By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
Jon Moxley, Bryan Danielson, and William Regal: A compelling verbal exchange. Count me among those who assumed that Danielson was going to attack Moxley. Rather, we got the unexpected with Danielson successfully pleading with Moxley not to get physical due to Regal’s health issues. It wasn’t entirely satisfying in that I was hoping to hear Regal explain why he sided with MJF, but perhaps that will occur next week when MJF makes his first appearance on Dynamite as the AEW World Champion. Either way, all three men did a really nice job with their respective roles in this tense, unconventional angle.
Death Triangle vs. The Elite in the second match of the best of seven series for the AEW Trios Titles: WWHBKD? Shawn Michaels leaned into being a heel in Canada after the Montreal Screwjob. The Elite trio took it further than necessary, but they knew they would be the villains in Chicago and leaned into it. I think there was plenty of wrong to go around in the All Out brawl, but The Elite was going to take shit from a good portion of the crowd no matter what they did, so the right move was to make it seem like they were getting the desired reaction. Putting all of that aside, it was another excellent spot fest. I’m not a fan of these hammer shots to the head not being sold beyond the match finish, even though countless sledgehammer shots were given the same treatment over the years.
Chris Jericho vs. Tomohiro Ishii for the ROH Title: A good main event. Jericho going over clean was the right move. The post match angle with Claudio Castagnoli punching out Jericho before he could get to Ian Riccaboni was a quick way to presumably establish the Jericho vs. Castagnoli rematch for the ROH Final Battle pay-per-view.
Ethan Page vs. Ricky Starks in the AEW World Championship Eliminator Tournament Final: At the rate he’s going, Starks may be a full fledged mummy by the time he gets his title shot at the Winter Is Coming themed edition of Dynamite. Nevertheless, this was a quality match and it’s great to see Starks get a meaningful win even if the plan is to feed him to MJF.
Jamie Hayter and Britt Baker vs. Anna Jay and Tay Melo vs. Willow Nightingale and Skye Blue: There was really no need for this to be a three-way tag team match, but it was fine for what it was. Baker going over was no surprise given that she lost at the pay-per-view. The announcement that the company is ditching the “interim” tag for the women’s championship was welcome news. Baker getting mic time while the new champion stood behind her was obviously by design as they continue to build toward an eventual split. That said, it was disappointing that we didn’t hear from Saraya coming off her first match in five years.
AEW Dynamite Misses
Orange Cassidy vs. Jake Hager for the AEW All-Atlantic Title: I get a kick out of Cassidy’s act and it’s over big with the live crowds, but his comedy combined with Hager’s new hat fetish was a little too much for this viewer. Thumbs up for the House of Black destroying Best Friends and The Factory afterward.
I also assumed Danielson was going to attack Moxley, but am very happy he didn’t. I would now like to see Moxley take a well-deserved holiday, MJF to have a long title reign and a babyface Danielson to be the one to eventually take the title off him.
IMO, the only thing the Elite EVP’s actions showed is how to be petty.
They could have played heel in a professional manner, but sought to antagonize Punk and ticket-buying Punk fans with the baffling decision to broadcast and remind everyone they were just suspended after being called childish, and getting into a fight about it afterwards.