By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
Cody vs. Jungle Boy for the TNT Championship: A really nice match. Cody’s headbutt homage to former NFL quarterback Gus Frerotte created a little suspense and this was a hotter match than I anticipated. Even if you didn’t buy into the possibility of Jungle Boy winning and felt the outcome was predictable, it was still the right move to place the first TNT Title defense in the main event, and both wrestlers delivered a match completely worthy of the slot.
Hangman Page and Kenny Omega vs. Jimmy Havoc and Kip Sabian for the AEW Tag Titles: A well worked match if you can get past the total disregard of tag team wrestling rules. Save us, FTR. I totally get that there are different styles and I enjoy a good spot-fest too, but hopefully FTR will help bring more of a balance to the loaded AEW tag division.
FTR sit-down interview with Tony Schiavone: Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler came off well. It was nice to see them act like real people as opposed to the clowns they had to play at times during their WWE main roster run (Ucey Hot, anyone?). I love the idea of doing a slow build to their dream match with the Young Bucks. While I could be wrong, it looks like the plan is to hold off on the first match until the All Out event in September.
Brian Cage vs. Shawn Dean: Another squash win for Cage, which continues to be the right approach for him. The post match verbal exchange involving Taz and Jon Moxley was very well done. The mic work was strong and both wrestlers showed good intensity. I am already looking forward to their match on the two-night Fyter Fest shows.
Chris Jericho vs. Colt Cabana: It was fun to see a match between two veterans who have done it all, though mostly in different places. Jericho going over was a lock given that Jericho is a week removed from the big angle involving Mike Tyson, but they created some fun near falls along the way. The Dark Order recruiting Cabana later in the show was interesting.
Nyla Rose vs. Big Swole: It was a good night for Swole despite the fact that she lost the match. She was competitive with the monster of the division and she also showed good fire in going after Britt Baker afterward. I’m still not a fan of taking the title off Rose, so this was the bounce back win that she needed.
Lance Archer: Archer shined in his first appearance since his loss to Cody. Archer delivered a good promo, but the thing that really put it over the top was Jake Roberts acting so taken aback by Archer’s intensity that he even apologized for Alex Marvez.
AEW Dynamite Misses
None: There have been far stronger Dynamite episodes and the match outcomes felt predictable, but the booking was logical and there was plenty of good storyline progression. There were no home runs, but Dynamite had plenty of singles and doubles and no strikeouts. I’m missing live sports and am going bonkers without beer league softball, so pardon my rare use of baseball lingo.
I loved the tag title match, and I honestly felt it was better for ignoring some of the more traditional rules. I’m not a purist in that regard, though. To each their own.
I was a little confused by Cody in the title match, because he seemed to be working heel, but then he gave Jungle Boy all that respect after match. Kind of like FTR’s interview, where I couldn’t tell if they’re heels or faces.
The title match had me wondering maybe Cody was going to try something different like working heel vs. faces and face vs. heels while defending the TNT title. I don’t know that I’ve seen anything like that before. Closest I can think of is Bret Hart being a face in Canada and a heel in the US in WWE in the 90s.
It’s just more WWE lite, where they don’t really have heels or faces and character motivation changes on a whim without rhyme or reason.
Cody is Dollar Store HHH.