By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
AEW Dynamite (Episode 204)
Chicago, Illinois at NOW Arena
Aired live August 30, 2023 on TBS
An All In video package opened the show with highlights from the Wembley Stadium show that took place this past Sunday. Excalibur made announcements that Orange Cassidy would defend against Penta El Zero Miedo, Adam Cole will speak, Chris Jericho would be heard from, and Jon Moxley will face Komander. The rest of the announce team of Taz and Tony Schiavone checked in at the booth. Jon Moxley made his entrance through the crowd. He was followed by Komander.
1. Jon Moxley vs. Komander: Moxley landed a big boot and some chops to start. He then stepped on Komander’s neck near the ropes and taunted him. Komander fired back with some kicks and a tijeras to send Moxley to the floor. He then followed up with a big splash from the top. Komander went back up top, but Moxley recovered and met him there. Mox raked his back with his nails, but Komander knocked Moxley down with a headbutt. Komander attempted a Cancun Tornado, but Moxley moved and landed a release vertical suplex…[c]
Moxley dominated the commercial break and landed some palm strikes as the show returned. Komander hit the ropes and landed a kick that rocked Moxley. He then landed a low dropkick and followed up with a lungblower for a near fall. Komander attempted to walk the ropes and land a splash, and Mox got his knees up. He then followed up with a big lariat and a piledriver for a close near fall. Mox followed up with 12 to 6 elbows and applied a rear naked sleeper. He then transitioned into a Juji Gatame and got the win.
Jon Moxley defeated Komander at 8:43
After the match, Moxley celebrated with the crowd and returned to the back the way he walked in. Excalibur then introduced a video package for Orange Cassidy where he spoke about his desire to continue defending the AEW International Championship wherever and whenever he has to. He addressed Jon Moxley and said he’s not the same Orange Cassidy he was four years ago, and he would show him why.
Excalibur then introduced footage of The Young Bucks backstage after their match at All In, and they expressed their disappointment. FTR walked into the room and asked why they disrespected them. Matt said it was supposed to go different because it was the show they started, and in the heat of the moment he lost his cool. He attempted to apologize, but they were interrupted by Bullet Club Gold who talked some trash about The Elite and FTR being big losers. They ended up agreeing to FTR and The Young Bucks vs. Bullet Club Gold at All Out.
Jericho will address the crowd up next…[c]
My Take: A solid match to start the show. Moxley looks strong heading into his International Title Match at All Out, or at least as strong as you can get from a 50/50 match with Komander after a loss at the PPV. The FTR/Bucks vs. Bullet Club Gold match seems less interesting than a potential return Title Match. We’ll see how it goes on Sunday.
A video recap covered Saraya’s Title Win at Wembley. Renee Paquette interviewed Toni Storm backstage. She complained about Toni going off script, and that she can’t trust anyone and that Wembley went “tits up”. She started to walk away in distress and said she can’t even trust her bloody shoes, throwing them in Renee’s direction and causing her to duck out of the way.
In the arena, Chris Jericho made his entrance in a very shiny jacket. Split screen video as shown of his blowup with Sammy Guevara after his loss to Will Ospreay. Jericho said he should be happy being just a few days removed from the biggest weekend of his career. He mentioned his Fozzy Show on Friday, the most attended Wrestling Show in history at Wembley, and one of his favorite matches with Will Ospreay. But there’s one thing he’d like to forget, and that’s how he treated Sammy Guevara. He invited him out so he could talk to him.
Sammy Guevara made his entrance and entered the ring. Jericho addressed Sammy and said he wasn’t happy about how he treated him. He said he was frustrated with losing to Ospreay, and he shouldn’t have taken it out of him. Jericho introduced some confusion by saying he wasn’t sure if Guevara did everything he could to help him win, but then aired footage of Sammy hitting Ospreay with a baseball bat on Sunday, and then offered a full apology.
