This episode of AEW Dynamite made me eat my words. I complained before the show about the volume of matches and segments announced, and though I feared overkill, I was surprised at how nicely the show was paced. The show was, for the most part, an excellent go home show, serving most stories very nicely and I finished the episode more excited for All In than I began it, which is a job well done in my book. There were misfires certainly, which impact my scoring but don’t kill the show by any means. The women's match, while fine, was superfluous and underserved, while the madness of the AR Fox segment would make any rating I could give feel unjustified, putting a series of great promos in a completely nonsensical storyline package, that sadly damaged my excitement for a match despite the best efforts of the guys involved to sell the change. Those issues aside, I had a great time with this show. Good to amazing wrestling, mostly coherent and consistent storytelling (with some notable exceptions) and a show that did make me more excited for the PPV it was building. Bring on All In!
Tonight on AEW Dynamite: Fyter Fest, stars look to build momentum ahead of the huge AEW All In show this Sunday. It is a stacked show, with highlights including Jon Moxley taking on Ray Fenix, The Elite and Bullet Club Gold getting their first big interaction and Will Ospreay and Chris Jericho making their encounter official with a contract signing. Lets get at it…
Our opening 6 man tag doesn’t get underway as The Elite and Bullet Club Gold brawl instead. It sounds like false advertising, but actually I thought this was just perfectly chaotic to set the tone for the night, Very well orchestrated and not feeling overwhelming or like a cop out, this really did make me want to see both matches it was advertising more than before I walked in, so I give them major props for that. I shouldn’t like this opening segment, but I did, quite a bit actually.
Excellent pretaped promo with MJF. He is the best talker in all of professional wrestling. It is so refreshing to see him talk as a face. Recaps the feud very nicely also to make you want to see the match at All In. It feels like a full tv interview length and I hugely appreciate that.
AMAZING Jon Moxley vs Rey Fenix
Really well delivered opener here between two of AEW’s best talents. Some really fun sequences and nearfalls towards the end and you really feel the intensity. It’s a reliably brilliant encounter. We get an outstanding final nearfall as Fenix kicked out of the top rope Death Rider before Moxley finally submits Fenix in the bulldog choke. What a good match for a go home show. Post match Fenix is brutalised by the BCC before SANTANA AND ORTIZ REUNITE! So happy about that. Really nice to see them back and makes me really excited for the All In Match.
Result: Jon Moxley by Submission via Bulldog Choke
David Sheldon WR Star Rating – 4 Stars
Excaulibur, in his best low hushed serious voice, advertises Draft Kings in possibly one of the most unintentionally hilarious things I have ever seen on AEW Television.
Eddie Kingston rightfully tells Renee Paquette where to shove her microphone and says he’ll sort Moxley out at Wembley.
The former JAS members warn Guevara against going back to Jericho. Its a toxic relationship drama playing out on live tv. I’m here for it, though the promo was a bit stilted and I feel like there’s been an extra week of tv I didn’t see to explain this, but I know that not to be true.
MUST WATCH Jericho and Ospreay Contract Signing– Watch Segment Here
Callis begins, going full heel carny, followed by Ospreay cutting an outstanding promo that feels very face. Jericho then responds with an equally fabulous face promo. This was masterful build with one minor problem. I don’t think Callis actually needs to be here, nor did Guevara. This would’ve been more effective and slightly better staged if it was just the two guys in the ring. It was a marvellous segment, and I actually would’ve considered the promo to be a 5 star promo between Jericho and Ospreay had it just been them two, but the cloudiness of the story and Callis’ slightly confusing opening promo drops the rating a bit. Still made me so much more excited for this match by hearing the two guys go at each other. Another terrific go-home segment
David Sheldon WR Star Rating- 4.5 Stars
Adam Cole chats to Renee Paquette. This promo reeks of a heel turn. It’s so subtle and well done in the wording, but whereas MJF focuses on the friendship, Adam Cole talks about being reminded of who ‘the real Adam Cole is’. Anyone who knows Adam Cole can read between the lines on that one. I kinda hope there isn’t a swerve for the sake of one and we do follow the natural course which is face MJF and heel Adam Cole.
