Reviews

The John Report: AEW Dynamite 01/25/23 Review

aew dynamite jan 25

This week’s AEW Dynamite featured Darby Allin defending the TNT Title again, Bryan Danielson facing Brian Cage and Mark Briscoe taking on Jay Lethal.

The big story is that Mark Briscoe gets to wrestle on AEW TV for the first time. As most of you probably know, his brother Jay Briscoe (real name Jamin Pugh) died in a car accident last Tuesday. The Briscoes were not allowed on AEW TV in the past due to some insensitive remarks that he apologized for many times. Tony Khan said he worked hard talking to TV executives to get Mark on this week’s show, so that led to the match announcement. Today (Wednesday, January 25th) would have been Jay’s 39th birthday. Jay has a wife, a son and two daughters. The two daughters were in the car crash, but their health is improving. I’m sure it will be an emotional show for a lot of people, especially Mark Briscoe. Good job by AEW supporting Jay Briscoe’s family the way they have.

Here is the fundraiser for Jay Briscoe’s family along with a fundraiser for the Ternahan family children after their mother passed away in the car accident after her truck hit Jay Briscoe’s truck and you can support them by clicking here. All Elite Wrestling’s Tony Khan owns Ring of Honor and has released a new t-shirt to support Jay Briscoe’s family. The shirt is now available on the ShopAEW Website.

This was AEW Dynamite episode #173 at the Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. Check out the AEW PPV listing archive only on TJRWrestling as well. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Let’s get to it.

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

Chris Jericho, Sammy Guevara and Daniel Garcia made their entrance with the fans singing “Judas” as usual.

Action Andretti & Ricky Starks vs. Chris Jericho & Sammy Guevara (w/Daniel Garcia)

Andretti was in the ring with Sammy early on with Andretti hitting a springboard dropkick. Sammy avoided a charging Andretti and hit a dropkick. Sammy hit a twisting dive over the top to the floor. Sammy set up Andretti for a hurricanrana, but Andretti flipped over and landed on his feet. Andretti hit a Spanish Fly slam on Sammy for a two count. Starks tagged in against Jericho leading to Ricky hitting a clothesline. There was a double team move by Jericho and Sammy, who hit a Cutter off the top. Jericho hit a belly to back suplex, then a cocky pin attempt and a middle finger salute. Sammy tagged in with his own one foot pin attempt for nothing. I missed a few minutes, but came back to Andretti hitting a moonsault for a two count. Sammy and Andretti did a cross body collision spot to knock them both down. Starks tagged in against Jericho, they ran the ropes and Starks hit a Spear for two as Sammy broke it up, but Starks moved and Sammy elbowed Jericho by mistake. Jericho rolled up Starks for two. Starks caught Jericho leading to a sitout Powerbomb. Andretti was back in with a senton splash onto Jericho followed by a springboard kick to the head. Andretti went for a moonsault off the top, but Jericho got the knees up to block. Sammy hit a jumping knee to the head Andretti with knees and an enziguri kick to the head. Jericho stopped Andretti from running the ropes, then Starks sent Jericho into the ring post and Andretti hit a Reverse Rana on Sammy. Andretti with a lifting neckbreaker off the shoulders for a two count. Starks hit the Rochambeau on Jericho on the floor. Sammy went for a move off the top, but Andretti caught him. Andretti wanted a move, Sammy got out of that, the referee looked at Sammy, so Garcia used the bat to hit Andretti in the head. Sammy hit the GTH (Go To Hell) knee to the face for the pinfall win over Andretti. It went about 13 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Chris Jericho & Sammy Guevara

Analysis: ***1/2 A very good match with the JAS cheating to win as usual. Garcia did a very safe bat shot since he had his hand on the end of it so when he hit Andretti with the bat it was really just Garcia’s hand hitting the bat. Lethal took out Jericho on the floor, but apparently wasn’t able to make the save for his partner. Andretti is still a rookie in AEW, so it’s not a surprise to see him lose. Andretti got a lot of offense against Sammy, but in the end, it was Sammy and Jericho finding a way to win.

Video Tribute for Jay Briscoe

There was a video package honoring the life and career of the late, great Jay Briscoe, who passed away on January 17th. They showed a lot of great Jay Briscoe moments in the ring with his brother Mark including matches against teams like The Kingdom and FTR among others. Kevin Steen (Owens) was shown in a clip as well. There were also family photos/videos of Jay with his wife and three kids. They showed clips of Jay and his brother Mark as well. The fans cheered when the video aired.

