April 22, 2024

AEW Dynasty (4.21.24) review 

AEW Dynasty (4.21.24) review 


April 21. 2024 


We’re in St Louis, Missouri at the Chaifetz Arena. Host are Excalibur and a host of supporting characters. I’ve not watched AEW since MJF and Adam Cole had that god awful stinker to main event Wembley.  


AEW Continental Championship 

Kazuchika Okada (c) vs. Pac 

This is one hell of a way to kick the show off.  

AEW have done a bang up job of retaining Okada’s entire entrance. The music, the Okada bucks raining from the ceiling. Pac is a weird case study. When he was involved with AEW at the start, i just assumed he’d be a huge part of their make up. Instead, he’s been in and out of the promotion when required. He did miss almost all of 2023, so maybe he’ll feature more now.  


The work in this is clean and impactful. It’s what you want from top tier workers. With Okada, I’ve been frustrated with his slow builds for a long time. Maybe taking him out of the main event scene is good for his work. They work in a DDT off the rail and Pac plants it head first. Jesus. Pac, after this, either does a great job of selling the neck or he’s hurt his neck.  

Pac’s bumping is a key part of the match. The way he bumps Okada’s shotgun John Woo dropkick is awesome. He’s always had that ability to make moves look deadly. They have a moment where Okada is stood waiting for a Pac superkick, which is the first time they’ve not been perfect.  

Okada knows he needs to heel himself to get the crowd to buy into Pac winning properly. His antics include flipping the crowd off and grabbing the ref to stop Pac coming off the ropes. Rainmaker finishes at the first time of asking and this clicked nicely. Great match. **** 


Adam Copeland, Eddie Kingston & Mark Briscoe vs. House of Black 

Three big singles stars versus a faction. It’s a tested WWE tactic to try and get a faction over. If they win!  

Buddy Matthews, the thigh slapping Kenny Omega wannabe, is a weak link in this. While he can keep up, he doesn’t bring anything original. Brody, while limited, can at least trade with Kingston on the strikes. One of my biggest beefs with this sort of match is the inevitable ‘breaking down’ segments. The first one in here ends up working as it leads to two big Mark Briscoe spots. 


Tommy End becomes a source of great frustration for me. He feels the need to ‘slow things down’, which is something the Indies desperately need but something a PPV with a bunch of stars on the other team doesn’t need. He appears to want to have a chat with every chinlock too. Just, get on with it. A second breakdown leads to the dreaded ‘Tower of Doom’, made somewhat better by Kingston’s enthusiasm.  


The finish is very silly with Copeland gunning for a spear only to get the Mist and the roundhouse. Which would be fine if Copeland didn’t suddenly stand up straight in the middle of his run up. Just how you would normally execute a spear. A lot of this worked and it was a well put together match and at least the right team went over. *** 


AEW TBS Championship 

Julia Hart (c) vs. Willow Nightingale  

We have two great characters here. In the ring? I’m less keen. We’ll see how it goes.  

They immediately go off the rails and don’t come back. The camel clutch spot where Willow falls out of it and then puts herself back in the hold? That sucks. Just give up on it. The transitions all look awkward and dreadful. The missed moonsault where Willow is way underneath the buckles before Julia even launches is dumb. Gutwrench powerbomb finishes for Willow. It’s a big babyface win for her and I’m happy because she seems like a nice person. Match was bad though. Apparently, Julia Hart was injured. It probably should have been a squash.  

Post Match: Mercedes Mone comes out to remind Willow she’s the number one contender. That’s odd booking. Willow has this big babyface win and you interupt it to sell the next PPV?  


AEW International Championship 

Roderick Strong (c) vs. Kyle O’Reilly  

These two have a rich history on the Indies, ROH and NXT and now here of course. They work hard on the mat here. I respect it. It makes sense too. Kyle goes after the arm and works a smart match. Roddy, obviously, works the back. The crowd don’t seem to be into it, but it is good.  


They do run into issues where Kyle switches to attacking the leg. Strong is supposed to be ‘hung up’ on the ropes but he accidentally frees himself and ends up looking like a goober for staying put and getting hit. They also throw in the dumb as bricks ‘guy taking superplex ends up with a cradle’ spot. I hate that spot. The match is a demonstration of two wrestler’s wrestlers busting their asses, for the most part.  


