The John Report: AEW Dynamite 07/26/23 Review

aew dynamite july 26

This week’s AEW Dynamite featured a triple threat tag team match main event, Darby Allin taking on Swerve Strickland, Orange Cassidy defending the International Title and more.

Next week’s episode of Dynamite is #200. Meanwhile, AEW’s biggest show ever All In is one month away on August 27th at Wembley Stadium in London, England. They have yet to announce a match for it or even tell us how we can watch it.

This was AEW Dynamite episode #199 at the MVP Arena in Albany, New York. Check out the AEW PPV listing archive only on TJRWrestling as well. Follow me on Twitter/X @johnreport. Let’s get to it.

It’s Wednesday night and you know what that means. Excalibur, Taz and Tony Schiavone were on commentary.

There was a video package with Darby Allin talking about how great of a guy AR Fox is ahead of Fox’s match. When Darby didn’t have a place to live, Fox took him in and helped Darby out. Darby said after that his career started to take off.

International Championship: Orange Cassidy vs. AR Fox

Orange had kinesio tape all over his back with Excalibur talking about Orange dealing with various injuries. They did some basic holds and exchanges with Orange doing his usual comedy routine as well. Orange got out of a leg scissors by putting his hands in his pockets. Thrilling. Orange tried a bunch of moves with his hands in his pockets leading to Fox getting a rollup for two. Fox hit a jumping kick to the head. Orange avoided a Cuter and bailed to the floor. While Orange was walking on the floor, Fox vaulted off the ring post with a moonsault onto Orange. Fox tried a move, but Orange hit Stundog Millionaire. Fox kicked Orange back and hit his own version of Stunner. Fox caught Orange in a suplex position followed by Fox hitting a twisting brainbuster for two. They went to a picture-in-picture break.


They battled over a backslide, Orange broke free and kicked the knee. They exchanged kicks to the head. Both guys hit kicks to the head at the same time followed by double neckbreakers at the same time. Orange rammed Fox’s head into the top turnbuckle a few times. Fox came back with a senton splash. Orange was on the floor, so Fox hit a somersault dive over the top. Back in the ring, Fox hit a Senton Bomb for a two count. Orange blocked a move, sent Fox out of the ring and hit a suicide dive. Back in the ring, Orange spiked Fox with a DDT. Orange hit Beach Break for two. Orange was seated on the top rope leading to Fox jumping up with a Spanish Fly slam for two. Orange rolled to the apron to avoid a move, so Fox hit a senton splash on him. Fox hit a DDT for two. Fox went up top, jumped with a 450 Splash and Orange got a crucifix pin for two. Orange hooked the limbs of Fox into a Mousetrap pin for the three count after 14 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Orange Cassidy

Analysis: ***1/2 It was the usual Orange Cassidy title defense getting plenty of time before he gets the win. At least AEW tried to build up Fox as a threat with the video before the match while the announcers really put him over a lot, which is nice to hear. Orange continues to find ways to get victories.

It was Orange Cassidy’s 27th defense of the International Title as mentioned by Excalibur. That’s the most in AEW history. Tony Khan has also said Orange Cassidy is his favorite wrestler, so I think that says a lot too.

After the match, Orange put some sunglasses on Fox, who did a thumbs up salute like Orange. However, broke the sunglasses with his hand and hit Orange with a forearm to the head. Fox was perplexed by what he just did. Darby Allin went down to the ring to push Fox. Allin told Fox that was embarrassing.

Analysis: That’s why they did the video package before the match. It told the fans that Allin was friends with Fox, so Allin questioning Fox after the match made sense. I don’t know if it means Fox is a heel or if it will lead to some other story for him. Good for Fox because he hasn’t had any story for a year in AEW, so maybe they have something for him.

Jon Moxley went into the ring and decked Orange with a clothesline. Moxley hit a Death Rider slam on Orange as well. Moxley left. It was payback for Orange Cassidy hitting Moxley’s buddy Claudio Castagnoli with an Orange Punch at ROH Death Before Dishonor last Friday.

Analysis: We were told that it was payback for something that Orange did to Claudio for something that I didn’t watch. I had to look it up during a break because I didn’t see the ROH show. AEW needs to explain things better or show replays of things. You can’t assume every fan watches every show. Anyway, maybe this is leading to Moxley facing Cassidy at All In next month if AEW decides to start promoting match for that show. They haven’t really feuded in AEW, so it makes sense to do it there.

There was a video package about the Blood & Guts Match from last week with The Golden Elite beating the Blackpool Combat Club because Pac & Konosuke Takeshita quit on the BCC team. Weak ending.

