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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (Aug. 31, 2022): Big money feuds

AEW Dynamite (Aug. 31, 2022) emanated from Now Arena in Chicago, IL. The go-home show to All Out featured the setup for Jon Moxley versus CM Punk in a PPV rematch, Kenny Omega scuffling with Will Ospreay for exciting trios tournament action, and so much more.

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

All Out world title main event is set

Coming in to Dynamite, the world title fight for All Out was still a mystery. Now, we finally have a main event for the PPV. Jon Moxley will defend the AEW World Championship in a rematch against CM Punk. It took a few twists and dramatic promos to get there.

This Dynamite story was a three-part act. The show opened with Moxley addressing the partisan Chicago crowd about his demolition of CM Punk one week earlier to unify the AEW World Championship. When guys get in the ring with Mox, we learn what they are made of. Moxley accused Punk of folding under pressure. After Punk dished out his best shots, saw Moxley still coming forward, and realized that Mox didn’t care about pain, that’s when Punk looked for a way out using his foot injury as an excuse to crumble. Moxley has zero sympathy for Punk. Fragile ego, fragile body, weak mind, weak spirit. Time to move on.

Moxley offered an open contract to anyone that wants to sign for All Out. For whoever signs, be warned that Mox can out-marathon, out-sprint, out-fight, and out-wrestle you. He is the fire-breathing, blood-spitting living embodiment of pro wrestling. Moxley dropped the contract in the center of the ring and split. AEW producer Ace Steel retrieved the document. Steel also happens to by Punk’s close friends. Doo, doo, doo...

Part two saw Punk in the ring for his own promo. Punk reflected solemnly on letting the fans down. Upon the original injury, Punk’s foot was pulverized. Surgery inserted three plates and sixteen screws. Even though he was cleared as 100% healthy, maybe he came back too early. The truth could be that this new 100% might not be good enough anymore.

Enter Steel to read the riot act to his friend. Life isn’t about getting knocked down. It is about how many times you get back up. Steel slapped Punk hard across the face to reignite Punk’s fighting spirit. Steel told Punk that he will sign the contract to face Moxley at All Out. Punk hugged his pal with rejuvenation. The world has been trying to kill Punk since the day he was born. Moxley isn’t the man to do it. Punk rambled on about being one with Chicago, and that makes him super tough. Bum, bum, bum...

The ball was back in Moxley’s court for the third and final act. Moxley took over the ring unannounced. If Punk wants to go out on his shield, then Mox will oblige. If Punk has one more miracle, then he better find it fast. Once the bell rings at All Out, Moxley will show the world the difference between a fake messiah and a legend being made.

That was a very interesting route to book the world title rematch. Thumbs up to AEW for the creative storytelling effort in trying to hype the world for the All Out main event. There were ups, downs, lefts, and rights all in one night. The open contract surprise led to Punk needing a pep-talk from Steel to Punk ready to conquer the world to Moxley with no fear over the challenge. Moxley was on fire with his promos. He speaks with such passion that no one can doubt his conviction. Great job creating imagery with his words. Steel’s slap should be a candidate for mini moment of the year. That was a badass rally cry for his friend. Punk showed a wide range of emotion on cue from teary-eyed to intense confidence.

Where it fell apart for me was Punk’s story. I’m sitting here as a fan who just watched Punk get his ass kicked, partly due to a re-injured foot, by Moxley one week ago. So, I ask myself how will AEW present a rematch differently. That wasn’t even really addressed. Punk actually made it worse with his sob story and loss of confidence. While it was a great moment for Steel to slap Punk out of his stupor, I wouldn’t say it sold me on the rematch. Punk talked a tough game to completely ignore what happened previously against Moxley. It felt like fool’s courage rather than a badass rising to the occasion. Whereas, Moxley is brimming with confidence and has the results to back it up. I think this could have been outstanding if there was a little time between the two matches. Happening so soon to each other makes it feel phony. Also, I was slightly disappointed that nobody tried to beat up Steel to snatch the contract backstage.

Despite my criticism, there is no doubt that Moxley versus Punk is still a big money feud.

Elite trios soap opera

The Elite are back, and that means more soap opera drama. Yippee!

Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks teamed for the main event against Will Ospreay and Aussie Open in the AEW World Trios Championship tournament semifinal. This story was all about the showdown between rivals Omega and Ospreay.

