By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
Chris Jericho vs. Darby Allin in a street fight for the AEW Championship: Excalibur told the television audience that rope breaks were still in play for a street fight, but apparently no one bothered to tell the live crowd. Either way, the rope breaks and the referee’s five counts didn’t make any sense. Would there really be a DQ in a street fight for a wrestler ignoring the rope break count? And how silly is it that a rope break is enforced, yet the referee couldn’t do anything about Jericho taping Allin’s hands behind his back? Okay, that’a a lot of grumbling for something that ultimately ended up in the Hit section. Despite the conceptual flaws, this was an entertaining match. Allin performing all those spots with his arms taped behind his back was really fun and the Jake Hager interference drew great heat from the live crowd.
Kenny Omega and Hangman Page vs. Jon Moxley and Pac: The live crowd loved this match and for good reason. There was plenty of great action and gave viewers a taste of Omega vs. Moxley without giving away too much. I liked the finish with Pac taking issue with Moxley and Omega introducing barbwire weaponry and tossing both items to ringside, only to have Moxley flip him off, drop him with his finisher, and then walk out. This gave Pac a huge out for losing the match and set the stage for next week’s Moxley vs. Pac match (that match sure came together quickly).
Cody video package: A strong showcase for Cody heading into his championship match with Chris Jericho at the Full Gear pay-per-view. Cody has shown the ability to tell great stories and generate real emotion in his post WWE career and this was no exception. It’s great to see that AEW isn’t afraid to slow things down and air good video packages rather than limit them to their Youtube series. Here’s hoping we get more of this type of storytelling for more wrestlers.
Riho vs. Dr. Britt Baker for the AEW Women’s Championship: The best women’s match in the brief history of AEW. It was fun to see Riho take it to Baker rather than work from underneath for the majority of the match. She really needed a strong offensive showing to establish herself as the gold standard in the division and she accomplished that in this match. The finish was clever and the broadcast team did a great job of explaining what was happening.
Scorpio Sky and Frankie Kazarian vs. Trent Beretta and Chuck Taylor in an AEW Tag Team Title tournament match: Pentagon Jr. and Fenix taking out Christopher Daniels was a fun way to start the show and did a great job of setting up Sky for a spotlight moment. The Sky and Kazarian finisher was clunky, but the overall match and Scorpio being featured prominently clicked. Here’s hoping that this leads to AEW ultimately featuring Scorpio in the singles division while Daniels and Kazarian do their thing as a tag team.
Santana and Ortiz vs. Alex Reynolds and John Silver: This was the first real squash style match on Dynamite and that’s totally logical, as it’s exactly what Santana and Ortiz should be doing as they are introduced to the AEW audience. On the flip side, Chris Jericho cutting a promo for Santana and Ortiz was mildly concerning. He’s the faction leader and a tremendous talker, but I continue to hope that AEW officials don’t think Santana and Ortiz need someone to talk for them. Konnan did the bulk of the talking in Impact, but Santana and Ortiz showed that they can be counted on to deliver good, strong, passionate promos.
Pentagon Jr. and Fenix vs. Marko Stunt and Jungle Boy in an AEW Tag Team Title tournament match: A fun match with the underdog team getting in some crowd pleasing spots before the right team went over. Jim Ross stating that Stunt couldn’t afford to make a single mistake (due to his size) was a good and logical line. I get a kick out of Stunt, though I do understand why he’s polarizing. His matches are always fun and he does a great job of performing some wild moves and an even better job of taking punishment from his opponents. While Santana and Ortiz don’t need anyone to talk for them, Pentagon Jr. and Fenix sure could use Konnan or someone else to speak for them.
AEW Dynamite Misses
None: Another strong outing for AEW. It was a strong two-hour effort without any dull moments and everything seemed to serve a purpose. My only gripe is that I’m still left wanting to hear more from the AEW wrestlers. It was so encouraging when AEW officials made it known that they wouldn’t be scripting promos, but for some reason they haven’t turned the talent loose on the mic yet. Even a failed attempt from someone trying to interview Darby Allin going into his title match would have been helpful from a storytelling standpoint. Even if he had remained in mute mode when an interviewer stuck a microphone in his face, it would have told viewers that his character is taking the silent approach. It’s hard to tell if they want him to be silent and brooding or if he’s just one of the many wrestlers who isn’t getting promo time. All of that said, this was a good television show and AEW is off to a strong start with their weekly television product.
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...