SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Kenny Omega vs. Bryan Danielson – HOMERUN
An unbelievable match to kick off the show. We knew when Bryan Danielson joined AEW, he would be reopening a new world for himself and his wrestling ability. This match proved that in a 30-minute spectacle. It’d be hard to argue that there’s been a match on Dynamite better than this. It ranks near the top of the best matches on American television. The crowd was electric for this match starting from the first lockup. Although it ended in a draw, fans have to be satisfied with their first meeting in over 10 years. They’ve had different ascensions in the industry rarely crossing paths and with everything they’ve done, this was a legitimate dream match. They will definitely meet again in the future with that bout likely being for the championship. Whether that match is set for the next pay-per-view or otherwise, it will generate much deserved attention and feel like the stakes have been raised.
C.M. Punk Promo – HIT
Another quality promo from CM Punk. His connection to the crowd is undeniable, but by his own admission we are yet to see the fired up version of him. He is aware of the “Happy Punk” commentary surrounding him of being grateful to be back and in awe of what AEW has become. He put the focus back on fighting Powerhouse Hobbs and the significance of his first match on television in many years.
MJF vs. Brian Pillman Jr. – HIT
A fine match between both men. This gave MFJ a solid win while putting Brian Pillman Jr. in an elevated position. Pillman isn’t ready for a major push and I don’t believe that his character or ability warrants one. I imagine him being better off as a heel down the road versus his Flyin’ Brian light role. I want to see him develop his own persona outside being the son of the famous Brian Pillman.
Cody Rhodes vs. Malakai Black – HIT
Whether Cody knows it or not, the crowd is seeing him as a heel. His ridiculously long cape doesn’t help him either. Malakai Black is a fabulous heel character and he plays it so well, but he can’t stop the fans from cheering him. He feels markedly different from anyone else on the roster and a total validation for fans who knew he was capable of much more than his WWE run allowed. Black took the win again after spraying mist at Cody and rolling him up. The right finish with Black going over, but Cody is still able to save face. Brandi also made her return to accompany Cody to the ring. With her and Cody back in the mix after the debuts of several new stars, now feels like the time to shake up his character.
Sting & Darby Allin vs. FTR – HIT
At 62 years of age, Sting was tremendous in this tag match. The crowd was fired up for him throughout the match. He didn’t look out of place or take too much away from Darby Allin. Allin sold great for FTR leading to Sting hitting all of his signature spots. FTR are a different style from the Young Bucks, but in their own way they are one of the best tag teams out there. The crowd loved this match and so did I.
Britt Baker vs. Ruby Soho: Women’s Championship Match – HIT
Ruby Soho proved she was capable of much more and lived up to the hype. While this wasn’t Britt Baker’s best match, this was among her best matches with Soho looking like a legitimate contender and deserving of the main event spot alongside Baker. Fans split between rooting for one over the other, but Baker took the win in the end with the lock jaw. This feels like the right move because it established Soho as a championship contender and continues Baker’s run as champion. Her ascension to stardom feels like it hasn’t reached its pinnacle.