Things got a little bit more interesting this week on Dynamite when a major announcement came down that Chris Jericho had a bounty hunter. Drawing comparisons to Dr. Death Steve Williams is former 2004 Olympian Jeff Cobb. I honestly don't know a lot about Jeff Cobb other than his run in Ring of Honor and winning the Television Championship and team in New Japan with Michael Elgin. Cobb would have his first opportunity on a national level even though he was under a mask it was still his first shot on television. In 2016, Cobb would join Pro-Wrestling Guerrilla and saw his stock in wrestling rise much like it has for so many others once they arrive in PWG.
In my opinion, Cobb was presented in his debut as a destroyer and the fact that he has joined the Inner Circle gives him immediate credibility in AEW and on a national level for the first time in his career. Think about this if they brought him in as Jericho's chosen bounty hunter it's not just going to be a match where Moxley can barrel over him next week. They need to make Cobb look like a million bucks or at least good enough to not lose credibility next week against Moxley. I applaud AEW for the continuity and Moxley continuing to play up his eye injury it's nice to see at least one wrestling care about the small stuff. Moxley vs Cobb promises to be a slug fest next week on Dynamite and will be a major final test for Jon ahead of Revolution on February 29 when he will finally meet Chris Jericho for the World Title.
In all honesty it is hard to put into words what happened last week on Dynamite when MJF and Cody stood in that ring and told a simple story. The emotion and sympathy they were able to bring out of the fans and those watching last week was amazing it has been a long time since a segment took on that type of ride. Reality is WWE took me on a ride when Edge returned and Randy Orton proceeded to end that feel good story. Shifting gears Cody and MJF did exactly the same thing last week getting more emotion out of me then I thought they would especially when Brandi appeared for emotional support. The story of Cody and MJF will be the feud of the year or at least extremely hard to beat.
Since the start of AEW last year there have been some people that have struggled to find their footing in All Elite and one of those men is Jimmy Havoc. In my opinion, they need to keep letting Havoc tease a return as oppose to just having him return to television unless they have a bigger idea planned for the British star. As far as the other matches I'm unsure of Riho vs Nyla Rose, because I guessed wrong the first time around and would think it's time for a change, but is AEW ready for another title switch with the PPV right around the corner.
This past week on Dynamite is seeing MJF give Cody his 10 lashes which was a stipulation that MJF put in the way of Cody as a way for Cody to get his match with his former protege. In twenty years of watching wrestling I've only seen this type of segment once when The Sandman cained Tommy Dreamer 10x's which gave birth to Tommy becoming the ECW Legend he was destined to be. Seeing Cody in the ring getting stuck by the belt he made you feel bad for him.
In my opinion, the only reason why this segment worked is because of who was a part of it and not the type of segment it was. Prior to this segment most if not everyone who watches AEW hates MJF, because it is very difficult not to and we love Cody as he is willing to give his heart and soul every time he's in the ring. Cody would get knocked down and you could see the pain on his face and hearing MJF run his mouth or tell him to stay down, but every time Cody would get back up made Cody's stock rise more and more and allowed him to earn both respect as well as sympathy from the audience. A weaker man wouldn't have taken those lashes, a weaker man wouldn't have been able to stop himself from punching MJF in the face, but in one segment Cody showed resolve, perseverance, and heart so much so that he will use those lashes as fuel for his match with Wardlow and MJF.
I have both critiqued and criticized AEW's booking, for example I would've had Wardlow fight Cody on PPV and held off his match with MJF for later in the year. Either way the intensity level has risen again and this match promises to be a war. They showed us that even though this match could've happened later it needs to happen now otherwise the tension will boil over before long and they won't be able to wait until May at Double or Nothing. Cody vs MJF is needed for Revolution to move the feud to it's next phase and allow it to take a step forward.
Since his match with Jericho ended in forfeit back in November at Full Gear it has been all MJF and very little retribution from Cody. For those who may not remember Cody lost the match after MJF tossed in the towel costing Cody the match and the ability to ever challenge for the AEW World Title again. At first it looked like MJF was trying to be a good friend, but then he kicked Cody low officially turning heel. Now MJF has always been a significantly better heel then face cause he is easily hated and now he could be very easily. Following his official turn AEW has focused on developing MJF into a top star and a more known commodity. It is for this reason that Maxwell would win the AEW Diamond battle royal giving him something else to brag about other than screwing Cody out of the AEW World Title.
