SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
AEW DYNAMITE REPORT
FEBRUARY 7, 2024
PHOENIX, ARIZ. AT FOOTPRINT CENTER
AIRED LIVE ON TBS
Commentators: Excalibur, Taz, Tony Schiavone
Ring Announcer: Justin Roberts
Attendance: WrestleTix reported this afternoon that 5,103 tickets have been distributed so far; arena is set up for 5,205.
—The show opened with a firework display. They showed a wide shot around the arena which looked to be one of the biggest crowds they had in a quite a while. The upper decks were completely darkened. Excalibur hyped the opening match between “Hangman” Adam Page vs. “Swerve” Strickland which was presented by Ric Flair’s “WOOO! Energy.”
(1) “HANGMAN” ADAM PAGE vs. “SWERVE” STRICKLAND (w/Prince Nana)
Hangman was walking backstage. Hangman came out to a strong reaction. Strickland was walking backstage with Prince Nana. Strickland received a strong reaction. The camera cut to members in the crowd doing Prince Nana’s signature dance. Hangman and Strickland went face-to-face as the match began. Hangman and Strickland were evenly matched at the start. Strickland smiled as he mocked Hangman in the corner. The action picked up as Hangman and Strickland exchanged strikes. The action split to the floor. Strickland launched Hangman over the barricade. Strickland connected with a flying crossbody to Hangman over the barricade. The crowd was firmly behind Strickland.
Hangman responded by sending Strickland flying with a fallaway slam. The crowd booed as Hangman looked into the crowd. Hangman took control rocking Strickland with mounted strikes. Strickland responded by catching Hangman in an octopus hold. Strickland grabbed on Hangman’s arm who broke free. Hangman responded, rocking Strickland with a reverse lariat. Hangman took back control, running Strickland into the barricade. Hangman sent Strickland flying with a fallaway slam on the floor. Hangman and Strickland exchanged chops. Hangman caught Strickland with a knee to the gut. Hangman rocked Strickland with a sliding boot. Strickland grabbed the ropes to force a break. Hangman called for the Buckshot Lariat. Strickland charged as Hangman backdropped him onto the ring apron. Hangman went for a flying moonsault but Strickland moved. Strickland caught Hangman with a rolling flatliner on the floor. Strickland took back the lead hitting a fosbury flop on the floor. The crowd cheered as Strickland did his dance.
Strickland planted Hangman with a powerslam. Strickland maintained control hitting a suplex. Strickland connected with House Call for a two count. Hangman responded by biting Strickland’s face. Hangman went for a sunset bomb but Strickland flipped over as he looked to land on his head. Strickland looked to save it by getting his hand down on the landing. Hangman caught Strickland with a popup powerbomb for two. The crowd chanted “This Is Awesome!” The crowd booed as Hangman called for the Buckshot Lariat. The crowd went wild as Strickland rocked Hangman with the Buckshot Lariat. Strickland connected with Swerve Stomp but Hangman kicked out for a great two count. The action moved back to the floor. Hangman caught Strickland with a DDT onto the barricade. [c]
Hangman and Strickland exchanged stereo boots as they returned from break. Strickland caught Hangman with a backbreaker for two. Strickland caught Hangman in the tree of woe. Strickland followed rocking Hangman with a flying double stomp. Strickland grabbed another table. Strickland called for the 450 Splash but Hangman got his knees up. Hangman caught Strickland with a rollup for a two count. Prince Nana mocked Hangman with his crown at ringside. Strickland launched Hangman who grabbed hold onto the ropes. Hangman rocked Strickland with a lariat. Hangman connected with the Buckshot Lariat. Strickland placed his foot on the ropes.
Hangman planted Strickland with the Dead Eye onto the ring apron. Hangman wanted a count-out win. Prince Nana did his signature dance at ringside. Strickland made it back into the ring at the nine count. Hangman delivered a baseball slide sending Strickland back to the floor. Hangman grabbed a chair. The crowd booed as Hangman whacked Prince Nana with a chair. Strickland responded by booting a chair into Hangman’s face. Strickland connected with Swerve’s Stomp. Strickland’s knee buckled on the landing. Strickland called for the JML Driver. Hangman rolled through as he pulled on Strickland’s injured leg. Strickland responded by running Hangman into the ring post. Strickland delivered a Dead Eye off the ring apron sending Hangman crashing through a table on the floor. The crowd chanted “Holy S*it!” Strickland called for Swerve’s Stomp but Hangman moved. Hangman called for the Buckshot Lariat. Strickland caught Hangman with the JML Driver. Strickland sold his leg. Strickland covered Hangman. The bell rang as they reached the time-limit draw.
