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.
-FTR. Santana & Ortiz. Bravo. This long awaited grudge match felt like a fight and was well wrestled and sold from start to finish. The grotesque Cash Wheeler injury from a few weeks back served as a dramatic backdrop for the story. All around a great opener and a reason for AEW to feature it’s tag team division in bigger spots more often.
-After a couple weeks of nostalgia and joy, C.M. Punk needed to be involved in a true wrestling angle to help sell his All Out match with Darby Allin. Punk getting attacked by 2point0 and Danny Garcia, but then getting saved by Allin was a smart touch that put both guys in the ring for a visual face-off, allowed Punk to get a little physical to wet the fans appetite, and then lean on their charisma for the sizzle. The angle wasn’t fancy or intricate, but struck the right tone for what was needed.
-Also, if you had Sting and C.M. Punk in a ring together on your 2021 pro wrestling bingo card, congrats. You win.
-Not sure there is a better heel in wrestling right now than MJF. He’s unabashedly unlikable and protects his persona in a way that breathes authenticity into it. MJF sold the heck out of his match with Chris Jericho at All Out, but did it in a way that curates a zest to see him get punched in the mouth. Great stuff.
-Speaking of great, Jericho delivered a near perfect go-home babyface promo as well. Jericho was fired up, relatable, and relied on his story to do his bidding in terms of directionally where to move things. Together with MJF’s promo, both men created clear lanes for the audience to follow on Sunday. Jericho vs. MJF 4 may be a match too many, but a job well done nonetheless.
-Brian Cage as a babyface isn’t clicking. He looks the part, but his demeanor and presence suffer from a lack of a comfort with the act. His heel opponent, Ricky Starks, comes across as cooler and easier to get behind. Something to watch.
-So, this Q.T. Marshall push, experiment, and/or time fill mechanism needs to end. Marshall has the personality of a two by four and just doesn’t radiate as a guy that should be getting as much television time as he does. AEW is stocked with talent that needs the spotlight more at this point.
-Britt Baker is just going to continue on as a heel then? That’s a tough tide to turn if you ask me – especially when her opponents are undefined and one note like Kris Statlander. Outside of Thunder Rosa and possibly Hikaru Shida – both of whom Baker has feuded with already – name a babyface in the company that would get cheered over her?
-The eight-man tag was a spectacle of some high quality AEW style action. The closing angle paid the bills, though. By lowering the cage and decimating their respective All Out babyface opponents, The Elite were able to effectively further define a rooting interest for fans against them. We didn’t get a by the numbers babyface go-home promo from Christian Cage or the Lucha Brothers, but the angle served the go-home purpose, just from the other side of the coin.
-AEW fit gobs and gobs of material into this episode. The plus side of that is, you have a high volume of stories that need time. The negative side is that the stories need to breathe. For them to matter and resonate, the audience needs time to digest and sit with them. There is a middle ground and perhaps chopping segments like Marshall’s would lend a hand in helping others.