By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
Jon Moxley and CM Punk: Quite frankly, I was more excited about seeing Moxley vs. Punk at All Out before they had the three-minute television match. As much as I found the approach they took to be unnecessary, it’s not like I don’t want to see the rematch. They told an interesting story and we ended up getting good mic work from both wrestlers and Ace Steel. It’s been said that the pay-per-view numbers will show whether they took the right approach. I don’t see how that is possible unless someone has the ability to jump into an alternate universe where AEW saved the unification match for the pay-per-view. Even so, I am at least open to the possibility that the approach they took got more people to watch Dynamite last week and that it could lead to more people ordering the pay-per-view. It’s not the approach that I preferred, but the main event is still in a good place heading into Sunday.
Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks vs. Will Ospreay and Aussie Open in an AEW Trios Tournament semifinal match: Another strong spot fest main event for Omega and the Bucks. I don’t know which promotion will get the Omega vs. Ospreay match, but I’m looking forward to it either way. The story of Hangman Page replacing 10 on the Dark Order team was easy to see coming, as it seems to set the stage for Page working against his former Elite friends in the finals of the tournament. Either way, here’s hoping that Omega and the Bucks become true babyfaces and leave their mascots behind. And in a perfect world, Don Callis would view Omega as being rundown and trade in his meal ticket for the new model in Ospreay. But I doubt that will happen given that Ospreay is on loan from New Japan Pro Wrestling.
Hikaru Shida and Toni Storm vs. Jamie Hayter and Britt Baker: Shida put herself back on the map with a standout performance. The match seemed laid out to make her to shine and she made the most of the opportunity with good in-ring work and by showing more charisma than usual. I don’t think it bodes well for her chances of winning the interim AEW Women’s Championship at the pay-per-view, but it was nice to see her back in the main mix and doing something other than swinging a kendo stick at Serena Deeb.
Bryan Danielson vs. Jake Hager: A good, physical match. Add Hager to the list of people who have had one of their best matches while working with Danielson. The drama between Daniel Garcia and Chris Jericho feels a little sappy, but I’m still curious to see how it plays out.
Jim Ross sit-down interview with Jungle Boy and Christian Cage: It was actually nice to have a calm, yet tense verbal exchange after things got a little over the top crazy with wild brawls and an attempted vehicular homicide moment. Cage has done a terrific job on the mic throughout the build, and the sit-down approach worked better for Jungle Boy than his in-ring promos. It was good to hear Jungle Boy use his real name at the end of the exchange. It feels like the right time for him to go by “Jungle Boy” Jack Perry, so hopefully this is a permanent change and not just for Sunday’s match.
W Morrissey attacks The Wingmen: I was surprised to see Morrissey pop up on AEW television again. I thought Vince McMahon’s regime would have jumped at the chance to re-sign the former Big Cass when he was still in power in WWE, and for that matter Morrissey was successful on the NXT brand under Paul Levesque. It will be interesting to see how Morrissey does in AEW following his strong and potentially career saving run in Impact Wrestling. I don’t know that we needed the beatdown on this episide, but we’ll see if it plays into something at the pay-per-view.
Wheeler Yuta vs. Rey Fenix vs. Rush vs. Dante Martin: I can’t really say that I cared about the outcome of this match given that it felt like a fairly random preview of the Casino Ladder match. They also could have put a little more space between this match and the main event given that they were both spot-heavy. Despite those issues, I enjoyed the match and the work of everyone involved.
Wardlow and “FTR” Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler vs. Red Jones, Silas Young, and Vic Dupri: Insert my weekly complaint here about FTR never working standard tag team matches. Anyway, this was just a quick warmup match for Wardlow and FTR heading into their six-man tag team match with Jay Lethal and The Motor City Machine Guns. I still wish they had split these matches into a TNT Title match and a dream tag team match, but hopefully we will end up getting FTR vs. MCMG on television. On a side note, Young wasn’t asked to do much in this brief match, so hopefully that’s a sign that he was being protected for whenever the company starts to do more with the ROH brand.
AEW Dynamite Misses
None: A quality go-home show. AEW has produced stronger Dynamite episodes, but this one did an effective job of pushing Sunday’s All Out event. Most of the segments felt like they served that purpose and I also liked the mix of verbal segments and in-ring wrestling.