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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (May 3, 2023): MJF in danger

AEW Dynamite (May 3, 2023) emanated from CFG Bank Arena in Baltimore, MD. The show featured a Four Pillars tag team main event with high stakes, Hikaru Shida pulling a fast one on the Outcasts, and much more.

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

MJF in danger

MJF loves it when a plan comes together. One problem though. His attempt at manipulating the other Four Pillars backfired, and now he is in danger.

The main event was MJF & Sammy Guevara versus Jungle Boy & Darby Allin. If the babyfaces win, then they would be added to the Double or Nothing main event to compete in a four-way for the AEW World Championship. If not, then it would be a singles bout between MJF and Sammy with the bait that Sammy will take a dive in exchange for a large amount of cash money.

AEW set the stage throughout the evening with various backstage scenes. Renee Paquette interviewed Jungle Boy and Allin. They don’t like each other much, but they do have one goal in common. JB and Allin plan to walk into the PPV as contenders, and one of them will walk out with the gold.

Later, Renee checked in with Sammy. MJF interrupted to explain ditching Sammy in his empty automobile last week. MJF claimed that his back flared up, and he needed the extra room to lay down. MJF shed crocodile tears with the excuse that Sammy would think he’s a wimp. Sammy caressed poor Maxwell with a kiss on the forehead. Friendship back on! A couple more kisses and a cheeky hug made this a hilarious segment.

MJF had one more trick at play. He approached Jungle Boy angling to convince betrayal on Allin. JB wasn’t biting. Allin entered the locker room to see the two Pillars in conversation. He immediately gave the stink eye of distrust to JB. Seeds of dissension were sown.

The match contained amusing character interactions throughout. MJF and Sammy worked the referee to repeatedly choke Allin with the Burberry scarf. I’ll assume it was Sammy’s scarf at use, and I’ll also assume MJF’s gifted scarf to Sammy was cheap knockoff counterfeit merchandise. That eventually led to a hot tag for Jungle Boy. He ran wild with suicide dives back and forth, forth and back.

Down the stretch, the combustible elements exploded. MJF and Sammy would tag themselves in to steal the pin. Tension was testy, then MJF slapped Sammy. Sammy retaliated with a superkick. Jungle Boy took advantage to pound Sammy in the back of the head with a running elbow strike. Allin had tagged himself in when JB was running the ropes. JB went for the pin thinking he was the legal man. Allin threw caution to the wind for a Coffin Drop onto the pinning pile. JB realized the situation and moved out of the way before impact. Allin earned the pin on Sammy.

The show closed with a cool camera shot of terror creeping across MJF’s face now that he has to defend the world title in a Four Pillars four-way. The shot over his shoulder showed the official match graphic on the big screen.

All the backstage drama was a little too cute for its own good just being extra. However, this is a TV show, so it did add amusing segments to fill the time. The match itself was a nice tease for the PPV main event. The athleticism and pace sells the idea that the four-way will be bonkers.

Outcasts outmaneuvered

The Outcasts storyline has had a few wrinkles along the way, but it has been on rinse and repeat for the most part lately. AEW switched it up for a creative use of Hikaru Shida in her return.

Saraya competed in singles action against Willow Nightingale. It was a typical Outcasts match with teammates interfering whenever the babyface gained momentum. Willow hit a Death Valley Driver. Toni Storm distracted the referee, while Ruby Soho entered the ring to save Saraya. Willow shoulder blocked Soho out of the ring, then she clocked Storm with a punch. The cheating purpose was served when Saraya capitalized on the distraction to hit her capture DDT finisher to pin Willow.

Afterward, the Outcasts rattled their spray paint cans. Cue the music of Shida. She carried a kendo stick to the ring then did the unthinkable of hugging the Outcasts. It was all a swerve though. Dr. Britt Baker DMD and Jamie Hayter entered from behind. Shida sprayed Saraya in the face then went wild with the kendo stick. This was not a heel turn but rather a babyface trap to stun the heels.

That was a very fun scene. Shida’s return was played well as a pleasant diversion in the Outcasts story. Sure, she will likely play third fiddle in the feud, but she was treated as important in this moment. AEW gave us a reason to care about her, so that makes it an effective little twist.

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

Adam Cole, Roderick Strong, Orange Cassidy, & Bandido defeated Jake Hager, Daniel Garcia, Daddy Magic, & Cool Hand. Chris Jericho was on commentary at a safe distance from the irate Cole. Le Champion also sported the Britt Baker black eye t-shirt to rub salt in the wound. This was a lengthy PPV-style 8-man tag. The finish came when Hager, Gracia, and Daddy Magic were taken out on the floor. Cool Hand was let alone as a target for a jumping knee from Strong and a running knee from Cole to win.

The payoff for the match came immediately afterward. Cole wasted no time sprinting to the commentary table to unleash anger on Jericho. Cole tackled Jericho through the curtain and rained down furious punches. Security intervened to escort Cole out of the arena. Baker walked over and slapped Jericho.

The opening match had enough time for everyone to shine a little. I was most curious to see Strong perform, but there were too many bodies for him to truly stand out. The way Cole attacked Jericho was a hoot. Cole demonstrated his anger by charging with urgency. Jericho played his part by allowing himself to be blindsided. That was a great escalation of violence to veer toward a PPV contest. Plus, Jericho’s sparkly boots are worth a chuckle to add an element of absurdity in a good way.

