AEW Dynamite Ep. 2 [Wrestling Review]

AEW Dynamite Episode 2

So, I finally took some time to catch up with All Elite Wrestling’s TV show. Now, here in the UK, we get the episodes on a Friday rather than a Wednesday, hence the late date of posting. What did I think overall? Well, I was mixed. Let’s get into why.

 

On commentary this week: Tony Schiavone, Jim Ross, and Excalibur.

First thing I noticed was the presentation. Everything looks really glossy to me, like an MTV reality show. If you’re looking for wrestling with good production values, then this will absolutely be up your street.

 

The Young Bucks vs. Private Party

The result of this match was never really in doubt. The commentary team made a really big deal out of how The Young Bucks are the number one seeds and Private Party are the lowest ranked team in the tournament. So much so that I just felt like it was so clear that the Bucks were losing.

Outside that, there was a lot of good stuff here. I enjoyed JR and Tony Schiavone putting over that The Young Bucks were displaying a different attitude due to it being a tournament match. What we got in terms of action was mostly really enjoyable too. You really can’t top The Young Bucks when it comes to high-speed tag team moves, and they put them all on display here. Meanwhile, Private Party had some nice looking spots too, including a nice high Diamond Cutter and Shooting Star Press.

However, the match was not perfect. The selling seemed inconsistent to me. I liked that Isiah Kassidy continued to sell his back after the powerbomb on the outside, as it helped put over that it was a brutal move. Marq Quen I thought didn’t sell enough, especially when it came to dives to the outside. I’ll go into that a little more later. The Bucks meanwhile took some pretty big stuff then were suddenly able to stand up and manhandle their opponents with no issue.

I would also say that the entrances and, in particular, the post match celebration just went on far too long for my liking. The right team won though, and the action was certainly enjoyable, even with the stuff I disliked.

 

The Inner Circle

Chris Jericho came out next, flanked by his stablemates Jake Hagar, Sammy Guevara, Santana and Ortiz. The AEW Heavyweight Champion did a really good job of putting over the different members of his group here. He pointed out their strengths, and explained why he selected each, giving each a clearly defined role. I also enjoyed that, even with the crowd being uncooperative, he took the time to shut down the positive reactions and make it clear that they’re bad guys.

Jericho being the only one to talk was an interesting decision, though one that I thought worked well. It makes it clear that he’s the one in charge and pulling all the strings. The only thing I really didn’t like in terms of the stable themselves was Ortiz’s constant tongue wiggling. That was just plain off-putting.

 

Jimmy Havoc vs. Darby Allin

The second match on the show had the same issue as the first for me: it was clear who was winning. While the commentary team didn’t avoid talking about Jimmy, they spent enough time covering Darby’s journey so far – including the time limit draw with Cody and the win over CIMA – that it wasn’t ever in doubt that he’d win.

The match itself was fine though. With a shot at Jericho’s title on next week’s show as the prize for the winner, both fought hard, and it was nice seeing Jimmy in a match that didn’t rely on plunder. His working over Darby’s hand was very good too, and Darby in turn did a good job of selling it. And did you see Jimmy’s Roaring Elbow? That looked beautifully stiff. In the end, Darby won with his Coffin Drop finisher, and the commentators put over that he’s scored the win every time he’s hit it.

 

Bea Priestly & Emi Sakura vs. Riho & Britt Baker

Well, this was a total mess. Riho, much like Marq Quen, hit a big dive to outside and immediately got up like it wasn’t a risk to her at all. While Britt was in the ring, Riho also attacked the legal person from the opposing team with no consequences. Three times. The match fell apart in chaos quickly too. I did think that both Britt Baker and Bea Priestly were good in their roles, mind you, and I was happy to see Britt get the win. I just thought that this wasn’t the best example of joshi puroresu. When you compare it to the old AJW matches of yesteryear, or some of STARDOM’s bigger matches, it just wasn’t on par.

After the match, the referee broke up a brawl between Bea and Britt and convinced the heels to leave. That was good work, but given how little the wrestlers listened to her during the match itself, it surprised me that they didn’t just keep going.