Analysis: That was a really nice video. Most of you probably know the story that AEW wasn’t allowed to properly pay tribute to Jay last week, so they did it this week because Warner Bros Discovery gave them permission. The video was really nice in terms of showing the kind of guy that Jay Briscoe was. May he rest in peace.

The main event later in the show is Mark Briscoe vs. Jay Lethal.

(Commercial)

Darby Allin entered as the TNT with “Uncle” Sting. They were just in Japan last weekend helping Great Muta win his final match as the Great Muta, so they showed some clips of that.

TNT Championship: Darby Allin (w/Sting) vs. Buddy Matthews (w/Julia Hart)

Both guys had the left side of their faces painted. Buddy hit a jumping knee after Hart jumped on the apron to distract. Buddy sent Allin into the barricade two times. Buddy tossed Allin into the turnbuckle, Allin to the floor and he blocked a kick leading to Allin sending Buddy onto the apron. Buddy sent Allin into the barricade a few times, but Allin came back with a headscissors sending Buddy into the barricade. Allin was selling a right leg injury. Buddy jumped off the top with a knee onto Allin sending him back first onto the ring apron. Back in the ring, Allin hit a flipping Stunner leading to Buddy going to the floor. Allin jumped off the top with a Coffin Drop onto a standing Buddy on the floor. The lights went out and the arena was black. Malakai Black and Brody King were standing on the ramp. Ortiz showed up to fight with Black while Sting fought with King, so they went to the back. Back in the ring, Buddy hit a Ligerbomb for a two count.

(Commercial)

Buddy went for a kick while Allin was against the ropes, but Allin got out of it and did a Poison Rana spiking Buddy in the ring. After Buddy went to the floor, Allin sent Buddy into the barricade a few times. Back in the ring, Allin got a crucifix bomb hooking the arms for a two count. They exchanged strikes, Buddy with a backslide pin for two and Buddy gave Allin a Buckle Bomb followed by The Stomp. Those moves look familiar by somebody Buddy worked with in another company. Buddy went for a pump slam, but Allin got out of it for a two count. Allin hit a Code Red flipping powerbomb for a two count. Allin went up top and Buddy crotched him up there. Buddy went for a superplex, but Allin countered it into reverse DDT (Scorpion Death Drop) I guess according to Excalibur for a two count. That didn’t look smooth. Allin quickly followed with a Coffin Drop off the top while Matthews was leaning against the ropes. It went about 13 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Darby Allin

Analysis: ***1/2 It was a very entertaining match with Allin getting the win by showing his resiliency as usual. Buddy is really talented in terms of the moves he does in the ring. It’s rare to see Buddy in a longer match like this, so I was happy he got his shot. With that said, there wasn’t much drama in terms of who was going to win. We all knew Allin would win. At least the finish was creative.

Darby Allin was about to be interviewed by Tony Schiavone, but Samoa Joe appeared on the screen before Allin could say a word. Joe said he’s coming to take back the TNT Title. Joe told Allin that winning that championship was the biggest mistake of his career. Joe: “The king has spoken.” That was it.

Analysis: Samoa Joe beat Allin once and Allin beat Joe to win the title, so there is likely a third match coming. Later in the show, that third match was announced for Dynamite next Wednesday.

There was a video featuring Adam Cole training in the ring before the show. Cole said that can rest easy knowing he was able to work out in the ring. Cole spoke about how he doesn’t know when he’s able to wrestle again, but that day is coming soon. They showed the Revolution sign in the upper part of the arena.

Ethan Page made his entrance with Matt Hardy, Isiah Kassidy and Stokely Hathaway. The Hardy music played, then Ethan wanted it stopped and Ethan’s music played after that.

Ethan Page & Matt Hardy vs. JungleHook – Hook & “Jungle Boy” Jack Perry

The story with Matt is he doesn’t like Ethan, but Ethan and Hathaway own his contract or something like that. AEW loves doing that kind of story. Jack kicked Matt, then Ethan tripped up Jack and a double team move slammed Jack off the top followed by a double team suplex by Matt/Ethan. They went to a picture-in-picture break.

