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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (Aug. 17, 2022): Kenny Omega’s return to glory

AEW Dynamite (Aug. 17, 2022) emanated from Charleston Coliseum in Charleston, WV. The House of the Dragon special featured Kenny Omega as the mystery partner for the Young Bucks’ in the AEW World Trios Championship tournament, CM Punk and Jon Moxley igniting fireworks for their rivalry, Bryan Danielson and Daniel Garcia in another chapter for the debate between professional wrestler versus sports entertainer, and so much more.

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

Kenny Omega returns to glory

Stop the presses. Kenny Omega has returned. The Best Bout Machine reunited with the Young Bucks as their mystery partner to compete in the AEW World Trios Championship tournament against Los Ingobernables. Soak in his introduction from Justin Roberts.

Heading into the show, I didn’t fully believe Omega was the reveal. Once the trios bout was announced as the main event, then it become clear that Omega time was here. AEW set the scene and delivered the sizzle.

Omega wore a shoulder brace, and that was foreshadowing to his performance. The Young Bucks started early setting the stage for Omega’s first tag. He landed a slingshot axe handle to get in the groove. It wasn’t all peachy keen for Omega. He struggled on a few moves, such as landing the flip on his signature rolling fireman’s carry slam.

Omega was more efficient with his feet on the ground, such as the snap dragon suplex. Even then, he couldn’t fully close his grip.

In the end, Omega was the money player to finish out the win in style with a V-Trigger and One Winged Angel to pin Dragon Lee for victory.

There was a lot of exciting action in this match, but the story was all about Omega’s return to the ring. I thought that aspect was told very well. It was a great sports moment of an aging injury comeback to rally his team to victory. Omega wasn’t a video game character wrestling in his prime. Signs of wear and tear were visible throughout. Just look at the One Winged Angel. It was not the prettiest of execution. Omega was so realistic in his flawed movement that he legit makes me question how healthy he actually is. We’ve seen Omega act before. He’s not that good. If this was all part of the story, then give Omega an Oscar. If not, then give him major applause for the effort of intestinal fortitude.

There was a second story at play during the main event. This bout was the AEW televised debut of Dragon Lee. He joined brother Rush and Andrade as a unit. In my opinion, Dragon Lee is one of the most exhilarating wrestlers in the game today. I was excited for him to be on the big stage. Unfortunately, Dragon Lee took most of the beating in the match. He didn’t get to show much until two super awesome signature spots. First was a suicide dive tackle into the front row. That earned instant satisfaction from the live crowd. Second was leaping over the ropes for a hurricanrana off the apron down to the floor.

The post-match activity filled me with optimism that AEW has big plans for Dragon Lee. There were little seeds of sportsmanship planted throughout of the luchador not desiring to be as bad as Rush and Andrade. After Dragon Lee was pinned and the ring cleared, Andrade stuffed him on a hammerlock DDT with support from Rush. The cameras did not do a good job catching this clearly. It felt like they either rushed with no time left or they went early on a planned post-show story angle. Either way, I take this as a positive sign for Dragon Lee. I think the idea of turning Dragon Lee babyface is a smart move. His moveset positions him as a fan favorite already. Might as well embrace it to make a new superstar.

CM Punk vs. Jon Moxley rivalry explodes

CM Punk opened the broadcast addressing the crowd about the upcoming AEW world title unification bout against Jon Moxley. After soaking in the crowd adulation, Punk took an odd angle shading to heel territory. First, he called out Hangman Page offering an immediate rematch right then and there. When Hangman did not appear, Punk called that coward shit.

After that order of business, Punk turned his ire to insulting Moxley. Mox claims to be #1, but he’s only third best in is own group. That’s not the first time for Moxley. This shot fired would be a reference to Moxley in the Shield. Punk continued his rabble-rousing, adding insults toward Eddie Kingston, until Moxley answered the call.

Punk comically did snow angels in the ring to amuse himself while waiting for Mox’s long walk to the ring through the crowd.

Moxley came strong claiming Punk is writing checks with his mouth that his body can’t cash. All Punk’s words don’t mean shit. Moxley is the heart and soul of AEW. Punk shot back that he’ll be the dollars and cents. Moxley spoke about attributes of being the best. He has heart, soul, guts, fighting spirit. Mox doubted Punk’s fighting spirit and challenged him to do something about it to prove him wrong. Moxley stepped into Punk’s face. Punk didn’t back down, so Mox gave a playful headbutt. Punk reacted with a shove, and mayhem broke loose in the form of fisticuffs. Security ran in to intervene.

