A leopard can’t change his spots. And MJF can’t stop being a scumbag.

That’s the hard lesson that Daniel Garcia learned at the end of Wednesday night’s episode of AEW Dynamite, when MJF revealed his true colous, leaving Garcia battered and bloodied after Garcia had already lost a hard-fought battle against Will Ospreay for the International Championship.

MJF’s brutal beatdown of Garcia was a strong closing segment to a night that also featured some Owen Hart Foundation Tournament matches and the TV returns of Britt Baker and “Hangman” Adam Page.


Before the opening video, Renee Paquette was backstage and introduced Daniel Garcia, who she said is quickly becoming the backbone of AEW. He came out with Matt Menard. Daniel said tonight, when he faces Will Ospreay for the International Championship, he will win, and swore on his mother’s life that it would happen.

MJF approached him and reinforced Daniel’s will to win. Garcia tried to talk about MJF’s offer to face him at Wembley Stadium, but MJF told Garcia to focus on his match tonight, and they could talk about that later. MJF then asked to be in Garcia’s corner tonight, and Garcia agreed. Menard said that he didn’t trust MJF originally, but after everything MJF has done for Garcia lately, MJF is okay with him.

Okay, so that pretty much assured us that one of them will turn on Garcia. But which one? Could it be both?


Match 1: Daniel Bryan vs. PAC – Owen Hart Foundation Tournament semi-final round match

They had a good technical wrestling exchange to start things off, but after a Dropkick by PAC, the pace quickened, leading to a big mid-air collision when they went for simultaneous Cross-Body Presses.

A punch to the ear gave PAC an advantage, and he capitalized with an Asai Moonsault to the floor. But instead of going for a pin after rolling Danielson back into the ring, PAC went for a submission hold that Danielson broke when he got to the rope.

After some Picture-in-Picture, they started exchanging some big strikes, with PAC using Danielson’s own Yes Kicks against him, and Danielson responding with a huge Roundhouse Kick of his own that sent PAC to the floor where he ate a Running Knee Strike by Danielson off the apron.


After another exchange of hard strikes, PAC caught Danielson going up top and brought him down the hard way with a huge Superplex for a two-count – that looked really good. PAC tried to follow up with a Black Arrow, but Danielson moved and PAC crashed hard.

A Flying Goat Knee followed, but Danielson covered PAC awkwardly and PAC rolled him into a Brutalizer for a near-fall. This led to them taking turns locking on submission holds and rolling out of them into a pinning position, until finally Danielson was able to keep PAC’s shoulders down for three.

With the win, Danielson has earned his way into the Tournament Finals, next week in Owen Hart’s hometown of Calgary, Alberta.

Winner: Bryan Danielson

In the back, Renee interviewed Willow Nightingale who said that her motto is “Nothing matters. Smile anyway.” Which is her attitude going into the match tonight with her former friend Kris Statlander in the women’s Owen Hart Foundation Tournament.

After a highlight package of the ladder match for the TNT Championship match at Forbidden Door that saw Jack Perry win the gold, they cut to Mark Briscoe in the ring, noting that he was very close to winning, being the last competitor other than Perry on the ladder.

Briscoe said that he was declaring himself as the first member of Team AEW who will face The Elite in the Blood and Guts match taking place in three weeks.

Jack Perry sneaked into the ring behind Briscoe and plastered Briscoe in the back of the head with the belt, knocking him out. Kyle O’Reilly ran in and started beating up Perry, until Okada ran into the ring and blindsided Kyle with the Rainmaker.

Perry continued the assault on Kyle and the Young Bucks came to the ring and hit Briscoe with the EVP Trigger. This brought out the Acclaimed and Billy Gunn, and the Elite ran away through the crowd.

In the back, Renee interviewed Toni Storm who was accompanied by Mariah May and Luther. Mariah takes on Shida on Friday in the semi-finals for the OHF Tournament. Toni told Mariah that she would be upset If Shida beat her. Storm gave May a pep talk, and then they hugged.


Match 2: Kris Statlander (w/ Stokely Hathaway) vs. Willow Nightingale – OHF Tournament semi-final match

As Willow made her entrance, Kris charged at her up the ramp, but paid for it by eating a Pounce that sent Statlander rolling all the way back down. In the ring, Statlander nearly fell going up to the middle turnbuckle but kind of salvaged it with some kind of move onto Willow.

