By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
Chris Jericho celebration: A hilariously over the top celebration of all things Jericho. This was a great spectacle to open the show, and the crowd was fully engaged and going back and forth between booing, laughing, and cheering. I wouldn’t want to see Dynamite open with a 17-minute talking segment every week, but this was really fun and got the show off to an entertaining start. The only weakness was that SCU’s attack fell a little flat at the end.
Chris Jericho vs. Scorpio Sky for the AEW Championship: A fun title match with the crowd rallying behind Sky despite AEW not giving them as much incentive as they should have (more on that later). Sky got some good near falls and Jim Ross was really good at telling the story of the match and cheerleading the likable babyface. I was surprised to see Sky tap out, as it didn’t seem to mesh with the heart the character has shown. The post match with Jon Moxley walking out for the long distance staredown was a teaser to close the show with (along with the fan next to Moxley yelling, “F— him up!!!”).
Kenny Omega vs Pac: Their first match at All Out match didn’t live up to their own expectations, so you had to know they were going all out in this rematch. Here’s hoping that the next time we see this match the stakes are high and they are given at least 30 minutes on pay-per-view. More importantly, here’s hoping that this is step one toward Omega becoming the star that he is rather than the quirky goofball he’s been since AEW launched.
MJF vs. Hangman Page for the Dynamite Diamond Ring: They never sold me on the significance of the diamond ring, but they made the right call in putting over MJF while establishing his new partnership with Wardlow. MJF’s version of the CrossRhodes was brutal and hopefully Page was okay after taking that abomination. The post match angle with Dallas Page showing up was fine, but I was surprised that it didn’t lead to the legend taking a beatdown from MJF’s heater.
The Dark Order vignette: The last two vignettes have been slick and well produced. Only time will tell if it helps the tag team get over, but the effort to establish their characters should be applauded.
AEW Dynamite Misses
Scorpio Sky: There was a hell of a story to tell with the 17-year veteran working the biggest singles match of his career, but AEW never bothered to tell it. It’s a shame because Sky is so down to earth and relatable. And even though this wasn’t scripted to be his night, a good video feature or even a sit-down interview could have paid long term dividends.
Pentagon Jr. and Rey Fenix vs. Best Friends: A minor Miss for what was a well worked opening tag match. I can’t say I cared for the outcome, but I assume there’s a reason for it. The problem is that it beating Pentagon and Fenix should have felt bigger than this did. The tag division is deep, but it feels like the company is taking a parity booking approach. Orange Cassidy is a fun addition to the Best Friends act, which otherwise consists of two good wrestlers who hug once a match. Hopefully the Best Friends push will coincide with some character development for Chuck Taylor and Trent (and maybe Trent can finally get a non-WWE last name?).
Cody attacked by The Butcher and The Blade: Cody’s squash match win over Matt Knicks was fine. The post match attack by The Butcher and The Blade was not well received, as the live crowd clearly wasn’t familiar with them. Allie joining the duo at the end spiced things up a bit from a storyline standpoint, as it’s possible that this her retaliation against Brandi Rhodes over her recent actions with Awesome Kong. If so, it will be interesting to see how they weave the heel Brandi and babyface Cody characters back together.
Dustin Rhodes, Young Bucks, Santana, Ortiz, and Sammy Guevara: They completely lost me by having the heels look like goofs while waiting for what felt like an eternity to be kicked in the balls while the babyfaces played to the crowd before hitting the three-way Shattered Dreams spot.
Emi Sakura and Bea Priestly vs. Hikaru Shida and Kris Statlander: This had AEW Dark written all over it. The match felt random and had some rough moments. It also felt like a Statlander showcase at times, but she ended up taking the loss for her team. It didn’t feel like Sakura or Priestly gained anything in victory. The tag match got all four women some television time, but most of the female wrestlers are in dire need of character development.
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...