Don Callis appeared to plant seeds to possibly back Ospreay eventually. At least, that’s how I perceived it. He approached Ospreay in the locker room with high praise, albeit praise a little higher for Omega. This conversation could prove to be the ice-breaker should Callis ever decide to dump Omega.

Omega’s entrance for the bout was a list on one-upping accomplishments over Ospreay.

The match was fire throughout, and it reached peak levels whenever Omega and Ospreay physically engaged. They had a little story of Ospreay continually blocking Omega’s opportunities for the V-Trigger. Ospreay tried to steal the move for himself at one point, but Omega snuffed it out.

In the end, the Elite turned up the heat. They crushed Ospreay on a leapfrog Indy Taker teamwork piledriver then blitzed Kyle Fletcher with superkicks. That set up Omega to finish by finally connecting on a V-Trigger followed by a One Winged Angel to pin Fletcher for victory.

The match sported amazing athleticism for a variety of energetic maneuvers, such as Ospreay with a Sky Twister aerial attack, snap dragon suplexes, Aussie Open with a delayed double superplex, Ospreay countering a V-Trigger into a Liger bomb, and the list could go on. What really made this match stand out was the heat between Omega and Ospreay. I’m not all that savvy to the backstory of this feud, however, I could feel the raw emotion whenever they duked it up mano a mano. Ospreay added nice heel touches of using Omega’s moves and ripping off his shirt to tenderize the bandaged areas of pain. After watching this bout, I have no doubt that Omega versus Ospreay could be an AEW PPV main event in the near future.

Adding more drama to the soap, Hangman Page could be a thorn in the Elite’s side in their quest for trios gold. Just when we thought beef had been squashed, potential tension may arise due to Hangman joining the Dark Order as an official injury replacement. If the Dark Oder gets past the Best Friends on Rampage, then there will be an Elite showdown at All Out.

The Hangman story began with 10 withdrawing on a knee injury. Evil Uno stepped in to that spot. Andrade strode onto the scene looking to purchase 10’s contract. El Idolo was impressed by 10’s potential and handed a stack of cash to Uno as payment. Uno took exception and shoved the money back into Andrade’s pocket. That led to angry fisticuffs with Uno on the receiving end of a beatdown.

Cut over to Alex Reynolds and John Silver later in the show. 10 and Evil Uno were declared out of commission. They were without a third, then Hangman moseyed up to put his name in the hat. Hangman officially joined the Dark Order trios team.

That was another creative storytelling route to arrive at the intended point. Inserting Andrade was a smooth way to dispose of Evil Uno for this situation. Hangman on the team gives the Dark Order instant credibility to turn them from lovable goofs into legitimate contenders to win the whole tournament. Plus, Hangman makes the Dark Order cooler to root for.

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

Bryan Danielson defeated Jake Hager. Danielson used his skills trying to chop Hager down, while Hager power smashed Danielson to tenderize his body for the Jericho matchup on All Out. Spot of the match was Hager catching a running knee off the apron to tackle Danielson through a table.

Danielson rallied down the stretch. Submission attempts were exchanged, then Danielson exploded for a running knee to plant Hager on the mat for three.

Hager delivered in his role by executing his job to bring pain. Danielson delivered in his role as the fan favorite underdog. I say underdog in terms of size. I don’t think anyone expected Danielson to lose. The rolling submission exchanges were enjoyable as a chess match.

A pre-match and post-match story played out with Daniel Garcia. Backstage prior, Garcia apologized to Jericho and pledged loyalty. Garcia also tried to talk Jericho into fighting fair against Danielson at All Out. Jericho sort of agreed, but made it clear that it is war until then.

After the contest, Daddy Magic and Cool Hand jumped Danielson. Claudio Castagnoli and Wheeler Yuta evened the odds. Those four brawled to the wayside. Jericho ran in from commentary with a steel chair. As he wound up, Garcia ran in to snatch the chair away. All the while, Danielson was poised to attack. Jericho turned around into a running knee. Garcia had a conflicted expression about the mess he just caused for Jericho.

AEW is flushing my interest in Garcia down the toilet pretty quickly. It’s frustrating to see him act emotionally conflicted all of a sudden. On top of that, Garcia’s word is whack and he’s a turncoat. It took about 15 minutes for Garcia to go back on his JAS loyalty pledge. How can Garcia act surprised when this has clearly been the JAS modus operandi since he joined? To make matters worse, after Danielson took advantage of the situation, Garcia did nothing to help his leader. He just stood there like a schmuck.

