In this week’s Dynamite Breakdown, I dissect the hits and misses of what worked and what didn’t on tonight’s latest episode.
MJF, FTR, Spears, Wardlow, & Tully: The New Horsemen
While I was marginal on most of this week’s show, the only thing that ever really matters is the show-closing segment, and AEW completely knocked it out of the park tonight. The Inner Circle War Council could not have gone over better, with Sammy Guevara returning, MJF being kicked out of the group, and a new faction being formed.
FTR, Shaun Spears, Wardlow and Tully Blanchard’s beatdown of the Inner Circle was as brutal and exhilarating. It simultaneously solidified the Inner Circle, an entirely heel group since Dynamite’s inception, as a babyface unit, while establishing MJF’s new group as top heel stable. Both teams are stacked with talent on both the wrestling and interview sides of the coin. And if AEW wanted to do a sequel to Stadium Stampede a year after it happened, or even their own version of War Games? We now have our five-on-five teams.
Matt Jackson wrestles his first singles match in nearly five years
Not counting the BTE cinematic match, Matt Jackson did not wrestle a singles match while Donald Trump was president. Yes, you have to go all the way back to the end of Barack Obama’s second term to find Matt Jackson in a singles match. And considering how good Nick has been in his singles performances for AEW, I expected the same from Matt tonight.
The Bucks, as great as they are as a team, should wrestle in more singles matches; they’re too talented not to. Matt’s opener with Rey Fénix was a great back-and-forth contest that also did a good job setting up the Bucks’ upcoming tag title defense against Fénix & PAC, which I’m anticipating immensely.
Too many segments are being booked the same way every week
There were five matches on tonight’s show. Four of them featured a post-match attack or brawl. Three of those four were either straight-up heel turns or formerly ambiguous characters establishing themselves as heels.
I get it. Those are good ways to set up or continue programs. But considering they happen multiple times on every single show, it’s impossible to care after a while.
Additionally, I’m floored at how they’ve utilized Sting, as a television character. He’s one of the best promos on the roster. Every single week he is interrupted by someone, which ends up cutting his time short. Why do that?
About Sting, I thought AEW was above the cheap false-advertising tricks that WWE often pulls. When Sting first arrived, on multiple occasions, AEW branded his segments ahead of time with the copy “Sting speaks,” though he’d often not even speak during those segments.
This week, after the massively hyped Christian Cage signing, AEW did the same thing: Christian’s appearance was advertised as “We’ll hear from Christian Cage,” and while he did appear, he didn’t say a word. I don’t understand why AEW needs to advertise something that doesn’t literally end up on the show.
Random behavior from wrestlers without explanations
One of the cheapest, laziest booking tropes in wrestling is the “surprise heel turn.” It’s a foolproof way to get short-term heat while sacrificing long-term fan investment. Unfortunately, AEW essentially booked three surprise heel turns in one night.
Scorpio Sky’s turn on Darby Allin wasn’t completely surprising—he was heel-ish on commentary last week—but that came completely out of nowhere. Penta el Cero Miedo just spent months supporting his brother’s pursuit of the AEW World Championship, and now, for some reason, he’s attacking ultra-babyface Cody Rhodes’ family? Ethan Page debuted with no real character alignment, so instead of establishing him as a heel with, say, a promo, he just attacked Lee Johnson after the match.
It’s a lot harder to find new and engaging ways to turn characters, but it has to be done, otherwise viewers just won’t care when they do happen.
Technical difficulties for the third straight show
Last week, I highlighted numerous technical difficulties across Dynamite. More technical problems arose on this week’s episode: During the entire Ethan Page vs. Lee Johnson segment, including the post-match involving QT Marshall and Dustin Rhodes, outside audio played, completely distracting viewers from the show and obscuring any commentary or promo sounds. It took a full fifteen minutes to resolve the issue, lasting through one full commercial break.
Until AEW ups its weekly presentation, people will continue to criticize it when compared to WWE.