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AEW DYNAMITE REPORT
JANUARY 4, 2023
SEATTLE, WASH. AT CLIMATE PLEDGE ARENA
AIRED LIVE ON TBS
Commentators: Excalibur, Taz, Tony Schiavone
-The new Dynamite opening aired with the same song but a red and blue color scheme.
-They went live to the entrance stage with pyro blasting. The stage is different, without the entrance tunnels, but about the same scale as before. The ring apron and ringside barricades still have the old black and gold logo.
(Keller’s Analysis: So they changed the colors on the opening theme and the entrance stage and added red and blue to the arena ribbon boards, but they didn’t update the ring aprons or barricade logos? This is an okay fresh coat of paint, but it felts half-done and on the lowest end of expectations for a hyped visual makeover marketed as the start of a “new era.” It’s almost like the new ring apron and barricade banners didn’t arrive on time, because I can’t imagine a graphics/visual-oriented professional doing a partial color scheme change like this. Very underwhelming.)
(1) CHRIS JERICHO (w/Angelo Parker, Matt Menard) vs. RICKY STARKS
Jericho came out, accompanied by Angelo Parker and Matt Menard, to his entrance song “Judas.” Fans were into Starks early and just red-hot overall. The announcers talked about it being a long time coming to run Dynamite in Seattle. They said they’ve been welcomed with open arms. Starks took it to Jericho a minute into the match. Starks strutted on the top rope as he held onto Jericho’s arms before leaping off with a chop to Jericho’s head. He followed with a sitout faceplant for a one count. Jericho and Starks battled for leverage on the ring apron. Jericho thumbed Starks in the eye and then suplexed him to the floor. They cut to a split-screen break at 5:00. [c/ss]
The background during the split-screen break incorporates the red and blue laser theme as a framing and background imagery. Jericho dominated during the break. They went to a wide shot and Excalibur said everyone can look at their new set and that they’d have more details on it later. Starks raised his knees on a Lionsault attempt at 9:00. Starks then climbed to the top rope, but Jericho moved when he flipped off the ropes. Starks sold a tweaked knee, but managed to sidekick Jericho and score a two count anyway.
Jericho blocked Roshambo and then applied a Walls of Jericho. Starks crawled toward the bottom rope, but Jericho resisted. Fans were red-hot. Menard distracted the ref as Parker jabbed Starks in the face with the baseball bat. The ref turned back and dropped Starks’s arm twice. Starks lifted his arm the third time. He then rolled out of the Walls and small packaged Jericho for a near fall. Starks landed a tornado DDT seconds later. He fended off Menard and Parker, then speared a charging Jericho for a clean three count.
WINNER: Starks in 12:00.
-After the match, Jake Hager, Daniel Garcia, and Sammy Guevera charged out and attacked Starks. Action Andretti ran out for the save. He had burn marks around his left eye from the fireball last week. He cleared the ring of the heels with chairshots and then showed fire toward the hard camera. Anna Jay distracted him as Tay Melo gave him a low blow from behind. The heels swarmed Starks and Andretti. Hager powerbombed Starks off the ring apron through a table at ringside.
(Keller’s Analysis: Solid but unspectacular match. A statement decision by AEW to give Starks a clean win over Jericho. It was the right call. The post-match attack was enough to give them their heat back.)
-Excalibur hyped upcoming matches and segments. [c]
-Tony Schiavone introduced “Hangman” Adam Page from the ring. As Hangman walked out, Excalibur said it just takes a while to recover from a head injury. Schiavone asked his status. Hangman said he’s still not medically cleared to compete. Schiavone said he was sorry to hear that. Hangman said if he takes a red eye home tonight and takes the last brain scan, he would be cleared for next week in Los Angeles. He said he will fight Jon Moxley next week one way or another “and I will knock your dick in the dirt.” Schiavone gasped. Moxley’s music played and he came out.
Fans loudly chanted “Moxley! Moxley!” Mox told Hangman he’s surprised he made it there “after everything you’ve been through.” He didn’t say that with a heart full of sympathy and kindness. Fans chanted, “We can’t hear you!” Mox grabbed another mic. It seemed to work. He started talking again, but it glitched out. Mox got genuinely frustrated and said, “What the f—!” He leaned in the corner and said, “Seattle, let’s get this back on track. Jesus Christ.” He said he’s sick of the candle light vigil for Hangman. He said he wrestled two months with a torn tricep. “No one has gotten knocked down more times than I have in this business,” he said. He said seeing him “play the victim because you got knocked out” makes him sick.
