On last night’s AEW Dynamite, Cody Rhodes teamed with Lee Johnson to take on Peter Avalon and former NXT wrestler Cezar Bononi – who was released by WWE last April as part of their mass firings at the start of the pandemic.
It was Cody’s latest effort to elevate new stars in the promotion, with Johnson being part of his Nightmare Family trainee faction, that currently has around 82 members. But sometimes focusing on the future so much can jeopardise the short term.
Cody started selling his shoulder just before a restaurant quality picture-in-picture adbreak, and mostly stuck to the outside holding his arm as Johnson picked up the victory.
According to Arn Anderson in his latest ‘Coach’s Corner’, Cody “dinged his shoulder” early on in the match, which AEW confirmed in a statement to WrestlingInc:
“Following the recording of Coach’s Corner, it was confirmed by the AEW medical team that Cody Rhodes suffered a slight tear of his left rotator cuff during his tag team match on Dynamite. His current status is TBD.”
Cody also tweeted INJURED FACE EMOJI following the show.
Full rotator cuff tears can take 4-6 months to heal depending on the severity. A ‘slight tear’ is less severe, but Cody has a big TV match in just under a month on March 3rd – tagging with Red Velvet against Shaquille O’Neal & Jade Cargill – where he was expected to do a lot of the actual wrestling work, given that Red Velvet is still relatively early in her career, its Cargill’s first match, and Shaq isn’t a wrestler.
But AEW isn’t the only wrestling promotion that has to deal with wrestler injuries.
More Royal Rumble Plans
Fightful Select is reporting both Murphy and Cedric Alexander were on standby as replacements for the men’s Rumble match last month if more wrestlers suddenly became unavailable for the show. Keith Lee had to self-isolate after his girlfriend Mia Yim tested positive for coronavirus that weekend. While Jey Uso and Robert Roode were also pulled for unknown reasons. Interestingly, with all the people not currently doing anything and could’ve been used as a replacement, Andrade was still not even listed as a potential substitution.
For the women’s Rumble, Toni Storm was not originally slated to be in the match, but was brought in as a replacement following Reckoning, the previously mentioned Mia Yim, due to her testing positive for Covid-19. Kacy Catanzaro was also on standby but not used.
AEW Dynamite Review
Now it’s Thursday, you know what that means – my review of AEW Dynamite, in about five minutes.
The show opened on the big TNT Championship match of Darby Allin defending against Joey Janela. Where they took about a minute to have Janela front suplex Allin’s head on the ring apron. It’s the hardest part of the ring. Just ask Nia Jax’s hole.
But while we were all expecting a violent blood bath between these two men, they actually mostly had a great, non-hardcore, in ring match. Presumably they had to, because all that was saved for the main event.
How can anyone ever top literal potatoes?
Janela used his slight size advantage to muscle Darby around, but Darby answered by working over Joey’s arm – tucking it under Janela’s body and then hitting a Coffin Drop for the win.
I really enjoyed their work here, but it oddly lacked the Sting and Team Taz involvement that was set up last week.
Instead, later on, Sting had an interview segment with Tony Schiavone later on where – you’ll never guess what happened – Team Taz interrupted him again. At this point, Sting promo segments are the new ‘We’ve run out of time for Matt Damon’.
Team Taz did have a really good angle to reignite the feud though. They cut to the parking lot, where they had put Darby in a body bag tied to a car, and proceeded to drive round dragging him hard along the ground. It was dastardly, it was wicked. So Sting went after his mini-me in what Excalibur described as ‘hot pursuit’, but was, in fact, a very casual walk.
Speaking of mini-me’s, Mini-Arn debuted at ringside for the next match! Well, I say mini-Arn Anderson. He’s in fact very large Arn Anderson, his son Brock Anderson – who Cody shook the hand of before his tag match, presumably setting him up to be recruit number 107 of the Nightmare Family. Cody, I know you love WCW, but you’re not going to beat the full faction size NWO.
This was the match where Cody dinged his shoulder, which had a silver lining of showcasing Johnson even more – who eventually got a roll-up win. AEW pushed this as being very important, with Johnson thanking all the Nightmare Family, Dustin, Cody – even Brandi at the top of the ramp. But not QT Marshall, who was literally right behind him. Awkward.
PAC looked incredible brutalising Ryan Nemeth in a really effective squash match.
Miro said he’s going to get his revenge on Orange Cassidy and Chucky T in a feud that’s still going on.
