By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
MJF and Christopher Daniels: Top notch mic work from both men. MJF delivered a strong heel promo and didn’t resort to any needless shock value moments. Daniels holding up his end of the verbal exchange may have surprised people who didn’t follow his final years in Ring of Honor. Daniels wasn’t known for great mic work throughout most of his career, but he came through with some terrific emotional promos during his character’s successful pursuit of the ROH Championship in 2017.
Wardlow sit-down interview with Jim Ross: Ideally, they would have explained the significance of Wardlow’s ponytail before Samoa Joe cut it off. That said, Wardlow came off really well in this interview. Wardlow was likable and sympathetic, and the story told made Joe’s actions seem heinous in hindsight.
Orange Cassidy, Billy Gunn, and The Acclaimed vs. Jeff Jarrett, Jay Lethal, Satnam Singh, and Sonjay Dutt: The Hit goes to Jeff Jarrett for going through with the match a day after the death of his father. Furthermore, the live crowd clearly enjoyed seeing the babyface personalities get the better of the heel team.
Mark Briscoe vs. Josh Woods: The positivity that Mark Briscoe has displayed in the wake of tragedy makes him the most inspirational pro wrestler in the game.
“Jungle Boy” Jack Perry vs. Brian Cage: A decent match that should have felt more dramatic than it did. This really should have had a David vs. Goliath type of feel to it, but Cage has lost so many matches on AEW television that David was the heavy favorite. It was good to see Christian Cage return after the match to set up his long delayed singles showdown with Perry. I wonder if that means Luchasaurus will be returning for the first time since Perry beat him in a cage match at AEW Full Gear. If Cage and Luchasaurus reunite, then perhaps we haven’t seen the last of Perry teaming with Hook.
Hangman Page vs. Kip Sabian: There was no mystery regarding the outcome of this match even though some effort was made via the backstage attack on Page beforehand. The verbal exchange between Page and Moxley to set up their Texas Death Match felt a bit clunky with Moxley making it seem like he was done with Page only to do a 180 seconds later, but I like the end result of one final match to presumably settle things once and for all at Revolution.
AEW Dynamite Misses
Jon Moxley and Claudio Castagnoli vs. Rush and Preston Vance in a Texas Tornado match: It felt like someone decided that they were going to do a Texas Tornado match because the show was held in Texas and not because the storyline called for it. Both teams worked hard and yet I just felt numb to what I was seeing because there wasn’t enough of an established beef between the two teams. Meanwhile, it was perfectly logical for Moxley to bleed in a Texas Tornado match. Unfortunately, he’s bled in so many other recent television matches that it had no effect this time around. I continue to wish that he would save the blood for key moments so that it packs a punch and doesn’t feel so routine.
Britt Baker vs. Toni Storm vs. Ruby Soho in a three-way: Turning Saraya and Toni Storm needed to happen, but it was done abruptly and without much explanation. While Baker and Jamie Hayter are popular, their characters haven’t done anything to endear themselves to fans in a storyline sense. So we’re left with what comes off as Soho stuck in the middle and left to choose between aligning with one of two heel teams. It won’t make much to change this, but we really need a good promo from Baker and Hayter to make this a little easier to follow.
AEW Tag Title logic: The announcement that the new champions’ first title defense will be against the winners of back to back battle royals felt very random. What’s worse is the Acclaimed triggering their rematch clause to be in a four-way match rather than choosing to face the Gunns in a traditional tag team match. Perhaps the idea was that the Acclaimed wanted to make sure that they got the Gunns in the ring as quickly as possible, but it wasn’t explained well if that’s the case, and it feel strange that their rematch clause wouldn’t give them first dibs.
I’m a huge fan of AEW, and I agree the “storylines” here are not that great, but I’m hoping this is a sign there WILL be storylines. Too many weeks its just these guys against those guys, and while its usually a lot of really good matches, you gotta have storylines too. Maybe they are finally headed in that direction, and I think having ROH to spread the talent out more should help