AEW Dynamite (Aug. 30, 2023) emanated from Now Arena in Chicago, IL. The show featured Orange Cassidy as the centerpiece of the evening, future plans for MJF and Adam Cole, Eddie Kingston in title action, and more for the fallout to All In and the go-home to All Out.
Get caught up on all the Dynamite details with the excellent play-by-play from Claire Elizabeth.
Orange Cassidy will be champion forever
The AEW International Championship was the central theme of the episode. Orange Cassidy put up the title against Pentagon in the main event. The winner will defend against Jon Moxley at All Out on Sunday, September 3 in Chicago, IL.
On paper, it seemed like a forgone conclusion that Cassidy would move past Pentagon. AEW did their darnedest trying to make viewers believe otherwise.
The story started with Moxley in the opener against Komander. The luchador wanted revenge on Moxley for injuring Fenix. Moxley attacked at the opening bell for the early lead. Komander used his speed to create opportunities for offense. Mox got gritty to grind back control. Komander went to the high-flying well for a rope-walking 450 splash, but Moxley put his knees up to block. Mox pounced for a lariat and a piledriver. Komander showed grit to kick out, so Moxley rained down elbows. Mox secured a choke then transitioned to an armbar for victory.
Decent opener. Komander showed just enough flash to make it exciting, while Moxley pounded out his game plan. Even though Moxley was never in serious trouble, Komander still came out looking like a budding star for the future.
Revenge was also on the mind of Pentagon. He had no ill will toward Cassidy. The title match was just business, so he can put hands on Jon Mox to avenge his brother.
Time for the main event. Pentagon took Cassidy to the limit. The luchador poured on heavy moves down the stretch. Pentagon executed a package piledriver on the apron. Cassidy was able to grab the ropes on the pinfall for the break. Penta maintained momentum to snap Cassidy’s arm. Another package piledriver followed. Pentagon had a slightly arrogant pin brimming with confidence of victory, however, Cassidy kicked out at 2. Penta was shocked, and that brief lack of focus allowed Cassidy to score a crucifix pin to sneak out with the win.
This match was very enjoyable. The physicality was banging from Penta, such as catching a suicide dive to military press Cassidy into the barricade. Cassidy had his moments to make the crowd smile, such as putting his hand in his pocket to block an armbar attempt. An exchange of destroyers was wild. You have to shrug at the devaluation of the move, but the sequence is still amusing.
The finish made me roll my eyes at how much punishment Cassidy took and still managed to win. On the positive, the way the result played out was unpredictable. AEW does well in mixing up methods of victory not to rely on a wrestler’s finisher every single time. When looking at the larger purpose trying to present Pentagon with a real chance at victory, I appreciate the effort. That’s all I can ask in this situation. We all knew Cassidy would win, however, AEW tried to create doubt.
The show didn’t end there. Cassidy cut a rare promo. For context, Cassidy was responding to words from Moxley earlier in the show. This was a rare miss from Mox. He spoke about not having catchphrase and hashtags. BCC is about the wrestler with the biggest bite. Yeah, that catchphrase line is not true about Moxley’s crew. #DeathJitsu. The whole bit about the bite didn’t sound cool, especially for a team that just lost Stadium Stampede.
Cassidy was exhausted, but he fired up quickly. The AEW International Championship means everything to him. It represents the underdogs overcoming odds to be superstars. Cassidy proclaimed that he will be champion as long as he wants, and there is nothing Moxley can do to take it away. Mox entered the ring for a staredown. He pie-faced the champ, so Cassidy threw a weak punch in return. Mox shrugged it off, flipped the bird, and exited.
The passion from Cassidy created a mighty fine promo to sell the PPV match. On paper, Moxley should wipe the floor with Cassidy. Victory for Mox won’t come easy. Cassidy has shown that he can always find a way to win. I really don’t know who will leave the PPV as champion. My head says Moxley, but don’t count out the heart of Cassidy. OC has done enough by now to earn the benefit of the doubt.
Plans for MJF & Adam Cole
One of the biggest questions heading into Dynamite was the next chapter in the story of MJF and Adam Cole as best friends. AEW revealed their direction for All Out and beyond.
MJF was given the week off. He’s in Paris banging rats. AEW is holding a battle royal on Rampage to determine their challengers for the ROH tag titles at All Out. AEW has a tournament starting next week to determine the #1 contender for the AEW World Championship at Grand Slam in New York. Check out Cole’s expression about the tournament. I’m not saying he’ll be in it, but I’m not saying he won’t.
Looking at the field for the battle royal, only two teams seem like a PPV fit. I have my eyes on the Hardys and Aussie Open.
Cole also had a promo segment in the ring. He was interrupted by Roderick Strong, Mike Bennett, and Matt Taven to air their grievances. They explained to the audience their deep ties with Cole and how he often dumps his friends for greener pastures. They accused Cole of being a leech, and MJF is his latest target as an easier path to the world title.
When Cole denied these accusations, Strong shot back that he will enter the tournament to do what Cole couldn’t. Strong will win the world title with a bad neck to prove his point.