The Young Bucks made up with the Good Brothers, and then booked themselves a tag title match against the non-official Inner Circle tag team of Santana and Ortiz next week ahead of their title match against the official Inner Circle tag team of MJF and Chris Jericho. But before then, the other non-official Inner Circle tag team Sammy Hager needed to break up.
After last week’s scheming, Sammy Guevarra called out MJF for trying to take over the Inner Circle. And, being a smart babyface, he threw MJF’s phone against the wall when he realised he was being recorded. Hulk Hogan would be proud.
But MJF was smarter. The phone recording was too obvious. It was just a way to get Sammy to punch him in the gut, which MJF exaggerated in his tag match with Jericho against the Acclaimed later.
The Acclaimed, by the way, have massively grown on me and they were terrific here. From their entrance rap to their in-ring work.
Jericho hit the Judas Effect to win. It’s Judas Effective. But Sammy then came down to confront his mates, and remind everyone of his ultimatum last year. If MJF pulled any more crap, he was done. So he’s leaving the Inner Circle.
What made this work so well was Jericho’s genuine heartbreak of Sammy leaving. There wasn’t a generic heel beatdown. AEW have booked this faction so well, you’re even into the heels’ relationships.
But it’s only a matter of time. Whatever MJF said behind closed doors last week seems to have the rest of the Inner Circle more on his side than Sammy or Chris’. Guevarra left through the parking lot, saying he needs time away.
In more smart babyface booking, Hangman Page had two great beats in his Matt Hardy storyline. First he awkwardly ran into the Dark Order backstage, like an ex-girlfriend where you’re both still in love. Not like Megan, who burned my heart to a cold, stinging ash. Then he went for drinks with Hardy, who was trying to get him drunk so he’d sign a talent contract. But Page switched the contracts while Matt was gloating about his plan. Hopefully it’s a contract for a match at Revolution between them, with Dark Order in his corner.
Thunder Rosa beat Leyla Hirsch in a solid first round Eliminator Tournament match. AEW then revealed the Japanese matches will be broadcast on their YouTube channel instead of Dynamite as we speculated. It’ll be much harder to get the right production standard for TNT overseas.
And then continuing the Attitude Era tone to this AEW, following Darby being dragged around in a body bag, Jungle Boy just casually cut a promo on FTR for kidnapping Marko Stunt. Which probably should be a bigger deal as it’s a pretty major crime. I guess he did say the word ‘bitch’, so you know it’s serious.
And then we got all the Hardcore Championship fun of a falls count anywhere No DQ match between Kenny Omega and KENTA against Lance Archer and Jon Moxley.
This was a fantastic main event, which was set up wonderfully with a no-nonsense Moxley promo earlier, holding his IWGP United States title on AEW TV, and an all-nonsense Omega skit, where Marvez interviewed him playing golf earlier in the day – where Don Callis used his Invisible Handjob skills to put the ball in the hole when Kenny wasn’t looking. It was a great clash of Mox and Omega’s respective character approaches.
And the match itself was insanely fun, without somehow becoming overly gimmicky or comedy based. We had a KENTA double foot stomp on Moxley through a table. Kenny thrown through Peter Avalon’s lounge area at ringside. And while we’ve seen potatoes thrown in wrestling rings before, we’ve never had literal potatoes rammed into someone’s face.
It was a tater-ly brutal spot. It mashed Omega’s face. And Moxley proved himself as a Grade A Spud.
I know, I know, Taters gonna hate this kind of wrestling. But I enjoyed it as a chip off the old Attitude Era block.
Because AEW aren’t small fry. They’re really hashbrowning it out.
The Good Brothers got involved in the end, as all four heels beat up Archer, and Kenny won with an assisted One Winged Angel. This was freaking amazing, and while KENTA and Omega had their moments of tension, this was Bullet Club working together.
What did you think of AEW Dynamite? Let me know in the comments down below and follow us @WrestleTalk_TV on Twitter to vote in our poll on a pole match – where 58% of you thought it was excellent.
This show was so much fun. The main event, the opener, the Hirsh vs Rosa match. All the in-ring stuff was great. And the storyline development was very well paced, with some small, like Page switching the contract, and others big, like Sammy leaving the Inner Circle. I’m going to give it a 3 out of 4 though, because, if anything, AEW are a victim of their own success – and as awesome as this episode was, it wasn’t as great as their recent specials.