AEW DYNAMITE HITS & MISSES 3/23: Punk and Harwood deliver, a tone deaf Sammy Guevara promo, more


CM Punk says he had garbage match with Adam Page at Double or Nothing


C.M. Punk Defeated Dax Harwood – MAJOR HIT

This was a fantastic way to open the show. The crowd was white hot for Punk, and the AEW commentators were excellent playing up how much fun it is to watch AEW live. The match was paced well, ebbing and flowing through highs and lows. Dax and Punk trading blows and wearing each other down drew the audience in in an incredible way. By the time the match built to its finale, the tension was boiling over until Punk rallied and hit the GTS.

I must say though, it makes me quite uncomfortable to see Harwood use the flying headbutt. Chair shots to the head are one thing. You can do things to limit the damage of those, at least by a little. There’s no way to do that with the Flying Headbutt. Let’s leave this move in the past.

Jericho Appreciation Society Promo – HIT

This was pretty fun. Menard and Parker are doing a great job as cheesy heels in AEW. Giving each member of the JAS a chance to shine on the mic works well in building them up individually and together. If they play this slow enough, there’s a story there for a Jericho/Hangman rematch at AEW Double or Nothing that would be amazing to build and watch play out each week.

Sting, Darby Allin and The Hardy’s Defeated The Butcher, Blade and Private Party – MAJOR HIT

My gosh what a beautiful mess of a match. This was as chaotic as only these performers can be, and seeing Sting, Darby and the Hardy’s work together was a lot of fun. Seeing Darby go down another set of stairs was insane, and the jump Jeff Hardy took took the crowd’s breath away. Seeing Jeff and Sting work together in AEW to win warmed my heart, considering their history.


FTR deserve better than this. The Gunn Club had some heat a few months ago but sitting there in the front row felt minor league. At least FTR can look forward to facing the Briscoe’s soon.

Bryan Danielson and Jon Moxley Defeated the Varsity Blondes – HIT

This was great. Showing the chemistry continue to develop between Danielson and Mox is a treat. Griff and Pillman just got destroyed in this match, and the commentators did a good job showing Julia Hart still reeling from the effects of Malakai Black’s black mist attack.

Post Match Angle – HIT

It’s almost unfair having three of the greatest promos in the same faction. Mox told everyone exactly what they were about, and painted an amazing picture in the audiences heads of the kind of violence they’ve endured and given, and makes clear to the back what they can expect. Framing this as a response to Yuta thinking he can get with them easily was a great choice.

While they didn’t name themselves the violent gentlemen, (or the League of Extremely Violent Gentlemen, as Rich Fann proposed this week on Everything with Rich and Wade) the Blackpool Combat Club is even better, evoking images of a British fight club as well as a soccer team I’d gladly wake up early to cheer on.

MJF Promo – HIT

This was fantastic work from MJF. The way he’s learning to get his points across through his delivery rather than the volume of his words is great to see, and makes his words mean more. Seeing him play off his own losses while demeaning Wardlow and C.M. Punk was fun. Wardlow coming out and being overpowered played very well on TV, with the commentators building him up by playing up how many security guards it takes to keep him down. Not sure how long they want to play this out, but Wardlow vs. MJF would be a huge draw for Double or Nothing.

Best Friends Segment – MISS

This didn’t work for me. Trent felt like the cocky lead of a bad high school play. His words had no weight behind them, which made Yuta’s lines fall flat as well.

Adam Cole Defeated Jay Lethal – MINOR HIT

This was a match whose mileage will vary depending on whether you care if it feels overly choreographed at times. There was some spectacular spots from both wrestlers, with Lethal showcasing some fantastic agility and athleticism.

Between the match itself and Lethal coming out to his Macho Man theme, it feels like they’re building Jay up to be a main act in the rebooted Ring of Honor. He took Cole to the limit and framed himself as a big deal. Making him the flippy dude to contrast to Jonathan Gresham’s old school style would be a great top of the ROH card.

Post Match Angle – MINOR MISS

This just didn’t work for me. Cole getting on the mic and trying to paint Hangman as a lucky winner at Revolution only works if the finish was dusty in some way. It wasn’t, though. Cole lost quite clean. Page’s work is starting to feel formulaic as well. I really hope this feud is meant to end at the next Battle of the Belts in 3 1/2 weeks. Both men need to move on.

