Watching professional wrestling and storytelling come together in action is always a glorious moment. That happened on the January 17 episode of AEW Dynamite when Hook challenged Samoa Joe in the main event of the show. This was a master class in so many aspects of what makes wrestling special. This one moment added another layer of excitement around Hook and gave fans increased confidence that Samoa Joe’s run atop AEW is going to be a fun one.
Samoa Joe secured the AEW World Championship at AEW Worlds End and he immediately went on a quest to let fans and viewers know that professional wrestling was going to be the focal point of his reign. At the press conference, he basically said that any of the top challengers could “get it” and that set the path for Hook to come calling. In two weeks, AEW made this an angle that everyone was talking about (regardless of the foolishness between Tony Khan and Jinder Mahal).
And then the match took it a step further. Joe rag-dolled Hook around the ring, as he should have been the bigger and much more experienced man. But Hook’s resilience in the losing battle immediately made him a bigger star. Couple that with his reaction to “Hangman” Adam Page for “saving” him and the momentum grows even more.
AEW didn’t have smoke or mirrors. Didn’t need sports entertainment. And the company didn’t need an extended story drawn out for weeks and months. Samoa Joe versus Hook got right to the point that two wrestlers were going to fight to see which man was the best. The ability to present that at a high level is one of the many strengths that AEW has continued to show since its inception.
The fans showed up as well. According to Wrestlenomics, this episode of Dynamite drew 891K viewers, nearly 100K more than was drawn on January 10. This is also the highest viewership since the October 18 edition of the show which brought in 901K viewers. As of January 19, the match posted on the AEW YouTube channel has more than 600K views. Professional wrestling puts butts in the seats.
This match was nothing less than a success. Hook comes out looking like a threat to anyone, at any level. If he were to defeat Orange Cassidy or Christian Cage for either of their championships, no one would bat an eye at that. Hook for AEW World Champion in 2025? Maybe. As for Joe, he’s going to give AEW fans what they want. A hard-hitting champion that is looking to beat people up. All the pomp and circumstance aren’t necessary and that’s exactly what the AEW audience has asked for throughout several of the last months.