By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
Jon Moxley promo: An outstanding rally cry promo. The words “we brought pro wrestling back” resonated with the hardcore AEW fans as well as fans who don’t pick sides yet grow tired of Vince McMahon’s sports entertainment approach. It means more knowing that Moxley was speaking from the heart and not simply reciting words that were written for him to get over a company initiative. Moxley believes in what he is saying and that shines through.
Darby Allin vs. Chris Jericho and Sammy Guevara in a handicap match: Jericho vowing at the top of the show that he would leave the company for sixty days if Moxley left the building under his own power was a strong hook. This was the Inner Circle’s Empire Strikes Back show in that the heel faction bounced back and looked stronger than ever after Jericho dropped the AEW Title at Revolution. And despite this segment concluding with the Inner Circle standing tall, Allin came off really well in the handicap match. Allin looked sympathetic whenever selling and like a strong babyface sensation when he took the fight to the two heels.
Cody and Jake Roberts: A compelling segment with Roberts establishing that he will be introducing a new adversary for Cody. Brodie Lee (f/k/a Luke Harper) stands out as a strong possibility with Lance Archer also in the speculation mix. Jake’s line at the end about not turning your back on someone you respect or fear only to turn his back on Cody was an instant classic.
MJF promo: It’s no secret that MJF has the gift of gab. He can always be counted on for a good insult comic style promo. The jab at Cody’s neck tattoo was great and I loved the “I Pinned Cody” t-shirt, but this promo felt different. MJF cut back on the joke count and came off as more of a main event player. Everything about this worked, including the simple touch of Wardlow putting his hand over the camera at the end.
Pac vs. Chuck Taylor: An entertaining match with Taylor showing good heart only for Pac to beat him in the end. The post match scene with Pentagon Jr. and Rey Fenix helping Pac beat down Best Friends and Orange Cassidy was solid, and the announcement of the Death Triangle faction was interesting. I normally cringe at the thought of six-man tag titles in pro wrestling because I haven’t seen it done well at a national level in the United States since the days of the Von Erichs and Freebirds. But AEW has a lot of quality trios established so perhaps they will be the company that makes it work if that’s what they have planned.
Colt Cabana and SCU vs. The Dark Order: A solid eight-man tag match. It was a savvy move to have The Young Bucks pop up at the end of Matt Hardy’s YouTube video. With all the speculation that Hardy is the Exalted One and now this YouTube tease, fans will be watching the Dark Order segments closely.
Big Swole vs. Leva Bates: It was refreshing to see a squash match showcase one of the female wrestlers. It was a big upgrade over the usual formula of putting two women in the ring for ten minutes without any backstory. I’d still like to see AEW give more promo time to the women who can deliver on the mic and/or more production pieces that help establish their characters, but the squash match was a step in the right direction.
Jake Hager vs. QT Marshall: A showcase win for Hager in his first AEW Dynamite match. The post match was well done with the Inner Circle getting the better of Marshall, Dustin Rhodes, and Matt Jackson until Hangman Page made his slow walk to the ring. And unlike last week when Darby Allin looked bad for taking his time making a save, it makes perfect sense for the Page character to do things on his time given his character’s current state of mind. I liked the simple touch of having him make the save only to flip the bird to Jackson.
AEW Dynamite Misses
None: AEW didn’t give away any big matches and even included a couple of squash matches, yet everything served a purpose and the show never dragged. This was a good, well paced episode. It’s also worth noting again that AEW made their Revolution pay-per-view feel important. They didn’t have to turn the page to rush into promoting another pay-per-view like WWE often does. It’s not so much about selling replays as it is establishing that these quarterly events truly matter, which should help with future pay-per-view sales.