By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
Will Ospreay vs. Dax Harwood: A fantastic match that gave unfamiliar viewers a look at what makes Ospreay so special. This was much better than Ospreay’s team inexplicably losing in their AEW debut match on Rampage. Harwood and Cash Wheeler never seem to disappoint in singles or tag team matches. FTR remains the hottest team in pro wrestling, but I don’t feel like AEW is doing enough to build on their momentum. They didn’t have a spot on the Double Or Nothing pay-per-view card, and they’ve spent a lot of time working six-man tag matches rather than being showcased in traditional tag team matches. Make no mistake, Harwood and Wheeler are still in a good place, but hopefully we can start to see them in more high profile tag team matches soon.
Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus vs. “The Young Bucks” Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson in a ladder match for the AEW Tag Titles: A crazy ladder match with a title change and a post match heel turn. Both teams worked their asses off and closed the show in memorable fashion. The Cage heel turn was interesting in that he could have cost his team the titles by turning, but they saved his attack on Jungle Boy for after the match. It’s admirable that they went with a clean finish, and it’s certainly the right move if Jungle Boy is going to become a singles wrestler, as there’s no reason to protect a team that isn’t going to stay together. It will be interesting to see who Luchasaurus sides with given that Cage’s attack was focussed entirely on Jungle Boy.
Chris Jericho vs. Ortiz in a Hair vs. Hair match: The build to this match was atrocious. They set it up two weeks ago and then barely mentioned it last week. I was hoping we’d get some mic work from both men, but they actually opened the show with the match. It was really good once the bell rang. There was no reason to think Jericho would lose his hair in a television match with a bad build, and yet some of the near falls made the live crowd believe. The best of the bunch was when Eddie Kingston hit Jericho with a spinning back fist and the crowd actually counted along with the referee’s count. One minor knock is that the babyface side once again looked foolish by having only Kingston at ringside to start while the entire Jericho Appreciation Society was in Jericho’s corner. Sammy Guevera dressing up as Fuego Del Sol would have packed more of a punch if we saw the actual Fuego on AEW television more often.
Toni Storm vs. Britt Baker: One of the better women’s matches on AEW television in recent memory. AEW has gone above and beyond to build up Baker, including giving her what felt like a needless Owen Hart Cup tournament win. But they played it right by having Baker give Storm a big win heading into what has the potential to be a great AEW Women’s Championship match with Thunder Rosa.
Miro vs. Ethan Page in an All Atlantic Title qualifying match: Miro was well received in the babyface role, which is no surprise considering that he’s always had a strong bond with fans regardless of how his character has been cast.
AEW Dynamite Misses
Jon Moxley and Hiroshi Tanahashi face to face meeting: The actual face to face with Moxley handling the promo work was fine. They lost me when they had Chris Jericho come out and brag that he beat Tanahashi at the Tokyo Dome. If you’re trying to establish Tanahashi’s legendary status to unfamiliar viewers, why point out that he lost to Jericho? And then it became a watered down mess with the pay-per-view main event angle being pushed aside for an angle to set up an undercard six-man tag match, as well as Jericho announcing that Sammy Guevara and Tay Conti are in his faction. This was a classic case of AEW cramming too many things into one segment.
Wardlow vs. twenty security guards: The best thing I can say about Wardlow’s feud with Mark Sterling and security guards is that it appears to be over. This brief saga was a disappointing way to follow up Wardlow’s big win over MJF at Double Or Nothing. Fortunately, it looks like Tony Khan came to the same conclusion given how quickly he wrapped up the storyline.
No announcement regarding The Hardys being out of the main event: Tony Khan issued a press release to announce the indefinite suspension of Jeff Hardy, but the situation should have been addressed on television. After all, the Hardys were advertised for the main event ladder match, and viewers who missed the news of Jeff Hardy’s latest DUI arrest deserved an explanation. And even if they felt it was too big of a story for fans to miss, the company will always come off looking better and build trust with viewers if they show that they are willing to address tough situations.