Hangman asked if he thinks he’s mad at him because he was knocked out. He said he’s been knocked out by enemies, strangers, and his best friends. He said it’s an unfortunate part of what they do. He said he’d never be mad at him for that. He told Mox that he doesn’t seem like one for nuance so he’d keep it simple. He said his issue is he called him to the ring and didn’t let him get a word in before he cracked a joke. He said he nearly took his career away from him, but he thinks he told a joke because he felt threatened. He said the first thing Mox would do if he got knocked out is come back for revenge.
Hangman said he’s had a month to stew on what he said to him and two months to stew on him knocking him out with a lariat. Mox began pacing intensely. Hangman tried to stay in his face. He said he has two lariats in the chamber with his name on them and he gets them in the Forum in L.A. Mox said the only joke that he thinks is funny is that he thinks next time is going to be any different. He said he will make sure next time he doesn’t get back up. Mox left through the crowd.
(Keller’s Analysis: Other than the technical glitch with the mic – perhaps the only time Moxley longs for his WWE days – that was a good, intense promo. They needed to cover the base that Hangman didn’t resent getting knocked out. I will say, this felt like they were making it up after the fact, though. I think Hangman and Mox are almost always better off as babyfaces taking on a heel who fans want to see get beat up by them, though. Why make fans choose between these two?)
-A vignette aired with soundbites from Samoa Joe talking about Darby.
(Keller’s Analysis: These promos are Joe at his best. Sometimes it’s all about finding the right setting and context and format to focus on the strengths of someone, and Joe is stellar in these types of vignettes with the soundbites as he stares into the camera.)
(2) THE ACCLAIMED (Max Caster & Anthony Bowens w/Billy Gunn) vs. JAY LETHAL & JEFF JARRETT (w/Sonjay Dutt, Satnum Singh) – AEW Tag Team Title match
Caster began: “Yo, listen, yo. Hey Jeff, you’re wife better say less; she’s getting crapped online worse than Skip Bayless.” He also said Jarrett will blame his loss on Dixie Carter. He closed with “TNA stands for Total Nonstop Acclaimed.” Taz said the last rap caused issues within the household of Jarrett. He said it was “legitimate tension between Jeff Jarrett and The Acclaimed.” Schiavone said not to take sides, but it hit close to home.
Early in the match, Lethal slid to ringside and slapped Gunn unprovoked. Gunn entered the ring to go after him. The ref blocked him and ejected him from ringside. They cut to a split-screen break. [c/ss]
Jarrett took control in the ring during the break. Caster and Lethal tagged in a minute later. Caster took control and tagged Bowens back in. Jarrett shoved Caster off the top rope. Lethal and Jarrett hit Bowens with a convoluted double-team move for a near fall. Lethal applied a figure-four on Bowens mid-ring. The ref ejected Satnum and Lethal from ringside after they threw Caster into the ringside steps. Satnum gave the ref dual middle fingers. Three referees ran out to make sure Satnum left as ordered. Meanwhile, Jarrett and Lethal waited for Bowens to stand. Bowens blocked a Lethal Injection, but Jarrett landed the Stroke. Bowens put his leg over the bottom rope, but Jarrett shoved if off the bottom rope as Lethal got the pin. As Jarrett and Lethal celebrated being new champs, one ref explained to the main ref what happened. They restarted the match.
Jarrett threw a fit as Lethal ran over and stomped away on Bowens. Bowens and Caster came back. Lethal went for a cover with his feet on the ropes, but Bowens rolled through and pinned Lethal.
WINNERS: The Acclaimed in 12:00 to retain the AEW Tag Team Titles.
(Keller’s Analysis: Decent action, elevated by the crowd being really into it. This had the vibe of matches Jeff Jarrett had in TNA where he booked really elaborate finishing sequences and one layer and false finish and twist and turn after another.)
-Schiavone conducted a sitdown interview with Britt Baker and Jamie Hayter. Baker acknowledged their relationship was a little rocky at first, but they’ve worked it out and now Hayter is the champion. Baker said Hikaru Shida and Toni Storm were great opponents but Hayter came out as champion. Baker said Jamie is champion and she is the boss. “She’s the killer and I’m the pillar,” she said.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good segment to further establish and clarify the dynamic between Baker and Hayter. It seemed to indicate they’re good now, but Baker might still be big-footing Hayter despite not being champion in terms of their relationship.)
-A promo aired with Jungle Boy who introduced Hook as his partner to take on Big Bill & Lee Moriarty next week in Los Angeles, which he pointed out is his hometown.
