By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
Inner Circle town hall: A fun segment with a couple of good spoofs of the U.S. Presidential town hall and debate. It almost makes up for no one spoofing Kimberly Guilfoyle’s maniacal speech that occurred during a time when MJF was doing a campaign gimmick. Eric Bischoff’s latest cameo was a fun surprise and I enjoy the tension between him and Chris Jericho’s character. MJF did a great job throughout the segment, and I love how strongly he emphasized that he’s willing to do anything to win his Full Gear match with Chris Jericho.
Kenny Omega vs. Penta El 0M (w/Rey Fenix) in an eliminator tournament semifinal match: A strong match that suffered from predictability. It’s not that I wanted to see AEW go in a different direction rather than the obvious Omega vs. Hangman Page finals, it’ that I wish they wouldn’t have made it so obvious from the start. There was no reason to take any Penta near falls seriously, which worked against what was an otherwise terrific match.
Hangman Page vs. Wardlow in an eliminator tournament semifinal match: The match was laid out nicely in terms of making Wardlow looking strong in defeat. Page looked good for battling back from Wardlow’s early domination, and it was a nice touch that it took two Buckshot Lariats to take out Wardlow. Predictability was also a factor in this match, but it didn’t bother me as much as it did during the main event.
Eddie Kingston vs. Matt Sydal: A good showcase win for Kingston heading into his title match with Jon Moxley at the pay-per-view. Kingston forcing Sydal to say I Quit after getting the win was a nice touch that played into the pay-per-view match stipulation. AEW hasn’t managed to sell me on Kingston being a real threat to win the title, but I am looking forward to the title match.
Serena Deeb vs. Leyla Hirsch for the NWA Women’s Championship: A solid match with the new NWA Women’s Champion picking up a clean victory. It would have been a nice touch to actually show highlights of Deeb’s win over Thunder Rosa from Tuesday’s UWN pay-per-view, though I do understand if AEW simply didn’t feel like giving free advertising to a rival promotion.
Shawn Spears vs. VSK: A simple showcase win for Spears, but it’s going to take a lot more than this to make him feel like a real player in AEW. Spears needs a notable victory. The broadcast team spoke about his impressive record, but most of those wins came on AEW Dark and he just hasn’t played a meaningful role since he lost to Cody at All Out 2019. The post match angle with Scorpio Sky attacking Spears while dressed as a bull was fine in terms of setting up their match for next week.
AEW Dynamite Misses
Cody vs. Orange Cassidy in a lumberjack match for the TNT Championship: The match was Hit worthy from an entertainment standpoint, but there was a real logic issue when it came to the lumberjacks. AEW told us last week that this match was given the lumberjack stipulation to prevent Dark Order from making good on a threat to interfere. The logic was flawed from the start, as there’s no reason why they couldn’t have simply been banned from ringside. But they completely lost me when Dark Order members served as lumberjack and were able to interfere in the match.
FTR and Young Bucks: It felt like AEW was trying to correct course with the Young Bucks, but they are still coming off as heels heading into their showdown match with heel FTR. The new stipulation that the Bucks will never challenge for the AEW Tag Titles again if they lose felt unnecessary, though only time will tell if there’s a storyline purpose.