By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite (Episode 202)
Nashville, Tennessee at Bridgestone Arena
Aired live August 16, 2023 on TBS
[Hour One] Pyro shot off and then the broadcast team of Excalibur, Taz, and Tony Schiavone checked in from their desk on the stage. Justin Roberts was the ring announcer…
Orange Cassidy made his entrance for the AEW International Championship. Wheeler Yuta made his entrance via the stage…
1. Orange Cassidy vs. Wheeler Yuta for the AEW International Championship. The “Texas Chain Saw Massacre” video game logo was in two corners of the ring and on the ringside barricade. After some back and forth early action, Yuta hit Cassidy with a suicide dive.
Cassidy came right back with a suplex on the floor. Yuta put Cassidy down with a piledriver on the entrance ramp. Back in the ring, Cassidy hit Beach Break heading into a picture-in-picture back of commercials. [C]
Yuta executed a superplex and followed up with a top rope splash for a two count. Cassidy rallied with a Michinoku Driver for a two count of his own. Jon Moxley and Claudio Castagnoli hopped the ringside barricade.
Cassidy tossed his elbow pad at Moxley. Cassidy hit the Orange Punch and sold hand pain. Yuta hooked Cassidy into a pin for a two count. Yuta went for a backdrop, but Cassidy sat down and hooked his legs while getting the three count.
Orange Cassidy defeated Wheeler Yuta in 11:45 to retain the AEW International Championship.
Afterward, Moxley and Castagnoli hit the ring and attacked Cassidy. Trent Beretta and Chuck Taylor ran in and brawled with the Blackpool Combat trio, but they were quickly overwhelmed. Excalibur said they didn’t seem to be fully recovered from the Parking Lot Brawl.
Penta El Zero Miedo, Rey Fenix, and Alex Abrhantes came out. Penta and Fenix double superkicked Castagnoli out of the ring, and then tossed Yuta to the floor. It looked like the BCC members were going to return to the ring, but they stopped when they hear entrance music.
Eddie Kingston came out and was met by Castagnoli. They fought to the ring. Kingston joined the Lucha Bros and Best Friends in quickly clearing BCC from the ring. A loud “Eddie” chant broke out.
Kingston got a mic and challenged BCC and (whoever you can find) to face him and the other babyfaces to meet in a Stadium Stampede match at All In at Wembley Stadium. Schiavone said Stadium Stampede “is the most unpredictable match ever”…
Powell’s POV: Cassidy and Yuta had a well worked opening match. I’m guessing the Stadium Stampede match will be more like Anarchy in the Arena compared to the more comedic Stadium Stampede matches from Daily’s Place.
Footage aired from “yesterday” of Jim Ross interviewing Kenny Omega in an empty venue. Ross asked Omega how he could even consider doing business with someone like Don Calls. Omega called him Uncle Don and said he was always there while he was growing up.
Omega spoke about how he just wants to move on and doesn’t want to be consumed by revenge. Ross brought up Konosuke Takeshita. Omega said Takeshita reminded him of himself and said that Callis choosing someone younger, stronger, and faster hurt him. Omega said he was going take Takeshita away.
Don Callis showed up and told Ross that Omega has so many insecurities that they might need to have a three-hour special. Jay White and Juice Robinson attacked Omega. White slammed a metal pole over Omega’s back. Takeshita showed up and joined the beatdown. Callis mocked Omega for being the God of Pro Wrestling…
Hangman Page stood in front of an ambulance with a beer in hand. He said that if you’re going to start a beatdown, you need to finish it. Page said he was outside of a hospital and Omega was inside it. Page said Omega wouldn’t be alone at All In. He said that he, Omega, and Kota Ibushi would finish the beatdown that the heels started. A man showed up and told Page that he couldn’t drink on hospital grounds. Page slammed his beer and handed it back to the man…
Powell’s POV: So is Page boozing again because it’s crowd pleasing or because he’s neurotic again? Probably both, but didn’t he ditch the drinking once he found happiness? I’m not complaining. The live crowds love boozing Page.
