By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky vs. Kenny Omega and Hangman Page for the AEW Tag Titles: A very good tag team match led to the first title change in AEW history. Page did a terrific job of showing his frustration in the post match interview when Tony Schiavone cut him off, and then the Young Bucks interrupted Page a second time when they showed up to celebrate. I hope there’s a storyline purpose for Page having a drinking issue because it doesn’t feel necessary in the moment. The dig that Page took at the Young Bucks was well done and I assume we’ll end up seeing Omega and Page vs. The Young Bucks for the tag titles at the pay-per-view.
Jon Moxley vs. Pac to become No. 1 contender to the AEW Championship: The Moxley injury played nicely into the match with Pac ruthlessly targeting the wounded eye. It was a nice touch to have an actual bandage covering the bad eye so that viewers didn’t get to see it unblemished after Pac ripped the head wrap away. Moxley going over felt somewhat predictable but not entirely given that there was still enough time between now and the pay-per-view that they could have done a title match on television next week and still found a way to put Moxley in the No. 1 contenders position at AEW Revolution.
Chris Jericho, Santana, and Ortiz vs. Luchasaurus, Jungle Boy, and Marko Stunt: The Jurassic Express trio was used perfectly. Jungle Boy was isolated and did a nice job of selling before making a hot tag. Luchasaurus looked strong and was logically taken away from the match by brawling with Jake Hager. Stunt got some really good near falls on Jericho before being put away with a great Judas Effect elbow. AEW’s creative forces still need to position Santana and Ortiz as an elite tag team and not just as henchmen for Jericho.
Priscilla Kelly vs. Britt Baker: The match was an improvement over last week’s women’s match (it would have been tough to do worse) and gets a soft Hit. The post match promo really put the segment over the top. It was a nice touch to have Baker heel on the popular Tony Schiavone by mocking the time he spent working at Starbucks. The wrestling crazed fans on the Jericho Cruise were fully aware of that legitimate story and responded with good heat for Baker.
Jericho Cruise setting: I must admit that the idea of running a taped show from a cruise ship didn’t strike me as a great idea for a company in the midst ratings battle with NXT. But the unique setting actually turned out to be a positive. The stage looked big league, and having the floor and balcony filled with rabid fans made for a fun atmosphere. I actually came away wishing that we would have seen more of the ship with promos and angles filmed in different settings. Another plus of the ship was that there wasn’t as much room at ringside, which forced the wrestlers to pull back on the dives and mostly keep the action in the ring. Wrestlers from all companies have become dive happy to the point that they just don’t feel as special as they should. Less is more.
AEW Dynamite Misses
MJF vs. Joey Janela: A minor Miss for the distraction finish of Kip Sabian and Penelope Ford making out on the stage leading to the MJF comeback. AEW viewers weren’t introduced to the Janela and Ford characters as a couple. So while the story is easy enough to follow, it just doesn’t pack much of a punch to see Janela’s ex-girlfriend making out with Sabian. It seems like AEW is stretching this out to save the Janela vs. Sabian match for pay-per-view when it feels like a match they could easily book for Dynamite or even Dark.