Wardlow comes down to act as a distraction, but he doesn’t get in there or anything. Strong continues to work the back and End of Heartache finishes. This was an excellent, well put together match up. ***¾ 


Post Match: Adam Cole shows up and that bitch can walk now.  


FTW Championship 

Hook (c) vs. Chris Jericho  

I don’t hate Jericho as much as most of my timeline does. However, he should probably consider retiring at some point. You’re 53 years old mate. Stop clinging to the spotlight. I like Hook but this isn’t helping him. It just makes him look small. The match rapidly descends into dogshit territory. If the aim was to make Hook look unprepared for the big leagues, then hey, it’s a winner. They have this huge t-bone suplex through a table off the apron and like everything around it, it looks like Jericho is taking his bumps with no help from Hook.  


The crowd chant “go home, Jericho, go home”. In the match, or just fuck off back to Canada? Jericho’s approach to this feels like he’s having a comedy match and Hook isn’t. The plunder is hit and miss. The mass of suplexes don’t feel right. The crowd start chanting “please retire” to give you an idea of how bad the match is. Hook isn’t helping matters. He’s awful here. His bumps look like shit. Basically, it’s not good for anyone. No one benefits from this. Least of all Tony Khan, who needs to put Jericho on the backburner.  


In all honesty, this match is so bad that it may have done irreparable damage to Hook as a character. He looks so weak here. So completely outmatched. Having survived two Judas Effects, Hook gets knocked out with a baseball bat. This was awful. A complete disaster.  


AEW Women’s World Championship 

Toni Storm (c) vs. Thunder Rosa  

Thunder Rosa had to give up the belt when she got injured and in her absence, Toni found this wonderful character.  

Thunder Rosa comes in with no face paint. All business, no paint. Rosa has been injured so she’s a step off and Toni is left waiting a few times. Generally, Thunder Rosa lands all her spots clean and crisp. Toni is an underrated bumper, and she takes spots, like the missile dropkick, with aplomb. Rosa is rusty after her time off and she completely misreads the Sky-High set up, just collapsing into a bump.  


It’s a shame Thunder Rosa can’t hold up her storytelling end of things because Toni is brilliant here. The character work, the targetting of the back, taking the heel beating. She’s great. I’ve always liked Toni, but she really seems to be operating at her best now. Taking all her solid in-ring and combining it with character work. The finish is awesome with Toni being dragged back into the ring, displacing the apron. Bryce has to replace it, allowing the CUNT PUNT and Storm Zero finishes. Despite the odd moment, this was good. *** 


Will Ospreay vs. Bryan Danielson 

This is an actual dream match. I know Ospreay has his critics, based on an assortment of stupidity on his part, but he is a generational talent. The biggest issue I have with Ospreay, besides the promos, is the sheer number of mediocre clones he’s spawned in the past few years. I do like that Ospreay is still coming out to “Elevated”, a piece of music that suits him. I remember the first time I saw Ospreay, in person, on the undercard of Okada vs. Aries for Rev Pro. Will was outstanding right out of the gate, and he still is.  

They do something very cool by having a typical ‘stand-off’ thing but Ospreay swings at Danielson a couple more times, as if to say he’s not happy with parity. He wants to win. Danielson left scrambling to avoid head kicks.  

I also like Danielson frustrating Ospreay with a cravat. Something nicely simple that Will can’t get out of. Having to resort to wasting energy just to escape a simple hold. The trouble with Ospreay is that he’s a kinetic machine. You can’t blow this guy up. Ospreay cracks me up by doing this big warm up of the crowd for a house show dive. Less is more. I respect it. Ospreay can do basic counter flips better than anyone else. Why waste time on insane dives too?  


Danielson does a great job of grounding this and working body shots. It’s tough to do this because it is the opposite of what the fans want to see. Sometimes you have to give them what they need; logic. I appreciate that this is a hard-hitting contest with stiff body shots from Danielson.  

The Tiger Superplex is a sick spot. There’s a reason you never see that. Ospreay’s smartest move in the match is forcing Danielson, floored by the Hidden Blade on the floor, to climb back in himself. That’s a seasoned veteran move. I hate it when they do a big floor spot and just roll back in afterwards like nothing happened. The Hidden Blade ducked right into the Busaiku Knee has me as a false finish, which is crazy because there’s no way it’s the finish but the speed of it caught me off guard. 