Chris Jericho & Don Callis were interviewed by Renee Paquette backstage. Callis said they have to give the people something. Callis has suggested a tag team match with Jericho teaming up against Konosuke Takeshita. Jericho said he’d be willing to give it a try. Callis said the opponents would be Daniel Garcia & Sammy Guevara. Callis reminded Chris he wanted them to spread their wings. Jericho was hesitant, but then he said he would do it. Callis shared a giant painting of Jericho and Callis on it with Bad News Allen. Jericho didn’t know where to put it so Callis said he knows a place.

Analysis: The tease of Chris Jericho working with Don Callis continues while Jericho goes against his JAS guys. It feels like Sammy Guevara is probably going to become a babyface of his own soon too. I’m not sure how much longer the Jericho Appreciation Society group will last. They are rarely together on TV anyway.

Jack Perry was up next.


A video aired about Hook sitting at a subway, then the subway came by and when it left, Hook was no longer sitting there.

Claudio Castagnoli and Wheeler Yuta were in the locker room for a promo while Jon Moxley walked into the room. Claudio had a warning for Pac. Moxley warned Lucha Brothers and Best Friends saying they’re going to get hurt.

Let’s Hear from Jack Perry

Jack Perry made his entrance to Beethoven music as the FTW Champion with Tony Schiavone in the ring for the interview. Perry was wearing a shirt that said “I Beat Hook.” Tony said that Jack was going to refocus himself and bring home a World Title and he did. Calling the FTW Championship a “World Title” is a stretch. It’s a ridiculous claim.

Jack Perry said that Hook realized he can’t hang with the big boys and went on a train to nowhere. Jack said when he was going to win a championship, he didn’t mean this one. Jack blasted the FTW Title and said that it matters now because he is holding it. Jack said that he would run circles over Taz and all of his dirtbag friends back in the day.

Jerry Lynn walked out to the ring calling him “Jungle.” Jack said his name is Jack Perry. Lynn said he didn’t care what Jack called himself. Lynn said in ECW, they paved the way for this generation. Lynn said without ECW there never would have been a Jungle Boy. Lynn said if Jack keeps running his mouth, he’ll get his ass kicked. Jack wondered who would kick his ass? Lynn dropped the microphone. Jack said they can do this on his time. Jack said next week they can see who gets their asses kicked. Jack left to boos.

Analysis: Jack Perry is doing well as a heel. Jerry Lynn interrupting that promo makes sense since he was in ECW, but he’s not an active wrestler, so I’m unsure about what they’ll do next week.

There was a backstage interview with Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D. talking to Renee Paquette. Baker thanked Taya Valkyrie for calling her out on Collision. Baker said she respects and admires Taya. Baker said she can’t think of somebody better to beat to remind everybody that TBS is The Britt Show.

PAC vs. Gravity

I don’t know much about this masked guy Gravity. I’m guessing this match is booked because in WWE, when Pac was known as Neville they said he was the Man That Gravity Forgot. Excalibur mentioned it. Now we get to see Pac against Gravity, so the wrestling nerds can giggle at the name of his opponent. Gravity is the younger brother of Bandido. Gravity got some offense with a dropkick. Gravity hit a forearm to the head along with another dropkick that sent Pac out of the ring. Pac chased after Gravity, who left the ring and Pac dropkicked him to the floor. They were on the floor as Gravity sent Pac into the barricade followed by a powerslam on the floor. Gravity hit a stalling splash off the ropes. Pac was down on the floor as the show went to a PIP break.


Pac was in control with punches to the head while the Blackpool Combat Club were shown watching from backstage. Gravity got some offense going with a cross body block off the top. Pac delivered some kicks to the body followed by a running kick to the head. Pac hit a brainbuster off the top followed by the Brutalizer submission move for the win. Pac held onto the hold for about ten extra seconds. It went about eight minutes.

Winner by submission: Pac

Analysis: **1/2 Easy win for Pac. Gravity is a good athlete with a lot of cool moves like most luchadores. No surprise that Pac would win this match.

