Welcome to the AEW Dynamite Roundtable, where Pro Wrestling Musings' contributors share their thoughts on the biggest talking points arising from AEW Fyter Fest Night 2. Please note writer's views are their own.
This week's contributors are:
-Gareth Ford-Elliott: @RHWGareth [GFE]
-Joe Cabana: @JoeProWrestling [JC]
-Craig William @CraigPWMusings [CW]
-Sam Brown: @Sir_Samuel [SB]
-Photography from Scott Lesh.
1) Chris Jericho defeated Shawn Spears in the first Labour of Jericho. However, the big news here is that next week it will be ‘The Painmaker’ Chris Jericho against Nick Gage in a no disqualification match. What did you make of this news and the match with Spears?
[JC] That kind of match announcement is one of the top reasons I love Dynamite, AEW have never been afraid to bring in the relative unknown and introduce them to the world without repackaging them. I was a little worried when I saw Chris Jericho and Shawn Spears in the work rate position on the card, but I had no reason to be. They worked a solid match with a simple and effective story, the crowd ate it up, I found all of this to get us off to a very good start to Dynamite.
[CW] Who cares! Brian Danielson to AEW CONFIRMED!
Joking… Well, kind of… I liked the Jericho/Spears match. The stipulation was interesting enough to hold my attention during a pretty standard match; Jericho’s really clever corner Super- Hurricanrana aside.
Jericho vs Nick Gage? I’ve never watched Nick Gage, I don’t like over the top death matches, but I’m super-intrigued to see this, nonetheless. Quick mention of MJF on the mic though; he was terrific on commentary and announcing Gage.
[SB] This news is fantastic on a number of levels. Firstly, the way MJF introduced Gage got a genuine pop out of me with just how unexpected it was. Secondly it is really nice to see Gage getting such a big platform and getting put over in such a positive light. He has struggled for years, much in the way Eddie Kingston did, and it is good to see him get the spotlight even if just for one night.
Thirdly and most importantly this injection of excitement was really needed to keep my interest in The Labours of Jericho story arc, I don't know about you, but to me, five basic singles matches from a Jericho who looks more out of puff each week, is not my idea of a fun time. This match adds a unique feel and a real sense of danger to a feud that felt like it was coasting on fumes.
[GFE] I echo the thoughts of those above. This was a fun enough opening match in which I felt Jericho serviced Spears and the stipulation well, whilst keeping himself strong. My one main fear with this 'Labours of Jericho' story is that they go overboard with a 50-year-old who has an injured arm. They need to strike the balance between something that makes MJF look clever for scheming up without giving Jericho an impossible task.
Nick Gage, then, is an exciting proposition because it achieves exactly that. I can buy Jericho defeating Nick Gage in a no disqualification match as he's competed at the top level for his entire career, unlike Gage. It's like Kimbo Slice fighting in the UFC. Your man Nick gets a shot on the big stage for the first time ever and Jericho looks like a nutty geezer for beating a deathmatch legend. Everyone wins.
2) Britt Baker beat Nyla Rose to retain her AEW Women’s Championship. What are your thoughts on this match and the feud as a whole? What and who next for Britt Baker’s title reign?
[JC] I enjoyed very little of their feud, Baker had a terrific promo last week and that was about it. The match wasn’t much to write home about either sadly, it felt like there was no chemistry between Britt and Nyla at all, I was a bit surprised the crowd woke up as much as they did for the final stretch of this match, but that helped it massively. This match still didn’t work for me. Tay Conti remains my favourite on the wish list of opponents, she’s currently ranked #3.
[CW] I thought this should have main-evented the show beforehand. In hoping they would start elevating this title at long last, however this was awful. It may not have played out so poorly on TNT with picture in picture, but the full-screen-Fite portion during the TNT adverts was abysmal. Much of this match was slow and sloppy. Gutted really, I had high-hopes for Baker’s stewardship of the division.
[SB] Thanks Christ that's over. Seriously, the sooner this feud is forgotten the better, I like Britt and Nyla but this pairing just has not worked out and for whatever reason every time they come in contact things fall flat or just plain go wrong. To be fair this match had a good final act but the lead up had a botch the whole crowd saw and even in the final stretch it felt like the two just couldn't get things to work smoothly as they should have.
Long term for Britt her opponent has to be a Thunder Rosa but right now she has to be immediately paired up with one of the joshi wrestlers. Someone who she can be believably vicious with and someone who isn't going to make such basic mistakes in big time matches.
[GFE] A real disappointment in a women's division which desperately needs reheating. AEW are out of excuses for the poor state of the women's division, but bad faith activists will use this match to say, "see the women just aren't ready." Completely ignoring the banger Nyla and Baker had earlier this year.
This match suffered from a poor build and a strange heel Nyla vs tweener Baker match dynamic that ultimately never should have been booked. At least not like this. It picked up towards the end and Britt Baker seemed to single-handedly save the crowd in the closing minutes of this match.
Statlander, Conti, Rosa, Riho, Yuka, Deeb, Red Velvet and more. The women's division is bursting with potential, it only needs unleashing. I don't really care who's next, as long as the booking isn't this God-awful and the division stops feeling like an afterthought.
3) Andrade el Idolo, joined by Chavo Guerrero Jr., called out Death Triangle. Andrade tried to tempt the Lucha Bros into siding with him. Instead, Death Triangle stuck together with Fenix telling Andrade they are the “real face of the Latinos” whilst Penta says that Andrade isn’t on their level. What are your thoughts on this segment? How do you see this feud progressing?
