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:
- Ryan Gorneault: @RyanGorneault [RG]
- Daisy Foster @boutmachines [DF]
- Craig William @CraigPWMusings [CW]
- Anthony Bennett: @AnthonyDownUnda [AB]
- Gareth Ford-Elliot: @RHWGareth [GFE]
1) Yuji Nagata appeared on Dynamite to challenge IWGP US Champion Jon Moxley. After this match, would you like to see more collaboration with other companies on Dynamite?
[CW] Yes, but cleverly done. Every now and again, I am happy to see big names with different styles, especially Japanese wrestlers, come in for intriguing matches. Surely, there is going to be an eventual Moxley/Suzuki match in AEW in the same vein as this one? If companies such as AJPW and NOAH are looking for exposure, I’d be delighted to see Kento Miyahara or Go Shiozaki wrestle a few matches.
It has to be sparingly and cleverly timed though. There are so many talented wrestlers on the roster who need to be developed and utilised on TV.
That being said, the main use of this kind of cross-promotion I need to see is more work with Joshi promotions. More of the kind of cross-promotion that led to the AEW Women’s World Championship Tournament would be wonderful. Additionally, if they can find a way to bring Stardom into the mix, that could take their Women’s Division to another level. Plus, the benefits of AEW talent working in Joshi promotions on excursion would be invaluable.
[RG] The fantasy booker in me wants collaboration between AEW and other wrestling companies to be a bit more common than Craig would like, but I think if they collaborate with other companies the same way Ring of Honor did for example, it could do the wrestling world a lot of good! Think about it this way: if ROH can make Pro Wrestling NOAH’s Takeshi Morishima their top champion only a day after his debut for the company (and do so successfully), then AEW can afford to go a little crazier on the collaboration front. The way AEW brings in the Joshi wrestlers and the occasional outsider like Yuji Nagata has been successful, but I think it could be fun for AEW to dedicate a few dates per year to co-branded events.
AEW has partnerships with Impact Wrestling, Lucha Libre AAA World Wide, and they might as well have a partnership with CyberFight’s promotions considering that the company has pretty prominent ties with DDT Pro Wrestling and Tokyo Joshi Pro-Wrestling (the thought of NOAH guys in AEW also excites me heavily). I think it could be pretty great to see AEW dedicate a week’s worth of programming (on TNT and YouTube) for cross-promotional events with each of those promotions.
A week for AEW versus AAA, week for AEW versus CyberFight, a week for AEW versus Impact, and maybe even a Dream Slam type event featuring all of those promotions would not only allow for many dream matches to come to fruition, but it could also help a lot of wrestlers gain recognition amongst new audiences. They could (should) also dedicate a week of programming to AEW women’s wrestlers fighting the best Joshi wrestlers from Gatoh Move, Marvelous, OZ Academy, Stardom, and TJPW.
[AB] To tell the truth I had never seen Nagata wrestle, But I'm a fan now, I honestly can’t believe his 54. It was a great match and I popped huge for the Wild Thing entrance.
I would love to see some Impact wrestlers come over to AEW maybe work their way through Dark ect. It’s very surprising this hasn’t happened yet.
2) What did you think about the Cody Rhodes promo and the announcement of Cody vs Anthony Ogogo for Double or Nothing?
[CW] Lots… I’m a huge Cody Rhodes fan. He was essentially my gateway to the extended wrestling world that I enjoy now, to the exclusion of WWE. I’m really excited for his match with Anthony Ogogo but that excitement is in spite of this nonsense.
I’m unsure of the use of his father’s moniker, it felt odd to me. I’d be interested to hear the views of others on this.
What really bothered me was the socio-political content of his promo. Cody touched on a lot of big real-world issues. I’m going to tentatively venture my reading of one of the most loaded aspects of this. Cody seemed to suggest that America used to be racist but now it’s not, when referencing his own unborn child. He was clearly trying to whip up an emotional response by working in that real-life personal connection. However, the way he worked race into his promo was a false representation of America, mistakenly, of course. But tone-deaf, fool-hardy or out-dated.
[RG] I don’t know whether I’m mad that their Double or Nothing match has been marred with socio-political themes that no wrestling company has ever presented unproblematically, or that I was bamboozled into believing they could handle these themes effectively. I could easily write a dissertation on patriotism and nationalism’s negative affect on wrestling, but instead, I’ll just say that Cody’s promo was a “Whatcha gonna do, brother...” away from reaching Hogan levels of Reagan-era pro-Americanism.
