AEW Dynamite has been on our screens for just under one year and in that time we have seen the company do a lot of good things, but also we’ve seen them make mistakes. In this writer’s opinion one big issue with AEW is their failure to follow up on big moments and matches for some performers. While yes, they have got over a number of things and run with them there’s also a number of star-making moments or performances that have not been followed up on leading to performers quickly cooling off. Let’s take a look at just a few such performers who have been let down by this issue.
European indie veteran Shanna made an impressive start to life in AEW delivering a really good match with Hikaru Shida. Just one week later she was involved in another good match and it felt like AEW could have an organic babyface star on its hands with the veteran performer. Instead, she would disappear from television until February by which point crowds had all but forgotten her.
Remember when Scorpio Sky pinned Chris Jericho? Sky is one of the few men in the company to hold a pinfall win over one of the top stars in AEW. You wouldn’t know that though based on his booking ever since. SCU lost the tag team championships not long after Sky challenged Jericho for the world title and the group quickly faded into obscurity in AEW’s overloaded tag team division. Sky did get a big win streak started…on Dark as he was off TV and out of fan’s minds for a number of months. Sky did get to have a hyped return to Dynamite though. Just so he could lose to Cody. The fact Sky has gone from pinning Jericho to being an afterthought in just under 12 months proves our point more than anything, Sky should be a player in this company and SCU should be more than just faces in the crowd but instead, Sky has to be content with being “the king of Dark”
Sonny Kiss had an eye-opening performance in his TNT Championship match with Cody. He showcased his talent and charisma and in many people’s eyes solidified himself as a future world champion. Since that match on July 15th, Sonny Kiss has been on AEW Dynamite a grand total of 0 times. That match was also just her third Dynamite appearance in 2020. How are we as fans supposed to care about these people who show up and wow us only to disappear again for months at a time? Yes, Kiss is on Dark, but that’s not good enough Dark’s viewership every week is only a fraction of Dynamite’s. When Kiss shows up on Dynamite again his performance against Cody will be all but forgotten and he will go back to just being Joey Janela’s tag partner.
Lance Archer debuted for AEW in April and quickly became a highlight of the show. He felt like a real monster and blazed a trail through the roster ruthlessly destroying everyone in his way. Then he lost to Cody. And he’s done nothing of note since. Outside of a short feud with Janela, he either squashes people on Dark or is found backstage throwing people around and that’s cool and all, but he’s had nothing of substance to do. He’s gone from someone that felt like a big star and a pivotal part of the show to just being another face in the crowd. And for someone as talented as Archer to be so anonymous is almost criminal.
The Joshi Talent
Man, AEW really had something with their Joshi connection. The women delivered an absolute show-stealer at Double Or Nothing that opened many eyes to Joshi wrestling and how good it is. They even followed up with a really good triple threat match at Fyter Fest where Yuka Sakazaki got over. The company failed to follow up on anything notable with these women though. Aja Kong showed up for an awesome staredown with Awesome Kong which has never been mentioned again. Sakazaki wouldn’t be seen for months, by which point she was cold and fans had forgotten her. And let’s not even get started on how poorly Riho and Hikaru Shida have been treated as champions. Neither were given many notable opponents or much TV time. The Joshi could have been something special for AEW that helped them stand out and really revolutionize women’s wrestling, instead it goes down as another strike against the company.
We admit that maybe this one is jumping the gun a little. But in the month since Kingston made a big impact on Dynamite he has not made a single appearance. No matches, no promos, no hype videos, not even Dark squashes. It’s baffling that you would sign a man as talented as Eddie Kingston and proceed to do absolutely nothing with the buzz he generated, but as we’ve learned that’s just par for the course with AEW.
This is the most controversial pick of the bunch but hear us out. In February at AEW Revolution, he beat Cody in the biggest win of his career. In the months since then has MJF had one notable feud? He had a short program with Jungle Boy yes but he has had absolutely nothing major to sink his teeth into. Now he goes into a feud with Jon Moxley and frankly he doesn’t feel like he belongs in there with Moxley, aside from the Cody win MJF has no real major wins under his belt nor has he won any other high profile feuds. After beating Cody he should’ve been pushed to the top and beaten someone like a Kenny Omega or any other AEW upper card talent but instead, he just beat enhancement talents and beat the midcard Jungle Boy at Double Or Nothing 2020.
At the end of the day, AEW is doing just fine for the time being. They’re beating NXT regularly and even matching RAW in the key demo some weeks. With that said it’s frustrating seeing them pass up on star-making moments as often as they have because it would allow them to really diversify their Dynamite roster instead of featuring mostly the same faces all the time. A dynamite where Sky, Kiss, Kingston, Archer, and even MJF mattered more could only be a good thing.
Stay tuned to Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world. You can catch AEW Dynamite Wednesday nights at 8 PM ET on TNT and AEW DARK Tuesday nights at 7 PM ET on YouTube. Looking to talk wrestling, pro football, or any number of sports? Head on over to the LWOS Boards to engage in conversation with fellow fans!