Dynamite recap and reactions: Bloody screwdriver


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AEW Dynamite (Apr. 26, 2023) emanated from FLA Live Arena in Sunrise, FL. The show featured blood in the Blackpool Combat Club’s rivalry with the Elite, MJF’s Four Pillars tournament plan backfiring, Orange Cassidy defending the AEW International Championship, Jade Cargill defending the TBS Championship, the arrival of Roderick Strong, and much more.

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

Bloody screwdriver

Let there be blood. The Blackpool Combat Club was ready to screw, and they didn’t care who.

RJ City took a pounding as the first victim. When promoting the tag team bout of Kenny Omega and Konosuke Takeshita, Jon Moxley blindsided City to leave him tenderized on the floor. It seemed to be an innocent beating, but perhaps Moxley was doing a favor for his wife, Renee Paquette, to shut City down in the competitive world of backstage broadcasters. Evil Renee with a mustache incoming?

Time for the main event. Omega & Takeshita battled Butcher & Blade. Bryan Danielson joined commentary to add insight, such as previously training with Takeshita. Kip Sabian and Penelope Ford helped the B boys gain control to isolate Omega. Hot tag to Takeshita running wild. The match was competitive for a few moments with near falls. Omega and Takeshita were a fluid team throughout with quick tags and complementary moves. That was evident for the finish.

Takeshita landed a jumping knee to Blade. Omega followed with a snap dragon suplex sending Blade out of the ring. Omega took flight to dive onto Blade and Sabian on the outside. Divide and conquer left Butcher all alone. Takeshita finished with a running knee.

The victory celebration was cut short by a BCC attack. Danielson caused a distraction on the mic complimenting Takeshita and insulting Omega to set up the sneak attack. The Young Bucks ran out for fisticuffs. The Elite had control, and Omega was eager to stab Moxley with a screwdriver. Danielson urged Takeshita to stop the violence.

The Japanese phenom blocked Omega’s path. That allowed the BCC to pounce to regain control. Takeshita was aghast at the chaos he caused. Danielson raised Takeshita’s arm, but Takeshita refused. BCC demanded Takeshita make a choice to be with them or against them. Takeshita did not seem interested in the offer, but he never blatantly declined. Danielson ruled that the decision took too long, so BCC beat him down. Moxley screwdrived Takeshita into a bloody mess.

Ooh, the drama. Well played for maximum entertainment. The Blackpool Combat Club and the Elite resumed their bad blood. It is an interesting twist playing Takeshita in this. He did an excellent job with non-verbal communication. I don’t think AEW has done enough to establish why Takeshita would consider joining BCC, other than the obvious badass credentials. Danielson did help fill in some blanks. The Elite are a bunch of emotional dudes, so that does present a clear difference in faction personalities. We don’t really know much about Takeshita himself to judge who would suit him best. That helps drive the mystery moving forward. I don’t think taking a beating would dissuade a BCC type of man from joining, so the chess move of taking Takeshita is still on the table. Bottom line though, I hope AEW earns a screwdriver sponsorship out of this.

Four Pillars tournament with a wrinkle

MJF thought he had a foolproof plan in place to retain the AEW World Championship at Double or Nothing on May 28. The idea was to pay Sammy Guevara an enormous chunk of change, so he will take a dive in the PPV main event. MJF had a bag of cheating tricks to assist Sammy along the way. Tony Khan stepped in with a wrinkle on the Four Pillars tournament.

MJF and Sammy yucked it up backstage as cheeky chums. They exchanged gifts and hugs in a funny scene.

On the babyface side, Darby Allin and Jungle Boy put beef aside for the greater good. Allin asked a favor for JB to watch his back on this evening. Allin was jocking cocky on JB with a jest that he would have beat him. This was delivered as a playful dig rather than a serious line. Still though, the competitive juices were overflowing, so Jungle Boy grit his teeth stewing on it.

Sammy and Allin competed for a shot at MJF’s world title on the line. The champ sat in on commentary munching pickles. It was a competitive and aggressive contest, as expected with such high stakes. The big spot was a 630 senton from Sammy onto Allin through a table.

