AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (July 22, 2020): Grown men – Cageside Seats

AEW Dynamite (July 22, 2020) emanated from Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, FL. The show featured Cody Rhodes defending the TNT Championship against Eddie Kingston, Jon Moxley bringing out his barbwire bat, and Sammy Guevara in disguise to return with the Inner Circle.

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

Grown-ass men

This episode of Dynamite was fantastic. It was right up my alley for entertainment in professional wrestling. Every single match had intensity and aggression. These were grown-ass men fighting, not pat-a-cake cosplayers. It makes me wonder if Cody Rhodes’ TNT Championship open challenge surprise contender set the tone for the evening.

I’m referring to Eddie Kingston. He came out in the opener with a blazing promo. Kingston took exception to Cody’s claims of being a grinder. Kingston survived growing up around alcoholics and junkies. He truly had to grind. Cody couldn’t last a day in his shoes. Kingston is a grown-ass man.

Kingston informed Cody that it would be a No DQ match, if Cody accepts. Cody did and it was on. They beat the stuffing out of each other like grown-ass men. Kingston had a strong mouth but a weak knee. He injured it early, and Cody attacked the joint whenever he was in trouble. Kingston used the lack of rules to his advantage for eye pokes, a low blow, and a painful powerbomb onto thumbtacks.

In the end, Cody focused on Kingston’s knee. A figure-four leglock was in order, but Kingston slapped Cody in the face with stiff shots. Cody returned fire until Kingston was woozy. That allowed Cody to lock in the submission for victory.

Damn, that was a fun fight. I don’t mean fight as a synonym for match. This was a knock-down, drag-out fight. I’m not a fan of thumbtacks in wrestling, but I’ll admit that those pieces of metal actually increased the drama. It fully fit into the story of Kingston resorting to out-of-bounds violence because he couldn’t hang with Cody as a wrestler.

Chalk up another entertaining TNT Championship defense for Cody. He has truly delivered on this being a fun ride. Allowing opponents from outside AEW is working splendidly to provide different style matchups. Credit to Cody for taking the rougher punishment in that bout. He put over Kingston as a serious brawler.

We’ll have to see if Kingston returns to AEW. I do hope he has at least one more appearance so he can follow through on his threat to gouge Arn Anderson’s eyes. That is something I’d like to see.

Barbwire bat

After seeing Cody vs Kingston, Jon Moxley was probably itching to feel some of that pain. He’ll get his chance very soon since his feud with Brian Cage has upped the ante.

Moxley cut an early promo by himself. He prides himself on keeping it real. When he tells you he’ll do something, he’ll do it. Look at Cage’s arm for an example. Taz made the right call throwing in the towel. Next time, Mox won’t let go.

Later, Taz went to the ring with Cage. They had a difficult week after Taz threw in the towel against Moxley. Cage was close to firing Taz, but cooler heads prevailed. Taz explained that it was a business decision. He’ll be damned if he’ll let Cage be sidelined again with a torn bicep. Taz assured us that Cage will never be in that position again.

Taz then hit a home run in regard to the FTW belt. Cage will never tap. He’s not wired to top. No surrender, no quit. That mindset is why he is the FTW champ. That is a worthy explanation to make the FTW strap meaningful in the AEW environment. It drives home the point that it isn’t about the FTW belt. It is about the man holding the FTW belt. Taz has stated that idea before, but it didn’t click until now.

Enter Darby Allin on the scene. He came to confront Cage. Before anything could happen between those two, Ricky Starks ambushed Allin. Cage then powerbombed Allin on the stage and again into the ring. Starks picked Allin up for a double underhook facebreaker. Cage grabbed Allin’s skateboard with bad intentions. Moxley saved the day with a barbwire bat. Taz’s crew scattered before they had a chance to injure Allin.

After last week, I was hesitant to see more of Moxley versus Cage so soon. I thought it would be a tough sell to get my interest back. Well, AEW did just that. This segment reignited my desire for more. Adding Starks and Allin was just the right touch of spice. So was Moxley bringing out his trusty barbwire bat. That guarantees that there will be an extra level of craziness in this feud. AEW announced a tag team tornado match for these four next week. I’m very excited.

Sammy’s back

In the main event, Chris Jericho got his revenge against that insolent Marko Stunt and his Jurassic Express cronies. The teams were Le Champion & Jake Hager versus Jungle Boy & Luchasaurus with Stunt, Santana, Ortiz, and Floyd the bat all ringside.

This contest featured a glorious big man exchange from Hager and Luchasaurus with rowdy strikes. Both were bloodied during the bout.

The story was beating down Jungle Boy to set up a hot tag to the dino. The match then broke down as all the outsiders got involved. That led to Serpentico hitting Luchasaurus with Floyd. Jericho pounced with a Codebreaker to win.

Serpentico joined the Inner Circle in stomping Jurassic Express. After a shooting star press, Serpentico removed his mask to reveal Sammy Guevara in disguise. He is back from suspension. The Inner Circle had no clue and were in jubilation at the sight of the Spanish God’s face. The Best Friends and Orange Cassidy came out to chase of the Inner Circle. A 10-man tag, minus Stunt, was made for next week.

Another sweet and swift set-up for next week. The reveal of Sammy was popping. I’m looking forward to more grown-ass men action, or should I say grown-ass dinosaur, between Hager and Luchasaurus. I bet Trent is keen to get in on that too. He’s a rugged fellow himself.


Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

MJF defeated Jungle Boy Griff Garrison. Wardlow was ringside. MJF grabbed the mic to remind us that he is undefeated. When Garrison brought up MJF’s tag team loss at Fyter Fest, MJF clocked him with the mic. MJF proceeded to destroy Garrison in their match. Back on the mic, MJF demanded that Garrison admit MJF is undefeated. Garrison acquiesced then pushed the mic into MJF’s face and secured a quick roll-up. MJF escaped then commenced pummeling Garrison. MJF won with a piledriver variation through the ropes.

Great performance from MJF. It displayed his dominance for why he is ranked #1. MJF’s promo was slightly amusing, but he was also rude enough to keep us rooting against him.

Young Bucks defeated Blade & Butcher in Falls Count Anywhere. This was a wild bout that began in the kitchen, moved to the outside concourse, then transitioned to the ring. Highlights include thrown slabs of meat, Matt Jackson using a cookie sheet on his butt for a jumping senton, a double superkick to Blade sending him up an escalator, Butcher with a running crossbody to Matt through a leaning table, B&B with a powerbomb neckbreaker combo to Matt on the stage, and the finish of double leaps off the top of the entrance tunnels through tables. The Bucks won with a double pin.

Reading that short match summary, it might seem to be at odds with my earlier declaration of grown-ass men fighting in every match. Blade & Butcher brought enough manliness for both teams. The Bucks did their fair share by taking heavy moves and also supplying crazy stunts. B&B deserve an award for most improved. They could have easily been brushed aside after their first month in AEW, however, the duo rebounded to stand out with a rough style that is unique in AEW. I looked forward to their physicality whenever on screen.

Diamante defeated Ivelisse. This was an aggressive clash with several fisticuff exchanges. They slugged it out hard. Diamante won with an inside cradle as Ivelisse was running the ropes.

It is interesting to note that this bout aired at the beginning of hour two. That is prime real estate for two relative newcomers to AEW. I had a feeling Diamante was going to win when she had a match last night on Dark. Why give her a win only to lose the next night? That said, it still surprised me due to Ivelisse’s veteran status. This match did a good job building up two future title contenders for Hikaru Shida. Ivelisse looked strong despite the loss. She could be back in the mix with a win. Diamante will get her opportunity against Shida next week on Dynamite.

Hangman Page defeated 5 (Alan Angels). This was a strong showcase for Hangman. He won via powerbomb. Afterward, Mr. Brodie Lee offered an invitation to join the Dark Order. He criticized Kenny Omega for not being present when Hangman was clearly outnumbered by Mr. Brodie’s family. Hangman declined the offer, so the Dark Order attacked. FTR ran out to even the odds and clear house. Omega was late to the festivities. FTR handed Hangman a beer and had no time for Omega.

This was a quick and effective build to a tag title bout next week when the champs defend against top-ranked Evil Uno and Stu Grayson. While the story to the match started in this segment, it has actually been simmering for a long time. AEW does a good job of having so many moving cogs in different storylines that everything makes sense when the feud actually happens. Look to FTR’s involvement as evidence. That is surely building to something involving Hangman and Omega while being a background tale for now.

Notes: Dr. Britt Baker DMD revealed rule #4 of being a role model. “Never count out a role model.” She is set for the biggest comeback of all-time at All Out on September 5. This was the typical show-stealing scene we’ve come to expect from Dr. Baker.

An 8-team women’s tag tournament is planned for this summer. It is titled the, “Deadly Draw,” and the prize is a trophy cup. I like the tournament idea better than introducing new titles, since AEW doesn’t have the space to add a full-blown tag division.

Chris Jericho cut a promo that he is going to ruin Orange Cassidy’s career. Also, Le Champion’s $7,000 white jacket still smells like orange juice.

Big Swole cut a promo warning Dr. Baker that actions have consequences. Sooner or later, they will meet in the ring. Swole was at her home still on suspension.

During the scene with Mr. Brodie and Hangman, the Exalted One led an oblivious Colt Cabana to the stage. Colt looked like a lost puppy. Mr. Brodie exited with Cabana prior to the Dark Order’s attack. Commentary theorized that Mr. Brodie didn’t want Cabana to see what was happening. I don’t know where this story is leading, but Colt is coming across like a dope. Whether Colt joins the Dark Order or not, he needs to smarten up and toughen up.

The camera made sure to notice Matt Hardy in the upper fan section watching the main event.

Referee Aubrey Edwards should be fined for putting hands on Le Champion. She may need anger counseling.


Stud of the show: Lance Archer

The chuckle of the night belongs to Archer. He attacked a couple of jabrones and smashed one up into a ceiling panel. Archer may be a Murderhawk Monster, but he is still respectful enough to deposit garbage into a trashcan.

That ceiling spot is hilarious, especially with the way Archer lets go for a free fall to the ground. It makes me laugh every single time. I could barely understand what Archer said at the end, and it doesn’t matter. The message was still received loud and clear.

Dud of the show: Placement of Big Swole’s promo

This has nothing to do with the promo itself. This is about when it aired. AEW shrunk the early-going of Ivelisse versus Diamante into a small box so a larger box could show Big Swole’s promo. It made the match feel secondary. I didn’t like that, although, I do appreciate AEW filming a promo to give Swole screen time.

Grade: A

AEW rebounded strong from last week’s sloppiness. I loved this week’s intensity and aggressiveness. That is the kind of product that excites me as a fan. Don’t mistake that for meaning hardcore spots. It was more about the attitude from each wrestler this week. Everyone was ornery and ready to kick ass. This episode also did an excellent job building to next week. I have genuine anticipation waiting for Wednesday night.

Share your thoughts about Dynamite. How do you rate it? Who stole the show?