Welcome to the AEW Dynamite Roundtable, where Pro Wrestling Musings' contributors share their thoughts on the biggest talking points arising from AEW Dynamite. Please note writer's views are their own.
This week's contributors are:
- Gareth Ford-Elliot: @RHWGareth [GFE]
- Ryan Gorneault: @RyanGorneault [RG]
- Daisy Foster @boutmachines [DF]
- Craig William @CraigPWMusings [CW]
- Joe Cabana: @JoeProWrestling [JC]
1) Brian Cage dispatched ‘Hangman’ Adam Page in about 6 minutes after a pre-match assault from Team Taz. What did you make of this and where does this leave Hangman moving forward?
(JC) I’ve felt pretty confident that Adam Page would not be challenging Kenny Omega at this year’s Double or Nothing PPV, so I’ve been wondering what they were going to do with him as the #1 contender.
This match against Brian Cage came as a bit of a shock but I’m very pleased that they did it, it both protected Hangman and helps move him down the rankings, whilst it simultaneously plays into the story and the history of Adam Page, not getting the job done when he’s been close to achieving something great. Hangman’s time will come, and it was nice to see Cage get a big win on TV, I’m very pleased with how they went about this.
(DF) I was pleased with the outcome of this one, too. Omega needs a contender at Double or Nothing and it’s far too soon for Hangman Page. It certainly shocked a lot of people that Hangman, who almost seems untouchable, got beaten so thoroughly. However, a clean and decisive victory over the number one contender makes Cage look great, and Hangman didn’t lose out in the process.
[CW] It’s a great shout having Page lose like this, it’s too soon for him to come up against Omega. A blip here is great before another failure at All Out, for me. I’d stretch it out and have this Omega character change and evolve. But that’s as a huge Omega fan!
I thought it was unnecessary for Page to be assaulted before the match. Cage is impressive enough and the subtleties of the Page character arc means that failures are part of the story. In life people ebb and flow, they mess up, get complacent and must work hard to get where they are going. Page’s loss should have been part of this, the interference gives credence to the idea, some people are champions, and some aren’t. Struggle, growth and failure should be Page’s story, not unfair circumstances.
2) SCU put Young Bucks on notice after they defeat Sydal Brothers with a 4-way eliminator match set for next week to determine number 1 contenders to challenge the Young Bucks on May 12th. What do you envisage sprouting from this?
[GFE] SCU challenging the Bucks is something that's been building on Dark and Elevation for months now. It was towards the end of 2020 where Frankie Kazarian told Christopher Daniels that SCU were over the next time they lost and that also came on Dark.
It's a shame SCU's final run hasn't had more Dynamite moments and matches because the end result does deserve that.
It is clear to me that SCU win the 4-way eliminator and then lose to the Bucks the next week on Dynamite, thus ending SCU as a tag team. I suspect we'll see some form of Kazarian heel turn after this all leading to Daniels vs Kaz at Double or Nothing in Daniels' retirement match. Who better to do it than his long-time tag partner?
Long term I'd like to see Scorpio Sky and Frankie Kazarian re-unite as heels because as much as I love them, the singles mid-card division is so stacked and as former champs and heels they'd play an important role in the tag division.
[CW] We’ve seen the Bucks vs SCU before, albeit in the Sky/Kaz form, so do we want it again? Kaz and Daniels arguably more than deserve a big match to send off their tag team in style. However, the 4-way ‘Eliminator’ is confusing; even more so than the eliminator phrase now equalling title shot earning opportunity.
Do Kaz and Daniels fall in the latter stages of this match? It’s arguably more dramatic and less prestigious leading to more story potential as Kaz presumably snaps on Daniels. This is the direction I would go with, otherwise why not just award Daniels/Kaz a title match as they are head and shoulders above the others as number 1 contenders.
(DF) The writing’s been on the wall for this one since late last year. The Bucks and SCU have a long and storied history together, and of all the people to retire them as a tag team, who better than Jackson brothers?
SCU will take the four-way next week with some struggle, but I’m fairly confident they’ll come out on top unified going into their match on May 12th. This four-way likely exists to give the Dynamite audience some idea of what Kazarian and Daniels are about since their TV appearances have been spotty recently.
