Dynamite 21/12/22 Wrestler Ratings
In this brand-new article, we are looking at the in-ring performances of the wrestlers that performed on yesterday's episode of AEW Dynamite.
These wrestlers are professional wrestlers who 'compete' in the ring. However, as you know(!), the 'contests' are scripted and the finishes are pre-determined. This does not mean that the athletic feats and performances of the wrestlers are any less impressive than those of many professional athletes. So we are going to treat them as such and in the spirit of how professional football players are given numerical ratings after matches by journalists, we will attempt to do the same here. We will only be reviewing, and judging the performances of wrestlers who appear on Dynamite, and compete in-ring. Promos, and other interactions or appearances, are also taken into consideration for these competitors/
Like any opinion-based review, personal preferences, tastes, and enjoyment will impact scoring.
We will be using a ten-point scale:
10 - Perfection
9 - Outstanding
8 - Excellent
7 - Great
6 - Good
5 - Fine
4 - Below Average
3 - Poor
2 - Terrible
1 - Unwatchable
0 – Incompetent
Match Number 1: The Elite vs Death Triangle – No Disqualification
I find these multi-man matches to be incredibly choreographed, with people just waiting their turn to appear, takes me out of the moment of watching a sporting contest – again just personal preference. So much cooperation, and convoluted spots, really didn’t enjoy it.
Kenny Omega - 5
You can’t escape with the trash can was so smooth and effortless. Always enjoy his barbed wire broom spots. Loved Kenny’s struggle and fight to escape Fenix’s huracanrana pin attempt. Omega was impervious to hammer strikes to the skull seemingly, as JR might say “what do they need to win, a gun?”. Tinsel spot was weird. Snapdragons with Fenix was beautiful.
Nick Jackson - 3
For someone who had an injured ankle, then took a hammer strike, then an ankle lock last week, seems to be exhibiting incredibly few side effects from that trauma suffered. Nick sold being thrown into a fake Christmas tree more than his heavily injured ankle. Kicked a chair and sold ankle finally, sold briefly before doing a senton through a table to the outside. Sold briefly before doing Meltzer driver from the top. Randomly bladed post-match, but cameras captured him wide-eyed, fully alert, not selling at all.
Matt Jackson - 3
Odd man out in these spot fest matches often features the least. Randomly sprinted to get to the top rope, did a moonsault to the outside, then disappeared again. Did an elbow from top to table on the outside out of the blue. Needless table spot, both Jacksons were back up immediately and didn’t sell anything. The most meaningful input was breaking up a few submissions.
Penta El Zero M - 4
Christmas Tree from the stage and the tree in the corner spot were stupid. The commentary rightly mocked the entire spot. Was back on his feet after having Nick Jackson do a senton through a table to him, less than 2 minutes later. Beat down post-match was the most lively he looked throughout.
Rey Fenix - 5
Few topé's and his usual incredible athleticism. Shame that these are taken for granted with Fenix now, and don’t get to be appreciated, or time given to take them in. Loved his hurracanrana pin selling on Omega, really sold he's trying to win and claim a victory for his team.
PAC - 3
He is effortlessly athletic, with few trios moves, again hindered by his mask from utilizing his brilliantly expressive facials. Was back on his feet after having Matt Jackson do an elbow through a table to him, less than 2 minutes later. Beat down post-match was the most lively he looked throughout.
Match Number 2: Hook vs Exodus Prime
This match was essentially just a reminder that Hook is here, and for the brief post-match angle with The Firm and Jungle Boy.
Hook - 4
I like his realistic presentation. Enjoy his very explosive, and trained judo/grappling background. Strikes are always way worse, again this is often the case in MMA too, where a fighter has a significantly worse area of the skillset.
Very quick, nothing matches.
Exodus Prime - 4
Poor guy just got mauled and lost within a minute, no time to sell anything.
Match Number 3: Jon Moxley vs Darius Martin
I liked this. Claudio came out with Mox, a nice tie-in for what would happen with the BCC, and Top Flight in the Rampage Battle Royale. Also legitimizes Top Flight, Darius has Dante with him, having Claudio with Mox, flags that Mox may need backup, and they’re to be taken seriously
Jon Moxley - 6
Enjoyed this from Mox, really took the heel/dominant role in this match, and made Darius work and fight him from underneath. Really is taking the BCC as teacher's role seriously. Don’t enjoy the constant outside-the-ring spots in his matches – suplex in the crowd in this. Buries the ref, as they were outside for minutes. Elbows, and stamps aren’t as good as Danielson’s, but no one is!