Don Callis stood in the ring and introduced Chris Jericho, who made his entrance to “Judas” heading into a regular break… [C]
Callis told Jericho he was sorry about what happened last week. Jericho said the members of Jericho Appreciation Society made him realize that he should change a few things. Jericho told Callis that he doesn’t join factions, he creates them.
Jericho then said that his answer is yes. Jericho said the JAS members walking out on him made him realize that he needs to get back to his roots. He said he needed to be aligned with a man who is just as low as he is. Jericho spoke about regaining the AEW Championship.
Callis hugged Jericho. Callis said they didn’t need to waste more time on the rubes. He said they could go drink Broadway dry. Jericho stopped Callis and pointed out a covered painting that was set up in a corner of the ring. Callis tried to talk him out of unveiling the picture.
Jericho uncovered the panting, which showed Callis holding Jericho’s head in his hand. Jericho asked if Callis thought he was going to say no. Jericho asked if Callis was going to have him assassinated or beheaded.
Callis said it was embarrassing for him because the artist screwed it up. Jericho said he’s known Callis since 1989 and he knows when he was lying. Jericho called him a scumbag lowlife and told Callis to be honest with him for the first time in his life.
Callis said Jericho was right. He didn’t think that Jericho would say yes. Callis said he thought Jericho would say no due to his massive ego. Callis said it’s always been all about Jericho and thus he assumed Jericho would make a stupid decision.
Callis said that in a business full of egomaniacs, Jericho is the greatest. Callis said Jericho doesn’t deserve to be part of his family. Jericho asked who the hell Callis is. Jericho said Callis wasn’t in the business three years ago and no one cared. Jericho said Callis was in AEW because of him and is now at his peak and yet compared to him, nobody cares.
Jericho said Callis had no friends and had messed up every personal relationship he’s ever had in his life. Jericho called Callis an asshole. Callis slapped Jericho across the face. Jericho grabbed Callis by the collars and pushed him back into the corner. Konosuke Takeshita showed up in the ring with a chair, but Jericho saw him coming and cut him off.
Will Ospreay entered the ring and struck Jericho. Ospreay got a chair and hit Jericho with it (Jericho wisely covered his head). Jericho bled from the forehead. Ospreay and Takeshita held up Jericho and then Callis took the painting and slammed it over Jericho’s head (Jericho wisely covered up again).
Sammy Guevara ran out with a baseball bat, causing Callis, Ospreay, and Takeshita to exit the ring. Guevara checked on the bloody Jericho while the heels headed to the stage…
Powell’s POV: I liked everything about the angle aside from the needless swerve. It makes Jericho look bad for being willing to join Callis rather than being a character who saw the light and wanted to do the right thing. So babyface Jericho is going to face a heel Ospreay? In London? That crowd reaction should be interesting.
A Jack Perry video package aired. He spoke about beating Rob Van Dam and said he would retire the FTW Championship next week… “Uh, okay,” Taz said on commentary. He said he was going to move on…
Powell’s POV: Retiring a belt in AEW? It’s a good start, but one is not enough.
Darby Allin and Nick Wayne made their entrance. The Gates of Agony duo attacked them from behind. Swerve Strickland made his entrance with AR Fox and both men were holding chairs.
2. Darby Allin and Nick Wayne vs. “Gates of Agony” Bishop Kaun and Toa Liona. The match apparently started when the heels jumped the babyfaces and threw one of them inside the ring. The heels were in control heading into an early PIP break. [C]
Swerve and Fox watched the match while seated on chairs on the ramp. The babyface duo came back. Wayne put Kaun down with Wayne’s World. Wayne and Allin both went up top in the same corner. Wayne performed a moonsault onto Liona, while Allin hit Kaun with a Coffin Drop and pinned him.
Darby Allin and Nick Wayne defeated “Gates of Agony” Bishop Kaun and Toa Liona.
Sting appeared on the big screen, which stopped Swerve and Fox from heading to the ring. Sting spoke about how he’s making movies. Sting got fired up about the coffin match in front of 80,000 people in England.
