By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite (Episode 190)
Las Vegas, Nevada at MGM Grand Garden Arena
Aired live May 24, 2023 on TBS
[Hour One] The Dynamite opening aired… Excalibur, Tony Schiavone, and Taz were on commentary. Ring announcer Justin Roberts handled the introductions for the AEW International Championship match…
1. Orange Cassidy vs. Kyle Fletcher for the AEW International Title. The bell rang to start the match. Cassidy handed his shades to the referee and was immediately hit by Fletcher, who followed up with a brainbuster that led to an early two count.
Cassidy rolled to the floor. Fletcher went up top and played to the crowd until Cassidy shoved him, causing Fletcher to crash and burn on the apron. Cassidy went to the middle rope and performed a clunky move that was supposed to drive Fletcher’s head onto the apron. They replayed the move and it didn’t look any better.
Cassidy was willing to take the count-out victory, but Fletcher returned to the ring and was covered for a two count. Fletcher ducked an Orange Punch. Cassidy put his hands in his pockets and performed a dropkick. When Cassidy stood up, Fletcher put him down with a superkick and covered him for a two count. Fletcher held up Cassidy and performed a vertical suplex for another two count heading into a picture-in-picture break. [C]
Cassidy took offensive control until Cassidy performed a brainbuster. The screen went black for a moment. Cassidy performed light chops that Fletcher did not sell. However, he did sell a superkick that missed. Fletcher came back with an inverted piledriver and then picked up Cassidy and performed a second inverted piledriver for a near fall.
Fletcher took Cassidy to the ropes and performed an avalanche Michinoku Driver for a near fall. Fletcher set up for another move, but Cassidy slipped out and executed a cutter. Fletcher came right back with a superkick. Fletcher set up for another move, but Cassidy countered into a rollup and got the three count…
Orange Cassidy defeated Kyle Fletcher in 15:05 to retain the AEW International Title.
Powell’s POV: I wasn’t a fan of this match. They performed some impressive moves, but it felt like it was too much just in terms of kicking out of some major moves, particularly in the opening match. I also wasn’t a fan of Cassidy doing the light slaps. I’m not a hater of his light kicks and slaps as comedy spots as long as his opponents don’t sell them, but they felt out of place here given the story that Cassidy is breaking down and exhausted from the schedule he’s kept and the abuse that he’s taken during his series of title defenses.
Ricky Starks was interviewed on the backstage set by Renee Paquette. Starks said it’s no secret that he’s a hot head and he said he acted out of emotion last week. He said if no one was going to do anything about him being double teamed, then he’ll take matters into his own hand. Starks spoke about entering the Blackjack Battle Royal for the AEW International Championship and said he could do to twenty men what he did to two.
Juice Robinson attacked Starks and pulled his shirt off. Starks started to get the better of Robinson when Jay White joined attacked Stars. White slammed a chair over the back of Starks. White asked Starks if he really thought he was done with Bullet Club Gold…
Excalibur hyped upcoming segments and said FTR would speak next. He also hyped the company’s daily fantasy sports partner… [C]
A Jack Perry sit-down promo aired. He spoke about his history in Las Vegas going back to when he and his friends wrestled at a small casino. He spoke about how the ring has let him live the life that he’s chosen to live. He said when he drives home he will do it as AEW World Champion…
AEW Tag Team Champions “FTR” Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler made their entrance. Wheeler credited Jeff Jarrett and Jay Lethal with outsmarting them at every turn. Wheeler said they’ve also been lucky and added that their luck will run out at Double Or Nothing.
Harwood said Jarrett attached his name to the greatest tag team in the world in an attempt to stay relevant. He said he couldn’t blame him and he’d probably do the same thing, but there was no way the head of the tag team division would be a couple of rejects from TNA. He suggested that Jarrett call the Queen of the Mountain to check on his job security. Harwood said he wasn’t talking about Karen Jarrett, he was talking about Dixie Carter.
Mark Briscoe made his entrance with a mic in hand while the broadcast team noted that he would be the special referee for the AEW Tag Title match at Double Or Nothing. Wheeler told Briscoe not to let Jarrett and Lethal make him look stupid. He said they went to war with Mark three times and now would go to war from him.
