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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (July 6, 2022): King of monsters

AEW Dynamite (July 6, 2022) emanated from Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, NY. The show featured Jon Moxley fighting a monster to defend the AEW Interim World Championship and Wardlow ushering in a new era as TNT champion.

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

Jon Moxley is the king of monsters

Jon Moxley brought the ruckus for the main event of Dynamite. He didn’t have much choice considering his opponent was the 6’5” 285-pound Brody King. Mox went to war with a monster to defend the AEW Interim World Championship.

Moxley hyped the main event with a backstage promo. People think King will catch Mox off guard as a monster. Blackpool Combat Club finds limits and pushes them. The question will be if King has a monster-sized heart to survive.

Malakai Black did the speaking for the House of Black. He envies Moxley’s decision to inflict pain upon himself, and he also envies that Moxley will get to experience pain at the hands of King. The House will make sure the fight goes far beyond the physical realm of pain.

Ding, ding, ding. King delivered a power blow to knock Moxley down. The champ got up in the challenger’s face. Mox threw a few shots, then King knocked him down on his keister again with one mighty strike. King was established early as a monster.

King manhandled Moxley around the ring. Mox caused King to crash into the ring steps then used a side Russian leg sweep to smash King into the guardrail. Mox went for a piledriver on the floor, however, King reversed for a back body drop onto concrete.

Inside the ring, Mox adjusted with better judgement to attack the leg with a dragon screw and figure-four. King was a tough man to keep down. Moxley ran right into a sidewalk slam. King unloaded power chops. Moxley found an opening to dodge a running cannonball. Mox made his move for various chokes and a superplex. Mox stomped King’s head to soften the monster. King rose up to flatten Moxley with a lariat. King had his chance for victory on a piledriver. 1, 2, Mox kicked out. If King was going to win, that was the moment that had me guessing.

Moxley worked for chokes again, but King battered him into the corner for the break. King landed the corner cannonball. Moxley kicked out on the cover. Moxley went into overdrive down the stretch. He hit a DDT and hammered elbows for a chokehold. King decided to fall backwards onto the mat to slam his own weight on top of Mox and break the submission. King didn’t separate quickly enough. Moxley sat back up to snatch King’s neck for another choke. A transition to the bulldog choke sealed the deal. The referee ruled that King was out and awarded the victory to Moxley.

There were no surprises in this match. I don’t mean that as a bad thing. Moxley went to war with a monster and came out as king. We’ve seen that story before. This time was just as entertaining. The story was straightforward for Moxley working different tactics until he managed to pummel King into submission. It was strategic blunt force.

King did well in his role. I wouldn’t say it was a breakout performance, but he definitely showed that he won’t wilt under pressure. This was the biggest stage of his career, and he did fine considering the story being told. It wasn’t the type of loss to damage his aura.

Wardlow’s world

Wardlow is the new TNT champion after pounding down Scorpio Sky and friends in a street fight. Despite being outnumbered, Wardlow didn’t have too much trouble en route to victory.

Sky was flanked by Dan Lambert, Ethan Page, and four other fighters from American Top Team. Sky’s strategy was to use his speed to pick Wardlow apart. When that tactic failed due to Wardlow’s overwhelming strength advantage, Sky went for a blatant low-blow, which was legal due to the street fight rules. Wardlow stomached the pain and proceeded to suplex Sky across the ring.

The numbers game eventually stomped on Wardlow, but it couldn’t keep the big man down. Wardlow connected on a swanton to Sky then posted up for the powerbomb symphony. Lambert sent in the goons for the save. Wardlow clotheslined them all and military pressed the smallest over the ropes onto the entire group below on the floor. Sky bashed Wardlow in the head with the title belt. 1, 2, kick out.

Lambert was on the apron directing traffic. Wardlow escaped a fireman’s carry lift to shove Sky into Lambert. On the bounce back, Wardlow planted Sky with a spinebuster slam. Three powerbombs later and Wardlow was the new TNT titleholder. Confetti rained from the ceiling and flames ignited on stage.

The match wasn’t as one-sided as my description, however, Sky never had any serious offensive spurts. Aside from using the title as a foreign object and receiving help from outsiders, the story was destined for Wardlow to achieve his goal. With the way Wardlow has been built up as a steamrolling powerhouse, victory was the only sensible outcome.

