AEW Dynamite #104 aired from Rochester, New York, the hometown of Jon Huber. It will forever sting that Brodie Lee was supposed to make his All Elite debut in Rochester, but with the worst case of bad timing, COVID-19 prevented it from happening. It was a hero’s welcome that we never got to see. Signs and t-shirts with Dark Order and Brodie Lee on them were all over this arena as AEW devoted much of this episode to paying tribute to a wrestling great, that was truly one of their own.
- Having now seen it twice, I’m convinced that opening Dynamite with CM Punk’s entrance, then having Adam Cole immediately follow it is the best way to kick off a wrestling show. Punk sat at the commentary desk for the whole two hours and was phenomenal. He was one of the best things on the show. Cole wrestled Jungle Boy in a hot opening match with some great action. Cole got the win after a low-blow and Last Shot. Jack looked awesome here and just gets better by the week.
- The Cody Rhodes and Lee Johnson vs. Dante Martin and Matt Sydal match itself was fine. It got Martin over. The crowd sounded pretty mixed, leaning toward hating Cody. This whole segment really popped off when Arn Anderson cut a promo on Cody post match and talked about how he’d “GET THE GLOCK” if he were getting car-jacked, while Cody would just give up the car and say “don’t hurt me”. This unfortunately wasn’t the only reference to gun violence on this show.
- The six-man tag pitting Jon Moxley, Darby Allin and Eddie Kingston against Bear Country and Anthony Greene was a fine, short squash. If they do a trios title tournament it’d be a mistake to not have the Mox-Kingston-Allin team participate.
- The only thing we saw of World Champion Britt Baker was a pre-tape where she and Ruby Soho exchanged barbs. It looks like we’re getting a rematch between the two, which I’m there for.
- Even though the match itself was messy, it was beautiful to see young Brodie Jr. out there with his mother and the Dark Order after the 16-man tag. They got a great shot from behind of him throwing up the Dark Order hand-gesture and looking at a sign with his father’s likeness. This was great.
- FTR, mainly Dax Harwood, cut an awesome promo coming back from the commercial. They need to be used a lot more. AEW’s new motor-mouth Dan Lambert also cut a blistering promo on Chris Jericho which was entertaining. That was followed by a VTR for Hikaru Shida vs. Serena Deeb next week which will be an awesome match.
- Anna Jay and Tay Conti beat Penelope Ford and the Bunny in a tag match. It was rough in the early goings but got better towards the end. Judging by the matching gear on both sides it’s looking like they’re establishing them as proper tag teams which is good. Hopefully it won’t be too long before there are titles for them to fight for.
- The main event was a solid match. Personally, I wasn’t ready for the reign of “The Redeemer” to end, but these fans in Rochester were. Sammy Guevara became the first wrestler to pin Miro in a singles match, and he won the TNT Championship in doing so.
- It’s well established that the Elite perplexingly comes across as a little boys club rather than the top heel group they’re positioned as. Kenny Omega and Bryan Danielson just last week had one of the three best matches in All Elite history and a week later it was followed up with a goofy segment that didn’t really achieve as much as it should have.
- The 16-man tag with Orange Cassidy and the Dark Order beating the Hardy Family Office was a bit of a mess, just too many guys in the ring. It felt like a rushed and abrupt payoff to this storyline with the Dark Order all being mad at each other. There was also the sudden cut from the post-match celebration with the Hubers to a VTR for Lio Rush. I think this could’ve waited a week, we could’ve just let the Dark Order moment breathe until the commercial.
- MJF gets a lot of rope in his promos, and he’s really one of the top heels in this promotion, but I think he’s going to look back and regret some of the choices he’s making. He’s already so hateable, I don’t think he needs to reference school-shooting or Darby Allin’s uncle’s real-life death in a car accident to get heat. The two exchanged words and MJF walked away with Wardlow when Darby stood up to Max, saying he couldn’t be broken mentally.
While it would be nearly impossible to top last week’s Grand Slam, this episode was still more good than bad. It stumbled a few times, but in no way did it hurt their momentum. It was a mixed bag in terms of quality, as Dynamite usually is, and it featured some feel good moments and a touching tribute to Brodie Lee.