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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (June 28, 2023): Sting vs. The Painmaker

AEW Dynamite (June 28, 2023) emanated from FirstOntario Centre in Hamilton, Ontario. The show featured an epic clash between Sting and the Painmaker, the Elite and the Blackpool Combat Club setting up their final battle, and much more in the fallout to Forbidden Door.

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

Sting vs. The Painmaker

Sting and Chris Jericho shared a ring in a match for the first time ever at Forbidden Door. Sting’s team won, so Jericho brought in the Painmaker for Dynamite. Two epic personas clashed in the main event of the evening.

Sting was joined by Darby Allin, and Jericho had Sammy Guevara by his side. Tornado rules were in effect. The action made use of tables, ladder, chairs, and baseball bats. Sting and Jericho started the bout clanging aluminum in a duel. The big spot was Sting jumping off a ladder crashing onto Sammy through a table. Even though Sammy and Allin had their moments for flying cutters and Coffin Drops, the attraction was Sting versus Jericho. AEW delivered that on a platter for a cool finish.

Jericho smashed a Judas Effect elbow to knock Allin out of the ring. Sting rose from behind to grab Jericho for a Scorpion Death Drop, but Le Painmaker escaped. Jericho hooked the Liontamer. Sting crawled to the corner for a bat to bash Jericho to break free. Stinger picked up steam for Stinger splashes. On the second attempt, Jericho was ready to counter for a Codebreaker. 1, 2, kick out by Sting. The Icon ducked the Judas Effect for counter for the Scorpion Death Drop. 1, 2, kick out by Jericho. Sting blocked a Codebreaker to counter for the Scorpion Death Lock. The Painmaker tapped out in defeat.

That match lived up to the legend aura. I’m not saying Sting and Jericho turned back the hands of time to compete as spry athletes. They worked around athletic limitations to put on a great spectacle. Emphasis on spectacle, because that ladder leap from Sting was nuts. He cleared a lot of air to hit the target. The finishing sequence was slick with counters and energy. They made it easy to get lost in the moment and just savor the ‘dream match’ encounter with a smile. If that is the last we get from Sting versus Jericho in the ring, then I am fully satisfied.

Elite & Blackpool Combat Club soap opera

With how the ten-man tag match unfolded at Forbidden Door, it felt like the Elite and the Blackpool Combat Club were moving on to new stories. Not so fast, my friend. There is still one final battle yet to be played. The Elite will meet the BCC in Blood & Guts on July 19 in Boston, MA. The setup to that match was explored throughout Dynamite, and it involved Eddie Kingston and the Dark Order.

Dynamite opened with a slugfest between Jon Moxley and Tomohiro Ishii. When Claudio Castagnoli and Wheeler Yuta were creeping a little too close, Eddie Kingston made his way ringside to protect Ishii. The match was badass with ferocious fisticuffs.

Moxley prevailed in the end with a Death Rider.

That action was frothy for maximum enjoyment from this viewer. Ishii always excites when he fires up absorbing strikes. It’s like the scorpion ready to sting. In this particular instance, Ishii planted Moxley on his ass with one shot. There were numerous wild exchanges throughout. For example, Ishii flashed the middle finger when taking hammer elbows. The match also had its share of rowdy kick-outs sending the crowd into a frenzy.

The story drama with Kingston had little touches, like Claudio staring daggers at the Mad King the whole time, to add a sense of volatility that could combust at any moment. Kingston ran his mouth a lot, and Moxley gave him a shoulder bump walking past on the way out.

Backstage, Kingston interrupted Moxley. He saved him from the Young Bucks, because nobody will kick Mox’s ass but Eddie. Mox was annoyed that Kingston was so focused on Claudio. He couldn’t understand why Kingston couldn’t let go of ancient history. Renee Paquette chewed out Moxley and Kingston. She demanded that Kingston fix this.

That was one side of the story. The other side involved the Elite and the Dark Order. The Hung Bucks offered an open trios challenge, and it was answered by the Dark Order to create an awkward moment for Hangman Page. The Dark Order finally let out their feelings about Hangman abandoning them for months. Hangman tried to play it off like ‘aw shucks,’ but the Dark Order pressed about not treating friends that way. On this night, they’ll be opponents.

Tension was thick between the Dark Order and Hangman. The cowboy had no interest in actually fighting them. When forced to engage, he relied on chain wrestling. The Young Bucks eventually grew tired of Hangman’s hesitation and tried to pump him up to fight. It helped that the Dark Order didn’t hold back. Hangman’s temper eventually boiled, and he cleaned house. In the end, Hangman countered John Silver for a Dead Eye piledriver. The Bucks blasted a BTE Trigger and held up Silver for a buckshot lariat. The cowboy immediately felt sorrow for his actions.

As a match in its own right, this was hot stuff. The Dark Order wrestled on an even level with the Elite. It was very competitive, and the Elite had to work hard for victory. The story on its own added an emotional touch. It was easy to relate to both sides. Hangman was wrong ditching his friends, but he created sympathy by not wanting to fight them. The Dark Order had a right to feel jilted, and it made sense that they were tired of being pushovers. I really liked the Dark Order’s performance in the promo and match. It’s about time they showed backbone and stopped being weenies. I think this match went a long way in reestablishing their credibility as wrestlers.