Dustin Rhodes/Lance Archer Video Segment – MINOR MISS

Dustin and Rhodes did their best to make 90% of this segment compelling, but I didn’t realize Dan Lambert was still associated with Archer. Normally AEW uses factions to keep more performers on the audiences’ minds, but Lambert’s association with Archer is strange. Lambert manages the Men of the Year, where Paige VanZant can often be found nearby, signaling to the audience that she matters. Why isn’t Archer out there with them? It would make Lance feel like a bigger deal.

Sammy Guevara/Tay Conti Promo – MISS

This was disgusting, and I say this as someone who grew up when Ogrish was an active website.

Sammy and Tay came off incredibly unlikeable. The crowd wasn’t behind them nearly as much as they seem to think they are, and they seemed to display the same cluelessness that Cody and Brandi exhibited. Their arrogance isn’t endearing, and their dig at Lambert flaunting their sexcapades felt like a line Matt Cardona and Chelsea Green would’ve scrapped. I wouldn’t be surprised if both change it up in the near future.

Ricky Starks/Shane “Swerve” Strickland Video Segment – HIT

This was nice, giving Swerve a chance to talk over highlights in the ring, showing fans why they should care about the new guy if they don’t know him from his past. Letting Starks get some mic time is always a good thing too.

Leyla Hirsch Defeated Red Velvet – MINOR MISS

This fell more like filler than anything else. They just wrestled on this past Friday’s episode of Rampage. This wouldn’t normally be a problem, but both wrestlers are still too green to expand on their story that way, making this feel too much like a retread of their last encounter.

Post Match Angle – MISS

Kris Statlander coming out to help Velvet is fine, but they need to be clear with what makes Statlander’s new character different. Kris Statlander changing her makeup doesn’t create a new character, it just makes her look like her old alien persona developed a mood ring-style color changing face highlight.

Jade Cargill Segment – MINOR MISS

This was fine and Cargill has so much charisma that it almost worked as a segment, but not having an opponent feels hollow. This kind of booking doesn’t work unless they plan to have some incredible performer show up as a surprise and change the dynamic so Cargill has to work as an underdog. If that’s their plan, then color me intrigued.

Thunder Rosa AEW Women’s World Championship Promo – MISS

Vickie Guerrero did her best(I hope) to build some heat and build a program between Rosa and Rose, but they’ve done this formula of Vickie causing a distraction and Nyla attacking from behind a few times now. The problem is Nyla hasn’t won convincingly enough recently to make this kind of attack work. Heck she didn’t even beat Ruby Soho in the quarterfinals of the TBS championship inaugural tournament. This kind of story just reminds the audience of this and defines Nyla down.

Chris Jericho and Daniel Garcia Defeated Alex Reynolds and John Silver – HIT

This match was a blast. Starting with the 2Point0 promo before the match, this set a proper heel/face dynamic. Chastising the fans for booing the theme is a great touch, though it likely won’t deter fan participation in the future. (It didn’t even last through the match as the fans sang to close out the show) The commentators also seem to be actively trying to hammer into fans minds Matt Menard and Angelo Parker as individual entities that form 2Point0, something they didn’t seem to be doing when they were Matt Lee and Jeff Parker. It’s a subtle change but one that helps build them up in audiences minds.

The match was paced quite well, playing to each performer’s strengths. There were some great near falls, and the sequence where John Silver did his best bowling ball impression made the crowd go wild. This was a great introductory match showcasing what makes the JAS interesting: smarmy heel tactics with great wrestling as a cherry on top.

AEW Dynamite Overall – MINOR HIT

This show had some incredible highs, especially in the first hour of the episode. The lows really dragged this episode down though. The Sammy/Tay segment, Best Friend’s segment and some of the women’s booking made this an incredibly uneven episode. Nothing AEW can’t fix, especially when segments are being pitched. Clean the show up and the wrestling will mean more.

CATCH-UP: 3/23 AEW DYNAMITE RESULTS: Keller’s detailed report and analysis on Punk vs. Dax, Adam Cole vs. Lethal, Jericho & Garcia vs. Silver & Reynolds, Blondes vs. Mox & Danielson

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