Back from PiP, the two were fighting on the apron and Willow sent Statlander hard to the floor and followed that up with a Cannonball Senton, and followed that up with some more big moves in the ring.

But Statlander had some big moves in her arsenal as well, including an Axe Kick and a German Suplex. Statlander went back to the ropes, but got caught and Willow took her down with a German Superplex. But she immediately sprung back and hit a move.

After some mutual no-selling, Statlander hit an F-5 that finally kept Willow down long enough for Statlander to grab a steel chain that Stokely had placed in the corner. As soon as Kris grabbed it, Willow popped up and went after Stokely who was standing on the apron. Statlander tried to waffle Willow with the chain, but Willow dodged it and rolled up Statlander for the pin.


Winner: Willow Nightingale

In the back, Renee interviewed Jeff Jarrett, who was with Karen, Sonjay Dutt, Jay Lethal, and Satnam Singh. He will face a Wild Card in the final first-round match of the OHF Tournament.

If you didn’t see Jarrett’s emotional promo about the tournament and what winning it would mean to him, you should go do that. I’ll wait.

Jarrett was too emotional to speak, and he left. Lethal told Renee that he had never seen Jeff more prepared for anything in his entire life, and that tonight was about more than a match – it was Jeff’s chance to honor his friend Owen. If Jarrett doesn’t win this tournament and become a big babyface in the process, TK should hang up the pencil for good.


Britt Baker DMD returns to TV

Tony Schiavone was in the ring and he introduced Baker, who came to the ring to great cheers – and a big hug from Schiavone. Who left right after the hug.

Britt did a TED Talk about the past, present, and future. She talked about having suffered a mini-stroke and that’s why she was away for so long. But now she’s back, she’s healthy, and she’s cleared to compete. She said she was nervous about coming back at Forbidden Door, because she didn’t know if anyone would care about her return. And she said when she needed AEW and the AEW fans, she was welcomed back, and she is grateful for that.


About the future, she said that she’d heard there was a new female face of AEW in the form of the CEO. Britt wryly noted that the new face of AEW didn’t actually do anything to help build AEW from the ground up. And she scoffed at the tactic of having “CEO” chants piped into entrance music to try to get the fans to chant along.  She said that the only three letters that matter in this company are DMD. She never mentioned Mercedes Mone by name throughout any of this, which was a nice touch.

When she finished, the Khan-Tron showed a limo pulling up to the building and out came Mone, who was welcomed by the Young Bucks, who told her that her championship celebration was waiting.

With Britt standing in the ring, a bunch of lackeys came out with balloon arches to decorate the ring as part of Mone’s celebration.

And out came Mone with her two titles, the TBS Championship and the IWGP Strong Women’s Championship.

Mone tried to dismiss Britt, but Britt was having none of that, and the two exchanged barbed comments. Britt challenged Mone to a title match at All In, but Mone gave her the Maryse pie-face hand, and told Britt she’d have to get in the back of the line for a title shot. Britt asked her “What line?” and Mone quipped some catchphrase and left.

They showed the closing sequence from the World Championship match at Forbidden Door when Ospreay lost to Swerve Strickland, with Excalibur suggesting that Ospreay trying to defend Don Callis from Prince Nana may have led to him falling prey to the champ Swerve Strickland.

Cut to the back where Renee was with Ospreay and Kyle Fletcher. Before Ospreay could say anything, Don Callis walked up to him. Ospreay took responsibility for his loss to Swerve. He said that he probably should have hit Swerve with the Tiger Driver like Callis wanted him to, and that might have led to a different result, but he wasn’t comfortable doing so – he wasn’t that person anymore.

Ospreay said that Callis has helped him so much and has changed his life for the better. But that he has reflected on things and feels that it’s time he leaves the Don Callis Family. Callis said that normally he wouldn’t let someone walk out on a signed agreement, but he would do him that favour. But noted that one day, he might ask Ospreay for a favor in return. They hugged and Callis and Fletcher left.

Chris Jericho came to the ring, accompanied by a team of security guards who then circled Taz at the commentary desk. Jericho said he wasn’t booked on the show tonight, but wanted to come out as a guest commentator for the next match.

