By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
Interim AEW World Champion Jon Moxley vs. Kenosuke Takeshita in an eliminator match: A terrific back and forth match with Takeshita continuing his streak of pushing AEW’s top wrestlers to the limit and ultimately coming up short. It feels like Takeshita is a big win away from becoming a major player in AEW. Even so, it was the right move to put over Moxley to protect the interim championship.
The Young Bucks vs. Keith Lee and Swerve Strickland vs. Ricky Starks and Powerhouse Hobbs for the AEW Tag Titles: A wild spot-fest style tag team match with a surprising title change to close the show. All signs pointed to the Bucks having a showdown match for various tag titles, so Lee and Strickland winning was unexpected. No complaints. Well, there is the matter of their awful Swerve In Our Glory team name, but they are an enjoyable team and it will be interesting to see the dynamic between them given that their characters haven’t been on the same page since Strickland eliminated Lee from the Casino Battle Royale. On a side note, I wonder if the Bucks will claim that an illegal man factored into the finish. Even Excalibur seemed confused by who was legal at one point, and there’s no way the referee would know given that he was bumped.
Wardlow vs. Orange Cassidy for the TNT Title: I’m sure this will be a polarizing match, as are most Cassidy matches. Fans who don’t care for Cassidy’s gimmick have every right to feel that way, but I suggest that they listen to the response he gets from the live crowds. Cassidy is one of the most over wrestlers in the company. It was surprising to see him booked for this match, as I just assumed that Wardlow would plow through Ethan Page or another heel in his first title defense. AEW took the unconventional approach by going with a strong babyface vs. babyface match. The early comedy worked for me and this was a lot more suspenseful than most first-time title defenses.
Claudio Castagnoli vs. Jake Hager: A solid match. The WWE history between the two characters just wasn’t a big deal to me, but Castagnoli going over strong in his singles debut on Dynamite was obviously the right move.
Serena Deeb vs. Anna Jay: A nice match with Jay looking pretty good in defeat in front of her home area crowd. I could have done without her failing repeatedly to put Deeb away with her Queen Slayer finisher, but it was still a good outing even if you had to know Deeb was going over given that she is challenging for the ROH Women’s Championship at the Death Before Dishonor pay-per-view. The backstage exchange between Jay and Tay Conti was interesting in that they could feud with one another or perhaps Conti will lure Jade away from the Dark Order.
AEW Dynamite Misses
Christian Cage promo: As a big fan of his promos on Jungle Boy and Matt Hardy, this one just felt a little too easy with Cage going after Brian Pillman Jr. and his late father. While Luchasaurus squashing Griff Garrison was what it needed to be, it was an eye roller to see Pillman’s character respond to Cage’s insults by remaining content in his partner’s corner and even attempting to lead the crowd in clapping for Garrison rather than going after Cage.
Britt Baker, Jamie Hayter, and Rebel’s sandbag gag: The joke felt dated to those who know the story and there had to be a lot of viewers who had no idea what they were referencing. Why draw attention to something that makes babyface champion Thunder Rosa look bad?