This week’s edition of AEW Dynamite was all about Blood & Guts, their equivalent to the classic WarGames match structure. It was a one-match show, so I’ll break down what worked and what didn’t for Blood & Guts.
The violence in Blood & Guts
All I ask every now and again is for a bit of real violence in my wrestling. Blood & Guts delivered on its namesake (a reference to Vince McMahon’s rudimentary evaluation of AEW and statement of what he would not be having on WWE programming) providing plenty of cataclysmic action from bell to bell.
Jericho’s big spill at the end wasn’t even close to the most brutal part of this matchup. We had chair shots to the head, piledrivers on exposed wood, and Sammy Guevara’s body being rag-dolled all over the structure. There were forks and turnbuckles and huge double teams throughout.
More than anything, though, Blood & Guts delivered on the blood aspect of things. The right-hand ring was painted red, mostly from the members of FTR, who were the heart and soul of this match. If AEW makes Blood & Guts a once per year occurrence, it becomes completely unique must-watch viewing.
The storytelling in Blood & Guts
I love how well these two teams match up with each other. The leader, the tag team, the muscle, and the wild card all combine to round out both the Pinnacle and the Inner Circle. Pairing them off with their counterparts made for some great stuff early on.
Hager and Wardlow may as well be mirror images of each other, except Wardlow is younger and slightly better in every way. In contrast, FTR and Santana & Ortiz are complete opposites. One team is all about discipline and technically perfect work while the other is wild and raw and violent.
The finish will be controversial. That’s fine. You can’t legitimately do a huge fall like Jericho’s unless you’re trying to kill someone. Does that mean AEW should evaluate whether to do those types of bumps? Perhaps.
But to me, the storytelling makes perfect sense. Guevara idolizes Jericho and would do anything to protect him. That doesn’t make him “dumb,” that makes him likable. There are any number of ways to explain this away. You could say they were exhausted, they thought Tully or the rest of the Inner Circle might talk MJF down, or perhaps my favorite: MJF tossing Jericho off the top of the cage goes beyond your typical Dynamite brawl and could lead to consequences, either with the company or the law. It gives the Inner Circle all the more reason to fight and it gets MJF over like even more of a lunatic.
This dude’s a superstar. Guevara flew all over the place in this match. Out of all ten people involved, nobody worked harder than Guevara to get this thing over.
One of the more lasting images of Blood & Guts will be Guevara’s Coast to Coast, which got a crazy-loud pop in the building. It’s remarkable how he’s gone from a hated heel and legitimately unsympathetic real-life persona to one of the most easily supportable people in all of AEW. Now, with his involvement in the finish? I see big things in store for young Guevara, perhaps a singles match with MJF at Double or Nothing.
Orange Cassidy, #1 contender
This was a great episode of Dynamite, and even though Blood & Guts was the focus, the first hour delivered, as well. However, I did come away with one major gripe.
I strongly dislike the decision to portray Orange Cassidy as the top contender to the AEW World Championship. Cassidy is popular, yes, but popularity does not mean a meme wrestler should wrestle for the company’s top prize. You know who else was popular, in the same way Orange Cassidy is? Santino Marella. I like Cassidy as a performer and wrestler, but knowing your talent’s role is essential.
It’s baffling to me that AEW is creating a cold challenger for Omega less than three weeks before the pay-per-view. This is one of the most stacked rosters in American wrestling history and Omega has taken on pretty much nobody. He’s had two real opponents (Moxley & Fenix) and two more who have shown interest in the title (Christian Cage and, uh, Matt Sydal).
Please do not book Cassidy to win next week. Let it be PAC, who will at the very least come across as legitimate and have a fantastic match.