This week’s AEW Dynamite featured Bryan Danielson facing Bandido, the TNT Championship on the line in the main event with Darby Allin facing Kushida and more.
I am sure that a lot of AEW talent are dealing with heavy hearts and sadness following the death of Jay Briscoe on Tuesday. Jay died in a car accident. Please drive carefully and wear your seatbelt in a car. It saves lives. Jay touched a lot of lives in wrestling over the course of his 20-year career mainly in ROH and since AEW’s Tony Khan owns ROH, it’s obviously a loss that will affect a lot of people associated with AEW as well. Rest in peace, Jay.
This was AEW Dynamite episode #172 at the Save Mart Center in Fresno, California. Check out the AEW PPV listing archive only on TJRWrestling as well. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Let’s get to it.
This graphic was shown at the start of the broadcast in honor of the late, great Jay Briscoe.
It’s Wednesday night and you know what that means. Excalibur welcomed us to the show with Taz and Tony Schiavone.
All-Atlantic Championship: Orange Cassidy vs. Jay Lethal
This match was set up on Rampage, which I didn’t watch. Sorry. Life gets busy sometimes and I have no time for Rampage. Lethal had “BRISCOE” on his left arm in tribute to Jay Briscoe. They said that if Jeff Jarrett, Satnam Singh & Sonjay Dutt interfere then Dutt is fired. That led to Jarrett, Singh & Dutt watching the match from the crowd.
They exchanged moves to star the match with Orange getting a pin attempt for two. Lethal punched Orange off the apron to the floor. Danhausen showed up to check the tickets of Lethal’s friends and then Best Friends also showed up to sit ringside. Lethal was on the floor for about 45 seconds with the referee not counting him out. Orange hit Lethal with a suicide dive. Back in the ring, Lethal blocked a DDT and sent Orange throat-first into the top rope. Lethal tossed Orange out of the ring leading to Jay tackling Orange into the ring apron followed by Lethal sending Orange into the ring post. Lethal hit a suplex followed by a chinlock. Lethal let go of that leading to a body slam. Orange did a comedy routine rolling out of the way of Jay’s top rope attempts off the top rope four different times. Orange kicked Lethal into the turnbuckle followed by Orange doing the ten count head slam into the turnbuckle. Orange with a cross body block off the top. Orange with a Stundog Millionaire along with a Tornado DDT. Lethal caught Orange coming off the top with a Lethal Combination. Orange avoided the Lethal Injection off the ropes, then Lethal bounced off the ropes and hit the Lethal Injection (Cutter), but Orange rolled out of the ring to avoid being pinned. Taylor dumped popcorn on Dutt. The referee was looking at Dutt instead of watching the match as Danhausen took Jarrett’s guitar from him. Lethal chased after Danhausen like an idiot, Orange got rollup for two and Orange hit an Orange Punch for the win. It went about nine minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Orange Cassidy
Analysis: **3/4 The match was solid, but a lot of the comedy hurt my enjoyment of it. In AEW, they are obsessed with involving so many people in matches and it takes the attention away from the actual match. The work by Orange and Lethal was good. I just think all the chaos was too ridiculous by the end.
Post match, Satnam Singh grabbed both Best Friends, but Sonjay Dutt stopped him or else they would get fired. Jeff Jarrett went into the ring to smash Cassidy with the guitar, but Dutt stopped that. Orange did his comedy kicks to Dutt, but Dutt backed out of the ring rather than react to it.
Analysis: It seemed like a tease for more between the two sides even though Cassidy beat Lethal relatively clean.
A video aired about the TNT Title match with Darby Allin defending the title against Kushida in the main event.
The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) vs. Top Flight (Darius & Dante Martin)
It’s a battle of brother teams with a lot of flips in their arsenal. Nick and Dante did a gymnastics routine for about 30 seconds doing some flips. Dante kicked Nick out of the ring, Matt tagged in and Darius hit a bulldog/trip combination. Dante tagged in with a clothesline, Darius with a suplex, Dante with a senton and a double team dropkick. Bucks dropkicked Darius into the turnbuckle. Double superkick by Bucks to Dante against the turnbuckle. Nick with a kick to the head of Darius and Nick hit a backstabber on Dante he sat on the middle turnbuckle for 15 seconds waiting for the spot.
