By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
Andrade El Idolo vs. Cody Rhodes: Andrade still hasn’t found his groove as a character, but he followed up his hot match with Pac from AEW Rampage with another strong showing. The involvement of FTR continues the story of Andrade paying members of The Pinnacle to help him out. I’m not sure if that’s leading to something bigger between him and MJF’s faction or if what we’ve seen is the extent of it. The post match bit with Penta El Zero Miedo and Rey Fenix going after FTR made this feel a little busier than it needed to be, but it ultimately gave their upcoming AEW Tag Title match a bit of attention.
Miro vs. Orange Cassidy in an AEW Eliminator tournament semifinal match: While AEW could have rushed to Punk vs. Danielson by putting having Punk replace Moxley in the tournament, they made the right call by going with Miro. Punk and Eddie Kingston have their own thing going on, and I’d rather see them do a proper storyline build to Punk vs. Danielson. Miro beating Cassidy clean and decisively was also the right call, and I’m really looking forward to Miro vs. Danielson at Full Gear.
CM Punk’s promo: Punk’s comments regarding Jon Moxley entering a treatment facility were clearly heartfelt and touching. AEW has done a good job of simply being refreshingly honest about the situation after getting Moxley’s blessing. Punk is proudly straight edge and therefore can’t offer a first-hand perspective on battling alcoholism, but he quickly established this as the mental health issue that it is. He was also able to flip the switch into character mode when it was time to set up his Rampage segment with Eddie Kingston.
AEW World Champion Kenny Omega vs. Alan “5” Angels in a non-title match: Whatever happened to Don Callis? Anyway, the match was well worked and I like the story that Angels has Omega’s number (as much as someone could despite losing both of their matches). Omega’s post match promo was a bit much. I was among those who were critical of their first meeting 18 months ago. The gist of the criticism was that Omega was struggling to click with fans who didn’t follow his NJPW work, and it felt strange that he gave up so much offense to a newcomer. The defense has been that plenty of wrestlers have taken a similar approach over the years, but almost every example that defenders offered was of someone working as a heel at the time they made a babyface enhancement wrestler shine before going over in the end, whereas Omega was a babyface during that initial match with Angels. Obviously, it was in the moment criticism and things have worked out fine for Omega. But his post match crack that Angels ruined his career because of their first match felt really thin-skinned. While there probably was someone out there somewhere on social media who made such an over the top claim, it was an extreme hot take that didn’t even deserve the oxygen.
MJF and Darby Allin: Another good segment on the road to their pay-per-view showdown match. While I get the idea of getting Sting out there, the segment felt needlessly busy with the Pinnacle members brawling with the guys wearing Allin face masks. Even so, the build to the Full Gear match has been good, and I’m intrigued by Allin seeming to indicate that he intends to out-wrestle MJF.
The Inner Circle and American Top Team: A fun segment that put Lambert in the ten-man tag match at the Full Gear pay-per-view. Lambert did a good job of establishing that he wanted nothing to do with being in the match. While I’ve gone back and forth regarding his segments, he draws tremendous heat and the fans will take delight in the idea of seeing his character take a beating.
FTR vs. Samuray Del Sol and Aerostar for the AAA Tag Titles: The match was a little clunky at times, but there was more good than bad. Amanda Huber and Chris Jericho both critical of Del Sol mentioning the late Jon Huber and misspelling his first name in a tweet, so it’s hard not to wonder if this will turn out to be a one and done for the former Kalisto in AEW.
AEW Dynamite Misses
Anna Jay vs. Jamie Hayter in a TBS Title tournament match: I still don’t understand Hayter’s role. She seemed to be brought in as the muscle for Britt Baker, but she hasn’t been established as anything more than a second sidekick. This was an opportunity to put her over strong, but they went with a distraction from Rebel that allowed Baker to interfere, which felt like a bad WWE protection finish. Jay has a bright future, but she’s very much a work in progress and her character could have easily absorbed a clean loss.
John Silver promo: The “Budge” gag is from the Being The Elite online show. It’s nice for those who enjoy the show, but I suspect that there were far more viewers who were left confused than there were viewers who understood the joke.