By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
AEW Dynamite Hits
FTR vs. The Butcher & The Blade: A solid first outing for FTR in AEW. The announcing could have been more subtle regarding all the “meat and potatoes wrestling” references, but the action in the ring was a nice deviation from the over the top spot fests that tend to make up the AEW tag division. The prospect of Cash Wheeler and Dax Harwood being managed by Tully Blanchard or Arn Anderson is a nice twist on a story they have been discussing in interviews recently, and the slow burn towards an eventual Young Bucks match continues to be welcome. FTR have bright futures ahead of them in AEW if the creative effort behind them remains strong.
Hikaru Shida and Kris Statlander vs. Nyla Rose and Penelope Ford: A good outing. AEW seems to be pivoting away from asking the women to do too much in their TV matches, and the results have been fewer mistakes and less confusion. I assumed Nyla Rose would get a rematch with Hikaru Shida before we saw a new challenger, but this match was about establishing Ford for that position. Does this mean we are in for a Triple Threat at Fyter Fest? It would certainly offer a path to keeping the title on Shida, while avoiding having Nyla Rose take another loss.
Inner Circle attack on Orange Cassidy: This wasn’t perfectly executed by any stretch of the imagination, but I liked that they put Cassidy in a position to be angry at someone. AEW has been very careful about not deviating too much from the typical Orange Cassidy formula, but it hasn’t been a recipe for much character growth. I do not expect Cassidy to be cutting coked up ’80s promos next week, but establishing the idea that “you won’t like him when he’s angry” would at least give the guy another tool to work with.
Colt Cabana: Colt has delivered some quality performances in the ring when he’s gotten the chance on Dynamite, and his new story about being tempted to join Dark Order with the promise of success is some new ground for him. The premise of Colt revitalizing his character with a more serious tone would be a welcome one.
Jon Moxley and Brian Cage: Another strong promo from Moxley that established his many nagging injuries. Cage’s attack makes the case that Moxley could be ripe for the picking for a guy of his size and skill in this state. Taz continues to be the perfect trash talking manager for a guy like Cage, who has struggled in the past to make an impression on the microphone.
Cody vs. Marq Quen: They are building a nice foundation of matches for Cody to establish his TNT Title reign. Quen was a game challenger, and I enjoyed the story they told with his injury, and especially that it was paid off with the finish of the match. Questions still remain if these matches will boost the careers of the challengers, but they are getting a spotlight match in a Dynamite main event.
AEW Dynamite Misses
Show Closing Brawl: AEW has a habit of closing every episode with a chaotic brawl, and this one was not an exception. Jake Hager challenging Cody for the TNT Title at Fyter Fest is a decent match they can build to, but the kludgy way they got there left something to be desired. How did Cody know he wanted a match at Fyter Fest? Why didn’t Hager issue an actual challenge?
Matt Hardy: A minor Miss for the constant character swapping being done by Hardy. I’m not against the idea of a character will multiple personalities, but they haven’t managed to suck me into the story they are trying to tell with Matt right now. It doesn’t feel like there is a vision yet beyond using Matt to fill multiple roles on the show, and it’s not as intriguing as what Mick Foley accomplished when it seemed like his different personas understood each other and their respective motivations.