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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (Sep. 14, 2022): Bryan Danielson pays price in victory

AEW Dynamite (Sep. 14, 2022) emanated from MVP Arena in Albany, NY. The show featured the Grand Slam tournament of champions semifinals, the Lucha Bros inches away from winning tag titles, and much more.

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

Grand Slam tournament of champions semifinals

AEW is one step away from crowning a new world champion after the tournament semifinals took place on Dynamite. Both matches were action-packed and set up a clash of teammates for next week’s final at Grand Slam.

On one half of the bracket, Jon Moxley versus Sammy Guevara opened the show. Mox had the edge in violent aggression. Sammy used speed and agility to his advantage. Sammy gained momentum early with a suicide cannonball followed by a tornillo attack to the outside.

Sammy continued the assault by grating Moxley’s head into the ring steps and an upright curb stomp into the steel. As the match progressed, Moxley rallied for a butterfly superplex.

After trading slick submission scrambles, Sammy connected on a double springboard cutter. Moxley kicked out on the cover, so Sammy went for the GTH finisher. Moxley countered for a bulldog choke and hammering elbows, but he ran into a standing Spanish fly from Sammy. As Sammy climbed the corner, Moxley sprang up for a super German suplex. Chicanery flowed next.

Sammy had entered alone for the fight. When he was in danger of losing, Tay Melo and Anna Jay ran in for assistance. Anna distracted the referee, so Tay could kick Mox in the nuggets. Sammy tried to steal the win with a roll-up then a swanton, however, Moxley kicked out both times to carry on the match.

Sammy engaged in a firefight of fisticuffs. That was his major mistake. The contact acted to energize Moxley for the finish. Mox returned strikes with fury. Sammy responded with a timely jumping knee strike and a thrust kick. Moxley was dazed but not dazed enough. He countered a GTH into the Death Rider DDT for victory. Moxley advances to the tournament final.

That was a hot opener. The counters flowed smoothly to create exciting exchanges. The finish was a pretty cool transition for the Death Rider. Moxley fought tough to fully demonstrate his ace status. Sammy showed he can hang with the main-event talent to put on a show. Even though Sammy is one of the four pillars, it can sometimes be hard envisioning him carrying the company. Accumulating efforts like this will help build his aura toward an A player when the time comes.

One sequence I didn’t like was Sammy on the receiving end of hammering elbows then executing a standing Spanish fly and carrying on unfazed. The dude just took a bunch of strikes flush to the jaw. At least sell some delayed damage. The hammer elbows are a cool spot for the Blackpool Combat Club that can be quickly watered down if opponents react with zero damage.

The other half of the bracket was the main event contest between Bryan Danielson and Chris Jericho. The BWE BSEE was in the house.

Danielson opened a can of whoop ass early. He rammed Jericho’s shoulder into the ring post and went to work on the joint. Danielson landed several hard kicks to the shoulder, then Jericho ducked to counter for a release German suplex. The wizard poured on offense.

The match progressed with a super hurricanrana from Jericho. Le Champion sized up a Judas Effect, however, Danielson ducked for a bridging German suplex. When Jericho kicked out, Danielson transitioned to the Cattle Mutilation submission. Jericho rolled out of pain, so Danielson unloaded hammering elbows. Jericho was able to block one of the strikes to land elbows of his own. Unfortunately, those had no effect on Danielson.

The story took a turn when Jericho suplexed Danielson out of the ring. Danielson injured his ankle on the fall. Jericho seized the opportunity to pounce on the pain for various figure-four submissions. Both sat up throwing blows. Danielson baited Jericho into lunging. That created position to use the LeBell Lock. Jericho struggled but reluctantly tapped out in defeat. Danielson advances to the tournament final against Moxley.

That was a very good match right up in quality to their previous encounters. The competitive nature between Danielson and Jericho was riveting. Jericho was a true BWE BSEE on this evening by combining his arsenal of 1,004 holds with sports entertainment. I loved Jericho’s punches as offensive defense to prevent submission escapes.

