HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!
Yes it’s a few days late and I apologize. I have been busy enjoying all the wrestling that has come our way over the past week. Pro wrestling Noah had an excellent event for Keiji Muto’s retirement tour, and NJPW presented us with an outstanding Wrestle Kingdom 17. But I’m not here to talk about that. I’m here to talk about the First AEW Dynamite of the new year.
A NEW SET, A NEW INTRO AND A NEW FEEL.
Tony Khan said he would make changes to the product starting in 2023 and he made good on his word. Gone are the tunnels and the 2005 TNA feels to the entrance ramps. In are the new giant WWE like LED screens. Now while some may say this is a bit of a let down as they want something different to the market leader, I think that it is a step in the right direction. We live in a world of ultra high definition, so having those big colorful LED screens will only enhance the viewing pleasure of the audience. They have kept the “good guy” and “bad guy” entrance areas (coming in from the left or the right of the smaller screens) which I feel keeps AEW true to itself. It’s the smaller changes that make all the difference.
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION.
We were treated to a wide and high shot of the commentary team as the camera swooped in from above. The announce table lit up in the new Dynamite color scheme, it looked fantastic. Ricky Starks got the superstar treatment not just in entrance video but he got to shine and overcome the odds against The Ocho Chris Jericho. Starks has all the tools to be a leading man in wrestling and maybe one day in movies, just like a certain Dwayne Johnson. Yes it is probably too soon to be making those comparisons. But you can’t deny Starks charisma is off the charts. We were treated to a longer entrance ramp which is more than likely in part to being in a larger venue but it all adds to the viewing experience. Sometimes in the smaller arenas they have smaller entrance ramps and it makes the product sometime feel a bit Indy.
It was great to see the advancement of storylines at the start of 2023. AEW can sometimes be a negligent towards stories as they focus on putting on stellar in-ring action. For the first episode of 2023 we were given a taste of hopefully what is to come. Intelligent and engaging stories, with fast paced, action-packed wrestling. Everything translated into the storylines this week which was great to see. Yes Danielson had a throwaway match against Tony Neese but that did lead into the MJF angle and Danielson’s quest to expose young Maxwell as a terrible wrestler and get revenge for what happened to his mentor. It can be argued that AEW have used this angle too many times with MJF in regards to making his opponents jump through hoops just to get to him, and I agree. However the added potential 60 minute ironman match stipulation for Revolution puts a nice twist on things. Hangman and Moxley got some promo time to further the concussion angle which seems to have tied up any loose ends.
A HOT CROWD MAKES FOR A HOT SHOW.
Seattle Washington give yourselves a massive round of applause! If all wrestling crowds were like you then every show from every company would be so much fun to watch. The entire crowd was in to everything on this show, from booing and hating on the bad guys, to cheering and get behind the good guys. This was just so much fun to watch. The chants were loud and boisterous, and the fans really let you know they were having a great time. I would love to hear from anyone that was actually there. Please leave a comment in the comments section and let me know if it really was as loud as it came across on TV. Even the cringeworthy Mom jokes from Danielson and MJF was met with laughter and not very PG chants. Washington really showed Texas how it’s done.
HOMETOWN BOYS DONE RIGHT.
Speaking of Washington State. AEW had 3 hometown guys on the show in Bryan Danielson, Swerve Strickland and Darby Allin, and all 3 guys picked up the win. Danielson wiped the floor with Nese and Swerve picked up a hard fought win over career rival AR Fox. This match in particular really got the crowd going, with action packed, innovative moves from both men. Fox had his best AEW showing to date against the Mogul Affiliate leader. But it was Hometown (not state) boy Darby Allin that got the spoils at the end of the night. The Seattle native picked up his 2nd TNT championship by surviving Samoa Joe in a brilliant main event. Once in a blue moon you can have someone beat a hometown guy for some heat. But these guys and girls are away from their homes and families so much that when they come back to their hometown they should be allowed to shine and pick up a win more often than not. AEW is great at this.
A GREAT START TO THE NEW YEAR.
For the first Episode of Dynamite for the new year, AEW got this one right. It felt newer, it felt fresher and it felt bigger which is exactly what you want from a growing promotion. They could not have picked a better location in regards to crowd participation. Even Chicago would find it hard to top this. 90% of the matches were great , with the exception of the women’s tag match, I feel the booking of this match did no favors to anyone involved except Jade which is a problem. The promos furthered the story’s and moved everything along to next week in LA. AEW hit this one out of the park. I just hope the LA crowd takes notes from the fine people of Washington.