After yesterday’s AEW Dark failed to thrill me in any way, shape, or form, it was the turn of AEW Dynamite to step up and show what it could do.
Would it be able to reignite the fire under your friendly neighborhood wrestling writer, or would it just compound the theory that with so much in-ring action available across multiple companies and platforms, if you don’t stand out then you don’t get viewed?
Well, there’s only one way to find out.
Time to lace up our boots and head to the ring for this week’s AEW Dynamite Review.
AEW Tag-Team Championship Match: Hangman Page And Kenny Omega vs. SCU
If you’re going to start your show strong, then go as strong as you can.
This tag-team championship match was the perfect way to kick of this week’s AEW Dynamite as all four men involved are amongst the best that the company has to offer and they put on a bout that got my blood pumping and my adrenaline flowing in the way its sister show couldn’t achieve until the Main Event, 24 hours earlier.
There were times during this that I wasn’t convinced they were going to walk away champs as SCU did what SCU does best and pushed The Elite members to their very limits.
It’s sometimes easy to forget that both Kazarian and Sky have played the heel role to perfection over the years, seeing as how they’re viewed as Babyfaces within AEW, but some of those old tricks came to light here.
Sky kicking Omega in the back as he went to bounce off the ropes, Sky then tripping him up when he went for a top rope dive, these are all the trinkets of a villainous faction and if they weren’t locked into this program with the Dark Order, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them turn at AEW Revolution.
It seemed easy to call this before the bell as Page and Omega are supposed to be facing the winners of next week’s #1 Contenders Match, but there was enough on offer to make me question whether this would happen or whether SCU would pick up the 1-2-3 and even though The Hangman and The Cleaner got the win, in the end, there’s still a good chance that they might not have the belts come AEW Revolution as they’ve got to defend against the Lucha Bros. next week.
Winners And Still AEW Tag-Team Champions: Hangman Page And Kenny Omega
Dustin Rhodes vs. Sammy Guevara
If you’d told me a year ago that we’d be heading into a PPV with a brand new company and Jack Swagger vs. Goldust would be one of the matches on the card I was most looking forward to, I’d have laughed in your face while calling men in white coats to come and take you way.
But here were are.
This all happened after The Natural picked up the win over Guevara in a highly competitive bout and called Hager “Jericho’s Bitch”.
He also went on to claim that he’d messed up his MMA career and also his AEW one, but as he stands at 100% in the former and hasn’t wrestled yet in the latter then I have no idea quite what Dustin was going on about here.
Still, it was enough for Hager to accept the challenge and as Darby Allin’s already called out Sammy Guevara for AEW Revolution, then it’s going to be a busy night for the Inner Circle come Feb. 29th.
Winner: Dustin Rhodes
Britt Baker Promo
I haven’t been the most complimentary when it comes to Britt Baker over the past few weeks.
Truth be told, I’d rather stab myself in the eyes with a dentist drill than listen to her blather on each time she gets called out to the stage to bore the life out of Tony Schiavone and the rest of us, but credit where it’s due, this wasn’t that bad.
It wasn’t Ric Flair levels of brilliance by a long shot, but it was a vast improvement on what she’s been doing lately and it made me interested to see what would happen when she faced off against Riho at AEW Revolution and even though there were some in attendance still happy to throw X-Pac heat her way, I was starting to look forward to the title match between the two.
AEW Women’s Championship Match: Riho vs. Nyla Rose
And then they went and took the belt off of Riho and threw their PPV title match all up in the air.
I’m not sure how I feel about this.
On one hand, you’ve got Nyla Rose as champion now and she deserves a run with the belt. Even though this was a great bout it makes logical sense that Rose would over-power Riho, but when she did get the 1-2-3, I wasn’t the only one who was shocked. Yet, if you’re going to take the strap off of your champion you should put it on someone who can run roughshod over the AEW Women’s Division and Nyla Rose will do just that.
One the other hand, it causes quite a problem for the bookers in the back.
How do you now sell the Britt Baker/Nyla Rose clash that’s due to be on AEW Revolution?
Heel vs. Heel?
Have Britt come out next week and do a Face turn, cementing herself as the new Big Show with the way she flip-flops between styles?
Or do you, as I suspect, pull Baker from the title scene altogether and replace her with someone else, such as Hikaru Shida who is the legitimate #1 Contender for the title, at least if AEW is still going with the pretense that wins and losses matter.
Maybe this is just them admitting that the whole Britt Baker character isn’t working and they need to send her away for a repackage, but whatever’s going on here, expect Rose to hang onto the AEW Women’s Championship for quite a while to come.
Winner And New AEW Women’s Champion: Nyla Rose
MJF vs. Jungle Boy
If you aren’t convinced by now that MJF is the best bad guy in the world, then you really need to kiss his ring.
I’ve heard it said and seen it written all over the internet that he’s a true throwback to the old days of wrestling bad guys, but I don’t buy into that. He’s so much more than that and though he shares certain traits with those who have gone before him, what he’s doing at this precise moment in time is unique and stamps his character firmly in the 21st Century.
Whether that’s him playing on his phone when DDP was cutting his promo a few weeks ago or ragging on anyone stupid enough to take him on via Twitter, MJF has taken the Heel persona and given it a much-needed update and it is glorious.
Hell, he even managed to make JR lose his cool this week by telling Brandi Rhodes, mid-match, that she should be with “a real man”, triggering Good Ol’ JR to start yelling “Shut up! Shut up you jerk!” from his commentary position.
It doesn’t hurt that he can go in the ring either, as this match with Jungle Boy proved if any proof were needed.
They put on a hell of a show and even though Jungle Boy would take the loss here, thanks to some underhanded shenanigans from MJF and Wardlow, everyone walked away looking stronger for having been in the ring together.
And that, my friends, is the true art of wrestling.
Eye For An Eye Match: Jon Moxley vs. Santana
Having ‘blinded’ Santana on last week’s episode, Moxley and the former LAX member faced off in an Eye for an Eye match.
It was alright, I suppose, but perhaps part of the problem I had with this was it had to follow a wrestler in MJF who’s at the top of his game at the moment.
Another reason that I wasn’t as hyped up about it as I have been for 95% of the Moxley vs the Inner Circle storyline is that as soon as I realized Ortiz was at ringside then there was only one way this was going to end.
Yet another beatdown by the Inner Circle.
Look, I get it, they’re a pack and hunt as one but it just seems that this happens every single week and you’d hope by now that Moxley would be at least expecting it and be prepared to bail at the end of the match.
But no, he just takes another kicking that goes on far too long and though this is supposed to make his eventual win at AEW Revolution even more impressive, it makes him look like a chump for not having the sense to at least try to organize some backup.
Lone Wolf or not.
Anyway, he picked up the win and then got the shite kicked out of him to close the show.
I might have enjoyed watching two blind men wrestle more if I didn’t already know how it was going to end.
Winner: Jon Moxley
AEW Dynamite was very, very good this week.
Where yesterday I decried AEW Dark for being badly paced and not gelling, it’s compatriot had none of these problems.
The in-ring action was superb with enough high flying and heavy hitting to keep even someone as jaded as your friendly neighborhood wrestling writer invested in the show and the way they continued to build the stories going into AEW Revolution was worthy of a chef’s finger kiss in anyone’s book.
I’m curious to see what happens with the Women’s Championship from here on out, will they bin Britt Baker off or will we get the heel vs. heel match no-one really wants, but outside of that I really have zero complaints.
It’s nice to be nice, at least once in a while.