In isolation, the story showed valiant babyface heart for a dramatic win. It could be viewed as a satisfying finish for that personal feud. In the larger picture, I think the ankle twist was a mistake. Danielson will clearly be damaged goods for next week. That doesn’t set the most exciting table for his bout against Moxley. It also puts Moxley in a no-win situation to elevate his own status should he become world champion. A victory will be against a diminished opponent, so he won’t look as strong as beating Danielson should make him look. A loss to an injured opponent would be even worse.

And still tag team champions

Keith Lee & Swerve Strickland had a tough challenge on their hands to defend the AEW World Tag Team Championship. The Lucha Bros were granted a title bout in an effort to join PAC as double champs. This contest was straight fire throughout.

It started with a slick trick from Swerve. When Pentagon flashed Cero Miedo in his face, Swerve grabbed the hand to Judo toss the luchador on his back. The action erupted and never slowed. The peak highlight was Pentagon with a stepping stool Mexican Destroyer to Keith Lee. The sequence was executed as a way to counter Swerve in Our Glory’s finisher. That created a hot mood to believe the Lucha Bros could win.

Gold was not in the fortunes for the Lucha Bros. As they lined up the Fear Factor finisher, Swerve shoved Fenix off the turnbuckles. Lee countered Pentagon for a fireman’s carry powerslam to retain.

Swerve in Our Glory have had enough great matches in a row that they deserve credit as a fantastic tag team. No matter the opponent, the excitement is always high. I say keep rolling with them while they’re hot. That’s why it is a little disappointing that the Acclaimed rematch was rushed for Grand Slam. AEW could have built this bout as two peaks cresting to collide for greatness. As it stands, an Acclaimed win will feel like charity to appease the fans.

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

MJF speaks. MJF cut a promo in the ring. He is annoyed by Moxley being a man with no fear. MJF accused Moxley of playing a character to hide inner trauma. For example, Mox masked childhood issues with alcohol. MJF gave credit to Moxley for overcoming that addiction, however, the point remains that Mox has demons. MJF will be the demon that can’t be slayed. If Mox wins the title, then MJF will take everything away from him.

MJF delivered some scathing lines to produce scumbag heat, however, the promo fell flat overall to me. The reason was that I don’t believe MJF’s bravado. I don’t even think he believes it. MJF talks tough, but is anyone actually afraid of him? No. He doesn’t have the track record to back it up. Sure, MJF will embarrass and humiliate others. That’s not going to strike fear in Moxley. The other issue is MJF focusing too much on the prospect of wrestling Mox. It is forecasting the tournament winner as an obvious result. I suppose AEW could swerve to Danielson as champ, but then this bad blood promo beef would be a waste of time.

Stokely Hathaway and the Firm. MJF introduced Hathaway’s crew for mic time. Hathaway spoke about his plan infiltrating the ranks to get in AEW. He put together this group to help MJF get what he wants. When the group isn’t busy handling that duty, then they will focus on individual desires. W. Morrissey wants to do as he pleases. Lee Moriarty has an eye on the ROH Pure Championship. The Gunns want tag team gold. Ethan Page will be going after the All-Atlantic Championship.

This was a great promo to present Hathaway as a devious mastermind. He flushed all his flunky moves with a simple explanation to reset his character in line with future goals. Outside of Morrissey, everyone else has clear focus. I don’t understand what the 7-footer hopes to accomplish in AEW. Hathaway also brought a touch of humor for a well-rounded entertainment experience. Hugging Morrissey brought the chuckles.

Jungle Boy defeated Jay Lethal. Lethal worked the tender back of Jungle Boy, but JB pushed through for victory. He caught a kick for the Snare Trap submission. Sonjay Dutt caused a distraction. Relief was temporary. It didn’t take long before Lethal was trapped again in the same submission to tap out.

