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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (July 20, 2022): Barbed wire war

AEW Dynamite (July 20, 2022) emanated from Gas South Arena in Atlanta, GA. Week 2 of the Fyter Fest special featured Chris Jericho versus Eddie Kingston in a barbed wire war, Brody King earning a monster win over Darby Allin, and the surprise return of Jungle Boy.

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

Barbed wire war

All good things must come to an end. The long-winding feud between Chris Jericho and Eddie Kingston was supposed to be settled in a barbed wire match for the Dynamite main event.

The match was technically called Barbed Wire Everywhere, and it lived up to that name. Three sides of the ring were covered in barbed wire. Chairs, tables, and wooden boards were laid about all covered in barbed wire. Even Justin Roberts’ microphone was covered in barbed wire. Jake Hager, Daddy Magic, Cool Hand, and Daniel Garcia were suspended above the ring in a shark cage (Shark Week synergy). Ruby Soho was ringside at the controls to raise the cage.

Fight time! Kingston snatched Roberts’ mic to bash Jericho before the bell for first blood. Jericho channeled his Painmaker persona to absorb the thrill of pain. Barbed wire attacks included a hip toss by Kingston into the ropes, a super hurricanrana by Jericho onto a table, a back suplex by Jericho onto a table, the Walls of Jericho submission on top of the jagged metal, and a suplex off the apron by Kingston onto a table. Skin was sliced, pants were ripped, and blood flowed. Referee Aubrey Edwards had to carefully remove both competitors from barbed wire danger after each hardcore impact.

Sports entertainment time! As Kingston was in control, Tay Conti ran down to fight with Soho. Conti’s intention was to free the Jericho Appreciation Society from their prison. Soho handled business even with a broken arm. Anna Jay ran out to separate the two, then she popped Soho in the kisser. Anna turned heel to join Conti. JAS was set free to interfere. Ortiz and the Blackpool Combat Club ran in to even the odds.

False finish time! Ortiz struck Jericho with a madball. Kingston picked the Painmaker up for a half-and-half suplex onto the barbed wire table. 1, 2, kick out. Jericho surprised Kingston with a counter Codebreaker. 1, 2, kick out. Kingston connected on a spinning backfist, 1, 2, kick out. Kingston grabbed a piece of barbed wire to wrap on his arm for a deadly stretch plum. Jericho was in deep trouble. Sammy Guevara ran in to kick Kingston and free Le Champion. Jericho uncorked a Judas Effect spinning elbow flush on Kingston. 1, 2, 3. Jericho was the victor.

Afterward, Jericho and Guevara wanted to inflict more pain, but Kingston was able to shove Jericho onto a barbed wire board as the show closed. A defeated Kingston found no satisfaction in having the last laugh of the barbed wire war.

If you watch this barbed wire bout without the deep context of the story, it was loads of fun. Violence, a heel swerve, run-ins, unpredictability on the finish, and a happy ending for Jericho fans. The barbed wire violence was plentiful without dipping into the sadistic realm. For that alone, I appreciated it. I wasn’t looking forward to Kingston going overboard trying to kill Jericho. Thankfully, Kingston told his side of the tale well without getting gross.

Taking into consideration the story for this feud, the barbed wire bout was kind of whack. This was supposed to be the final chapter for now in this feud, so all the extra shenanigans that made it fun also made it feel overbooked. I don’t mind Jericho winning. That’s what I preferred as a fan. I do mind how he won with help, because there’s no way Kingston will be content to let that slide. How am I supposed to believe this feud is over? AEW better come up with a darn good reason for Kingston not to continue his quest for revenge. Or maybe I’m reading it wrong, and one more match is on the agenda. It would be fitting to settle this as it started in a clean wrestling contest with a handshake (or lack thereof) at the end.

Monster win

Brody King had a star-making moment by choking out Allin on the apron to win the Royal Rampage. He went on to have a strong performance in defeat against Jon Moxley. King’s trajectory was on the upswing, but the monster needed a monster win to cement his status in the upper card. King accomplished that in victory over Darby Allin on Dynamite.

King versus Allin opened the broadcast. Allin started like a firecracker, but King quickly extinguished the flame to pound Allin long, hard, and deep. King hammered thunderous blows stunning the crowd with his dominance. He even executed the move of the night with a swinging wedgie.