[JC] First of all I was so happy to see Chavo, he’s a much better fit for Andrade than Vickie is. That’s not a knock-on Vickie’s performance, I just never felt like she fit the vibe Andrade was going for. The segment was fine, and nothing more. To be honest the thought of Andrade mixing it up with all of the triangle pieces was enough to get me hyped. If The Lucha Bros don’t turn, I hope Andrade can bring in a pair of brothers he knows well and add them to the mix.
[CW] This was both interesting and odd. Andrade against any of the Death Triangle is mouth-watering and Chavo Guererro feels a better fit than Vickie. The dialogue here was somewhat stilted in places and felt contrived elsewhere. It felt like Andrade was about to bring out partners to face off with Death Triangle towards the end of the segment due to the camera work. The permutations going forward could develop into something fantastic.
[SB] I think just about every wrestling fan would have the same feeling about this feud: it will be great when they finally get in the ring. Everyone in this grouping is a top tier talent and I can only foresee great things when they finally clash.
The segment last night though was trying to wear too many hats and as a result dragged out, felt unfocused and ultimately had to get cut off in confusing fashion after they went long. With Andrade AEW just has to remember to keep it simple, cut down the open mic time, stop adding and removing the hangers on and let the man wrestle the house down.
[GFE] I agree with Craig, interesting and odd. This dragged and was very messy. Andrade's packaging is still very strange but I have two theories.
Theory one; Andrade is going to take the Lucha Bros from Pac and create a "Latino World Order" type stable, with the likes of Chavo and Alex Abrahantes involved for the sake of promos. This could give us Andrade proving himself as the "face of Latinos", like Fenix said, by defeating both Lucha Brothers in singles matches. With Andrade defeating Pac at All Out with the help of the Lucha Bros.
Theory two; and this is much more fantasy territory. We still get that series of matches but all three come on Dynamite over the coming weeks before a Trios Tournament for the new TNT Trios titles is announced. This can take place on Dynamite and Rampage in the build to All Out, with the final being Death Triangle vs Andrade, Rush and Dragon Lee. This is my personal dream scenario. Death Triangle win, obviously.
4) Who was your AEW stand-out performer of the week?
[CW] Lance Archer. His work on Road To was excellent. He took his essential failure during his time as part of AEW and turned it into narrative with good dialogue and emotion. When watching I felt as though Archer may be about to actually win or go through a major character-shift. Then I remembered he was facing Moxley and assumed it unlikely unless Moxley was dropping the title due to personal circumstance. His monstrous, grisly and explosive performance in the main-event was phoenix-esque.
[SB] Jon Moxley by a mile. This man put on a Tanahashi-esque performance in the main event, playing a vicious heel, despite being the most popular man in the entire company, all so the hometown hero could properly get the spotlight when he took the big win.
From the minute Mox walked out he looked particularly intense and he dominated the match from the get go, jumping Archer early, targeting Archer's knee and among other things stabbing Archer with a fork. Of course, all of this was done so that when Archer finally made his comeback the crowd would be begging for it and when it came boy oh boy did it work out.
If you had told me a week ago that Archer would be going over Mox I would have thought it was booking malpractice but through the incredible performance of one Jon Moxley, in a single night Lance Archer's character has been completely rehabilitated and looks ready to rip and tear like never before.
[GFE] I agree with Craig, Lance Archer for me. But for the sake of saying something different, Britt Baker deserves a lot of credit for turning that match and that crowd around during a difficult match.
5) What was your AEW match of the week?
[JC] This was one of the worst weeks in terms of match quality in AEW history on my personal ranking's spreadsheet. The match I had the most fun watching this week was probably Jazmin Allure & Vertvixen vs Tay Conti & Serena Deeb from Elevation, Episode 19.
[CW] The main event for sure. Very different from the New Japan version, similar length but much more happening in this one. They found ways to drop your jaw whilst telling a story designed to rescue Lance Archer’s stature in this company and the wider wrestling world.
[SB] For all the reasons mentioned before Mox v Archer is my AEW match of the week, it was full of heart, grit and fire from both men and was the perfect length for a TV main event. This match single-handedly resurrected Lance Archer's character and made him look as dominant and scary as he has ever looked in this company.
[GFE] Moxley vs Archer without a doubt. Besides a few moments where the referee was counting and we're all just waiting for whoever is down to get up, this was exhilarating. The work with the fork was truly terrifying to watch without actually making me think these two men would literally kill each other. The spot with the fan also popped me big and the finish, with similarities to their Wrestle Kingdom match, was great.
Best of all, it solidifies Archer as a guy who can win the big one in AEW. For too long he'd lose and lose. I worried this would be a repeat and I'm pleasantly surprised that it wasn't.
6) How would you rate this episode of AEW Dynamite? Is there anything else you’d like to mention?
[JC] I would give this episode a C +. Not a big week for AEW in terms of match quality, the segments also didn’t hit home quite like last week. Just all around solid, which is the least I expect from AEW Dynamite.
[CW] B-. The Women’s Championship match was egregious, and I don’t see it getting better over the next couple of weeks. Which sucks. The Jericho/Spears match was pleasantly good, and the main event delivered. The rest of the in-ring was filler, which is rubbish. Do something interesting, choose two ranked guys to face off for a chance at the TNT Championship. The story progression on this show was really strong though and the next few weeks up to All Out should be excellent.
[SB] I'd rate this a B-, it was thoroughly enjoyable with an excellent surprise and fantastic main event but had a number of niggling issues dragging it down too. Hopefully these are just teething issues that AEW can work out as they get used to being back on the road.
[GFE] The main event dragged this from a C to a B- for me. A lot of the show was fairly stale. Little was actively bad, Gallows vs Kazarian aside, but until the main event nothing really jumped out as brilliant either. A good show compared to most companies, but an average Dynamite.