Mark asked Harwood what was up with the piledriver he gave him. Harwood said he didn’t meant to (he was blinded) and told Mark to shake his hand like a man. Briscoe slapped Harwood across the face instead. Wheeler held back Harwood and then Mark left the ring.
Jeff Jarrett, Jay Lethal, Karen Jarrett, Sonjay Dutt, and Satnam Singh came out. Mark pushed Karen out of the way, shoved Dutt, and slapped Jeff. Lethal tried to hug Mark, who stopped him and said that he doesn’t care about any of the other clowns. Mark said Lethal is his boy. Mark grabbed Lethal by the head and told him that he’s getting tired of the bullshit…
Powell’s POV: It was a little uncomfortable seeing Mark shove Karen. Otherwise, I like the idea of Briscoe not shoving any favoritism heading into the match.
Sammy Guevara was interviewed by Paquette on the backstage set. She relayed the message from MJF that Guevara would still receive his check if he laid down for him during the main event of Double Or Nothing. Guevara said it’s a lot of money, but added, “Hell no.” Guevara said people tried to buy him out of his dreams by offering him promotions in the past, but they said he had to grow up and live in the real world. Guevara said he told them what he would tell MJF – shove the offer up your ass. Guevara said he lives in the real world and would beat MJF for the AEW World Championship…
Excalibur read through the Open House Rules for the AEW Trios Title matches. The House of Black made their entrance heading into a split-screen break. Their challengers made their entrances during the break… [C]
2. “House of Black” Malakai Black, Brody King, and Buddy Matthews (w/Julia Hart) vs. AR Fox, Blake Christian, and Metalik for the AEW Trios Titles. Excalibur said the challengers opted to add the rule that allowed one man in and one man out, not necessarily via tag. There was special lighting over the crowd for the match.
All six men ended up fighting at ringside. Fox went to the ropes and performed a cool dive onto the pile. Back inside the ring, Matthews cut off Fox’s offensive run with a Stomp. Matthews put Fox in an standing cloverleaf. Fox reached the ropes, but the broadcast team reminded viewers that there were no rope breaks per the Open House Rules. Black caught Metalik in a leg submission, and then King choked out Christian on the apron. Fox tapped out to end the match…
“House of Black” Malakai Black, Brody King, and Buddy Matthews defeated AR Fox, Blake Christian, and Metalik in 5:20 to retain the AEW Trios Titles.
Powell’s POV: This match was what it needed to be. Sure, these teams were capable of having a good 20-minute back and forth match, but the challengers haven’t been built up as real threats to the champions. In other words, the champions should have gone over strong and did just sthat.
A video package aired on the Blackpool Combat Club vs. The Elite feud…
“Blackpool Combat Club” Bryan Danielson, Jon Moxley, Claudio Castagnoli, and Wheeler Yuta delivered a promo from their locker room. Bryan Danielson spoke about their mission being to win the ROH Tag Team Titles in the main event and to end The Elite on Sunday. Jon Moxley spoke about how they would stand tall on Sunday and people would see the differences between professionals and amateurs…
Excalibur said viewers would hear from MJF for after the break… [C]
AEW World Champion MJF made his entrance and delivered an in-ring promo. He said that after looking at the crowd, they may need to change the name to Virgin Vegas. MJF took jabs at his three challengers and then said that he’s fully aware of how “important and monumental” the four-way match is.
MJF said people throw around the word homegrown and said it doesn’t get more homegrown than him, Darby Allin, Jack Perry, and Sammy Guevara. He spoke about how they didn’t appear on national television before AEW and said they are not just a part of AEW, they are AEW.
MJF added that he’s sick of AEW due to the lack of competition and the fans not showing him the respect he deserves. MJF said Tony Khan knows that and he also knows “that Daddy’s contract is coming up.” MJF said it’s not a coincidence that he’s facing three other men and doesn’t have to be pinned to lose his championship.
