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Dynasty 2024 preview and predictions part two

If you missed it (Toni says ‘How…dare… you!’), you can check out Part One here.

Willow Nightingale vs Julia Hart (TBS Title)

Star quality: 5

Both suffered from long spells without being featured.  If Willow continues to receive regular screen time, that number will be much different by the next big show.

Julia was off tv long enough for fans to forget about one of far too many titles.  But has been rehabbed the past few Wednesdays.

Match quality: 5

Speaking of rehab, this is just impossible to predict due to her shoulder.  She wasn’t wincing or holding it awkwardly on Wednesday; neither did she actually participate in the match.  She might be good to go; she might be ‘banged up’ the way Jamie Hayter was.  Twelve months ago.

Build: 7 Peaking

They’ve done a very nice job, particularly lately, of not only highlighting these two but having them share screentime with Copeland.  And Mercedes Mone.  One of the few positives since her debut has been the belt she’s chasing being featured.  And the performers with it.

While Willow cut just an excellent babyface promo a couple weeks back, encompassing everything fans want in their good guys and girls.  And got mad last night on Collision, even bringing out the word ‘bitch,’ which really worked because of the contrast with her character.  She’d been pushed.  Enough was enough.

Overall Score: 17

Mercedes made it clear she pegs one of the two as her attacker.  It’s possible they’ll continue her implicitly hostile relationship with Willow by sliding a weapon in without it being clear who it’s for or some such stunt.

They’re certainly building to Nightingale vs Mone.  They could stave that off by having Julia retain and Mone take the title Willow wanted next month.  They could even do a three-way.

Again, pretty much all of this depends on Hart’s dodgy limb.  Which only adds to the likelihood of Willow winning.

WINNER: Willow Nightingale

Kazuchika Okada vs PAC (Continental Title)

Star quality: 7

No wrestler has come and gone over AEW’s history more than Pac.  And he hasn’t been a main eventer since the earliest days.  Luckily he’s awesome.  And brings a serious, bad ass look and promo style.

If Ospreay’s been a ten so far and Mercedes a zero, Okada’s about a seven.  He’s received generally strong reactions but hasn’t been properly explained to the wider audience.  Not helped by essentially being forgotten for a fortnight after bagging his belt.

None of which is a knock on him.  His heel character’s a hoot – sneer down, facials on point – it’s clear he’s having fun with a refreshing new persona.  ‘No… sing it.’

Match quality: 10

As might have been predicted, audiences have been unwilling to boo the Rainmaker.  Despite his best efforts.  Including his ring style: minimalist, light on flashy moves, teasing what the fans want then tagging out.

But now it’s time to shine.  Time to show the entire pay-per-view audience what he has to offer.  Long, dramatic, big show matches – this is dude’s bag.  And he has a dancing partner who can go in any style.  Whether speeding up into flashy athletics or exchanging crisp strikes.

It’s hard to think these two, Danielson/Ospreay and Bucks/FTR won’t be keenly aware of match of the night honors.

Build: 3 Premature

But the atmosphere will probably be less heated and more appreciative.  Likely skewing Japanese.  Since not only has Okada struggled for boos, there isn’t much of a feud here.

The Geordie returned out of nowhere to ask if the Elite were ‘looking for trouble?’  Then he told Tony Khan that if he didn’t find him some, he’d go looking for it.  And decided Okada fit the bill.  There’ve been attacks.  There’ve been brief exchanges Pac has got the better of.

What there hasn’t been is a storyline reason for the match.  Outside the legit one of it probably being phenomenal.  At best, the feud’s a worse version of Danielson/Ospreay.  One of which matches you might think should decide the number one contender for the AEW Title.  But that brings in the messy Continental Championship situation.

A belt that’s barely been brought up since Okada bagged it.  And that Pac’s shown zero interest in.

Overall Score: 20

It seems like Swerve’s winning the AEW Title at Dynasty.  And the combination of a short reign for Strickland and all-babyface clash means he against Ospreay at Wembley is unlikely.