Darius Martin - 6
Some of his offencive moves, particularly strikes, can look a bit too acrobatic, very glad he was forced to fight like a man in this. Didn’t get to sell suplex to the concrete floor from Mox, but liked the fire he showed when he came back then, and the physical strikes. He will gain so much from having to sell and fight in a match like this.
Match Number 4: Gunn Club vs FTR
Loved this, start to finish. 4 men who ‘get it’. Loved the story told, Dax’s injuries from Briscoes match are very real and utilized excellently as one of the main story points of the match. The Bret Hart gear from the Gunn’s was incredible, investing in themselves for big moments such as this. This was just an amazing piece of the wrestling business, so much psychology at play in this. My favorite wrestling match on weekly tv this week
Colten Gunn - 7
Outrageously athleticism. Insane genetics. The more I see him, the more I think he was born to do this. Much like Colten, great at selling – understands wrestling.
Austin Gunn - 8
Not quite as athletic as Colten, but love how incredibly energetic and lively in everything he does. Puts more effort into selling than 90% of the roster. Love his classic “who sucks now” crowd interaction. I really enjoyed the simplicity of a pro-longed sleeper hold with Cash. Love, love, love the feigned Sweet Chin, into a suck it, into the sharpshooter. Playing into real-life animosity with Road Dogg, Shawn Michaels, etc.
Dax Harwood - 8
Nice beat down of Austin on the outside, leading to a lovely interaction with his daughter. Good Lord, I love Hot Tag Harwood! The simplicity and the intensity of his offense is world-class. His selling of the lower back on the pile driver into the finish was amazing. The simplicity of the finish was wonderful too. Complete banana peel, getting caught due to injuries.
Cash Wheeler - 9
Loved how he dished out so many atomic drops and kicks to the ass, of both ‘Ass Boys’ at the start. One – as a way of evening the odds with Dax having an injured rear end, and two – playing into the Ass Boys' name. Genius as usual from FTR. Most under-utilized, and under-appreciated wrestlers in the world. Sells his struggle so so well.
Cash Wheeler does the best Topé suicide in wrestling – happy to fight anyone over this.
Match Number 5: Jamie Hayter vs Hikaru Shida – AEW Women’s World Championship
Really, really enjoyable physical fight. The very, very worthy main event, and so glad they got the time and spotlight for this. Delighted to hear the ratings reflected their outstanding performances. Both have amazing chemistry. More of this please Mr. Khan.
Jamie Hayter - 9
Hits bloody hard, and sells all of her own actions and reactions. Top 5 women’s wrestlers in the world. Love seeing her grow in confidence as a performer and character, with every outing also. Tremendously powerful. Her lunges taunt on the outside popped me big time! Missed moonsault press looked bloody sore. Sold her injuries and fatigue so well off that, tricking Shida and putting her off her game, creating an opening to land a big move, into a sliding lariat. The exhausted pin after her powerbomb was beautiful. The disbelief after the big lariat kicks out was excellent. Forced her to get violent and demolished Shida with a ripcord to finish. She collapsed from exhaustion and pain at the conclusion, hitting Toni Storm with the belt, taking the last ounces of energy she had. World-class.
Hikaru Shida - 8
Sorely missed since her brilliant pandemic title run, crying shame her matches with Nyla Rose didn’t get the spotlight or acclaim they deserved at the time.
Always looks to fight. Much like Hayter, sells her own, and her opponent's offense wonderfully. Suplex to the outside from the apron looked bloody sore for both parties. Loved how she took her time to sell the impact and severity of the move. Didn’t rush to the next move or spot, allowed ref to start ten counts and build tension/anticipation. Very well done. Meteora into a Falcon Arrow combo looked tremendous. Really nice kicking combinations in closing moments, and an explosive german suplex.
Editor's Note - Mark O'Brien is a trainee wrestler who uses his experience in watching to learn from these performers to provide an insightful read for the reader.