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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (Aug. 2, 2023): Shocking championship win

AEW Dynamite (Aug. 2, 2023) emanated from Yuengling Center in Tampa, FL. Fun was on tap as the show featured Hikaru Shida becoming a two-time women’s champion, MJF turning a new leaf as an official babyface, Rob Van Dam with a surprise appearance, the Elite running wild, and more in the 200th episode.

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

Holy Shida!

Hikaru Shida pulled a shocker to win the AEW Women’s World Championship from Toni Storm in the main event of Dynamite.

The match was hyped as Shida carrying the division during the COVID pandemic era without fans. She wanted a second run with the title to share with the fans this time. Storm shot back that the competition was weak at that time. It is now the era of the Outcasts.

The match played out as expected until the unexpected finish. Shida brought the fight to Storm. The tide turned in Storm’s favor with help from Saraya and Ruby Soho interfering. Shida showed fighting spirit to rally, then it was cut short by more interference.

The wrinkle came when Saraya slid the kendo stick in the ring. Shida snatched it first, so Storm begged to take a hit. The idea was for the referee to disqualify Shida. She didn’t take the bait, but she did crack Soho on the head.

When the referee retrieved the foreign object, Storm sprayed paint in Shida’s eyes. Piledriver. 1, 2, Shida kicked out of Storm’s finisher! Storm went for another piledriver, however, Shida reacted out of instinct to counter for a back body drop. Even though Shida could not see clearly, she still managed to reverse a roll-up for the stunning win. Shida is the new women’s champion.

AEW played me hard on that one. The direction lulled me into thinking it would be another cheap win by the Outcasts. My eyes were rolling at the tired script that we’ve seen so many times before. All of a sudden, Shida triumphed. I was not expecting that result whatsoever. That’s credit to AEW realizing the routine and pulling a left when I think they are going right. For that reason, the surprise factor was off the charts.

It will be a touching story to see Shida have her moment in front of the fans at the largest show in AEW history at All In. I’d like to see Shida run with the title for a while. The Outcasts formula has grown stale with the absence of Jamie Hayter as a rival. Saraya, Storm, and Soho should still stick together, but they need to evolve as a unit. Chasing Shida with the title could be the jolt needed to shake things up.

MJF honors his word

MJF is officially a babyface. MJF arrived in the ring to deliver an emotional promo from his raw soul. He spoke about his trouble dealing with rejection due to being bullied as a child. It made him believe everyone is evil, and it was best to screw them before they screwed him. MJF’s friendship with Cole showed him a better way to live. MJF clarified that he can’t change overnight, and that he will still act out like a scumbag. However, he is ready to be the fans’ scumbag. MJF is embracing his role as a fan favorite.

MJF called Cole into the ring to keep his word about a world title shot. MJF pulled out a contract for the match to main event All In in London. Cole signed without reading. They sealed the deal with a hug.

Backstage, Roderick Strong was irate that Cole trusted MJF. Matt Taven and Mike Bennett rolled up to plant seeds in Strong’s ear about Cole forgetting his friends. They have experience dealing with Cole when he was part of the Kingdom faction in ROH.

This was a necessary and effective promo for MJF to reset as a babyface. His explanation makes sense given the track record of his character in AEW. Everyone loves a story of redemption, so it is easy to be sucked in by MJF’s tale. AEW is doing their part to reform MJF as a rootable presence. I still don’t trust him though, and I don’t think there is anything AEW can do to eliminate that feeling of a screwjob in the works. I’m not giving Cole a free pass either. AEW is milking MJF so hard that potential treachery from Cole is not to be ignored. It will be interesting to observe their friendship once competitive juices flow with the AEW World Championship on the line.


Rob Van Dam was in the house for a surprise appearance. As much as Jerry Lynn wanted to teach Jack Perry a lesson in the ring, the reality was that no doctor would ever clear him for combat due to his past neck injuries. Lynn had someone else in mind to bring the fight to Jungle Boy. Enter RVD.

RVD and JB stood face to face in the ring. Perry backed away to retreat. That was a ruse though, since he came back trying a sneak attack with a chair. RVD ducked and threw a spinning jump kick. Perry ducked that strike, rolled out of the ring, and hid behind a small child in the crowd.

Backstage, RVD challenged Perry to an FTW title bout next week. When he wins the belt, he’ll inflate the value and retire it. AEW made the match official with FTW rules.

RVD was an unexpected surprise, and a cool one at that. His ECW legend status still shines bright. RVD and Perry should have an entertaining match. Who knows how long RVD will stick around AEW. For now, it is about enjoying what he offers and soaking in the experience.

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

Chris Jericho & Konosuke Takeshita defeated Sammy Guevara & Daniel Garcia. Don Callis orchestrated this matchup to pit Jericho against his sports entertainment sons. Guevara and Garcia started strong besting their mentor. Garcia danced over the top on Jericho.

Sammy and Danny also struck Le Salsa Gods pose.

