AEW Dynamite (Aug. 16, 2023) emanated from Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, TN. The Fight For The Fallen special featured Jeff Jarrett surviving the Texas Chainsaw Massacre Deathmatch, MJF coming up with a special Australian move, and more turning the corner toward All In.
Get caught up on all the Dynamite details with the excellent play-by-play from Claire Elizabeth.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre Deathmatch
With All In around the corner, lots of curiosity was bubbling to see how AEW fills out the card. There was one thing that trumped that in the curiosity aspect. I had no idea what to expect from Jeff Jarrett’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre Deathmatch as a promotional tie-in to advertise the upcoming video game. Fire up the chainsaw, and let’s see how it unfolded.
Jeff Jarrett battled Jeff Hardy as the legal participants, but it was actually a wild melee with all their pals involved. And that included Leatherface.
They treated it like a campy slasher film with red lighting in a cramped hallway. Matt Hardy threw a bucket of blood on Jarrett. Karen Jarrett, Satnam Singh, Jay Lethal, Sonjay Dutt, Ethan Page, and Isiah Kassidy all had turns adding to the shenanigans. Here is a taste.
The action eventually made way to the ring with smoke coming from underneath. Hardy landed the swanton onto Jarrett through a table. Lethal was there to break the pinfall.
Hardy also hit Jarrett on the head with a guitar. That’s when Leatherface appeared and chased Karen to the back.
Jarrett had the last laugh, even though, he was barely conscious to appreciate it. Lethal clobbered Hardy with a hammer, then Singh chokeslammed him. They pulled Jarrett on top for the pin to win. Jarrett celebrated with a championship belt honoring Leatherface.
There is definitely going to be a split reaction to this match. I actually didn’t mind it. There was never any delusion that this was going to be a serious contest. It was ridiculous from start to finish. I appreciate the creativity and commitment to the match gimmick. It was so wacky that it maintained my attention throughout, because I had no clue what was coming next.
If you thought double clothesline was the bees knees, well, MJF has struck gold again. Kangaroo kick!
MJF and Adam Cole are pulling double duty at All In. They will team together against Aussie Open to challenge for the ROH tag titles on the pre-show. The PPV main event will see MJF versus Cole for the AEW World Championship. Both matches were touched upon during Dynamite.
First up was a brochachos vignette. MJF and Cole visited Outback Steakhouse to learn what makes Australians tick. They didn’t stumble upon a gameplan, so the next idea was to watch Crocodile Dundee movies. MJF didn’t make it that far. He was enamored by a viral video of kangaroos fighting, and it sparked the idea for the kangaroo kick secret weapon. Cole wasn’t confident in that scheme, so they went back to basics to double clothesline some random dude. There was also a Tony Khan sighting acting as the big boss with brass ones.
To prepare for their match with #AussieOpen at #AEWAllIn Zero Hour, #AEW World Champ @The_MJF & @AdamColePro went to the @Outback Steak House, practiced #KangarooKicks, & immersed themselves in Australian culture!— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) August 17, 2023
Watch #AEWDynamite LIVE on TBS!#Outback@TonyKhan pic.twitter.com/MNIvb3dqE9
As much fun as that video was, Roderick Strong was the cherry on the sundae. MJF drove Cole to the arena in his red Ferrari automobile. When they split ways, Strong yelled for Cole like a lonely friend being abandoned. He kicked MJF’s car and hurt his foot in the process. The Kingdom were there to console sad Roddy.
MJF and Cole entered the ring to hype their All In activities. Both put over how special the world title is to them. Aussie Open attacked, but the brochachos were in control. Mark Davis barely escaped feeling the wrath of the double clothesline. Kyle Fletcher was in danger of MJF’s kangaroo kick, but Davis saved him in time. As the dust settled, Cole was in a fighting stance ready to blindside MJF, but he didn’t pull the trigger. They hugged it out instead.
This night was more of the same from the brochachos. A funny vignette to grow their friendship, and promos to set up conflict of potential betrayal. The danger of duplicity is becoming the selling point of the match. Sure, it will be a good match. It doesn’t even matter much who wins. It is all about how the finish plays out and the fallout on their friendship.
One other thing it did is add the desire to see the kangaroo kick in execution. MJF is going to hit that on Aussie Open, and it will be glorious. By no means should that be the finish to the match, but it should definitely be part of the story to rock the crowd.
Kangaroo kick.— Maxwell Jacob Friedman™️ (@The_MJF) August 17, 2023
Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.
AEW International Championship: Orange Cassidy retained against Wheeler Yuta. Cassidy was full throttle in his effort. He launched a superman punch at the opening bell. Yuta ducked, but Cassidy never took his foot off the pedal to keep the pace moving. Yuta used Blackpool Combat Club teachings to send a message. When Cassidy was the cusp of victory, Jon Moxley and Claudio Castagnoli showed up ringside.
