clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (May 17, 2023): Elite reunion

AEW Dynamite (May 17, 2023) emanated from Moody Center in Austin, TX. The show featured the Elite reuniting to partake in anarchy, the surprise arrival of Karen Jarrett, a variety of PPV matches formulating for Double of Nothing, and much more.

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

This episode had a lot of moving parts to set up PPV matches for Double or Nothing on May 28, so we’ll break Dynamite down by feud/title.

Elite reunion

The Elite is back. Kenny Omega, the Young Bucks, and Hangman Page ride again. The Elite has a common cause to kick the ass of Blackpool Combat Club for Anarchy in the Arena at Double or Nothing.

BCC flexed their muscle early in the show with a parking lot attack on the Bucks. The Jacksons threw their luggage at their enemies before engaging in fisticuffs. Claudio Castagnoli smashed Nick onto a truck, and Wheeler Yuta rammed Matt’s injured arm. Jon Moxley declared that the BCC are the only elite in this business.

This story continued for the main event segment. Don Callis entered to address the world about his heinous betrayal of Omega. Callis played the victim. He did so much for Omega’s career guiding it to the highest of highs. It didn’t take long for Omega to enter on stage. He fought with security guards, then the BCC blitzed him. Moxley planted Omega with a Paradigm Shift on stage. Moxley once again proclaimed that the BCC are the elite.

Omega stood alone on stage, then the Bucks brought out a trashcan of plunder. BCC still had numbers though. Hangman Page joined his pals. The crowd went nuts. Omega handed his cherished barbed wire broom to the cowboy. Hangman led the charge into a crazy brawl.

The Elite took control and picked on poor Yuta. They served him a BTE Trigger and a buckshot lariat. Hangman grabbed the mic to issue a challenge for Anarchy in the Arena. The Elite are the heart, soul, and spirit of AEW.

Hot damn, that Elite reunion was fire. AEW has been building to the moment for so long, and the patience paid off. I like how they melted together as old friends when in the time of need. I’m curious how AEW formulates this version of Anarchy in the Arena. That match style has been open for silly spots, but this feud shouldn’t have that humor element. The hatred is too deep between the Elite and BCC. On the flip side, it opens the door for extreme cinematic violence. I’m visualizing something like hammering a nail through a hand with the help of special makeup effects.

AEW World Championship

MJF is set to defend the AEW World Championship against Jungle Boy, Darby Allin, and Sammy Guevara in a four-way at Double or Nothing. All three challengers were in action on this evening, and they ended up bonding over their desire to make sure MJF doesn’t leave the PPV as champion.

Allin teamed with Orange Cassidy against Lee Moriarty and Big Bill Morrissey. This match brought high-energy activity to work the crowd into a frenzy. My favorite move was Bill swinging Allin around with ease. I love the spinning stuff.

Allin dished out a receipt later with help from Cassidy. OC countered a suplex into a stunner, then Allin leaped over the top for a Code Red on the giant. The setup was pretty cool to justify Bill taking that move.

The babyfaces finished with more teamwork. Allin sent Moriarty into a Beach Break from Cassidy. OC landed a superman punch knocking Bill off the apron. Allin hit the Coffin Drop on Moriarty, but he was not content to win that way. Allin sealed the deal with a side headlock takeover pin as a message to MJF from their previous feud. That was a nifty way to wrap this match into focus for the bigger picture of the world title story.

Sammy had his turn in the ring and squashed Exodus Prime via GTH. Afterward, Sammy grabbed the mic. His struggles have made him who he is today. It took a few wrong turns to get to the right place. Sammy will shut up the naysayers and win the world title. This babyface moment was served as a stepping stone progressing to the next time Sammy was on screen.

Allin spoke backstage about using the side headlock takeover as a message to MJF. Sammy interrupted to declare his respect for Allin. The words about being a follower stuck with Sammy. He won’t be laying down for anyone in the PPV main event. One thing is for sure. Either Sammy, Allin, or Jungle Boy need to take the belt off MJF.

