This week’s AEW Dynamite featured Adam Copeland in action against Minoru Suzuki, Jeff Hardy facing Swerve Strickland, Samoa Joe appearing and more.
One of the stories about AEW over the last week is that they are struggling with ticket sales in some markets. There were comparisons made to WCW 2000 when they were a dying company. It doesn’t mean AEW is dying. They have sold over 15,000 tickets for Sting’s retirement match at the Revolution PPV in Greensboro on March 3rd, but some regular TV tapings are struggling. Tonight’s Dynamite reportedly has about 2,200 tickets sold according to WrestleTix, so that’s obviously on the low side. When that happens, they have almost all the fans facing the camera. While I wouldn’t say the AEW product is hot right now, it certainly isn’t bad either. I hope things get better for the company in terms of attendance.
It’s Wednesday and you know what that means. The commentary team was Excalibur, Tony Schiavone and Taz.
Let’s Hear from Samoa Joe
Samoa Joe made his entrance in dress clothes along with the AEW World Title on his left shoulder. There were a lot of “Joe” chants. Joe said he’s the undisputed, undeniable AEW World Champion. Joe spoke about how opportunities are going to be earned, not given. Joe said that it’s an opportunity to have the worst night of your life and he’ll do them like he did Hook last week. Joe said he’ll beat you down unmerciful, strangle you unconscious and take everything from you.
Hook made his entrance wearing track pants and a sweater. Hook got into the ring with Joe. Hook said last week Joe won, Hook lost and Hook shook his hand. Hook said he doesn’t know when and he doesn’t know where, but he will see Joe again. Joe said he bet you will. Joe told Hook to go to the back of the line and Joe told security to get the unworthy out of the ring. Hook beat up three “security” guys easily. The two actual AEW security guys made Hook leave the ring, so Hook left.
Analysis: It sounds like there might be some long-term plan to build Hook back up. I don’t envision him as the guy to take the AEW World Title from Joe, but certainly, it would make for an interesting storyline. I’m enjoying Joe as the AEW World Champion.
Samoa Joe joined commentary to watch the next match.
“Hangman” Adam Page vs. Penta El Zero Miedo (w/Alex Abrahantes)
Penta has a lot of pyro for a guy who loses too often. They shook hands to start the match followed by some face shoving. My internet streaming went out for a few minutes and returned after the break.
Page sent Penta to the apron and kicked Penta to the floor. Page tried an attack, Penta avoided it and Penta was back in the ring where he ran the ropes leading to a somersault dive onto Page on the floor. Penta jumped off the top with nothing, Page avoided it and Page hit a Death Valley Driver for two. Page worked over Penta with punches along with some head biting. Penta came back with two superkicks and spinning slam off the shoulders for two. Page blocked an armbar attempt leading to Page hitting a Ligerbomb for a two count. They went to the apron to exchange chops. Page kicked Penta away and Page wanted a Buckshot Lariat, but Penta avoided it. Penta hit the Made in Japan slam for a two count. The announcers were stunned by Page kicking out of that move that usually gets a two count for Penta. Page went to the apron where he caught Penta and hit Deadeye on the apron. That always makes me feel bad for Hangman’s knees rather than his opponent. Page hit a moonsault off the top onto Penta on the floor. Page went for a Buckshot Lariat, Penta avoided that and Page stunned Penta a bit leading to a successful Buckshot Lariat for the pinfall win after 13 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: “Hangman” Adam Page
Analysis: ***1/4 A good match with Hangman getting the obvious win. The announcers tried to talk about this match like it was an even matchup, but I doubt anybody watching this thought that Penta had a chance to win. I did like the Made in Japan move by Penta because it looks impressive even though it usually just leads to a two count. I also liked the finish with Hangman having to go for a Buckshot for a second time to get the win.
After the match, Page told Joe he was taking the AEW World Title from him. Joe didn’t agree.
Orange Cassidy, the AEW International Champion, was interviewed by Renee Paquette. Orange accepted Roderick Strong’s challenge for the International Title at Revolution on March 3rd. Orange said he’s going to keep wrestling until then. Orange said he’s going to defend his International Title on Collision against somebody who wins a match on Rampage. Orange said he had to go because Trent had to wrestle Wardlow. And that was it.
The Young Bucks were backstage where they were handed formats for the show. Alex Marvez called them Nick and Matt, Nick told them to call them Nicholas and Matthew. Matt said they were the only surviving EVPs still here. Matt said they were just there to make sure the show ran smoothly. Top Flight were walking around and The Young Bucks asked if they just got there and Darius said they have been there since 1 p.m. while Dante said that the Bucks hired them. The Bucks let them walk away and the Bucks shook hands thinking they are killing it.