3) With Brian Cage defeating Hangman and Orange Cassidy defeating Penta El Zero Miedo, Orange Cassidy will move into the Number 1 Contender’s position. Would Orange Cassidy make for an exciting and worthy opponent for Kenny Omega at Double or Nothing?
(JC) Orange Cassidy certainly would make for an exciting opponent, he usually does well in the ratings and also gets the most views on social media so in that sense he’s also worthy of the opportunity. The question is if he would sell PPVs, that’s where he’s unproven. Orange Cassidy seems like a TV challenger rather than a PPV one for me, at this moment in time, but I honestly wouldn’t mind if they went ahead and main evented the PPV with this guy.
(DF) I see Cage as a more likely opponent than Orange, but if it turned out this way I would not be opposed. Orange has returned to form for me - I was getting a little tired of him with his over-saturated booking last year, but they’ve done a good job at getting his character back on track recently.
The only thing I worry about is that Kenny’s almost a comedy character right now, too. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good comedy match, but I just can’t see this having the same fire as Pac vs Orange at Revolution, and I think it would fit better as a Dynamite main event than a PPV main event.
[GFE] As Kenny Omega’s title begun Orange Cassidy was one of various wrestlers I most wanted to see him face. I’m not Cassidy’s biggest fan, sometimes he is over-exposed on Dynamite and I feel he gets a little stale. But one area I really think he’d thrive is in a feud with Omega.
It feels perfect, in a way, for Double or Nothing. Kenny needs a loveable babyface and Darby Allin is busy, Jungle Boy isn’t quite at that level and Hangman Page is being saved for another time. With not long to build this match also, I feel Cassidy is best placed.
I must say, I always envisioned Cassidy vs Omega as more of a TV main event than a PPV main event. But there’s certainly data to suggest Cassidy could draw on PPV if they trust him to, especially with a proven draw in Omega.
4) What stood out from the ‘Blood & Guts Parley’ ahead of next week’s huge match?
(JC) Chris Jericho for one, stood out. Santana, Ortiz, Sammy, FTR, Wardlow, MJF, all of them have done their job of selling me on this match already, Jericho has been the one I’ve been waiting for to really hit it out of the park, I’m happy to report that he finally did this week. I thought a match like this would be used to end a rivalry once and for all, I don’t see that being the case here. There’s still the need to put the focus on Santana & Ortiz vs FTR, Sammy vs Spears, Hager vs Wardlow and probably MJF vs Jericho again. I was expecting all of that to come before they ever did this match stipulation. Lastly, I am glad to see the rules of the parley followed, we did not need to see anything physical this week, they used the segment to build tension and fuel the hatred between all individuals, that to me was a perfect go home segment for the match.
(DF) MJF for me, has done the best job at selling this thing. I’m excited to see a young guy like him getting the opportunity to lead a stable and be in the spotlight at such a huge match. That being said, I’ve been disappointed in how not hyped I’ve been leading up to Blood and Guts. The Inner Circle as faces just aren’t working for me and I would have liked a longer build-up to properly mould them into that ‘good guy’ role. The Parley was pretty good overall, but it didn’t do too much for my excitement metre. Fingers crossed that the match itself delivers above my expectations.
[RG] Sometimes, I don’t need matches to be “sold” to me in order for me to get hyped up about it. The fact that these two teams are fighting in a War...um...Blood & Guts match is enough to hype me up about the match because the very stipulation is such a legendary fixture in wrestling. The promos up until the Parlay were not all that impressive to me, and if I was looking at this from an outsider’s perspective, I would probably be sold on the match based on their bloody backstage brawl, because if anything, that was what made me truly realize just how badly these two teams wanted to go at it.
The parlay was massively effective all around, because it actually convinced me that the Inner Circle *might* just be the good guys. Somehow, for just the briefest of moments, it actually made me believe that of all people, Chris Freakin’ Jericho was someone to cheer for. Every single promo he has done since leaving WWE has SCREAMED “bad guy” (even when he was trying to be the face), so the fact that for just the smallest amount of time I was able to forget that he has essentially been an established heel is impressive.
[CW] Sammy Guevara.
5) Eddie Kingston and Jon Moxley managed to coax a tag match against Omega & Nakazawa out of Don Callis. What implications do you think this could have on Double or Nothing?