The segment dragged on teasing more fighting. Little did we know this wasn’t the last we would see of Punk and Moxley on this evening. When it was time for Tony Nese and Mark Sterling on stage, Mox barged in to physically bash those doofuses. Mox stormed the ring to demand the title match against Punk right now. Punk ran out for a second helping of fisticuffs. Security, with help from Claudio Castagnoli, were more productive in breaking it up this time. As a result of that scene, AEW announced a bombshell. Punk versus Moxley for the AEW World Championship will take place next week on Dynamite.

Hot damn was that an effective hype job throughout the night for the prime time money match. There was a lot going on in that opening segment. Most importantly, the initial physical altercation in the ring was absolute fire. The talking is nice, but this is the fight game at the end of the day. Speaking of the talking, the insults ratcheted up the tension to a fever pitch. I felt some of Punk’s lines were designed for a cheap pop crossing the line into fake shooting territory. Once Mox was on the scene, the banter was pinging and powing in a smart-mouth way. That’s what made Moxley stepping to Punk so good at that moment. Announcing the championship bout for next week gave me a case of the tingles.

Punk challenging Hangman is something I’m still scratching my head about. It was a weird flex by Punk in the story. Either AEW is purposely heeling Punk up for the Moxley feud, or perhaps they are planting the seeds for Hangman to be in the world title scene for the All Out PPV.

Bryan Danielson vs. Daniel Garcia in professional wrestler vs. sports entertainer

Bryan Danielson wrestled Daniel Garcia in best 2-out-of-3 falls to determine who was truly better. Beyond the action, a neat little story was told that could elevate Garcia to the next level.

The bout began with intense mat work and aggressive strikes. Garcia earned the first fall with a piledriver then a dragon sleeper squeezing consciousness from Danielson’s body.

Garcia started strong for round two and hit a DDT onto the exposed concrete floor.

Garcia applied the dragon sleeper looking for a sweep in the score. Danielson relied on his wits to hook Garcia for a pinning predicament to win the second fall.

Round three was a full length match in and of itself. Danielson and Garcia went to war battling back and forth. In the end, Danielson worked the LeBell Lock. Garcia inched toward the ropes, so Danielson hammered down elbows and locked in the submission again at an awkward angle to earn total victory.

That was a very slick match with technical skill on full display. The creativity in execution was excellent. They did well working the crowd with a flow of sassy slow then exploding for quick exchanges. There were a lot of roller coaster momentum shifts. After that performance from Garcia, he cemented himself as a stud in terms of entertainment value in the ring.

One aspect I didn’t like was Danielson taking so many shots to the head and not going down. Head trauma was a major part of the story of the upset victory in their previous contest. It wasn’t much of a factor this time around. For example, DDTs have been devalued enough as is in today’s landscape. A DDT on the concrete floor should be a near-death experience. Danielson did suffer a few cobwebs, but it wasn’t long before shaking it off and going on the warpath. On a different occasion, Garcia repeatedly stomped Danielson’s head. The American Dragon retaliated while demonstrating no lingering effects. I was also not a fan of Danielson’s moment of zen to absorb all strikes without worry. That was more of a sports entertainment move. Danielson should hang his head in shame as a professional wrestler.

As interesting as the match was, the developing story in the aftermath was more intriguing. Garcia was knocked loopy and tried to continue the fight out of instinct. He grabbed Danielson’s boot with no real threat of danger. Garcia was just on cruise control, much like the reaction of a knocked out MMA fighter. Garcia eventually came coherent and realized he lost the match. Danielson applauded Garcia’s moxie and tried to get the crowd to cheer as a stamp of approval.

When Danielson offered his hand, Chris Jericho ran in from commentary to attack from behind. Garcia shoved Jericho off and slapped Jericho’s hand away. Jericho was not a happy camper, and the scene closed with Garcia mentally debating whose side to choose.

Later backstage, Jericho gave Garcia a pass due to being fuzzy from the fight. Jericho needs to know for sure where Garcia stands, so he ordered a face-to-face for next week. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat was special timekeeper for the night. He wandered in mouthing off that Danielson would be a better mentor for Garcia. Cool Hand stepped up and grabbed the legend by the throat, so Steamboat threw a palm strike knocking Cool Hand out of the picture. That was a cool little spot for Steamboat. It was a memorable way to pop the viewers.

