The follow-up to a major show like Winter Is Coming, where Kenny Omega and Don Callis escaped with the AEW World Championship, is crucial. And yet when All Elite Wrestling first released the card for this week’s edition of Dynamite, I thought that there was no way the’d be able to fit it in two hours. Then they went ahead and added multiple additional segments throughout the week. In this week’s AEW Dynamite Breakdown, I examine which of the segments worked and which didn’t in the Winter Is Coming aftermath, including multiple segments involving the Dark Order, buildup to an upcoming AEW Women’s championship match, and follow-up to Omega, Callis, and Sting.
Sting is as good as ever
At 61, many believe Sting’s status as a major player on Dynamite could lead to an increased reliance on nostalgia and less investment in building stars. He hadn’t appeared on weekly wrestling television in a regular capacity in over half a decade. So did Sting live up to the hype, or did he appear old and broken-down on Dynamite?
Luckily, the answer appears to be the former. Sting was exhilarating in his short promo, bringing an energy that was closer to his mid-90s WCW persona than his brooding, uninspired TNA days. The Daily’s Place crowd was as hot for Sting as anything else we’ve seen since the pandemic started.
But the greatness of Sting’s promo wasn’t simply about his performance and charisma. Unlike WWE, which is content to let stars from the past speak for themselves in outdated one-off segments, AEW uses their legends (so far) to accentuate the growth of their modern talent. Sting’s immediate association with Darby Allin is a masterstroke in planning for the future, as I see Allin as having greater star potential than just about every other one of AEW’s homegrown talents. While it remains to be seen what Sting and Allin will do together, having a legend as revered as Sting on Allin’s side could push him to the top of AEW’s card.
The Young Bucks, still the greatest tag team in the world
The Young Bucks’ match with Top Flight a couple weeks ago was an excellent showcase that immediately established the newly-signed youngsters as future starts of AEW’s tag division. This week, they had an even better match with The Hybrid2, who previously had been seen as little more than a laughingstock at the bottom of AEW’s tag division.
This week’s match was unique in that it was the type of Bucks match you might have seen pre-AEW. They went through all their trademark spots, building to a thrilling closing stretch that allowed Jack Evans, in particular, to shine. It’s been established that their matches consistently draw higher ratings than just about any other act on the show, so look for another under-featured act (The Acclaimed, perhaps?) to be the next team elevated through their interactions with the Young Bucks.
Hangman Page joining the Dark Order?
After their less-than-stellar show-closing angle around this time a year ago, you’d be forgiven for not expecting the Dark Order to stick around this long. But with a legitimate leader in Mr. Brodie Lee and fun acts in John Silver and Anna Jay, the stable has maintained a constant presence on the show for the past year.
However, the Dark Order has felt a bit aimless in recent months, as aside from Lee winning the TNT Championship for a short spell, the stable consistently loses in big matches. Fortunately, Hangman Page, another aimless character after his loss to Kenny Omega, is the perfect target for the group.
Omega, Silver, and Alex Reynolds’ interactions in the Diamond Battle Royale last week were great, and they had an intriguing segment on this week’s show, offering to be Page’s tag team partners for next week, which Page accepted. Their conversations are enjoyable because they’re believable, with Silver coming across as a lovable doofus with too much energy and Reynolds and Page playing the straight men. Page isn’t stupid, because he’s seen what the Dark Order does, but he’s also been abandoned by his own friends. If AEW exercises patience, the eventual resolution of this storyline could be greatly satisfying, if it’s a feud between Page and Lee.
No real development for Kenny Omega, Don Callis, and the AEW World Championship
Those who watched Kenny Omega’s appearance on Impact the previous night may have been disappointed to see that he and Don Callis said pretty much the exact same things on both shows. Omega had touted having a “big announcement” on Dynamite, but nothing regarding that came to be. We didn’t even get Jon Moxley on the show at all, and if there’s one character who should be leaving a path of discussion after being robbed of a championship, it’s Mox.
I get that Omega and Callis are heels and that this will likely be a long storyline. But promising something big and not delivering doesn’t put heat on the performers, it just makes me lose faith in the promotion. With that being said, I haven’t been disappointed a single time by AEW’s major storyline resolutions yet, but in my eyes, they’re off to a suboptimal start.
Too much going on
AEW has no less than fifteen distinct feuds and storylines going on right now. That is simply too much to fit into a two-hour show, and that’s not even including the additions of Dustin Rhodes going after the Dark Order, Sting getting involved with Darby Allin, SCU facing off with The Acclaimed, and the most notable new development, Shaquille O’Neal calling out Brandi Rhodes.
When there’s this much going on, it makes it difficult to give storylines room to breathe. Every single match on the show was immediately followed by some sort of post-match attack or confrontation, and while I appreciate the momentum that it gives feuds as the weeks go by, it makes Dynamite segments feel quite same-y after the show is over.
It also makes some programs appear lazy in their construction. The amount of times since Dynamite‘s inception that a feud has been started with a simple misunderstanding or basic confrontation, like FTR facing off against the Jurassic Express after their match, is ridiculous. By limiting the number of active feuds and programs, AEW could allow those that currently exist to come across as far more compelling and unique.