By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
“The Young Bucks” Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson vs. “The Acclaimed” Anthony Bowens and Max Caster for the AEW Tag Titles: AEW rushed The Acclaimed into this match, but it turned out to be entertaining. The rap video that aired earlier in the show with Caster taking strong verbal jabs at the Bucks was well done. In fact, I wish that they would have taken this approach over the last few weeks to help build interest in the match. I don’t know if they could have sold the masses on The Acclaimed having a chance to win the tag titles this early in their run, but they really should have been given more time to agitate the Bucks so that viewers wanted to see the AEW Tag Champions shut them up. Ultimately, the Bucks made their young opponents look competitive in defeat.
Chris Jericho and MJF vs. “Top Flight” Darius Martin and Dante Martin: AEW is not afraid to take chances on younger wrestlers. While WWE officials seem to find reasons why countless wrestlers can’t be stars, AEW is putting its younger talent out there warts and all. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t as far as the matches go, but ultimately they are trying build stars rather than squandering talent. As was the case with the AEW Tag Title match, the younger team also looked strong in this match despite taking a loss. Meanwhile, the post match angle with Jake Hager announcing his match with Wardlow was an unexpected twist.
Sting interview: A big upgrade over last week’s uneventful Sting segment. Sting offered a nice explanation for why he’s in AEW by talking about his history with Dusty Rhodes and wanting to be part of the company after seeing Cody Rhodes (what about poor Dustin?), but the key was also that they left us wanting more by having Team Taz interrupt before he could explain what’s going on with him and Darby Allin. All signs point to an eventual six-man tag match, which is a good way to get Sting in the ring without asking him to do too much.
AEW Women’s Champion Hikaru Shida vs. Alex Gracia in a non-title match: A good Shida showcase. Her ongoing issues with Abadon have gotten better as Shida’s character has shown less fear of her challenger. The biting gimmick brought back bad memories of Shayna Baszler biting Becky Lynch for no reason, but in this case it at least fits with Abadon’s gimmick.
“Jurassic Express” Jungle Boy, Luchasaurus, and Marko Stunt vs. Colt Cabana and Dark Order’s 5 and 10: A soft Hit for a solid match with Jurassic Express getting a showcase win heading into their match with FTR on New Year’s Smash night two. The post match angle with Tully Blanchard cutting a promo on “Jurassic Park” was solid, and I got a kick out of Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus needing to hold back angry Marko from running backstage to get his hands on Blanchard.
Dustin Rhodes vs. Evil Uno: Another soft Hit. Dustin is plowing through the Dark Order members one by one. But what happens once he beats them all? Where is Brodie Lee? Why hasn’t that question been asked consistently on Dynamite since he dropped the TNT Championship?
AEW Dynamite Misses
Miro and Kip Sabian: There continues to be zero chemistry between these two, and Penelope Ford is still a mute who just makes out with Sabian at the end of their segments. We finally have a wedding date, but are they ever going to book the damn Miro and Sabian vs. Best Friends match?
Pac vs. The Butcher: A soft Hit. It would be nice to see Pac rack up some quick and decisive showcase wins to reestablish his in-ring dominance. It feels like some of his matches go long just for the sake of going long because he’s such a good wrestler. In this case, we were left to wonder if Butcher would have beaten him had it not been for Lance Archer coming out and creating a distraction. Strange.