Finally, after nearly four months since AEW’s last pay-per-view, the Road to Revolution is in full swing. All the big matches for the stacked Revolution card were promoted on this week’s show, and in my weekly Dynamite Breakdown, I analyzed what worked and what didn’t.
Jon Moxley, Wrestler of the Year for good reason
Moxley is the best. His post-match promo after summarily dispatching disposable enhancement guy Ryan Nemeth didn’t just continue a string of great interview segments on the show, but raised the bar for them. The passion and conviction in his words is unmatched in American wrestling. Everything he says, viewers seem to buy into 100%. It’s remarkable that WWE had him signed for seven years and never came close to getting this much out of him.
The genius of this promo? It somehow fused his completely believable speaking style with some tantalizing build for the main event of Revolution. Moxley said “Exploding Barbed Wire Deathmatch” at least three times, entrenching that horrifying stipulation in viewers’ minds. He completely sold that this title match will be legitimately dangerous and death-defying, and that delivery, I don’t know how every single viewer didn’t immediately log on to B/R Live and reserve the pay-per-view.
Sting gets physically involved for the second straight week
Sting is a massive superstar, yet the build for this upcoming street fight got stale very quickly. It seemed like the segment was the exactly same as the last; Sting would try to speak, Team Taz would interrupt, and would end with Darby Allin or somebody making the save.
Finally, last week, Sting took a great power bomb from Brian Cage that really hit home that Sting is going to work an actual wrestling match. And this week the roles were reversed, as we got the first real bit of professional wrestling work from Sting yet. He landed a completely acceptable Stinger Splash and Scorpion Death Drop, looking no older than he did the last time he wrestled.
Out of all the matches at Revolution, this street fight has the biggest chance to be a complete misfire. But after a cold initial build, there finally appears to be some real hype around Sting’s return to action.
Long wrestling matches on this week (of all weeks)
Usually, I’m a proponent of more wrestling on wrestling TV shows, because that’s what I like. Lots of AEW matches have ended in the 8–10 minute range when they could be even better if they were just a little longer, but spending the vast majority of your second hour on long wrestling matches involving multiple wrestlers who won’t be on Revolution feels like a misstep.
The first hour of Dynamite this week was excellent with the aforementioned HITS making up the bulk of it. But I was left in the second hour feeling like there was a major opportunity cost to spending all this time on in-ring action. The Page-Kassidy and Baker-Rose matches both overshot what I would consider to be their sweet spot in match length.
It also didn’t help that these matches didn’t live up to the excellent standard that AEW has set for themselves. Page-Kassidy was a nice showcase for the latter, but featured lots of aimless interference early on. Rose-Baker was extremely sloppy and sluggish until the finish, and Rebel’s involvement is terrible television. Archer-Fénix was the best match of the night, but it won’t come close to making my Match Madness column, as it felt more like a collection of moves than a cohesive athletic competition.
Too much redundancy in the storytelling
It’s difficult to keep multiple engaging, fresh programs going on at the same time, but there has to be more variety on Dynamite. On three(!) different segments on this show, a wrestler attacked out an associate or family member of his rival to heat up the program. MJF and Chris Jericho bloodied Papa Buck, Matt Hardy put Alan Angels through a table, and Sting stuffed Hook in a body bag.
That’s three instances on a two hour wrestling program of that happening. There are so many unique and engaging ways to heat up a wrestling program, so relying on the same trope on three separate occasions—especially when there are only seven matches at Revolution—came off as lazy and un-creative. The shows leading into pay-per-views are most crucial to gaining buys, so creating interesting stories on the road to Revolution should always be one of AEW’s top priorities, especially next week.