Powell’s AEW Dynamite Hit List: The “season premiere” with Kazuchika Okada’s debut, Will Ospreay vs. Kyle Fletcher, Hook vs. Brian Cage for the FTW Title, Riho vs. Kris Statlander


By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

AEW Dynamite Hits

Samoa Joe and Swerve Strickland vs. Matt Taven and Mike Bennett: The match was fine, but the majority of the Hit goes to the show opening promos from Swerve and Joe. Swerve leaned into being a babyface while Joe continues to shine as the confident world champion. It was a good night for AEW, but not so much for Ring of Honor, as their tag team champions and television champion both lost non-title matches.

Will Ospreay vs. Kyle Fletcher: A match this good has to land in the Hit section, but I do have some issues with. It really was an exceptionally well worked match and the television viewers were given a look at just how great Ospreay can be in the ring. But the traditionalist in me can’t help but feel like Ospreay should have worked more of a showcase match that really put over his moveset. Rather, Fletcher kicked out of everything from an OsCutter to a freaking Poison Rana from the ropes. And while I’m high on Fletcher, I don’t believe he’s ever won a singles match on Dynamite, so it felt odd that the company’s new sensation had to work so hard to beat him. AEW did a great job of working in more promo time throughout the night, but these two went out there cold with no build. Despite my quibbles, the match was strong enough to make fans unfamiliar with Ospreay take notice of just how special he is as an in-ring performer. Swerve Strickland has real competition for the top babyface spot in AEW.

Kazuchika Okada debuts: I’m in wait and see mode when it comes to Okada forming a new version of The Elite with the Young Bucks. The Jacksons are getting better on the mic, but it’s never been their strength and now it looks like they will be tasked with serving as mouthpieces for the Japanese icon. We’ll see how it goes. It was cool to see Okada put Eddie Kingston down with a Rainmaker and then motion for the belt. Okada vs. Kingston looks great on paper and while Kingston is doing strong work as the first Continental Crown Champion, putting the belt on Okada would elevate the title. I still believe the Continental Crown Championship could be made to feel equal to the AEW World Championship if AEW ever opts to go with a brand split, but I’ll settle for the belt actually feeling like it means more than the TNT and AEW International titles.

Riho vs. Kris Statlander: A quality match. Riho continues to be over with the live crowds. The storyline involving Stokely Hathaway continues to drag on. I’m sorry, but long term booking is not repeating the same scenario over and over. In other words, I’m more than ready for this story to take a step forward.

Darby Allin and Jay White: It was refreshing to see a promo exchange that set up a match for the following show. Allin did a good job of explaining why he’s forfeiting the AEW Tag Team Titles while also talking about the legitimate life threatening risks that come with climbing Mount Everest (best of luck to him). White’s promo got a little out there with the Darby Scissorhands line and the invitation to party rather than have the match, but it was still a million times better than watching him ham it up in the bad Bang Bang Scissors Gang segments. With Allin taking time away, hopefully next week’s match will be all about getting White back on track as a singles wrestler.

Hook vs. Brian Cage for the FTW Title: A soft Hit for a decent hardcore match. It should mean so much more for a guy Hook’s size to beat the massive Cage, but viewers have seen Cage lose too many matches on television. The post match scene with Chris Jericho saving Hook was a groaner. Jericho continues to feel ice cold and this would be a great time for him to take a break and work his reinvention magic.

Killswitch vs. Matt Menard: More of an in the middle for the 90-second match that was there to set up Adam Copeland chasing Christian Cage out of the building. That said, it’s good to showcase monsters winning in dominant fashion.

AEW Dynamite Misses

None: AEW billed this as the start of a new season and it turned out that it was not an empty ratings ploy. The improved theme song and the new look set and logo were nice. More importantly, they seemed to take a different philosophical approach, which made this the most encouraging episode of Dynamite in ages. In addition to the usual strong in-ring action, the company did a much better job of finding time for quality mic work and video packages. It felt like there was an emphasis placed on storytelling and to actually building up future matches as opposed to just throwing them out on television and expecting viewers to be content with the match quality. Here’s hoping that these changes are here to stay.


Readers Comments (12)

  1. TheGreatestOne March 7, 2024 @ 12:26 pm

    Squashing tag champs is a miss.

    Riho beating anyone is a miss.