There is definitely criticism to be discussed about having two similar friendship stories on the same show as part of the same larger angle. Not to mention that the Dark Order just did this same story in ROH earlier this month with Stu Grayson, except the roles were reversed. The Dark Order was reluctant to engage, and Stu pushed the fight until tensions exploded.

So, how did the Dark Order get involved in the Elite versus BCC beef on this show? Well, the BCC and Konsuke Takeshita ambushed the Elite after that match. The Dark Order stood there watching and declined to get involved when Hangman reached out for help. That was a little heartbreaking.

Eddie Kingston ran in and got smashed. Moxley turned his back, so he didn’t have to watch. Mox grabbed the mic to demand they finish the war in Blood & Guts.

This blood feud has had a long and winding road, and now the finish line is in sight. If Kingston is on the Elite’s team, then I need to see a scene of them getting on the same page. How can they trust Kingston after he saved Moxley in the Forbidden Door match? There has to be a promise of some sort from Kingston, or else the Elite look stupid for picking the Mad King again.

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

MJF & Adam Cole. MJF invited Cole out on the town to bond as partners. MJF imagined how the two could control AEW when on the same side. MJF even gifted Cole a brand new t-shirt, “Better Than You, BayBay.” Cole rolled his eyes. He wanted to say hello to some friends, then he would leave with MJF.

Later, Cole admitted to Roderick Strong that he was just playing around with MJF. The new partners exited for party time.

I was initially weary about having to sit through the build to Cole getting another shot at MJF, but I have to say that I’m warming up to this angle. MJF and Cole have great comedic chemistry. This story has high potential for entertainment as it evolves toward the obvious climax.

Orange Cassidy, Hijo del Vikingo, & Keith Lee defeated Daniel Garcia, Daddy Magic, & Cool Hand Ang. This match was set up backstage before the show. Garcia wanted to give Cassidy a taste. OC was without his Best Friends, who are in Europe promoting the AEW video game. He turned around to ask Lee. Bearcat was game. Vikingo was hidden behind Lee and comically gave a thumbs up to join the match.

This was a fun match using comedy to set up exciting action. For example, Lee was knocked down, then Garcia stepped on his back to dance. Lee rose up and lifted Garcia like a sack of potatoes. That was my favorite moment of the evening. It was a creative way to make use of Lee’s powerful stature as larger than life.

Lee earned the win for his team with a fireman’s carry jackhammer on Daddy Magic and his nipples.

This match was put together as a hodgepodge, but AEW did well for it to all make sense. Cassidy’s team had nifty teamwork as new partners. Lee shined as a hoss of a man. Cassidy and Garcia had some exchanges which could lead to another challenge for the AEW International Championship. There was a enough to work worth if AEW wants to continue with this direction.

Jungle Boy turned heel. JB entered wearing sunglasses and a leather jacket to explain his actions of sucker-punching Hook. He blamed the fans for ruining his theme song and showered them with insults. JB isn’t worried about their reactions. He’s young, cashing fat checks, and banging his hot woman (Anna Jay). Jungle Boy viewed Hook as an entitled prick dangling the FTW championship in his face. JB plans to take that gold from Hook. That’s when Hook entered. Jungle Boy sprinted away and leaped into a car driving him to safety.

Jungle Boy laid it on thick for heeling 101. He did well trashing the crowd, using phony heel logic to justify his actions, and twisted facts to suit his case. It hammered the point home that he is a man to boo now. All that chirping was a way to build emotion to see Hook kick his ass.

Ruby Soho defeated Alexia Nicole. This was supposed to be Soho versus Dr. Britt Baker DMD in the Owen Hart tournament, but the dentist was ill. That match will take place next week. Instead, Soho was given fresh meat to squash. The Outcasts helped tenderize Nicole for Soho to finish with the Lockjaw submission as a message to Baker. Afterward, Soho sassed Baker on the mic. She views Baker as a shell of herself from last time they wrestled in the Owen finals. The Outcasts have taken everything from her and will leave her with nothing.

It’s a shame that the tournament match was canceled, but I think they made lemonade out of lemons. Soho using the referee’s black glove for the Lockjaw was a great taunt. Her promo was strong to build animosity for next week. I’m more excited now for that match than I was entering this show.

Notes: A recap package aired for Will Ospreay beating Kenny Omega. Omega didn’t put the blame on Don Callis’ interference. He felt Ospreay was the better man that evening. Ospreay is open to the trilogy rematch.

Quick hype promos were aired for the Owen Hart men’s tournament with three matches on Collision.

Johnny TV (Morrison) is in production with QTV, and he always makes hits. Johnny and QT Marshall will wrestle Matt Hardy and Isiah Kassidy on Rampage.

AEW announced a Blind Eliminator tag match for next week. Swerve Strickland & Keith Lee will wrestle Orange Cassidy & Darby Allin in a quarterfinal matchup.

Stud of the Show: Sting

It’s Sting! Not only did his ladder jump create a memory on the highlight reel, but he also tapped out The Painmaker.

Match of the Night: Jon Moxley vs. Tomohiro Ishii

This slugfest was right up my alley for enjoyment. The physicality was bonkers.

Grade: B+

Solid show all the way through. Different styles of matches provided variety. Story beats were hot. The main event closed on an epic note.

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

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