 

Best Friends

The Best Friends were at ringside to promote their upcoming tag title tournament match with SCU. Only, they didn’t really. They just threw it over to Orange Cassidy who gave a thumbs up, ending the short segment.

I like Chuck Taylor and Trent Barreta as a team. It’s just a shame they didn’t get more of a promo opportunity here. In terms of Orange Cassidy, I think that what AEW need to do is give him a decent video package to explain his gimmick. As it is, he’s clearly very popular with parts of the crowd, but the old school fans will need to see more than he has shown so far.

 

Shawn Spears [w/Tully Blanchard] vs Jon Moxley

This was a mixed segment, I think. Starting with the commentary, PAC joined the team. He didn’t say as much as I’d have liked, but I did enjoy what he did do. The general idea is that he is bitter about not being given his chance when he has a better win-loss record than others who are rising up.

The match itself was a little on the dull side. The unfortunate thing was that it really showed the gulf between Moxley and Spears. Moxley is an absolute star, and Spears felt out of his depth alongside him. It’s a shame, because he has a good look and lots of potential, but he needs to work on his facial expressions and body language.

Remember what I said about dives earlier? Well, this match contained an example of how to do them right. The thing is, if you’re diving through or over ropes, or leaping from the top rope to the outside, you’re putting your own body at risk. When you hit your opponent, of course they’ll take more damage, but you should still be putting over the risk you took. Everyone else on the show so far has just gotten straight back up. Moxley though? He hit Spears and then sold that he’d hurt himself in the process. That I thought was really good.

 

Post Match

After the match, Kenny Omega made an appearance, carrying a barbed wire bat and a barbed wire broom. He threw the bat to Moxley so that they could continue their battle from last week. PAC attacked Omega, Moxley chased PAC off, and then Moxley decided not to take advantage of Omega’s current state.

The crowd responded well to the angle, but honestly, given that Moxley hated Omega enough to put him through a glass table last week, he really should have attacked the prone star after the PAC attack. And why would you throw your opponent a weapon, especially one that is technically stronger than the one you keep hold of? It made no sense to me. I’m looking forward to when Moxley and Omega finally have a big match, but this wasn’t the way to build it in my opinion. If anything, it made Kenny look foolish.

 

Dustin Rhodes & Hangman Page vs. Chris Jericho & Sammy Guevara

This was a decent TV main event. Hangman Page looks like a young Kurt Russell to me, and has a lot of potential to grow as a main eventer. Sammy Guevara also has a lot of potential, and was probably the most consistent person in the match in terms of selling. Jericho performed in line with his current match quality too, playing his role as top heel well. Dustin is looking great in there, and still has one of the best powerslams in the business. The crowd finally booed the heels for the finish too, when Jake Hagar prevented Dustin from hitting the Shattered Dreams on Jericho, allowing the champ to pick up the win.

 

Post Match

After the match, the heels continued to build heat by attacking Dustin 3-on-1. Hangman Page was then taken down too, until he managed to grab a chair and chase of Jake Hagar. While that puts Page over, it didn’t exactly help Hagar, who Jericho had been trying to build as an unstoppable beast.

That still left Jericho and Sammy to battle Dustin 2-on-1, until the lights went off and Jericho’s upcoming PPV opponent Cody Rhodes appeared. That got a big pop. Before he could attack though, Santana and Ortiz ran in and beat him down. That brought MJF out who teased attacking Cody, but inevitably sided with him against the heels.

Jericho then took MJF down, only for The Young Bucks to run and superkick all the heels. Jericho scarpered to the outside leaving the faces to stand tall. Before he could leave though, Darby Allin rode a skateboard down the entrance ramp and dove on the champ. Jericho then cut a short promo on Cody and Darby to end the show.

The angle was chaotic, but enjoyable. MJF came out of it well, his facial work being excellent during the whole tease segment, and his selling at the end being very good. My only real issues were the aforementioned killing Hagar’s monster role, and that it went on far too long. I would rather have had everyone come in one go and have a mass brawl to send things off the air.

 

Overall

I thought that the show had more good than bad in it. Even the matches that I wasn’t sold on had moments that worked for me. A few members of the roster really shone too, and that gives me hope for the PPVs. I would say though that it was weak in comparison to the more old school NWA Powerrr debut. I’ll probably still watch AEW when I can, but I doubt I’ll review it. It just didn’t do enough to sell me on investing that much time in the product. Let’s pick some highlights.

