By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
Private Party vs. The Young Bucks in an AEW Tag Title Tournament match: This looked really fun on paper and it over delivered. The live crowd was hot and looking for reasons to cheer and this match provided them with plenty of opportunities. The series of Marq Quen dives to ringside was a blast and got a well deserved strong reaction from the crowd. Matt Jackson’s running powerbomb on Isiah Kennedy on the ramp was another cool spot. For all the petty fan grumbling about the executives in the company spotlighting themselves, the Bucks were eliminated in the first match of the tag title tournament. And by the way, the executives are all among the top stars in the company and should be featuring themselves prominently, not proving some point to paranoid fans. But I don’t think that’s what this was. Rather, it was the Bucks simply elevating a good young tag team.
Chris Jericho promo: “We The People sucked and it’s dead and buried. It was a stupid idea from bad creative and all that’s gone.” Amen. But the promo was about more than just bashing WWE creative. Jericho introduced each member of The Inner Circle and did a great job of building them up. It’s a treat to hear Jericho speaking freely and responding to the crowd rather than sticking to a script. We’re only two weeks in so I’m not panicking, but I hope AEW officials know that Santana and Ortiz are really good talkers. Konnan did the majority of the talking for LAX in Impact Wrestling, but Santana and Ortiz showed in their limited mic time that they can more than hold their own.
Chris Jericho and Sammy Guevara vs. Dustin Rhodes and Hangman Page: A good tag team main event that featured star power without giving away anything that should be saved for pay-per-view. It’s refreshing to see Dustin Rhodes treated like a veteran star rather than a comedy figure. For his sake alone, I wish AEW exited ten years sooner. Page had a really good showing in the ring, though I continue to hope that the company will do more to establish his personality. Guevara was really good in terms of bumping around for both babyfaces and making their offense look good. Jake Hager’s interference setting up the finish won’t please everyone, but it was logical in terms of establishing his his role in the Inner Circle faction. The post match angle with Cody showing up to save his brother only to be outnumbered by Inner Circle was well done, and the latest MJF swerve was really good. Finally, the chaos at the end of the show that concluded with Darby Allin skateboarding down the ramp and attacking Jericho was a lot of fun.
Jon Moxley vs. Shawn Spears: A solid match with Moxley getting a decisive win in his Dynamite debut match. I hope there’s a plan in place for Spears, whose high profile losses to Cody and now Moxley have wiped away the good buzz that he and Tully Blanchard had heading into the All Out event. The post match angle with Pac hitting Kenny Omega from behind and leaving him for Moxley, who then passed up the chance to attack Omega, was interesting. When are we going to hear from Moxley? I know we’re only two weeks in, but I’m anxious to hear Moxley unleashed.
Darby Allin vs. Jimmy Havoc for a shot at the AEW Championship: A minor Hit. The Havoc introductory promo was solid. I was hoping for something similar from Allin, but perhaps the idea is to make him a dark and brooding character. Either way, the match was solid and Allin’s Coffin Drop finisher stands out as something unique that fans haven’t seen in WWE.
Britt Baker and Riho vs. Emi Sakura and Bea Priestley: More of an in the middle than a Hit or Miss. The wrestlers worked hard, but the match felt a little random in terms of why the partners teamed together and what purpose the match served. I liked the post match friction between Baker and Priestly and look forward to their singles match.
AEW Dynamite Misses
None: This wasn’t a red hot show or particularly memorable show in terms of surprises or major storyline developments. It was just a good, entertaining two-hour episode. It must have been tempting for AEW’s booking committee to rush into some big matches to help establish the company’s television presence, but they’ve shown real creative restraint thus far. Dynamite would benefit from a bit more promo work and more production pieces that help establish the lesser exposed talent (and simply because they have some really good talkers). Overall, though, AEW Dynamite is off to a very good start. The show looks terrific, the crowds are hot, the broadcast team is doing strong work, and that creative discipline is very encouraging.