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AEW Dynamite review: Jungle Boy becomes Jungle Man

Martin Cooper January 28, 2021
AEW Dynamite review

Here’s our AEW Dynamite review by former professional wrestler turned author Max Ammo as the Ammo family settles down to watch an extravaganza of wrestling.

My family is like a wrestling ring. A four-cornered circle. Without one of the posts it wouldn’t stand straight. Each member of my family is one of the ring-posts that make our squared circle.

My youngest son, Juan, is eight years old and the most serious wrestling fan in the house – after myself. His favourite wrestler of all time is Eddie Guerrero.

He’s also obsessed by Sting. He’s never seen WCW but he owns a knock-off Sting action figure that came in a box with the Terminator. Juan thinks if Sting is in AEW, the Terminator is a possibility. Who knows in 2021?


Santiago is 12. He’s a really good kid, I’m so proud to be his father. He loves Marvel and until recently left the wresting to Juan and I. Now he’s started watching more and more Dynamite.

My wife, Marcela, is a casual wrestling fan. She spends most matches chatting to her mother on the phone. You’d have to be Jon Moxley to persuade her to put her mum on hold.

I’m Max Ammo, a retired wrestler who had a ten-year career in the US where I was trained by Fern Owens and Ric Drasin. I held the UEW and MPW tag-team belts with my brother Jimi Mayhem before I met my lovely wife and moved to the Andes in Colombia to write a novel and raise my sons.

AEW Dynamite is the one show we all watch together – helping the boys’ English is how I pulled that off – so I thought I’d share with you what the Ammo Family thought of AEW Dynamite on Wednesday night (27 January).

AEW Dynamite review – that big-match feel

It’s always nice to hear JR opening the show. Tony and Excalibur do a great job but Jim Ross has been the voice of wrestling for so long he brings that big-match feel. He has been the man for so many great moments. JR is a huge asset to AEW and it will be a sad day when he calls his last “slobberknocker”.

Eddie Kingston vs Lance Archer

The opening bout was Eddie Kingston versus Lance Archer accompanied by Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts. Their entrances grabbed even a fickle 12-year-old’s attention. Roberts’ snake-print tracksuits have been getting more outrageous with every week. Loving that. Wardrobe in general on AEW has really picked up, adding to the production value.

Eddie and Lance started hard, classic as a bottle of Jack Daniels. The whole family was behind this one and JR was on classic form: “This match might be bowling shoe ugly.”

Kingston is always entertaining as hell and he brought the heat to Archer. If the purpose of the bout was to build Archer as an unstoppable monster, this match certainly kept that momentum going. At moments he looked like he was really trying to murder Kingston with a choke-slam on to the apron-ring.

Kingston saved himself from Archer’s ‘blackout’ but Archer continued to look dominant until The Butcher and The Blade appear holding Jake The Snake hostage while Bunny slips the knucks to Eddie. Great way to keep Archer looking strong. I won more than one match like that myself when a roll of pennies or some such just appeared. It happens, get over it.

It was a great way to keep their beef hot, adding insult to injury as Archer took more heat and the heels controlled the ring. Big thumbs up from all four corners of the Ammo family.

Jon Moxley

Next up was the Jon Moxley promo and instantly the man shows why he’s worth the money – he has real star charisma. Nice promo, Marcela liked it a little too much in my opinion. All the family were engaged. Great stuff.

What I found most amazing was watching how amped both kids were by Sting. The make-up helps to hide his age. He is the power of the action-figure. Using Sting to put over Darby Allin is a brilliant move. Allin deserves it, he’s cool to the kids who don’t think wrestling is cool but love Cobra Kai.

The window smashing popped the kids and the graphic for the street fight at Revolution looked amazing, total blockbuster PS5 game feel. Without doubt the match the family is amped for.

Juan thinks Terminator is going to be there. One of the most underrated skills in life is the ability to bang two plastic action figures together in your mind’s eye, seeing a spinning, symphony of violence like you’re watching a movie.

Inner Circle

You’re not going to find anyone more despicable or low than the Inner Circle – and I love it. Say what you want but people still pop hard for Fozzy in 2021. Not so Santiago, he thought it was Metallica.

Sterling heel work from MJF and Y2J kept the match going. All of us were enjoying it, although it did little to get the faces over with the kids. They were noticeably indifferent.

