The John Report: AEW Dynamite 01/03/24 Review

aew dynamite january 3

This week’s AEW Dynamite featured Orange Cassidy defending the International Title, plus words from Adam Cole following his reveal as The Devil.

It’s the first AEW Dynamite episode of the year following the Worlds End PPV.

This was AEW Dynamite episode #222 from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. Follow me on Twitter/X @johnreport. Let’s get to it.

It’s Wednesday and you know what that means. Excalibur was on commentary with Tony Schiavone and Taz.

Dynamite started with new AEW World Champion Samoa Joe talking about beating MJF for the title. The interview was from after Worlds End with Joe holding the title. Joe talked about how he was a man that wasn’t about predictions, but he keeps promises. Joe bragged about going in front of MJF’s family and friends and taking everything from MJF. Joe said MJF might be a scumbag while Joe said he’s a heartless son of a bitch. Joe said he’ll take everything from anybody who tries to take this title from him.

Let’s Hear from Adam Cole and Friends

Adam Cole walked out with his friends Roderick Strong, Wardlow, Matt Taven and Mike Bennett. Cole was on crutches due to his surgically repaired ankle. The word Undisputed appeared on the screen.

Cole was seated in the ring while his friends dressed in black were behind him. Cole called the fans stupid for not seeing it coming. Cole said that MJF ran down everybody in the locker room and if what he did makes him The Devil then you can buy him a first class ticket straight to hell. Cole said that MJF had his claws hooked into AEW for far too long. Cole claimed that MJF was gone and never coming back. Cole spoke about how MJF would have done the same thing to him while claiming that MJF needed Cole while Cole didn’t need MJF. Cole said that he sacrificed everything for the friendship and that’s how he broke his damn ankle. Cole talked about how none of you would be cheering for MJF without him and “Better Than You Bay Bay” is him. Cole said that he saved MJF’s World Title reign and then he ended it. Cole talked about how this was about the World Title, but it became more. Cole spoke about how this was about ripping a heart out and bringing a man to his knees. Cole said MJF is dead as the fans chanted “shut the f**k up” at Cole.

Cole announced the group’s name as the Undisputed Kingdom. Cole talked about Bennett & Taven as the ROH Tag Team Champions. Cole said his real best friend Roderick Strong is going to go after the International Championship. Cole spoke about how Wardlow is going to go after the AEW World Championship and when the time is right, Cole said Wardlow will give the title to Cole. Wardlow seemed to agree with that.

Cole mentioned Samoa Joe saying they had no problem doing business with him. Cole spoke about taking about Hangman Adam Page as well. Cole said he hopes Joe isn’t the champion when Wardlow takes the title because it would hurt to take out a friend.

Cole said that AEW needed a change and they were here to give that change to you. Cole said that The Devil is here to stay.

Analysis: When Adam Cole was in WWE NXT he led the Undisputed Era group, so now he’s leading the Undisputed Kingdom group. I like the name. Cole’s promo covered quite a bit without being too long and it made a lot of sense from his perspective. Cole laid out their goals of winning titles. I think this group will get a big push this year.

Jay White was alone talking about how he didn’t like when Adam Cole had his henchmen attack White in the past. Jay said now he’s going to get some payback, so White was joined by the Gunn Club. Wardlow helped Cole out of the ring. Wardlow went back in and it was a 4-3 advantage for the UK group.

The Acclaimed’s Max Caster, Anthony Bowens and Billy Gunn ran out to the ring as well, but the Undisputed Kingdom left the ring and left through the crowd. The fans were chanting “scissors” but Jay White got his Bullet Club Gold buddies to leave the ring. The Acclaimed celebrated in the ring to end it.

Analysis: That is good storytelling to have Jay White call out Cole’s group and also to have The Acclaimed show up since they were attacked by the UK group. The UK group beat up a lot of these guys, so they should have other wrestlers coming after them.

Eddie Kingston was interviewed after winning the Continental Classic tournament. Kingston talked about his journey to winning the Continental Crown. Kingston said that beating his brother Jon Moxley gave him so much confidence and it will take somebody special to take the three championships from him.

There were comments from Daniel Garcia about his match against Swerve Strickland later in the show. That’s the main event apparently even though I don’t think Garcia is really a main eventer, but Swerve certainly is.

