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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (July 29, 2020): Skate or die

AEW Dynamite (July 29, 2020) emanated from Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, FL. The show featured two title matches, two surprise appearances, and a flying skateboard covered in thumbtacks.

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

Skate or die

Whenever Jon Moxley is in a no DQ bout, you now it is going to be wild. Add in Darby Allin and the sky is the limit. Moxley and Allin went nuts in a tornado tag bout against Brian Cage and Ricky Starks.

Early in the evening, Moxley cut a solo promo. He tries to stay out of people’s business. Leave him alone and he leaves you alone. Mox thought his business with Cage was over, then Team Taz beat up little Darby. Let’s see how they like it when the odds are even. Moxley doesn’t start fights, but he always finishes them.

When it was time for the main event, Allin no-showed his entrance tune. Team Taz cut an arrogant promo claiming Allin was scared. It was all a ruse by Allin to attack with a surprise Coffin Drop off the tunnel as Cage and Starks entered.

The physicality never ceased. All four men beat each other up. Cage had power moves, Moxley had scruffy moves, Allin had fearless moves, and Starks had smooth moves. The hectic pace climaxed when Allin pulled out a skateboard covered with thumbtacks. Mox slyly slid on the apron to trap Cage in an armbar. That allowed Allin the opportunity to leap for a flying skateboard thumbtack stomp onto Starks’ back for the win.

The show closed as Allin stared down with Moxley in desire of a title shot. Allin’s wish was granted unbeknownst to him. Tony Khan booked it backstage for next week.

The visual of Starks’ bloody back is a sight to be seen. It perfectly demonstrates the pain from Allin’s creative trick.


For next week, I’m rooting for Moxley. I thought it was kind of a punk move for Darby to immediately focus on Mox’s title right after their win. I understand Darby’s quest to be at the top, but let the victory breath a little. I hope Moxley rips out all of Darby’s piercings. Not really, but something to that effect so Darby learns a lesson.

I’m curious where Cage sorts out in all of this. MJF is calling his shot for All Out. After Moxley vs Allin, there are only four more episodes of Dynamite until the PPV. Does AEW rush to squeeze in Mox vs Cage 2 and risk blowing Cage’s mystique with a second loss? It is probably more likely that Cage focuses on Allin first then Moxley later.

Long Island Iced Z is All Elite

Matt Cardona (fka Zack Ryder) made his first appearance in AEW. The situation for why is one I did not expect.

Cody Rhodes successfully retained the TNT Championship against indie challenger WARHORSE. The man who rules ass had Cody well scouted. WARHORSE had a counter ready for several of Cody’s signature maneuvers. Cody did make some mistakes, such as turning his back to his opponent on a rope break. That showed a lack of respect, and Cody paid the price when WARHORSE hit him from behind. Cody also arrogantly did pushups in the ring when he was in control.

The challenger’s big chance for victory came after a flying stomp to Cody’s back on the outside then a flying elbow drop inside the ring. Cody kicked out at 2.78 of the 3 count.

Cody outwitted WARHORSE in the end. Mr. HORSE missed a flying stomp and jammed his knee. Cody attacked with a low dropkick to that leg then locked in a figure-four submission to win.

WARHORSE did well in a solid match, but he didn’t truly grab me. I think part of that was a lack of any sort of pre-match promo. Cody racked up another win and continues to entertain with the TNT Championship open challenge. It will be interesting to see how future challengers learn from WARHORSE. He had a smart strategy. An astute fellow in the back should be able to piece together a perfect game plan for Cody by using all the pieces of success against the champ in previous title defenses. Cody’s reign is still young, so he should have a few unseen tricks up his sleeve. The longer this open challenge goes, the tougher it will be for Cody to overcome his errors.

After the match, Alex Reynolds and John Silver of the Dark Order ran to the ring to attack Cody. WARHORSE saw it coming and pushed Cody to safety. The numbers game got WARHORSE and then Cody. Arn Anderson entered the ring to square up. All of a sudden, Matt Cardona walked out to clean house.

That was a heck of a surprise. Cardona is looking jacked. He’s huge, especially compared to the smaller AEW roster. I actually thought it was Lance Archer at first when Cardona came out of the tunnel. Now it is time to see what tale AEW weaves. Cardona is obviously going to get a shot at the TNT Championship. He tags with Cody next week against the Dark Order’s B squad. Will Cardona swerve with a heel turn? Will Cody brush him off as a friend, which leads to bitter feelings? Or will it be a simple case of best man wins? The next step will be important, since it will be a chance for Cardona to shed the jobber stink of his WWE career.

Still the best

Hangman Page and Kenny Omega once again proved they are the best tag team in AEW. The champs retained against Evil Uno and Stu Grayson of the Dark Order in the best bout of the evening.

It started feisty as Hangman brawled with the Dark Order during Omega’s entrance. Kenny was too busy posing to notice what was going on. Once he saw, he stood on the ramp watching in bewilderment. After the sides were separated, Omega yelled at Hangman for not waiting. That was the only potential issue they had as an awkward team.

The Dark Order displayed sweet teamwork on several occasions.

It wasn’t enough to keep the champs down. Hangman turned the tide with a back and forth running clothesline to Uno. Omega whopped Uno with a V-Trigger, but the masked man kicked out of the pin. He would not kick out after Hangman and Omega blasted him with the buckshot lariat and V-Trigger combo finisher.

Hangman and Omega keep putting on consistently entertaining performances. At this point, they mesh together perfectly. I realize the story points to an eventual break-up, but I’m hoping they run the gauntlet through FTR and again through the Young Bucks. AEW’s tag division is so deep that it will be a long time before they run out of opponents and rematches.

