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:
-Daisy Foster: @boutmachines [DF]
-Dan: @WrestlingRhymes [DH]
-Gareth Ford-Elliot: @RHWGareth [GFE]
-Craig William @CraigPWMusings [CW]
1) The Pinnacle and Inner Circle had various encounters throughout the night. After the consensus over the past weeks being that this feud was cooling off, did this do anything to heat it back up for you? What did you make of the Konnan vs. Tully Blanchard faceoff?
[GFE] It actually did, I haven’t enjoyed this feud too much for a good while now. Even the high-points were hit-and-miss. I don’t think this feud has had a better night since The Pinnacle debuted.
The Pinnacle starting the night off by attacking Guevara, then taking out Santana, Ortiz and Konnan was great. And it’s now only logical that Hager and Jericho see what’s happening and, because they’re not idiots, jump Pinnacle before they can get them. The brawl felt really genuine and Guevara’s babyface late entrance to save the day perfectly sets up MJF vs Guevara for next week.
Simple, but excellent stuff for me. Not over-complicating things as Pinnacle and Inner Circle stuff has had a tendency to do.
[CW] I really liked it until the Inner Circle got the upper hand. I need to see a decisive ‘win’ from The Pinnacle at some point. Yet again, The Pinnacle was bested by the Inner Circle. Excitement and fan theories about the potential Four Horsemen stable dominating AEW seem a distant memory as MJF bumps and ‘banana-skins’ for Jericho and the Inner Circle.
[DH] Definitely the best week this feud has had in a while, and I think a lot of that was because Konnan and Tully facing off gave the whole thing something fresh. I’ve said before that I’m not sure whether it was the intention from the start, but this feels more about Sammy Guevara than Jericho now and that match on Wednesday now feels massive.
2) Ethan Page challenged Darby Allin to a coffin match. Is this a satisfying way to pay off their rivalry?
[CW] This match killed the episode’s buzz for me. The action between Bear Bronson and Ethan Page was very pedestrian and a booking slip-up, if you ask me. Ethan Page should have been profiled as a nasty and dangerous lunatic against an opponent that you could imagine as surrogate for Darby Allin. Bronson was too big and felt like a mountain to be circumvented rather than a precursor for what Page is going to do to Allin.
Hopefully, slips like this are minimised as this feud moves forward as I am very much high on it thus far.
[DH] The coffin match stipulation seemed incredibly odd at first, probably because it is so synonymous with one particular wrestler from ‘the other channel’. But giving it a bit of thought it makes a lot of sense both as a way to give this feud a big crescendo and in terms of Darby Allin’s character. Considering Page and Sky have effectively ripped the TNT Title away from Darby and then also seemingly got in between Darby and Sting, it needs a big blow-off match and a coffin match certainly delivers that.
Like Craig I thought the opponent for Page on this week’s show was odd but I actually thought Page looked pretty good in this match. I’m looking forward to seeing him be cruel as hell to Darby in the next two weeks.
[DF] I didn’t grow up on WWE as most western wrestling fans did. I started off in Japan, with the more sports-adjacent style of New Japan Pro Wrestling. So, when Page announced a coffin match, I personally thought “Oh, exciting!” rather than “Are they really doing that thing that the other company made famous?” In all honesty, I’m surprised they’ve waited this long to attempt a coffin/casket match with the guy whose finisher is famously named the Coffin Drop. Page vs. Bronson was a dud, and it’s another case of AEW pushing underdeveloped talent too early as they’ve started to do recently. Bring on the coffin match, though. I’m still waiting for Page to properly break through as a formidable AEW talent. Hopefully, this match does that for him.
3) Kenny Omega defeated Jungle Boy for the AEW World Championship in the main event. What did you make of the match and what do you see on the horizon for AEW champ Omega?
[CW] Daniel Bryan, Kenny Omega, Kazuchika Okada, Hiroshi Tanahashi and Mayu Iwatani are wrestlers that just cannot have a bad match. It’s a short list but Kenny Omega is essentially the poster child of it and this match was evidence of that.
It looks as if the long-telegraphed Christian Cage match is coming very soon. However, I’m hoping to see a Darby Allin/Kenny Omega showdown before Omega drops the belt to Hangman Page. Unfortunately, there has been no indication for that so far, with the exception of Allin’s prominence in the rankings.
[DH] Not really a surprise that Kenny won here, and not really a surprise that these two put on a superb match. The near falls and the time Kenny spent in the Snare Trap were edge of your seat stuff and even the interference was manged well with Frankie Kazarian stopping there being any significant involvement from Gallows and Anderson. I was even okay with the post-match, which I have seen some negativity around. AEW have certainly been guilty of rushing things this year, but Kenny not allowing Jungle Boy his moment after the bell felt like a calculated heel-move, and the others who came out all had motivation to do so.
The big question now is who next for Omega? Is there time for one more feud before we go to Hangman? I think so, but other than Christian Cage, which doesn’t particularly excite me, I’m not sure who they go with.