The whole anti-foreigner trope in wrestling is so overplayed and just seems like a desperate attempt for the company to gain older viewers, which is odd considering that the company’s goal (seemingly) has been to attract viewers within the 18-49 age range. His comments on race just made me sad; it’s clear that he thinks he’s saying the right thing, but he’s still so very off the mark. And, he said that the Department of Transportation issues visas, when in reality, they’re issued by United States embassies and consulates!
Talk about hard times. Jesus. That promo was hard to listen to. I just really hope Anthony Ogogo pulls out the win.
[AB] The promo pulled me right out of the show, and it took a bit to get back into it. Wrestling is an escape for a lot of people, and I feel this sort of promo must be justified.
Let’s not forget the story here is about The Factory betrayed Cody and left him broken and defeated. This promo had nothing to do with the story being presented and wasn’t called for. Cody believed everything he said it was personal and a huge moment for him but for me it didn't hit. That said I know social media was divided with people saying they loved it.
[GFE] I mostly agree with the above so, for the sake of not repeating what's already been said, most of what I'm saying is devil's advocacy.
The promo from Cody's perspective is brilliant. On purely an artistic level it's fantastic. Impassioned, emotional, fitting of Cody's character and the story at hand. You can't really ask for much more from a promo.
The issue comes when, as people have said above, you tread the ground that Cody did. Speaking as a wealthy white man (with Cuban descent), Cody isn't really the man to be talking about the state of race relations. So, whilst he only really spoke about the progress America has made, what he's ignoring is all the progress they haven't made and the optics of that are very bad.
Relegating whether to stand or kneel during the national anthem to a "discussion" was ill-advised, to say the least. Nothing Cody said had bad intentions, Cody isn't a bad person. That isn't the point. The point is his perspective is flawed because of his privilege.
Depending on your perspective on America, this was either the best thing ever or the worst thing ever. However, you'd have to say it is not an effective babyface promo due to it being so divisive.
3) How much did you enjoy SCU vs Young Bucks? What are your thoughts on the post-match shenanigans and SCU hugging as their team disbands?
[CW] This match ruled, and the Young Bucks are under-rated. Everything brothers, Matt and Nick, touch turns to gold in the ring. Add that to a hilarious in-ring attitude as heels, I just can’t get enough of them.
I was bothered, greatly by the camera cutting to Moxley and Kingston. Luckily, they filled in the gaps afterwards. I was surprised there was no big destruction. Maybe Daniels didn’t want it and he wants to move quietly into the background without the usual pattern of a tag team disbanding and then turning on each other? I like most people was expecting a Kaz vs Daniels program, perhaps even at Double or Nothing.
[AB] My only complaint is the same as Craig raised, they didn’t let it breath the final SCU hug should have been shown and the Mox/Eddie thing shown after the break. This episode had a few of these issues this week.
[DF] This was just fantastic. It was crammed from start to finish with beautiful storytelling between the teams and some bone-chilling heel work from the Bucks. Matt in particular looked genuinely ominous standing above a busted-open Chris Daniels with not an ounce of remorse in his eyes. The Shawn Michaels parody, the shot of the Bucks bloodied up designer shoes, the image of Daniels laying in a pool of his own blood and Kazarian’s devastated face as their fate was sealed; I could go on and on.
This was one of my favourite matches of the year and I’m relieved, to say the least, that CD and Kaz went out with a hug and not a pointless betrayal for shock value. Their history deserves better than that and I foresee Daniels’ final match (which is definitely going to be against Kaz) ending the same way. I agree completely with what Craig and Anthony said above about the unfortunate cutaway. That was the only downside of this match for me. Otherwise, it was near perfection.
[GFE] This is in the conversation for my personal match of the year, that’s how much I liked it. So close to five stars.
4) Pac vs Orange Cassidy didn’t exactly go to plan. However, we still come out of this match with the announcement of Pac vs Cassidy vs Omega in the main event of Double or Nothing. What are your thoughts on this situation?
[CW] I hated this so much. This was the match I was most looking forward to and what I got was boring and then had a terrible ending. However, apparently Cassidy got hurt, so we can give them a pass on the finish and the lack of match quality. A three-way will be interesting, I’m a big fan of the 1v1 World Title match so hopefully this is an anomaly and not an edge towards WWE-isms.
[RG] Obviously, it stinks that Orange Cassidy got hurt, but I agree with Craig in that they get a pass; it just seems strange that the three-way match was always the plan and not the result of AEW having to call the finish on the fly.
Triple-threat matches in AEW are fairly uncommon (except for tag teams), and when they do happen, they are almost always reserved for mid-carders on Dark, so it surprises me that they would do this for the top title. I think a bit of experimentation could be fun, and if anybody in the company could make such a high-calibre three-way match work, it’s Kenny Omega, Orange Cassidy, and PAC.
I could see Orange Cassidy in a similar role as Daniel Bryan was in during his famous WrestleMania 30 triple-threat match; Omega and PAC could take him out to focus on fighting each other, but Cassidy just does not back down. Omega will surely win, but it’ll be an exciting match nevertheless.
[AB] We can’t fault them for finishing the match due to injury. All reports say it was supposed to be a 20-minute time limit draw which would have been fantastic.
While I think the match will be great, neither Pac or Orange are taking the title from Omega and that for me is an issue, they are selling me a possible great match, but we all know the outcome. For a title match especially the main belt the story must be believable and this feels a bit rushed of a build.
[DF] I feel iffy about this. Iffy all round. Obviously, not much could be done about the finish, and I’m always in favour of ending a match if a wrestler can’t continue. However, the result? Again, I feel iffy.
One of my favourite matches of all time is a three-way involving Kenny Omega where he defends his title against Cody and Kota Ibushi. But... I think that match worked because of the complicated relationship those three wrestlers have. The disconnect here, and why I fear it won’t deliver the same way, is that these particular wrestlers don’t currently have the interesting connection required to hold a match like a three-way together and to keep it compelling. I’m hopeful that in the coming weeks they’ll be able to prove me wrong, because this Dynamite match, unavoidable ending aside, didn’t do a great job of that.
[GFE] It was unfortunate about how this match went down as I think they had something really great in store. I’m not a fan of triple threat matches but if I trust any combination of people to get it right, it’s Omega, Pac and Cassidy. I’d still have preferred Pac vs Omega at the PPV and then Omega vs Cassidy on TV, though.
5) AEW are continuing The Pinnacle vs Inner Circle with the announcement of a Stadium Stampede match for Double or Nothing. Are you a fan of this direction? What did you make of The Pinnacle’s Coronation?
[RG] The first Stadium Stampede was clearly a success the first time around and will go down as one of the greatest matches in AEW history, so, it is a little worrisome that they want to make this an annual occurrence. The first Stadium Stampede was so successful because of its wackiness, but this feud between the Inner Circle and the Pinnacle seems too intense, and for that matter, too far deep, to have their final match be all that wacky.
It probably would have made more sense to hold the more absurd Stadium Stampede match before the uber-intense Blood & Guts match, and honestly, Chris Jericho being thrown off the cage would probably have been a great feud finisher, even if it was done shoddily.
[DF] I truly believe that the Stadium Stampede should have been a one-time deal. The idea came in uncertain times - with the Elite and the Inner Circle unable to deliver their promised Blood and Guts match due to lockdown restrictions. AEW had space in surplus with an empty amphitheatre and an entire football stadium next door, and some of the most creative minds in the business in Kenny Omega and Chris Jericho looking for a way to deliver on the big promised blowout between their factions. It was special, and unique in a year where the fate of live wrestling shows was uncertain. As Ryan said above, it’s one of the greatest matches AEW have ever held. I fear that another, only a year after the first, will only cheapen the genius of the original idea. If they want this match to happen again, I’d rather it be a few years down the line, with completely different factions on each side. Having it between The Pinnacle and The Inner Circle only a few weeks after Blood and Guts feels forced, just like the Coronation this week felt. It was okay overall. I appreciated MJF putting Shawn Spears over - God knows he needs it, but it should have ended there. The Pinnacle should be moving on to better and brighter things without the Inner Circle lurking around every corner.
[GFE] Agree with Daisy that Stadium Stampede should have been a one-time thing. I know it’ll be fun. But I’d much rather see MJF vs Guevara or FTR vs Santana & Ortiz. Blood & Guts as the set-up to Stadium Stampede is also so backwards.
Beyond that I thought this segment wasn’t great. It was funny in the moment, but Jericho should have sold his fall longer, in my opinion. He is the worst babyface I’ve personally seen, I hate him and his selfishness, and that’s on a show with Cody dividing the audience. Not to mention the misogyny on display from The Inner Circle with the women being given to them by Tully. It’s such a tired trope and the watch would have sufficed.
6) Britt Baker had a sit-down interview with JR backstage recapping the history between Shida and Baker and shining a light on a scuffle between Britt and Shida at a Forbes photoshoot. How did this work for you? What needs to be done in the final two weeks before Double or Nothing?
[AB] One step forward and two steps back for the women’s division. I just hope they treat Britt better than they are treating Shida who should have wrestled the squash match instead of Rosa. They were doing so well with building the division but since the Tay v Shida match it’s gone backwards again. It was a fine segment that did the basics. The Shida and Britt stuff should have happened on Dynamite.
