By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
Matt Hardy vs. Sammy Guevara: Does Hardy’s AEW deal require him to be in the Dynamite main event on a weekly basis? In fairness, while I would like to see AEW shake up the Dynamite main events a bit, Hardy has delivered each time. In this case, he had a really good outing with Guevara, who continues to lose more than he wins, yet is talented enough that he’s been able to maintain his heat thus far. There has also been an overload of show closing brawls between the Inner Circle and The Elite. This one was carried by the returns of the Young Bucks and Hangman Page and was an appropriate final segment on the go-home show for Double Or Nothing, but hopefully they shake up the formula coming out of the pay-per-view.
AEW Champion Jon Moxley vs. 10 in a non-title match: A logical showcase win for Moxley, who destroyed Brodie Lee’s “high knight” while waiting for the rest of the Dark Order to hit the ring. Lee’s pre-match promo was well delivered and he’s doing a better job of focusing on playing the part of the cult leader rather than spoofing Vince McMahon. Unfortunately, he didn’t really sell me on the idea of him being a strong threat to take the title from Moxley at Saturday’s AEW Double Or Nothing. On the flip side, I enjoyed Moxley threatening to break 10’s arm and then hilariously asking him, “Are you a very special boy?” Lee declining to save his pledge was right for his character, and Moxley shrugging it off and then performing the Conchairto on 10’s arm was perfect.
Orange Cassidy vs. Rey Fenix: A hot match with a couple of excellent DDTs from Cassidy that Fenix sold like a champ. The low blow finish off the Kip Sabian distraction was nothing special, but obviously the post match brawl was done as a teaser for Saturday’s Casino Ladder Match. I just hope Fenix is okay after performing that dive and having everyone at ringside fail to catch him. It looked like a scene out of a baseball blooper video with several players gathering under a lazy pop fly and then letting it drop because no one bothered to yell, “I got it.”
MJF vs. Marko Stunt: This was fun with MJF arrogantly toying with the undersized Stunt throughout the match. Stunt got a nice hope spot sequence before MJF cut him off and won the match. I still don’t understand the issue that some fans have with Stunt. He’s the ultimate underdog and makes his opponents look great by taking some hellacious bumps, and kids can totally relate to him due to his size and look.
Arn Anderson and Jake Roberts: As great as these two were at delivering promos over the years, a back and forth verbal exchange is a different animal. The segment wasn’t flawless by any means, but it accomplished what it needed to and it’s still a treat for longtime fans to see both men verbally sparring. By the way, will Anderson leave Cody when/if the team formerly known as The Revival arrives? Anderson has spoken in the past about his desire to manage the duo and I feel he would be a better fit with them than he is with Cody.
AEW Dynamite Misses
Nyla Rose and Britt Baker vs. Hikaru Shida and Kris Statlander: The champion pinned her pay-per-view challenger on the go-home show. I’m not sure if they had to call an audible because of the injury that Baker suffered when Rose was thrown awkwardly onto her in the corner, but it sure didn’t leave me anxious to see the AEW Women’s Championship match on Saturday. Shida superplexing Rose through a table after the match wasn’t enough to make up for the pay-per-view challenger losing this match.
Shawn Spears News: Are we really supposed to believe that Spears was going into business for himself and forcing the company to book him in a pay-per-view match against Dustin Rhodes when the same company aired this pre-taped video on their television show? Spears’s delivery was solid and maybe they can do more with this format, but hopefully future installments will be more clever.
Go-home show: I was looking forward to Double Or Nothing going into the go-home show, but last night’s episode failed to increase my level of anticipation for the pay-per-view. It was a rough night with some injuries and the overall show just wasn’t as strong as some of the other recent editions of Dynamite.