When Allin reentered the ring at the count of 8, MJF beelined toward the ring. Tay Melo distracted the referee, so MJF could finagle a result in his favor. He tossed Allin’s skateboard into his hands, then Sammy flopped onto the mat. Referee Paul Turner turned around and disqualified Allin on an assumption.

MJF pounded Allin with a Dynamite Diamond Ring punch. Jungle Boy ran in for the save. MJF and Sammy cheesed on stage with wide smiles at their plan playing out. Allin was annoyed at JB for not watching his back during the contest.

AEW’s head honcho would not let that bullshit slide. Khan spoke privately on headset to Tony Schiavone, who relayed the message publicly. Allin and Jungle Boy will have another chance to get in the match at Double or Nothing. Next week will see MJF & Sammy versus JB & Allin. If the good guys win, then they will be in the world title bout. If the bad guys win, then it will be a singles contest between MJF and Sammy. Jungle Boy and Allin quickly squashed their beef to focus on the prize.

Backstage, MJF was in a huff and ditched Sammy. The rich boy claimed his ride was full when we could clearly see it was empty. Sammy took the hint that it is now every man for himself.

The match for Allin versus Sammy was entertaining, but the finish was weak. Disqualifications are rare in AEW, and the ref called one on circumstances sight unseen. That’s a paddling. Chalk it up as a means to an end to deliver the four-way PPV match that most fans want to see. I appreciate AEW making Allin and Jungle Boy earn their spot rather than handing it to them.

Overall, where this story shines is the interpersonal dynamics between the Four Pillars. The little details in interactions and facial expressions add layers of enjoyment.

Roderick Strong is All Elite

Roderick Strong made a surprise appearance on Dynamite for a reunion with Adam Cole. This scene had a lot of parts involved, and it started with Orange Cassidy defending the AEW International Championship against Bandido. I know that sounds weird, but it is necessary in an explanation of seeds being planted.

Cassidy retained the gold against Bandido. This match had too much fun and games with Cassidy’s pockets for my taste. The action was not in the same vein as Cassidy’s recent performances with maximum effort. Bandido was a fellow babyface though, so perhaps Cassidy wasn’t motivated with intensity. Bandido shined with cool moves, such as submissions and one-armed suplexes. In the end, Cassidy scored a mouse trap pin, and Bandido countered for a roll-up. Cassidy kicked out then popped up for a close range superman punch. The champ had the window to close and succeeded with Beach Break. That win marks Cassidy’s 20th title defense.

Afterward, Cassidy showed respect for his opponent by gifting sunglasses to Bandido. The new pals moseyed together backstage into an interview with Adam Cole. BayBay had threatening words for Chris Jericho in regard to last week’s heinous attack. Renee Paquette filled in OC on the situation. Cassidy’s response was, “Oh.” Bandido comically mimicked OC with the same vocalization and mannerisms.

When it came time for Cole’s promo in the ring, he called out Jericho. Le Champion answered on the big screen. He flipped the script calling Cole the coward for not protecting Dr. Britt Baker DMD. Jericho was too disgusted to deal with Cole, so he sent the JAS to do some stomping. Cole didn’t stand a chance 1-on-4.

That’s here it wraps back to Cassidy and Bandido. The babyfaces rushed the ring to help Cole, but the numbers got them. Then, music played to introduce Strong. He cleaned house for the save.

Cole and Strong share deep history in ROH and NXT. Tensions were teased due to the way things were left in storyline upon Cole’s exit from the WWE universe. They stared at one another then embraced in a hug. The crowd erupted with excitement. A short while later, AEW delivered the official announcement that Strong is All Elite.

Cole and Cassidy also shared stare as former rivals. Cassidy rolled out of the ring without an indication of water under the bridge. We won’t have to wait long to see them interact again. JAS will wrestle Cole, Strong, Cassidy, and Bandido in an 8-man tag next week.

Credit to AEW for keeping Strong a complete surprise. At the risk of ridicule, I have to be honest. Roderick Strong is just a name to me. I didn’t watch his work in NXT. That means I can’t properly put forth the magnitude of this situation, but the live reaction was pretty clear that it was a special moment.

