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AEW DYNAMITE REPORT
MAY 31, 2023
SAN DIEGO, CALIF. AT VIEJAS ARENA AT SAN DIEGO STATE UNIVERSITY
AIRED ON TBS
Commentators: Excalibur, Taz, Tony Schiavone
Ring Announcer: Justin Roberts
-After the opening theme, Excalibur introduced the show. Ring entrances then began for the Blackpool Combat Club. They aired clips of the Anarchy in the Arena match from Sunday night.
(1) BLACKPOOL COMBAT CLUB (Claudio Castagnoli & Jon Moxley & Wheeler Yuta) vs. BANDIDO & PENTA EL ZERO MIEDO & REY FENIX
Bryan Danielson joined in on commentary. Bandido, Fenix, and Penta knocked the BCC to the floor and then rather than do a triple dive right away, they played to the crowd. BCC then recovered and intercepted them mid-flight and took over control. (Spots like that where babyfaces are more concerned with playing to the crowd than hitting a move in a timely fashion is so counter-productive to fans being engaged in a match for the simulated competitiveness rather than just a series of showy spots. Part of being “good wrestler” is editing that nonsense out of your match plans.) The ref finally rang the bell when chaos settled down seven minutes into the show.
Bandido held Yuta upside down in a vertical suplex position for a count of 60 as Penta and Fenix held Claudio and Mox down on the mat. The crowd counted along and was into it. A minute later Mox and Claudio gave a stuff piledriver to Bandido at ringside. They cut to a split-screen break. [c/ss]
Bandido took a beating during the break. Back from the break, he caught a charging Mox with a boot to the face and then landed a corkscrew dive to take Mox down. He crawled over and hot-tagged in Fenix, who battled Claudio who also tagged in. Fenix landed a springboard jump reverse sidekick to the chin of Yuta. Fenix and Penta double-teamed Yuta. Penta battled both Claudio and Mox. He tagged Bandido back into the ring (the one who was stuff piledriven at ringside five minutes earlier) who exchanged wild swings with Yuta mid-ring. Yuta bit Bandido’s face, but Bandido battled back with a dropokick and then yanked off his shirt and gave Yuta a leaping cutter. He climbed to the top rope and landed a frog splash as Fenix and Bandido flip-dove onto Mox and Claudio at ringside. After some multi-person chaos, Yuta drove some downstrike elbows to Bandido and scored the three count. Danielson joined his BCC teammates in the ring as “Wild Things” played.
WINNERS: BCC in 10:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Wild and well-executed action for the most part. The ref, as usual, was left to look hapless and some selling was sacrificed to pack in non-stop action and spots, but the crowd ate it up.)
-Alex Marvez interviewed The Young Bucks and “Hangman” Page backstage. Matt Jackson was getting his foot tended to. Matt said he never thought the day would come when he’d try to melt off the face of another man with an explosive sneaker, “but alas, here we are.” Nick said they are “the heart, soul, and spirit of this place” and one setback won’t hold them down. Hangman said the BCC rely on the numbers game. Dark Order walked in and were interested in chatting with Hangman, but Evil Uno’s tone was sort of snotty. John Silver sounded jealous that Hangman was back with his current best friends, the Bucks. Marvez asked Hangman if it’s true Kenny Omega left the country and went back to Canada over what happened the last few weeks. Hangman said Omega is hurt and pissed off and he’s out of the country, but not in Canada. Marvez said, “Interesting.”
(Keller’s Analysis: It makes sense to revisit the Dark Order’s relationship with Hangman. I’m curious where they go with this.) [c]
-Tony Schiavone stood mid-ring. He plugged the replay of Double or Nothing and then introduced “Switchblade” Jay White and Juice Robinson. They talked about Ricky Starks eliminating them from the battle royal on Sunday. White said it didn’t matter because Starks also was eliminated and didn’t walk out with the International Title. Juice said Starks isn’t friends with FTR because Starks has no friends. White said FTR are from the South so it’s safe to assume they’re a little slow. The West Coast crowd laughed. White said they sound a little slow too, but he thought they’d know better than to get involved in their business.
FTR came out to their music. Juice asked if they were there to say sorry. White said they probably want to join Bullet Club Gold. White suggested they be Top Shelf Top Guys. He said they just had to ask, but “make sure you do it politely.” As White handed the mic to Dax, White dropped the mic. Then after an awkward pause, White and Juice attacked Dax and Cash. Starks made the save. White and Juice fled into the crowd. Starks stood on the second rope and challenged White to a match next week on Dynamite and called him a “punk ass bitch.” Starks then checked on Dax and Cash.
-They went to Excalibur and Taz who talked about AEW Collision. Excalibur threw to Tony Khan.
