AEW Elite 8 is our weekly look at eight things that we liked about the latest episode of AEW Dynamite.
8. SCU earns their title shot
After SCU lost the World Tag Team championship to Adam Page & Kenny Omega there was an offhand mention that they had a “rematch clause”, but at the time I was really hoping that wasn’t true. While SCU only had one loss in the tag division and were the top the team in the rankings, an automatic rematch just felt too much like other wrestling companies.
Think about it this way, if every title match has a rematch clause then it is possible for two teams to just trade the titles back and forth forever like the last point of the last point of the tennis match in 7 Days in Hell.
It was nice to see SCU earn their rematch with wins over TH2 last week and Best Friends this week. While I want a whole lot more of both of those teams on Dynamite, I’m glad that SCU earned their rematch and didn’t just get it.
7. Britt Baker knocking teeth out
I should be clear here, I didn’t like this. I don’t want to see anything bad happen to Yuka Sakazaki and I want a whole lot more of her on AEW. I didn’t like seeing her bleed and if I’m being totally honest, the idea of the segment absolutely grosses me out.
That said, Britt has really transformed herself over these past couple of weeks and she is nearing that MJF-level of hate that that AEW fans can be unified against. That’s something that I can get behind. Does that make sense? Okay, now never do this again.
6. Darby Allin as Rick Dalton
5. Future announcements
I just want to mention how good this show was at getting me excited for this week, next week, and the week after that. When is the last time a wrestling show did that? I was going to be watching anyways, but making these announcements have giving me a lot to ponder over the next few weeks. Seriously, look at this schedule:
- Next week has Riho vs. Nyla Rose for Women’s Championship, Jon Moxley vs. Santana, and SCU vs. Page & Omega for the World Tag Team Championship.
- In two weeks, there is a Tag Team Battle Royale for a title shot at Revolution and Cody vs. Wardlow in a steel cage.
- In three weeks, PAC vs. Omega in a 30-minute Iron Man match.
I want to see all of that right now. There is something to look forward to every week between now and AEW Revolution. That’s amazing.
4. Orange Cassidy can’t be bought
In a world where seemingly everyone in AEW is a target or potential recruit for the Dark Order, it’s nice to see that there is one man out there who would never even consider joining the Dark Order: Orange Cassidy. He’d much rather put on his friend’s coats and jackets than put on some silly mask and I am here for it.
I also liked the latest chapter in the Dark Order and Christopher Daniels saga. Why didn’t they attack him? Is he the one who joined and then tried to quit as seen on BTE? Is he the exalted one? A six-man match with SCU against the Dark Order could be a lot of fun.
3. Eye for an eye
Moxley vs. Ortiz (his first singles match since 2016!) was a good open to the show, but it was the escalation of things after that really took this to another level. Santana tried to attack Moxley after his win and Mox took him down with the Paradigm Shift and busted out the car keys from the Ford GT. (Did he wrestle with those in his pocket the whole time? I can’t even touch my leg with keys in my pocket and this dude is out here doing dives to the outside.)
Mox took the key and stabbed Santana in the eye! That was a good bit of revenge and Mox has now pissed off every member of the Inner Circle on an individual basis. They aren’t just doing Jericho’s bidding, they hate this guy too.
Bonus points for later in the show when the Inner Circle were being interviewed backstage and Santana absolutely stole the segment from Jericho. Santana tied what happened earlier into some real life tragedies in his own life and delivered a highly emotional promo that served as a real wake-up call that he’s not just another Inner Circle henchman. Honestly, he reminded me of Eddie Kingston here which is a big compliment. (Those two spent some time together in LAX so it makes sense.)
I had never really looked at Santana as a future singles star, but if he wants to go that road I think he could be absolutely huge.
2. Everything Adam Page
Before I say anything, I have to say this: Fenix is the best wrestler in the world. Nobody makes me drop my jaw and scream like him. He can do the same thing I’ve seen him do a million times and I’ll still have that reaction. He’s just so good.
I should also note that The Butcher & The Blade looked good here and as it was nice to see them outside of the mercenary role. The Butcher is maybe the toughest looking wrestler (sorry, Jimmy Havoc) in AEW and Adam Page looked like an absolute hoss picking him up. That whole sequence with Page getting the hot tag made him look like the biggest star in the world which he absolutely is going to be.
While all of the action was great, this match was all about The Elite drama though. It started from the second their music hit, Matt Massie Sr.’s “The Elite/superkick party” (available on Spotify), and Page wanted none of it. He quit The Elite, remember? He walked out ahead of Omega and the Young Bucks and waited in the ring while the EVPs celebrated with pyro. He was visibly annoyed throughout the match and at one point stole a tag from the Bucks. When he needed a tag out after tweaking his knee, he was willing to tag Omega, but not the Bucks which ultimately led the loss.
Omega has earned some of his trust, but he still doesn’t trust the Young Bucks at all. The wound of them not wanting to go to the ring with him at All Out still stings and he resents them for being bad friends in general. They want to blame him and his drinking for the state of the relationship, but he doesn’t see it that way at all. He drinks because he feels alone in AEW and it’s something to do. He drinks because his friends took EVP jobs and left him behind.
I so very badly want Omega & Page to win next week and for the Young Bucks to win that battle royale so I can see them figure out their issues in the ring. I don’t know how that would look (how do you do couples therapy in a wrestling match?), but I know it would be amazing.
I could say more, but I’ve written enough about Adam Page lately.
1. Cody makes me emotional
I did not know what I was going to think about the lashings when the segment started and sort of watched it from a distance at first. What even was this? I mean, really.
Then Dustin came out. Then the Bucks and I sort of sat up in my seat. Then the bruises were really starting to get noticeable and I sat up a little more. Then Wardlow hit him with the ninth one and I just felt it.
Cody’s face was amazing here and you really started to feel each one. It wasn’t just the pain in his face, it was the fact that he couldn’t do anything about it. He just had to take it and take it and take it. If he stopped it, he’d lose his chance for revenge. If he hit MJF, he’d lose the match and Max would win. He had to hold on and deal with the pain and everything in his body telling him to turn around and knock this M(J)F-er out.
Brandi coming out was the moment I lost it. I didn’t cry, but my eyes got wet in a way that I could cry. Where one more thing would push me over the edge. I’m not embarrassed about admitting that either, it happens to me when I watch great drama on TV or in movies all the time and that’s exactly what this was, great drama.
(Brandi coming out also made sense if you’ve been following her therapy sessions. She’s dealing with her alter ego in the Nightmare Collective, but in this moment love was able to pull her back to who she really is.)
I had been low on the match with MJF and Cody for a few weeks now, but after this? I am ready for Cody to destroy MJF and get his revenge. He’s earned it. He has the scars to prove it.
— The Brandalorian (@TheBrandiRhodes) February 6, 2020