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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (Oct. 18, 2022): Triumph and tragedy

AEW Dynamite (Oct. 18, 2022) emanated from Heritage Bank Center in Cincinnati, OH. The Title Tuesday special featured four championship contests with a slobberknocking main event between Jon Moxley and Hangman Page with MJF calling his shot to cash in.

Get caught up on all the Dynamite details with the excellent play-by-play from Claire Elizabeth. All four matches on the show were championship bouts, and the rest was promos. Let’s break it down.

AEW World Championship

Jon Moxley returned to his hometown of Cincinnati as a conquering hero. He looked to continue his run of success by defending the AEW world title against Hangman Page. This main event bout was one of the biggest matchups of the year. It was the first time Moxley and Page rumbled in one-on-one action. The contest was shaping up to be one of the best TV matches of the year for AEW when tragedy struck. Hangman took an unfortunate bump and was stretchered out of the ring. Official reports say Hangman suffered a concussion.

Before that incident, the match was pure fire. Hangman exited the ring during Moxley’s entrance to fight the champ in the crowd. That set the tone for the rest of the match. Hangman hit a suplex on the floor, then he jumped off the upper level for a moonsault. Awesome!

Moxley took charge to lead the fight toward the ring. He was already bleeding before the match officially began. As soon as the bell rang, they brawled on the outside again. Hangman reversed an Irish whip sending Mox into the ring steps.

The action settled down to be contained within the ropes. Hangman dished out punishment, and Moxley asked for more. Highlights included a superplex from Mox, a Deadeye piledriver from Hangman on the apron, and a super fallaway slam from Hangman.

The pace intensified, as if it wasn’t already intense enough. Hangman landed a discus lariat then he charged into a King Kong lariat from Moxley. That’s when things went wrong.

The referee noticed Hangman in harm, so he called in medical personnel. AEW has been know to blur these lines before. This one didn’t seem like a work. The match was awkwardly stopped, and Moxley was declared the winner. Cameras didn’t show Hangman being loaded to a stretcher and taken away. Nobody hammed it up like part of a storyline.

Positive thoughts to Hangman that he’ll be alright. I think the best way to honor his effort is to focus on the badass match he was having with Moxley. That was a donnybrook, slugfest, fist fight. All the superlatives apply. Moxley and Hangman were the best versions of themselves in this bout. They sold the importance of the moment with viciousness and urgency. The cool move factor was charged up as well with Hangman’s arena moonsault. I loved how they teased the opening brawl getting into the ring, then Moxley punched Hangman off the apron to continue the fighting before the sanctioned action began. Hangman played off the crowd in enemy territory to gloat on a kip up. Moxley pounced for a quick cutter when Hangman lost focus in that instance. There were a lot of these little details to create an ass-kicking aura throughout.

The night didn’t end there. MJF cashed in his Casino chip to call his shot at the AEW World Championship.

MJF cashes in

MJF wants Moxley for the world title at Full Gear on November 19. AEW crafted quite a tale to get to that position.

The story started earlier in the evening when MJF confronted William Regal for a promo duel. MJF told a tale of his WWE tryout at the age of 19. MJF impressed Regal, but his young age prevented a contract offer from the company. Regal encouraged MJF to send match footage to him each month to stay on the radar. MJF did so and received a brusque email in the third month. Regal responded that he is a very busy man and to send video again once MJF improves his level of talent. That message crushed MJF. It made him want to quit his dream of professional wrestling and kill himself. Doing so would mean the naysayers win, and MJF couldn’t have that. He used that as motivation to reach the top. MJF will have the last laugh when he wins the world championship.

Regal countered with a smile. He claimed that was his way of lighting a fire in MJF. Back in Regal’s day, grown men beat him bloody at the age of 16 when trying to break into the business. Times have changed. MJF had it easy with only an email. Regal goaded and encouraged MJF to prove himself the right way in winning the title. No shortcuts.

This was a strong segment. Both men commanded attention with their deliveries. While MJF’s boohoo tale did make him look like a false victim overreacting to criticism, Regal flipped it as a teaching lesson. I like that direction as the evolution for MJF. I’ve felt he often comes across as a boy on screen. He’s lacked that killer instinct as a man. Nobody fears MJF. That’s the missing element in his path towards greatness. If MJF can accomplish respect in the ring, then that’s a game changer for the longevity of his ability to stay on top.

In fact, I feel the same about about all of AEW’s four pillars. A future PPV should be subtitled Boys To Men. Jungle Boy is growing up as Jungle Man Jack Perry in his feud with Christian Cage. Darby Allin and Sammy Guevara are in the same boat needing a nemesis to make them mature. Image all four achieving that missing ingredient on the same show. I digress. Back to Dynamite.