MVP: I’m saying Chris Jericho. His promo was great, and his work in the main event was strong. Being the most instantly recognizable name on the roster, he’s got to shoulder the burden of drawing in old fans while new stars are made. He’s well suited to that role though, and I have absolute faith in him being a consistent star.

Best Match: I’m going to pick the main event. While the opener was technically more exciting, I thought that the four guys at the top had more consistent performances, giving us a good mix of experience and youthful potential.

Best Angle/Promo: None of the angles blew me away, if I’m being honest. I’ll give it to the big brawl after the main event, just because there are so many potential pairings coming out of that in terms of feuds. I would have liked to see Jake Hagar remain looking unstoppable, but you can’t have everything.

 

So, those were my thoughts. But what about yourselves? What did you think of AEW Dynamite episode 2? Let me know in the comments below.

24 thoughts on “AEW Dynamite Ep. 2 [Wrestling Review]

  1. I remember being more invested in AEW when it was starting out because it was new and I wanted to see some actual competition in the mainstream despite not focusing on the major companies in America as much. I still watch some clips and highlights here and there though since they have some good things going for them. The Private Party/Young Bucks match was pretty good. Yeah, I wasn’t a fan of the women’s match even though there were talented people there. It still blows my mind how Kanji got to wrestle Emi Sakura a couple of years ago which I didn’t know until I saw that match on YouTube a month or so ago when I was doing research for that Top 7 list I made. Not going to lie, I don’t think I can watch that Jimmy Havoc match again specially after #SpeakingOut happened. I do remember liking that episode when I saw it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I tend to keep up with clips and reviews at the moment. The problem for me is that they’re so inconsistent. Since things they’ve done really well, others they don’t. They have aloy of talent there but it just doesn’t all click.

      I was shocked about Jimmy. He’s one that started at Hammerlock too, so I’d known him since he started his career. I even booked him for my second to last show and intended to use him again if the promotion had survived longer. When #SpeakingOut happened I started thinking back and looking for signs that I’d missed that he might have acted that way. It was a real shock.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sure thing. When AEW is good, they’re really great, but they’ve had flops here and there. AEW has strengths like a stacked tag team division, great in-ring action, and being able to collaborate with other federations (much less acknowledging other federations exist). However, their women’s division is under-booked (not the women’s roster’s fault though), over-reliance on high flying styles, and I’ve not been a fan of Cody Rhodes’s storylines as of recently especially that nationalist crap with Anthony Ogogo. SMH. I do like them more than WWE, but they’ve got their own issues that shouldn’t be ignored.

        Jimmy was in your training class back then, too? Wow, that really must have been a shock especially with how successful he was in the indies. It must have been disheartening if you knew him in person. That even affected my Road Back to Malice review (the Flash Morgan Webster doc) since there was a brief scene with a picture of Flash, Jimmy, Will Ospreay, and Marty Scurll cosplaying as the Droogs from A Clockwork Orange. Yes, I did hear about the allegations with the rest of them even though Flash stayed clean for his career so far. It’s not your fault since you didn’t know. I know you’ll keep supporting

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The weird thing is, with guys like Tully, Jake and Arn there, they should be ironing the issues out. That’s a lot of knowledge between them.

        Yeah, it was. I’ve known a few people who got a bad feeling around him, but he always cool with me, so it kinda passed me by until the allegations came out. He seems to have disappeared now, no idea if he’ll resurface or of that’s him done. Definitely was not what I expected to read that day though.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Very good point. Doesn’t at least one of them have a backstage role as well? That’s not even counting the other veterans who have backstage roles like Dean Malenko or Jerry Lynn. I’m sure they could all contribute in addition to having on-screen manager types of roles.

        It certainly rocked the wrestling world, but BritWres got hit the hardest collectively. I’m not surprised with Jimmy wanting to be scarce after the allegations surfaced and I hope him and the others who legitimately did horrible things to be punished. I know there’s multiple federations who aren’t playing around with that stuff, so I doubt he’s going to make a comeback that way.

