SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
AEW DYNAMITE REPORT
NOVEMBER 22, 2023
CHICAGO, ILL. AT WINTRUST ARENA
AIRED ON TBS
Commentators: Excalibur, Taz, Tony Schiavone
Ring Announcer: Justin Roberts
-The Dynamite opening aired.
-They cut to a view of the stage which advertised Ric Flair’s energy drink sponsor on the video boards.
-They went to the announcers who hyped the Continental Classic tournament. Excalibur said everyone is banned from ringside, so if there’s interference, they’ll be disqualified and have points deducted. They hyped the three scheduled tournament matches: Jon Moxley vs. Mark Briscoe, Jay White vs. Rush, and Swerve Strickland vs. Jay Lethal. Excalibur also touted the belts on the line – ROH World Hvt. and NJPW Strong Open Weight.
(1) “SWERVE” STRICKLAND vs. JAY LETHAL – Continental Classic Tournament match
As Swerve came out, the announcers talked about how it’s amazing he’s even able to walk given what he went through last Saturday at Full Gear. Lethal looked over his shoulder on the ramp, noting that he’s used to having a clown show at ringside for him helping him win matches. The bell rang five minutes into the hour. Schiavone said not since the 1980s have three promotions come together to create a Triple Crown Championship in the United States.
They battled onto the ring apron in the opening minute. Taz noted the tape on Strickland’s shoulder and said there’s no way he’s 100 percent. Lethal went after Swerve’s arm and then dove through the ropes and knocked him into the ringside barricade. Lethal had a few words for the ringside camera and then flipped off the fans. Lethal geared up to strut, but then stopped and flipped off the fans again. Swerve took control at 2:00 as the announcers noted Rampage starts an hour before Collision on Saturday. Schiavone said even if Lethal wins and earns three points, Swerve could still win the tournament. They took turns striking each other mid-ring, with Lethal going after Strickland’s taped shoulder and Strickland targeting Lethal’s left leg. They cut to a double-box break at 6:00. [c/db]
Back from the break, Swerve superplexed Lethal. Lethal went for a figure-four and then a stretch muffler. Lethal escaped by grabbing the bottom rope. Lethal rolled up Swerve for a two count. Lethal rolled into a mat hold. Swerve escaped and kicked Lethal in the head and then landed a top rope Swerve Stomp for the win.
WINNER: Swerve in 14:00 to earn three points in the Continental Classic.
(Keller’s Analysis: The announcers did a good job not taking for granted that viewers inherently understand how the round robin tournament works, emphasizing that it’s not a single-elimination situation. This was what you’d expect from these two. It was a Jay Lethal-style borderline three-star solid match with a predictable outcome. It wouldn’ve been a heck of a statement for the first tournament match to have Strickland lose, attributed to the Texas Death match, because it would have thrown into question other “obvious outcome” match-ups.)
-Renee Paquette was about to interview Orange Cassidy, Hook, and Shibata. Wheeler Yuta interrupted as Cassidy was about to make an announcement. Wheeler said he hasn’t forgotten about Shibata. He said it makes him sick seeing him walk around with “his” ROH Pure Title. He said he should watch his Pure Title match and he vowed to take the title back. Cassidy said he had an announcement, but Renee told him they were out of time. Orange looked sad.
-MJF’s music played. Adam Cole’s music blended into it and they came out together. Cole was still on crutches with his left leg in a boot. Cole sat on a chair mid-ring. MJF grabbed a mic and said, “Cut the music.” He kissed up to the crowd by mentioning a local bar, deep dish pizza, and complementing the “girls” in the audience. He touted being the youngest and longest-reigning AEW Champion of all-time. He said sometimes he can be too humble, so he’s going to talk himself up. He yelled that he’s the greatest AEW Champion of all time. He closed with, “I’m better than you and you know it.”
MJF turned to Cole and said none of that was possible without Cole. Cole said it’s great to be back in Chicago and still ROH Tag Team Champions. He gave credit to Samoa Joe for helping. Cole said he’s nowhere near returning to action. He said he will come back at 100 percent and be the best he’s ever been. He said he’s worried for MJF, though, because it seems the entire world is gunning for him.
MJF said he doesn’t have to worry about him. When he talked about the Devil, the lights went dark and the Devil appeared briefly and laughed with a distorted voice. Samoa Joe then came out to his music. Joe said MJF went out to the ring against all odds and he now stands there still as AEW Champion. He took a shot at Cole not being able to help him, saying Cole is “less able.” Joe said he came to Chicago to make sure MJF honors the pact that he give Joe a title rematch. MJF said Joe should stand back because his breath stinks. He said he’s thought about his rematch request. He was bleeped when he said: “Blow me.” Joe grabbed MJF and shoved him against the rope. Cole begged Joe to let go of him and let him talk to him. Joe let go. Cole thanked him.