[DF] This match was without question, the highlight of the show for me. I went into it apprehensive as news of Kenny’s injuries hit the tabloids a few weeks ago, and it exceeded all expectations I had. Omega still has it in him despite the naysayers; that special thing that can dominate a match with anyone, that thing that survived near hour-long matches with the best wrestlers on the planet in Japan, and it felt like a treat to see it again after so many matches rife with interference. Clean finishes have been few and far between when it comes to Omega’s heel reign so I thoroughly enjoyed this match without the good brothers at ring-side or any excessive cheating from the champion. Jungle Boy was fantastic too, likely well aware of how important this match might be for his career, and he delivered plenty of slick offence throughout.
Match aside, as fantastic as it was, I want Hangman to take the belt off of Kenny as soon as possible. I need more amazing Omega matches in the future and we won’t have those if he keeps wrestling injured. It’s time for Hangman to step up. The story has been brewing long enough.
4) Who was your AEW stand-out performer of the week?
[GFE] Nick Jackson. His comedic timing is a thing of beauty. It’s oftentimes subtle, oftentimes in your face. But it’s just brilliant. Whilst Matt generally carries the talking and charisma side of things, Nick really comes into his own as a cocky heel, and tonight he cracked me up countless times. I hope the bird noises are a permanent fixture in his character.
[CW] Dante Martin. He was given the opportunity to show what he could do with an opponent that was perfect foil and boy did he deliver. The stuff Martin was pulling off are the stuff of childish fantasy. I love the evolution of wrestling from a mix of boxing and theatre to a melting pot of MMA, boxing, amateur wrestling, theatre and, in particular, gymnastics.
[DH] Jungle Boy. For all that people whinge and moan about AEW using too many ‘WWE Guys’ (a stupid stupid phrase), in Jack Perry they have an effectively homegrown superstar. He is both a star now and set to be a brighter star in the future, and this match have a glimpse of the sort of All Out main event that is surely in his future. When we get to sing Baltimora for Jungle Boy winning the big one, it will be electric.
[DF] Kenny Omega. Perhaps this answer is ‘easy’, but putting on a match like that while riddled with injuries is nothing to sniff at. He continues to be one of the best wrestlers on the planet, and he’s so good that a pay-per-view worthy banger like this is considered average for him, when for a lot of wrestlers it might be the best of their career. There was some fantastic heel work peppered throughout, as well as what could be considered some subtle seeds being sewn for his eventual face turn. Great stuff.
5) What was your AEW match of the week?
[GFE] Hobbs vs Hangman. I would have gone Hobbs for performer of the week, but I thought I’d save my praise of Hobbs for this section. Jungle Boy vs Omega is the obvious match of the week, but we’ve spoken about that above.
Despite the strange factor of Hobbs working Hangman’s arms and shoulders to no avail, as Hangman used his arms in the finish and kept throwing strikes throughout, this was a really fun match. I love Hobbs’ facial expressions but he turned up his physical storytelling a notch in this match. Hangman was as brilliant as ever. It was a fairly 50-50 match, or at least it felt that way. But Hangman really had to fight and earn his offence which only put Hobbs over more.
The one worry I had was whether Hangman was hurt when Hobbs threw him into the ring post and blood gushed through Hangman’s hair. But it actually made that feeling of Hangman having to overcome a monster even stronger.
[CW] It was Jungle Boy versus Kenny Omega, saying anything otherwise is silly! (Sorry Gareth…!)
It was a marvellous match between the most lovable babyface and a malevolent heel who is at the peak of his dastardliness and has sufficient momentum as the man to beat. This match underlined, circled, emboldened and highlighted Jungle Boy’s name as future world champion in the most eye-catching of bright yellow! I appreciated the finish being relatively clean too.
[DH] Dante Martin v Matt Sydal deserves a mention. Whilst it was a nothing match in terms of stakes, and felt even less so once it had that odd Andrade El Idolo segment tacked on the front, the in-ring action was superb at times. Considering Martin is disgustingly young, he surely has a very bright future ahead of him, and working with people like Sydal can only help that.
6) How would you rate this episode of AEW Dynamite? Is there anything else you’d like to mention?
[CW] B. There was really, really great wrestling on this show. The first 45 minutes of the show was A material. However, there are still issues that really drag the show down. It’s the Women’s Division again. Jade Cargill’s catchphrase is rubbish and harms my enjoyment of those segments, Britt Baker who claimed DMD was going to be the new 3:16 is embroiled in a feud with Vickie Guererro and The Bunny is booked more than far more talented workers.
[DH] One of the better ‘holding pattern’ shows but still only a B for me. As Craig says it’s very hard to ignore the issues in the women’s division right now, and that’s two weeks in a row where the women’s match has effectively been a glorified set-up for a men’s angle. But despite that the main event was fantastic and thank goodness we are now back on to Wednesdays!
[DF] B for me, as well. It was the best show of the NBA era by a country mile with only one match and a couple of segments I didn’t care for. It had the best match of the NBA era in Omega versus Jungle Boy, and overall, it moved things along nicely. A good episode to transition us out of both the pandemic, and these odd Friday/Saturday shows.