Ospreay does a fine job of finding way to escape Danielson’s holds. The Styles Clash one, after everything else failed, is next level stuff. Thinking outside the box. The Busaiku Knee to block the Oscutter is also awesome. It’s right on the jaw too. Just perfect execution. I’m left thinking about this spot for hours afterwards.  

The Tiger Driver ‘91 into the Hidden Blade to finish is exactly how Ospreay should have beaten Kenny Omega. They didn’t overplay it. Some minor issues here and there. Ospreay’s facials, the ‘injury’ angle at the end, a few awkward moments on the apron. Otherwise, a fucking elite banger of a match. Both guys living up to their reputations. ****¾  


That’ll take some beating for MOTY. The angle takes away from it a little with Ospreay attempting some acting. Not ideal.  


Ladder Match 

AEW Tag Team Championship 

Young Bucks vs. FTR 

At least in having this as a ladder match, they can get all their bullshit out of their systems. A normal Bucks match is a nightmarish mess of ‘is this tornado rules’ nonsense. FTR Bald bleeds early and then sits there, like an obedient puppy, while the Bucks hit him with plunder. The match is over after 5:00 but the Bucks seem to have no interest in winning the match.  


I despise ‘setting up’ spots in ladder matches and this match is almost 100% that. Just climb the fucking ladder, you losers. I was a huge FTR fan, back in their NXT days, because they were a throwback to when tag wrestling was good. This style of match is a throwback to Indie guys doing spots for no reason. If you like spotz, this is the match for you though. They sure do a lot of spotz. It reminds me of the TLC matches after they’d run out of good ideas.  


I mean sure, a 450 Splash through a table is cool but what’s the point? I do pop FTR Road Rage doing a crazy outta control tope through a table. The fans chanting “please be careful” about sums it up. There’s no “yeah, kill each other” mentality in the crowd. Jack Perry does a run in, which AEW stupidly plays off as a ‘fan’ getting into the ring. Bucks win, braincells lose. Horrendously dim-witted from start to finish.  


The Young Bucks would be better served wrestling than pretending they’re in charge of anything and the ‘EVP’ gimmick is detrimental to the product. As is AEW’s obsession with a guy who doesn’t work here anymore. Just get over it. It makes you look small time. Especially coming off the back of an awesome singles match of their own making. To have to sit through this horseshit right afterwards reminds me why I’m generally cold on AEW. It’s the Elite. They suck.  


AEW World Championship 

Samoa Joe (c) vs. Swerve Strickland  

Before MJF got hurt I can only assume the plan was for Strickland to beat him for the belt eventually. Samoa Joe is a good guy to drop in as a temporary replacement. He’s been wonderful for over 20 years. Killed it in every promotion, in every spot he’s been put in. He deserved this run.  


They do some good early ‘I’ve done my homework’ spots like Swerve knowing Joe will walk out of the way of his rope moves and Joe seeing a tope coming. Joe feels he has to do more extreme things to get the job done, like exposing the floor and slamming Strickland on it. Joe’s legsweep in this is brutal. It’s so good. Such a basic move. The match is a little sluggish, which is a concern for Strickland as a main event. Obviously, Joe is much older and has already proved himself. Swerve also misreads a ‘duck’ spot on the floor.  

Strickland works the arm, which Joe has taped. Joe needs a weakness, other than being susceptible to flash pins. They try and tell the story that Joe gets frustrated with not being able to put Strickland away, but it comes from one kick out (admittedy of the Musclebuster). It feels forced and the crowd don’t buy into it either. Swerve doesn’t help with a poorly planned corner spot. I’m not even sure what was supposed to happen. It’s followed by a Swerve Stomp and Strickland wins his first world title.  


This was far from great. The pressure seemed to get to Strickland, and he looked nervous. The match struggled to get going and most of the big spots were carried by Joe. A lot of the storytelling fell flat.  


The 411: 

In having what is currently my MOTY, this is obviously an easy recommendation from me. However, there remain causes for concern in AEW. Not limited to, but including, a weak women’s division compared to the men, Chris Jericho’s continued meddling, the Young Bucks/Jack Perry, a lack of main event focus. What I look for in wrestling is the end product though. The in-ring. And it’s currently better here than it is anywhere else. Probably because they’ve got Bryan Danielson and Will Ospreay, who, bell to bell, are two of the finest workers in the business today.  

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