SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
•Jake Roberts Promo – HIT: Jake Roberts fills the void of traditional wrestling promos on Dynamite. His style is unique and has done a lot to build interest in a match between Lance Archer and Cody.
•Lance Archer vs. Allen Ingles – HIT: A nice squash match to build up Lance Archer. The most notable part of the match was the amount of wrestlers surrounding the ringside area. Several weeks ago, they had quite a number of wrestlers ringside. After that, they had nobody then back to a few wrestlers. This week was even more and in much closer proximity. It’s been said a number of times, but having just a few spectators making noise makes a world of difference in the atmosphere of the show.
•Britt Baker vs. Hikaru Shida – HIT: High marks to Hikaru Shida and Britt Baker. Baker has struggled to find herself in the ring, but Shida made her look very good. Baker busted open her nose creating a graphic scene. Chris Jericho shined on commentary during the match saying everything he could to put over Baker and Shida while staying in character. Jericho on commentary for the rest of these tapings is a huge positive with his energy and drive to get over new talent.
•Jake Hager -Jon Moxley Promo – HIT: Another great promo to hype the match between these two. AEW is going all in on the Jake Hager MMA persona. Hager’s wife, Catalina, touted that her husband is a winner and only winners are welcome home. Adding more incentive for fans to see Hager take the loss to Jon Moxley. AEW has done a stellar job producing these promos. It’s been some of their best content to date. They feel fresh, entertaining and most importantly have elevated Hager to contender status.
•Best Friends vs. Kenny Omega & Michael Nakazawa – MISS: This was the comedy that many feared would be a regular part of Dynamite. Thankfully this was a one off slap-stick DDT style match. Michael Nakazawa is talented at playing this silly character, but plays a toned down version on TV. Before TNT, the crowd rejected his over-the-top antics and likely would have done the same had this been in front of a regular crowd. Kenny Omega is a quirky person by nature and with the freedom to control his character, that was always going to come out. Fans have been longing for him to be a version of himself akin to the world champion in New Japan. He knows when to turn it on and be a serious athlete. He’s shown that so I don’t mind him doing a comedy match every once in a while especially when viewership is down. One thing is certain, without a crowd these types of matches don’t work. Without the AEW faithful giving their support, the match damaged the rest of the show because this felt more like a parody of wrestling in a show where the matches have stakes.
•Matt Hardy Promo – HIT: Shorter promos like this are a great way to introduce fans to the Broken Matt Hardy gimmick. Hardy has proved himself to be a creative mind and can provide content like for Dynamite. While the current situation has hindered much of the wrestling presentation, one of the positives is that promos like this get television time. Promos and vignettes are the glue that’s holding these shows together and fans are better for it.
•Brodie Lee vs. Lee Johnson – MISS: Brodie Lee continues to riff off of Vince McMahon without saying those words. With Lance Archer running through opponents, Lee’s matches feel redundant. There’s been so much build to the exalted one character, I’m ready to see Lee move into a stable program with direction.
•Cody vs. Shawn Spears – HIT: Cody and Shawn Spears worked hard in this match, but it wasn’t quite clicking. The importance of the match was hurt by the comedy tag match from earlier in the night. That said, both men worked hard for a satisfying follow-up from their match at All Out. Cody will move on in the tournament to face either Darby Allin or Sammy Guevara in the semifinals. The way in which the tournament is setup seems to suggest a meeting between Lance Archer and Cody in the finals.