Since the beginning it was always the heel MJF having forced Cody to agree to stipulations in order to even consider getting a match with his former protege. One of these stipulations is that Cody couldn't touch Maxwell or he would lose his chance to have a match with Maxwell. At this point AEW has four PPV events which means one every quarter and there first PPV of 2020 will be in February. I don't expect Cody to fight Max in February based on the slow burn they are going for with this rivalry and they will likely save this match or try to save it for later in the year. In my opinion, I would expect Cody vs MJF to be a top match at All Out in September or Double or Nothing in May and they will likely not meet in the ring before then to allow things to draw out and truly build.
This week AEW had a very special edition of Dynamite as a part of the Jericho Cruise and with that landscape it allowed Cody to finally get one over on his former protege. Take a look!!
Back in the day Bash at the Beach was one of the more prominent events of the year for World Championship Wrestling. At first I thought that Bash at the Beach would be a PPV event, but with it being a special episode of Dynamite instead makes things a bit more interesting. It's still early and I think that if anything All Elite Wrestling will adopt a more realistic PPV schedule for a modern wrestling fan which just means not having 12 PPV events a year to give the promotion more time between events.
Focusing on tonight's show Sammy is the best place for Jon Moxley to start as he heads to Chris Jericho and the All Elite Wrestling World Championship. At this point I'm more interested in the Dark Order then the current rivalry between MJF and Cody only, because of how little time they have spent making us care or fear The Butcher & The Blade. The Bash at the Beach brand has a long legacy in pro-wrestling and tonight All Elite Wrestling has a chance to add another chapter to this historic wrestling event. I know that Cody and MJF is the type of feud that I thought Shawn Spears vs Cody could've been and I'm excited to see where they will go and how long AEW will let this feud simmer.
Either way after last week's step in the right direction I would like to see if the year old company can continue to step in the right direction. I have criticized All Elite Wrestling a lot mainly, because the way AEW presents wrestling normally isn't my cup of tea, but sometimes I will admit that they've hit a home run a number of times in the last year. Mox vs Jericho, Cody vs MJF, and intrigue from the Dark Order all this together shows the potential that All Elite has for the upcoming year to come.
For what feels like months at this point they have been building for this night and was a lot more talked about then I thought it would be. There is no doubting at this point that Chris Jericho is the hottest ticket in wrestling right now. Building the company around Chris Jericho and the Inner Circle was the smartest decision that AEW could've made. In my opinion, this was done well, because for once the good guy made the bad guy look like a fool this way the heels need retribution as oppose to the normal formula.
At first I thought that AEW was going to hold the turn back for a few weeks or even months setting up for an eventual Moxley turn to push this feud for the long term as oppose to jumping in right away. Jon and Jericho have all the momentum and things seem to be working very well as far as fan interest in seeing Mox stack up against the numbers within the Inner Circle. Jericho has hit another prime for his career becoming a must see champion and a top figure once again. For one Jericho has never been the flag bearer of a promotion which is amazing to think about him always being a complementary player before the arrival of "Le Champion" and his Inner Circle. Think about how things have changed in two years it has been quite a paradigm shift!!
It is hard to believe at this point that it has been a year since we received the arrival announcement of All Elite Wrestling. It was a small press conference in Jacksonville that started it all when the announcement that a lot of saw coming finally happened and "The Elite" became All Elite. With the financial backing of the Khan Family things looked very promising for the new promotion. Fast forward a year later and the new promotion is still on the upward trend at least as we approach the new year.
The week before Christmas we had our last episode of AEW Dynamite for the year with the holiday break. Now we look forward to the first edition of Dynamite of 2020 and the return home for All Elite Wrestling with some big matches and moments planned for the event. The main question heading into tomorrow's event is what happens between Jon Moxley and the Inner Circle as this could be the breakthrough rivalry for Moxley in a major wrestling which didn't come while he was with WWE.
The most underrated part of the show in my opinion, is Dustin Rhodes upcoming match with Sammy Guevara. Since the very first event under the All Elite banner Dustin hasn't always been a very prominently featured member of the roster, but that was almost expected due to the elder Rhodes advanced age. However, every time Dustin gets in the ring we consistently see that he more than still has what it takes to keep up with modern wrestlers. I firmly believe that Sammy having a short program with Dustin while working with a legend like Jericho it will more than benefit this incredibly talented youngster.
