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AEW Dynamite, Just Put WWE to Shame

by Ricky Fernandes da Conceição

AEW Dynamite, Season 2, Episode 7 Review

AEW Dynamite emanated from Austin, Texas this week and featured not one but two championship matches. First, Kenny Omega & Hangman Page defended the tag team titles against SCU— while Nyla Rose challenged Rhio for the Women’s Championship. Meanwhile, MJF stepped inside the squared circle with Jungle Boy Jack Perry and the main event featured Jon Moxley and Santana brawling it out in an Eye for an Eye match. Every major star seemed to make an appearance this week along with Jeff Cobb (a.k.a. “Monster Matanza Cueto”) who showed up as a hired gun for Chris Jericho.

It’s been six months since Dynamite premiered on October 2nd, 2019 and while the first 18 episodes of Dynamite featured plenty of highlights and killer promos, it was only with this 19th episode that AEW was by far, the clear winner of the Wednesday Night Wars.

Don’t get me wrong, the February 12th taping of NXT had its fair share of moments but the folks over at Dynamite really outdid themselves. Despite some minor problems that could use improvement (namely some poor officiating) AEW delivered its best episode of Dynamite yet. It featured a stacked card; a cameo appearance by an ROH superstar; a brilliant interview by the one and only Jim Ross, and count ‘em… four incredible matches that are of PPV-quality.

Here’s everything AEW did right this week.

AEW Tag Team Championship Match

Kenny Omega & Hangman Page & SCU, Open the Show with a Bang!

I’m not a fan of the Dark Order so I didn’t care much for the opening promo but what I did like what the fake-out in having Christopher Daniels decide to head out and investigate what was happening backstage and leaving viewers suspicious of his motives. Chances are, if you were watching live, you might have suspected that Daniels would return to the ring, join the Dark Order and interfere with the match, causing SCU to lose— only, none of that happened. Instead, fans were treated to a great in-ring performance by four world-class athletes who pulled off some incredibly well-timed in-ring choreography and more importantly, kept the crowd invested.

In the end, Adam Page and Kenny Omega performed a combination of the Buckshot Lariat and the V-Trigger against Frankie Kazarian for the win to defend their titles.

This match was a perfect storm of great storytelling and non-stop action culminating with the Dark Order invading the ring, followed by the Butcher and the Blade, Orange Cassidy, Best Friends, the Young Bucks and pretty much every other major tag team in the locker room. It was a fun skirmish that did a great job in teasing next week’s tag team Battle Royal— something in the vein of a great cliffhanger. I especially loved the bit by Orange Cassidy continuing his silly but obviously popular “hands-in-the-pocket” gimmick.

The Young Bucks evened the odds and, and in the end emerged victorious after pulling off their go-to superkicks and some high-flying maneuvers. It’s pretty obvious at this point that they’re a sure bet to win next week’s main event.

If AEW follows a traditional wrestling storyline, the Young Bucks will win the Tag Team Battle Royale and faceoff against their pals Hangman Page and Kenny Omega at Revolution, where they will surely get the win and Page and Omega will surely turn on each other, setting up a near-future rivalry.  

It all makes sense since it keeps both Omega and Page busy; adds another storyline, and excuses both Page and Omega (two fan-favorites) from having to compete for a belt. The question is, how will their partnership end and who will turn heel? Given how popular Page is with the AEW fans and seeing how well his entire schtick is working out, it might not be wise to have him flip so soon. Besides, it would be fun to continue to see Page head into the crowd after every win and sip down a cold beer with the fans!

Overall, this was a great opening match, continuing to unfold more drama between Page & Kenny while also highlighting why AEW’s tag division is one of the best!

AEW Women’s Championship Match

Champion Riho and Nyla Rose Nearly Steal the Show

The biggest surprise was by far the quality of the Women’s Championship match between Nyla Rose and Riho. It was by far the best women’s match I’ve seen yet in AEW, featuring several near falls as both women found themselves almost winning the match numerous times. Despite the difference in size, Riho somehow was able to kick out of a pin after receiving the Sit-out Powerbomb and if that wasn’t enough, she also somehow pulled off three snap dragon suplexes (shades of Kenny Omega)!