So perhaps Will goes after Okada and the Continental Title.  Particularly if Kenny Omega doesn’t return soon.  It’d be most unfair to lay Okada/Omega expectations on him when he’s not in top form.

Anyway, whether or not that’s happening there, Okada’s winning here.

WINNER: Kazuchika Okada

Swerve Strickland vs Samoa Joe (AEW Title)

Star quality: 7

There’s little doubt Swerve has his share of fans.  But it doesn’t feel like a groundswell.  Like every single thing and person and moment is with him.  The way it should for a first-time babyface champ who’s finally climbing that mountain.

Beginning with Joe receiving some cheers.  Yeah, he’s a badass and it’s harder than ever to truly be a heel.  But some of the audience have decided they like him better than Strickland in this feud.  Yours truly among them.

Perhaps the biggest argument is that as Swerve began his ascent following the last pay-per-view, viewers have turned away in droves.  In absolutely no way is this an attempt to blame Strickland for the drop in viewership.  But he hasn’t helped in the way a coming babyface champion probably should.

Jon Moxley returning with a prestigious belt over his shoulder, as an undoubtedly bigger star than either, doesn’t help.  Ditto Copeland.  And then there’s the new English guy:

‘Will Ospreay right now, is the single hottest wrestler in this business,’ said Schiavone last night, unprompted, during a match the Brit wasn’t even in.

Match quality: 8

Speaking of prestige, the world title should generally close any show.  But the pair’ll have a hell of a time following at least two and possibly three of these matches.

When he’s not dancing or asking opponents to sit up straight for his finish, Swerve’s an excellent, fluid performer.  Joe’s still great at what he does and knows how to play immovable object.  And the crowd.

What helps is the story they’ve established.  Allowing them to really milk the drama out of Swerve being beaten down but getting back up.

Build: 6 Peaking

Don’t think I’m with the majority on this one.  So let’s quickly get the negative out of the way before moving on to the good.

Swerve seems determined to maintain this cold, slightly unhinged mob boss character he honed last Fall.  So has added the thinnest of babyface veneers.  Cannot tell you why he is this mad at Joe.  Intensity jumped from like a 5 to an 11 after one Kokina.  And every time he ‘give(s) a brother a fair one,’ as Rakim one rapped, he gets his ass handed to him.

The positive spin is that’s a big part of the story.  Swerve won’t stay down.  No matter what Joe does. And the Samoan highlighted this just superbly in mocking the obviously babyface trait as more befitting a punching bag than a champion.

While also painting him as an underdog who can’t get it done when it matters.  All of which again gives them plenty to work with during the match.  Even if it does feel that when Hangman left he took the most interesting dynamic with him.

Overall Score: 21

And the single way Swerve can come up short here, dignity intact, is if the Cowboy returns to continue his maniacal quest to keep Strickland away from his goal, prolonging the chase until Swerve reaches it in front of AEW’s biggest house of the year in August.  Few things make a star like being crowned before an audience that size.

‘I will not let you (the fans) down,’ vowed Strickland on the post-Revolution Dynamite.  We all know what happens to babyfaces who make promises they don’t keep.

WINNER: Swerve Strickland

Bryan Danielson vs Will Ospreay

Star quality: 8

With crowds getting smaller, it’s harder than ever to judge ‘star quality.’  Ospreay’s the exception.  An unmitigated success (I guess unless you look at the ratings) since arriving in AEW: the energy, connection with the crowd, everyman affability.  And particularly the promo work.

He’s the closest thing the company’ve had to a hot top babyface since Hangman left to be a baby daddy three summers ago.

Meanwhile, Bryan Danielson’s spent the time being Bryan Danielson.  Having overly long matches with opponents he’s obviously going to beat.  And explaining that he doesn’t measure himself against other wrestlers except that he does but only as a means to compare himself to himself.

Match quality: 10

Fuego del Sol semi-recently spoke of judging a contest between the Dragon and Pac.  And Danielson aiming something painful at his crotch when he picked the Geordie.