Cassidy went for the superman punch, but he saw Yuta duck this time. Cassidy audibled to a Paradigm Shift instead. Cassidy came back to the superman punch to hit the target, but Cassidy was in too much pain to make the cover. His injuries were catching up as a fighting champion. Cassidy always finds a way to win, and he did so on a back body drop transition to a roll-up. Cassidy grabbed his pockets for a tighter grip to ensure Yuta could not escape.
Entertaining match with a quick pace of action. The clash in styles were on full display to play into the story of Yuta leaving the Best Friends to be mentored by the BCC. Yuta wrestled a good match, but he never reached the point of making me believe a title change could be in the works. Cassidy’s winning pin was creative and a fitting way to squeak by Yuta due to his hand injury.
Business picked up after the match. BCC stomped Cassidy. Best Friends rushed in, and BCC handled them as well. The Lucha Bros sauntered to the ring. They were in no rush, since they aren’t friendly with the Best Friends crew. It was more about putting hands on BCC. Eddie Kingston joined the fun to brawl with Claudio. Sides eventually separated, and Kingston issued a Stadium Stampede challenge for All In at Wembley Stadium. BCC plus three versus Kingston, Lucha Bros, Cassidy, & Best Friends.
I didn’t see Stadium Stampede coming for All In. This feud doesn’t really deserve that stipulation, but I’ll gladly watch the spectacle. It’s weird that Kingston has any type of leadership role in this scenario. Based on his past in AEW, why would anybody go along with what he has to say? Oh well. It is what it is. BCC will have mystery partners. I wonder if they will pick some pipe-hitting locals from Blackpool.
Golden Elite ride again. Kenny Omega addressed the role Don Callis played in his life guiding him to success. He prefers to remember the good in Callis and not live a life of revenge. Omega just wanted to move on. He turned his focus on Konosuke Takeshita. Omega plans to embarrass Takeshita in the ring. Callis interrupted as a distraction for Jay White and Juice Robinson to attack. Takeshita joined in for a violent beatdown sending Omega to the hospital.
#BulletClubGold's Jay White & #JuiceRobinson, Don Callis, and Takeshita VICIOUSLY ATTACKED Kenny Omega during his interview with Jim Ross!— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) August 17, 2023
Watch #AEWDynamite Fight for the Fallen LIVE on TBS!@KennyOmegamanX | @JRsBBQ | @JayWhiteNZ | @TheDonCallis | @Takesoup pic.twitter.com/3GYYzDgj9R
Cut to Hangman Page hanging outside the hospital chugging beer. He issued a challenge for Switchblade, Juice, & Takeshita at All In against the Golden Elite. Kota Ibushi is coming to Wembley.
#HangmanAdamPage just made a challenge for #AEWAllIn!— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) August 17, 2023
Adam Page, @KennyOmegamanX & @ibushi_kota
VS@JayWhiteNZ, #JuiceRobinson & @Takesoup
In a TRIOS MATCH! Sunday, August 27th, LIVE from Wembley Stadium in London, UK!
Watch #AEWDynamite Fight for the Fallen LIVE on TBS! pic.twitter.com/5eQFQnwbsN
This was an simple setup from an interesting promo discussing Omega’s rationale to a beatdown to a match challenge. It is a little odd that Callis is using Bullet Club Gold as henchmen without explanation. I can guess at connecting the dots, but AEW needs to address that budding relationship moving forward. This All In match feels like a placeholder novelty with the appeal of Ibushi in the grander fight of Omega and the Callis Family.
Don Callis turned on Chris Jericho. The Omega attack was a taped segment from a different day. This chat with Jericho was live on Dynamite. Le Champion was ready to give his answer about joining the Callis Family. Yes! Callis was elated, however, the union quickly exploded. Jericho wanted to see the special painting under the black cover. Callis sheepishly tried to rush Jericho out to avoid laying eyes on the artwork. It was revealed to be Callis holding Jericho’s severed head. Callis admitted that he never thought Jericho would join. Insults about massive egos and scumbag behavior were exchanged.
Callis slapped Jericho, Jericho put Callis in a corner, then Takeshita came in. Jericho anticipated Takeshita’s arrival, but he didn’t sense the presence of Will Ospreay. Jericho was bashed with a chair to open a wound. Callis smashed the painting over Jericho’s head. Sammy Guevara ran in for the save, and the Callis crew scattered.