Allin resorted to crafty trickery to gain momentum. He used his own belt to tie King’s feet and drag him out of the ring. Allin followed with a suicide cannonball. Back in the ring, Allin scored a Code Red. King kicked out on the cover. Allin applied a seated shoulder stretch to the big man. When King powered up, Allin transitioned for a sleeper hold. King rose to his feet with Allin hanging on his back for a crunching backpack cannonball in the corner.

Allin removed the turnbuckle pad to ram King into the exposed steel. On a stunner attempt, King countered for a sleeper to drop Allin down to the floor like a sack of potatoes. Allin barely beat the ten-count to return to the ring. King seized the moment for a vicious Gonzo Bomb for victory.

Business picked up after the match.

King administered more pain after his victory to entice Sting into the ring. Sting obliged for a Scorpion Death Drop. Before we could see the impact of that maneuver, the lights went out. Lights on, King was down, and Malakai Black was in the ring staring at the Icon. King snatched Sting from behind for a chokehold. Black spit BLACK MIST into Stinger’s face.

That wasn’t all though.

Enter Miro. The Redeemer strolled down stage wearing sunglasses. He stopped short from the ring for a long-distance staredown with the House of Black. Malakai flashed a sly smile realizing his black mist is taking effect on Miro’s face. Cameras zoomed in to show Miro with one yellow lens and one dark lens on his sunglasses. The implication was that Miro might turn to the dark side or his body might be able to fight off the black flu. Time will tell.

That was a badass outing from King. His domination of Allin firmly established him in the upper crust of the AEW roster. The match was a little long in the beatdown portion, but it was a story that needed to be told to elevate King. It also served as a good chapter in the larger story involving Black and Sting. Allin shined in defeat with ingenuity using his belt to figure out a way to score offense. His fighting spirit added an element of enthrallment, because you can never count him out from rallying to win.

The aftermath with Black, Sting, and Miro was the cherry on top of the sundae for this segment. The match was satisfying enough as is. The extra run-ins provided intrigue for the future. The feud with Sting and Allin against the House of Black is far from over. Miro is the wild card for now. Will he be a partner of convenience for trios action when Buddy Matthews returns? Will he accept the black mist into his soul? Or maybe AEW has a different wrinkle up their sleeve? I’m looking forward to finding out.

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

Jon Moxley & Wheeler Yuta defeated Best Friends. The story was Yuta’s interactions with his former pals. The veteran skills of Chuck Taylor earned him the early advantage over young Yuta. Trent was more emotional about the perceived betrayal of Yuta joining the Blackpool Combat Club. He raged to rough up Yuta. When Chuck tried to calm his partner, Yuta delivered a punch to Chuck. It was game on from there for Chuck. He thrashed Yuta around the ring into guardrails. Moxley was the equalizer to dish out offense of his own and also mentor Yuta along the way. Down the stretch, Yuta was on the receiving end of two consecutive piledrivers and kicked out on the cover. Mox saved Yuta after taking a Strong Zero from Trent. For the finish, Yuta was suplexed into the corner by Chuck. Yuta then countered a maneuver into a tricky pinning predicament for victory.

Exciting match with tag team tactics and a variety of maneuvers. Moxley was the star as a wrecking ball. He showed that there are levels to this game. Chuck and Trent are no slouches, and Mox trucked through them for the most part. His hammering elbows and head stomping were brutal. The development of Best Friends fighting Yuta was engaging. Seeing Yuta’s hotheadedness turn Chuck a bit sinister was a nice touch. Chuck’s Awful Waffle suplex to Moxley looked awesome. That edge from the Best Friends kind of had me rooting for them to win as an established tag team. They could have used that to springboard up the tag team charts. Alas, it was not meant to be on this evening.

I do have one big issue with this bout. Yuta’s recuperative abilities are getting a little farfetched. Taking two consecutive piledrivers then kicking out is a bit of a stretch. Combine that with the finishing sequence of taking a hard suplex then being fresh as a daisy one second later for a complicated roll-up. It’s to the point that Yuta wrestles like a video game character.

Christian Cage & Luchasaurus defeated Varsity Blonds. The dino dominated with power to chokeslam Brian Pillman Jr. onto the mat and chokeslam Griff Garrison onto Pillman. Christian tagged in to take the glory of the winning pin.

Nothing much to see here in terms of the match. The poor Blonds were treated like jabrones. Say goodbye to that top 5 ranking. The post-match surprise was the real story.

