By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks vs. Chris Jericho, Santana, and Ortiz: A fun main event with some of the hottest acts in the company involved. It was odd that the referee didn’t call for the bell when Jon Moxley interfered and even stranger that the production crew completely ignored whatever was happening in the ring to follow the Moxley and Omega brawl. But it was a good brawl that ended with the wild stunt of Moxley putting through a glass table, which heats up their feud for the Full Gear pay-per-view. Moxley taking out Omega left the Bucks to fight shorthanded and they had a strong showing before the numbers game eventually did them in. The post match scene was wild and closed the show on the a good note with the heels getting heat, giving viewers a reason to come back to see the babyfaces seek revenge. By the way, it should be fun to hear MJF’s explanation for why he didn’t come out to save his buddy Cody.
Cody vs. Sammy Guevara: The presentation for the opening match was an immediate Hit. They didn’t just go straight to the ring, they had a video package that featured comments from both men that gave viewers a feel for what both characters are about. The match was well worked and I loved the spot with Guevara pulling Brandi Rhodes into her husband’s dive, which led to the crash landing right in front of Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes. It was a little strange that Brandi was back on her feet and unfazed so quickly. Cody was obviously the star of the match, but Guevara was made to look very strong in defeat with some great last moment kickouts and some impressive near falls of his own. The post match attack by Chris Jericho was well done. With Cody, Jericho, Jim Ross, and Tony Schiavone, AEW offered viewers a lot of star power in the first 25 minutes alone.
Pac vs. Hangman Page: A strong match with a low blow finish that played into Pac’s heel persona while also protecting Page. They can definitely go back to this match and I hope they do. My only concern is that we’re five events into AEW’s existence and they have yet to really showcase Page’s personality properly on television (he cut a good promo on one of the “Road To” shows).
Riho vs. Nyla Rose to become the first AEW Women’s Champion: It wasn’t always pretty or smooth, but the effort was there and there were some impressive moments along the way. It was bold to give this match so much time, but the wrestlers filled it nicely. The production team did a really good job overall, though I just could have done without all the cutting to crowd shots, especially at key points late in the match. Riho going over was a surprise. Rose appeared to kick out right around the time of the pinfall, so it will be interesting to see if she claims she was screwed by a bad referee decision. By the way, who would have guessed that Kenny Omega’s first appearance in front of the live crowd would be running out minus entrance music to save Riho?
MJF vs. Brandon Cutler: I was disappointed that we didn’t get an introductory video package to let viewers know more about these guys, but MJF delivered a good heel promo that drew heat from the crowd and gave unfamiliar viewers a cue that they were supposed to dislike him. It was hard to tell whether Cutler legitimately injured his knee, but I like that the match didn’t overstay its welcome and accomplished what it need to in only a few minutes.
SCU and Lucha Brothers: A minor Hit for a brief brawl that didn’t set up anything in particular unless they are already foreshadowing that these teams will meet in the finals of the tag team tournament. Scorpio Sky did a good job with the Barack Obama impersonation, and I loved that he busted out the Jimmy Walker “Dy-no-mite!” line. Here’s hoping that Sky allowing Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian to to represent SCU in the tag title tournament leads to Sky doing more as a singles wrestler.
AEW Dynamite Misses
Angelico and Jack Evans confront Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes: As a huge fan of Clerks and a lot of Smith’s work, it pains me to put him and Mewes in the Miss section. But this felt really contrived with Angelico and Evans coming out for no good reason along with Smith’s over the top reactions. Private Party coming out to save the celebrities was uneventful, but at least it put this segment out of its misery. One of the perks of a Ross led broadcast team is that he isn’t afraid to call it as he sees it, so the trio won’t lose credibility by endorsing bad segments.
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Ricky Starks on his NWA run, doing enhancement work for WWE, leaving NOLA due to Hurricane Katrina, the January 24 NWA Hard Times PPV on FITE.TV, his relationship with Nick Aldis, and much more...