AEW FEUD TRACKER: Assessing and grading Joe vs. Strickland, Storm vs. Purrazzo vs. Rosa, Danielson vs. Ospreay, House of Black vs. Copeland, more

By Zach Barber, PWTorch contributor


(NOTE: This assessment was written prior to last night’s episode of Dynamite.)

AEW is reeling a bit from unexpected dip in viewership last week but I think if there is any lesson to learn from the epic derailment that was the final year of WCW, in a lot of ways AEW’s spiritual predecessor, it’s not to panic and start doing desperate things to juice the ratings. The card to this week’s Dynamite certainly doesn’t read like hot shotting desperation and that’s a good thing. It feels like another building block to Dynasty on April 21st. There’s a crucial promo and a very intriguing women’s match. Will Ospreay will also be wrestling which is always must-see TV. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the show before we head into the long weekend of wrestling.

Samoa Joe vs. Swerve Strickland

Swerve Strickland got past a more than game Konosuke Takeshita with his jaw somehow still intact. He earned his title shot against Samoa Joe. Now comes selling his journey. Swerve and Joe will have a contract signing tonight and it’s incumbent upon on Swerve to really sell his story, without losing his edge, and rally the audience around him. This is his best chance to get everyone invested in seeing him complete this journey to becoming the first Black champion in AEW history. All Joe has to do is be the intimidating badass that he always is and continue to pose a believable to deny Swerve his dream.

Grade: A

Bryan Danielson vs. Will Ospreay

To the surprise of nobody, Will Ospreay and Katsuyori Shibata had great match. It was technical and cerebral. Ospreay told a fantastic story of working to overcome his rival. He eventually did just that vanquishing “The Wrestler” with the Hidden Blade. He cut a backstage promo for Twitter pointing out how he defeated Shibata decisively while Danielson won via a roll-up. In Danielson’s defense, he didn’t so much roll Shibata up as leverage him into a pin. Nonetheless Ospreay has a date with fellow Callis Family member Powerhouse Hobbs. The match should be great. I’m sure Ospreay going to make Hobbs look like a killer before proving his superiority. Danielson meanwhile will be facing Lance Archer one-on-one. With both men in attendance, I hope there’s some kind of interaction. I really need a Danielson/Ospreay face to face. One last hard sell for should be an easy match of year candidate.

Grade: A-

Toni Storm vs. Deonna Purrazzo vs Thunder Rosa

Suddenly this feud is very interesting. New rankings dropped last week after Dynamite. Thunder Rosa was ranked number one by virtue of her pin on Toni Storm. Tonight she faces Mariah May who is ranked number two. Originally it was for a future title match but it doesn’t appear it’s being promoted that way anymore. Either way it’s the most intriguing match on the card. Deonna Purrazzo is still lurking, ranked 4th, and with her own strong claim to a rematch. Do we get a clean finish or does Deonna get involved? I still feel it’s less likely this goes to a three way because there’s no way to get there without Toni Storm looking really dumb. The right to challenge for the women’s title may come all the way down to the wire and I don’t mind that.

Grade: A-

TBS Title Saga

So the current official TBS title match for Dynasty is Willow Nightingale vs Julia Hart. I don’t see it remaining that way. Mercedes Moné has been deeply involved in this saga since her arrival three weeks ago. Unfortunately, all she’s done is talk and talking is not her strongest suit. Last week on commentary was a major fail. She needs to get in the ring ASAP. I cannot see her being left off the Dynasty card. That would be insane. It stands to reason then that the solution would be her inserting herself into the TBS title match and making it a triple threat. That I could see happening. Mercedes isn’t advertised on the card as of now but the show is in Massachusetts. I can’t see her not appearing. Mercedes first match needs to be announced quickly so people can get excited about seeing her do what she does best.

Grade: B+

Adam Copeland vs. House of Black

Copeland held the Cope Open on Saturday night and was challenged by former protégé Matt Cardona who made his AEW return. Copeland defeated Cardona in a very good match only to be confronted by Malakai Black afterwards. He wound up being blindsided by Buddy Matthews and double-teamed before Mark Briscoe came to his aid. HOB almost had things in hand when Eddie Kingston ran out for the save. All of this worked for me. It made for a hot opening to Collision. I was shocked however when Copeland challenged HOB to a trios match at Dynasty. I fully expected him to defend (and preferably drop) the TBS title but that doesn’t look like it’s happening. That’s my only qualm.

Grade: A-

AEW Tag Team Title Tournament

Young Bucks beat Private Party. Best Friends beat Undisputed Kingdom. Neither of those outcomes were in doubt. Neither is the match between Bucks and Best Friends tonight quite frankly. On the other side of the bracket FTR and The Infantry had a good match that I think would’ve been better if The Infantry had gotten a better win over HOB. Big Bill and Ricky Starks were going to beat Top Flight before Ricky suffered what was reported as a stinger and an audible had to be called. Top Flight got the win. Thankfully Starks will be fine. The finals of the tourney is going to be another classic between FTR & The Bucks in their forever feud.

Grade: C+

Bullet Club Gold vs. The Acclaimed

Bullet Club Gold sort of broke into Billy Gunn’s house. I say sort of because Austin and Colten had the garage door opener. It’s more like they showed up uninvited. It was not a diabolical home invasion like Swerve did which is a good thing. Jay White said some stuff than geared up to destroy Billy’s TV with Sting’s desecrated bat when Billy and his wife came home. BCG scurried out of the house like cockroaches, their personal cameraman even dropping the camera in the haste to flee. The following night on Collision Billy challenged Jay White to a match so it’s happening. Billy Gunn vs Jay White tonight. This match should be 10 minutes max. I’m not saying White should outright squash Daddy Ass but it shouldn’t be drawn out either. White needs to win decisively. It’ll put us one step closer to the title unification match at Dynasty.

Grade: B

RECOMMENDED NEXT: AEW DYNAMITE HITS & MISSES (4/3): Show-closing Joe beatdown of Swerve, Copeland’s unnecessary pep tally, Tag Titles, brutal Jay White treatment, Ospreay-Hobbs, more

OR CHECK THIS OUT AT PROWRESTLING.NET: Powell’s AEW Dynamite Hit List: Samoa Joe and Swerve Strickland contract signing, Young Bucks vs. Best Friends in an AEW Tag Title tourney match, Will Ospreay vs. Powerhouse Hobbs

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