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AEW DYNAMITE HITS & MISSES
Jeff Hardy Defeated Bobby Fish – MINOR HIT
AEW Dynamite opened tonight with Tony Khan’s secret weapon for energizing the start of a show: infectious theme songs. Nothing gets a crowd going like Adam Cole’s theme song, and having that be followed by the Hardy’s iconic song got the crowd white hot.
The match worked well enough, but wasn’t anything special. The pace felt slow, which really showed how limited Jeffs mobility has become. Seeing him gingerly ascend the turnbuckle for a backflip onto Fish was sad, as that was a move he used to do fluidly not too long ago. Could’ve been an off night for him, but TK may want to be careful showcasing the Hardy’s too much, because the polish can tarnish rather quick.
Post Match Angle with The Young Bucks – MINOR HIT
This was a fun little moment, as the Bucks gave a little show of respect with the slightest tinge of tension. Setting up a program between the two teams is a recipe for great wrestling, and keeping it simple tonight was smart.
William Regal Video Segment – HOME RUN
This was fantastic. Regal’s words and delivery painted a brutal story of camaraderie built with bricks of pain and sealed with blood. Seeing each member of the BCC bleed for and because of each other really put them over. Yuta developing a popularity equal to his stablemates may have been an unexpected surprise, but when AEW debuts a trios title, the BCC should be the only team in consideration as inaugural champions.
Jon Moxley, Bryan Danielson and Wheeler Yuta Defeated The Butcher, Blade and Angelico – HIT
Fun match to follow up on the great video. The Blackpool Combat Club looked in trouble at times, but paced the match in such a way that it didn’t last long and regained control with a fantastic orgy of violence. Having Wheeler focus on their biggest opponents is a fantastic touch to build up his underdog popularity in AEW.
Ricky Starks/Powerhouse Hobbs/Jurassic Express Segment – MINOR MISS
Fun promo segment with Starks, Hobbs and Jurassic Cage. Christian playing third wheel to the two teams makes him stick out like a sore thumb, so leading to the eventual heel turn sooner than later might be best for everyone. Jungle Boy still has an “aw shucks” sensibility that limits his mic abilities, but he’s pushing himself and it’s getting us an FTW title match.
Keith Lee/Swerve Strickland Segment – MINOR HIT
Nice segment to follow up. Swerve and Lee have unique promo deliveries that are vastly different yet mesh together well, and the “swerve in his greatness” is a great line.
Wardlow Defeated W. Morrissey – HIT
Really fun match between two great big men. Seeing Wardlow play the underdog in AEW was a great change of pace, and he played it well. The match had some great spots, and the fans felt really into the match and each individual performer. Morrissey was fantastic in his role as the ultimate challenge for Wardlow. The fan reaction was remarkably hot, and could show the merit of showcasing a wider variety of styles and body types on Dynamite. Line of the night also went to “WE WANT ENZO/NO WE DON’T”, complete with Morrissey mimicking his former partners dance moves.
Post Match Angle with MJF – MINOR HIT
Thankfully they’re making the match official, and seeing Wardlow demolish all those security guards was incredible, but the contract signing/stipulations is already being recycled from the MJF/Cody storyline. Is MJF going to whip Mr. Low, as he did to Mr. Rhodes? Who will Wardlow face in a cage if MJF cannot summon…him?
Toni Storm/Ruby Soho/Britt Baker/Jamie Hayter – MINOR HIT
Setting up the match between all four women for Friday was smart, as they were running low on ways to justify the repetitive backstage segments. Who knows? Maybe the record of first women’s tag match to open AEW Rampage will pop a rating.
Adam Page Segment – MINOR HIT
This was a really confusing segment. When Page has stepped up to the plate and showed some chutzpah to his character against Omega, Danielson and Cole, it works incredibly well. The intensity Page can show is the definition of Cowboy Shit. The script dragged this down though. Page came off like a heel, which, you know, could be on purpose, but I was more excited about the possibility of both men playing with shades of gray rather than forcing one man to play bad guy. Punk may have been absent this week, but when the time comes and both men get in the ring to promote this match together, may prove to be Page’s biggest challenge to date.
Jay Lethal/Sonjay Dutt/Satnam Singh Segment – MINOR HIT
Standard heel segment. Lethal and co. Came off properly imposing and the charisma really sold them all as viable challengers. Lethal should be a great heel to showcase Konosuke Takeshita.
Chris Jericho Defeated Santana – HIT
Good match between Jericho and Santana. Jericho debuting as “The Wizard” is hilarious, and Jericho is on pace to have nearly as many nicknames as Dewey Cox. Both men worked this incredibly well and had an old school, knock down vibe that will make Attitude Era sports entertainment fans happy.
Samoa Joe Promo – MINOR HIT
Standard Samoa Joe promo complete with deep intensity calling out Jay Lethal.
The Acclaimed/Gunn Club Segment – MISS
I may have lost some brain cells while watching this. The Acclaimed and Gunn Club are excellent heels separately, but they may be a little too much to have in the same stable.
Varsity Blondes/Kings of the Black Throne/Death Triangle Segment – MINOR HIT
Fun segment teasing Hart joining Black’s stable, but Hart wouldn’t succumb. Death Triangle entering to make the save was fun. Julia Hart refusing to join Black was a nice surprise. Stay woke, Kings.
Jade Cargill/Baddies Promo – MINOR MISS
Not much to this. Velvet trying to assert herself as a contender in the Owen Hart Tournament. Cargill taking a backseat following her victory over Marina Shafir helps the rest of the baddies get over and gives them some added star power.
Rey Fenix Defeated Dante Martin – HIT
Really fun match, if you liked Ospreay vs. Ricochet. Both men had great chemistry together, and their moves flowed effortlessly from spot to spot and everywhere in between. There was a lot of no selling, and sometimes you can get away with that, but this was a lot. From a performers perspective, I get it. You want to feature both men. But it really does just make both performers look weak.
Darby Allin Segment – MINOR MISS
This would’ve played better as an Allin-produced affair. Keeping this as a standard backstage segment felt weird, and didn’t play to Darby’s strengths. Including “how do you do, fellow youths?” level Sting may seem smart on paper, but in practice doesn’t stick.
Thunder Rosa/Serena Deeb Promo – MINOR HIT
This had a lot of potential as a match set up and as a straight promo. Go back and watch Thunder Rosa’s first promo in AEW introducing her to non-NWA fans. She looked incredibly stiff and nervous in comparison, and the entire segment lasted WAY too long. Cutting it in half still might’ve been too long. Deeb really ended this segment strong with amazing delivery and character work, making a match official for Double or Nothing.
John Silver Promo – MINOR MISS
John Silver is a fun charismatic wrestler, and a match between him and Punk should be fun, but booking this match in Silver’s hometown seems unwise if they want Punk to be cheered heading into his title match in a few weeks.
Mercedes Martinez Defeated Deonna Purrazzo – MINOR HIT
If the match had the same intensity it ended with throughout, it would’ve been quite good. As it is, it wasn’t bad, but this match never really came together as it should’ve given both competitors talents.
Overall – HIT
With multiple matches made official for Double or Nothing and great action throughout the show, this was a fun episode of Dynamite. Weaving storylines that involve wrestlers from upwards of four different companies gives Dynamite an organic nature that is really fun to watch.