(JC) If any, I hope the implications from this match are that due to interference or post-match shenanigans from The Young Bucks this could help set up a tag team championship match at Double or Nothing for Mox and Kingston. There is a long list of teams that I’d love to see get a chance to hold the tag titles in AEW, Moxley and Kingston are probably at the top of it, perhaps only rivalled by Santana & Ortiz right now.
(DF) I don’t think this match will have any big storyline implications. From the way Omega was acting this week, this match might just be a solid ten minutes of Nakazawa beating without a single tag-in from Kenny. In the aftermath, I’m hoping for a healthy feud between the Elite and Mox/Kingston, with an eventual tag title change down the line.
[GFE] This match has been created so that Omega can look like an absolute d-head whilst Nakazawa eats the pin. Whilst also serving as a win for the team of Moxley and Kingston to add to their win/loss record.
I mentioned earlier in Question 2 how Young Bucks will deal with SCU by May 12th leaving just two weeks to build a World Tag Team Championship match for Double or Nothing, which isn't much time. But who better for The Bucks to face than the guy they turned on and the guy who they helped put on the shelf?
I'm hopeful that Mox and Eddie defeat the Young Bucks. I feel The Bucks losing their championships after a period of being arrogant heels will pose a fascinating test for their characters. Meanwhile Eddie Kingston bringing a world championship home to his mother with the same guy he tried to take one off caps a beautiful character arc.
[CW] I don’t know... I actually don’t want to see the Bucks vs Mox/King for the titles. The Bucks are the biggest proponents of tag team wrestling perhaps of all time, already. Have them defend against a tag team. I think you only have two options within the current landscape: Jurassic Express or Fenix/PAC.
Jurassic Express have actually faced the Bucks on PPV but this time you would see the full potential of this match with a heel/face dynamic. However, that match could wait and make way for a rematch of that unreal Dynamite opener from a few weeks back.
If the Bucks don’t face Moxley and Kingston does that mean one of them faces Omega? It’s really hard to say. Personally, I wanted Konosuke Takeshita vs Kenny Omega. An international, cross-promotional, Japanese-style main event in the ilk of Omega’s fame generating performances of old could generate some of that 2017 Omega buzz.
6) After defeating Penelope Ford, Kris Statlander is building quite the record in the rankings. Do you see her challenging for the women’s championship soon?
(DF) Kris is the perfect challenger - she’s got buzz with the Best Friends but she’s also fresh off an injury and will look great in loss if the match is done right. However, I don’t think she’s fated for a match-up with Shida. It’s a good sign for Britt’s reign that babyface women are being built up right now - it should result in a more cohesive run than Shida’s with plenty of great wrestlers to defend against straight off the bat.
[RG] Kris Statlander is a competitor who is pretty much as good as any opponent she faces; there’s a reason why her matches against the aforementioned Penelope Ford, or even Ashley Vox and John Silver, were her best matches.
Now, I would like her to challenge for the Women’s belt soon, but I think I would prefer her to challenge before Double Or Nothing rolls around because I could see her having a better match with current champion Hikaru Shida than I do with (probably) future champion Dr. Britt Baker DMD.
As much as Baker has improved in this past year, and as much as I think she deserves to be champion, I still think she has a little way to go to get on Shida’s level from an in-ring standpoint. None of this is to say that I wouldn’t want to see a Baker versus Statlander match in the future, because I absolutely would.
[GFE] Most of us expect Britt Baker to be the next women's champion at Double or Nothing ending Hikaru Shida's 371-day title reign. After this Baker will work her way through what is an impressive array of women's babyfaces. I feel she will most likely start with Statlander before going on to face the likes of Red Velvet, Leyla Hirsch and Serena Deeb. Riho and Yuka Sakazaki would be great if the pandemic permits it. Tay Conti is a "money feud" for Baker as is re-igniting the Thunder Rosa feud.
So, to answer the question, Kris Statlander will be a title challenger in an impressive Britt Baker title reign, I hope.
7) Cody Rhodes returned after The Factory got one over on The Nightmare Family and got some payback on QT Marshall. This sets up Cody vs QT for next week. Is that the climax of this feud or does it continue building?
