Write Forever: On AEW Dynamite, Toniness is next to Timelessness
Hey, I liked the way that last post rolled out with splitting things into little categories rather than trying to write about the whole show as it goes. It gave me more opportunity to just watch the show without my laptop in front of me because I didn't feel the need to be taking constant notes or writing a recap.
I may also not always write about everything that happened on the show, just the things that stood out to me. There are 9,000 recap write-ups for every show every week. Nobody needs another one.
With that out of the way, let's talk about The Bad, The In-Between, and The Good from this week's 4th anniversary episode of Dynamite!
The bad things on the show were things that fell back on old standards – Wardlow doing the same old song and dance and MJF's babyface insult game feeling far too forced to be enjoyable.
This is Snore(dlow)
I do not care about Wardlow or his new fluffy hair. I like Griff Garrison. They made him look like a total boob getting powerbombed five times before the referee rang the bell to declare a no-contest.
This is the same shit Wardlow was doing before he disappeared, and now he's just doing the same thing with a new haircut. Disappointing.
And why do this with Griff Garrison? Why not get a local wrestler to eat this beating?
MJF needs a new shtick
I've written about how I'd grown tired of the MJF/Cole segments and story, but I think I may just be growing tired of MJF – at least in this role. His promos often deviate into the lowest of low-hanging fruit bordering on (and I hate using this term but can't think of another one) cringe.
When MJF can be a bit more serious and lean into the more demented form of MJF, I really do enjoy him. Even the MJF who humanizes himself by bringing stories from his life growing up is a treat. But the ultra babyface MJF reaching for the lamest jokes is just tiresome.
Jay White set out the challenge for Full Gear, which was accepted. There's no reason MJF and Jay White should have a bad match, though I doubt we'll get World Champion Jay White this soon even though I'd very much love it.
A mixed bag of segments and arcs that turned around for me in the span of a single show – sometimes even in the same segment!
"Timeless" Toni Storm
I haven't been as enraptured with the Toni Storm character shift as a lot of other people on the internet seem to be. I love Toni Storm – she's an incredible wrestler and a super fun personality on-screen. The whole tortured actress shtick just felt like it came out of nowhere and is based on nothing, so it feels a little too disconnected from reality for me to buy into.
That being said, she looks like she's having a blast with everything she's doing and her delivery is on point. And it's always nice to see some development of a woman's character on an episode of Dynamite when the most we usually get is one women's match buried amongst a bunch of men's matches and segments.
I began to turn the corner when she actually got in the ring and wrestled Skye Blue. Here, Storm has added some truly deranged character quirks that work well in the confines of a match. I'd never heard someone yell "It's time for a titty slap!" or "Gimme those titties, hehh?!" in a wrestling match before.
The extreme zoom-in for the close-up before the hip attack was also outrageous. I don't know why all of this works for me so much when the vignettes and other character work don't as much, but I'm not going to complain – I'll just go along for the ride and enjoy it.
It's a (Don Callis) Family Business
On paper, this should have been a match I loved. I think being there in person would have tipped me over the edge on it where I could more easily get caught up in the atmosphere.
But, I wasn't there in person. I was watching it on TV and it just felt like a match that wasn't as good as the sum of its parts. I don't think it was any worse-off for Sammy Guevara being replaced by Kyle Fletcher and, truth be told, I've come around a lot on Fletcher and Aussie Open.
The real story of the match wasn't necessarily the match itself, though – it was the aftermath.
Don Callis yelling "THAT KID SCREWED ME!" on commentary as Fletcher ate the pin off of a One Winged Angel was excellent stuff, especially after Callis spent the majority of the match talking Fletcher up for being so strong and promising with a lot of fighting spirit.
That was good. Then it got great.
P-P-P-P-POWERHOUSE appeared out of nowhere and laid out Omega, beating him around the arena before returning him to the ring. It became obvious that Hobbs was then newest member of the Don Callis Family which I absolutely love.
