By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
Jon Moxley promo: The unexpected highlight of the night. Moxley seemed to be settling in as a babyface who teamed with Eddie Kingston at times and also wanted to work against New Japan talent. It was a decent role as his character came down from his AEW Championship run. But this promo blew away any notion that his character or even the man playing it had become complacent. This was a true character shifting moment. Moxley made himself the AEW flag bearer who doesn’t take kindly to new talent showing up and cashing in now that the company has been firmly established. He also called out everyone from Kenny Omega to Christian Cage to hero of the fans Hangman Page. Moxley set himself up with meaningful matches with several stars who are already on the roster while also giving a logical reason that explains why his character won’t be driving the welcome wagon for any big name newcomers. This was a brilliant promo that repositioned Moxley and I’m beyond anxious to see what comes next for his character.
Chris Jericho vs. MJF in the Fifth Labour of Jericho: I love that MJF defeated Jericho in the fifth labour and that he did so by making Jericho tap out. Jericho’s elbow injury has been well established so the submission was logical and gave a major boost to MJF and his finishing hold. It was a bit awkward that Jericho stopped himself from using the Judas Effect just seconds after he risked disqualification by using a baseball bat as a weapon, especially when the referee still had her back turned and Jericho could have gotten away with hitting his banned for the match finisher. Ultimately, though, MJF scored a big win that adds to his heat and in-ring credibility while also giving Jericho something to avenge.
Sting and Darby Allin vs. “2.0” Matt Lee and Jeff Parker in a Texas Tornado match: A fun brawl with the popular babyface duo going over. I still cringe when I see 62 year-old Sting taking big bumps, especially after he was forced out of the ring by a neck injury in WWE. Putting that aside as much I can can, the live crowd went crazy when Sting no-sold the powerbomb through the table. It felt like AEW could have gotten more out of Sting’s first match on Dynamite and yet the match came off well.
The Young Bucks vs. Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus for the AEW Tag Titles: A fun tag team match with the big spots one would expect from these teams. I hated all the interference in the moment, but it ended up serving a purpose, as it was announced later in the show that the Bucks will defend their tag titles in a cage match at All Out. Granted, we’ve seen time and time again that cage matches don’t prevent outside interference, but that doesn’t have to be the case in AEW. Hopefully the company will show discipline and start to establish that their cage matches are different. My biggest disappointment is that they didn’t build to a specific team being screwed over by repeated outside interference who are finally being given a shot at a fair fight in the cage match. Rather, we’re getting four teams competing in a tournament to determine which team will get the Bucks in the cage match.
Sammy Guevara vs. Shawn Spears: It was a great night for Sammy, who got engaged in his hometown and beat Spears in a good, yet overindulgent match with some needless kick-outs from huge moves. It was hard not to think of the differences between the way AEW wrestlers such as Guevara this week and Britt Baker last week are showcased in front of their hometown fans compared to WWE booking hometown wrestlers to lose routinely in front of hometown crowds because Vince McMahon thinks it’s good for heat. It’s not that wrestlers always need to win in their hometowns, but I definitely prefer seeing them come off like megastars as opposed to seeing wrestlers lose in front of dejected fans so routinely.
AEW Dynamite Misses
Paul Wight and QT Marshall: It’s great that Marshall has worked hard and earned a meaningful position behind the scenes in AEW. But he just hasn’t clicked as a regular on Dynamite. The tag team with Dustin Rhodes was underwhelming, his feud with Cody Rhodes never caught fire, and The Factory hasn’t shown any chemistry as a faction. The live crowd’s reaction to Marshall last night was perhaps the only time that the hot Houston crowd seemed disinterested. At this point, it’s hard not to feel like there are better options on the deep roster for television time and to be Wight’s first AEW opponent. I sincerely hope that Marshall somehow proves me and other doubters wrong during his program with Wight, but if he doesn’t then it’s time to pull back and limit his act to Dark appearances.
Thunder Rosa vs. Penelope Ford: The match just didn’t click, which is surprising given the talent involved. I wasn’t a big fan of Rosa escaping Ford’s Muta Lock with ease on two different occasions. There was also no mystery regarding the outcome, as Ford’s only Dynamite wins seem to come against younger newcomers. Still, I am curious to see if Rosa winning was simply about getting her on the show or if she will end up challenging Britt Baker for the AEW Women’s Championship at All Out.
Daniel Garcia: The Miss is all about AEW’s presentation of Garcia and not because of anything he’s done wrong. There is clearly a portion of the AEW audience that is familiar with Garcia’s work outside the company. But AEW officials need to be more mindful of the fans who never saw Garcia before arrived on AEW television. ROH made the mistake for years of acting like all of their fans watched every independent promotion and every Japanese promotion and therefore knew everything about certain incoming wrestlers. It resulted in the non super man crowd feeling like they were late to the party. So far, we know that Garcia is aligned with 2.0 and that he’s lost both of his matches on Dynamite. Sure, we got a look at what he can do in the ring and he was certainly impressive during his loss to Darby Allin, but the company just hasn’t made him feel special aside from Excalibur telling us about him on commentary. It’s hard to imagine that there’s much excitement from the more casual AEW viewer about Garcia facing Jon Moxley on AEW Rampage. It’s possible that Garcia will get over because of his impressive in-ring work, but AEW could do more to help the cause than they have thus far.