Business picked up after the bout. Mr. Brodie Lee was livid about the Dark Order’s loss. He whacked Uno with a pile of papers, which is a BTE skit. Hangman was in the ring laughing at Mr. Brodie’s rage. Mr. Brodie told Hangman that he pissed him off for the last time. A bunch of random Dark Order creepers surrounded the ring. The Young Bucks were also there to support their friends. The creepers attacked and then FTR ran out to bash Mr. Brodie in the head with a beer cooler.

The “heroes” defended themselves and stood tall. A 12-man tag was booked for next week with Hangman, Omega, Bucks, & FTR versus Mr. Brodie, 5, 10, Grayson, Uno, & Colt Cabana.

That skirmish was great in a story sense. There was a wide range of emotion. FTR provided the surprise. It showed that Mr. Brodie has tons of creepers everywhere and could perhaps add a free agent. It mixed the heroes all together as hesitant super friends. Best of all, it made me strongly desire a showdown between Mr. Brodie and Hangman. That match would be an awesome slugfest.

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

Luchasaurus, Jungle Boy, Best Friends, and Orange Cassidy defeated Inner Circle. Marko Stunt and Floyd the bat were ringside. The story was beating down Trent building to a hot tag to Luchasaurus. He cleaned house then the match broke down into a flurry of high impact maneuvers. Chris Jericho tried to hit Luchasaurus with Floyd, but OC prevented that. Sammy Guevara had momentum on Luchasaurus. All of a sudden, Matt Hardy’s music played. He appeared from behind to push Sammy off the turnbuckles. Luchasaurus pounced with a chokeslam and a roundhouse kick to win.

This highly anticipated match was highly disappointing. I was ready for an aggressive war. Instead, we were served frisbee golf. There was too much comedy and flying theatrics for a feud that is supposed to be bitter. I didn’t like the finish either with the Hardy surprise. AEW usually does a good job of letting matches conclude before extra side stories proceed. I hope this style of distraction from Hardy doesn’t become a trend in AEW. Doing it too much becomes a cop out of protecting wrestlers in a loss.

Hikaru Shida defeated Diamante. Diamante had a pre-match vignette. She has nothing to lose and everything to prove as an unsigned talent. In the end, Diamante tried to end it with Code Red. Shida escaped. Diamante tried again, but Shida halted just enough to stifle the impact and landed next to the ropes for a break. Shida rebounded with a delayed vertical sitdown suplex. Diamante kicked out. Shida shot back with a running knee to the face for the win.

This was a decent match that elevated the status of both women. Shida took on the tough challenge and won. Diamante took the champ to deep waters. I didn’t like that this was a non-title bout. After Shida’s exciting promo a few weeks ago, it sounded like she was ready for everyone. Non-title makes it seem like Shida is hiding a little. She can afford to lose without consequences. Plus, I’ve never been a fan of the concept of beating the champ to earn a title shot, unless there is a deep story.

#MJF2020. MJF used his lengthy speech to announce his candidacy to challenge Jon Moxley for the World Championship at All Out on September 5. MJF wants to take AEW away from cosplaying gymnastics and back to wrestling.

Sounds good to me. I approve of MJF’s message. MJF’s hair is getting a little long for his hairstyle. He had to comb the sides into an odd upward combover.

Notes: Chris Jericho announced that there will be a debate against Orange Cassidy next week then a rematch the following week. The debate will have a special guest moderator that will blow people’s minds, according to Le Champion. My guess is Larry King. Also in that segment, Sammy Guevara provided your Spanish lesson for the day. Son of a bitch translates to son of el bitch.

FTR officially signed AEW contracts. They had a few demands, such as Tag Team Appreciation Night hosted by FTR in two weeks. The real takeaway was that Arn Anderson was in the room as FTR’s tag team consultant. It was not made clear if Arn will begin as their ringside coach. Hangman Page came in to celebrate. He poured a little whiskey for FTR and filled his own glass to the brim.

Speaking of contracts, I wonder if Cardona’s has a special provision preventing him from being pushed off the stage in a wheelchair.

Anna Jay is confirmed as a member of the Dark Order. Colt Cabana clarified that he is just hanging out and not officially with the Dark Order.

Dr. Britt Baker DMD will accept a match against Big Swole if Swole can defeat an opponent of Baker’s choosing.

The women’s tournament will feature teams of random partners. Nyla Rose will be tagging with Ariane of Funkadactyl fame. The tournament begins Monday on YouTube. Ariane was a shocking surprise. It won’t mean much for quality, but she’s probably no worse than the enhancement ladies on Dark.

Stud of the Show: WARHORSE’s introduction

Justin Roberts introduced WARHORSE as, “He weighs 4,000 pounds of raw heavy metal and he is here to rule ass.” That is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard for pro wrestling, and I love it.

Dud of the Show: No pre-match promo for WARHORSE

Part of the fun for these indie open challengers is learning a little about Cody’s opponent. For WARHORSE, we were given nothing. There was no promo or short vignette to explain who he is. No reasons were provided for us to connect or care about WARHORSE. He felt like some random dude. AEW dropped the ball on that one.

Grade: B

This episode had its ups and downs. The opening ten-man tag was not so hot. The tag title bout and the main event were quite enjoyable. The storytelling was the anchor this week. The highlight was so many moving parts to advance lots of angles. Much of the roster got their face on camera. There were also neat surprises of Matt Cardona and Ariane.

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

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