By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
Darby Allin vs. JD Drake for the TNT Championship: The best match on the show. I went in wishing that Drake had been given some mic time to establish himself, but he was definitely able to do that with his ring work. It felt like a good win for Allin and it was clearly a memorable Dynamite debut for Drake. Here’s hoping that AEW follows up with Drake quickly.
Chris Jericho promo: An actual apology from a freshly turned babyface for his actions as a heel. Mea culpas were once fairly common in pro wrestling, but for some reason they have become a rarity. It was a questionable move for Jericho to dress down the Pinnacle members in a way that hit so close to home (and he flubbed the Wardlow insult), but it was an attention commanding promo and I have confidence in MJF to get his faction’s heat back, especially if he has the freedom to hit back just as hard.
Mike Tyson saves Chris Jericho: A good angle that gave The Pinnacle a touch of revenge before Tyson came to the rescue. But why did AEW stick with the shot of Tyson celebrating with the Inner Circle for so long? It felt like we saw the genuine smiles of the wrestlers turn to uncomfortable forced smiles as they presumably wondered just how long they were going to be on camera.
QT Marshall promo: It’s still baffling that AEW is introducing The Pinnacle faction and Marshall’s heel faction around the same time, but this was a good outing for Marshall and his crew.
AEW Dynamite Misses
Jon Moxley and The Young Bucks vs. Kenny Omega, Doc Gallows, and Karl Anderson: The actual match was Hit worthy. The Miss goes to the latest in what feels like a never ending series of character shifts for the Young Bucks. They recently walked out rather than take part in the too sweet bit with Omega and the Good Brothers, but apparently they’ve had yet another change of heart. The Bullet Club was fun and sold a lot of t-shirts, but I don’t get the feeling that fans are invested enough in this confusing saga to justify all of these twists and turns.
Hangman Page vs. Max Caster: The match went longer than it needed to and had a couple of clunky spots, including when Page had to wait for Anthony Bowens to slide the boombox into the ring. I like that AEW doesn’t treat its tag team wrestlers like complete scrubs when they work singles matches, but it felt like it went long just to go long and Caster didn’t really get much out of it.
Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus vs. Bear Country: There were enough rough moments to bring out the old “bowling shoe ugly” line from Jim Ross. Granted, he also said he loved it, but I can’t say the same. I really wish AEW would slow down and give proper introductions to wrestlers when they start to appear on Dynamite. We know very little about the Bear Country duo. JD Drake was able to click through his in-ring work, but a couple of dudes who seem obsessed with bears could use some mic time to establish their personas.
Tay Conti vs. The Bunny: The match was fine aside from Conti’s super over the top reaction to The Bunny kicking out of her finisher. The real problem is that there was just too much going on with Hikaru Shida, the Dark Order, and Matt Hardy’s faction.