Analysis: The heel persona of The Young Bucks is mildly entertaining, which means it’s better than the hardly entertaining babyface gimmicks they had.
Wardlow (w/Adam Cole, Roderick Strong, Matt Taven & Mike Bennett) vs. Trent Beretta (w/Chuck Taylor, Rocky Romero & Orange Cassidy)
Wardlow decked Trent with a clothesline. Wardlow hit his version of an F5 toss off the shoulders. Trent sold like he was knocked out, but then Trent got an inside cradle for two. Trent sent a charging Wardlow out of the ring. Trent hit two dropkicks. Trent for a diving attack, but Wardlow nailed him with a forearm. Wardlow sent Trent into the barricade. They went to a picture-in-picture break.
Wardlow went for a windup lariat, but Trent blocked it and kicked Wardlow out of the ring. Trent hit a suicide dive on Wardlow on the floor, but Wardlow didn’t go down. Trent hit Wardlow in the back with a chair and threw the chair at Wardlow because the referee was looking at the guys on the floor. Trent hit a half-and-half suplex. Trent hit a Tornado DDT. Trent hit a piledriver for two. Wardlow finally got some offense going again after catching Trent off the top and Wardlow hit a powerslam. Wardlow delivered a stiff knee while Trent was by the ropes. Wardlow held Trent above his head and delivered a Powerbomb for the pinfall win after eight minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Wardlow
Analysis: **3/4 I think Wardlow should have won in five minutes or less. I don’t get why they are having him sell for several minutes for Trent, who really is never pushed that much. Wardlow used to win matches in one minute or less, then he joined this group and now he needs eight minutes? That makes Wardlow look weaker. This is a problem in AEW where they like to book longer matches so that a wrestler can do their cool spots.
After the match, Wardlow and the Undisputed Kingdom stared at Trent wanting to do more damage. Trent’s friends went into the ring with him, so UK left. Trent was frustrated and he shoved Orange Cassidy away from him. Wardlow left with the UK group. Orange and Trent seemed to be on the same page again.
This Saturday on AEW Collision is an Escape The Cage Elimination Match: FTR & Daniel Garcia against House of Black. Plus, Bryan Danielson faces Yuji Nagata.
Analysis: That’s against the WWE Royal Rumble. Good luck to AEW on that night. The cage match sounds great while Danielson should beat the Japanese legend Nagata.
A video aired about Adam Copeland facing Japanese legend Minoru Suzuki.
Toni Storm & Deonna Purrazzo Interview
The AEW Women’s Champion Toni Storm and Deonna Purrazzo were seated on the stage with Renee Paquette for an interview. Storm had Mariah May & Luther with her. Storm said that Deonna was recently body-shamed and she thinks it’s ridiculous because there’s so much more to shame about you. Storm said you can’t use their past friendship to get a title shot. Storm said all of her friends were less talented than herself. Storm put over Deonna for being a great technical wrestler, but if you wrestle Storm, then Storm will twist your lip so hard you will need an epidural. Deonna said that she came to AEW to become the AEW Women’s Champion. Deonna said she had no problem earning a title opportunity and winning arm by arm. Deonna called Toni delusional. Deonna talked about the Toni Storm who moved into Deonna’s house at one point and said that she wants to face the best Toni Storm there is. Deonna revealed a tattoo on her right ankle and Toni revealed her right ankle. They have the same tattoo. Storm told Deonna to blow her tattoo out of her bumhole. They threw shoes at eachother and Deonna went for an armbar on Storm. Mariah May saved Storm. Deonna went for a pump kick and it was avoided, so Deonna kicked Luther to knock him down. Deonna held up the AEW Women’s Title to celebrate.
Analysis: This was okay. Toni Storm is very entertaining with the gimmick. I thought Deonna Purrazzo came across well as a woman who wants a shot at Toni and will be a threat to win the title whenever it happens. They need to give Deonna some more significant wins to build her up more, but obviously, this is going to be a title match most likely at the Revolution PPV.
Jon Moxley was shown backstage talking about how the Blackpool Combat Club has won a lot of matches, but they don’t have victory parties. Moxley said there’s always another match around the corner. Moxley said that they are committed to being elite. Moxley talked about how people come here and don’t know what elite means. Moxley spoke about how he would maim and torture anybody who can’t keep up. Moxley said when he steps into the ring on Rampage, he will leave every bit of his heart and soul. Moxley said he’s going to do it every single time. The graphic said Jon Moxley faces Lee Moriarty on Rampage.
Analysis: That’s a win for Moxley on Rampage.
