By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
Pac vs. Darby Allin: Pac looked as ruthless as ever while working over Allin for the majority of the match. It played perfectly into Allin’s persona in that he took a huge beating and kept coming back for more. Pac came out of the match looking even stronger, and Allin gained something in defeat by showing so much heart. The post match angle with a blood covered and bandaged Moxley coming out to set up next week’s main event was well done and gave viewers a strong hook to come back next week.
Young Bucks vs. Kenny Omega and Hangman Page vs. Santana and Ortiz vs. Best Friends in a four-way for an AEW Tag Title shot: The usual hot opening match on Dynamite. I liked the storytelling with one of the Bucks having to choose between tagging in Omega or Page and the long face that Page showed after Omega got the nod. Page’s pouting didn’t last long, but it furthered the story of what seems to be a slow build toward his heel turn. Here’s hoping that someone in production is already working on the highlight package that will show why Page reached his breaking point. Will it come next week when Omega and Page challenge for the tag titles? By the way, I was groaning when the wrestlers set up the contrived eight-man suplex spot, but it was worth it when Orange Cassidy entered the ring to a big pop and helped the Best Friends side win the suplex battle.
Cody responds to MJF: Cody has had better promos, but a hard to follow Cody promo is still better than most promos. It’s good to see that this storyline is moving forward after they took their time getting to Cody’s response. I actually like the idea of MJF giving Cody ten lashes. It’s the type of thing that will make some viewers turn their heads, but I doubt many will turn the channel.
Jon Moxley vs. Sammy Guevara: I don’t think anyone expected the match to be as competitive as it was. Ultimately, though, it could help Guevara and it’s nearly impossible to damage Moxley at this point. The post match angle with Jericho targeting Moxley’s eye with a spike was well done. The production team has been criticized and often deservedly so, but in this case they did a good job of finding an angle that didn’t show how far away the spike actually came from hitting Moxley’s eye. It seems like a little thing, but as great as WWE production can be, they are guilty of needlessly airing replays that show moves missing and take viewers out of the moment.
Dallas Page, Dustin Rhodes, and QT Marshall vs. MJF, The Butcher, and The Blade: Unfortunately, the production team took a turn for the worse by showing a split screen replay while MJF was scoring the rollup win. Putting that aside, MJF clearly needed to go over given his high profile feud with Cody. Page’s return to the ring was very well received by the live crowd despite the lackluster build last week. I still think they should have saved Page’s return to give an undercard pay-per-view match some juice, but it was nice to see the live crowd so appreciative.
Joey Janela gets promo time: There was nothing special or even particularly memorable about it, but I’m all for the younger wrestlers getting more promo time to establish their characters.
AEW Dynamite Misses
Brandi Rhodes and Mel vs. Kris Statlander and Hikaru Shida: The crowd was red hot for the first 30 minutes of the show and then there were times early in this match when it felt like you could have heard a pin drop. The match quality was just plain lousy. The women can improve in the ring, but the big issue continues to be the lack of character development in the women’s division. The only positive in this entire match was Brandi doing a callback to the nose pointing communication she had with Statlander only to have Statlander respond by throwing a kick to her head.