WINNER: Time limit draw in 30:00.
—The crowd booed the draw finish. Strickland grabbed a mic and said he wants five more minutes. Strickland tossed the mic in Hangman’s direction. Hangman began laughing. Hangman said Strickland had to beat him to become number one contender. Hangman said Strickland didn’t beat him. The crowd booed. Hangman said Strickland will not be World Champion. The crowd booed. Hangman left the ring. Tony Schiavone stood up from the commentary table. He said Tony Khan spoke to him and said this wasn’t done. He said they have two number one contenders. He said there will be a Three Way match at Revolution between Samoa Joe vs. Hangman vs. Strickland for the AEW World Title. Hangman looked irate. Strickland was smiling.
(Amin’s Thoughts: This was the third match between Hangman and Strickland. It was going to be a challenge for Hangman and Strickland to match their previous two matches. I’ve now seen all three of the matches. All three matches were excellent. This was a tremendous back and forth action packed match. The time limit draw worked to set up a three-way for the AEW World Title.. The time limit draw also leaves the window open for another match between Hangman and Strickland. The post-match angle was great with Hangman teasing a heel turn not giving Strickland the five more minutes. This works to set up the double turn with Hangman going heel and Strickland going babyface.) [c]
—Renee Paquette interviewed AEW World Champion Samoa Joe backstage. Joe pretended to be happy at first about having to defend the title in a three-way. He got serious saying the match between Hangman and Strickland was a draw. He said no of them deserve to be in the ring with him. He said the powers to be stacked the deck against him. He said they don’t want him as champion. He said it’s not their choice. He said he’s the world champion. He said he will leave Revolution as champion.
—Deonna Purrazzo came out next. Purrazzo received a mild reaction at best. Purrazzo joined commentary for the next match.
(2) “TIMELESS” TONI STORM (w/Mariah May & Luther) vs. RED VELVET
The screen turned black and white. The crowd cheered as “Timeless” Toni Storm came out with Luther and Mariah May. Red Velvet got less than a mild reaction at best. Velvet shined early, rocking Storm with a leg lariat. Storm responded rocking Velvet with mounted strikes. Storm took control, planting Velvet with a sky-high spinebuster for a two count. [c]
Storm and Velvet exchanged strikes as they returned from break. Velvet made a comeback catching Storm with a wheelbarrow bulldog. Velvet connected with a standing moonsault for a two count. Storm caught Velvet charging as she tripped her into the turnbuckle. Storm took advantage rocking Velvet with a hip attack. Storm planted Velvet with a snap DDT for a two count. Velvet caught Storm with a victory roll for two. Storm caught Velvet with an ankle lock. Storm looked in Purrazzo’s direction. Velvet tapped out.
WINNER: “Timeless” Toni Storm in 7:05
—The screen turned black and white. Storm refused to release the hold. Purrazzo left the commentary table. Purrazzo entered the ring. Storm and Purrazzo had a stare down. Storm smelled Purrazzo’s face. Luther stepped between Purrazzo and Storm. Storm left the ring with May. Luther pointed his finger in Purrazzo’s direction. Purrazzo waved Luther out of the ring.
(Amin’s Thoughts: This was just a pretty basic women’s match you see on Dynamite most weeks that don’t usually get a lot of time on TV. It’s hard to get behind Velvet who has fine matches but mostly comes out on the losing end against the bigger stars. Storm shouldn’t be losing this match because she has a title defence on the next PPV. It would be nice to see Velvet get some wins against an established star at some point so fans can get behind her wanting to see her succeed. I liked the layout with Storm showing Purrazzo she can match her when it comes to submissions.)