Pillman has got it all, they need to give him a dark edge – dirty, diesel – the mullet is great but he should be in blue denim, a 1980s metal gimmick. Jericho’s heat on Pillman was hilarious and paid off nicely with a beautiful cross-body.

They did a good job of teasing the false finishes but no-one really believed the faces were going over. When the end came it came with a Judas Effect and a beautiful lion-sault. Age still does nothing to lessen Y2J’s ability to hit that move.

And from England, here’s Pac

Next came a promo of the Bastard Pac. Is there a more perfect foil for Kenny Omega in the world right now? Their differing personalities make them perfect antagonists. If this programme fails to elevate Pac’s stock highly, it’s being handled badly. His promo was pure class although his accent makes Marcela nervous about moving to England – she can’t understand it at all.

This ain’t no action figure. Mandatory Credit: Scott Barbour/ALLSPORT

Unfortunately, what had been a great, high-energy show then went into an endless Shaq, baby, blah-blah. Marcela didn’t care, so that’s the female demo in my house. Santiago left the room until it was over while Juan spent the whole segment staring sadly at his Sting doll.

Kip Sabian

The Kip Sabian promo was met with zero interest from the Ammo family. I just don’t get it? Miro rode into Wrestlemania crouching on a tank like a commie King Kong. Why this co-ed booking? Lots of guys can do Hawaiian shirt goofy. Miro should be booked like Brock Lesnar. After the endless last segment I’m having to summon a reluctant Santiago: “Is it The Young Bucks yet?”

Thank the gods Hangman Page rode into town and business picked up. It was Santiago’s first time seeing Page and he was instantly engaged. It was a nice cut-off when Page’s boot caught Ryan Nemeth straight in the teeth when he went for a leapfrog.

Page looked like a rock star and the whole Ammo family were big fans of this match. Then Matt Hardy came out. Matt is always a pleasure to watch, lurking around the ring, adding another layer of substance to an already fun bout that ended with a brutal buckshot lariat.

Matt Hardy’s promo was great – I love the American Psycho manipulation kinda vibe. It felt like wrestling writing is evolving. With this kind of storyline, I have high hopes. Matt Hardy is a great creative talent.

Jurassic Express

Next up was the match I was most excited for. When I moved to the US in 2009 I trained at Ric Drasin’s wrestling school alongside Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus. Ric’s was where I met my tag-team partner Jimi Mayhem. Losing my old coach last August was one of the worst things about the annus horribilis that was 2020.

Juan is totally into Jurassic Express but Santiago is on the fence. I think he thinks they’re a bit too infantile. They did a great job of selling the handcuff stipulation and building Luchasaurus.

Jurassic Express’ entrance made them look the main event and even Santiago was engaged. What followed, as my entire family agreed, was the match of the night. It was great wrestling and never lost the feel of a real dogfight.

I loved the way Jungle stayed on the arm from the outside. The match just built and built until my whole family were bouncing on the bed for every false count. When they bridged up out of the pin exchange towards the end, I marked out myself.

JR is absolutely right when he says Dax would have been a success in our industry in any era. That is a hell of a compliment – and it’s true. Classic heel work, but this time he had a face worth getting over.

Respect for Jungle Boy

I have nothing but respect for Jungle Boy, he’s building his career the right way. Sure he could be bigger, but he’s slowly adding size. It takes a while to accumulate new muscle. It’s much healthier to add 10lb a year for a few years than bulk up and blow up.

I’ll tell you something I know personally, too – he’s one tough kid. He could have trained at any celebrity wrestling school but instead he came to UEW, the grimiest, most hardcore hole in East LA. Almost any photo you see of my career where I’m wearing the crimson mask was a UEW show. Jungle turned up there week after week to train with Blackheart Fern Owens and he put those kids through it hard.

Believe me, Fern is old school in the best way. Once, after I gave him some Limey lip before a match, he taught me a lesson by whispering “apple pie” as he wiped me down. “What the **** is an apple pie?” I replied. Seconds later Fern’s knee met my jaw and I received the lesson I deserved.

US wrestler Max Ammo who has written his autobiography, The Angriest Man Alive

I remember Jungle never mentioned his father was an actor. I had no idea until the sad news Luke Perry had passed. So when someone with scars from legit knife fights all over his body tells you “this is a tough kid”, you’d better believe I set the bar high.

The real storyline last night was Jungle Boy became Jungle Man. He gave it everything. He so deserved the “this is awesome” chants. With snare trap locked in, letting him win by submission was the legit push he needed.