The Young Bucks were in control against Dante leading to a double team splash/moonsault for two. Dante broke free with a hurricanrana. Darius tagged in with punches, a clothesline and a Spanish Fly from Darius. A suicide dive by Darius onto illegal man Nick on the floor. Darius jumped off the top with a cross body block on Matt for two. Nick tagged in with a superkick on Darius, Dante tagged in, Matt tagged back in and Matt caught Dante for a move, but Darius tripped up Nick to stop that. Top Flight hit a superkick/flatliner, Dante hit a moonsault onto Nick on the floor and Top Flight hit a Powerbomb/nosedive moonsault combo on Matt for a two count, but Nick made the save. Nick hit a facebuster on Darius, then a moonsault onto Dante on the floor and Nick jumped over the top with a Destroyer on Darius for two. The fans chanted “this is awesome” for them. Young Bucks went for a Briscoe Brother move and they hit the Doomsday Devise (a Legion of Doom/Road Warriors move) for two because Dante broke up the pin. Dante sent both Bucks out of the ring and tried a move on the floor, but the Bucks hit double superkicks. Darius avoided the double knee attack and Darius pinned Matt while hooking the legs for the pinfall win after 12 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Top Flight (Darius & Dante Martin)
Analysis: ***3/4 An upset win with Top Flight picking up the big win on a simple pin attempt with Darius holding Matt’s legs to keep him from kicking out. It was an exciting match with a lot of high-flying moves as you would expect from these days. I liked the Briscoe Brothers tribute towards the end of the match, which led right into the pinfall. The Young Bucks losing feels like a big deal, so I’m happy to see it because Top Flight is fun to watch.
The Acclaimed are up next.
Let’s Hear from The Gunns
The Gunns (Austin & Colten Gunn) made their entrance for a promo. They claimed they made The Acclaimed popular and even gave them their dad, Billy Gunn.
The Acclaimed duo of Max Caster & Anthony Bowens made their entrance as the AEW Tag Team Champions. The Gunns tried to cut them off, but Caster told said to shut Austin’s microphone off and hit his music. Yo…listen…yo. Caster did a rap about how they only got their jobs because of their dad and then some of it got muted at the end.
Caster and Bowens went into the ring to fight with The Gunns. Billy went into the ring to break up the fight by pulling them apart. Billy said that next week we’ll sit down and hash this all out. Gunn said he had two words for them: “Family Therapy.” They all left.
Analysis: Okay. That was a bit strange. I don’t see The Gunns winning the Tag Team Titles any time soon.
“Hangman” Adam Page was shown talking to Renee Paquette with Page saying that he was feeling fine. Page spoke about his win over Jon Moxley saying at least he got something by beating Moxley even though it’s not the AEW World Title. Renee said Moxley (her husband) believes that Page and himself push eachother. Page talked about knocking out Moxley last week. Renee asked Page where he needed to go from here. Page said he needs to mend some fences and didn’t want to get too specific. After it looked like it was done, Page asked Renee how he was. Renee said he’s been hurt with something for the ten years she’s known him, so he’ll dust himself off and be okay. Page wanted to ask her something else, but then he stopped himself and moved away.
Analysis: It was Hangman showing some concern for hurting Moxley last week, but Hangman is also happy he beat Moxley as well. I feel like they will do a rematch possibly at Revolution in March if they can wait that long.
Ricky Starks vs. Jake Hager (w/Matt Menard & Angelo Parker)
Chris Jericho joined commentary for this match. Starks took Hager’s hat early on, then Starks walked the ropes until Hager caught him in his arms. Starks sent Hager out of the ring, then Starks got a hold of Starks and hit a boot to the face. Hager put his purple hat on again as he sent Starks into the barricade. They went to a break there.