(Commercial)

Matt tagged in with an elbow drop on Jack’s left arm. Jack sent Matt out of the ring, avoided legal man Ethan and Hook tagged in with a clothesline on Ethan. Hook with a gutwrench suplex on Ethan along with a T-Bone Suplex. Jack tagged, Matt grabbed Hook and drove him into the ring apron. Jack with a jawbreaker Ethan, legal man Matt caught him and wanted a Twist of Fate, but Ethan demanded a tag. Jack applied a Snare Trap submission, Jack pulled Matt off the apron and Ethan tapped out to give Jack the win. It went about eight minutes.

Winners by pinfall: JungleHook – Hook & “Jungle Boy” Jack Perry

Analysis: **1/2 It was okay with the faces working well together while Ethan’s team didn’t have chemistry. The finish was done in a way where Matt probably could have went into the ring to save Ethan from the submission, but instead, Matt stayed on the apron and Hook pulled him down leading to Jack getting the win.

The announcers put over Hook and Jack as a team, so they are likely going to team up again just based on those comments.

Billy Gunn Family Therapy

There was a Billy Gunn therapy session with The Acclaimed sitting beside Billy and The Gunns – Austin & Colten were on the other side while a pretty woman therapist was in the middle. Austin & Colten said that Billy wasn’t there for them during his career because he was on the road. Max Caster and Anthony Bowens took shots at The Gunns for not being a successful and popular team like that. Colten talked about Billy’s failure as a father. Billy asked his sons what they want. Colten & Austin pointed at the titles saying they want those. The Gunns left at that point.

Analysis: I assume it leads to a title shot. It’s a weird way to give The Gunns a title shot because it’s not really earning when you do it in a segment like that.

Bryan Danielson was in action up next against Brian Cage.

(Commercial)

There was a backstage interview with “Hangman” Adam Page with Renee Paquette asking Hangman what is next. Hangman said that he wants to try to knock out Jon Moxley in Dayton, Ohio next week. Wheeler Yuta walked in saying that Moxley will be ready next week. Yuta challenged Hangman to a match on Rampage, then Hangman said sure and Hangman warned Yuta that what happened to Moxley could happen to Yuta too.

Analysis: Jon Moxley has been off for a few weeks (very well deserved) selling a concussion story from his last match against Hangman two weeks ago.

Bryan Danielson vs. Brian Cage (w/Prince Nana)

It was last week on Dynamite when MJF told Cage he wanted Brian to break Bryan’s arm. The announcers mentioned it too.

Cage shoved Bryan down to show off his power. They locked up leading to Bryan kicking the inside of the leg. Cage worked over Bryan with chops, but Bryan came back with kicks against the turnbuckle. Cage tried a slam off the shoulders only for Bryan to counter with the LeBell Lock submission. Cage got to the ropes to break free and went to the floor. Bryan with a kick, a suicide dive and Bryan jumped off the top with a cross body block on Cage on the floor. Bryan worked over Cage with kicks to the body. Back in the ring, Bryan went for a move, but Cage moved and Cage tossed Bryan into the turnbuckle. Cage got some offense going with a jumping kick and a German Suplex. Cage suplexed Bryan on the apron while holding his arm, so Bryan was selling an arm injury.

(Commercial)

Cage was in control working on Bryan’s left arm leading to Bryan doing some headbutts to get out of a bearhug. Bryan went for a move off the turnbuckle, but Cage caught him and hit a shoulderbreaker. Cage suplexed Bryan while standing on the middle rope as Bryan stood on the apron. Cage did that move again in a similar way this time with a German Suplex for a two count. Cage trapped Bryan against the turnbuckle, but Bryan got out of that leading to a running dropkick. Bryan gave Cage a superplex off the top. Bryan worked over Cage with kicks to the chest followed by a roundhouse kick to the head for two. Bryan wit ha some stomps to the head, then he went for an armbar and Bryan turned it into an armbar. Bryan with a German Suplex, Cage didn’t sell it and Bryan hit multiple kicks. Cage gave Bryan a Buckle Bomb, then a Powerbomb and Bryan did a sunset flip leading to a pinfall win after about 14 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Bryan Danielson

Analysis: ***1/2 The usual great match from Bryan. Cage worked on the left arm throughout the second half of the battle, but Bryan kept on coming back and had a sweet counter for the win. At no point did I think Cage was going to win, but at least he looked credible as the opponent.

Post match, Cage had Bryan on his back and drove him face first into the mat. Maxwell Jacob Friedman (MJF) walked out with the AEW World Title around his waist. MJF grabbed a chair from ringside. Cage put Bryan’s left arm around the chair leading to Cage sending Bryan’s left arm with the chair against the ring post.

