By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
“Hangman” Adam Page vs. Bryan Danielson for the AEW World Championship: An outstanding match. Did I suspect that they were going to a time limit draw when they opened the show? Yes. Did it take away from the match for me? No. In fact, my only issue is wondering why AEW didn’t advertise for a full week that this match would open the show. The same people who would have predicted that it was a sign of a time limit draw surely felt the same way the moment they saw the match was going to open the show. So why not make it feel like a must see event and drive more viewers to watch from the start? That said, the match was terrific. Danielson’s heel work was off the charts. The match quality combined with the lack of a definitive winner left me anxious to see the rematch.
MJF vs. Dante Martin for the Dynamite Diamond Ring: While the idea of wrestlers fighting over a diamond ring still doesn’t do much for me, they made the right call in having MJF score the three-peat. Ricky Starks getting involved was a good followup to the story of Martin swerving Team Taz, but it’s beginning to look like they don’t have a good explanation for Martin signing a contract with the group. Taz stated on commentary that his legal team screwed up and he’s still trying to get to the bottom of it. I hope there’s more to it than that.
Wardlow vs. Matt Sydal: This match had the tough task of following the AEW World Championship match. As such, it was wisely kept brief with Wardlow destroying Sydal with multiple powerbombs. The post match bit with Shawn Spears passing along the message that MJF wanted Wardlow to pick up champagne for him was another small step toward the Wardlow turn. It will be interesting to see whether his storyline contract with MJF expires or if they have another way in mind for Wardlow to gain his independence.
Hikaru Shida vs. Serena Deeb: We’ve seen better matches from Shida and Deeb, but this was still entertaining. It was a bounce back win for Shida following her loss to Nyla Rose in the TBS Title tournament. And now it feels like Deeb needs a bounce back win on Dynamite after losing two straight matches to Shida.
AEW Dynamite Misses
Lights Out: Fan expectations were high for a big surprise. Sting made his surprise debut on last year’s Winter Is Coming themed edition, and that led to a lot of speculation that AEW had something big planned. In fairness, AEW never teased a big surprise going into this episode. And I would have been fine if the show had simply ended without one. It’s hard to imagine that it was intentional, but it came off like the company was trolling its own fans by turning off the lights during the closing minutes of the show only to have Sting and Darby Allin standing in the ring rather than a debuting wrestler once the lights turned on. To close on a positive note, kudos to CM Punk for his excellent choice in t-shirts.