AEW Dynamite Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from August 31
All Elite Wrestling made the first of three appearances in Chicago's NOW Arena Wednesday night with the go-home episode of Dynamite, just four days before its pay-per-view All Out, available exclusively on Bleacher Report in the United States.
After a triumphant return to the squared circle, Kenny Omega teamed with The Young Bucks to battle the man who has spent four years attempting to fill his shoes in New Japan Pro-Wrestling, Will Ospreay, and Aussie Open in the semifinals of the AEW World Trios Championship Tournament.
Who emerged from that match one step closer to making history and what went down when new undisputed AEW world champion Jon Moxley addressed the fans in the hometown of former titleholder CM Punk?
Find out with this recap of the August 31 TBS broadcast.
- AEW World Trios Championship Tournament Dynamite Final: The Elite (Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks) vs. Will Ospreay and Aussie Open
- Toni Storm and Hikaru Shida vs. Britt Baker and Jamie Hayter
- Bryan Danielson vs. Jake Hager
- Ring of Honor world champion Wheeler Yuta vs. Dante Martin vs. Rey Fenix vs. Rush
- Undisputed AEW world champion Jon Moxley promo
Undisputed AEW World Champion Jon Moxley Kicks Off Dynamite
Undisputed AEW world champion Jon Moxley hit the ring to kick off the show and basked in the boos of the Chicago fans, all unhappy about his victory over hometown hero CM Punk a week earlier.
Moxley cut a scathing promo on The Best in the World before issuing an open challenge for the world title at All Out. He talked trash on New Japan Pro-Wrestling, claiming to run that show and asked Rocky Romero if he had anyone else for him.
No one immediately accepted the challenge, building intrigue for the remainder of the show.
Moxley is at his best when he is committed to no side. Neither heel nor babyface, he was unapologetic in his criticism of the self-proclaimed Best in the World in front of a pro-Punk crowd. His promo sounded like that of a heel, but he did nothing inherently evil to warrant it.
He talked trash following a big win, arrogantly issued a challenge to anyone for a fight with the top prize in the company at stake and then exited.
It was short, sweet and to the point and gave the show something to build on: The definition of an effective opening segment.
- The crowd greeted Moxley with a reaction consisting mostly of boos, undoubtedly the result of his squash win over Punk a week ago to become the undisputed champion.
- "I once heard CM Punk referred to as the modern 60-minute man. What a load of crap that turned out to be. I mean, I had 57 minutes left in me. Did you, Punk? I don't think so," Moxley said to start his promo.
- "He curled up in a little ball to die and he folded. Champions never fold."
- "He didn't turn out to be anything we wanted him to be when we welcomed him back."
- "Fragile ego, fragile body, weak mind, weak spirit."
- "Whoever you are, you've been warned," Moxley said to wrap up his promo ahead of a date with an unknown opponent Sunday at All Out.
- Ace Steel, AEW coach and friend of Punk, retrieved the contract from the ring and tucked it in his pocket ahead of the commercial break.
Bryan Danielson vs. Jake Hager
Bryan Danielson will battle Chris Jericho at All Out, but The American Dragon found himself confronted with the unenviable task of squaring off with Jake Hager in Wednesday night's opening contest.
Hager overpowered Danielson, driving him through a table to halt his early onslaught and seize control. A missile dropkick from the bearded babyface sparked a comeback. The big man of the Jericho Appreciation Society dropped him with a powerbomb, then escaped the LeBell Lock and applied an ankle lock.
The American Dragon escaped and, moments later, rocked Hager with the Busaiku Knee for the pinfall victory.
Chaos ensued between Blackpool Combat Club and the Jericho Appreciation Society before Daniel Garcia prevented Chris Jericho from using a steel chair, leaving him prone to Danielson's running knee finisher.
The match was uber-competitive, probably Hager's best in AEW to this point. That should not be a surprise given his opponent was the greatest in-ring worker of his generation. Danielson was equally as great, even if that table bump early on left some nervous as he held the top of his head.
The feud between the two groups has run its course, a couple of times over at this point, but The American Dragon vs. The Lionheart at All Out is a wrestling fan's dream.
If it can live up to the lofty expectations, it will make all of the repetitive booking during this never-ending program worth it.
Danielson defeated Hager
- Hager caught a flying Danielson and drove him through a table at ringside to seize control of the match.
- Blackpool Combat Club's Claudio Castagnoli and Wheeler Yuta fought off an attack by "Daddy Magic" Matt Menard and "Cool Hand" Angelo Parker.