Sting introduced the “leading man” of his movie, which was a terrified Prince Nana. Sting went further into Joker Sting mode by saying it was showtime. Sting let Nana leave and sang the goodbye song…
A video aired with MJF standing in front of a steakhouse. Adam Cole showed up and asked what they were doing there. MJF spoke about facing Aussie Open on the pre-show and said they had to get inside their heads. The camera pulled back to reveal it was an Outback Steakhouse.
Clips showed the duo eating. MJF was all excited about the blooming onion. Cole slapped him to calm him down. They cut to the duo backstage at the arena. Cole showed off a Crocodile Dundee DVD. MJF showed him footage of a kangaroo fight and said that’s how they win. MJF showed Cole the “Kangaroo Kick.”
They cut to the two of them wearing safari hats and peaking through production crates while someone flipped out over an inflatable crocodile and other items. Cole and MJF hit the guy with a double clothesline.
A voice called for Cole and MJF to go to his office. A shot aired of Tony Khan’s office door and he was yelling at the duo about keeping the double clothesline in the ring. MJF and Cole exited the room. MJF said he would make Khan regret that in 2024. Khan exited the room wearing shades and asked MJF what he said. MJF buddied up to Khan.
MJF and Adam Cole arrived in MJF’s sports car. MJF told Cole he had to take a dump and rushed out of the picture. Cole looked into the camera and said they would see viewers after the break. Roderick Strong, Matt Taven, and Mike Bennett entered the picture. Strong kicked MJF’s car, then acted like he hurt his foot… [C]
Powell’s POV: Holy bush league bullshit. I’ve loved most of MJF and Cole’s saga, but this week’s video was dreadful.
MJF and Adam Cole made their entrance to their mashed up theme songs. MJF played up winning with a kangaroo kick. The crowd chanted “kangaroo kick.” Cole then got him to say “double clothesline” simultaneously.
Cole changed the focus to their AEW World Championship match. Cole said it was the most important match of his life. He spoke about how he didn’t know if he would ever be able to wrestle again and now he’s in the main event of the biggest pro wrestling event of all-time.
Cole said he’s doing it with one of his best friends. He said he’s been at the top of every company he’s worked for and has had record breaking title reigns. Cole said he would solidify his place in AEW by winning the match. Cole told MJF that he will do “anything and everything” to win the AEW World Title.
MJF said Cole told a great story, but his was better. MJF asked the crowd who was ready for story time with MJF, bay bay. MJF recalled being asked to write down his dream opponents on his first day at pro wrestling school. MJF said he wrote down the names of Cody Rhodes and Adam Cole.
MJF spoke about putting 90,000 miles on his new truck because he busted his ass to make a name from himself on the independent circuit. MJF recalled hearing about the original All In event.
MJF said he shot his shot by reaching out to Cody Rhodes and telling him that he wouldn’t disappoint him if he gave him a shot. MJF said weeks went by, but Cody eventually replied, “Kid, you’re All In.”
MJF said he got to open a show that he had no business being on. He said he lost the match, but he turned some important heads, including that of Tony Khan, who offered him a contract to join AEW. MJF said that if there was no All In, there would be no MJF.
MJF said he scratched and clawed his way up the AEW undercard and become a generational talent, the devil himself, one of the best to have ever done it, and the AEW World Champion. The crowd chanted MJF’s name.
MJF said he would be on another All In and would be main eventing a show in front of the biggest crowd in the history of the sport. MJF spoke about how much it meant to him to be doing it with his best friend.
“However, it doesn’t mean everything to me,” MJF said. He removed his title belt and said it’s the only thing that means everything to him. MJF said the belt symbolizes everything he’s done and sacrificed to get it.
MJF looked Cole in the eyes and said that if Cole thinks he’s going to lie down just because they are buds, he’s out of his goddamn mind. MJF said a win at Wembley would make him legendary. MJF said nobody is on the level of the devil.
