By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
Adam Cole vs. Jungle Boy: A fantastic opening match. The near falls down the stretch were especially strong. Cole made the final near fall just by the way he covered Jungle Boy following the Panama Sunrise. The low blow finish was fine by me, as it gave heel Cole a tainted win that protected Jungle Boy, which hopefully leads to a rematch sooner rather than later.
Bryan Danielson and The Elite: Danielson continuing to play to the ego of Kenny Omega is logical because his character did the same thing when he goaded Omega into their non-title match. The “Kenny No Balls” line was fun with Danielson playing off the live crowd. Here’s hoping that the idea is for Omega to put the title on the line against Danielson at the Full Gear pay-per-view.
Miro vs. Sammy Guevara for the TNT Championship: A return to form for Guevara. It was good to see him in a meaningful match again rather than holding up flashcards or playing big brother to Fuego Del Sol. I didn’t expect the title change and I’m actually sad to see Miro’s strong reign end, but this was a hell of a match with a surprising outcome. I also liked the move of giving viewers a hook in the form of having Guevara speak for the first time during the first commercial break of the “Rhodes to the Top” reality show.
MJF and Darby Allin: MJF went into shock jock mode again. In this case, he told the story of Allin’s uncle dying while drunk driving with a young Allin the car and then told Allin that the wrong person died. While the line definitely heavy handed and I can understand why some would have this segment in the Miss section for that reason alone, the segment actually provided some crucial background information regarding Allin that helps viewers understand who he is.
Cody Rhodes and Lee Johnson vs. Dante Martin and Matt Sydal: The acrobatics of Martin continue to amaze. The ease in which he hit the springboard flip onto Cody and Johnson at ringside during the picture-in-picture break was sensational. The overall match was entertaining and the spot with Johnson tagging himself in and getting the win was interesting. The post match angle with Arn Anderson walking out on Rhodes felt a bit convenient in that it’s a conversation one would expect to take place off-camera, but Anderson is so good on the mic that it more than made up for it. I could have done without Arn’s line about how he would shoot a carjacker in the face. I get what he was going for, but it was still too much.
Orange Cassidy, Alan “5” Angels, Preston “10” Vance, Evil Uno, Stu Grayson, Colt Cabana, John Silver, and Alex Reynolds vs. Matt Hardy, Marq Quen, Isiah Kassidy, Jack Evans, Angelico, The Butcher, The Blade, and Jora Johl: A 16-man tag match would normally land in the Miss section on principle alone, but these were special circumstances. The spot with Amanda Huber coming out and yelling at Evil Uno and Stu Grayson to return to the ring was a nice touch. The match turned out to be a nice tribute to late Brodie Lee.
Darby Allin, Jon Moxley and Eddie Kingston vs. Anthony Greene and Bear Country: A simple showcase win for the babyface trio. There was nothing memorable about the match, but it gave the show a nice dose of star power. I’m not really sure why Sting hit his finisher on Greene after the match, as it didn’t feel like a very babyface thing to do even if the live crowd did enjoy it. Why not work in a spot during the match with Greene disrespecting Sting to at least give the legend some justification for attacking him?
Video Packages: AEW included some brief video packages that set the stage for Hikaru Shida vs. Serena Deeb for next week, and Jade Cargill vs. Nyla Rose vs. Thunder Rosa for Friday’s AEW Rampage. The video packages were brief yet far more effective than simply flashing a match graphic on the screen.
AEW Dynamite Misses
Dan Lambert promo: After saying, “The company was floundering in poor booking decisions and skinny little acrobats,” Lambert implied that Chris Jericho somehow swooped in and saved the company. But Jericho was actually with the company from day one, so it didn’t make much sense. More importantly, I could do without characters talking about “booking decisions” during the actual show. Lambert has the gift of gab and he gets heat, but I continue to question why he spends all of his time grumbling about AEW without saying much about his team of Scorpio Sky and Ethan Page. On the bright side, at least Sky and Page got a chance to speak this week.
Tay Conti and Anna Jay vs. The Bunny and Penelope Ford: A forgettable match with the familiar outcome of Ford taking the loss on Dynamite.