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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (May 24, 2023): Go-home promises

AEW Dynamite (May 24, 2023) emanated from MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, NV. The show featured the Elite ruining the Blackpool Combat Club’s shot at gold, a surprise appearance from Sabu, and much more on the go-home to Double or Nothing.

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

AEW is fully-loaded for the Double or Nothing PPV on Sunday, May 28. The feuds have been built, the matches have been signed, and all that remained was bravado for one final sell job. A variety of promises were made from simply winning to breaking bones to extreme violence. There were so many promises that it made me think of the chorus to the Club Nouveau song. Promises, promises.

Jon Moxley promises violence

There will be Anarchy in the Arena when the Blackpool Combat Club collides with the Elite at Double or Nothing. Both squads had a chance to hype their fight.

BCC are the best in the world. They set the standard and do the job the way it is meant to be done. BCC will stand calm in a storm of violence.

Hangman Page delivered a response. The Elite are more than friends. They are family, and family sticks together. The Elite will pay the price in blood.

BCC had another order of business on this evening. Claudio Castagnoli & Wheeler Yuta challenged the Lucha Bros for the ROH World Tag Team Championship. It wouldn’t be a Claudio match without a giant swing. Enjoy.

This main event contest was a clash of styles between rugged marauding and high-flying lucha libre. BCC utilized excellent teamwork to prevent Fenix and Pentagon from erupting with offense. BCC hit their tag team finisher on the rocket launcher splash, but Fenix kicked out on Yuta’s cover.

When the Lucha Bros gained a little steam down the stretch, Alex Abrahantes peculiarly distracted the referee. It turned out that a plan was in play. The Young Bucks popped out from under the apron for a superkick party to Claudio while the Lucha Bros finished Yuta with a Fear Factor.

Moxley and Bryan Danielson made way to the ring, and the Bucks gloated from the high in crowd. Mox issued a stern warning to the Elite and viewers alike. Anarchy in the Arena won’t be for the squeamish. Moxley promised that it will be the wildest, most violent match in AEW history.

Those are bold claims from Moxley, but I have a feeling that the BCC and the Elite will back it up, even if it is only Mox gushing so much blood that he needs a transfusion mid-match to bleed some more. Seriously though, these promos kept that feud simmering. Countdown to explosion is on the clock for Sunday.

The Dynamite match itself was high-quality with plenty of cool sequences. The Lucha Bros brought excitement with flips, dives, and destroyers. I really enjoy how Claudio and Yuta work off each other with saves and counters. The end was a bit of a bummer in terms of wanting a clean finish, but it is what it is to serve the greater story. On the plus side, the little details of the BCC were on display as the cameras faded. Danielson was upset on commentary about Yuta not covering both of Fenix’s shoulders on a pin as he was taught in training. Afterward, Yuta stood at attention as Danielson got in his face about that mistake. That moment makes their words about working to be the best have weight.

Adam Cole promises broken bones

Adam Cole and Chris Jericho held a contract signing for their unsanctioned match to clear AEW of liability. Cole vowed to break Jericho’s legs, hands, and jaw. Jericho thought he had outsmarted Cole with the JAS numbers advantage, but Cole pulled a trick out of his sleeve to welcome Sabu in his corner. JAS tried to attack, so Sabu threw a chair at Daddy Magic. We need a status check to know if Daddy Magic’s nipples are hard.

This gab session didn’t do much for me, aside from the surprise of Sabu. That part was awesome. The hardcore veteran was looking fly in his white suit. I don’t really understand the connection Sabu has to this story beyond what Cole said. I’ll take it anyway, because it’s Sabu. My main problem with this scene is that I can’t take physical threats from Cole seriously. Sure, he can do some damage with weapons. Having fear of the man? Pfft, nope. I think Cole over-talked it. He’ll look bad now if he doesn’t break any of Jericho’s bones at all.

Four Pillars promise victory

The Four Pillars of AEW are set to meet in the main event of Double or Nothing. MJF will defend the AEW World Championship in a four-way against Jungle Boy, Sammy Guevara, and Darby Allin. Each man was granted some face time on the program.

Jungle Boy feels purpose when in the ring to live the life he chooses. That will pay off when he wins the world title at the PPV.

Sammy Guevara was informed that MJF’s offer still stands to throw the title match. Sammy clarified that he is not for sale. He is the man who will take the world title from MJF.

MJF was next with a promo in the ring. He made sure to stop by the commentary table to throw a drink in Tony Schiavone’s face. MJF teased defecting in free agency to WWE and how convenient it was that AEW booked him in a match where he can lose the Triple B without being pinned. The champ gave credit to the skill of his challengers, but he’s on a higher level.

Enter Allin to interrupt. Allin’s path has put him in line to be the face of AEW. To do that, he needs to win the championship. MJF’s response was a swift kick to the nuggets. Sammy came out for the save, then MJF ran away into a clothesline from Jungle Boy. JB stood tall to hold the belt.

There wasn’t anything new covered in the Four Pillars go-home segment. The talking points have been established for each wrestler’s motivation.

Tony Khan does not promise CM Punk

With so many promises on the agenda, one item was not promised. Tony Khan revealed that the debut of Collision will be Saturday, June 17 at the United Center in Chicago, IL. Punk’s name was not officially mentioned, but surely speculation will assume his presence is a lock.

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

AEW International Championship: Orange Cassidy retained against Kyle Fletcher. The Aussie opened with a blitz of offense, and that set the tone of the match. Cassidy hit a few signature moves and played his games to buy recovery time, but it was Fletcher controlling the pace. For example, Cassidy took to the air for a flying crossbody, and Fletcher caught him for a cool spinning Michinoku driver.