    Ocean Spray spamming 46,000 finishers in every match is a miss.

    Okada joining the Shitbird Express is a miss.

    Scrawny ass Hook beating a grown man is a miss.

  2. The opening segment was great, I still think Joe doesn’t get enough credit for how good he is on the mic.

    One of the true mysteries of modern wrestling for me – how has Okada gotten away with having such a crap finisher for so many years? Jake Roberts can still do that.

  3. Joe is fantastic on the mic, but that opening segment was terrible. No one came across as if anything they said was remotely sincere. Swerve is just another “fan participation” “STAR” and Cole’s group look like they were the ring crew. Then the ROH tag champs get jobbed out to a mismatched team. I tuned out after that mess.

  4. Can you, or will you answer a question for me honestly & not towing a company line? While we all knew that Okada was going to take Daddy Khan’s big bucks, just how many more wrestlers does ChuckleHead Tony (otherwise known as “I’ve got a huge announcement for next week) Khan really & truly need?
    It’s no different than what the WWE did back in the day, signing everybody in captivity just so no other company could get them whether they had any use for them or not. And McMahon was called on the carpet for that. Why not use the same criteria for the head Khan-Man?
    Just asking for your honest opinion. Not the AEW company line.

    • Joe, you are our resident TNA fanboy, so cut the shit about towing the company line. I praise every company when I feel it’s earned and criticize every company when I feel it’s earned. It’s always the most biased people who imply bias.

      • Jason, you never answered my question. You only proceeded to badmouth me for being a TNA fan. And yes, I admit to a bias for TNA. As a fan, I believe I have that right. Put it this way. In the NFL, I’m a diehard Raiders fan. Does that mean I can’t be biased against the Broncos?
        I’m going to bet that you’re not going to bother covering Sacrifice tonight. Am I right? To be fair to TNA, you really should.
        But getting back to my original query, just how many wrestlers does the Khan-Man need to buy with Daddy’s money? Just about everyone he’s added to the bloated roster has been the flavor of the month for a couple months & then been shifted aside for the next shiny new toy.
        Thanks, Jason, for hopefully answering this honestly. Have a great Friday.

        • Why should I answer your questions about Tony Khan? He has a twitter page. Go ask him yourself. I don’t owe you anything. You show up and make angry comments about AEW and bitch about TNA being slighted. It’s old. Move on. No, I won’t be covering Sacrifice. As you know full well and yet refuse to accept, I only cover their actual PPV events because there’s only so much time in a day. This be fair to TNA shit is utter nonsense. I cover their weekly TV shows and their pay-per-views. Chris Vetter typically covers their TNA+ events. If you’re unhappy with our coverage, then just move on.

          Also, you can be whatever type of fan you want. But as a fellow football fan, there are fans of division rivals who I respect because they are fair and knowledgable. You can have a great discussion with them about the strengths and weaknesses of their team. And then there are blind loyalist fanboys who I roll my eyes at, even if they happen to cheer for the same team that I do. Which one are you, Joe?

  5. I’m no loyalist fanboy. For instance, I was vehemently against the Raiders hiring the loser of a HC McDaniels.He ruined the team for a year & a half.If the Raiders do something I disagree with I talk about it with fellow fans.
    And on the issue of my question, just what do you think the odds of the Khan-man responding to it are? I’d say slim to none & slim just left town. At least Scott D’Amore had the decency to respond to my questions & concerns about TNA.
    Good day.

    • That wasn’t really in reference to your NFL fandom but rather the approach you take with TNA. For the record, I have been critical of AEW having too many people on the roster. Hell, I have been critical of ROH even existing at this point unless they get a television deal that offsets the expense. But I’m looking at it from a business cost perspective, whereas you seem bitter that TNA can’t sign people under AEW contract.

    • I’m not that dumb to think that any company can sign someone that’s under contract to another organization. I knew that there was no way in hell TNA could pony up the money for Ospreay and/or Okada. I’m gonna be on the lookout for the time that Daddy’s $$ runs out & then we can see what Tony can do on his own.
      TNA/Impact will outlast them as well. Mark my words.

      • What if the money that Len Asper got from his father runs out first? I don’t cheerlead. It’s all pro wrestling to me. But Len’s fortune was passed down from his father, just as Tony’s was, and just as Vince benefitted greatly from who his father was.

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