It’s Wednesday night (actually, it’s Thursday, … but I write when I can!), and you know what that means! As specified in my earlier blog entry, I am a longtime fan of professional wrestling that has, for a long time, felt unsatisfied and alienated from the product. I stopped watching on a regular basis about ten years ago, but have stayed up to date with a lot of what’s happening week to week.
Last week’s edition of AEW Dynamite scored a solid 7.2 out of 10.0 through my grading method, which is factored through a simple rating system, curved by reasonable expectations, and created through factors like how I believe each segment progresses its respective story or simple whether or not I’m entertained. The latest installment of Dynamite is the culmination of New Years Smash, benefited by a TNT Title match I look forward to. Let’s hope they have an exciting, entertaining night ahead and thrusts us forward into the new year!
AEW: Dynamite (1/13/21)
Eddie Kingson vs. Pac
The recap they showed prior to Eddie and Pac’s encounter was a smart decision. I, for one, only now started watching week to week and was uncertain of the beef they had with each other. Basically, Kingston tried to steer Penta and Rey in a different direction, and they are normally aligned with Pac in The Death Triangle (an awful name for a team, I will be the first to admit). The match ends with Pac defeating Eddie Kingston in decisive fashion. Afterward, Lance Archer came out and confronted Pac and told him they need to start seeing eye to eye.
That in mind, their match was a solid opener, but nothing noteworthy, per se. I would deem it as necessary and well worked, but fairly by the numbers. This was more about reestablishing Pac again (0-0-1-0-0).
Eddie Kingston is a solid hand, but not someone who has won me over in a significant way, whereas I think Pac will do great things in All Elite Wrestling now that he is back after away due to the pandemic.
Although his original run in the WWE as a babyface left a lot to be desired, I was thoroughly impressed by his heel stint as Cruiserweight Champion. A friend of mine told me he believed The Death Triangle was formed initially in order to establish an eventual Six-Man Tag Team Championship, similar to New Japan and Ring of Honor. I can’t say I am interested in that, but I would like to see Pac challenge for the TNT Title someday.
Miro vs. Chuck Taylor
Chuck Taylor was allotted the chance to inflict a level of offense on Miro I had not expected, but, sooner or later, it ended up as the showcase for Miro I thought it would have been.
I am alright with Miro, formerly known as Rusev in the WWE. Since leaving the company, he looks like a million bucks, and his performance shows he has never been better.
Unfortunately, I can’t say I am particularly sold on his current character as The Best Man from what I have seen in bits and pieces on Dynamite and AEW Dark. And, I can definitely say I am not interested in seeing Chuck Taylor as his “butler,” per the stipulation of this match. Generally speaking, while comedy feels inherent to a lot of wrestling in general, that’s something that feels a little too corny for my tastes.
Like the prior contest, this match was about progressing a particular character, and while I do appreciate that in itself, instead of meaningless contests to fill up a card, it was rather uneventful. (0-0-2-0-0)
A small backstage segment is shown featuring Matt Hardy and Private Party, with the Party bickering with Matt who has stipulated he receive a portion of their profit attained from social media and third-party platforms, a small jab at what WWE‘s current controversy over the same subject. The segment was short, but I felt it was worth singling out. Matt seems to be entering more of a managerial role, portraying a character similar in some ways to his Big Money Matt character in Ring of Honor. It does not necessarily move the needle one way or the other for me yet, but I am here for it and interested where it may lead (0-0-3-0-0).
The Squared Circle came to the ring to discuss their resolutions for the year. During which, things became heated when Chris Jericho proclaimed this would be the year he and MJF became the Tag Team Champions, much to the chagrin of Santana and Ortiz. This led to Sammy Guivara referring to Jericho as a “Tag Team Slut” for aligning himself with him first, then, now, MJF. The segment’s payoff came when Jericho announced the Inner Circle would have a three-way tag team match to decide the official tag team of the group.
I enjoyed the segment in part. Jericho playing off Sammy’s accusation was funny, but Jake Hager’s buffoonish exclaims were more cringe than humorous. I had a small chuckle that Sammy not understanding Jericho thinking Sammy and Hager teaming up was funny (Sammy Hagar) as well. The segment advanced the story between them and I look forward to seeing them fight next week. Personally though, I would much prefer all of them be allowed to do their own shtick as this feels less hard hitting and more like something to do (0-0-4-0-0).
Kenny Omega, Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson vs. Griff Garrison, Danny Limelight, and Brian Pillman Jr
Like the match with Miro and Chuck Taylor and the match with Pac and Kingston before that, I never doubted that Kenny Omega, Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson would come away with a decisive victory. Regardless, this has been, without a doubt, what I have enjoyed most about the night. Omega is fantastic as a heel, with an over-the-top entrance and charm to him that makes me hooked to the screen whenever he is on it. I also enjoy Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson a lot as well, and think of them as two hard-hitters I would like to continue seeing more of on All Elite Wrestling.
