By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
Hangman Page and Swerve Strickland: Well, this is pretty much all for Page, as we never actually heard from Swerve. I could have done without Page bringing up Swerve’s fiancee leaving him and his children no longer speaking to him, as it just came out of nowhere in some strange attempt to make viewers feel like Page was shooting. Swerve breaking into Page’s home and talking to his infant son added more than enough friction to the feud, so the inside jabs were just unnecessary. But Page once again showed great fire and had the crowd with him. I really liked the way that they established the no physicality rule between Page and Swerve only for Page to use the loophole that nothing was stopping him from beating up Prince Nana. All of that said, I hope we get a final promo from Swerve on Friday since we never actually heard from him on this episode.
MJF and Jay White: A solid final verbal exchange. It felt a bit rushed, but both men were able to make their points and it was the right move to close the show with White standing over MJF.
Jon Moxley and Wheeler Yuta vs. Orange Cassidy and Hook: An intense opening brawl that settled into being a good match. I assume that Moxley no-selling was planned and meant to make him look as strong as possible heading into the AEW International Championship match with Cassidy on Saturday. But as Dot Net reader “DShiflet” pointed out in our comment section, Moxley essentially no-sold the Orange Punch, which is the same move that the company is partially blaming for the orbital bone injury that Bryan Danielson suffered. Nevertheless, the match succeeded in terms of raising my interest in seeing Cassidy vs. Moxley at Full Gear.
“The Young Bucks” Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson vs. Penta El Zero Miedo and Komander: And throw in a bonus Hit for the backstage argument the Bucks had with Kenny Omega and Chris Jericho. The tag match at Full Gear feels rushed and yet the two teams have been able to quickly establish more than enough friction to get this viewer invested. The finish to the match with Penta and Komander was unexpected, if only because I didn’t think we’d see the Bucks use low blows in their hometown. I remain surprised that AEW didn’t wait to turn the Bucks until after the California loops, but they didn’t see to have a problem getting booed last night.
Samoa Joe vs. Jon Cruz: A quick spotlight win for Joe. Why can’t they find time to give Konosuke Takeshita the squash wins that I’ve been begging to see? It’s sad that the company has squandered the momentum that Takeshita had coming out of his big wins over Kenny Omega. Forget the loss he took to Chris Jericho in Japan over the weekend that was seen by a tiny fraction of Dynamite viewers, Takeshita’s momentum stalled before then because there was clearly no follow-up plan coming out of his big victories.
Austin Gunn and Colten Gunn vs. Peter Avalon and Jacoby Watts: Another simple squash win for the Gunns heading into their Full Gear pre-show match for the, um, highly coveted ROH Tag Team Titles.
Skye Blue vs. Red Velvet for a spot in the three-way for the TBS Title match at Full Gear: A soft Hit. I noted in my live review that there was more good than bad and I stand by that after watching the match again. Unfortunately, the bad included a double whiff on a simultaneous kick spot that both wrestlers then sold, and another botched Skye Blue finish. It’s worth noting that the crowd was nearly silent when the match started and they were able to win over the crowd despite the issues. The problem with Blue’s version of the Code Red is that it requires her opponent to hold her full weight on their back before she twists into position to execute the move. Given the repeated issues there’s been with the finisher, perhaps it’s time to go with a more basic version of the move where he starts in front of her opponent to avoid the awkwardness of her twisting into position. Either way, I really hope they put an end to the effects of the House of Black mist. Blue’s lifeless entrances and post match non-celebrations are live crowd killers.
AEW Dynamite Misses
Kenny Omega, Chris Jericho, Paul Wight, and Kota Ibushi vs. Brian Cage, Powerhouse Hobbs, Konosuke Takeshita, and Kyle Fletcher in a Street Fight: As someone who does not play the video game that this match was sponsored by, the various game inspired moments did nothing for me. It annoyed me that Jericho is in the midst of a blood feud with the Callis Family and yet he and Wight wore suits during a street fight to pay homage to the video game. But the worst of the video game tie-ins was Ibushi riding the bicycle while hitting two opponents with ridiculously light lead pipe shots. I cringed at the thought of Wight even being involved in the match and was happy when he quickly fought to the backstage area. But then he took the nasty looking bump on the car and it once again raised the question of why he was even allowed to take part given his noticeable physical woes. It wasn’t all bad. Everyone involved worked hard and I’m sure there were viewers who are more familiar with the video game who enjoyed that part of things more than I did.
Devil Mask: A step forward last week with the attack on The Acclaimed and Billy Gunn followed by another week of the masked figure being shown briefly with no real developments. I was hoping that they were building up to a reveal at Full Gear, but that seems highly unlikely since they basically put things back on hold last night.