By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
Kenny Omega and Bryan Danielson: A strong segment that set the stage for next week’s non-title dream match. The only thing that was oddly missing was some indication from the wrestlers as to when the match would actually take place. Fortunately, the broadcast team was there to fill in that important details. While I realize AEW places an emphasis on wrestling, this was a big enough verbal exchange that it belonged in the show-closing segment.
Adam Cole vs. Frankie Kazarian: A good match to open the show. There was no reason to think that Cole would lose, but the fact that it was his AEW debut match more than made up for it. I also enjoyed the Christian Cage promo in response to Cole’s six-man tag challenge. Cage hit hard with comments about the EVP’s throwing Cole a lifeline to pull him out of developmental and worked in a jab about NXT losing the Wednesday Night Wars while Cole was there. Nothing Cage said is going to change anyone’s perception of Cole for the worse, and yet it felt like realistic trash talk.
MJF and Brian Pillman Jr.: Another great heat seeking promo from MJF. As entertaining as he is, he still manages to get nuclear heat from the live crowds, which isn’t easy to do given the number of heel loving fans out there. The pre-taped interview that Jim Ross conducted with Pillman was also well done with Pillman showing decent fire heading into next week’s match. Pillman is still a work in progress on the mic, so it was a good call to pre-tape his segment.
Jon Moxley and Eddie Kingston vs. “2point0” Matt Lee and Jeff Parker: The match felt out of place in the main event segment and not just because the Kenny Omega and Bryan Danielson segment felt so much bigger. Lee and Parker are doing good work, but have they have yet to win a match on Dynamite. The post match angle continued the show’s theme of setting up next week’s big Arthur Ashe Stadium show. As hot as the crowd was throughout the night, it was interesting that the reaction to Minoru Suzuki was underwhelming. It’s great that NJPW wrestlers are popping up on Dynamite, but hopefully AEW officials are recognizing that while NJPW has a lot of passionate American fans, there are still a lot of fans out there who aren’t following NJPW and need a proper introduction to its wrestlers.
“FTR” Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler vs. Dante Martin and Matt Sydal: The usual quality tag team match from the FTR duo. This match left me even more anxious for the return of Darius Martin, as I would love to see a full on FTR vs. Top Flight program.
Darby Allin vs. Shawn Spears: Another entertaining match. Allin’s closing sequence was especially good. The post match angle with FTR mixing it up with Allin and Sting was really good. But why is a 62 year-old man who was diagnosed with spinal stenosis taking spike piledrivers? It also felt like Jim Ross should have been putting over the potential damage to Sting’s neck rather than admiring the perfection of FTR’s spike piledriver. Tully Blanchard wiping off Sting’s face paint was simple and yet very effective.
Chris Jericho and Dan Lambert: The Lambert promo was more of the same as he continues to drew good heat, yet he isn’t doing nearly enough to spotlight the team of Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky. Jericho’s rebuttal was solid and this worked as far as offering a quick build to a tag team match for next week.
Jade Cargill vs. Leyla Hirsch: AEW tried to recreate the magic that Hirsh had with Kamille on the NWA Empowerrr pay-per-view. They succeeded for the most part, but for some reason the live crowd just didn’t rally behind Hirsch in the same way that the NWA crowd did. Cargill is green, but she’s definitely showing signs of improvement.
AEW Dynamite Misses
Malakai Black and Cody Rhodes brawl: So Rosario Dawson was at ringside to serve as a distraction so that Cody could run down from the concourse area in a loud red suit to surprise Black? I’m not really sure if that was the idea or not, but it was strange that Cody entered from the concourse area for no good reason. I wanted to like this segment and I did enjoy the intensity of the brawl between Black and Rhodes, but the way the angle was laid out awkwardly.
It really annoyed me that Pillmann did the old ‘not coming down the aisle’ trick to get himself alone in the ring with MJF, and then…stood there doing nothing. If you go to all that trouble to buy yourself a few seconds, why would you not then hit the guy as quickly as you could??
Because the booker doesn’t know what he’s doing. He got the germ of the idea right on this one, but the execution was poor. At least we get two good MLW alum in a program together so MJF doesn’t have to get buried by a 50+ year old MAGAT again.
Everything Cody touches turns to shit at this point.
The Jericho-Lambert segment included a stunningly homophobic joke, and follow up chant from the supposedly inclusive audience, yet nothing is said about it here. Vince’s company (or someone like Cornette) would get buried by Powell for that and would get a terrible Monday McGuire “article” about it.
The Moxley-Kingston vs jobbers match was just a crappy brawl with the latest absolute nobody from Japan getting no reaction. How in the blue hell is that a hit?
Cargill vs Illegitimate Leyla Hirsch (seriously, she was a BAD amateur wrestler) was barely worth a filler segment.
This wasn’t the worst Dynamite, by any means, but having this show almost exclusively in the hit column and calling the very good NXT reboot a miss just further shows the shameless, unprofessional bias of Powell.