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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (June 17, 2020): Orange Justice

AEW Dynamite (June 17, 2020) emanated from Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, FL. The show featured Hangman Page & Kenny Omega defending the tag titles, the Best Friends defending the #1 contendership, Cody Rhodes putting the TNT Championship on the line against an absolute outsider, Dr. Britt Baker DMD being abducted, and Orange Cassidy getting a modicum of revenge on Chris Jericho.

Get caught up on all the Dynamite details with the excellent live results and play-by-play from Claire Elizabeth.

Orange Justice

Last week, Orange Cassidy was beaten to a bloody pulp by Chris Jericho and the Inner Circle. This week, OC served Jericho some OJ, Orange Justice.

The main event of the evening was Le Sex Gods challenging the Best Friends for the #1 contendership. The winners would be in line for a title shot at the champs at Fyter Fest.

The bout was action-packed with close calls for both teams. The conclusion saw Sammy Guevara bash Trent’s mid-section with a bat, named Floyd. Trent kicked out of the pinfall. Sammy set up GTH in the fireman’s carry position, but Trent escaped to push Sammy into the ropes. Sammy was ‘accidentally’ tripped by the cameraman. Trent seized the moment with a back-to-belly piedriver for the win.

After the match, the cameraman revealed himself to be Orange Cassidy, master of disguise. He opened a can of whoop ass on Jericho. OC had a fury the likes I’ve never seen from him in AEW. Ground and pound and a Superman punch took out Le Champion.

Cassidy versus Jericho was made official for Fyter Fest.

Damn, that fire from OC was impressive. I’ve poo-pooed Cassidy’s lethargic in-ring style in the past, but I’m all aboard if OC fights Jericho with that same intensity. The question would be if he has the gas tank to keep it up for a 20 minute match.

As much as I’m a fan of Le Sex Gods, I’m glad the Best Friends were victorious. They have worked hard for their title shot and deserve to see it through. The match had me questioning who would win a few times. They sucked me in even though all signs pointed to the Best Friends winning.

And still...

In the opener, Hangman Page & Kenny Omega retained the AEW World Tag Team Championship against the Natural Nightmares. Brandi Rhodes was ringside. Allie was not, as Dustin Rhodes ordered last week.

Dustin and QT Marshall held their own well against the champs. After a sequence with a flurry of moves to knock all four men down to the mat, Allie came out on the entrance ramp to cheer on QT. He went high-risk and missed a flying attack. QT then ate a powerbomb and a running knee to the back of the head, but he managed to kick out. The champs kept up the pressure for their Last Call combo finisher to win.

Even though the result was never in doubt, it was still a good match. Dustin and QT rose to the occasion as aged veterans realizing it could be their last chance at gold. I appreaciate that there were no shenanigans from Allie or Brandi. Their story can play out on its own at a later date. The focus remained on the importance of the tag titles, and righfully so.

Ricky Starks answers open TNT Championship challenge

Earlier in the day, Cody Rhodes teased that his opponent for the TNT Championship open challenge would come from outside AEW. Before the introduction of the mystery man, Arn Anderson had some advice for Cody. With age comes maturity, and with maturity comes wisdom. Arn believes Cody can beat Jake Hager at Fyter Fest, but the timing is not right. It is time for Cody to move on to a qualified opponent where Cody can hone his skills. Hager watched all this from the back, but he did not make his presence felt. As of now, his future match against Cody is still on.

Cody’s opponent was revealed to be former NWA TV Champ “Stroke Daddy” Ricky Starks. I was pleased as punch to see Starks on the AEW screen. He can move in the ring, delivers great promos, and has absolute charisma. I first discovered Starks on this smooth self-produced vignette and instantly became a fan.

Starks’ intro promo was mighty fine about the struggle of climbing up through the business.

Starks claimed he was ready to take Cody to the distance, and he did just that. Starks made Cody work hard for the victory. Even Arn Anderson was worried and had to push Cody off the ropes as Starks was running forward to execute a maneuver. Cody was in serious trouble after a superplex, but the champ rebounded with grit and determination. After a series of roll-up attempts, Cody planted Starks with an unforeseen Cross Rhodes to win.

That’s three successful TNT title defenses for Cody, and that’s also three straight matches were he made his opponent look like a star. Cody proclaimed the fun was just beginning, and he has most certainly delivered on that statement. Starks’ performance was impressive in his own right. He showed he has the tools to hang at the top.

The abduction of Dr. Britt Baker DMD

Dr. Britt Baker DMD began the evening in comfort parked close to Tony Schiavone in her Roles Royce. AEW even rigged a pulley system so Baker could pass notes to her buddy on commentary.

Dr. Baker’s night took a terrible turn when she was abducted by Big Swole.

Schiavone was interviewing Baker and broke the news that Hikaru Shida will defend the Women’s Championship against Penelope Ford at Fyter Fest. Baker lost her cool and chided Tony about siding with her conspirators. She even put Schiavone on a friendship timeout. Baker yelled for Reba to drive them away, except it was Big Swole at the wheel instead. Swole kidnapped AEW’s resident role model.

Later, Reba used a phone app to track down Baker. The dentist was found inside a dumpster.

