For the second straight week, AEW officials could not have been more thrilled with Dynamite. Last week, the cause for celebration was the extension with TNT. This week, officials were excited about pulling off the cruise ship show. Tony Khan went to great lengths to ensure the tapes made it to Atlanta in time. Not only were there two planes chartered, but I'm told helicopters, speed boats, submarines, dolphins, and Patrick Mahomes' arm were also used to get the tapes to Atlanta.
It all worked as the show was delivered without issue and came across looking great on television. The wrestlers were said to be upbeat about being on the cruise and really enjoyed the environment. One wrestler told me, "The alcohol is free. It rules."
I will have more information on Luther's whereabouts during the cruise at some point this week on Twitter (@jeremylambert88).
AEW Power Rankings - Week 17
1. Hangman Page & Kenny Omega
As I've been reporting for weeks here on the power rankings, the issues between Page & Omega were overblown. They proved it once again on Wednesday, capturing the AEW Tag Team Championships from SCU. Both men were thrilled with their victory, especially after the way they were doubted early on in AEW. Remember, people questioned if Omega was still the "Best Bout Machine" and others questioned if Page was actually "Elite." Any doubters were silenced on Wednesday. Of course, when you're the champs, the target on your back becomes bigger. Omega will continue to monitor his partner during their off days to ensure his drinking remains under control.
2. Jon Moxley
A big victory for Moxley as he solidifies himself as the top contender for the AEW World Title. Officials are still concerned about Moxley's health as he's willing to go to great lengths to secure the victory. While he is praised for his passion, officials wonder if he's cutting his own career short. Moxley has blown off such concerns, telling everyone to "look at my track record." I've been told Moxley and Jericho have had to be separated on more than one occasion during the cruise as Moxley has not forgiven Jericho for what happened with the spike. Jericho has not apologized, either.
3. The Inner Circle
The Inner Circle continues to dominate, and they continue to believe in their process. The group, especially Jericho, was not happy with the punishment they received over tampering violations. Jericho was also fined for his actions last week when he spiked Jon Moxley in the eye. Jericho took his frustrations out on the Jurassic Express with the help of Santana & Ortiz. Jericho has continued to shine in his AEW role and officials could not be more thrilled with his work. Obviously, he had a big role in the setup for Dynamite seeing as the event took place on his cruise. Santana & Ortiz specifically requested to team with Jericho again next week. They know teaming with him will continue to boost their profile and lead to bigger opportunities.
4. Britt Baker
Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone were not pleased with Baker on Wednesday, but AEW executives loved her new attitude. They've wanted to see this side of Baker since the beginning. Baker has been very frustrated with her usage since the first show, feeling she's more of a star than she's been portrayed as. She's done everything asked of her by the company and gets reduced to "the dentist," which has been frustrating for her. Baker is described as "one of the hardest workers in the company" and though her promo was not completely planned, and Ross and Schiavone were upset, Baker will not be punished for her actions.
This may have been looked at as a trap match for MJF, but he lobied hard for the bout and it actually came together at the last minute. Joey Janela wasn't fully prepared and MJF shut him down before he could build up the momentum. And despite reports, MJF was not unhappy with the dip in the pool. He had worked a grueling match and needed the cool off. He even asked for soap while in the pool so he could get his post-match shower out of the way. His request was denied.
Pac remains in a good spot despite the loss to Moxley. For those wondering why Pac just blindly walked into the double-arm DDT at the end of the match, I was told the ghost of Michael Nakazawa's baby oil caused him to lose his balance. Take with that what you will. Pac is still dead set on facing Kenny Omega and that's his ultimate goal right now.
A tough loss for the now former champions, but Kazarian and Sky have nothing to hang their head about. They'll forever be the first-ever AEW Tag Team Champions and their stock was greatly elevated over the past few months. SCU will now regroup and decide whether they will continue with Kazarian & Sky as the tag team duo or if they'll go back to Kazarian & Christopher Daniels. Even in tag team action, Sky has proven that he's ready to be the singles breakout star of the group.
8. The Young Bucks
The Young Bucks were all over the show despite not wrestling. This was part of the plan to ensure fans didn't forget about them. People have noticed that the Bucks have become more annoying in recent weeks as they watch their friends in The Elite have success while they're just around. One official said to me that the Bucks are "sucking up the spotlight," and it's rubbed certain people the wrong way.
9. Joey Janela
Janela continues to be frustrated by his own consistency. He thought he was onto something last week after his promo and he thought he was going to face Fenix this week. But the match was aired as a YouTube bonus match that was taped earlier in the week, which did not please Janela. He didn't want to wrestle MJF on Wednesday, not because he thought he would lose, but because he was looking forward to relaxing on the cruise. Had he known he would be wrestling MJF, he would not have braided his hair and he would have had a plan for the eventual appearance of Kip Sabian and Penelope Ford. Janela knew both would try to make things difficult on him during the match, but didn't have time to put a contingency plan in place.
10. Priscilla Kelly
This was described as a tryout for Kelly. She was impressive despite the loss and AEW officials are mulling over offering her a contract. They usually don't put anyone on television who they don't have plans for, so it's something to keep an eye on. The concerns about Kelly are her past extracurricular issues. She's toned things down recently, but might need to further prove herself if she wants to score a contract.
11. The Jurassic Express
The Jurassic Express continue to improve, but it's not good enough right now. Luchasaurus is wondering if he's being held back by Jungle Boy and Marko Stunt. The doubt is very real in his mind as he came back from injury early and expected to really make an impact, but it hasn't happened. Everyone sees him as the breakout star of the group due to his size and look. But Stunt is an end of the bench player and Jungle Boy is a nice depth player who can step up in spot starts, but lacks the consistency needed from a star player.
*These rankings are a satirical take on pro sports power rankings and treat AEW as such. Any reference to sources or reports should not be taken seriously.