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.