By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
MJF, Adam Cole, and Jay White: So is it just wishful thinking that Cole’s ankle injury is a work? It would be a hell of a swerve. Either way, I enjoyed the cliffhanger style conclusion to the show. The MJF and White verbal exchange was highly entertaining. I assume there’s a reason that it took place on this episode when they struggled to find time to properly promote all of the WrestleDream matches. Either way, it’s great to see White enter the world title picture as opposed to just having random matches and feuds on AEW Collision. MJF really tore into him with the “tofu” promo. White’s comeback wasn’t as strong as I hoped it would be, but it still made for a long, yet entertaining segment. But the show really should have gone to break and let viewers take it all in as opposed to rushing right into the Christian Cage and Darby Allin interview. AEW continues to struggle with knowing when to let its audience take a breath.
Swerve Strickland and Hangman Page contract signing for AEW WrestleDream: Page complaining about the black cloud that was presumably CM Punk hanging over his head felt a little soft regardless of it being rooted in reality. The fact is that Page took whatever was happening behind the scenes and made it a public spectacle by needlessly going off-script during an in-ring verbal exchange with Punk. In other words, it’s hard to feel the least bit sorry for him, and that’s coming from someone who has not and will not choose sides in the Punk and Elite feud. But I did enjoy the verbal exchange aside from Page’s pity party. Swerve continues to show main event skills and charisma, and I’m genuinely looking forward to their match at WrestleDream.
Jim Ross interviews Christian Cage and Darby Allin: It’s rare that three talking segments are my favorite things on any pro wrestling show, and this has to be a first for the typically in-ring heavy AEW Dynamite. Cage and Allin avoided physicality and yet created great intensity heading into their best of three falls match.
Nick Jackson vs. Brian Cage vs. Claudio Castagnoli for a shot at the AEW International Championship: An enjoyable three-way match that saw Cage take yet another loss. Why? Anyway, Nick winning sets up a long awaited rematch with Rey Fenix for next week’s fourth anniversary show. Time flies and so do they.
Julia Hart vs. Willow Nightingale: A solid win for Hart heading into her TBS Title match on Sunday. Hart’s winning streak sounds impressive and yet it wasn’t played up as something significant until recently, so she just doesn’t really feel like a strong challenger. Hopefully she and Kris Statlander produce the type of match that will elevate Hart even if she takes the loss.
AEW Dynamite Misses
Rey Fenix vs. Jeff Jarrett for the AEW International Championship: The usual hokeyness with Jarrett and his wacky crew of misfits. The crowd was hot for Fenix, but the match just didn’t do anything for me, nor did it seem to tie in with Sunday’s pay-per-view in any way.
Orange Cassidy vs. Penta El Zero Miedo vs. Matt Jackson vs. Austin Gunn in a four-way: This was good from a match quality standpoint. My issue is that it was a match built around the idea that the winner would gain momentum for his team heading into Sunday’s four-way match. Momentum matches feel like filler, and there was no room for that on a show that never even found the time to give a proper push to the Bryan Danielson vs. Zack Sabre Jr. match at AEW WrestleDream.
Sammy Guevara: This was supposed to be his big night coming off of his heel turn on Chris Jericho. Instead, he was given a big introduction and then had to stand by with his dick in his hand while they played the footage of Don Callis and Konosuke Takeshita attacking Kota Ibushi. By the time they got to Guevara, he only had time to deliver a basic and totally forgettable promo. On the bright side, at least Guevara had good heat with the live crowd.