By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
AEW Dynamite Hits
Pac vs. Kenny Omega in an Iron Man match: Bell to bell, this was the best match Omega and Pac have had in AEW by far. They avoided the shortcuts of racking up too many falls that would have never happened in singles matches, and they didn’t burn out the audience with finishers and near falls. This was a performance that both men needed, but particularly Kenny Omega, who hasn’t been given many opportunities to deliver this kind of match in a singles environment since Dynamite began last year. You can nitpick the lack of selling at various points and Kenny’s miraculous recovery in overtime, but they are minor complaints for what was an early contender for AEW Match of the Year.
Chris Jericho and Jon Moxley Weigh-In: AEW has managed to build this championship feud for several months without giving away too much 1v1 physicality between Jericho and Moxley, which is an accomplishment given how much television time this feud has consumed. The crowds have been red hot whenever the two of them tangle up, and the weigh-in format added a big match feel to the entire situation. Jericho used Moxley’s own Paradigm Shift DDT to embarrass him to close the show, and the image of a bloodied Jericho holding up the belt over a fallen Moxley was a strong one. The use of Darby Allin and Dustin Rhodes here to ratchet up the tension in the segment, along with their own feuds, was smart business.
JR’s Interview with The Elite: This was a strong interview that added much needed detail to the internal struggle that has been brewing among The Elite members. For the first time on Dynamite, the Young Bucks showed their bitterness about Omega and Page holding the AEW Tag Team Championships, and also their willingness to put down Adam Page for wanting to carve his own path. Omega continues to play the part of a person torn between friends, but ultimately he will have to choose a side. The idea of Page feuding with the other Elite Members seems like a real possibility, but the question remains about who will be ultimately cast as a villain. This was easily the best promo segment of this feud thus far.
Best Friends vs. The Butcher & The Blade: A minor Hit for the creative interaction between Orange Cassidy and The Bunny. The crowd was very into the post match promo, which saw Trent and Chuck say that Orange Cassidy might actually try when he faces Pac on Saturday.
AEW Dynamite Misses
Yuka Sakazaki vs. Big Swole vs. Shanna vs. Hikaru Shida: What was the point of Big Swole interjecting herself into Nyla Rose’s business if she was just going to take another loss this week? Beyond that, this match stuck out for the wrong reasons. There were some awkward low points in the action where it seemed like these competitors were unfamiliar with one another and may have forgotten some spots. The crowd was also less enthusiastic for this than anything else on the show. It may be advisable to shorten these matches and offer more opportunities for these women to do some character development, rather than struggle through matches that crowds aren’t responding to.
Missing Promos: This show could have used live promos from Cody and MJF, and some additional story development for the AEW Women’s Championship match. MJF not responding to Cody running his gauntlet and meeting all of his stipulations seemed like a major missed opportunity. You can point people towards the Countdown to Revolution special, but even in the best case scenario that’s only going to be seen by a portion of your captive audience for Dynamite.