SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
The Young Bucks vs. Pac & Penta El Zero Miedo – HIT
This Young Bucks gimmick is fantastic. They’ve defined who they are as ego driven materialistic heels who can have any style of match. They had another great one here against Pac & Penta El Zero Miedo. The Bucks won with a roll up after a distraction from Brandon Cutler. That type of finish is overdone, but it works here because the fans have been conditioned to seeing the Bucks have epic match-ups, so a distraction robs the fans of what they want. At the end, Eddie Kingston made the save despite his history with Pac and Penta. They have a mutual enemy in the Bucks after putting Jon Moxley out of action.
Mark Henry Promo and Andrade El Idolo Debut – MISS
A fine debut for Mark Henry. He spoke briefly before being interrupted by Vickie Guerrero, but he appeared to be in great shape. They teased the possibility of him wrestling again, but defined his role as a special analyst. It’s unclear what it all means, but it seems to be more of a backstage interviewer role than commentary. Henry is yet another WWE alum, but he can provide more value outside of being a TV regular. Speaking of WWE alums, Andrade El Idolo also made his debut after Vickie stole the spotlight from Henry. Andrade didn’t receive the loudest reaction, but he carried himself like a star. He has the charisma to take himself to a higher level. It’ll be a challenge to overcome his booking in WWE and pairing with Vickie Guerrero feels odd, but this is a fresh start to show what he can do.
Cody Rhodes & Lee Johnson vs. QT Marshall & Anthony Ogogo – HIT
QT pinned Cody, but after a knockout punch from Anthony Ogogo. With the punch and pin, it appears that it’s likely the feud with Marshall and Ogogo will continue despite Cody getting the best of them in singles competition. It could also be a way to pull Cody off of TV for the time being with his forthcoming child on the way. During the match, Ogogo was protected and not as involved, while Lee Johnson showed a lot of his athleticism. Ogogo isn’t ready for the big stage, but these moments will add to his credibility if he continues to develop into a more complete wrestler.
The Inner Circle Promo – HIT
After this promo, keeping The Inner Circle together was clearly the right direction. I had serious questions about breaking the team up and having them go out on their own. They are all coming into their own within the group. Sammy Guevara had extended mic time as he gets boosted, while everyone else was able to carry themselves strongly. The feud with The Pinnacle continues as there are still several matches to be had between the two groups. Chris Jericho ended it by teasing another one-on-one match with MJF down the road.
Jungle Boy & Christian Cage vs. Private Party – HIT
I didn’t like the way in which Matt Hardy fooled Private Party into joining his group, but I’m enjoying them in this role. They’re becoming a solid heel team. Christian Cage took much of the beating in this match allowing Jungle Boy to come in and win the match. Jungle Boy was put over strong as he heads into his world championship match against Kenny Omega. The commentary team put him over and the match was promoted heavily throughout the night. The crowd and Jungle Boy feel ready for an elevation to a new level on the roster. A title win feels too soon, but showing he can take Omega to the limit will give him the boost he needs.
Sting and Darby Promo – HIT
After his first in-person match in many years, Sting was walking slowly, but full of excitement calling that match one of his favorite career moments. Then you guessed it, Sting was interrupted again before he got too far into his promo. Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky taunted them and requested Darby Allin find a new partner to face them. Perhaps Lance Archer?
Britt Baker Championship Celebration – MISS
The fans got what they wanted and Britt Baker is now the AEW Women’s World Champion. She heeled it up in the ring boasting about herself and what’s to come, while teasing the crowd about a cheeseburger coupon. Nobody in the crowd looked under their seats like Baker instructed as she had all the coupons in the ring. Baker is playing the mean girl who draws in those around her only to set them up for failure or humiliation. Nyla Rose was having none of it when she started throwing cheeseburgers into the crowd to break up the segment. I like Baker’s direction, but this was a weird setup for Rose to challenge her.
Red Velvet vs The Bunny – MISS
Not a good showing for these two. Red Velvet has shown that she can shine with the right opponent. While the Bunny’s character is better than most, her in-ring ability is a step down from what we’ve become accustomed to in AEW.
Dustin Rhodes vs. Nick Comoroto – HIT
It’s a late night on a Friday, so why not make this the main event. That said, this didn’t have the typical star power for a Dynamite main event slot. With Comoroto being green, the Texas bull rope stipulation plays to his strengths, allowing for much brawling and letting his physical presence speak for itself. Dustin also gets one up on the Nightmare Factory.