By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
MFJ promo: This was arguably MJF’s best promo to date. We’ve seen him do some great insult comedy style mic work, but he showed great versatility by putting the comedy aside and delivering a fantastic money promo that sold his pay-per-view match and drove home the idea that he could end Chris Jericho’s in-ring career. MJF is money.
Chris Jericho and Jim Ross: Ross didn’t say much, but he added a lot to this by getting emotional and expressing concern for the position that Jericho put himself in by putting his career on the line against MJF. Jericho came through with another strong promo. I was already looking forward Jericho vs. MJF going into Dynamite, but the mic work from wrestlers really put it over the top.
CM Punk, Darby Allin, and Sting: It’s not every day that you see one wrestler save another wrestler from an attack just days before they have a big showdown match. And while Punk and Allin were able to hit their finishers along with Sting in a crowd pleasing moment, they didn’t lose any of the tension that exists between their characters heading into the match.
Santana and Ortiz vs. “FTR” Cash Wheeler and Dax Harwood: A very good tag match to open the show. It still feels like a treat to see the longtime best team in Impact face the longtime best team from WWE and NXT. Both teams need to be back in the tag title picture.
Young Bucks and Good Brothers vs. Lucha Bros and Jurassic Express: A hot show closing eight-man tag match. The decision to have Rey Fenix take a loss to one of the Bucks just a few days before he and Penta will challenge for the tag titles felt awkward. I’m not even saying they should have gone with the formula finish by having one of challengers beat one of the champions, but I’m not sure what was accomplished by having one of the challengers take the loss.
Powerhouse Hobbs vs. Brian Cage: An impressive match from the big men. Hobbs going over with help from Ricky Starks was the logical move to extend Cage’s issues with Starks and all of Team Taz. Hobbs continues to impress and is starting to show more confidence and personality.
Tay Conti vs. Penelope Ford: A decent match. Conti has shined in AEW after a largely forgettable run in NXT, but she seemed to be relegated to working the Dark shows for some time. Ford has been a semi regular loser on Dynamite, but it seems like they are trying to find a new slot for her with the Hardy Family Office. The return of Anna Jay from her long injury layoff was a nice surprise.
Overall Show: A nice bounce back after last week’s flat episode. AEW delivered strong go-home hype for some of the pay-per-view matches and produced a consistently entertaining two-hour show.
AEW Dynamite Misses
The Elite beatdown: The show closing beatdown that featured Kenny Omega directing traffic put more heat on the heels going into the pay-per-view, but I can’t say that AEW delivered strong final hype for the AEW World Championship or AEW Tag Team Championship matches. Omega continues to be an over the top heel and there are too many times when I feel like I’m watching him play a character. I enjoy the Omega and Don Callis act. I just wish that Omega felt more real at times. I was hoping that the feud with Christian Cage would lead to some good verbal exchanges that would feel personal, but Omega took his usual approach while it came off like the primary goal was to script Cage to cuss so that he would get easy pops. While we still have Rampage to go, the Omega vs. Cage feud needed a strong final verbal segment on Dynamite.
Orange Cassidy vs. Jack Evans: The finish taking place during a picture-in-picture break was fine. I don’t know that it’s really going to make viewers pay more attention during the breaks unless the company doubles down soon. Cassidy’s on-air allies Wheeler Yuta and Chuck Taylor feel cold, and the Hardy Family Office just hasn’t clicked. Can Cassidy stay over even if everyone around him is struggling?