The Real Winners and Losers from AEW Road Rager

Philip LindseyContributor IJuly 8, 2021

The Real Winners and Losers from AEW Road Rager

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    This week, both NXT and All Elite Wrestling delivered special editions of their weekly programming. AEW Dynamite also kicked off its live tour with Road Rager.

    The return of live crowds has been a welcome addition, and the James L. Knight Center in Miami, Florida, was hot for this show. The audience added some much-needed energy to the opening match. Cody Rhodes and QT Marshall's rivalry hasn't been much to write home about, but their dynamic worked better with real-time reactions to play off.

    Luckily, a new opponent emerged who could help Rhodes get out of the creative rut he has been in recently. This familiar face from WWE will undoubtedly land the highlight of the night for most fans.

    Road Rager was largely a successful reintroduction to what made Dynamite so special during its first year. It wasn't a perfect card, but there was a lot to like about this show. Let's take a look at the biggest winners and losers from this week's loaded episode of AEW's flagship.

Winner: 'Hangman' Adam Page

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    Adam Page didn't compete on Wednesday night, but he enjoyed one of the loudest reactions of the night.

    Hangman came out to aid The Dark Order after they challenged Kenny Omega on his behalf for the second week in a row. Evil Uno made it clear that the Virginia native should be the next contender for the AEW World Championship.

    The masked figurehead isn't the only one as James L. Knight Center chanted Page's name several times during the segment. So much so that the audience erupted when his music hit and he ran down to the ring. The anticipation became even more palpable when former tag team partners met in the middle of the ring.

    Page has a history with both Omega and the AEW title, so this marquee match makes a lot of sense. This is the best long-term storyline the company has produced so far, and Hangman has become one of the most complex protagonists on the roster. The 29-year-old seems destined to dethrone The Best Bout Machine, and viewers are invested in his journey back to the top.

Winners: Darby Allin and Ethan Page

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    Darby Allin has been having a strong year as one of AEW's prominent up-and-comers. The punk rock daredevil has delivered some phenomenal matches over the last few months.

    On Wednesday night, Allin proved he could also cut compelling promos during his sit-down interview with Ethan Page and Jim Ross. This backstage segment was a great way to promote their upcoming Coffin Match, which is set for next week.

    Page has also proved to be an excellent acquisition. He's charismatic, deceptively strong and his Ego's Edge is a jaw-dropping finishing move. The Canadian wrestler didn't miss a beat during his war of words with The Invisible Man.

    Judging by their other encounters, these two are going to have a stellar match together. They both came off like wrestlers to keep an eye on in this captivating segment.

Losers: AEW's Women's Division

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    AEW's segments and matches featuring women have vastly improved this year. So, it was disappointing to see the company didn't have anything significant planned for the division for this special edition of Dynamite.

    Yes, the AEW women's world champion, Britt Baker D.M.D, will likely go viral after a scathing promo where she took a shot at the distinguished competition, WWE. Kris Statlander also looked exceptional as she pinned The Bunny to win their mixed tag team match.

    However, it's hard not to notice that several notable names haven't been on television in weeks. Where is Hikaru Shida? The company hasn't done anything with The Shining Samurai since she dropped the title to Baker at Double or Nothing.

    Surely, AEW could do more with someone who carried the women's division during the pandemic era. The company could desperately use some secondary feuds to create storylines for its growing roster. Hopefully, there are plans to change this in the weeks to come.

Winner: Malakai Black

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    On a night when Andrade El Idolo made his in-ring debut, another former NXT Champion stole the show in his first AEW appearance.

    Many fans hoped the company would use the full capacity crowd in Miami to deliver a legitimate surprise. AEW didn't disappoint as the lights went out for the second time in the night and Malakai Black debuted to interrupt Arn Anderson.

    The Striking Man from Amsterdam laid Anderson out with a thunderous Black Mass. Then he set his sights on Cody Rhodes, seemingly planting the seed for The American Nightmare's next big feud.

    The wrestler, formerly known as Aleister Black, became one of the hottest free agents in the industry following his WWE release in June. This left fans and insiders to speculate about where he could show up next.

    It was great to see the Dutch Destroyer return with a loud pop considering how some other debuts didn't come with the same luxury last year during the pandemic. This was a fantastic sign of what's to come as AEW returns to the road. The company couldn't have executed this segment any better.