In the Wednesday Night Wars, AEW Dynamite was the only show to go live on New Year’s Day, while rival NXT aired a pre-recorded year in review broadcast. Dynamite went live from Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, Fla., the corporate home of All Elite Wrestling and of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The show opens with an intro regarding The Elite (Cody Rhodes, Matt and Nick Jackson, “Hangman” Adam Page and Kenny Omega), stating they need to prove something in 2020, with the underlying question, “Is The Elite still elite?”
Commentator Tony Schiavone was off on assignment, so Jim Ross and Excalibur was joined by none other than the iconic Taz for the first broadcast of the new year and decade.
Cody Rhodes vs. Darby Allin
AEW didn’t hesitate to get action started early, as Rhodes and Allin take on each other for the first time since the 20-minute time limit draw at Fyter Fest in Daytona Beach, Fla. last June.
Opening promo prior to entering the ring for Allin, who is wearing a paper mask of Rhodes. Allin appears behind someone in a similar mask as it was revealed this match would have yet another 20-minute time limit.
“The Enforcer” Arn Anderson appeared before Rhodes entered the arena. That’s right — Arn Anderson is ALL ELITE. Apparently, it’s revealed Anderson’s role within AEW — head coach of the Nightmare Collective.
No significant offense from either early on.
Allin tries firing the crowd up.
Counters galore and one-count pinfall attempts.
Rhodes steps aside for a moment for a pep talk from Anderson.
Countermania until Allin got tossed into the turnbuckle and out of the ring.
Allin takes advantage of Rhodes trying to exit the ring by sweeping the feet from under him and hitting the hardest part of the ring.
Allin takes charge on offense, including a suicide dive.
Rhodes made a crucial counter that started to turn the tides in this match, albeit brief.
Rhodes attempts a submission, which appears to finish Allin, but he was able to barely touch the bottom rope by a single fingertip.
Rhodes attempted another submission, which was met with a kick to the groin by Allin.
Allin back on offense with a headlock submission attempt and gets out with a boot on the bottom rope.
Allin gets upset and removes the turnbuckle cover on one of the corners, which was met with some words by referee Aubrey Edwards.
Allin tried to toss Rhodes into the exposed turnbuckle, which was attempted to be countered by Rhodes to toss Allin, but Allin took advantage by jumping over it and landed on the ramp unharmed.
Allin jumped on the top rope — on top of the exposed turnbuckle — and attempted some high-flying action, but was semi-countered by a near-fall pin with a two-count.
Powerslam from Rhodes.
Flurry of punches in the corner by Rhodes toward Allin.
Cody Cutter from Rhodes.
Midway point elapsed on the match – 10 minutes remaining.
Rhodes attempted to take down Allin from atop a corner, failed counter from Allin, two-count pin attempt by Rhodes.
Action continues picture-in-picture as they go into a commercial break.
Appears to have been some near-fall two-counts during the commercial break. Rhodes and Allin appear to be hurting quite a bit.
Stunner from Allin.
Rhodes rolls out of the way, thinking he could get out of the way of Allin’s Coffin Drop. Go big or go home, they always say, as high risk sometimes means high reward. Allin still attempted the Coffin Drop where Rhodes was. Holy hell, was that amazing.
Stunner attempt by Allin countered in a Cross Rhodes, two-count pin attempt. Rhodes was not happy about that.
Allin in the corner, Rhodes charges. Runs right into the turnbuckle exposed by Allin earlier in the match. OUCH!
Allin going back into the air while Anderson attempts to interfere. Edwards attempts to keep him back. Rhodes had knees up as Allin landed.
Match ends with a pinfall. Could’ve ended with another time elapsed draw if Allin kicked out.
Victor: Cody Rhodes w/ Arn Anderson — Time elapsed: 17:19
So Cal Uncensored promo
So Cal Uncensored, the current AEW Tag Team champions, were backstage with Jenn Decker talking about their competition with other tag teams. Scorpio Sky referred to tag teams such as the Dark Order, Private Party and Lucha Bros., while Frankie Kazarian mentioned the failure of The Young Bucks trying to go for the title two weeks ago.