—Renee was backstage with Orange Cassidy, Trent Beretta and Rocky Romero. Renee asked Orange about defending the AEW International Title against Tomohiro Ishii on Collision. Beretta said, “that’s weird.” Orange shrugged. Renee said they are also facing the Undisputed Kingdom on Rampage. Renee asked Orange if he’s worried about the wear and tear on his body? Orange said it will be fine. Renee said Rocky is stepping in for Chuck Taylor who’s injured. Renee asked Orange for an update. Orange said Taylor is here and getting checked on. Orange said he’s going to see Taylor getting checked on. The interview ended in an awkward way given Orange’s laid back on screen character. They all reacted casually and played it up normally. Renee asked them to put their hands in. They all gave Renee high-five. [c]
(Amin’s Thoughts: Why would anybody care or take the AEW Rankings seriously when someone who’s not signed to the company is getting random title matches? Doesn’t this actually show that wins and loses don’t actually matter in AEW when anybody from a different promotion can step right in and get a title match?)
—Blackpool Combat Club made their entrance from the crowd. They came out to Jon Moxley’s entrance theme. They got a great reaction from the crowd. Mistico was seated ringside with Star Jr. and Esfinge.
(3) JON MOXLEY, BRYAN DANIELSON & CLAUDIO CASTAGNOLI (Blackpool Combat Club) vs. MASCARA DORADA, HECHICERO & VOLADOR JR.
Danielson and Hechicero began with some mat wrestling. The crowd popped as Hechicero rolled Danielson around the ring catching him with a rollup for a near fall. Dorada delivered palm strikes which Claudio no-sold. Dorada caught Claudio with a head scissors. Claudio rolled to the floor. Volador caught Moxley with a hurricanrana. Volador followed by catching Moxley with a tope on the floor. BCC went after the CMLL wrestlers. The referee pulled both teams apart. Moxley used Volador’s momentum, launching him to the floor. Moxley caught Volador with a tope on the floor. The CMLL wrestlers went after Moxley. The referee pulled both teams apart. [c]
The crowd cheered as Claudio swung Volador around the ring as they returned from break. Volador responded by catching Moxley with a superkick. Dorada went for a double springboard arm drag on Danielson and Moxley but was miss-timed. Dorada launched off Moxley catching Danielson with a hurricanrana. Hechicero and Volador delivered stereo tope to all members of BCC on the floor. Dorada delivered a springboard shooting star press onto everyone on the floor. The crowd chanted “This Is Awesome!”
Hechicero caught Danielson with a spinning backbreaker. Dorada followed by hitting a 450 splash onto Danielson but Claudio and Moxley made the save. Dorada caught Claudio with a spinning Code Red but Moxley made the save. Claudio and Hechicero exchanged strikes. Hechicero caught Claudio in a knee bar but Danielson made the save. Hechicero next caught Danielson in a stretch muffler but Moxley made the save. Hechicero caught Claudio with a guillotine leg drop for a two count. Claudio shoved Hechicero into the referee. Claudio nailed Hechicero with a low blow. Claudio covered Hechicero for the win.
WINNERS: Jon Moxley, Bryan Danielson & Claudio Castagoli in 14:50
— Mistico, Star Jr. and Esfinge jumped the barricade after the match. They entered the ring. Matt Menard, Angelo Parker, Matt Sydal and Christopher Daniels ran down. The CMLL wrestlers left the ring. Excalibur said they all don’t get along, but have pride being part of AEW.
(Amin’s Thoughts: This was a really fun trio’s match with everyone getting a chance to shine. I gotta give BCC tons of credit as they sold like crazy to make the CMLL wrestlers feel like a big deal. This AEW and CMLL angle isn’t really working for me. Claudio won the match after a low blow. It was just more confusing because Taz on commentary made the CMLL wrestlers to be out as heels after the other Mistico and the other wrestlers entered the ring after the match. That’s after Claudio won via heel move. I’m also not really sure why AEW is introducing more CMLL wrestlers onto the show. I would rather wait to first establish the CMLL wrestlers to your audience who you introduced last week. Is the thinking they are going to get the CMLL wrestlers over by beating AEW mid-carders but not the top talent?)
—The camera cut backstage. The Undisputed Kingdom were beating up Chuck Taylor backstage. Adam Cole told Taylor “Get Well Soon!”
