By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
Darby Allin vs. Brian Cage for the TNT Championship: There were elements of the match that brought back fond memories of Mike Awesome vs. Spike Dudley from ECW. Allin took a hell of a beating from the massive Cage, which made Cage look like a badass, while also making Allin look amazingly resilient. The involvement of Sting saving Allin from Ricky Starks’s interference was nicely done and I like that it was unadvertised. There are definitely times when it makes sense to advertise Sting, but it can also be beneficial to create the vibe that Dynamite viewers need to watch because one never knows when he might show up.
Kenny Omega, Doc Gallows, and Karl Anderson vs. Brian Pillman Jr., Griff Garrison, and Danny Limelight: Omega and Don Callis swerving the Young Bucks by introducing the Good Brothers as the best friends and tag partners of Omega was a nice swerve. The Bucks didn’t seem all in on the Bullet Club reunion last week, but I didn’t think it would come to an end so quickly. The actual match was a solid showcase for Omega and the Good Brothers, who will be teaming up again on Saturday’s Impact Wrestling Hard To Kill pay-per-view. The big post match brawl involving Jon Moxley, the Bucks, Penta El Zero Miedo, and Rey Fenix was a lot of fun and set the table for several intriguing matches. On a side note, it was nice to see Limelight get time on Dynamite. He has performed well on Dark, New Japan Strong, and even the UWN pay-per-views.
Pac vs. Eddie Kingston: A good, physical opening match. Perhaps I’ve watched too much WWE programming over the years, but I was a little surprised that we got a clean finish. Of course, Kingston is good enough on the mic to talk his way out of any loss to regain his heat. The post match angle with Lance Archer and Pac bickering is another tease for what looks like a really good match on paper.
Miro vs. Chuck Taylor: A clean and decisive win for Miro. Per match stipulations, this means Taylor has to become Miro’s butler, which has the potential to be a lot of fun given the two personalities involved and the upcoming wedding. Bring back Billy Mitchell!
FTR vs. Jungle Boy and Marko Stunt: A nice tag match with FTR selling for the smaller team before putting away Stunt in the end. I love the Big Rig name for the move formerly known as the Shatter Machine. It’s a classy tribute to Brodie Lee, and it’s a big upgrade over the Goodnight Express.
Serena Deeb vs. Tay Conti for the NWA Women’s Championship: A Hit for a well worked match. Deeb always seem to deliver in the ring, and this was a nice outing for the less consistent but improving Conti. AEW has to do a better job of establishing these characters. Sure, they were spotlighted in a “road to” video and that’s great, but the company would be better off working that footage into the actual television show so that all Dynamite viewers can get to know the wrestlers.
The Inner Circle: A solid skit with Santana and Ortiz finally taking issue with Jericho for showing interest in the AEW Tag Titles. The “Sammy Hager” joke was fun for us old guys, but I’m guessing in sailed over the head of some fans from the target demo just as it did for Guevara’s character. Well, unless the younger viewers watch AXS TV, which felt like the Sammy Hagar Network at one point due to how frequently they promoted his shows.
Matt Hardy and Private Party: Hardy taking a big cut to serve as the manager of Marq Quen and Isiah Kassidy is a fun bit so far. A heel manager with a babyface tag team strikes me as having a short shelf life, but we’ll see what they have in mind creatively.
AEW Dynamite Misses
Britt Baker’s The Waiting Room talkshow: Let’s start with the positives. I’m a big fan of wrestling talkshows having their own sets rather than taking place inside the ring, so the set gets a big thumbs up. Baker was good as the heel host, and Reba’s obnoxious laugh brought out my own obnoxious laughter (is it wrong that I want to see Reba wear an “Ace” Orton cast for the rest of her career?). So the set worked and the two major players clicked, meaning the show has potential and ideally can lead to more character development for the guests. But the Dynamite debut felt a little way too busy with the brawl between Jade and Red Velvet, and then the additional angle with Baker and Thunder Rosa.