The match continued with Starks hitting a springboard cross body block on Hager followed by a clothesline. Hager with a double boot to the face, Hager with a Hager Bomb that missed and Starks did a Tornado DDT off the ropes for two. Menard and Parker tried to get involved, Starks managed to outsmart them and Starks hit Hager with a Spear for the pinfall win after six minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Ricky Starks
Analysis: **1/4 A predictable win by Starks since he’s getting pushed while Hager loses most of his rare matches in AEW. They can push Hager being undefeated in MMA all they want, but he’s booked like such a loser in AEW. They only showed about half the match on the full screen due to the commercial. Starks managed to outsmart the Jericho Appreciation Society, which looked stupid by not being able to cheat properly. Starks outsmarted them.
A video aired about Adam Cole announcing his return to action last week on Dynamite after dealing with concussion issues for the past six months.
Bryan Danielson faces Bandido after the break.
Chris Jericho, Sammy Guevara and Daniel Garcia were interviewed by Tony Schiavone. Jericho challenged Ricky Starks to a tag team match next week on Dynamite against Ricky Starks & Action Andretti with Jericho teaming with Sammy. That led to Garcia saying he wanted the spot, Sammy said that Garcia could have it if he beats Andretti on Rampage. They agreed to it. Sammy also gifted Garcia some leather pants.
Bryan Danielson vs. Bandido
The story is that Bryan Danielson has to win every match on Dynamite until early February to earn an AEW World Title match against MJF at Revolution. It will be a 60-minute Ironman Match. Both guys had “JAY” armbands on in tribute to Jay Briscoe. This was the top of hour two.
Bryan got a hiptoss takedown into Bryan trapping the legs and turning it into a pinning predicament. Bandido hooked his legs into the back of Bryan’s legs and did a surfboard submission, but Bryan got out of that. Bryan did his own surfboard attempt and instead stomped on the back of the legs. Bandido kept doing some handgun shots at him. Bryan with a running shoulder tackle, then a sunset flip attempt and Bandido held onto the hands leading to Bryan pulling himself up with headbutts. Bryan with kicks, then a monkey flip and Bandido did a hiptoss. Bandido did a unique submission pulling on the arms, then Bryan to the floor and Bandido hit a suicide dive. Bandido hit a somersault dive over the top onto a standing Bryan. They went to a picture-in-picture break.
Bandido launched Bryan into the air and drove him into the mat face first almost like an elevated flatliner. The fans chanted “this is awesome” for them as they exchanged chops. Bryan with uppercuts, then kicks to the body and Bandido hit a superkick. Bandido off the ropes with a twisting body attack, Bryan barely sold that and Bandido was back up with a kick. Bandido hit a delayed vertical suplex for a two count. Bandido went up top, he jumped off with a Frog Splash and Bryan got the knees up to block. Bryan applied the LeBell Lock submission, but Bandido tried to fight it. Bryan pulled back on the right arm as well leading to Bandido getting his foot on the bottom rope to break the submission. Bryan kicked Bandido in the chest repeatedly with “si” (Yes) chants from the crowd. Bandido blocked a kick and Bandido hit a rising knee to the face almost like a GTS. Bandido went for a German Suplex, Bryan landed on his feet and got a drop toe hold. Bryan with a cradle for two. Bandido with a cradle for two of his own. Bandido worked over Bryan with some light punches and an elbow. Bryan sent Bandido over the top to the floor followed by Bryan hitting running boots to the chest. Bryan jumped off the apron with a running knee on the floor. Bryan went up top, Bandido went after him there and they were standing on the top rope. Bandido hit a fallaway slam off the top with Bandido landing on him. Bandido with the bridging German Suplex off the ropes for a two count. The fans chanted “this is awesome” again. They exchanged elbow strikes along with slaps, Bryan with a kick, Bandido with a superkick and Bandido tried a move, but Bryan got a knee to the face. Bandido powered up Bryan, then Bryan countered it and Bryan got a Busaiko knee with Bandido doing a flip bump to sell it. Bryan covered for the pinfall win after 18 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Bryan Danielson
Analysis: ****1/4 That was a great match. I am very impressed by Bandido just like I have been with Konosuke Takeshita, which is who Bryan beat last week. They had a nice mix of technical wrestling moves, some aerial action and a lot of nearfalls along the way. Bryan winning is obvious because of the stipulation involved, but Bandido looked impressive even in defeat. I enjoyed it.
