AEW Dynamite is owned by All Elite Wrestling, Shahid Khan, and TNT
We’re back with another episode of WWE’s Worst Nightmare! For three weeks straight, this upstart little company with just one measly billionaire behind it managed to outdo NXT in the ratings and it doesn’t look like that momentum is about to stop anytime soon! Ratings momentum is just one piece of the puzzle however as a terrible show can still get good ratings for at least a little bit before everyone gives up on it. Can AEW maintain its high quality as well as its high viewership? Well let’s take a look at the latest episode to find out!!
Private Party (Marq Quen and Isiah Kassidy) Vs. Lucha Bros (Pentagón Jr and Fénix) – Tag Team Championship Semi-Finals
Right off the bat, with zero preamble or even ring entrances, both teams are in the middle of the ring as the show begins. Now sure, I’m a huge fan of the pomp and circumstance so it’s a bit disappointing that we don’t even get to see them walk to the ring, but we’ve got a full card ahead of us so I’m not really bothered by it. Besides, if it means we get more of these two teams fighting it out, then I’m fine with it as long as they don’t do it TOO often. Quen and Kassidy are still somehow impressing more and more with every match as their chemistry only gets better and better. Now I will pump the breaks just a LITTLE bit here as I wonder where the ceiling ultimately is for these guys as they are starting to take some really rough bumps. They’re professionals of course and I trust them to know what they’re doing, but I do worry that with this promotion (and particularly its tag teams) burning so brightly right out of the gate that they’ll eventually burn themselves out either through injury or just straight fatigue. I mean Quen takes what I can only describe as a flying pile driver from Pentagon Jr, and it was absolutely terrifying to watch. Even with tha though, it couldn’t have been too bad (hopefully) since the match went on for several minutes after that with Quen taking even MORE bumps throughout. Lucha Bros eventually won after Quen takes some sort of stomp/pile-driver combination, but that was to be expected considering how much they’ve built up their feud with SCU. Both teams looked great here and Private Party has a bright future ahead of them as long as they don’t shatter their spines before year’s end!
SCU (Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky) Vs. The Dark Order (Stu Grayson and Evil Uno) – Tag Team Championship Semi-Finals
AEW wants to get through this tournament as soon as possible it seems (possibly so they have a champ in time for the PPV?), so we jump right into the next battle in the semi-finales, though at least they get their ring entrances and The Dark Order even gets a promo package before the match begins. I still don’t care about them in the least, but it was a good effort if nothing else. I mean look, there are SO many interesting and amazing tag teams in AEW and I’m SURE The Dark Order would be just fine in any other promotion, but I’d honestly rather see anyone else fighting SCU than them. Heck, I’d take The Best Friends over The Dark Order if for no other reason than we’d probably get a cameo from Orange Cassidy out of it. Weren’t they supposed to be feuding with The Dark Order anyway? Whatever happened to that? Well in any case, SCU looks good, The Dark Order does just fine against them, but what really stood out in this match is that for some reason The Inner Circle shows up in the middle of it. Not running in to interfere or anything; they’re just walking through the crowd with box tickets because… I guess they still have to pay to watch AEW? Kind of an odd thing to switch focus away from the match to establish their presence as I ASSUMED they were in the arena in the first place, but at least it didn’t lead to a screw-job finish and SCU did indeed triumph over The Dark Order when Kazarian and Sky do something called an SCU Later which basically involved Sky throwing Grayson as hard as possible right into Kazarian’s knee. It was an exciting match with a whole lot of near falls, but it felt a bit bloated as it went a good deal longer than the Private Party/Lucha Bros match. Shave a few minutes off and maybe leave out the Inner Circle nonsense and I probably would have enjoyed it more.
Joey Janela Vs. Kenny Omega
Now if you didn’t know, AEW has a YouTube series called AEW Dark where they throw on a few extra matches and promos that they didn’t have for on Dynamite. About two weeks ago these two had an unsanctioned matched on Dark which I haven’t see yet, but hopefully this match will be so good that it’ll make that one completely redundant! I think this match was okay as both guys seemed to be working their butts off to make the other look good, but something seemed off about it. It sort of feels like Kenny is slowing himself down a bit TOO much in order to make Joey look competitive and so it felt a bit too much like fake fighting rather than pro wrestling. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got no problem with Janela, but he just doesn’t look like a guy who can really hang with Omega, and in order to sell the match at all Kenny ends up looking inevitably sloppy. Maybe if Janela fought in some creative way or used underhanded tactics to get an edge it would be one thing, but trading blows for blows the way they do here, it feels like Kenny is playing down his true talent a bit too much. The other issue, and I’m worried that this is going to be true for the rest of the show, is that we keep cutting back to The Inner Circle; jeering from their nice seats and eating lots of popcorn. It just feels rather pointless and I’m gonna start taking off some serious points if they don’t pay it off soon. Eventually Kenny gets his momentum and starts fighting as you’d expect him to which means that Joey folds like a chair almost immediately and gets pinned after Kenny’s One Winged Angel. Given the circumstances it was just fine, but I wish it was either a squash match or had stipulations that favored Janela just a bit more.