-TK said it was great to be in San Diego. He talked about the debut of “Saturday Night Collision.” He said it will feature C.M. Punk. They cut to the crowd who reacted vocally. Some were cheering, some were booing or giving thumbs down.
-They went back to Taz, Excalibur, and Tony Schiavone who reacted. Schiavone said, “Remember they used to say ‘Must See TV’?”
(Keller’s Analysis: Alright, it’s official. Can we get through 17 days without turmoil or controversy related to him, though?)
(2) TRENT BERETTA (w/Chuck Taylor) vs. BIG BILL vs. “SWERVE” STRICKLAND
Bill rallied a minute in and knocked both opponents to the floor, then played to the camera and breathed heavily as they cut to a split-screen break. [c/ss]
Bill beat up Trent and Swerve at ringside during the break. Trent caught Bill with a dropkick as he had has back turned. Trent backflipped onto Bill with a moonsault. Swerve then kicked him. Swerve climbed to the top rope, where Bill grabbed his throat and knocked him off balance. Swerve and Trent worked together to superplex Bill off the top rope, though. A minute later Bill sidewalk slammed Trent and covered him, but Swerve broke it up. Trent rallied against Swerve and landed a leaping piledriver, but Bill broke up the cover. Bill chokeslammed Trent, but Swerve knocked Bill off the ring apron and then leveraged Trent’s shoulders down with a crucifix for the three count.
WINNER: Swerve in 9:00.
-A vignette aired on Kris Statlander who spoke about being cleared and then upsetting Jade Cargill. She got emotional as she clutched the belt and said she wants to have a great reign. Actually, she said the best reign anyone has ever seen. Quite the high bar.
(Keller’s Analysis: It’s good to see they followed up on that huge win by Statlander because you don’t end Cargill’s streak and not capitalize on it. I almost would have led the entire show the announcers talking about it even though it wasn’t the main event of the PPV. It was a title change and the end of a major winning streak.)
-Renee Paquette interviewed Billy Gunn and The Acclaimed on the ramp. Billy said he felt bad he let his teammates down. Max Caster told him they win and lose as a team and they are the people’s choice and together they are The Acclaimed. Anthony Bowens agreed with Caster. He said Billy, after 30 years of giving his all to the business, deserves to hold gold one more time. Fans cheered.
-Excalibur hyped scheduled matches and segments. [c]
-Schiavone stood mid-ring and introduced Don Callis and Takeshita. He said “bile rises in his throat” when he says Callis’s name. Taz wondered if they’re in the Blackpool Combat Club. Callis claimed he was the victim as fans pelted him with big heat. He said Kenny Omega destroyed his family. He said he has to wake up every day and look at the scar on his head from a cut that needed 23 stitches. “I may have lost a nephew, but I gained a son,” he said as he pointed at Takeshita. He touted Takeshita. He said he’s better than Rikidozan, Antonio Inoki, Akira Maeda, Keiji Muto, and Kazuchika Okada. He added that he’s also better than Omega. When Takeshita took the mic and began talking, he was pelted with jeers and boos, too. Callis said his new family is going to cut The Elite out of All Elite Wrestling.
(Keller’s Analysis: Callis has been so underutilized by AEW. That was mega-heel heat on a Dominik Mysterio level – the new standard against which all heel heat is to be judged these days.)
-A video package aired on Wardlow vs. Christian Cage at Double or Nothing. Wardlow said he’d be happy to take on Luchasaurus next.
(3) DARBY ALLIN & ORANGE CASSIDY vs. BISHOP KAUN & TOA LEONA
Leona knocked Darby out of mid-air a couple minutes in. Swerve, Brian Cage, and Prince Nana walked out onto the stage to watch. They cut to a split-screen break at 4:00 with Kaun and Leona beating down Darby and Cassidy at ringside. [c/ss]
Darby lifted his boots as Leona charged at him, then tagged in Cassidy, which got a big pop. Cassidy put his hands on his pockets and dodged the attacks by Kaun and Leona. Kaun even dropkicked Leona when Cassidy side-stepped him. Cassidy then delivered a tornado DDT for a near fall on Leona. Cassidy tagged Darby back in a couple minutes later and Darby rallied against both Kaun and Leona. Darby and Cassidy hit a series of rapid-fire moves against both Kaun and Leona leading to Darby landing a Coffin Drop for the three count.
WINNERS: Cassidy & Darby in 11:00.
-Afterward, Swerve, Cage, and Nana made their way to the ring. Sting’s music then played and Sting walked out as Schiavone went bonkers with excitement. The heels bailed out to ringside but yelled at Sting, Darby, and Cassidy.
