AEW Dynamite 5/1/24: 3 Things We Hated And 3 Things We Loved

Welcome to Wrestling Inc.'s weekly review of "AEW Dynamite," the show where The Elite have finally managed a hostile takeover over the promotion literally founded by and named after them! That must have been so hard! There's a lot to get to this week, including all manner of Young Bucks/Jack Perry shenanigans, from changing the "Dynamite" opening signature to basically trying to murder Kenny Omega in his hometown. Are we going to cover everything? Sadly, no, but cheer up — we cover everything on our "Dynamite" results page! In this column, however, we leave comprehensive objectivity behind and enter the realm of subjective specifics, i.e. did we like stuff or not?


For example — were we excited to learn the identity of Swerve Strickland's Double or Nothing challenger? Do we have concerns about the state of the AEW tag team division? And most importantly, did we actually ... enjoy a Chris Jericho match??? The answers to all those questions and more lie before you! These are three things we hated and three things we loved about the 5/1/24 episode of "AEW Dynamite."

Loved: AEW's line of succession results in production chaos

Tony Khan opened Wednesday's "AEW Dynamite"/"AEW Rampage" three-hour extravaganza with the sobering news that he could not produce the show in-person, since a neck brace is not exactly travel-friendly. As Khan began to speak, the screen flickered in and out, but before anybody could even begin to theorize about what the broadcast interruptions could mean, The Young Bucks appeared on screen, and announced that they were taking over AEW programming.


Regardless of what you may think about AEW's executive vice presidents and Tag Team Champions, The Young Bucks played their part as cocky and corrupt executive-wrestler hybrids beautifully, and in doing so, made for quite the chaotic broadcast. First of all, having a sort of line of succession for AEW production is absolutely hilarious. While it does make sense — Khan is out with a storyline injury, after all — the idea of a line of succession in the first place was a way to get people talking, because it is so absurd. This is not the United States presidency; treating Khan's injury like he is a dead president so that the Bucks can hijack the show gets funnier the more you think about it.


The Young Bucks popped in and out of segments in the broadcast, and notably gave Renee Paquette unprompted feedback. They reassured her that she was doing a good job, only to interrupt one of her backstage interviews via text message to tell her to "smile more". There is a certain flippant-ness to their actions — it doesn't feel like they're evil because they're invested in enacting some spectacular revenge, they are so casual with their evilness because they are just evil. It takes so little out of them to make these little comments (or beat up Kenny Omega to close out "Dynamite", but we'll cover that soon) and to make these oppressive executive decisions, and they're just a bit more cool or funny because it takes them so little. Heels normally are invested in their maliciousness — it takes AEW's EVPs just two seconds to be cruel, and they move on with their evil plans. They are so unserious. This whole hijacking of "Dynamite" was so unserious.

"Unserious" is the perfect word to describe a Bucks-produced "Dynamite", and it's also a way to describe current AEW programming. Whether their increasingly flippant booking is something to be praised or condemned is up for debate, but there is this certain disregard for sincerity that feels like it's permeating AEW programming. There is this energy that AEW production knows how the professional wrestling world perceives them, especially amidst dwindling ticket sales and general criticism from the wrestling community, that they simply don't care to please everybody anymore. It's kind of like when a senior in high school or college realizes that the opinions of their peers don't matter, so they are free to do what they please when they please, regardless of the social consequences. In AEW's eyes, the viewers that get it get it, and the viewers that don't don't, and AEW is no longer concerned with trying to cater to that latter category.


The Young Buck's hijack of this week's "Dynamite" is definitely a part of their vicious, corporate corruption storyline, but it could also be seen as a microcosm of the general air of AEW programming. The Bucks don't care what Swerve Strickland or Kenny Omega think — in fact, they'll put obstacles in the way of their detractors, and have fun doing it. They are so unserious in their abuses of power, because AEW is so unserious. After all, the people that get it — Jack Perry, Okada — get it, and the people that don't get it — you, at home — just don't get it. There's something to respect about that freedom. It's not that serious.

