By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
Britt Baker vs. Thunder Rosa in a cage match for the AEW Women’s Championship: While not as strong as their unsanctioned match, the effort was certainly there from both women to have another hardcore war inside AEW’s monstrous cage. As much as the end result was satisfying, this was not a well booked feud. Going nearly a year between matches doesn’t qualify as epic storytelling. The unsanctioned match was mostly forgotten in the storylines in that both wrestlers just moved in different directions. Rosa didn’t consistently call out Baker after she won the championship, nor did Baker didn’t duck Rosa or make her jump through hoops to get her title shot. They didn’t tell a great story, they just put the feud on hold for too long and it never fully regained the intensity of the unsanctioned match. They also had that disappointing pay-per-view match that seemed to put slight heat on the company rather than on the heel. Fortunately, they got it right in the end by having an emotional Rosa win the championship in her adopted hometown, which made for a great show closing moment.
Matt Hardy and Jeff Hardy vs. “Private Party” Marq Quen and Isiah Kassidy: The reunion of the Hardy brothers was exactly what it needed to be. It was a fun stroll down memory lane and I am looking forward to watching them work with the other AEW tag teams. Here’s hoping that Isiah Kassidy is okay after taking that rough Swanton from Jeff at the end of the match.
Hangman Page, Jungle Boy, and Luchasaurus vs. Adam Cole, Bobby Fish, and Kyle O’Reilly: A good action packed opening match with the champion and the tag team champions facing their likely next challengers. Assuming that’s the case, it was the right move to put the heel trio over, especially after Cole lost the AEW Championship match to Page at the Full Gear pay-per-view.
Bryan Danielson and Jon Moxley vs. Wheeler Yuta and Chuck Taylor: The finish was never in doubt and the match went longer than it needed to, but it held my interest and accomplished the goal of making Yuta look strong in defeat. The live crowd got behind Yuta, but there’s a lot of work left to be done in terms of establishing an actual character and maybe we’ll find out one of these days if he can deliver quality promos. The post match angle with William Regal slapping Yuta was intriguing. It made me wonder how many times Regal will have to turn down fans who ask to be slapped at meet and greet events. Is it wrong to wish that the AEW legal team would have those fans sign a waiver so that Regal could slap away like Louise Belcher on Boo Boo’s tour bus?
Jericho Appreciation Society commencement: A fun introduction to Jericho’s sports entertainment faction. I got a kick out of Matt Lee and Jeff Parker getting new names, and I will thrilled to hear that they won’t be going by the bad 2point0 name going forward (I wish the same could be said for NXT). I can’t be the only one who wondered if Daniel Garcia was going to bolt for William Regal’s faction when he spoke up, so it was a nice little twist when he embraced the new sports entertainer monicker. Jericho is a master of reinvention. Only time will tell whether his faction will be a long term hit, but it’s off to a solid start.
AEW Dynamite Misses
Scorpio Sky vs. Wardlow for the TNT Championship: The presentation of the match was underwhelming. In-ring introductions for the title match go a long way. After that humble promo in which he spoke about doing it all for his family last week, one of the first things we saw Wardlow do was bounce his pecs in front of another guy’s wife for no reason. I don’t care if the Paige VanZant is a heel, this made Wardlow looked more like a horny frat boy than a babyface. He also went on to look like a meathead for falling for distractions at every turn, and then got worked over by MMA fighter that I suspect a good portion of the audience is unfamiliar with. Either way, who could blame the guy for attacking Wardlow after watching him harass his wife? Meanwhile, if the goal is to make Scorpio Sky look like a flukey champion who is at risk of losing the title in any given match, then mission accomplished. The segment put some good heat on MJF and Shawn Spears, but my favorite thing about all of this was seeing Wardlow pinned after he was run into the ring post. It’s a longtime pet peeve of mine that everyone in pro wrestling started acting like slamming a person’s head against a steel post was just a throwaway moment, so hopefully this is a sign of change.