previous match between Omega and Trent in Japan is not enough to explain to the viewing audience why the two would approach this bout with the vigor they did.
Aside from the tonal issues, this was a hard-hitting, dramatic match that was sloppier than you might expect from the talent involved and ran a bit too close to the time limit.
As a match that put over the competitive nature of AEW, it was fine. As one that made sense given the ranked competitors and the relative lack of contention between them, this didn't hit home.
Hikaru Shida vs. Anna Jay
The highest-ranked woman in the AEW rankings and top contender to the women's title, Hikaru Shida battled Georgian Anna Jay in singles competition.
Shida pummeled her opponent, fighting her to the floor, where she came face-to-face with Britt Baker. The dentist demanded six feet of separation, and the fight returned to the squared circle. The competitors exchanged a series of strikes before Shida absolutely blasted her opponent.
Jay recovered and delivered a flipping neckbreaker for a near-fall. She followed with a backslide, but Shida escaped at two.
Shida responded with a suplex and put away her opponent with the Falcon Arrow for the pinfall victory.
After the match, Baker talked more trash from ringside.
Shida defeated Jay
This was exactly what it should have been: a showcase for Shida that continued building momentum toward a match with Nyla Rose for the AEW Women's Championship while simultaneously hinting at a feud with Britt Baker.
Shida was impressive, particularly when she had the opportunity to throw hands with Jay, and is finding herself as a performer in the company. Baker, conversely, is the perfect heel to oppose her in her quest to capture the gold.
Jon Moxley-Jake Hager Video Package
A video package aired hyping up Jon Moxley vs. Jake Hager for the AEW Championship.
Of note was Moxley claiming the target on his back pisses him off, Sammy Guevara claiming The Inner Circle will support Hager if he wants to be champion because they are a family, and Chris Jericho stating he will hold off on his contractually obligated rematch and hopes Hager beats Moxley and puts him in his place.
The video ended with the announcement that Moxley will battle Hager in a No Disqualification match in two weeks.
The video production itself was great and had a real-sports feel to it, but there was one major gaffe keeping it from an "A" rating: Hager talked.
One of the best elements of the former Jack Swagger's character thus far in AEW was his silent-assassin demeanor. That was stripped away here when Jericho, Guevara, Moxley and others easily could have done the talking for him.
Yes, he would eventually have to cut a promo, but why kill the mystique this early when there was so much mileage left? Ditto for the title match, a contest that easily could have headlined a pay-per-view instead of a television episode.
Lance Archer vs. Marko Stunt
Jungle Express' Marko Stunt stood no chance against the debuting "Murderhawk Monster" Lance Archer.
The big Texan obliterated his much smaller opponent as Colt Cabana vowed on commentary to defeat the newcomer in the first round of the TNT Championship tournament.
After the match, Archer returned to the squared circle, where he hoisted Stunt overhead and chokeslammed him into the front row of AEW Superstars.
Archer defeated Stunt
This was the perfect use of Stunt. He's small, can bump like crazy and made Archer look like an unstoppable beast. Of course, it may have been better for Archer to run through a bigger competitor to really put over his dominance, but this was great for what it was.
Archer has a bright future, looks like a star destined for big things quickly and is likely to battle Cody in the finals of the TNT tournament unless something forces a change.
Cabana as the wholesome defender of all that is good, proclaiming he will defeat Archer, is the perfect role for one of wrestling's most likable stars.
The Natural Nightmares vs. The Dark Order
Dark Order members 8 and 9, unnamed beyond that, battled the debuting Natural Nightmares team of Dustin Rhodes and QT Marshall, managed by Brandi Rhodes.
The babyfaces worked over one of the masked competitors while Tony Schiavone and Colt Cabana expressed confusion over which Dark Order member was which. Quick tags and double-team maneuvers dominated the action on the part of The Natural Nightmares.
The heels momentarily beat on Marshall, but a flapjack allowed him to create separation and tag Rhodes in. The veteran competitors continued to cut a frenetic pace, and moments later, they put away The Dark Order for the win.
Disappointed with his team's performance, "The Exalted One" Brodie Lee hit the ring and powerbombed the masked man who lost the fall.
The Natural Nightmares defeated The Dark Order
Rhodes and Marshall showcased some great, old-school tag team wrestling. They cut a quick pace, but they never tried anything beyond their means. The result was a really fun squash tag match straight out of 1980s Jim Crockett Promotions.
Lee punishing his Dark Order minions rather than attacking the babyfaces is a nice change of pace that places the emphasis on the masked competitors to perform. We shall see if it helps going forward.
Cody and Darby Allin vs. Sammy Guevara and Shawn Spears
The main event of the evening saw the four competitors in the first two quarterfinal matches of the TNT Championship tournament battle in tag team action as Cody and Darby Allin took on Shawn Spears and Sammy Guevara.
The babyface tandem rolled heading into the break, delivering stereo tope con hilos to the opposition. After the commercial timeout, though, the heels seized control by working over the smaller Allin.
A hot tag to Cody sparked a brief comeback, but Spears dumped the EVP of AEW into the stands, where Kip Sabian and Jimmy Havoc attacked him with an Allen wrench ahead of the last break of the night.
Back to the ring, Cody exchanged rights and lefts with Spears, looking to create separation and make the tag. He got his chance and finally made the tag to the face-painted enigma of AEW, who exploded into the match and pummeled the opposition.
As the fight spilled to the floor, Allin climbed a nearby pole and, some 10 feet in the air, launched himself off with a Coffin Drop to Guevara and Spears. Spears recovered and delivered a frog splash to Cody. He demanded a chair from Guevara, who provided one. When Allin rolled in to make the save, Spears rolled him up for the win.
After the match, a frustrated Allin decked Cody as the show faded to black.
Spears and Guevara defeated Cody and Allin
Did Schiavone inadvertently spoil the first round of the TNT Championship tournament as the show went off the air by revealing Spears and Allin would square off in the next round?
It was a slip of the tongue and nothing fans could not have inferred by the closing minutes of the show anyway.
Allin is an emotional wrestler, so it makes sense frustration would manifest itself in the form of a hard right hand to the face of Cody. That they have competed once before, at Fyter Fest, and did not have a conclusive winner fuels hard feelings and unsettled business between the two.
Spears winning was a nice touch since he has been conspicuous in his absence on AEW television despite a high-profile rivalry with Cody last summer. He is a talented veteran with plenty left in the proverbial tank, so it makes sense to give him a momentum-building win before his showdown with Allin next week.