By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
Cody vs. Scorpio Sky for the TNT Championship: This match looked really good on paper and the match was entertaining, though I was hoping that they would get more time. Sky has been booked to come up short in an AEW Title match with Chris Jericho and now in a TNT Title match with Cody. These losses are tough in the moment, but they could actually help him in the long run if the idea is to build to a long term payoff with an eventual singles title win. If nothing else, the tone of this match felt different compared to more straight forward loss to Jericho. Sky showed more of an edge, kicked out of a CrossRhodes, and the broadcast team was quick to heap praise on his performance.
Tag Team Appreciation Night: The brief videos with some of the AEW tag teams discussing their favorite teams was a nice touch. The best of the bunch was Kenny Omega naming the Young Bucks as the greatest team ever, which clearly offended his tag partner Hangman Page. The actual in-ring portion with FTR, the Bucks, Ricky Morton, Robert Gibson, Arn Anderson, and Tully Blanchard was cool use of the legendary teams. Blanchard telling the Bucks and FTR that greatness is represented by the tag titles was spot on and he continues to feel criminally underutilized. Hopefully this is a sign that Tully will end up managing FTR. Their attack on Morton and Gibson was a fun twist. My only complaint is that I believe we actually made it through a tag team appreciation night without anyone mentioning the Midnight Express. I get that there’s friction with the Bucks and Jim Cornette, but it’s certainly possible to praise the Midnights while not mentioning their manager.
Chris Jericho vs. Orange Cassidy: Last week’s angle to set up this match was so much fun. It’s a shame that it was hard to feel good about watching it, but more on that later. Unfortunately, the build was better than the actual match and their previous meeting was stronger. On the bright side, it was great to see Mike Chioda, and I like the way Jericho tried to get his old WWE co-worker to “do the right thing.” The finish of the match looked clunky, but ultimately this match earned a Hit because it was the right time to give Cassidy a win. Will we get the rubber match at All Out? By the way, when will AEW actually announce more matches for All Out?
The Young Bucks vs. Stu Grayson and Evil Uno: A fun opener. The Dark Order duo were made to look competitive with the Bucks, and the deciding pinfall was done in a way that made it look like the Grayson nearly saved Uno from being pinned by Nick Jackson.
Kenny Omega and Hangman Page vs. Luchasaurus and Jungle Boy for the AEW Tag Titles: The presentation of the tag title matches continues to leave a lot to be desired. Aside from the comical Luchasaurus pre-match camera talk to his mother, we didn’t hear from the challengers or the champions about this title match. While the same could be said for the Cody vs. Scorpio Sky match, it was less of an issue with me because because the match sold itself. Ultimately, though, I was entertained by the match even if we’ve seen better from both teams. The ongoing beef between Omega and Marko Stunt continues to be fun.
AEW Dynamite Misses
Chris Jericho allowed to wrestle: I nodded along with Taz when he took the “sloppy shop” jab at WWE following the COVID-19 outbreak at the WWE Performance Center. The jab was deserved given that WWE ran for months during a pandemic without doing the actual COVID testing that they could clearly afford. As much as AEW deserves praise for doing the actual COVID testing well before WWE, they deserve criticism for allowing Jericho to wrestle just days after he performed a concert at the Sturgis motorcycle rally. AEW officials know full well that a person can be a carrier of the virus and still test positive. And, yes, the Fozzy show adhered to the guidelines laid out by local government officials, as Jericho stated in an online video. But those guidelines were clearly meant for locals in a state where the positive test count is low, but the Fozzy show was played in front of a group of bikers who traveled from around the country and converged on the small city. In fact, media outlets have estimated that 250,000 bikers attended the rally. AEW President Tony Khan credited Jon Moxley for being a leader when he opted to stay home despite being medically cleared after his wife tested positive for the virus. This was an opportunity for Khan to be a leader by not allowing Jericho to appear at this taping. He failed. Here’s hoping that Khan and the rest of the locker room don’t pay a price for this decision.
MJF: The campaign gimmick isn’t doing much for me. But I really didn’t understand MJF implying that Moxley’s opponents are happy to look up at the lights for him. Does he want viewers to believe that Moxley’s other match outcomes are predetermined, yet for some reason his match with Moxley will be real? It also didn’t help to show Moxley dominate MJF. Even if they intend to put the strap on MJF at All Out, they need to sell viewers on the match. The hook of the match felt like it would be seeing Moxley get his hands on MJF, but they gave that away in this segment. They are running out of time to heat up MJF before the pay-per-view. I hope it happens, but this match does not feel as big as I envisioned it would by this point given the verbal skills of both wrestlers.
AEW Women’s Champion Hikaru Shida vs. Heather Monroe in a non-title match: A quick spotlight win for the women’s champion. Sadly, that’s become the norm. I realize that AEW has lost some talent due to injuries and travel bans, but Shida really needs a strong challenger and an actual program rather than throwaway television wins. I agree with Jake Barnett, who mentioned in his AEW Dynamite live review that the company should have done more to extend the feud between Shida and Penelope Ford.