(3) BRYAN DANIELSON vs. TONY NESE (w/Josh Woods, Mark Sterling)
The crowd went bonkers for Danielson. Danielson played into it and had a big smile on his face. Taz said it’s because there aren’t a lot of successful people out of Washington state. Woods grabbed Danielson’s boot at the start of the match, giving Nese the advantage. Nese scored an early two count after an intense running knee. Danielson took over and threw a barrage of Yes Kicks at Nese’s chest as the crowd chanted along. Nese blocked one kick and rolled up Danielson for a two count and then rammed him into the corner. He went for another running knee, but Danielson moved. Danielson then hit the Psycho Knee and played to the rabid crowd. Danielson did the body stomps and then applied a submission mid-ring for the win. Excalibur tried to give Nese credit for bringing it early, ignoring that Woods created the unfair opening by interfering from ringside.
WINNER: Danielson in under 4:00.
-Afterward, Danielson said it was great to be home. He said he was feeling a little froggy and was ready for another fight. He called MJF out to the ring. MJF walked out and got a huge reaction. He called him “Brain Damaged Bryan.” He said Danielson probably wants him to wrestle him tonight. “How about no,” he said. He said he doesn’t get his rocks off putting his body on the line to “entertain these schmicks” like Danielson does. MJF said he gets a big fat check whether he wrestles or not, which is what makes him a special attraction.
He said with all due respect, if Lance Storm and Dean Malenko were able to procreate and have a child, they’d be more charismatic than him. “Just because you look like a goat doesn’t mean you’re the Greatest Of All Time.” He said back in 1981, it wouldn’t surprise him if Mama Danielson, like all the other mothers in Washington, couldn’t find a human suitor. Danielson said since they’re telling jokes, all the wrestlers in the back talk about all of the human suitors MJF’s mom had. He said there’s probably a lot of them in the arena right now. He pointed at fans in crowd. (Is it okay to bring MJF’s mother into this? What did she do wrong?)
MJF told Danielson he really thinks he’s the best wrestler in the world. He said he is because he is the AEW Champion. He asked who died and made him the king of wrestling – journalists who never left their mother’s basements or the fans without an athletic bone in their bodies. Fans chanted “Asshole!” at him. MJF said top guys have endorsed him like Disco Inferno, Eric Bischoff, and Jim Cornette.
Danielson interrupted and said he should just shut up. He said they’ve heard his spiel a million times. He said he hates him and it’s time for them to fight. Danielson made a move toward the entrance stage. MJF retreated to the announce desk area. He told Danielson to hold on one second. He said he came to Seattle as a favor to him to smarten him up. He said this isn’t play wrestling, it’s pro wrestling. He said in AEW, wins and losses matter, and if he wants a shot at him, he has to become the no. 1 contender. Fans chanted, “Shut the f— up!” MJF said, “No!”
MJF said he spoke to Tony Khan earlier and got him to agree that if Danielson wrestled every week and won every week until Feb. 8, he would become the no. 1 contender. MJF said if he can win every week until Feb. 8, he’ll give him a match March 5, at Revolution for the title. Danielson said no. He said he’ll just wrestle when he wants and become no. 1 contender. MJF went into a rage and said he has to become no. 1 contender only if he does things his way. “It’s my way or it’s no way!” he said. “Got it?!” He said he’ll put Mark Sterling on him if he doesn’t. Danielson said Sterling is a terrible lawyer.
Danielson said he’ll agree to his cute little stipulation as long as he lets him decide on the stipulation for their match at Revolution. MJF called a fan “a fat skank.” He said he’s fine with Danielson picking the stip. Danielson said his stip will test whether MJF really is the best wrestler – a one hour Iron Man match. Schiavone said, “Do it, dumbass! Do it!” Danielson asked “Is Maxipad scared?” Schiavone said, “I can answer that.” MJF fumed and then said, “Goddammit, you’re on!” He said he’s not worried because he won’t make it past one. He said he is a choke-artist anytime he’s given a big opportunity.
Danielson said he’s going to run through every single opponent he puts in front of him now until Feb. 8. He said he will go on to “expose that you don’t have the cardio, that you haven’t put in the work.” He said he’ll show that the reason he doesn’t wrestle more often is that he’s not good enough to wrestle every week. He said he’ll put the nail in his coffin and kick his damn head in.
(Keller’s Analysis: Really good segment. It’s nice to see Danielson fired up like that. I also think it’s smart to play up that MJF rarely wrestles and have babyface opponents call him out for it. MJF reacted effectively to Danielson’s zingers and had to regain his composure several times. The way he reacts to being called out helps stave off fans cheering him.) [c]
-They showed a postcard shot of Seattle.
-A video previewed Orange Cassidy vs. Kip Sabian for the All-Atlantic Title.
