By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
Chris Jericho vs. Jungle Boy in a ten minute challenge: The in-ring action was entertaining and I love the way Jungle Boy showed heart by holding on despite Jericho having him locked in his finisher, and then how he nearly beat Jericho during the five extra minutes that Jericho demanded. Jericho claiming that he said Jericho couldn’t beat him in ten minutes only to have Tony Schiavone call him on it during the post match interview was fun. Jake Hager swatting Marko Stunt out of mid-air was a great visual. This match was the highlight of the night and hopefully they have a plan to follow up with Jungle Boy.
Kris Statlander vs. Britt Baker to earn an AEW Women’s Title shot: A good, competitive match. I like the way Statlander has been positioned as a powerhouse during her early run on Dynamite. While I still can’t wrap my head around Statlander thinking she’s an alien, they did a good job of establishing the way she communicates during the match and then having her give Brandi Rhodes an easy to understand rejection afterward. I hope they have a good plan for this alien gimmick and it’s not just a case of hoping that her independent gimmick will stick. Fans seem to be showing patience with this gimmick, but I can’t even imagine how negative the reaction would be if WWE introduced a wrestler who claimed to be an alien.
Kenny Omega and Hangman Page vs. Pentagon Jr. and Fenix: A good opener that actually came in a bit below my high expectations. The finish was logical in that the established tag team won while the match also continued the build toward the apparent Omega and Page split. I was surprised that it was Page accidentally hitting Omega followed by Omega taking the pin, as I thought they might do the opposite to play into Page’s growing frustration.
Cody and Darby Allin vs. The Butcher and The Blade: A soft Hit for a decent tag match. We know that The Butcher, The Blade, and The Bunny don’t care for Cody, but we don’t know enough about the trio beyond that. And now that they lost this match, where does that leave them? Meanwhile, I like the Cody and Allin pairing.
Overall show: This wasn’t the strongest edition of Dynamite, but it was a good show for the most part. Brandi Rhodes was still the only female given mic time, and she’s a good talker so the issue isn’t with her getting mic time as much as it is that the other women desperately need mic time and character development. That noted, they did a good job of spotlighting Kris Statlander, who apparently doesn’t communicate the way humans do (I can’t believe I just wrote that). They also made time for the Jungle Boy sit-down interview with Jim Ross, the Young Bucks video package, and some other other talking segments. In other words, this was more than just wrestling, wrestling, and nothing but wrestling.
AEW Dynamite Misses
Dark Order: The faction received some good vignettes leading up to their attack on The Elite and SCU after the main event, but it feels like AEW is going way overboard. I appreciated AEW creative doing their best to make a gimmick work that wasn’t well received coming out of the gate. But it feels like they are pushing them far too aggressively by having them work over the top guys. The Dark Order strikes me as a mid-card act. AEW creative clearly feels otherwise. If they are hellbent on making this work, then here’s hoping this is leading to something bigger and they eventually reveal a notable name as the hidden leader of the faction. The current version with Evil Uno leading a team known primarily for their enhancement work and a bunch of masked independent wrestlers just isn’t cutting it.