What I didn't love was the unprotected chair shot to the head Omega took to end the segment. Maybe the chair was gimmicked and not a real chair or whatever. But that shit sucks. I'm not a safety police guy whatsoever, I just don't get joy out of seeing things done on purpose that have a history of causing long-term brain trauma.
The addition of Hobbs is the only thing saving the storyline for me at this point, though. Chris Jericho's feuds tend to last way too long and drag too many people into their orbit. I wasn't exactly tickled to see the Jericho/Callis feud continue, but maybe Hobbs as the new wrinkle will be enough to inject some new life into things.
As usual, AEW shines when it relies on incredible in-ring action and solid character development. We had quite a bit of that tonight!
Reports of Rey Fenix's demise are greatly exaggerated
It was a bit surprising seeing this match go on first with its title implications, but I guess we're saving the main event for Jericho/Omega or Adam Copeland's debut promo.
Did anybody expect that this match wouldn't deliver? There was maybe a sprinkle of doubt with Fenix being in, reportedly, rough shape the past few weeks. At WrestleDream, he was pulled out of the four-way tag match in what was apparently planned ahead of time to preserve his body for Dynamite.
If you didn't know Fenix was fighting against injuries before this match, I'm not sure you'd have a reason to think he was throughout the match.
What I really loved about this match was the amount of defense as offense. Fenix dodged a kick from Nick on the apron forcing Nick to kick the post. Later, Nick went for a superkick and instead of simply avoiding the kick, Fenix hit a heat seeker of a kick on Nick's ankle.
For me, this was a test to see what might happen with the International Title. Was Fenix injured enough to hotshot the belt onto Nick? Or, would the unplanned reign continue?
Thankfully, Fenix retained – which isn't a "thankfully" because I dislike Nick Jackson. I like The Bucks, though I don't need to see either of them with a singles title run. The "thankfully" is because I hope this means there are longer plans for Fenix as champion. My hopes are resting on Swerve Strickland being the man to take the belt off of him.
In my eyes, Swerve is a future World Heavyweight Champion. He has everything you'd want in a World Champion. But, I don't think the timing is there right now with the MJF/Cole/Roddy/Kingdom/Bullet Club irons in the fire. Swerve is going to need something to do to keep his momentum up, something that has been an issue for him creatively in AEW for a while. Who can forget the never-ending Keith Lee feud that just sort of fizzled out and then fizzled back and then fizzled out again with no real payoff?
Nonetheless – a great match and a hot opener with a hot crowd, and reassuring to see Fenix retain the title.
Follow Up: During the Trios Title match, Excalibur announced that Fenix would be defending the International Title against Jon Moxley next week while Swerve faces Bryan Danielson in a #1 Contenders Match for the TNT Title. So, maybe the title is just bouncing back to Mox and Swerve is eating a loss to Danielson as I can't see him challenging Christian.
The Best Friends who aren't The Best Friends
I watch Dynamite on Fite which means I got to see the Roderick Strong/Adam Cole friendship segment twice. Twice!
I'm much more in favor of this comedy stuff when it doesn't involve MJF, the World Heavyweight Champion. Not that he can't be in comedy segments, but the will they/won't they friendship vignettes with Adam Cole ran their course with the tag team tournament finals.
Roddy, on the other hand, has found his groove here alongside The Kingdom. I don't know why he's still wearing his hospital gown but I hope he never changes clothes.
Using his guilt trip skills to get the injured Adam (on new single-leg scooter) move furniture while Roddy and The Kingdom watched in the background was good stuff.
There are still questions around who attacked Jay White last week. Was it actually MJF and some hoodlums? Was it arranged by MJF? Was it The Kingdom and/or Roddy and/or Cole? I do recall seeing a tweet that zoomed in on a screen capture of one of the attackers who appeared to be wearing a neckbrace under his bodysuit. Could it be??
This was another fun little chapter in this whole storyline that is better when it revolves around MJF, even subtly at times, rather than directly involving him.
Go Fuck Yourself
I don't need to write anything else. Christian Cage told Adam Copeland to go fuck himself on live television and I feel alive.