Sometimes less is more

The June 29, 2022 edition of AEW Dynamite was probably one of the best that the company has staged this year. In fact, I think it was one of the best booked and best written episodes in a very long time.

Is it a turning point? I'm not sure. Next week could once again be a typical frantic, exhausting-to-watch-yet-enjoyable episode of Dynamite. However, there was a narrative maturity in this episode that I have not seen from Tony Khan in a very long time, if ever.

Instead of the typical 15 to 17 angles that the company tries to pack into a single broadcast, only 8 ongoing stories were highlighted in this particular episode:

  • A quiet, underlying story that has become slightly more apparent: Ethan Page being unable to pull his weight in American Top Team, consistently losing every high profile match while simultaneously having Scorpio Sky's back in his title matches.
  • Head-bitch-in-charge Jade Cargill becoming increasingly vulnerable as her streak goes on. She has not been able to dispatch the ongoing threats of Athena and Kris Statlander, even as she still has Kiera Hogan doing her dirty work. This is an extremely underrated storyline partially overshadowed by how much Stokley Hathaway has been a major boost to Cargill's on-screen presentation.
  • Christian Cage's quest to continue to bury Jungle Boy, including manipulating his own best friend to be his personal enforcer.
  • The continuation of the Elite soap opera, with the Young Bucks clearly longing for Hangman Page now that Adam Cole and Kenny Omega are both injured.
  • The on-going story about how Billy Gunn seems to be more into his surrogate sons, The Acclaimed, rather than his own biological sons, The Gunn Club. Eventually, Billy will have to choose between The Acclaimed and his sons, which will probably lead to a babyface turn for The Acclaimed.
  • Jay Lethal continuing his feud with Samoa Joe.
  • Wardlow's quest for gold (intertwined with the long-term Ethan Page story)
  • Eddie Kingston's obsession with getting respect from his peers and being unable to let things go from his past. It so far has cost him a victory (Anarchy in The Arena), denied him revenge (Claudio getting the win), and now he's on the verge of losing his best friend again (Moxley and his partnership with Bryan Danielson and Claudio).
Don't get me wrong: 7 of those angles took place in a span of an hour, which is a little much, but not something that's exhausting.

I cannot help but to note how much better Dynamite is when the company is not trying to over do it.

My golden rule is this: a two hour show only touch on maybe 8-10 different storylines; a one hour show, probably half of that—six at most. Trying to pack too much into a broadcast will just lead to a very disjointed and chaotic presentation. While the in-ring quality does make up for some of it, there's only so much action that can overshadow rushed storytelling.

Moreover, I liked the fact that popular performers that didn't have their on-going angles take focus, such as Orange Cassidy, Danhausen, and FTR, were enlisted to help progress angles that the broadcast chose to focus on. A loss for Orange Cassidy further Page's failures; Danhausen and FTR advanced the dissension between The Acclaimed and Gunn Club. AEW needs to do this more often: it would be an effective use of their talent instead of just simply relying on lower card performers jobbing to upper card stars just to advance upper card stories.

This episode of Dynamite is probably not going to be on anyone's top 10 list. However, to me, it was a fantastic display of what AEW can do if it gives its broadcasts breathing room to tell stories.

The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Cageside Seats readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cageside Seats editors or staff.