The match itself had little to it. Danny Limelight had some moments to show his stuff, but, for the most part, the “Elites” (as they were billed in the match) never felt like they were in jeopardy, with Griff, Danny, and Brian’s state in the company being much lower down on the totem pole. In fact, the only name I recognized was Brian Pillman Jr.’s, which is hardly because I know of Brian Pillman Jr. Although, I had seen him compete once or twice on MLW Fusion.
I enjoyed the latest installment in the ongoing Impact invades Dynamite conflict, as well as Kenny Omega and Jon Moxley’s ongoing conflict with each other, but I hope we can have something more concrete soon (0-1-4-0-0). I understand you want to build suspense and I am all for long term storytelling, but, for a night billed as New Years Smash, it has felt like a very incremental, developmental episode.
Britt Baker hosted her Waiting Room segment, which featured Cody Rhodes and, then, subsequently, a woman named Jade Cargill, who belittled Cody and his wife Brandi. Brandi recently announced she was pregnant and, thus, will be away for the foreseeable future. Jade was confronted by a woman named Red Velvet, and they tussled. Meanwhile, Britt Baker showed a segment of her attacking Thunder Rosa at an earlier date, which transitioned into Rosa challenging her to a match at Beach Break in February. In spite Britt’s declination, the match was made official.
This was a rough segment. The Waiting Room, in general, from what I have seen on Dark, is fairly rough. Britt Baker can land a handful of zingers every now and again, which she did here as well, taking jabs at how she does not have an action figure and Cody’s neck tattoo, but, otherwise, it has a lot of kinks it needs to iron out. Cody felt unnecessary in the segment and, altogether, it felt very clunky. I do like Thunder Rosa, after what I have seen from her on NWA Powerrr, and I hope she can offer the women’s division some very necessary depth (0-1-4-1-0).
FTR vs. Jurassic Express
Jurassic Express are some of the competitors I have seen most from AEW, for some reason. They have a lot of matches on shows, but, in spite of that, they have not been made to look like legitimate, believable competitors. Thus, because of that, I never doubted that FTR, formerly The Revival in WWE, would come away with the victory.
I would not normally complain about it, because, really, sometimes the predictable outcome is the right outcome, but I really wish they would have laid out the card in a way where everything was not so lopsidedly obvious (0-1-4-2-0). They have a lot of talent in the company, maybe too much, and it feels like they still haven’t found their groove on how to make each competitor feel formidable, and thus, their matches can carry an enhancement quality because you know who they’re currently focusing on in the rotation.
Serena Deeb vs. Tay Conti for the NWA Women’s Championship
I actually watched Serena Deeb win the NWA Women’s Championship about a week ago on NWA Shockwave. I like that AEW allows other companies to have such a considerable platform on their program. On one side, it could potentially bring more eyes over to Dynamite, no matter how few, and offers them content and a level of importance to each episode. On the other side, it allows the NWA the publicity at a time when the whole wrestling industry could use a hand (copy and paste this and you will find my thoughts about their relationship with Impact Wrestling as well). It does not do much for that predictability factor I mentioned earlier, however.
It was an efficiently wrestled match, regardless. I am not familiar with Tay Conti, but I know of Serena from her days with the Straight Edge Society back when. I had only watched a small bit of Shockwave months back, and remembered thinking the women’s match I had seen felt very amateur (not the match I saw with Serena winning the NWA Championship, of course), this, however, had two capable competitors doing their best with the time they were given. All the same, I can’t help but wonder why they could not offer this level of attention to their own women’s division (0-1-5-2-0).
Darby Allin vs. Brian Cage (w/Hook, Ricky Starks) for the TNT Championship
I have been excited for Darby Allin and Brian Cage to square off against each other for a while, and, although I fully expected for Darby to come away with the victory, I didn’t care about that. What I cared about was how Darby would survive against him. For at least a moment during, I was afraid it might have too outlandish or screwy a payoff. However, I am thankful to say Darby versus Brian was everything I wanted out of the match. Brian Cage looked like an absolute beast, decimating Darby left and right, and throwing him around like a ragdoll, and Darby showed his toughness in spite the odds brought against him.
The payoff saw Sting’s involvement, but I appreciate that he only became involved after Ricky Starks interfered in the bout, and more than that, I appreciate that Darby, in the end, was able to defeat Brian Cage by his own.
The match made Darby look like the ultimate underdog and was a serious capper for the event (1-1-5-2-0).
I will be honest, this week’s episode of AEW Dynamite was a little rougher than what I would have liked, only receiving a 5.6 out of 10.0 in my book, compared to the much better 7.2 of last week. Although the broadcast was benefited by how every match progressed a storyline, it was hurt by the way every match’s outcome felt clear and predictable. I would not say it was a straight-up flop, but the score itself owes a significant amount of debt to Darby Allin and Brian Cage’s bout.
Let’s hope that next week sees more diverse matches and more for each competitor to sink their teeth into.
Thanks for reading!