By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
Chris Jericho and Sammy Guevara vs. Kenny Omega and Matt Hardy in a Street Fight: A fun over the top brawl. It was a nice touch to have the spectator wrestlers follow the action into the concourse to maintain the atmosphere. The Inner Circle numbers game finish was pretty basic, but they needed to put some heat on the faction after they were in the most entertaining comedy segments throughout the Norcross tapings via The Bubbly Bunch videos.
AEW Champion Jon Moxley vs. Frankie Kazarian in a non-title match: Moxley facing a fellow babyface who primarily works in the tag division didn’t do much for me on paper, but the wrestlers drew me into the match with their hard work. The post match angle with Dark Order attacking Cody and SCU was a bit strange in that none of the babyface spectators tried to help, but it set the table for the Moxley vs. Brodie Lee title match at Double Or Nothing. It’s just a shame they didn’t actually show the footage of Lee walking off with the title belt.
AEW Women’s Champion Nyla Rose vs. Kenzie Paige in a non-title match: This was the dominant win that Rose needed in her return to television. The video package that preceded the match served as a nice spotlight for Rose and her top contenders. They announced a four-way match for next week that Excalibur assumed would have title match ramifications. Is there a reason they didn’t just announce that the winner will challenge Rose at Double Or Nothing? I guess we’ll find out.
Cody vs. Joey Janela: It’s encouraging to see the improvement of Janela in traditional matches as opposed to his usual hardcore style. It wasn’t flawless, but he had a good outing and the match was laid out in a way that made him look competitive with one of the company’s top stars.
Lance Archer vs. QT Marshall: The simple formula of Archer destroying Cody’s brother and now one of his friends is an effective way to build to their match in the finals of the TNT Title tournament. The post match angle with Jake Roberts placing the snake over Brandi Rhodes was a great throwback moment for longtime viewers and totally worked today. I love the way the broadcast team was quick to explain that the shower area is so far away from the ring that the wrestlers have to use a golf cart to get there, which was their way of explaining why Cody didn’t attempt to save his wife. It didn’t explain why none of the spectator wrestlers tried to help Brandi. Then again, it’s a freaking snake! If I had a pungi handy, then maybe I’d try to charm the serpent from the safety of my ringside chair, but that’s about as close as I’d get to the ring while that thing was slithering around.
Overall show: The return to live television was fun. AEW made the best of a tough situation with the skeleton crew they had at the Norcross tapings, so this show including a lot of returning faces was the real key more so than simply running live. And while Chris Jericho was missed on commentary, the usual broadcast team of Jim Ross, Excalibur, and Tony Schiavone did a really nice job and came off genuinely happy to be working together again. AEW continues to benefit from having wrestlers serving as spectators at ringside. It’s ridiculous that WWE had Stephanie McMahon deliver a thinly veiled shot at AEW for taking this approach, as WWE continues to pay the price for not following AEW’s lead. For that matter, I was disappointed that Impact Wrestling didn’t follow AEW’s lead at their Nashville tapings.
AEW Dynamite Misses
Brandi Rhodes promo: Brandi is a good talker, but I usually come away from her promos feeling like the company is reaching to come up with things for her to talk about. In this case, her promo felt like something that could have been tweaked to air in response to what Roberts did to her rather than air in advance of the angle.