By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
Cody Rhodes vs. Sammy Guevara in a ladder match for the TNT Title: A fantastic ladder match. It had all the big moments one would expect, along with some truly innovative spots. Guevara going over surprised me. Rhodes won the title just over a month ago, so there was no reason to think they would move the belt back to Guevara. But I like the title change. Rhodes doesn’t need the championship as much as Guevara does, and it feels like regaining the championship actually makes Guevara feel stronger than he would have had he simply retained the title this entire time.
CM Punk and MJF: Another fun night of verbal sparring that resulted in their match being set for next week in Chicago. They put the final dose of heat on MJF with the Pinnacle attack, and it will be interesting to see if Punk sells any injuries going into the next week’s match. Once we get through this feud, it’s time to stop focussing so much on Punk’s time away. It was clever that MJF brought up Punk no-showing an event in Cleveland when he left WWE, but it’s time to turn the page and focus on today rather than yesterday’s news. This was the first time that I thought there was at least a chance that Wardlow would turn babyface. He showed his reluctance to powerbomb Punk onto the chair, and with this show being in his hometown it felt like this might be the night. The slow build to Wardlow’s turn has been excellent and it should be a huge deal once they finally pull the trigger on his babyface turn.
Chris Jericho, Santana, and Ortiz vs. Daniel Garcia and “2point0” Matt Lee and Jeff Parker: It’s still tough to take Garcia and 2point0 seriously when they lose so many matches on Dynamite and Rampage. But the story of this match was the friction between Jericho and his fellow Inner Circle members Santana and Ortiz, who avoided tagging him into the match. It was a nice touch to have Jericho factor into the finish by hitting his Judas Effect finisher from the floor.
Wardlow vs. Elijah Dean and James Alexander: What’s better than watching Wardlow powerbomb some poor dude over and over again? Watching Wardlow powerbomb two poor dudes over and over again.
AEW Dynamite Misses
Orange Cassidy vs. Adam Cole in a Lights Out Match: For starters, it felt premature for these two to meet in a Lights Out match. Yes, the story is that Cole was upset about Britt Baker going through a table during a recent mixed tag match, but it didn’t help the story that Baker’s character didn’t care enough to even mention Cassidy or this match in her promo. I’m not big on Cassidy going over, and I really don’t care that it doesn’t count as a loss for Cole in the rankings. I am hopeful that the reason Cassidy went over is that Tony Khan has a plan for Cole to win a title or do something big that will overshadow this loss.
Britt Baker promo: A disappointing promo. Baker heeled on the crowd, yet spent most of her time looking into the camera rather than playing to them. It also felt like watching an inexperienced stand-up comedian run through material without pausing in the right places to let the crowd react. As the official pro wrestling media member who cares way more about the NFL than he should, even I found her Steelers and Browns rivalry comments to be poorly timed in that neither team feels relevant at the moment now that their seasons are over. But the biggest problem with the promo was that it lacked purpose. No one confronted her, nor did she bring up any potential opponents. It was just a pointless promo that would have been fine at a Cleveland house show, yet felt out of place on television.
Leyla Hirsch vs. Red Velvet: Ranking these two first and second in the women’s division just in time for this match felt unrealistic and way too convenient. The live crowd’s apathy towards the match was very noticeable.