By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
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AEW Dynamite Hits
Penta El Zero Miedo vs. Rey Fenix: Another strong match from the Lucha Brothers. They did a nice job of making this match feel more intense than their previous outing through their ring work and by simply tearing at the masks. Here’s hoping we get to the point where there’s a definitive babyface and heel between the two, as fans are basically being encouraged to cheer for the spots rather than one wrestler over the other. As great as their matches are, they could be even better if the fans have a rooting interest. Hopefully the post match angle with Eddie Kingston trying to turn Penta against his brother will lead to that happening, though it’s definitely possible that both brothers end up with Pac or Kingston.
Brian Cage vs. Matt Sydal: A really nice opening match. Cage is known for having his best matches with cruiserweights and this was no exception. Sydal’s late near fall was especially well done, and I liked the finish with Sydal leaping from the top rope only to be caught by Cage, who put him down with his Drill Claw finisher.
MJF and Wardlow’s induction into the Inner Circle: MJF’s induction speech, including the stolen lyrics from Drake, was good fun. The segment didn’t last long, but I assume they will make up for it next week with footage from the Vegas trip.
Cody Rhodes, Brandi Rhodes, and Jade Cargill: Jade’s promo was a little rough, but she’s a fresh face and it turned out to be a compelling segment thanks to her Shaq tease. Brandi showed really good fire when she confronted Jade on the stage, and I got a kick out of Jade simply slapping Brandi’s ass in response.
Scorpio Sky vs. Shawn Spears: A minor Hit for a good match that needed a better presentation. I would gladly give up one Dynamite match each week if it meant we could hear more from the wrestlers going into their matches. Nevertheless, Sky and Spears are veterans who worked well together, and the loaded glove finish means we haven’t seen the last of this pairing.
Kenny Omega promo: That’s more like it. Omega acknowledging the criticism of his first year while making it clear that he’s ready to be the man again was encouraging. I also enjoyed the way Omega framed his unsanctioned match loss to Jon Moxley as something that never happened because the storyline was that it didn’t count in the record books. Best of all, he pointed out that he and Moxley have yet to meet in an actual wrestling match, unlike the crazy brawl they had on pay-per-view. By the way, I love the idea of putting the Moxley vs. Omega match on Dynamite rather than pay-per-view. The company can’t afford to do that with all of their big title matches, but doing it occasionally is a nice treat for viewers and a great way for Dynamite to score big viewership numbers.
Dustin Rhodes and QT Marshall vs. The Butcher & The Blade in a Bunkhouse Match: A soft Hit for a good old fashioned bloody brawl, though I guess it was a modern day bunkhouse given that Marshall broke out a fire extinguisher. Everyone involved worked hard, but a significant portion of this feud played out on AEW Dark and just didn’t feel all that heated for viewers who only watch Dynamite.
AEW Dynamite Misses
Tay Conti vs. Red Velvet: The match was solid prior to the picture in picture commercial break. They got a little sloppy coming out of the break to the point that Jim Ross had to come up with an excuse for how clunky Conti looked after being whipped into the corner. The match was par for the course for Conti going back to her NXT run in that she has impressive spurts during matches, yet she tends to struggle with some of the basics. Conti has upside and hopefully she will become more consistent as she gets more reps.
Tony Khan’s “balance of power shifting” tweet: For those who missed it, Khan included the worlds “the balance of power in wrestling will shift tonight” in a pre-show tweet. It may seem odd to include a tweet in the Hit List, but it actually did affect the way some viewers viewed this episode. Khan needs to be more selective with his wording or simply save this level of hype for when it truly counts. In this case, he could have simply stated that the balance of power would change “in AEW” rather than “in wrestling” and fans would have taken it in stride. Instead, Khan’s words led to all sorts of speculation about big name free agents arriving in AEW, causing fans to set the bar higher than AEW intended to deliver. Khan’s tweet may have triggered some fans to watch the show who otherwise would not have, but it’s not worth a one night viewership bump when those fans leave the show feeling underwhelmed.