By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
CM Punk vs. MJF: This was one of my favorite Dynamite main events to date. MJF going over in Chicago was absolutely the right call. It gave him an in-ring credibility boost and should leave the fans anxious to see Punk face MJF and Wardlow in rematches. I loved the finish and attention to detail in terms of how the production team shot it. The close-up of Punk and Wardlow going face to face felt right in the moment, and it was only after the match that viewers learned that Wardlow had slipped MJF the Dynamite Diamond ring during that staredown. It was a great touch because it establishes Wardlow as a roadblock for Punk to get through in order to get his hands on MJF again. And after the beating that the Wardlow character gave Punk in their recent match, Wardlow feels like a huge mountain for Punk to climb. And just when it seemed like Wardlow was finally going to turn on MJF, he actually helped him when he needed it most. This was terrific booking, and it left me wondering if MJF will challenge for the AEW World Championship while Punk is tied up with Wardlow.
Pac and Penta El Zero Miedo vs. Malakai Black and Brody King: A good tag match that established the duo of Black and King as threats in the tag team division without actually beating one of the top teams. The loss doesn’t hurt Pac or Penta because they’re not a regular team, and it left me hoping to see Penta and Rey Fenix face The House of Black once Fenix is healthy.
Hangman Page and Lance Archer: This felt like a course correction from their previous segment, which saw Page clear Archer from the ring with ease. Archer is the heavy underdog in the title match next week, so he needed this segment where he dominated Page. Dan Lambert is doing a fine job in AEW, but I couldn’t help but feel like less is more when he came out for a second segment on this show.
Jon Moxley vs. Wheeler Yuta: A good opening match. The finish was never in doubt for this viewer, but there was one close near fall for Yuta that the live crowd seemed to bite on. The post match scene was very interesting with Bryan Danielson making his pitch to form an alliance with Moxley. Whether Moxley takes him up on the offer remains to be seen, but I suspect that we will see some type of Danielson faction involving Yuta, Daniel Garcia, and Lee Moriarty.
Ruby Soho vs. Nyla Rose: A solid back and forth match with a mildly surprising outcome. Soho has been a really nice addition to the roster and I’m surprised that she’s taken so many high profile losses, including one to Jade Cargill in the finals of the TBS Title tournament. I was expecting this to be a bounce back win for Soho, but it’s important to keep Rose strong to protect her status as a monster heel.
AEW Dynamite Misses
Brandi Rhodes and Dan Lambert: Enough with the special rules for Cody and Brandi Rhodes. While the rest of the AEW storyline universe plays by traditional pro wrestling storytelling rules, the segments involving Cody and Brandi continue to include references to heel turns and include other insider lingo. There were some entertaining verbal jabs in the latest exchange between Brandi and Lambert, but the best move at this point is for Cody and Brandi to simply listen to the crowd and do the right thing for the company. For whatever it’s worth, Brandi stated on their reality show that she’s viewed herself as a heel all along. Yes, I realize that reality shows are as manipulated as pro wrestling, but this seemed like a genuine moment. So seems like Cody’s stubbornness is the only thing standing in the way of what could be a tremendous heel run for him and his wife. As much as I find Cody’s attempts to win over crowds compelling, the thought of him and Brandi playing traditional heels who live in the same storyline universe as the rest of the roster is better for business and could be just as compelling if booked properly.