Early in the night, Jericho introduces us to his new heel stable: the Inner Circle. He’s got a big enforcer in Jake Hager, a bump freak in Sammy Guevara, and some tag team thugs in Santana & Ortiz. The promo isn’t anything great but its functional and it does at least feel somewhat authentic. It stands out for how Jericho just gets to riff and let loose, separating it from the overwritten, overproduced promos we so often get on WWE.
Probably the most notable line here comes from Jericho shutting down a “We the People” chant by decrying the catchphrase as “bad creative.” Not a big fan of the worked shoot angle there as there’s no real way to frame that kind of rhetoric in any way that fits into kayfabe. It doesn’t really fit the tone that Jericho’s building up here and it does way more to undercut the promo for the sake of a cheap pop than anything else. I will give him credit for the fact that we never again heard a “We the People” chant on AEW television so kudos on that front at least.
Then we get to the match in the main event of the episode. This is a delightful, fun little tag match especially because Jericho has so little do with it.
Dustin plays the early babyface shine as he goes out there and essentially embarrasses Jericho. If anyone on the AEW roster should be getting accolades for constant reinvention while maintaining a high standard in the ring, it’s Dustin freaking Rhodes. He’s not doing anything crazy in this match but everything he does do, he does well. His punches look great. He moves with a lot of quickness and he’s even diversifying his arsenal by throwing in some big highspots like a twisting crossbody off the top and a Code Red. That Code Red would be even more impressive if he didn’t have to do it on Chris Jericho who bumps for it with all the force and velocity of falling into bed for a nap.
Literally everyone else in this match has so much more to offer than Jericho does. Dustin does his turn back the clock routine by just looking amazing in the ring. Hangman gets to show off his stiff lariats and flashy dives in a much more conducive environment than the All Out match. But really my favorite part of the match was Sammy Guevara. He’s the perfect prick heel to play the bumping stooge for all of Dustin and Page’s offense here. He makes it look painful but more than that, he makes it look earned. Guevara’s just exudes such an aura of douchiness that his pain evokes pure joy.
It’s unfortunate that Jericho gets so much of the finishing stretch once Hangman gets wiped out by Hager on the outside. It’s blessedly brief though and things wrap up with a Judas Effect to Dustin to put him away.
What followed was a really great multilayered brawling angle that again, Jericho has little to offer to except right at the end where he plays the perfect bump magnet for Darby Allin skating in to tackle him to the ground. Still one of my favorite moments in all of Dynamite’s run so far so Jericho gets points for playing his role well enough at that point but let’s be real. Jericho’s not the one doing the skateboarding.