Written by Angeline Phu

Hated: Cage versus Strickland not a swerve

When I found out that AEW World Champion Swerve Strickland's next challenger for Double Or Nothing in Las Vegas at the end of the month was just going to be announced on tonight's episode of "Dynamite," I was already well on the path of hating it. With Strickland's win, becoming the first Black AEW world champ, being so historic, and his win being a huge deal for all fans because he was just so darn over before AEW Dynasty, I expected something bigger. AEW is known for its tournaments and such, after all. It was made worse by The Young Bucks sort of teasing a Kenny Omega return to take on Strickland, as "The Cleaner" was returning to AEW TV in his hometown. While I knew in the back of my mind during the Bucks' announcement that Omega was more than likely nowhere near an in-ring return (though he did take plenty of offense later in the night), on top of the fact that would have been a babyface versus babyface match, it gave me hope for a fraction of a second. Then, Christian Cage's music hit. He was the returning Canadian set to take on Strickland. And the crowd went ... mild.


The beef that Cage has with Strickland does make sense, as the veteran explained in his promo. He's upset that Strickland left "his son" Nick Wayne laying in a pool of his own blood inside his own home gym. Cage also blames Strickland for their loss, when they were teaming together, at AEW's biggest show of all time. They teamed up to take on Darby Allin and Sting at All In in Wembley Stadium, and took the "L." So, while it does make sense in storyline, it just feels incredibly lackluster for Strickland's first pay-per-view title defense as world champion. Even though it makes sense, I don't like it and it's certainly nowhere near thrilling to me. A few qualifier matches leading to a number one contender's match for the title at Double Or Nothing, or something, would have been much more exciting.


I suppose anything more than just announcing a challenger for Strickland would have to have been rushed, as there are currently only three or so more weeks until Double Or Nothing. But, with "AEW Collision" being a thing on Saturdays, something that's supposed to be important viewing, as they just had Strickland deliver his first promo as champion on that show, there could have been some qualifying matches on that show, as well, with a number one contender crowned on "Dynamite." That could have been Cage at the end of everything, but they way AEW went about this was just boring. I'm hoping Strickland and Cage will have a good match at the pay-per-view, but after the excitement that was Dynasty, Double Or Nothing is already falling a bit short overall, for me.

Written by Daisy Ruth

Loved: I have never said anything bad about Chris Jericho, ever

About a week and a half ago, I said that Chris Jericho is a deeply unserious person who needs to go away. Luckily for Chris Jericho, I am not the same man I was a week and a half ago. Hell, I'm not even the same man I was when I woke up this morning. Personal growth is wonderful; it lets you appreciate things like the ridiculous match between Jericho and Katsuyori Shibata on "AEW Dynamite." The Ross from April 21 would never have been able to enjoy that match, but as the old song goes, "The past is the eternal past."


When Jericho and Shibata began the match, it wasn't much to write home about. Jericho immediately introduced a bag of hockey pucks to the match, and then was swiftly hoisted on his own petard, as Shibata suplexed him into the thick black disks repeatedly. Then the two men slowed down, and decided to exchange chops to the chest for over five minutes, even chopping each other straight through a picture-in-picture commercial break. The absurdity built from there.

By the time Chris Jericho broke up a figure-four-leglock by hucking a hockey puck into Shibata's jaw, I was grinning from ear to ear, born anew in Jericho's galaxy-brained antics. Jericho put a trash can on Shibata, to little avail, with Shibata coldly advancing on Jericho with the trash can on his head like a mix between the Terminator and R2-D2. Quite simply, the match was the ridiculous kind of plunder at which Jericho's idol Terry Funk would've smiled. The interference ending made sense, and Jericho was smart enough to cover Shibata as slowly and delicately as possible to really drive home the outrage.


With more displays like this, Jericho might finally live up to that "Terry Funk of AEW" reputation he keeps trying to invoke.

Written by Ross Berman

Hated: The Copelopadopeland Open stinks

The match wore on in slow motion as the Winnipeg crowd collectively yawned. One may have wondered, other than the budding House of Black vs. Adam Copeland (and friends?) rivalry, "Perhaps Mami sent her man to punish the former Edge once more in a OG Judgment Day callback that doesn't make any sense but hey, what does over here anyway?" And in the end, we were reminded, "Oh, right, we got Christian vs. Edge in 2024 over the TNT freaking Championship, and now that's over."