[RG] Every day, the AEW Women’s Eliminator Tournament is looking more like a publicity stunt in the same way that WWE’s Evolution pay-per-view was. Until AEW (okay, well, until ALL wrestling companies) give the women screen time for matches and promos, as well as meaningful storylines, it’ll be clear to me that they see women’s wrestling as an afterthought. It’s a shame that AEW refuses to put in the same effort that their woman’s division is putting in. I surely hope they do not rely on squash matches for the rest of the build like they have for the last two editions of Dynamite.
[CW] We need to see more of Hikaru Shida, it’s that simple. It has been all about Britt Baker for weeks now and to the detriment of Shida and Thunder Rosa. Rosa’s AEW future is up in the air due to her unusual stipulation that she must work exclusively for NWA if she loses to Kamille.
We need Shida to seem important. We need to see Shida seem like a force. She is the longest reigning AEW champion ever, at this early point.
[GFE] Agree with all stated above. AEW isn’t doing good enough for the women. Bottom line.
Britt Baker did fantastically with what he’s been given, as she always does.
As Craig said, we need to hear from Shida now. We need to hear her response. In the go-home show it’d be nice to see a face-to-face or a contract signing. Something to really hype this up as the biggest women’s match in AEW history, which is what it is.
7) Miro Day is upon us as ‘The Best Man’ triumphs over Darby Allin to win the TNT Championship. A lot was going on before, after and during this match. What did you make of it all?
[AB] This made Miro a monster and it was so great; I enjoyed the match a lot and the last 5 minutes had me on the edge of my seat. Darby has had a great run and it was time to pass the title to the next champion.
However, not allowing Miro to have his moment and rushing to Page/Sky attacking Sting then the Dark Order save did nothing here. Miro vs Lance sign me up for that. It will be interesting to see if they keep the TNT main event going forward with Miro. I honestly think they should because it will keep the importance of the title going.
[DF] This match was fantastic if we’re just talking about the wrestling aspect. I thought it was Darby’s best bout as champion despite him leaving without the belt he walked in with, and in my opinion, it was also Miro’s best match in AEW to date.
Despite that, there were plenty of moments where I found myself searching my monitor for the actual wrestling match because of the various rogues running interference in and around the ring. It needed room to breathe on its’ own; room for Miro to have his moment as newly-crowned champion and room for Darby to go out gracefully. I remain confused at just how rushed this ending felt considering seven minutes were cut from Orange versus Pac earlier in the night.
[GFE] This match was near perfect. The two major issues have the same solution. Before the bell rang, Miro attacked Darby whilst Sting stood by. In previous weeks we’ve seen Sting help Darby when it’s time. He even attacked Luchasaurus for no reason. So, it made no sense for Sting to just stand back as Miro destroyed Darby.
Then, during the match, Scorpio Sky and Ethan Page attack Sting. Taking away from the action. I just think it’d have been much better if they attacked him when Miro jumped Darby. There would then also be no need for them to return after the match, allowing Lance Archer to come out alone when Miro is celebrating. Besides that, it was perfect.
8) With Rosa climbing the rankings, Adam Page vs Brian Cage, Bucks vs Eddie & Mox and a Casino Battle Royale announced for Double or Nothing, Serena Deeb returning next week and Jade Cargill continuing to tease a manager, this was an information and action-packed Dynamite. What did you make of it as a show overall? Is there anything else you want to mention?
[AB] Over it was a good show but felt rushed in parts and it hurt the key emotional moments. AEW needs to slow down a bit at the right time. The go home show to DON is set to be on a Friday so I wonder how that’s going to affect the booking, this week saw a lot added to the DON card in one episode, it feels they have left the run and build just a bit too late. None of the matches have me excited to watch and for a PPV that’s an issue.
[DF] Despite the various issues I had with this episode, I’d rather have an overly ambitious show with some messy parts here and there over a bore-fest that creative clearly didn’t care about. The passion is evident, and even though not everything sat right with me (looking at you, Cody promo), I can appreciate that they did their best to deliver a stacked show with some really incredible matches on the card.
As for Double or Nothing, I have my reservations. Cage versus Hangman doesn’t particularly interest me, nor does Stadium Stampede 2: Electric Boogaloo. In the future I’d like to see AEW start building pay-per-view cards earlier to avoid cluttered shows. Only good things can come of that improvement.
[RG] AEW went a little crazy this week, and, yes, I agree that their efforts should be acknowledged, but I think if they want their big moments to hold more emotional weight, they need to hold less matches per episode. They really don’t need to do five to six matches per episode.