International Championship: Orange Cassidy vs. Dante Martin

They did some basic stuff early with lockups, headlocks and a monkey flip duel. Dante jumped over Orange’s back, then Orange wanted to do his stupid pocket stuff, so Dante blocked it and Dante got a backslide pin. Dante got a cradle pin for two. Orange bailed to the floor, then back in to knock Dante off the apron and Orange hit a suicide dive with an elbow smash. Orange sent Dante into the barricade two times. There was a fan dressed like Dusty Rhodes so there were “Dusty” chants. Orange put his hands in his pockets, then jogged around the ring and hit a dropkick into the barricade. Dante came back with a suplex on the floor. After 26 minutes, they finally went to a picture-in-picture break.


Martin was in control with an impressive springboard cross body block for two. Dante did some Orange style weak kicks to the leg. Orange avoided a bigger kick and Orange kicked Dante into the turnbuckle. Orange charged, Dante got his feet up and Orange came back with a spinning DDT for two. Orange went up top, Dante jumped up top with him, Orange shoved Dante back and Orange jumped off the top with a diving DDT for two. Orange went for an Orange Punch, but Dante avoided it. Dante lifted up Orange and hit a rising knee left for a two count. Dante went up top and hit a senton splash to the back. When Dante went up top, Orange rolled out of the way so Martin hit a springboard splash off the top for two. They each got nearfalls for two. Orange avoided a charging attack and Orange hit an Orange Punch on Dante for the pinfall win after 13 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Orange Cassidy

Analysis: **3/4 The match was solid, but it really wasn’t that interesting to me. It was worse than most Orange Cassidy title matches. The comedy spots took a lot of out it. It just didn’t feel like Dante had any shot of winning and then the finish kind of came out of nowhere. Orange needs a meaningful feud. It has been a long time since he had a meaningful storyline.

After the match, Orange Cassidy’s friends Danhausen and Hook congratulated Orange. Hook had some chips of course. Dante Martin was checked on by brother Darius and Action Andretti. Orange shook hands with Darius as a sign of respect.

Isiah Kassidy (Zay) and Marq Quen arrive with some ridiculous jackets. Quen is back after a long layoff. Quen talked about how the tag team division was missing something. They said that the tag team division was missing some flavor and it has been missing Private Party. Zay called out all the AEW tag teams like FTR, Young Bucks and even The Hardys. Zay said they will be champions this year.

Analysis: Good for Private Party making their return. They have been in AEW for five years and haven’t come close to being champions. That’s because AEW doesn’t do a good enough job of developing some of their younger talent. I know Quen missed most of the last year, but these guys should be utilized better.

Toni Storm, the AEW Women’s Champion, was championed with Renee Paquette. Luther was there to support Storm. Toni said she was going to go to Broadway while trashing New Jersey. Renee mentioned Mariah May having her debut match. Toni continued to trash New Jersey and said she doesn’t watch wrestling.


House of Black’s Malakai Black & Buddy Matthews did a promo about their match against FTR on Collision this Saturday. They took shots at Dax Harwood’s family since they were wrestling in North Carolina and Dax’s family was even shown a bit in the video.

Swerve Strickland was interviewed by Renee Paquette with Prince Nana standing by Swerve. Nana said that Swerve is the Boss of the Bosses. Swerve talked about how Daniel Garcia had a good showing in the Continental Classic. Swerve said that big pressure is not about making diamonds, it’s about making pain. Swerve said in 2024 he wants to accomplish championship gold. Swerve mentioned Samoa Joe saying he would be coming for championship gold and told him to be ready. Nana asked: “Whose house?” The fans chanted: “Swerve’s House.”

Analysis: I am all for a Swerve push. He is among my favorite wrestlers in AEW and he stole the “Whose House” thing from my LA Rams, so I need to support that.

Mariah May vs. Queen Aminata

May slapped Queen in the face and did a hair-pull takedown. May took down Queen with a headscissors and a running dropkick. May hooked up Queen against the ropes followed by a dropkick to the back. They went to a PIP break.


Queen got some offense with a boot along with three slaps to the face. Queen hit a kick to the back followed by a running knee strike. Queen nailed May with a running elbow smash two times in a row. May came back with a Slingblade. May hit a fireman’s carry sitout slam called May Day for the pinfall win after seven minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Mariah May

Analysis: **1/2 It was an extended squash match with May getting offense for most of the match, Queen made a bit of a comeback and then May finished off Queen easily. Going five minutes without a commercial would have been better.

Mariah May was interviewed in the ring by Renee Paquette. May said she couldn’t believe that she won her AEW debut. May talked about how she has always wanted to be a wrestler and she was proud to be there. May said she hoped Toni Storm was proud. May said it’s the first Dynamite of the year and it’s all about Mariah. May mocked New Jersey saying her only regret was that we had to do this in New Jersey.

