SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
•Darby Allin vs. Ricky Starks – HIT
A superb start to what is hopefully the first in a series of matches. These two are some of the best young talent that AEW has to offer. Allin is the ultimate daredevil while Starks has become one of the premier bump takers. Early on in the match, Will Hobbs and Cage got into it on the staging area before their match next week. In the end, Allin hit the coffin drop on Starks for the pinfall.
•Cody promo and brawl – HIT
Great return promo for Cody. He feels fresh with his updated look and a new sense of purpose. He said that after he lost in 3 minutes, Hollywood came calling for him. Although he was sitting next to the stars, he was the guy who lost in 3 minutes and had to get back on his feet. He talked about being the ace of AEW and said there are several people who could have this claim, but he thinks it’s him. Dasha asked him if he would accept Brodie Lee’s challenge for the TNT Championship in a dog collar match. Cody first said no before coming back with a rallying cry affirming he will face Brodie Lee next week. Lee charged the ring, but referees and personnel broke up the fight. Dark Order swarmed ringside and Brandi leaped over the top rope onto Anna Jay. All hell broke loose and Lee returned to the ring several times to stoke the flames. Excellent build for the dog collar match as Cody’s star power is helping to make Lee into a bigger star.
•FTR vs. SCU – HIT
FTR is the team that gives you a good competitive match, but cheats in the end. They’re classic heels. They did that again here after they won by Tully Blanchard and Dax Harwood holding down Scorpio Sky’s foot. Before the match FTR and SCU were interviewed separately which always gives that extra umph of importance when we hear from both teams. When asked about the Best Friends, FTR blew off the notion of facing them. Tony Schiavone asked them about the Young Bucks. Dax said they blew their opportunities and referenced Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer and the star ratings he’s awarded them. Matt Jackson came out of nowhere and superkicked Schiavone. He then told Nick to wait up who has been absent from Dynamite the past few weeks. During the match, Hangman Page was on commentary and talked about Kenny Omega joining singles competition. Hangman said it hasn’t happened yet. After the match, Excalibur announced that there will be an 8-man tournament with the winner receiving a world championship match. Excalibur announced the first three competitors are Jungle Boy, Fenix, and Kenny Omega. Hangman stormed off like he had a lot of work to do.
•Chris Jericho vs. Isaiah Kassidy – HIT
Good match showcasing what Isiah Kassidy can do on his own. Kassidy showed off his athleticism, but still reeled in the high spots to tell a more plotted out story. In the end, Chris Jericho caught Kassidy with a Judas Effect for the win. In the post-match, the Inner Circle entered the ring and attacked Kassidy before Hardy scared them off with a chair. Inner Circle then brawled with Luther and Serpentico at ringside after a scuffle during the match. Excalibur explained that Jericho and Luther have a long history feuding together. The spot with Luther came out of nowhere since he has rarely been spotlighted outside of Dark.
•Kip Sabian-Miro Segment – MISS
This isn’t working. These segments and the association with Kip Sabian are bringing Miro down in stature. I’m not close to giving up on Miro, but there needs to be some correction on his presentation. He doesn’t need to be the Bulgarian Brute, but these shenanigans are defining him down as a WWE-like character. He has great potential to be a major player in AEW, but I’ll continue to wait and see if they can get him moving in that direction.
•Orange Cassidy vs. 10 – HIT
Quick win by Orange Cassidy. It’s become clear that Cassidy has shifted towards being a regular worker with some comedy spots over being just a comedy wrestler. He’s become a star and can work with just about anyone on the roster. Before the match, The Best Friends cut a promo before being interrupted by FTR. FTR accused them of being backyard comedy wrestlers and said it’s okay they aren’t top guys. Best Friends have proved themselves in the ring and FTR continues to disrespect them. The feud feels like it’s heating up after last week when FTR teased an impromptu match.
•MJF-Jericho segment – HIT
A little more serious continuation of the MJF and Chris Jericho story. MJF entered Inner Circle’s locker room and congratulated them by offering them jackets. MJF forgot one for Sammy Guevara and attempted to blame Wardlow for the blunder. Guevara and Jericho asked MJF why he was there which led to an exchange between them about if MJF wants to join Inner Circle or if Jericho wants MJF in the Inner Circle. I like that they continue to slow burn this story while laying out multiple directions. MJF could be trying to insert himself into the Inner Circle or even trying to replace Jericho as the leader. Jericho may also be contemplating the benefits to adding MJF to the group.
•Britt Baker vs. Red Velvet – MISS
Needlessly long and a blah return to in-ring action for Britt Baker. Baker may still be limited in terms of what she can do physically and if that’s the case then she should not be wrestling. If she is 100%, her character is a welcome addition to the active roster. A feud with Hikaru Shida down the road could be a big test for her to reach the next level.
•Jon Moxley vs. The Butcher – HIT
The Butcher isn’t the strongest matchup for a title match with Jon Moxley, but they were able to have a successful match. Before the match, Kingston dragged referee Bryce Remsburg to the ring alongside Penta El Zero M and Fenix. Kingston confronted Remsburg about the decision to end the match against Moxley. After a less than satisfying answer from Remsburg, Kingston motioned to attack Remsburg before Moxley’s music hit and they cleared the ring. As Moxley stood in the ring, The Butcher crept up behind him amplifying the size difference between the two. Moxley took a beating from The Butcher before making a comeback and having a definitively win. Moxley stared down Eddie Kingston after the match continuing their feud in the absence of Lance Archer.