Cole said may the best man win. MJF said he had a feeling that the best man would win. “Because my name is Maxwell Jacob Friedman and I’m better than you” and the crowd filled in the “and you know it.” Cole got the crowd to do the “Adam Cole Bay Bay” line. MJF and Cole buddied up.
The “Aussie Open” duo of Kyle Fletcher and Mark Davis attacked MJF and Cole, who were able to fight them off quickly. They went for a double clothesline on Davis, but he held onto the ropes and then exited the ring. MJF went for his Kangaroo Kick on Fletcher, but Davis pulled Fletcher from the ring.
MJF held up his title belt while looking at the Aussie Open duo on the stage. Cole crouched down like he was going to attack MJF, then stood up when MJF turned back toward him. MJF teased leaving, the stopped and hugged Cole.
Roderick Strong was shown seated in a chair icing his foot while watching everything play out on a monitor while Matt Taven and Mike Bennett stood behind him…
Powell’s POV: That’s more like it. Both wrestlers did an excellent job of setting the table by playing up what the match means to them, and they did a great job of putting over the historic crowd size. This was the best hype that All In has received yet.
A bloody Chris Jericho was being treated by a trainer when Renee Paquette asked him about Will Ospreay getting involved in the attack. Jericho said Ospreay didn’t have to attack him to get his match. He said it would have happened at the Tokyo Dome had it not been for the pandemic.
Jericho said Ospreay hasn’t faced anyone with the experience and international presence that he has. Jericho said he knows Ospreay has mental problems. He said he would get inside his head and then beat him down in front of his friends and family at Wembley Stadium…
Jeff Hardy made his entrance for the death match. There were a couple of table set up in the ring. Hardy entered the ring, then went into the crowd and yelled “Hardy” several times before heading into a backstage area. There were Texas Chain Saw Massacre video game posters on the wall along with a bunch of weapons.
3. Jeff Hardy vs. Jeff Jarrett in a Texas Chain Saw Massacre death match. Jarrett attacked Hardy to apparently start the match? Karen Jarrett tried to get involved, but Jeff shrugged her off. Satnam Singh showed up dressed in bibs and picked up Hardy by the neck. Matt Hardy, Brother Zay, and Ethan Page helped Hardy.
Matt poured a bucket of blood onto the Jarretts, who then ran out of area and into a hallway heading into a PIP break. [C] Things apparently happened during the PIP, but it was tough to make out due to the dark setting and the small screen.
Jeff Hardy dove off production crates onto a pile of wrestlers that included Jay Lethal and members of Hardy’s own crew. The action spilled back into the arena with Jeff Hardy and Jeff Jarrett brawling past the announcers. The others fought on the stage. Sonjay Dutt was also involved in the stage fight.
The babyfaces ended up alone in the ring with Jeff Jarrett. Jeff Hardy hit a Twist of Fate on Jeff Hardy. Some of the heel extras pulled the babyface extras to ringside. Jeff Hardy put Jeff Jarrett through a table in the ring with a Swanton Bomb. Lethal committed the crime of the century by breaking up the pin to extend this atrocity. The extras took turns hitting moves in the ring and Karen low-blowed Matt.
Jeff Jarrett pulled out a guitar. Jeff Hardy kicked Jarrett and slammed the guitar over his head. Just when it looked like this stupidity might end, a guy wearing a Leatherface mask came out with a small chainsaw and chased Karen to the back.
Satnam Singh went after Jeff Hardy, who escaped. Lethal slammed a hammer of the back of Hardy’s head and then Lethal pulled Jarrett on top of Hardy for the win…
Jeff Jarrett beat Jeff Hardy in a Texas Chain Saw Massacre death match.
Jarrett celebrated with a title belt that had Leatherface on the front….
Powell’s POV: What a shit show. This was every bit as awful as the zombie match in WWE. I don’t care how much the sponsor paid, I’m embarrassed for the company and everyone involved.