AMAZING AR Fox and Swerve Strickland vs Darby Allin and Nick Waye
This was a terrifically brutal match getting all the guys over, but in my view the wrong team won. This match would’ve done more to get the heels over in victory, making them an even more titanic force at Wembley. Still though, the match was amazing, super innovative with some incredible spots and a great sense of sadism from the heels. Really good work from all involved.
David Sheldon WR Star Rating- 4 Stars
GOOD Swerve Strickland Promo
Well that’ll explain Fox losing. A brilliantly delivered promo by Swerve to kick Fox out and put Cage in but it makes no damn sense. Fox has lost one match since joining Mogul Embassy, so the story about him being a loser makes zero sense whatsoever. This reeks to me of a match having to be changed on the fly and sacrificing a story to do it, because man the partnership of Fox and Swerve was electric and to throw it all away for what looks like a scheduling change is so frustrating and not what I wanted to see. Objectively an excellent promo from the megastar Swerve so it gets a relatively high mark, but the story context around it makes absolutely zero sense. Anyway there’s more, as Darby then reunites with AR Fox (why) and then Christian Cage comes out to cut one of his best ever promos on Nick Wayne and his dead father. Man what a segment this was, for good and ill. The Cage promo was amazing, Swerve and Darby both delivered well but at the heart of it is a completely jumbled mess of a story that makes absolutely no sense. No rating I could give this would feel justified as it was so up and down, but I will try my very best. It’s a great series of promos, but it gets knocked down to good on consistency and content, because unfortunately in the context of the story it doesn’t make sense.
David Sheldon WR Star Rating- 3.25 Stars
FTR and The Young Bucks have a good face to face interview. There’s some nice digs back and forth which is pretty fun, and it all feels quite playful, before beginning to get aggressive. Good stuff.
GOOD Ruby Soho vs Skye Blue
Why is this match on the card? We have a fatal 4 way to build, but instead we have a random singles match on tv with none of the All In participants involved. The match is good enough because these are two good wrestlers, it just feels heatless because it doesn’t mean squat. A shame as this card has felt so laser focused with All In build that this feels like a complete departure.
Result: Ruby Soho by Pinfall via Destination Unknown
David Sheldon WR Match Rating- 3 Stars
Roderick Strong is backstage saying we’ll see who the real MJF and Adam Cole are at All In. Thanks for the insight Roddy.
GREAT Billy Gunn Promo
Good promo from Billy, saving Acclaimed from a beatdown and announcing he’ll be teaming with The Acclaimed against HOB at All In. Really passionate stuff from Gunn!
David Sheldon WR Match Rating- 3.75 Stars
Jack Perry’s segment gets pushed to Collision, makes sense given the sheer amount of stuff booked for this show
GREAT Aussie Open vs The Hardy’s
This was more fun than it had any right to be. A super fun little showcase for Aussie Open with The Hardy’s being a fun base to play off as the crowd were super behind them. Nothing spectacular, but it was a fun little main event with a great post match brawl, setting up the key story going into All In, that being the partnership and dissension of MJF and Adam Cole.
Result: Aussie Open by Pinfall
David Sheldon WR Star Rating- 3.5 Stars
This episode of AEW Dynamite made me eat my words. I complained before the show about the volume of matches and segments announced, and though I feared overkill, I was surprised at how nicely the show was paced. The show was, for the most part, an excellent go home show, serving most stories very nicely and I finished the episode more excited for All In than I began it, which is a job well done in my book. There were misfires certainly, which impact my scoring but don’t kill the show by any means. The women’s match, while fine, was superfluous and underserved, while the madness of the AR Fox segment would make any rating I could give feel unjustified, putting a series of great promos in a completely nonsensical storyline package, that sadly damaged my excitement for a match despite the best efforts of the guys involved to sell the change. Those issues aside, I had a great time with this show. Good to amazing wrestling, mostly coherent and consistent storytelling (with some notable exceptions) and a show that did make me more excited for the PPV it was building. Bring on All In!
Matches: 0.5/1 Stars
Show Structure: 0.75/1 Stars
Atmosphere: 0.75/1 Stars
Storytelling: 0.75/1 Stars
Production/Theme: 0.75/1 Stars
Overall Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
Photo Credit: All Elite Wrestling – August 23rd 2023
For inquiries about the rating criteria check out the article announcing the new system here: