By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
MJF and Adam Cole vs. Big Bill and Brian Cage in a Blind Eliminator Tag Team Tournament match: The first week of MJF and Cole’s bromance didn’t quite click and yet it ended up setting the table nicely for this episode. The bar and gaming video was a big upgrade over the dull gym video, and the live crowd embraced the silly fun of MJF desperately wanting to perform a double clothesline. I love that they teased the double clothesline spot only to leave fans waiting. The big question is if MJF and Cole will be able to stick the landing of this storyline. When it comes time for the big breakup angle, can they do it in a way that doesn’t make Cole look naive for trusting MJF while also not making the diabolical devil character look foolish if he’s outsmarted. I get that this sports entertainment style storytelling isn’t for everyone. But it’s the type of story that will ideally keep viewers coming back to see how it all plays out.
Nick Wayne vs. Swerve Strickland: Wayne came off really well in the video package that preceded the match. He was likable and endearing, and the two videos they aired to set up his debut told the basics of his story. The actual match was well worked and had the right finish. Wayne was given some great near falls before Swerve tormented Darby Allin by wrenching on Wayne’s arm before pinning him clean. Wayne looked really good in defeat and I like the idea of building to his first win in AEW rather than giving it away in week one. If they play it right, Wayne can get his first win over another opponent while Swerve can be more of a long term mountain for him to climb.
Chris Jericho vs. Komander: There were a few rough spots, which is par for the course with Komander matches. Hopefully he’ll be able to clean that up as he gets more experience, but his dazzling high spots seemed to be more than enough to make this live crowd forgive his off moments. That said, I did come away thinking that less is more when it comes to Komander’s big spots. They would pack more of a punch if they weren’t followed by a barrage of additional big spots. Meanwhile, Jericho’s post match angle with Don Callis was really good. Callis using the late Bad News Allen to coax Jericho into joining his new stable was perfect for his snake character. I like that this hasn’t been rushed and they are making viewers wait for Jericho’s decision. This story combined with what MJF and Adam Cole are doing are examples of good episodic television that should keep viewers coming back to see the payoffs.
Sammy Guevara and Daniel Garcia vs. Orange Cassidy and Darby Allin in an AEW Blind Eliminator Tag Team Tournament match: A solid tag team match that established the friction between Guevara and Garcia even though they were able to advance to the finals of the tournament. I really hope that Guevara showing babyface tendencies is a swerve. There are no indications that fans want to see him turn or that they will take to him if long term if he does.
Ruby Soho vs. Skye Blue in an Owen Hart Cup Tournament semifinal match: More of an in the middle than a Hit or a Miss. The blatant interference by Toni Storm should have resulted in a disqualification, but at least the referee ejected Storm and Saraya from ringside.
AEW Dynamite Misses
Harley Cameron video: Great, she can rap and sing. What was the point? And why is QTV still a thing?