AEW FEUD TRACKER: Assessing and grading Samoa Joe-Hangman-Swerve, Sting & Darby-Young Bucks, Storm-Purazzo, Copeland-Christian, HOB-Briscoe, more

By Zach Barber, PWTorch contributor


AEW Dynamite arrives tonight live from Phoenix and it’s sure to be an episode as hot the desert itself. An Icon competes for a title one last time. Samoa Joe learns who he will be facing at Revolution after weeks of being circled by Hangman and Swerve. CMLL looks to make a huge statement against the Blackpool Combat Club. Lest we forget Tony Khan has a big announcement that could be Monè, if you know what I mean. With that being said, in the words of Olmec from my favorite 90s Nickelodeon game show Legends of the Hidden Temple, “Let’s rock”!

Samoa Joe vs. Hangman Page vs. Swerve Strickland

Last week Hangman and Swerve chose each other’s opponents. Hangman got through Toa Liona while Swerve outlasted Rob Van Dam in a hardcore match. Following that match, Swerve and Hangman had an intense promo exchange culminating in Swerve agreeing to face Hangman one last time with the winner earning the right to face Joe. It was the only logical conclusion. These men have been chasing each other to a title shot for weeks. They’re ranked 1 and 2 in the rankings. I’ve said for weeks that it had to come down to a playoff of sorts between the two and now it has. Swerve cut a babyface leaning promo on Collision during which he made it clear to Prince Nana that he doesn’t want any interference this time. He also promised to make Black history by becoming AEW world champion. To have Swerve promise to make Black history on the third day of Black history month and have him not fulfill that promise would be unbelievably egregious booking. That’s why I believe Swerve has to go 3 for 3 against Hangman, beat him sans interference and move towards being crowned champion at Revolution. Hangman can go off the rails even more and find another opponent for the PPV. He’ll be fine. This Swerve’s time.

Grade: A+

Sting & Darby Allin vs. The Young Bucks

For the first time since that horrible night where we all thought Sting’s career had come to gruesome end before our eyes, The Icon is challenging for a title. Last week he and Darby had a sit-down interview with Ricky Starks & Big Bill building up the match. Darby later had a run-in with the Bucks that ended with Matthew ominously saying that they would have to get Darby’s attention another way. This is where my head and my heart are at complete odds. My heart 100% wants Sting to win one last championship in his storied career. My head understands that he doesn’t really need the titles and the Bucks can get tremendous heat for screwing them out of the titles. Given that the Dynamite card graphic released on Twitter indicates this match will be the main event I think the most likely outcome is Sting and Darby winning the titles and then the Young Bucks ruining the moment and attacking them. They can still get good heat from that but the crowd gets to go crazy for Sting first.

Grade: A

Toni Storm vs. Deonna Purazzo

The match for Revolution is official. Toni Storm will defend the AEW Women’s World Title against her former friend the Virtuosa. Deonna’s is laser focused and not letting any of Toni’s tomfoolery shake her while Toni is clearly by the mention of the matching tattoos or any reminder of her past. This week it’s Toni in the ring, wanting to show off her technical prowess, while Deonna does commentary. It’ll be interesting to see how this continues to play out but as of now I believe the chances are still good that Deonna walks out of Greensboro with the belt.

Grade: A-

Blackpool Combat Club vs. CMLL

This story has been a genuine surprise. When it was announced that luchadors from CMLL would be coming to AEW I figured it would be like every other one off special appearance from a promotion with whom AEW is working. I couldn’t have been more wrong. My first clue should’ve been the video package introducing the Luchadors. That never happens with visitors. On Dynamite last week the CMLL guys jumped the guardrail and then jumped Jon Moxley who had to be rescued by referees and roster members because the BCC weren’t there. On Saturday Mox cut a promo threatening to invade Arena Mexico and then Hechicero and Danielson had a fantastic wrestling match. Hechicero pulled out moves that I’ve never seen in over 25 years watching wrestling. Danielson got the win but just barely. On Dynamite, CMLL takes on BCC in a trios match. It feels like this is the start of something, not the end, perhaps seeds being planted for Forbidden Door. As such I feel strongly that the CMLL guys need to beat the BCC in order to really legitimize them. They also need a mouthpiece to cut the promos for them if this feud is going to continue.