But before he did, he wanted to complain about HOOK having stolen his finishing move at Forbidden Door. He said that his bigger beef was with Taz, who Jericho said did not act like an independent commentator at the PPV when HOOK beat Jericho. So he talked with the Young Bucks and said that he didn’t feel safe doing commentary at the same desk with Taz. So the Bucks decreed that Taz be ejected from the arena for the rest of the night. Security escorted Taz out of the arena and Jericho took his seat.


Match 3: Samoa Joe, Katsuyori Shibata, and HOOK vs. Brian Cage, and the Gates of Agony (Toa Liona and Bishop Kaun)

Joe’s striking skills were showcased in the early moments, and then Shibata’s fake-looking forearms were.

After some PiP, this became a chaotic mess with people running in and not tagging, lots of high-impact moves, and Shibata. Cage set up HOOK for an F-5, but HOOK reversed it into a big DDT and he tagged in Joe who threw around all their opponents.

After more chaos with no tags, the babyfaces locked on simultaneous submission locks on all of their opponents who all submitted.

After the match, Jericho set up the winners for a sneak attack by Big Bill and Bryan Keith who attacked them with chairs and beat them down. They used a chair to Pillmanize Shibata’s arm and then walloped Joe with a chair. Bill and Bryan then held up HOOK for Jericho to blast him in the head with a pair of brass knuckles. Then, on Jericho’s instructions, Bill Chokeslammed HOOK through a table.

This entire segment was a mess.

Winners: Samoa Joe, Katsuyori Shibata, and HOOK


Match 4: Jeff Jarrett vs. “Hangman” Adam Page – OHF Tournament first-round match

Jarrett’s crew accompanied him for his entrance before heading to the back. As Page made his way to the ring, the commentators noted that he was the Young Bucks’ pick as the Wild Card in the tournament, and noting that they had previously suspended him indefinitely, but now he appears to be back in the fold.

Page was intense and aggressive early on, hitting Jarrett with some hard shots with fury – including a huge Lariat that looked like it took Jarrett’s head off.

Page then Powerbombed Jarrett on to the apron, which looked incredibly painful, before he slammed Jarrett’s head into the ring steps repeatedly before spiking Jarrett’s head onto the top of the steps with a modified DDT.

Back in the ring, Page continued the brutal beat-down, barely even giving Jarrett a chance to breathe before hitting with even more offense.

After a PiP, Jarrett mounted a comeback, escaping a Dead-Eye attempt and hitting Page with The Stroke on the apron. Page was knocked loopy and that gave Jarrett some time to recover as Page slowly climbed his way back into the ring.

Fired up now, Jarrett hit a Side Russian Leg Sweep and an Enziguri for a  near-fall. Jarrett then looked to lock on a Sharp Shooter, but Page blocked it and then re-positioned Jarrett and hit a Dead-Eye. But Page didn’t cover Jarrett, instead looking to dole out some more punishment.

Page was looking to hit the Buckshot Lariat, but Jarrett side-stepped it, and when Page hit the mat, Jarrett grabbed his leg and locked on a Sharp Shooter – but Page was able to grab the rope to break the hold.


Page whipped Jarrett face-first into the ropes, and then nailed him with the Buckshot Lariat. But instead of going for the cover, Page ground-and-pounded Jarrett, battering him unmercifully. With Jarrett pretty much out of it, Page picked him up and hit another Dead-Eye for the pin.

After the match, Karen Jarrett came to the ring to check on Jeff’s condition.

This was really good. Jarrett played the babyface role great, though the crowd didn’t really seem to be invested in him, with many times them chanting for Swerve Strickland as a way to annoy Page, as opposed to vocally supporting Jeff.

Winner: “Hangman” Adam Page

HOOK was with the medical staff in the back, but Big Bill and Bryan Keith ran in and attacked him again. HOOK tried to fight back, but Chris Jericho pulled out his Wizard tricks and threw a fireball into HOOK’s face. As HOOK writhed around the ground in pain, Jericho, Bill, and Keith celebrated their villainy. At this point, all Jericho needs is a big giant moustache so he can twirl the ends and become a complete cliché.


In the back, Renee Paquette tried to interview ‘Hangman” about his match, but the Young Bucks barged in. They kicked her out and congratulated Page on his win. They said after lifting his suspension, he could repay them by being their teammate at Blood and Guts and tried to get all chummy with him.

