AEW HITS & MISSES 2/17: Inner Circle recalibrated, Deeb vs. Riho delivers, and Sting takes a big bump

BY JOEL DEHNEL, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR

Chris Jericho (photo courtesy AllEliteWrestling.com)

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Matt Hardy & Hangman Page vs. TH2 – MISS

Easily one of my least favorite segments on Dynamite. AEW continues to go out of their way to explain storyline inconsistencies that just continue to muddy down the story as a whole. Last week, Matt Hardy planted a camera to film Hangman Page signing an unfair contract that would pay Hardy 30% of Page’s earnings. Page and Hardy acted as though Page had signed the original contract despite Hardy’s own video evidence. Hardy had the contract brought out by the Jacksonville Jaguars mascot. Hardy was stunned that it wasn’t the original contract and then got Hangman to agree to swap quarter one earnings depending on the winner of their match at Revolution. Afterwards, Hangman was beaten down by Isiah Kassidy who was disguised in the mascot costume. Dark Order came out to assist Hangman and scare off Hardy and Kassidy. What AEW has done with Dark Order has been a nice tribute to Brodie Lee, but this doesn’t feel like the right pairing for Hangman. His association with the group and with Hardy has made him feel more like a lower mid- card player. It feels increasingly likely that the end game may be to pair Hangman with Dark Order (the friends who stuck by him) to take on his former partner, Kenny Omega.

Inner Circle Promo – HIT

A firm recalibration of The Inner Circle following Sammy Guevara’s departure. Chris Jericho was strong in his conviction regarding Guevara even saying that he was dead to him despite putting blame on MJF. Jericho reestablished himself as the alpha of the group taking no nonsense from MJF. Everyone else stood their ground and played their role while Santana and Ortiz hyped their title match for later in the night.

Serena Deeb vs. Riho – HIT

Great match between these two. Riho made her long awaited return from Japan after being out of action for 11 months. She didn’t disappoint with a compelling matchup against Serena Deeb. Deeb continues to have solid to great matches with everyone on the roster. Riho’s return could’ve been made into a bigger deal with her being the first AEW Women’s Champion. With her return, the AEW’s women’s division is taking form with legit talent that have star potential.

Orange Cassidy vs. Luther – HIT

Not much to this match. They kept it short with Orange Cassidy getting the win. There was no mention of Miro or Kip Sabian, but it’s likely they will want to get to a singles match against Miro sooner than later.

Team Taz and Sting Confrontation – HIT

They tried something new for this feud! Instead of Sting being interrupted a minute into his promo by Team Taz, they got physical. The soon to be 62-year-old Sting took his first bump since his spinal stenosis injury that ended his career in 2015. Brian Cage hit Sting with a powerbomb that looked devastating knowing Sting’s history. Seeing Sting survive the impact will make it a bit easier to watch him wrestle again and he may end up doing more than just a standing brawl. The feud needed a boost after several weeks and now Sting and Darby should wait to be “resurrected” for Revolution.

The Young Bucks vs. Santana & Ortiz – HIT

Excellent match between these two teams. This was more of a traditional high spots Young Bucks match than their first meeting at Full Gear 2019. With the match taking place in the middle of the show, some of the drama of a potential title change was stifled. Although you could make a case that it would’ve made more sense storyline wise for Santana & Ortiz to take the titles to forward the disintegration of The Inner Circle. In the post-match, The Young Bucks were ambushed while we saw Kenny Omega show interest in wanting to help them, but ultimately was dissuaded by Don Callis. Omega still thinks he’s doing good along with his promo from earlier reading to a kindergarten class, but he’s been blinded by Callis and his own ego.

FTR vs. Matt & Mike Sydal – HIT

Matt and Mike Sydal were good opponents to show off FTR. With a flip of the lights, Luchasaurus made his return alongside Jungle Boy and Marko Stunt. They cleared the ring and a six-man tag match was announced with all of Jurassic Express squaring off with FTR and 67-year-old Tully Blanchard next week. I suspect Blanchard won’t take too many bumps and will go after Stunt. While the six-man is enticing, fans want to see Luchasaurus & Jungle Boy vs. FTR which may still be in play for Revolution.

Eddie Kington, The Butcher, & The Blade vs. Jon Moxley, Lance Archer, & Rey Fenix – HIT

Another fun match to close out Dynamite. Rey Fenix looked spectacular, per usual, while Jon Moxley and Eddie Kingston continued their grudge by going toe-to-toe. Moxley won in the end then was subsequently beaten down by The Good Brothers. They held up Moxley while Kenny Omega made his way to the ring. Omega stated that their original contract included a rematch clause. Omega shouted at Moxley and said that they would face each other in an Exploding Barbed Wire Death Match. Not the match type I thought they’d go for, but apparently Moxley needs to get the hardcore bug out of him before the birth of his forthcoming child. After their Unsanctioned Lights Out Match at Full Gear 2019, I don’t know how these two can push the limits further without risking serious injury. While this may attract the FMW and ECW nostalgia fans as well as those whose still thirst for blood in wrestling, there’s risk in turning off a segment of the audience with this stipulation.


NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S AEW HITS & MISSES: AEW HITS & MISSES: Cody fizzles, Allin vs. Janela stay disciplined, and Kenta shines

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