By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite Hits
Thanksgiving: A massive Hit for food, family, friends, and football. What’s not to love? I hope that everyone who celebrates my favorite holiday makes it one to remember.
Christian Cage rechristening segment: There were some awkward moments, but Cage renaming Luchasaurus and tormenting him throughout the segment was very well done. This is the second time they’ve teased the newly named Killswitch having enough of Cage’s antics and the fans have gotten really excited about it each time. Hey, Nick’s mom has a name. Cage tearing Shayna down for being a bad mother was Christian scumbaggery at its finest. The tease for Shayna taking a Conchairto was a bit much, but it did show that Nick is so brainwashed by Cage that he won’t even stand up for his own mother. Adam Copeland came off well for saving Shayna, but then he came off poorly by giving Wayne a Conchairto right in front of his traumatized mother. It was a bad look for a babyface, but I’ll go along with it if this is what leads to Shayna taking her place next to Cage as the matriarch of his family.
Samoa Joe and MJF segment: Well, a Hit for Joe anyway. MJF’s one-liners and crowd pandering didn’t work for me. But Joe saved the segment with his no nonsense approach to getting his title shot and telling MJF that he no longer has to worry about Devil Mask because he’ll be his protector until their title match at Worlds End. It’s encouraging that AEW followed up their earlier than usual build for the Full Gear event by announcing the main event of Worlds End so quickly.
Jon Moxley vs. Mark Briscoe in a Continental Classic Gold League tournament match: The best of the tournament matches. I was hoping for an upset given the way the first two tournament matches went, but at least they closed the show with a quality match and a clean finish.
Swerve Strickland vs. Jay Lethal in a Continental Classic Gold League tournament match: A soft Hit for a good match that also made for a fairly flat start to the tournament. Swerve’s star power was enough to carry things while he worked with the softest entrant in the tournament. Lethal is a terrific wrestler, but he’s become a joke as part of the goof troop faction, so there are a lot of wrestlers I would have preferred to see in the tournament instead. I like that AEW opened the Full Gear fallout show with Swerve. But the AEW creative forces have to know that when a wrestler is involved in such a high profile and memorable match, most viewers don’t just want to see that wrestler have a match on the next show, they want to hear from that wrestler.
Toni Storm’s acceptance speech: A cute segment that didn’t overstay its welcome. It was fun to watch Mariah May go from being all smiles to being bothered when Storm said that the little Toni Storms of the world would never take her spot.
Orange Cassidy, Hook, and Katsuyori Shibata vs. Jake Hager, Angelo Parker, and Matt Menard: A soft Hit for the predictable, yet crowd pleasing showcase win for the babyfaces. It was nice to see Danhausen back from his long injury layoff.
AEW Dynamite Misses
Rush vs. Jay White in a Continental Classic Gold League tournament match: The tournament started with Swerve getting a predictable win over the weakest entrant. They followed that up by going with a nut shot finish for the least predictable match of the night. So while the in-ring action was strong during Rush vs. White, the finish sent the bad message that while there’s no outside interference allowed in the tournament, there will still be shitty finishes. It’s not that I expected a clean finish to every tournament match, but they really should have gone with clean matches on night one. Meanwhile, the presentation of the tournament was good in that the broadcast team was thorough with their explanation of the round robin format. The one negative when it came to the presentation was that they didn’t bother to list the Blue League entrants until the closing seconds of the show.
Skye Blue vs. Ruby Soho vs. Anna Jay: Overbooked silliness with Soho and Angelo Parker continuing to act like 13 year-old kids who are experiencing romance for the first time. It’s really out of character for the hard-edged Soho. I can enjoy a little sports entertainment silliness ever now and again and romance angles typically work in wrestling. I just don’t like that their storyline completely overshadowed the only women’s match of the night.