By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
Sting announces his retirement date: Sting delivered a fine speech and now the big question is what his final match will be at AEW Revolution. We never got the teased Sting vs. Chris Jericho match. Adam Copleland noted that he and Sting had never been in the same ring until AEW WrestleDream. There are plenty of possibilities, including one more big tag team match with Darby Allin. It’s a good move to announce the retirement five months out so that the company can reap the rewards of advertising Sting’s final matches in various cities between now and then. My only question is why they didn’t do this on last week’s show when they ran head-to-head with NXT. I have no doubt that it could have been the highest rated segment on last week’s Dynamite had they framed it going in as a major announcement.
Kenny Omega vs. Kyle Fletcher: A terrific television match that lived up to high expectations. There will come a time when these two will have a full length pay-per-view match, but this didn’t feel like the right time given that Fletcher is still a tag team wrestler and hasn’t been pushed aggressively. One has to wonder how much longer AEW will keep the Aussie Open duo together given Fletcher’s obvious upside as a singles star. He has the look, charisma, and in-ring skills, and I’ve been impressed in small doses with the potential he has shown on the mic. The key will be whether he and the creative forces can come up with ways to establish an actual character for Fletcher so that there’s more to him than just being the guy who yells Aussie, Aussie, Aussie.
Jim Ross’s sit-down interview with Nick Wayne and his mother: More good than bad. Sure, the acting left something to be desired at times, but I think Nick is doing a pretty solid job of playing the angst filled teenager, and Nick’s mom did an admirable job for a non-actor. The company was wise to make this a sit-down interview segment so that they could do as many takes as they needed to make it work. I just wish the segment would have ended with Nick leaving the room with Christian Cage. Did we really need the Darby Allin attack this week? Sting delivered a major announcement and then they actually had him come back for an anticlimactic moment where he failed to get Cage in the Scorpion Death Lock?
Jay White vs. Penta El Zero Miedo: An entertaining match with a lousy finish. I get that Penta was really over with this live crowd, but White is challenging for the AEW World Championship at Full Gear. If they didn’t want Penta to lose clean, then why not book these two in separate matches so that White could get a needed win? Sure, those of us who know White from New Japan Pro Wrestling know what he’s all about, but the company really needs to sell him as an in-ring force to the masses who didn’t follow his work overseas.
AEW Women’s Champion Hikaru Shida vs. Emi Sakura in a non-title eliminator match: A well worked match between the student and the teacher. Sakura is always around and yet never seems to get a meaningful push. It’s a shame they didn’t do more with her in the weeks leading up to this match to make it seem like she actually had a chance to go over. Again, though, this was a quality in-ring performance from both wrestlers.
Wardlow vs. Ryan Nemeth: We’re down to one Wardlow powerbomb being enough to put one of his opponents away. The key was the brief post match angle with Wardlow revealing that he is targeting MJF by showing that he has “MJF” written on his wrist tape. The Wardlow character has good reason to be bothered by the fans embracing MJF, and he also holds the only squash style win that anyone in AEW has ever had over MJF. It’s encouraging that we’re seeing so wrestlers express interest in going after the AEW World Championship, as it’s helping to make the title feel like the most important thing in the AEW storyline universe.
AEW Dynamite Misses
Dynamite Dozen Battle Royale: A highly predictable match that didn’t feel like it belonged in the main event slot. It was nice that they made some attempt to make Max Caster feel like a mild threat to win, but I can’t imagine very many people actually thought anyone other than Juice Robinson would go over.
Adam Cole video: The videos filmed at Roderick Strong’s home have all been counterproductive and downright awful. I assume that Strong stating that he has to be nice to “that scumbag” means that he, Matt Taven, and Mike Bennett will offer to team with MJF in an eight-man tag team match against Bullet Club Gold. But whatever happened to the stolen devil mask angle? It sure felt like cliffhanger angle, but there was no payoff the next week and it hasn’t gone anywhere since then.
Lance Archer vs. Barrett Brown: Archer is back and he’s doing the same act that he did before he disappeared, only this time Jake Roberts wasn’t in his corner. It’s nice to see Archer again, but I felt like I was watching a rerun. I also couldn’t shake the feeling that Archer is getting his usual squash match push because they intend to feed him to someone soon as opposed to this Archer run actually being different than his past runs on AEW television. I hope I’m wrong.