SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
It’s been said before, but this time I mean it! This episode of Dynamite had to be one that left people talking. With all the attention WWE is getting for many different reasons, it was essential for AEW to hit a home run with this stacked show. Were they able to grab some headlines? Let’s see.
SWERVE VS. HANGMAN – THE MATCH
I love the chemistry between Swerve Strickland and “Hangman” Adam Page and, while this wasn’t a true double-turn, the fans were behind Swerve and Hangman played the role of the heel, especially by not agreeing to five more minutes. Both these guys give it everything when they are in the ring together and this match was no different.
Now that’s more like it. A much better turn out and a lot of passion in the crowd. Due to the increase in attendance, the lighting was much better and it looked more major league than recent weeks/months.
The pacing of the show was also a nice change. They didn’t cram too much into every segment and things were able to breathe. Except for the lack of promotion of the main event during the show, I didn’t feel like I missed anything and I was able to stay in the moment much more than when the show is frantic.
STING & DARBY-BUCKS
The main event was an edge-of-your-seat battle that was a fun climax to the show. While Sting’s final match didn’t really need a title involved, it was cool to see them win the titles and I actually liked the fact that Sting didn’t show a lot of emotion. I think he portrayed a veteran who was happy to win the belts, but didn’t need to celebrate it outwardly. Hats off to Sting once again for going all out in his final run with some wild spots and some classic moments.
The Bucks’ brutal attack was perfectly done to set up the match at Revolution. It needed to strike the right tone with no “winks to the camera” or “over the top” antics. It was a straightforward beatdown and that should be enough to get people ready for the match in Greensboro.
SWERVE VS. HANGMAN THE FINISH
While a non-decisive finish was expected between these two to set up a three-way at Revolution, I was very disappointed with the tired 1… 2… (bell rings) ending. Just keep us updated on the time and let it run out. The announcers made one mention of it before the convenient ending right as Swerve was about to win. They did this with MJF and Adam Cole last year and, since draws are infrequent, there is no need to do the exact same finish as the last time.
THE BIG, HUGE ANNOUNCEMENT
I know they are trying to recreate the C.M. Punk debut, but teasing a “huge announcement” for a week and then being vague about a Dynamite taking place five weeks from tonight is just a letdown. Just come out and say it’s Mercedes Mone. Now, if you are going to debut Mercedes AND Okada, then maybe save Okada as a surprise and use the next month showing video packages promoting the coming of Mercedes. While it may be a big show and an exciting night, it’s five weeks away and that just doesn’t cut it for a major, huge, big announcement.
This was a sloppy overbooked mess. Takeshita is, or at least should be, the future of the company. As much respect as I have for the career of Chris Jericho, at this point in his career, he should not be going as long as he went and kicking out of finishers and foreign object attacks against Takeshita. He should put up a fight and then go down to a younger, better wrestler. This match certainly did not need a screwdriver to the head from Don Callis that put Kenny Omega out for weeks, but Jericho kicked out at two… come on.
To sum up, I expected more from this episode. Once again, as a fan of AEW, I enjoyed my two hours for the most part, but they are just not doing what it takes to grab headlines and get more people engaged in their product. Something continues to be missing and debuts of exceptional talent is not going to move the needle as much as they think it will unless they tell stories better and allow certain wrestlers to look stronger at the expense of others.