Wardlow’s run puts him at the cream of the crop in AEW right now. There is a lot of talent that could beat him on any given night, but it will be an extremely tough task to conquer Wardlow’s power game. AEW has a chance to build the superstar babyface with a long title reign taking Wardlow into the world title picture. I’m all for giving it a shot. Once he racks up enough wins, the prospect of a streak breaker will bring another level of excitement. It could be a win-win situation. Either Wardlow catches fire as a top guy, or someone earns the rub dethroning him.

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

Clout chaser. Christian Cage entered with Luchasaurus by his side to mock fans demanding to know why the dino ditched Jungle Boy. Matt Hardy interrupted. He also used talent to leech a paycheck, but he hates himself for it. Hardy wants to make sure Christian doesn’t get away with the same thing. Christian dropped classless insults about Matt’s delusional stance making Jeff Hardy seem like the more sober brother and also how Matt turned a blind eye to use Jeff for one last run at greatness. Christian viewed Matt as a clout chaser trying to steal Christian’s limelight. Fisticuffs ensued with Luchasaurus stepping in to chokeslam Matt through a table.

This promo piece was right in line with Christian’s excellent work of late. He stooped to dastardly levels with verbal insults. Luchasaurus added an imposing presence as protector. Both Christian and Hardy did a good job addressing past actions in AEW, so this didn’t come off like a whitewashed hero trip for Hardy. It also helped position Hardy as a reformed man trying to do right. That makes it easier to fall in line to cheer him for this feud. Not that Christian hasn’t been acting heinous enough in his own right to be showered with jeers no matter who stands across from him.

Keith Lee & Swerve Strickland defeated Butcher & Blade. Bunny was the helping hand on the outside for the meat packers. It wasn’t enough though. After Blade pulled Swerve in front of a shoulder block from Lee, the good guys regrouped to win via flying stomp powerbomb combo finisher to pin Blade.

Exciting tag team action driven by potential tension between Lee and Swerve. The execution of the teammate bump wasn’t so slick. Swerve connected on a rolling cutter and spinning kick then was conveniently too woozy to realize his whereabouts. The accidental pounce from Lee felt forced into the flow. Lee made up for it in the end by helping Swerve balance on the turnbuckles for their finisher. A fist-pound from Lee seemed to imply that all was forgiven. From a story perspective, I’m glad that everything worked out in the end on this evening, however, I wouldn’t be surprised if Swerve dishes out perceived payback once their winning streak ends.

Young Bucks call their shot. In the aftermath of Lee and Swerve winning, Will Hobbs stormed down with Ricky Starks to insult the audacity of them thinking they are on the same level as Team Taz. Starks’ reference to being the best tag team in AEW brought out the Young Bucks. The Jacksons were happy that the tag team division was eating well, but don’t forget who set the table. The champs challenged Lee & Swerve and Starks & Hobbs to a three-way AEW tag title defense next week.

I have mixed feelings about the promo session. Team Taz was excellent with engaging words, especially Starks spitting hot fire. Even the Bucks had good points despite their mediocre delivery. My issue is that this is weak matchmaking from AEW. It is too similar to the Jurassic Express defense. The Bucks are not losing the belts next week, so there is no drama in rehashing the three-way. While the title bout will no doubt entertain, AEW poured cold water on the feud between Team Taz and Lee & Swerve. They have reached a boiling point, and it’s time to pull the trigger on that contest.

Rush defeated Penta Oscuro. Rush set up for the Bull’s Horns finishing dropkick, but Penta countered for a rolling cutter, thrust kick, and package piledriver. Andrade placed Rush’s foot on the apron for the break. Fenix confronted Andrade, and that distracted the referee. Rush struck for a low blow and removed Penta’s mask for the winning roll-up.

This match is a marquee bout in the lucha libre world. Rush and Pentagon were delivering strong with intensity as a grudge match, then the execution of the closing sequence completely took me out of the moment. It revolved around Penta’s rolling cutter rally. Rush was in total control gearing up to finish. He just stopped in his tracks like he experienced a fit of dizziness to wait for Penta’s rolling cutter. The timing made it look terrible, hokey, and nonsensical. On the positive, the rest of the bout was a great taste of things to come between Los Ingobernables and the Lucha Bros.

