AEW Dynamite 2/28/2024: 3 Things We Hated And 3 Things We Loved

Welcome to Wrestling Inc.'s weekly review of "AEW Dynamite," the show that makes you feel like a kid watching WCW again (if you're into that kind of thing). Now, generally we take some time here to remind you that the love/hate column doesn't cover the entire show, and that you can find information on the entire show on our live coverage/results page. That disclaimer has never been more relevant than it is this week — while we do touch on the opening Adam Page/Swerve Strickland/Samoa Joe segment, as well as Kris Statlander vs. Skye Blue, our opinions of this episode largely coalesced around two distinct segments that together made up the episode's final 30 minutes or so.


With that in mind, did Sting's final "Dynamite" appearance give us all the feelings? Did we similarly swoon over Atlantis Jr. vs. Chris Jericho? And most importantly, did Jon Jordan really find something he loved about AEW for once? Here are three things we hated and three things we loved about the 2/28/24 episode of "AEW Dynamite."

Loved: Hopalong Hangman heels it up

Up until tonight, "Hangman" Adam Page's heel turn has been about as intimidating as Barney the Dinosaur. Add to that a mustache that seriously has got to smell like a dumpster at this point and there was plenty to make fun of. But ol' "Hopalong" really pulled the wool over everyone's eyes since last week's "AEW Dynamite," hobbling out on a single crutch, declaring himself unfit to participate in Sundays' championship match, and then — novel concept! — acting like a heel with an attack from behind on a distracted Swerve Strickland, all while raging enough to where I actually believed the guy (as a bad guy) for once.


Know what's even lamer than a guy pretending to be hurt on a pair of crutches? Well, I will tell you. It's a guy pretending to be hurt on a single crutch — and this simple fact made me love all of this even more. A true heel doesn't care how dorky he looks, so long as he gets the job done. A true heel would dress like, well, Barney the Dinosaur if he had to just to trick his adversary. I'm glad Page didn't have to resort to that but he was close, and this saved us all from that level of purple.

Now then, looking ahead, I also see this as a good sign for Swerve, who is suddenly positioned as the fan favorite against two levels of evil. I mean, everyone loves Samoa Joe (right?) but he's in the role of cocky, ass-kicking champ, and now you have a dastardly Page (with a mustache of which Dick Dastardly himself would be proud) across the ring as well, as opposed to just "Joey Headrocker" and a Page that whimpered, "I really don't like you, Swerve!" at best. If Swerve took the title under the weaker scenario, the crowd still would have gone wild. Now, if he prevails, that place absolutely lose its collective mind at an against-all-odds-type victory (and then have to sit through, like, three more matches but hey, a win's a win).


Written by Jon Jordan

Hated: *Tony Khan only knowing five wrestling stories intensifies*

Last week, I ripped Tony Khan for needing to get new material. This week, I'm the one who needs to get new material, because it's again time to rip Tony Khan for needing to get new material.

Kris Statlander vs. Skye Blue was a pretty good match (and Blue getting the win feels big for her) but I'm sorry, I couldn't help but die laughing at the spot where Stokely Hathaway tried to give Statlander the chain, with the supposed drama lying in the question of whether she would use it and succumb to the dark side, presumably. It's amazing how much AEW loves to go back to this well. This is the company that put on Full Gear 2022, a show with three matches that relied on the "will the babyface use a weapon?" trope. The company that then proceeded to book the MJF title reign and gradual babyface turn throughout 2023, which derived like, half its drama from "will MJF use the Dynamite Diamond Ring?" And now MJF has been gone for two months, which is apparently just way too long to go without somebody's wrestling alignment hinging on their potential use of an illegal object. How else are we supposed to know who the babyfaces and heels are?


This would normally be the place where I beg Tony to do something different, but honestly, at this point it's too funny to stop. Never change, TK.

Written by Miles Schneiderman

Loved: A CMLL explanation

The partnership between AEW and CMLL has been pushed heavily in recent weeks, and that has led to some entertaining matches. However, there's been one common complaint amongst fans, and that is the lack of explanations as to who the CMLL stars are, and why fans should care about those encounters outside of them just being good wrestling bouts.


However, tonight that was addressed with one quick backstage interview segment. Earlier in the day AEW randomly announced Chris Jericho would be facing Atlantis Jr., and for many fans that wouldn't have meant much, but Jericho explained exactly why it did. He had teamed with Atlantis Jr's father, and he taught him lessons earlier in his career, and now he wanted to repay the favor and do the same for the upcoming CMLL star.

It was an extremely simple story, but instantly audiences had a reason to care, and some emotions to cling to, and that all tied in when Atlantis Jr's father threw in the towel for his son as part of the finish. It led to a little tension at the end, but the respect between the wrestlers prevailed, and while it might not have been the strongest match featuring a CMLL star since the partnership began, it had meaning.


If AEW is going to continue bringing CMLL wrestlers in every week, then more of this is going to be needed. Considering how deep the AEW roster is already, if Tony Khan is giving away spots from characters audiences are already invested in then it needs to be worthwhile, and quick segments backstage such as what they did tonight will go a long way in making that work. It's also going to be crucial if CMLL is to play a big part in the Forbidden Door PPV later this year, as Khan is going to need fans to care about these wrestlers on a deeper level than their wrestling ability to sell tickets and PPV buys. Therefore, while this was a smart booking decision, it needs to be the start of things to come, not just a one-off moment.

Written by Matthew Wilkinson

Hated: Jericho sinks the Atlantis match

I have all the respect in the world for everything Chris Jericho has been able to accomplish throughout his career, but this was certainly not one of his finest performances and in fact was quite disappointing.