(4) SERVE STRICKLAND (w/Mogul Affiliates) vs. A.R. FOX
Excalibur noted Strickland is from the area and wrestled on the indy scene there. As Fox came out, Excalibur noted that Strickland said he’s going to be tying up some loose ends since Fox was something of a mentor for him early in his career. A few minutes in they cut to a split-screen break after Swerve leaped off the ring apron and kicked Fox in the jaw. [c/ss]
Swerve controlled the action during the break. Fox made a comeback with an enzuigiri after the break. Swerve countered a cutter into a back suplex, which was cool. He then hit a Flatliner for a near fall. Fans chanted “This is awesome!” at 7:00 as the action continued. Parker Boudreaux gave Swerve something that he used to knock out Fox. Swerve then gave Fox a Death Valley Driver off the top rope onto the ring apron. Fans chanted “Holy shit!” Swerve then climbed up to the top rope and looked around to the crowd and smiled before landing a double stomp for the win.
WINNER: Swerve in 9:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: I get posturing to the crowd before hitting a finisher is tempting, but it doesn’t work when the move you’re about to do requires your opponent to be sitting up and staring at you the whole time as you milk the moment. Otherwise, a really good match. Swerve looked really good here and Fox played his part well. Swerve feels like a star on the rise in AEW.)
-Renee Young conducted a sitdown interview with Saraya, Toni Storm, and Shida backstage. Renee asked who her tag partner is going to be in L.A. next week. Saraya said they’ve been trending every week about it and she’s excited about that. She said AEW has the best female wrestlers and matches in the world. She then turned and told Toni she’s going to be her partner. Shida’s jaw dropped and she threw her head back and looked dismayed and disrespected.
(Keller’s Analysis: I suspect Shida is supposed to be the heel there, but Saraya delivered the news to Toni in a way that really did seem disrespectful toward Shida.)
-Austin and Colten Gunn came out and looked solemn for a “funeral” for the careers of FTR’s Cash Wheeler and Dax Harwood. They had posters of them on easels in the ring. Colten said he’s not sure he can get through it, but he’ll try. He talked about FTR traveling the world and winning a lot of tag team titles. “Not AEW, though,” he snidely added. Austin said as 2022 came to an end, their decrepit dad bods couldn’t hold up. He said they lost their titles and “even started a podcast no one listens to.” He said they destroyed their legacy in ten minutes. He asked the fans to stand up for a moment of silence in honor of FTR’s career. Excalibur said FTR weren’t there tonight, but then suddenly their music played. Excalibur said they wrestled last night at WrestleKingdom. The Gunns laughed because the fans thought they were actually there. He said they will never work in AEW again because they are the new living legends. “Top Guns, out!” he said.
-A video package hyped the final match in the Best of Seven Series.
(5) JADE CARGILL & RED VELVET vs. SKYE BLUE & KIERA HOGAN
As Jade made her way to the ring, the announcers noted that Justin Roberts isn’t there because his mom has been sick. They also acknowledged the death of Don West. They cut to a break a few minutes in as Jade tagged in. [c/ss]
Jade chokeslammed Blue and then told Velvet she set up a win for her. Velvet, instead of tagging in to get a win that Jade was already taking full credit for, jumped off the ring apron. Blue rolled up Jade for a near fall. Jade fired back with a pump kick and a quick three count.
WINNERS: Cargill & Velvet in 7:00.
-Excalibur plugged Rampage and Battle of the Belts, plus next week’s Dynamite.
-Renee interviewed Lethal, Jarrett, Dutt, and Singh backstage. Jarrett was ranting. Renee said they’ll have a no holds barred match at Battle of the Belts. Jarrett said they’ll be the new tag champions on Friday.
-Excalibur plugged next week’s Dynamite line-up.
(6) SAMOA JOE vs. DARBY ALLIN – TNT Title match
Darby made his ring entrance first. Darby hugged Nick Wayne, Buddy Wayne’s son, whom Excalibur noted has signed an AEW Futures contract. When Samoa Joe made his ring entrance, he grabbed Wayne and yanked him by his shirt. Darby attacked him with his skate board. They fought up toward the stage. Darby flipped off a ladder on the stage and kicked Joe in the head as he crashed down. Fans chanted “Darby!” The ref called for the bell to finally officially start the match once they entered the ring. They cut to a very early split-screen break. [c/ss]
Joe controlled the action during the break. He methodically battered him and eventually put him in a sleeper. It appeared Darby was out, but he managed to stand and pound his chest and ram Joe head-first into the exposed turnbuckle. He then landed a Code Red and two Coffin Drops to score a three count. Confetti dropped as Darby celebrated. Sting came out and celebrated with Darby who acted like he wasn’t expecting him but was happy to see him.
WINNER: Darby in 9:00 to win the TNT Title.
(Keller’s Analysis: As Joe had Darby in a sleeper, I was thinking this was an impressive stretch for Joe who they were building up effectively to be a potential PPV main event heel. Then Darby made his sudden comeback and the focus shifted back to him and his potential to be an effective TNT Champion and draw for AEW. It was a tough choice who to put over here, and either way was a win.)