SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
It’s hard to believe we are having our third “go-home” show in the past five weeks. This late summer/early fall schedule has been something I hope never happens again in this company. The burnout is real. While the PPV shows have been wildly entertaining and delivered in the ring, I can only think of how much better they could have been if these events were more spread out and more time had been given to setting up the storylines. Perhaps this is just how AEW will work now, but as we entered Dynamite this week, I was hoping for them to make me want to spend another $50 this weekend. Here we go.
REY FENIX – SINGLES CHAMP
While it was clearly not planned, I’m very happy to see Rey Fenix get showcased as a singles performer. The guy is so talented and I’ve wanted to see him get a singles run for years. It looks like Jon Moxley is being given some time off so Rey should be able to have some time with the belt and put on some great matches.
MJF AND JAY WHITE
What a difference a serious MJF makes and when you put a talent like Jay White with him; the sky is the limit. It took a couple months, but White was finally able to fully showcase what makes him such a great performer. He went toe to toe with Max on the mic, but more importantly, he showed a calm confidence that is unique to AEW. No yelling or carrying on.
Jay should be a future champion and I wouldn’t mind if that happens in the very near future. Max’s current character would be better off chasing the title and eventually regaining it after an epic feud. I also liked the final angle in the show to add some intrigue, though it’s not a babyface move to jump a heel and have a group beat him up, so I’m assuming that was not MJF behind it.
CHRISTIAN AND DARBY
Fantastic intensity in this sit-down interview where I enjoyed the “uncomfortableness” (is that a word?) of J.R. being caught in the middle. The constant mention of dead people by Christian goes right up to that line and, while I don’t love it, I understand it’s his character trait that is meant to elicit negative feelings from the audience.
The segment made me want to see this match and it’s one where you’d think Christian is going to win, but with Darby in his hometown, who knows. Perhaps Nick Wayne turns on Darby and goes with Christian?
There has been a lot of talk this week about women’s divisions and AEW, but I thought Julia Hart’s match with Willow was a positive step. I would have shown a clip of why Willow was bandaged up, but outside of that, I thought Willow showed some great intensity that we are not used to seeing from her. There may be criticism of why Willow would take a loss here, but she was protected by the “injury” to her eye and, most importantly for me, this was a match where Julia beat a legitimate contender on her way to face Statlander on Sunday. So often, AEW would have this be an enhancement match and it would have meant nothing.
Also, Julia Hart has improved in so many ways over the past couple of years. She has come so far from the cheerleader gimmick where now she looks like she can beat someone much bigger than her. Her moves are much smoother and here facial expressions are great. She can look smug, give you a frustrating smirk, and then hide behind a mountain of a man in Brody. I’d love for her to win the title Sunday, but either way, she should be a player in the AEW Women’s Division for a long time.
MJF AND COLE’S BOAT TRIP
As much as I love the serious MJF when sparring with Jay White is as much as I hate the skits with Adam Cole. It’s played out. They make no sense. Why is Max threatening to hit Cole with the ring? Why is Cole responding with cartoon catchphrases? Why is Paul Wight still dressing up as Captain Insano? I’m hoping that Cole is faking his leg injury and somehow finally turns on MJF to end this ridiculousness. It was fun while it lasted, but it’s time to move on and have Max act like the company’s champion and not comic relief. I’m hoping Cole was the one beating up White at the end of the show with Roddy and his buds.
SWERVE (FOR SHUTTING DOWN PRINCE NANA)
The promo from Swerve with Hangman was fine. For some reason, I’m not as into this match as I’d like to be. I’m thinking it’s because Swerve spent the better part of the summer losing matches and Hangman hasn’t done much of note for a while and then in two weeks this is supposed to be a heated feud. This is one of the issues with three PPVs in a month.
My main problem with Swerve this week though was stopping Prince Nana from doing the “Swerve dance.” What a heel move! I may or may not have been caught doing this dance at home by my kids. (They were both horrified!)
TONY KHAN’S WORKLOAD
I like the guy, but as a member of the sports media, listening to his press conferences have become frustrating. He is coming across as someone who takes any type of criticism personally and avoids being direct with the press, which means he’s not being direct with his fanbase. I have been one of the biggest AEW fans from day one and continue to be. I appreciate what he has done to give me an alternative to WWE, which I had grown tired of, and allowed me to support a company that didn’t make me feel dirty. That said, $150 spent in a month is too much to ask your fanbase. There should have been a combo deal for the back-to-back shows last month, and while thankfully I can afford it, many people can’t and it has the look of taking advantage of your loyal fans to ask for that much monetary support.
This episode of Dynamite did a decent job at setting up this Sunday’s show. I’ve yet to be disappointed by any AEW PPV so I’m sure it’s going to be a fun evening of wrestling. I’m just hoping for an angle that’ll get people talking and make the weekly television shows more must-see so they can start filling those buildings again. They are on the right track with some of their storylines, but to fill five hours a week, they need more and I hope they achieve it.
OR CHECK THIS OUT AT PROWRESTLING.NET: Powell’s AEW Dynamite Hit List: Swerve Strickland and Hangman Page contract signing for AEW WrestleDream, Rey Fenix vs. Jeff Jarrett for the AEW International Title, Julia Hart vs. Willow Nightingale