        Like

      4. BritWres definitely got hit the hardest. The US didn’t escape unscathed either though, with the likes of Joey Ryan.

        I think one of them does. They guys like Dustin Rhodes too. Really, they have so many veterans there I’m surprised it’s inconsistent as a product.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Of course. I was devastated when I heard about the stories and saw the tweets about different people. Sure, a few ended up being false allegations, but the ones with legit evidence were just heartbreaking. I was aware of some of the US examples like Joey Ryan and one of the Crist brothers from OVE from what I remember of that controversy. It’s good that a lot of federations have been doing some safeguarding and banning the ones who did horrible things. Sadly, there were also places that closed down not because of #SpeakingOut, but with COVID going on like Attack! for example.

        That makes sense and good point with Dustin Rhodes since he’s obviously Cody’s big brother. If I’m not mistaken, I believe Christopher Daniels and Billy Gunn have backstage roles as well and I’m sure they could contribute to consulting others. They have an astounding roster and they just signed Daniel Bryan the other day. They have the right talent, have some creative things, and the collabs with Impact, AAA, and New Japan can be beneficial, but they do need to make their booking more consistent with the different divisions and with storylines. How do you think AEW can and should improve with the resources and talent they have currently?

        Liked by 1 person

      6. There were some good surprises since the controversies too. Ian Rotten at IWA:MS standing up for the diversity of his current roster recently was one I never expected go see.

        I think for me they need to do a cour of things. First, they have a similar issue as WWE: too many people. Reducing the roster down a bit, at just in terms of who is full time should help create a focus.

        In terms of booking, I feel like they kinda book like an indy with no TV deal at times. If they realised that not every match has to go long, for example, they’d have more leeway to make people look unstoppable.

        I’m still at a loss as to why they did the War Games style match at the start of a fued too. Booking wise, I think they need to be more logical in how some of their stuff builds.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. I agree and I did hear about Ian Rotten standing up for diversity during that time. While I’m not too familiar with him or his in-ring work, I do respect him standing up for that.

        Yeah, they have a ton of people and have been signing more like how Daniel Bryan just got signed there. At least WWE has the different brands to divide the rosters, but AEW isn’t set up that way. I don’t want them to copy the draft concept though. Sure you do have Dark and Dark Elevation to feature a lot of the talent that’s not on Dynamite consistently and it’s free to watch online, but the people who only watch the TV show may be a bit lost especially with the rankings system.

        They do seem like an indie even if they have a huge budget. I agree with some matches needing to be shorter, some more promo time, and definitely more storylines that don’t involve a title.

        In AEW’s defense, it wasn’t their fault for not having that Blood & Guts match last year when lockdown started to happen with The Elite and Inner Circle. I do agree that it was weird with it being the starting feud with them against Pinnacle. Some shows can be too over-reliant on gimmick matches or stipulations.

        Besides the women’s division issue, they have an inconsistency with booking their big men. I’ll give them props fro Lance Archer winning the IWGP US title against Moxley, but some of their heavyweights/super heavyweights shouldn’t be jobbing as much. Even though I’m no muscle mark, it still seems weird how people like Luchasaurus, Brian Cage, or even Wardlow lose a good amount of singles matches on Dynamite when they should be built stronger and possibly winning titles.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. Yeah, I wouldn’t like to see a brand split there either. Definitely agree on the over reliance on gimmick matches sometimes too.

        That’s a fair point re the lockdown. It’s just such a shame it all played out like that.

        Yeah, the big men are hard done by. They should be crushing people until it gets to a big match with someone who could really give them a run for their money.

        Liked by 1 person

      9. Good. It would be counter productive if AEW copied things that WWE does. I’m fine with the additional shows since it does show more of the talent as well as some freelancers, but a brand split wouldn’t be good. There’s nothing wrong with a gimmick match if the story calls for it or maybe having one every so often if it’s of a lesser stipulation (submission matches, falls count anywhere, or a no rope breaks match for example), but not where it’s a big over-the-top gimmick like death matches, hardcore, Blood & Guts, etc.