MJF said the fans should be worried because he may just take his ball and go home. MJF said it’s his ball and he’s earned it and run with it faster than anyone can keep up with. MJF said the fans would see on Sunday that his challengers are extremely talented, “but none of them are on the level of the devil.”
Darby Allin made his entrance in non-wrestling attire. Once Allin entered the ring, MJF demanded that Allin’s music be cut. Allin said he’s lost a lot in this life, but he never lost his mind. “I know exactly who Darby Allin is and where he’s going,” Allin said.
Allin recalled graduating high school and listening to people who told him to play the game. Allin said he listened and it led to him cleaning toilets. Allin said he moved to Atlanta and lived in his car and said he felt he needed to do so until he made it as a professional wrestler.
Allin said no other company would let him skateboard with Tony Hawk, jump over his house in a car, or climb Mount Everest. Allin said he wants to be the face of AEW and has to win the AEW World Championship. Allin said he’s taking MJF’s championship and said he might even do it with a headlock takeover. MJF kicked Allin in the balls.
Sammy Guevara ran out. MJF exited the ring. Jack Perry’s music played and he walked onto the stage. MJF tried to hit him with the title belt, but Perry ducked it and knocked MJF down on the ramp. Perry picked up the title belt and looked at it, then looked to the ring, and then looked down at MJF…
Powell’s POV: A fairly forgettable go-home segment. MJF’s promo was fine. There’s just nothing he could say that would convince the masses that he won’t retain the championship regardless of what the actual creative plan is. He tried by making it seem like Tony Khan is trying to stack the deck against him, but it just wasn’t convincing. Allin strikes me as the wrestler the fans see as the biggest threat of the three challengers, so it was odd to see him take a low blow rather than get the momentum spot. Perhaps there’s more to come?
[Hour Two] A brief video package aired on the Wardlow vs. Christian Cage ladder match for the TNT Championship. Wardlow said he’s spent his entire life climbing ladders and is the Face of the Revolution ladder match winner. Arn Anderson told Cage and Luchasaurus to imagine the damage that Wardlow can do to them with a ladder in his hand. Anderson mentioned that the match takes place in four days and used that as an excuse to hold up four fingers…
3. Taya Valkyrie vs. Lady Frost. Both entrances were televised. Valkyrie was in offensive control when TBS Champion Jade Cargill, Leila Grey, and Mark Sterling walked onto the stage heading into a PIP break. [C]
Frost put Valkyrie down with a senton. Frost went up top and executed a crossbody block. Valkyrie cut her off with a clothesline. Valkyrie dominated the remainder of the match and hit the Road to Valhalla before scoring the pin.
Taya Valkyrie defeated Lady Frost in 7:30.
After the match, Valkyrie taunted Cargill, who had to be talked out of heading to the ring by Sterling…
Powell’s POV: The babyface challenger was dominant heading into her title match, just as she should have been.
Tony Khan delivered his backstage announcement. He spoke about being in Las Vegas, which is where he said the company started. He said it was fitting to announce a new beginning for the company. He spoke about the previous dates for AEW Collision that were announced last week. Khan officially announced that the first edition of AEW Collision will be held on June 17 in Chicago, Illinois at the United Center…
Excalibur called it a blockbuster announcement and said tickets for the United Center event go on sale this Friday. A graphic listed the contract signing segment as coming up next… [C]
Powell’s POV: While not even mentioned by Khan, this certainly seems to indicate that CM Punk will return for the Chicago event. They sold out the venue for Punk’s debut with the company without advertising him in advance, so it will be interesting to see how many tickets they can move this time around if they don’t actually advertise him.
Comedian Jordan Conley was shown chanting “AEW” while Excalibur pointed him out and labeled him an AEW super fan…
“Hangman” Adam Page was interviewed by Alex Marvez. He said that he’s not best friends with Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks, but he said they are like family. He said Blackpool Combat Club would pay in blood for the things they have done…
Tony Schiavone stood in the ring where a table and two chairs were set up for the contract signing. Schiavone introduced Adam Cole, who was accompanied to the ring by Roderick Strong. Chris Jericho was introduced and made his entrance to “Judas” while accompanied by Matt Menard, Angelo Parker, Daniel Garcia, and Jake Hager.
