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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (July 5, 2023): MJF & Adam Cole becoming best buds

AEW Dynamite (July 5, 2023) emanated from Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta. The show featured MJF and Adam Cole forming bonds of friendship, Chris Jericho receiving an interesting proposal, Kenny Omega battling Wheeler Yuta in the main event, and much more.

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

MJF & Adam Cole becoming best buds

From the several story pieces during Dynamite, there was one that stood out above the rest. MJF palling with Adam Cole is pure gold. All the evidence you need is this gym session from the brochachos. Who knew that the ice would be thawed over the bond of making fun of Tony Schiavone.

Their night was deeper than that humorous skit. MJF and Cole were partners competing in the Blind Eliminator Tag Team Tournament. Cole tried to claim MJF’s advances weren’t working, as stated in a medical update for Roderick Strong. By the way, Strong is felling better, but Cole encouraged he take it slow to get cleared.

When it was time for the match against the Magic Meat duo of Daddy Magic and Butcher, MJF was fully supportive of Cole. The world champ even cut off his own theme music, so Cole could have the spotlight. MJF comically joined Cole for his signature poses to pop the crowd, bay bay.

The match wasn’t much to look at. It was more about developing the budding friendship between MJF and Cole. When Cole didn’t want to give a helping hand to cheat on an abdominal stretch, MJF encouraged the crowd to encourage Cole. Cole eventually relented, and the crowd went wild. In the end, Cole took the hot tag and won by lowering the boom on Daddy Magic. MJF had been hoping for a double clothesline tag team maneuver to win, but he was still elated at the result.

MJF had one more surprise in store. He threw a birthday party for Cole. MJF sang a jazzy rendition of the birthday song. He also tried to smoosh Cole’s face into cake in a playful manner. Cole made his wish then reversed MJF into the cake with frosting all over his face. Instead of freaking out, MJF had a chuckle. Cole wiped some frosting off MJF’s face to taste it. Cole closed with a sincere, “Thank you, my friend.”

Even though Cole walked out alone on his own, it was clear that the buddy system might be working its way into Cole’s heart. AEW told this story well throughout the episode piling the segments to work off each other. The base is being built, so it makes sense why Cole is acting more receptive to MJF’s friendship. It’s still early in the story, and this could quickly take a turn into enemy territory once again. MJF can never be trusted at face value. For now, the story is a joy to watch.

I’m so in on MJF and Cole being best buds that I’m in favor of AEW scrapping a breakup to see how far they can take this story. If this is a short-term angle, then Cole will lose his world title match, and MJF moves on. If AEW can develop this as a long-term angle, then the possibilities are wide open. Heck, I wouldn’t even mind if Cole became MJF’s manager to fulfill Vince McMahon’s vision. I say that in jest, but I really wouldn’t be opposed to it. The bottom line is that MJF and Cole are maximum entertainment as potential pals, and I want more.

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

Blind Eliminator Tag Team Tournament quarterfinal: Orange Cassidy & Darby Allin defeated Keith Lee & Swerve Strickland. Allin awoke the sleeping giant by urging Lee to take this match serious.

Lee did just that and ragdolled his skinny opponents all over the ring. He even stepped on the ring steps as Allin was trapped underneath,

That was a fun subplot, but the real story of the match was cooperation between Lee and Swerve. The enemies worked okay as a unit, even taking glee in teamwork moves that hurt their own partner. For example, Lee was down after a stunner from Cassidy and a Code Red from Allin. Swerve launched for a 450 splash to break the pin. Cassidy moved, and Swerve landed on Lee. Swerve flashed a wide grin at causing pain to Lee.

Lee returned the favor for a Tower of Doom powerbomb smashing Swerve in the process. Lee was all smiles.

The finish came when Swerve accidentally kicked Lee. I viewed it as a genuine accident. Cassidy took control for a flying DDT to Swerve then a diving DDT to Lee on the floor. Allin secured the Last Supper pin on Swerve for victory.

That match was a blast. Cassidy and Allin had to get creative to topple the power man. Lee and Swerve worked a fun angle on the coexist idea. They really were trying to win as a team. It’s just that neither cared for the other’s safety. The finish was a cool sequence setting up a believable path to victory.

The Acclaimed & Daddy Ass defeated Bollywood Boyz & Blade. Hot tag to Anthony Bowens cleaning house. Billy Gunn delivered a big slam for Max Caster to hit the Mic Drop flying elbow for victory. The post-match scissor party was interrupted by QTV’s Harley Cameron on the big screen. She will be airing a video next week to prove she is the best musician on the roster. Billy responded with two words, “Suck it!”

The Acclaimed is fun for crowd participation, but I’m close to the limit on enjoying their formulaic victories against over-matched opponents. I’ve seen it enough times that it is becoming less interesting. Therein lies the quandary, because their act isn’t getting stale in front of fresh eyes from live fans in attendance. QTV should be able to give the Acclaimed more meat to work with on television.

Jon Moxley speaks philosophy. Mox addressed his current relationship with Eddie Kingston. The Mad King was away in Japan winning the NJPW Strong Openweight Championship from Kenta.

Moxley reflected that they have both gotten everything they wanted out of the business. What’s there to complain about? What reason is there to walk around mad all the time? Moxley isn’t living in the past, like Kingston with his ten-year feuds. He looks forward to make every day count. While Kingston runs down the new generation, Moxley is putting in work with the Blackpool Combat Club to build that next generation. Mox has a dream of Kingston becoming what he could be, but that’s not a reality.

Those were strong talking points from Moxley. Of course, it is easier to say from someone who has reached the pinnacle. Kingston is still climbing the mountain. The closing lines probably would have hit better if Kingston wasn’t coming fresh off winning a championship. Now that Kingston has a taste of success, perhaps he’ll ease up a little with his anger and see Mox’s point of view.