After the main event, Moxley wished Hangman well for a full recovery. The champ then called out MJF. MJF marched to the ring teasing a cash-in. He unbuttoned his shirt then rolled out of the ring. MJF wants no excuses when he beats Moxley. He wants him at full strength. MJF called his shot for Full Gear. That’s where the earlier promo work came into play, and it was executed strong.

ROH World Championship

Chris Jericho continued his mission to desecrate the Ring of Honor legacy. Former world champ Dalton Castle took a stand to defend ROH. Ian Riccaboni joined commentary, and Bobby Cruise handled introductions for the ROH vibe. Castle received a spectacular entrance with a throne and his boys out in number. Fans of Castle need to witness the panache of this moment. Peacock power was electric.

Jericho entered to his standard Judas track accompanied by Floyd the baseball bat and Jake Hager wearing Daniel Garcia’s bucket hat. Jericho adhered to the Code of Honor handshake and extended his hand. Castle comically reached into his tights to pull out a middle finger. Jericho responded with chops to the chest. Castle was tossed from the ring, so he fired up with the boys on the outside. Castle returned to execute three consecutive suplexes and a rotating gutwrench slam.

The match progressed as an even affair. Submissions led to fisticuffs. When Jericho leaped into the ropes for a Lionsault, Castle charged for a waistlock to snatch Jericho off the ropes for a bridging German suplex. Jericho tried to rally with a Codebreaker, but Castle countered to hit his Bang-A-Rang spinning finisher. 1, 2, Jericho kicked out.

Castle and Jericho swung haymakers. Jericho ducked then pounced for the Judas Effect for victory. Cross another former ROH world champ off Jericho’s list.

Jericho celebrated with the JAS on stage, then Le Champion set his sights on Riccaboni. Not even ROH commentators were safe. As Daddy Magic and Cool Hand held Riccaboni in place to be smashed with the title, former ROH world champion Jerry Lynn ran in to grab the gold from Jericho’s hands. Lynn paid the price for his good deed to save Riccaboni. Jericho planted Lynn with a piledriver onto the belt on stage.

That match was a glorious display of sports entertainment. Castle brought pageantry with his entrance and backed up his flamboyance with unique offense in the ring. Castle literally throwing boys at Hager on the outside, Hager’s outburst to pummel the boys for taking his hat, and Jericho bumping chests with referee Aubrey Edwards were little moments adding to the overall enjoyment. The extra flash was all good and fun, but it doesn’t hit as hard without a quality match. Jericho and Castle served up a dandy to make everything that much sweeter. I like that Jericho won clean. Castle is no push-over, but Jericho was the clear favorite for victory. This reinforces that Jericho is still a genuine threat and not using cheats as an excuse to be lazy.

AEW Interim Women’s World Championship

Toni Storm entered as interim champ against worthy challenger Hikaru Shida. The attitude was respectful and also aggressive. The action saw Storm get the better of Shida in scouting preparation. Shida blocked a tornado DDT to counter for a suplex. When Shida aimed for the Katana spinning strike, Storm countered for an elbow blow. After a roll-up exchange, Storm ducked a knee strike from Shida. That led to a bridging German suplex from Storm. Shida kicked out, but Storm didn’t slow down. A tornado DDT and low piledriver finished Shida as Storm retained.

Very good match. With a little more time, I think it could have reached a higher gear to be special. The story of familiarity wasn’t just words. Storm and Shida showed it in the ring with blocks and counters of signature moves. I like how AEW allowed Storm to take center stage in the match to establish herself as champion. This was a definitive win, but both looked strong. It whet my appetite for a future rematch one day between these two.

Afterward, Jamie Hater and Rebel attacked Storm from behind. Shida was damaged goods from the loss, so she was no help. Dr. Britt Baker DMD strolled down stage for a grand entrance. Whatever master plan the dentist had in mind was nullified when Saraya entered the scene. She spring down stage to tackle Baker. They brawled off to the side.

With Storm still outnumbered, Riho made a surprise return to clean house.

That was a hot little number for post-match activity. Boom, boom, boom. Ambush, brawl, surprise return. The idea of Baker versus Saraya is heating up. As is Hayter challenging Storm. With Full Gear coming soon, those matchups would both be worthy of PPV.

AEW World Trios Championship

Death Triangle put gold on the line against Best Friends. This was a rematch from September 7 when PAC, Fenix, and Pentagon won the vacant titles. Orange Cassidy had a desire to take all the Bastard’s treasure after winning the AEW All-Atlantic Championship, and the match was made. OC was too lazy to carry the belt, so he used a backpack to tote the title to the ring. Alex Abrahantes was ringside for his crew.

The trios action was fast and furious. The first close pinfall came on a Death Triangle flurry for a lungblower from Penta, a flying stomp from Fenix, and a German suplex from PAC all to Cassidy. Chuck Taylor made the save. The next close pinfall came on back-to-back piledrivers from Chuck and Trent and a teamwork pyramid splash from Cassidy all to Penta. PAC made the save.