—Tony Khan was backstage for his big announcement. He said people might have heard earlier that Dynamite was returning to TD Garden in Boston. Ticketmaster apparently announced earlier Dynamite was coming to TD Garden. He confirmed Dynamite was coming to Boston. He called it “Big Business!” He said tickets go on sale on Saturday and will take place in five weeks. He said it’s going to be one of the most important nights ever in AEW and said the entire pro wrestling industry will remember. They showed a Boston graphic. It was spelt “BO$$TON!”
(Amin’s Thoughts: They are doing the same promotion just like The First Dance show in Chicago when CM Punk made his debut. That looks to be the show where Mercedes Mone formally known as Sasha Banks will make her AEW debut. There will definitely be excitement for Mone’s debut. The bigger question is will there be the same amount of excitement after the first show? It remains to be seen if Mone actually does big business for AEW.)
(4) CHRIS JERCIHO vs. KONOSUKE TAKESHITA (w/Don Callis, Powerhouse Hobbs)
Chris Jericho made his entrance. The crowd sang along to “Judas.” There was a sign in the crowd that read “Jericho, go back to Toronto!” Konosuke Takeshita came out with Don Callis and Powerhouse Hobbs. Schiavone fumbled over Takeshita’s name as he was making his entrance. Jericho took control early, sending Takeshita to the floor. Callis slapped Takeshita across the face to motivate him. Takeshita took control, sending Jericho crashing into the barricade. Takeshita planted Jericho with a brainbuster on the floor. Jericho battled back catching Takeshita with a flying axe handle smash.
Hobbs grabbed Jericho by the leg. Sammy Guevara ran down whacking Hobbs in the back with a chair. Hobbs no-sold it. Guevara caught Hobbs with a flying cutter on the floor. Sammy grabbed a chair and whacked Hobbs right across the face. Hobbs’ hands were down so he couldn’t protect himself. This got a groan from Schiavone. That chair shot was unnecessary. Jericho caught Takeshita with a springboard dropkick. Jericho wore Takeshita’s mask as he climbed the ropes. Jericho delivered a flying crossbody which looked bad as he mostly missed Takeshita on the floor. [c]
Takeshita caught Jericho with a face buster as they returned from break. Takeshita delivered a sliding dropkick as Jericho’s face ricocheted right into the ropes. Takeshita delivered a tope con hilo which mostly missed Jericho on the floor. Takeshita went for a flying senton but Jericho got his knees up. Jericho went for a Lionsault but Takeshita got his knees up. The crowd was split. There were “Jericho” chants. The chants were mixed with boos from the crowd. Jericho went for the Walls of Jericho. Takeshita countered into a rollup for near fall. Takeshita went for a crunchy but lost his balance as both men landed awkwardly on the mat. Takeshita managed to maintain control hitting a wheelbarrow German suplex. Takeshita went for a flying clothesline but Jericho caught him with a Codebreaker for a two count.
Jericho went for a Lionsault. Takeshita caught Jericho with a Blue Thunder Bomb for a two count. Takeshita went for a power drive knee but Jericho blocked. Jericho went for the Judas Effect but Takeshita blocked. Jericho whacked Takeshita with a stiff palm strike. Jericho rammed Takeshita into the corner. Jericho went for his corner punches. Takeshita countered by dropping Jericho onto the turnbuckle. Takeshita delivered an avalanche Blue Thunder Bomb but Jericho kicked out for a close two count. Jericho went for a power drive knee. Jericho countered into the Walls of Jericho. Callis tossed a chair into the ring. The referee removed the chair. Callis stabbed Jericho with a screwdriver. Takeshita applied the Walls of Jericho. Jericho’s hand went down twice but didn’t give up. Takeshita applied the Liontamer as Takeshita tapped out.