- Garcia sold the disappointment with his facial expressions, knowing he messed up moments after pledging his allegiance to Jericho backstage.
W. Morrissey Debut; Hikaru Shida and Toni Storm vs. Britt Baker and Jamie Hayter
The Wingmen's Peter Avalon, JD Drake, Ryan Nemeth and Cezar Bononi stood in the center of the ring, protesting a lack of television time for the faction until W. Morrissey made his return to AEW and laid waste to them.
Stokely Hathaway offered him a card and, after a brief dust-up with commentator Tony Schiavone who inquired about the manager's motivations, exited the arena.
This was a nice surprise for the fans in attendance, but AEW's track record of utilizing big men (Lance Archer, Brian Cage) leaves a lot to be desired so just how Morrissey fits in with the rest of the roster remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, just days before all four clash for the interim AEW Women's Championship, Toni Storm teamed with Hikaru Shida to battle Britt Baker and Jamie Hayter in tag team action.
Storm overcame a concentrated attack from her opponents, created separation with a Tornado DDT and completed the hot tag. Shida unloaded on the opposition before the action broke down.
Shida scored the win for her team in a match that served as a solid preview of what is to come Sunday. With that said, all four women will have to shore up a few things before then, if only to avoid appearing to be on two different pages, as was the case down the stretch Wednesday night.
Storm still feels like the sure thing to win the title but do not be surprised if Hayter shocks the world and sets in motion the demise of her partnership with Baker.
Storm and Shida defeated Baker and Hayter
C for the Morrissey debut; C+ for the tag match
- Don Callis encountered Will Ospreay backstage and reminded him that the last time he was in a tag team match with Kenny Omega, he experienced a One-Winged Angel.
- Excalibur revealed Kip Sabian will challenge PAC for the AEW All-Atlantic Championship at All Out, giving way to a hype video featuring promos from each man.
CM Punk Promo; Jungle Boy, Christian Cage Face-to-Face; Trios Action
CM Punk made his way to the ring, ready to address the fans for the first time since his humbling defeat at the hands of Jon Moxley last week.
The 43-year-old questioned his future in the business and whether his love for it and the fans was enough to continue.
Ace Steel interrupted and cut an impassioned promo in which he demanded his friend get up, sign the open contract and fight Moxley for the Undisputed AEW World Championship Sunday.
A reinvigorated Punk cut a phenomenal promo about the spirit of Chicago and said no one has killed him yet and Moxley sure isn't the guy to do it. He signed the contract to make Sunday's main event official.
All Elite Wrestling @AEW
<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AEW?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#AEW</a> Undisputed World Champion Jon Moxley has an opponent for Sunday's World Title Match at <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AEWAllOut?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#AEWAllOut</a> - CM Punk has signed the contract and made it official! Tune in to <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AEWDynamite?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#AEWDynamite</a> LIVE on TBS! <a href="https://t.co/eWX0NWd1s9">pic.twitter.com/eWX0NWd1s9</a>
This was a solid segment that started rough, with the fans in Chicago not buying the idea that Punk may be calling it quits, but it escalated quickly with the appearance of Steel and a fired-up babyface promo from Chicago's favorite son.
Any questions about him turning heel were extinguished emphatically.
All Elite Wrestling @AEW
An impressive victory for <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FTR?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#FTR</a> and TNT champion Wardlow ahead of their clash with Jay Lethal and <a href="https://twitter.com/IMPACTWRESTLING?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@IMPACTWRESTLING</a>'s <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MotorCityMachineGuns?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#MotorCityMachineGuns</a> this Sunday at <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AEWAllOut?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#AEWAllOut</a> LIVE on PPV! Watch <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AEWDynamite?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#AEWDynamite</a> LIVE on TBS right now! <a href="https://t.co/eIp1D2bw7o">pic.twitter.com/eIp1D2bw7o</a>
A brief pre-taped promo between Jungle Boy and Christian Cage put the final touches on their feud and gave way to a Trios match that saw TNT champion Wardlow and FTR defeat Vic Capri, Ren Jones and ROH alum Silas Young in a too-short-to-matter squash.
FTR and Wardlow defeated Capri, Young and Jones
B for the Punk segment; C+ for Jungle Boy-Christian Cage promo; D for meaningless Trio squash
- "I probably shouldn't have done a lot of things in my career, including coming back too soon from a serious injury," Punk said of his appearance last week.