There was an interview from last Wednesday with AEW World Champion MJF & Adam Cole talking to Renee Paquette. MJF & Cole get an AEW Tag Team Match against FTR this Saturday on Collision. MJF said he liked FTR better when they were his lackeys. MJF mocked the look of FTR while imitating Dax Harwood as well. MJF he’ll punch Dax so hard in the face that he’ll spit out CM Punk’s jock strap. They did their “better than you bay…bay” line to end it. Adam Cold said this has been about their friendship and said that he never thought they’d become good friends. Cole said he was just handing MJF the AEW World Title. Cole said that Max is becoming one of his best friends. MJF told Cole win, lose or draw he’ll give Cole a rematch for the AEW World Title. Cole was shocked about it. Roderick Strong walked in and yelled at MJF saying you can’t trust this guy. Cole told MJF to leave so Cole could talk to Strong. Cole told Strong he loves him like a brother and would do anything for him. Cole said he has other friends. Cole told Strong he needs to trust him. Strong tried to talk to Cole, but Cole left and Strong said Cole was making a big mistake.

Analysis: That was interesting with MJF saying win, lose or draw he’ll face Adam Cole again. I think the story is going to be the most obvious thing with MJF turning on Cole to prove that Strong was right to warn Cole about it. Cole genuinely likes MJF right now, so Cole is pushing back against Strong. I know some people want to see MJF & Cole continue. However, with major shows like All In & All Out coming, I figure we’ll get MJF vs. Cole for the AEW World Title at one of those shows at least, so it’s better if MJF turns on his friend before that.

Darby Allin is against Swerve Strickland up next.


An interview was shown with AEW Tag Team Champions FTR talking to Renee Paquette from last Wednesday. Cash Wheeler said he respected Adam Cole, but he doesn’t like MJF while trashing him for how he was to them when they were in The Pinnacle. Dax Harwood said he likes Adam Cole, but he won’t let Cole beat him again since Cole beat him in the past. Harwood said this is real life to him. Harwood thinks it’s hilarious that MJF makes a mockery of tag team wrestling. Harwood said July 29th on Collision, they will have a fight. Harwood said “I am going to beat the s**t out of you.” Harwood said he’ll rip out MJF’s eyes out for mentioning Dax’s wife and daughter. Harwood said they would beat MJF & Cole. Top Guys out.

Analysis: A serious promo from the FTR guys. It’s good because they are believable and speak with conviction all the time. I guess AEW didn’t feel the need to fly the four guys from those teams to Dynamite, so that’s why they did the interviews last week.

Darby Allin (w/Nick Wayne) vs. Swerve Strickland (w/Prince Nana)

The early part of the match saw Allin in control with a side headlock. They started with some big moves as Allin hit an armdrag off the ropes. Allin to the floor, Swerve went after him and Allin hit a Code Red on the floor. Back in the ring, Allin got a two count. Allin sent Swerve into the barricade and into the steel steps. Allin went for a move into the steps, but Swerve avoided it and Swerve jumped off the steps with a side kick to Allin’s head. They were down on the floor leading to a PIP break.


Swerve was in control coming back from break. They did a bunch of nearfalls in a row with Allin going for the Last Supper pin attempt, but Swerve pushed him off at two. Swerve was on the apron and Allin hit a running Spear through the ropes to send them crashing to the floor. Swerve went back in the ring, then out to the floor on the other side and when Allin tried a dive, Swerve hit him with a knee to the face. Back in the ring, Swerve jumped off the top with a Swerve Stomp for a two count. They battled on the turnbuckle going for moves with Allin winning that battle as he hit a flipping Stunner. Allin went up top and Swerve tripped him up. Swerve jumped off the middle turnbuckle with a Death Valley Driver onto the apron of the ring. Ouch. Allin went into the ring, then somebody attacked with a hoodie on (it was AR Fox). Nana was on the apron, so Wayne went after him. The mystery guy threw Allin into the ring post. Swerve hit a JML Driver on Allin for the pinfall win after 13 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Swerve Strickland

Analysis: ***1/4 A cheap win due AR Fox’s interference. They had a good match as usual because they have wrestled so many times, but the finish hurts the rating for me. I get why it was done for the story. That spot where Swerve hit the DVD on the apron looked very scary and dangerous, but I’m sure Darby trusts Swerve as much as anybody. Plus, when you work in AEW you get plenty of time off to rest and recover. Anyway, I still don’t understand why AEW is reluctant to book Swerve against Keith Lee, which actually has a storyline and may interest the crowd.

Post match, AR Fox revealed that it was him that did the cheap attack. Fox stomped on Allin. Nick Wayne tried to make the save, but he was overwhelmed and Fox threw a skateboard at his back. Nana and Swerve presented AR Fox with a Mogul Embassy shirt. Tony Schiavone: “I don’t understand this.” The guy has been watching wrestling for 50 years and doesn’t understand that people turn heel sometimes. Anyway, Fox celebrated with Swerve and Nana as the fans booed.

