A little bit of the bubbly came to Champaign, Illinois for this week’s episode of AEW Dynamite as a brutal main event was set between Joey Janela and Jon Moxley as well as a new challenger for the AEW World Championship revealed. Did the show from Champaign pop or did it let out all of AEW’s fizz?

The Young Bucks & Dustin Rhodes vs Proud N Powerful & Sammy Guevara

An explosive face-off opened AEW Dynamite with Rhodes returning from his vicious attack from the Inner Circle a few weeks ago dressed in his own brand of Young Bucks garb to match his teammates.

Unfortunately, this match got off to a bad start before the teams had even entered the ring with severe sound issues that took far too long to sort out. We’re moving beyond early days at this stage and issues like these are hard to keep forgiving if AEW want to present themselves as a WWE alternative.

The match quality did make up for these issues however as these two teams went at it full pelt with some amazing tag team spots. After a spot fest back and forth to open, Dustin came to clean house fighting off the Inner Circle members single handily and even taking a moment to catch his breath before landing a twisting crossbody and a destroyer.

As the referee tried to prevent Rhodes from hitting the unnatural on Santana, Ortiz took advantage of the distraction to lay out his opponents with the slapjack. Guevara looked like he would secure the victory here with a stupendous 630 senton but Rhodes miraculously kicked out at 2. The Bucks and Rhodes would pick up the win with a unique double assisted piledriver and senton combination for the win.

This match was awesome from start to finish and had the crowd at a fever pitch but the Inner Circle desperately need to start picking up more wins as they’re losing their credibility of being a serious threat outside of Jericho.


Trent w/ Chuck Taylor & Orange Cassidy vs Rey Fénix

Hot off his victory over Pentagon Jr on AEW Dark, Trent looked at taking out the other half of the Lucha Brothers.

Fénix came out of an opening exchange in control and tried to end things early with a muscle buster but Trent snuck away and tried to put Fenix in the Crunchie which Fénix also escaped leaving the pair at a stalemate. Trent looked strong here with his heavier offence complementing the Lucha Libre speed and precision of Fénix.

A standout sequence saw Fénix attempt a handheld monkey flip from the counter, to which Trent held on an went for a hurricanrana from the flip that Fénix countered into a powerbomb. Really innovative stuff.

It looked like Trent would score an upset with the Sexy Chucky Knee followed by a piledriver but Fénix still held on and managed to mount a comeback with a surprise rolling cutter and finishing Trent off with a spin-out muscle buster. Stunning performances by both of these men.


Cody asks MJF to name his price

Cody came out to talk about his situation following his loss at Full Gear and his betrayal at the hands of MJF.

As much as MJF has refused to face Cody, Cody was willing to put as much on the line as possible to get his hands on him offering his expensive watch, his car and even over $50,000 with the nice touch of Cody giving $100 dollars to a kid in the crowd to show the authenticity.

Cody is the ultimate babyface and his MJF feud is going to be a great long-running programme from what we can see already.


Nyla Rose vs Leva Bates the Librarian

Rose wasted no time demolishing Bates here in a predictable squash match, taking out both Bates and her fellow Librarians Peter Avalon in quick fashion.

Following their feud built outside Dynamite, Shanna came down to the ring to try and stop Rose from inflicting any more pain on Bates but couldn’t keep the Native Beast down for long as she planted both a referee and Shanna through a table during the break.

As a result, Rose has been suspended without pay for the rest of the year.

Chris Jericho’s Lexicon of Le Champion

Jericho came to the ring with Jake Hager to inform the crowd that he is contractually obligated to have one more title defence before the end of the year. Le Champion wouldn’t face just anyone however and he brought out a list lexicon of names that he would refuse to face, with about ten of them being Moxley.

Just as Jericho teased the crowd by uttering the name “Marty”, the Jurassic Express interrupted as Luchasaurus dressed down the AEW champion. Jericho pointed out that both Marko Stunt and Luchasaurus were both on the list lexicon so wouldn’t be facing him, but someone who wasn’t on the list lexicon was Jungle Boy.

Jungle Boy challenged Jericho and slapped him in the face leading to a brawl with the Inner Circle retreating. It seems these two will be facing off on December 18th in Corpus Christi.


Kris Statlander vs Hikaru Shida

As much as I’d like to talk about this match, which was a strong women’s match with a surprising victory from Statlander who is looking like a real standout, we have to talk about the aftermath.

Awesome Kong and Brandi Rhodes came to the ring announcing themselves as “The Nightmare Collective” with an awkwardly scripted promo that didn’t really answer any questions. Rhodes offered Statlander a chance to join the collective but as Statlander and Kong squared up a random member of the crowd, who was far too jacked to not be a wrestler, came to the ring offering her hair as a pledge to the collective.

I’m glad there’s more focus being put into the women’s division storylines but this just didn’t work at all. The promo was stilted and awkward, Statlander didn’t get to act on the offer, or retort, ruining the momentum her victory had and the Melanie Cruise fan introduction was a lame way to add a new member to their team. Just a mess all around and poor Hikaru Shida who took a loss here for no reason.

Christopher Daniels vs Pentagon Jr

Daniels finally got his chance for revenge against Pentagon Jr after he was attacked at the start of the tag team tournament.

Daniels couldn’t wait for the bell hitting Pentagon with a flying crossbody onto the ramp. Daniels tried to give Pentagon the same treatment he faced with a piledriver to the ramp but Pentagon countered and brought Daniels back into the ring to start the match proper. Pentagon was in the driver’s seat methodically breaking down Daniels but the Fallen Angel got his second wind after the break to even the odds with a sit-out powerbomb.

Daniels looked to have it in the bag as he landed Angel’s Wings but Rey Fénix came down to the ring for a referee distraction to prevent a loss for his Lucha brother. Pentagon would take the win after he dodged a mic stand attack from Daniels and swiftly kicked him in the nuts before planting Daniels with the package piledriver.

A fine match but felt too much like a filler match before the main event.

Joey Janela vs Jon Moxley

The lights were up for this pair’s second confrontation with each other.

Surprisingly, the two started with some chain wrestling that did a good job of showing the experience advantage Moxley has over Janela. Moxley would try and hit the Paradigm Shift onto the ramp but Janela countered and spiked his opponent with an impressive spinning DDT onto the ramp that looked vicious.

In the ring, Janela nearly took the win with an avalanche rolling crucifix bomb but Moxley held on. Janela kept fighting with plucky resolve and hit a top rope elbow to Moxley through the timekeeper’s table on the outside before hitting another in the ring but Moxley kicked out at 2 once again.

Moxley would finally finish off Janela after countering a Superplex attempt into a Paradigm Shift on the turnbuckle and another to the mat for the victory. After the match, Jericho and the Inner Circle mimicked Moxley from last week by coming through the crowd to stare down Moxley.

This was a fantastic main event with a great storyline built of Moxley underestimating Janela. Sometimes the spots overshadow story in AEW so it’s nice to see some in-ring storytelling utilised effectively here.

Another week, another great series of matches from AEW. However, episodes are quickly becoming less than necessary watching with no PPV on the horizon to build to, odd booking choices and technical issues that show off that AEW is still finding its feet and lacks the polish of its main competitor.

AEW started off as must-watch wrestling TV and will need to get back to that quickly. As good as the matches are, there’s got to be more substance underpinning it all.

All pictures and videos courtesy of AEW and Lee South/AEW