By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
MJF and “Jungle Boy” Jack Perry: A believable back and forth verbal exchange as the the build to the likely Four Pillars four-way match continues. Perry has come a long way on the mic and didn’t feel out of place with the best talker in the company. There’s still plenty of time left between now and the Double Or Nothing pay-per-view, so hopefully they will establish strong rivalries between each of four pillars rather than just have them all focused on MJF. For instance, I’m interested in seeing how the Perry and Darby Allin characters would play off of one another. On a side note, Perry and Matt Hardy also had a Hit worthy opening match.
Kenny Omega vs. Jeff Cobb for the IWGP U.S. Championship: A strong match. Omega selling a rib injury and being distracted by the Blackpool Combat Club’s attack on Don Callis shortly before his match was an effective way to make it seem like Cobb might pull off the upset. It was a big night for the BCC and the post match attack on Omega was well done. While I’m not crazy about Bryan Danielson working as a heel again, I like that so much of this episode was dedicated to making BCC look like a dominant heel force.
Adam Cole vs. Daniel Garcia: The return of Cole from a long injury layoff went well. There was no mystery regarding the outcome and nor should there have been. The wrestlers did their best to create some doubt by having Garcia target the head and neck of Cole, but everyone knew this was Cole’s night to shine. As much as I enjoyed his heel work in ROH and NXT, his heel run in AEW had a “been there and done that” feel to it. Cole playing a babyface role feels fresh and fun. The tease for Cole vs. Chris Jericho seems to set up a good pay-per-view match. Cole just beat Garcia, and Sammy Guevara is tied up in the four pillars program, so hopefully Cole can avoid working a series of matches with Jericho’s minions.
Orange Cassidy vs. The Butcher for the AEW International Title: Cassidy’s attempts to get over the newly named title belt continue to be admirable. He seems to defend the title at least once per week on television and often produces quality matches like this one. I still wish they would explain whether the AEW International Title means more or less than the TNT Title, but I think some progress has been made in terms of making the third singles belt feel more relevant. I also liked the storytelling of Cassidy’s schedule catching up to him. Only time will tell whether they are setting him up with a reason to drop the belt or if they are just trying to make him seem more vulnerable.
Jon Moxley, Claudio Castagnoli, and Wheeler Yuta vs. Dalton Castle and The Boys: The Blackpool Combat Club going over in 45 seconds is exactly what this match needed to be.
AEW Dynamite Misses
Ruby Soho vs. Willow Nightingale: The actual match quality was Hit worthy. It was logical to have Ruby go over as they continue to establish The Outcasts, and Willow looked good in defeat. But they lost me when referee Aubrey Edwards stood and watched Toni Storm interfere and did nothing about it. Furthermore, the babyface women continue to look like idiots for showing up shorthanded when they work against The Outcasts. This even continued when Riho and Skye Blue ran out after the match and were beaten down because they were outnumbered. And while I’m all for making Jamie Hayter look strong, why should I take her next challenger Riho seriously when she and Blue couldn’t hang with with The Outcasts, yet Hayter was able to fight them off on her own?
I think they could have a really popular wrestler on their hands with Willow Nightingale if they play things right, unfortunately I don’t have much faith that they will.
Yet another week of positives outweighing negatives on your hit list, while the numbers tell a very different story about the audience’s engagement levels.
If I did Hit Lists based on ratings, then every Impact Hit List be filled with nothing but Misses because the draw poor numbers on AXS. It’s not the approach I take.