Riho’s determination was amazing, to say the least, and while she couldn’t retain her championship title, she walked away with even more admiration from her rabid fanbase.

It’s also worth noting that this is the first time a title has changed hands since Dynamite debuted last October. It was due time we had a new champion and Rose is a good choice since she’s arguably the biggest and strongest female competitor in the AEW roster.

Britt Baker is one of Wrestling’s Best Heels

Ahead of this match, Britt Baker came out to conduct an interview with Tony Schiavone and it was the best promo of the entire night further proving Baker is one of the best heels in wrestling today.

There’s no denying there’s room for her to grow both in the ring and on the mic, but she’s come a long way in a short period of time. You have to remember that Baker made her wrestling debut in 2015, so she only has about five years of experience in the ring but even less time working a crowd of this size on national TV. The decision to make her a heel was one of the best choices AEW has made over the past six months and hopefully, with characters like her, the women’s division will soon be heating up.

Honestly, this promo was amazing. Her dig at the “confused and chubby Whataburger” fans was hilarious, and I love how she claims she was doing Yuka Sakazaki a favor last week by extracting that tooth. The molar had extensive decay, she said before highlighting how she conducted the dental work for free and how Sakazaki took advantage of AEW’s dental insurance.

It will be interesting to see how her storyline unfolds over the course of the next few months. As it stands, her schtick is Painful to watch, in more ways than one, but that’s what makes her so good in the role.

Sammy Guevara vs. Dustin Rhodes

Was Sammy Guevara Screwed?

Here’s another match that surprised me, and not because of the in-ring quality, but rather because of the result.

It was a rematch from the January 1 Homecoming edition of Dynamite, which saw Sammy Guevara defeat Dustin Rhodes after interference from Jake Hager. This time, the two men were in Dustin’s home town and so the odds were in favor of the (original) American Nightmare walking away with the win— and win he did.

Despite Jake Hager distracting Dustin several times, Dustin came out on top after hitting a Canadian Destroyer and a Final Reckoning swinging suplex on his opponent. Guevara lost the match as expected but what confuses me is why they decided to allow Dustin Rhodes to defeat The Spanish God so easily?

As it stands, I have not yet seen Sammy Guevara win a single match which is perplexing given he’s part of the Inner Circle and one of the most gifted athletes in the AEW roster.

Whether you like his current gimmick or not, Guevara is one of the most promising young wrestlers working today. He’s arguably one of the fastest rising stars in professional wrestling and has gone from one of the hottest independent stars to a main role in Chris Jericho’s Inner Circle stable.

This is also the man that had one of the first matches in AEW history, a loss to Kip Sabian at Double or Nothing in May. Then Guevara was a part of the first match in AEW Dynamite history, where he lost to Cody Rhodes.

So why does he continue to lose?

It’s also worth noting that Sammy Guevara is extremely popular with the young crowd thanks to his social media skills and online Vlog, not to mention he has a huge online following.

So, I ask again, why aren’t they pushing Sammy Guevara because I’m pretty sure he helps sell tickets?

The man even pulled off a 630 Phoenix Cannonball from the top rope at the end of the program, proving once again he’s arguably the most athletic young performer on their roster.

Don’t get me wrong, the match between Sammy Guevara and Dustin Rhodes was indeed good. Both men showed off their wrestling skills, but I have to question the decision to have Sammy Guevara lose so easily, especially with the help of Jake Hager.

I understand that this was more about Dustin’s path for vengeance for when Hager broke his arm, but it would be nice if they start pushing Guevara sooner than later.

A minor misstep. A small nitpick. A great match, but a disappointing finish. At least we now know we finally get to see Jake Hager in action.

Jim Ross Doing what Jim Ross Does Best

This article is already long but before I get to the last two matches, I want to take a minute and highlight the interview with Jim Ross and Santana as well as the video montage promos.

Personally, I’m of the opinion that if you are going to have Jim Ross on your pay, you should totally take advantage of his journalistic experience and have him conduct more interviews.

His interview with Santana was one of the best onscreen contributions from Jim Ross yet and really helped flesh out Santana’s character, providing some backstory to his origin and relationship with his father while also setting up his match with Jon Moxley later in the night.

