By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
Bryan Danielson vs. Lee Moriarty (and Jon Moxley angle): A terrific match. Danielson went over strong, and yet I also came away from the match more interested in Moriarty due to the heart that his character showed while trying to hang with Bryan. The post match angle with Jon Moxley was great. Moxley’s promo was logical and compelling in that he left the door open to aligning with Danielson while saying he wouldn’t stand side by side with him without bleeding with him first. In other words, we’re getting Danielson vs. Moxley, and they kept the mystery going as to whether they will form an alliance.
CM Punk opening: Few things will command the attention of pro wrestling fans as much as CM Punk sitting crosslegged with a microphone in hand. In this case, Punk did a great job of setting up his dog collar match with MJF for the pay-per-view. MJF’s speechless reaction was perfect in that silence from his character speaks volumes.
Hangman Page and Adam Cole: A good segment to build to what I assume will be the AEW Revolution pay-per-view main event. Granted, I had to go back and watch it a second time after being mesmerized by Cole’s hands odd tribute to George Hamilton. I was actually hoping that Page’s character had moved on from the Dark Order, and yet it was logical for the group to save him from the attack by Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly.
Sammy Guevara vs. Darby Allin for the TNT Championship: A fun main event that was followed by a fairly flat finish to a good episode. Before we get to that, AEW still needs to get better about making their television main events feel special. They did a better job than usual with last week’s AEW World Championship match, but they drifted back to their usual approach of not giving the main event much fanfare throughout the night. AEW delivers some big television main events and it just feels like they could be doing more to set the table in a way that makes these matches stand out from the rest of the matches on the card. Getting back to the match, I didn’t mind the interference in the main event because that’s not something that’s overdone in AEW’s television main events. But the Andrade Hardy Family Office feels really flat, though I suspect things will heat up as we get closer to the presumed arrival of Jeff Hardy.
Thunder Rosa vs. Mercedes Martinez in a No DQ match: Sensei Kreese! Was I alone in hoping that Martin Kove would show up later in the night to arrest one of the wrestlers in a callback to his days as Detective Victor Isbecki? Yes, I probably was. I don’t know whether to be proud of embarrassed by the likelihood that you’d have to dig up something written in 1982 to find references to Cagney & Lacey and George Hamilton in the same piece, but I digress. It was a cool cameo appearance from the Cobra Kai and Karate Kid legend and it will be tough for anyone to top this on my list of favorite celebrity crossovers in 2022. Anyway, Rosa matches never seem to disappoint, and the dependable veteran Martinez always holds up her end of the bargain. Are they really turning Martinez already?
Wardlow vs. Max Caster in a Face of the Revolution ladder match qualifier: Another good outing for Wardlow, who had to fight off Anthony Bowens before putting away his tag partner. I was not surprised and yet a little disappointed that Caster didn’t go there. Much like MJF promos, nothing feels off limits for Caster when he has the mic in his hands, but neither one of them mentioned the Cody Rhodes situation. I didn’t expect Caster to go for the jugular by any means, but it did feel like his character should have had a witty line that at least acknowledged Cody’s departure from the company. That said, I did like that the broadcast team mentioned Cody’s dog collar match with Brodie Lee. It seemed to be the company’s way of saying that they will continue to acknowledge the history of wrestlers who leave to go elsewhere.
AEW Dynamite Misses
Chris Jericho and Jake Hager vs. Santana and Ortiz: A soft Miss. There was just too much going on and it doesn’t help that the show moves at such a frantic pace. Santana pinning Jericho simply should have felt bigger than it did. But rather than emphasizing how big of a win it was for Santana, they immediately moved on to Jericho and Eddie Kingston having a bad pull apart. On the bright side, it was good to see Kingston back on television, and Jericho deserves credit for doing good business and trying to elevate Santana. As much as I enjoy Santana and Ortiz as a team, I’ve been saying since their Impact days that Santana has championship potential as a singles act. He’s good in the ring, he’s charismatic, and he’s a really good talker who just doesn’t get enough mic time.