Powell’s AEW Dynasty Hit List: Samoa Joe vs. Swerve Strickland for the AEW World Championship, Will Ospreay vs. Bryan Danielson, FTR vs. Young Bucks in a ladder match for the AEW Tag Titles


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

AEW Dynasty Hits

Will Ospreay vs. Bryan Danielson: An amazing match that will be tough to top for match of the year. They executed some dangerous spots to perfection. The tiger suplex from the ropes was so well executed with Danielson landing perfectly that the high risk move actually looked safe. I loved the finish with both men going for their signature moves only to have Ospreay be the one who connected. The only thing I didn’t care for was the post match scene with Danielson selling in a way that made it seem like he was seriously injured. While I appreciate the effort to make a dangerous move look damaging, it also took the focus away from Ospreay’s win and brought the crowd down. This also made things even tougher on the ladder match that followed. Again, though, this was a special match from two of the best wrestlers in the world.

Kazuchika Okada vs. Pac for the AEW Continental Championship: A hell of a way to open the main card. This match somehow exceeded my high expectations and I love that it concluded with a clean finish with no interference (or Pac using the ring bell hammer as a weapon). I also loved the way that Okada leaned into the early cheers and then turned the crowd against him when he teased the Rainmaker only to flip off the fans. Okada is a big match performer who is at his best in longer matches. It would be wise for AEW to build up a legitimate pay-per-view caliber title defense for television so that the more casual viewers can see what makes Okada special.

Samoa Joe vs. Swerve Strickland for the AEW World Championship: The title change capped off the night with a memorable moment. The match was slightly below my expectations, but it also had the tough assignment of closing a long and loaded show. Swerve caught fire with the fans despite playing a heel role and it was good to see the company seize the opportunity by turning him and then going with him as champion. I’m also happy that Joe got another world title reign. He plays the role of world champion perfectly and yet there was no guarantee that he’d get a chance to do that with the AEW roster being so crowded.

“The Young Bucks” Matthew Jackson and Nicholas Jackson vs. “FTR” Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler in a ladder match for the AEW Tag Titles: If ever there was a need for a buffer match or some type of come down segment, it was definitely after the Ospreay vs. Danielson match. I felt bad for these four wrestlers because they were playing to a crowd that was completely burned out for over half the match. The Jack Perry interference finish was highly predictable, yet well received by the live crowd. Perhaps it was too well received given that the fans were mostly cheering for Perry even though he’s a heel, but we’ll see if he can turn the fans against him like Okada did.

“House of Black” Malakai Black, Brody King, and Buddy Matthews vs. Adam Copeland, Eddie Kingston, and Mark Briscoe: A strong trios match until the bad mist finish. I could see it coming when Rick Knox suddenly turned his attention to what was happening at ringside for no good reason, and then Black sprayed mist in Copeland’s face. I just hope they’ve moved on from the nonsense of the mist having some magical power that brings out the worst in people. I wouldn’t mind a Copeland heel run at some point, but it will be a groaner if that’s spawned due to magical mist.

Toni Storm vs. Thunder Rosa for the AEW Women’s Championship: Rosa’s best performance since she returned and a quality match overall. The only thing working against the match was that Rosa didn’t build up enough momentum going in to make me think she had any chance of winning. The finish was weak with the referee turning his attention to the ring apron while Storm delivered a low blow kick. It’s okay to give a heel a clean win to conclude a competitive match.

Julia Hart vs. Willow Nightingale for the TBS Championship: A soft Hit for Hart managing to work through her shoulder injury to drop the title to Willow. The match was brief and that’s probably due to Hart’s injury, but it actually helps the overall card to have the occasional brief match. The House Rules gimmick isn’t worth the trouble. In this case, Willow opted to ban both Skye Blue and her own partner Kris Statlander from ringside. And then they added that there would be no rope breaks for submissions and a 20-count was in play as opposed to the usual ten count. What purpose did those extra stipulations actually serve? The post match scene with Mercedes Mone big timing Willow’s moment left me with hope that Mone will be a heel. Mone has always been a better heel than a babyface, and it would be ridiculous to turn to likable Willow character right now. It’s worth noting that Willow banning Statlander from ringside increases my suspicion that Statlander will be revealed as the mystery person behind the lights out attack on Mone.

Overall Show: An excellent pay-per-view. It was a good reminder of just how loaded the AEW roster is. In some ways, the situation in AEW reminds me of WWE during Vince McMahon’s later years as a booker. The weekly WWE television shows were typically difficult to watch and the storyline builds to the PLE matches left a lot to be desired, but the actual PLE’s were typically strong if they were not overbooked and the wrestlers were allowed to work their magic. This was one of AEW’s best pay-per-views to date and hopefully the weekly television will improve. The production crew had a good night when it came to including more replays of key moves during the matches. Jim Ross sounded great on commentary during the opening match and the main event. It’s not a bad idea to use Ross situationally and they picked two good matches for him, but I wish had had been a part of the call for Ospreay vs. Danielson.

AEW Dynasty Misses

Hook vs. Chris Jericho for the FTW Championship: A needlessly long garbage brawl that concluded with an eye rolling bat shot to the head. Sting had a bat. Jericho has a bat. Jay White has a golden bat. What is up with this company’s infatuation with baseball bats? Anyway, the post match scene with Taz being upset with Jericho, yet also maintaining his cool felt off for a father who just watched a friend hit his son over the head with a bat. The crowd was merciless when it came to taunting Jericho throughout the match. This was actually better than the apathy that a lot of his recent matches have been met with, as he should be able to turn the crowd’s negative feelings toward him into good heat if he plays it right.

Roderick Strong vs. Kyle O’Reilly for the AEW International Championship: A soft Miss. This was absolutely a Hit in terms of match quality. The reason it landed in the Miss section was that I just didn’t care about the outcome or who walked away with the AEW International Championship. Orange Cassidy did a tremendous job of making the belt feel like it mattered, but it feels like the title has been surpassed by the AEW Continental Championship in terms of importance. AEW has far too many title belts so I hope that the merger of the AEW Trios and ROH Six-Man Tag Titles on the pre-show is just the first of several unification matches.


Readers Comments (2)

  1. Whilst I agree that the extra rules seemed excessive in the Willow/Black match, they are the standard rules for a House Rules match – Countouts will always be to a 20, no rope breaks for submissions and a final rule of the opponents choosing (they’re the same rules the House of Black used when defending the Trios belts)

  2. AEW badly needed a memorable show (memorable in a good way), and boy did this deliver. Danielson countering the Oz Cutter with his knee was honestly one of the best moves I have ever seen.

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