Powell’s AEW Dynamite Hit List: Adam Cole vs. Jeff Hardy, Rey Fenix vs. Kyle O’Reilly, Samoa Joe vs. Johnny Elite, and Britt Baker vs. Maki Itoh in Owen Hart Cup tournament matches, AEW Champion Hangman Page vs. Konosuke Takeshita in a non-title match, Keith Lee and Swerve Strickland vs. JD Drake and Anthony Henry

By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

AEW Dynamite Hits

MJF gives Wardlow ten lashes: Another home run segment. Wardlow no-selling most of the lashes was perfect and the total opposite of the last time we saw MJF whipping an adversary with a belt. MJF still got his heat by kicking Wardlow below the belt and then attacking Wardlow while he was down with the usual help from Shawn Spears. The build to the first MJF vs. Wardlow match has been terrific and their match is as much of a selling point as anything on the Double Or Nothing card.

AEW World Champion “Hangman” Adam Page vs. Konosuke Takeshita in a non-title match: A big Hit for match quality. This was a great back and forth match with terrific work from both men. The timing of the match is questionable in that it felt odd to see the AEW Champion working such a competitive match with someone who is essentially new to the company less than two weeks before a pay-per-view title defense. Is there a reason this match needed to happen before Double Or Nothing? Either way, it was a hell of a match and a potential launch point for Takeshita, though the follow-up is always the key in these situations.

Rey Fenix vs. Kyle O’Reilly in an Owen Hart Cup tournament first-round match: A good match that may have been the in-ring highlight on a different night. The outcome was mildly surprising, but it sets up what should be an excellent match between O’Reilly and Samoa Joe in the semifinals of the tournament.

Samoa Joe vs. Johnny Elite in an Owen Hart Cup tournament first-round match: AEW wasted no time in revealing the former John Morrison as the first of the two Jokers (a/k/a mystery wrestlers). Although Elite’s name was not popular candidate in fan speculation, he was a satisfying surprise (especially since he left the Dripstick at home). The match was entertaining and this felt like a good win for Joe heading into the semifinals.

Keith Lee and Swerve Strickland vs. JD Drake and Anthony Henry: This was the quick showcase win for Lee and Strickland that it needed to be. They are a new team who are being thrust into a tag title match, so they had to go over strong. The post match angle that made the three-way tag title match official for the pay-per-view felt rushed and didn’t pack much of a punch.

AEW Dynamite Misses

Adam Cole vs. Jeff Hardy in an Owen Hart Cup tournament semifinal match: A main event match that seemed totally rushed and therefore underwhelming. I assume the post match attack by the Young Bucks will lead to them facing the Hardys at Double Or Nothing. The first hour of Dynamite was highly entertaining. Things really fell apart during the second hour to the point that it came across like amateur hour. Last week’s show was really good. AEW took a step back this week with timing issues and Tony Khan falling back into his bad habit of cramming too many angles and too many people into the show.

Serena Deeb and Thunder Rosa: If the show was running long, it should have been an easy call to cut this segment’s time or even to cut it from the show completely. Deeb taking offense to broadcast team members and Dustin Rhodes offering match predictions that no one cares about made for a terrible segment. I really enjoy Deeb and Rosa as wrestlers, but their mic work during the build to their match has been rough to say the least. While Rosa didn’t stand out as a great talker during her time with the NWA, she was significantly better on that promotion’s interview set than she has been at any point during her AEW run. AEW officials need to figure out why that is and make the proper adjustments.

Jericho Appreciation Society, Blackpool Combat Club, Eddie Kingston, Santana, and Ortiz: A needlessly long segment with way too much talk about William Regal shoving toothbrushes up his ass. JAS feels like a flat mid-card act and is a big step down for Jericho. Santana and Ortiz are finally out of the Inner Circle and yet they are still being wasted as sidekicks when they should be featured as the great tag team that they are. Everyone involved with Blackpool Combat Club seems to be having a blast and there is entertainment value in watching them destroy opponents in six-man tag matches, but I still feel that Bryan Danielson and Jon Moxley are far more valuable to AEW when cast as singles stars. What happened to Kingston’s burns from that fireball that AEW production inexplicably felt the need to air in slow motion last week to show viewers see that the fireball mostly shot over Kingston’s head?

Britt Baker vs. Maki Itoh in an Owen Hart Cup tournament first round match: Why in the world was Itoh billed as a Joker? Did something fall through or did Tony Khan really think that this would be a satisfying surprise to the masses? Granted, AEW didn’t go overboard in hyping the Jokers this time around, but fan speculation always runs wild in these situations and it’s hard to imagine that this pleased anyone other than the most diehard members of the AEW fanbase. Why not just announce Itoh for the tournament rather than set her up to be a letdown?


