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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (July 27, 2022): Building stars

AEW Dynamite (July 27, 2022) emanated from DCU Center in Worcester, MA. The Fight for the Fallen special featured Daniel Garcia scoring the biggest win of his career over Bryan Danielson, Hook winning gold, Rush going toe-to-toe with Jon Moxley for the AEW Interim World Championship, and much more.

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

Upset city

This episode of Dynamite had a theme of building stars throughout the evening, as evidenced by Daniel Garcia upsetting Bryan Danielson in the main event. Yes, you read that right. Garcia scored the biggest win of his AEW career. To make it sting even more, this was Danielson’s comeback match from injury.

Garcia was presented precious promo time to work that side of his craft. He was feeling fresh and sharp. Can Danielson say the same? Garcia will take advantage of any hesitation from Danielson. When Garcia wins, he will be called the greatest technical sports entertainer in the world.

Time for the main event. Danielson charged out of the gate for a cheapshot dropkick before the bell. Danielson wrestled unaffected by the layoff to control Garcia early. Then, his body had other ideas. Danielson thumped his skull on the mat when executing a flying dropkick. That left the American Dragon a little loopy as if he suffered a concussion. The referee tried to buy time protecting Danielson, but Garcia still took advantage for a DDT onto exposed concrete on the floor.

Danielson eventually regrouped to rally with a super back suplex, Cattle Mutilation submission, and bridging tiger suplex. Danielson turned up the heat with a running knee in the ring and another running knee off the apron on the outside. As Danielson climbed back into the ring, a mysterious hand grabbed his foot. The hand was too large to be Hornswoggle’s. It was later revealed to be Jake Hager. Garcia seized the moment for a piledriver and wrenching Sharpshooter submission. Danielson passed out as the win went to Garcia.

The match was a dandy with back and forth technical wrestling. The finish was pure sports entertainment, which is a fitting way for Garcia to prevail. The big question is if you are buying this win as a star-making moment for Garcia. The effort was clearly there from AEW by showing him in a competitive match against one of their top stars in the main event. Unfortunately, I have to answer no.

Garcia remains in the same boat as before. We already knew he was an awesome wrestler. The issue was Garcia’s inability to win. I don’t think his image changed much, if at all, by beating Danielson, because Danielson was so over-protected through the bout. Not only was Danielson knocked silly by his own accord, Hager also helped cheat to give Garcia the upper hand. I view this more as a fluke win than a career-defining moment. At least we should get to hear Garcia gloat about being the greatest technical sports entertainer in the world. That will be amusing.

The rest of the show was much more convincing in star-building moments.

Hook wins FTW Championship, Team Taz explodes

A lot happened for the Team Taz family in a short spurt of time. Ricky Starks entered for his FTW Championship defense against Danhausen with a fantastic intro vignette about what it means to be a champion. It put Starks on a star pedestal. He seemed poised for a breakout moment, then it quickly came crashing down.

No, not to Danhausen. Starks made quick work of that goofy chump. Danhausen did score some offense to keep Starks on his toes, however, a spear ended the quick match in favor of Starks. Mr. Absolute was feeling feisty and called out for his next challenger. Enter Hook.

Starks and Hook had a quick match as well with Hook emerging victorious to win the title his pappy Taz held. Hook was on a roll then Starks nailed the spear. As Starks lifted Hook for a Roshambo, Hook countered for the Redrum choke. Starks was unable to reach the ropes for a break and was forced to tap in defeat. Starks and Hook shared respect after the bout.

Starks cut a promo in the ring pumping himself up. He turned the FTW title from a noose into a necktie. He exceeded all expectations to bring that belt back to prominence. That shows that his time is now. Boom! Will Hobbs blindsided Starks with a clothesline and spinebuster. Team Taz disintegrated before our eyes. Even Taz was shocked at Hobbs’ actions.

