By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
Jon Moxley and Hangman Page: Page’s unadvertised return was a pleasant surprise and the intensity between him and Moxley was great. The Page feud is a good way to distract the Moxley character to keep him away from the AEW World Championship at this time. The brawl that continued backstage and resulted in both men being removed from the building was a clever way to get Moxley out of the picture so that William Regal could appear.
“Death Triangle” Pac, Penta El Zero Miedo, and Rey Fenix vs. “The Elite” Kenny Omega, Matt Jackson, and Nick Jackson in the third match of the best of seven series for the AEW Trios Titles: The usual big spot fun and a finish that didn’t involve a hammer. As much as I enjoy the work of the wrestlers involved, the story of this feud is a mess. The Elite trio seem to be babyfaces outside of Chicago, but why are they still hanging out with Brandon Cutler, Michael Nakazawa, and especially heel manager Don Callis? Fenix is the babyface on his team because he doesn’t want his partners to use the ring bell hammer as a weapon even though he’s the one who used the hammer to steal the win for his team at Full Gear. What? A good Elite promo would go a long way if they actually committed to being babyfaces and laid out why regaining the AEW Trios Titles is important to them. Give the viewers who need more than dynamic moves an actual story to invest in rather than continuing to play to the smaller base that only cares about match quality. Omega was such a great storyteller in Japan and yet for some reason that part of his game hasn’t been nearly as good in AEW.
MJF promo: It didn’t take long for MJF to prove that he can make the fans boo him. Sure, it’s going to be tougher in some cites, but he’s a great heel and hopefully he takes on the challenge of trying to turn even his hometown fans against him when the time comes. It makes AEW look bad when its champion expresses his desire for WWE to make him the strongest offer once the character’s deal expires at the beginning of 2024. Even so, I can see this being advantageous to the stories of title matches during the second half of 2023 if they start to push the idea that the babyfaces are trying to protect the company by taking the title back from MJF before he potentially leaves.
Bryan Danielson vs. Dax Harwood: A very good match. As much as I enjoyed it, I really wish the company would have taken the time to build it up so that it meant more than it did. The match happened and I’m glad I got to see it, and yet I’m left wondering what purpose it ultimately served beyond filling a little television time. Danielson picked up another win, and Harwood’s character came up short in another well worked singles match. Are either one of their characters any better for it?
Ricky Starks vs. Ari Daivari: The match was exactly what it needed to be with Starks plowing through Daivari in less than a minute. I could have done without Ethan Page and Stokely Hathaway’s prematch promo and the oddball Matt Hardy segment that only an AEW Rampage or AEW YouTube show viewer could enjoy. Starks beat Page clean in the AEW Eliminator Tournament finals, so I’m not really sure why they still have issues. I just hope it’s not related to MJF’s dealings with The Firm.
Willow Nightingale vs. Anna Jay: More of an in the middle for Nightingale picking up a win on Dynamite that was overshadowed seconds later by the return of Ruby Soho.
AEW Dynamite Misses
William Regal storyline: The Regal character felt the need to reach out to MJF after The Firm attacked MJF, and then they concocted their grand plan to have MJF win the AEW World Championship. This doesn’t explain what caused Regal to turn on Jon Moxley and seemingly put an end to the Blackpool Combat Club. It’s a gaping hole in the storyline that appears unlikely to be explained. As things stand, it looks like the company put the heat for the title change on a man who is unlikely to wrestle and might end up leaving the company. Why?
Samoa Joe vs. AR Fox for the TNT Championship: The actual match was fine. Joe plowed through the latest AEW signee who appears destined to spend most of his time working on the YouTube shows once the booker gets bored and finds another wrestler to sign. The real problem was the post match angle. I got a kick out of Wardlow blaming the awful WarJoe name on Joe, but then Wardlow followed up with his usual groan inducing “Wardlow’s World” line that isn’t much better. Can they find a way to blame Joe for the terrible “Swerve In Our Glory” tag team name?
Jade Cargill championship celebration: Can anyone explain what the hell is happening with Cargill and Bow Wow? Does anyone actually care?