By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
Chris Jericho and Jake Hager vs. Luchasaurus and Jungle Boy: AEW featured some big television main events lately, so this didn’t feel as important as some of the recent title matches. Nevertheless, it was an entertaining match with rapid fire action from bell to bell. Sammy Guevara dressing up as Serpentico for the interference finish was clever, but it would have worked better if Serpentico had actually wrestled on Dynamite in the past. Was it too soon for Guevara to return? I had the over/under at sixty days. The match was taped three weeks and three days after his suspension was announced and aired at the one month mark. I didn’t feel as though Guevara should have lost his job, but it did feel like his punishment fell on the light side.
Cody vs. Eddie Kingston in a No DQ match for the TNT Title: It was cool to see Kingston get the match and some mic time. Kingston shined as the voice of The OGz in Impact Wrestling and was also impressive during his NWA run (along with his work in many other places). So it was no surprise that he was able to get himself over with his mic work prior to the match. I thought I was completely over seeing thumbtacks in pro wrestling, but I was genuinely surprised to see Cody take a bump onto them rather than Kingston. This was a strong opening match and I’m curious to see who challenges Cody next week given that it will be the first AEW show held after the talents cut by WWE in March are able to appear following the expiration of their 90-day non-compete agreements.
The Young Bucks vs. Butcher and Blade in a falls count anywhere match: The over the top big brawl and spot fest combo match was fun. Both teams worked hard and provided nonstop action. My ongoing issue with Butcher and Blade is that their gimmick and the attire it inspired are lousy. Why in the world would they be chopping meat in a kitchen moments before a scheduled match? I guess AEW wanted a unique setting to start this match, but it really makes the duo look bush league to be playing wrestling butchers.
Hangman Page vs. Alan “Five” Angels: I don’t really get the Dark Order using numbers for some of their pledges, but this was a decent showcase match. The post match angle was better. While there was no reason to think that Page would actually join the Dark Order, Brodie Lee planted the seed that Kenny Omega isn’t there for Page, which was followed by FTR beating Omega to the ring to save Page from the Dark Order attack.
MJF vs. Griff Garrison: An entertaining showcase match for MJF. His pre-match mic work was entertaining and Garrison delivered his lines well. It will be interesting to see if AEW signs Garrison, who has been getting air time on Being The Elite with the ongoing gag about him being mistaken for Jungle Boy. Garrison is young and has a good look, so there should be a place for him on this roster that goes beyond AEW Dark fall guy.
Taz promo segment: Taz delivered a good promo to explain why he threw in the towel last week. Granted, the broadcast team actually did an effective job of telling the story after the match, but it was good to hear it from Taz. More importantly, this led to a good angle to set up next week’s Jon Moxley and Darby Allin vs. Brian Cage and Ricky Starks tornado tag match. Here’s hoping that Allin is able to work the match given the way he was violently shoved head-first into the top rope by Starks.
AEW Dynamite Misses
Ivelisse vs. Diamante: Put yourself in the position of a viewer who isn’t familiar with either wrestler. They didn’t get mic time and there was no video package to introduce their personas, so those fans had no incentive to root for or against either wrestler. I don’t know if the AEW braintrust mistakenly assumes that all of their viewers are diehard fans or if they think putting two wrestlers in the ring with zero backstory is a good approach, but even a brief UFC style pre-match video with comments from both women would have gone a long way. As someone who is familiar with both wrestlers, I was looking forward to the match, but I came away feeling underwhelmed.
I was not familiar with Eddie Kingston before this match, but he really was excellent on the mic. There was some good promo work all round this week with Kingston, Moxley and Taz. Speaking of outfits and lack of logic though, why the hell was Jericho still wearing the same jacket that got soaked in orange juice? I think over his stellar career we have established that he owns other clothes.
Kingston is good enough in the ring and truly special on the mic. He’s a promo that you make sure to catch, especially if he’s got something that he can really sink his teeth into.
I’d love the company to cut down several match times per week and fill it in with promos from Taz, Kingston, MJF, Tully, and Arn. That’s five people right there who can cut a good promo in their sleep. Hell, through Britt Baker in there with her current persona and you’ve got 6 that can talk people into the building over and over again.