The promo was interrupted by Sammy Guevara, who thinks Santana & Ortiz (also known as Proud & Powerful) has what it takes to snag tag-team gold, while taunting Christopher Daniels about what he has outside of wrinkles on his face and a losing record. Looks like we will have a match next week in Memphis between Daniels and Guevara.
Fatal 4-way match for the AEW Women’s Championship
Not sure how this managed to get booked, but AEW Women’s Champion Riho got slapped into a fatal 4-way championship match against Britt Baker, Hikaru Shida and “The Native Beast” Nyla Rose, fresh from a suspension after attacking referee Rick Knox during a December broadcast. Match was set with a 60-minute time limit with Rick Knox as the referee. Riho has held the title for 91 days as of the broadcast.
Nyla Rose already playing dirty with a cheap attack on Riho.
Got bored early in the match, especially with Nyla Rose won’t fight clean.
Action would continue through a commercial break, picture-in-picture.
The match had most forgettable action, but there were some occasional hot spots.
Britt Baker thought she had the pinfall but a pinfall counter from Riho retains the title.
Victor: Riho — Time elapsed: 9:10
Shida and Baker dumbfounded at the result, while Nyla Rose was pissed. Cheap attacks from Nyla Rose on the champion, including smashing her into the table from the middle rope. Wouldn’t be surprised if this ends up in some suspension action. At least Knox wasn’t put through a table again.
It’s to be determined what condition Riho is in as to whether she can compete next week in Memphis against number-one contender Kris Statlander.
Joey Janela promo
Joey Janela is backstage with Alex Marvez (by the way, great move keeping him backstage….he sucked at commentary). Janela was asked about his prospects for 2020 when he was forcibly grabbed by the balls by Penelope Ford. Janela fell to the ground as Kip Sabian enters.
AEW Shop and AEW Dynamite commercial prior to entering a commercial break.
I think there’s some confusion among the commentators about where the show is next week. Jim Ross and Excalibur have both said Memphis, but a quick look at the AEW website says that the show is live from Southaven, Mississippi at the Landers Center. That is, unless there was a last-minute venue change.
Dark Order promo
Yet another Dark Order promo, this time claiming The Elite has fallen. Reflects to the last broadcast of 2019 where they attacked members of The Elite. Wasn’t that great of a promo.
Trent vs. Jon Moxley
Trent enters with tag team partner Chuck Taylor and Orange Cassidy. However, this is not tag-team action. This is a singles match.
Now they finally correct themselves about the venue for next week’s show.
Neither gets an upper hand early.
Not impressed much with the match so far as they enter a commercial break.
Honestly, disappointed in the match altogether.
Pinfall secured by Moxley. Match was disappointing, just on the match length alone.
Victor: Jon Moxley — Time elapsed: 11:00
Is Moxley joining the Inner Circle?
Trent, Chuck Taylor and Orange Cassidy are in the process of leaving the ring, when Moxley is interrupted by Guevara. How many times are they gonna let this ass clown on TV tonight? I guess this is to determine whether Moxley will be part of the Inner Circle, as it was mentioned two weeks ago. Jericho appears on the screen, more than likely outside the venue, sitting on what appears to one of many cars owned by the Khan family. Jericho offers Moxley partner status with the Inner Circle with 49% minority control, even bribing him with the car.
Jericho’s proposal is offered to the extent of extinguishing The Elite altogether.
Moxley said he’d give his decision in person before Jericho next week.
Commercial break while Guevara stands in the ring with a bunch of cue cards. Goes after Moxley, some actress’ sister and Dustin Rhodes. Last cue card only proves that Guevara will be nothing more than a jobber.
Speaking of which…..
Dustin Rhodes vs. Sammy Guevara
Maybe this will be the last we see of Guevara tonight. Sorry, the arrogant prick gets what he deserves. He went through his usual social media livestream trash, only to allow Rhodes to make the first attack.
