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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (Aug. 5, 2020): Neck-breaker

AEW Dynamite (Aug. 5, 2020) emanated from Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, FL. The show featured Mr. Brodie Lee stealing one from Hangman Page, the in-ring debut of Matt Cardona, a new challenger for Cody Rhodes, Chris Jericho debating Orange Cassidy, and MJF interfering in the championship bout between Jon Moxley and Darby Allin.

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


The main event of the evening was Jon Moxley defending his AEW World Championship against Darby Allin. MJF would make an appearance as part of his #MJF2020 campaign.

Moxley cut an early promo explaining his strategy against Allin. Mox has demons and understands Allin’s approach and disregard for his own body. Mox is actually concerned for Allin’s health, since he is the only person Mox likes in AEW. However, Mox will do what he has to do with the title on the line. He asked that Allin stay down when it is time to stay down.

Meanwhile, MJF offered a tour at his headquarters. The campaign will not be over until the world title is around his waist. When asked about if Allin wins, MJF brushed it off as an easy challenge.

When it was time for the title tilt, it played out exactly as Moxley said it would. I’m starting to wonder he is a fortune teller. Mox manhandled his little compadre. Allin would fire off an occasional burst of rabid squirrel offense, but Moxley was too much man. When the beating got rough, Mox requested that Allin quit. He refused and the fight carried on.

Near the end of the bout, MJF made his presence felt. Wardlow was on stage to distract the referee, so MJF could smash Mox in the head with the title belt.

Allin may or may not have seen what happened. Either way, he tried to take advantage of the bloody champ with a Coffin Drop. Mox kicked out. On a second Coffin Drop, Mox caught Allin in a rear naked choke. Allin escaped by gouging the eyes. That made Mox realize it was time to finish it. A Gotch piledriver and a Paradigm Shift ended Allin’s evening. It was as close as Moxley could come to breaking Allin’s neck without literally breaking his neck.

That bout featured exciting action and good storytelling. Allin slapping Moxley at the start amped up the aggression from the get-go. Allin’s fearless style is always entertaining. I loved the sequence of the rear naked choke with Mox’s mercy being repaid with fingers to the eye. I thought for sure big papa Mox was going to put his little child to bed, but the fight had a different finish. The piledriver and Paradigm Shift were an appropriate conclusion to incapacitate Allin.

While I acknowledge that the story was well told, I didn’t particularly enjoy it. It lacked a reason for me to care about Moxley saving Allin from pain. Allin is a big boy. He signed up for this and said he wouldn’t stop until his neck was broken. So, I say break his freaking neck. It is hard for me to be concerned about Allin’s well-being if he himself doesn’t care.

From a sporting perspective, I think this loss cooked Allin as a top threat. He rarely uses strategy. Allin just attacks like a madman. For that same reason, he’s money as a sports entertainer. There needs to be a smart mix for him to become championship material. Allin showed glimpses with previous attacks targeting Brian Cage’s arm, but he doesn’t always wrestle in that manner.

Dark lariat

In the opener, Dark Order (Mr. Brodie Lee, Stu Grayson, Evil Uno, 5, 9, & Colt Cabana) defeated Hangman Page & Kenny Omega, Young Bucks, & FTR. 10 and Anna Jay were standing by the commentary table, but they had no role in the win.

The story was Dax Harwood going down early with a knee injury. The good guy squad helped him up while ignoring Omega getting pummeled in the ring. Cash Wheeler and Hangman escorted Harwood to the back. Dark Order utilized their numbers advantage to take control.

That set up a hot tag to the returning Hangman, who cleaned house. More like he burnt the Dark Order house down by destroying everyone, except Mr. Brodie Lee. The two big men (given who else was in the match) stepped up for a showdown. It didn’t last long, but the tease was nice. Stu Grayson and Evil Uno opened the ropes for Hangman to fall to the floor.

For the finish, the Bucks double superkicked Mr. Brodie into a snap dragon suplex from Omega. Hangman went for a buckshot lariat, but Mr. Brodie dodged. Hangman almost hit Omega, who was ironically saved by a Dark Order member pulling him out of the ring. Mr. Brodie clobbered Hangman with a high-impact lariat to win.

This 12-man bonanza was much, much better than last week’s 10-man mishap. It was my favorite match of the evening. There were a few different tales being told with Hangman with FTR, Hangman vs Mr. Brodie, and Cabana with the Dark Order. There was even acknowledgement of the Being the Elite skit with Omega trying to murder Cabana, who might actually be dead on BTE.

The juiciest part was Mr. Brodie pinning Hangman. I was quite surprised at that specific outcome. Hangman hasn’t been pinned for... I don’t even know. Perhaps not at all in 2020? That is a fist fight I desperately want to see. We only experienced a small taste in this bout to leave us wanting more. I’m kind of hoping this feud includes a lariat contest. Line up bodies and knock them down.

It was also good for Dark Order to pick up an important victory. It helps raise their profile as a threat despite so many recent losses. That group has always been about numbers, so maybe 12-man tags are their forte. Mr. Brodie should petition for a 12-man tag title.

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

Best Friends defeated Santana & Ortiz. Top move was an electric chair superplex from the Best Friends.