Cole told MJF that what he just said was the old MJF, but the new MJF is a man of his word. Cole said the fans don’t just love him because he’s a great wrestler and a great interview, but also because he does what he says he’s going to do. Fans chanted, “He’s our scumbag.” MJF said if Joe wants to face him for the belt, “You wouldn’t be the first Ring of Honor legend I’ve defeated here in Chicago – twice.” He said they should do it tonight. Cole thought that was going too far. Joe said, “Absolutely not.”
Joe said if they wrestled tonight, he’d beat him and then MJF will go on the Internet and whine about how he wasn’t 100 percent. He said by Worlds End, he should be “nice and chipper.” MJF asked if he’s saying he wants to face him Dec. 30 at Nassau Coliseum. He called Long Island the most magical place in all the world. Chicago fans booed. MJF told then not to boo because it’s his truth. He then agreed to the match with Joe. They shook hands. He then told fans he loves Chicago deep dish pizza, so calm down. He said facing him on his home turf is “about as bright as copping head from an alligator.” He said based on the way Joe is looking these days, he doesn’t have a lot of options.
Joe said from now on, MJF is considered his property. He said nobody touches his property unless he says so, so everywhere he goes, he’ll be a few steps behind him and then strangle him unconscious in front of his family and friends at Worlds End. Joe’s music played as he left the ring.
-The announcers reacted to the segment and plugged the next match. [c]
(2) HOOK & KATSUYORI SHIBATA & ORANGE CASSIDY (w/Danhausen) vs. JAKE HAGER & ANGELO PARKER & MATT MENARD
Hook, Shibata, and Cassidy each got ring entrances and walked to the ring together. Hager, Parker, and Menard were already in the ring. Taz wondered what Cassidy’s announcement was. Cassidy ran over to ringside and grabbed the mic. He said he had a Thanksgiving surprise. Out came Danhausen. The bell rang 42 minutes into the hour. Hager landed a swing splash out of the corner for a two count on Hook, then complained to the ref. They cut to an early double-box break. [c/db]
Hook took a beating during the break. Hook made a comeback against Angelo Parker and delivered a T-Bone suplex and then tagged in Cassidy. Shibata landed a pump kick on Hager a minute later and then chopped away at him in the corner. He landed a running dropkick in the corner. Parker and Menard attacked Shibata. As the heels set up a triple powerbomb on Shibata, Danhausen jumped onto the ring apron and had Hager’s purple hat. Hager chased after him. Danhausen cursed him. Cassidy then dove onto Hager. Cassidy rolled into the ring and struck a casual pose. Parker and Menard chased after him, but Cassidy rolled to the floor. Shibata and Hook applied sleepers. Cassidy knocked Hager off the ring apron. Parker tapped out to Hook.
WINNERS: Hook & Cassidy & Shibata in 8:00.
-Renee interviewed Cole backstage. She wished him a speedy recovery. Cole said he can’t wait to start physical therapy. He said he’s glad MJF kept his word and gave Joe the rematch. Roderick Strong was wheeled in by Matt Taven and Mike Bennett and yelled “Adam!” Strong said Action Andretti dropped him on his head last Friday. Cole told Roddy to just shut up. He said he’s not his best friend anymore and told him to back off and leave him the hell alone. Strong said Cole didn’t mean that.
(Keller’s Analysis: Although this whole thing with Cole and Strong is camp, Cole’s acting isn’t always the best in terms of tone, so it’s hard to know if it’s worth reading into how he comes across, but he came across a little more mean than called for, and it seemed even the crowd reacted sympathetic to Strong since Cole came on so strong.) [c]
-Excalibur talked about Will Ospreay signing with AEW and announcing it at Full Gear. Schiavone plugged tickets going on sale for the second Wembley Stadium event next August.
-Christian, Nick Wayne, and Luchasaurus made their ring entrance. Christian said a true champion is humble in victory and gracious in defeat. He said things didn’t go their way at Full Gear. He said he can say in all sincerity that he didn’t lose the match. He said Nick Wayne did not lose that match, either. He turned to Luchasaurus and said that he lost the match. He said he was trying to figure out how to get over the loser aura. He said he has made both of their lives better since associating with him. He said since they are both his children, he wants to recreate both of them in his image.
