SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
This week’s episode of AEW Dynamite has wrapped. Let’s take a stroll down memory lane and relive some of the madness.
-I’m making an executive decision. Jon Moxley needs to open every Dynamite from now until the company makes its rounds through the country. The energy he generates with Wild Thing and his off the hinges persona just rocks the building. It set a perfect tone for the show.
-Raucous crowds won’t always play nice. Ricky Starks vs. Brian Cage was booked in a way to generate sympathy on Cage and therefore, create a solo babyface act outside of Team Taz. The angle came across in an exact opposite manner because Starks was reacted to like the second coming of The Rock. Time to pivot, Tony Khan.
-The Cody/Black angle continued nicely. Both men conveyed a simmering tension that helped make the brawl feel intense. Watch out for the boos, Cody Rhodes. They were there last night. Faint. But there nonetheless.
-Santana and Ortiz are such nice guys, aren’t they? If the segment between them and Tully Blanchard happens on Monday Night Raw, the babyfaces in Santana and Ortiz, bully Blanchard and trip him as he walks out the door. Vince McMahon may do that in real life actually, but that isn’t a babyface move. They were likable in their interaction with him. Not pushovers, but likable in that they didn’t focus on the old man, but team he represents. Smart.
-Kenny Omega vs. Adam Page already feels like AEW’s biggest main event to date. The urge will be there to have them touch, but I implore Khan to fight it. Fight it, Tony! Yes, there is a long time between now and All Out and the elimination match between Dark Order and The Elite is set. That’s enough. Tell that story; hold until the PPV, then count your money.
-Omega can get down to business when he needs to and I guess, feels like it? He was villainous in the promo with Page, while also articulating the Page story arch precisely, working to make sure they he stays strong and over as the babyface hero.
-The five labors of Jericho sounds exactly like something Chris Jericho would be a part of. The stipulations for each match will provide a crutch for Jericho to lean on in the absence of potential four start mat classics. The outcome here is all but determined, so the questions is, can they build intrigue around the matches with that fact known? Can Jericho get crowds to care? Time will tell.
-Matt Hardy vs. Christian Cage. Not bad, but not what Tony Khan envisioned for Christian when he hyped him up the way he did. In case of emergency … break glass for heel turn.
-We saw a babyface promo from Britt Baker tonight and she hit a home run with it. Not only did she maintain the character that got her over, but she sold the match with Nyla Rose too. Audiences want to cheer Baker and authentic, grassroots reactions like that don’t grow on trees. Glad to see AEW run with her momentum.
-Sammy Guevara may not get that big of a reaction in every city AEW visits, but it was loud enough to take notice. He’s finding that babyface persona and it’s clicking. Hopefully the heel opponents are being primed and ready for him later this fall.
-The main event coffin match felt rushed, but Darby Allin was over enough with the audience to shield that obvious challenge. Allin is a star. His lack of size is meaningless at this point, because the character works so well and crowd eats out of the palm of his hand. The bump on the stairs was scary, but spots like it are synonymous with Allin and what helped build him to the star he is. Recognizing when to let that go and lean heavier into the character will be a storyline to follow with him throughout his run.
-AEW’s young core group of talent shined tonight. Sammy Guevara, Adam Page, Darby Allin, and Ricky Starks. The audience in that building came to see them. The next steps for the company is marketing this group to a broader audience and attract new viewers. The loyal audience is there and will eat up a show like this one all day long. Time to grow, though, and based on the reaction to this group, lead with them.