- "I came back to professional wrestling a year ago because I love this business. And I know this business doesn't love you back, but I love you fans and you do love me back."
- "Maybe that love just isn't enough anymore."
- "You're gonna get up fight! You're gonna sign this contract and you're gonna fight Jon Moxley! In case you forgot who you were, tell him, Chicago!" Steel urged his friend.
- "They've been trying to kill me since the day I was born!" Punk said.
- Punk took off into the crowd, touting the Chicago spirit and signing the contract for Sunday's main event.
- "You're gonna be a has-been at 25," Cage told Jungle Boy.
Dante Martin vs. Rey Fenix vs. Rush vs. Wheeler Yuta
A fiery promo from Jon Moxley vowing pain and suffering for CM Punk Sunday night in Chicago gave way to an explosive four-way between competitors in the All Out Casino ladder match for a shot at the AEW World Championship.
"El Toro Blanco" Rush, Rey Fenix, Dante Martin and ROH Pure champion Wheeler Yuta squared off.
An action-packed contest saw the high-fliers take to the air in an attempt to score the win, but it was Yuta who outwrestled Martin ultimately, catching him with a leg-trap seatbelt pin for the victory.
This was a lot of fun for a match thrown together earlier in the day. All four are dynamic performers and Fenix is in the discussion for best wrestler on the planet. Yuta's mat-based abilities offset his opponents' arsenals well and his ability to outwrestle anyone gave way to the finish.
Yuta defeated Rush, Fenix and Martin
- Rush delivered a release German suplex to Martin off the top rope that wiped out Fenix.
- Yuta outwrestling the high-fliers was the perfect finish for this one.
- Excalibur speed-reading the All Out card, with the inclusion of two new title matches sure to push the event to a bloated six hours, was too much.
AEW Trios Title Tournament Dynamite Final: The Elite vs. Will Ospreay and Aussie Open
Kenny Omega bested his protégé, Will Ospreay, in the main event of this week's show, cashing The Elite's ticket to the finals of the AEW World Trios Champions Tournament with a One-Winged Angel to Kyle Fletcher for the win.
How one views the quality of Wednesday's main event between The Elite (Omega, Matt and Nick Jackson) vs. United Empire (Will Ospreay, Fletcher and Mark Davis) likely depends on your taste in wrestling.
There is no denying the extraordinary athleticism on display nor the creativity of the performers involved. The spots were cool and probably built on others that had been previously established in an NJPW match or something that took place in the rings of Pro Wrestling Guerrilla.
For fans of the nonstop action, knee strikes, high spots and occasional over-the-top mannerisms, this was likely one of the best Dynamite main events in AEW history, especially with all of the teases of a long-awaited Omega-Ospreay showdown.
For everyone else, main events of this type are more style than substance.
A lot happens, the crowd pops for the spots and someone eventually wins after exhausting arsenals and, in some instances, devaluing the effect of signature and finishing maneuvers. The lack of selling turns many off, as does the frantic pace that gives nothing the opportunity to breathe.
Those fans did not like this car crash of a match.
Regardless of what side of the audience you are on, two things are undeniable: One, this was an energetic close to a very good show that leaves fans guessing what they can see out of The Elite Sunday night; and two, the show-concluding image of Ospreay watching Omega celebrate while both disappointed and seething was a great teaser for the next chapter in their story and a direct (and very well executed) take on John Cena following his WrestleMania 28 loss to The Rock.
Kudos to Ospreay, too, for working in the story of his own hubris costing him a victory as he got a bit too cute late and Matt Jackson made him pay for it. The same thing happened in his recent encounter with Kazuchika Okada and should factor into whatever he does next, both in New Japan and any future appearances for AEW.
This writer is not a huge fan of this sort of main event, but he's willing to recognize what it did well to propel things forward.
The Elite defeated United Empire
- Justin Roberts' introductions of Omega included several jabs at Ospreay.
- Davis delivered a double bodyslam on Matt and Nick Jackson in a spot that started ugly but ended up being fairly cool.
- After dodging a Spice Flying Tiger Drop by Ospreay, Omega looked into the camera and said "What did you expect, I was just gonna stand here? Just gonna wait?" Because now he employs logic in his matches.
- Ospreay's hubris and dependence on his silly mannerisms allowed Matt to catch him with a cutter mid-flight and spark a comeback for The Elite.
- Matt kicked out of a combination shooting star press/tombstone piledriver, popping the crowd in a genuinely great near-fall.