This week’s episode of AEW Dynamite saw not one, but two debuts from former WWE stars. Will they be able to add enough to the AEW roster to make them a worthwhile investment?

Orange Cassidy, Best Friends & Jurassic Express vs the Inner Circle

An all-out brawl came from almost the get-go which was far too early in the match as all control was lost. The Inner Circle members were thrown out at an agonisingly slow pace and seemed to just hang around waiting for their catch spots. It looked very sloppy.

After everyone got their outside dive spot in, including Hager and Luchasaurus playing toss the Marko Stunt, Cassidy put his shades on in the ring and his team joined him for a group hug spot.

Guevara tried to take advantage of the hug with a dive from the top rope but missed ending up in the middle of the opposing team. Cassidy encouraged the team to take out Guevara as they all beat him down.

Things slowed down far too much after this chaos as everyone decided to suddenly pay attention to the tag rules and stand at ringside. The Inner Circle took turns wearing down Trent until he managed to break free and get the hot tag to Luchasaurus.

The Big Dino began cleaning the house and taking out all of the Inner Circle but, unfortunately, had a mask malfunction that seemed to mess with the match flow.

The players in the match then all took turns getting their offence in and disregarding the tag rules again, which would have been more exciting had we not seen it at the start of the match.

The finish came as Guevara looked to finish off Luchasaurus with a top rope manoeuvre but Matt Hardy’s music hit, distracting Guevara. Hardy appeared from behind Guevara and pushed him off the top, allowing Luchasaurus to hit a chokeslam and tail whip to put Guevara away.

This match was structured awfully and was a frustrating watch because of it. Things went full pelt far too early and then slowed to a crawl only to go back to chaos again. It took away from the ending melee by going crazy too early and the whole match suffered as a result.

TNT Championship match: Cody w/ Arn Anderson vs Warhorse

Warhorse wasn’t afforded an intro package or promo time his predecessors as after Justin Roberts’ introductions, the match got going.

Cody was cocky from the get-go and seemed to think this would be an easy match for him, but Warhorse had him scouted and was able to meet Cody tit for tat leaving Cody retreating to the outside to reassess.

Cody went on the attack again but was met with a hellacious lariat from Warhorse that knocked him loopy but only resulted in a two-count.

Adjusting his strategy, Cody began focusing on the legs to set up his Figure Four Leg-Lock. However, as he went to apply the move, Warhorse saw it coming and immediately reversed the hold taking Cody by surprise and scrambling for the ropes.

Warhorse maintained his momentum and hit a huge double stomp onto Cody’s back on the outside and followed up by tossing Cody into the ring and hitting a gorgeous elbow drop but could only muster a two count.

Cody would end up retaining his title after a pinning duel with Warhorse left enough room for Cody to manoeuvre into the Figure Four Leg-Lock and get the submission victory.

It was unfortunate that Warhorse didn’t get given the promo or package time to show off his character more as it didn’t come across enough in the match to sell his gimmick. This match was fine and Warhorse looked great, but it pales in comparison to Cody’s matches with indie stars like Starks and Eddie Kingston.

Post-match, as Cody went to shake Warhorse’s hand, Alex Reynolds and John Silver of the Dark Order came out and beat the two down. As it seemed AA would have to fight them himself, Matt Cardona made a surprise debut and beat the Dark Order goons down.

As much as I loved Zack Ryder in WWE and felt he was depressingly underutilised, I wonder what else he has to show in AEW. Hopefully, he surprised us all.

Chris Jericho and the Inner Circle speak to Tony Schiavone

Chirs Jericho and the Inner Circle came out and Jericho was furious feeling that they’d been treated unfairly and wanted to put the record straight. Jericho said he would face Cassidy again and next week would have a live debate with him with a surprise moderator that would shock everyone. We shall see Jericho.

FTR sign their contract

FTR came to officially sign their contracts for AEW with the aid of their lawyer and the surprise appearance of Arn Anderson to advise them. After some deliberation with AA, FTR confirmed that their contract included a ‘Tag Team Appreciation night’ hosted by them. After signing, Hangman Page came to celebrate the signing with a drink as he poured FTR a double whiskey and himself a quintuple.

This segment needed to just show AA was with FTR, that’s it. Instead, it wasted a lot of time that was desperately needed elsewhere on this show.

AEW World Tag Team Championship match: Kenny Omega & Hangman Page vs Evil Uno & Stu Grayson w/ Brodie Lee and Colt Cabana

The Dark Order came to the ring with a new recruit, Anna Jay. Let’s hope this new acquisition has better luck than most of the Dark Order have been having. Before Omega could even make his entrance, Page began brawling with the Dark Order by himself as Omega had to cut his theatrics short to have some stern words with him.

Uno took advantage of this and began beating down Omega with the help of Grayson. After a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker counter from Omega. He got the break to tag into Page as the pair started hitting their fantastic tag team offence on the Dark Order. For what is essentially a mashed together team, they’ve built some excellent in-ring chemistry.

