By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
“Death Triangle” Pac, Penta Oscuro, and Rey Fenix vs. Will Ospreay and “Aussie Open” Kyle Fletcher and Mark Davis in an AEW Trios Title tournament match: An awesome spot fest style main event. This was excellent for its style despite the nonsensical moment late in the match between Pac and Kip Sabian (more on that later). They gave his match a lot of time and the wrestlers came through with outstanding performances. I am curious to see how it holds up in the ratings. Ospreay is among the best in the world but he’s far from a household name with casual fans in the United States, and Aussie Open were presented as his sidekicks who took losses during the build to the Forbidden Door event. The post match angle with Kenny Omega being held back by the Young Bucks and Don Callis was solid, though I’m confused as to whether The Elite are babyfaces, and if they are why they are still aligned with Don Callis.
Chris Jericho, Daniel Garcia, and Bryan Danielson: Garcia stepped up and delivered in his most important verbal segment to date. It says a lot that he was working with two mega stars and he didn’t feel out of place sharing a ring with them. I enjoyed Jericho bringing back the “Lionheart” persona for his match with Jon Moxley, but it feels unnecessary this time around. I guess we’ll find out if there’s a reason for it.
Dax Harwood vs. Jay Lethal: The expected strong match from two great wrestlers, albeit with a forgettable finish. Is there something in FTR’s contract that only allows them to work traditional tag team matches on ROH pay-per-views? Adding the Motor City Machine Guns to the six-man tag team match at the pay-per-view is nice, but I’d much rather see the Guns face FTR in a standard tag team match at the pay-per-view. I also have no idea why the babyface Guns are teaming with heel Lethal.
Britt Baker vs. KiLynn King: Baker needed to go over strong because she’s in four-way match for the interim AEW Women’s Championship. Simple and effective.
AEW Dynamite Misses
CM Punk vs. Jon Moxley for the unified AEW World Championship: I have been an advocate for conditioning fans to expect the unexpected by having the occasional big match end quickly, so I’m actually fine with this only going three minutes. And while I’m surprised that reports indicate that they are doing a rematch at All Out, Punk and Moxley are two of the best talkers in the game, so I won’t be surprised if they can work their magic and get everyone reinvested next week. My issue is that the presentation of this match was awful. This was arguably the biggest match in Dynamite history and yet the show opened with no extra fanfare. It took fifteen minutes for the company to even run a graphic for the match, which was followed by graphics for other matches. Show us Punk and Moxley arriving earlier in the day. Show them warming up backstage. Give us brief UFC style sit-down promo interviews. Give us a video package. Give us something, anything to build this up as a major television match. The post match approach was no better aside from the good Moxley promo. I couldn’t believe that they didn’t let the match breathe and give the live crowd a chance to recover from the jarring finish by going to commercial. Nope, they moved right on to a Christian Cage promo and then actually followed that up by having poor Ricky Starks cut a good, emotional in-ring promo that the live crowd clearly wasn’t ready for. There was no update on Punk’s injury, nor did they even make it seem like they were seeking one. Why not throw it to Lexi Nair backstage even if just to have her say that Punk declined or was unable to be reached for comment? Presentation is important and AEW just keeps coming up short.
Four-way to determine the interim AEW Women’s Champion: Thunder Rosa delivering a brief backstage announcement made the title feel less important. The four-way match to crown the interim champion feels fairly random. Putting allies Britt Baker and Jamie Hayter in the match is something a heel authority figure would do. It would be different if both women were among the top five contenders, but Toni Storm and Baker are ranked first and second, while Hayter and Hikaru Shida are not even in the top five. Why does this company still bother with rankings?
AEW Tag Title match at All Out: I repeat, why does this company still bother with rankings? FTR have been number one contenders to the AEW Tag Team Titles for several months and yet they are booked in yet another six-man tag match while the fourth ranked Acclaimed are getting a pay-per-view title shot out of nowhere.
The Man in the Box: Pac hit a moonsault on his opponents late in the main event and then stood up and decided to go after The Man in the Box. Kip Sabian has been doing this bizarre bit for what feels like an eternity, and yet Pac chose this random moment to go after him? I would understand if the guy who actually wore the box had done something to upset Pac during the match, but he just stood there clapping in support of Pac. Did Sabin develop Apollo Crews’s special powers to see the future? How else would he he have known that this was the night that Pac would go after him and thus he needed to have someone else wear the box in his place? Let me guess, something happened on AEW Dark or AEW Dark Elevation that only a small percentage of Dynamite viewers saw? On the bright side, I was happy to see that Sabian reinvented himself. He’s a talented in-ring performer and hopefully this change will coincide with a character shift.
Billy Gunn vs. Colten Gunn: A father vs. son match should feel a lot more meaningful than this did. Will Colten and Austin disappear just as Lee Moriarty and Ethan Page have ever since they took cards from Stokely Hathaway?
If this was the actual plan for the unification match they should have run it at the very beginning of the show. Then maybe tease Mox talking toward the end as a hook to maintain what should have been a really good audience turnout. The whole thing was a mess and could have been done better about 100 different ways other than the direction they took. Awful.
Even with the championship unification match, they were calling the six man match the main event. Also, is the Blackpool Combat Club still a thing? Where were the others to celebrate the win with Moxley?
This is one mistake that wrestling promotions bafflingly make over and over again – if you position your world title match as anything other than the main event, then you are telegraphing that it is going to be an angle and not a match. If they had done exactly what they did but in the last match of All-Out; that would get people talking for the right reasons. Right now the main takeaway is that they unified their World Titles in the middle of a show that had a trios quarter final match as the main event.
Not only did they not effectively build the match up ahead of time but then when it actually was suddenly upon us Tony S. decided to lay it on thick and compare it to game seven of one of the major pro team sports finals. The magnitude just wasn’t there nor was it on par with big-fight feel wrestling matches of the past.
I’m also starting to wonder if some of the AEW fans that they pan to with shocked and overwhelmed expressions on their faces are compensated actors.
The trios match was the main event because the butthurt EVPs hate not being the center of attention.
>Garcia stepped up and delivered in his most important verbal segment to date. It says a lot that he was working with two mega stars and he feel out of placing sharing a ring with them<<
I'm sure you meant he DIDN'T feel out of place, and I agree. He's really turned into a lot more important talent just in the last month or two.
As for why they didn't do sit down interviews, ect.. with Punk-Mox, its because they have 2 hours and they try to put as much into it as possible. I LOVE AEW, but I think they just need to cut back on that formula JUST a smidge. And I also was not thrilled by the match at all. I realize they can play off the injury and have Punk say he wasn't 100%, but I really don't see why Mox would give Punk another shot after he beat him in a few minutes…..but we shall see.
Lastly Rosa has to give up the belt for a bit and they have her announce that in a BACKSTAGE segment?!?! Horrible idea, IMHO.