AEW DYNAMITE HITS & MISSES (5/15): Darby’s return, Elite beats up Kingston, House of Black’s beatdown of Copeland and O’Reilly, Willow and Mercedes contract sigining, Predictable Outcomes

Darby Allin


We are less than two weeks away from Double or Nothing and the card is shaping up nicely. The goal for the television shows for the next 11 days is to earn the fans’ money. With the expansion of the PPV events this year, it’s not as easy for many people to commit to paying $50 nearly every month for a show, no matter how good the wrestling is. This needs to be earned through storylines and that is on the company to provide the anticipation necessary to get people to purchase these events. The next step in that process is this episode of Dynamite. Here we go!



Malakai Black has been in AEW for what seems like forever, but since an early feud with Cody Rhodes, he hasn’t been featured as a singles competitor or had a program set up where he is a real threat to a championship. The current storyline he has going with Adam Copeland has been well done thus far and he may go into Double or Nothing with an actual chance to win the TNT Title. In fact, if I were booking, I would give it to him. Copeland has been doing a good job in recent months, but he doesn’t need one of the many titles in the company to be compelling. If Black became the champion, it would set up some intriguing match-ups moving forward. I give high grades to this program so far and hope it ends with an epic cage match at Double or Nothing where Copeland perhaps “bends the knee” to the House of Black..


I think it was a great decision to have the Elite punish Eddie Kingston in a New Japan ring this past weekend and it was a cool video package to educate those who were not aware. It is unfortunate that the injury Eddie sustained is legit and they needed to pivot to a new partner. Outside of the injury, it furthered the story to have the Elite come across as a threat to anyone who stands against them.


To follow up on the Elite, Jack Perry was great on commentary during the Bucks match. He picked his spots and everything he said supported the storyline. He ended it by showing disrespect to Tony Schiavone by pouring a drink on him. (Kudos to Tony, who sold it perfectly.) Perry continues to come across as a confident jerk. Well done.


With the understanding that it was his home crowd, Swerve Strickland finally got the champion reaction we’ve been waiting for. It’s not as if crowds were against him, but in order for him to be seen by viewers as “The Man,” crowds like this need to help get him there. A lot of credit should go to Brian Cage as well. He and Swerve have great chemistry and put on a very entertaining match. Cage deserves a push at some point, but he played his role here perfectly. The post-match angle with Christian furthered the story of Swerve being outnumbered and not having any help to overcome these beatdowns.


After a rocky start, this Mercedes Moné and Willow Nightingale storyline is hitting on all cylinders. Mercedes solidified her heel persona with her best promo to date and Willow was right there showing strong emotion, confidence and throwing out some good comebacks. She had the crowd solidly behind her after she put Mercedes through the table. While the outcome of the match at Double or Nothing is likely a coronation for Mercedes, Willow has really stepped up and will be a major player moving forward regardless of having a championship around her waist.


First of all, that was a great main event match between Dax and Okada. Dax really showed he can be a good singles competitor with his performances in the last week. I also liked the use of Renee as Dax came to the ring. She played the role of a sideline reporter giving you some information while you see Dax come out of the tunnel right behind her.

Okada is settling nicely into his heel role and wrestled a heel style.

After the match, it was a huge surprise seeing the return of Darby Allin and a perfect place for him to get a huge ovation. The question remains, is he really ready to return? I know HE thinks he can do it, but over the last two months, he’s gone through a pane of glass, broke his foot, and got hit by a BUS!

If you haven’t seen the post-match promos on YouTube, you should certainly check it out. Darby does allude to a possible concussion during the post-match physicality, so that should be something to keep an eye on as well. The dude is crazy, but he’s a big star and if he is cleared by doctors, he’ll be an excellent addition to the team at Double or Nothing.



It’s clear AEW is slow-rolling Will Ospreay when it comes to challenging for the World Title, but there is still no reason to not mention his name until three-quarters of the way through the show. While I’m not overly excited about him eventually holding a minor title, any appearance from him in a show should be promoted very early on, especially after he was not featured on Dynamite the past two weeks. It looks like he’ll be your top star sooner than later, so make sure he is not forgotten.


There is no shortage of good wrestling on Dynamite and it was another enjoyable show with lots of storyline advancements, but there was very little suspense when it came to the results of the matches. They need to do a better job making the matches they present have less predictability especially when most of them go over ten minutes.

All in all, I enjoyed this episode of Dynamite and I’m excited for what is likely to be another enjoyable PPV.

Continued thanks to everyone listening to The All Elite Conversation Club on the PW Torch podcast lineup. Joel Dehnel and I have a great time breaking down all things AEW! Send questions and comments to

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