1.Lucha Bros vs Best Friends ***1/4
2.Shida vs Riho vs Stratlander vs Ford ***
3.Jurrasic Express(Luchasaurus,Jungle Boy) vs Butcher & Blade **1/2
4.Inner Circle(Guevara,PnP) vs Elite(Cody,Matt Jackson,Page) ***1/4
I've seen WWE getting a lot of shit for the way they're booking their weekly shows right now. I have no way of confirming if I agree with the stances, since I don't watch their stuff, but I have offered a rare bit of approval to the company for at least doing the right thing and running empty arena shows right now. Regardless, I have already watched a few recent empty arena shows and enjoyed what I'm seeing. That goes for DDT, STARDOM, and more.
So, how'd AEW do?
The opening this week was well done and intimate. It showed a level of heart and maturity and professionalism that I've come to expect from the company already.
Some of the performers being in the audience, especially MJF and Spears betting on people, was a very nice touch.
The first match set the tone nicely for the night's in-ring content. Some trash talking, hard hits, and a bit of lightheartedness mixed in for good measure. Hell, the hug replacement for this one was entertainment defined and Orange's spot was fun as always. This was good stuff.
A street fight....nice...Death Triangle should take that one, for sure!
My daughter hated seeing her favorite take an L in the next one, but both of us enjoyed it nonetheless. For a sprint, everyone worked hard, the right girl won, and it was a nice follow up in general.
The finish for number three was a bit fucked and the entire thing felt a tad off at times, but it was still a solid tag outing. I feel that B&B are coming off as glorified jobbers, though.
Decent Mox spot as the general write-off continues.
One of the biggest brightspots of the evening came next. Brodie Lee is an awesome talent that never really got to show much of his abilities in WWE. We've known he was AEW-bound for a while now but him being the Exalted One feels very promising. Fingers crossed!
Part of me still thinks Matt is involved in the angle by the way, but that'd likely undermine Lee so I'm likely wrong. Very slight hunch as it was...
The Archer segment was gold! Last year, he turned himself around completely. I expect his AEW run to be noteworthy.
The evening's main event was for advantage in the Blood & Guts match. Good stuff here, too. While I think AEW did a very good job of making the best of a bad situation, and I applaud them for it, it's hard to not hear crowd reactions in my head throughout the episode which was jarring when they weren't met with real ones. It's not their fault, of course. Hell, I'm just glad we got this episode at all. I also applaud them for not cementing Blood & Guts as happening next week just in case. It's a hard choice to make, but the right one.
Finally seeing Matt on AEW TV at the end was awesome.
Now, this show will be remembered for a few things. Obviously, them managing a good show on US television without a crowd will stick out for most. The debuts will be the biggest, though. Brodie Lee and Matt Hardy are guaranteed to be big parts of Dynamite moving forward and I am very eager to see it play out.
In all, thumbs up on this one!
Overall Rating: 75/100%