After the match Cody Rhodes comes out for an interview with Tony Schiavone who asks him about the upcoming match against Chris Jericho at the PPV. THANKFULLY this seems to be where the Inner Circle bit is paying off as the whole crew, acting like total tools, starts blowing air horns as Cody tries to talk in the ring. Again, I have been proven COMPLETLEY wrong about putting the belt on Jericho because he is so good at everything he does; even acting like a spoiled brat! Eventually Cody gets fed up and threats to come up there and shove those air horns where they could no longer be heard, but Jericho just laughs his butt off at this since there are four of them up there (Jericho, Sammy Guevara, and Not-LAX), and only one of Cody down there! Gee, it’s not like Cody has a bunch of friends and family in the company willing to back him up at any time, is it Jericho? Sure enough, his brother Dustin, his BFF MF, and DDP because why not, come out to back up Cody and they start climbing the steps to face off with Jericho and his crew; all of whom run off and lock themselves in a room to escape the beating like a bunch of jabronies. That’s not about to stop Cody though as he straight up punches through the glass window and unlocks the door like he’s the freaking terminator, and proceeds to drag Jericho out while his buddies deal with the rest of the Inner Circle. At this point it’s an all-out brawl through the concession area, going so far as to nearly wreck a Dippin’ Dots stand, and it only gets broken up once security comes out; all the while Jericho is screeching about how he’s got a ticket which I guess gives him the right to act like a jerk in the arena. See, this is the kind of wrestling silliness that I am all here for! It reminds me a bit of when Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles kept getting into fights over the junk food being served at WWE shows, and wacky blowups like this do a lot to sell a match later on down the road. I kind of wish they’d do something with MJF other than being Cody’s backup who even then doesn’t actually do much, but other than that I think they’re doing a great job of building up to the Cody Vs. Jericho match at the PPV.
Best Friends (Chuck Taylor and Trent Barreta) Vs. The Young Bucks (Nick and Matt Jackson)
Best Friends are accompanied to the ring by Orange Cassidy
This is the third tag match of the night and sure enough the first one was still the best. That’s another problem with going so hard so quickly right off the bat; it’s hard act to follow up even when you’ve got supreme talents like the teams in the match trying to put on a great show. The Bucks get an early lead with some truly amazing moves, but The Best Friends eventually take over as the match slows down to a more methodical pace; aided at least somewhat by Orange Cassidy’s legendary distraction skills. Whenever he shows up you just can’t take your eyes off of them, and The Bucks learn that harsh lesson at least twice in the match. They put up a good fight and I’m glad that Orange Cassidy is getting more and more to do as the weeks go by, but ultimately The Young Bucks overcome the odds and get another win under their belt. After the match, they call out Santana and Ortiz to accept their match, so it’s gonna be The Young Bucks Vs. Not LAX at the PPV!
Jaime Hayter Vs. Britt Baker
While I may not have as viscerally negative a reaction to her as I do with The Dark Order, I can’t help but have similar feelings about Britt Baker as I just haven’t been all that impressed with her as a wrestler. She’s clearly someone they want to push and perhaps somewhere else she wouldn’t have this kind of issue, but she comes off a bit too green to be up against such seasoned athletes which is no exception here as Hayter seems to be carrying Baker for a good chunk of this match. I’m not expert but she tried a few sling-blades in the match, and they looked kind of sloppy to me even though Hayter sold them like a pro. Hayter’s offensive on the other hand looked great whenever it was her time to get some heat, and the crowd at least seemed to be into the match. They were in Baker’s home town so of course she’d get a few extra pops from that, but even on the other episodes where she didn’t have that advantage she seems to be getting over quite well with the crowed even if I still think she could use some more practice. She at least managed to get a decent amount of momentum in the second half with some very good looking super kicks and she did end up winning the match with the lockjaw submission. I’m not against Britt Baker being in this company, but I’d honestly like to see almost any other woman wrestler on this promotion; especially Hayter who seems to be REALLY good and just needs the right opponent to shine with. Speaking of whom, there’s a weird post-match interview with Hayter where she’s immediately attacked by Brandi Rhodes… for some reason. The interviewer asked her what’s up, but all Brandi did was stare daggers into her soul until it got super awkward and they cut to commercial. Okay…
Jon Moxley Vs. Pac
Pac, being rightfully upset about what Jon Moxley did last week (left him high and dry in the middle of a tag match) doesn’t even wait for his entrance music to end before blasting him in the back of the head with a chair and then chocking him out with his own jacket. While I would prefer that something like this would be considered a DQ right off the bat (I really don’t like it when refs are utterly powerless), it’s at least a very motivated match as Pac has been shown to have a short temper and Moxley clearly did something to set him off. For the most part Pac controls this match and it’s absolutely scary to watch this guy work because he is fast, he is strong, and he fights like a heel so it ALL looks like it hurts. Jon Moxley tries to put up a fight, but for the most part he’s just trying to endure the onslaught. He actually does a great job of selling the pain (either that or it really DOES hurt) which I do appreciate as one of the drawbacks of so much high flying action is that it can feel a bit low impact when everyone just bounces right back up looking for more. Moxley takes a few kicks the face that look absolutely brutal as well as a few drops from the top rope that couldn’t have been fun to endure, but he manages to keep alive until the clock runs out which brings the match to a draw which was probably the best way to end it and shows why the time limit is such a good addition here. Sure, it doesn’t shine a GREAT light on Pac that he couldn’t close the deal after getting such a strong advantage, but at least he didn’t lose and Moxley looks pretty good going into his PPV match. Moxley may not agree however as he was still trying to win the match even if he was receiving most of the damage, and so he attacks the ref after the bell has rung which is what we close the show out on. I’m not sure what this means as refs have been pretty powerless on AEW so far, but hopefully they follow up on this in the next episode.
I wasn’t impressed with everything on the show and I think they should have shuffled some of the booking around, but overall it was another really fun episode and it started off absolutely spectacularly! Jericho is still great with his promos, the tag team division is still strong, and while I’d like to see someone other than Britt Baker in the spotlight (perhaps the champion Riho!?), the women’s division is still shown as integral to the company. Next week is the last show before their first post Dynamite PPV which means they have one more chance to convince their new TV audience to actually PAY for the product. It’ll certainly be an uphill battle, but AEW has surprised us all multiple times already, so I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us next week!