Deonna Purrazzo made her AEW debut to interrupt the promo. Deonna went into the ring and did a pose. Renee introduced “The Virtuosa” Deonna Purrazzo to the fans. The fans did a “Deonna” chant.

Deonna Purrazzo said she’s from New Jersey and said if Toni Storm doesn’t want to be here then they don’t want her there either. Deonna told May to tell Storm that no matter where she runs or hides, Deonna will find her. Deonna said that she is All Elite. Taz: “Oh wow.” Yeah, Taz because it was some mystery that she was literally in an AEW ring. Deonna said that we are in the age of The Virtuosa. The fans chanted “New Jersey” at that point. May said she’s not the messenger, so she told Deonna to tell Toni herself…bitch. May slapped Deonna, so Deonna slapped back and Deonna kicked May out of the ring. Deonna celebrated in the ring.

Analysis: Good for AEW signing Deonna Purrazzo and I’m happy for her getting a nice payday most likely. When she was in Impact Wrestling thriving for several years she often times had matches that went 10+ minutes, which is rare for the women in AEW especially when it comes to TV matches. I say that not to complain, but because I want AEW to give their women more TV and more meaningful matches on television. Anyway, I thought May did a nice job of acting like a babyface at the start of promo and then she turned into being heelish by trashing New Jersey. That was the right spot to debut Purrazzo, who is better as a heel, but I think having her be a face in her home state makes a lot of sense. I hope Deonna does well. I just don’t have a lot of optimism when it comes to the AEW women’s division because they barely use some of the women they have.


Let’s Hear from Christian Cage And His “Family”

Christian Cage was interviewed in the ring by Tony Schiavone. Christian had the TNT Title on his shoulder and he was with Killswitch, Shayna Wayne & Nick Wayne. Tony congratulated Christian for being a two-time TNT Champion. Shayna yelled at the fans for booing her. Shayna wanted the fans to stand and pay tribute to the “Patriarch” Christian Cage.

Christian said that it has been 200 days since he won this championship on the first episode of Collision. Tony didn’t think that was right and Christian told Tony not to interrupt him. Christian mocked the fans. Christian thanked Mother Wayne for understanding the vision and said that a mother’s work was truly never done. Christian thanked his boy, Nick Wayne, who put his body on the line. Christian complained about Adam Copeland put this kid through a table to try to end his career. Christian told Nick he loved him. Christian said he would like to thank the man who sealed the victory at Worlds End, who put the final nail in the coffin that is Adam Copeland and then he said he would like to thank himself. Poor Killswitch (fka Luchasaurus), who didn’t get credit for helping Christian.

Christian mentioned that Adam Copeland didn’t know his father and his mother isn’t alive anymore. Christian said that Adam knows that Christian is better than him. Christian said that one of them didn’t have a soul and that’s why he is still the TNT Champion. Christian claimed that what happened at Worlds End was just a glimpse of what he was willing to do to hold onto his title. Christian said that he made this title the most prestigious title in AEW. The fans chanted “Luchasaurus” so Christian said his name is Killswitch. Christian said he’ll carry this TNT Title for as long as he wants until he hands it over to his son Nick Wayne. Christian said that they are the Patriarchy, they run AEW and they are the faces of AEW now and forever. Cage’s music played to end it.

Analysis: Great promo from Christian Cage, who is the best heel in AEW and one of the best talkers in the company. They are obviously building up to Killswitch turning on Christian, so it’s just a matter of when it happens. I guess the Cage-Copeland story is over for now and that’s fine because they can go back to it at a later date when they eventually become a tag team again.

Ruby Soho, Saraya & Harley Cameron were interviewed by Renee Paquette. Ruby wasn’t sure about another blonde who was out of her mind, but she appreciated Saraya’s help. Harley said she was so excited about being part of The Outcasts and she would do anything for The Outcasts. Renee asked what was going on here while the girls just left to end it.

Analysis: I don’t know where this is going. Hopefully Harley does well in this role. Can’t be worse than the QT Marshall group that didn’t have much success at all.

Darby Allin vs. Konosuke Takeshita

Don Callis was on commentary to support “The Alpha” Takeshita. Takeshita did a huge back body drop since Allin is a small guy that goes flying when he takes that move. Allin did an arm drag that sent Takeshita out of the ring. Allin went for a suicide dive, but Takeshita hit a jumping knee. Takeshita slammed Allin back-first onto the ramp. Takeshita rolled Allin twice on the ramp followed by a release German Suplex. The referee checked on Allin. That was a brutal bump. They went to a PIP break there.