That was exactly the kind of segment to expect from Jericho and Callis. It was over the top in sports entertainment. The theatrics were large. Add in Ospreay as a genuine surprise for those that never caught wind of rumors. One major problem though. Jericho is now the babyface by default in comparison to the heinousness of Callis, however, Jericho didn’t produce any reason to root for him. He was fully ready to join the Callis Family to be nastier than ever. This wasn’t a redemption moment for Jericho.
Jericho stewed in pain and challenged Ospreay at All In.
Chris Jericho just challenged Will Ospreay to a match at #AEWAllIn!— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) August 17, 2023
Sunday, August 27th LIVE from Wembley Stadium in London, UK at 6pm BST/1pm ET/10am PT!
Watch #AEWDynamite Fight for the Fallen LIVE on TBS!@IamJericho | @WillOspreay pic.twitter.com/VIfWMaUPiA
Darby Allin & Nick Wayne defeated Gates of Agony. Bishop Kaun and Toa Liona showcased their aggressive power. The svelte high-flyers rallied with gumption. Wayne was the spark plug to victory. He hit a hurricanrana to Liona off the apron and a flying cutter to Kaun inside the ring. The Seattle boys climbed the corner for dual dives. Wayne took out Liona on a moonsault, and Allin landed a Coffin Drop to pin Kaun.
I’m a big fan of the power displays from Gates of Agony. When they maul an opponent, it is easy to buy in 100% on the violence. Unfortunately, Kaun and Liona had to lose here. Allin and Wayne were pretty slick on the closing sequence.
Afterward, Swerve Strickland and AR Fox were angling to attack, but Allin and Wayne were prepared with a skateboard and belt as weapons. Sting chimed in on the big screen to reveal his Joker persona. He also kidnapped Prince Nana.
Sting wants to make sure @ARealFoxx & @swerveconfident are ready for their coffin match at #AEWAllin.— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) August 17, 2023
Watch #AEWDynamite Fight for the Fallen LIVE on TBS!@DarbyAllin | @thenickwayne | @Sting pic.twitter.com/o334ZfGhyG
The Sting segment was thumbs down for me. I don’t understand what Joker Sting has to do with the coffin match at All In. He was perfectly fine last week, and now he’s lost his marbles? I guess some will find it cool as a superficial moment, but I don’t see how it ties together in the larger picture of the story that’s been told to date.
Dr. Britt Baker DMD defeated Bunny. This match was a qualifier for the women’s world title four-way at All In. Penelope Ford was a distraction ringside and even stole Baker’s Lockjaw glove. Baker would not be denied victory. She changed her gameplan to win via curb stomp.
This was a serviceable match. It had stakes to add value. The result of Baker winning was never in doubt, and Bunny didn’t manage to change my mind at all about that.
Young Bucks defeated Gunn Club. The Bucks were rowdy to attack with superkicks on stage. Matt Jackson dove for a crossbody down to the floor.
The Gunns slowed it down to isolate Matt. Hot tag to Nick Jackson cleaning house with style. The Gunns held their own and even hit the 3:10 to Yuma finisher. That wasn’t enough to close. In the end, the Bucks beat the Gunns at their own game. The Gunns went for a sneaky leveraged cheating roll-up. Matt superkicked Colten Gunn to break the pinning predicament, then he used that exact same cheating method to help his brother roll-up Austin Gunn.
After the match, Bullet Club Gold’s full force stomped the Bucks. FTR made the save to share a tense staredown before they battle the Bucks for AEW tag team gold at All In. FTR also had a slight tease of executing the Shatter Machine on their rivals, but they didn’t follow through on the move.
This main event delivered as expected. The Bucks brought the thrills to entertain. The Gunns stepped up their game to continue establishing their reputation. The cheating finish was an amusing way to reverse the roles.
Notes: The Fight For The Fallen special benefit the Maui Food Bank to help those in need due to wildfires in Hawaii.
Jack Perry proclaimed himself to be the greatest FTW champion ever. Jungle Boy is going to get out on top, so he plans to retire the FTW belt next week.
The Acclaimed were supposed to have a match, but they were attacked by the House of Black. Malakai Black stole Billy Gunn’s boots to advance the intrigue of his retirement angle.
Stud of the Show: Nick Wayne
Wayne took a bruising and kept on ticking as a catalyst in victory. AEW hyped him as a phenom, and he is backing up the praise in the ring.
Match of the Night: Orange Cassidy vs. Wheeler Yuta
Cassidy and Yuta rocked the ring. They shared good chemistry as opponents reminiscent of the cruiserweight glory days.
Decent work in the ring. That’s counting the matches where that was the intention. On the story tip, there were lots of entertaining moments for the sake of it, however, it felt like missing a step from point A to point C at times.
Share your thoughts about Dynamite. How do you rate it? What were your favorite moments from the show?