Breaking down the AEW Wedneday Night Dynamite TV debut
When I realized AEW had something going for it during the live show at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C.: during the Riho-Nyla Rose women’s title match.
We’d already had Cody vs. Samy Guevara and Adam Page vs. PAC, and both were more than fine.
It was refreshing to see actual wrestling matches between top competitors going more than three minutes in both cases.
The Riho-Rose match seemed to be a foregone conclusion. I assumed AEW was going to go with Rose as its champ, and that the presentation would give Riho chances to look good, but that would be it, as she would mainly be enhancement for Rose.
For the first roughly 10 minutes, that’s how this one went, until Rose hit Riho, who had been caught on the ropes, off the top with a legdrop, for what seemed would be the three-count.
When Riho kicked out, the crowd popped a bit, but still, it seemed like, OK, nice near-fall, but all we’re doing here is selling Riho, and helping add to the legitimacy of the Rose win.
Several more near-falls ensued. The crowd popped louder for each one.
And then, shocker – Riho pulls the upset.
This was the best women’s match you would have seen in 2019, and remember, WWE had women main-event WrestleMania.
And that: this is AEW’s first TV show.
Now, you’ve got my attention.
The main event had all of the elements that you need to get fans to tune back in next week. The Young Bucks were at their best, Jon Moxley ran in and fought with Kenny Omega to the back, putting “The Cleaner” through a glass table.
The heels, Chris Jericho and the team of Santana and Ortiz, took advantage of the 3-on-2 to earn the win, and then you had a run-in from Cody, who had been attacked after his opening-match win by Jericho.
Guevara was the next to run in. And then, huge pop for Dustin Rhodes.
Seems that we’re done with the run-ins, but, no.
Jake Hager is the final answer from the heels, and the bad guys stand tall as the show goes off the air.
The future is set from here. Jericho, your world champ, has Cody as his dance partner. Moxley and Omega are re-engaged in a feud that got started at All or Nothing in May.
There was a nice segment during the show, one of the few non-match segments of the night, making it clear that we can expect a future pairing of The Lucha Brothers and SCU.
PAC is over as a top star with his win over Page.
Guevara is elevated through his association with the top heel stable.
Riho is your women’s champ, but the Rose post-match attack keeps her in the mix, with Britt Baker leading those waiting in the wings.
And what about Hager? He was the one standing tallest at the end of the night.
The live crowd was amped from the dark matches all the way through, but more importantly, so were the 1.4 million watching at home.
AEW not only beat WWE head-to-head; it dominated the night, outdrawing the NXT show on USA by nearly 60 percent.
It’s one show, and the focus now shifts to next week, and the next week.
NXT, it must be noted, has lost 24.4 percent of its audience from its debut on USA two weeks ago, which, yikes.
AEW has work to do to keep its base and move things in the other direction.
Based on the booking, production and execution of Week 1, there’s no reason not to expect future growth for the upstart.
Story by Chris Graham