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

Jeff Jarrett defeated Dax Harwood. Jarrett’s crew was stopped by the referees from approaching ringside. Sonjay Dutt managed to show up again to cheat for the finish. When Harwood went for a suplex near the ropes, Dutt grabbed his foot to prevent the move. Harwood gave chase outside the ring, then he reentered the ring right into The Stroke from Jarrett. Double J earned the W. That victory will position Jarrett and Jay Lethal in line with bragging rights for a tag title shot against FTR.

This was an interesting wrestling match with a variety of counters throughout. It is surprising to see Jarrett win here, but it shows he can be dangerous in the right moment at the right time. I don’t buy for a second that FTR will lose the tag titles to Jarrett and Lethal, so AEW has work to do in making me believe.

Wardlow defeated Jabrone A. Easy win with a four powerbomb finish. I don’t think AEW even bothered mentioning the name of Wardlow’s opponent. Arn Anderson put Wardlow over as dynasty material to carry AEW. Christian Cage and Luchasaurus came out to continue their tease as next.

The match was crowd work to pop them into a frenzy. I originally thought that Christian was guiding Luchasaurus into a TNT title shot, but it now looks like Christian is going for glory. I hope AEW still gives us the hoss fight between war dog and dinosaur. The most interesting part was Arn being consistent in his quest to manage someone not shy of getting violent when the situation demands it. He often had issues on that with Cody Rhodes. We never got too deep into that this week, since Christian interrupted.

TBS Championship: Jade Cargill retained against Taya Valkyrie. Per stipulation, Taya was banned from using Jaded/Road to Valhalla, otherwise instant disqualification upon using the finisher. That played a role in the finish. Taya instinctually lifted Jade for Road to Valhalla. Upon realization of the risk, Taya released her grip. She stood there in frustration, so Jade took advantage for a roll-up to win. Jade improved to 56-0. Taya went loco as La Wera Loca to lift referee Aubrey Edwards in the Road to Valhalla. The other referees ran in to prevent the maneuver.

Storywise, this was an interesting match. The introductions had a big-fight feel. The action was alright. They could use some repetitions together for better chemistry on timing. The finish made Taya look stupid. I understand the idea of going for Road to Valhalla. What made it bad was Taya standing around in a stupor. This is a multi-time world champion across several promotions, and she didn’t have a backup plan? Puh-lease. Jade won clean, so AEW will have to go through the process of Taya forcing her way into a rematch.

Notes: Tony Khan announced the return of the Owen Hart memorial tournament. The finals will be in Calgary on July 15.

Will Hobbs shoved QT Marshall against the wall with anger over losing the TNT title. QT tried to soothe the savage beast with a reminder that word is bond. QTV will move to plan B to make sure Hobbs was gold once again. This was a great little scene allowing Hobbs to be menacing.

Dr. Britt Baker DMD had a black eye, and Jamie Hayter’s shoulder was in a sling. War was declared on the Outcasts.

Ricky Starks & Shawn Spears versus “Switchblade” Jay White & Juice Robinson was booked for Rampage. Starks and Spears don’t have much in common, but neither likes Bullet Club Gold.

Stud of the Show: Roderick Strong

Strong made an impactful debut to be presented like a star.

Match of the Night: Orange Cassidy vs. Bandido

No certified bangers on this episode, especially when factoring in crappy finishes. I’m giving the nod to Cassidy and Bandido for both improving their stock. Bandido showcased his skill once again to remind those who forgot, and Cassidy continued his impressive run as a fighting champion.

Grade: B

There was a lot to enjoy on Dynamite. PPV storylines are chugging along at a good rate. A lot of moments brought comedy for genuine chuckles. The action was solid. The weak spot was match finishes. I understand the setups to advance stories, however, they just weren’t satisfying. I don’t mean that in a triumphant babyface kind of way. There was a bunch of chicanery that was eye-rolling in execution. The show closed strong with an emphatic ending in the ring and intriguing drama afterward.

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

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