Aside from that, AEW also aired another video package courtesy of Darby Allin channeling his inner Bob Dylan.

It’s a simple promo, shot in black and white and using cardboard signs standing in for the now voiceless Allin who was brutally attacked by the Inner Circle two weeks ago, but the promo works, nonetheless.

It’s good to see AEW using more cinematic promos throughout their broadcasts even if they don’t always work (I’m looking at you Dark Order).  

Jeff Cobbs

One-Eyed Match

The one-eyed match between Moxley and Santana was, as expected, really entertaining. Everyone knew Moxley would win the fight and we all knew the Inner Circle would jump in the ring and beat the hell out of the number one contender for the championship belt— but what we didn’t know going in was that Jeff Cobb would make his AEW debut and perform the Tour of the Islands against Moxley as the show came to a close.

While it would have been great to see Cobb surprise us in those closing minutes, I do think it was a smart decision on the part of AEW to show a promo for Cobb ahead of the match. If you look back at previous episodes of Dynamite, you’ll notice that more often than not, the crowd barely reacted to other surprise appearances (Butcher and the Blade, anyone?)— and so I’m guessing AEW didn’t want to take a gamble this time around and have him pop out of nowhere with little-to-no reaction from a confused audience.

Jeff Cobb is still a free agent so we have yet to see just how often he will be making appearances on an AEW stage, but for now, his brief cameo left a huge mark.

It’s also great to see the crowd once again sing along to Jericho’s theme song, “Judas”.

MJF vs. Jungle Boy

A Glimpse Into a Future Main Event

At the start of this article, I said this episode featured four great matches and the best of the four, in my opinion, is the match between MJF and Jungle Boy.

MJF continues to prove why he might be the best heel working in any wrestling program today and arguably the most-hated person on AEW Dynamite at the moment. Meanwhile, Jungle Boy continues to prove why he has the potential to one day be the face of the company.

I realize that the last statement might seem a bit premature but both men are only in their early twenties and so they have plenty of time to improve their skills both in the ring and on the mic. As it stands, they are two of the best performers AEW has and one can only imagine how much better they’ll get with time.

It was also great to see Jungle Boy give MJF a run for his money. Had it not been for Wardlow handing MJF his Dynamite Diamond ring, Jungle Boy might have just snuck away with the victory.

In my eyes, this match seems to be a precursor to a future main event. Hopefully, AEW will start affording Jungle Boy with some more victories and maybe— just maybe— introduce a new men’s championship title that the up and coming stars like Jungle Boy can hoist over their shoulders.

One final note: I also love watching MJK channel Double J, Jeff Jarrett.

AEW is the Best Thing to Happen to WWE in Two Decades

I’ve always been a fan of WWE but AEW is heating up and giving Vince McMahon a run for his money. Despite being at a disadvantage and only having one televised broadcast, AEW somehow manages to showcase their ever-growing roster of superstars and deliver a thrilling package, week after week. And with every episode, AEW seems to be getting better and better and learning from their mistakes.

This week is a prime example of that. Take, for example, the decision to get rid of the Nightmare Collective, a shtick that clearly wasn’t working and the choice to further spotlight Britt Baker as a heel, something that is working. In this one episode, they also managed to find the time to tease next week’s main event, entice the fans for their next PPV, feature four incredible matches, several creative promos, conduct a killer interview, introduce a new superstar, and package it all within a two-hour time slot. That’s impressive.  

It also helps that AEW has better production values than NXT, airing shows from a cruise ship in addition to a beach-themed Bash at the Beach broadcast, a glaring in contrast to NXT’s small sound stage in Florida.

Personally, I feel AEW is the best thing to happen to WWE since McMahon bought WCW. Having tough competition is great for the business since it will force both companies to give their fans a high-quality product. It also gives the wrestlers options, which is always a good thing.

The Wednesday Night Wars is just getting started. Here’s hoping it continues to get better.

Closing Thoughts:

Brandi Rhodes should never be invited back on commentary.

The PAC promos aren’t getting any better. Why is this guy walking around outdoors in his wrestling attire?

The referee who officiated the first match never seems to do a good job.

The commercial breaks continue to be an issue since Dynamite often chooses the wrong time for the split-screen sequence.

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