By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
“Hangman” Adam Page vs. Jon Moxley: My favorite of the three big matches on this show. It’s hard to complain about a show opening with a high end pay-per-view caliber match that concluded with a clean finish. Moxley knocked out Page legitimately in the previous match. Page got his win back last night. One can only hope that we’ll be treated to a rubber match. I could have done without the shot of Page looking remorseful when he looked back at Moxley after the match. It’s okay for Cole to simply be an ass kicking cowboy rather than always feeling the need to work in the emo side of his persona.
Adam Cole returns: A feel good surprise return capped off with the great news that Cole has been cleared to return to the ring. This is the hottest Cole has felt since he debuted at AEW All Out 2021. The Undisputed Era ran its course in NXT. I understood the idea of putting the band back together in AEW, but it just didn’t feel fresh the second time around. Conversely, Cole returning as a babyface after a long absence feels new and exciting. The live crowds loved chanting along with his signature lines throughout his heel run, and they should be even more enthusiastic now that he appears to be a babyface.
“Death Triangle” Pac, Rey Fenix, and Penta El Zero Miedo vs. “The Elite” Kenny Omega, Matt Jackson, and Nick Jackson in a ladder match in the deciding match of the best of seven series for the AEW Trios Title: A good conclusion to the series with the expected outcome of The Elite winning the AEW Trios Titles. Now that it’s over, I hope I never see another ring bell hammer used as a weapon in AEW. The hammer spots were all groaners that added nothing to the series. I was surprised that the finale wasn’t given more time. I don’t know if the show ran long and they had to cut some time, but it did feel a bit rushed compared to the first six matches.
Bryan Danielson vs. Konosuke Takeshita: The match looked great on paper and lived up to expectations aside from one rough spot at ringside. The big thing working against the match was that it felt like a gimme that Danielson was going to win due to the story that he has to win all of his matches through February 8 to get his AEW World Championship match. The same problem will be there next week when Danielson faces Bandido. On a side note, MJF’s promo was a fun mix of insult comedy and good heel mic work. It’s a nice touch to have the MJF character act like he is leery of working an iron man match even if I suspect that the man behind the character truly wants the match because he’s hellbent on proving that he’s the total package and not just a great talker.
“Jungle Boy” Jack Perry and Hook vs. Big Bill and Lee Moriarty: A good showcase win for the young babyfaces. The highlight was Hook performing the T-Bone suplex on Big Bill, who did a nice job of conveying his character’s disbelief through his facial expressions. Bill had a really good run in Impact Wrestling and showed that he can get over as a singles act. Here’s hoping that he doesn’t get lost in the shuffle in AEW.
AEW Dynamite Misses
AEW Women’s Champion Jamie Hayter and Britt Baker vs. Saraya and Toni Storm: A solid match that was needlessly overshadowed by the company inexplicably teasing that Sasha Banks/Mercedes Mone would debut on this show. Even putting that aside, Saraya’s first match on Dynamite and second match in five years should have felt bigger. And I still have no idea why Saraya’s character obliviously insulted Hikaru Shida last week.
Rick Starks and Action Andretti: The follow-up to Andretti’s upset win over Chris Jericho has been underwhelming. The fireball angle delayed his return to the ring and he’s had to rely on his mic work, which is still a work in progress. Starks is a gifted talker and I normally enjoy his promos, but it raised a red flag regarding his instincts when he insulted Jake Hager’s speech impediment while delivering a babyface promo. Even putting that aside, the segment with Jericho Appreciation Society didn’t pack much of a punch and the conclusion of the verbal exchange felt clumsy rather than like it actually reached a crescendo.
I’m a huge Adam Cole fan. I really hope he is 100% and not taking an unnecessary risk returning because wrestling pumps thru his veins
Great to see Cole back. I hope he looks after himself. Tell good stories with great wrestling matches and say no to the garbage matches that put him in this position. The greats of wrestling … Austin, Rock, Hart, Michael’s, Undertaker, Flair etc didn’t do garbage matches every week … hardly ever. Look after yourself Adam. These next 5+ years should be your peak.
7 garbage matches and still couldn’t break a million. I’m glad they left the other garbage jericho till the end as well as I was able to switch off after the tag match.
The whole point is to shock the audience everyone knew that they were going to give the elite the titles. They do not deserve them Kenny Omega took his ball and went home he barely wrestled not counting the suspensions. The wrestler who are there every week are the ones that deserve a push not guys at the end of their careers or you end up with boring shows like the WWE. Rumors are going around that Khan is trying to buy the WWE please let this be true their shows at best have one good match and that is with 3 hours and 3 different shows. They don’t know how to use talent screw Max Black or whatever his name is use Brody King he is big and does not rely on the gimmick his is the only kick that knocks people out. The WWE spent millions trying to put him over and in the end, they let him go he would make a better manager than a wrestler You have talent a lot of them doing moves no one else has seen on t.v. Sure they can lose a match to Bryan or Jerico but eventually, they are the future. Like or hate Vince McMahon he looked for stars that would last at least 10 years. If he felt they were only going to last a couple years they became jobbers to put other wrestlers over if he thought 5 he would let them get tag titles or the intercontinental title and have them eventually put over the younger talent that would carry the company for the next Decade. Right now both companies have guys who at best have 5 years left and a bunch I would be surprised if they come back next year. Heavyweight champions have to be big guys like Taz can say no but the great ones have all been over 6 foot 4 and at least 250 pounds you’re telling a story if your story is you have a puny heavyweight champion then go back to just running your football team with all the big guys. The fans will tell you who should have the other belts but they should be scared of the heavyweight champion. On any given night except for a couple wrestlers half the people in the audience could whip the majority of wrestlers you have on your roster and that means you failed
“It’s okay for Cole to simply be an ass kicking cowboy rather than always feeling the need to work in the emo side of his persona.”
Did you really just confuse Adam Cole with Adam Page, Jason? Now I’m curious how Cole would be with a badass cowboy gimmick.