(DF) I think that they want us to believe QT versus Cody was the end goal here, when in reality it was always going to be Ogogo versus Cody. QT and Cody have put a lot of time into training Anthony Ogogo, and he’s the star that will come out of this storyline once it’s all said and done. Historically, Cody seems to want to work closely with his Nightmare Factory graduates, and him facing off with Ogogo in Ogogo’s first proper match aligns perfectly with that. It has the potential to be a banger, too.
[GFE] I feel like there's more matches to come. I expect, and want, Dustin Rhodes vs Nick Comoroto at some point. I am hoping we get lee Johnson vs QT Marshall to give him a big singles win and I suspect it might blow off either at Double or Nothing or on a TV special afterwards. Some form of tag team match to blow it off. It's a shame that a lot of these guys aren't really big enough to justify a Blood & Guts match, because the story justifies it. Probably more so than The Pinnacle vs Inner Circle.
But, the talent doesn't. I'm unsure if this will end in some form of tag team war or if it'll splinter into various singles matches. But either way, I don't see next week being the end with so many interesting match-ups still on the table. Not least Cody vs Anthony Ogogo which could also be the match to blow it off.
[CW] It certainly won’t be the end of the feud, it may be the blow-off between Cody and QT before we move onto Cody vs Ogogo, if he’s at that stage of his development. However, Cody’s ability and imagination may lead to him shepherding Ogogo through a match at Double or Nothing, regardless.
8) Miro brutalised Kip Sabian and left him with what could be perceived as an injury. What did you make of this and where does Miro focus his attention moving forward?
[RG] I think (well, I hope) he goes after the TNT title belt. The general consensus seems to be that Miro was held back by his alliance with Kip Sabian and their lacklustre feud with the Best Friends, so, Miro winning the title belt from Darby Allin would be the easiest way to finally establish him as a threat in the company.
I acknowledge that fantasy booking Miro to suddenly win the belt out of nowhere seems like me taking the easy way out, but I know that he was not effective in his role earlier, and that the faster he re-establishes himself as a killer, the better.
[GFE] I imagine that Miro goes on a bit of a tear to get his wins stacked up before Kip returns. A small mini-feud to make Miro look like an absolute monster proceeds. By which point Darby Allin will likely be in a good position to lose the TNT Championship.
[CW] It feels like Darby Allin is coming to the end of his TNT Title reign. Miro is widely considered to be a good shout to be the next TNT Champion. I don’t see Miro taking the main belt so this could be a good spot. I prefer the idea of Archer taking the belt after turning on Sting and showing off his monstrous agility in weekly TNT-defences. But then what for Miro? It feels they see more value in Miro than Archer, which is a shame because Archer can be very special in 1v1 wrestling matches as his 2019 G1 run can attest to.
9) Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky attacked Darby Allin and Sting after Allin’s successful TNT title defence against Dark Order’s 10. What do you make of Page and Sky’s team? Where do you see this leading after Lance Archer came in to make the save?
[RG] I never really paid attention to Ethan Page when he was on the independent scene, so I missed a huge chunk of his career as a singles wrestler. I was I was aware that he and Josh Alexander had been teaming up since 2011, so I figured that Page left Impact Wrestling to establish himself as a singles wrestler.
I felt bad that he was almost immediately pushed into a seemingly random tag team, but he and Scorpio Sky have actually worked pretty well together (purely as wrestlers). I can’t help it, but their storylines with Darby Allin and Lance Archer disinterest me, because I don’t see how it will elevate any of the competitors involved. Their storyline feels like it exists just to exist; if this rivalry was supposed to elevate Scorpio Sky, they should have just put the TNT belt on him when they had the chance.
[GFE] I'm not remotely invested in Page and Sky teaming up. I'll take Darby Allin defending his TNT championship against Ethan Page. But anything else they're building from this angle is quite lazy booking and not very interesting to me.
[CW] Scorpio Sky and his Heel Hook should have been in in The Pinnacle instead of Shawn Spears in my opinion. He would benefit from the understudy role, rather than Spears’ veteran presence role. MJF and FTR are already stars, why not allow someone to step up from within The Pinnacle that may otherwise not get the step up they need. Wardlow doesn’t count because he’ll be a success whatever they do with him.