Christian told Luchasaurus to “take a knee.” Luchasaurus didn’t do it at first. Schiavone this has to be embarrassing for Luchasaurus. Excalibur said Christian hit Luchasaurus with the TNT Title belt which led to him losing. Christian called Luchasaurus a moron and ordered him to drop down to one knee. Luchasaurus finally did. Christian said his name Luchasaurus will forever be associated with losing. He said he came up with a name that means victory and has served him well throughout his career. He called him Kill Switch. He said he will forever he known as that. Luchasaurus hung his head.
He turned to Wayne, and Wayne kneeled immediately. Christian told him to stand. Christian told him to never got on his knees for another person. “You’re different, Nick,” he said. “You’re special. You’re the son I’ve always wanted.” He said he’s the golden boy and he sees things in him he’s never seen in another person. “You are me,” he said. “I love you, Nick.” He said he will now be known as “The Prodigy” Nick Wayne. Nick’s mother, Shayne Wayne, jogged out to the ring. Christian asked what she was doing out there.
Shayna tried to talk some sense into Wayne. Christian told her she is a terrible mother. Christian said loving his son isn’t good enough. He said she couldn’t even provide for Nick since she earned “merely” $40,000 a year as a waitress. He said it’s a good thing his father is dead already because Nick would’ve disowned him anyway. He said Nick would’ve realized his father wasn’t nearly the man or father that he is. Shayna shook her head and got welled up with emotion. Christian told her that if she played her cards differently, things could have worked out differently. Christian told her to get out of his ring right now.
Luchasaurus stepped between Christian and Shayna. Christian told him to drop to his knees. Luchasaurus shook his head no. Fans chanted “Luchasaurus!” Christian slapped him and said they can do it the easy way or the hard way. Christian said he’ll make him take off his mask and show everyone why he wears the mask. “Now back down!” he yelled. He shoved Luchasaurus, who knocked into Shayna who landed hard against the middle rope. Fans and announcers gasped. Wayne looked down and seemed concerned. He looked at Christian, who told him to get out of the ring.
Wayne then picked up a chair from under the ring. He slid the chair to Christian who set up a Conchairto. The announcers said someone has to stop this. Taz said they shouldn’t even film it. Christian wound up, but then ordered Luchasaurus to hit her instead. Luchasaurus wound up, hesitated, and then Adam Copeland’s music played and he ran into the ring. He speared Wayne and kicked Luchasaurus in the face. Luchasaurus yanked Christian to safety at ringside. Copeland then speared Wayne again as soon as Wayne stood. He delivered an Impaler next.
From the ramp, Christian yelled, “No! That’s my child!” Copeland then delivered a Conchairto to Wayne as his mom watched at ringside. Shayne entered the ring and checked on her son as Copeland’s music played.
(Keller’s Analysis: Christian was tremendous, as usual, as a despicable heel. The tease of pushing Luchasaurus too far is a good story to continue with. Copeland was good in his intensity. The idea that Wayne’s mom was going to get hit with a chair felt too far and unrealistic. And then Copeland destroying Wayne in front of his mom feels like it could be the trigger that sends her to Christian after all.)
-Renee interviewed Parker, Menard, Hager, and Anna Jay backstage. Hager was upset about the hat. Jay said she’s tired of the losing and the in-fighting. She said he’s going to help herself. Parker’s phone rang at that moment and the camera picked up the image of Ruby Soho appearing on the screen.
(3) RUSH vs. JAY WHITE – Continental Classic tournament match
Rush came to the ring first with his LIJ cohorts, who then had to leave. Jay came out The Gunns, but the ref ordered the Gunns to leave. The bell rang 12 minutes into the second hour. White bailed out to ringside seconds into the match. Rush got the better of White at ringside. He pulled a rope out from under the ring. The ref threatened to DQ him. White made a comeback in the ring and they cut to a double-box break at 3:00. [c/db]
Rush made a comeback after the break and played to the crowd. They fought back and forth for several more minutes. White raked Rush’s eyes and then gave him a Uranage for a near fall at 12:00. Rush fought back with a hard chop. White countered with his own chop. They went back and forth. Rush blocked a Blade Runner and shoved White, who bumped in to the ref in the corner. White then used a low-blow as the ref’s back was turned, then hit the Blade Runner for the win.
WINNER: White in 14:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: The second tournament match has cheating, which wasn’t really necessary. It’s not like Rush would be destroyed if the guy who just got a World Title match on PPV got a clean win on him. If the point of banning people from ringside was to send a message there’d be clean finishes, this isn’t a good sign. Why not also have a second referee at ringside to catch cheating that the in-ring ref misses to really enforce the idea of having these tournament matches feel like they’re going the extra mile to find out who the best wrestler is rather than the best cheater? The action itself was good.) [c]
-They showed a scene of downtown Chicago.
