By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
Jon Moxley promo: The heart and soul of AEW stepped up and delivered the right promo at the right time. The AEW World Championship has gone through a rough stretch due to CM Punk’s first injury, the creation of the interim championship, followed by Punk regaining the title and then suffering another injury. And so it was perfect that Moxley spoke in depth about championship means to him. The Moxley character doesn’t give a shit about much of anything, so it really packs a punch when he speaks passionately about the company’s top title. Excellent work.
Bryan Danielson vs. Hangman Page in an AEW World Championship tournament match: Despite Chris Jericho giving away the outcome, this was a hell of a match. It was a good move to put Danielson over given the circumstances with Page and his role in everything that led up to the backstage brawl at AEW All Out. I’m guessing we will be getting an all Blackpool Combat Club final with Danielson facing Moxley for the vacant AEW World Championship.
Wheeler Yuta vs. Daniel Garcia for the Ring of Honor Pure Championship: This had to be one of the best nights of Garcia’s young career. What wrestler wouldn’t want to headline a television show and win a championship in his hometown? Garcia and Yuta had a really good match and the Buffalo crowd was totally invested in seeing Garcia go over. Here’s hoping that AEW will bring back the graphic that keeps track of the rope breaks during the Pure Rules matches. The graphic made things easier to follow and helped the Pure Rules matches stand out in the previous version of ROH.
“Death Triangle” Pac, Rey Fenix, Penta El Zero Miedo vs. “Best Friends” Orange Cassidy, Trent Beretta, Chuck Taylor for the vacant AEW Trios Titles: A crowd pleasing tag match with the right team going over to win the vacated titles. It’s a shame that House of Black is apparently finished, as they and Death Triangle finally would have had something to feud over.
MJF’s return: A Hit and yet a bit underwhelming at the same time. MJF’s mic work was great. But given the way he exited the company and then returned with the big reveal at All Out, I expected this to be a bigger night for him. It felt strange that the first thing that the self-proclaimed devil did was take the pest heel route of toying with the Buffalo fans about their football team. I also assumed that MJF would make a big splash by leaving someone lying. Rather, he comically struggled to remove his own shirt and then backed down from fighting Jon Moxley. Of course, Tony Khan presumably had something else in mind for MJF’s return to television that had to be scrapped due to CM Punk’s injury and the backstage altercation. This wasn’t a bad segment by any means, it just wasn’t the big, memorable return that I anticipated.
The Acclaimed and Swerve Strickland: Everyone was waiting for the Max Caster rap, but he couldn’t acknowledge the elephant in the room. As such, it was a clever move to have Strickland cut off Caster before he could rap. It put heat on Strickland while also preserving the feeling that Caster’s character is fearless when it comes to addressing controversial topics during his raps.
Wardlow vs. Tony Nese for the TNT Title: The dominant win for Wardlow that it needed to be. Wardlow’s post match yelling promo was a bit much. Ideally, he’ll settle in as more laid back cool like Batista rather than awkwardly yelling for no good reason.
Overall Show: The night started with what felt like a Tony Khan hostage video, though taping it in advance was clearly the right call. It’s a shame that they couldn’t even say the names of the champions who were stripped of their titles let alone offer any explanation as to why. But once they got through the early awkwardness, AEW delivered a good show on a night when they really needed to.
AEW Dynamite Misses
Chris Jericho promo: Jericho gave away the outcome of the Bryan Danielson vs. Hangman Page match by talking about facing Danielson on next week’s Dynamite. I don’t know if Jericho slipped or if it was a taped promo that should have aired after this match, but it was unfortunate either way.
Interim AEW Women’s Champion Toni Storm vs. Penelope Ford in an eliminator match: A solid match aside from the clunky DDT at the end. The issue is that for someone who just won a championship, Storm feels a bit flat. Beating Thunder Rosa for the title would have helped, but it’s not like Storm had a lot of momentum before that match was scrapped. I’m a fan of Storm’s work. I just don’t feel like AEW has established enough about her character for fans to feel totally invested in her act. Oh, and that generic heavy metal entrance music isn’t helping.
No Jim Ross on commentary: Did he throw BBQ sauce bottles at Brandon Cutler during the backstage altercation after All Out? Okay, that’s not it, because he actually mentioned on social media that he called last night’s Rampage taping. But is it a coincidence that Ross didn’t call Dynamite after he spent time on his podcast questioning the booking of the CM Punk vs. Jon Moxley feud before adding that he’s not a fan of five-hour pay-per-views? I don’t know the answer, but it sure would be petty if that triggered his demotion from Dynamite.