It’s time for a weekly look at the best, the worst, and the weird or otherwise notable (or Hungee) of the latest episode of AEW Dynamite.
This was, in my mind, one of the best episodes of Dynamite ever. The in-ring action was largely great; I’d recommend checking out literally every match except for The Bunny & Toni Storm, and that one was definitely not one you need to skip. It was just a step behind the rest.
Wheeler Yuta, in particular, had a star-making performance on this show thanks to the help of Danielson. I don’t think Yuta’s anywhere close to a finished product yet, but he finished in my top 50 wrestlers for last year off his great run on the indies.
Andrade isn’t so big that he gets to work as the bully in a match very often, but he was fantastic at that role in his match with Darby Allin. Given Darby’s willingness to kill himself bumping, this was a great formula for this match.
The FTR babyface turn is working way better than I thought it would. They’re already really over in that role, and that’s without a “real” turn to heat them up. It seems like the implosion of the Pinnacle will be the next angle for MJF, which should be an interesting 3 on 3 feud.
Matt Menard was born to be back up in a stable. I encourage you to re-watch last night’s Jericho Appreciation Society segment and just watch what Menard does the entire time – he’s a ball of energy that is constantly in character, reacting to everything. I think if they had waited 2 or 3 weeks for the return of Kingston and Proud & Powerful, Menard could have really helped himself out with the mid-promo schtick of looking through the curtains. The guy’s a superstar.
Max Caster is looking very improved in the ring, though he was working one of the best guys on the roster in CM Punk. Hopefully this will continue – if both he and Anthony Bowens turn into great workers, then The Acclaimed 100% will need to be featured on a weekly basis.
One last quick note: I thought The Bunny hit a very nice Death Valley Driver in her match.
Shockingly, for an episode I declared one of their best ever, there’s not a lot to put in this category.
I wasn’t a huge fan of the Undisputed Elite’s celebration. There was good comedy – the five balloons and Kyle O’Reilly sitting down both got laughs out of me – and Cole’s a good promo, but it felt too short to get everything in. I assume they didn’t want to go long given the length of the Jericho Appreciation Society segment.
I don’t have a concrete alternative here, but it did feel like Toni Storm’s wasn’t as emphasized as it could have been, as she’s a huge get for their women’s division. Her just coming out for a match with The Bunny that was largely 50/50 just didn’t feel like the right way to get her over in her debut.
I can’t really say much about Vickie Guerrero’s promo this week, since her mic cut out on her for the entirety of it – it was a short promo. Because of this, this segment further highlighted that Nyla Rose is a good promo on her own. I still don’t think this pairing works great, but if they can set it up where Nyla handles more of her own talking, I don’t think that’ll be a bad thing.
Your JR goof of the week is either him missing out on MJF trying to bar Wardlow from coming to arenas – it’s only one of the major angles in the company, Jim – or else not knowing that Marina Shafir has been working the YouTube shows. Announcing is hard, but these were both pretty big gaffes.
Speaking of Shafir: her TV debut against Jade Cargill feels like an odd match-up. Either Cargill loses, which feels way too early, or Shafir loses, which is bad if you’re bringing someone in as an MMA-style bad ass. There’s also the question of if Shafir’s gimmick is going to be too similar to what will be Paige VanZant’s.
A positive thought to end on – it’s really cool to have an American promotion where every little thing matters. Teases can be subtle or very obvious. Jay Lethal & FTR had rather similar teases, just going in different directions on the babyface-heel alignment chart, but FTR’s was very obvious and Lethal’s was less so.
Star Ratings For Matches
Caster vs. Punk ***1/2
Lethal vs. Moxley ****1/4
FTR vs. Gunn Club ***1/2
Danielson vs. Yuta ****1/4
Bunny vs. Storm ***
Andrade vs. Darby ****1/4