Cole and Jericho were seated at opposite ends of the long table while Schiavone stated that everyone had agreed to no physicality. Schiavone said the contract was a personal one between the two wrestlers, and AEW was not responsible for anything that happened during the match.
Cole quickly signed the contract and tossed it over to Jericho, who had his feet on the table. Cole had a mic and said he wondered for weeks why Jericho handcuffed him to the bottom rope and made him watch while Britt Baker was beaten with a kendo stick. Cole said maybe it’s because Jericho is a scumbag and a disgusting human being.
Cole said the actual reason is that Jericho believes he’s invincible. Cole said he would find out how invincible Jericho is when he beats the living hell out of him. Cole said AEW should be happy that the match is unsanctioned because the blood will be on his hands, just as he likes it. Cole said he hopes Jericho knows it took all the power in him to not attack him.
Cole said he would find out if Jericho could walk because he would break his legs. He said he would find out if Jericho could talk because he’s going to shatter his jaw. Cole said he’d find out if Jericho could write because he’s going to break his hands. “If I were you, I’d hurry up and sign the paper, bitch,” Cole concluded.
Jericho stood up and then Schiavone reminded him that they agreed to no physicality. Jericho said he’s not a bitch because he’s not from Las Vegas. Jericho teased signing and then said the Cole’s head injury may have affected his memory. Jericho said what happened to Baker didn’t go down as Cole remembers it. Jericho had the footage air on the big screen and then asked what kind of a man would allow the love of his wife to get the crap kicked out of her just inches away from him.
Cole lunged toward Jericho and was held back by Strong. Jericho dared Cole to touch him, then called him a coward. Jericho said Cole can’t beat him and he knows it. Jericho signed the contract and said Cole was outsmarted. “There’s five of us and only two of you,” Jericho said.
Cole said Jericho was right and that’s why he made a call to someone who lives in Las Vegas. Cole said it was someone he idolized growing up and he has one man who is crazier than all five of the Jericho crew combined. Cole said his man is homicidal, suicidal, and genocidal.
Sabu made his entrance dressed in a white suit. Taz said he had goosebumps and then spoke of Sabu’s toughness. Sabu entered the ring and pointed to the sky twice. Cole tossed Sabu a chair, which Sabu threw at the face of Menard. The heels fled the ring while the crowd chanted for Sabu…
Powell’s POV: Well, that came out of nowhere and I’m not really sure how Sabu fits in. At the same time, it’s cool to see Sabu get another moment in the spotlight.
A brief video package featured comments from Jamie Hayter and Toni Storm about their AEW Women’s Championship match. Storm said Hayter isn’t 100 percent and added that she intends to rip her arm off…
4. Roderick Strong vs. Daniel Garcia. Both men stuck around after the previous segment. Excalibur said the rest of Jericho Appreciation Society was banned from ringside. Strong put Garcia down with a backbreaker heading into a PIP break. [C]
Garcia slapped Strong a few times and then performed a uranage for a near fall. Garcia applied his Dragon Tamer submission hold, but Strong escaped. Strong performed a gutbuster and followed up with a rough looking version of his End of Heartache finisher and scored the pin. Excalibur said Strong and Sabu will both be in Cole’s corner at Double Or Nothing…
Roderick Strong beat Daniel Garcia in 8:45.
A highlight package recapped Willow Nightingale defeating Mercedes Mone (f/k/a Sasha Banks) to become the first NJPW Strong Women’s Champion. Nightingale acted as surprised as anyone that she beat Mone…
Powell’s POV: Strong and Garcia were put in a tough spot in having to follow the contract signing segment. They both feel like they play second fiddle to Cole and Jericho respectively, so it was natural that the crowd wasn’t going to be nearly as hot for their match as they were for the contract signing. I’d like to see them run this back with a better presentation. Meanwhile, for those who missed it, Mone suffered an injury during the match, which caused them to call the audible of Nightingale winning the match. Even so, I like that Nightingale’s big win was acknowledged on AEW television.
