SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
AEW Dynamite Hits & Misses
Chris Jericho/Eddie Kingston Segment – HIT
This played incredibly well with many moving parts. Kingston gave an emotional promo that Jericho played off of perfectly. Jericho was convincing in his words leading up to 2Point0 and Daniel Garcia’s run-in attack.
The turn and faction birth played a little awkwardly. They will need to call back to the initial two episodes of AEW Dynamite, where the Inner Circle made themselves known and then explained their motives. Right now it feels like the remnants of the Inner Circle and 2Point0 and Garcia being smushed together.
C.M. Punk Video Segment – MINOR HIT
The extreme interpretation of this is the video planted seeds of a C.M. Punk heel turn, but I think all this indicated is that “Happy” Punk is no more, and Punk has settled into his place on the AEW roster and settled into his abilities.
Planting seeds for a heel turn would work well if Tony Khan intends to make him Adam Page’s next major opponent. It’s clear the crowd would be firmly behind Punk, and working to establish a heel persona now will be paramount in helping Page navigate treacherous promo waters.
“Hangman” Adam Page Defeated Dante Martin – HIT
This was a great showcase match and was a wonderful palate cleanser from Page’s recent violent defenses. The clash of style Martin’s impressive agility allowed them was perfect in highlighting Page’s balance of strength to agility, and forced Page to attack Martin different ways. The end sequence was a delight, and to me was as entertaining as the Buckshot Lariat off of the ref’s back a few weeks ago.
Post Match Angle – MINOR HIT
These little matches and post match promos are perfect for building Hangman up. He gets to be showcased during the match and then highlight his “aw shucks” promo style while putting over his opponent. Sprinkling his main storyline with these types of matches are the best type of side quest he could ask for.
Reintroducing Adam Cole as a challenger for Page feels forced. On top of that, having the tag match next week feels like they’re dragging this out. My guess is the program will end at the next AEW Battle of the Belts special on April 15th, which they will need to really try to stretch it out until then.
Bryan Danielson and Jon Moxley Defeated The Workhorsemen – HIT
First off, props to Henry and Drake for an A+ team name.
This was a fine match to debut Danielson and Moxley as a unit. They worked well together, smothering the workers horsemen and limiting their ability to get any offense in. Between the collective in-ring intelligence of Bryan and Jon and their popularity among fans, this team can easily cut through the competition to win gold.
Post Match Promo – MAJOR HIT
Wow, what a promo from Regal. You could see the rust. Not just from the two months since he’d been released by WWE, but from the length of time since he’d done one with little-to-no scripting.
In the same way that you can see a parents’ mannerisms in their children, you can see Regal’s ability to show loving charisma while also making insults in Danielson. The way Regal gushed on being in the ring with Schiavone one minute and then insult his suiting the next was an absolute joy. Seeing them both smile was an absolute joy.
Seeing Regal flip the switch, quite literally, from loving friend to badass in AEW was something I hope every professional wrestler studies. The stance. The posture. The tone of voice. It was perfect. This is William Regal being Old Man Logan. My heart broke when he said that Bryan Danielson became everything he could’ve been if he didn’t have the problems he had. This made me wants to see the belts on Mox and Danielson. Hell, this made me want to see a belt on Regal.
Dark Order/Adam Page Segment – MISS
There were too many tones going on with this segment for it to work for me. Page was sincere in his apology to the Dark Order and Alex Reynolds. Silver hamming it up with the comedy. It just felt a little too disjointed. Hopefully this leads to an actual breakup story between the two.
PAC Defeated Wheeler YUTA – MISS
During the Danielson/Mox/Workhorsemen match, Commentary announced that Tony was adding a match to the card because the Hangman/Dante Martin match “did not go the full 60 minutes”.
Without having seen the rest of the show, I can already say that this was not necessary, and it likely made the rest of the show feel rushed.
The match was fine enough, but this could’ve (and should’ve) been on Dark or Elevation. Overcrowding a show inhibits the fan from sitting with moments because they’re forced to immediately pay attention to the next segment.
ReDRagon/Elite Segment – MINOR MISS
On the one hand, being able to see that ReDRagon, Cole and the Bucks are friends through their onscreen chemistry is fun. On the other hand, it can be dangerous seeing peoples senses of humor when they’ve been around each other so long.