This segment was a roller coaster of emotions. Starks was riding high as a superstar after his special intro. Danhausen maximized his minutes for comedic action. He actually made me nervous that AEW might pull a fast one and crown him new champ. Thankfully, Starks took care of business. The surprise of Hook was a shocker, at least to me. My initial reaction at Hook’s win was annoyance in crushing Starks’ spirit. Hook is a bit of a caricature at this point, and Starks is more of a well-rounded product. After seeing the Hobbs swerve, it had me feeling more positive about Hook as FTW champ. Hook has the skills in the ring to provide flashy entertainment in his own scene, while Starks should be busy with a story building babyface energy and more fan support. Now that I’ve seen all the cards, the sequence of events stacked up nicely for each member of Team Taz to have their own big moment on the night.

In the end, Hook’s ascension is complete as a champion defending family glory and Starks still seems primed for bigger things. Those two are on the stairway to super stardom. Maybe even Hobbs elevates his star status depending on how the feud plays out. Swinging three for three on Team Taz would be pretty sweet after the clumsy disaster in handling Brian Cage.

Jon Moxley title defense, next challenger emerges

Rush had a taste of the spotlight challenging Jon Moxley for the AEW Interim World Championship in the opening bout of the evening. Rush rose to the occasion for a smash-mouth fight. Moxley was bleeding early after Rush bit his forehead. El Toro Blanco even licked Mox’s blood off his own hand.

The match was back and forth with an equal amount of chops and suplexes. Whenever one man hit a move, the other often answered with the same or similar attack. Jose The Assistant was ringside, and he tried to help Rush win the title. Jose distracted the referee, so Andrade could run in and shove Moxley off the turnbuckles. The Lucha Bros ran in to chase Andrade away.

The finish was mano a mano. Rush landed a jumping knee strike and a straitjacket piledriver. When Rush went for the Bull’s Horns dropkick finisher, Moxley evaded contact and rallied for a Death Rider DDT. Mox transitioned to a bulldog choke for victory. The referee called for the bell when Rush passed out.

Even though the result was never in doubt, Rush showed his star power. Charisma exuded during his signature taunts, and his toughness was on full display. Rush hung with the best of the best. I’ve seen Rush’s act many times before, but I’d like to think fresh eyes were impressed by his talent on this evening. Much like Brody King, Rush cemented his status as a top tier player. Credit to Moxley as well for having these rugged defenses against fresh faces. He pushes the fight to the limit for everyone to look good.

After the match, AEW pulled the trigger on a young persona as Moxley’s next challenger. No, not that crusty old Chris Jericho. I’m talking about the Lionheart.

Jericho was flanked by Sammy Guevara, Tay Conti, Cool Hand, and Anna Jay. Le Champion called next to cash in a rematch from over two years ago. Moxley didn’t want any sports entertainer nonsense. The champ wanted the last survivor of the Hart Dungeon. Mox versus Lionheart was booked to take place in two weeks time. Anna also had promo time to develop her character. She is the sexiest, the toughest, and not afraid to choke everyone out. Her outburst was a good fit for that motley crew of sports entertainers.

Jericho still has that must-see TV factor for me, so his match against Moxley is on a box office level of anticipation. Turning back the hands of time to Lionheart is a nice twist. It is an interesting way for Moxley to test his skills against a pupil of one of the toughest trainers in the game.

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

Sammy Guevara defeated Dante Martin. Prior to the bout, Martin received valuable promo time. Martin has worked week in and week out to earn respect, while Guevara has been on vacation. Martin is no fool. He’ll have Skye Blue in his corner to watch his back from Tay Conti.

Sammy and Dante had a high-octane athletic affair. Blue’s presence ringside didn’t help in the end. As Martin was aiming for a double springboard moonsault to finish, Conti distracted him long enough for Guevara to recover. Once Martin went for his move, Guevara followed behind for a double springboard cutter. The GTH fireman’s carry knee strike won the match.