A problem like Luchasaurus

Moving on to the terrible events that followed – the cutting of Luchasaurus’ horns. My wife shrieked when they were going to cut Jungle Boy’s hair, which made me question whether she really does prefer shaven-headed men to those with manes like Tarzan. Anyway, the spot brought up the dinosaur-sized question at AEW – what to do with Luchasaurus?

The problem seems to be no-one is really sure who the character is beyond the look. They should go all the way with this character, shoot a promo showing a guy who lives in cave like a hermit, so disgusted with humanity he wishes dinosaurs still ruled the Earth.

His only friend is the biggest lizard you can find. When he speaks he is a prophet, mid-blasted from decades of psychotropic isolation with his lizard. Keep the masks, make the ring gear more Mad Max, Jurassic survivalist.

Taz, Thunder Rosa and tag

Next up was Taz and his band, smashing up a stand for selling Darby and Sting merch. It was nice, short, got the point over and kept the momentum going.

Then came the only women’s match of the night – and it wasn’t up to the usual high standard. The DBZ riot gear looks amateur, aren’t AEW worried about legal? If I was paying to use that it would be on the hottest new star from Japan.

It was a second-rate bout and Thunder Rosa’s return at the end popped the family more than the whole match. My family love the Thunder Rosa character, she’s another who draws in the casual viewer and AEW should get some action figures of her on sale.

Next up was the promo for the eight-man tag. Out of any wrestlers on the roster the kids love The Young Bucks. They were a little muted during their promo with Gallows and Anderson, I’m not really into The Young Bucks being in the background.

Both kids were on the edge of the bed from the moment The Young Bucks came out. They are the reason Santiago watches wrestling at all. Even my wife sometimes stops talking to her mum on the phone when The Young Bucks are wrestling, the highest accolade.

New blood, new fans

Like it or not, The Young Bucks are total eye candy in the best possible way. New blood, new fans, that’s what we need without ‘tradition’ being used to deny what obviously sells. The Young Bucks’ gear looked great, both my younglings liked the urban camo. Well, they are Ammos!

Next out were Dark Order, fully embracing their role as the good guys. Uno and Anderson get things going with some lovely smash-mouth, old-fashioned big-man stuff. This was followed by Jon Silver who is really growing into his role as a face. The whole family was riveted as he called out the biggest man he could – Doc Gallows.

They did a fantastic version of the plucky little dog spot, which made me laugh out loud, and Silver was kept looking strong. All this opening was good enough to keep Santi from complaining: “When are The Young Bucks tagging in?” You have to understand he is 12, much cooler than me liking superheroes. That’s why they like guys like The Young Bucks, Thunder Rosa, Hikaru Shida, Darby Allin, and Abadon.

AEW Dynamite – everyone has a story

The rest of the match was outrageous, with double team after double team. All members of the Dark Order drew during the match and the kids popped for all of it. Even Marcela’s mother was on hold. So many diverse personalities, and every one has a story. And that’s what AEW has for me right now – a story.

Jon Silver’s fire-up was great and popped the fam big time. Back in with Matt Jackson, these two have great timing. You can’t say The Young Bucks don’t know how to sell a fight. The “this is awesome chants” were well deserved as we were treated to a symphony of false finishes and double teams.

When Gallows broke up the pin I heard my family exhale – the kids had held their breath through that whole sequence. The Young Bucks winning with the Meltzer Driver made total sense – the kids went crazy and Marcela went back to talking to her mother.

The attack by Rey Fenix kept the momentum going nicely to sell the upcoming match. We all popped and mother was forgotten as Moxley moved to clear the ring. That guy has movie-star quality. Rey Fenix hit that topaz so hard, he deserves pushing to the moon.

So the show ended with mum on hold and Santiago still watching so it’s a big thumbs up from all the Ammo family. For once, we agreed the matches of the night were Jungle and Dax. Same place next week.

To read more by Max Ammo, visit

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Martin Cooper is a senior editor and writer at The Focus. The man behind the style guide comes from a newspaper and magazine background and has worked in the sports, aeronautical and hospitality industries. While head of production at The Argus he appeared on the Jeremy Vine radio show and worked as a freelancer on the sports desk at The Sunday Times. Martin is also an FA Level 1-qualified coach and took his youth team from division five to division one in two seasons before going out at the top.