By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
Kenny Omega, Hangman Page, and FTR: A strong verbal exchange heading into the most intriguing of the All Out matches. I agree with Jake Barnett’s comments in his live review about the censors muting certain parts of the promo taking away from the segment. I don’t blame the censors for doing their jobs as much as I feel that AEW needs to ask themselves whether certain words that they know will be censored are worth using if it’s going to take the audience out of the moment. Despite that issue, this segment did a good job of establishing the issues between the wrestlers and setting the table for Saturday’s tag title match, which is the most intriguing match on the card.
NWA Women’s Champion Thunder Rosa vs. Serena Deeb in a non-title match: This was a big upgrade compared to most the women’s matches we’ve seen on Dynamite. I give AEW credit for going outside the promotion to bring in Rosa to serve as a good challenger for Hikaru Shida. It was also a pleasant surprise to see Deeb make her first appearance. AEW could have booked Rosa to squash an opponent in her Dynamite debut, but this competitive match worked out nicely in that it felt more memorable than a simple showcase match would have.
Chris Jericho vs. Joey Janela: A lopsided win for Jericho, which is exactly what it should have been heading into the pay-per-view. The finish with Janela leaping into the Codebreaker was great. Jake Hager was also used really well in the post match as Jericho’s muscle. They took a fairly intense approach for this go-home angle, which left me wondering if the Mimosa Mayhem match will be less lighthearted than the gimmick seems to suggest.
Santana and Ortiz vs. Best Friends: The hard work of both teams was enough to make up for a couple of rough moments. Santana and Ortiz have shown versatility by taking part in some comedic segments as Inner Circle members, but they are at their best when they play it straight and work an intense style.
The Young Bucks, Luchasaurus, and Jungle Boy vs. Private Party, Christopher Daniels, and Frankie Kazarian: The only awkward moments occurred when Luchasaurus was firing up and it seemed like he and Kassidy were a step off. But there was far more good than bad in this entertaining spot-fest. The Bucks acting grumpy is a logical development given that Hangman Page cost them a chance to win the gauntlet match last week, and it plays nicely heading into their match with Luchasaurus and Jungle Boy at All Out, and perhaps their involvement in the AEW Tag Title match.
AEW Dynamite Misses
Jon Moxley vs. Mark Sterling: Joseph Park’s status as the best lawyer turned pro wrestler is safe. While it was mildly amusing to watch Moxley toy with Sterling, this felt really premature. Sterling has done a nice job in his limited appearances, but he just didn’t have a chance to develop the level of heat it would take to make fans want to see Moxley destroy him. The post match with Wardlow attacking Moxley followed by MJF’s not so shocking reveal that he is healthy was solid. They put heat on MJF heading into the pay-per-view and gave viewers a final push to pay to see Moxley kick his ass on Saturday.
Casino Battle Royale hype: They sold me on the battle royal last week with the tease of Brian Cage and Lance Archer crossing paths, and Eddie Kingston’s entire crew entering the match. The big brawl felt like overkill and it felt really contrived to have all those wrestlers fighting going into a break only to be long gone when the show returned.
Britt Baker attacks Big Swole: Baker’s attack was intense and Swole did a good job of selling it. But I just can’t condone the waste of a good pizza. Shame on AEW! Okay, fine, I might just be hungry as the lunch hour approaches.