My day job got in the way the other day and forced me to miss covering “Dynamite” – which was covered awesomely by Mike Tedesco I might add – but after all of the talk and hype I’ve seen about the show I needed to watch it myself, and felt like I wanted to give my thoughts on it, as well. Let’s start from the top.
-Tag Team Battle Royal: One of the criticisms that AEW has received since the beginning is that they often haven’t booked some of their top guys (Cody, The Bucks, Omega, etc.) LIKE top stars but this is probably the highest profile win for the Bucks since the debut of “Dynamite.”
They’ve been teasing and building towards Omega/Page vs. The Bucks for probably 2-3 months now and this big win puts that match into place finally, and gives The Bucks a big win en route to it. The match itself was absolutely unreal.
I’ve spoken many times about my dislike for Battle Royal’s typically but this one of the more entertaining Battle Royal’s I believe that I’ve ever seen. It was absolute chaos from the beginning and unbelievably fun. And Sammy Guevara eating the Superkick at the end is likely a clip we will see replayed over and over as it was unreal and reminiscent of the HBK-Shelton Benjamin moment from years ago.
Also, a number of underused talents (CIMA/T-Hawk and Hybrid 2 for example) got some shine here, as well. I don’t know if AEW could have started the show off better.
-Statlander vs. Shanna was excellent, especially the second half. Statlander’s gimmick is definitely very silly but she is probably my favorite female wrestler in AEW at this point. She is absolutely terrific in the ring. The Shanna Tornado DDT spot was incredible.
Last year Britt Baker was all but dead as a character in AEW but since her heel turn she has completely turned it around. Her and Statlander feuding could be an exciting secondary feud in the women’s division as we head to Rose’s next challenger.
Rose’s promo started off rocky but she recovered at the end and it was easily the best we’ve seen Rose on the microphone. We rarely hear anyone say something like “I’m going to be a one time champion because no one can beat me,” which I thought was a nice change of pace.
Statlander, Rose and Swole in a 3-Way at Revolution seems like the way they’re heading for “Revolution,” though I’d like to see them build to Statlander’s shot a little more.
-I got unbelievably excited when Jeff Cobb debuted last week but since then we’ve found out that he isn’t actually signed to a contract with AEW (and doesn’t seem like he is very interested in signing exclusively with anyone). So, that was unfortunate.
The match with Moxley was really good and I think putting Moxley is the only thing you could do in this situation, especially with Cobb not being signed. Whether or not he actually signs a contract, I really hope we see more of Cobb in AEW. He’s one of the better “power” wrestlers on the planet in my opinion and there are so many awesome matchups we could see in AEW.
I do think Jericho hiring mercenaries every time he has a challenger could be cool if he continues on with the title (doubtful), though.
I wasn’t a fan of Taz replacing Schiavone about midway through the show but I read elsewhere that maybe Schiavone may have been under the weather last night. If anything, I would rather see Ross be replaced by Taz.
The pop that Darby Allin got was actually shocking to me. I knew that he has really been getting over in AEW but holy hell, the roof came off. It’s also a testament to the job AEW has done with him and also the injury angle.
I actually popped when Jericho came out because he walked right past one of my all-time favorite rappers, who is an Atlanta native, T-Rock at ringside. T-Rock is a gigantic wrestling fan and has been one of the more prolific Atlanta-based rappers in the past 20 years. It means nothing to the show but was just cool for me as a hip hop fan.
-I don’t know need to tell anyone how much I love the Lucha Brothers but once again they did it with an incredible match against Drunkman and Omega. Have I said lately how Fenix is not human? Well, Fenix is not human! The Lucha Brothers were one of the hottest acts on the planet a year and a half or so and have cooled off a bit in AEW. I think part of that is just simply with how deep the company is, especially with tag teams. We need to see The Lucha Brothers get more shine and, honestly, I think they need singles runs.
I get that the spotfest type of matches just aren’t some people’s cup of tea and that I can even acknowledge that sometimes it gets overdone in AEW (and other places) but man this match was awesome stuff. The false finishes down the stretch had me beyond hooked. It’s everything I love about wrestling wrapped up in a match.
This transformation for Hangman since the AEW Title Tournament has been nothing short of amazing. He has gone from one of the most “blah” guys in the company to incredibly entertaining and the eventual turn on Omega is going to be intense and it’s going to be fun.
-The Steel Cage Match was excellent. It was a good cage match but the finish – the absolute insanity of that dive by Cody – was just unbelievable. Cody is going to face the nepotism claims for his entire career, just like Dusty did, but there is no denying just how over he is in AEW. He is a superstar, he carries him like a superstar and he is doing the best work of his entire career right now.
There is so much I can say about this cage match. First off, the look of the cage was great and I was so thankful that they took “escape rules” and balled them up. No cage match should end in escape, period. I hate that stipulation. I think the fact that it happened in Atlanta, the site of numerous bloody cage matches in Dusty’s career, just added to the overall atmosphere. Also, Cody is going to get a ton of much deserved praise for this match but kudos to Wardlow. He wasn’t just a broom stick that Cody was working with in that cage. He held his own and I don’t think the loss hurts him in the least. When he eventually breaks away from being MJF’s heavy it will be interesting to see what they do with him.
Overall, I think this was by far the best episode of “Dynamite” thus far and it may honestly be the best episode of any weekly wrestling show that I’ve seen in nearly 20 years. From the beginning to the end it was absolutely excellent. The past two weeks for AEW have been stellar but really since the New Year AEW has been absolutely on fire.
I think the biggest compliment you can give AEW is that they hear criticisms – legit criticisms – and they course correct. They aren’t freaking out and abandoning thins completely that don’t click right away but they have been emphasizing the things that do work, re-working things that aren’t working and seem to be listening to the fans. AEW has made wrestling fun again for me and that is probably my biggest concern.