Baker vowed to make Big Swole pay, literally. She plans to sue Big Swole and make her pay fines. Baker will get even if it is the last thing she does.

Dr. Britt Baker DMD continues to kill it with her comedy Role Model gimmick. These are the silly antics I love about professional wrestling. I have to be honest though. I’m siding with Baker for revenge after Swole picked on our injured role model. Baker was in no position to defend herself.

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

Abadon defeated Anna Jay. Jay received the star treatment with a vignette, but it was Abadon who grabbed the opportunity. She overwhelmed Jay with a whirlwind of violence and won via headscissors driver.

I like the fake-out swerve of Jay being promoted and then Abadon returning as the opponent to make a statement. Abadon may not be ready for prime time in the ring, but she makes up for it with her creepy character. Her zombie style is so over the top that I can’t look away.

Dark Order recruitment. After Jay lost, the Dark Order surrounded the ring for two reasons. One was to console Jay and help her to the back. The other was to hand Colt Cabana, who was in the fan section, an envelope. The contents inside widened Colt’s eyes. It was later revealed to be a bout agreement for Mr. Brodie Lee & Colt against Joey Janela & Sonny Kiss next week.

I can dig the interest in Jay. She would make an interesting addition to the Dark Order. I wondering if they will cover her face up with a mask. As for Colt, he may not have wanted the ball, but Mr. Brodie made sure they’ll at least be on the same court. What better way to make a sales pitch than by going for a test drive.

MJF defeated Billy Gunn. Austin Gunn and Wardlow were ringside. Billy had the power advantage, so MJF focused heavily on attacking the knee. Even Wardlow got in on the action to damage Billy’s joint. For the close, MJF tried to get cute with a FameAsser, but Billy countered to hit one of his one. Wardlow hopped on the apron as a distraction and slyly tossed the Dynamite Diamond Ring to MJF. MJF used his loaded fist to punch Billy out cold for the win.

A win is a win. MJF did what needed to be done. Billy looked huge compared to MJF, like a man versus a child. MJF showed his intelligence to target the lower limb. Even though MJF found success, it does bring up questions of how he will fare against big men in the future. Not all of them will fall for the Dynamite Diamond Ring trick.

Lumberjacks! After the bout, Jungle Boy mouthed off at MJF. Taunts were exchanged. Fisticuffs ensued between MJF & Wardlow and Jurassic Express. Wrestlers tried to break up the skirmish, but they had trouble separating Wardlow and Luchasaurus. It was later announced that the two big men will clash next week in a lumberjack match.

Yes! I love me some old school match stipulations. Wardlow and Luchasaurus should be very exciting as a hoss war. The set up for the match was simple and made lots of sense given the long-term backstory of MJF trifling with the dino crew.

Havoc and Sabian worked well to control the action by targeting Matt Jackson’s tender ribs, but their Superbad momentum was halted when the Bucks tricked Sabian into tombstoning Havoc.

The Bucks delivered a double super kick to Sabian for the win.

After the match, all four teams meleed with each other. FTR and the Bucks came out on top as they executed dueling spike piledrivers to make a statement.

Even though the Bucks won, Havoc and Sabian still proved themselves as a serious team to be reckoned with. Butcher & Blade did the same last week against FTR. AEW is establishing serious depth in their tag division. This group of teams seems to be heading for an 8-man tag or a four-way fight.

Whatever the direction, I’m not so sure we get FTR versus the Bucks for quite awhile. FTR wants no excuses when they win. Matt Jackson’s ribs took a major beating. There’s no way he will be healthy anytime soon if the Bucks choose to wrestle weekly or even every other week.

Notes: The sunset in the background of the opening match was a cool visual. Results of AEW Dark scrolled across the bottom of the screen like a sports ticker. Brian Cage and Jon Moxley provided separate promo videos to hype their title fight at Fyter Fest. Cage can’t decide what he wants more; to drop Moxley on his head or win the AEW World Championship. Moxley stated that he has bad demons. The only thing that keeps them at bay is hurting people in the ring. Matt Hardy was on commentary for the main event. He mentioned that he will let Sammy Guevara pick which version of Hardy he wants to wrestle in their match next week.

Stud of the Show: Jimmy Havoc

Havoc has always been great at cheating and using foreign objects, but his antics stole the show on this particular evening. Havoc was caught pre-match hiding pliers. During the contest he had a mallet, Young Bucks bucks, and other devices at his disposal to inflict pain. None of this is new for Havoc. I just want to applaud his creativity in being nefarious.

Enjoy this catapult eye poke in Havoc’s honor.

Dud of the Show: Cody Rhodes

There were no strong contenders this week, so I’m rolling with a very specific moment from Cody. During his promo, he sarcastically questioned why the Elite and the Nightmare Family did not come to his aid last week during the beatdown from Jake Hager. Airing dirty laundry in such a public manner is not befitting of a beloved babyface. Sometimes Cody flashes an attitude that he should be the center of the world. I can’t tell if it is supposed to be a character trait or seeds being planted for an eventual heel turn.

Grade: B+

This show had good energy all around. The wrestlers were shimmying and shaking with vim and vigor. The three big matches had obvious winners, but they still managed to fool me on certain false finishes.

Share your thoughts about this episode of Dynamite. How do you rate it? Who stole the show?

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