AEW Dynamite saw Jake Hager finally get his chance to take on the reigning AEW World Heavyweight Champion Jon Moxley. With both men going into the match with no losses in 2020, who would come out the other end as AEW World Heavyweight Champion?

TNT Championship Quarter Final Match: Colt Cabana vs Lance Archer

Cabana’s fun and athletic style really hit a roadblock early coming up against the size and power of his opponent but he adjusted his tact enough to put Archer on the backfoot for the first time in his AEW career to which caused Archer to look visibly shook.

As Cabana tried to have some fun with the small crowd, Archer took advantage and powered Cabana into the mat for a close two-count.

The Murderhawk Monster shrugged off chops from Cabana before clattering him with a stiff clothesline and kept up the strikes to keep his opponent on his back. After the break, Cabana dodged a splash attempt from Archer and hit the head scissors followed by the Flying Apple into the corner.

Despite this surge of momentum from Cabana, Archer started laughing maniacally as Cabana began laying in his strikes, shrugging off damage again and hit the pounce to knock Cabana off his feet.

A hellacious chokeslam that clattered Cabana into the mat took the wind out of his sails enough for Archer to be able to lay him out with the Blackout for the victory.

Squash matches are great but it’s always good to see a monster have to overcome a tougher fight to assert their dominance and that’s what happened here. Cabana made Archer look like a million bucks with his selling and Archer continues to impress with his ominous aura and hard-hitting style. Also, the pounce will make his mark out under any and all circumstances, so kudos to Archer for adding it to his repertoire.

Britt Baker vs Cassandra Golden

After a segment with Baker from her dentist’s office talking about her nasal injury from last week from Hikaru Shida, she took on Cassandra Golden who looked to make up for her loss on her debut on AEW Dark.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t her night as Baker took a nasty superkick to Golden’s face before making her bite the bottom rope and curb-stomped her for a quick victory.

Baker was absolutely villainous here and made a significant impression with her quick victory. Baker is a far more natural heel that’s really found her stride.

The Bubbly Bunch

The Inner Circle goofed around on a group chat from their homes, as they practised social distancing. Santana and Ortiz goofed around about what they had done to Nick Jackson weeks ago with Ortiz chatting from his child’s room while sitting in a baby seat.

Sammy Guevara proved Matt Hardy wrong with his assertation that he was a fake Latino by counting all the way to five in Spanish and Hager told his kids to cover their ears as he promised to beat the shit out of the Elite and Jon Moxley.

Finally, Jericho stole the segment as he cooked an egg wrong and missed his cup horribly while pouring Orange Juice which was likely enough to make the blood boil of many a fan.

Nothing ground-breaking but the levity is appreciated considering the circumstances the world is in.

Sammy Guevara vs Suge D

It’s great to see indie darling Sugar Dunkerton on television but it’s only a matter of time before he becomes rebranded as Pineapple Pete after Jericho’s jibes on commentary. Jericho continues to demonstrate he can basically get anything over.

Guevara started with some cocky shenanigans to the delight of his mentor Chris Jericho who declared the pair’s tag team as “The Sex Gods”. Suge D would try and have some fun with a body pop with his opponent but Guevara responded to this by hitting a nasty high knee and getting a close two count after a vertical suplex.

Guevara would dominate the match until Suge D managed to dodge a strike and tried to fight back with some European uppercuts.

However, it wouldn’t lead to victory as Guevara clattered Suge D with another high knee to the back of the head and followed up with a reverse GTS for the victory.

After the match, Guevara made a cocky promo promising to beat the shit out of Darby Allin in their quarter-final match for the TNT Championship next week. As he began to demonstrate his attention on the beaten Suge D, Darby Allin came out for the save.

A really strong showing from Guevara showed a mean streak that sets up a great good vs evil story for his match with Allin. Guevara looked, dominant, calculating and a real contender.

Kip Sabian w/ Penelope Ford vs Chuck Taylor w/ Orange Cassidy

Taylor started the match by using his ring experience to his advantage, keeping the young Sabian on his back and wrestling circles around him.

As Taylor was enjoying his own dominating performance, Jimmy Havoc in the crowd was visibly irritated by Taylor’s attitude and his showboating.

Sabian used his speed and keen strikes to take control of the match after dodging a moonsault attempt from Taylor and distracted the referee long enough to let Ford get in some cheap shots on his opponent.

Taylor managed to stop Sabian from launching him from the turnbuckle and, despite missing another moonsault, followed up with a Falcon Arrow. Taylor foolishly didn’t go for the pin here after doing the deal which was a huge mistake considering nobody kicks out of the Falcon Arrow.

Sabian tried to take advantage after another missed top rope attempt from his opponent but was countered into the sole food from Taylor. Before he could capitalise, Ford jumped onto the apron to distract Taylor with her body which gave Sabian the edge. In retaliation, Cassidy used his own voluptuous body to distract Sabian in the same manner.

However, a twist in the tale came as Jimmy Havoc jumped the barricade to assault Orange Cassidy as a distracted referee didn’t see Ford hit a Frankensteiner on Taylor. Sabian stole the win after this with a quick roll-up.

A solid match that showed off Taylor as the ring general he is with an interesting finish that makes the heelish antics of Sabian and Ford look strong and gives us the set up for an Orange Cassidy vs Jimmy Havoc match for next week.

Shawn Spears vs Justin Law

Shawn Spears took on a local jobber so unlikely to win that he didn’t even get the dignity of a quote on his name graphic. The kid looked like a create-a-wrestler where you haven’t unlocked enough cosmetic parts.

Spears toyed with his poor young opponent, all the while taunting Billy Gunn who he beat on AEW Dark. Spears finished the kid off with the C4.

Despite the short length, Spears showed a huge amount of personality compared to what we’ve seen post feud with Cody which is a good sign for his character and hopefully leads to more exposure as he really is a hidden gem on the roster.

AEW World Heavyweight Championship No Holds Barred Empty Arena Match: Jon Moxley vs Jake Hager

In all honesty, this match was really hard to sit through and suffered greatly from the lack of crowd.

AEW has been pretty good with making matches suit a no crowd environment which has involved a lot of short matches but here they went nearly 30 minutes in an empty arena and it made the downtime feel way longer than it actually was.

Things started agonisingly slowly with an MMA style opening contest between the two that fell totally flat against silence.

After this, the brawling between the pair did get better but didn’t make use of the space in very creative ways or make use of the no holds barred situation quick enough. Chairs came into the mix but far too late and not very creatively.

There needed to be something else here, something that took advantage of the stipulation and the situation. With a crowd roaring, I feel like this match would have felt different but as it stands it didn’t feel like an engaging watch.

Both of these guys are great and it’s a shame the circumstances appear to have taken away from their confrontation.

The last part that hampered the match was the commentary. JR is a great commentator but with a silent arena, a solo commentator is going to struggle to not have dead air and it only added to the odd atmosphere

Moxley took the win by hitting Hager with a Paradigm Shift onto a steel chair.

This was an average episode of AEW Dynamite that had enough entertaining matches to keep it afloat but a long main event that struggled to cope with the lack of crowd. Maybe in different circumstances, I would have been more kind to Hager vs Moxley but as it stands, it just didn’t get my blood pumping.

All pictures and videos provided by AEW

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