This fight needs little to no commentary, unless Guevara cheats like he usually does — although he’s a terrible cheater with a losing record in AEW.
Rhodes was about to go down on Guevara from the top rope, but Guevara cowered out while Jake Hager enters.
Cheap shot from Guevara. Guevara tried to throw Rhodes into the turnbuckle, failed. Guevara ran into a Cross Rhodes….or some version of it.
Exchange of words between Rhodes and Hager, cheap shots from Hager while referee Bryce Remsburg was distracted.
More cheap attacks with occasional counters from Rhodes during commerical break.
A cheap win for Guevara when Rhodes’ shoulders weren’t down. Should be ruled a no-contest. Remsburg is an idiot.
Our call (f*** Remsburg): No contest — Time elapsed: 10:00
Private Party promo
Yet another promo backstage with Jenn Decker. A bunch of unintelligible nonsense until Hangman Page enters and serves himself a drink.
They grabbed his drink, claims they were worried about him. Page said they should be worried, because he could kick both of their asses.
MJF sets stipulations for Cody
The rivalry between Cody Rhodes and MJF started with a low blow at Full Gear. Rhodes set the price for the match, now MJF wants to set the stipulations.
Of course, we get nabbed with another commercial break.
The incredibly-disliked wrestler of AEW and MLW set the first stipulation that the match will take place at AEW Revolution in Chicago, but set a no-touch clause until the PPV event.
The second stipulation involves Rhodes taking on MJF’s personal bitch Wardlow in a steel cage match.
The final stipulation is giving Rhodes 10 lashes before “TNT, your family and God” on live television.
Someone really needs to bust his face wide open and force retirement, as this is not what pro wrestling needs.
Recap of Jericho vs. Jungle Boy
Upon return from the commercial break, they go back two weeks ago to the 10-minute challenge match between AEW World Champion Chris Jericho and Jungle Boy Jack Perry. Jungle Boy did not submit and lasted the entire ten minutes, resulting in a time limit draw.
Jungle Boy promo
Jenn Decker is backstage with Jungle Boy with Luchasaurus and Marko Stunt recapping the match and making goals for 2020. Luchasaurus had to hold Stunt back, because it appears he was trying to flirt with Decker.
Hangman Page joins the commentary desk with drink in hand. So Southhaven is in the greater Memphis area. They could’ve been more specific in the beginning. They present a preview for the show next week.
Riho and Michael Nakazawa were backstage with Alex Marvez with intent to talk about next week’s championship match against number-one contender Kris Statlander, when they were interrupted by none other than Britt Baker. Baker complains that Riho has been absent while she’s been “busting her ass” every week during her absence.
Let’s just get this straight: Riho has per-appearance commitments with OWE and other promotions. If her schedule is booked solid, she really can’t do much except defend when it’s mutually possible. Britt Baker isn’t so perfect either. She’s appeared at shows promoted by a rival promotion — the same organization that they compete with every Wednesday night. Britt, you aren’t a saint, so shut the hell up, hypocrite.
Main event matchup
I’ll admit — I didn’t pay much attention to the main event, which was a six-man tag team match between Lucha Bros. and PAC against The Elite. Caught the beginning and end, so that was it.
Not surprising that The Elite fought all they could fight in order to secure the victory.
Victor: The Elite — Time elapsed: 12:23
Cody Rhodes goes out to celebrate with his fellow faction members, as they kick off 2020 in good fashion, even inviting Hangman Page into the fold to celebrate. He declines because he did nothing tonight.
That’s that from Jaguars Country for this week.
Jake Leonard, a broadcast media and journalism veteran, is the editor-in-chief of Heartland Newsfeed. Leonard is also GM and program director of Heartland Newsfeed Radio Network, wrestling editor and contributing writer for Ambush Sports, a contributing writer for My Sports Vote and Midwest Sports Network, and a former contributor to Bleacher Report and Overtime Heroics. He resides at home in Nokomis, Ill. with his dog Buster.