SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
C.M. Punk vs Matt Sydal: HIT
Was the opening match promo just a one-week experiment? Anyway, this was a really fun match with a hot crowd. C.M. Punk has looked better in this last two matches compared to his first two. Matt Sydal is a really good talent and this is the best I’ve ever seen of him.
Dark Order Interview: MISS
Dark Order being involved in the world title storyline diminishes its seriousness (and Kenny Omega’s antics to a fine enough of job of underselling his feuds already). As for the quality of this interview itself, John Silver’s tone made him sound like he was challenging the Super Clique to a game of laser tag instead of a wrestling match (which I’m all hype for when not watching professional wrestling).
Ruby Soho vs. The Bunny: HIT
This was a solid match, despite the relatively tepid crowd reaction and long commercial break. Ruby Soho has a star-like presence that WWE truly never appreciated. However, I can’t understand why the Bunny is getting more television time than a talent like Nyla Rose.
Main Event Promo: MINOR HIT
Dan Lambert, for the first time, had a whole lot of nothing to say here. In addition, Junior Dos Santos just doesn’t have good nonverbal chemistry like Brock Lesnar. Or perhaps it’s a problem with the way AEW shot this interview. I could barely notice him. In any case, the company has certainly not a good job hyping him up in the weeks leading up to this match, and as a non-UFC fan, if I didn’t watch the promo videos in the Buy-In show tonight, I’d probably be less motivated to stay up for this match.
Chris Jericho was great, albeit a little over-modulated at the tail end of the promo.
INNER CIRCLE (Chris Jericho & Sammy Guevara & Jake Hager) vs. MEN OF THE YEAR (Scorpio Sky & Ethan Page) & JUNIOR DOS SANTOS (w/Dan Lambert & Jorge Masvidal): HIT
This was very good television made brilliant by a hot crowd. Right from the entrances, it seemed like Miami ate up everything. Guevara’s athleticism, Jericho’s star power, Lambert’s heel heat, and JDS’s soup bones all made for an entertaining piece of business. It certainly wasn’t a mat classic, but it wasn’t meant to be. THIS is what good “sports entertainment” is.
The post-match beatdown and run-in by Santana and Ortiz helps extend this feud, which I’m all in favor of.
While I’ve been enjoying this rivalry as a non-UFC fan, I would still love it if AEW gave us some personality profiles on the members of American Top Team (on Dynamite or Rampage, please). Right now, they are just nameless yet charismatic antagonistic characters to me.
Commentary: MINOR HIT
Taz and Ricky Starks straddled the line between staying in character and being company hype men, but I don’t think any lines were crossed that would usually annoy me. I don’t have any nit-picks or points of particular praise. The commentary was serviceable and hardly noticeable.
Overall show: HIT
I wonder what prompted Tony Khan to give us the Dark Order, the Bunny, and a commercial break that ran right through the 10.30 pm mark in the half an hour where he wants to try and beat Smackdown. I’d be especially curious to see the rating for this particular quarter hour. While I doubt this show would have beaten Smackdown even with a better second quarter-hour, it was still pretty good on its own merits.