Post match, there was a message from AEW World Champion Maxwell Jacob Friedman saying he hears people saying he’s not deserving of his position in this company. MJF claimed that after the moments after he’s given the fans, they are fickle. MJF said that he likes to have some fun, but the closer you get to March 5th at Revolution, the more MJF’s mask will slip off. MJF said Bryan doesn’t want that and claimed that nobody does. MJF said that even a dragon doesn’t want a match with a monster behind the mask.
Analysis: A simple promo from MJF trying to make himself look like a threat even though he barely wrestles and ran away from Bryan the last time they were near eachother. MJF taped segments are way less interesting than his promos.
They showed Saraya, Toni Storm and Hikaru Shida talking about last week. Saraya and Storm complained about AEW original women that don’t like them being around. They weren’t happy about Shida using a kendo stick last week that cost them the tag team match. Toni is in action next and Saraya told Shida to stay in the back.
Analysis: I thought it was Shida clearly going heel, but maybe it’s Saraya and Storm going heel. The fans like Jamie Hayter and Britt Baker, so it makes sense.
Next week on AEW Dynamite: Brian Cage vs. Bryan Danielson. Another win for Danielson, obviously.
Brian Cage (along with Prince Nana)was shown backstage with Renee Paquette for an interview. MJF walked up with the AEW World Title around his waist. MJF said he didn’t care if he wins or loses, but he cares that Cage breaks his arm. MJF slapped Cage in the face, so Cage choked him. Prince Nana told Cage to let go and MJF told Cage to use the hate next week. MJF gave Nana the envelope of money and MJF left.
Toni Storm (w/Saraya) vs. Willow Nightingale
Willow was in control with a shoulder block, a belly-to-back suplex and a cross body block. Storm was frustrated, so she slapped and kicked Willow down. Storm did a running hip attack to knock Willow off the apron to the floor. Hikaru Shida went down to the ring with a kendo stick as Storm sent Willow to the barricade.
Willow was in control with two straight splashes in the corner, then a lariat and a kick. Willow hit Storm with a spinebuster for two. Willow hit dropkick off the middle rope. Storm avoided a corner charge and Storm hit a hip attack in the corner. Storm hit a DDT off the ropes for a two count. Willow got a rollup for two. Willow bounced off the ropes with the Pounce to knock Storm down. Willow hit the cannonball in the corner for a two count. Saraya went on the apron and Storm did a ROLLUP OF DEATH~! on Willow for the pinfall win after seven minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Toni Storm
Analysis: ** A cheap win by Storm using the tights to further the story that was pushed earlier about Saraya and Storm not liking the AEW original women. That’s a heelish ending because Saraya distracted the referee leading to Storm getting the rollup and using the tights for the win. Willow is popular with the fans, but she doesn’t get pushed that much.
Post match, Saraya attacked Willow from behind and Storm joined her. Ruby Soho made the save, so Saraya/Storm ran away. The announcers were shocked by the actions of Saraya and Storm.
Analysis: It’s called a heel turn, announcers. I know they have to act like they have never watched wrestling before, but that’s what it was. Saraya going heel so soon after her debut is a bit of a surprise. However, she’ll do well at it.
They did a rundown of Rampage and Dynamite matches including Ethan Page facing “Jungle Boy” Jack Perry on Rampage.
It was main event time up next with Darby Allin defending the TNT Title against Kushida.
Konosuke Takeshita was interviewed by Renee Paquette. Takeshita said he loved wrestling Bryan Danielson because that’s his idol. Takeshita spoke in Japanese, Renee asked what that means and Takeshita said MJF is an asshole. That’s true and it was funny too.
