By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
Dax Harwood vs. Cash Wheeler in an Owen Hart Cup tournament qualifier: It’s crazy that a traditional pro wrestling match stands out as something special in this era of pro wrestling. Shouldn’t this style being the norm while the occasional big spot matches stand out as something unique? Anyway, the great FTR run continues with another highly entertaining and memorable match. Bonus points to the broadcast team, including guest color commentator CM Punk, for a good call and for their conversations about the man the tournament is named after.
Wardlow vs. Lance Archer: Wardlow’s popularity seems to be growing by the week. This was good use of Archer and it felt like a good ladder climbing win for Wardlow. The angle with MJF teasing W Morrissey (f/k/a Big Cass) for next week sets up another big match for Wardlow. It will be interesting to see how they handle that one given that Morrissey is one of the top babyfaces in Impact Wrestling. A mouthy, heat seeking mouthpiece could generate a lot of heat for Morrissey for one night. Of course, that same person could also generate a lot of backstage heat for himself and Morrissey if history is any indication.
Jon Moxley, Bryan Danielson, and Wheeler Yuta vs. QT Marshall, Nick Comoroto, and Aaron Solo: Another crowd pleasing win for Blackpool Combat Club. As much as I enjoy William Regal’s faction, I continue to wonder if Moxley and Danielson are more valuable to AEW as singles stars. Either way, it was a good homecoming for Yuta, who had the fans backing him as he got the win over Comoroto.
Hikaru Shida vs. Serena Deeb in a Philadelphia Street Fight: The presentation left a lot to be desired in that these two have had a long feud and yet AEW couldn’t be bothered to air a video package that recapped their previous matches. Nevertheless, they had another good fight, this time with Deeb going over. This clearly sets her up as a challenger to AEW Women’s Champion Thunder Rosa, who was shown watching the match on a backstage monitor. I’m not sure why they didn’t just make this match a No. 1 contenders match, but perhaps there’s more to come before we get to Rosa vs. Deeb.
Adam Cole, Bobby Fish, Kyle O’Reilly, Matt Jackson, and Nick Jackson vs. Dante Martin, Brian Pillman Jr., Griff Garrison, Lee Johnson, and Brock Anderson: A predictable, yet decent showcase for the Undisputed Elite, complete with Cole introducing new t-shirts afterward. Is this leading to Kenny Omega returning and teaming with the Bucks to face the former Undisputed Era trio? If so, they really need to give Cole’s side a big boost beforehand given that they’ve lost some recent high profile title matches.
The House of Black and Death Triangle: A pretty good angle with the swerve of Rey Fenix being dressed as Alex Abrahantes. House of Black’s obsession with Fuego Del Sol makes me feel late to the party. Sure, Del Sol was on the losing end of a pair of six-man tag match losses to HOB on Rampage, but I don’t really get why Malakai Black has continued to base his recent promos around him. Will there be a fourth person added to House of Black or will Fuego be the odd man out now that Death Triangle are back?
AEW Dynamite Misses
Sammy Guevara vs. Scorpio Sky in a ladder match for the TNT Championship: I mentioned at the end of my live review last night that the live crowd enjoyed this match more than I did. I get it. AEW comes to town once or twice a year and a big spot-fest style match with both wrestlers displaying incredible athleticism is really fun to see in person. So the live crowd was far more willing to forgive the complete disregard for selling in key moments, including the spot where Guevara was thrown off of one ladder and then landed on another ladder that was wrapped in barbwire, only to just pop up like nothing happened just two seconds later. The live crowd was also more forgiving of the fact that both men landed on this barbwire ladder and yet both men came away completely unscathed. And a live crowd is going to be pleased to see a title change in person even if it’s starting to feel like said title is being passed around less frequently than only the WWE 24/7 Title. I’m also sure there were also plenty of television viewers who really enjoyed this match too. I just wasn’t one of them. Meanwhile, Frankie Kazarian is a hell of a wrestler and I have no doubt that he and Sky will have a very good match. But why should viewers be excited about Kazarian challenging for a title when he hasn’t won a match on Dynamite or Rampage since he was teaming with Christopher Daniels?
Jericho Appreciation Society, Eddie Kingston, Santana, and Oritz: The tongue in cheek silliness that is Jericho’s sports entertainer gimmick just isn’t meshing well with Kingston, who comes off as one of the most real wrestlers on the roster. Jericho throwing the fireball at Kingston looked great and did make Jericho feel more dangerous, but the follow-up was lousy. When a wrestler throws a fireball in the face of another wrestler, it needs to be positioned as the most important thing on the show. In this case, the angle happened and they just moved on and hyped matches for the following week. This feud is about Kingston and Jericho. Sure, Santana and Ortiz’s history with Jericho is acknowledged, but they continue to feel like side players, no different than the other guys in the JAS, who feel like, well, the other guys in the JAS. At this point, I’m guessing that Kingston will find a couple more guys and these teams have a Blood & Guts (WarGames) match. If that’s the plan, I also hope that marks the end of this feud and that Santana and Ortiz finally go on to become major players in the tag team division rather than continuing to be sidekicks to the stars.
Many of the storylines in AEW (like Shira and Deeb) don’t give any background and when matches take place a casual fan like myself doesn’t have any idea why there is a rivalry. Sometimes the announcers allude to past history in other wrestling companies but that doesn’t help if you never watched ROH or NJPW.
I predict that W Morrissey will lose to Wardlow, then be berated in the ring by MJF and/or Spears. He will then beat them up and leave as a babyface.
That ladder match was fire. I’m okay with the midcard titles changing hands often since the other titles are all so Stable Mable.