By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
Jon Moxley vs. Darby Allin for the AEW Championship: A top notch television main event. Moxley did a terrific job of setting up the story for the match via his promo. The only thing that felt a tad off was MJF interfering and then heading straight to the back only to act upset when Moxley won the match. If MJF wanted Moxley to lose so badly, why wouldn’t his character stay at ringside to do everything he could to make Moxley lose? Putting that aside, this was a hot main event and a good title defense for Moxley. I loved the way that Moxley made the near fall off the Coffin Drop by waiting until the very last possible moment to kick out.
FTR, Young Bucks, Hangman Page, and Kenny Omega vs. The Dark Order: My guard was down after last week’s forgettable ten-man tag team opener. This was top notch on multiple levels. The in-ring work was highly entertaining, and the match told some great stories. FTR left due to Dax Harwood’s questionable injury, Hangman Page left with them only to return to the match, and Page looked like he tried to take Omega’s head off with a Buckshot Lariat that Brodie Lee ducked and Omega barely avoided. This was a good win for Brodie Lee with some really good storytelling along the way.
Chris Jericho and Orange Cassidy debate with moderator Eric Bischoff: Cassidy’s version of Frank The Tank in the Old School debate scene was fun. Jericho was really good with his obnoxious responses to the questions. But the key was that this concluded on a high note with Cassidy delivering a strong straight forward promo at the end that really set the stage for next week’s rematch. It was a cool touch to bring in Bischoff for the moderator role. I’d actually like to see him cast as the AEW Commissioner. Hear me out. It would have to be made clear that it would never lead to him becoming a heel authority figure. It could be explained easily enough by having Bischoff or someone else indicate that there would be a zero tolerance policy for any type of biased behavior. Basically, Bischoff could play the old Jack Tunney role as the person brought in to make key rulings or match announcements when the situation calls for it. Bischoff is best known for playing a smarmy heel, but this segment was a nice reminder that he’s also believable and credible when asked to play it straight.
Matt Hardy and Sammy Guevara: This is exactly what Hardy and this feud needed. Hardy’s multiverse gimmick was struggling without fans in attendance and it’s hard to say how big of a hit it would have been even if these were normal times. But he wisely figured out that it wasn’t working and called an audible. Hardy can always revert to Broken Matt or another character somewhere down the road, but this was the right call for now. Meanwhile, his feud with Guevara felt a little basic going into this show, but the violent attack by Guevara that left Hardy bloody heated things up nicely.
Cody and Matt Cardona vs. John Silver and Alex Reynolds: A solid match. The veterans obviously did their part, but I continue to be impressed by the work of Silver and Reynolds. It will be tough for them to find a bigger role in the crowded tag division, but hopefully their time will come. The post match angle with Scorpio Sky staring down Cody in the entrance chute and knocking on the TNT Title belt was simplistic in a good way. No words were needed and I am really looking forward to their match next week.
AEW Dynamite Misses
Big Swole vs. Reba: A rough match and obviously some of that was by design given the way Reba played her part of former wrestler turned hairdresser. From a storytelling standpoint, it didn’t work because there was no reason for viewers to take any joy in watching Reba take a beating. Her character typically comes off as likable because she’s mistreated by Britt Baker. So perhaps there’s a little heat on Baker for throwing Reba into this match, but it really didn’t do anything for Swole, who could have used some mic time in her first match back from her storyline suspension.
Best Friends vs. Santana and Ortiz: A feud over Trent’s mother’s van? It was bad enough when the only thing we knew about Best Friends is that they liked to hug once a match, but now we’ve learned that they have to borrow Trent’s mom’s van or get a ride from her to get to work. They are a talented duo in the ring, but this story makes them look like scrubs.
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features referee Rob Page discussing the difficulty of reffing tag matches in the modern era, making three counts if a wrestler's shoulders are down even if it wasn't the planned finish, the growth of F1rst Wrestling, and more...