Tony Khan must have liked what he saw, because it was announced that Garcia will have a title shot against Wheeler Yuta for the ROH Pure Championship next week on Dynamite. You want to know the justification? Beats the heck out of me.

W. Morrissey! The Wingmen protested in the ring about not being booked for the show. Enter Morrissey to destroy all four men. Stokely Hathaway was hot on Morrissey’s heels to hand over a business card. The 7-footer accepted with a nod.

Tony Schiavone intercepted for an interview. Hathaway went nuts grabbing Schiavone by the jacket lapels. Morrissey backed up Hathaway to make Schiavone stand down.

Yes! Morrissey! Yes! That was a great way to make a strong impression and erase the memory of losing to Wardlow. Morrissey can deliver promos fine on his own, however, Hathaway by his side adds a different element. Hathaway can be serious, crazy, and funny while being entertaining the entire time.

Hikaru Shida & Toni Storm defeated Dr. Britt Baker & Jamie Hayter. Rebel was ringside. This bout was a taste of the AEW Interim Women’s World Championship four-way at All Out. As Baker broke out her dentist glove for the Lockjaw submission, Shida rallied for a tornado enziguri out of the corner. Shida slid outside to handle Hayter and Rebel. Storm ran in for a hip attack to Baker then a DDT to Hayter on the floor. Shida finished Baker with the Katana spinning knee strike for victory.

Fluid teamwork from both squads. It was also intelligent work from the babyface duo. I like how Shida and Storm executed a slick plan to take out the numbers advantage. It felt natural like a premeditated strategy. That made the match seem more sporting than play acting.

FTR & Wardlow defeated Vic Capri, Silas Young, & Ren Jones. Sonjay Dutt took notes backstage. Squash win. Big Rig and two note powerbomb symphony for victory.

Wardlow’s wind-up lariat is still awesome. The headbutt is a smart addition to provide the dazed opponent a reason to stand there and take it.

Wheeler Yuta defeated Dante Martin, Rush, and Fenix. Four-way bout as a taste of the Casino ladder match participants. Cool moves aplenty, chaos all around. Fenix dove onto Rush on the outside clearing the way for Yuta to win with a seat belt pin on Martin.

Action men had an action match. It’s interesting that Yuta earned the shine of victory. Given traditional pro wrestling booking, I suppose we can cross Yuta’s name of the list to win the Casino ladder match. I didn’t think he was going to win anyway, so AEW was productive in allowing Yuta success on TV to keep building up his status.

Notes: Kip Sabian is a stickler for the details. However, even the most meticulous plan can’t prepare for the perfect opportunity. PAC fell for the simplest of ruses, so Sabian took advantage. Going after the AEW All-Atlantic Championship is a great detour. That match was made for the All Out pre-show. This promo was good enough as a character reboot for Sabian. And much like the rest of AEW’s supervillains, I don’t know what he’s talking about. Sounds interesting though. Time will tell what Sabian’s true master plan is.

Miro wanted to redeem the House of Black, and they attacked him. Miro’s god was so scared that he made a deal with the devil. Miro will wreck those pagans to show his true power. Darby Allin joined to plant seeds of discord. Brody King doesn’t need Malakai Black to be successful. Neither does Buddy Matthews. The sooner they realize that, the House will burn. Sting was third on the scene. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Trios match booked for All Out.

Christian Cage and Jungle Boy agreed to a no-physicality sitdown interview with Jim Ross. Christian will show JB he’s out of his league to make him a has-been at 25 years of age. Christian is in AEW to make money and win championships. He’s not here to make friends. Jungle Boy plans to teach Christian how to be a man. It won’t be a wrestling match against Jungle Boy. It will be a fight against Jack Perry. Good, solid verbal exchange to keep the heat on simmer.

Stud of the Show: Jon Moxley

Moxley’s intense promo sold me on the All Out main event. It didn’t even matter the opponent. CM Punk is not a selling point for me in this match, but I am very intrigued to see how Moxley backs up his words with violence.

Match of the Night: Elite vs. United Empire

Thrills, chills, and spills. Despite the Elite as heavy favorites, both teams rocked the ring for an electric atmosphere. They made it feel like a big deal. That’s part of the magic of professional wrestling.

Grade: B

Exciting action inside the ring. PPV build was wrapped up in a neat package. The surprise of W. Morrissey was sweet. Kenny Omega clashing with Will Ospreay took their match to a higher level by association. Several contests didn’t have value for winners and thus lacked an emotional reason to care as a viewer. A few of the fresh story beats had too much sad boy drama.

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

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