By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
Chris Jericho and Matt Hardy confrontation: I came away with very mixed feelings. Jericho’s promo on the Vanguard 1 drone, which included offering him a spot in the Inner Circle, was hysterical and one for the ages. The camera trick bit during Hardy’s teleporting entrance looked hokey. Hardy may have made it cool at one point, but I get my teleporting fix from the Undead Realm nonsense on Impact Wrestling these days and believe me when I say it’s more than enough. The Broken Matt act suffered more than most without the live crowd present and I have no interest in his character having special powers, but I still came away entertained by the segment, thanks in large part to Jericho’s mic work.
Kenny Omega vs. Sammy Guevara for the AAA Mega Championship: The best match of the show. Guevara couldn’t top the way he belted out “Judas” last week, but his antics continue to be entertaining. AEW should have done more to familiarize the audience with the AAA Mega Championship going into the match. They stopped using the AAA title belts a while back, so this had to be a bit confusing for casual viewers. By the way, did they bother to address the Blood & Guts match postponement during the show? If so, I missed it. Tony Khan explained his decision very well in an online post, but surely there are some casual viewers out aren’t paying attention to the AEW social media pages throughout the week and they deserved an update (assuming that I didn’t miss one).
Cody vs. Jimmy Havoc: A solid match to open the show. It was nice to see Havoc in a more traditional match rather than the hardcore style that he typically works. Cody going over was the logical move. The Jake Roberts promo afterward nearly required subtitles, but it’s interesting that the Cody character seems to be showing some apprehension when it comes to facing Lance Archer.
Darby Allin vs. Kip Sabian: This match actually looked better on paper than it was in execution. Perhaps I set my expectations too high. The match was still entertaining, though I would like to see them have a rematch at some point once things get back to normal and they have a live crowd to feed off. Allin’s Last Supper finisher was cool.
Jon Moxley and Jake Hager: Hager’s match with Chico Adams was a simple showcase match. The post match angle with Moxley worked for me in terms of setting up a television match. Hager strikes me as being more valuable as the muscle of the Inner Circle than as an active wrestler, so one can only hope that he won’t be too damaged if he’s fed to Moxley.
Brodie Lee vs. QT Marshall: It was a good night for Lee with the showcase win and a good video. But I felt like he focussed too much on spoofing Vince McMahon and he did so at the expense of his cult leader character. The footage of Lee not allowing Alex Reynolds and John Silver to eat until he finished his plate was interesting, but it would have been better if that footage had been positioned as something that leaked out of the Dark Order camp. Cult leaders attempt to maintain a positive public image because they want to add followers, so this should have been framed as something that the Dark Order didn’t want the public to see followed by a spin claim that the footage was doctored or taken out of context.
AEW Dynamite Misses
No wrestlers at ringside: It may have been out of AEW’s control, but it was disappointing that wrestlers were confined to sitting backstage rather than being at ringside as they were last week. The wrestlers weren’t exactly keeping their distance from one another in the small backstage area, so this approach didn’t seem safer than spreading them out at ringside. It also didn’t help that when they cut backstage, the wrestlers seemed to know they were on camera based on how overboard they went in expressing their enthusiasm for the matches they were watching. It still added to the atmosphere, but it was clearly a step back from last week’s approach. Again, though, a hat tip to all the wrestlers from all the shows that are still running during this challenging time.