SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Pac vs. Eddie Kingston – HIT
A solid contest to kickoff Dynamite. Pac got in much of the offense with his athleticism, while Eddie Kingston sold well for him. Lance Archer came out after the match to give an advantage to Pac (with Pentagon and Fenix). Archer teased dissension between himself and Pac despite their alliance due to their mutual dislike of Kingston. Pac dropped the seed for a title match against Kenny Omega at some point weeks ago. This could be an opportunity to have Pac and Archer fight for a title shot.
Chuck Taylor vs. Miro – HIT
Chuck Taylor got in a ton of offense early on Miro. Miro quickly capitalized and beat Taylor in a few minutes. Taylor will be Miro’s “young boy” or servant until Kip Sabian’s wedding with Penelope Ford. I’m sure there will be plenty of backstage skits to maximize the stipulation before Orange Cassidy wins his friends back.
The Inner Circle Resolutions – HIT
I haven’t loved everything in the MJF-Inner Circle feud and this was a mixed bag. They continue to take their time with MJF splitting The Inner Circle from the inside. He’s building his alliances, while Chris Jericho is trying to see the best in him. The setup of these segments feels phony with every punch line and each wrestler taking their turn. A reference to Sammy Hagar going over Sammy Guevara’s head highlighted the segment as well as Santana and Ortiz standing up for themselves as THE Inner Circle tag team. It ended with a setup of a 3-way tag match which will surely deliver in the ring.
Dark Order Promo – MISS
It seems like Hangman Page is likely going to ride with the Dark Order for a bit longer. Dark Order is in a tough spot with the untimely death of Brodie Lee essentially turning the group babyface. Hangman can be a feel-good story for the group, but is it the right direction for him? His infrequent appearances have pushed him further into the background. Yes, there are circumstances at play, but no character has been jerked around quite as much as Hangman.
Kenny Omega & The Good Brothers vs. Brian Pillman Jr., Griff Garrison, and Danny Limelight – HIT
So much for a new version of Bullet Club. Matt and Nick Jackson were hesitant to join Kenny Omega and The Good Brothers last week and for good reason. Don Callis hyped up The Bucks teaming with Omega only to swerve them and announce The Good Brothers instead. The Bucks stood dejected backstage with Tony Khan who is making more frequent TV appearances these days. I didn’t expect for this story to move this quickly, but it feels like Tony Khan will eventually get tired of Don Callis calling the shots with his world champion on his own show. The post match angle indicated that the Bucks may be more on the side of Jon Moxley as they tried to dissuade him from an open attack on Omega. Overall, a good match that showed off newcomer Danny Limelight’s athleticism and the contrasting styles of high spot Bucks versus the rough Good Brothers.
The Waiting Room – MISS
An odd segment that tried to do too much. Not exactly a disaster, but easily the low point of the show. It was a talk show type segment that is ever reminiscent of what hasn’t worked in wrestling. Britt Baker and Rebel are strong characters who helped the segment, but the overly scripted nature didn’t. Baker threw jabs while Rebel cackled in the background. She introduced Cody and questioned him on his interactions with Sting, Shaq, and Snoop Dogg. Jade Cargill confronted Cody again and demanded a new opponent before she was met with Red Velvet. The segment then took a hard right turn to a pre-taped video of Baker attacking Thunder Rosa. Rosa had a pre-taped promo of her own in which she said she had a match set with Baker at Beach Break.
FTR vs. Jurassic Express – HIT
More licensed music is a good thing! AEW is teeing up Jungle Boy to have a great year by presenting him as a bigger star. He’s improving in the ring every time out and this match was no exception. Say what you will about Marko Stunt, but he looked good although FTR may have been a bit generous in selling for him at times. Regardless, it won’t hurt FTR as they won emphatically.
Serena Deeb vs. Tay Conti – HIT
I continue to be impressed with Tay Conti. She again showed that while she’s not a polished product now, she is capable of having good matches. Her and Anna Jay are two potential future stars. Credit to QT Marshall and the AEW team for getting more out of talent in a matter of months. They’ve been smart about scouting young talent and having them work with the right people.
Darby Allin vs. Cage – HIT
Darby Allin got beat up. He was tossed around like the proverbial rag doll. Cage showed off his tremendous power and strength while Allin had no regard for the damage to his body. While it was an entertaining showcase, it was difficult to watch. Allin had a creative comeback in outsmarting Cage and using his power against him. Allin retained in the end by pinning Cage. From there, Team Taz went to attack Allin before Sting made the save with a baseball bat. This was an example of excellent, long term storytelling that began with Taz trying to give Allin some guidance after losing to Cage. There are plenty of more places they can go including a 6-person tag match with Sting or a singles match with the promising Ricky Starks.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S AEW HITS & MISSES: AEW HITS & MISSES 1/6: Omega vs. Fenix, Rhodes vs. Sydal, Wardlow vs. Hager, and more