The final Daily’s Place edition of AEW Dynamite (for the time being) was all about the huge world title match. In this column, I break down Kenny Omega vs. Jungle Boy and the other hits and misses from the show.
Kenny Omega vs. Jungle Boy for the AEW World Championship
The best part of AEW is its wrestling, and this was the best AEW match of the month. They are the only major North American promotion in history to consistently put on great television matches. And after a long, wild, and occasionally frustrating journey at Daily’s Place, you couldn’t have drawn up a much better way to send the venue off than this.
While I didn’t love the amateurish way they did it (why was Marko Stunt so mad?), I loved that it was a straight-up one-on-one singles. There has been so much incessant heat on this show recently that a simple, awesome singles match was a relief. Omega was a killer, getting some actual heat back with a mostly clean win where he exerted his dominance.
But the story here was Jungle Boy. The dude just turned 24 and he’s one of the most popular wrestlers in America. He was stellar in this match; all of his offense looked great, he was sympathetic and believable, and his brief moments on top were exhilarating. They didn’t ruin his finishers or anything with a forced epic style; Omega was the better man. But Jungle Boy was on his level for one night. Depending on what’s next, he should be firmly entrenched as one of AEW’s top stars.
Hangman Page and Team Taz: A natural, well-written story
For the most part I think AEW’s storylines leave a lot to be desired. One area where they’re getting right though is this story involving Hangman Page and Team Taz.
Brian Cage being an unstoppable machine and realizing that he doesn’t need Team Taz to help him win is such a natural story hook. And seemingly every week, something changes: Cage is uncertain, then he’s annoyed, and now he’s actively fighting against Team Taz. The official turn still hasn’t happened, but we all know it’s coming. And that’s okay, because the end result—a babyface Brian Cage—whose offense is so impressive that you can’t help but like him – is appealing.
Page’s presence gives the program an upper card feel. His uncertainty over the world title is bubbling underneath, leaving us wondering where it leads next. In any case, he gave Powerhouse Hobbs the best match of his career this week, continuing a nice string of performances for the Hangman.
Miro being out of his mind
Three months ago I wouldn’t have believed that Miro would consistently be my favorite part of Dynamite. His promos are hilarious and unhinged, but he’s got that unbelievable physique and athleticism that allows him to come across as intimidating regardless.
The dynamic of Miro against Brian Pillman Jr. is simple: Pillman’s going to get some great near falls next week, and Miro’s wonderful run as TNT champion continues AEW’s impressive resume when it comes to booking that title, with Cody Rhodes and Darby Allin also having great reigns.
AEW’s women’s division
This will stay at the top of “miss” list unless something egregious happens, or until it’s fixed. There is absolutely nothing interesting going on in AEW’s women’s division, and that’s not something you want to say when WWE has three exciting young champions on top and the imminent return of Becky Lynch.
This week was essentially a copy-and-paste from last week. We got a Britt Baker promo, which was fine, plus we got Nyla Rose and Vickie Guerrero. We got Jade Cargill becoming a wacky gimmick instead of a stone-cold killer. We also got the second straight week of the customary Dynamite women’s match being a vehicle to set up a men’s feud. Kris Statlander and the Bunny worked hard, but it’s not going to matter at all considering Orange Cassidy’s by far the most important person in that segment.
AEW has a fantastically gifted roster of women, and somehow Serena Deeb, Riho, and Hikaru Shida, who anchored the division for a full year, can’t even make it on television. This is by far the worst aspect of AEW programming right now. Figure it out, people.
Konnan & Tully Blanchard
These two are both all-time great talkers but their segment tonight was a miss for me. That’s not to say their performances weren’t strong, because they were. Actually, it was the content of their promos that struck me as ill-fitting for the story AEW is trying to tell.
For starters, Konnan’s association with Santana & Ortiz has been pretty limited in AEW, so it was odd to hear him speak so passionately about them, even going so far as to say he is their father figure. The end of the segment was awkward, with the masked Santana and Ortiz so clearly being FTR; they telegraphed the “swerve” a mile away.
Most puzzling was Konnan bringing up social issues like policing and mass incarceration. While I’m sure those words came from the heart, I have no faith at all that AEW (or any wrestling company) can treat those things with the respect and care they deserve. Coming from AEW television, which literally ran an angle where Santana was arrested two months ago, it came across as cynical and tone-deaf. I strongly discourage using those things as story beats unless you are fully confident they will come across well.