By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
Kenny Omega, Matt Jackson, and Nick Jackson vs. Matt Sydal, Mike Sydal, and Dante Martin: Pittsburgh crowds have always stood out to me as tough. This crowd fit that description early in the match, but the wrestlers drew them in with some highly entertaining work. Omega definitely put Martin in position to shine, and Martin more than made the most it. Martin looked awesome in defeat and this match was a blast aside from the usual shrugging off of basic tag team rules. It’s an issue that drives some fans mad. As a traditionalist, I get it and I wish they would work in a way that allows the basic tag rules to be enforced, but they obviously believe in a free for all style or they would have made changes by now. And that’s fine, but I wish AEW would simply make a declaration about their tag team rules being loose and allowing this type of work so that it felt more logical and wouldn’t make the referees look so incompetent. There’s clearly an audience that couldn’t care less about the tag rules not being enforced, but why not come up with new rules to make it more watchable for fans who desire some basic logic and structure?
Britt Baker promo: Pittsburgh was anything but a tough crowd when it came to supporting their hometown gal. It continues to be a real treat to watch Baker grow as a performer and to see her confidence soar. I don’t think many people envisioned this level of success for her when she was the first woman signed by AEW. Baker showed real poise and the moment wasn’t too big for her. I like that she stayed true to her character and didn’t drop it in favor of becoming emotional due to her hometown crowd’s reaction. Her homecoming promo was fun and did a nice job of setting the stage for her title defense against Red Velvet on AEW Rampage. I could have done without Red Velvet running out for the brief brawl that felt rather needless, but this was a really fun segment otherwise.
Darby Allin vs. Daniel Garcia: A good match with Garcia getting a lot of offense before Allin put him away. If AEW is serious about doing more with Garcia, it’s a little strange that they debuted him with two straight losses on Dynamite, but it’s nothing that he can’t overcome.
Kris Statlander vs. Nyla Rose: A really good outing for Statlander, who showed off some impressive high spots, including her top rope 450 splash finisher. Rose just lost a title match to Britt Baker, so this was the right time to use her to elevate Statlander. Is Statlander next in line for a title shot once Britt Baker presumably retains her title on AEW Rampage?
Overall show: As I’ve noted many times, the Hit and Miss count can be a bit deceiving at times. This was a good two hours of television and easily the most entertaining pro wrestling show that I’ve seen this week. AEW is doing a lot of things right, but there are some things that could be cleaned up that would make the show even better. The announcement of Sting’s first television match felt too casual. Make viewers feel like this is a rare treat, not just another match on Dynamite. It’s also strange that Sting’s first match is against the 2.0 tag team that just showed up in AEW and barely has an issue with Sting and Darby Allin. The announcement of Christian Cage getting the AEW Title shot needed more fanfare, but his verbal exchange with Kenny Omega made it work. And while AEW did a good job of pushing AEW Rampage throughout the night, I am surprised there wasn’t a big push at the end of Dynamite with a cliffhanger or just something designed to make viewers feel like the premiere is a must see show.
AEW Dynamite Mises
Chris Jericho vs. Wardlow: The actual match was fine, but The Five Labours of Jericho build to the MJF match peaked with the Nick Gage match. At that point, MJF looked like an evil mastermind. But then MJF followed up with the soft stipulation that Jericho had to use a top rope move to beat Juventud Guerrara. And then came the stipulation for last night’s match that simply allowed MJF to be at ringside, and his character didn’t even have the foresight to add that he couldn’t be ejected from ringside regardless of what he did. Finally, MJF stipulated that Jericho can’t use the Judas Effect finisher and can’t come out to his entrance theme in their match, which feels totally unimaginative and tame coming from the same villain who booked Jericho against an opponent who sadistically used light tubes, pizza cutters, and a pane of glass as weapons. Despite the flaws, I have enjoyed the build to Jericho’s match with MJF, so they must be doing something right. I just wish the order had been different or they had come up with stronger stipulations coming out of the Gage match.
Orange Cassidy, Chuck Taylor, and Wheeler Yuta vs. Matt Hardy, Marq Quen, and Isiah Kassidy: At one point, Tony Schiavone made a comment about how there were just too many people. I believe he was referring to the odds being stacked against the babyfaces, but he might as well have been talking about the ridiculous number of people at ringside as part of the Hardy Family Office. It was hard not to compare the two six-man tag matches that took place with only one match in between. This match paled in comparison to the opener, and it continues to be disappointing to see the promising Private Party duo working as part of the weak Hardy Family Office faction.
Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson vs. Evil Uno and Stu Grayson for the Impact Tag Titles: I watch Impact weekly and even I’m having a tough time caring about their tag titles at the moment. But if AEW is building up to a bit battle of the belts show, then it makes sense to feature Impact titles and the titles of AEW’s other allies on television from time to time. Unfortunately, the match was nothing special and I wasn’t a fan of Uno and Grayson just getting a tag title match out of the blue.