AEW Dynamite: Initial Reaction as Jake Hager Debuts, Jon Moxley Returns and the First AEW Women’s Champion Crowned
Last night marked the first weekly episode of All Elite Wrestling Dynamite. Prior to viewing the show, I wrote this column (Team AEW: Let The War Begin). In a nutshell, I want a product I can get behind because WWE has been a complete disappointment the last 2-3 years.
Before tuning in to AEW, I was looking for one thing out of AEW. Just entertain me. I wish I could say it did. But, I can’t.
Because what I got from AEW was SO MUCH MORE than just entertainment. I wrote about the days of yesteryear with wrestling and how captivating it used to be. Last night was truly the biggest breath of fresh air when it comes to wrestling that I longed for.
Not only was I captivated, I was bombarded with the memories of my childhood. AEW is here and the revolution has begun.
The graphics and pyro of the show from start to finish reminded me so much of the days during the Monday Night Wars. I love how clean, yet nostalgic their graphics are. One of the coolest parts that I noticed is they have every wrestler’s record during their entrance when the name plate flashes across the screen. That is real cool for me being a stat head.
The Announce Team
The voices of the show matter more than you can imagine. While WWE has a few who are great announcers, AEW has two of the best to ever do it. It was nothing short of awesome to hear the voices of Tony Schiavone and Jim Ross back on commentary. Yesterday, I talked about how scripted WWE feels and you can sense that. There were moments in the first episode where the announce team stumbled over their words or sounded excited or in disbelief by what they were watching. We all know wrestling is scripted. But the idea is to present it in a way that is real. That is exactly what those two have done for decades better than anyone. They did not miss a beat doing that last night.
WOW! I am beyond words for the first episode and how they set up their product moving forward. We all want compelling storytelling in matches and boy did we get it?
Riho and Nyla Rose competed against each other for the right to become the first Women’s champion in AEW and they definitely delivered. Nyla who is an absolute beast devoured Riho for the majority of the match. However, it came crumbling down when she attempted to flip off the apron onto Riho, but found herself eating steel chairs as Riho moved out of the way. That became a turning point in the match as Nyla’s back appeared to be an issue. After multiple near falls, Riho battles back and goes on to win in a complete shocking victory as David defeated Goliath.
The opening match between Cody and Sammy Guerva was absolutely fantastic. Both looked great in their debuts on TNT and delivered an absolute showstopper to kick off the show. It started with some grappling and technical wrestling before becoming a fast paced and action packed bout. Guerva had some great heel moments including using Brandi (Cody’s wife) as a shield on a suicide dive. The match ended with a great high spot as Guerva hit Cody with a Spanish Fly from the top turnbuckle only for Cody to turn it into a small package for the dub. Cody still remains the number one contender for the AEW Title against Chris Jericho at Full Gear. Despite losing, Guerva looked better as Cody absolutely put him over in this one.
As Cody was beginning to interview with Schiavone, Guerva interrupted and distracted Cody long enough for Jericho to assault him from behind and continued the beatdown for a few minutes. Guerva quickly ran from the ring as soon as Jericho appeared. Coincidence or not? Answer no as Guerva took part in the assault following the main event. Speaking of, let’s talk more about that.
Main Event – Jon Moxley Returns, Jake Hager Debuts, Faction Forms
As if Jericho couldn’t be a better heel, it looks like he will be heading AEW’s first faction. Holy shit! I can’t wait.
During the course of the main event, Jon Moxley returned and ignited the already burning flame that is the feud between he and Kenny Omega by attacking him during the match. The brawl moved all over the arena and ended with Ambrose taking him out of the match by driving his head through a glass table with the Paradigm Shift.
Numbers proved to be an issue as the likes of Jericho, Santana and Ortiz were able to score a victory on Omega’s partners The Young Bucks in a fantastic main event.
The real story came following the match as the assault continued. Cody came to save the day and even the odds only to be attacked by Guerva who he faced earlier in the night. Dustin Rhodes (Cody’s brother) showed up to once again even the odds as he began clearing the ring. Then, the biggest oh shit moment of the night happened when Jake Hager ran from the crowd and began the assault on Dustin.
Thus a stable was born and Jericho is now backed by some great names. It looks like Jericho, Hager, Santana, Ortiz and Guerva are going to be a force to be reckoned with. In order to have great babyfaces, you need great heels.
Former WWE Talent Shines
Jericho who had no problem getting into the spotlight for WWE is once again having no trouble finding that for AEW. He is the first champion after all. A LITTLE BIT OF THE BUBBLY!
However, guys like Moxley (formerly Dean Ambrose), Hager (formerly Jack Swagger), PAC (formerly Neville) and even Cody and Dustin (formerly Stardust and Goldust) all get fair shakes at proving what they can do and I am pumped.
All had their run of success in WWE, but it was always an up and down path. I can’t wait to watch them really get an opportunity to thrive on TV. I think most fans feel the same.
Pushing The Envelope
There was nothing conservative about their approach. All of the matches had risky high spots that elevate you to your feet.
SCU cut a promo imitating Barack Obama and the Secret Service which was hilarious. That means they are not afraid to push the political envelope.
One of the holy shit spots was during the Moxley/Omega brawl when Moxley hit the Paradigm Shift on Omega sending him through a glass table.
Absolutely amazing first episode and I hope AEW can continue to build off this. Fun fact, AEW is 1-0 in the Wednesday Night Wars as they logged 1.4 million viewers.