Jericho said the match really bothered him, and he wondered if he could have pulled his tights a little harder, or Guevara could have hit him a little harder with the bat. Guevara asked him to repeat himself, and they began an argument. Guevara got chippy with him about having to be in London and abandon his pregnant wife in Orlando. Jericho said he expected him to be grateful because that’s something many people in the locker room would have killed for.
Guevara replied that if he wasn’t so focused on having Jericho’s back, he would have wrestled on that show. Jericho replied that maybe if he followed more of his advice, he could wrestle on the show next year. Guevara replied that he liked the sound of that, but he wouldn’t follow all of his advice so he could actually win on their biggest show. Jericho the brought up his loss to MJF, and Guevara brought up the incident where Jericho lost the AEW World Title at a Steakhouse.
In the end, Jericho decided they should stop throwing barbs at each other and do what they do best, and reform Le Sex Gods and go after the AEW Tag Team Championships. Guevara thought about it and reluctantly agreed.
Backstage, Jon Moxley made some brief comments about the AEW International Title match on Sunday. He said no matter who he faced after tonight’s Main Event, the winner would be the one with the most bite. Wheeler Yuta made his entrance in the arena, followed by Eddie Kingston.
My Take: Jericho and Guevara had a good back and forth. I guess they aren’t rushing into a match with them at All Out, which I thought was a possibility. Unfortunately that means that All Out is severely lacking in marquis matchups heading into the weekend.
2. Eddie Kingston vs. Wheeler Yuta: Eddie Kingston wore a bandage on his elbow, and Yuta targeted the bad elbow early on…[c]
Kingston absorbed a lot of abuse during the break, but made a surge back as the show returned. He landed a suicide dive on the floor and then a series of chops. Kingston landed an Exploder Suplex and covered for a near fall. Yuta recovered and attempted a top rope splash, but Kingston got the legs up. Eddie favored his elbow heavily, and couldn’t land a half and half suplex. Yuta landed a suplex of his own and covered for two.
He then landed a chop to Kingston’s chest. Kingston replied with his own. Yuta went back to the elbow, but got caught with a half and half suplex coming off the ropes. Eddie landed a spinning backfist, and Yuta refused to go down. Eddie landed a second one and covered for the win.
Eddie Kingston defeated Wheeler Yuta at 9:01
After the match, Claudio Castagnoli walked to the ring to retrieve Yuta, and refused to make eye contact at all with Kingston. The crowd chanted for Kingston as he made his way out of the ring. A video package recapped All In for MJF and Adam Cole. MJF and Cole were shown after their match. MJF told Cole he was taking the week off. He said Cole had him wrestling more than he had in his entire career the past few months. He said he was going to Paris to eat a Baguette and bang some rats, and then he would meet his in Chicago for Deep Dish and they’d hit a Double Clothesline at All Out.
MJF clarified that there would be a Battle Royal on Rampage to determine who they would face at All Out, and a Tournament to determine his challenger at the Arthur Ashe Stadium show on September 20th. Cole said if anyone deserved a week off it was him, and congratulated him…[c]
My Take: A Battle Royal and a Tournament? Tony Khan cannot help himself. Kingston vs. Yuta was a solid TV match, but I don’t think the average fan is invested in the NJPW Strong Openweight Championships. It really doesn’t add anything in the form of stakes to this match. AEW crowds love them some Eddie Kingston regardless.
Renee Young interviewed Sammy Guevara backstage. He started talking about being on the same page with Jericho when Don Callis showed up. He tried to schmooze with Guevara, who quickly told him to take his hands off of him and to get lost. Excalibur confirmed the ROH Tag Title Battle Royal on Rampage and the AEW Grand Slam Tournament starting next week. Adam Cole made his entrance for a promo in the arena.
Cole addressed the crowd and thanked them for the most memorable weekend of his career. He said losing the title match hurt, but he knew he would get another shot at the AEW Championship somewhere down the road. Cole started to talk about MJF and how his neck is banged up, but guaranteed he would be there on Sunday at All Out.