Analysis: It gives AR Fox more of a regular role joining one of AEW’s 20 stables (they have a lot of stables). Good for Fox at least.

The Jericho Appreciation Society was shown outside of a locker room with Chris Jericho walking into the room with Anna Jay, Tay Melo (she’s pregnant), Matt Menard and Angelo Parker. Jericho asked how everything is going. Tay said that the baby is great, but wondered what is going on with Jericho. Parker said that the crew means the world to him and to all of them. Parker wasn’t sure what the group means to Jericho. Anna Jay said that Jericho was being selfish and she’s not sure Jericho appreciates them. Jay said like Jake (Hager) said, they can’t give him 100%. Matt Menard told Jericho to figure it out as the room emptied.

Analysis: Poor Chris Jericho dealing with group issues.


They showed a clip from Collision when The Acclaimed & Billy Gunn lost to House of Black. After the match, Gunn left his boots in the ring, so that could mean he is retiring.

Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D. vs. Taya Valkyrie

It was slow going in the first minute as they battled over a headlock. Taya got a shoulder tackle knockdown. Baker went to the turnbuckle, so Taya hit a running double knee attack for two. Taya delivered two chops followed by a clothesline for two. Britt kicked the knee to get some offense. When Britt went for a move, Taya caught her and tried to hit a her finisher Road to Valhalla, but it didn’t look good at all. Taya delivered elbow smashes to the head as the show went to a PIP break. I don’t know what happened with that spot before the break.


Baker avoided a running attack in the corner. Taya was in control during the break. Baker trapped Taya’s head followed by knees to the head. Baker sent Taya into the turnbuckle two times and Baker hit a forearm for just a one count. They exchanged forearms. Taya avoided an elbow, Taya with a kick and Baker hit a superkick that didn’t even touch her. Taya hit a knee lift and clothesline for two. Taya countered a move into a Northern Light Suplex for two. Baker hit a better superkick this time. Baker hit a Panama Sunrise that boyfriend Adam Cole does and it got Baker a two count. Baker put the glove on to set up for the Lockjaw submission. That took way too long, so Taya was back up with a knee lift and a running Spear. Baker blocked a Road to Valhalla attempt and Baker applied the Lockjaw submission. Taya tapped out quickly. It went about 10 minutes.

Winner by submission: Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D.

Analysis: ** I like both women but there were some awkward exchanges in the match where it just looked like they were off. I don’t know what happened on that spot before the break. I think maybe Brit was supposed to counter and didn’t, so Taya just dropped her. Taya was on offense for a lot of the match and nearly got the win, but Baker was able to avoid the big moves for the clean win. It would be nice if AEW cared more about the women’s division and actually had storylines for some of these women’s matches. I’ve been saying that for four years.

After the match, a fan sign was shown saying: “Book the women’s division better.” I agree. I don’t think they wanted to show that sign.

There is a Tag Team Battle Royale on Rampage, so there were promos from some of the teams. Plus, other stuff. They went over Collision matches too.

Next week on AEW Dynamite episode 200:

* Chris Jericho & Konosuke Takeshita vs. Daniel Garcia & Sammy Guevara.

* Jack Perry Face To Face with Jerry Lynn.

They will announce more matches for Dynamite 200 on Rampage.

Best Friends entered for the main event.


Blackpool Combat Club – Jon Moxley & Claudio Castagnoli (w/Wheeler Yuta) vs. Lucha Bros – Penta El Zero Miedo & Rey Fenix (w/Alex Abrahantes) vs. Best Friends – Chuck Taylor & Trent Beretta

This feels like one of the weakest main events in Dynamite history. Best Friends are not a main event act and you know they are just there to lose. Trent and Chuck cleared the ring of the Lucha Bros. Mox and Claudio joined the fight as all six guys started brawling on the floor. They were fighting by the entrance area. Chuck hit a somersault dive off the ramp onto three guys on the side. Claudio sent Chuck into the steel steps. Fenix and Claudio faced off in the ring as they exchanged strikes. Fenix with an arm drag and stomp. Trent with a knee on Fenix, Moxley with a Cutter and then everybody else did a bunch of kicks. Claudio launched Fenix in the air leading to an uppercut for two. After about five minutes, Moxley hit a clothesline and a suplex. Claudio back in with a leg drop and a lariat. Fenix broke free with a superkick. Trent tagged in with a Tornado DDT on Claudio for a two count. Trent hit a Saito Suplex on Claudio. Trent for a dive, but Claudio hit an uppercut to block it. Moxley tagged in with a lariat on Trent for two. They went to a PIP break.


