Home AEW ‘Dynamite’ review: Hey, we got another FTR tag team match, a rare treat
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AEW ‘Dynamite’ review: Hey, we got another FTR tag team match, a rare treat

Chris Graham
ftr briscoes
FTR vs. The Briscoes. Photo: All Elite Wrestling

This week’s AEW “Dynamite” had a special treat – an FTR tag team match, the seventh of 2022 (on 51 shows and counting) for the best damn tag team in the pro wrestling business.

The ensuing loss to The Gunn Club, involving pulled tights and outside leverage, dropped the Dax Harwood-Cash Wheeler duo to 3-4 in tag matches on AEW’s main show on the year.

This after a 15-2 start in their “Dynamite” career, dating back to their first match, way back on the June 10, 2020, show, a win over The Butcher & The Blade.

Aside from their brief two-month run as AEW tag champs in 2020, the team has largely been out of the title picture for the company since, diverted off to floating around doing a bunch of nothing in 2021, then holding the secondary Ring of Honor belts for the bulk of 2022.

We occasionally get teased with the possibility of Harwood and Wheeler getting to carry the flag for AEW’s tag division. There was a loss on the Nov. 13, 2021, “Dynamite” to then-champs The Lucha Brothers, then another loss to the Luchas on the Dec. 8, 2021, “Rampage.”

Their next title shot wouldn’t come for almost exactly a year – on the Dec. 7 “Dynamite,” which, yes, resulted in a loss, to the current champs, The Acclaimed.

That match, which nonsensically ended with The Acclaimed going over clean, was booked to be a lead-in to FTR defending the ROH belts against The Briscoes – who for some reason have been under contract for nearly a year, but haven’t yet and apparently won’t ever appear on AEW TV – at the Ring of Honor “Final Battle” pay-per-view three days later.

The Briscoes won the PPV match to get the belts off FTR, as Tony Khan is pivoting to putting Ring of Honor behind a $9.99-a-month paywall that is destined to be a disaster, if judging from the startingly low number of pay-per-view buys for “Final Battle,” which Wrestling Observer Newsletter editor Dave Meltzer pegged at 25,400 (!).

Meantime, we got FTR vs. The Gunn Club on “Dynamite” this week, a win for The Gunn Club, and reports that FTR’s contract with AEW is up early next year.

That our FTR guys have been buried for going on two years has absolutely nothing to do with them being head and shoulders better than the EVPs in charge of booking the tag division in AEW, Matt and Nick Jackson, The Young Bucks, or that Harwood and Wheeler continue to make it clear in media appearances that they’re friends with former AEW world champ CM Punk, the Jacksons’ sworn backstage enemy, who they maneuvered into being out of the company, Khan’s bottom-line interests be damned.

Hey, it ain’t their daddy’s money, right?

ricky starks
Ricky Starks. Photo: All Elite Wrestling

‘Dynamite’ in the ratings

This week’s “Dynamite” averaged 957,000 viewers, up marginally (1 percent) from last week, according to Wrestlenomics, but still moving in the right direction, toward the mythical million-viewer mark.

Looking at the quarter-hours, the show opened at 8 p.m. ET with 1.113 million viewers for the Ricky Starks live promo/angle with the Jericho Appreciation Society, and held above 950,000 through the top of the 9 p.m. ET quarter-hour, which had a lot going on – Jon Moxley vs. Darius Martin, a video mashup promoting Jamie Hayter and Hikaru Shida’s upcoming match, and a video featuring Powerhouse Hobbs.

The main event, Hayter vs. Shida, was the low-water mark for the night, at 869,000 viewers, but this was smart booking by Khan.

The women’s segments have been dragging the overall numbers down for several weeks, and also, the long-term trend, both for AEW shows and for the weekly shows from WWE, is for the last segment of the show to bring up the caboose viewers-wise.

Khan stacked the two together, but at least gave the rest of the show a fighting chance.

Jim Cornette, on one of his weekly podcasts, suggested this week that Khan should consider booking his show backwards, starting with what would be in his mind his main event, to try to maximize viewers.

That’s not a bad idea, honestly.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].