The final edition of the Wednesday Night Wars featured an uphill battle for AEW Dynamite going head-to-head with NXT TakeOver. Did they put together a show that lived up to that standard? I break down what worked and what didn’t.
Blood and Guts is coming!
The fact that a simple match announcement is my top hit this week is indicative of how little I enjoyed Dynamite. While I felt Chris Jericho’s promo was meandering and took way too long to get to the point—reminiscent of a curtain-jerking WWE RAW promo—the conclusion was fiery and left me excited for what would come next. Mike Tyson’s involvement later was excellent.
Not every storyline needs to be this long, huge build. Arcade Anarchy last week ended a six-month feud between mid-carders. The main event of this show involved storylines that began on AEW’s debut show and before AEW even existed, respectively. So, I’m glad to see a feud that’s compact and will (hopefully) resolve itself at Blood and Guts, with potentially another match at Double or Nothing being the end of it. Inner Circle vs. The Pinnacle has a chance to be one of the best matches in company history.
QT Marshall and “The Factory”
I was one of the people who genuinely enjoyed Marshall’s turn last week. Even if the road to get there was a little rocky, I’m a big fan of The Factory and what’s next for the group. Their video package tonight was excellent.
Any regular AEW Dark viewer could tell you that Anthony Ogogo is a future star, and he showed that tonight. He’s got such a unique presence and legitimacy to him, combined with his unique accent and background. You’ve also got Comoroto, a frightening heavy, and Solow, a rock-solid wrestler, to back the group up. Matched up with the talent that the Nightmare Family has, this feud could lead to some great interactions and wrestling.
A stacked lineup for the first regular unopposed show
Here’s the lineup for next week’s Dynamite, which will be the first unopposed show after NXT moves to Tuesday:
- AEW World Tag Team Championship: Young Bucks (c) vs. PAC & Rey Fénix
- TNT Championship: Darby Allin (c) vs. Matt Hardy in a Falls Count Anywhere match
- Jade Cargill vs. Red Velvet
- Chris Jericho vs. Dax Harwood with Mike Tyson as the special enforcer
- Anthony Ogogo making his debut
That’s stacked! I love the mix of established stars (Young Bucks, Jericho, PAC/Fénix, Hardy) and up-and-comers (Allin, Cargill, Velvet, Ogogo), with more eyes on this Dynamite than most throughout history, the company should be working extremely hard to make it as exciting as possible.
I’m fully behind Allin and Cargill in particular as people with a legitimate chance to be top stars in their respective divisions. If these matches lead to them being elevated up the card, it’ll all be worth it.
Young Bucks melodrama
I don’t get the appeal of this storyline. It’s a rehash of a story the Bucks and Kenny Omega did in New Japan a few years ago, with some main differences. The “conflicted” nature of Matt Jackson in Japan was believable because he and Omega hadn’t fought in years. Here, however, Matt has been insulted, belittled, and berated by Omega and Callis, and yet he’s still conflicted? In a wrestling match?
The other aspect that’s worse compared to the NJPW storyline is the eventual reunion. When Omega and the Young Bucks finally reunited, it was because the other members of the Bullet Club turned on them. They had a common enemy and set aside their differences to work together. Here? There’s no such thing, no established motive for the Bucks to rejoin Omega after what they’ve been through. It makes them look like idiots and like jerks.
Seeing the Bucks make their choice tonight was groan-inducing, not least because it ruined one of the most hyped matches in show history. Hopefully PAC and Fénix take the tag titles from them next week so those championships can move on to something more interesting than this.
So. Much. Interference!
Interference during a wrestling match is the definition of diminishing returns. It’s thrilling at first, because you want to see if and how the babyface will foil the heel, but when it’s done over and over again? It just makes matches worse, leaving no impact on the viewer.
There were five matches on tonight’s Dynamite: four of them featured interference in some manner. That’s lazy! There has to be another way to put over a match. Why does JD Drake, the blue collar workhorse, need interference in his matches? Why were there legitimately four separate interference spots in Hangman Page vs. Max Caster, especially if Page winning was a foregone conclusion anyway?
Work harder to make your matches mean something. For a promotion that touted itself as a sports-like presentation, we sure are seeing a lot of things that would never fly in a legitimate competition.