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5 Big Takeaways from AEW Dynamite - May 3, 2023: Will it be 'Winner-Take-All' at Double or Nothing?

CFG BANK ARENA | BALTIMORE, MD

This week's edition of AEW Dynamite came to us LIVE from the southern wrestling city of Baltimore, Maryland, known for its prominence in the days of Jim Crockett Promotions. However, it was a night that saw the stars of 2023 shine as the company prepares for its huge Double or Nothing Event on May 28.


We're still a few weeks away, but some big matches on that card are already taking shape, including figuring out who would actually be in the main event for the World title. The main event of the night would feature a tag team match where both Jungle Boy and Darby Allin could force a four-way match for the gold if they defeated MJF and Sammy Guevara.


So, that was the overlying theme of this week's program. However, there was plenty of action and intrigue to go around. The women's division saw a major development, The feud between Chris Jericho and Adam Cole grew hotter, and several other running issues were addressed.


Without further adieu, here are five moments that really stood out on this week's fast-paced episode of AEW Dynamite:


#1 - The game's ultimate leadoff hitter starts things off

The opening segment of Dynamite just seems to belong to Orange Cassidy. And the fans don't seem to mind him kicking things off as his mere presence lives the mood in the arena.


After a great bout last week that saw them fight off post-match attackers, OC and Bandido decided to team up this week. Using the old 'mutual respect' gimmick as their bond, they would face members of the Jericho Appreciation Society.

They would be joined by newly-arrived Roderick Strong and Jericho nemesis, Adam Cole. So, the fans were incredibly excited to see this unique combination. Needless to say, the four baby faces together got an anticipation pop.


Lots of fast-paced action here, as the JAS was represented by Jake Hager, Matt Menard, Angelo Dawkins, and Daniel Garcia. So, the heels were sort of already considered cannon fodder before the bell even rang.


Having said that, the action in this one was great, with lots of the typical high spots giving way to some old-fashioned brawling. For some of these guys, that was a change of pace and a different formula - and it fit the grudge match vibe here.


Cole is given the star treatment here. He not only got the pin in the match but then made a beeline for Chris Jericho at the commentary table. He beat down the legendary performer to close the beginning block of the show, and this fight continued in the back. This should be an angle that elevates Cole to an eventual world title shot (and a possible reign) very soon.


#2 - The Outcasts get a taste of their own medicine

While this match with Willow Nightingale and Saraya was pretty predictable, it was to set up more of the current angle in the women's division.


A couple of quick thoughts here: Willow is very over with the crowd. While she still hasn't developed a dominant persona, the people like her, and they love clapping along to her entrance music. That could become a factor in her overall presentation if she finally catches fire.

As far as Saraya goes... with all due respect? She's much more valuable as a character now than an in-ring performer. Through no real fault of her own, injuries and ring rust look like they have robbed us of what we truly might have seen from a performer who is STILL just 30 years old. (Which is hard to believe, considering it seems like she's been around forever.)


After Saraya got the win, the Outcasts looked to punish Willow, but Jamie Hayter and Britt Baker hit the ring. Hikaru Shida appeared to then join the Outcasts but turned her kendo stick on the heels instead. The battle lines continue to be drawn in the women's division.

 

AEW CLIP OF THE WEEK - MAY 3, 2023 | WARDLOW RULES!

 

#3 - The Acclaimed and Billy Gunn get nothing but love from the AEW fans

The three-man team won a Trey de Mayos battle royal to become trios tag team contenders, which should rightfully see them wrestling as a clique for a while. They can always go back to the traditional tag division at some point. But the combination of them all is so beloved, that they should get as much TV time - and ring time - as Billy Gunn can pull off. And based on the way he looks, he's not going to break down anytime soon.

The story of The Acclaimed, in any form, remains the same. The people LOVE them. With a capital 'L'. So any exposure they receive is a positive for Tony Khan and AEW because this is a home run angle. It's exactly what wrestling should be: A veteran star lending his credibility to younger talents, this elevating them.


For quite a while, it was hinted that Billy might betray The Acclaimed in favor of his own sons, but that never happened. Even as The Gunn Club tried to goad their Dad with guilt trips, he remained steadfastly loyal next to his adopted offspring. That threw fans for a loop originally. But in the end, the uncertainty only made the outcome all that more endearing.


Now, only one question remains... how long before the tag team actually turns heel, and bites the hand that feeds them? Could Billy Gunn's young proteges be the ones who actually become the backstabbers? Because that seems like the logical progression of the storyline at some point. After all? We all have to get our hearts broken at some point.


#4 - Visiting Ricky Starks in mid-card purgatory

On a night when four of the company's biggest young stars are lining up for the biggest night of their lives at Double or Nothing, that Ricky Starks is conspicuously MIA from the main event. He's gone from one of the guys that looked to have high hopes with the promotion to having been iced down quite a bit in recent months.

After what looked to be a successful feud against Jericho and forming a partnership with Action Andretti, it was thought he'd be given a higher profile. Instead, things have gotten pretty stagnant.


And while the New Japan/Bullet Club duo of Jay White and Juice Robinson may be internationally cool? In America, they are just flat-out cold. At least at the moment. And in all honesty, they are overrated signings for a promotion that looks like they're just inking deals (at times) to keep people away from WWE. (which is a terrible strategy).


Starks needs something to get his mojo back, and this feud isn't it. Sorry, this one is a dud, and one of the few disinteresting angles in AEW right now. Despite any attempts to add intrigue, this one just isn't catching fire.


#5 - It's a 'do-over' for Darby and Jack

After hinting at a lot of animosities last week, Jungle Boy Jack Perry and Darby Allin cut a promo early in the show, highlighting the main event. They appeared to be much more friendly, which is likely due to some of the backlash from last week's promo. Fans didn't like to see these two favorites at odds - particularly when there's already a dominant heel in the story.


If the goal is to topple MJF, then the story last week just confused the whole situation. So, the duo whited out everything that was said with a much more unifying interview, heading into this contest.

On the other side of the ledger, there was trouble in paradise, and that was to be expected. The massive egos of Sammy Guevara and MJF revealed some friction prior to the match, as well. Sammy was NOT happy that Max left him behind when he got in his car after last week's appearance. However, MJF fed him some BS lines and apparently smoothed things over --- maybe.


So, the stage was set for this Four Pillars Tag Team Match, which would decide the main event of Double or Nothing. Most fans had a pretty good idea of the outcome, but the build-up and fallout are really what mattered. So for once in AEW? The angle means more than the action, despite featuring four fantastic young stars.


The story now leads up to a four-way battle for the belt at the promotion's signature premium event. This is a match that will bring the history of the company full circle, as these are the four men that Tony Khan anticipated would stand atop the card someday.

Well, that day has finally arrived. And four roads that began four years ago will diverge... at Double or Nothing.


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