        Sure thing. AEW was in a bad situation that they couldn’t control last year and had to adapt with something else with that feud back then. The timing of bringing it back for the Inner Circle/Pinnacle feud does work, but it didn’t need to kick off the feud that way. Just have a regular 5 on 5 tag match at first, then the Stadium Stampede, and then the Blood & Guts match to raise the stakes. That’s how I would’ve done it, but I would’ve changed parts of the outcomes.

        Glad I’m not the only person who noticed that. I totally agree with that kind of booking. They did make some corrections with Miro during his TNT title run compared to how he debuted, so I’ll give them credit there, but across the board they can be inconsistent with the booking. I would like to see more variety with not just the more agile cruiserweights/smaller wrestlers, average sized, as well as the bigger guys there. It’s equally as boring when the card is nothing but giants beating each other as well as a card consisting of nothing but flippy-dippy junior heavyweights. There should be a good amount of diversity with characters and wrestlers.

        Liked by 1 person

      10. Diversity in roster styles is a good thing, for sure. WCW excelled at that for a while, I think. They have that diversity too, they jsut aren’t booked like they have that diversity. I’m hopeful they’ll grow as they go though. Chatting to my brother today, he said the Fyter Fest events were an improvement in that regard.

        I think for me, I’d have started the feud with the stables paring off, and most of them trading promos and occassional match results, but with the main focus on Jericho demaninding the match with MJF. The trials thing they’re doing is good, and I’d defintiely do that. Jericho wins them all, but MJF weasels out of the match by having the Inner Circle do a number on Jericho as he enters. They could even cut backstage to show the Inner Circle’s locker room barricaded shut. MJF picks up the win, and the Circle break out too late, but still cause a mass brawl. That leads to Blood and Guts, and Jericho sells the fall big style. MJF, thinking he has him, allows the singles match to go ahead on a nearby show on the basis that Jericho is still hurt, but it’s far enough ahead for him to have actually recovered and have him faking it. When the match starts going Jericho’s way, we get a ref bump and MJF cheats then signals for Pinnacle to come out, but they don’t. He starts getting worried, we cut backstage and see The Inner Circle have returned the favour and are keeping them in their locker room. MJF turns, Jericho finsihes him jsut as the referee recovers, and that ends the feud.

        Liked by 1 person

      11. Of course. I’m not that familiar with WCW, but I’ll take your word for it. They do have a diverse roster of people from all shapes, sizes, colors, creeds, etc. The presentation is there, but they could step up a bit in certain areas when it comes to positive representation. There is a difference there. Fyter Fest did look good from the highlights I saw.

        That’s a great fantasy booking idea that makes a ton of sense. Why aren’t you working in the wrestling industry again as a booker or writer? Hahaha! In all seriousness, I can see how your wrestling mind could work with that insider knowledge as well as in-ring storytelling. Can’t say my fantasy booking game is that good, but I’ve experimented on making a fantasy federation featuring wrestlers I’ve seen in the indies as well as making concept championships and factions.

        Liked by 1 person

      12. Oh, aye. Back in the 90s, WCW had a good mix of big guys, experienced guys, crusierweights, etc. It didn’t always mesh, but the mix was there.

        Thank you kindly. I loved booking for the short time I did it, though I think probably jobbed myself out mroe than I should have, really. It just felt wrong to book myself winning too much.

        Fantasy booking is fun! It’s another great way to be invovled in the product. Before I started wrestling, I actually used to do it too on TNM7 and Extreme Warfare Revenge.

        Liked by 1 person

      13. That’s good to know. I did hear their cruiserweight division was a highlight of sorts in addition to the main event talent.

        No problem, Matt. It must have been fun booking wrestling shows. I understand with not wanting to book yourself too strongly by winnning all the time.

        It certainly has been. It’s kind of something I do with Evernote where I also have notes for my reviews. I have things separated by divisions (men, women, tag teams), a list of freelancers, and a short list of talent I would “steal” (as in buy them out of their contracts) from major federations to help this fictional company, customized factions, and some concept belts. I wonder if I’d be good at running a wrestling federation. 😛

        Liked by 1 person

      14. Definitely. Early Rey Mysterio, Eddie Guerrero and Jericho matches werereally good, Malenko was great too.

        It was fun, but stressful. Trying to balance it all with giving people opportunities to shine was a challenge.