This isn't working. This is Adam f'ing Copeland (Edge, as it were, which, if there were ever a guy whose real name was hard to accept, even after all this time, it's him). And there he is, toiling in a less-than promotion that can't help itself from shooting upward from its back at the big brother it'll never measure up to. It's great that he's having so much fun and evangelizing for the business as a whole and promoting peace among all wrestling fans and blah, blah, blah. Actually, no, it's not. That didn't matter anyway, when, what? A week later, when Tough Guy Tony went after WWE for the umpalumpteenth time?

You can call him "The Rated-R Superstar," fine. I still don't understand how he was able to retain that moniker but who cares? (Certainly, WWE doesn't.) But when he's in front of 4,000-something people, running around on half a stage trying to reincarnate his iconic entrance in a county fair setting, wearing a title, named after a network (lame) that looks like it belongs in somebody's backyard, how am I supposed to care even a little?


And Buddy Murphthews deserves better too, by the way. I wonder when that contract is up.

Written by Jon Jordan

Hated: The AEW tag team division is in absolute shambles

So back in March, Sting retired as one half of the AEW World Tag Team Champions. Rather than have Sting lose his last match and his belt to the Young Bucks at Revolution, Tony Khan opted to announce a tag team tournament, which was won, naturally, by the Young Bucks. Now, it's true that tournament and the Bucks' victory led directly to the hottest angle AEW currently has going, and that should be applauded. It's also true that it wasn't until after "Dynamite" was over that I remembered the Bucks were the tag team champions. Not only do those titles feel completely incidental to what is, in every respect, a main event storyline, but the tag team division has quietly fallen apart around them.


Judging by the end of Wednesday's episode, FTR are once again getting involved in Young Bucks business, likely leading to a fifth title match between the two teams. Why? Because who else is there? Best Friends have broken up. Big Bill has apparently allied with Chris Jericho, breaking up his team with Ricky Starks (who was either lying about not being seriously injured or is off TV for a different reason). Isiah Kassidy of Private Party competed in singles action Wednesday night because Marq Quen is injured again. Claudio Castagnoli competed in singles action Wednesday night (and challenged for the world title on Saturday) and Jon Moxley hasn't been an AEW regular of late and is the current IWGP World Champion, so it looks like the previously budding BCC tag team has been scrapped. The Gunns, The Acclaimed, and Top Flight are primarily working in the trios division (as is House of Black when they're not busy challenging for midcard singles titles) and Undisputed Kingdom and The Infantry are still primarily ROH teams. Who does that leave? The Don Callis Family?


I'm not saying AEW can't patch things together (you can always patch things together) but a division with two top teams plus whatever Tony can find between the couch cushions is not a strong division. Is that Anthony Henry guy back yet?

Written by Miles Schneiderman

Loved: Kenny Omega takes advantage of his tricky medical situation

As Kenny Omega put it on "Dynamite," he is either going to get surgery for diverticulitis, or he could continue on and likely end up in a situation where he'd be forced to get the surgery. Either way, Kenny Omega needs surgery. He can either go away and get his surgery and it can be an emotional non-moment as he announces that he doesn't know when he'll see the AEW faithful again, or it can be turned into a proper angle and put some heat on the two top heels in the promotion.


AEW chose the latter, and it was so exhilarating that I felt like I could run through a wall when it was done.

Omega gave an emotional speech, where he made it clear that any blunt force trauma to his abdomen could prove tragic. He made his case plain for the AEW audience — he's very sick, and he should get surgery. Omega then teased having the same power that both Matt and Nick Jackson have, only to come face to face with his legendary rival Kazuchika Okada. Omega teased a match with Okada down the line, my brain was flooded with serotonin — and then Jack Perry appeared and struck Omega in the gut with a steel chair. The Bucks came out and attacked. They then stalked Omega back to the ambulance bay, where they attacked him further, clearly meaning whatever surgery Omega has to go through and whatever colostomy bag he has to wear, will be because of The New Elite.


This was pure pro wrestling storytelling and the best ending of "Dynamite" since ... well, last week. AEW seems to really have something special in The Young Bucks' corporate coup, and they exploited Omega's condition perfectly.

Written by Ross Berman