Jungle Boy had the toughest test against Rush. El Toro Blanco pummeled JB for much of the match. I’d say it was 90% one-sided. Jungle Boy did have some slick moves, such as a super hurricanrana and the Snare Trap submission. Rush lost his composure to argue with the referee, and JB scored a roll-up to win. There is an argument to be made that Jungle Boy got his ass kicked too much when he needs to be riding in hot to the PPV.

Business picked up afterward when Los Ingobernables attacked Jungle Boy. Allin ran out for the save, but the numbers got him. Sammy arrived to turn the tide in favor of the Pillars clearing the ring. Glances of respect were mixed with distrust as it was every man for himself against MJF.

Backstage, MJF was asked for a response. He slapped the microphone out of Renee Paquette’s hand. Pressure is clearing mounting on the shoulder’s of the champ.

This week was good pacing for the world title picture. The three challengers were kept in focus with their goal at hand. There was no pressure to steal the show, since a lot of the other stories had their PPV hype moment. That leaves the stage for MJF, Jungle Boy, Darby Allin, and Sammy Guevara to have a larger share of the attention next week to build maximum anticipation for the Double or Nothing main event.

AEW Women’s World Championship

Jamie Hayter was supposed to compete in a trios bout against the Outcasts, but she was not medically cleared. AEW pulled her from the show.

Trios turned into a standard tag for Dr. Britt Baker DMD and Hikaru Shida against Toni Storm and Ruby Soho. Saraya was ringside for persistent interference. This was a very enjoyable match. They set up the isolation of Baker with help from Saraya, and that led to the fiery hot tag to Shida. She ran wild clobbering the Outcasts. The crowd reaction was on high and remained hot with signature moves for false finishes. In the end, Baker had momentum after a curb stomp to Storm. Saraya distracted the referee, and Storm sprayed paint in Baker’s face. Storm pounced for a piledriver to win. The crowd went silent in disgust.

Storm cut a heck of a promo backstage. It was short but sweet. She has four wins in five days at AEW events, but she doesn’t see the champ carrying her load. If Hayter has any guts, then she will defend the AEW Women’s World Championship against Storm at the PPV. Storm reiterated that she is a different wrestler since last time they competed for the title. Storm’s passion has me excited for that showdown.

AEW World Tag Team Championship

Jay Lethal and Jeff Jarrett succeeded in manipulating an AEW tag title shot from FTR at the PPV. Mark Briscoe will be the special referee. These teams clashed once again on Dynamite to hype the match white hot.

Jarrett’s crew was cocky on stage for an interview. FTR ran in from the side to steamroll Satnam Singh off stage through a table. Big man went boom, and it was hilarious!

A rowdy brawl erupted with FTR sizing Jarrett up for the Big Rig. That’s when an intruder entered the ring. It was Karen Jarrett! She protected her man with a low-blow to Cash Wheeler. Jeff took care of Dax Harwood on the Stroke.

Singh angrily stomped to the ring for a double chokeslam. The bad guys finished with a double kabong of the guitars.

That segment was so much fun. It was over-the-top in the best way possible. I’m not really keen on Karen overall, but that surprise appearance hit the spot right. She knows her role in getting heat. Karen also adds intrigue to the tag title bout, because I’m curious how FTR will neutralize her as a threat. You better believe that she will find a way to manipulate Briscoe from his officiating duties.

TNT Championship

Wardlow opened the broadcast calling out Christian Cage. The TNT champ wanted to see Christian back up his bravado. Would Christian really spit in Wardlow’s face? Christian hocked up a loogie ready for launch, so Wardlow goozled him. Luchasaurus attacked. Wardlow fought the odds, then Christian low-blowed him. Luchasaurus chokeslammed Wardlow onto a ladder. Christian followed with a Kill Switch onto the ladder. Christian stood tall with the TNT title belt as a smile crept across his face.