Afterward, Tay and Sammy stomped Martin. Blue blocked the path of Sammy intent of high-flying. Anna Jay ran in to club Blue. Ruby Soho, Eddie Kingston, and Ortiz ran in to save Martin and Blue.

Sammy and Dante shined as only they can to remind everyone why they are stars of the future. The tagalong of Blue opens the door of exposure for her by Martin’s side. Being on screen more often is a start to better develop Blue. We’ll see if they progress on screen as a couple in the future. Martin did squeeze in a smooch to Blue during the match.

Jungle Boy speaks. Jungle Boy composed himself before shouting that Christian Cage was the biggest pussy he ever met in his life. He realized Christian needs cash, because he lost all his money in a recent divorce. JB touched on his friendship with Luchasaurus. The dino was only working with Christian to make sure Jungle Boy could be the first person to take out Christian. JB began describing his father’s burial when Christian interrupted from the big screen. Christian planted seeds that he will use JB’s secrets against him. He also put doubt into our minds that Luchasaurus will stay true after experiencing a bigger role alongside Christian.

Jungle Boy is already a stud in the ring. The question about his ceiling was promo ability. Jungle Boy was given the opportunity here to hit a range of emotions. He started strong with fiery passion, lulled a little in the middle, then showed somber reflection at the end. I’m not sold on him consistently carrying lengthy promos yet, however, he did show enough to demonstrate positive development.

Swerve Strickland defeated Tony Nese & Mark Sterling. Handicap match with Keith Lee barred from ringside. Lee was shown watching backstage on a monitor. Swerve wanted to put hands on Sterling. He eventually eliminated Nese long enough to strike with a running single-leg dropkick on Sterling for victory.

Afterward, cameras caught Lee unconscious with Josh Woods standing over holding the tag belt. Once Swerve saw that on the big screen, Nese attacked him to hold the other tag belt.

Swerve and Nese carried the action, while Sterling provided chuckles. The arrival of Woods onto the roster was a pleasant surprise. Unfortunately, I can’t say I’m all that enthused with this feud continuing. Nese and Sterling have done nothing to show they aren’t dunces, and it looks like Nese and Woods will be hot shot into a title shot. There is little appeal so far to make this anything other than complete filler.

AEW Women’s World Championship: Thunder Rosa retained against Miyu Yamashita. The finish rolled similar to Thunder’s previous defeat to Yamashita. This time, Thunder escaped the roll-up to continue the fight. Thunder connected on a roundhouse kick to finish with the Fire Thunder Driver to retain.

Yamashita was given a strong Forbidden Door showcase. The flow between the two was clunky at times for a few moves, but the match was solid overall. Yamashita started as an unknown to many and finished with the fans cheering the match. Thunder showed the fire that made her a fan favorite in the first place.

Notes: AEW announced official World Trios Championship. Winners will be crowned via tournament with the finale at All Out.

The Acclaimed roasted the Ass Boys in a rap battle, and they will do it again in a music video on Rampage.

Sonjay Dutt challenged Best Friends to trios action and instantly regret it.

The Young Bucks were intrigued by the introduction of trios titles. They ran into Hangman Page backstage for an awkward encounter. Matt Jackson was going to squash the tension, but the Dark Order interrupted to celebrate the cowboy’s birthday. The Bucks split as sad boys while Hangman glanced over his shoulder as his former friends.

Malakai Black had a message recruiting Miro to the House of Black. He can make it so Miro sits on a throne for everyone to kneel. Brody King won’t stop attacking Darby Allin until the casket drops, so he challenged Allin to a Coffin Match.


Stud of the Show: Hook

Hook came, Hook saw, Hook conquered.

Match of the Night: Jon Moxley vs. Rush

Lots to like on this evening for a variety of contenders as match of the night. I’m going with the slugfest between Moxley and Rush. It set the tone for the evening.

Grade: A-

Entertaining matches, genuine surprises, and a main event upset made for a rowdy evening. AEW also spent a lot of time building stars throughout the program that has the future looking bright.

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