By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
CM Punk vs. Dax Harwood: A terrific opening match and the highlight of the night. It was a blast to watch these two work a more traditional style than we typically see from a lot of AEW wrestlers. The Gunn Club taunting FTR from ringside was interesting. It may simply set up a match between the two teams, but there’s also the possibility that Gunn Club could end up replacing FTR in The Pinnacle now that FTR appear to be babyfaces.
Adam Cole vs. Jay Lethal: Another strong match from the former ROH Champions. Cole going over was hardly a surprise given that he’s clearly going to get a rematch for the AEW World Championship. Part of me likes that Lethal was protected with the distraction leading to the low blow, but an argument can be made that Cole needs strong and decisive wins heading into the rematch. Meanwhile, I may be in the minority on this, but I actually hope that Lethal doesn’t end up a regular in Tony Khan’s version of ROH. I’m more interested in Lethal wrestling in AEW than I am in seeing him return to ROH.
Jeff Hardy, Matt Hardy, Sting, and Darby Allin vs. The Butcher, The Blade, Marq Quen, and Isiah Kassidy in a Texas Tornado match: A wild brawl. The live crowd seemed to love this with the wrestlers splitting up with some brawling on the stage while others fought in the concourse area. Jeff’s Swanton from the ledge on the building wall, but it was good to see that they had the added protection of cardboard boxes under the table. Conversely, I wasn’t a fan of The Butcher tossing Allin down the steps of the concourse. It was cool in the moment, but something like that should be saved for when it really matters and not just serve as a throwaway mid-match spot.
Jon Moxley and Bryan Danielson vs. “The Varsity Blonds” Brian Pillman Jr. and Griff Garrison: Moxley and Danielson work really well together and I love their connection with William Regal. But I can’t help but question whether they would mean more to the company as singles stars than they do working in the crowded tag team division. As for the match, it was an enjoyable lopsided win for Moxley and Danielson. Julia Hart’s dark turn and her lack of interest in her team’s matches is a fun side story.
Chris Jericho and Daniel Garcia vs. Alex Reynolds and John Silver: A well worked main event with Silver showing great fire. The Dark Order gimmick doesn’t do much for me, but the live crowd was hot for the underdogs. One issue with this match and the bulk of the matches on this episode is that they all looked highly predictable on paper. And that’s often the case with shows from other companies, but I don’t feel like that’s the norm for Dynamite, so it really stood out last night.
AEW Dynamite Misses
Sammy Guevara and Tay Conti: They’ll make a great heel couple, but they are terrible babyfaces. On a side note, Dan Lambert is a great talker, but Scorpio Sky really needs more character development and mic time as the TNT Champion. Sky and Ethan Page are both good talkers and yet they are fighting for oxygen with their manager and even for camera time when they company surrounds them with various MMA fighters.
Nyla Rose attacks Thunder Rosa: The only person surprised by this sneak attack was the Rosa character. A straight up confrontation would have been better than this predictable and totally forgettable cheap shot.
Leyla Hirsch vs. Red Velvet: A rough match with the latest lousy turnbuckle finish. Why are pro wrestling referees incapable of walking backwards while removing a weapon from the ring? Why isn’t Ruby Soho getting television time on Dynamite?