Powell’s AEW Dynamite Hit List: Jon Moxley and Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Chris Jericho and Lance Archer, Christian Cage explains his turn, Bryan Danielson addresses his future, Penta Oscuro vs. Malakai Black in an All Atlantic Title match qualifier, Toni Storm vs. Marina Shafir, Hangman Page vs. Silas Young

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

AEW Dynamite Hits

Jon Moxley and Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Chris Jericho and Lance Archer: A solid main event with plenty of star power. Archer taking the loss was highly predictable, but at least viewers got to see Tanahashi hit his finisher and go over clean on television before the pay-per-view. Tanahashi has looked much better in the ring and his performance left me a bit concerned in terms of whether his body will let him deliver the type of match with Moxley that will live up to the lofty expectations of fans. Of course, Tanahashi is a legend and there’s also a chance that he will rise to the occasion when it matters most at the pay-per-view.

Christian Cage promo: A gem of a promo with Cage explaining why he turned on Jungle Boy and showing no redeeming qualities in the process. In fact, he went there by bringing up the death of Jungle Boy’s father. Was it too far? Everyone has their own line when it comes to these things. If Jungle Boy and his family don’t care, then I don’t care. I feel a little more comfortable with this happening in AEW because I assume it’s something that Cage came up. It’s not a case of a writer handing a script to a wrestler who may not feel comfortable with a line like this, yet is afraid to rock the boat by objecting to it. The Luchasaurus angle was expected and a good call. There’s a lot more to do with him as a heel than as a singles babyface. In general, it was nice to see a better mix of meaningful promos and matches during the first hour of the show.

Bryan Danielson promo: I’m an advocate for AEW straying from its usual hot match opening in favor of a good promo segment from time to time. Danielson did a great job of enthusiastically pushing the Forbidden Door event and then somehow managed to make the news that he’s not medically cleared to compete feel okay by showing confidence that it’s only a matter of time before he will be able to return. My only disappointment with the segment is that we didn’t get to hear from Zack Sabre Jr. He simply walked out and that was it. Sabre is a heat magnet and it was a mistake to not let him establish his personality on AEW television.

Will Ospreay, Kyle Fletcher, and Mark Davis vs. Orange Cassidy, Trent Beretta, and Rocky Romero: Good action from start to finish. The AEW broadcast team tells us that Ospreay is one of the best wrestlers in the world. And he truly is, but what about his 1-2 record in AEW would make unfamiliar viewers believe that? I don’t have a problem with Ospreay’s team losing this match since it was Orange Cassidy’s first match back since March, but I’m still scratching my head over Ospreay and Aussie Open losing their AEW Rampage debut.

Hangman Page vs. Silas Young: A nice television match with Page working with a veteran who helped him out in ROH back in the day. It would be a mistake to re-sign everyone from the previous version of ROH given how many wrestlers Tony Khan already has under contract, but I hope there’s a spot for Young, who has done a really good job of elevating younger talent over the years.

Malakai Black vs. Penta Oscuro in a qualifier for the AEW All Atlantic Title match at the Forbidden Door: A quality match despite the fact that the AEW All Atlantic Title feels like a complete dud before the first champion has even been crowned. Thumbs up for Miro delivering another brief and yet totally effective promo afterward.

Show-opening recap: Finally. Dynamite throws a ton at viewers on a weekly basis. Not every fan watches every show. Ideally, there will be new people sampling the product for the first time. The soap opera style “last week on…” approach is an effective way to bring viewers up to speed on what happened the week before while also hooking them on the idea of seeing where the featured stories are headed next. It’s actually much stronger hook than simply going right to the ring for a match. In this case, the AEW Tag Title change and the Christian Cage turn were spotlighted. There was room for more and hopefully AEW will make this approach a weekly fixture.

AEW Dynamite Misses

IWGP World Heavyweight Championship match build: Jay White repeatedly stated that he would not defend his title against Hangman Page or Adam Cole. Kazuchika Okada came out to a strong ovation for a quick brawl that resulted in him and Page clearing White and Cole from the ring. Somehow, this led to the announcement that White will be defending the title against Okada and the two guys that he claimed would not be in the match. Did I miss a segment that explained why Page and Cole are in the title match? On the bright side, Okada is a great last minute addition to the pay-per-view. It’s just a shame that we once again had to rely on the broadcast team telling us about his greatness rather than a video package actually showing unfamiliar viewers what makes him great. After all, the “one of the best in the world” style introduction that Okada received is no different than what was said about Tanahashi and Ospreay when they showed up. And while the statement may be true, at some point it starts to feel repetitive and empty to viewers who are unfamiliar with their work.

Show-closing brawl: This was another case of AEW trying to do too many things at once. They left Jon Moxley and Hiroshi Tanahashi holding their dicks for nearly four minutes while everyone else fought at ringside. The brawl seemed designed to push the undercard six-man tag match for Forbidden Door as well as next week’s Blood & Guts match. And why did Tony Khan book the Blood & Guts match for next week? It really needed another week of build and AEW didn’t even do a good job explaining who is actually in the match.

Toni Storm vs. Marina Shafir: If you want to establish that Storm is on a roll heading into her AEW Women’s Championship match at Forbidden Door, then don’t book her in a competitive match against an opponent that fans expect her to beat. Whether it was Shafir or another opponent, this should have been a showcase win for Storm, not a competitive match just for the same of having yet another competitive match.

The build for Sting, Darby Allin, Shingo Takagi, and Hiromu Takahashi vs. The Young Bucks, Hikuleo, and El Phantasmo: Kyle O’Reilly told viewers who the Bucks would team with, and then Sting and Allin told us later that they would be teaming with Takagi and Takahashi. This match is sure to be a crowd pleasing spot-fest, but the build was nearly nonexistent. For that matter, I’d much rather see Takahashi work a singles match against one of AEW’s younger spot wrestlers.

Listen to "11/18 Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast With Jason Powell (Episode 136): Court Bauer on the MLW restart, pandemic precautions, and more" on Spreaker.


Readers Comments (2)

  1. You do get the impression watching these shows that AEW has absolutely no interest in appealing to anyone other than hardcore wrestling fans. That has its benefits for those who love pro wrestling and are happy just to have an alternative to WWE’s soul crushing drudgery, but it still feels like they should try harder to cater to interested newcomers who may become hardcore fans if given an appealing way in.

  2. Mr. Electricity 2 nails another one.

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