Home Review: AEW dramatically dropped the ball with this week’s ‘Dynamite’
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Review: AEW dramatically dropped the ball with this week’s ‘Dynamite’

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AEW has a pay-per-view to sell to consumers coming up in two weeks. This week’s “Dynamite” failed to move the ball toward giving people a reason to want to hit the “buy” button.

For starters, we still don’t know a single match that will be offered for consumption on the June 26 show.

What we have at this writing, 17 days out, is Jon Moxley vs. TBD for the AEW interim world title.

The TBD slot will be filled this weekend on New Japan’s “Dominion” show when Hiroshi Tanahashi faces off with Hirooki Goto.

No one has any reason to think it won’t be Tanahashi, which is New Japan’s issue, sure, but it’s also AEW’s issue, as it was AEW’s issue last night on “Dynamite” with how it got to Moxley being the guy on its side.

Moxley, for some reason, was set as the #1 contender for the title, despite having been featured almost exclusively of late in six-man matches.

(I refuse to call them “trios.” Yeah, get off my lawn.)

Why wasn’t “Hangman” Adam Page, who had just lost the world title on May 29 to CM Punk, before Punk suffered a lower leg injury last week that moved us in the direction of needing an interim world title in the first place, the #1 contender, you might ask?

I dunno. Would seem to have made sense.

But anyway, Moxley was deemed the #1 contender, which meant that he was slotted in last night’s main event to face the winner of a 21-man battle royal.

OK, so, Page would be in that, right? And maybe also another former AEW world champ, Chris Jericho, maybe Brian Danielson, former TNT champ Miro, current TNT champ Scorpio Sky, recent top contender Adam Cole, they’d be there, too?

No.

It was basically a midcard battle royal. The highest-profile guys in the match were Eddie Kingston and Andrade, maybe throw in Swerve Strickland and Jake Hager there, but all are upper-midcarders at best, no offense to them, they’re all probably nice guys.

Also in the match were guys like Tony Nese, Austin and Colten Gunn, John Silver, Max Caster, Bobby Fish.

Also all nice guys. Also all booked right now as jobbers.

Let’s think this through for a sec. This match opened the show at 8 p.m. ET. The NBA Finals game was to start at 9:10 p.m. ET. The main event with Moxley ended up getting started around 9:45 p.m. ET.

You’re Tony Khan, and you want me to stick with you until 10 p.m. ET, or at the least tune back in at 9:30 p.m., to gauge where things are ahead of the main event.

jon moxley kyle o'reilly aew dynamite
Jon Moxley works a sleeper hold on Kyle O’Reilly. Photo courtesy All Elite Wrestling.

So, first, you give us a jobber battle royal. Then you end up giving me out of that Jon Moxley vs. Kyle O’Reilly, who emerged as the winner of the battle royal.

OK.

Don’t get me wrong. It can be argued that O’Reilly has been on a singles hot streak of late, with wins over Jungle Boy and Darby Allin, two of the company’s top young stars.

But still, O’Reilly is a tag wrestler.

And a tag wrestler on a team that hasn’t been given any kind of a push.

Talk about dropping the ball.

I did a two-TV setup in my living room to be able to watch both “Dynamite” and Game 3, but I have to be straight here, I was paying more attention to the NBA Finals.

There was no way Moxley wasn’t going to win and advance, which is to say, no one who understands the business gave even a thought to the idea that Kyle O’Reilly would pull the upset and main event the “Forbidden Door” pay-per-view.

The rest of “Dynamite” was booked similarly.

“Hangman” Page did appear, defeating David Finlay from NJPW, before grabbing a live mic and saying he wants Kazuchika Okada at the pay-per-view, which Wrestling Observer editor Dave Meltzer is reporting today is not likely to happen, so, we have that going for us.

Thunder Rosa retained in an AEW women’s world title match with Marina Shafir in another match that we all knew would turn out the way it did.

There were vignettes with Trent Baretta (seriously?), the Young Bucks/Hardys/Lucha Express, a surprise appearance by Will Ospreay.

Zzzzzzz.

Pac defeated Buddy Matthews in what amounted to a squash in the first round of a tournament for a new AEW title, which I think is a fine idea, this new title, because the roster is huge, and it will be nice to have another prop to use to get guys over, but … was starting another tournament the same night as what was amounting to a one-night tournament to get us halfway to a new interim world champ really necessary?

Khan told us at the launch of AEW in 2019, in a jab at WWE, that the company would treat pro wrestling more as sport than entertainment.

It was neither last night.

Story by Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham, the king of "fringe media," 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].