By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
Jon Moxley vs. Kenny Omega in a steel cage match: While I could have done without the barbed wire chair and the broken glass, this was still a quality match with an unexpected finish. As much as I assumed that it was only a matter of time before Don Callis turned on Omega, it wasn’t something I expected to occur at the end of this particular match, so it caught me off guard in a good way. I’m curious to see where the Callis turn goes. He’s not a natural fit with the Blackpool Combat Club. He’s established a relationship with Konosuke Takeshita, but I continue to question whether it’s a good idea to turn the popular Takeshita heel. Nevertheless, it’s a move that had to be made if AEW is committed to Omega and the Young Bucks being babyfaces. Now if only they would do away with having Michael Nakazawa and the face shield version of Brandon Cutler at ringside during their matches.
Orange Cassidy vs. Daniel Garcia for the AEW International Title: Another good title defense for Cassidy. The story of Cassidy being a fighting champion whose frequent title defenses are taking a toll on him is really good. Cassidy feels like the rare vulnerable babyface champion and I’ve bought into the possibility that Bandido and now Garcia would end his title reign. The creative forces and especially Cassidy deserve a lot of credit for taking a title belt that was a laughing stock and making it feel relevant.
Claudio Castagnoli vs. Rey Fenix in a double jeopardy match: An enjoyable opening match with a mildly surprising finish. Perhaps I’m used to the formula of the singles champion losing in non-title matches to set up a title defense, but I was a little surprised to see Fenix take the loss. I like the move because it helps Castagnoli maintain his status as a strong champion. I can’t really say that I’m excited about Castagnoli earning a tag title shot unless they happen to be bringing in Chris Hero for a Kings of Wrestling reunion.
Miro and Thunder Rosa appearances: We’ve seen way too many big announcements from Tony Khan over the years. But the surprise returns of both wrestlers effectively created the vibe that something big is happening and Khan’s latest announcement is worth paying attention to. Speaking of Khan, I assume they are pre-taping his segments now because he’s come off much better than usual during his last two on-air appearances.
Four Pillars video packages: This was a good way to include the Double Or Nothing main event players on the show without actually having them appear in person. I was left confused by the Sammy Guevara video. Do they want viewers to like Guevara now? If not, why did the video package spotlight his crowd pleasing high spots and conclude with him delivering an inspirational message to children?
AEW Dynamite Misses
Anna Jay vs. Julia Hart in a No Holds Barred match: The effort was there, but this was just a rough garbage match. The finish was off with Jay missing the pile of chairs that she was supposed to land on. It’s also tough to invest in this story when Jay is clearly a heel and Hart also seems to be a heel during weeks when the House of Black work with babyface opponents.
“House of Black” Malakai Black, Brody King, and Buddy Matthews vs. Bandido, Trent Beretta, and Chuck Taylor for the AEW Trios Titles: Bandido having a moment with Orange Cassidy after their match was fine, but I really hope he’s not going to be a regular with Best Friends. The match was solid from a quality standpoint, but I had a hard enough time buying the challengers as threats to win on paper, and that was before Taylor indicated that his team couldn’t even be bothered to come up with a match stipulation before they were put on the spot. I like the experimentation with the Open House Rules and the special lighting even if I’m uncertain as to whether any of it will actually click.
Christian Cage promo: I hope that Cage didn’t intend for his line about Arn Anderson looking for a new son to come off like a reference to the recent death of Barrett Lunde. Even if it was unintentional, it made for a really awkward moment that took away from an otherwise strong Cage promo.