By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
Hangman Page promo: This was really good for what it was. Page made it clear that his match with CM Punk won’t be a handshake and hug match. Sure, they could always go there after the match, but Page created friction and established that this is going to be a battle rather than a friendly rivalry. And by taking jabs at Punk fans and the “masturbatory Bret Hart tribute match” that the FTR duo had, he also gave fans a reason to dislike him. I didn’t come away from this feeling as though Page is a heel. Rather, it feels like he essentially gave fans some incentive to root against him in this one match with Punk.
Wardlow vs. W Morrissey: An entertaining big man battle. Morrissey got as much offense as anyone has against Wardlow lately before taking the expected loss. The post match angle with MJF agreeing to face Wardlow was somewhat surprising, as they passed on the opportunity to have MJF agree to the match on the condition that Wardlow had to beat one more handpicked opponent. Of course, they could still take that approach given that MJF said there would be stipulations that he will unveil next week. The build to their match has been really good and the live crowds are going crazy for Wardlow.
Rey Fenix vs. Dante Martin: A crowd-pleasing spot-fest with innovative moves and sensational athleticism. The live crowd loved this match and I suspect that AEW will revisit this one many times in the future if both men stay with the company long term.
Jon Moxley, Bryan Danielson, and Wheeler Yuta vs. The Butcher, The Blade, and Angelico: Another win for the Blackpool Combat Club. I also enjoyed the William Regal vignette that provided some information about the faction’s mentality. At some point, though, they really need to deliver a mission statement in terms of what their goals are. Are they content beating the snot out of teams in six-man tag matches? Do they have singles or tag title aspirations?
Jeff Hardy vs. Bobby Fish in an Owen Hart tournament qualifier: A decent opening match. Fish got a lot of offense and looked good in defeat. Jeff may be slowing down, but he remains one of the most popular wrestlers in the business. As much as I enjoy the Hardy Brothers reunion, I am also looking forward to seeing Jeff have a singles run in the Owen Cup tournament.
AEW Dynamite Misses
Deonna Purrazzo vs. Mercedes Martinez to unify the ROH Women’s Championship: Has an AEW arena crowd ever been this quiet for a main event? Can you blame them? It involved a wrestler who has not appeared on Dynamite facing a wrestler who had yet to win a singles match on Dynamite for a title that had never appeared on Dynamite. The match was given no promos or video package support during the show. The ring work was very good, but the presentation of this match was abysmal and both wrestlers deserved better.
Thunder Rosa and Serena Deeb promo: Their title match looks really good on paper, but the promo exchange was rough. They would have been better off taping this backstage or even doing sit-down interviews with both women. By the way, whatever happened to Deeb’s rookie challenge?
Chris Jericho vs. Santana: The actual match was fine. The feud continues to feel flat. The babyfaces continue to look like fools for repeatedly putting themselves in position to take beatdowns due to the Jericho Appreciation Society having the numbers advantage. I think we’re supposed to be impressed by the heart of the babyfaces for blowing off the numbers advantage, but at some point you just become numb to the repeated beatdowns that the babyfaces put themselves in position to take. I continue to assume that they will even up the sides and and this will end with a Blood & Guts match.
The Varsity Blonds and House of Black: More dopey babyfaces who took a beatdown after putting themselves in a situation where they were outnumbered. Brian Pillman Jr.’s promo didn’t do much for me, in part because the Blonds appear infrequently enough that their story feels insignificant. I’m all for long term storytelling, but this Julia Hart story just feels needlessly stretched out.
Poor Brian Pillman Jr. absolutely died on his arse out there. I hope they can finish this angle before the fungus growing across Malakai’s face consumes him completely.
The main event was good and the Wardlow vs Morrissey match was solid. Everything else was the drizzling shits.
As someone who was there, I also feel badly for Mercedes Martinez and Deonna Purazzo but it’s the promotion’s fault for putting that match in the main event slot, doing nothing to build it and (I assume) expecting the Baltimore crowd to respond just because an ROH title was on the line.
Fenix vs. Martin was so great, easily the highlight of a disappointing edition of Dynamite. I am happy to say, however, that the episode of Rampage they taped after Dynamite was excellent. We’ll see if anybody sees it though, since it’s airing at 5:30 pm eastern time.
This was not a good show.
It’s really high time that AEW decides who their top 8-12 performers are and start to give them the proper attention. Having 65 (yes I counted) characters on a 2hr program is just far too many. No one really gets any traction
Fightful has the following numbers for the AEW roster:
Men’s wrestlers – 96 (4 injured, 2 inactive)
Women’s wrestlers – 26
They also bring in others for one shots or tryouts, so it’s not just them.
They’ve got 29 names tag teams, 7 factions, and 17 different teams that have competed more than once as a trios team.
That doesn’t include their ROH roster.
That’s simply too much and it’s further proof that Tony is just a kid who gets a new toy, gets bored with it, and goes out to by another toy.
They could dump half the mens roster, kill off almost every faction, and revamp a chunk of the women’s roster with nobody really giving a damn about who is gone, but Tony would get rid of the wrong ones.
It’s not going to change until someone with a mind for pro wrestling is handed the book and has full autonomy over how the company is run.
PG: I commented about this (sorta) on another article but you’re dead on! They need to pick their tops, and run it. I was mentioning before that I don’t feel they have a FACE of the company yet. I think that would do well for them to build a brand and show around.