SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
•Cody Promo – HIT: It was Cody’s turn to respond after weeks of Jake Roberts’ promos opening the show. He spoke about the TNT Championship and what it would mean to him to win. He gave importance to a title that many wrote off as being for the mid-card. Referencing the history of professional wrestling on Turner networks. Cody is excellent in these settings. He knows how to push all the right buttons for maximum impact.
•Darby Allin vs. Sammy Guevara – HIT: Before the match, a pre-taped package aired of Sammy Guevara hyping the match. Guevara attacked Darby Allin before the bell to get the advantage. Guevara leaped onto Allin laying across a ladder in a spot that looked like it really hurt. They had a very good athletic match with Allin taking the victory yet again. Guevara still hasn’t won any significant matches to this point. In the post-match “Broken” Matt Hardy initially challenged Chris Jericho to a match at the Hardy Compound, but said that he would take on Sammy Guevara instead. This gives Guevara new direction to take on a debuting Hardy before he Hardy ultimately matches up with Jericho in for “The Elite Deletion.”
•Scorpio Sky Video – HIT: Dynamite needs more videos like this. I learned more about Scorpio Sky in a few minutes than I know about most of the roster. Videos like this are one of the positives from the current situation. While it’s been said in the past that video features don’t do well ratings wise, the few minutes that turn a wrestler into a real and relatable person will pay off in the long run.
•Alan Angels vs. Kenny Omega – HIT: This is one of those polarizing matches where fans liked it or hated it. Kenny Omega showed off his signature moves and scored the win in relatively quick fashion. He didn’t destroy Alan Angels like the two squash matches later in the night, but was clearly the dominant wrestler. He helped Angels to look more like a “somebody” by creating stimulating sequences while not giving Angels much offense. Angels did kick out of a V-Trigger, but it didn’t hurt Omega as much as it elevated Angels. My issue is that Omega’s match felt lost and meaningless. Wardlow, Brodie Lee, and Lance Archer are all newcomers who are trying to establish themselves. Whenever Omega wrestles it should be treated like a big deal instead of a throw away match at the beginning of the show.
•Orange Cassidy vs. Jimmy Havoc – HIT: These two had great chemistry playing off of each other. This was Orange Cassidy’s Dynamite debut in singles action and he delivered. Cassidy’s lethargic character paired with Jimmy Havoc’s sadism made for a fun match. Chris Jericho was brilliant on commentary putting over Jimmy Havoc. Havoc has more to give in the ring than he’s been given a chance to do. Hopefully he does more along with Cassidy.
•Wardlow vs. Lee Johnson – HIT: This was Wardlow’s first match on Dynamite since losing to Cody in a Cage match in Atlanta. He showed off his strength by tossing Johnson around the ring. He’s shown a lot of promise as a physical threat every time he’s been in the ring.
•Justin Law vs. Brodie Lee – MISS: Before the match, Brodie Lee interviewed the newest recruit of the Dark Order. The nods to Vince McMahon continued when Lee questioned the recruit about his height and college football career. Lee’s character continues to be intriguing, but I’m left wanting to see more than the VKM references. Lee went on to squash Justin Law in just a few minutes. In the post-match, Lee stared down Marko Stunt in the crowd. For now, Stunt appears to be the undersized main roster member who gets thrown around by the big guys.
•The Bubbly Bunch – MISS: Much like last week’s episode of The Bubbly Bunch, there was a lot of wacky comedy. As a one-off package, I can tolerate it even though it’s far from my ideal presentation of wrestling. It felt like a fun way to keep the group on the show and peak into their home lives. This time it just didn’t work for me. The Flim Flam challenge was more goofy content that makes The Inner Circle come off less like stars. It’s also the same type of comedy that WWE continues to be ridiculed for. Chris Jericho continues to walk the fine line of a comedy act and the ultimate entertainer. In doing so, it feels like he continues to manufacture moments in an attempt to create the next internet sensation like, “A little Bit of the Bubbly.”
•Dustin Rhodes vs. Kip Sabian – HIT: On paper, this match doesn’t look like a main event. The pre-match promo helped to elevate it’s stature. Also, the stipulation of Dustin suggesting he will retire also gave it something extra, but also signalled to fans that Dustin would likely win. Overall a fine match giving a triumphant moment to Dustin. Dustin’s win sets up next week’s semi-final against Lance Archer. Presumably that’ll be the next chapter in the Archer-Cody feud before they meet in the final or outside the tournament.