It was main event time with Kushida making his entrance as the challenger. Kushida had two guys from the NJPW LA Dojo with him. Darby Allin was up next as the TNT Champion along with uncle Sting joining him.
TNT Championship: Darby Allin (w/Sting) vs. Kushida
Kushida was making his AEW debut. He’s 187 pounds and Allin is 175 pounds. Allin with a shoulder tackle, then a double leg trip and they fought over armbar submissions. Kushida did a hiptoss followed by a dropkick. Kushida went for a sliding kick, Allin avoided on the floor and Allin sent Kushida into the barricade. Back in the ring, Kushida kicked the left arm. Kushida worked over the left arm by using his feet to twist the arm. Allin jumped over a charging Kushida, then he went for a back attack, Kushida went for a kick, Allin avoided it and Allin hit a Code Red move into a pin attempt for two. Allin jumped off the top with a cannonball onto Kushida’s friends from the LA Dojo. Kushida hit a running armbreaker on the floor on the left arm leading to a break.
Allin fired off with forearms, Kushida hit a cross body block and a jumping kick. Allin caught Kushida bouncing off the ropes leading to a reverse DDT. Allin slapped Kushida in the face, then he ran the ropes and Kushida did a kick to the face to knock Allin out of the ring. Kushida jumped off the apron with a knee drop to the left arm. They exchanged strikes on the apron leading to Allin hit an over-the-top Stunner. Allin took a rough bump on his ass son the apron, but the Stunner was also an effective move. Allin grabbed a chair, he sat Kushida on it and the referee did the slowest countout that just stopped when Allin went back into the ring. Allin went for a dropkick off the top rope onto Allin on the floor, but Kushida applied the armbar on the floor. The referee Bryce Remsburg was doing a slow count again. Allin got back into the ring and then went to the apron. They went to the top rope with Kushida hooking onto the left arm leading to a suplex off the top. Kushida applied the Hoverboard Lock on the left arm, Allin got out of that, hooked the legs for the Last Supper and bridge back for the pinfall win after 14 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Darby Allin
Analysis: ***1/2 A pretty good match with Kushida on offense for most of it as he worked over the left arm a lot, but Allin was able to counter and hit one move for the win. We see that similar format for a lot of Allin matches where he’s selling for the majority of the match, then he hits a couple of moves and finds a way to win. In this case, it was just one move by tying up Kushida’s legs up for The Last Supper win. I think it’s more exciting when Allin wins with a Coffin Drop, but this was a reminder of how he can beat you in multiple ways.
Darby Allin was still selling the left arm injury. They shook hands as a sign of respect. Kushida raised Allin’s arm and they hugged. Excalibur said they are thinking of Jay Briscoe, he’s in our hearts and minds. End show.
Three Stars of the Show
- Bryan Danielson
- Darby Allin
This Week: 7.5 out of 10
Last Week: 9
2023 Average: 8.17
A good show for the most part with several great matches including Bryan Danielson beating Bandido and Darby Allin beating Kushida to keep the TNT Title. While I enjoyed the matches, they are also very predictable. At least there was an upset on the show with Top Flight beating The Young Bucks, which hopefully leads to greater success for the exciting Top Flight team.
While the action was good in the ring, the storylines were lacking a bit. At least there was the Saraya-Toni Storm story where it appears as though they have turned heel while the announcers have to act like they’ve never seen a heel turn before. Anyway, I thought the storytelling was a bit weak throughout the show. Last week was a lot better.
There were some tributes for the late, great Jay Briscoe throughout the night. They also taped a special show in tribute to Jay after Dynamite/Rampage as well. That’s cool.
Free for everyone means free, it will be free (not behind a paywall) on Honor Club, + we'll post the tribute show in entirety on ROH YouTube as well, also free to everyone, as tonight this crew will come together to shoot a special ROH event in honor of the late great Jay Briscoe
— Tony Khan (@TonyKhan) January 19, 2023
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