Professional wrestling is the only sport where we can develop an emotional attachment to a drone. This week, James Dator and Hector Diaz look at AEW Dynamite and discuss if Matt Hardy is truly “broken” now that his best friend is dead, and how we’re feeling about the matches set to take place at Double or Nothing on May 23.
James Dator: So lemme start by saying that while I’m sure people will endlessly argue about who’s the “best” wrestler in the world, nobody is better than Cody at taking a match nobody is hype for and getting it over.
Hector Diaz: And he does it in the simplest ways. This week, it was by huffing and puffing and driving his truck to the arena to get his hands on Lance Archer. Cody is mad that Lance and Jake the Snake messed with his wife. Let them fight. Sometimes it’s best not to overthink it.
JD: It was super funny that he revved up his prized truck then gently nudged over a barricade, though.
HD: It almost feels like someone else pitched the idea, Cody was all for it, then had to step back a bit when they told him about crashing his expensive truck into that barricade. “Hey wait, do you know how much this costs?” Speaking of which, how much does a drone go for these days?
JD: Is it wrong that I got emotional over the death of a drone?
HD: Absolutely not. Especially with the emotional attachment AEW fans got from seeing Matt Hardy’s drone Vanguard-1 do its thing for weeks. It was the scrappy young foil to the legendary Chris Jericho. He basically broke into Jericho’s house and rejected his offer to join The Inner Circle. That, plus that drone was technically the entity that introduced Matt Hardy to AEW. It’s a shame that it died via Chris Jericho’s new friend, a baseball bat named Floyd.
JD: Floyd is my most-hated heel in AEW. It makes me really excited though because we’ve seen the whole “you hurt my friend” routine in wrestling before, but the possibility of a totally unhinged Matt Hardy mourning the loss of his flying electronic camera friend means he could do literally anything, and that paired with his creativity makes me hyper-excited for what comes next. While I’m a little disappointed we won’t see a Matt vs. Jericho compound match, I’m super-hyped for the Stadium Stampede match at Double or Nothing.
HD: The Stadium Stampede match feels like an incredible flex for AEW. While WWE had a match in their corporate building last week, AEW has an empty football stadium to run a 5 vs. 5 match. I’m looking forward to it, especially since it means we’re going to see Sammy Guevara get beat up more. Is there a certain wrestler or matchup you’re looking forward to in the Stadium Stampede match?
JD: Not so much a specific matchup, but I want to know where Hangman Page fits in. As it stands he’d be The Elite’s fifth with Kenny, the Young Bucks and Matt — but I’m not sure he’ll actually be a part of it. This is the moment where they can truly break up that relationship in a way that makes sense, and what bigger betrayal than ruining the match against The Inner Circle? As someone who tends to be more excited about story than in-ring action I want to see how this all fits together. What about you? What do you want to see from that match?
HD: I really want to see what happens with Santana and Ortiz. As far as members of The Inner Circle go, they don’t get enough credit for being jerks and beating people up. I can’t wait to see what they do with an entire stadium at their disposal. Let them get super campy with this entire match concept. Dress them up in football pads and let them tackle The Young Bucks on the field.
JD: Santana’s athleticism is so underrated. Seeing him go wild in an empty stadium will be a blast. We’re getting a better idea of the full card now. I really like what we’re seeing. I’m very excited for Britt Baker vs. Kris Statlander. Any new matches announced you’re excited for?
HD: I’m excited for the AEW Women’s Championship match between Nyla Rosa and Hikaru Shida. Last week, I complained that there was no story arch besides “Hey here’s two people fighting for a championship.” But we got a little taste of a storyline with the help of Shida’s kendo stick.
For weeks Hikaru Shida has been trying to find her lost kendo stick, and it turns out Nyla Rose has had it the entire time. That means Rose has been holding onto it, knowing that Shida has been the No. 1 contender this entire time. It’s a good mind game and I hope AEW plays that up a little more. Having said that, the championship match is a No Disqualification Match. Shida is going to take an L, and maybe go through a few tables.
JD: There’s so much I’m loving right now that I don’t want to turn this into an all-positive discussion. Honestly, I don’t love what’s happening with MJF at the moment. They haven’t really justified him plummeting in the rankings outside of his fake injury — and now putting him vs. Jungle Boy at Double or Nothing oddly moves him further from the title. I don’t doubt they’ll have an amazing match, I just don’t quite understand why he’s out of the discussion totally, when a couple of months ago he was talking about facing Mox.
HD: Yeah, there’s something missing there. On paper, it’s just a squash match but I’m sure that Jungle Boy will put up a good fight. Jungle Boy will probably but still though. With Wardlow protecting MJF, I’m sure it will evolve into a tag team match later on against Jungle boy and the rest of Jurassic Express.
JD: It also makes me wonder about who else is in the ladder match? I would have assumed Jungle Boy and MJF made sense there.
HD: There’s no clear winner so far, which is both confusing and exciting. Based on the entrants already announced, you would assume Rey Fenix could win, but also he’s in Death Triangle and will probably be used more in tag team competition. Also, can we also talk about this spectacular video game kick from Rey Fenix to Orange Cassidy?
JD: I honestly don’t know how he got that much height. I’ve watched this 100 times and still can’t work it out. It has to be wizardry.
Honestly, I’m just excited to see Fenix and Darby in the ladder match because they’re going to do something ludicrous I’ll need to cover my eyes for.
My last question to you: How are you feeling about the build for Brodie Lee vs Jon Moxley for the AEW Championship?
HD: It’s not as hyped up as previous AEW Championship matches have been, but there’s been some intrigue with the help of Brodie Lee stealing the title. Having said that, this feels like a transitionary feud that will probably lead to something bigger. As far as Brodie Lee’s Dark Order faction is concerned, we haven’t seen them all together. Now they have Brodie, Evil Uno, Stu Grayson, 10, John Silver, and Alex Reynolds. Double or Nothing might be when they all show up to outnumber Mox. I still think Mox is winning though.
JD: I agree. It feels too early to take the belt off him. Ultimately I’m left feeling more excited for Double or Nothing than I did before, and really that’s all they could hope for.