SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
•The Young Bucks vs. TH2 – HIT
The Young Bucks promised they’d be having a spot fest to open Dynamite and they came through. As you’d expect from these teams, they had a non-stop athletic match. While this style isn’t for everyone, it’s not a bad move to have this match go first on a show that was expected to have an increased audience. After the match, The Acclaimed antagonized The Bucks from ringside and before they were met by SCU. A win for The Acclaimed gives them some credibility and boost by beating the former champions.
•Darby Allin Promo – HIT
Darby Allin always has some of the most unique backstage segments. I can get behind the idea of a psychologist giving Allin a rorschach test over him jumping off a bridge or being hit by a car. This worked well to incorporate Allin setting up a title match with Brian Cage and continue the nods to Sting.
•Sting Promo – HIT
This promo is going to leave some fans divided. While some believe Sting should never speak, it was necessary for Sting to set the tone for who he’s going to be moving forward. Sting embraced Tony Schiavone and encouraged him to shout, “It’s Sting!”. He then addressed Darby Allin who sat in the bleachers. Sting was preoccupied with everything else while Cody tried to get his attention. Cody was vying for Sting’s attention and welcomed him back. Sting was vague about what he would be doing in AEW and what his goals were (I’m not sure anyone knows for sure). Sting put his arm around Cody and told him that he’d see him around. This promo didn’t give much more information about how/if Sting would be used in the ring. It sure seems like they are building towards a Team Taz vs. Cody, Darby Allin, and Sting, but where do they go after that? Sting is 61 and was nearly paralyzed last time he had a singles match. For a six-man tag, he can go out and do his signature spots, but outside of that format he’s going to be pretty limited as far as what he can do in the ring.
•FTR vs. Varsity Blondes – HIT
Good match that allowed for the Varsity Blondes to get some TV time and in-ring experience. The Blondes are still green, but FTR sold well for them and introduced them as future players on Dynamite. FTR is climbing back up the tag team ladder to get back towards the championship.
•Dustin Rhodes vs. 10 – MISS
Not much of a match, but it was great to see Dustin winning a singles match on Dynamite. After a weird finish, Evil Uno attempted to recruit Dustin into the Dark Order as #7. Dustin knocked over Uno, but Uno told the Dark Order to back off an attack. Uno said that when Dustin knows, he will be begging to be a part of the group. I’m fine with Dark Order trying to recruit someone like Dustin who is a veteran on the roster, but it feels redundant because Reynolds and Silver are trying to bring in Hangman Page at the same time. The Dark Order feels like a major step down for Page, but it can work on a very limited basis of 1 or 2 matches.
•Shaq Promo – MISS
Not good. Brandi continues to be a new role everytime she appears. I thought she was supposed to be the baby face, but as it turned out, Shaq was the face. He said he didn’t appreciate what Jade Cargill did to Brandi and he said the back and forth on Twitter was just for fun. He seemed genuine in trying to come to an understanding before suggesting that Brandi watched some of Jade Cargill because she might learn something. This enraged Brandi to where she doused Shaq with a cup of water. Shaq looked at the camera before it faded to commercial. It seems like Shaq is less likely to be wrestling in the ring and more of an advocate for Cargill. The dynamic didn’t work and feels like a missed opportunity for the way this story could have been discussed outside of wrestling.
•The Inner Circle Ultimatum – HIT
Less goofiness from the Inner Circle is a major win! The Inner Circle has been at odds with the additions of MJF and Wardlow. They needed to reconcile or disband. This format allowed for everyone to have their part. Sammy Guevara felt genuine in his frustration with MJF telling Chris Jericho that if anything else happens that he will quit the Inner Circle. Ortiz had a moment to shine on the microphone feeling earnest in his position. Even Jake Hager and Wardlow had to clear the air with each other. There was a spot for everyone and this felt like a step in the right direction for this story.
•Lance Archer & The Lucha Bros vs. Eddie Kingston, & The Butcher, & The Blade – MISS
Not the match I was hoping for after Penta El Zero M was taken out early. This left it to a 3 on 2 advantage that allowed for Eddie Kingston, The Butcher, &, The Blade to take the win. After the match, Lance Archer attacked the heels. Not the showcase match that I had hoped for and without Penta the match was pretty deflated from the start.
•Abandon vs. Tesha Price – HIT
A fine squash win for Abadon. She’s filling the need for a challenger to Hikaru Shida on the depleted women’s roster. While her act is a bit campy, she’s different from the rest of the roster. Shida came out after the match and whacked Abadon over the head with her kendo stick. Abandon sat up a la Undertaker. I’m not a fan of Shida being afraid of Abadon in this way, but this segment was effective in forwarding their feud.
•Kenny Omega Promo – HIT
More of the same from what viewers saw on Impact. There were promises of a big surprise and also a tease of a connection to the Lex Express. Both came up short. Despite the lack of new content, the AEW audience on Dynamite got to hear from Kenny Omega and his new manager Don Callis explaining their actions. Omega has gone back to a more Cleaner-esque look from his New Japan run with the black and blonde hair and the dark lens aviators. For the first time in his AEW tenure, he looks and acts like the main event star that everyone has wanted. His act is also enhanced by the presence of Don Callis. Callis who is more recently known for his sometimes wacky and over-the-top commentary has reeled in his character to give Omega more legitimacy as a serious top act.
•MJF vs. Orange Cassidy – HIT
On a stacked line-up, AEW went with the two lesser known stars in the main event. It shows that they have confidence in their future stars instead of over relying on the wrestlers that most people may know. A good match-up between these two with MJF mocking Cassidy’s spots before Cassidy made a comeback. He came close to winning the Diamond Ring before he was laid out by Miro. AEW doesn’t giving screwy interference finishes often, but this made sense as a way to protect Cassidy from taking another pin in a title match.