Grade: A+ (No feud featuring the match we saw on Saturday could be scored any lower)

Adam Copeland vs. Christian Cage

Not much happened with this feud in the last week. Copeland was off TV probably recovering from the match with Minoru Suzuki. Christian, meanwhile teamed with the rest of the Patriarchy to take on Daniel Garcia and FTR. The Patriarchy fell to FTR and Garcia. After the match Garcia and Cage had an intense stare down. Could that be a tease of a future program? Perhaps? First though Christian has to settle things with his former best friend. We are scheduled to hear from Copeland on Collision so hopefully that gets the ball rolling on whatever their final showdown will be at Revolution.

Grade: B

Chris Jericho & Sammy Guevara vs. The Don Callis Family

The Don Callis can’t seem to shake Chris Jericho. Tonight on Dynamite Konosuke Takeshita faces Le Champion one-on-one. The only acceptable outcome of that match is Takeshita winning. Last Friday ok Rampage, Guevara called out Powerhouse Hobbs. Hobbs responded on Collision with no fear whatsoever. That match is coming at some point and hopefully Hobbs gets the win so everyone can move on.

Grade: B-

Kris Statlander-Willow Nightingale-Stokely Hathaway

This story was pretty simple this week. Stat accompanied Willow to the ring for her match with Queen Aminata and Stokely was begrudgingly dragged along. The match was good with Willow pulling out the win. Afterwards the three of them were being interviewed by Renee Paquette when Ruby Soho, Saraya, and Harley Cameron bickered awkwardly into the picture. (By the way this was all we saw of them so I’m not doing a separate section for that story) Ruby insulted Willow and Stokely jumped to her defense. Willow then challenged Ruby and Saraya to face her and Stat. Ruby accepted despite Saraya humorously scoffing at the idea of actually having to wrestle. I’m really starting to like the dynamic between Statlander, Willow, and Stokely so I’m all for seeing where this goes.

Grade: B+

Eddie Kingston vs. Bryan Danielson

Eddie Kingston has the last few weeks refusing to let Bryan Danielson get under his skin. After Danielson interrupted Bryan Keith celebrating Tony Schiavone announcing that he is All Elite, Kingston had enough. He cut an impassioned promo about not being for himself but being mad that Danielson bigfooted a young up-and-comer’s moment. Kingston is ready for a fight and now it’s just a matter of what kind of match it ends up being.

Grade: A

House of Black vs. Mark Briscoe

Mark Briscoe came to FTR’s aid two weeks ago when it looked like Daniel Garcia might not be able to compete in the steel cage trios match. HOB attempted to neutralize him by tossing him off the stage through a table but Briscoe returned at the end and slammed the cage door on Malakai’s head. As such he’s now in the sights of the HOB. Briscoe maybe a practitioner of redneck kung fu but he’s goinf to need some backup to deal with the spooky trio. I’m glad that House of Black are moving immediately into a new feud. All too often the loser of a feud disappears for awhile and that didn’t happen here.

Grade: N/A

Orange Cassidy vs. Roderick Strong

Orange Cassidy is the one more over talent in AEW and that’s what’s saving this feud. Roderick Strong is a perfectly fine wrestler but the entire Undisputed Kingdom is so underwhelming and I don’t know how to save it at this point. The build last week consisted of Wardlow defeating Komander and OC making the save once the rest of the UL attempted a post-match attack on the luchador. Something really impactful desperately needs to happen if the UK is somehow going to be salvaged.

Grade: C

Bullet Club Gold vs. The Acclaimed

There was segment last week that was utterly pointless. The turn cannot come soon enough. Incidentally, my condolences to Max Caster on the loss of his father.

Grade: N/A


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