Roddy Strong, Mike Bennett, and Matt Taven walked to the ring. Roddy bitched about Adam caring more about MJF’s neck than his. Cole said this entire thing is getting absurd. Bennett spoke up and detailed his history with Cole, from the match they had that got them signed to ROH, and all the matches they had along the way that made them famous. Taven then called him selfish, because he abandoned everyone who helped prop him up along the way. He left The Kingdom to join Bullet Club, and then he left Bullet Club to go to Florida and surround himself with all their friends.
Taven asked Cole if he looks at pictures of his past and only sees himself, because that’s the only person he’s ever cared about. Cole then apologized if he made them feel that way, but they have to accept that MJF is his friend, and even his best friend. Roderick Strong refused to accept that, and told Cole that he was entering the AEW Grand Slam Tournament. Cole told him that was a mistake, because his neck wasn’t close to 100%. Roddy said that he doesn’t need to be 100% to defeat people decisively, and he doesn’t need roll ups or Diamond Rings to get the job done like Cole’s friend MJF because he’s a wrestling legend.
Cole told them off mic that he was making a mistake, and that he had done nothing wrong. Penta was shown in a pre-taped promo where told Orange Cassidy that their match was not personal, and then told Moxley he was coming for him because he hurt his brother. Alex Abrahantes then said it was time for The International Title to be in the hands of someone with no fear.
Back in the arena, we got entrances for the next match. Kris Statlander, Hikaru Shida, and Britt Baker made their entrances first. They were followed by Nyla Rose, Emi Sakura, and Marina Shafir.
3. Nyla Rose, Emi Sakura, and Marina Shafir vs. Kris Statlander, Hikaru Shida, and Britt Baker: Shida landed some strikes on Emi Sakura to start the match, followed by mounted punches in the corner. She then landed a dropkick and tagged in Britt Baker, who landed a Slingblade. The heels took control on Baker and made quick tags to isolate her in their corner…[c]
My Take: The Cole segment with the Kingdom pushed the story forward. Roddy, Taven, and Bennett aren’t always the best promos but they performed well here.. It seems like this story is being extended to Grand Slam at least, so it’ll be interesting to see if it reaches the next milestone there or if there is a major turning point during the Grand Slam tournament.
The heels remained in control due to a couple of friendly fire incidents between Baker and Shida. Nyla landed a chokeslam on Baker and traded blows with Statlander. Kris dumped all the heels to the floor and then dove on the pile at ringside. She then tossed Marina Shafir back in the ring and landed Wednesday Night Fever on Shafir and got the win.
Kris Statlander, Hikaru Shida, and Britt Baker defeated Emi Sakua, Nyla Rose, and Marina Shafir at 7:31
After the match, Statlander celebrated, but was Ambushed by Ruby Soho. She landed a No Future Kick and then took off up the ramp with the TBS Title. She laid it out on the ramp and pointed at Statlander back in the ring. A video package established that Shane Taylor will take on Samoa Joe for the ROH TV Championship at All Out.
In the back Don Callis strategized with Konosuke Takeshita about taking advantage of Kenny Omega’s many injuries, and if that fails, Callis will stab him with a screwdriver. Penta vs. Orange Cassidy was advertised for later…[c]
My Take: The Women’s match seemed to exist to establish a rift between Hikaru Shida and Britt Baker. I assume one of the two of them will be the first to challenge Saraya. All Out still feels mighty thin with very few high profile matches and satisfying story pay off moments.
The Acclaimed made their entrance as the new Trios Championships. Max Caster joked about Mitch McConnell freezing and Trump’s mugshot. Billy Gunn asked them to turn down the music because they are short on time. He announced Daddy Ass was back and said he had a great day capturing the Trios Champions. Caster said they thought it was fitting to come back to Chicago, the crowd that lifted up the Acclaimed, and promise that they would lift up the Trios Titles and dominate that division.
