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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (Aug. 3, 2022): Pandora’s Box of Jericho

AEW Dynamite (Aug. 3, 2022) emanated from Schottenstein Center in Columbus, OH. The show featured Chris Jericho putting his title shot on the line against Wheeler Yuta, treachery within the Undisputed Elite, Jay Lethal dueling with Orange Cassidy, and much more.

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

Pandora’s Box of Jericho

The main event of the evening put Chris Jericho against Wheeler Yuta with a twist to set up next week’s title match against Jon Moxley. If Yuta can win, then he will steal Jericho’s spot in that match. The Blackpool Combat Club was confident to the point of disrespect that they have opened Pandora’s Box of Jericho.

Moxley set the mood with a strong promo explaining the magnitude of the stakes. It will be the last survivor of the Hart Dungeon versus the first survivor of the Blackpool Combat Club for a chance to dance with the baddest SOB in the game. Mox doesn’t care who wins. When the bell rings, his only concern is to bring pain. Whoever prevails between Jericho and Yuta better be ready, because this is Moxley’s life.

Ding, ding, ding. Match time! Jericho started by slapping Yuta across the face. Yuta responded by flicking Jericho’s broken nose to great pain. Daddy Magic and Cool Hand were ringside, but Claudio Castagnoli was there to watch Yuta’s back. When Cool Hand hooked Yuta’s foot early, JAS was ejected by referee Aubrey Edwards. Claudio exited as well, but I think that was more due to Yuta not needing him.

Jericho and Yuta dueled one-on-one. The youngster was slick and quick, while the veteran had strategic tricks up his sleeve to steady the pace. After a slap fight of palm strikes, Yuta exploded for five consecutive German suplexes.

On the sixth attempt, Jericho countered for the Walls of Jericho submission. Yuta reached the ropes for the break.

Yuta regained control for three straight suicide dives. Jericho rallied with a double underhook backbreaker and a counter Codebreaker. Jericho rained down hammering elbows. Yuta raked the injured nose to wriggle free and set up the Regal Stretch.

Jericho was able to reach for his trusty baseball bat. When the ref removed the foreign object, Jericho struck Yuta with a low blow. Yuta ducked the Judas Effect for the seatbelt pin. Jericho rolled out and surprised Yuta with the Lion Tamer. Yuta tapped out in defeat.

Afterward, Jericho refused to release the hold. Referees couldn’t pry his hands free. Enter Moxley through the crowd. Fighting words were exchanged from afar. Jericho warned that Mox opened Pandora’s Box by requesting the Lionheart for next week. Moxley flashed a half smile at getting what he wanted.

Jericho took his game up a notch for the fight with Yuta. The fresh face took the grizzled veteran to the limit, but Jericho used his submission skills to neutralize the threat. I’m surprised Yuta tapped out. AEW spent so much time developing him as passing out when losing to the Blackpool Combat Club that I don’t think William Regal will be happy with Yuta quitting. Poor guy is going to get stretched for that in the BCC training room.

Jericho’s win was important to build ample pumpitude of anticipation for next week’s world title fight with Moxley. Le Champion demonstrated just enough of his old style to maintain curiosity as he shifts gears to become the Lionheart. AEW has done a great job in selling this match. There shouldn’t be much reason to be excited for Jericho versus Moxley in the year 2022, but they managed to squeeze just enough juice out of it to make the contest appealing.

Undisputed Elite explodes!

AEW hyped the return of the Undisputed Elite. Adam Cole, the Young Bucks, Bobby Fish, and Kyle O’Reilly were back as a unit after time off from injury for various members. The return seemed timely with the AEW Trios Championship tournament on the horizon. With five members, how would the teams divvy up? And where would the Hangman Page reconciliation tease fit in? This segment provided some answers and created even more questions.

Cole took lead on the mic. It was good to be back in the ring with friends. Cole broke the news that he is not medically cleared to compete yet, and nor is O’Reilly. That got Cole to thinking about what makes a group successful. Leadership, chemistry, and loyalty as the most important. Fighting alongside brothers no matter what. That led Cole to question who the Bucks would pick if not choosing Fish. That’s why Cole can not allow them to enter the tournament.

Cole backtracked to clarify that the Bucks won’t be physically capable to wrestle in the tournament. Swerve alert! reDRagon attacked the Bucks from behind in an orchestrated ploy that brought tears to the eyes of one young fan.

