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.
-With Hangman Adam Page’s AEW World Championship opportunity and Dark Order’s AEW World Tag Team Championship shot hanging in the balance within the elimination match opener, the tone of the Elite’s entrance was nauseating. Serious stakes should merit a serious presentation. Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks walking out in goofy Space Jam-esque jerseys and jacking jump shots didn’t fit. Worse than that, it didn’t generate a negative reaction toward them either. A miss for AEW and the first to this point within the build to the inevitable Omega vs. Page showdown.
-Ricky Starks owned his promo time this week. He brought it in every way possible and continues to position himself as a can’t miss guy with a microphone in his hand.
-A bummer of an ending to FTR vs. Santana & Ortiz. Momentum was a little slower than anticipated in the early going, but it picked up nicely until what looked like a severe cut to Cash Wheeler’s arm essentially stopped the action. Hoping Wheeler is ok and that both teams can run it back soon.
-Lance Archer had a great outing this week. The small push he’s gotten has given him a large amount of new credibility to build off of. A match with Hiroshi Tanahashi looms.
-There’s that negative reaction to Cody again. AEW isn’t doing much to pivot the audience away from that response, which tells me a heel turn is on the horizon. That said, the negative reaction stings the story with Black a bit, but the novelty of these guys colliding shouldn’t hurt the match much overall. Establishing a clear lane for Cody should be a priority for AEW throughout the back half of the year.
-It’s time to get moving with Jungle Boy. If rumors are true and both CM Punk and Bryan Danielson are on the horizon for the company, Jungle Boy is an act that could easily get lost in the shuffle. He’s not a main event talent yet, but needs an impactful, long term feud to help develop him into that type of star. Christian is there. Execute his heel turn on JB and go.
-Boy, Chris Jericho is hurting today, huh? Nick Gage too. Their match was certainly a spectacle, but undoubtedly crossed the line of violence for some viewers. AEW needs to be careful with over exposure on the blood and guts stuff. Not only because it’s dangerous and can be a turnoff for some, but because they’ll want those types of matches available to them down the road in a meaningful way to cap off big money feuds.
-The bloody main event is certainly going to cultivate a vast array of opinions. Even so, the AEW product is as hot as ever, but clearly is armed with a concrete vision forward too. It’s an exciting and lucrative combination.
-Speaking of exciting. A new, major event at a giant stadium in Chicago, plus a “best in the world” mention from Darby Allin, plus MJF swiping specific promo lines from 10 years ago, plus the always-accurate rumor mill, equals CM Punk. We know Tony Khan likes to embellish hype on his acquisitions, but even Khan has to know that this type of tease will be unforgivable in the eyes of fans if not delivered on. Punk is a major get that will not only drive mainstream attention, but will bring new eyes to the AEW product.