By Nick Perkins, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@WesternRebel)
AEW Dynamite Hits
“The Inner Circle” Chris Jericho, Sammy Guevara, Santana, Ortiz, Jake Hager, and MJF vs. Trent, Chuck Taylor, Darius Martin, Daunte Martin, Brian Pillman Jr. and Griff Garrison in a 12-man tag match: I’ve never been a huge fan of multiple-man tag matches, as it’s hard to tell any sort of coherent story amidst such chaos. Still, this was an athletic match and it was especially cool to see Jericho lock up with Brian Pillman Jr. That had to have meant something to both men. The real highlight of the match, for me, and the reason this is Number 1 on the Hit List, was Orange Cassidy sitting in on commentary and Excalibur noting that “the headset isn’t even plugged in.” I’m not sure if I would call Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone, and Excalibur the best commentary team in the business right now, but I certainly enjoy listening to them more than anything WWE is offering at the moment. That being said, I watched Impact Wrestling for the first time in a long time last week, and Josh Matthews and Madison Rayne had me in stitches the whole show. If you can’t bust your husband’s balls and accuse him of repeatedly creeping on you via Twitter, are you even really married?
AEW Champion Kenny Omega vs. Joey Janela in a No DQ, non-title match: Speaking of commentary, I changed my mind. Schiavone gets the line of the night. When Justin Roberts announced that Omega’s appearance on Impact raised its viewership by 33 percent, and Schiavone deadpanned that he was happy the viewership went from one to six, I laughed out loud. Between that line and his line from the previous week in which he said that he spent one night in Impact and then quit the business for 18 years, Schiavone is the real hero of this cross-promotional war. A running bit about how much Schiavone hates Impact could be the highlight of every show. The match itself was another win for Omega, both literally and figuratively. Omega is everything a heel champion should be. He’s cocky, brash, arrogant and entitled, but (and this is the important part) he still wins relatively clean. He’s not a chicken shit heel. He doesn’t trade wins with people. He talks smack and backs it up which means that, when he eventually does lose, the person who defeated him is going to be a made man. Whether that’s Moxley, Page, Pac, or one of the Lucha Bros. remains to be seen but I’m looking forward to every single one of those matches. And because of the story surrounding him, and the possible ramifications, my eyes are glued to the TV set (or laptop screen, I guess) every time he appears. AEW has really found its groove and is doing a lot of things right at the moment. Omega and, to a lesser extent, Don Callis, are at the very top of the list.
Cody vs. Angelico: A match that happened for no real reason but was still quite entertaining. Angelico more than held his own against Cody and looked quite good in defeat. I wish we could know more about Angelico and Jack Evans. They’re a tremendous team made up of tremendous individuals, but we know next to nothing about them. This is a team that would definitely benefit from one of those montage interview packages that AEW does so well. The follow up angle with Team Taz getting ready to confront Rhodes, only for Sting to once again foil their plans was great. It’s only been a few weeks, but AEW is presenting Sting quite well thus far. Sting doesn’t need a 10-minute long promo to make his intentions known. All he needs to do is point his bat.
Eddie Kingston promo, Pac returns (Again), and tension with Lance Archer: Any time Eddie Kingston has a microphone, it’s probably going to be a Hit. You had to have known Pac was going to be making an appearance the moment Eddie Kingston said he wasn’t. It’s wrestling logic 101. That being said, Pac got as big of a hero’s welcome as he could in front of so few fans. We’re still not quite sure who are the heels and who are the babyfaces in this feud. Or whether both “teams” are heels. Or where Lance Archer fits into the equation. But no matter – this is simple storytelling that utilizes three off the best younger stars in AEW, as well as two veteran tag teams.
“Hangman” Adam Page, John Silver, and Alex Reynolds vs. Matt Hardy and “Private Party” Marq Quen and Isiah Kassidy: A fun opener with a finish that cleared up some questions. For the past few weeks, it wasn’t clear whether Matt Hardy was a heel or a babyface. Hardy “stealing” the win from his partners seems to cement the fact that he will, in fact, be positioned as a heel. He also seems to be headed towards a feud with Adam Page, which some may see as a step backwards for Page, but he could actually learn a lot from Hardy…perhaps before he is the one to step up to former partner Kenny Omega for an extended feud.
Miro Interview: We may not be getting ‘Rusev Day’ in AEW anytime soon, but Miro claiming every day is his birthday could be funny too. It’s important to note, however, that Christmas Day really is Miro Day, as it’s the man’s actual birthday. Secret Special Days aside, it feels like they’re righting the ship when it comes to Miro. He’s still talking about Kip Sabian and Penelope Ford’s wedding, but they’re also acknowledging that Miro put multiple people in the hospital. Miro as the goofy-but-dangerous badass has some legs. Plus, it’s a proven fact that any time you start fining wrestlers, they get over once they start ignoring said fine and hurting people anyway.
Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian vs. “The Acclaimed” Max Caster and Anthony Bowens: It couldn’t have just been me that got serious ‘Kurt Angle responding to John Cena in 2005’ vibes when Kazarian tried to “battle back” against The Acclaimed. His lines were good, but his timing was awkward and it’s just hard to take a middle aged white guy serious as a rapper, unless his name is Eminem (who is still better than 90 percent of the rappers out there, which explains why the kids still eat up his albums like valium). And here’s a note for every wrestling rapper and midnight karaoke singer to ever attempt to “rap” in the future: Not every line needs to start with ‘Yo.’ Oh, also the match was fine and it makes sense that The Acclaimed would win, especially if they’re going to be taking on The Young Bucks. I don’t expect them to win, but The Young Bucks are really great at elevating teams, even when they beat ‘em.
Ivelisse and Diamante vs. Big Swole and Sereena Deeb: More of an In-the-Middle than a Hit or Miss. The match was fine and the post-match stuff made sense. The AEW women’s division just continues to be missing…something. I don’t know what it is. Britt Baker is the closest AEW has to a female star, and I say that begrudgingly because she reminds me of every mean girl in high school that never spoke to me unless it was to tell me I couldn’t sit with her at the lunch table. I’m working through it, okay?
AEW Dynamite Misses
None: This seemed like a bit of a throwaway show on paper and, in some regards, it was. But it set up the next few weeks nicely and, most importantly, it didn’t feel like a waste of time watching it, which can not be said about certain shows that air every Monday night. On the USA Network. At 9pm Eastern
…I’m talking about Raw, you guys. Learn how to pick up on subtext.