The contest settled down into a competitive affair. In the end, Garcia secured a sharpshooter on Jericho close to the ropes. Callis was able to reach in and clobber Garcia with the baseball bat. Jericho was upset at that uncalled violence toward his protégé, but he reluctantly made the cover anyway for victory.

The Dynamite opener hit the mark with athleticism, humor, wits, and drama. Sammy and Danny were on the path to earn that big win to stand on their own, much like Jericho wanted. Garcia blocking the Judas Effect was a telling sign that they were ready to pass over their mentor. Then, Callis sent it all crumbling down. Even though Callis manipulated the match, I don’t think he tried to manipulate this closing drama. He did what needed to be done to give his team the winning edge, and it worked. Jericho’s reaction extends the soap opera to find out if he will officially join the Callis Family.

Later backstage, Daddy Magic called a mandatory meeting for the JAS next week.

Anything Goes: Trent defeated Jon Moxley and Pentagon. Trashcans, tables, and a barbed wire 2x4 were the weapons of choice in the three-way. The big spots early were Moxley with a superplex to Trent through tables and Penta with an avalanche Mexican Destroyer to Trent through a table.

Get the thumb tacks! Moxley emptied a sack of tacks for all to enjoy taking bumps on. Piledrivers, suplexes, and cutters on the tacks couldn’t determine a winner. The finish came about when Moxley planted Penta with a Paradigm Shift, then Trent blasted Mox in the mush with a knee strike. Trent took the pin on the luchador to win.

Afterward, Moxley immediately choked Trent. When Claudio Castagnoli and Wheeler Yuta were making their way to the ring, Orange Cassidy and Chuck Taylor intercepted them for fisticuffs. Cassidy hit a superman punch on Mox. He fell out of the ring, but he didn’t go down. Chuck challenged BCC for a parking lot brawl on Rampage. It will be Best Friends versus Moxley & Claudio.

When Moxley is unleashed, violence is expected. This match delivered as advertised. All three shared in the torture and pain for hard-hitting action with a couple of good false finishes. That was a surprise to see Trent victorious, but it was a good call. He needs quality wins every once in a while to cement his status. Moxley and Pentagon aren’t really doing anything important at the moment, so no momentum is stifled in defeat. The parking lot brawl was an odd transition, but I’ll gladly take it. Being that it will be taped, that fight should be a doozy with wild possibilities. Rampage has my attention.

Kenny Omega & Young Bucks defeated Jay Lethal, Jeff Jarrett, & Satnam Singh. The finish erupted with shenanigans. Sonjay Dutt, Karen Jarrett, Brandon Cutler, and the Hardys all had a hand in the chicanery. Hangman Page swooped in for the save to hit a buckshot lariat on Jarrett when he had a guitar in hand. Omega closed with a V-Trigger and One Winged Angel on Lethal.

This was a rooting tooting good time with lots of fun for the sake of fun. There were Jarrett struts and the bad guys mocking the Elite pose. Singh was a giant force that the Elite worked hard to chop down. There was also a comedy bit of Nick Jackson’s bravado getting the best of him then having a change in heart once he was looking up at the giant. The finish was pure chaos with a bang for Hangman to pop. The match had a good blueprint for how the Elite handled each individual threat the bad guys offered.

Afterward, the Elite announced that they re-signed contracts with AEW.

Nick Wayne beaten to a bloody pulp. AR Fox explained his beef with Darby Allin. For all that talk of owing his career to Fox, Allin never called him in five years. They hadn’t spoken until seeing each other backstage in AEW. Fox took that personal. Swerve Strickland and Fox visited Wayne at his training garage to beat him into a bloody mess.

Damn. That beatdown was downright evil. As if Swerve and now Fox by betrayal and association weren’t built up enough as bad dudes, this scene put them over the top as villains. That emotion will come in handy to cheer Allin and Wayne in their quest for revenge.

ROH World Tag Team Championship: Aussie Open retained against Hijo del Vikingo & Komander. The luchadores were sweet with high-flying moves to wow the crowd. They worked together for a cool destroyer, crucifix bomb, and rope-walking moonsaults sequence.

Vikingo and Komander also landed double 450 splashes.

In the end, the champs were too powerful. They pummeled Komander in a clothesline sandwich and finished with the Coriolis teamwork slam.

This was a treat as a showcase match. Vikingo and Komander thrilled with their unique offense, and Aussie Open handled business like the champions they are. The action left me wanting more from all involved on AEW television.

Notes: AEW celebrated the 200th episode of Dynamite with a highlight package.

Stud of the Show: Hikaru Shida

The Shining Samurai overcame the odds to become a two-time champion.

Match of the Night: Kenny Omega & Young Bucks vs. Jay Lethal, Jeff Jarrett, & Satnam Singh

This contest was a carny special, and it was glorious. So much silliness combined with athletic action for a dandy of a time.

Grade: A-

Fun was the flavor for Dynamite, and it was served in abundance. Each match had its own vibe to feel different from the rest. Surprises were delivered in a variety of ways. This was one of those episodes that put smiles on faces the whole way through.

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

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