-A video package aired on the MJF win on Sunday with some backstage footage of MJF boasting about his win. He said nobody can beat him. [c]
-Schiavone stood mid-ring and thanked fans for watching. Hook’s music interrupted and he walked out with his FTW belt. Taz said he’s as surprised as anyone. Schiavone asked what is next for him after helping the Hardys win on Sunday. As Hook was about to talk, Jose the Assistant, Vance Archer, and Dralistico walked out. Jose apologized for interrupting, but said they have to make their own TV time. He called for Vance and Dralistico to attack Hook. “Jungle Boy” Jack Perry’s music played and he walked out with a chair. He fended off Dralistico and Archer and then chased Jose into the ring where Hook gave him a T-Bone suplex. Perry’s music played as Hook and Perry circled the ring to cheers.
-Renee interviewed Toni Storm, Ruby Soho, and Saraya. Storm said luck had nothing to do with her win. She said she’s been wrestling since she was 13 and she traveled the world to do everything necessary to get to this point. Ruby said she’s gracing the AEW fans at the House Rules events this weekend. Storm said that’s what a touring champion does. She said the only lucky people are the fans.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good promo from Storm there. It’s nice seeing AEW follow-up on the big title changes and really all the big match outcomes on this show to emphasize the importance and significance of the PPV happenings.)
(4) KRIS STATLANDER vs. NYLA ROSE – TBS Title match
Justin Roberts did formal ring introductions mid-ring. The bell rang 29 minutes into the hour. Excalibur plugged tickets for the Aug. 27 All In event in London, England saying some new floor seats have been released. They showed Taya Valkyrie watching on a monitor backstage. They cut to a split-screen break with Nyla Rose in control. [c/ss]
Statlander made a comeback and after the break and scored a near fall. Rose flipped off the ring apron and took Statlander to the ringside mat hard. She threw her into the ringside barricade next and then hit a cannonball. Back in the ring, Nyla chokeslammed Statlander for a near fall. Statlander landed a jaw breaker and then a quick top rope 450 splash for the clean win.
WINNER: Statlander in 7:00 to retain the AEW Title.
(Keller’s Analysis: It seems Nyla getting a title shot could have been built up better over time and treated as a bigger deal when it happened given her history in AEW, but Statlander getting a clean win here helps further establish her as a centerpiece women’s champion. It’s too bad there’s two women’s titles in AEW which are indistinguishable from one another, though.)
-Excalibur hyped Rampage: Dralistico vs. El Hijo del Vikingo vs. Komander, Willow Nightingale vs. Emi Sakura for the NJPW Strong Women’s Title (make that three women’s singles titles being defended in AEW), Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Action Andretti, and Katsuyori Shibata vs. Lee Moriarty. They’re billing it as “Championship Friday” with various champions all in action.
-Clips aired from Chris Jericho vs. Adam Cole at Double or Nothing. [c]
(5) CHRIS JERICHO & SARAYA vs. ADAM COLE & BRIT BAKER
The bell rang 45 minutes into the hour. Jericho and Cole went at it at the start. Cole got the better of Jericho. Jericho tagged in Saraya, so Cole had to tag out to Baker. Baker charged at Saraya. They cut to a split-screen break a few minutes in. [c/ss]
Cole eventually tagged back in and went after Jericho again. Jericho avoided a dropkick and hit a quick Lionsualt. (He didn’t pause to play to the crowd, thus Cole didn’t have a chance to recover and avoid the move. Hmmm.) Baker and Saraya tagged back in. Baker shoved Saraya off the ropes. With Saraya down, Jericho covered her to protect her. Baker leaped onto Jericho’s back and then scored a two count on Saraya.
Cole tagged in and landed a backstabber on Jericho. He followed with a Panama Sunrise attempt, but Jericho caught him and applied a Walls of Jericho. Saraya knocked Baker off the ring apron. Cole crawled over and reached for the bottom rope, but Jericho dragged him back to mid-ring. Baker put a glove on and then entered and put Jericho in an augmented Lockjaw. Jericho released the hold. Baker then put him in a full-fledged Lockjaw. Saraya broke up the hold. Cole stood and stomped the mat to telegraph his forthcoming superkick. Jericho stood and gave him a jawjacker for a near fall. (I know HBK did it forever, but it’s so dumb to telegraph your move like that, especially when the heel is able to counter it because of the absence of element of surprise. I don’t think the crowd claps are worth looking like a dimwitted strategist in the ring.)
Saraya gave Baker a cradle DDT center-ring for a near fall at 12:00. Jericho swung a bat at Baker, but Baker ducked and Cole superkicked him. Baker also superkicked him. Jericho bumped to his back and dropped the bat. Baker tagged Cole in officially and then delivered his Boom for the win.
Afterward, Jericho threw a fit, bashing a chair against the ringpost. Cole and Baker hugged and kissed mid-ring.
WINNER: Cole & Baker in 13:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: This was a good way to get a little extra out of the feud besides the PPV match. I’d like to have seen more hype during the show for the match other than the passing mentions and brief video package right before it started, though.)