The match returned with Allin hitting a move off the turnbuckle. Takeshita was on the floor, so Allin hit a suicide dive using his whole body to send Takeshita into the barricade. Takeshita caught Allin and hit a sitout slam for a two count. The fans chanted “this is awesome” for them. They left the ring with Allin avoided a running knee by Takeshita, who went knee first into the barricade. Allin jumped off the top with a Coffin Drop onto Takeshita on the floor. Takeshita got back in before the ten count. Allin hit a Code Red for a two count. Allin went up top, jumped off with a Coffin Drop and Takeshita got his knees up to block. Takeshita hit a German Suplex leading to Allin doing a flip bump on the mat. Takeshita hit another German Suplex with Allin doing the same bump again. Allin countered a move with an inside cradle for two. Allin hit a Crucifix Bomb pin for a two count. Takeshita nailed Allin with a lariat. Takeshita hit a running kick that Excalibur said “hell of a kick” since he named the Helluva Kick that Sami Zayn uses. That’s the kick that Takeshita did. Takeshita hit a German Suplex off the top rope and did it safely. It looked amazing. Takeshita hit a running knee to the face for the pinfall win after 13 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Konosuke Takeshita

Analysis: ***3/4 That was an excellent match that was very physical when Takeshita was on offense. Allin certainly knows how to take a beating and is also believable when he goes for pin attempts because we have seen him win with a lot of those moves in the last five years. I really liked the match. I’m also in favor of a Takeshita push because he’s such a talented guy that sometimes isn’t used the right way, but now I’m encouraged that they will be utilizing him more moving forward.

Konosuke Takeshita celebrated the win with Callis.


Don Callis was backstage with Konosuke Takeshita, Kyle Fletcher & Powerhouse Hobbs where Renee Paquette showed up for an interview. Callis challenged Sting & Darby Allin to a tag team match next week on Dynamite against Takeshita & Hobbs. Callis said they’ll make it 25-1 in reference to Sting’s current 25-0 record.

Trent Beretta vs. Bryan Keith vs. Brian Cage vs. El Hijo Del Vikingo

Eddie Kingston was on commentary for this match with his three titles as the Continental Crown Champion. The winner will challenge Kingston for the TNT Title on Collision.

Cage ran over Trent and Keith with a double clothesline. Vikingo kicked Cage out of the ring followed by a suicide dive by Vikingo. Trent and Keith got into a slugfest in the ring. Keith hit a high boot to Trent. Vikingo did some flippy routines leading to an armdrag and a twisting headscissors. Cage lifted up Vikingo and tossed him over his head across the ring. Trent hit a knee to Cage along with a half nelson suplex. Trent dove onto Cage on the floor. Trent was walking around the floor wasting time looking at Danhausen, so Cage got up with a brainbuster to Trent on the floor.


Vikingo bounced off the ropes leading to a spin kick on Cage. Vikingo connected with a springboard missile dropkick. Vikingo hit a double knee attack on Cage against the turnbuckle. Vikingo went up top, but Keith stopped that with a headbutt. After Keith knocked Vikingo down, Cage got back up and kicked Keith. Trent got back into it with a German Suplex on Cage from the middle turnbuckle. Trent hit a running knee covered as Vikingo hit a splash to break it up. Keith hit a charging strike on Vikingo so all four guys were down selling a bit. Cage hit his version of the F5 on Keith. Cage with a Powerbomb on Trent and a Ligerbomb got a two count. Danhausen went into the ring and placed a curse on Cage. Keith and Vikingo superkicked Cage. Vikingo hit a moonsault off the top onto a standing Cage on the floor. Keith kicked Trent and hit a suplex. Keith hit a charging headbutt for two. The announcers were screaming about the nearfall while the crowd barely reacted to it. Trent got a hold of Keith on his back and Trent delivered a Strong Zero slam for the pinfall win. It went about ten minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Trent Beretta

Analysis: *** It was a random match for a title shot. Some of these guys barely get TV time, so it was hard to care about the match or get into it. Vikingo does a lot of cool moves and at first, when he appeared he really stood out, but he’s just another guy now. The finish was decent.

That means that Eddie Kingston defends the Continental Crown Championship against Trent Beretta.

Analysis: That’s an obvious win for Kingston.

There was almost a backstage interview with Matt Menard by Renee Paquette that never got started because it was interrupted by “Hangman” Adam Page. That led to Page saying a few weeks ago Samoa Joe got some goons to put him through a car window. Page threatened Joe and Adam Cole. Page dared somebody to give him a reason to go after them.