The broadcast team ran through the Double Or Nothing lineup. The graphic listed Sabu as the special enforcer, but Excalibur once again said that Sabu would be in Cole’s corner. Excalibur hyped the ROH Tag Team Title match as coming up next… [C]
Entrances for the main event took place…
5. Penta El Zero Miedo and Rey Fenix (w/Alex Abrahantes) vs. Claudio Castagnoli and Wheeler Yuta for the ROH Tag Team Titles. Bryan Danielson sat in on commentary. Penta and Fenix performed early stereo dives onto Castagnoli and Yuta at ringside. Penta followed up with a top rope dive onto them, and then Fenix did a double jump dive onto the heels.
Fenix threw Yuta back inside the ring. Penta put Yuta down with a slam and went for the pin, but it was broken up by Castagnoli. A short time later, Fenix performed a springboard dive at Castagnoli, who hit him with an uppercut and covered him for a two count heading into the final PIP break. [C]
Castagnoli performed the Swing on Fenix and then released him into a Codebreaker from Yuta. Fenix came back with a Destroyer. Excalibur read through the AEW Rampage lineup (Rush, Preston Vance, and Dralistico vs. Daddy Ass and The Acclaimed, Britt Baker and Hikaru Shida vs. Nyla Rose and Marina Shafir, Ethan Page, Austin Gunn, and Colten Gunn in trios action, and Trent Beretta and Chuck Taylor vs. Big Bill and Lee Moriarty) and told viewers to check their local listings for when the show will air on TNT.
A short time later, Fenix picked up a close near fall on Yuta. Fenix held Yuta’s legs while Penta went up top, but Castagnoli shoved Penta off the top rope. Castagnoli caught Fenix with an uppercut and then launched Yuta onto him, which led to another near fall. Danielson complained about how many times they’d coached Yuta to cover both shoulders and said he would be slapped in the face.
Abrahantes bickered with the referee while Penta and Fenix set up for a move on Yuta. Castagnoli wanted to break it up, but “The Young Bucks” Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson emerged from under the ring and stopped him. Penta and Fenix hit their finisher and then Penta scored the pin.
Penta El Zero Miedo and Rey Fenix defeated Claudio Castagnoli and Wheeler Yuta in 10:30 to retain the ROH Tag Team Titles.
After the match, the Bucks both superkicked Castagnoli. Danielson stood up at the broadcast table and looked surprised by what he’d seen. The Bucks exited through the crowd while Danielson and Jon Moxley headed to ringside. Moxley grabbed the house mic and told the Bucks to laugh and smile while they still can. He told them to take photos with the fans while they still have teeth. He told them to spend time with their families while they still recognize them.
Moxley said Anarchy in the Arena will be the most violent match in the history of AEW because BCC would not accept anything less. Moxley looked into the camera and told fans who felt BCC went too far, got offended, or were squeamish at the sight of blood to buckle their seatbelts because they haven’t seen anything yet. The Bucks mugged for the camera while the BCC members stood in the ring. Excalibur delivered a final push for Double Or Nothing to close the show…
Powell’s POV: The Moxley promo was among the most effective pushes for the pay-per-view on this go-home episode. Moxley has more credibility than most wrestlers do with fans, so when he makes a statement like that, you can feel confident that he plans to deliver. The gore he promised won’t be for everyone, but no one can say that they weren’t warned ahead of time.
Overall, the final push for the pay-per-view felt uneven. They did an effective job of hyping the show consistently throughout the night, but I’d say the only segments that felt like they may have moved someone who is on the fence were the Moxley promo and the Jericho and Cole contract signing. I will have a lot more to say about this episode in my same night audio review of Dynamite, and Jake Barnett and I will also deliver our predictions for Double Or Nothing and grade the storyline build to each match during tomorrow’s Dot Net Weekly audio show. Both podcasts are available exclusive for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons). Let me know what you thought of Dynamite by grading the show below.
Must admit I enjoyed the little visual, just before the feed cut out, of Bryan Danielson admonishing Wheeler Yuta after stating he would whilst on commentary.
Not the strongest of shows but it’s not stopped me getting the PPV.
Someone in AEW read the last “McGuire’s Monday” comments section!