Cage match hype. Jon Moxley will meet Kenny Omega next week inside a steel cage. Both men had turns to cut promos. Bryan Danielson started off with an interesting angle about how the Blackpool Combat Club’s ruthlessness is actually a way to improve AEW. In their own barbaric way, the BCC are trying to push everyone to be their best. Moxley mentioned how he has new tools in his game since last time he feuded with Omega. Icing on the cake for this promo was Danielson calling Wheeler Yuta “this little shit” in an endearing way.

Later in the broadcast, Don Callis had tough talk about revenge for scarring his head. Callis is so sleazy that I can’t trust him even when he has no reason to lie. Omega was calm and collected. He took a dig at Moxley making himself bleed. Omega will be the one left standing, and the BCC’s actions will be fruitless.

Both Moxley and Omega were persuasive in their own ways for that promo exchange. I am sufficiently pumped with anticipation for the cage match, so mission accomplished.

Tres de Mayo battle royal won by the Acclaimed & Daddy Ass. Participants included Fenix, Pentagon Jr., Hijo del Vikingo, Butcher, Blade, Kip Sabian, Evil Uno, Alex Reynolds, John Silver, Max Caster, Anthony Bowens, Billy Gunn, Tony Nese, Josh Woods, Ari Daivari, QT Marshall, Aaron Solo, and Will Hobbs. The idea was to work as trios teams. There was no clear prize for winning.

The nitty-gritty came down to Butcher, Blade, Sabian, Bowens, and Billy. Bowens rallied by dumping Blade. Bowens was sent over the top, but Billy saved him. Taz astutely credited Billy’s grip strength from all that scissoring. Bowens and Billy hit a double Fameasser for a double dump of Butcher and Sabian to win.

Battle royals are always a good time. The funniest moment was Penta doing Cero Miedo then Bowens answering to scissor the luchador’s hand. The Lucha Bros and Vikingo mixed it up with QTV. Hobbs was a beast. He caught Viking in the air to military press out of the ring. Those two trios teams will duke it out on Rampage. Commentary put over the Acclaimed as building momentum toward a trios title shot. This was a little odd considering the House of Black announced an open challenge with special rules in the previous segment.

Open House means no shortcuts, no escapes, no mercy. There will be 20-second count-outs, no rope escapes, and disqualifications will be enforced for a specific rule of the opponents’ choosing. I don’t really understand that last one, so I’m not sure if I explained it correctly. (Discussion in the Cageside Seats office says it could mean a general choice of DQ or No DQ.)

These rules add instant intrigue. They have my interest in seeing how this unfolds. AEW doesn’t really enforce trios rules anyway, so this novelty may not be noticeable much.

Wardlow defeated Logan LaRoux. Arn Anderson was ringside to support the TNT champ, even though, this match was squash city. Wardlow opened with a cool military press into a powerslam. It was all pain from there for LaRoux. The powerbomb symphony hit three notes until Wardlow went for the pin.

Afterward, Wardlow was under the impression that Luchasaurus wanted a piece of hoss action, so he called out the dino. Christian Cage clarified that he himself is the one taking the title shot.

Count me as one who was confused about which menace was actually going to challenge the champ. This segment answered that question. Wardlow versus Christian should be interesting, but I do hope we got Hosslow versus Hossasaurus at some point.

Jay Lethal & Jeff Jarrett visit Mark Briscoe’s chicken farm. Lethal, Jarrett, Sonjay Dutt, and Satnam Singh offered to help Briscoe with chicken chores as a way to apologize. The crew slacked off a little too much, so Papa Briscoe walked in to set things straight. The goofballs scattered and danced with baby Briscoe. This video is really funny, and the yokel dancing with the baby was the scene-stealer. At the end, Lethal and Jarrett revealed their angle. They challenged FTR for the tag titles at Double or Nothing, then they tried to pick Briscoe’s brain on secrets to beating FTR. Briscoe was savvy to their nonsense.

Ricky Starks defeated Juice Robinson. Rugged physicality was the style for this match. Starks gained an early edge with a body slam off the ring steps down to the floor. Juice took control after getting his knees up to block a flying splash. Rock Hard emptied his offensive arsenal and still couldn’t keep Absolute down. Starks rallied for a spear and finished emphatically with the Roshambo. “Switchblade” Jay White tried to attack afterward, but Starks was too slick. Bullet Club Gold escaped from the ring.

This was a good hard-fought contest. It felt like a real feud. Juice is rock hard as an underboss. His mannerisms and cackling are over-the-top to add zest to his performance. Starks mowed down the gatekeeper, and now it’s time to move up the ladder for the king. It has been a simple story thus far, but it works.

Stud of the Show: Will Hobbs

The man was a battle royal monster.

Match of the Night: Ricky Starks vs. Juice Robinson

My choice was between Absolute versus Rock Hard and the Four Pillars tag bout. I leaned to the winner due to cleaner finish.

Grade: B+

This episode of Dynamite was high on entertainment. AEW hit the perfect blend of humor and action. There were so many tasty morsels of enjoyment. The big picture steered the ship sailing toward the Double or Nothing PPV.

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

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