Hammer time! Tension was teased within Death Triangle when PAC grabbed the ring bell hammer. Fenix wasn’t cool with that method of cheating and snatched the hammer from PAC.

The next nearfall came on Strong Zero from Trent to Fenix. Penta saved his brother. Fenix rose from the ashes for a double cutter to kick-start the comeback. Fenix slung through the ropes for a hook kick on Trent, then the luchador finished the job with a Fire Driver to retain.

This is the kind of action I was hoping for when the trios division was introduced in AEW. Death Triangle and Best Friends did not disappoint. This was a hard-fought win that helps establish Death Triangle’s reign. Keep lining up quality challengers and let Death Triangle knock them down until the Elite return for an epic showdown.

The little details with PAC were consistent. He was focused on maiming Cassidy as best he could within the flow of the match. Having Fenix thwart hammer time was an interesting touch. Just like a triangle, there were three points on this matter. Fenix was the light, PAC was the dark, and Penta was neutral. The dark ninja didn’t seem to care either way. Like a true team, Fenix and PAC patched things up after the match with a hug. I hope PAC’s hammer obsession is solely a reaction of hatred toward Cassidy and the Best Friends. I want to see PAC thrive athletically against other competition.

Promo notes: Dr. Britt Baker and Jamie Hayter are disgusted that neither is women’s champ. One of them will be by the end of the year.

Wardlow and Samoa Joe have zero tolerance for disrespect. They plan on physically hurting Matt Taven and Mike Bennett to teach the Kingdom a lesson. I’d say this is an interesting tag team conundrum. OGK are gunning for ROH tag team gold, so you’d think they would prevail to set up a future match with FTR. That would mean either Wardlow or Joe takes the loss in tag team action, and they are both strong singles champions. Something has to give in this scenario. I was wondering why FTR doesn’t handle this issue themselves. FTR business was addressed in the next segment.

FTR was asked about going after the AEW tag titles as #1 contenders for so long. FTR has a big target on their backs with AAA, IWGP, and ROH titles, but the ultimate goal is the AEW belt. Just as it seemed FTR would issue a challenge to the champs (The Acclaimed), Swerve Strickland and Keith Lee interrupted. They viewed themselves as next in line since they recently lost the gold. FTR proposed a #1 contender bout, and Lee indubitably accepted. Swerve wasn’t so keen on Lee’s plan.

Jay Lethal requested a rematch with Darby Allin. Tension turned physical. Lethal rammed Allin in the garage door, and Sonjay Dutt lowered the weight onto Allin’s torso. Lethal walked to the other side to apply a figure-four on the trapped Allin. That was a funny beatdown scene.

The Acclaimed and Bully Gunn were sad not to be scissoring, and they will defend the AEW tag titles on Rampage against the Varsity Athletes. It will be title versus trademark.

Bryan Danielson talked up the potential of Daniel Garcia. Wheeler Yuta was tired of hearing that and argued with Danielson. Yuta bled for the Blackpool Combat Club. BCC means something to Jon Moxley, Claudio Castagnoli, and him. Yuta accused Danielson of not holding BCC in the same esteem.

Christian Cage and Luchasaurus are moving on from Jungle Boy. They are going for gold. Christian issued a warning to any champion in AEW. Hmm, I wonder who Luchasaurus will target. Wardlow? Samoa Joe? Yes and yes to those hoss fights, please. If Luchasaurus chases Orange Cassidy for the AEW All-Atlantic Championship, which country would the dino represent?

Well, if you thought the JAS versus BCC feud was winding down, guess again. AEW is giving us two stable matches next week with Jericho & Garcia versus Claudio & Yuta and Danielson versus Guevara. Hit the Lamb Chop song. This is the feud that doesn’t end. Yes, it goes on and on, my friend.

Jade Cargill threatened to disrupt Rampage. Either Tony Khan gets her TBS Championship back from Nyla Rose, or Jade will hijack the show.

Stud of the Show: Dalton Castle

Castle shined in his entrance and took Chris Jericho to the limit. One of my wish list items for 2022 was seeing Castle’s entrance in front of a raucous crowd. AEW did well building an emotional appeal to root for Castle on this occasion, and they added pizzazz to Castle’s peacock power upon arrival for the ROH title bout. It left me fully satisfied.

Match of the Night: Jon Moxley vs. Hangman Page

This match was bonkers in all the best ways right up until the unfortunate finish. I was smiling ear to ear the entire time at the aggressive action. That was a PPV main event effort.

Grade: A-

Four title matches of high quality, and all had clean finishes. That makes such a big difference in enjoyment for me personally. All promos had purpose for story bits.

Share your thoughts about Dynamite. How do you rate it? What were your favorite moments from the show?

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