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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (July 13, 2022): Tag title surprise

AEW Dynamite (July 13, 2022) emanated from Enmarket Arena in Savannah, GA. Night 1 of the Fyter Fest special featured the Young Bucks losing the tag team championship, Wardlow playing the fool to retain his TNT gold, and Jon Moxley being pushed to the limit in non-title action.

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

Tag title surprise

Holy moly. We have new tag team champions in AEW. The Young Bucks came in with the gold for a three-way defense against Ricky Starks & Will Hobbs and Keith Lee & Swerve Strickland. There was only one question in the aftermath. Whose house? Swerve’s house. Swerve & Lee exited as new champs.

The pace was chaotic with three-way action. Memorable moments early included Nick Jackson and Ricky Starks rope-walking, bickering over who could do the move, then slapping.

Other cool moments were a frog splash from Hobbs and a rope-walking electric chair cutter from Starks with help from Hobbs.

The finish was a wild frenzy. Lee ate a superkick party and powered up. Starks joined the Bucks for a triple superkick to stun Lee. The Bucks and Starks posed together, then the Bucks turned the tables to superkick Starks. Hobbs was superkicked into referee Rick Knox. The Bucks tried to use the championship belt as a foreign object, however, it went around like ring like a superkick hot potato. Matt Jackson was able smash Swerve with the belt. 1, 2, kick out. BTE Trigger to Swerve. 1, 2, Starks made the save. Lee intercepted a Meltzer Driver for a teamwork Swerve Stomp finisher. 1, 2, Hobbs broke the cover. Hobbs conducted a spinebuster train. Starks speared Swerve. 1, 2, Matt prevented victory.

Lee was the gamechanger in the end. He cleaned house with a Bucks’ shoe. Swerve bombed onto the pile of bodies on the outside. Lee pounced Starks into oblivion, then the big man took flight onto the others below. Swerve seized the moment for a flying stomp to pin Starks. 1, 2, 3. New champs.

Allow me to eat my words from last week. I assumed there was no way this match would have a title change due to thinking the direction would be a showdown between the Young Bucks and FTR. Well, AEW shocked me hard with this result. I couldn’t believe Lee and Swerve actually won. A true surprise is always cool as a fan.

This match was loads of fun. The closing climax set up perfectly to divide and conquer. And they did it with exquisite style. Each move was rowdier than the next. The false finishes were convincing with dramatic saves. The only thing that left me scratching my head was Swerve teasing an attack on Lee. I guess AEW had to cement closure to that story arc as reluctant partners, but the timing felt weird. Swerve still had a good shot at winning, so it was odd to see him consider throwing away the opportunity.

It was also a curious decision for the Bucks to lose and flush down the potential feud with FTR. Time will tell how that settles. It left me wondering if Hangman Page and the Bucks will reunite to chase newly minted trios gold. There has long been an assumption that Kenny Omega might return for that role. With Omega’s lingering injury issues, perhaps AEW shifted gears to Hangman and the Bucks instead.

Wardlow looking the fool

The opener saw Wardlow defending the TNT Championship against Orange Cassidy. Even though Wardlow didn’t fall for many of OC’s mind games, he still came out looking the fool to cool his meteoric rise.

The Best Friends were ringside, thanks to Danhausen securing managerial licenses. Chuck Taylor and Trent realized that Wardlow was too powerful for OC, so their plan was to cheat. A lot. Cassidy didn’t care.

The match started with back and forth taunts. Cassidy mocked a muscle flex then requested a test of strength. Wardlow stepped in then backed away, so Cassidy put his hands in his pockets. Wardlow lunged forward to grab Cassidy to calmly remove his hands. Doing so caused OC’s pockets to stick clean out. Wardlow responded by ripping the fabric right off Cassidy’s jeans.

The second act of Cassidy’s comedy caper saw the Best Friends try to cheat. OC faked an eye injury, so Chuck and Trent could set up shenanigans. They went a little overboard bringing in a chainsaw. Referee Bryce Remsburg saw enough and ejected them.

Wardlow was no dummy. He knew Danhausen was lurking and preemptively pulled him out from under the ring. Danhausen was ready for a curse, but he had second thoughts when confronted by Wardlow’s massive muscles. Danhausen backed away in peace. Cassidy still used that moment to land a cheap shot Superman punch to the champ.

Wardlow rebounded with power moves, while Cassidy found success using speedy attacks and shifty counters. Wardlow thought victory was his after connecting on a F10. The behemoth placed one foot on Cassidy’s chest and flexed his muscles for the pinfall. Cassidy kicked out. Commentary sold it as a dramatic moment. Nobody is supposed to kick out from the F10. That was news to me.

