By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
MJF and Jon Moxley promos: Filming an MJF promo while he was on a podcast was a clever way to get him on Dynamite while he’s away filming The Iron Claw. MJF delivered his usual excellent mic work in the unique setting and Moxley shined with his in-ring promo. While it’s not ideal to not have the champion and the challenger in the same building heading into their pay-per-view showdown match, they made it work this week.
Bryan Danielson vs. Sammy Guevara in a best of three falls match: A good main event despite a couple of rough moments, including the big Guevara moonsault that missed Danielson at ringside. Missed spots happen during matches, but the part that gets me is that the folks in the production truck saw it missed and still felt that needed to be replayed. Anyway, I enjoyed the match and Danielson going over closed the show on a positive note. I just wish there was something about the match or some storytelling that increased my level of interest in seeing both wrestlers in the four-way match for the ROH Championship at Full Gear.
“The Acclaimed” Max Caster and Anthony Bowens and “FTR” Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler vs. Swerve Strickland, Keith Lee, Austin Gunn, and Colten Gunn: An action packed opening match that showcased a pair of tag team feuds. I’ve complained many times about FTR not working enough traditional tag team matches, but at least it seemed like this match is leading to one with the Gunn Club. Bonus points for Caster bringing his A-game with his pre-match rap.
Ethan Page vs. Eddie Kingston in a first-round eliminator tournament match: A good match with a mild upset. Page winning would have felt like a shocker had this match taken place a few weeks ago, but he has been getting more television time lately and Jon Moxley’s character still owes him a receipt for his recent post match attack. Page’s issue with Moxley and his involvement in The Firm’s beatdown of MJF makes him good candidate to win the tournament. He’s a logical opponent for Moxley or MJF, so if he wins the tournament final it won’t telegraph the outcome of the AEW World Championship match later in the night. Meanwhile, Kingston’s anger management storyline is a dud and it’s disappointing that doesn’t have an actual program.
Jamie Hayter vs. Skye Blue: A soft Hit for a solid showcase win for Hayter heading into her title shot at the pay-per-view. Last week’s video package with Hayter and Toni Storm telling their story was a much more effective way to sell their Full Gear match.
AEW Dynamite Misses
Saraya and Britt Baker verbal exchange: A soft Miss for an insult-fest style promo that oddly seemed designed to let fans decide which wrestler to root for. Baker is a strong heel while Saraya is the sympathetic star making her return from a long injury layoff. Why overcomplicate things? Saraya’s announcement that she had been medically cleared obviously meant a lot to her, but it didn’t register as a big deal with fans because it became pretty obvious that she had already been cleared based on the physicality we’d seen from these two in recent weeks. They really could have built to that moment better by having Baker trash talk Saraya for weeks while taunting her by adding that there was nothing that Saraya could do due to her neck injury. It would have felt like a much bigger deal had Saraya surprised Baker and the fans by announcing that she actually has been cleared and granted a match with Baker at Full Gear. I’m still looking forward to Saraya vs. Baker, but there was a better and more productive way to do all of this.
Jay Lethal vs. Trent Beretta: Both men can always be counted on to deliver good matches and this was no exception. Nevertheless, Lethal and Beretta feel cold, and the eye-rolling angle that set up the match consisted of Lethal taking offense to Beretta referring to him and his crew as scumbags (oh, the humanity!). Jeff Jarrett’s post match promo was a big step down from last week and it’s hard to imagine any viewer suspending their disbelief enough to buy into the idea that Jarrett and Lethal’s crew are a threat to take over AEW.