By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
Jon Moxley and Chris Jericho: The opening with Moxley making his entrance and destroying Alex Reynolds was well done. The angle that followed with Jericho offering Moxley a spot in the Inner Circle was top notch in terms of delivery and the pacing of the angle. I assume Jericho vs. Moxley headlines the February 29 Rebellion pay-per-view. And with so much time before that event, it’s wise to stretch this out by having Jericho tell Moxley to consider his offer rather than have Moxley reject him on the spot with a Paradigm Shift.
The Young Bucks vs. Santana and Ortiz in a Texas street fight for an AEW Tag Title shot: A good hardcore tag match with plenty of weapons and the usual big spots from the Bucks. I was legitimately surprised to see the Bucks win, as I thought they were building to the heel Santana and Ortiz challenging and even defeating the babyface Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky next week. That said, the Bucks have been too eager to show that they won’t go overboard in pushing themselves despite their executive positions. If the Bucks win the tag titles then it will lead some fans alleging they are out for themselves. Screw those fans. The Bucks are one of the best teams in the world and they held tag titles in New Japan Pro Wrestling and Ring of Honor. Each of the wrestlers who are now executives were stars before this company was formed and they need to be even bigger stars for the good of AEW.
MJF promo: An excellent heel promo with MJF tearing into everything about Cody, including the previously unmentionable lisp, which drew sensational heat. I was genuinely surprised when MJF fired up the crowd about seeing him wrestling Cody and then actually confirmed that he would take the match (albeit with certain stipulations). Sure, I assumed we’d get the match eventually, but I thought this was going to be the formula heel move of firing up the crowd and then getting easy heat by not giving them what they want. MJF is a gifted talker and I love the role that Wardlow is playing as his muscle.
Kenny Omega and Hangman Page vs. Shawn Spears and Kip Sabian: Page stealing the pin from Omega was an interesting development and that story should continue next week with the duo facing The Lucha Brothers. While I like the direction this storyline seems to be going in, AEW officials need to go back and watch what they’ve done with Omega on Dynamite thus far and try to put themselves in the position of a fan who was unfamiliar with him. What have new fans really learned about the Omega character through eleven weeks of Dynamite? On a side note, the Joey Janela, Tully Blanchard, and Spears moment felt flat.
Cody and QT Marshall vs. The Butcher and The Blade: I like the way they got to Marshall being Cody’s tag partner, though I still can’t believe they didn’t show the brief MJF promo that was released online last week, which explained all of this perfectly. Still, this was a solid showcase for Butcher and Blade, and the post match scene with Darby Allin coming out to help Cody to his feet was well done in terms of Allin’s actions signifying that he’s willing to help Cody.
AEW Dynamite Misses
Big Swole vs. Emi Sakura: Swole is a good addition to the women’s roster, but AEW continues to make the mistake of just throwing the new female talent in the ring without introducing them. The most passionate pro wrestling fans are aware of Big Swole from the independent scene and remembers her from the Mae Young Classic, but AEW needs to assume that the majority of their viewers are not familiar with independent wrestlers. Produce introductory vignettes or make time for interviews or promos. Get us excited about seeing these wrestlers before they make their in-ring debuts on Dynamite.
Luchasaurus vs. Sammy Guevara: A soft Miss. This probably came off better to the live crowd than it did to viewers at home. It was a six-minute match with a commercial break, and even with the split screen I found it tough to stay invested in the match. Guevara is a really good pest heel, but part of the fun of a pest heel is the wait to see them put in their place. The wait with Guevara hasn’t been nearly long enough, as he lost a six-man tag match last week and followed up by losing this match.
The Dark Order video: The videos have been well produced, but I’m not big on the idea of the camera seemingly being invisible to Alex Reynolds in his own hotel room. I hope the twist is that Reynolds is already in Dark Order and he was simply playing a part in the latest recruitment video.