It’s time for a weekly look at the best, the worst, and the weird or otherwise notable – the Hungee – from the latest episode of AEW Dynamite.
First, some quick bonus notes on last Friday’s Rampage and the second Battle of the Belts.
- Cole vs. Page from Rampage was a great match – I went 4 1/4 stars on it – with hard work and crazy spots from both guys. That said, I can’t comprehend when a performer as talented and over as Adam Page is, but that shows up on TV so relatively rarely in the build to the Adam Page feud. It’s possible that Page’s status as a new father is why we’re not seeing him that much, or maybe there’s some unreported injury. Maybe I’m messed up by how WWF would trot out Stone Cold every single week in the late 90s, regardless of is his neck was compressed or not. But to have a kind of lukewarm build to such a great match, from guys that can give you a better build, is a shame.
- Speaking of bad builds – I don’t understand why the Battle of the Belts card was so underwhelming. The TNT & Women’s championships both had disappointing builds, and the marquee value of the card in general was a lot weaker than the previous night’s Rampage. AEW’s Battles still have a weird place within the realm of AEW’s television shows. A random special needs big matches to feel special.
Moving on to Dynamite.
The announcement for the New Japan show was well done as an angle. Instead of just being a hyped-up Tony Khan making the announcement – which was what I expected – we got Adam Cole and a surprise appearance from Jay White to start building matches right away.
As usual, most of the matches this week were great. Jungle Boy & Kyle O’Reilly was probably my highlight, but every men’s match outside of the Hook squash is worth your time. CM Punk vs. Dustin Rhodes reminded me of a match from 1992 WCW TV – just really good technical work. The six-man tag gave the losing side time to look good, as well.
Wardlow is 100% a star in the making. He’s got all the charisma you could want, plus enough in-ring skill to make him a viable top-of-card guy.
It was just a short promo, but Eddie Kingston got to flex his promo skills again – the line of “you reap what you sow, but people like me, I don’t sow, I just reap” was top tier stuff.
The House of Black walks a thin line between cool goth asskickers, and annoying goths who cut vague promos about people who they intend to then be asskickers to. Last night was one of the latter. And yes, there’s some value in having acts have short feuds against lower-level acts, but House of Black and Fuego del Sol is an odd combination for a multi-week promo.
Britt Baker was a little off last night. I’ve noticed that she usually doesn’t do her best work on promos if she’s not actually directing them at someone as part of a storyline – the scatter shot, “hey, I’m about to do a thing, let’s name check everyone” promos aren’t her strength.
Najee Davis had a great time on Dynamite, and was about to cut himself a promo last night, until someone cut off the mic. Rude! Sign Najee Davis, cowards.
Shout out to Jose the Tablet Assistant for unnecessarily taking his shirt off before taking the bump on the thumbtack-encrusted coffin lid.
It would be nice if a single Lance Archer & Jake Roberts promo made sense at some point, instead of just Roberts cutting a promo for 30 seconds before a screaming Archer just obliterates it. Oh well!
Star Ratings for Matches
- CM Punk vs. Dustin Rhodes: ***3/4
- Blackpool Combat Club vs. Brock Anderson, Dante Martin, & Lee Anderson: ***1/2
- The Butcher vs. Wardlow: ***
- Jungle Boy vs. Kyle O’Reilly: ****
- Anthony Henry vs. HOOK: *1/4
- Britt Baker vs. Danielle Kamela: *
- Andrade El Idolo vs. Darby Allin, coffin match: ****
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