SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
•Lance Archer vs. Colt Cabana – HIT: Jake Roberts opened the show with Roberts putting over Lance Archer as a vicious monster. He spoke about the TNT Championship tournament being made for Archer. Before the match, Colt Cabana explained who he was and how he has surpassed expectations since arriving in AEW. The match between the two was a slower big man style than fans are used to seeing Dynamite. Archer walked out with a dominant win even though Cabana put up a good fight. Because Cabana had the pre-taped promo he felt more important going into the match. Archer’s win win feels more like a statement because he beat someone who wasn’t a throw away job guy. He can ride those momentum into the semi-finals while Cabana feels like he has a story to tell from his win streak ending.
•Britt Baker vs. – Cassandra Golden – HIT: Britt Baker still has a way to go as far as in-ring ability, but she is relishing in her persona. Every week she’s becoming more of a staple of the show. She’s the only woman on the roster who has a story and fleshed out character. Her vignette from the dentist’s office again showed her delusional side over embellishing a recap of her loss to Hikaru Shida. Given the circumstances, it’s going to be difficult for Baker to get more in-ring work. However, last week proved that with the right opponent she can be carried to a very good match.
•The Bubbly Bunch – HIT: In the past, I’ve wavered quite a bit when it comes to The Inner Circle’s comedy. The Bubbly Bunch fit into the amusing skits they’ve edited together in the past. Everyone retained their heel persona’s building up Jake Hager for his match against Jon Moxley. This also gave a snapshot into their home lives adding another dimension to their characters. While this didn’t provide the laugh out loud hilarity of past segments, this scratched the itch of fans craving this type of content from the group.
•Sammy Guevara vs. Suge D – HIT: Had Sammy Guevara lost this match, I wouldn’t have known what to think of AEW’s booking. Thankfully Guevara got a dominant win going into his match against Darby Allin. Chris Jericho heavily put over Guevara on commentary like he has with most heels. In the post-match Guevara cut a promo insulting Suge D and said he could go for another round. Guevara continued to beat down Suge D before Allin made the save. Finely executed wrestling booking 101 to build up Guevara before his tournament match.
•Chuck Taylor vs. Kip Sabian – MISS: The referees seem to turn a blind eye every time Kip Sabian wrestles. Only if you love blatant interference and oblivious referees should you seek this out. Aubrey Edwards shouldn’t be subject to such nonsense. I don’t see how either wrestler comes out of this match better. Chuck Taylor has been associated with fan favorite Orange Cassidy, but largely treated as a lower card comedy wrestler. Sabian needed the help of Penelope Ford for 11 minutes to secure the win. Everyone was undermined in what felt like pure filler.
•Shawn Spears vs. Justin Law – HIT: A quick squash win for Shawn Spears. Because the roster is split, Spears is getting more opportunities on TV. He’s proving himself a solid lower to mid-tier heel. It helps that he appears to have shed anything that was left of the “10” gimmick.
•Jon Moxley vs. Jake Hager – MISS: The build for this match throughout Dynamite was tremendous. The promos from the past two weeks were effective in reframing Jake Hager as a badass MMA cage fighter. During the show, MMA personalities and Inner Circle members gave their predictions on the outcome which helped to give this match a big fight feel. The match itself was recorded at a separate set of tapings at Daily’s Place in Jacksonville. A lot of promotion was given to this match with Tony Khan hyping this as one of the best empty arena matches of all time. Well, not quite. The match wasn’t a bomb, but a far cry from what fans had been led to believe they’d see. Hager appeared to be blown up early in 31 minutes of action. I applaud them for trying something different by going for a more MMA shoot-style match before brawling in the empty stands. In the end, Moxley retained and felt like the top star of the company. Hager comes out of this with a new image, but not someone who fans would want to see a regular in main events.