SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Intro – MISS
Right from the start of this episode, it felt off. I couldn’t quite figure out why. Then it hit me. As the episode started, the phrase that brought comfort to fans everywhere, rang silent. A line that the late Brodie Lee made into a thing, “it’s Wednesday night, and you know what that means” was cut from the commentary intro.
There’s a weird thing about loss. Specifically with losing a loved one. There’s the initial shock that the knowledge that you won’t see the person anymore. Then the next layer settles in, where you realize that the person won’t be there for various milestones and life events. Then there’s moments that just don’t feel right. You walk into a room or hear something that makes a specific part of your brain click, and something feels wrong. You realize that there’s a memory associated with that specific place or an inside joke you both used to crack up about. And you just won’t anymore.
Losing Brodie Lee was tough, but the episode commemorating his life was beautiful, and sprinkling the show with little nods to him was smart. Starting each episode of Dynamite with his line was such a wonderful nod to his memory. If they retire the line for good, it’ll be tough. That’s the thing about change though. It’s not supposed to be easy. It’s just supposed to happen.
Jay Lethal Defeated Orange Cassidy – MINOR HIT
This was a strange but fun match. It started off with a large helping of comedy. Trent and Chuck doing their best Muppet Man impression (shout out to The Muppets 2011) and the usual Cassidy playbook, but once the commercial break passed the match got focused and all the more better for it. Both performers kept the crowd attention and worked the match and their energy levels well. I don’t want to say this was Lethal’s best match in AEW thus far but it very well could be.
Post Match Angle with Wardlow, Best Friends, Sonjay Dutt and Satnam Singh – HIT
Simple segment that gets Wardlow out for the crowd and sets up a match. Dutt was great on the mic.
Was Battle of the Belts announced before tonight? Did I completely miss that? If not and this is how they announced it, what a strange way to do it. Wardlow seemed noticeably more comfortable on the mic to me. The wording wasn’t great but his delivery was what I’d want from a guy like him.
FTW Title Championship Match Recap – MINOR HIT
Nice little segment recapping the title switch last week. Good, keep putting Hook on tv.
Adam Cole/Young Bucks/Undisputed Elite/Hangman Page Segment – HIT
Great segment from all involved. Cole was great on the mic with intensity that really put over himself even through injury as well as the eventual swerve. Hangman’s pop was great. Not a 3+ year storyline great but still great considering their tv use thus far.
Jon Moxley Segment – MAJOR HIT
Standard Moxley promo. That may sound like a bad thing but his floor is most guys’ ceiling. He’s just that talented.
Christian Cage/Jungle Boy Segment – HIT
This was a low key great segment. It felt like 90’s/early 00’s WWE in the best way. Obviously no one was going to be hurt, but shooting the driving car from that angle just always seems precarious. I’m quite fond of Jungle Boy Oscuro thus far. Obviously giving any performer some specific direction via storyline helps, but he’s selling it in a way I don’t think his past use thus far suggested he’d excel at. He’s excelling in my book.
Jamie Hayter/Britt Baker Defeated ThunderStorm – MINOR MISS
Alright match that had some sloppy moments. I can’t say I’m a fan of making Rosa’s sandbagging allegations an on air joke. Feels like a really tacky way to laugh at a serious subject. Hayter showcasing some excellent strength, suplexing both Toni and Rosa.
Sammy Guevara/Tay Conti/Eddie Kingston Segment – MINOR HIT
This was a stupidly funny segment that I really didn’t want to laugh at. The animation and poor man’s William Regal monologue was great. Segueing to Kingston was perfect. Kingston had his usual rawness and intensity. Instantly makes fans want that match.
Taz Segment – MISS
Good little promo from Taz, but this really put the fans in an awkward position, as most people in house wouldn’t have any idea what was going on.
Powerhouse Hobbs Defeated Ren Jones – MINOR HIT
Dominating squash match that didn’t even need to last as long as the minute it lasted. Calling out Starks mid match furthers their rivalry.
