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.
At least the champion won in the Women’s tag match, unlike WWE where they’d be the one pinned
Two wrongs make a right?
“I still don’t understand the issue that some fans have with Stunt.”
I think the issue is that any time he is on offence is completely unbelievable (if that matters). The potentially best and most believable underdog in wrestling is in the same stable – Jungle Boy. Having Marko Stunt there really cuts that off at the knees.
” 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.”
Wow. He’s absurdly tiny, can’t work or wrestle in an even slightly believable manner, and is typical of the flippy midget indy BS that has basically killed the business. He should lose in 20-30 seconds and get zero offense in. He’s less believable than the Mulkey brothers were. Magnum TA would have beaten this kid in 5 seconds with one belly to belly a the only move, and that’s only if they let him get on TV at all. Guys like Sam Houston and Kendall Windham were too small to be major players in the top territories and they’re giants compared to this pathetic little goof.
There’s a reason why both major companies in the US are dying on the vine right now, and it’s because zero talent hacks like Stunt have prominent TV roles. The idea of Stunt, Jelly, Chuck Taylor, Sabian, and others being featured as legitimate competitors is offensive to anyone who was a fan of pro wrestling when it actually drew money and sold out huge arenas on a regular basis. WWE doesn’t use guys who look like they don’t belong there, for the most part, but the gimmicks are horrific and the show is so overproduced that there’s no reason to watch the few good talents they have.
The fact that wrestling “journalism” has become nothing but Meltzer clones who thing “work rate” and other in ring stuff is the most important part of the business just solidifies fans of good pro wrestling deciding to stay away from the modern product.
Marco Stunt is the strongest example of everything wrong with WWE, AEW, Impact, etc. even though they all have massive flaws. Pro wrestling only sells on serious work done by people who look and act like they can kick your ass in real life. It only sells when interesting characters act in ways consistent with who they’re presented to be, and they have believable fights that make you want to see more. Marco Stunt will never be that.
We need a major influx of modern day equivalents to Hogan, Warrior, Austin, Rock, Flair (before the 90s), Goldberg, and Savage along with more guys who fit the mold of Bundy, One Man Gang, Tony Atlas, Afa and Sika, to fill out the rest of the card. None of that will happen as long as teleporting midcarders having a midlife crisis get their drones smashed on TV while crackheads have funhouse “matches” that aren’t actual matches.
Sooner or later, wrestling “journalists” need to start praising what works, and critiquing what doesn’t (i.e. drawing real crowds and good ratings), instead of just sucking up to the undersized and undertalented losers in the business today.
No one needs an influx of guys like Warrior or Goldberg. Looking the part means nothing when you not only suck in the ring, but you’re outright reckless.
The point of the business is to draw money. Goldberg and Warrior drew more money in their respective 3-5 year runs on top than everybody in AEW combined ever will.
I’d take 100 more Warriors and Goldbergs over even one more flabby jobber like Chuck Taylor or Jelly Nutella.
This must be Jim Cornette!
You honestly think Cornette wants more guys like Warrior, Goldberg, and Tony Atlas in the business?
Here’s an idea: Instead of everyone trying to pin this on a single, outspoken critic of the modern product, maybe fans of the flippy midgets kicking out of 72 finishers in yet another 20+ minute match should realize that the audience today is the smallest it’s ever been and their little performance artist favorites are the reason why.
There’s a reason why 1.4 million people tuned into the AEW debut, and 500k of them have never turned it back on again. Marble mouthed beta males like Omega, never over midcarders like Hardy, middle school sized spot monkeys like the Bucks, and horrible gimmicks like the Dork Order will never draw on a mainstream level.
On the other side, the product is so sanitized and overproduced that they can’t draw eyeballs to the product despite having guys like Brock, Drew, Roman, Seth, Orton, Edge, Lashley, and others who look like legit ass kickers and have shown they can do the job when they’re left alone.
WWE ratings have been in free fall the last couple of years (and steady decline for 10+), and AEW dropped and stayed down even before the pandemic. It’s not the fans who want an adult product with good characters, logical stories, and believable matches that are the problem. It’s the cinematic BS and PG garbage on one side, and the kickout at 1 1/2 after 141 superkicks and 73 “finishers” on the other that are the problem.
There are still fans of good pro wrestling who would come back in droves if anyone would put that product on TV. WWE and AEW don’t, and the single biggest/smallest example of what’s wrong in the business is Marko Stunt and the “journalists” who pretend he’s not embarrassing to watch.
I actually agree with you totally and Cornette too. So what’s the logic behind journalists “pretending” it’s good when it isn’t and when viewing figures are so low? A lack of eyes on wrestling surely means less subscribers/fewer eyes on the work of the journalists.