By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
MJF’s celebration: MJF’s ridiculously over the top victory party was a blast. It was good to see The Pinnacle together again, and Wardlow continues to do a fantastic job of expressing disgust and disbelief through his facial expressions. The only negative of the segment was that I was left confused when they set the stipulation for the tag team match. Punk initially stated that he wanted to face Wardlow in a rematch and it seemed like MJF wanted to avoid facing Punk again, and yet somehow they both seemed to agree to the Punk vs. MJF rematch if Punk’s team could defeat FTR.
CM Punk and Jon Moxley vs. “FTR” Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler: The best match of the night. There were a couple of clunky moments such as when Punk needed a second try to hoist up Tully Blanchard for the GTS, but this was just a really strong and highly entertaining tag team match overall. I’m typically not crazy about a makeshift team of singles wrestlers beating an established tag team, but it worked for me in this case given because Punk and Moxley are main event players. Plus, you had to know that Punk was going over in his first match since he put over MJF in Chicago.
Hangman Page vs. Lance Archer in a Texas Death Match for the AEW World Championship: A bloody brawl that closed the show in a memorable way. It was basically a Last Man Standing match. I prefer the approach that AEW took over the Impact Wrestling version that required a pinfall or a submission to trigger the referee’s ten count in the recent Mickie James vs. Deonna Purrazzo match. The Impact approach leads to too many unnecessary pins and submissions. While it was a good win for Page, I still don’t feel like the AEW World Championship is positioned as the most important thing in the company’s storyline universe. To put it simply, AEW could do a better job of making Page feel like the man.
Keith Lee vs. Isiah Kassidy in a Face of the Revolution ladder match qualifier: An excellent debut match for Lee, thanks in large part to the work of Kassidy and Marq Quen. Kassidy took some great bumps and did everything he could to make Lee look good throughout the match. On a side note, why do they always feel the need to hype a big debut while also hyping a major announcement from Tony Khan when they turn out to be the same thing? I don’t think it’s just nitpicking to say that a debuting wrestler is not an announcement, and the approach they take is confusing.
Jade Cargill vs. AQA for the TBS Championship: It wasn’t pretty and they definitely seemed lost at one point, and yet it was still an entertaining match that made both wrestlers looking good. AQA hit some big moves and was given more offense than most wrestlers get against Cargill, whose power moves look downright punishing.
Serena Deeb vs. Katie Arquette in a five-minute rookie challenge: While this was a little bland and certainly predictable, they had to establish the five-minute rookie challenge and wisely kept the match brief. I assume we’ll see a few more matches like this one before they get to the rookie who will take Deeb to the time limit or even beat her.
AEW Dynamite Misses
Jay White’s debut: From a storytelling standpoint, I’m into the idea of Adam Cole bringing in White, and the further storyline friction it creates with the Young Bucks. At the same time, this was hardly a memorable debut, particularly for casual fans who haven’t followed the Bullet Club saga over the years. AEW’s references to Bullet Club, Chaos, and now Roppongi Vice are good fan service for longtime fans, but they also risk confusing casual viewers by making them feel late to the party.
Wardlow vs. The Blade: Wardlow dominated CM Punk, but he struggled to put away The Blade? This was the only match that came in between the long show-opening verbal segment and the long Inner Circle talking segment. I assume that they dragged it out for that reason, but they would have been better off going with a different match in this slot.
The Inner Circle meeting: The placement of this segment was the problem. Well, that and Jake Hager’s attire, but I digress. They really needed to put more distance between the two long talking segments. I hope that the end is near for the Inner Circle faction. Chris Jericho has always been the master of reinvention, and it feels like it’s time for him and everyone in the faction to shake things up by moving on.
I wasn’t a big fan of the main event myself, except for the last 30 seconds. Page going off the referee’s back like that was really inventive.
I really enjoyed Keith Lee’s debut, and nice not to see him come out in a tennis skirt. I hope Mia Yim will debut soon too.
Impact actually used the old school Texas Death match rules. It always was either a pin or submission & then the loser had the 10 count to answer the bell. I ought to know. I grew up in the era of the Dory Funk Sr vs Cyclon Negro Texas Death match classics. That’s the way it was always done. I witnessed several of them in person.
That’s cool, but I prefer the approach that AEW took. Again, too many pinfalls for my taste with the old school version. To each their own.
Regardless of which set of “rules” was used for the main event, it was more intelligence insulting bullshit by somehow allowing the heel managers to VERY SLOWLY dismantle the ring and not have any officials come out to stop it. The ending doesn’t matter if getting there is stupid.
Aren’t Texas Death matches no DQ? So there was nothing the officials could do about it.
“I don’t think it’s just nitpicking to say that a debuting wrestler is not an announcement”, says a man who regularly uses the phrase “POV” to describe things that are not a point of view.
>On a side note, why do they always feel the need to hype a big debut while also hyping a major announcement from Tony Khan when they turn out to be the same thing? <<
Um…..that's not what happened….
Please explain how I’m mistaken.