Backstage, Arn Anderson approached Wardlow for a strategy session. Wardlow wants to beat Christian at his own game, so he declared a ladder match for the gold.

When this feud started, I was not anticipating culmination in a ladder match. It seems like Wardlow’s ego is getting in the way. This type of match allows Luchasaurus to freely interfere with physicality. That should be a cue for Arn to prove his worth in this new coaching relationship. Arn would get slaughtered by the dino, so that makes me wonder what the Enforcer will have up his sleeve. Or maybe who. If the direction is to form a stable under Arn, this would be a good opportunity for Brock Anderson and/or Brian Pillman Jr. to help Arn with the monster.

AEW International Championship

Orange Cassidy is a fighting champion, and lots of wrestlers want their shot at the AEW International Championship. He didn’t care who was next. OC suggested they visit Tony Khan for a match, and he will fight them all. In part two of this setup, Cassidy was informed that 20 wrestlers were in TK’s office angling for the bout. Cassidy proposed a Blackjack Battle Royale.

I love battle royals, so I have zero problem with this as a PPV attraction. That said, Cassidy better win. He’s worked too hard elevating the title and also selling the wear and tear on his body. Losing the belt in a battle royal would be a weak way to pass the torch.

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

AEW’s new TV show. Tony Khan officially announced that Collision will air Saturday nights on TNT at 8 pm ET with a debut on June 17. The boss man will reveal the host city next week.

Falls Count Anywhere: Roderick Strong defeated Chris Jericho. Adam Cole and JAS were banned from the building. The match started in the ring and made its way up the stairs to the snack area. Strong led Jericho outside into a trap. Cole was waiting to fight his rival. He lowered the boom, and Strong finished with a jumping knee to pin Jericho on the dirt.

This match was a blast. Jericho and Strong creatively used their surroundings to make it feel like a true Falls Count Anywhere contest. There was even ice cream involved when Strong mushed it in Jericho’s face. The traveling circus was so chaotic that I was lost in the moment, much like Jericho, and didn’t even realize the trap set for Cole to attack. Bonus points for that clever twist. Strong looked good in victory. Even though the man is an experienced veteran, he still needs to prove himself in AEW. This win was a great start to establish a reputation of success.

“Switchblade” Jay White defeated Ricky Starks. Absolute hit the spear. When Starks went to finish with the Roshambo, White gouged the eyes to get free. Juice Robinson entered the ring with a chair. Swing and a miss. Starks snatched the foreign object to smash Juice. Starks also whacked White with the chair. The referee issued a DQ win for Bullet Club Gold.

Solid match. White and Starks had nifty chemistry with fluid chains of movement. The result is questionable in booking. It seems like AEW is weening off the ‘rarely call a DQ’ attitude lately. That in itself was ripe for criticism, since so many matches had funny business anyway. I hope AEW doesn’t go overboard with disqualifications to make these matches feel like a waste of time. There still needs to be a general sense that wins and losses matter.


Stud of the Show: Rush

El Toro Blanco shined like a star. Dominating Jungle Boy placed him on that world title level of competitor.

Match of the Night: Dr. Britt Baker DMD & Hikaru Shida vs. Toni Storm & Ruby Soho

Four matches have a strong argument for this honor. I’m siding with the women’s tag contest due to the excitement down the stretch.

Grade: A-

The purpose was clear in setting up official matches for Double of Nothing. Everything was focused to that point. This was one of those episodes with cause and effect building throughout for the different stories. The story intensity reached a higher level on this evening, and that made the feuds feel palpable. The in-ring action was entertaining as usual. AEW once again nailed the humor elements to bring some chuckles without it feeling hokey. I was sitting on the B+ fence waiting for that one special moment, then the Elite reunited to bring the grade into A territory.

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

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Cageside Seats Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your pro wrestling news from Cageside Seats