They went back into the ring with MJF stepping on the left arm followed by some punches to the head. Cage trapped Bryan’s left arm in between the chair, so Konosuke Takeshita ran out for the save. MJF ran away like a coward while Takeshita hit a jumping knee on Cage. The doctor checked on Bryan, who was selling his left arm injury.

Analysis: They targeted Bryan’s left arm for several minutes there. It is rare to see MJF on without doing a promo of any kind. The save took so long there and it was weird that there was no sign of the Blackpool Combat Club’s Claudio Castagnoli or Wheeler Yuta to save Bryan. We assume that Jon Moxley wasn’t there. Anyway, Takeshita is a good babyface that is well liked, so having him make the save is okay.

(Commercial)

Bryan Danielson was shown getting looked at by Dr. Sampson with Renee Paquette asking the doctor about Bryan’s health. The doctor made up some fake shoulder injury saying Bryan can’t wrestle, but Bryan said he didn’t care. Bryan did a yelling promo about how the doctor is not going to stop him from wrestling and he cut a promo about how he’s going to be AEW World Champion. Bryan told the doctor he won’t stop him from wrestling again.

Toni Storm vs. Ruby Soho

They showed highlights of Storm & Saraya turning heel last week. Storm did a pre-tape promo trashing “homegrown idiots” in AEW to further the heel turn. Ruby did a pre-tape promo about how AEW is the best company with the best women and she didn’t like Toni disrespecting AEW women that started here.

It started out as a bit of a slugfest, then Storm stomped on Ruby’s foot and Storm hit a kick to the head. Ruby worked over Storm with chops along with a punch to the jaw. Ruby with a forearm to the head, Storm with a thumb to the eye while Ruby was on the apron and Storm hit a running hip attack to knock Ruby down. Storm sent Ruby into the apron along with a whip into the ring post. Storm whipped Soho into the barricade.

(Commercial)

Ruby got some offense going with double knees followed by two belly-to-back suplexes. Ruby with a back heel trip and Storm countered a move for a rollup. Ruby hit the No Future up kick for a two count. Ruby went up top, she jumped off with nothing as Toni moved and Ruby hit a rising knee to the face. Storm was selling a nose injury, the referee made Ruby move back and Storm pulled her into the rope. Storm hit a German Suplex along with a running hip attack in the corner. Storm hit a Tornado DDT for two. Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D.’s music hit as she appeared on the stage to distract (with the fans chanting Britt’s name) and Ruby hit the Destination Unknown neckbreaker for the pinfall win after nine minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Ruby Soho

Analysis: **3/4 It was a solid match that was lacking in terms of heat. It ended with one of my most hated finishes in wrestling. Playing the theme song of another wrestler who appears on the stage and then the distracted wrestler (Storm) has to act like an idiot leading right to the finish. I get not wanting to book a clean finish sometimes, but that ending sucks. I say it when WWE does it too, so don’t tell me I’m biased or anything like that. I’m also surprised that Storm would lose just one week after turning heel. If you want Storm to get over as a heel she needs to pick up wins.

Here is the MJF promo of the show with the AEW World Champion sitting down for a promo. MJF ripped on Konosuke Takeshita calling him “take a shit” again. MJF trashed Takeshita saying it wasn’t smart to get involved, so he told Takeshita to stay out of his business or there will be consequences. MJF trashed Bryan Danielson for thinking he’s a hero while MJF said that Bryan is obsessed with the AEW World Championship. MJF said that this belt proves that it is all worth it. MJF said Bryan had enough with a loving family, a loving fanbase and a first ballot Hall of Fame career and he kept on threatening Bryan. MJF said that this week, Tony Khan has issued an open contract for anybody to face Bryan next week. MJF said that he has found somebody that likes to dismantle men.

A video aired about Timothy Thatcher as Bryan’s opponent next week. They showed clips of Thatcher picking up wins in NOAH.

Analysis: A strong promo from MJF as usual. Thatcher is well known to the worldwide wrestling audience from his days in NXT. Bryan will beat Thatcher next week, but at least Thatcher wrestles a physical submission style, so it will be a good technical wrestling match.

There was a rundown of matches coming up on Rampage and Dynamite. Big match on Dynamite next week is “Hangman” Adam Page facing Jon Moxley. They also announced Darby Allin defending the TNT Championship against Samoa Joe in a No Holds Barred match next week on Dynamite.

The Ring of Honor broadcast team of Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman joined Excalibur for the main event.