Jungle Boy returned. Christian sat on Luchasaurus’ shoulder in celebration, then Jungle Boy’s music hit. JB tentatively trotted down the ramp with a chair as Luchasaurus was the roadblock. Luchasaurus stepped aside to allow Jungle Boy free passage. Christian ran away, and JB gave chase up the stairs around the venue.

That was a pleasant surprise. Jungle Boy’s appearance caught me completely off guard in a good way. The swerve from Luchasaurus was delightful as well. I much prefer Jurassic Express being the best of friends rather than the dino being persuaded so easily by Christian. Luchasaurus’ actions the past few weeks can be easily explained as keeping his enemy close.

FTW Championship: Ricky Starks retained against Kole Carter. The man known as Two Dimes answered the open challenge. Carter overwhelmed Starks early. The champ regrouped to go on the attack with style. Carter regained control for a TKO cutter, but he missed the mark on a 450 splash. Starks pounced for a spear to win. Afterward, Starks was feeling fresh and requested a second challenger to step up. Enter Danhausen. Starks suddenly felt stiff in his neck and needed a break. He still gave the match to Danhausen for next week.

I’m pleased as punch at having more Starks in our weekly diet of AEW programming. His charisma shines bright whenever on the screen. As for the match, I would have preferred a more dominant finish in this particular matchup rather than barely escaping. Starks versus Danhausen should be a wild one.

Jade Cargill & Kiera Hogan defeated Athena & Willow Nightingale. Leila Grey was not cleared to compete, so the trios match became a tag team contest. Kris Statlander was banned thanks to finagling from Stokely Hathaway. He was joined ringside by Jermaine Dupri. The goodies were on a roll, then Hathaway caused a distraction for Jade to turn the tide. She finished Willow on the Jaded maneuver.

High-energy, fun bout. Part of that was hometown talent in the match with Jade and Kiera. Athena and Willow carried their share of excitement with flashy moves. It was the type of bout where all four looked good and left me wanting more. Willow’s aura continues to radiate. The interactions between Athena and Jade built anticipation for their eventual singles showdown for the TBS Championship.

Notes: AEW hyped the upcoming ROH Death Before Dishonor PPV for July 23 in a variety of ways. Cameras showed Daniel Garcia scouting Wheeler Yuta’s match on a backstage monitor. They will compete for the Pure Championship. A video package aired for Jonathan Gresham versus Claudio Castagnoli for the ROH World Championship. Christopher Daniels interrupted Jay Lethal’s promo about taking the ROH TV title from Samoa Joe. CD will wrestle Lethal on Rampage. The best of this bunch was an FTR promo for their ROH tag title rematch against the Briscoes. Dax Harwood told a tale of a 5-year-old girl fighting hard to heal a hole in her heart. 3 years later, that hole was closed. That girl is actually Dax’s daughter. If she can fight that hard, then he will do the same against the Briscoes. Harwood will fight like an 8-year-old girl on that evening.

Keith Lee and Swerve Strickland celebrated their tag title win. Mark Sterling and Tony Nese interrupted with the petition to ban Swerve from AEW. Rapper Kevin Gates punched Nese, and Swerve pie-faced Sterling with cake.

Alex Reynolds and John Silver presented Butch shirts to Butcher and Blade as gifts. Their kindness was repaid with fisticuffs. Hangman Page made the save with a chair. It was later announced that Hangman & Silver will wrestle Butcher & Blade on Rampage.

Austin Gunn challenged Max Caster one-on-one to a rap battle for Rampage. Yes!

Thunder Rosa will defend the AEW Women’s World Championship against Miyu Yamashita next week. Dr. Britt Baker DMD and Jamie Hayter interrupted ThunderStorm to give the people what they want, which is Baker and Hayter in action on Rampage.


Studs of the Show: Chris Jericho & Eddie Kingston

As much as I want to give the honor to Brody King for his swinging wedgie to Darby Allin, I have to give major recognition to Jericho and Kingston for suffering barbed wire cuts for our enjoyment. That had to be unpleasant for them.

Match of the Night: Jon Moxley & Wheeler Yuta vs. Best Friends

Even though I didn’t particularly care for Yuta’s super healing ability, there was still a lot to enjoy from this contest. Storytelling, intense action, and a good flow of teamwork made it enjoyable overall.

Grade: A-

A rocking show from start to finish.

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