AEW Dynamite Recap: July 1, 2020
A.K.A The One Where It’s Fyter Fest Night One
Here. We. Go. The first night of Fyter Fest features three title defenses, Chris Jericho on commentary and MJF and Warlow facing Jungle Express. There is potential for two excellent matches with two main tag matches, the other being the tag team title match between Hangman Page and Kenny Omega against Best Friends. Here’s how it all shook out.
- Jungle Express def. MJF & Wardlow
- Hikaru Shida def. Penelope Ford
- Cody def. Jake Hager
- Private Party def. Santana & Ortiz
- Hangman Page & Kenny Omega def. Best Friends
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Match of the Night: Hangman Page & Kenny Omega def. Best Friends
What a near fall on the Strong Zero.
These two teams went out there and had a damn good match. What really sold me on the quality of the match was the storytelling behind it. Page and Omega can explode at any minute and there were multiple times that I thought they would. Best Friends came into the arena with Trent’s mom driving them in a minivan. It was an added piece that really helped build the goodwill with the duo.
The final five minutes of the match is what really made this great. Omega was thrown into Page and with the many teases of a split between the champions, it was conceivable that the split could’ve been tonight. Instead, we got a major tease when Omega was taken out and Trent and Chuckie T connected on a Strong Zero that was just barely saved by Omega. I mean the guy was an inch away from losing the titles because Page was not kicking out. There were a couple of teases of a possible win for Best Friends, but their hug was their downfall, as Page and Omega took advantage and the result was a Buckshot Lariat for the win.
After the match, FTR, who were sitting next to the announce table, entered the ring and gave two beers for the champions. Page took it immediately and was very thankful. Omega was cautious, then dumped out the alcohol without taking a sip. This really pissed off FTR, who got in Omega’s face. The Young Bucks came out to try to ease tensions, but then Page started getting in Omega’s face. The show went off air with that visual. I fear for Omega’s wellbeing when those two lose the belts.
Salt of the Earth Goes Jurassic
Before I even say anything, go watch this match right now. It was pure adrenaline from beginning bell to finish and was genuinely one of the most enjoyable matches I’ve seen in 2020.
Things started off hot right away with Jungle Boy immediately jumping on MJF and throwing hands. There wasn’t a slow spot at all. Whatever combination of the four wrestlers, there was always some sort of action going on. This feud was built up over such a long period of time and these four just wanted to beat each other up.
Some highlights that I personally loved: Jungle Boy hitting MJF with back-to-back suicide dives and then following it up with a tope con hilo. Jungle Boy running along the backs of Luchasaurus and Wardlow to hit a Canadian Destroyer on MJF. Finally, the final combination to Wardlow that saw the man hit by the diamond ring, take a twisting DDT from Jungle Boy, a series of combinations from Luchasaurus before sitting up with a roar and eating a PK, a standing shooting star, a chokeslam and the pin. The Jurassic Express walk away with vengeance and a win that could lead them to title contention and MJF and Wardlow walk away leaving a lot of questions.
The Warrior Takes Down the Bad Girl
Hikaru Shida and Penelope Ford went out and had about as good a match as they could’ve had. It wasn’t a classic, nor was it the best match of the night, but both women impressed me. Penelope Ford was especially impressive and this was definitely the best match I’ve seen of hers.The feud between these two was heated and the action was felt before the bell even rang, with referee Aubrey Edwards throwing out Ford’s fiance Kip Sabian.
The starting action had some heat, but wasn’t as explosive as I would’ve liked. The finishing sequence of the match was really what stood out to me. Shida hit a Falcon Arrow, which is her finisher, and Ford flipped it into a pin of her own for a near fall. Shida went to the top rope to hit a Missile Drop Kick, but Ford bent backwards and avoided it, hitting a Stunner, her finisher, for a near fall. Ford then went full heel and went to the outside to grab the belt, causing Edwards to follow her and not pay attention to the ring. Sabian came out brandishing a kendo stick and took a swing at Shida, but missed, ate a punch, which popped the kendo up in the air, and then ate a kendo shot, taking him out. Ford came back in the ring and hit another Stunner for a near fall. Shida was eventually able to hit a Shining Wizard and a Falcon Arrow, her finishing combo, but Ford kicked out. I genuinely believed they were putting the title on her at that point. Shida composed herself and hit another Shining Wizard to retain her title.
To me, this was a big performance by Ford. She took advantage of her opportunity and showed that she could hold her own in a pretty high profile singles match. The control over her character and her diverse moveset were really shown off and I’m excited to see what comes next for her.
An Explosive TNT Championship Match
Cody vs. Jake Hager wasn’t a match I expected to be anything other than “meh” at best. I don’t have a high opinion of Hager’s in-ring skills and pretty much all Cody matches seem to go the same way. With that said, these two went out and exceeded my expectations. The beginning portion of the match was centered around the two men trying to wrestle (the amateur kind, don’t get sassy with me) each other. The action started to break down just before the picture-in-picture commercial break when Hager went after Arn Anderson. It was at that point that the match really became physical.
Anderson proved his worth to Cody by helping him out multiple times with distractions to Hager. In the end, it was a distraction from Hager’s wife that led to his downfall. She smacked Cody when Hager had the ref distracted, causing Anderson to come into the ring and distract the ref, which allowed Dustin Rhodes to come out and land a punch on Hager. Cody set up for the Cross Rhodes, but Hager managed to turn it into his head and arm choke, which Cody managed to flip into a pin to retain his title.
The win continues the narrative that the Nightmare Family is always there for Cody and not the Elite, possibly being a little tease for something down the line. If not, it’s a great way to keep the title on Cody and have Hager eat a pin without losing any momentum.
The first night of Fyter Fest definitely delivered. I was invested in each match, whether it was the story, the action or just the commentary. There wasn’t a single dull comment throughout the night and we got some of the best television matches of the year. It wasn’t a grand slam, hence the minus, but I was thoroughly amused for two hours and completely invested for a lot of that time. I’m excited for next week because the card is stacked even more for that. Fyter Fest Night One: A-. Class dismissed.
One More Thing:
Jericho on commentary was absolute gold. His one-liners during the opening match alone were enough to make him the MVP of the night, but his insights in the women’s title match, the TNT title match and the dual commentary with Orange Cassidy during the Santana & Ortiz vs. Private Party match was just amazing. Nobody has better control of their character than Jericho and he put on a clinic. I mean the man said, “He went from Godzilla to Mothra! He’s a flying dinosaur!” He was on fire from the start and just kept it going the rest of the night.
After Private Party won the match, Cassidy was acting to smug for Jericho and it took six men to hold Le Champion back. Jericho’s screams and removal from commentary for the main event was just the cherry on top of a great performance.
Last Thing I Swear:
AEW announced that the AEW Championship match between Jon Moxley and Brian Cage has been pushed back a week to the July 15th show. The show is being branded as Fight for the Fallen.
Javier Melo is a writer of Pro Wrestling for Full Press Coverage and co-host of the Crossbody of Work podcast. Follow Javier @JMeloSports on Twitter.