AEW DYNAMITE HITS & MISSES 2/2: Moxley shines in opener, Punk and MJF with a clinic, more

BY SCOTT YOUNG, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR

MJF reveals his Mount Rushmore of wrestling

SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

Jon Moxley Defeated Wheeler Yuta (w/Orange Cassidy and Danhausen) – HIT

This was an excellent opener. Yuta has improved considerably since the last time I’d seen him on TV, and makes me want to go back and follow his evolution through Dark and Dark: Elevation. He was so smooth with his agility and proved to be a great counter to Moxley’s brawling power style.

The most incredible part to me was how over Danhausen was with this crowd. At one point there was a dueling “Let’s Go Mox-ley/Dan-Haus-En” chant and to my ear the Danhausen chant was louder. This is the kind of response WWE wishes they could have for any of their talent, let alone a talent who hasn’t even wrestled yet. If this kind of response continues in the coming weeks, they could have a bona fide draw on their hands, and his first match could become a big event. Only time will tell.

Jon Moxley-Bryan Danielson Segment – HIT

This was spectacular. Danielson showcased his tweener sensibilities on the mic, and Mox shined with great face and body acting. Even though Jon didn’t utter a word, he used his face and movements to always have a response to what Bryan said.

Whether this spins out into a Death Rider/Dragon connection that mentors the potential future of AEW and goes on a Tag Title run or a singles program between the two, this had fans wanting to see more.

C.M. Punk-MJF Match Hype Video – HIT

Excellent video package hyping up the main event. This is the kind of video that makes the viewer feel like it’s a big deal and worthy of being a main event. It’s also the kind of video that AEW needs to do every week for every main event.

There was also a video later in the episode following the Adam Cole segment showing Punk and Friedman in a split screen warming up. This added even more intrigue seeing the different styles of warm up and different type of characters. Both of these are excellent ways of transitioning from segment to segment and I hope AEW does these types of videos next week hyping the Cole/Archer main event.

Brandi Rhodes-Dan Lambert Segment – MISS

This was rough to watch. I understand that they tried to have Lambert try and assert himself as heel on Brandi so as to try and make her more likable, but it’s always two steps forward and one step back with Brandi: She will say something that you can start to where she’s coming from, and then have some stupid insider line that just doesn’t land.

Instead, the crowd ate Brandi alive and Brandi was completely overtaken, barely able to complete her lines, let alone try to say them in a convincing way. The VanZant brawl was ok, but I’m already nervous that a mainstream star may get jobbed out to Rhodes.

Andrade Hardy Family Office Segment – MISS

These segments aren’t working for me. The stairway setting already feels old, and at this point every member of the AHFO seems to have more charisma than this iteration of Hardy. If the amount of talking time was switched, and Isiah Kassidy had the bulk of time with Hardy interjecting, it would likely play much better.

Instead, the highlight is Kassidy and Jose fist bumping after Isiah made a joke about possibly trying to break up the real life couple of Sammy Guevara and Tay Conti. A joke which doesn’t hit right given the couple’s controversial start.

The Kings of the Black Throne Defeated PAC and Penta El Zero Miedo (w/ Alex Abrahantes) – HIT

The beginning of this was a blast. PAC did his best Matt Murdock impression and evaded and countered Malakai Black’s opening offense with seemingly no ability to see Black’s movement. Black sold this incredibly well, getting physically and vocally agitated.

The rest of the match stayed at the same excitement level. Great spots including dual dives to the outside by PAC and Penta, and the ending with Penta being blinded by Black’s Black Mist, which allowed the Kings to hit the Dante’s Inferno (great name for a finisher).

I hope Black and King come up with a Nine Levels of Hell match. I don’t know what that would entail but I know fans would be intrigued.

Adam Cole Promo – HIT

Not much to this promo. Cole reasserted his intensity and showcased his charisma on the mic. The more they can highlight Cole away from the Elite and their specific brand of wackiness, the faster than can make Cole a credible threat for the AEW World Title.

Nyla Rose (w/ Vickie Guerrero) Defeated Ruby Soho – HIT

This match was strong throughout. Ruby and Nyla are developing good chemistry together and this was one of the better matches from either competitor thus far, and it’s good to see them improving.

The Gunn Club-Jungle Boy Segment – SOFT MISS

This was ok. Having the Gunn Club act like cartoon characters and dragging this out when it should be a match on Dark feels like it could be a future misstep, but any time Jungle Boy is on screen is a plus. The longer this program gets dragged out though, the tougher it will be for Jurassic Express to carry the match when it happens.

Hangman Adam Page-Lance Archer Segment – SOFT HIT

This was ok. Page had good fire and charisma and Archer somehow had a great Jake Roberts impression.

The brawl was well shot, with a behind the back shot of Archer as Page did a suicide dive from the ring onto him. The camera swung around well to show that it didn’t do much damage to Archer. The final shot of Archer putting Page through the table was a great final shot before their match next week.

Chris Jericho Promo – MISS

This was just awkward. Jericho is looking better physically but his promo skills have been lacking lately. Chris is trying too hard to shoehorn in catchy zingers instead of wording his promos so they flow.

The Inner Circle team meeting would have been a fun segment that AEW could promote when it was still in its first year, but the show has evolved beyond these segments. There’s plenty of quality talent that fans want to see that could do more with that time.

MJF Defeated C.M. Punk – HOME RUN

This was an incredible match. Punk and MJF put on a clinic as professors of Modern Interpretations of Aged Storylines and Territorial Theory 101.

Punk’s ability to sell his leg and shoulder injuries and MJF finding new and exciting ways to wrestle as a heel were phenomenal, and MJF is becoming an incredibly well rounded performer. MJF is becoming one of the best professional wrestlers in the world right before our eyes.

Under any other circumstances, the false finish would’ve felt incredibly sour to me, as it begs the obvious question of “why is this not a disqualification? If you wouldn’t start the match with a competitor injured, why would you RESTART one like that?” but the chemistry and performances of both men sucked you in so far it didn’t matter.

This also did a good job of stretching out the Wardlow/MJF breakup. You could tell Wardlow was conflicted through his facial expressions, yet still did what he was told to do.

Fans – EMPTIED DUGOUT

I have to give special props to the fans in attendance. They came out to a show in the middle of a snowstorm and they really elevated this show. While they were especially hostile to Brandi, they added a lot and energized the performers to push themselves.


CATCH-UP: 2/2 AEW DYNAMITE RESULTS: Keller’s detailed report and analysis on MJF vs. Punk, Pac & Penta vs. House of Black, Rose vs. Soho, Danielson makes offer to Mox

1 Comment on AEW DYNAMITE HITS & MISSES 2/2: Moxley shines in opener, Punk and MJF with a clinic, more

  1. “This is the kind of response WWE wishes they could have for any of their talent”, yeah sure they are dreaming of Danhausen being the internet darling of the month.

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