Taya Valkyrie and her husband Johnny TV did a promo talking about how they are the most TV-ready couple in AEW. Taya complained about Deonna Purrazzo thinking she could jump to the front of the line. Taya said she knows Deonna Purrazzo very well, so she’ll challenge her to a match on Dynamite next week in New Orleans. Taya and Johnny kissed to end it.
Analysis: Taya Valkyrie is an example of AEW booking their women’s division poorly. When she came to AEW a year ago I was excited about it because I liked her in Impact a lot. They gave her a few wins, then she was given some title shots and then in the second half of the year relegated to the barely watched ROH show. I hope Deonna Purrazzo doesn’t suffer that same fate, but that’s the AEW women’s division. When you only have one women’s match per show, it’s tough for many of the women to stand out.
Swerve Strickland (w/Prince Nana) vs. Jeff Hardy (w/Matt Hardy)
The Hardy Boys are rarely on Dynamite, so it’s nice to see them. Swerve and Jeff went for pin attempts early on until Jeff took a break against the turnbuckle. Jeff got a rollup for a two count. Swerve gave Jeff a backbreaker across the right knee. Swerve teased breaking an arm, Matt told Swerve not to do that and Jeff got back into it with a shoulder tackle. Jeff hit a splash to the back followed by a dropkick to the back. Jeff delivered a Russian legsweep and Jeff did the double leg drop to the limbs for a two count. Swerve swept the legs on the apron and kicked Jeff down. Swerve gave Jeff a neckbreaker from the apron to the floor. Swerve put Jeff on a chair followed by Jeff tripping up Swerve on the apron. Jeff jumped off the steps with a leg lariat on Swerve against the barricade. Jeff went falling over the barricade while Swerve was against the barricade. They went to a PIP break.
The match continued with Jeff hitting his Whisper in the Wind body attack off the top onto Swerve. Jeff hit a spinning kick on Swerve. Jeff countered a move leading to a Slingblade-like move. Jeff hit an atomic drop and a double leg drop followed by a low dropkick and elbow. Jeff has been doing that combo of moves for 20+ years. Jeff went to the middle turnbuckle, but Swerve shoved Jeff over the top to the apron. Swerve grabbed Jeff by the apron and rammed him into the ring post. Swerve teased doing a move on the steel steps, but Jeff countered it into a Twist of Fate on the steel steps. The reality is that Jeff’s body hit the steps while Swerve’s head hit Jeff’s test. Back in the ring, Jeff wanted a Swanton Bomb, but Swerve avoided it. Swerve hit a House call kick to the head for two. Swerve went for a Twist of Fate, but Jeff reversed to a backslide pin attempt. Jeff got a cradle for two and three straight jawbreakers. Swerve hit a jumping flatliner. Swerve hit a vertical suplex. Swerve went up top and Swerve hit the Swerve Stomp double foot stomp to the chest. That’s nice of Jeff Hardy to sit up to take it. Swerve covered for the pinfall win after 14 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Swerve Strickland
Analysis: ***1/2 A very good match as usual from Swerve while Jeff had a good performance too. Just like the Hangman Page match earlier, it was a match with an obvious result since we know Swerve is going after Samoa Joe like Page is. Swerve winning clean was the right move. Jeff is showing his age and slowing down a lot. You could just tell by how he moves. I hope he realizes he doesn’t have to do crazy bumps anymore.
There was a backstage scene with “Hangman” Adam Page about to be interviewed by Renee Paquette, but Swerve Strickland interrupted them. Swerve reminded Hangman that he was the last man to beat Hangman and Hangman said he was 3-0 in 2024. Renee informed both men that they would be part of Dealer’s Choice matches where they choose each other’s matches.
Thunder Rosa vs. Red Velvet
Rosa tripped up Red. Rosa went to the apron and chopped Red. Red sent Rosa face first into the turnbuckle followed by Red tripping up Rosa on the apron. They went to PIP break one minute into it.
Rosa was aggressive with a running dropkick on Red against the ropes. Rosa hit a Northern Lights Suplex for two. Red delivered punches to the body and Red hit a double stomp to the ribs. Red hit a running double knee attack to the back. Rosa came back with a lift, Red got out of it and Rosa kicked Red in the ribs. They countered some moves leading to Rosa hitting a shotgun dropkick. Rosa hit double underhook Powerbomb called the Tijuana Bomb for the pinfall win after six minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Thunder Rosa
Analysis: ** Easy win for Rosa as you would expect here. Velvet didn’t come close to winning at any point in the match. I mention every week that AEW books the women’s division in the same way on Dynamite. Their match is usually in this spot and the match is almost always under ten minutes. It’s been five years like this.
