By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
The Acclaimed: The National Scissoring Day segment was a big success. The crowd was hot for the scissoring silliness and the new tag team champions were celebrated as stars. Swerve Strickland was also very good as the foil. The segment leading to Strickland challenging Billy Gunn to a match was a little flat, but I assume they are saving The Acclaimed vs. Strickland and Keith Lee rematch for Full Gear.
MJF vs. Wheeler Yuta: If any wrestler could get by on mic work and charisma it would be MJF. This match is further proof that having strong matches and being a total package is important to him. The post match angle with MJF nearly shaking hands with Yuta only to have Lee Moriarty attack Yuta was interesting. MJF made it clear that he was unhappy with Moriarty, and then it seemed like Stokely Hathaway had him on the verge of using the Dynamite Diamond Ring as a weapon. William Regal showing up and casually pulling out a pair of brass knuckles from his suit pocket was awesome and perfect for the Regal character. As much as fans are cheering MJF these days, I have a hard time believing that he’s going to give in this easily. My guess is that the handshake tease means he’s out to make fans believe he’s turning babyface so that he can pull the rug out from under them.
Wardlow vs. Brian Cage for the TNT Title: An enjoyable battle of the big men that should have meant a lot more than it did. It’s baffling to me that this match was announced AEW Dark just one night before it took place. Cage is one of the few AEW wrestlers who looks like a physical threat to Wardlow. This could have been built up as a showdown match and perhaps popped a television rating or even contributed to pay-per-view sales had Cage been built up on Dynamite for even just a few weeks. Again, though, it was entertaining for what it was.
Hangman Page vs. Rush: A quality match with Page going over clean as he moves closer to challenging for the AEW World Championship in two weeks. The post match promo by Jon Moxley was strong. I like that Page pushed back by challenging Moxley on the spot, and I liked it even more when Moxley responded by saying that a lot of young guys in AEW talk shit and their mouths get them in trouble.
Toni Storm, Athena, and Willow Nightingale vs. Jamie Hayter, Serena Deeb, and Penelope Ford: A fun high energy match. Nightingale getting the pin for her team was logical given that she is challenging Jade Cargill for the TBS Title on Friday. You had to know Saraya was going to get physical when Britt Baker claimed Saraya was not medically cleared.
Luchasaurus vs. Fuego Del Sol: A quick showcase win for Luchasaurus. The post match angle was nicely done with a solid verbal exchange from Jungle Boy and Christian Cage. I’m surprised that Jungle Boy vs. Luchasaurus is taking place in Toronto, where Cage is likely to be celebrated by the fans as a hometown hero. It will be fun to see if Cage tries to turn the crowd against him or if AEW does the equivalent of WWE labeling Canada as bizarro world.
AEW Dynamite Misses
Anniversary Show approach: Why doesn’t AEW celebrate its history? The excuse of losing Cody Rhodes to WWE and The Elite members being suspended doesn’t hold water. After all, it’s not like AEW did anything special for its previous anniversary shows. Some key moment highlights spread throughout the show or a big video package similar to the one that WWE recently produced for the anniversary of NXT 2.0 would have gone a long way. Dynamite has had some great moments over the last few years and it’s a shame that the company does nothing to showcase them.
Bryan Danielson and Daniel Garcia vs. Chris Jericho and Sammy Guevara: More good than bad throughout the body of the match, but it fell apart at the end starting with Jericho and Danielson doing a second take on the table spot. While that happens sometimes, it was actually the finish that really lost me. Garcia clearly moved closer to the ropes while he had Guevara locked in his submission finisher so that Jericho could hit him with the title belt from the floor. Worse yet, it was another case of an AEW referee looking oblivious for being the only person in the building who missed the belt shot even though it should have been visible to her. I’m also over Jericho Appreciation Society. The sports entertainment gag has felt like a lame and dated joke ever since Vince McMahon resigned. On the bright side, Jericho showing a hint of regret while looking down at Garcia after the match was an interesting development.
Darby Allin vs. Jay Lethal: Good work from both wrestlers, but has there ever been a crowd this quiet during an Allin match? It doesn’t seem like Allin his cooled off. Rather, it’s just that there’s minimal interest in his feud with Lethal. Allin demanding a handshake after the match felt way too similar to Wheeler Yuta doing the same thing after his opening match with MJF.