When Garcia appeared to have doubts last week about being a sports entertainer, I wasn’t on board in theory. It felt sudden and too soon after joining the Jericho Appreciation Society. After seeing the match and story play out, it has my full interest. This could turn into a major jumping point for Garcia’s career. AEW is playing the emotion well.

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

Gunn Club defeated Varsity Blonds then turned on Billy Gunn. Austin and Colten blitzed Brian Pillman Jr. and Griff Garrison for a squash win via Colt 45. It was an impressive ass-kicking performance that the Ass Boys have been missing to be taken seriously. Billy noticed and said how proud he was of his sons. Family hug, then betrayal. Stokely Hathaway came out, and the Ass Boys shit on Billy in a sneak attack. The Acclaimed ran out for the save and reunited for a scissor session with daddy. That brought a tear of joy to my eye.

Billy scissoring with the Acclaimed is one of my favorite things in professional wrestling at the moment. It is so over-the-top stupid in all the best ways possible. The hand gesture is guaranteed to earn cheers at this point, so I’m pleased as punch that the scissoring isn’t extinct. This story overall is all over the place yet still makes sense. Stokely Hathaway with the Ass Boys and Billy with the Acclaimed should be beneficial for all involved.

Jungle Boy wants a match with Christian Cage. JB cut an in-ring promo proposing two options. Either he’ll continue to chase Christian or he’ll get his match for All Out. Christian declined the PPV proposal with claims that he loves Jungle Boy like a son. JB wasn’t fooled and pummeled Christian with punches. Jungle Boy stomped Christian’s arm on the ring steps.

This was classic verbal tomfoolery from Christian. He laid on his two-faced manipulation thicker than peanut butter. The second he had an advantage in the brawl, he shouted that he hates JB. Christian also delivered several funny insults at the crowd. He did his job looking slimy and keeping momentum hot for Jungle Boy to kick his ass.

Toni Storm defeated KiLynn King. King was dominant for much of the match until Storm turned up the heat for a German suplex, running hip attack, swinging DDT, and pendulum DDT to win. Storm officially earned a world title shot against Thunder Rosa for All Out.

King looked really good in the ring. I laughed at her name graphic saying, “Competed in high-level independent promotions during her time away from AEW,” as an implied shot at the NWA, where King has been working lately. Thinking in broader terms, I like the phrase as a way to explain her improvement. Last we saw King on AEW TV, she was often used as serviceable fodder for stars. On this night, King pushed Storm to the limit and looked like a star herself.

Notes: AEW rolled out a special intro for the promotional tie-on to the new HBO program House of the Dragon.

Will Hobbs doesn’t need friends. Ricky Starks proved to the world that he is okay with losing. Hobbs is not. Starks paraded around as God’s gift to this business, while Hobbs was there for protection. Hobbs was hired to make sure Starks stayed FTW champion, and Starks couldn’t get that job done. In my opinion, Hobbs did not lie. Starks’ promos, even babyface ones, have a sense of entitlement to them. Hobbs’ words makes me conflicted on who to root for in this feud.

Swerve Strickland and Private Party talked trash prior to the AEW tag title match on Rampage. Isiah Kassidy stepped to Keith Lee. Kassidy won’t let Lee embarrass him again. Private Party will win the gold.

Jay Lethal, Sonjay Dutt, and Satnam Singh challenged Wardlow and FTR to a trios bout at All Out. The Pinnacle accepted, and Dax Harwood challenged Lethal to a singles bout for next week.

Death Triangle hyped their trios tournament match against Will Ospreay and Aussie Open. PAC has unfinished business with Ospreay.

Best Friends versus Trustbusters was hyped for Rampage. Best Friends were confident in their chances to advance in the tournament. They are real friends, have teamed a lot, and are stronger.

Stud of the Show: Dragon Lee

Dragon Lee earned this honor for the move of the night with his explosive suicide dive tackle. “Holy shit,” chants erupted immediately. That is the way to make a name for yourself in your AEW television debut.

Match of the Night: Bryan Danielson vs. Daniel Garcia

The match unfolded in a way to maintain my attention for the full 25 minutes or so of ring time. That is no easy task. The blend of rugged and technical action was aces.

Grade: B+

There was a lot to like on this episode of Dynamite. The return of Kenny Omega, the reunion of Bully Gunn with the Acclaimed, the Daniel Garcia change of heart, and the build to CM Punk versus Jon Moxley are the kind of moments that make fans excited to tune in each week. Stories are popping to keep us on our toes, and the wrestling is action-packed.

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

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