This segment was strong in establishing character motivations. Cole stayed true to MJF as his best friend to cement that relationship. Strong and the Kingdom came across as bitter, even though, they made a lot of sense. Nonetheless, they set themselves up to be villains worth booing. We just need one more piece of the puzzle in a moment to attack Cole. That will really drive home the wedge.
I like the little detail of Strong always in his neck brace. It adds visual humor to the situation. I’m wondering if he’ll wrestle with the brace still on. One little detail I did not like was Strong declaring himself into the tournament. The tournament should be a big deal, and AEW is just going to allow an injured participant to call his shot? Maybe the Kingdom paid off Stokely Hathaway to fudge the paperwork in their favor. Back to the positive, it does feel like AEW is moving beyond the tension stage in the friendship of MJF and Cole. It’s bound to rise again eventually, especially since Cole said he’ll get another shot in time. For now, I’m ready for this new chapter to show MJF and Cole as real friends to let the good times roll.
Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.
Le Sex Gods reunion. Chris Jericho called Sammy Guevara to the ring to apologize. Things went smooth until Jericho wondered aloud if Sammy really did everything he could to help Jericho against Will Ospreay. Bickering picked up and insults were exchanged. Jericho slowed it down before it got too far out of hand. Jericho suggested a reunion of Le Sex Gods to chase the AEW tag titles. Sammy was in.
Le Sex Gods reunion pleases me. The segment played out as a pleasant surprise. It’s not often we see cooler heads prevail in professional wrestling. The end result sure seems like Jericho versus Sammy, however, the journey should be entertaining. FTR needs fresh challengers, so Le Sex Gods can fill that role down the line for a PPV.
Backstage, Don Callis tried to plant seeds of dissent in Sammy’s mind. The Spanish God wasn’t having it. Sammy was hip to Callis’ sleazy game.
NJPW Strong Openweight Championship: Eddie Kingston retained against Wheeler Yuta. Kingston was banged up from Stadium Stampede, so Yuta targeted those weak spots, particularly the elbow. Kingston had explosive rallies, then Yuta would regain control. In the end, Kingston fired up for a suplex and two spinning backfists to knock Yuta into la-la land. Afterward, Claudio Castagnoli retrieved his BCC partner while giving Kingston the cold shoulder.
Kingston brought the fire on this evening. His bursts of offense were a lot of fun. Yuta played the game smart with an effective strategy, but his downfall was arrogance. Instead of carving his killer instinct, Yuta would laugh at Kingston in pain.
One more thing. Look at Eddie fly!
Kris Statlander, Dr. Britt Baker DMD, & Hikaru Shida defeated Nyla Rose, Marina Shafir, & Emi Sakura. Statlander was the game-changer. She landed a flying dive onto the pile of bodies outside, then she finished Shafir with the Wednesday Night Fever piledriver.
One notable story moment was Baker accidentally kicking Shida in the face when Nyla moved. Baker tried to apologize immediately and ate a chokeslam from the Native Beast for her troubles. Afterward, Baker was pleading her case and Shida was frustrated. In the commotion, Ruby Soho ambushed Statlander after the match with the No Future Kick as a tease for her TBS title challenge at All Out.
Statlander was a hoss on offense. Nyla looked like a beast at times, and that matches her recent promo about reminding the world of her power. However, her team lost, so I guess she’s still in the same boat as before. The mini drama between Baker and Shida is intriguing. They are one apiece in accidental contact. Baker seemed to be more of the babyface in her reaction of guilt, so I’m wondering if AEW tests the waters on a heel turn for Shida.
Notes: FTR approached the Young Bucks about leaving them high and dry on the handshake at All In. The Bucks claimed they were frustrated about losing. Just as the air was to be cleared out of respect, Bullet Club Gold strolled in yapping their mouths. They challenged FTR and the Bucks to an 8-man tag at All Out. Match on.
Toni Storm was in a mood. She was happy for Saraya for winning the AEW Women’s World Championship, however, she viewed Saraya as going off script and forgetting her part in the performance. As a result, Storm was left without the title. She doesn’t know who to trust anymore, if anyone at all. Storm threw a shoe at Renee Paquette to close the scene.
Samoa Joe will defend the ROH TV title against Shane Taylor at All Out. Taylor earned his shot by winning a tournament. That is going to be a badass hoss fight.
Don Callis had a strategy session with Konosuke Takeshita about targeting Kenny Omega’s past injuries. The clip was pretty neat mixing x-ray images with highlights of contact on the body parts in question. It enhances the fight game illusion like a seedy movie villain.
The Acclaimed and Daddy Ass had a ribbon cutting ceremony to reveal new trios title belts. The straps are pink, and the back clasp scissors together. Harmless fun.
Stud of the Show: Orange Cassidy
A gutsy performance and a strong promo made Cassidy the shining star of the evening.
Match of the Night: Orange Cassidy vs. Pentagon
Creative flow with exciting action.
This episode was more on the talkative side and light on matches. The bouts that did take place were enjoyable. There were enough little story details playing out to create intrigue into next week. Looking at this as a go-home is where the show fell short. Aside from Cassidy versus Moxley, there was no strong build to create anticipation for the PPV. It also didn’t capitalize on hot moments from All In.
Share your thoughts about Dynamite. How do you rate it? What were your favorite moments from the show?
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