Enjoyable match with amusing sass traded back and forth. Strong win for Jungle Boy to overcome adversity. This was a good step in making him a singles attraction once more while waiting for the return of Christian Cage. Also, Lethal’s side Russian leg sweep off the middle turnbuckle was sweet.

Will Hobbs defeated Matt DiMartino. Spinebuster squash. My takeaway was the cool visual of Hobbs’ entrance when he drops to one knee and strikes a pose as if he were lifting the entire structure above being raising mechanically.

The real drama was the aftermath with Ricky Starks arriving on the scene. Hobbs knows Starks is tough, and it only took him 4:35 to win at All Out. Powerhouse wanted to close that chapter and start a new one. Starks had a different idea. He walked to the ring through the crowd, dodged security, engaged in fisticuffs, and knocked Hobbs out of the ring.

I don’t mind this feud continuing, but I do have a problem with it coming off the PPV. AEW only has four PPVs per year. Keep those special and leave the storybuilding for the TV programs.

Dr. Britt Baker DMD & Serena Deeb defeated Toni Storm & Athena. Competitive action. In the end, the victors cheated by using a chair behind the referee’s back to smash Storm. Deeb picked up the easy pin.

Afterward, Athena tried to get payback, but Baker curb stomped the threat. When Baker grabbed a chair with bad intentions, Jamie Hayter rushed into the ring to snatch the object out of Baker’s hands. Hayter surprised the audience by hitting Storm for good measure, but that didn’t mean she was siding with Baker. Hayter was still upset at her friend’s betrayal.

This match was a case of good selling and bad selling. On the good, Athena’s knee pain was demonstrated very well by collapsing on Irish whip attempts. I’d say it was questionable on her quick recovery for a springboard move later in the bout. On the bad, Baker took a DDT on the floor and pretty much showed minimal distress en route to hitting a slingblade in the ring. Have DDT’s been devalued that much in wrestling? Overall though, the action was enjoyable. Deeb worked well on the mat, the babyfaces had fiery rallies, and the cheating situation made sense in execution.

Hayter’s appearance was very interesting. I really like the dynamic of how she stayed true to herself. Just because tension exists with Baker doesn’t mean she is full babyface now. Hayter reminded us all that she still hates Storm.

Notes: Training montage! Action Bronson & Hook are going to whoop ass on Daddy Magic & Cool Hand in tag team action next week on Rampage.

Ethan Page kicked the silliness of expert pizza maker Luigi Primo off the screen. Page wants to be taken seriously. Enter Danhausen. Page had an idea. Since he wants to be king of the Atlantic, then he’ll start with the jester on Rampage. Danhausen was all in with support until he realized he was the jester.

Matt Hardy applauded the highlight package of Darby Allin landing a tricycle backflip jump. Hardy respects Allin raising the bar on extreme. Hardy is refocused and looking to scratch his way to the top. Hardy views Allin as a worthy challenge to help accomplish his goal, and that’s why he wants a match versus Allin on Rampage.

The Acclaimed talked trash after the tag title bout to hype Grand Slam. Scissor party!

PAC reacted to the Lucha Bros’ loss by demanding respect be put on their name. Orange Cassidy’s fist entered the screen to knock PAC out cold. Cassidy plans to end PAC’s run as double champ by taking the All-Atlantic gold. This scene may have been good in theory, but the punch was executed terribly.

Daniel Garcia watched the main event backstage while stroking his ROH Pure Championship. After the result, Garcia gave a nod of approval at the success of his hero.

Studs of the Show: Pentagon and Keith Lee

The Mexican Destroyer tore the roof off the building as a genuine ‘holy shit’ moment.

Match of the Night: Keith Lee & Swerve Strickland vs. Lucha Bros

Thrills, chills, and spills to create an electric atmosphere.

Grade: B+

The action inside the ring carried this episode. The promo packages provided a well-rounded product.

Share your thoughts about Dynamite. How do you rate it? What were your favorite moments from the show?

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