Hangman ran in with a pipe for the save. The cowboy held out his hand to help Matt Jackson to his feet. Matt accepted the assistance, then Hangman sheepishly exited the ring in a hurry as he was unable to handle the emotion of the situation.

This is an interesting call in many ways. First is the explosion of the Undisputed Elite. We all knew that would happen eventually, but I did not see it coming on this evening. Bonus points to AEW for the element of a story surprise.

Many fans theorized that the trios final could likely be Undisputed versus Elite. If the Undisputed actually did injure the Bucks, then that potential tournament matchup is off the table. That’s not a bad thing at all. It opens up the tournament to complete unpredictability, and this feud doesn’t need the belts anyway. Especially if it would tie up the gold in a super extended story.

If the tournament is out of the picture for this feud, then it also opens versatility for matchmaking at All Out. If AEW can’t book CM Punk versus Jon Moxley as the main event, then Hangman makes the most sense as #1 contender at this moment. Would the Bucks be left high and dry? Not necessarily. That could depend on the status of Kenny Omega to return. There are a lot of pieces on this board that can be moved to cover one way or another, and that is intriguing.

There is one question that sticks out above the rest. What’s up with Hangman’s choice of butterfly jeans?

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

Jay Lethal defeated Orange Cassidy. Satnam Singh came out as a road block to Cassidy’s early momentum. Best Friends hilariously countered Singh’s height with Trent sitting on Chuck Taylor’s shoulders wearing a trench coat to pose as one large person.

The match played out with Lethal doing serious damage to Cassidy’s leg. OC rallied for a flying DDT and tilt-a-whirl DDT, then his leg gave out to collapse trying a Superman punch. Cassidy continued his fighting spirit for a counter Beach Break, but reliance on the Superman punch would be his undoing. Lethal ducked, kicked the knee, and hit the Lethal Injection handspring cutter for victory.

Afterward, Lethal taunted Wardlow to make the save as he threatened to break Cassidy’s leg with a figure-four. Best Friends and Wardlow came out as requested. Sonjay Dutt issued a TNT title challenge on behalf of Lethal for Battle of the Belts III. Wardlow accepted to whoop that ass.

I really like how the finish of that match played out, and not just because Cassidy lost. Lethal did major work on Cassidy’s leg, and OC sold it like the dickens. Often times, the babyface will still come back to win, and that makes the heel look extra weak for not being able to finish the job with such an advantage. Lethal’s win on this night made him look strong. I was thinking that he’s ready for a TNT title shot, and then AEW delivers on that idea. It shows how a little bit of momentum can carry a long way in a short period of time. Compare that to how Konosuke Takeshita is coming in cold for his gifted ROH title shot against Claudio Castagnoli.

AEW has done well adjusting Cassidy’s entrance for his theme song by stalling his arrival to line up when the song starts rocking. It makes such a huge difference to build anticipation and energy from fans once Cassidy steps out of the tunnel. It’s like a double pop. One for the start of the song, and one for Cassidy himself.

Dr. Britt Baker DMD & Jamie Hayter defeated Thunder Rosa & Toni Storm. Thunder reveled in the sand bagging insult by wearing a new shirt.

Good action all the way through. The finish came down to Storm running wild on hip attacks in the corner. Baker managed to evade and somehow Thunder got smashed in the crossfire. In the confusion, Hayter pounced for a short-arm lariat to pin Storm for the win.

This match was popping with exciting sequences. Flying crossbodies and DDTs from Storm, Hayter showing power on a double suplex, Baker thriving by conniving an avalanche Air Raid Crash, and Thunder being her normal feisty self made for an entertaining bout.

Team Taz disbanded. Tax spoke from his commentary position about last week’s events. He was shocked by Will Hobbs’ attack on Ricky Starks. Taz was also unaware that Hook was going to challenge and win the FTW title. As a result of keeping Taz out of the loop in Team Taz business, he declared that the team is officially finished. Taz wished the best for the futures of Starks, Hobbs, and Hook.

Will Hobbs defeated Ren Jones. Squash with an Oklahoma Stampede slam and a clubbing clothesline to win. Afterward, Starks sprinted to the ring for fisticuffs. Starks shoved the referee out of the way and walked into a spinebuster. Hobbs exited with a snarling smile.

Those segments tied a bow on the gift that was Team Taz. A little sad to seem it combust, but good times await as Starks feuds with Hobbs and Hook defends the FTW Championship. I appreciate AEW having Starks wait until after the match to run in. Other promotions are more of a free-for-all in that sense, and it muddies the illusion that this is supposed to be a sport.

