By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
Brian Cage vs. “Hangman” Adam Page: A hot opening match with a surprising outcome. Page has been thoroughly protected as the number one contender, so it was an unexpected development for Cage to pin him. The match was laid out really well with Cage’s pre-match attack softening the blow for Page taking the loss and setting up the need for a rematch. On a side note, did AEW pull the plug on the story of Cage and Ricky Starks having issues or is that still happening?
The Inner Circle and The Pinnacle: A really good verbal segment that delivered strong final hype for the Blood and Guts match that will headline next week’s show. Sammy Guevara came off bad when he volunteered to start the match and giving up the man advantage. It’s one thing for him to want to start the match, but it came off more foolish than valiant for him to give up the man advantage for his entire team. The Pinnacle haven’t had any heat put on them since they initially turned and it feels like they are rushing to Blood and Guts. Even so, the mic work leading up to the match left me anxious to see it. Given the lack of heat, I assume that The Pinnacle wins.
The Young Bucks vs. Mike Sydal and Matt Sydal in an eliminator match: A strong tag match with really good work from both teams. The Bucks appear to be having fun since they turned heel. They seem energized by the new direction. The question now is whether fans will play along once AEW gets back on the road. After all, the Bucks are very popular and have some of the most dynamic offensive moves in the game.
Orange Cassidy vs. Penta El Zero Miedo: A fun match with some good Cassidy comedy. I especially enjoyed Penta going for his armbreaker spot only to have Cassidy power out and put his hand in his pocket. Alex Abrahantes continues to be really fun as Penta’s interpreter/manager, and I like the way that his distraction backfired after he was responsible for Penta winning last week.
Darby Allin vs. Dark Order’s Preston “10” Vance for the TNT Title: A decent main event on a show that was opposed by the U.S. President’s address. I have no idea if AEW intentionally loaded up the first hour and seemed to go lighter in the second hour because of the speech, but it worked out either way. I really don’t understand why Vance and Alan Angels are still wearing masks and going by numbers at this point. In fact, I’m not even sure what the Dark Order is at this point even if some of the wrestlers involved are over with fans.
Kris Statlander vs. Penelope Ford: A good match and a nice spotlight win for Statlander. That said, I continue to hope that Ford will eventually be booked to be a player in the women’s division at some point. Bonus points for Miro beating the hell out of Kip Sabian in the backstage area. If there’s any followup, I hope it’s as simple as Miro plowing through Sabian in one match and then moving on to bigger and better things. Miro hasn’t been booked any better in AEW than he was in WWE thus far. Hopefully this is the start of something big for his character.
Overall show: NXT had no Misses in my Hit List yesterday. Meanwhile, AEW has multiple misses this week and yet I was still more entertained by Dynamite overall. NXT is typically a very logically booked promotion. But Dynamite has a much better atmosphere at Daily’s Place and a lot more star power. It’s not all about the AEW vs. NXT comparisons now that they are airing on different nights and I really do enjoy both products, but it’s easy to see why AEW dominated the ratings most weeks when they were going head to head.
AEW Dynamite Misses
Dustin Rhodes, Billy Gunn, and Lee Johnson vs. QT Marshall, Aaron Solow, and Nick Comoroto: I barely cared about the Nightmare Family when this started, so it’s hard to get wrapped up in their civil war with The Factory. I might be more excited about The Factory if there weren’t so many other factions in AEW. Cody Rhodes is one of the most popular wrestlers in the company and it’s great that he wants to help elevate others. I just hope that he’s not reaching so far down the card that this ends up being more harmful to him than it is helpful to Marshall.
Four-way tag match announcement: Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian won a bunch of matches to become the number one contenders to the tag titles. So why is there a four-way match next week to determine which team will get the next title shot? While it could be a swerve, AEW seemed to heavily foreshadow the outcome of the four-way by having Daniels and Kazarian confront the Bucks following their match. By the way, will Daniels and Kazarian split up if they lose the four-way or does their stipulation only apply to standard tag matches?
Brandon Cutler and Michael Nakazawa: Apparently, their new characters make sense if you watch Being The Elite. But Dynamite viewers shouldn’t be required to watch AEW’s shoulder content to be up to speed on the product. It feels like this company could use a quality control person who only watches Dynamite and therefore can point out when things won’t make sense to viewers who only watch the flagship show.
With regards to NXT, do you see WWE trying to get a tv show to compete head to head with aew again? With NBC moving on from hockey, USA will not have a sports property to air on wednesdays in the future. WWe would be better off keeping aew’s numbers down even if NXT gets lower numbers itself.
With the NBA playoffs and NHL PLAYOFFS starting up in May, the numbers for pro wrestling shows will go down on the basis of the competition anyway, so is wwe just concerned up its own numbers and putting aew’s numbers on the back burner.
If NBA PLAYOFFS/NHL PLAYOFFS TAKE A BITE OUT OF WWE’S TV NUMBERS, YOU WOULD THINK THE SAME PRINCIPLE WILL APPLY TO AEW’S TV NUMBERS.