What you’d want out of a live wrestling TV show

Eufemia Didonato

aew norfolk
CM Punk confronts MJF on AEW “Dynamite” at the Chartway Arena in Norfolk. Photo by Crystal Graham.

Bryan Danielson is a heel now. Gotta credit AEW honcho Tony Khan for having the balls to go there, and setting up MJF as the next dance partner for CM Punk.

This and the coronation of “Hangman” Adam Page after his AEW world title win at Full Gear were the highlights from last night’s show in Norfolk, in a packed Chartway Arena on the campus of ODU.

This was my second live AEW “Dynamite” show. I was in D.C. for the inaugural Dynamite back in 2019.

What stood out to me: how good AEW has gotten at putting on a live TV show.

It’s not easy. There are long commercial breaks, some that span an ongoing match, others that don’t. The ones that don’t can be a problem with the live crowd.

AEW has “Dapper Yapper” ring announcer Justin Roberts out in the ring bantering with the crowd, and he does a bang-up job.

One big difference from 2019 is that AEW now doubles up most of its live “Dynamite” shows with a taping afterward of the Friday “Rampage,” which can make for a long night.

I’ve read accounts online from fans complaining about how long. Maybe the folks at AEW are getting better at streamlining the process, because last night went pretty well in that respect. The “Rampage” taping got started around 10:15 p.m., and was wrapped right around 11, with the thank-you to the live crowd being a send-off featuring Khan, Punk, Page and The Best Friends, literally giving the people what they want.

Fans got the chance to sing “Judas,” albeit only when Chris Jericho was introduced as part of the announce team for “Rampage.”

Still, we got to sing.

We got Danielson interrupting Page’s world title celebration, Punk coming out for a wordless promo in his first face-to-face with MJF, a great tag match featuring Dante Martin and Lio Rush, who seem to have a future ahead of them.

I was disappointed in the main event that had Jay Lethal losing by clean fall to TNT champion Sammy Guevara, which seemed strained for time and as a result didn’t have enough oxygen to live up to the pre-match hype.

Also disappointed that we didn’t get even a glimpse of women’s champ Britt Baker, who must have had a busy day at the dentist’s office, or maybe an early appointment this morning that she couldn’t miss.

Otherwise, it was what you’d want for a show after a pay-per-view. We have some direction for the top guys, is the important thing.

It was fun to be part of the live crowd. Chartway is a perfect venue for pro wrestling, not a bad seat in the house.

I hope they come back, and sooner rather than later.

Story by Chris Graham

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