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 profession 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 are going to 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
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
Kenny Omega - 5
Nice, smooth, tidy performance from the cleaner, with some excellent moments. The
sequence with PAC leading up to the ‘You can’t escape’ spot, was incredibly athletic
and smooth on both ends – followed by the best YCE combination I’ve seen KO perform
on AEW. Looks like an entirely new wrestler following his extended break and surgeries.
Crispness is other worldly at times. Snap dragons are always spectacularly explosive.
Enjoyed how promo came across as off the cuff, and out of frustration, at start and
Nick Jackson - 6
Ankle selling following Tope, stepping out of match v convincing, asking Kenny to tag
Matt in etc. Not over the top which I enjoyed. I liked Taz highlighting non traditional
wrestling footwear which fed into this story. He was suddenly gone, and we were
informed he had been brought to the back out of nowhere. He eventually does comes
back, selling ankle more now than when he was supposed to have injured it – strange. I actually enjoyed Nick doing more traditional hot tag fast bumping offence, more realistic,
less convoluted in my view.
Matt Jackson - 4
Good facials and selling, never as athletically smooth or fluid as the other 5 participants,
but ability to sell pain, fire, separates him. Takes the heat for team as usual – funny way
of structuring considering Nick was the one selling a bodypart. He suddenly
disappeared from match towards the conclusion.
Penta El Zero M - 5
Started fine, in and out putting heat on Matt J a lot. Enjoyed his package piledriver on
ring apron (hardest part of the ring so I hear!) – always enjoy his more violent style of
work most, rather than focusing on well constructed, co-operation heavy spots as you
can find in these types of matches. Not sure hammer to the ankle was needed, as Nick
was already injured.
Rey Fenix - 6
Fenix walking top rope, then flipping tope suicida amazing. Reverse second rope
Spanish fly – incredible athletic feet. Like the two other spots above, both were done so
casually, and immediately onto the next move, with no selling on either parties end –
hard for fans to digest and appreciate, when it’s not given time to register. Fenix’s
impact can be overshadowed or lost in the mix at times in these multi man matches.
Inverted Frog Splash I thought looked cool and unique. Liked Rey using an inverted
knee bar as the finish – showed clinical ruthless side to character, becoming more in
line with Penta and PAC.
PAC - 4
Often seems to be the least involved of team, or his involvements being least impactful
on story of the match. Face masks hinders him, his visually expressive reactions are a
big plus typically. Black Arrow spot looks incredibly tough to take. Suddenly had the
Brutaliser on KO at end of match out of nowhere.
Brian Cage - 6
This was one of my favorite Brian Cage outings in AEW. Best portrayal of a television
monster heel I’ve seen from him. His usual convoluted spots, and elaborate
combinations weren’t utilized at all here, which was a huge plus. When he uses his
obscene power and strength and showcases that, he looks better than most. His
transition from giving an F5, into taking a destroyer was incredible. Makes you wonder
how far Cage could have gone in AEW had he simplified his performances like this.
Cage did a great job of gloating between spots to keep crowd interested, and make up
for Jack’s lack of selling.
'Jungle Boy' Jack Perry - 3
For a match where he was taking offence for the vast majority of the match, Jack
struggled to show both the live, and televised audience, any of the pain, strain, or
tiredness he was experiencing. His facial expressions, body language rarely changed
from what I could see. Banana peel finish, followed by Jack staying in ring and Cage
immediately leaving, was strange in my view. Promo significantly more engaging than
his in match exploits. Potential tag team w/ Hook was certainly a different twist.
Malakai Black - 4
Sat in corner during pre match beat down, followed by Black Mass kick, for the 3 count.
Hard to judge fairly, as they delivered on what they were asked.
Brody King - 4
Attached Factory pre match, his offence wasn’t as highlighted as Matthews’s, and what
was shown, was less dynamic. Hard to judge fairly, as they delivered on what they were asked.
Buddy Matthews - 5
Love his explosive physical offence – sorely underused. Took out two factory members
in pre match beat down – stand out of the three.
Aaron Solo - 4
Not a lot can be said for this. Hard to judge, and again they delivered on what they were
asked, in the time constraints given. Took a pre match beat down and lost inside 1
minute, no time to even sell.
