By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
Hangman Page vs. Bryan Danielson for the AEW World Championship: A fitting sequel to the sixty-minute draw. Page going over clean was the right move. It establishes him as a strong champion, and Danielson’s WWE career is proof that he can bounce back from any loss. My only critique is that the post match scene felt underwhelming. After a one-hour draw and a 30-minute bloodbath, it felt like the show moved on as quickly as it would have if Page had won a match on AEW Dark. AEW is doing a lot of things right, but there is room for improvement when it comes to the presentation of their big matches both in the build and in the aftermath. Again, though, both Page vs. Danielson matches were excellent and it felt like a treat to see them both on the weekly television shows rather than on pay-per-view.
Penta El Zero Miedo and Rey Fenix vs. Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus for the AEW Tag Titles: In this case, AEW did a really good of making the title change feel like a big deal. They stuck with the celebration and showed the emotional reaction of Jungle Boy’s family in the crowd. I also liked the way the tag team division was showcased with all the teams walking onto the stage even if it did feel a bit contrived. It was interesting that Malakai Black and Chris Jericho were both shown as part of the post match angle. The actual match was a spirited spot-fest. Obviously, the Fenix injury was unfortunate and here’s hoping that he makes a quick and full recovery.
CM Punk and MJF: I wasn’t a fan of the way Punk caused MJF to lose by disqualification to Shawn Dean. I like the basic idea, but the execution made the referee look stilly for actually thinking that Punk was working on behalf of Dean. Fortunately, the verbal exchange between Punk and MJF that followed was another gem. Punk vs. Wardlow is really intriguing, and the build to the eventual Punk vs. MJF match continues to produce some of AEW’s most compelling segments.
Ruby Soho vs. Jade Cargill to become the first TBS Champion: The match wasn’t pretty, but I like the idea of putting the belt on Cargill. Yes, she’s very green, but she’s also a unique attraction. And if the goal was to make the two women’s championships feel equal, the unbeaten Cargill had to win given that Soho took a recent loss to AEW Women’s Champion Britt Baker.
Wardlow vs. Antonio Zambrano: Wardlow took another opponent to Powerbomb City. Everything points to Wardlow turning babyface soon and that should be a big moment for him and the company if it’s done right.
Malakai Black vs. Brian Pillman Jr.: Pillman’s slip at the end was unfortunate, but Black handled it like a pro to the point that I pondered for a moment whether Pillman’s slip was a planned spot. I assume that Black is working with the Varsity Blonds because he will end up teaming with the teased member of the House of Black to work in the tag team division.
AEW Dynamite Misses
Chris Jericho and 2point0: A flat segment. Jericho insulting the head shapes of Matt Lee and Jeff Parker seemed to work for the live crowd, but it just didn’t do anything for this viewer. While we finally saw Lee, Parker, and Daniel Garcia win a match on Dynamite last week, it’s going to take a lot more than that to make up for all of the losses they’ve taken on AEW’s two television shows to feel like they belong in a feud with Jericho, Eddie Kingston, Santana, and Ortiz.