As has been the pattern of late, the women got the segments before the main event on the May 18 Dynamite.
Maki Itoh & Britt Baker’s Owen Cup match was fine for what it was — a treat for Itoh’s fans, and a palate cleanser before big semi-final between Baker & Toni Storm next Wednesday. Then another chunk of time was given to the AEW Women’s World title feud for Double or Nothing, which on paper makes sense! But the decisions being made there remain baffling, and the execution of them lackluster.
The idea here was the top-ranked challenger Serena Deeb was outraged that Tony Schiavone and Dustin Rhodes didn’t pick her to beat Thunder Rosa for the title in last week’s hype video.
That could be a good way to establish Deeb’s thin skin and her motivation of wanting to take Rosa’s title to justify the sacrifices she made throughout her career. But it went on too long, and Serena isn’t a strong enough promo to pull off. Throw in the shots at WWE — which very well may be true, but distracted from the segment’s other goals and didn’t land since we’d just heard others during Chris Jericho & William Regal’s confrontation moments before — and I think it’s safe to say AEW lost a lot of the fans in the crown and at home by the time this was done.
By the time the champ appeared and we got some physicality, whatever impact that might have had was greatly diminished.
This feud should have been a slam dunk, pitting two of the best wrestlers in the AEW women’s division against each other for the top prize on a big stage. But for some reason, all we’ve done is hear them talk... something that is neither performer’s strong suit. Rosa’s only had one match since winning the belt, on a Battle for the Belts show only watched by roughly half an average Dynamite audience. On the main show, she’s only had a handful of minutes of TV time as champion. Deeb finished her feud with Hikaru Shida as the launchpad for her title shot, but that’s her only match on television since March (and only one on Dynamite since February).
Playing the wrestlers’ strengths. Build anticipation by reminding us what badasses these women are in the ring, not how awkward they can be on the microphone. It may be too late to turn things around for May 29 in Las Vegas, but hopefully AEW can learn from its missteps here for the next Women’s title program.
Let us know what you think, and check out the rest of the highlights from last night’s Dynamite. As usual, AEW doles out YouTube videos slowly. But we’ve compiled what they’ve released as of this morning in a playlist, and tried to catch you up with the rest of the episode via Twitter clips below that.
- Samoa Joe defeats the Joker Johnny Elite in the Owen Hart Tournament
- Is the AEW World Champion Hangman Page Ready for CM Punk?
- Adam Cole defeats Jeff Hardy and all Hell Breaks Loose After the Match
.@JEFFHARDYBRAND has been medically cleared to compete in the #OwenHart Foundation Men's Tournament semi-finals later on tonight against @adamcolepro and The @youngbucks know it!— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) May 19, 2022
Tune in NOW to #AEWDynamite LIVE on TBS! pic.twitter.com/2WxdAy8UlF
This FRIDAY on #AEWRampage with a SPECIAL START TIME of 7/6c on TNT, #DarkOrder's @Pres10Vance/@EvilUno & @FuegoDelSol set out to settle the score with #HouseOfBlack!— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) May 19, 2022
Tune in NOW to #AEWDynamite LIVE on TBS! pic.twitter.com/Q61P8GIyak
.@starkmanjones and @TrueWillieHobbs have some opinions about the state of the #AEW World Tag Team division, but the Tag Team champs @boy_myth_legend and @luchasaurus and @Christian4peeps want the final word! Tune in to #AEWDynamite LIVE on @TBSNetwork right now! pic.twitter.com/DhNVHenybm— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) May 19, 2022
Things are different but it's "strictly business" before this FRIDAY's #AEWRampage with a SPECIAL START TIME of 7/6c on TNT when @Thee_Red_Velvet stands against @callmekrisstat in the #OwenHart Foundation Women's Tournament Quarterfinals! Tune in NOW to #AEWDynamite LIVE on TBS! pic.twitter.com/oYrS1DfprS— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) May 19, 2022
#BlackPoolCombatClub wants a fight? High-flyers @mattsydal & @lucha_angel1 give it to them this FRIDAY on #AEWRampage with a SPECIAL START TIME on 7/6c on TNT!— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) May 19, 2022
Tune in NOW to #AEWDynamite LIVE on TBS! pic.twitter.com/OHYosb4djj
Dr. @realbrittbaker DMD advances in the #OwenHart Foundation Women's Tournament and she will face #ToniStorm in the Semifinals! Watch #AEWDynamite LIVE on @TBSNetwork right now! pic.twitter.com/0G2ZupWr0A— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) May 19, 2022