SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
•Brian Cage vs. Will Hobbs – HIT
Will Hobbs delivered in his first major match. Being that Hobbs and Brian Cage are two massive beings, I thought this match would be much shorter, but in that time Hobbs was afforded a lot of offense. Cage took the win in the end, but Hobbs put up enough of a performance to be recruited by Taz. Before Hobbs could answer, Darby Allin cleared the ring. Being Hobbs first major singles match, I wasn’t expecting a win here, but he showed enough for viewers to believe that there is more coming from him.
•FTR vs. TH2 – HIT
Overall another good showing for FTR, but not without a few hiccups. Jack Evans who is typically spot on for most of his matches had a number of botches that distracted from the story of the match. FTR walked away with a mostly clean win before The Young Bucks (including Nick Jackson) appeared on the big screen. They were watching FTR on a TV and complimenting them. Once they noticed the cameraman they superkicked them. Then suddenly a photoshopped graphic of FTR in hot dog suits appeared on the screen. The Best Friends came out and confronted FTR for calling them comedy backyard wrestlers. They called FTR weenies and announced that Tony Khan told them they would be receiving a title match on next week’s show. While I’m not in favor of FTR being a part of shenanigans, this is the Best Friends getting back at FTR for the insult that they threw at them in the first place.
•Cody vs. Mr. Brodie Lee – HIT
An excellent television bloodbath. In Cody’s first return match, he recaptured the TNT Championship in one of the most gory and grueling TV matches in recent memory. Brodie Lee also brought the intensity needed and proved again that he can step up in those high-profile matches. AEW made the match feel special by bringing in Greg Valentine and reminding the audience of his famous dog collar match against Roddy Piper. After the match, The Nightmare Family surrounded a worn down Cody as he cut a promo alongside Tony Schiavone. It seemed for a moment there was a chance that Cody would turn on the family before emotionally assuring the fans he was not going to turn on them despite his change in appearance. Schiavone asked Cody who he would face next then Orange Cassidy came out and Cody gave him a thumbs up confirming the match for next week. Cody isn’t typically a part of comedy matches, but Cassidy has evolved into a more dynamic character that allows for their match to go in multiple directions.
•Big Swole vs. Serena Deeb – HIT
Solid match with a few blips here and there. Big Swole still has a good presence about her while Serena Deeb has consistently had quality matches. The smart strategy going forward is going to be to continue to pairing up young talent with experienced veterans to get them that ring time and experience under their belt.
•Jon Moxley – Lance Archer Promos – HIT
These guys continue to put great stuff together to build up this match. One of AEW’s hidden strengths is when they put together intense pre-tape promos. It’s a great platform for characters to show more about themselves and their motivations outside the confines of Daily’s Place. They have a lot of material to work with including referencing their major match at the Tokyo Dome earlier this year. Despite the delay, this program hasn’t skipped a beat and hopefully Lance Archer is 100% after his battle with COVID.
•Chris Jericho & Jake Hager vs. Serpentico & Dr. Luther – MISS
Throughout the night, AEW played clips from celebrities congratulating Chris Jericho on 30 years in the business. Much of the people featured were friends of Jericho inside and outside of wrestling. There were a number of surprises including Ultimo Dragon and Hiroshi Tanahashi. The appearance of Tanahashi with the New Japan Pro-Wrestling logo is sure to spark rampant speculation regarding a partnership. Other celebrities included Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley of Kiss, Dennis Miller, Kevin Smith, and many more. Jericho was in more of a face role tonight which made sense given that it was a celebration of his career. He tagged with Jake Hager again to take on a rival Dr. Luther who has been described as a long-time rival as well as Serpentico. The match didn’t live up to Dynamite main event standards with Jericho carrying most of the match and Luther being quite limited at this point in his career.
After the match, Jericho celebrated with the Inner Circle before being interrupted by MJF. MJF gifted Jericho a framed portrait of himself and unveiled a clown. Jericho smashed the portrait over the clown’s head then teased descension with MJF before embracing each other. The rest of the heel roster filled the ring while credits rolled with Jeircho being the name for each role. A cute way to end Dynamite, but not the tone the show should be going for. It feels like there are some wrestlers like Jon Moxley and Cody who are almost always in serious programs while others like MJF, Jericho, and The Young Bucks dip more into the comedic aspects. I’d like to see a more consistent tone, but it seems like AEW feels there is an audience who want more “sports entertainment”. Comedy in wrestling can be good, but it needs to be selective and not the overarching story. Otherwise, why watch simulated combat when nobody on screen takes it seriously.