Don Callis made Chris Jericho an offer. Jericho felt it was time to reevaluate his career after some big losses the past few months. He traveled the old roads where he started in Canada. Jericho felt the fire and passion return to become better. Callis interrupted with a proposal. He wanted Jericho to join the Callis Family. Jericho shot back that he creates factions, not joins them. However, Jericho didn’t say no. His answer was maybe.

This was an interesting story turn that came out of nowhere. Jericho and Callis did well to explain their personal history and why Callis would seek out Le Champion. This could be a good move for Jericho’s next chapter. He’d have to take a role putting his ego aside for it to feel fresh, or else he would just be the same Jericho character we’ve seen since day one in AEW. The best part of the segment was the crowd giving Callis nuclear heat to drown out his promo. That hated reaction is so much fun to hear on screen.

As for the rest of JAS, Sammy Guevara and Daniel Garcia were informed they would be partners in the Blind Eliminator Tag Team Tournament. Neither wanted Jericho to abandon the group, but Jericho urged that it was time for them to achieve success on their own.

Owen Hart women’s tournament quarterfinal: Ruby Soho defeated Dr. Britt Baker DMD. Baker hyped the match with two things Soho can never take from her. She has the pride of always being the face of the women’s division, and she was the inaugural winner of the Owen Hart women’s tournament.

Baker brought the Owen Hart championship belt to the ring, and that played a factor in the match. The Outcasts repeatedly caused trouble. As Baker was working for the Lockjaw submission, Saraya created a distraction on the apron so Soho could shove Baker into the title belt held by Toni Storm. Soho added a No Future Kick, but Baker kicked out on the dramatic cover. The Outcasts helped Soho again by pulling her out of the ring when Baker almost applied the Lockjaw. Baker had enough and cleaned house on the outside. In the ring, Soho scored a roll-up and held Storm’s hand for leverage to win.

The women put in effort, even though, the action was clunky at times. The booking of this match made my eyes roll. Baker was veering a little strong into Super Cena territory with the super kick-out and handling the Outcasts all by herself. The loss saved it somewhat from Baker being invincible. Soho still had to cheat to win, so Baker was protected to save face. Another odd instance was Saraya and Storm leaving the stage, then a few seconds later Skye Blue arrived through the same tunnel. Did they not pass by each other? Blue had a staredown with Soho to promote them as semifinal opponents.

Kenny Omega defeated Wheeler Yuta. Omega sold the tenderness in his neck and shoulders from damage done during his Forbidden Door match against Will Ospreay. Yuta was like a shark sensing blood in the water. When Yuta had trouble earning the finish, Don Callis provided a timely distraction for Konosuke Takeshita to hit a blue thunder bomb. Yuta hit a flying splash, but Omega kicked out on the cover. Omega managed to overcome in the end by lifting Yuta off the turnbuckles for a One Winged Angel.

Afterward, the show closed in chaos. Takeshita and Claudio Castagnoli attacked Omega. The Young Bucks and Hangman Page made the save with chairs. When Hangman wound up to clobber Claudio, the Dark Order ran in to snatch the chair away. Tension was teased to set up the Dark Order versus Hung Bucks rematch on Rampage.

This was a solid main event. Yuta rose his game, and Omega looked the star considering the circumstances selling injuries during the match. Intensity was aplomb with crushing suplexes from both competitors. There were a lot of tricky sequences working toward victory to add drama. The post-match run-ins were rushed due to lack of time, but it did provide the genuine feel of Tony Schiavone yelling that they are out of time.

Notes: AEW fleshed out the bracket for the Blind Eliminator Tag Team Tournament. Two quarterfinal matches with be on Rampage with the semifinals next week on Dynamite. Matt Hardy & Jeff Jarrett wrestle Sammy Guevara & Daniel Garcia with the winners advancing against Orange Cassidy & Darby Allin. Brian Cage & Big Bill Morrissey wrestle Trent Beretta & Matt Sydal with the winners advancing against MJF & Adam Cole.

Blood & Guts will be 5-on-5. AEW teased who will be the fifth member of each squad. As it stands now, the sides are Jon Moxley, Claudio Castagnoli, Wheeler Yuta, & Konosuke Takeshita against Kenny Omega, the Young Bucks, & Hangman Page on July 19.

AEW introduced Nick Wayne with a hype package as told by Darby Allin. Allin has known Nick since he was 8 years old while training under Buddy Wayne. When Buddy passed away in 2017, Allin made a pact with himself to watch over Nick. He convinced Tony Khan to sign Nick at the age of 16. Nick is now 18, and it is time to show the world what he can do. This was a neat way to ease the introduction of Wayne for next week’s debut against Swerve Strickland.

Jungle Boy is not a thug from New York. He wants to settle his beef with Hook like professionals, so he planned to approach Tony Khan for an FTW title match. Hook ran in to smash before JB took one step. Jungle Boy managed to get free and hop into his car for the chauffeur to drive away.

The Owen Hart men’s tournament semifinals will air on Collision. CM Punk versus Samoa Joe and Ricky Starks versus Will Hobbs are rivalries rekindled. Punk has never beaten Joe in singles action.

Stud of the Show: Wheeler Yuta

Yuta stepped up to belong in this main event matchup.

Match of the Night: Orange Cassidy & Darby Allin vs. Keith Lee & Swerve Strickland

Exciting action made more entertaining by the tag team relationships.

Grade: B

This episode of Dynamite was a solid show. Not every match hit hard, but there was plenty to enjoy between the ropes. The strong suit was the variety of building blocks presented for story material.

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

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