FTW Champion Brian Cage def. Will Hobbs
If the FTW Championship is going to be around and considered a sanctioned title, it has to be defended and I thought this was an effective way of accomplishing that. This has been pitched before, but I'm all for it basically being a "big man" title of sorts. Hobbs had a hell of a showing here and the two of them contested a fun opener. My only issue with this was that we didn't get to hear from Hobbs beforehand. His mic skills could very well be atrocious, but we should hear him speak at least once to find out for sure. Him joining Team Taz is a possibility based on how it was teased before Darby Allin saved him from Cage and Ricky Starks.
AEW World Tag Team Champions FTR def. The Hybrid2
I enjoy FTR's "A Brush with Greatness" gimmick, but in my opinion, it renders the power rankings irrelevant if anyone can get a title shot at any time. The same can be said about the AEW World Championship, as Jon Moxley randomly defended the title against The Butcher last week and Butcher has never been ranked on his own. Nonetheless, this was a solid match and I was happy to see The Hybrid2 get a chance to shine on Dynamite for a change. FTR vs. SCU from last week was slightly stronger, but this was still good stuff that could have been better. The Young Bucks stuff hasn't hooked me lately, but Best Friends challenging for the gold next week should be a blast.
Cody def. Brodie Lee in a Dog Collar Match to Win the AEW TNT Championship
I didn't know what to expect from this as Dog Collar matches aren't done often in wrestling, but this ended up being quite great. Both guys brought the intensity and it never felt like the stipulation limited them at all. The blood added to it and I'm glad it wasn't overdone. The finish wasn't too shocking, at least in my opinion, because I always figured Cody would get the belt back once he returned from his hiatus. I just didn't think it would be this soon. The post-match promo from Cody was also tremendous. What I didn't understand was Orange Cassidy emerging as the next challenger afterward. Unless Cassidy upsets Cody next week and Cody turns heel on him, I'm not a fan of Cassidy getting another title shot after already failing to win it once from Lee two weeks ago.
Big Swole def. Serena Deeb
I was looking forward to this match given who was involved, but it ended up being only decent and I'm not sure why. Swole is clearly being set up for a shot at the AEW Women's Championship, but she doesn't feel like she has the momentum that she should right now despite her recent string of victories. As for Deeb, she was gone for a little while due to being in quarantine, so I'm glad she's back and I'm hoping she can bounce back the next time she's in action.
Inner Circle (Chris Jericho and Jake Hager) def. Chaos Project (Luther and Serpentico)
It obviously meant a lot to Jericho to wrestle his longtime friend Luther while celebrating the 30-year anniversary of his career. That said, this was not main event material whatsoever. If anything, it felt like a glorified main event of Dark. While not horribly bad, it just didn't land for me personally, though I get that they probably put this on last because Cody vs. Lee was meant to combat the beginning of the vice presidential debate. It didn't help that the post-match stuff with MJF confronting Jericho and Inner Circle was dumb comedy (especially the clown crap) and was designed to serve as a setup for MJF's "career-altering announcement" next week. The credits rolling while everyone was in the ring was funny, but the rest of this ended the evening on an underwhelming note for me.
By typical Dynamite standards, this was a below-average effort in my opinion. There wasn't a ton to the show, and while I'm usually all for the less-is-more approach, nothing stood out as special about this episode aside from the Dog Collar match. Two other titles were defended, but the FTW Championship is meaningless and the tag title affair didn't meet my (admittedly lofty) expectations. The celebrity shout-outs for Jericho's 30-year anniversary celebration were cool, but that was about it. The main event was mediocre and the women's match was mildly disappointing. On the bright side, there was a ton of strong hype for next week's huge anniversary episode, including an awesome video package for Jon Moxlely vs. Lance Archer. Let's just hope they still have some special stuff planned for the Full Gear pay-per-view a few weeks later.