Cole Karter - 4
For someone who was so well thought of in WWE , pre release, this booking and usage,
doesn’t inspire confidence for his AEW future. Took a pre match beat down and lost inside 1 minute, no time to even sell.
QT Marshall - 4
Took a pre match beat down and lost inside 1 minute, no time to even sell.
Chris Jericho - 9
Backstage promo good and functional – set up match for this evening, and continued
the baffling yo-yo booking of Daniel Garcia.
His in-ring showing? Amazing. This is my favourite Jericho performance in AEW. He
built a new star, held the crowd in the palm of his hand for the entirety of the match. If
you watch what he actually did, he did incredibly little. He allowed things to breathe,
allowed the crowd to get behind Andretti, and allowed Andretti to sell his struggle. A
master of getting as much out of as little as possible. Facials, and ability to sit still
following Andretti kicking out of the code breaker was masterful. Allowed the crowd to
enjoy the moment, not cut the pop short, and built further hope for Andretti. Genius.
Pantomime villain tantrum backstage also entertaining.
Action Andretti - 6
Jack Perry could learn a thing or two from Andretti in regards to facials, selling upwards,
finding the crowd to sell to. Match and performance helped hugely by crowd. Again –
Jericho was masterful and allowed ‘Action’ plenty of time to build sympathy, support,
showcase his struggle, and his desire to win. While he has some impressive offence, a
lot of basic things in my view still need improvement before he could be a full time TV
star – not dissimilar to Dante Martin – but his ability to sell himself, his offence, his
struggle and pain are significantly better than Dante’s currently. Finish off a standing
shooting star press, out of nowhere added to the crowd reaction.
Tay Melo - 5
One of the best showings I’ve seen from Melo. Very physical, traditional heel work.
Worked crowd well, and not having Sammy at ringside helped massively in my view.
Small thing, for the three Saito suplexes from Ruby, Tay seemed to cooperate far too
easily, walked over, hooked, and was holding her arm to the back of her head
anticipating eventual suplex for the entirety. Things like that take you out of the match,
and you forget you’re not watching a legitimate fight. Really enjoyed her heel run away
and beatdown on the ramp. Facials, trash talking all very good throughout. Love the big
Bicycle kick she does, could be used as a finishing move.
Ruby Soho - 5
Always enjoy when Soho is able to showcase her fire and physicality. Her upward
selling during pre match beat down in particular I thought was excellent. Her comeback
fire up and strikes were both very well done. Lack of athleticism and footwork can be
noticeable at times for me.
MJF - 8
Backstage promo early in show incredible, brilliant work to get crowd behind hometown
hero, and people wanting to see him lose.
Excellent pacing and structure from MJF for this match. His ability to remain in complete
control of the match, the crowd, his actions and reactions, as well as allowing each part
of the match to breathe, truly belies his 26 years of age. Perfect throwback heel, here at
the perfect time. Commentary and crowd both helped the story being told.
Luring Starks in for Salt of the Earth pin, following the one arm draped pin was amazing,
showed how calculated and ruthless MJF is at all times. Using the multi limb rope break
spot, and match finish, as call backs to previous indie matches they had with one
another was a nice touch.
Selling of Danielson chase was well done.
Ricky Starks - 7
Much like MJF – backstage promo was tremendous. Set up main event perfectly,
presented Starks as a main event level talent, and again achieved their goal of making
a Starks win a distinct possibility, the hometown crowd on his side, but made people
want to see him win, rather than just see MJF lose. Very well done, Ric Flair / Gino
Took much of the offence for this first half of this match, sold well, allowed MJF to build
heat and for Starks to portray his struggle. Simplicity of movements and pacing helped
both parties massively. The spots where Ricky struggled to get MJF up for powerbombs
and other maneuvers, actually helped the match in my view. Sold further the pain he’d
already endured, and his struggle following it. Fights are never fluid dancing routines.
Love Ricky’s fire, and hockey fight punches. Spear was brilliantly dynamic, great that
Starks immediately returned to selling his arm. Loved the visual of Starks having both
arms, and one leg tied up by MJF and he eventually gets his other leg to the bottom
rope to break the arm bar, great babyface pop.