By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
Minoru Suzuki vs. Samoa Joe for the ROH TV Title: Putting the post match angle aside for now, this was a really fun dream match for fans who follow both wrestlers. The chop fest approach brought back some memories of Joe’s famous match with Kenta Kobashi from 2006. It seemed like there was a good chance that Suzuki would drop the title before heading back to Japan, but I also couldn’t rule out the possibility that he would take it with him since ROH is essentially in limbo at the moment. Whatever Tony Khan has planned for ROH, it can’t happen quickly enough, as there are simply too many title belts on AEW television right now.
Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus vs. Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly for the AEW Tag Titles: Speaking of too many title belts, with FTR holding the ROH and AAA Tag Titles, I wonder if the eventual plan is to have them face Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus with the winners becoming Triple Crown champions? Either way, this was a strong match with a fairly surprising outcome that saw the champions retain their titles. The rushed post match angle suggests that Fish and O’Reilly will be moving on to feud with FTR.
MJF vs. Capt. Shawn Dean: Another strong Wardlow angle with another live crowd going crazy for him. Dean’s fluky wins are happening because of Wardlow while also being overshadowed by him, but I assume the plan is for Wardlow and Dean to face MJF and Shawn Spears at some point. I like the logic of MJF allowing Wardlow to wrestle only because he plans to line up with opponents he believes can destroy his former muscle.
CM Punk vs. Penta Oscuro: The injury spot fooled me. Assuming it was all just selling, Punk did a nice job of turning a slip into something that garnered concern from fans and took the focus off of what went wrong and any chance of the lame “you f—ed up” chant breaking out. Despite a couple of rough moments early, this turned out to be a solid match and another quality win for Punk as he moves closer to challenging the winner of Friday’s AEW Championship match.
Keith Lee and Swerve Strickland vs. Ricky Starks and Powerhouse Hobbs: An entertaining tag match with a nice upset win for Hobbs. Sure, they could have given the pin to Starks in his hometown, but his team still won and it was more important to give Hobbs his win back after he put over Lee on Rampage.
AEW Dynamite Misses
Satnam Singh debut: AEW just couldn’t let the main event title change breathe. The reaction to Singh would not have been nearly as negative had he not debuted in a show-closing angle complete with a needless lights out introduction. The live crowd clearly had no clue who Singh was. Why would they? AEW issued a press release about the former NBA player’s signing last year and he hasn’t been mentioned since. Is there some unwritten rule that companies that want to cater to the Indian market must cast Indian wrestlers as monster heels? Hey, maybe Tony Khan’s biweekly super duper big announcement is that he acquired Ring Ka King? Okay, probably not. As much as this segment made me roll me eyes and have bad Great Khali flashbacks, if AEW has to do this to please the new television network executives heading into negotiations for a new deal, then so be it. But did it really need to close the show?
Marina Shafir vs. Skye Blue: Shafir’s stone-faced approach to her Dynamite debut match did her no favors with a crowd that seemed either unfamiliar with her or simply unsure of what to make of her. She’s next in line for a TBS Title match with Jade Cargill, so I assumed she was going to be pushed as a babyface at least temporarily, but she came out of the heel tunnel and worked as the heel against the likable Blue.
Chris Jericho, Daniel Garcia, and Jake Hager vs. Eddie Kingston, Santana, and Ortiz: A soft Miss. I may be in the minority on this one, but this feud just isn’t doing much for me. I enjoyed the Jericho and Kingston singles match, but I’m not as high on it evolving into a faction war. And as much I want to like the Jericho Appreciation Society’s sports entertainment gimmick, it’s so tongue-in-cheek that it has me longing for the no redeeming qualities heel role that Jericho played so well in the past. While only time will tell whether he can elevate his new faction mates, my early concern is that he’s actually being pulled down a notch. It’s early in the faction’s run and Jericho has had the Midas Touch over the years, so hopefully this will win me over eventually. If nothing else, working more tag team matches should make life a little easier for Jericho at this stage in his career.