I do think though that AEW needs to give a little to get a little back and that would be letting Dustin try and teach Sammy a lesson or something like that. In a similar fashion Cody can play a similar role to Dustin can with Sammy in his feud with Darby Allin. Both kids are similar youngsters that are still finding their footing on the big stage and in my opinion, there are no better selections to help with this process then Cody & Dustin.
One of the problems from the start of All Elite Wrestling is the amount of random rumors that have been popping up since the start of the company. It makes it hard to differentiate between what is worth believing in and what actually isn't worth investing in, because with a new company everything has become news worthy. I'm not going to say that certain things have been very news worthy and deserves a lot of the spotlight, but the same could be said on the other side that sometimes certain things aren't as news worthy.
This comes off recent rumors that the former "Big Guy" Ryback could be joining the young promotion after a picture surfaced of him and Cody on social media. Yes! It is possible that this could lead to Ryback joining All Elite, but this could also just be a case of two friends being seen together in public. Near the end of his run with WWE it became clear that neither of the parties were really as interested as they were even a year before. Now with Ryback spending time out of the spotlight and away from the public eye it could be a great time to jump back into the wild world.
Overall I'm not sure if more than just a short term deal would be something worth pursuing for AEW as Ryback could be a draw and based his past does have untapped potential. Reality is like a lot of his fellow wrestlers he normally benefits the most from having the right dance partner in the ring. I also think that maybe having him appear under a mask to start and build to his debut instead of jumping right into it could add a layer to his character and star him on the right foot in his new promotion. However, it is possible that nothing comes of this and Ryback continues to watch from a far, at this point things can go either way. The only thing that needs to happen is that the parties need to agree, but we don't even know if they are talking all we can do is wait and see what's next. There is no proof or clear sign that Ryback is headed to AEW this just discussing the possiblity of him joining the company since he is a free agent as of this writing.
After waiting a little while to allow for the spoiler period to wear away. This week the main event of Dynamite saw SCU compete against Sammy G & Chris Jericho for the AEW Tag Titles. I liked this match more then the three way match from Full Gear as it made more sense from a logic point of view considering Lucha Bros just lost the finals two weeks ago yet got another title shot. The reason this made more sense was that Jericho was trying to prove he is the best by grabbing the other AEW championship.
The end of the match saw Scorpio Sky pin Chris Jericho opening the possibility of a Jericho vs Sky match in the next couple of weeks. With Cody out of the way it is possible that it's time to at least move Jericho onto a new feud and even though this could be only a few weeks at least it would be something of a bridge feud between Full Gear and the next PPV. Think about this though So Cal Uncensored could be a new feud for the Inner Circle the only problem is there would be a little bit of a numbers disadvantage unless Santana and Ortiz are going to stick with Young Bucks for the time being in which case SCU vs the remaining Inner Circle members would be perfect. Also consider this SCU has went on record saying that they will not be doing the Freebird rule which means Daniels is open to challenge Jericho also for the World Title.
Some minor criticisms with the PPV was that the Women's division comes out looking like a lesser part of the promotion. Based on the lack of build up for the match between Riho and Emi Sakura it is clear that AEW needs to work on sharing the attention they give to the feuds in between the PPV events. The main issue I have with the division is that not many people in America know about Riho or Emi and could benefit from being given the opportunity to learn more about both women and their history.
As for the top matches on the card between Cody and Jericho as well as Moxley and Omega. Both these matches more than lived up to expectations and more then tore down the house because these two guys made things work. For one not getting the match between Moxley & Omega at All Out and instead getting it at Full Gear. The anticipation and tension that built over the last few months gave us the match that we all wanted to see.
Overall I am extremely happy with result of Cody vs Jericho partially because it lived up to the build and the other reason is that I was right. Not only can Jericho move into a feud with either Moxley or Page now, but Cody is now in a feud with the greatest heel in wrestling MJF. This feud with MJF and Cody will be exactly what I thought the feud between Cody & Shawn Spears should've been but wasn't. Jericho is showed why he is still one of the best and this does raise and interesting dynamic of where does MJF fall on the heel hierarchy now, because he needs to be kept away from Jericho & the Inner Circle.