By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
Malakai Black debuts: A big surprise for AEW’s return to the road. Sure, we all knew there was a chance that Black would sign with AEW once WWE released him, but the big surprise was that he showed up as quickly as he did. Well, at least it was a big surprise to everyone other than Excalibur, who knew Black’s new name. Anyway, this was a hot debut with a pair of great looking Black Mass kicks (or whatever they will be called) on Arn Anderson and Cody Rhodes. It will be interesting to see how live crowds respond to Black and Cody going forward given how hot this crowd was for Black. Was it a first night pop or do fans want to cheer him? Either way, it’s nice to see Cody involved in something that feels meaningful again.
Britt Baker promo: If you are going to insult the competition, then go for a knockout punch rather than throw little jabs. Baker threw a huge haymaker at WWE by accusing Tony Khan of taking blood money and then stating that next week’s Dynamite could be held in Saudi Arabia. Adam Cole might feel a little uncomfortable the next time he walks into the WWE Performance Center, but this was a gem of a line and one of the highlights of the night.
Dan Lambert promo: Dan F’n Lambert. The guy drove me nuts when Impact Wrestling started putting him all over their television show at one point, but his work improved and he most recently delivered some good promos for MLW while serving as the mouthpiece for King Mo. It all led up to Lambert playing the part of pro wrestling purist curmudgeon (I can relate at times) only to be roughed up by Lance Archer. Lambert has actually become a terrific talker. And while it’s certainly possible that this was a one-off, it would be fun if they had the right MMA fighter or even a wrestler in mind to pair with a revenge seeking Lambert to feud with Archer. Brock Lesnar is certainly at the top of the wish list, but I have no idea whether that’s even a realistic possibility.
Andrade El Idolo vs. Matt Sydal: A good match and a quality win for Andrade. I like the addition of Andrade to the AEW roster, but I’m still waiting for him to do something memorable. His debut was clunky and I’m still not sold on the idea of Vickie Guerrero serving as his mouthpiece. Andrade is a talented guy and I hope that Tony Khan can get it right with him like Paul Levesque eventually did in NXT.
The Young Bucks Eddie Kingston and Penta El Zero Miedo in a Street Fight for the AEW Tag Titles: A wild spot fest and garbage match all rolled into one. The Bucks retaining the tag titles was no surprise, but it will be interesting to see who they work with next. Penta and Kingston were the top ranked team followed by The Varsity Blonds, The Acclaimed, FTR, and Private Party. The Blonds seem to be the most likely candidates given that the other teams are heels, but we’re less than two months removed from the Bucks beating them clean on Dynamite.
Cody Rhodes vs. QT Marshall in a strap match: A solid match with a clean and decisive finish. I assume this was done to wrap up Cody’s feud with The Factory so that he is free to move on to the bigger program with Malakai Black.
Orange Cassidy and Kris Statlander vs. The Blade and The Bunny in a mixed tag match: The creativity of the finish won me over with The Blade appearing to be on the verge of winning following a brass knuckles punch on Cassidy, only for the referee to inform him she couldn’t make the count because the women were the legal entrants. It set up Statlander hitting her finisher and winning clean, while also creating the need for a singles match between Cassidy and The Blade.
AEW Dynamite Misses
Jake Hager, Santana, and Ortiz vs. Wardlow, Dax Harwood, and Cash Wheeler: AEW had been doing a very good job of setting the stage for the Santana and Ortiz vs. FTR showdown match. And while I’m sure they will still get to it, they would have been better off keeping them apart rather than going with this six-man tag match. Meanwhile, Hager recently defeated Wardlow in the MMA Fight, so it made Wardlow look weak when he had to be saved from tapping out to Hager’s ankle lock before he ended up stealing the pin. This sequence would have been fine for a lot of heels, but the company should be more protective of Wardlow’s monster status.
Chris Jericho and MJF: I loved Jericho saying that he would even go so far as to have sex with MJF’s mother if it meant he could get him in the ring for another match, taking a long pause, and then delivering the “again” line. My issue with the segment is that they spent all that time laying out the stipulations and I’m still not entirely sure if I understand how this will work.