This wasn’t well-received, and he brusquely told them he wasn’t their puppet anymore, he wasn’t The Elite’s man, and he didn’t need them. He said he was focused on winning the OHF Tournament, and brushed them off and pushed them aside before storming off.


Match 5: Daniel Garcia (w/ MJF) vs. Will Ospreay (c) – for the International Championship

Very quick action to start this one, with both men going a mile-a-minute in trying to get the upper hand. After a huge shot by Ospreay that floored Garcia, MJF yelled out encouragement to Garcia to get him to regroup. This seemed to help, as Garcia then started countering Ospreay’s strength advantage with some quickness.

Ospreay hit a Flying Dive to the floor which led to a momentary face-of with MJF on the floor, but neither of them would take the bait.

After some PiP action, Ospreay was in control, rifling Garcia with huge chops. But Garcia Hulked up and absorbed them all. Garcia then hit Ospreay with a series of Neckbreakers and a DDT that weakened the champ.

But Osphreay had no quit in him, and soon he was back in control after a huge Flying Clothesline. Adding insult to injury, Ospreay hit a few quick kicks right to Garcia’s face. Ospreay then offered Garcia a free shot, but instead of doing a big move to try to win the match, Garcia instead did pelvic thrusts in Ospreay’s face, proving that this so-called company “backbone” is just an indie-minded bonehead.

They exchanged big throws, including a Standing Spanish Fly by Ospreay. Garcia hit a Dead-Eye type move but Ospreay kicked out.

Then Ospreay hit a series of moves in rapid-fire fashion, ending with a Styles Clash, and Garcia kicked out.

Ospreay took off his elbow pad with the apparent intent to hit a Hidden Blade, but whether he hesitated or Garcia scouted it, Garcia avoided it. Then came a sequence where they both tried for finishers with the other one avoiding it. This ended with a huge Piledriver by Garcia, but Ospreay kicked out.

Garcia then hit some more rapid-fire moves.

On the floor, MJF took off his Dynamite Diamond Ring and gave it to Garcia, telling Garcia to put it on and use it against Ospreay. But Garcia refused and handed the ring back to MJF. When he turned back around, he got blasted with a Hidden Blade by Ospreay and that was all she wrote.

Winner, and still International Champion: Will Ospreay

Before leaving the ring, Ospreay consoled Garcia, who was crumpled in the corner in disappointment for his loss.

MJF then went to Garcia and took accountability for costing Garcia the match. He gave Garcia a pep talk, and they hugged.

But then, out of nowhere, MJF punted Garcia right in the Little Daniel, which dropped Garcia to the mat. MJF put on the Dynamite Diamond Ring and was going to blast a prone Garcia right in the kisser, but Matt Menard ran to the ring, and MJF clocked him. MJF then spat on Garcia, and when Garcia got to his feet, MJF clobbered him with the ring, busting Garcia’s head wide open.

After knocking out a bunch of security guards who tried to intervene, MJF went back to beating up Garcia, screaming at the crowd who was angry at him and solidly backing Garcia.

As a bloody Matt Menard tried to pull himself up from the floor, some officials came to the ring to try to stop MJF from doing further damage to Garcia.

They failed. With Christopher Daniels screaming at him, MJF hit Garcia with a Tombstone Piledriver off the second turnbuckle. MJF glared at Garcia with a blank stare as Daniels admonished him for what he’d done. He was going to lay on even more of a beating onto Garcia, but Will Ospreay ran back to the ring and MJF took off through the crowd, jawing and nearly getting into physical altercations with a few of them as he left.

In the ring, medical personnel stretchered out Garcia as a helpless Ospreay, Danielson, and Menard could only look on.

This was a strong – if not predictable – segment to end the show.

TOP PHOTO: MJF beats up Daniel Garcia at AEW Dynamite in Chicago on July 3, 2024.


To Chicago faithful, Ospreay rules, MJF has ‘nuclear heat’

AEW Dynamite - July 3rd, 2024

Wintrust Arena - Chicago, IL

Despite some questionable booking (Jarrett losing in the first round? Really?) and that fustercluck of a trios match, there were some definite good moments in this episode. Britt Baker’s return was well done (though Mercedes Mone is proving how mid she is on the mic with every given week), and a couple of the matches were fairly strong. In the end, though, the main thing that people will remember will be the closing angle. MJF is much better as a heel, and this was a fine way to bring that back. And if it writes Garcia off TV for some time, even better.