        Nice! Do you publish your fantasy booking anywhere?

        Liked by 1 person

      15. That must have been a great time to watch wrestling with the talent as well as there being legitimate competition in the mainstream. I certainly heard of those names when I was a kid, but I wasn’t allowed to watch wrestling in my elementary school years and I didn’t get interested in that subject oddly enough until a few years ago.

        I can see how it can be both fun and stressful. It’s relatable to me since I used to book concerts years ago.

        Thanks! I haven’t done so. I’ve debated it, but I wonder how I can best do so. Speaking of fantasy booking, I heard about this one game on Google Play and iTunes called Indie Wrestler. They have actual feds like NGW and Futureshock among others featured in the game. It was weird seeing Rampage Brown and Ethan Allen as characters there.

        Liked by 1 person

      16. Oh, awesome! How ddi yo uget into concert booking? Did you book anyone that was/went on to be pretty big?

        I actually wanted to be a wrestler when I was a kid. I thin kchildhood me would be amazed how long we lasted. He definitely would ahve been thrilled that one of our favourites – Jake Roberts – was a guest on our first tour.

        You could always go with a simple site if you wanted to. My fantasy booking one is actually still live, though not updated since 2002 (https://ncpwtnm.tripod.com/index.htm). I’ve nto heard of Indie Wrestler. I’ll have to check that out.

        Liked by 1 person

      17. Thanks. It was a job I used to have a while ago. It was for a small venue and I didn’t book anyone who ended up being super famous, but I did book multiple out-of-state touring artists which was cool.

        Wow, that dream has been around that long, huh? That’s cool. Jake Roberts was someone who was booked out your way across the pond? That must have been incredible. Ever thought then that would come back and manage Lance Archer?

        Okay. I’ll keep that in mind. I’ll check out that site. I’m interested in that app especially since I recognize the UK federations and some of the wrestlers featured there. It does seem weird seeing pictures of Rampage since he’s in NXT UK now.

        Liked by 1 person

      18. That’s really cool. It’s a business I don’t know too much about, so jobs like that anyways interest me.

        Yup! I’ve spent my life chasing dreams and it’s always gratifying to achieve something with one of them. It was so hard to tell how things would go with Jake back then. He was coming back after a bout with alcoholism, and wasn’t the same as I remembered him. It was still a good experience though.

        I had some terrible ideas in my fantasy booking days, to be fair. A lot of those games featured real workers. I’m fairly sure they aren’t usually licensed.

        Liked by 1 person

      19. Thanks! It was an interesting business, but I had my own issues with it. Makes me wonder what booking shows is like with Spotify and now COVID taking over.

        That’s good. I’m still chasing dreams and even changing a few here and there. I did hear about Jake battling alcoholism and drug issues. It looks like he’s cleaned up for the most part.

        Gotcha. To be fair, I’m sure I had some bad ideas when it came to video game crossover concepts I had in my head back at that time period. I do wonder if that Indie Wrestler game has licensed properties because I think Futureshock promoted it on their Twitter page a while ago.

        Liked by 1 person

      20. I’m seeing a lot more bands advertisign ticketed streaming events, so I do wonder if we’ll end up with more stuff like that happening. There’s probably some crossovers in how you promote those and in-person gigs, I’d think.

        I think he has now, which is definitely a good thing. He was always one of the best, so it’s great to see the improvements in him.

        It could well be if they were promoting it. I would iamginet ehre’s no shortage of indie wrestlers who want to appear in a game!

        Liked by 1 person

      21. Oh, yeah. That’s becoming super common since lockdown. Livestreaming concerts isn’t a new thing, but it’s become a necessity for touring artists since last year. I remember watching some streams of Bonaroo, SXSW, and Coachella years ago which were interesting in their own ways. It’s just surreal seeing these bands performing via split-screen more often than not.

        It does seem like he’s been getting his life back together or else he wouldn’t have a regular role on TV.

        Possibly! I’m sire the real life indie wrestlers would’ve jumped at the chance to be in a game like that and not being a potential CAW for someone to make on the 2K games. Hahaha!

        Liked by 1 person

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