The entire match between Jericho and CMLL's Atlantis Jr. as a whole looked clunky and slow from start to finish, and was a disappointing final match of the night for a go-home show that already didn't feel like very much of a go-home show. The live crowd getting into the match did contribute something and Jericho's new shoulder tattoo was admittedly fun to see for the first time, but neither of those things were enough to completely save this mess. Atlantis Jr. looked like he was trying to carry Jericho through a 12 minute match. Considering that Jericho is a 30 plus year veteran of the wrestling business while Atlantis Jr. has only been wrestling since 2017, this should certainly not be the case.


Having Atlantis Sr. throw in the towel in an effort to save his son after Jericho had locked in the Liontamer did not help things either. Yes, I get the whole father looking out for his son thing, but it was unnecessary and didn't do anything to make anyone look good. It was a bad look for Atlantis Jr.'s AEW debut match and didn't really make him look the strongest, and made Jericho look like he was putting himself over without explicitly doing that.

Written by Olivia Quinlan

Hated: Where was Sting?

Tonight was of course Sting's final appearance as a wrestler on "Dynamite," and commentary certainly told you that throughout the night if you had missed it all over social media the past week. What I thought was strange and didn't exactly love on the show, however, was the extreme lack of Sting throughout the entire night, up until honestly the last possible second at 10 p.m., with very little overrun on the show. We saw more of the Young Bucks throughout the night, but if AEW was going to hype up this final appearance of Sting on television, why not show HIM more? We know the match against the Bucks is coming, and the show still could have ended the way it did with them brawling, but I think their segments should have been replaced with Sting and Darby Allin.


I will admit, I am a clock-watcher when it comes to wrestling shows, and not in a bad way, just because I find it very interesting which segments air at what time. By 9:30 p.m., we had only had two segments even alluding to Sting on the night. What made it all even more ridiculous was that after the Jericho match, Excalibur did his thing of running down not just the entire Revolution card, but "AEW Rampage" and "AEW Collision" for this week, as well. With my eye on the clock, all I could think was, "Where the heck is Sting?! We're really doing this instead, now?!" We got our answer at the last possible second. Allin got involved with Matthew and Nicholas, who brought out Ric Flair. Flair, as we all assumed, turned on the Bucks when they asked him to beat up on Allin with a baseball bat, and Flair got his own beatdown after he took some cheap shots at them. Flair in the ring to begin with is uncomfortable for many reasons – here, being the fact he can barely move, and certainly shouldn't be taken any kind of beatdown.


It was only then that Sting's music hit, and the Bucks headed up the ramp with their bats to meet him on the stage for the confrontation. Sting didn't come out from the back, however, but descended from the rafters, WCW-style. And to that, I say, "Why now?!" Why not save that spot for Revolution itself? Now, if he and Allin do it on Sunday, it's kind of like, "Oh, we just saw that. Cool." The visual of Sting storming out from the back with his baseball bat and just wailing on the Bucks would have been effective for TV, saving the rappelling from up above for the big pay-per-view.

The ending was fine and I probably would have liked it had it not been hyped up as such a big deal that it was Sting's final "Dynamite." To me, it kind of seemed lackluster only having him on the show at the very end, for maybe five minutes tops. Of course, I wouldn't want him to take any big bumps ahead of his final match with Allin against the Bucks on Sunday so he didn't get hurt, but even just seeing him throughout the night in any capacity would have made a little more sense to me. Maybe even a short segment of him confronting Flair about visiting the Bucks while he was off TV last week, to add some extra drama to the show and the story of the upcoming match. Anything more than what we actually got. If you're not watching Revolution, this was your last chance to see Sting, and I think a lot more could have been done to make the fans watching at home happy.


Written by Daisy Ruth

Loved: Blissfully chaotic ending to a blissfully chaotic career

Tonight was the last time Sting will ever appear on "AEW Dynamite" and the wrestling icon was sent off into the sunset with blissfully dumb chaos. All adrenaline, all serotonin, very little logic, it was the platonic ideal of a Sting segment. It also made Ric Flair look utterly ridiculous and for that, it was a grand slam, bat pun thoroughly intended.


When Flair showed up on last week's "Dynamite" looking to business with the EVPs, many — myself included — assumed he would be playing some kind of role in Sting's final match, and he still might be, but it likely won't be as significant as we all feared. Luckily, Flair came to the ring during Matt and Nick Jackson's assault of Darby Allin and promptly thumbed their eyes, undoing whatever deal he made with them last week, and being beaten soundly for it. To put it bluntly, Flair looked as stupid as Sting has looked the myriad of times he was betrayed by "The Nature Boy," so seeing Flair made to look so foolish carried a certain level of karma that is simply delectable.

Then Sting came rappelling down from the rafters like he used to on WCW Monday Nitro and the whole thing went into overdrive, with Sting clearing house in superhuman fashion. Everyone expects Sting to make some kind of grand entrance on Sunday, and it will no doubt be an emotional night and an emotional match, but Sting is not an emotional wrestler. He's adrenaline and pops. There's a reason he's been diving off balconies and going through tables at age 64. He's chaos incarnate, always just a little bit deaf to the normal rhythms of professional wrestling in favor of big, bombastic moments, and tonight was one of those moments, most importantly the last one.


Tonight was Sting's last chance to legitimately surprise people with a drop from the rafters to the floor, his last chance to win a two-on-one disadvantage against wrestlers decades younger than him, his last chance to put jet fuel in your veins and fire in your heart. This was his true goodbye, Sunday is just a funeral.

Written by Ross Berman