clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (July 26, 2023): Orange Cassidy has no fear

AEW Dynamite (July 26, 2023) emanated from MVP Arena in Albany, NY. The show featured Orange Cassidy not backing down from the Blackpool Combat Club, Darby Allin betrayed by a mentor, and more.

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

Orange Cassidy has no fear

AEW worked two primary storylines throughout the show that intersected by circumstance. The first involved Orange Cassidy.

Cassidy opened the show as a fighting champion to defend the international title against AR Fox. Cassidy relied on his comedy style more in this match than recent contests. Fox caught him lollygagging and sprang into action to run up the ring post for a moonsault to the outside.

Cassidy fought hard when pressed, but he looked worn down in general throughout the match. That played into his current championship story of battling fatigue with wear and tear on his body. In contrast, Fox was spry with athletic offense. Cassidy still had tricks in his pockets for cool counters.

In the end, Cassidy found a way to win. Part of it was happenstance when Fox tweaked his ankle when missing the target on a 450 splash. Cassidy demonstrated savvy awareness to bait Fox into leaving his leg unprotected. Cassidy snatched the limb as a lever to execute the mouse trap pin for victory.

The title match was a high-energy opener. Fox strut his stuff, and Cassidy stayed true to character to increase his output when necessary. The finish was pretty cool in terms of intelligence. It showed how Cassidy knew his opponent’s tendencies and used that knowledge to create a game plan on the spot in the heat of the moment. That adds an extra layer to overcome for the man who finally dethrones the international champ.

Cassidy received two surprises after the match, and neither were good. I’ll save the first swerve for later. The second gift was a Death Rider. Jon Moxley entered for a sneak attack as payback for OC putting hands on Claudio during the ROH Death Before Dishonor PPV.

Backstage, the Blackpool Combat Club stated their motivation in kicking ass for the main event against the Lucha Bros and the Best Friends. Claudio Castagnoli also warned that his beef with PAC is far from over.

Fast forward to the main event. It was chaotic three-way tag team action. Only two men were legal at once, so it created a conundrum down the stretch. Best Friends hit a pair of piledrivers on the Lucha Bros. Pentagon kicked out on Trent’s cover. The Lucha Bros slapped on a pair of submission, and Pentagon snapped Trent’s arm. The Blackpool Combat Club made the save on the pin to continue the fight.

Moxley and Claudio wrecked house on the Best Friends and the Lucha Bros. As Claudio was setting up the Ricola bomb to Trent, Cassidy made his way to the ring to engage in fisticuffs. OC punched Yuta and tussled with Moxley. In the hullabaloo, Trent countered Claudio for a Strong Zero piledriver. One problem though. Claudio was not the legal man. Penta took advantage to hit a package piledriver on Trent for victory.

In the aftermath, brawling continued with Cassidy connecting on the superman punch to Claudio as the screen faded to black. It was announced that Moxley, Penta, and Trent will wrestle in a three-way next week as AEW originals to celebrate the 200th episode of Dynamite, and anything goes!

That was a hectic main event scene. The match itself was enjoyable. Even though there were no real stakes, everyone fought with passion to earn bragging rights. Curiosity is piqued when thinking of all the directions this could branch out. And PAC wasn’t even there at the end. Out of the possibilities, Cassidy defending the AEW International Championship against Moxley is the one I would like to see most. Cassidy showed no fear with battling the Blackpool Combat Club on this evening. When Cassidy finally loses the strap, it will be because he was broken in half. Moxley has the skillset to do just that. I don’t know who would win, but I really want to find out.

Darby Allin betrayed

The second story arc revolved around Darby Allin.

Get ready for a twist. Jumping right to the aftermath of the AEW International Championship match, Cassidy shared a pair of sunglasses with Fox as a consolation prize. Fox posed with the champ. As soon as Cassidy turned his back, Fox crunched the sunglasses in half then sucker punched OC.

Fox acted like his emotions got the better of him, and he genuinely looked remorseful. Allin stormed down stage berating Fox. This match was a personal favor Allin asked for, so the attack reflected bad on Allin’s reputation. Fox apologized.

AEW set the scene for the emotion of this moment by airing a vignette before the title bout. Allin explained his connection to Fox. Their relationship runs deep due to Fox housing Allin for free early in his wrestling career. Allin put over Fox as motivated, passionate, and generous. That’s why Fox’s attack on Cassidy seemed so out of place.

Later in the show, Allin was in action against Swerve Strickland. Nick Wayne and Prince Nana were ringside to support their respective allies. This match had a lot of slick sequences with act and counteract. The thrills increased with a wicked super Death Valley Driver onto the apron.

Get ready for another twist. (Darn you, Swerve. I have to steer clear of using the word swerve to avoid confusion.) As Allin rose to his feet, an intruder rammed him into the ring post. Nana distracted Wayne, so Strickland could finish with a JML Driver. The mystery person was promptly revealed to be Fox, and he joined the Mogul Embassy as a new member.

That is certainly an interesting turn of events. AEW played that one well. There was no inclination of Fox’s bad attitude prior to this evening. In hindsight, I imagine there is enough meat to pick to formulate a plausible explanation, so it doesn’t feel forced for the sake of swerve booking. As a fan of Fox, it pleases me that this should give him more opportunity to entertain on television.

