Venue: Capital One Arena (Washington DC)
Cody defeats Sammy Guevara
-Cody left his dog at home this time. Good call. Lesson Learned.
-AEW crowd fans truly adore Cody. Not sure anyone else in the company is as over as him. Maybe The Young Bucks but that’s up for debate.
-Sammy looking sloppy early — Slipping on the flip. Nerves apparent.
-A few WCW references early by Tony Schiavone and Jim Ross. It will be interesting to see how those two coexist on commentary. There have been rumors of some bad blood between them in the past. Hopefully, if there was, they’ve gotten over it.
-Great looking cutters by both Cody and Guevara back to back.
-First “Oh!” moment of the show as Guevara pulls Brandi in front of a diving Cody.
– Good opener. The Reverse Suplex off the top should’ve ended it. Didn’t need Sammy no-selling and popping back up and doing a Spanish Fly followed by a Shooting Star Press.
-Like the post-match beat down by Jericho. Wise move getting him on the screen within the first half hour so new fans tuning in for the first time can see a familiar face.
MJF defeats Brandon Cutler
-MJF basically cuts the same “you fans are all losers” promo every time but his delivery is so good and authentic that he somehow always makes it work and gets the desired crowd heat.
-Brandon Cutler does not look like he belongs in the ring in a major wrestling promotion, especially on a show of this magnitude.
-Waste of time match that killed a hot crowd. This was absolutely amateur hour stuff reminiscent of Alex Jebailey’s preshow match at Fyter Fest.
Jack Evans and Angelico confront Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes
-Jason Mewes has seen some better days. Life just takes its toll, doesn’t it?
-Basic segment meant to get Smith and Mewes on camera and to introduce the Tag Team Title tournament. It got some camera time for Evans and Angelico, SCU and The Lucha Brothers. Served its purpose.
Pac defeats Adam “Hangman” Page
-Similar early spots as Omega/Pac match with some outside work with the barricades.
-Bit of a slip by Pac on the 450 springboard. Didn’t look as crisp as his usual stuff.
-Crowd was a bit up and down but Page’s fire up spots got them back into it a bit.
-Announce team having no problem criticizing Page for a lackadaisical cover.
-Pace of this one felt a little off. Besides the Moonsault onto the outside, there wasn’t really much that Hangman did that stood out. Another loss doesn’t do Page any favors.
-At least they’re trying to get Pac’s Brutalizer submission over as a devastating hold.
Riho defeats Nyla Rose to become the inaugural AEW Women’s Champion
-Sloppy spill to the outside by Rose on that Riho knee but she made up for it by catching Riho’s jump off the top onto the outside.
-Another match that’s resorting to outside barricade spots. Just saw that. Feels repetitive.
-Second “Oh!” moment of the night as Rose misses her flip off the apron onto a pile of chairs. Good door-opening moment for Riho to get the upper hand.
-Given her slight size, it’s just tough to believe that Riho’s stomps on the back have much effect.
-Crowd was dead for most of this one but Riho’s near fall on the roll up woke them up.
-Bit of a clunky affair but the crowd got into the final few minutes and they were clearly into Riho winning the title.
-Britt Baker added absolutely nothing on commentary. Monotone. Barely spoke. When she did, there was nothing of substance said. Why care about her as a challenger?
-Rose double-clutching on that post-match power bomb attempt on Michael Nakazawa was not a good look. Nyla is really rough around the edges. Going with Riho as the first champion was the right call. Crowd really digs her.
Chris Jericho and Santana & Ortiz defeat The Young Bucks and Kenny Omega
-I’ve seen a few Omega and Moxley brawls through the crowd by this point so it feels a little redundant but I did like Kenny Omega’s Cleaner callback with the mop spot.
-Moxley’s DDT through the glass table felt like it should have been the show-ending image. It won’t be easy for the guys in the ring to get the momentum back after the crowd saw that.
-Got to hand it to The Young Bucks, they managed to get the crowd back. Still, it was a bit of a flat ending to an alright match. Only real high point of the contest was Nick Jackson’s energetic flurry. Heels end this one with a thorough beat down of all the top faces.
-Jake Hager never really did much for me when he was Jack Swagger, so his surprise appearance to cap the show off was kind of a meh ending. I’m willing to give him a chance and see if he’s reinvented himself, though. He’s got a menacing look, just give him a manager to do the talking for him like he had with Zeb Colter in WWE.
I went into the show with an open mind, hoping to like it. However, there just weren’t a lot of big-feeling moments for what was being billed as a “revolutionary” show. I’d be upset if I actually traveled a long distance to attend this one live and got what was given.
It’s the first show, though, so I won’t be too critical. There are a lot of kinks to work out, but there are also some good potential weekly stories that can be told. They’ve still got plenty of good performers on the roster that we didn’t get to see in the ring on this show.
Time will tell. For now, it’s a work in progress. Overall, the debut of Dynamite felt like a letdown without much wow factor.