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.
There were three great matches on this show, with Bryan Danielson against Rush leading the way in my book. This was an absolute war where two guys murdered each other for 15 minutes. Rush’s run in AEW has been a tremendous pleasure to watch. There’s a lot of talk about how hot Dynamite has been for the past couple of months in terms of delivering great matches, but even by those elevated standards, this was a really special match.
The World Trios Championship match was also fantastic, with some really great high flying. Other than Death Triangle, AR Fox, and Top Flight may be the only other act on the AEW roster right now that can athletically match The Elite. They had a very entertaining match with all kinds of ridiculous spots that would have been the best match on many a wrestling TV show.
Konosuke Takeshita and MJF was another great match, though a step behind the other two. They worked really hard and did a great job meshing their styles, with MJF working as a vicious heel and Takeshita as the super athletic babyface. The sequence starting with the lariat with both on the top rope was impressive, as was Take’s blue thunder bomb – one of the best I’ve ever seen.
I enjoyed the story beat of MJF being so desperate to try to avoid Danielson by locking him in his locker room, and Danielson’s subsequent fiery escape (with Konosuke’s help) was great.
The Gunns ain’t it, at least right now. I’ve been turning around on them as on-screen personalities, as they seem to have improved noticeably in their promo ability and their general presence, but they do not have good matches. The Acclaimed aren’t exactly the Holy Demon Army, but they can have solid matches, but they got dragged down to a mediocre level by the Gunns. I do not understand taking the belts off quite possibly the hottest babyface act in the company when they’re at the height of their popularity. It could have been worse: I thought they would turn Billy Gunn heel. I think he’s really important to The Acclaimed’s act, but fortunately, they didn’t make that move.
Hopefully, The Bunny was not seriously injured last night. I was hoping for a good match with her and Jamie Hayter, but it fell short for reasons out of their control.
Q & I stole Chris Jericho's bat during AEW Dynamite tonight! Tune in to the Season 10 premiere of Impractical Jokers on Thursday night on TBS & truTV to see how Jericho responds! @BQQuinn @SalVulcano @IAmJericho @truTVjokers @AEW @TBSNetwork @truTV @AEWonTV @wbd pic.twitter.com/B821YYbo7V
— Murr (@jamessmurray) February 9, 2023
The Impractical Jokers guest spot died a death. Just awful stuff. The only saving grace was it was relatively short.
What in the blue hell was that MJF promo? I think MJF is a tremendously gifted promo, but for him to turn into a complete mustache-twirling villain by talking about framing his high school girlfriend for a car wreck felt like it was out of early 00s WWE, and not the good parts of it. This was technically well delivered but just felt tonally out of place in AEW.
Maybe it was just something I forgot, but I don’t think the fact that Rush was Bryan Danielson’s last obstacle for the pay-per-view title shot was played up enough – I had forgotten it until it was brought up during their match. I do like that AEW keeps a fast pace to their shows, but there are times that slowing it down to play something up as a big deal is helpful. This would have been a spot to establish the stakes for that match.
I thought the Garcia-Guevara Gauntlet ended up fine. Not great, not bad, just okay.
The Toni Storm/Saraya turn into geeky nWo works because they make you want to see them fail, so I think this works. Leva Bates’ terrible selling hurt it.
7.5/10. There were three excellent matches this week, but plenty of bad to go along with it.
Fred Morlan’s Chris Jericho’s Sports Entertainer(s) of the Week
Bryan Danielson had a great match and showed great babyface fire before it. I think he’s doing well in building his match with MJF, and this night was a great example.
Match Star Ratings
- MJF defeated Konosuke Takeshita: ****1/4
- Jamie Hayter defeated The Bunny: *1/2
- Ricky Starks fails to complete the Garcia-Guevara Gauntlet: ***
- Bryan Danielson defeated Rush: ****3/4
- The Elite defeated Top Flight and AR Fox to retain the AEW World Trios Championship: ****1/2
- The Gunns defeated The Acclaimed to win the AEW World Tag Team Championship: **1/2
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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