Matt Cardona and the Real Winners and Losers from AEW DynamiteAugust 6, 2020
Matt Cardona and the Real Winners and Losers from AEW Dynamite
Last week's AEW Dynamite was a rare misfire for the promotion, an off-kilter show that never seemed to entirely get its bearings. This week, it was back to business as usual—for AEW that means the best weekly wrestling show on the planet.
Like always, Dynamite was a wrestling buffet, providing something for all palates. It had traditional pro wrestling heel shenanigans in the form of MJF, cutting-edge action wrestling from The Elite and even some '90s throwback action courtesy of Eric Bischoff (and Matt Cardona's ring work).
All told, it was a good night to be a wrestling fan. But, even on the best nights, nothing is perfect. We're here to break it all down for you and share some thoughts about the real winners and losers from this week's AEW Dynamite.
Winner: The Dark Order
I was worried going into the 12-man tag match that kicked off AEW Dynamite. Last week's match was similar in concept and fell apart quickly and never really recovered.
There were no such issues this week.
Not only was this match an action-packed high-spot extravaganza, but it was also filled with the kind of storytelling beats AEW fans have come to expect. The teams managed to set up future matches without sacrificing match quality—not an especially easy task.
It was great to see The Dark Order in a match like this. After a slow start, the group has become a personal highlight for me, not only in the ring but also on YouTube shows like Being The Elite. Mr. Brodie Lee and his minions have found the perfect balance between comedy and serious wrestling drama, and I find myself looking forward to seeing what they do next every single week.
Losers: Kenny Omega and Adam Page
Adam Page was the actual loser of the opening match, falling to a brutal Brodie Lee clothesline. But the partnership of Kenny Omega and Page may have been the real victim on Dynamite, their friendship once again being put to the test by FTR.
I can almost forgive the No. 1 contenders for abandoning the hard-fought match—injuries happen and perhaps Cash Wheeler thought his place was by his fallen partner's side.
That doesn't, however, explain why Page felt the need to disappear to the back for an extended period of time, leaving Omega and The Young Bucks to fight six men by their lonesome. Unless he's a medical doctor, it's unclear how he could have possibly been of assistance.
His burgeoning friendship with FTR, presumably built on whiskey and country music, is affecting his professional judgment. And, eventually, it's going to cost him and Omega their tag team gold.
Loser: Jon Moxley
I felt bad for MJF's campaign volunteer "Lee." He just wants wrestling to be a better place and got chastised by MJF himself for hanging up a crooked poster.
But the real loser here was Jon Moxley. According to internal data provided by MJF, Moxley is polling at an awful "negative 88 percent."
That's not good!
Loser: Trent's Mom Sue
Poor Sue Beretta.
Trent's mom loaned her son and his tag team partner Chuck Taylor her prized minivan to head over to Daily's Place for AEW Dynamite, only to see it torn to shreds and desecrated by Santana and Ortiz.
It was among the most heinous acts in the history of AEW Dynamite.
The two teams had a great match early in the show, somehow following the absolutely insane 12-man tag with a really solid piece of professional wrestling. But losing didn't sit well with Proud and Powerful. Since they couldn't take it out on Trent and Chuck in the ring, they went after the duo's ride.
After all, at least a minivan can't fight back.
Typically, Best Friends, good pals with the laid-back Orange Cassidy, are very chill—perhaps to a fault. I've never seen them so fired up. Not only do they want a rematch, but the stakes Best Friends have proposed are high indeed.
"You're going to personally apologize to my mom," Trent said. "On speakerphone."
Loser: Big Men in the Business
In the late 1990s, when The Hardy Boyz burst onto the scene in the famed Attitude Era, they were the little guys, a small tag team in a business filled with giants. A lot has changed in the last two decades. Today's Matt Hardy is big-brothering guys on the AEW roster, one of the bigger men on a roster filled with athletic but relatively tiny wrestlers.
The downsizing of the business can't be overstated.
Hardy's changing role in the sport hasn't slowed him down a bit. He works just as well as the bigger guy as he did when he was the relative pipsqueak. He came out as himself (not in the "Broken" Matt Hardy gimmick) and both gave and took a beating from Sammy Guevara, hitting a gusher and generally getting fans excited for what promises to be a really fun midcard feud.
Winner: Matt Cardona
Matt Cardona, the artist formerly known as Zack Ryder, has been featured on AEW Dynamite twice in two weeks. That has to feel good for the former internet sensation who many fans believe never got a proper opportunity in WWE.
That alone makes him a winner.
Here's the thing, though—being good friends with an Executive Vice President behind the scenes only guarantees you a shot. You have to do the rest on your own—and lines like "he's one of the foremost collectors of action figures in the world" may not be the key to getting over with anyone but the most hardcore of wrestling fanatics.
So far, I'm not 100 percent sold on Cardona. He's big and tan and has millions of social media followers. But, in the ring, there's just nothing special about him.
In a promotion filled to bursting with the hungry and the daring, an act that looks like it was built in 1992 just isn't going to cut it.
Winner: Eric Bischoff
Twenty minutes after the show went off the air, I can't really remember much about Eric Bischoff's appearance on AEW Dynamite. His "surprise" gig as the moderator of the Orange Cassidy-Chris Jericho debate was the worst-kept secret in wrestling.
In the end, more than 20 years removed from his run as the head honcho of WCW, his return to TNT didn't amount to much.
In some ways, that makes Bischoff the winner of a largely uneventful segment. Normally you'd expect someone with his divisive reputation to be left lying or the victim of a vicious verbal attack.
Instead...nothing. I suppose that beats the alternative for Easy E!
Winner: Darby Allin
When I last talked to Darby Allin, he was excited to be getting opportunities but not willing to settle into a comfortable position in the middle of the pack. He wants what all the greats want—the chance to be the best.
"I know there's a lot of s--t I need to do," he told me, "to make it to that next level."
Moral victories don't count for Allin. Not anymore. Long gone is the newcomer just happy to be in the ring with Cody, happy simply not to lose.
Competing with Jon Moxley isn't enough. To be the best, Allin needs to beat the best. And he didn't manage that.
Still, as much as he'll hate this, Allin managed to shine in defeat. He, once again, solidified his potential to be something completely unique in a business of copycats.
Sure, he did it at the expense of his own health and well-being, throwing his body around with a recklessness that is unsettling to witness.
But who said greatness would come without a price?