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Tony Khan’s Big Announcement – HOME RUN
It’s really hard to grade this as anything else. When Tony Khan started hyping his big announcement, it was hard not to instantly get nightmares of the Christian Cage signing. But this felt different. Hearing that Khan had an NDA made this feel bigger than a signing. It felt bigger than a super show with New Japan.
My curiosity was piqued when Tony said on Busted Open Radio that he’d be making the announcement himself. Only his second appearance on Dynamite, following his appearance to hand Brodie Junior the retired TNT championship and to lay his fathers boots in the middle of the ring.This more than lived up to the hype. The possibilities are endless for what they can do now. ROH invasion angle? Sure. Give Cody a canvas to paint his legacy as booker? If that’s what he wants. Cultivate a place for the wrestlers on the AEW roster who don’t get featured weekly to call home? It would be smart.
Tony’s delivery didn’t showcase technical promo skills, but it didn’t need to be. It felt authentic. It was heartfelt. It felt like someone who was passionate about what he did convey that same passion for something new.
Bryan Danielson Defeated Christopher Daniels – MINOR HIT
What a great callback to the early days of ROH and what a great segue from Tony’s announcement. The opening match was an excellent way to further tug at the heartstrings of die hard ROH fans. The chemistry between Danielson and Daniels was still evident, and the two were quite comfortable. For me, though, Daniels’ age limited the success of the match. CD isn’t as fast in the ring as he used to be, and it interrupted Bryan’s flow as a performer. Not by much, but enough to notice. Truly the nittiest of picks, but still worth noting to me.
Post Match Angle – HIT
Seeing Bryan use history and the viewers knowledge of ROH to play into the heel role was smart, and Moxley has put on incredible promo after incredible promo since his return. This was no different.
Sting/Darby Allin Segment – MISS
This was wholly too confusing. I couldn’t tell what Sting was talking about, and thought Sting and Darby were forbidden from interfering in the tag team triple threat on Sunday at Revolution.
Rather, it was in regards to Darby’s quest to regain the TNT championship from Sammy. Something that doesn’t feel in question since they’ve been working together for awhile now. I can’t say I’ve sensed much tension in their relationship thus far, so why worry about that now?
Just feels like a way to shoehorn Sting and Darby on the show when they show up live later.
Young Bucks Win the Tag Team Battle Royale – MINOR HIT
Darius Martin was a treat to see and didn’t look like he lost a step at all. Overall, I feel like this played better than the royale last week. The action felt crisper overall and the storytelling and camerawork was much clearer. But did this match need to happen? Why throw a tag team royale on consecutive weeks, risking feeling like redundant booking leading up to a show with a stacked card?
Treating the title match at Revolution more like the Dynamite Diamond Ring would’ve been smarter. One royale, where the final two teams advance. (ReDRagon and the Bucks were the last two teams so it would’ve made sense from a story perspective anyway) they could’ve used this week to further the idea of Cole being stuck in the middle of the two groups with a promo segment in the ring and allowed the episode to breathe a bit more freely.
Chris Jericho Promo – MINOR HIT
This was fine. The “influencer” gimmick isn’t over with the crowd. (Does it ever get over with crowds?) The gratuitous GFY use is boring.
The end bit with Santana and Ortiz was interesting though. It seemed like the Inner Circle was done with after their tag match, but maybe not.
C.M. Punk/MJF Segment – MAJOR HIT
This was a lot of fun. C.M. Punk spoke from the heart when he talked about contemplating whether he was the good guy or the bad guy, and Punk can easily explore that down the road with an eventual heel turn. MJF was a ticking time bomb that everyone but Punk knew was going to blow, but due to MJF’s work last week, no one would blame him for believing Maxwell.
Still need to question the timing of MJF’s turn though. One would think that it would’ve been smarter to save it for Sunday to blindside Punk, with the turn and the large amount of blood.
I’m not much of a betting man, but I’d reckon that an injured but determined and angry Punk is scarier than an emotionally conflicted Punk. MJF should be smart enough to know that, and the entire audience knows it.
Keith Lee/Ricky Starks Segment – MINOR MISS
This just felt awkward to me. Neither Lee nor Starks seemed to feel comfortable or confident with what they were saying. It did tell us that Lee will be wrestling Friday night on Rampage, so there’s that.
Thunder Rosa and Mercedes Martinez Defeated Britt Baker and Jamie Hayter – MISS
This match didn’t need to happen, and it felt like the performers didn’t think so either. It felt like it took double the time that it actually did. There was no urgency for the match Sunday. The action felt sloppy. I would’ve preferred if the contract signing last Friday on Rampage was given some extra time for rehearsals and given this time slot.
Tay Conti/Jade Cargill Segment – MINOR HIT
Jade Cargill came off looking like a million bucks following this. Her delivery, confidence and charisma gave her entrance from stage right some real weight and I laughed out loud at her bombastic nature and how she treated Tay like she was nothing. This got me quite interested for their match.
Sammy Guevara “Promo” – MISS
I’ve made my disdain for these cue card segments well known by now. This was no different. It didn’t need to happen, and it only diminishes Guevara’s star power, along with not defending the TNT belt at Revolution. I get that Guevara is defending the belt in a triple threat match and that he’s trying to promote it. This isn’t the way, though.
These segments feel like a silent movie star trying to stay relevant in a talking world. If Guevara and Khan don’t stop doing these, Guevara is liable to become as much of a relic of a forgotten time as they found themselves.
Kris Statlander/Leyla Hirsch Video Segment – MINOR HIT
This was fine. It laid out Statlander and Hirsch’s issues and gave good soundbites for both characters. Nothing special but sometimes that’s alright.
Wardlow Defeated Cezar Bononi – HIT
Once you get past the idea of someone of Bononi’s stature being used as a jobber, this was quite fun and seeing the crowd and Wardlow get into power bomb mode was a delight.
Wardlow standing up to Spears was great, and the look of smarmy-smugness on Shawn’s face evaporate into fear of the situation he’s gotten himself into put a smile on my face.
Kings of the Black Throne Video Segment – HIT
Between the effects and music, this had all the elements they excel at. No one said anything of any real consequential substance, but the way they said what they said made you want to see more. Anchoring Buddy Matthews firmly as a King of the Black Throne was smart after his debut last week caused some confusion.
Wardlow/Shawn Spears/MJF Segment – SLAP
My face when Wardlow told MJF he’s too busy making MJF win to win himself? 😮
My face when MJF slapped Wardlow? :O
This was a great segment and brought the pressure in Wardlow’s storyline up to a breaking point. Hopefully they didn’t wait too long to turn Mr. Low away from the Pinnacle, but it’s bound to happen soon.
Adam Cole and ReDRagon Defeated Hangman Adam Page, John Silver and Alex Reynolds – HIT
Great main event with good spots and storytelling. Cole played the heel part well, avoiding Page until he was starting to get fatigued. The match was paced well and didn’t quite feel the 15 minutes or so that it actually was.
The closing moments with Page duct taped to the top rope was different. The beatdowns for Silver and Reynolds didn’t have the impact they probably wanted, given their comedy status, but you could see Page’s rage for his friends.
Overall – MINOR HIT
The highs were clearly there for this episode of Dynamite, but this episode felt uneven for a go home show. It was a good episode of Dynamite, but for a go home episode before a PPV with an incredible card, I want better than good.