By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
Lance Archer vs. Rey Fenix in a Face of the Revolution ladder match qualifier: This looked like a blast on paper and the the wrestlers delivered. Fenix performs some of the most impressive high spots in the business, and Archer does things in the ring that a man his size shouldn’t be able to pull off. I enjoyed the way that Fenix showed heart by kicking out of everything Archer threw at him until he finally succumbed to the Blackout. It’s interesting that there are two spots to fill and only one qualifying match announced for next week.
Brian Cage and Ricky Starks vs. “The Varsity Blonds” Brian Pillman Jr. and Griff Garrison: There wasn’t any mystery regarding the outcome with Cage and Starks facing Sting and Darby Allin at the pay-per-view, but they put heat on the heel duo. That was erased to some extent when Sting and Allin dominated Cage and Starks in the post match angle, but it was a great followup to the babyfaces being dominated previously. In fact, I went from worrying about Sting’s health after he took that vicious powerbomb from Cage last week to enjoying the hell out of watching him bust out some of his in-ring greatest hits this week.
Britt Baker vs. Nyla Rose in an Eliminator tournament U.S. bracket semifinal match: There was no reason to expect Baker would face Rose until one of them turned babyface. That’s the fun of a tournament. Rose was a babyface for the night and it will be interesting to see if that was a test drive for something permanent or just a one off for the tourney. Either way, they kept me guessing about the outcome until the second Beast Bomb.
Jon Moxley vs. Ryan Nemeth: A quick showcase win for Moxley in the opening segment followed by a very good promo that sold the Exploding Barbed Wire Death Match for AEW Revolution. It felt backwards last week that Kenny Omega called for the stipulation rather than being forced into it somehow, but Moxley said he could be walking into a trap, and then we saw Omega in Mad Dog Vachon mode while actually helping in the construction. I’m not big on death matches or Japanese explosion matches, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to this spectacle match. It’s a hell of a hook for the pay-per-view.
Jake Hager vs. Brandon Cutler: A brief yet fun match. Cutler had a nice offensive sequence and he did a really nice job of selling for Hager. The post match angle with Chris Jericho and MJF revealing that they had attacked the Young Bucks’ father was simple and effective. Am I the only one who needs to see Papa Buck vs. Miz’s Dad in a cage match with Marjo as special enforcer referee? Don’t answer that.
AEW Dynamite Misses
Hangman Page vs. Isiah Kassidy: Well worked and I liked that Kassidy’s offense was preceded by interference, but the match eventually felt like it went longer than it needed to. Page feels like one of the most over wrestlers on the show so he and the company are obviously doing something right. Still, I can’t help but feel let down by the lack of followup to his long storyline with Kenny Omega. I’m guessing they will get back to it eventually. It just feels strange that Omega won the AEW Championship, yet Page has shown no interest in challenging his former partner.
The build to Shaq and Jade Cargill vs. Cody Rhodes and Red Velvet: The broadcast team hyped the match and there was a video package, but it wasn’t enough. But it wasn’t just a problem with last night’s show. AEW didn’t tell a good story leading up to the match. Shaq combined with the AEW debut of Paul Wight should pop a rating next week, but we can only wonder what type of number AEW could have generated if they had done a better job of building to the spectacle match