In the end, Santana and Ortiz wanted to attempt their Street Sweeper finisher. Chuck Taylor knocked Santana off the turnbuckles, while Trent rolled up Ortiz for the win.

The aftermath played out in a few separate segments. Best Friends had driven Trent’s moms’ van to the venue. Santana and Ortiz found it and took out their losing frustration by breaking windows with a sledgehammer. Best Friends vowed to make Santana and Ortiz apologize to Trent’s mom over speaker phone.

It was a solid match made even better in hindsight with the story afterward. Destruction of property is always entertaining in the wrestling world.

The Best Friends response was kind of dorky, but that fits their vibe. I’m just hoping Santana and Ortiz aren’t forced to face comeuppance in this scenario. They already lost the first bout. They need to rebound with a win in the rematch to maintain their status as a theoretical top team that could win the titles if they get on a roll.

Mentor Matt. Matt Hardy had an in-ring promo to explain he’ll be himself now. He wants to give back to wrestling by mentoring the young talent. Hardy tried with Sammy Guevara, but Sammy ignored his advice to ditch Chris Jericho. Hardy explained how it was Sammy who ambushed Hardy when Hardy came to AEW. Matt figured he would return the favor last week in Sammy’s return to action. Instead of helping Sammy, Hardy now wants to hurt him

As Hardy was speaking, he anticipated Sammy trying for a sneak attack. Fisticuffs ensued. Hardy slammed Sammy through the ring announcer table, but Sammy had the last laugh with a front flip twisting cannonball off the stage onto Hardy through a table. Hardy was left in a pool of blood.

I’m going to side with Taz on this one. He pointed out how Hardy is taking the rebuke of advice a little too personal. There’s plenty of reasons to fight with Sammy from the stuff during the Elite versus Inner Circle feud. Ignoring direction to leave Le Champion shouldn’t be one of them.

Outside the storyline, it is cool to see Hardy doing exactly what he stated by trying to help younger talent. This should be a feud that sees Sammy come out on top and prove Hardy’s value as a veteran presence. After that mini brawl, the action should be insane in their eventual blow-off match.

Cody Rhodes & Matt Cardona defeated Alex Reynolds and John Silver of the Dark Order. This served as the in-ring debut of Cardona (fka Zack Ryder). He picked up the win with his Radio Silence elevated leg lariat finisher.

Cardona looked good. He hit his spots that would have popped fans, had there been a live crowd. I would have liked to see a little more variation from his work in WWE. For example, a new finisher could signify growth as a wrestler and help him shed the stigma of his past employer.

Scorpio Sky stepping up. Part of the story from the previous match was Cody taking a beating. His body was brutally tenderized. As Cody exited through the tunnel post-match, Sky blocked his path to make his desire known for a TNT Championship bout. That match will take place next week.

Sky ripped a fiery promo on Dark about kicking down the door to get a seat at the table. Good job by living up to those words. One of these days, Cody’s body is going to break down from all this punishment in weekly matches. Sky could be the beneficiary of that.

Orange Cassidy wins debate. Groundbreaking professional wrestling executive Eric Bischoff was the surprise moderator for the debate between Chris Jericho and Cassidy. OC remained quiet until question 3 when borrowing the Old School gag from Will Ferrell to give an eloquent answer about global sea levels.

The final question was the only one that mattered. OC explained why next week’s match against Le Champion is important to him. He turned the tables on Jericho playing to his ego about losing to a man who puts his hands in his pockets. It reminded me of Billy Hoyle’s speech to Sidney Deane about losing to a slow, geeky chump in the opening scene of White Men Can’t Jump. Bischoff awarded the debate victory to OC based on the sea level answer. Jericho responded by siccing Jake Hager to pummel OC. Jericho stood tall after a Judas Effect.

I don’t care about Cassidy, so I thought this segment was boring. That beatdown from Hager was awesome though. I also didn’t buy OC’s tough guy act at the end of the debate. But, credit is deserved for expressing Cassidy’s motivation for the rematch. It helps build his character on the slow burn to bigger things.

Big Swole defeated Reba. Dr. Britt Baker DMD’s choice for mystery opponent was Reba. Swole was all business at the start. Reba got some offense in when Swole was distracted flapping her gums at Dr. Baker. Reba missed a middle rope moonsault, and Swole pounced for Dirty Dancing to win.

Stud of the Show: Fly, Sammy, fly

Sammy Guevara’s front flip flying attack was a thing of beauty.

I could watch that clip all day.

Dud of the Show: Dr. Britt Baker DMD

I was disappointed with the choice of Reba as the mystery opponent for Big Swole. I also question why Dr. Baker chose someone who hasn’t wrestled in years. There was no secret plan to be hatched. As a viewer, satisfaction was not had, because Reba isn’t the one who needs a reckoning with Swole. No heat was transferred onto Dr. Baker, since there was no malicious intent from Dr. Baker toward Reba as the pick. I could understand if Dr. Baker was angry at Reba for not protecting her from Swole in the past, but that’s not what happened in this scenario.

Grade: B

This episode wasn’t my cup of tea. On personal preference, I’d give it a C. After factoring in the effort of storytelling, the grade bounces up to a B. I appreciate the effort, even if much of the show didn’t connect with me. That’s more a reflection on my tastes than bad writing.

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

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