Page maintained control but an ill-advised outside dive allowed Uno to smash Page’s head against the turnbuckle post and put Dark Order in the driver’s seat.

Dark Order quickly took advantage as Uno hit a cannonball senton and the Grayson landed a beautiful 450 splash.

However, Dark Order couldn’t seal the deal as Omega and Page came back at full force and finally finished off Uno with their Buckshot/V-Trigger combo.

An angry Lee chastised the losing pair after the match. He proceeded to say he’d had enough of Page and ordered his Dark Order goons to gang up and take out the champs.

The Young Bucks came to the aid of their friends but were outnumbered still. However, FTR came down with another cooler of beer and made the save for the Elite once again.

This was a good match with an unfortunately predictable outcome. The post-match face-off didn’t inspire much excitement and is leading to a Dark Order vs Elite and FTR match. The Dark Order still have not been seen as a threat in any means whatsoever so I don’t see a card heavily featuring them next week being a selling point.

AEW Women’s World Championship match: Hikaru Shida vs Diamanté

An offer of a handshake was met with a defiant push to the face by Diamanté as the pair began brawling.

Diamante laid into Shida with some vicious chops and took down the champ early putting Shida on the backfoot. However, Shida would show her resilience by countering Diamanté’s offence on the outside and hitting her with a draping knee strike over the barricade.

Shida looked to hit a Superplex from the top rope but got countered into a stun gun cutter from Diamanté. Diamanté began laying into Shida with nasty chops and a wheelbarrow cutter but couldn’t put Shida away. Shida countered a suplex into a Falcon Arrow for a close two-count and put away Diamanté with a running knee strike.

This match was over as it began to get its momentum. It’s a real shame because this was shaping up to be the best match on the card and ended up not getting the time it deserved.

Hopefully, the AEW Women’s Deadly Draw Tag Tournament ill give the women the time they deserve.

Nyla Rose finds out who her tag partner will be

Rose’s new manager Vickie Guerrero promised that Rose would win the Deadly Draw cup and drew her colour to randomly assign her to a partner. It turns out that someone had already drawn that colour and revealed that Rose would be matched with Ariane, the former Cameron from WWE.

I still have night terrors remembering Cameron’s matches, I really hope she’s improved or this may be the worst signing AEW has made so far.

MJF state of the industry address

MJF came out to give an address to the AEW audience as if he was the president of the country asking people to use #MJF2020 and #notmychampion.

After telling one of his female assistants to smile more, MJF discussed why he is never featured more than two weeks in a row. He said the reason was someone didn’t want to be upstaged, a person who wanted a ‘Paradigm Shift’. MJF was targeting Jon Moxley.

MJF said he was the one who would be carrying the company for years and officially announced his challenge for Moxley’s AEW World Championship at All Out.

I’m in two minds on this one. On the one hand, MJF was passionate and as much of a wordsmith as we’ve come to know but on the other hand, this new presidential gimmick feels a little too on the nose. It feels like something right out of the WWE playbook in a bad way.

If anyone can pull it off, it’s MJF but this new gimmick feels like its foundations are on shaky ground.

No DQ Tornado Tag Match: Jon Moxley & Darby Allin vs Ricky Starks & Brian Cage

Allin’s music hit but he didn’t appear seemingly leaving Moxley to face his challengers alone. Stark gave a braggadocios promo before coming out which was one of the standouts of the night.

As Cage and Starks came out to the stage, they were blindsided by Allin who hit the pair with a Coffin Drop from out of nowhere as the two teams began brawling to the ring.

After the break, Cage and Starks were in control as Cage had hit a combination powerbomb and slam to both Moxley and Allin at the same time.

A flying chair from Moxley gave him a rally to fight back and Allin hit a stunner on Cage but was met with a lightning-fast spear from Starks immediately after. Moxley responded with a cutter but was blindsided by Cage leaving everyone lying in a heap in the middle of the ring.

Starks and Cage looked like they were ready to put Moxley away as they got a trash can and drove Moxley through it but Allin broke up the pin at the last minute.

Moxley saved Allin from a buckle bomb attempt from Cage and the pair worked together to let Allin hit a coffin drop on Cage for a close two count.

Allin had enough as he pulled out his skateboard that was adorned with thumbtacks. As Moxley kept Cage at bay with an armbar on the outside, Darby hit an ollie onto Starks’s back leaving him bleeding heavily and, in enough pain, to let Allin pin him for the win.

After the match, Allin faced off with Moxley and will face him next week for the AEW World Championship.

The main event was a great end to an unfortunately disappointing episode compared to the past few weeks. The show felt sloppy and wasted precious time. A lot of the promos and angles didn’t raise any intrigue or excitement to see more and even the commentary suffered as the lack of Excalibur left the broadcast team rudderless. I was ready to be done with the show before the main event had even started and that’s something I’ve not felt since AEW Dynamite began. I really hope this week was a blip.

All pictures and video provided by AEW