This week’s edition of AEW Dynamite featured a title match, a shocking upset, and one of the best promo segments of the year. I break down what worked and what didn’t.
The Blood & Guts Parley
MJF is unstoppable right now. Ever since the formation of the Pinnacle, he has been killing it week in and week out with his preternatural gifts on the mic. This week was no different in that sense, but it was backed up even further with impressive, convincing performances from most everyone else in the Parley.
Chris Jericho brought his A-game after a couple less than stellar moments in recent weeks. FTR were so slimy in goading Santana & Ortiz by talking about their children. Santana’s response was even better. It’s a miracle that a guy as likable as him was able to perform as a heel for so long.
The only real disappointment was Shawn Spears, but even that performance had its place. It made Sammy Guevara, who has as high a ceiling as anyone in AEW, that much more convincing as a babyface. Blood & Guts should be incredible and I can’t imagine AEW doing a better job promoting one of the biggest Dynamite matches in history.
Impressive individual wrestling performances
This week’s show featured a few moments where I thought a specific wrestler looked really good in their match.
The first of these was Brian Cage, who, despite being positioned as the top guy in Team Taz, has been aimless since their feud with Sting. He came across like a monster against a top star in Hangman Page, killing him in under six minutes.
Kris Statlander hasn’t missed a beat since returning from an injury that kept her out for almost a full year. Penelope Ford is an underrated talent and I thought the two had really nice chemistry in putting over Statlander’s power and athleticism.
Finally, 10 from the Dark Order wrestled probably the best match of his career in the main event. While it wasn’t a blow-away match or anything like that, I think the combination of 10’s great look and the juxtaposition of him against Allin resulted in some great moments. That wheelbarrow German was sick!
The booking was a boon to all three of these performances, as well. AEW has proven that opponent choice is crucial to getting acts over through wrestling matches.
Yuji Nagata is coming to AEW!
One of the little advantages that AEW has over its competition is its unpredictability. The company’s various working relationships and willingness to work with anyone allow them to have some really great surprises.
The latest of these was tonight’s revelation that not only will Jon Moxley defend his IWGP United States championship on Dynamite, but he will do so against the legendary Yuji Nagata, one of the most storied Japanese wrestlers of the last 25 years.
That’s a marquee match for an international wrestling fan like me. While Nagata has no chance, just seeing him on TNT, more than two decades after appearing in WCW, will be incredible.
Incessant interference and distraction
Hey AEW, listen up: If you don’t want to give a clean loss to somebody in a wrestling match, don’t book the match. As somebody who prioritizes in-ring action more than anything else, I am sick and tired of this incessant interference and referee distraction BS. It’s a booking crutch with no impact, putting heat on the company as I groan from my couch.
Like, I get that the Young Bucks are heels, but you couldn’t just have them beat the freaking Sydals, a complete jobber team? You probably don’t want to beat Penta El Zero Miedo or Orange Cassidy, so I don’t understand how having them *both* cheat protects either guy. And yeah, I know Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky vs. Sting is a program you’re working on, but do you have to take away from good Darby Allin championship matches every single week?
When people think about the best moments in Dynamite history, they think of big-time *clean* matches with a decisive winner OR wild brawls where interference is part of the ruleset: Omega vs. Fénix, Omega vs. PAC, the Young Bucks vs. the Lucha Bros, the Parking Lot Brawl, Baker vs. Rosa. The list goes on and on. This nonstop interference makes the first 90% of the match feel inconsequential, knowing some BS will affect it at the very end.