Readers Comments (13)

  1. Itoh was an absolute groaner as the joker on the female side. There was a massive ovation when the words “Johnny Elite” popped up on the big screen, and I immediately assumed that it was Johnny Gargano. Am I alone in that?

  2. >The timing of the match is questionable in that it felt odd to see the AEW Champion working such a competitive match with someone who is essentially new to the company less than two weeks before a pay-per-view title defense.<<

    Well if Page had just destroyed the guy, that would be the complaint.Takeshita isn't a rookie so he should have given Page a run for his money.

    Deeb is horrible on the mic…..and Rosa isn't MUCH better, but at least she's tolerable. Match should be really good though.

    Itoh was one of the few bombs that Tony has produced, so I'll let it go.

  3. Jason any thoughts on Punks shirt. It was probably the most “news generating” item of the show (both here and on other sites).

    • Heading out the door, so I have to keep this fairly brief. It’s actually the second time Punk has worn a shirt like that on AEW television. I believe both instances were in Texas. I applaud him for standing up for what he believes in. I personally believe in the cause, but it’s a very sensitive issue and I try to be respectful of everyone’s opinion, and I’m all for open discussion in this section as long as it’s a healthy conversation from people on both sides. We’re all entitled to our opinions. Just be respectful and know that your opinion is not gospel regardless of which side you fall on.

      Putting my own opinions aside and looking at it as a business move, I’m surprised that Tony Khan has allowed it to happen. It’s clearly a polarizing issue. Even if Tony share’s Punk’s opinion, it’s still a risky move. And even if Tony feels strongly enough about the issue that he’s okay with the idea that it could cost him some fan support from those who oppose, he also needs to consider how the network executives and sponsors feel about it. If everyone signed off on it, it’s Tony’s show, his call, and his fan fallout to deal with. My guess is that they didn’t sign off on it and this could be something the network and sponsors would rather avoid. So we’ll see if there’s fallout on that front. Only time will tell.

  4. He’s allowed Donte Martin to wrestle for a long time with his “BLM” armband. Don’t think that’s a wise move either.

  5. Great take!! Thanks Jason

  6. Look, if Tony Khan is going to allow his wrestlers to display their political opinions than he should allow it for both sides. Personally, I wouldn’t because this political stuff should only be on CNN/MSNBC/Fox News or whatever 24-hour “News Network” that’s out there these days. I think I’m not the only who watches wrestling for escapist entertainment.

    For example, what if Chris Jericho during one of his Jericho Appreciation Society Sports Entertainment segments was wearing an “All Lives Matter” or “Only Biological Females Should Be Competing In Women’s Sports” Shirt. What would be the reaction then? I bet the Twitter Mob or people who think like Punk would demand Jericho be “Cancelled” or fired.

    I agree with PG13 Icon. Great take Jason & thanks for being respectful of other opinions.

  7. TheGreatestOne May 20, 2022 @ 9:50 am

    What does Tony do if Sting walks out in a “Defund Planned Parenthood” t-shirt? Is Tony going to be as understanding of a FJB armband?

    The smart money is probably on avoiding it, but if it’s actually gone through all the steps of company, network, and sponsor approval, then it’s a private company and Tony can allow/reject what he wants. People can vote with their dollars if it’s that big of a deal to them.

  8. Or the fact that a “good guy” told a “bad guy” to stop the Christian AF bs. Are they trying to alienate conservatives?

    • I took that as Jeff essentially calling the Young Buck characters Christian frauds. The Bucks are EVPs and they are Christians, so they could have objected if they felt it was an attack on their religious beliefs. But that’s just how I took it. I could be mistaken.

  9. Jason, you could be right. However, that line is extremely close. I automatically thought it was a swat at Christian’s, especially when the very next segment was CM Punk. Thanks for the thoughts and reply!

  10. TheGreatestOne May 21, 2022 @ 11:08 am

    There’s a clear okay v not okay in AEW.

    MJF making comments about crucifying Jesus = okay.
    Jeff mocking the Bucks for being “Christian AF” = okay.
    Punk wearing pro choice shirts on TV = okay.

    Max Caster rapping about Simone Biles = suspended without pay.

    Again, it’s not too difficult to figure out where things stand with the owner. If it’s something that might be considered conservative/right wing, then it’s open season. If it’s something considered progressive/left wing then there’s a good chance you’ll get suspended or maybe even fired.

  11. Couldn’t agree more.

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