They went over some matches on Rampage and Collision.
AEW Dynamite next week:
* Deonna Purrazzo vs. Taya Valkyrie
* Dealer’s Choice: Swerve Strickland vs. “Hangman” Adam Page’s chosen opponent
* Dealer’s Choice: “Hangman” Adam Page vs. Swerve Strickland’s chosen opponent
Let’s Hear from Sting & Darby Allin
Sting & Darby Allin made their entrance for an in-ring promo for Tony Schiavone. No Ric Flair this week. Tony didn’t even ask a question. Tony introduced them and left. Darby Allin talked about how he heard about Sting coming to AEW (December 2020). Allin said that he flew to Sting’s house in Texas to train in the ring that Sting had and within five minutes, he told Sting that he’s still got it. The Young Bucks were shown watching backstage with headsets on. Allin said that he told Sting to finish his career on his own terms and now they are 27-0 undefeated. Allin said that the rankings are back, so they would be in the top spot as the number one contenders to the AEW Tag Team Titles held by Big Bill & Ricky Starks. Allin told Sting that he’s still got it. Allin said that Savannah could agree as well, so the fans chanted “you still got it” for Sting. Allin asked Sting if he wanted to end his career as AEW Tag Team Champions?
Sting had some of his paint on his ears to go along with his head. Sting said: “Alright Savannah, I’m all in.” That was it.
Analysis: That was quick by Sting. Darby Allin did a good job with his promo talking about how much it means to him to get to team with Sting and now they are going to go after the Tag Team Titles.
Big Bill & Ricky Starks were backstage as the AEW Tag Team Champions. Bill thanked them for being addressed by name as the AEW Tag Team Champions. Bill said they accepted the challenge. Ricky said that Sting’s first match was against Ricky and a partner, but now Ricky has the best partner. Ricky told Sting to lay down so that they can walk over Sting & Darby Allin.
Analysis: There’s an AEW Tag Team Title match that should lead to a win by Darby Allin & Sting. We know The Young Bucks are the likely opponents against Allin & Sting at Revolution, but that’s not official yet.
AEW Tag Team Championships: The Acclaimed – Max Caster & Anthony Bowens and Billy Gunn vs. The Mogul Embassy – Brian Cage, Toa Liona & Bishop Kaun (w/Prince Nana)
The Acclaimed guys were joined on the ramp by their buddies in Bullet Club since they are combined as the Bang Bang Scissor Gang.
Caster hit a dropkick on Cage followed by an armdrag. Cage is dealing with a lat injury on his left shoulder. Bowens tagged in with strikes on Cage, but Liona tagged in and then Kaun tagged in for stomps on Bowens. That led to Bowens trying to fight out of the heel corner and Bowens hit an enziguri kick. Kaun & Liona took Gunn & Caster off the apron. Kaun went after Bowens illegally, Nana grabbed the foot of Bowens and Liona knocked Bowens off the apron to the floor.
Bowens was still the face in peril as he got a boot up and hit a neckbreaker on Cage. Liona tagged in, Bowens hit him with his forearm and Kaun tagged back in leading to Bowens hitting a back body drop. Billy tagged in with punches, but Liona hit a cross body block to knock Billy down. Bowens kicked Liona out of the ring. Cage hit his version of the F5 on Bowens and Caster hit his version of the Attitude Adjustment, but then there was Kaun in there with a dropkick on Caster. Kaun hit a jumping DDT on Gunn for a two count. Nana distracted the referee and brought a chair into the ring. Jay White showed up to take the chair away from Kaun. Gunn hit a Full Nelson Slam on Kaun. The Gunns showed up to give Nana a double Powerbomb through a table at ringside. Bowens hit a leg drop to the back of Cage’s head. Acclaimed hit a double team neckbreaker. Gunn hit a Fameasser on Kaun, Bowens with the Arrival and Caster hit a Mic Drop elbow off the top rope. Gunn pinned Kaun for the pinfall win after ten minutes.
Winners by pinfall: AEW Tag Team Championships: The Acclaimed – Max Caster & Anthony Bowens and Billy Gunn
Analysis: *** A pretty good match with the champions retaining because they had Bullet Club Gold watching their backs. The last few minutes were chaotic because it wasn’t obvious who was the legal man, but that’s typical in a lot of AEW tag team matches.
A brief video aired about Serena Deeb back in action on Collision this Saturday night. She missed all of 2023 with an injury.
It was main event time with no more commercial breaks as Adam Copeland made his entrance first.
Adam Copeland vs. Minoru Suzuki
They are both veterans with 30+ years of experience since Copeland is 50 years old and Suzuki is 55 years old.
