By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
MJF and Bryan Danielson: The highlight of the night. I like that MJF isn’t content to just be an asshole heel. He puts in the character work by adding details about his background to help explain why his character became a villain. He previously told the story (twice if you include a similar story told in MLW) about being harassed by some of his bigot football teammates due to being Jewish, being rejected by William Regal, and now he added the story about his fiancee leaving him. These back stories are the pro wrestling equivalent of the origin stories told for comic book villains. It’s a really nice touch that we don’t get enough of in pro wrestling. The pull-apart brawl was also well done. We see so many of these in pro wrestling that few stand out, but this one did because it was executed in a way that made it feel tense and heated. The initial set up with Danielson having to beat a series of wrestlers to get his iron man match had a been there and done there feeling. Since then, the build has improved because they are making it feel more personal.
Orange Cassidy vs. Wheeler Yuta for the AEW All-Atlantic Title: A hot match with some excellent back and forth action. The created legitimate drama regarding the outcome and had the live crowd fully invested. His act may not be for everyone, but Cassidy delivers consistently in the ring. Unfortunately, his hard work just isn’t enough to make me care about the most needless of all of AEW’s titles. I really with Tony Khan would throw in the towel by merging the All-Atlantic Championship with the TNT Championship. Anyway, the heelish attitudes of Yuta and Claudio Castagnoli felt abrupt, though I’m all for shaking things up.
Ricky Starks and Chris Jericho: I thought they were in trouble for a moment when the fans cheered after Starks said he was moving on from Jericho. But the live crowd was hot and played along every step of the way in what was an entertaining contract signing segment. I do feel a little bad for Action Andretti, whose upset win over Jericho hasn’t led to much of anything. That said, Starks is clearly the more ready of the two and continues to show main event upside.
“The Acclaimed” Max Caster and Anthony Bowens vs. Big Bill and Lee Moriarty: A soft Hit for a solid match that included an attack by Austin Gunn and Colten Gunn on their father, which added more heat heading into the four-way tag title match at Revolution. Big Bill has a terrible name and is criminally wasted in AEW. He did a terrific job of getting his career back on track in Impact Wrestling following his personal struggles. It’s a shame to see him so lost in the shuffle on the crowded AEW roster.
Saraya vs. Skye Blue: More of an in the middle. The match served the purpose of giving Saraya a television win before they announced that she will be in the three-way match for the AEW Women’s Championship match at Revolution. That said, it’s hard to feel excited about another Triple Threat involving these wrestlers when we just saw one last week that had so much blatant outside interference. How about adding a stipulation to let viewers know that won’t be allowed during their pay-per-view match?
AEW Dynamite Misses
Jon Moxley vs. Evil Uno: This match left me with very mixed feelings. From a match quality standpoint, this was certainly Hit worthy, as both guys really brought it. But it was a questionable move to pluck Uno from YouTube match obscurity and thrust him into a main event role on a show that has been trending downward in the television ratings. On paper, this just didn’t feel like it belonged in the main event slot. Heck, it looked like a throwaway Rampage match. Perhaps the belief is that the tease of Tony Khan’s announcement would be enough to boost the show’s rating. If it worked, great. We’ll find out later today (and I’m curious to see the quarter-hour numbers in addition to the overall viewership count). The post match angle Moxley picked up where Castagnoli and Yuta left off in terms of the Blackpool Combat Club being more ruthless. Unfortunately, it also continued the trend of Moxley bleeding on television, which has become more of a punchline than it is impactful at this point.
Tag Team Battle Royale for a spot in the four-way AEW Tag Team Title match at AEW Revolution: The concept of tag team battle royals on back to back shows does nothing for me. Jeff Jarrett and Jay Lethal winning the first battle royal makes storyline sense given their issues with The Acclaimed, but it was far from the most appealing of the possible outcomes.
I would guess that viewership will not hit 900k. If the announcement helped pull in more viewers, those people must feel like they were duped.
I get trying to be different from the WWE, but Tony really is not going to get any mainstream eyeballs on his product with a lot of the wrestlers/storylines that they are currently going with. I really got into AEW during the last half of 2021, bought Full Gear ’21 and really thought they were going somewhere. Very steady decline in quality since then, and my son actually walked out of the room when Uno started spurting blood because he was so turned off. He’s in college and loves wrestling, be we decided we should skip the next couple of weeks and see what TK decides to do to right the ship. We can’t be the only people who feel that way.
Can I add another Miss that is indicative of what is wrong with AEW: Hook being suspended “pending investigation”, the entire follow-up to which was Excalibur saying “Hook has been reinstated” in his horse racing commentator voice when running through next week’s show.
I’m not sure how a viewer can find much good in this show
If you enjoy MJF (he is hit or miss for me) his segments probably work for you. But an hour long match with an aging Danielson isn’t really appealing to me
Speaking of age again. JJ is still featured weekly? Are you kidding me. He and jehrico are starting to make Brock and Lashley look like young lions
The lead off match was a good match. But a lot of people have good matches. As a commenter pointed out last night none of the AEW belts feel important right now
Now on to MOX. I like mox. A lot actually. He bet on himself and won. And he carried AEW during the punk drama. But this bloodletting needs to stop. It’s ECW at its most comical and is adding exactly zero to his act or any of his feuds
The women’s stuff is blah. Aside from Britt Baker the entire division is dull and last night was no exception
And then Dixie’s big announcement (sorry I mean Tony) is a reality show. Poor Adam Cole got stuck with delivering the disappointing news. He deserves better after than passionate promo a few weeks back
Yeah guys I’m old. So I will tell those of you too young to remember this is all WCW Thunder bad stuff. I know I know the crowd “pops”. But to their credit the AEW fan base likes most everything so the “pop factor” does make for a better atmosphere but doesn’t really make any of this work better for this viewer.
Tony needs to do better He has the talent. This show was really terrible
I think a title(s) named after a TV network is a lot more useless than any other title, but to each his own.
I also find it interesting that other than the MJF-Bryan thing, you had something negative to say about every single match. Hmmm..
I find it interesting that you take issue with any negativity regarding AEW, you’ve bitched about me and every writer on this site or years to the point of sending us angry emails, and yet you’re still here all these years later. Thanks for your support, Angry Mike!
Over a million for this show. Pretty impressive number with a lackluster card. The past three weeks prior to yesterday have been good TV. Hopefully last night didn’t alienate people that tuned in.
I also find it interesting how AEW fanboys whine about Jason being at all negative towards AEW, while other people are accusing Jason of going easy on AEW because he doesn’t want Tony to revoke his press access. Hmmmm…
And let’s not forget that Greatest One repeatedly accused me of being biased against WWE and pro AEW. With all of these conflicting accusations of bias, maybe, just maybe, I’m simply call it as I see it? Nah!