Home AEW Notebook: Young Bucks heeling up for Sting retirement match, Joe-Hook

AEW Notebook: Young Bucks heeling up for Sting retirement match, Joe-Hook

Chris Graham
young bucks
Photo: All Elite Wrestling

I wasn’t on board on with the decision by AEW honcho Tony Khan to let The Young Bucks book themselves for Sting’s retirement match at the March 3 “Revolution” pay-per-view in Greensboro, thinking, there had to be somebody else, anybody else, that would be a better fit.

The Young Bucks that heeled it up for this week’s “Dynamite” will more than fit the bill.

Doing their best take on Richard Morton, Matt and Nick, in their sitdown interview with Renee Paquette, insisted on being called “Matthew” and “Nicholas,” and played up the wrestling interwebs heat that’s on them for being company EVPs, and for their role in the drama that led to the firing of CM Punk.

The easy criticism of the Bucks here is, the Greensboro show has already sold 15,000 tickets, almost certainly riding on the Sting retirement match, in the heart of the Crockett territory where he rose to fame in the wrestling business, and all they’re doing is riding the coattails.

I think that’s fair; but what we saw Wednesday night was, they’re going do their part.

The fans who snatched up the tickets – I’m among them – aren’t going there to see the Young Bucks have a superkick party and ignore basic tag-team match rules by just running in whenever they please.

We’re there to see Sting kick some ass one last time, right?

The Jacksons, power-playing their way into his retirement match, making it, storyline, about them, sets them up as the perfect foils here.

The Flair Country fans in the Greensboro Coliseum on March 3 already want their heads on a pike.

The fun part, the next few weeks, will be seeing them earn the heat that will be coming their way.

Stupid generated controversy over Joe-Hook

samoa joe hook
Photo: All Elite Wrestling

I’m not getting the butthurt from some quarters about the Samoa Joe-Hook match that main-evented “Dynamite” on Wednesday.

Joe, in his first AEW world title defense, choked out Hook to get the submission win, as expected, but the way it played out – and for some, the fact that Hook was the first title challenger at all – has become the story.

Which, I’m not sure why.

Joe dominated, as you should expect, given his experience and size advantages.

Hook got in just a small bit of offense, and otherwise got himself over by making Joe use most of what he has in his arsenal to get the W.

I don’t see the criticism here. Joe, the veteran, got a dominant win, and Hook, the plucky young challenger, got some shine by kicking out of a few big-time moves, and making the champ work for the victory.

This is a basic formula that has worked in pro wrestling since it went from being a shoot to being a work.

The job of promoters, bookers and top talents is to get new talents over.

Hook, we were told, by the on-screen graphics as he made his way to the ring, was 29-1 going into the match with Joe the other night.

He inarguably got himself over more in those 10 minutes than he had in his 30 matches over the past year and a half.

Ratings up this week

orange cassidy penta
Photo: All Elite Wrestling

This week’s “Dynamite” averaged 891,000 viewers, per numbers from Wrestlenomics, up 94,000 (11.8 percent) from last week’s disturbingly low 797,000, and up 60,000 (7.2 percent) over the 10-week average of 831,000.

The viewer number was the highest for the show since the Oct. 18 “Dynamite,” which drew an average of 901,000 viewers.

The show, as usual, peaked in the first quarter-hour, at 1.065 million viewers on average over those 15 minutes, with the show doing a good job of holding people for the first hour on the air – the low-water mark of the first four QHs was the 8:30-8:45 ET QH, which averaged 897,000 for the Komander/Penta vs. Orange Cassidy/Trent Beretta tag match.

Viewers dropped out beginning at the 9 p.m. ET QH, which brought us the Mogul Embassy vs. Bullet Club Gold six-man match, and QH 7, the 9:30-9:45 p.m. ET QH, dipped to 754,000 viewers on average, for the Top Flight vs. Private Party tag match that we saw a hundred times on the YouTube shows a few years ago, before the two teams had been wrecked by injuries for wrestling like there’s no tomorrow.

The Joe-Hook match did well to recover what it could for the main event, adding 115,000 viewers on average for the final QH, averaging 869,000 viewers for the 9:45-10 p.m. ET QH, and 931,000 viewers for the five-minute overrun.

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].