Caster said they would have a Ribbon Cutting ceremony, which prompted scissor me daddy chants. Caster pulled out a scissors and it was tiny, leading to Billy bring out a much larger one for the obvious dick joke. They cut the ribbon, and Bowens declared this a new era. He termed themselves the House of Ass, and they wear pink in their house. He then unveiled new Trios Title Belts with a Hot Pink leather strap that scissors at the back. Browns then announced they would defend the AEW Trios Titles on Saturday at Collision. They then put their titles together to scissor them and wrapped up the segment.
The announce team plugged the ROH Tag Team Championship Battle Royal on Rampage with a video package. Bryan Keith will take on Adam Page on Rampage as well. He then sped through upcoming match announcements as a pace that I could not keep up with. He plugged Rampage, Collision, and All Out. The Main Event between Orange Cassidy and Penta El Zero Miedo is up next. Penta made his entrance in the arena…[c]
My Take: The custom Trios Titles bit was cute, but what is that division at this point? Are they going to form new teams to compete with them? Go back to House of Black?
Orange Cassidy made his entrance as the show returned.
4. Orange Cassidy vs. Penta El Zero Miedo for the AEW International Title: They had a stare down early on before working a tight sequence of arm drags and trips. Cassidy grabbed as his sore neck, and then used an arm twist to flip Penta onto the mat. He then put his hands in his pockets and hit the ropes, landing an arm drag that sent Penta outside the ring. He then attempted a suicide dive, but Penta caught him in a press slam position and slammed him into a nearby barricade. Very impressive…[c]
Penta landed a gnarly suicide dive on Cassidy. He then landed a leg drop back in the ring and covered for a near fall. Penta landed a kick on the apron and set up for a Brainbuster, but Cassidy reversed into a Stunner. He then followed up with a DDT and covered for a two count. Penta recovered and landed a running kick to the ribs in the corner. He then landed a backstabber and covered for a near fall…[c]
Cassidy landed a thrust kick, and Penta replied with a sling blade for a near fall. Penta looked to snap the arm of Cassidy, but he was able to get his hands in his pocket. He landed some light strikes, but Penta ignored him. They then traded a series of Canadian Destroyers. Penta followed up with a Made in Japan for another close near fall. He then setup for a package piledriver, but Cassidy reversed out with a backdrop and covered for a near fall. Cassidy lined up for an Orange Punch, but Penta kicked his hand.
He then stomped on the hand as Cassidy rolled to the apron. They traded kicks on the apron. Penta eventually landed Fear Factor on the apron, but Cassidy grabbed the ropes to break the fall. Penta pulled him to the center of the ring and stomped on his hand, and then snapped his bad arm. He then landed another Fear Factor, but only got a near fall. Cassidy pulled a shocked Penta into a crucifix pin and got the win.
Orange Cassidy defeated Penta El Zero Miedo at 17:02
After the match, the ref checked on Cassidy and handed him the belt. Cassidy the grabbed a chair and a microphone and said he was tired and his body hurts. He said every title defense the backpack gets a little heavier, but the International Championship means everything to him. It’s about somebody who was told he was too skinny, too short, and too different to make it. He addressed Jon Moxley and said that he better bring more than a fork, because he would be the International Champion for as long as he wants. He said his name is Orange Cassidy and he doesn’t have a catchphrase.
Jon Moxley walked to the ring and slapped Cassidy, who then slapped him back. They stared each other down to end the show.
My Take: Good to see Cassidy get some promo time. I have to think All Out is the end of the road for his title reign, but he’s had a hell of a run. His improbable title retentions are always crowd pleasers, but I think he’s overdue for a push further up the card. All that said, I feel like All Out is by far AEW weakest PPV effort to date and has really suffered from Tony Khan’s booking philosphy of waiting until the last minute to really establish angles and build matches. If the buyrates are down I don’t think he’ll have to look much further than the mirror.