By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
Wardlow vs. Shawn Spears in a cage match with MJF as special referee: Let’s get the negatives out the way. Why did we see another unprotected chair shot to the head on AEW television? And on a much lighter note, Wardlow’s Swanton completely missed, which I suppose is better than the way Jeff Hardy has been crushing dudes lately. With that out of the way, this was a hell of a segment. Yes, I roll my eyes at wrestlers breaking handcuffs, but the that spot always gets a big reaction from live crowds, which is the most important thing. Wardlow overcame the obstacles that MJF put in front of him and now he’ll finally get his hands on his former boss on Sunday. The build to their showdown match has been exceptional and I’m really looking forward to seeing what type of match they can produce on Sunday.
Hangman Page and CM Punk: Page’s promo was confusing (worker’s rights?) and the build to the title match has been disjointed. Still, there’s good tension between the two characters and the intrigue of this first-time match makes up for some of the flaws. Page’s line that he’s trying to save AEW from Punk was interesting. Is it foreshadowing a Punk turn or is Page’s character just paranoid and delusional?
Samoa Joe vs. Kyle O’Reilly in an Owen Hart Cup tournament semifinal match: A quality tournament match that saw Joe advance to the finals for a first-time match with Adam Cole. Unlike last week’s main event mess, this match was given plenty of time and the wrestlers made good use of it. On a side note, it’s beyond strange that Joe, CM Punk, and Bryan Danielson are all in AEW, and we still haven’t seen their characters interact. Hopefully that’s going to happen soon.
Jungle Boy vs. Ricky Starks vs. Swerve Strickland: A fun three-way match with good action from bell to bell. Strickland needed a showcase win and he got it. I must note that Jungle Boy’s Snare Trap looks as light a some of John Cena’s worst STFs due to how loose his arm is around the neck or chin of his opponents. Nevertheless, the match and the post match angle served as solid hype for the three-way tag title match at the pay-per-view.
Jon Moxley and Eddie Kingston vs. “Private Party” Marq Quen and Isiah Kassidy: A showcase win for Moxley and Kingston, which essentially set the table for the latest big brawl involving their team and the Jericho Appreciation Society. I’m anxious for that feud to play out so that both sides can move on, but I’m still wondering if their Arena Anarchy match will set up a Blood & Guts match.
Thunder Rosa promo: A bounce back promo from Rosa. This was her best mic work since she was on the NWA interview set. Rosa looked much more confident in her delivery and came off like the star that she is.
AEW Dynamite Misses
“FTR” Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler vs. “Roppongi Vice” Rocky Romero and Trent Beretta for the ROH Tag Titles: The match was well worked, but I just don’t feel like AEW has done enough to make viewers care about Roppongi Vice or the ROH Tag Titles. The post match angle with Jeff Cobb and Great-O-Khan attacking both teams was unexpected and likely sets up something for next month’s Forbidden Door event. It’s baffling to me that FTR doesn’t have a match on the Double Or Nothing card despite the incredible roll that they have been on. There were some issues during the attack. Khan and Cobb’s timing was off when they performed a neckbreaker combo move, and then it looked like Beretta jumped early when Khan slammed him off the apron through a table below. On the bright side, Caprice Coleman sitting in on commentary is a big Hit in my book. I hope this means that Tony Khan intends to keep Coleman and Ian Riccaboni together as the ROH broadcast team whenever the new ROH begins.
Toni Storm vs. Britt Baker in an Owen Hart Cup tournament semifinal match: A match that fell below expectations. They never seemed to find their stride and the match never moved out of second gea. The finish seemed off in that Jamie Hayter seemed to be rushing into the picture and I wonder if she was supposed to help Baker. On a side note, AEW has done a really nice job with their in-house music and Tony Khan hasn’t been shy about acquiring the rights to mainstream songs. Perhaps acquiring the rights to a Motley Crue song is more expensive than it’s worth, but Storm needs something better than the nondescript entrance theme than she’s currently using.
I don’t think AEW should be criticised for not having Punk, Danielson and Joe together yet. This is a rare example of AEW NOT rushing into something, let’s just be grateful for that!
Khan didn’t look good at all during that run in; one sloppy executed move after another.
Here’s my thing with chairshots to the head: If it were anything like the Rock and Mankind, that would be too far. If it were every week like it once was, that would be too much. But used sparingly, with a well-gommicked chair, for a specific narrative purpose, I’m okay with it. AEW has established that Shawn Spears is despicable enough to resort to such heinous tactics when he needs to, which has to this point been rare.