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Here are my quick reactions to the big happenings from the Aug. 4 Homecoming edition of AEW Dynamite:
Chris Jericho vs. Juventud Guerrera
Jericho was Guerrero was an ugly match at the beginning, but once it got going it was a fun watch. The Third Labour had a twist with Jericho having to win with a move off the top and they worked around that nicely with a top rope Walls of Jericho attempt and the match ending with a top rope Judas Effect.
Daniel Garcia & Jeff Parker & Matt Lee vs. Darby Allin & Jon Moxley & Eddie Kingston
It was good to see Parker and Lee get a match on National TV after their release from NXT earlier this year. I’ve followed a good portion of their career on the indies, especially in Chikara and they were always a fun tag team to watch. Parker and Lee looked like they belonged and that’s a good thing for them in terms of their future with AEW moving forward.
Daniel Garcia was really impressive as well. He carries himself well in the ring and does the little things to emote to the audience that he’s a tough guy.
Christian Cage vs. The Blade
Something about what Cage is doing in the ring didn’t click for me here. The match was fine, but I really enjoyed Cage’s backstage promo later in the show where he showed some of his personality off much more than this match. It seems like Cage is being built up for a title shot.
Hangman Page in-ring segment with The Elite
This felt like a write off for Page. He said he had something to say to The Young Bucks at the beginning of the segment, but Omega interrupted him and we never got to hear what he had to say to them.
Omega was great tearing down Page on the mic and pointing out his failures. The Elite looked strong fending off all the help that came out for Page. Omega calling for multiple BTE Triggers on Page and laying him out with a belt shot was a good way to end the segment. I’m interested to see who Omega faces at All Out.
Miro vs. Lee Johnson – TNT Championship match
The match only went around 8 minutes, but it was really good. They told the classic big man vs. little man story and Miro did a good job of selling for Johnson. Miro’s rehabilitation post-WWE has taken some time, but he’s in a really good place right now.
Malakai Black vs. Cody Rhodes/Cody Rhodes post-match “retirment” speech
Black vs. Rhodes did a perfect job of setting up Black as a monster heel in AEW going forward. Rhodes took an insane bump from a kick off the turnbuckles and through the timekeeper’s table. Black then hit the former Black Mass kick on Rhodes to finish him off.
A good portion of the match was designed around the table spot and Cody beating the ref’s count only to take Black’s finish. The one foot pin from Black was perfect as well.
People will be talking about the post match “retirement” angle for the rest of the week. Cody is great at getting new talent over. He did it last year losing a short one-sided match to Brodie Lee for the TNT Championship before taking some time away and returning in late September to challenge him to a rematch.
Rhode’s speech after losing left a lot for fans to unpack before AEW comes back with Dynamite next week and the launch of Rampage next Friday. I don’t think he got the reaction he wanted. I was a little bit surprised, but perhaps fans are too wise to retirement angles at this point.
Rhodes talked about his legacy and helping to make AEW a platform. He even admitted there was some in-fighting among the EVPs after denying it at a recent media scrum. The fans didn’t chant his name, but instead there was a mixed reaction. I could distinctly make out some fans trying to sing the “Hey, hey, hey goodbye” song. It was likely not the reaction he was looking for.
I liked that the end of the show put the focus back on Black, who laid out Cody with the crutch the ringside doctor had given him to use that he discarded while cutting his promo.
Dynamite ended with a very compelling 10 minutes of TV and it’s going to be fun to speculate where Black goes from here. People will likely also be wondering when Cody is coming back. He’s set to film the new season of Go Big Show shortly, so we will likely have to wait until late September at the earliest to get our answers.
Contact Sean at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @sr_torch