We’re going to do things a bit differently for tonight’s edition of Dynamite.
Over the last few weeks you’ve probably noticed that I’m critical of Dynamite a lot. This essentially boils down to a few problems that I have watching the show, which I’ll describe, where needed, in each segment.
No, I’m not a WWE “Stan” or taking sides in this cooked up dream feud that the IWC likes to mark up – If you read my Raw reviews, you know how critical I can be of illogical or straight-up boring stuff that WWE’s brass conjures up.
But here’s the thing about WWE – the issues Raw has are at times inconsistent vs. the same mistakes that AEW makes over and over. One of those is more fixable than the other.
Now Raw this week was stellar. We had two extremely good matches, some very strong story development and, aside from the Zoey Stark/Natalya match, nothing was a true groaner, and that match is forgivable because it was as much a means to build up the new girl.
So let’s take a more critical look at Dynamite tonight. You’re not going to get individual move highlights, you’ll see who won and who lost, yes, but you’ll get a constructive (okay and likely some destructive) commentary. Let’s see how this goes.
Orange Cassidy vs. Swerve Strickland (International Championship Match)
Okay we might as well get things started with the single most destructive force in AEW – Orange Cassidy.
Cassidy is a bad joke that has run its course on the main card. There’s a time and place for campy gimmicks, but it’s not on the flagship show, nor is it with a title belt. Santino Marella was campy, and WWE quickly moved him from being the Intercontinental Champion to some sideshow spots. Worked great, but it wasn’t destructive to the title structure.
Solution: Move Cassidy to Rampage, and heck put the belt there too. WCW Saturday Night did this and the format worked well.
As for Swerve, there isn’t much you have to change here other than the wardrobe. It’s outlandish but at the same time it’s not distracting.
To illustrate that my point has merit, one of the fans in the stands had a very visible sign that read “If Swerve loses, we riot.” Thank you my brother, or sister.
Unfortunately, the riot looks like it will happen.
Winner: Orange Cassidy
Post match, the Embassy attacks until the lights go out. When they come back up, String and Darby Allin are out.
Here’s another problem – you’ve shuffled Allin down the card so far that it’s hard to take him seriously as a title contender. The solution is simple though – have him beat the crap out of Cassidy and Sting to give him a very strong heel build.
Bryan Danielson is out next with a hyper package preceding him for his upcoming match against Kazuchika Okada. Nothing wrong with this booking, nor by putting Dragon on commentary. This element of the BCC is working well.
Blackpool Combat Club vs. Chaos
Speaking of comedy teams getting too much exposure on the flagship, Best Friends fall into the category as well. Let them have their gits and shiggles somewhere else than against the most dominant faction on AEW and the guys you’re building up as the unstoppable serious-as-all-hell force, you don’t put them in with a comedy crew. No one’s going to buy a victory by the Best Friends and their sometimes associate.
Oh, and this is the second straight match that goes to picture-in-picture, which illustrates another big problem – pacing. One or two longer matches is good, but every match doesn’t need PPV length. When you have a roster the size AEW does, you need to budget time accordingly. This isn’t how you do it.
To the surprise of no one, BCC wins handily, albeit after too long of a match to show true domination.
Winners: Blackpool Combat Club
It’s worth noting that while Mox was getting the win with a submission, Yuta was raining down elbow strikes on Chuck Taylor and didn’t stop even after the bell. This is interesting development for this character, if it continues properly.
We get a video next promoting Forbidden Door’s match featuring Kenny Omega against Will Osprey.
Out comes Adam Cole at the perfect time, apparently free from the Jericho anchor. MJF cuts off his entrance to a rather pointed disappointment display by the assembled masses. MJF waxes fanboy over Cole, then turns on what Cole has “become” and sounds off beautifully, including namedropping Vince McMahon’s dropping the ball.
Cole retorts and goes to the fiancee card and insinuates steroid use for gits and shiggles. This is what we’ve needed from Adam Cole since he came back. The intensity level here is much bigger than what we had with the Jericho feud that tanked.
MJF responds with intensity before Cole rallies the crowd one last time.
This is, far and away, the best segment on Dynamite in months.
Backstage, Matt Hardy’s crew introduces Ethan Page as his newest “employee”. This angle has gone on way too long with too many twists and turns no one is engaging in.
Hook / Jungle Boy vs. LFI (Tornado Tag Team Match)
This is a bit of a similar problem to above. Perry has been shuffled back down the card that the only way to really rehab him is to do the heel turn. The seemingly inevitable match with Hook, however, should be amazing.
To my point, Perry tears at his opponent’s mask, a very heel tactic.
Preston Vance comes up bleeding to all heck at one point, wearing a crimson mask very quickly. Another problem, and one that WWE learned well – excessive blood lessens the impact the more you see it. Vance cut himself bad and really, the refs should’ve sopped the match at some point to execute some repairs instead of letting him coat Hook in the red stuff. It’s 2023. Just not acceptable anymore.
Stereo submissions win it for the faces.
Backstage we go to Tony Khan for the announcement of Collision’s first main event. Another big problem – keep having special announcements and they just aren’t special anymore.
Oh and the main event will be Jay White, Juice Robinson and Samoa Joe will face FTR and CM Punk.
Konosuke Takeshita vs. David Ace
I have no problem with this one since Takeshita needed his first heel match, and I have even less problem since Callis was kept off the mic.
Winner: Konosuke Takeshita
And just to change my mind, Callis enters afterward with the mic. Thankfully the BS was short, and that’s my problem – In a good heel promo, there’s an ounce of truth. There’s nothing truthful about Callis’ influence on Omega’s career, kayfabe or not, and most fans can see through that. This is why Callis’ heat is X-Pac heat, not real heat.
Christian is talking with Alex Marvez next. Christian says he’s going to take something from Arn Anderson. We see that Brock Anderson is busted up, including a small blood amount. To the point I made earlier, this is where blood is appropriate, and would have more impact if we didn’t see the red-soaked brawl earlier.
Anna JayAS vs. Kris Statlander (TBS Championship)
Issue here is simple – Anna has been straddling the line between heel and face of late, and has really seldomly been attached to the JAS. Statlander, meanwhile has been used VERY effectively in her return, so I’m not going to chirp on this at all.
Except… PiP #3. PACING!
Winner: Kris Statlander
Ricky Starks vs. Jay White
Now some will criticize and say Starks vs. White isn’t a main event match, but sometimes you need to throw spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks. Mixing up the top of the card isn’t a bad thing.
Putting the Ass Boys in Bullet Club Gold? THAT waters down the brand. That’s nWo b-team bad. That’s Hornswoggle in DX bad. If we thought that the Gold version of Bullet Club jumped the shark, then this move was a leap over the entire Jaws series.
Oh, and it’s not the first time this has happened in AEW, and not the last time we’ll see it. Not everyone needs to be in a faction. Many AEW factions have failed because they’re forced / forced to grow beyond reason.
Winner: Jay White
Well kids, I hope you learned a lesson, and AEW bookers, I hope you learned a few.