The Acclaimed & Gunn Club defeated Bear Country, Leon Ruffin, & Fuego del Sol. The Gunn Club snatched the mic away from Max Caster to stifle the rapping entrance. For the finish, Caster connected on the Mic Drop flying elbow, but Austin Gunn tagged in to steal the pin. Afterward, the Gunn sons and Acclaimed shoved each other. Billy Gunn angrily pulled away his sons then viciously clotheslined Caster. Anthony Bowens wanted to scissor daddy. Billy gave him a Fameasser instead.

I don’t have a clue what to make of papa Billy’s actions this week. The group still has my attention though. A good explanation will be vital to keeping interest. A shabby explanation could quickly derail this whole story into garbage territory with Billy’s confusing turns.

Thunder Rosa & Toni Storm defeated Nyla Rose & Marina Shafir. Storm turned the tide to break a pinfall and attack for a pendulum DDT to Nyla and a German suplex to Shafir. Thunderstorm teamed up for a flying buttocks squeeze into a Fire Thunder Driver to Shafir.

Both teams worked well together as proper units. The combo moves flowed smoothly to add drama. Speaking of drama, there were no issues between the champ and her partner. Whatever AEW has in mind for the near future, it does not appear to be another feud between Thunder and Storm.

Notes: Prior to the broadcast, Mark Sterling began a petition to ban Swerve Strickland from AEW. During the show, he was joined by Tony Nese to approach Keith Lee about signing the People Against Swerve Strickland (P.A.S.S.). Lee admitted trust issues with Swerve, but they are still tag partners who are winning. No dice for Sterling.

Later, Sterling also approached Orange Cassidy. OC brought in his lawyer, Danhausen. A proposal was made. If Nese defeats Cassidy on Rampage, then OC will sign the P.A.S.S. petition.

The fallout from Blood & Guts will see Claudio Castagnoli versus Jake Hager next week. Hager wants respect as an undefeated MMA fighter. Claudio vowed to have his hand raised in victory against Hager.

Sticking with Blood & Guts fallout, Eddie Kingston is mad at Chris Jericho for making him a liar. Kingston never got to taste Jericho’s blood, so he’s going to keep coming. Jericho interrupted on the big screen to show craziness. Tay Conti slammed a car door on Ruby Soho’s arm.

Dark Order and -1 honored Mr. Brodie Lee in his hometown. QT Marshall interrupted looking for a singles match against -1. Hangman Page came down to kick off a ping pong session on QT. He was bounced all around the ring. -1 decided to wait until he is 19 years old to pin QT. The other message was that the remaining members of the Dark Order aren’t going anywhere. This was a reference to any concern of a breakup after Stu Grayson and 5 departed AEW. This segment was harmless fun for a good cause.

Samoa Joe versus Jay Lethal for the ROH TV title was announced for the ROH PPV for July 23. Lethal knows it won’t be an easy fight, but he will win the championship. Also for the ROH show, Daniel Garcia will challenge Wheeler Yuta for the ROH Pure Championship. FTR issued a rematch challenge to the Briscoes with the ROH tag titles on the line.

Miro was back with another awesome promo. The target was Malakai Black. A man who preys on the flawed has enraged a flawless man. Miro is a man that rattles the gates of Heaven and a man that will destroy the gates of Hell. The Redeemer is coming for Black.

Stokely Hathaway explained his Baddies recruitment of Leila Grey. He paid for her to be an interim Baddie. His quick thinking figured 3-on-2 was better than 2-on-2. Jade Cargill was not pleased. If this doesn’t work out, Hathaway will be on the hook.


Stud of the Show: Ricky Starks

The emotion from Starks turned his promo to entertainment gold. He hyped up the fight so well that I am disappointed we have to wait even longer for a straight up tag team showdown.

Match of the Night: Jon Moxley vs. Brody King

A simple and satisfying slugfest of a badass conquering a monster.

Grade: B+

Entertaining action and entertaining promos made the show zoom. A few hiccups lowered the grade a little. Some feuds are reaching a point that need resolution to move on, while others are feeling fresh with possibilities.

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