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.

The Good

There were two great promos on this show. Adam Page finally got to show the fire that made him the top-rising star over the first couple of years of the show. He’s a great motivated babyface, but he has to be given the opportunity to show that motivation.

MJF delivered a very good promo, as you would expect. I’m not sure about the timing of some of its themes, but I think this was a good character-defining promo for him as we move forward.

There were also several great matches tonight. Pac and Orange had a very good main event, with a very satisfying blowoff to their storyline. Pac’s cheating antics were finally overcome, and getting a belt on a star like Orange Cassidy is a positive.

I liked the Bryan Danielson vs. Chris Jericho match. It worked well with both guys going all out. The finish was, uh, interesting, I suppose, but more on that later.

Jack Perry vs. Luchasaurus was better than I thought it would be. There’s an argument that they shouldn’t have had the cheap finish here, especially in the context of the other ones on this show, but I didn’t mind this one too much. Christian Cage had already gotten twice involved in the match shortly before the finish, so it made sense that Perry would be distracted into taking a finisher. It worked better than a generic “hear a rival’s theme song play and drop everything” deal.

The women’s tag match was really enjoyable, too. This was a solid match with minimal bullshit, which is what the division needed this week.

The Bad

All of the above said I came out of this show worried about the long-term prospects of AEW’s creative. I don’t know if this is because of his being distracted from the aftermath of Brawl Out or his typical struggles coming out of major shows, but I may be less excited about AEW’s short-term future than I ever have been.

Tony Khan is repeating storylines. Daniel Garcia is in a storyline built around his having issues with his stable, but so are Jamie Hayter and MJF, and Private Party and Preston Vance are doing it from the babyface side.

A major point of Chris Jericho’s ROH World Championship run is that he cheats, which is disgraceful given the kayfabe values that Ring of Honor is supposed to represent. But cheating finishes are the norm up and down the card – PAC just finished a multiweek storyline built around that, Luchasaurus won off a distraction finish, and Swerve Strickland had a cheap roll-up. So why should there be extra heat on Jericho for cheating when there are so many finishes like that?

I don’t know why Swerve Strickland, a pretty high-level guy on the card, had to cheat to win against Billy Gunn. Obviously, they’re pushing that Swerve is a heel, but there’s a way to show that without him having to use a finisher and then a rope-assisted roll-up on a semi-active 50-year-old. This was completely unnecessary. Billy Gunn, of all people, doesn’t need to be protected in Anno Domini 2022.

We’ll see what happens with Daniel Garcia, but I thought they were doing a great job establishing him as a near-future top guy, only to apparently move him right back to the Jericho Appreciation Society. Hopefully, there’s more planned here than just putting him back as a lackey in a stable.

I don’t know what the plan is with MJF. It feels inevitable that he’ll turn face, but to start pushing it now feels mistimed. Having him be a babyface before facing Jon Moxley, who’s the central babyface of the company right now, seems ass-backward.

AEW cycles out higher-level people on their roster on a regular basis, but to bring in The Embassy and The Butcher & The Blade but to keep the likes of Miro, FTR and Eddie Kingston on the sidelines is a misidentification of talent.

Adam Page has been deemphasized for awhile now, but he’s a tremendous talent and a high-level draw. Both Wardlow and Hook feel cooler than they were three or six months ago. I appreciate Tony Khan trying to feature different talent, but sometimes people need to be kept off of ice and on screen.

It also feels way too soon to move The Acclaimed into a feud with a lower-card act that is designed just to kill time. They’re too hot to be doing that; they should be facing someone that means something.

There’s increasing signs of pessimism for AEW’s ticket sale numbers given their drops, but that’s another column for another day.

A lot of the company just feels directionless at this point in time. I hope Tony Khan can just sit down and plan things out moving forward.

The Hungee

Nyla Rose is a very enjoyable, smart-ass heel on the mic. She’s been very underused in this aspect of the show; hopefully we’ll get more of that. I’m not very optimistic about her facing Anna Jay, though.

I saw a comment that the time devoted on Dynamite to building up that week’s Rampage drags down Dynamite, which is a negative since Rampage feels like a much lower-level show than Dynamite. I’ve talked before on this article’s companion podcast about how Rampage is a B-show.

An entire episode of Dynamite that’s just PAC selling DDTs would be one of the all-time greatest episodes of wrestling television. He’s a great seller in general, but he always makes DDTs look like absolute killers.

It’s obviously time to pull the trigger on Jamie Hayter.

Ian Riccaboni on commentary is always a highlight. We’re fortunate to be in a high-water period for the quality of English-language commentary, and he’s one of the big parts of that.

I’m very happy to see Renee Paquette join up with AEW. I hope they’ll get to feature her more moving forward.

The pop The Acclaimed got for a pretty run-of-the-mill rap is damned impressive.

Overall rating

6.5/10. There were three great matches on this show, but the warts of Tony Khan’s booking showed pretty badly tonight. I hope everything can get back on track soon.

Fred Morlan’s Chris Jericho’s Sports Entertainer of the Week

PAC had a great outing in the main event. He’s been doing great work in-ring and as a character during this feud with Orange Cassidy.

Match Star Ratings

  • Luchasaurus defeated Jack Perry: ****1/4
  • Samoa Joe & Wardlow defeated Nick Comoroto & QT Marshall: *1/4
  • Swerve Strickland defeated Billy Gunn: *3/4
  • Chris Jericho successfully defended the RoH World Championship against Bryan Danielson: ****1/4
  • Hikaru Shida & Toni Storm defeated Dr. Britt Baker & Jamie Hayter: ***1/2
  • Orange Cassidy defeated PAC for the AEW All-Atlantic Championship: ****

You can follow Fred on Twitter at @flagrantrasslin. He hosts  a podcast with Tyler Forness inspired by this article; the latest episode is available here.

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