Suzuki and Adam got into a slugfest right away. That’s not typical of Adam’s matches, but we see it all the time in Suzuki matches. They exchanged forearms with Suzuki getting a knockdown. Suzuki nailed Adam with an uppercut to the jaw. Suzuki went for a piledriver, but Adam did a back body drop to get out of it. Adam hit a boot to the face while Suzuki was on the apron. Suzuki avoided a charging Adam and applied a guillotine choke. Suzuki was still holding onto Adam, who ran him into the barricade and they went crashing through the barricade. Both guys are back in before the ten count as if that matters in AEW where referees only do countouts sometimes and not all the time. They were on their knees exchanging forearms. They did an open hand slap at the same time to knock eachother down.
It was announced that Ricky Starks & Big Bill will defend the AEW Tag Team Titles against Sting & Darby Allin in two weeks on AEW Dynamite on February 7th in Phoenix.
They were back up with Suzuki delivering a forearm, then Adam had a forearm in return and Suzuki hit several open hand strikes to the face. Adam rolled through leading to an Impaler DDT. That was not sold very well by Suzuki. Adam charged, but Suzuki trapped him with the armbar on the left arm. They were up against the turnbuckle and the turnbuckle pad came off. Adam ran the ropes and hit a Spear for one…two…no because Suzuki got up. Suzuki barely sold the Spear since he went for a chokehold. Adam sent Suzuki face first into the unprotected turnbuckle. Adam hit a Killswitch on Suzuki for the pinfall win after about 10 minutes. The Spear looked better. The Killswitch wasn’t sold very well.
Winner by pinfall: Adam Copeland
Analysis: ***1/4 It was good. A physical match with some big moves by both veterans and it felt like a fight. More time would have been nice, but they made the most of what they were given. I’ve literally watched hundreds of Copeland’s matches and he rarely did some of these slugfest spots. I know it was Adam adapting to Suzuki’s style and I can respect that. It just looked weird seeing Adam trying to have a slugfest like that. I don’t like seeing Suzuki no sell the Spear because it makes the Spear look weak as a finisher. The Killswitch wasn’t sold very well because I don’t think Suzuki is that flexible at his age. Anyway, Copeland winning was yet another obvious result on the show. When they bring in Suzuki for a match like this, he’s there to do the job and that’s what he did.
They showed Christian Cage, the TNT Champion, watching a TV backstage.
Adam Copeland celebrated the win. Taz called him “Edge” at one point. It’s okay. I think a lot of us do that.
Adam did a promo saying that he has never been hit that hard in his life. Adam told Suzuki: “Respect.” Adam wanted a handshake, but Suzuki left. Adam said that was the kind of war that Christian Cage knows nothing about. Adam said that he’s still coming for Christian. Adam put the microphone down as his music played to end the show. Adam greeted some fans at ringside. That was the end of the show at 10:05 p.m. ET.
Analysis: There will probably be yet another Copeland-Christian match at the AEW Revolution PPV and maybe that’s where the rivalry will end with Copeland getting the TNT Title from his best friend.
Three Stars of the Show
- Swerve Strickland
- Adam Copeland
- “Hangman” Adam Page
This Week: 7.25 out of 10
Last Week: 7.25
2024 Average: 7.25
Final Thoughts on AEW Dynamite
There were several entertaining matches this week although I wouldn’t say any of them blew me away. I thought that every match on the show was very predictable as far as the winners go. Yes, other companies book matches like that sometimes, but AEW does it too often, in my opinion. They didn’t have much creativity or surprising finishes in the matches. When every match is a pushed wrestler against somebody who rarely wins, it’s just not that interesting to watch if you’re a casual fan. The hardcore fans are watching anyway, but AEW needs to try to be more appealing to the casuals. That’s why ticket sales are down. You need to book more creatively. I know my comments are critical, but I did enjoy the episode more than the last two weeks. I just want their shows to be better and more exciting. I also think they miss MJF a lot.
Adam Copeland and Minoru Suzuki had a fine main event. Swerve Strickland and Jeff Hardy’s match was probably the best on the show. Wardlow took way too long to beat Trent in their match. Hangman and Penta was okay, but again another match with an obvious result. The other matches were mostly forgettable.
The story of Samoa Joe having to deal with Swerve Strickland & Hangman Page is good at least. I don’t see Joe losing the AEW World Title to either of them, but at least they are viable threats.
By the way, the audio was off throughout the show. I don’t know what it was, but it sounded weird. Maybe due to it being a smaller crowd. I don’t know. I didn’t criticize it at all in my review, but I certainly noticed it.
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