By Ryan K Boman – Oct 3, 2019
As everyone knows by now… All Elite Wrestling made a major statement with its long-awaited television debut last night.
The inaugural episode of AEW Dynamite generated huge buzz on social media, and was trending at (or near) number 1 on Twitter for most of the two-hour broadcast.
The Elite crew also appears to have scored in the ratings, as well. According to The Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer, early figures for Dynamite on TNT look promising.
“It’s very tricky, because these are only a few specific markets and don’t include either New York or Los Angeles,” Meltzer wrote. “But if we compare with the preview show, these ratings would indicate 1.5 million to 1.7 million viewers for the live airing and 650,000 for the taped show. I believe the actual number for the live show may be lower because these numbers are skewed by a freaky large number in Charlotte.”
Whatever the ratings eventually shake out to be, it appears that the fans have spoken; Between AEW Dynamite and its rival, NXT on USA, Wednesday Night has immediately become ‘appointment television’ for pro wrestling junkies.
As one of those aforementioned ‘afflicted’… I have to say that I personally enjoyed All Elite Wrestling’s coming-out party. And, I felt like the upstart organization proved that they’re finally ‘all grown-up’, even after some early missteps. The production quality was incredibly solid, and the stars of the promotion were able to translate their personas effectively on a prime time stage.
And, while it may not have been an A+, or a complete blow-away show, it definitely scored high in terms of “doing things the right way”. Here are few quick observations I made, as I was viewing the debut episode of AEW Dynamite:
The Awesome: Listening to Tony Schiavone and Jim Ross call the event together not only brought back great memories of the past, it was also the best job by an AEW commentary team thus far.
Blending two of the greatest wrestling announcers of all-time with the very promising talents of Excalibur seems to be the right formula for Dynamite going forward. After mixing and matching their microphone talents for their first three pay-per-views, AEW landed the perfect voice in the veteran Schiavone, who showed that he can be the glue between the wit of Ex, and the wisdom of JR.
Honorable Mention: The fact that the company stayed away from a lot of comedy in their first night on TNT.
They’ve been known to stretch things beyond the limits of disbelief in the past, but they stuck to mostly wrestling last night. Let’s hope their future path continues to make hard-hitting action and star-caliber performers the focus of the show, and they leave the hucksters behind.
The Entertaining: Several things check off this list, but let’s give it to the show’s finale. The surprise arrival of another mysterious menace in Jake Hager (who has seemingly aligned himself with World Champion Chris Jericho) was a great way to end the broadcast.
As was the gathering of heels, standing triumphantly over the babyface contingent. Add in the major brawl between Kenny Omega and Jon Moxley. It all helped illustrate where the battle lines have been drawn, and set the stage for next week’s episode.
Jericho is always entertainment personified, and he’s proving that the promotion made the right decision in handing him the ball as the first World Champion. His hilarious heel persona has been a home run thus far, and I predict he will have a devilishly long title run… drinking a LITTLE BIT OF THE BUBBLY and frustrating all the ‘babyface fans’ along the way.
Honorable Mention: Seeing the crowd’s reaction to Cody was amazing. And while he will never be the best technical wrestler in the world or the guy with the most charisma, he has a connection with the AEW audience. His magnetism and intelligence has led him to be the face of All Elite Wrestling – in more ways than one. The crowd in Washington happily acknowledged that to open the show last night.
The Worst: While for the most part, AEW can claim success in their first at-bat, Dynamite wasn’t short on its share of issues. Quite a few blown spots (particularly in the women’s title match) were evident. And, despite the obvious collection of talent on the announce team, this crew still needs some time to gel. Eventually, I think they will work out these kinks. But with keen eyes focused on their inaugural outing, any little wrinkle is bound to stick out.
Honorable Mention: Not quite enough MJF. After garnering major attention for his work during AEW’s ‘pay-per-view era’, it seemed like he should have been more of a focal point. He should be on a fast rack to the main event.
While I realize that they were trying to work in as much talent as possible as an introduction to the audience, Maxwell Jacob Friedman remains the promotion’s most promising character. And… besides a semi-short promo and a quick, throw-away match, he didn’t get much of an opportunity to strut his stuff. That’s a mistake that I’m certain the powers-that-be will rectify in the future.
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