AEW World Champion Chris Jericho
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AEW: Dynamite entered its third week riding some moderate highs.

The show continues to be a success with fans and was still ahead of NXT in the Wednesday Night War heading into this week’s episode. But viewers dropped considerably for last week’s episode.

But All Elite Wrestling looked to bounce back this week with a loaded card that included the first defense of the AEW World Championship.

Did AEW: Dynamite continue its explosive run or has it started to fizzle out? Let’s get into the dirty details and find out if his week’s show was a hit or a miss.

HIT — Starting With A Bang

The Lucha Bros attacking SoCal Uncensored on their entrance at the start of AEW: Dynamite was a perfect way to start the show.

It immediately got heat on the Luchas and put SCU at a disadvantage in their first-round tag team championship tournament match with the Best Friends. And it followed up on a confrontation from the first episode of AEW: Dynamite.

Scorpio Sky having to serve as a last-minute substitution for Christopher Daniels, who the Luchas put out of action at the show, added an extra layer to the match and the tournament.

And with more tournament matches to follow, setting the tone was crucial, and this opening segment delivered and then some.

The match itself was fantastic, too, with constant near falls, false finishes, and a crowd hot for the action. Scorpio and Kazarian pulled off the underdog upset, making this tournament one of the early highlights in the young history of AEW: Dynamite.

HIT — Santana And Ortiz

The tag-team portion of Chris Jericho’s Inner Circle stable followed the opener with a squash match over a couple of jobbers.

And, at this point, that’s exactly what they should be doing.

It would have been easy to insert Santana and Ortiz into the tag team tournament to make Jericho seem drunk with power. But this isn’t WWE. The Inner Circle is poised to get over on sheer ruthlessness. AEW looks to be working them into the title picture organically.

They’ve been in a pair of AEW: Dynamite main events, and their involvement in this week’s show was all about getting the team over and getting the stable over.

Following the match, Jericho announced a match pitting Santana and Ortiz against the Young Bucks at the November 9 AEW Full Gear pay-per-view. In the eyes of AEW’s audience, tag team wrestling doesn’t get bigger than the Bucks.

If their standing to this point doesn’t make them real, a battle against the Bucks will.

Riho defended the AEW Women's Championship against Britt Baker on 'AEW: Dynamite'

HIT — Riho and Baker Tear The House Down

This was the match the AEW women’s division desperately needed.

Awesome Kong stole the show at AEW Double Or Nothing, Then there was the mess of a battle royal at AEW All Out and the unfocused encounters on the first two episodes of AEW: Dynamite.

But this time, Riho came across as more than a plucky little underdog in her first title defense against Dr. Britt Baker. Instead, AEW presented her as a worthy and persistent champion. And for the first time, Baker seemed like the big deal we thought she’d be in AEW’s infancy.

Solid match and (finally) solid booking for a women’s match on AEW: Dynamite.

The Jurassic Express faced off against the Luchas Bros

MISS — Jurassic Farce

Little Marko Stunt was forced to substitute for Luchasaurus. So that took a little bit of the shine off of the match between the Jurassic Express and the Lucha Bros.

Much of the hype around the Jurassic Express is centered around little Jungle Boy teaming with giant Luchasaurus. Little Jungle Boy and even littler Marko Stunt just isn’t quite as fun.

The match suffered as a result, because Stunt’s indy-schtick hurt the believability of the contest. Pentagon and Fenix rightfully no-sold a lot of his offense, and while the live crowd loved it, it doesn’t translate to the folks at home.

Stunt and Jungle Boy were destroyed by the Lucha Bros, as they should have been, and I can’t fault AEW for Luchasaurus not being available for the match. But at that point, the Luchas should have taken out the Express the same way they went after SCU to get themselves a bye.

But it didn’t at all diminish the focus on tag team wrestling that All Elite Wrestling looks to put at the forefront of AEW: Dynamite. Private Party, last week’s upset kings, were in the front row for this match to remind us of clashes to come.

They did what they could with what they had, but there should’ve been a way around it. And I swear, if JR doesn’t stop referring to Jungle Boy as “Jungle Jack,” I’m gonna lose it.

Speak of of Jim Ross.

Jim Ross calling the action

MISS — Hang Up The Hat, JR

Between calling Jungle Boy by the wrong name and mistakenly calling the Omega/Page vs. Moxley/Pac match the “main event” (it wasn’t), it’s becoming clear that a conversation needs to take place at AEW.

And that conversation is something along the lines of, “Jim, you’re the best, you’ll always be the best. But Tony can take it from here.”

Jim Ross alternates between disinterested in and dismissive of the product he’s calling. Years of podcasting have turned good ol’ JR from a storyteller to a conversationalist.

And it’s not a good fit with a dynamic new brand. It’s time for Tony Schiavone to take the reins of lead announcing on AEW: Dynamite.

Omega and Page teamed up against Moxley and Pac on 'AEW: Dynamite'

HIT — SEMI-MAIN EVENT MADNESS

Was there ever any doubt that a match with this much star power would be a hit?

The action in the ring was awesome. Moxley is slowly refining his style and stripping away all traces of Dean Ambrose. ‘Hangman’ Adam Page continues to develop, Pac is becoming a slimier heel, and Kenny Omega is, well, Kenny Omega.

But it was the booking that set this contest apart. For one thing, Omega getting his first pinfall victory in weeks was great to see. Going deeper, this match enhanced and developed the rivalry between Moxley and Omega and planted some seeds for Pac and Page.

This AEW: Dynamite match had me smiling from ear-to-ear, and I’ve never been so happy to have the show’s picture-in-picture commercial breaks. Moxley turning on Pac and leaving him for dead was perfect for his character and likewise lays breadcrumbs for their match on next week’s episode.

These four guys and this match are what pro wrestling is all about.

Chris Jericho faced Darby Allin for the AEW World Championship on 'AEW: Dynamite'

HIT — Jericho Makes Allin Look Real

For anyone doubting that Jericho belongs in the “one of the best ever” conversation? Watch this match.

Last week on AEW: Dynamite, I wrote Darby Allin off as a nobody. As someone who wasn’t a “real” challenger to the AEW World Championship.

And with one match, Jericho made him look like a million bucks.

Obviously, Allin is a sacrificial lamb. A tune-up match on the way to Jericho’s contest with Cody for the title at next month’s Full Gear. But facing Jericho in his kind of match (a Philly street fight) helped solidify Allin as a player.

He’s not MJF (seriously, where’s my MJF fix?), but he’s someone who can be a big player for AEW in years to come. And we may well look back at this match as the moment it all started.

The Breakdown

I’m not sure how it will translate when it comes to ratings.

But this was the best edition of AEW: Dynamite yet. The glitz and glamour of week one wore off. And some of the bumps in week two seem to be ironed out.

If AEW can maintain this level of quality, it won’t take long until the Wednesday Night War becomes the Mid-Week Slaughter.

All images courtesy of All Elite Wrestling.

'AEW: Dynamite' - October 16, 2019

9.5

In-Ring Action

9.7/10

Booking

9.5/10

Presentation

8.9/10

Entertainment Value

9.8/10

Pros

  • Lucha Bros, SCU, and the Best Friends kicked off with a bang
  • FINALLY, a great women's match
  • Moxley/Pac and Page/Omega - Perfection
  • Darby Allin feeds me my own words

Cons

  • Stunt and Jungle Boy stretch credibility a little too far
  • Hang up the hat, JR
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