Analysis: No company in the history of pro wrestling loves interrupting interviews more than AEW. They do it so often.


Swerve Strickland (w/Prince Nana) vs. Daniel Garcia

“Daddy Magic” Matt Menard was on commentary to support Garcia. Menard tried to say these were the two MVPs of the Continental Classic tournament. Didn’t Garcia win one out of five matches? I would call that a loser, not an MVP.

Swerve and Garcia locked up with a headlock as Schiavone said Garcia was “red hot” at the end of the Continental Classic. The man literally went 1-4 in the tournament and won his last match. I know he did win a tag team match after, but the announcers in this company are ridiculous sometimes. Anyway, they did some counter wrestling routine on the mat leading to Swerve getting a headscissors takedown. Swerve kicked Bryan in the chest, but Garcia came back with a knee to the ribs. Garcia hit a running knee to knock Swerve off the apron to the floor. Garcia sent Swerve into the barricade. Nana yelled at Garcia, then they each turned their head and looked at the crowd. Nana did his dance while Garcia did his dance and this was all on the floor with the referee not counting Garcia out. Garcia sent Swerve into the ring post. Nana grabbed Garcia, the referee never saw it and Swerve kicked Garcia. Swerve hit a Death Valley Driver on the apron.


Swerve was in control with a running kick to the head. Garcia trapped Swerve against the ropes leading to a running kick. Garcia hit a dropkick into the turnbuckle followed by a stalling suplex for two. They exchanged strikes a bit and then Swerve hit a sitout slam for a two count. They left the ring with Swerve sending Garcia into the barricade. Swerve shoved Menard so Garcia tackled Swerve into the barricade. Garcia tried to put the Dragontamer submission on the table, but Garcia fell off the table to the floor. I laughed even though it was obviously an accident that he fell down., they had to act like that didn’t happen and got back into the ring. Garcia hit a superplex off the top, but then Swerve countered with a suplex. Garcia hit a knee strike to the face. Garcia with a kick and Swerve no sold that offense leading to a flatliner. Swerve hit a House Call kick for two. Swerve jumped off the top with a Swerve Stomp for two. Garcia got a pin attempt for two. Swerve hit a House Call kick followed by a JML Driver for the pinfall win. It went 13 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Swerve Strickland

Analysis: ***1/4 It was good by the end of it, but some of it was just average. Swerve had many better matches in the Continental Classic tournament. That spot on the commentary table where they slipped and collapsed on the floor was rough. I don’t know why people try doing submissions on commentary tables. They are trying hard to push Daniel Garcia and I understand it since he’s a younger guy, but I think he needs to do more than just a stupid dance in terms of character development. Garcia is a good worker for sure. However, AEW has a lot of great performers in the ring. Anyway, I’m sure they’ll keep trying with Garcia. As for Swerve, he’ll probably get an AEW World Title shot in the next two months.

After the match, Prince Nana did a low blow to Garcia. Matt Menard, who was on commentary, went after Swerve, but Swerve kicked Menard in the groin.

“Hangman” Adam Page walked out to the ring for a staredown with Swerve Strickland. Swerve and Page exchanged punches, but the fight was quickly broken up by referees/security guys. Hangman and Swerve each got loose before being separated again. The crowd was into this. That was the end of Dynamite.

Analysis: I’m all for more Swerve/Hangman. That was the best rivalry in AEW in 2023 in my opinion.


Three Stars of the Show

  1. Konosuke Takeshita
  2. Swerve Strickland
  3. Darby Allin


The Scoreboard

This Week: 7.25 out of 10

Last Week: 7.75


Final Thoughts on AEW Dynamite

This episode was okay, but I wouldn’t say it felt great at any point. There was a lack of star power. I thought it was a weaker card than usual for Dynamite. They didn’t load up with big matches. With that said, the Takeshita/Allin match was a lot of fun and I enjoyed that one. The rest of them were just okay. The announcers are trying really hard to make Daniel Garcia feel like a big deal and I don’t know if the fans agree.

It was nice to hear Adam Cole explain his turn as The Devil and introduce his new group The Undisputed Kingdom. I think Cole is better as a heel and he has a lot of experience leading a stable, so I’m optimistic about that as a storyline.

They have two months until the next PPV so there’s plenty of time to build up stories for that Revolution show.


Thanks for reading. Go Los Angeles Rams, Toronto Raptors & Toronto Maple Leafs. You can contact me using any of the methods below.

John Canton


Twitter/X: @johnreport