AEW Dynamite Review - May 24, 2023
AEW International Champion Orange Cassidy def. Kyle Fletcher
This match was set up on Dynamite two weeks ago. I feel super bad for Fletcher, who was stripped of both the IWGP World Tag Team Championship and the NJPW Strong Openweight Tag Team Championship after the injury to his partner Mark Davis. It was hard to believe that Cassidy would lose the title days ahead of the 21-man Blackjack Battle Royale at Double or Nothing, but the match was well wrestled and they continue to tell the story that Cassidy's constant title defenses are catching up to him.
Mark Briscoe Chose No Sides Between Jay Lethal, Jeff Jarrett and AEW World Tag Team Champions FTR
The build to this tag title match at Double or Nothing has been decent at times, and I'm glad it's gotten Briscoe a regular role on the show, but I still don't find myself overly excited for the match itself. Briscoe has been the focal point of the storyline and this segment was intended to send the message that he isn't picking sides, so I suppose it served its purpose. I'm sure the match will be filled with shenanigans, especially from the heels considering how many of them there are.
AEW World Six-Man Tag Team Champions House of Black (Malakai Black, Brody King and Buddy Matthews) def. AR Fox, Metalik and Blake Christian in a House Rules Match
The babyface trio unsuccessfully challenged for the ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Championship at Supercard of Honor last month. I have no idea what they did to earn a title shot, but I suppose it didn't matter with it being an open challenge. AEW (and WWE for that matter) do so many of them that they don't mean much at this point, but it was a fun showcase for House of Black, if nothing else. The dimming of the lights was an interesting touch and I appreciated this didn't last longer than it needed to. I'm just happy House of Black are appearing on Dynamite more consistently.
AEW World Champion MJF, Darby Allin, Sammy Guevara and "Jungle Boy" Jack Perry Faced Off
All of the "four pillars" have said quite a bit in the last few months and they've pretty much said it all, so there wasn't any ground left to cover in this segment. MJF and Allin did what they could, but their exchange didn't light the world on fire by any means. Guevara and Perry also played their roles well, but I don't think anyone is convinced that the championship is changing hands. Despite all of that, the match itself should be excellent.
Taya Valkyrie def. Lady Frost
The commercial break took up a majority of the match, but what we got was good. That shouldn't come as much of a surprise given how talented both women are and they deserved the Dynamite spotlight. Valkyrie hasn't been featured since they she failed to beat Jade Cargill for the AEW TBS Championship the first time last month, so I don't blame the crowd for sitting on their hands. Even with this win, she still doesn't feel like a threat to Cargill at Double or Nothing.
Chris Jericho and Adam Cole Signed the Contract for Their Unsanctioned Match at Double or Nothing
I feel like this would have been more effective had it just been Jericho and Cole in the ring (and Tony Schiavone, of course). That said, this turned out to be a solid segment with the usual quality mic work from Cole and Jericho. I actually find myself looking forward to that match more than most of the Double or Nothing card. Cole bringing up Sabu as backup was completely random (and I suppose this means we're seeing him on Saturday?), but it was cool that he received such a loud reaction from the crowd.
Roderick Strong def. Daniel Garcia
It made sense for this to follow the contract signing since they were already ringside. By the way, I could totally see this match being for the ROH Pure Championship on a Ring of Honor show at some point down the road. Both guys are undoubtedly skilled and had the great chemistry you'd expect them to have, so it was a nice matchup for the time allotted. Garcia is the ultimate stepping stone these days, but at least Strong is racking up wins.
ROH World Tag Team Champions The Lucha Brothers def. Blackpool Combat Club (ROH World Champion Claudio Castagnoli and Wheeler Yuta)
Are thought we were past ROH championship matches headlining AEW shows? I'd be willing to make an exception in this case considering it was an entertaining outing, but it had no relevance to Double or Nothing outside of The Young Bucks' interference. Jon Moxley cut a promo on the Bucks afterward as they stood in the crowd, but Kenny Omega and Adam Page weren't out there with them. It actually paled in comparison to the angles that have ended Dynamite in the past two weeks, but at least it essentially previewed what Anarchy in the Arena will entail.
AEW definitely dropped the ball with the build for Double or Nothing this year. I'm not as hyped for this year's event as I have been for past installments, but I'm sure it will be a terrific show, nonetheless. This was your average go-home show: nothing too special, but nothing egregious, either. The two hours were mostly inconsequential and you didn't miss much if you didn't tune in (aside from Tony Khan announcing that the first Collision will take place in Chicago), but it also wasn't a waste of time. All eyes in AEW appear to be on the other upcoming events and thus I'm ready for Double or Nothing to be behind us.
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