Later, Fletcher executed two consecutive tombstone piledrivers and an avalanche Michinoku driver, but he couldn’t keep Cassidy down for three. Cassidy still had enough life left to escape a lift to trap Fletcher in a roll-up for victory. Choo choo! The Cassidy success train rolls on.

Cassidy’s string of entertaining matches remains intact. The layout of the finish was slick. Even though OC took a beating, he found a way to win. That is the heart of a champion. Cassidy has built his streak strong, and it will be a big moment when he finally loses. I do have to say that the tombstone and avalanche driver kick-outs were encroaching on super human territory. Fletcher looked like a rising star in this contest. He showed off nifty variations to various driver maneuvers. As the match played out, I was wondering if Fletcher could score more consistent singles work with AEW since partner Mark Davis is currently injured. Lo and behold, AEW announced that Aussie Open is All Elite. That is a very good addition to the roster.

Mark Briscoe slap-a-thon. FTR will defend the AEW World Tag Team Championship against Jay Lethal & Jeff Jarrett with Briscoe as the special guest referee. FTR had the mics in the ring to trash-talk their opponents as TNA rejects. Briscoe came out looking for answers why Dax Harwood crushed him with a piledriver. Harwood claimed he was blind from alcohol in his eyes. Harwood apologized and demanded Briscoe shake his hand like a man. Chick slapped Harwood’s hand away, so Harwood stuck out his hand again. This time, Briscoe slapped Dax across the face.

The scoundrel crew thought they had the advantage with Briscoe on their side. Nope. He shoved Karen Jarrett and Sonjay Dutt then slapped Jeff down to the floor. Briscoe had a message for Lethal. Enough of the bullshit.

Briscoe’s reaction to slap was hilarious. Jeff falling down was worth hours of GIF-able joy on repeat. Harwood was a bit pushy assuming it was water under the bridge. He wasn’t the one that was piledriven. Overall, this segment did well to provide some doubt in which way Briscoe will call the match as referee. I don’t necessarily think he’ll overlook any cheating, but who knows if FTR coldcocks him again by accident.

AEW World Trios Championship: House of Black retain against Blake Christian, AR Fox, & Metalik. Open House rules in effect. The challengers chose, ‘one man in, one man out, tags not necessary.’ I’m not sure what that really meant, except for the no tag part. Both teams had multiple men in the ring at times. It didn’t matter much to the big picture.

The action was lively, and the finish was badass. Buddy Matthews trapped Fox in an inverted cloverleaf. Metalik tried to make the save, but Malakai Black brought him down for a knee bar. Christian was able to connect on a few kicks to Matthews’ mush, but he refused to released the submission. Brody King snatched Christian by the neck to choke him hanging off the apron. Fox tapped out to give the win to the champs.

These Open House challenges have reinforced that the House of Black are mean mofos. The lighting effect was different this week, like it was spider vision. I prefer the darkness, but this still added a creepy aura to the team. Thumbs up for allowing King to be a full force of destruction. His monster hoss style is an attraction in itself.

Roderick Strong defeated Daniel Garcia. There was aggression in all movements throughout. Even Garcia’s dancing had a little extra spice. In the end, Strong kicked out of a Sharpshooter sending Garcia into the ropes. Strong clobbered Garcia with a gutbuster on the bounce back. Strong finished with a backbreaker.

This was a very good match. It was a sneaky show-stealer as a last-minute match announcement. Strong and Garcia were giving maximum effort and sold the ill will towards each other. This was one of those matches that felt like a fight in sanctioned wrestling. There was a lot of grappling, chopping, and intensity.

Taya Valkyrie defeated Lady Frost. This was Taya’s warm-up for the TBS title rematch, and Frost wasn’t laying down. Frost brought her gymnastic athleticism to make it competitive. Taya overwhelmed her opponent in the end to win with the Road to Valhalla. It was a clear message to Jade Cargill watching on stage.

Taya took care of business, and Frost flashed excitement in defeat. Not much else to say here. Bring on Taya versus Jade at Double or Nothing.

Notes: Ricky Starks entered himself into the Blackjack Battle Royale. He was in full control last week in the disqualification hitting Jay White with a chair. Starks is tired of the Bullet Club’s games, so he is putting his focus on the AEW International Championship. Boom! Juice Robinson attacked, and White hit Starks with a chair. Bullet Club Gold will play with Ricky as long as they like.

Wardlow is not afraid of Christian Cage. The TNT champ is no stranger to climbing ladders, such as winning the Face of the Revolution match. Arn Anderson teased that there are four days until Double or Nothing, and he held up four fingers like the Four Horsemen symbol. Ooh, foreshadowing?

Jamie Hayter promised to be a fighting champion, and she will show up against Toni Storm injury or not. Storm pointed to how Hayter had friends help her win the title, and now Storm is bringing friends in the Outcasts.

Willow Nightingale is the new NJPW Strong women’s champion after beating Mercedes Moné in the inaugural tournament at NJPW Resurgence.

Stud of the Show: Orange Cassidy

If surviving two consecutive tombstone piledrivers then an avalanche Michinoku driver shortly after isn’t worthy of this honor, then nothing is.

Match of the Night: Roderick Strong vs. Daniel Garcia

On a night with several good matches, this one stands above as an intense technical battle.

Grade: B

The work had already been done building to Double or Nothing, so this episode was about keeping the stove warm. Nothing major happened. I appreciate how AEW worked in some important matches, even though, they weren’t necessarily related to the PPV. It showed an attention to planning to provide entertaining action while preserving the freshness of matchups on Double or Nothing.

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

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