Over a backstage squat competition.

Imagine then how he’s going to view Okada vs Pac.  And the Bucks vs FTR with a bunch of ladders.  In front of a pay-per-view audience.  ‘The whole damn world is Fuego’s crotch!!!’ he’ll yell.  Probably.  Maybe not.

Forgetting motivation for a minute, the premise here is Best Ever vs Best this Century.  Will’s younger, quicker, better in the air; Danielson’s better on the ground but Ospreay’s acknowledged that he’s fairly well versed here too after his time in Japan.

It’s something of the story of Danielson vs time itself.

Build: 4 Premature

This all started very nicely.  Especially the microphone exchange on the 3/9 Collision.  Tons of respect and recognition with just a little bit of ‘Oh, you think you’re better?’

But then things were allowed to cool.  Each came out and wrestled.  Each won.  Without any true element of competition.  Very little interaction between the two.  Which can be a good thing but this was only just starting to bubble.  It needed a finale.

Even when Danielson recounted being told Ospreay was the best wrestler someone’d ever seen, he was more incredulous and amused than truly angry.

And there was such easy drama to be had here.

Starting with assuming everybody saw what happened to Danielson last Saturday.  Continuing with him not being present on Dynamite but it not being mentioned.  Is he hurt?  How hurt?  Can he go Sunday?  Is it a neck injury?  That’d sure make him susceptible to the Oscutter and Hidden Blade.  Is he mad?  Does he blame Will?  Question his loyalty?  Think he’s being misled?

And then there’s Ospreay.

Is he with the Fam?  Does he want to be?  Does he secretly want Danielson weakened?  What are his relationships with the other members after beating them?  Sure would mean something if his best friend Fletcher turns on him after that relationship’s been rammed home.

Aspects of which they did bring up last night, but too little, too late.

There’s no doubt a vast chunk of the pay-per-view audience would’ve shelled out their money even if Danielson crashed through a stage with a tinfoil mask on.  But man there was so much more here.

Overall Score: 22

Clean wins and losses help both sides.  The loser can really benefit; everybody loves a redemption story.

This works double for respected vets fans genuinely don’t want to see hang it up.  So Ospreay winning works for him.  While simultaneously allowing Danielson to question himself a bit as he approaches the end.  Before fighting back to kick ass a few more times.

If they do want a reason to keep Ospreay away from the AEW Title, the Family could cost him here.  But then he has already beaten them.  All of them.

What might be interesting is the Family costing Danielson and him questioning whether Will was in on it as they build to Ospreay’s clean win over him and clean split from the group.

WINNER: Will Ospreay

They got me.  Again. 

Every time my fandom’s at its most frustrated, they wheel out at a show like last night’s Collision.  Which forwarded storylines nicely, had a fun opener and an absolute screamer of a main event where stars pinned stars.  This is what I want from my wrestling.

So now instead of entitling the preview ‘Total Title Overkill,’ I’m looking forward to what should be three fantastic matches.  Regardless of how they got here.  And regardless of where they’re going next.

Which appropriately sums up AEW.

If you can manage to switch your mind off, you’ll probably enjoy most of what happens, especially at a big show.  If you start to analyse it… you’ll end up confused, hitting the treadmill or reaching for Headspace.

Wondering why potential young stars Bullet Club Gold or the Callis Family can’t make tonight’s show proper.  Why the lottery tickets of long undercard title reigns (traditionally a vehicle for building up-and-comers) were exchanged for a bag of oranges in being placed on veterans who either didn’t need or warrant them.

When it comes down to it, I really hate the idea of crapping on somebody’s anticipation of a good time.  So if you’re frustrated by some of the booking, right there with you.  But this should also be a hell of a show.  Particularly looking forward to Okada/Pac after that six-man.

Enjoy.

Paul Hemming
Paul Hemminghttps://h00kedon.weebly.com/
Paul Hemming got into AEW during the pandemic, lives in Liverpool, England, and is a huge Liverpool fan, Playstation player and history lover.

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