Britt Baker made her entrance. The Bunny followed and was accompanied onto the stage by Penelope Ford, Kip Sabian, The Butcher, and The Blade. Ford headed to the ring with Baker while the rest went backstage…
4. Britt Baker vs. The Bunny (w/Penelope Ford) in a qualifier for the AEW Women’s Championship match at All In. Bunny put Baker in a head-scissors over the top rope heading into a PIP break. [C] Baker pulled out her glove to set up for her finisher. Ford climbed onto the apron and took the glove away and played to the crowd look a goof. Baker knocked her off the apron. Bunny superkicked Baker and then ran the ropes. Baker threw a superkick that missed by a mile and then stomped and pinned Bunny…
Britt Baker defeated The Bunny in 7:25 to qualify for the AEW Women’s Championship four-way at All In.
A graphic listed Hikaru Shida vs. Toni Storm vs. Saraya vs. Britt Baker in a four-way for the AEW Women’s Championship for All In…
Powell’s POV: They had the unenviable task of following the horror video game match nonsense and the crowd was pretty flat. I have no idea why they didn’t just announce the four-way match rather than wasting time with the highly predictable qualifiers.
Excalibur added the new matches to the AEW All In card that developed through the night…
Footage recapped Billy Gunn leaving his boots in the ring and then of Max Caster and Anthony Bowens being sad about it…
“The Acclaimed” Max Caster and Anthony Bowens made their entrance while their opponents were in the ring. Caster rapped and dropped a line about Titans’ running back Derrick Henry, and then said his bald opponents looked like hairy penises. Yes, really.
The lights went out in the building. When they turned on, the hairy penises were gone and were replaced by House of Black’s Malakai Black, Brody King, Buddy Matthews, and Julia Hart. King and Matthews attacked Caster and Bowens while Black and Hart watched.
The HOB duo used a chain as a weapon. Caster bled from the forehead. Matthews stomped Caster. Hart picked up Billy Gunn’s boots, which The Acclaimed keep bringing to the ring with them, and passed them to King, who gave them to Black. Excalibur hyped the Gunns vs. The Bucks for after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: I guess the producers/coaches didn’t get together to avoid having Stomps in back to back segments?
The lights went out and then Austin Gunn and Colten Gunn stood in their spotlights on the stage. “The Young Bucks” Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson appeared and superkicked the Gunns…
5. “The Young Bucks” Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson vs. Austin Gunn and Colten Gunn. The referee called for the bell once both teams were in the ring. The Gunns were in control heading into a PIP break. [C]
Late in the match, Matt avoided a charging Austin and then suplexed him. Austin came back by rolling up Matt. Colten reached in and held his brother’s hand for leverage until Nick superkicked Colten. Matt rolled over on Austin and then Nick held Matt’s hand for leverage while he got the pin.
“The Young Bucks” Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson defeated Austin Gunn and Colten Gunn in 9:40.
Schiavone acted stunned by the Bucks choosing to win in that manner, while Taz said you have to do what you have to do to win a match.
[Overrun] Jay White and Juice Robinson ran out and joined the Gunns in a post match beatdown on the Bucks. The heels put Matt’s left arm in a chair. Robinson went to the ropes to stomp it, but he was distracted by entrance music.
The “FTR” entrance theme played. Robinson waited for the AEW Tag Team Champions to come out, but Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler entered via the other side of the ring and cleared the Bullet Club Gold faction from the ring.
FTR was set up for a Shatter Machine. The Bucks turned around and then FTR stood up. FTR held up their title belts while going face to face with The Bucks to close the show…
Powell’s POV: The Bucks pick up another predictable win heading into the tag team title match at All In. I have no issue with them being spotlighted in a match with a predictable outcome, but it just didn’t feel main event worthy. I’m thrilled that we’re getting another FTR vs. Bucks match, but the build is really underwhelming. There’s obviously been personal issues. Why not play on them in promos or sit-down interviews? It’s a special match that is getting a standard match build.
Overall, the MJF and Cole in-ring segment was some of the best of AEW, while too many other things on this episode felt like the dirt worst of AEW. I will have a lot more to say about Dynamite in what is sure to be a NSFW audio review for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons). Let me know what you thought of Dynamite by grading it below.