Christian Cage defeated Matt Hardy. Veteran familiarity was on display by both men avoiding signature attacks. Hardy had momentum after hitting two Side Effects, but the tide turned when Hardy leaped for an elbow drop off the apron through a table. Christian moved away, and Hardy took the crash solo. Christian finished with a Kill Switch.

Earlier in the evening, Jungle Boy drove his car into the venue dangerously close to hitting Christian. JB was escorted out by security.

After match, Christian was intent on crushing Hardy’s skull with chairs. Luchasaurus stomped out for the save as a distraction for Jungle Boy to round in from behind. Christian managed to escape unscathed.

That was a nice match with smart counters. Christian and Hardy did their share of taking bumps, such as a superplex and a super back body drop. It was fitting that a table was involved considering their TLC history. The Jungle Boy stuff was just enough of a taste to keep this feud brewing until they likely fight at the All Out PPV.

Dumpster Match: The Acclaimed defeated Gunn Club. The contest was won by closing the lid on both team members inside the dumpster. Max Caster and Anthony Bowens were both tossed inside the container on a back body drop and powerbomb, however, they managed to stick their hands up to prevent the lid from closing. The Acclaimed battled back with the big spot being Caster leaping off the top of the tunnel for an elbow drop through a table.

The Acclaimed loaded the Ass Boys into the dumpster. Adding insult to injury, The Acclaimed shoved the dumpster off the stage crashing down onto the floor.

Good mix of goofy fun and hard-hitting action. The Gunn Club showed their toughness in defeat and are slowly on the road to being taken seriously. There is a ways to go before becoming believable title contenders, but their work continues to improve over time to show they belong in AEW. The Acclaimed picked up a memorable notch on their belts to prevail in this feud. This is the kind of mid-card building that AEW needs more of.

Notes: Sammy Guevara and Tay Conti treated us to a lovely vignette announcing their absence due to marriage plans. Sourpuss Eddie Kingston interrupted the video to state that he signed a contract to fight Guevara at the All Out PPV on September 4.

Miro questioned his god about sending the visitor who talked to him. Evil doesn’t need a mask. It just needs time to reveal itself. The Redeemer will reveal himself too.

Darby Allin claimed credit for urging Tony Khan to sign Brody King to AEW. And now, King is trying to build his name off Allin. Coffin Match accepted, but remember that King asked for this.

Daniel Garcia is the greatest technical sports entertainer of all-time. After submitting “The American Dragon” Bryan Danielson, that makes Garcia the dragon slayer. When Danielson returns, Garcia will slay the dragon again.

Ethan Page was angry about not being on TV every week. As Page was on a verbal tirade, Stokely Hathaway whispered in his ear. Page was receptive and accepted Hathaway’s business card.

Daddy Magic’s nipples get hard thinking about Jericho becoming two-time Le Champion. Cool Hand wanted appreciation for the greatest faction in the history of sports entertainment. Anna Jay proved how tough she is by choking out Ruby Soho in victory. Anna lost her marbles a little shouting about choking everyone out, then she choked out a stagehand. I’m liking this character turn of Anna as a chaotic blend. It is very sports entertaining.

Mance Warner won the Bunkhouse Battle Royal at Ric Flair’s Last Match, so AEW decided to book him against Jon Moxley in a title eliminator bout on Rampage. Also for that show, Madison Rayne will debut and Keith Lee & Swerve Strickland will compete against Tony Nese & Josh Woods in a street fight.

Battle of the Belts III hype package for Claudio Castagnoli versus Konosuke Takeshita for the ROH World Championship. Takeshita believes this will be his first big win in AEW. Claudio wants Takeshita to bring his fighting spirit. Either step up or be stepped on. Thunder Rosa versus Jamie Hayter for the AEW Women’s World Championship and Wardlow versus Jay Lethal for the TNT Championship were also confirmed for the program on Saturday night.

Stud of the Show: Chris Jericho

Jericho relied on old tricks to overcome for victory, and he looked good doing so. His performance makes me eager for the title fight with Moxley.

Match of the Night: Thunder Rosa & Toni Storm vs. Dr. Britt Baker DMD & Jamie Hayter

The women tore up the ring in dynamite fashion. A furious pace and nifty moves created riveting tension toward the finish.

Grade: B+

This episode of Dynamite was a really good meat and potatoes kind of show. Everything was tight and made sense. There were various stages of feuds to keep things fresh. The action in the ring delivered as always.

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

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