Claudio was in control of Trent with about nine minutes left in the show. Claudio tried a move by the turnbuckle, but Trent fought back and Trent hit a missile dropkick off the top. Taylor tagged in against Moxley with chops, a boot to the throat, Moxley barely sold anything and Taylor hit a knee strike. Taylor hit a German Suplex. Penta tagged himself in with the Slingblade twice on Taylor along with a backstabber to Taylor’s back. The match broke down with the BCC guys going into the ring with a double team Cutter and Fenix hit a cross body block off the top. Claudio and Moxley each hit lariats on the Lucha Bros so Taylor got a cradle pin attempt on Penta. All six guys were in the ring until Fenix sent Claudio to the floor and Penta sent Moxley out. Trent and Taylor each hit piledrivers on a Lucha Bro leading to Trent getting a two count. Lucha Bros came back with submission attempts on each of the Best Friends. Penta hit a pumphandle sitout slam on Trent for two. BCC broke up the pins. Moxley with a Paradigm Shift DDT on Fenix. Claudio with elbows on Taylor. Claudio hit a Powerbomb on Taylor. Claudio teased a move, but then Orange Cassidy’s music hit and he hit an Orange Punch on Yuta. Orange got into a brawl with Moxley on the floor as Excalibur told us there were no disqualifications in this. Trent hit a Crunchy slam on Claudio, but the referee said Claudio wasn’t legal. As if that matters in AEW. It was true, though. Fenix with a superkick on Trent and Penta hit a Fear Factor on Trent for the pinfall win after 15 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Lucha Bros – Penta El Zero Miedo & Rey Fenix

Analysis: ***1/4 It was a chaotic match as usual for AEW where the last five or six minutes had random guys in the ring doing a bunch of offense without any psychology or story. Selling was optional. Penta and Trent were legal for several minutes, so Trent trying to pin Claudio didn’t work. It didn’t feel like a big match going in and the ending was flat.

Lucha Bros celebrated the win with Tony Schiavone trying to say it was an upset. The Lucha Bros are former AEW & ROH Tag Team Champions, but yeah try to tell us it’s an upset.

After the match, the wrestlers were told that there was still time left, so they did some random fighting on the floor. This looked very unorganized. Excalibur screamed about how at Dynamite 200 next week, it’s Jon Moxley vs. Trent Beretta vs. Penta El Zero Miedo. Poor Trent eating a pin again. Anyway, Orange hit a flipping Stunner on Claudio on the floor. More punching and laying on the floor by the wrestlers. Orange hit an Orange Punch on Claudio. You could actually see the space between his fist and Claudio’s head from the angle they showed it. That’s my way of saying it didn’t connect. Anyway, that’s the end of the show.

Analysis: It didn’t feel like a big ending. It felt like they had time to fill, so they filled with an unorganized brawl.


Three Stars of the Show

  1. Orange Cassidy
  2. Darby Allin-Swerve Strickland
  3. Lucha Bros


The Scoreboard

This Week: 6.5 out of 10

Last Week: 8

2023 Average: 7.43


Final Thoughts

It was a weaker episode of Dynamite this week. I get it in the sense that last week was a big one with Blood & Guts, but I just feel like it was a poor effort this week in terms of booking matches and trying to tell stories. There were good matches as usual because they get time and they’re always going to have three star plus level matches, but we get that all the time on every show in this era. In terms of stories, the big thing was AR Fox turning heel on Darby Allin to join Swerve’s group. I wouldn’t call it a big deal, but at least it’s a story. The main event three team tag team match was the usual chaotic AEW tag match. I guess we’re going to see a Jon Moxley-Orange Cassidy feud.

The fans want somebody to kick Jack Perry’s ass and the person who interrupts him is a retired Jerry Lynn because Jack was ripping on ECW, which Jack was barely alive for. I don’t know. It just didn’t feel like a big deal to me. The poor women’s match with Britt and Taya felt off. Then the camera shoots a sign that says “Book The Women’s Division Better.” I don’t know. It just felt like an off night. No live MJF and Adam Cole was disappointing too. I liked their backstage promo that was taped last week, but this show could have used their storyline getting more time.

Considering the biggest AEW show ever All In is one month away and next week’s Dynamite is episode 200, I thought they’d try to push those things more. Lastly, and most importantly, I did see the “Steamed Hams” sign in the crowd in Albany. Amazing work. Fans of The Simpsons in its prime know. We just do.


Thanks for reading. Go Toronto Blue Jays. You can contact me using any of the methods below.

John Canton


Twitter: @johnreport