Cassidy caught wind to rally for DDTs, stunners, Superman punches, and a Breach Break. Wardlow survived the onslaught. Cassidy removed his elbow pad for another Superman punch. Wardlow caught him the air for a powerbomb to win. Afterward, Wardlow showed respect by bumping his fist with OC’s limp hand.

This contest appears to have been a divisive endeavor for fan reaction. Let’s start with the positives. The opening comedy was genuinely funny. Wardlow’s ripping out Cassidy’s pockets was hilarious. They also did a great job playing cat and mouse to establish curiosity in how the match would unfold. AEW did their darndest to set up a dramatic false finish trying to make viewers believe Cassidy was inches from victory. It might not have hit hard, because the vast majority did not anticipate Wardlow losing the TNT title so soon. The effort in storytelling was there though.

Onto the negative, in my opinion. The match started strong with intrigue, but the comedy dragged on too long into a lull. This was supposed to be a fight after all. Get to the action. I also thought AEW lost sight on who is the star being built. Cassidy is established. Wardlow is the man on the rise. He’s not bulletproof yet, and this match didn’t help much. Cassidy had stretches with long strings of offense. Since Wardlow had to play along as a dance partner, he looked goofy at times being tossed around by OC.

The finish was weak for Wardlow. One powerbomb, and that’s it? I understand being reluctant to temptation of a powerbomb symphony, since Cassidy often escaped earlier in the match. It makes sense from that perspective. It doesn’t make much sense as a star-building performance. Wardlow came off like he barely escaped to win. Adding a few more powerbombs would have popped the crowd as a lasting memory to look strong as champion. With the finish playing out as it did, the memory will be Cassidy as an impressive underdog taking Wardlow to the limit. Wardlow is an afterthought on this evening. That said, it’s not like Wardlow is damaged goods. Taking his next opponent to powerbomb poundtown will put him back on track.

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

Barbed Wire hype. Chris Jericho will fight Eddie Kingston next week on Dynamite in a barbed wire match. Jericho cut a promo in the ring. He pointed out how it is a curse to be Kingston’s friend. They were all taken out by the Jericho Appreciation Society. Jericho is no stranger to barbed wire matches. He won the first one in Canadian history at the young age of 22. He felt pain and pleasure to show Jericho can be just as sadistic and maniacal as Kingston. Don’t underestimate Jericho as The Painmaker next week. This will be the final fight of their feud. Once Jericho beats Kingston, the loser can crawl back into his hole of drinking, drugging, and depression knowing he’ll never be at Jericho’s level.

Kingston’s retort came in the form of a short backstage promo. He urged Jericho to be the most violent person he can be for the barbed wire match. It won’t matter, because Jericho is going to pay with his blood. Kingston is going to hurt Jericho and enjoy doing it.

That was smart promo placement back to back to show the differences in attitude. Jericho did a good job being serious for a serious fight. He looked every bit the star that Kingston dreams of being. Kingston brought his street edge to maximize his minute and get fans pumped for a bloodbath. To be honest, I’m not all that interested in a violent barbed wire match, but I can’t help myself getting pumped for it after seeing them both deliver engaging promos.

For the barbed wire match, the Jericho Appreciation Society will be suspended above in a shark cage. Daddy Magic and Cool Hand had questions, such as were Kingston’s friends allowed to roam free? Cool Hand pulled a switchblade comb on Tony Schiavone. Daniel Garcia had a message for Wheeler Yuta. He sees through Yuta’s cosplayer routine as Bryan Danielson. Garcia plans to take the Pure Championship from Yuta at ROH Death Before Dishonor on July 23.

Jon Moxley defeated Konosuke Takeshita. Non-title bout with the carrot of a future championship shot if Takeshita wins. The underdog did not back down from the interim world champ. Takeshita went toe to toe with Moxley. The tide turned in Mox’s favor when he blocked a jumping knee to counter for a Paradigm Shift. Moxley hammered elbows. On a second Paradigm Shift attempt, Takeshita escaped for a German suplex. Moxley regained momentum on a headbutt then Paradigm Shift. Mox threw more elbows leading to a bulldog choke for victory.

Very exciting match. It was always obvious that Moxley was going to win, however, they had such an even affair with dramatic pacing that I lost track of that notion and got lost in the moment. Takeshita once again showed he can compete with the best. It’s now time for him to get a mid-card feud and earn some wins.

