By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
Jon Moxley vs. Chris Jericho for the Interim AEW World Championship: A hot main event with the expected outcome. Jericho reverting to his Lionheart look all these years later was fun, and much respect to him for his significant weight loss making it possible. I wasn’t a fan of the show cutting to a picture-in-picture break while Jericho had Moxley locked in the Walls of Jericho, and it didn’t do the hold any favors that Moxley was able to survive it as long as he did. The big thing working against the match was that it was hard to believe that Moxley would drop the title before facing CM Punk to determine the undisputed champion. But Moxley and Jericho work so well together and they still managed to create some dramatic moments with some top notch near falls. Punk’s return after the match was a great surprise. Moxley’s recent grumbling over being labeled the interim champion was an effective way to subtly create tension between the two title holders. Their unification match looks great on paper, and they are so good on the mic that they should be able to make this feel like a mega showdown match by the time we get to All Out.
Darby Allin vs. Brody King in a Coffin Match: Allin has done a nice job of establishing AEW’s coffin matches as violent spectacles compared to some of the tamer and sometimes even corny casket matches that WWE has done over the years. The finish was clever with Allin choking out King with his own chain, and I love the way King tumbled into the casket and the way the lid just closed on top of him. I could have done without the interference by Malakai Black and Buddy Matthews, but it set the table for the crowd pleasing Sting appearance.
Penta Oscuro and Rey Fenix vs. Andrade El Idolo and Rush in a tornado tag match: A wild spot-fest style match. We get a lot of those in AEW, but in this case they made it a tornado tag match, taking away my usual frustration with the traditional tag team match rules being blown off. The spot with Penta having his mask tied to the ropes and opting to unmask himself in order to save his brother from being pinned was really good, perhaps even too good for the situation. I loved it, but I couldn’t help but feel that this spot should have been saved for a bigger match where the Lucha Bros ended up getting a tag title win. Even so, it was a cool sacrifice for his character to make and a really fun match.
Luchasaurus vs. Anthony Henry: A basic squash style win for Luchasaurus. He continued his violent ways by attacking people backstage after they stopped Jungle Boy from going after Christian Cage. My God, he even attacked Pat Buck! Okay, nothing against the guy, but AEW laid it on a little thick with that one. It’s worth noting that it’s yet another week where Luchasaurus hasn’t touched Cage. I continue to suspect that he’s still aligned with Cage. The speculation of that possibility has grown in recent weeks. If the plan is for Luchasaurus to help Cage beat Jungle Boy at All Out, they should have waited to have Luchasaurus rejoin Jungle Boy to avoid giving fans so much time to think about it.
Ricky Starks vs. Aaron Solo: A solid television win for Starks, who needed it after he dropped the FTW Title to Hook and was manhandled by Powerhouse Hobbs a couple weeks in a row. The Factory is a big Miss. There are some talented people involved, but they have been so cemented as an undercard group that I remain baffled by the decision to add Cole Karter to the mix. How many wrestlers does an undercard faction need?
AEW Dynamite Misses
Jade Cargill vs. Madison Rayne for the TBS Title: A poor and needlessly long match. It’s nice that AEW hired veteran Rayne to be a coach, but she didn’t need to be featured as a serious threat to beat the typically dominant Cargill. The post match angle with a disguised Athena emerging from the Baddies section and attacking Cargill was nicely done.
Wardlow and Jay Lethal: I enjoyed their TNT Title match on the Battle of the Belts 3 show, but nothing about the outcome left me feeling like Lethal’s character deserves a rematch. Worse yet, he came out of this segment looking even weaker by taking a punch from Wardlow followed by the Big Rig from FTR. As for FTR, AEW crammed what felt like a hundred people on this episode, including a lot of people who typically work the AEW YouTube shows, and yet this was the best they could come up with FTR’s first show back since their awesome win over The Briscoes at ROH Death Before Dishonor? Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler are over in a big way. AEW is loaded with quality tag teams. So can some explain why FTR rarely work traditional tag team matches on AEW television?