Adding more fuel to the fire between the Bucks and ReDRagon works, but the way they interacted seemed too childish and like they don’t care. We know they do, but the humor doesn’t translate.
FTR Segment – MINOR HIT
While continuing the rivalry between FTR, the Young Bucks and ReDRagon is interesting, the firing of Tully Blanchard out of nowhere was quite shocking. They were a great combo. Seeing what they do without him sounds great though. Who knows, maybe Tully and Arn can make their new Four Horsemen. (4orsemen?)
AHFO Emergency Meeting – HIT
As a vehicle to introduce Jeff Hardy into AEW and this was a great segment. Matt has been pouty and disinterested from the rest of the Family Office for some time since his “erratic” behavior, and seeing that culminate in him being ejected from the group makes a lot of sense. Having Sting and Darby come out to even out the numbers before Jeff came out seems unnecessary, but I’m sure Allin loved being in the ring for his debut. Jeff got a great pop and, I must admit, i was beaming when their song came on.
Shane “Swerve” Strickland/Tony Nese – MINOR MISS
AEW doesn’t have the best track record with debut matches. Some guys get a pop in a multi-man before losing. Some go straight for a title. Swerve feels like he could’ve debuted in a title match. The man oozes charisma and could easily hold his own. Yes, the history with Nese is nice, (say that five times fast) but it feels beneath Strickland, compared to a debut like Jay Lethal.
Wardlow Segment – HIT
From the start of the segment, Wardlow came off like a star. His swagger walking down the ramp. His facial expressions acknowledging going through a different tunnel. It all worked. Once he got the mic in his hand, he was able to back up his physical persona. He commanded the mic. He didn’t need to be clever or overly theatric. He owned it. The segment could’ve been trimmed down a bit, as Mr. Low lost track of his words and started to stumble over them. It’s important that they protect him on the mic as much as they do in the ring.
Keith Lee/QT Marshall – MINOR HIT
Not much to this. QT came off as sleazy as ever, while Lee appeared cool, collected and ready for a fight.
Jurassic Express Defeated The Acclaimed – HIT
Great showcase match for Jurassic Express. Relatively quick bout to show fans who may have only read the results from Revolution why they won. The Acclaimed are getting better as a group in building chemistry and it’s creating better matchups. Great all the way around.
Jade Cargill Video Segment – HIT
Framing Jade as a Goldberg-type monster with a win streak and a mean streak is the perfect tone to set for her. She’s hitting the confidence notes she needs to without coming off arrogant. Cargill doesn’t need labels. Face. Heel. She’s the one with the belt.
Thunder Rosa Defeated Legit Leyla Hirsch – MISS
This just felt like a mess. Before the commercial break there didn’t seem to be any chemistry between the two. They recovered some after the break but it didn’t fix the bad taste of the first half.
It’s nice that AEW goes out of their way, and in the case of MJF, quite literally, to give a performer a pop in their hometown. I bet if we asked Rosa though, if she’d rather win in her home state or on a PPV stage? I think she’d want the PPV win.
Britt Baker Promo – MINOR MISS
This segment highlighted the previous sentiment. Baker retreads talking points from over the last couple of weeks, causing the segment to feel boring. The program should’ve ended with Rosa winning on Sunday.
Scorpio Sky Defeated Sammy Guevara – HIT
Excellent match with equal spots from both performers. Nice touch having a match with outside interference where the interference doesn’t cause the loss. Being able to point to Sky’s veteran savvy in his win legitimizes him as a competitor. I quite like the little hot potato they’ve got going on with the TNT title. If Wardlow doesn’t win next week, Sky can boast a win that few can, building him up further.
Post Match Angle – MINOR HIT
The angle with VanZant and Tay Conti could be fun. Tay’s MMA background should help her put together a good match for Paige when the time comes. While the VanZant signing is interesting, I hope it doesn’t preclude Khan from making offers to other women on the free agent market. Signing some of the veteran wrestlers out there will do much more for the women’s division as a whole than the star power VanZant brings.
Overall – HIT
AEW has done a great job in creating post event shows that start new stories, build new programs and showcase different acts. It makes the fallout episodes feel important, and it’s something they can hang their hat on.