Post Match Angle with Ricky Starks – HIT
Great run in and beat down on Starks. Crowd was into him as a face and really put over Hobbs as a heel.
Miro Segment – MINOR HIT
Segment putting over a female character in the Miro-verse. He didn’t specifically say his wife, as he has in the past. Are they setting up a swerve of a different performer?
Darby Allin Segment – HIT
This was fun. Allin is starting to speak more. He’s not comfortable, but that is part of his shtick. The sound of the tattoo gun was a fun drone sound, dueling with the soft piano melody playing in the background.
Christian Cage Defeated Matt Hardy – MINOR MISS
This match had a hard time from the start succeeding after what came before it.
Not the Allin segment. The “I PLAYED THIS MATCH ON NO MERCY” sign. Bravo. Bra-effing-vo.
This was a match that did the best with what they had. The crowd for the most part was into this, despite their limited capabilities at this point in their careers.
Post Match Angle with Luchasaurus and Jungle Boy – MINOR HIT
Fun little run in segment. Props to the cameraman doing a bang up job avoiding the writing on Jungle Boy’s shirt.
Daniel Garcia Segment – MINOR MISS
Garcia was alright here. He sounded confident but it felt hollow. He was missing that it factor that can really take a segment over the top.
All Atlantic Championship Recap – MINOR HIT
Great little highlight reel recapping the last title defense on Dark. Interesting idea giving Kip Sabian something to do.
Ethan Page Segment – HIT
Ethan is so good on the mic. The way he changes his inflection and using different parts of his mouth to convey different things, it’s like a professional singer. Recruiting Page to Stokely Hathaway’s group isn’t a bad idea. Page and Cargill would be a hell of a duo on the mic.
JAS Segment – MINOR MISS
Decent segment putting over Jerichos match later on the card. Anna Jay was better on the mic this week, I think. I wish Ethan Page would take her under his wing. Copying more of his style would do her well.
The Acclaimed Defeated The Ass Boys – HIT
The idea of Bowens and Caster coming down and putting the Ass Boys down and then do their rap was a stroke of genius and quite hilarious. Caster’s rap was funny in its own right. Once the match got started, it was fun. The action was crisp and raw and each team getting spots.
Post Match Angle – MINOR HIT
Fun segment with Caster and Bowens pushing the dumpster off the ramp. Another segment that feels like old school WWE.
Claudio Castagnoli/Konosuke Takeshita Segment – MINOR HIT
Good, heavy edited segment that made two wrestlers without great English sound good. The video put over the action we’ll see and made the words complement that.
Chris Jericho Defeated Wheeler Yuta – HIT
This was a fun match that felt like a fun way of setting up the championship match. Mox vs Yuta is still fresh in our memories and thus we always knew it’d be Mox and Jericho next week. Having that match so recently made it easy to compare how Mox and Jericho would face through a mutual opponent. Mox and Wheeler had a brawling bloody mess, while Jericho and Yuta felt much more choreographed and smooth through transitions. Including a low blow works to Jerichos character and working in the Lion Tamer gives Jericho a little extra boost heading into next week.
Post Match Angle with Jon Moxley – HIT
Not much to this. Just an excuse to get Jericho and Mox in house to set up the match. Though it’s the kind of move AEW rarely does for their World Title programs so maybe there is much to this.
Overall – MINOR HIT
This was a fun episode that for the most part flowed quite well from segment to segment, but there were definitely some parts that felt half produced. The best example is the announcement of Battle of the Belts III. AEW notoriously has trouble with getting the word out on when their shows temporarily change time slots. So much so that they changed from TNT to TBS in part to quell the NBA and soon to be NHL interruptions. Sure they announced it on Rampage, which means less than half of your audience saw it. Is it really the time to make strange promotional decisions while Discovery is axing multi-million dollar DC projects?