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

Callis Family drama. Chris Jericho still hasn’t declared his intention to accept the invitation to join the Callis Family. Don Callis wanted to give Jericho a taste of what to expect by teaming with Konosuke Takeshita for a tag match next week. Callis callously revealed the opponents would be Sammy Guevara & Daniel Garcia. Jericho was hesitant to wrestle his protégés. Callis also revealed a magnificent painting of them as shirtless under the tutelage of Bad News Allen.

That was a scumbag move by Callis in choosing Guevara and Garcia as opponents. It was also extremely savvy. Callis is testing Jericho’s potential commitment to the new group by putting him in position to sever past alliances. I can’t wait for the end of Callis’ career in AEW, so they can compile all those beautiful artworks into a coffee table book. There are only a handful now, but there are bound to be more paintings over the years with the Callis Family trials and tribulations.

Later, the rest of the Jericho Appreciation Society walked out on Jericho. Anna Jay let him know that it doesn’t feel like he appreciates them. Daddy Magic’s nipples were not hard.

ECW pride. Jack Perry insulted the FTW Championship and ECW. He is the greatest wrestler who was ever within one hundred feet of that title, and he can run circles around Taz and his dirtbag friends. Enter Jerry Lynn sticking up for the renegade promotion. Papa Jerry threatened an ass kicking if Perry kept running his mouth. Perry slowed down and would only fight on his timeline. He challenged Lynn to show up next week.

Jungle Boy versus ECW legends is a curious direction. I’m always up for some good nostalgia, so this has my attention. Insulting ECW is an easy way to get heel heat, and that will add to molding the hatred of Jungle Man.

For what it’s worth, AEW aired an artsy vignette for Hook in the subway tunnels. It left me wondering if Taz has a box full of FTW replica titles in the family home.

PAC defeated Gravity. The luchador frustrated PAC early, but PAC eventually took control for an ass-kicking. PAC used an avalanche brainbuster to transition to the Brutalizer submission. The Bastard held onto the hold long after the bell.

This was a spotlight match to introduce Gravity to the Dynamite audience as well as letting PAC re-establish his dominance in the pecking order. I like how Gravity falls oddly with ‘zero gravity’ to create unique movements as a gimmick. He doesn’t overdo it, and the examples fit into the flow of the match.

Brochachos. MJF and Adam Cole delivered a promo taped last week after winning the tag title eliminator tournament. MJF had harsh words for FTR, then Cole tried to smooth over his relationship with MJF. Cole assured MJF that there was nothing to worry about with the world championship. Their new found friendship means more to Cole. MJF decided to give Cole a shot at the Triple B no matter the outcome of their upcoming tag match. Roderick Strong burst in shoving MJF. He cautioned Cole about trusting that snake. Cole warned Strong to stop acting possessive. Cole requested Strong’s trust in this situation.

MJF and Cole delivered intrigue. This promo wasn’t on the funny side, aside from Cole shouting, “Boundaries,” at Strong. The hope from fans across the land is that AEW formulates a way for MJF and Cole to continue being friends long past their tag title match on Collision. AEW has presented this in a way that I don’t know what’s going to happen next in the story. MJF should never be trusted. That much is clear. Cole has baggage in his history as well. Plus, his jealous eyes were bulging over the Triple B last week. There is real mystery here, and I like it.

FTR is chomping at the bit to teach MJF a lesson in tag team wrestling. They have no personal grudge with Cole. FTR just warned that it will be a fight when they defend the tag titles.

Dr. Britt Baker DMD defeated Taya Valkyrie. Baker talked a big game dragging Taya to the deep end. The dentist aims to remind the world that TBS is The Britt Show. I was wondering if that was a call-out to TBS champ Kris Statlander, but it seems more like idle trash talk.

Taya was a hammering force controlling the pace for much of the match. Baker turned the tide with a Panama Sunrise. Taya still had spirit left for a spear. When La Wera Loca lifted DMD for the Road to Valhalla, Baker escaped to counter for the Lockjaw submission.

This contest had good physicality. Intensity was rising. On the technical side, some sequences were not smooth. It was noticeably awkward at times, especially with one clear botch when Taya’s grip slipped to drop Baker from a cazadora position.

Notes: Hikaru Shida wants a shot at Toni Storm and the AEW women’s title, but Nyla Rose is standing in the way. Shida versus Rose goes down on Rampage. The Friday night show will also have a tag team battle royale to earn a title shot.

Buddy Matthews hyped the ladder match against Andrade on Collision. If Matthews climbs the ladder to retrieve El Idolo’s mask, then he will burn it in front of Andrade.

Stud of the Show: Orange Cassidy

A successful title defense as well as clobbering the Blackpool Combat Club is worth the acknowledgment.

Match of the Night: Swerve Strickland vs. Darby Allin

There were a couple of contenders on even footing for this honor. I’m rolling with Swerve and Allin due to their chemistry for creativity as opponents.

Grade: B-

Entertaining action as always. The storytelling dangled carrots throughout to remain engaged. The show focused on building that mid-card picture with twists and turns. Production was not so hot this week. The planning felt off with miscues on cues, and that vibe dragged down the grade.

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