-A clip aired of Ricky Starks & Big Bill retaining the AEW Tag Team Titles at Full Gear. Then a clip aired of Chris Jericho confronting Starks & Bill at the post-PPV press conference. Then a clip aired of Starks and Bill attacking Jericho backstage and rammed a rolling a crate into his right arm. Excalibur said it was an attempt to take away the Judas Effect from Jericho’s arsenal.
-R.J. City and Renee were standing on the stage. They acted like presenters at the Oscars and announced her as the AEW Women’s Champion. They cut to her and her butler in the crowd as the screen went black and white. She acted all surprised and made her way up the ramp. She tripped, but then recovered and kissed the cheeks of Renee and R.J. Excalibur plugged the latest Pro Wrestling Illustrated with Toni Storm on the cover.
Storm then gave an acceptance speech. She said she didn’t have anything prepared, but then took out some notes. She thanked Anthony Khan and the good folks at Warner Discovery, “especially Jack Warner.” The music began to play her off, but she said she wasn’t done. She said she had a message for the little Toni Storms out there. She said they want to be her, but it’s her spot and they will not take it and they will not make it. She told them to stay in school and maybe learn a trade. Her music played her off. The big screen above the entrance on the stage flashed “Standing Ovation!”
Skye Blue made her way out and she eyed Storm as she walked past her. Taz said it was very disrespectful of her. [c]
(4) ANNA JAY (w/Angelo Parker, Matt Menard) vs. SKY BLUE vs. RUBY SOHO (w/Saraya)
Excalibur noted that Soho and Jay were friends at one time, but Jay turned her back on Soho to join the Jericho Appreciation Society. The bell rang 40 minutes into the hour. Schiavone said Dynamite will stay on the air until the conclusion of the final match which has a 20 minute time limit. They fought at ringside at 2:00. Jay kicked Blue off the ring apron to the floor. Menard and Parker yelled at her. Jay stomped on Blue in the ring as they cut to a double-box break. [c/db]
Jay kicked Soho at ringside and threw her back into the ring. Soho fought back in the ring. Blue leaped off the top rope and took both down with a bodypress. Skye set up a Code Blue, but Jay countered and slammed her to the mat. Soho broke up the cover. Blue kicked Soho off the ring apron, and Soho leaped into the arms of Parker. They held on for a while. Menard yelled at Parker. Saraya pulled Soho away by her hair and scolded her. Blue then pinned Jay in the ring. Taz said where there’s love, there’s problems. Excalibur said Taz has had a different experience with love than other people.
WINNER: Blue in 10:00.
-Renee interviewed Wardlow backstage, who was doing arm curls with equipment. She asked what he’s waiting for since he has set his sights on MJF. Wardlow said the downfall of the devil will take place on his clock. A.R. Fox told him he sees what he’s doing because he used to blame everyone else for his problems; he said he did the same regarding Darby. Wardlow said he doesn’t need advice from anyone and he headbutted him.
(5) MARK BRISCOE vs. JON MOXLEY – Continental Classic tournament match
Briscoe made his entrance first. Mox came through the crowd. The bell rang 53 minutes into the hour. The announcers plugged Eddie Kingston vs. Brody King and Claudio Castagnoli vs. Daniel Garcia for Collision in tournament matches. Moxley got in early offense. Briscoe landed a leaping somsersault neckbreaker on the floor. The announcers discussed potential tournament winners. Back in the ring, Mox and Briscoe exchanged strikes. They cut to a double-box break at 3:00. [c/db]
Back from the break, they showed Briscoe was bleeding from the face. Mox landed a DDT and scored a near fall.
Briscoe blocked a King Kong Lariat and took control with an overhead suplex for a two count. As Mox and Briscoe continued to fight, the announcers talked about the possibility of a 20 minute draw and both wrestlers getting one point in that situation.
Mox hit a Paradigm Shift. Briscoe launched with a quick dropkick from the ground. Both were slow to get up. Briscoe got the better of Mox and then landed a top rope flying elbow for a two count at 10:00. Mox blocked a Jay Driller and landed a King Kong Lariat and Death Rider for a dramatic near fall. Mox and Briscoe exchanged mid-ring strikes and then delivered a stomp and a Death Rider for the win.
WINNER: Moxley in 12:00 in a Continental Classic tournament match.