Christian Cage with more horrific insults. Christian’s target this week was Brian Pillman Jr. Many view Pillman Sr. as a legend in the business. Christian considered him average at best. He also theorized that Pillman Sr. would be appalled knowing the Pillman Jr. was his final contribution to the professional wrestling business. Christian turned his attention to Griff Garrison. He wasn’t sure why Garrison rubbed him wrong until he realized that Garrison looks like Jungle Boy.

Christian knows no bounds of poor taste, and it works for the intended purpose. Boo that man! He also added humor with the BTE reference of Griff Garrison looking like Jungle Boy. Just like the past few weeks, Christian straddled the line of funny without it shining over his repulsive agenda.

Luchasaurus defeated Griff Garrison. The dino dominated with power on two chokeslams and a Snare Trap nerve hold known as the Tar Pit submission. Afterward, Christian ordered more pain. Luchasaurus chokeslammed Garrison onto Pillman on top of a table, but the wood did not break. Luchasaurus did it a second time for success.

Luchasaurus took care of business as a wrecking machine. He is being set up nicely as a monstrous stepping stone for Jungle Boy toward Christian. There will be high drama as JB reckons with feelings of past friendship while Luchasaurus tries to bash his brains out.

Claudio Castagnoli defeated Jake Hager. Slugfest of clubbering and clobbering. Claudio found an opening for the giant swing.

Claudio trapped Hager in a Sharpshooter, so the JAS member waved in help. Daddy Magic and Cool Hand distracted Claudio enough to release the submission. It was only a matter of time before Claudio regained control for another Sharpshooter. Much like before, Cool Hand hopped onto the apron. Claudio popped him with a punch then popped up Hager for an uppercut. That led to the Ricola Bomb for victory.

William Regal summed this match up perfectly with frothy excitement, “I just love watching big men knock the stuffing out of each other. I love it.” I do too. The giant swing is always a treat. I especially enjoyed the visual of Claudio and Hager putting all their weight into body shots and uppercuts to make it look painful. If Claudio keeps up this level of performance, it won’t be long before he earns a title shot. Claudio versus Moxley or Wardlow would likely tear the house down.

Serena Deeb defeated Anna Jay. The crowd was hot behind Jay. They erupted whenever she was close to victory. Jay cinched in a Queen Slayer choke on the mat, but Deeb was able to escape. The Professor transitioned swiftly for the Serenity Lock to win. After the match, ROH women’s champ Mercedes Martinez ran out to save Jay.

This was a solid bout with interesting sequences. Jay brought fiery passion in her offense, while Deeb was calm in her technical prowess. Even when Jay had Deeb in a tricky situation, the Professor never panicked. Deeb relied on her skills to pay the bills.

Notes: Highlights aired for PAC’s All-Atlantic Championship defense against Shota Umino in Revolution Pro UK. AEW also showed highlights of Miyu Yamashita beating Thunder Rosa in Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling to earn a future title shot for the AEW Women’s World Championship. Both those matches can be seen on Dark.

House of Black had a message for Darby Allin. Brody King doesn’t need Allin’s praise. He watched Allin ascend over the years. Now, it is King’s time to get his by taking what is Allin’s.

Hangman Page was disappointed at being eliminated by Brody King in the Royal Rampage match. Alex Reynolds and John Silver burst in to challenge House of Black. Hangman was game for the trios bout.

Lexy Nair inquired if a title shot was in Hook’s future. He made a muddled expression that I don’t know how to interpret.

Thunder Storm are excited to tag together. Dr. Britt Baker DMD and Jamie Hayter interrupted. Baker tried to be a role model and let others carry the spotlight, but AEW was a disaster without her. Baker knows how to handle thunderstorms. Reba handed the dentist a sandbag as a literal solution doubling as an insulting inside joke.

Jade Cargill and the Baddies aren’t worried about Athena and Kris Statlander. Jade and Kiera Hogan copped an attitude toward Leila Grey. Stokely Hathaway stepped in to address the interim Baddie situation. Trust him.

Jay Lethal interrupted commentary to hype his future TV title win over Samoa Joe at Death Before Dishonor.

Tay Conti approached Anna Jay in the training room. Even though there was tension, Conti wasn’t there to argue. She advised Jay to make better choices for her career, such as Conti did when joining JAS. Think about it.

All Out is scheduled for Sunday, September 4 in Chicago, IL.


Stud of the Show: Keith Lee

Lee was a man on a mission tonight to win the tag titles. He performed impressively with power and high-flying.

Match of the Night: Jon Moxley vs. Konosuke Takeshita

Tough call. I’m leaning toward the singles bout of rugged action. Moxley and Takeshita completely drew me in to the moment for maximum enjoyment.

Grade: B+

The majority of matches were interesting to bring value to viewers. The surprise title change was a cool moment to keep us on our toes.

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