By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
Jon Moxley, Claudio Castagnoli, Eddie Kingston, Wheeler Yuta, Santana, and Ortiz vs. Chris Jericho, Jake Hager, Daniel Garcia, Matt Menard, Angelo Parker, and Sammy Guevara in a Blood & Guts match: I watched this match a second time so that I could sit back and watch it play out without doing live coverage. The energy in the building during the initial entrances was awesome, and the fans went nuts for Moxley coming out last. JAS wearing the match red outfits with suspenders made the action easier to follow as more wrestlers entered the match. Furthermore, the matching red gear was a truly awesome display of heel douchebaggery.
Naturally, there would be some things that didn’t work or just didn’t work for this viewer in a 46-minute match with twelve people involved. Kingston having to lean into Jericho’s fire extinguisher looked really bad. Someone needs to call Pagano to ask him how to do the skewers spot (on second thought, please don’t). I’m beyond over thumbtacks in pro wrestling, but they still get the desired big pop each time. As cool as the visual of a bloody Parker hanging outside the cage was, I didn’t care for the way it exposed the opening in the cage that wrestlers can escape through. Likewise, the wrestlers escaping the cage and ending up on top of it also works against the implied idea that there’s no escape once all of the wrestlers enter the match. It was also frustrating that whatever happened inside the cage was completely ignored once wrestlers went to the top of the structure.
But the good far outweighed the bad. I don’t want to see it become an annual fixture of this match, but Guevara being tossed off the cage through the covered area below looked so much better than the same spot with Jericho last year. I will never not be entertained by Moxley’s nonchalant approach to pure violence. While other wrestlers play to the crowd before violent spots, Moxley typically just lets the violent action speak for itself, knowing that the fans are going to respond even if he doesn’t play to them beforehand. And Jericho taking Castagnoli’s Swing on top of the cage was awesome.
The finish with Castagnoli getting the win for his team while leaving Kingston frustrated over not forcing Jericho to submit was really good storytelling. Kingston didn’t get the closure he sought. His feud with Jericho has a reason to continue, and the Kingston character also has a petty reason to be upset with Castagnoli. Overall, this made for a very memorable hour of television. Blood & Guts turned out to be a great way for AEW to turn the page on the crowded build to Forbidden Door that clearly turned off some viewers based on some of the recent viewership numbers for Dynamite and Rampage. Last but not least, here’s wishing Santana the very best with the knee injury he suffered during the match.
Luchasaurus vs. Serpentico: Christian Cage’s follow-up promo to last week’s classic was another gem. I love that his character gets to hide behind Luchasaurus and continue to get paid for doing a minimal amount of wrestling. Obviously, he’ll end up facing Jungle Boy eventually, but it’s a fun heel gimmick for a guy who used the phrase “Outwork Everyone” when he debuted as a babyface. Luchasaurus’s dark look and entrance worked for me and I’m looking forward to seeing him work as a monster heel. By the way, if this were the Attitude Era, Jungle Boy’s mother would totally marry Cage to make him Jungle Boy’s new stepfather.
Orange Cassidy vs. Ethan Page: A good opening match with the expected outcome. Page is lost in the AEW shuffle. He gets television time due to his alliance with Scorpio Sky and Dan Lambert, but it feels like the company has him pegged as a mid-card wrestler with no plan to take advantage of his upside potential. I didn’t expect him to beat the popular Cassidy. I just hope that Page gets a meaningful push soon.
Jade Cargill vs. Leila Grey for the TBS Championship: Another good showcase squash win for Cargill. I didn’t care for Stokely Hathaway making the babyfaces look weak by claiming that none of them accepted Cargill’s open challenge. I hope there’s an explanation coming from the babyfaces in a rebuttal promo. Likewise, the post match angle with Hathaway recruiting Grey only to have Cargill blow her off should make more sense once the heels get some mic time.
AEW Dynamite Misses
Danhausen and “FTR” Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler vs. Max Caster, Austin Gunn, and Colten Gunn: This match lands in the Miss section due to my ongoing frustration over Harwood and Wheeler being booked in anything other than traditional tag team matches. They are one of the best tag teams in the world and yet they have worked six-man tag matches, a three-way tag match, and singles matches lately. As noted in my Forbidden Door Hit List, FTR has worked just one standard tag team match on AEW television since they defeated the Young Bucks back in early April. Putting that aside, this was rough outing for the Gunns. I continue to like their upside, but they seemed off at several points during this match.