By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
MJF: The interview segment with Renee Paquette was really fun. MJF played to the crowd more than usual, yet still included heelish lines while taking delight in the fact that Jon Moxley’s wife was conducting the interview. Paquette struggling to hide her disdain for MJF while holding the mic was perfect. The big post main event angle with MJF running out to call off The Firm from their attack of Moxley led to the surprising scene of The Firm turning on MJF. I’ll cringe if this turns out to be the type of swerve where MJF took a planned beating to fool everyone. Otherwise, it’s an interesting development that forwards the mystery of whether MJF is actually turning babyface or setting up an elaborate swerve that will result in him winning the championship as a heel. A great case can be made for MJF leaning into the cheers and yet I still suspect that he’s going to leave Full Gear as a heel. What do you think? Nope, tweener isn’t an option in the poll. Pick a side.
Jon Moxley vs. Penta El Zero Miedo for the AEW World Championship: The Penta title shot came out of nowhere and I wish the company would have taken the time to build him up for a few weeks before he challenged Moxley. Even so, this was an entertaining main event and another good title defense for Moxley. If Moxley is going to have frequent title defenses on television, the company should really make a big fuss over it. Excalibur said it’s not every week that the champion defends the title on television. And while it’s not a weekly occurrence, Moxley does defend the title on television more than other world champions. Lean into it and label Moxley as the most fighting world champion in the business.
Bryan Danielson vs. Sammy Guevara: A very good match with a clean and decisive finish. What’s not to like? It was good to see Danielson’s character coming off less happy go lucky. Hopefully the Danielson character starts to show interest in the world championship. It’s admirable that Danielson enjoys working with an elevating younger wrestlers, but he’s most valuable to the company when he’s a main event player.
FTR vs. Swerve Strickland and Keith Lee to become No. 1 contenders to the AEW Tag Titles: Finally, FTR wrestled a traditional tag team match on AEW television. I’d say it was worth the wait, but I’m still shaking my head over how one of the hottest acts in pro wrestling wasn’t booked to do what they do best. Putting that aside, this was a really entertaining match. I’m not surprised nor bothered by Strickland and Lee going over given that their feud with The Acclaimed is unresolved. I’m also curious to see what type of match FTR and Gunn Club can produce.
Claudio Castagnoli and Wheeler Yuta vs. Chris Jericho and Daniel Garcia: A fun opening match with Castagnoli shining while scoring a pinfall victory over Jericho. Castagnoli hasn’t spoken about his ROH World Championship loss to Jericho, but I wonder if this is the first step toward moving him back into contention. The match also set up the good confrontation between Yuta and Bryan Danielson in the backstage area. I don’t think it’s going to happen, I’d actually be pleased if the Blackpool Combat Club disbanded. I’m sure the faction is a merch mover, but I’ve never understood why AEW has so many factions, and Jon Moxley is at his best in the lone wolf role.
Jamie Hayter vs. Riho: A soft Hit. There were some clunky moments, but there was more good than bad. I was surprised to see Riho lose a match already after getting such a good reaction when she returned to AEW television. But Hayter continues to gain momentum. There seems to be a lot of fan interest in a Hayter babyface turn. I hope the creative forces don’t take too long to pull the trigger. We were also treated to our near weekly spot where referee Rick Knox is made to incompetent. In this case, he watched Britt Baker reach in from the floor and grab the foot of Riho. Rather than eject Baker from ringside, Knox shot her an annoyed look and the match rolled on.
AEW Dynamite Misses
None: An enjoyable show from start to finish. Last week’s show was one of my favorite episodes of Dynamite in recent memory, so hopefully producing good back-to-back shows is a sign of the company building momentum again after hitting a bit of a rough patch. The Elite video that showed the members disappearing is obviously a tease for their return, and they were reportedly backstage at last night’s show. I like that the company showed patience by not just having Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks appear later in the show.
I believe MJF will be a face down the line,but yes I literally believe this is a swerve,but we’ll see..
100% agreed. The babyface turn is coming, but not at Full Gear. The Elite’s eventual return (and “welcome back” face turn) will overshadow him if he’s newly turned, so I fully expect a few months more of heel Max.
Maybe around Double or Nothing next year, they can pull the trigger. That said, I DO worry that if they drag their feet on the turn, we’ll have another Wardlow situation: massive pop for the turn, good reactions from the crowd, then shuffled down into the midcard to feud with the ROH folks.
MJF, like Flair, will continue to be a heel that is cheered because he’s so damn good at it.