WINNER: Konosuke Takeshita in 13:50
(Amin’s Thoughts: Why are we still seeing unprotected chairShots in 2024? Those chair shots should be banned from all wrestling shows. Excalibur tried to protect by saying Hobbs was late getting his hands up. Good on Excalibur for not fully putting the blame on Guevara. Those chair shots just aren’t necessary. Jericho and Takeshita worked hard as they were trying to have a good match. There were just lots of sloppy and miss-timed spots. The match just went way too long. We already saw the blueprint with Hobbs running through Jericho on Dynamite when they had a match. Takeshita has two clean wins over Omega on PPV. Why does Takeshita need help from Callis to beat Jericho? The good part is Takeshita at least got the win. Can we now move on from this Jericho and Callis program? I mentioned last week in my Dynamite review. This program between Jericho and Callis isn’t helping either Hobbs or Takeshita.)
(6) BIG BILL & RICKY STARKS vs. DARBY ALLIN & STING — Tornado Tag match for the AEW Tag Team Titles
Darby Allin and Sting came out to a huge reaction. Sting hugged his family at ringside. The match began with both teams brawling in the crowd. The crowd went wild as Sting delivered a balcony dive onto Big Bill and Starks. The crowd chanted “Holy S*it!” The crowd cheered as Sting got up and roared. [c]
Sting delivered a stinger splash to Big Bill against the barricade as they returned from break. Big Bill responded by rocking Sting with a lariat. Big Bill caught Darby going for a tope with a Bossman Slam on the floor. Big Bill slammed Darby’s face on the mat. Big Bill and Starks placed a table on the floor. Sting returned, rocking Big Bill and Starks with strikes. Big Bill went for a running boot. Sting responded by draping Big Bill onto the ropes. Starks caught Sting with a Scorpion Death Drop but Darby made the save. Starks went for a flying moonsault but his knee buckled. Darby tossed Starks to the floor.
Sting connected with a stinger splash to Big Bill. Darby caught Big Bill with a Code Red. Darby delivered a flying Coffin Drop to Big Bill on the floor. Sting caught Starks in a Scorpion Death Lock. Big Bill carried Darby on his back up the ring. Darby raked Big Bill in the eyes. Darby delivered a flying tackle sending Big Bill crashing through a table. Starks pulled himself against the ropes to break free. Starks removed the turnbuckle padding.
Starks moved as Sting went crashing into the exposed turnbuckle. Starks had second thoughts about delivering a spear. The crowd cheered as Sting roared. Starks delivered a spear but Sting kicked out for a great two count. Starks went for a spear. Sting caught Starks with the Scorpion Death Drop to win the titles. This got a huge reaction from the crowd.
WINNERS: Darby Allin & Sting in 13:45 to win the AEW World Tag Team Titles.
(Amin’s Thoughts: This was a fun action packed match. I give Sting all the credit for wanting to entertain the fans by still doing crazy balcony dives. The bumps Darby Allin takes in his matches are just as crazy. I liked the finish with Starks hesitating about wanting to beat Sting before his retirement. That slight hesitation cost Big Bill and Starks the titles. It was a nice moment seeing Sting win his first AEW title.)
—Sting called his family into the ring. Sting hugged his sons. Darby and Sting hugged. There was a confetti celebration. The crowd booed as Matthew & Nicholas Jackson attacked Darby and Sting with baseball bats. Matthew and Nicholas attacked Sting’s sons with baseball bats. Matthew and Nicholas were wearing all white. Darby was busted open. Darby’s blood was all over Matthew and Nicholas’ jackets. Matthew and Nicholas delivered the EVP Trigger to Darby. Nickolas nailed Sting with a running punt kick. Matthew and Nicholas dropped the AEW Tag Team Titles onto Nick and Sting. Excalibur in a disgusted tone said the reputations of the Bucks were destroyed and they would never recover after what they did. The show ended.
(Amin’s Thoughts: It was good to see Darby and Sting have a quick moment to celebrate. Sting celebrating with sons after winning the title was a nice moment. Sting’s final match will most likely be the main event on the Revolution PPV. This was a great angle to put tons of heel heat on Matthew & Nicholas so you now want to see Darby and Sting get their revenge.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: This was a strong episode of Dynamite. The opening match between Hangman and Strickland was excellent. The main event match was very fun. The post-match angle was a strong heat angle. They also set up the two big title matches for the Revolution PPV on the show. Takeshita beating Jericho was the right move but didn’t feel like a big deal. The AEW and CMLL angle just isn’t clicking with me. There was lots of good stuff to enjoy on the show. Overall, a very good episode of Dynamite.