Jay Lethal hugged Sonjay Dutt and Jay was wearing a Jay Briscoe shirt for this match. The announcers noted that Lethal was one of Jay Briscoe’s best friends. Lethal looked emotional on his way to the ring, which is understandable since he was close with Jay Briscoe.

(Commercial)

Mark Briscoe made his entrance with both of the ROH Tag Team Titles with him. The Briscoe Brothers were 13-time ROH Tag Team Champions, which is the record in ROH. The ROH ring announcer Bobby Cruise was on hand to do the introductions. The wrestlers shook hands to start the match with Lethal looking emotional again. As I mentioned earlier, today would have been Jay Briscoe’s 39th birthday.

Mark Briscoe vs. Jay Lethal

They started off hitting some moves to show off their familiarity like a hiptoss takedown and Lethal hit a body slam. They had a staredown after that with the fans cheering. Lethal and Mark exchanged some hard chops, Mark hit a clothesline in the corner and Mark hit a running kick to the head. Lethal went for a suplex, Mark landed on his feet and Mark hit a running forearm to the head. Mark hit a neckbreaker on Lethal.

(Commercial)

There were about nine minutes left in the show as Mark unloaded on Lethal with some chops. Mark jumped off the top leading to a chop on Lethal. Mark hit a jumping kick to the head, a corner splash on Lethal and an uppercut punch. Mark hit a sitout iconoclasm slam for a two count. Mark teased a Jay Driller, Lethal blocked it and Lethal hit a backbreaker/neckbreaker combo known as the Lethal Combination for two. Mark got a rollup for two. Lethal hit a jumping kick, then a spinning kick to the head and Lethal suplexed Mark into the mat. Lethal hit the Lethal Injection move, but Mark rolled out of the ring to avoid being pinned. They were fighting on the floor, Lethal put Mark on the timekeeper’s table, then Jay went up top and Mark was back up to knock Jay out of the ring. Mark hit a running dropkick through the ropes. Mark hit a blockbuster off the apron onto Jay on the floor. Mark set up Jay on the table, Mark was back in the ring and went up top with an elbow drop through the table! The fans chanted “holy shit” for that. Putting somebody through a table could be a DQ, but it’s not like they are going to call that in a match like this. Back in the ring, Mark pinned Lethal for a two count. Lethal countered a move into pain attempt for two. Mark countered Lethal with a running clothesline. Mark hit another big clothesline with Lethal doing a flip bump. Mark hit the Jay Driller and pointed to the sky as he made the cover for the one…two…and…three. It went 12 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Mark Briscoe

Analysis: ***1/4 It was a good match as you’d expect from two veterans that are very familiar with eachother. Obviously, Mark winning was the right call. Lethal hit some of his best moves, but Mark was able to make the comeback and put him away with the Jay Driller that Jay Briscoe used in his career.

Mark Briscoe spoke to the camera saying he loved everybody thanking them for the support and said he loved Jamin (Jay Briscoe).

The AEW locker room emptied out and they were on the stage clapping while a graphic was shown of Jay Briscoe on the big screen. Mark Briscoe hugged Jay Lethal, who went up the ramp. Mark stood in the ring with the fans saluting him. Mark went up the ramp to see the AEW wrestlers with Mark hugging Christopher Daniels, Tony Khan, BJ Whitmer and others on the stage. Mark held up the ROH Tag Team Titles for the camera. Excalibur: “We love you, Jay Briscoe.” End show.

Analysis: That was a nice tribute for Jay to end the show. I’m glad they left enough time on the show to have the roster come out onto the stage like that and have the fans cheer Mark to support the Briscoe family. Well done by AEW there.

 

Three Stars of the Show

1. Mark Briscoe in honor of his brother Jay Briscoe.

That’s it. Just one for this week.

 

The Scoreboard

This Week: 7.5 out of 10

Last Week: 7.5

2023 Average: 8

 

Final Thoughts

It was a pretty good episode of Dynamite as usual. This week it’s really tough to break down angles or matches after watching Mark Briscoe compete with his close friend Jay Lethal in the main event in honor of the late, great Jay Briscoe. I’m glad they had time to have a fun match while also paying tribute to Jay after the match as well. I’m happy that the AEW roster appeared on the stage to acknowledge Jay too. Well done by AEW as I wrote in the review.

There were plenty of good matches as usual along with some decent story advancement. It wasn’t some all-time great episode or anything like that, but still an enjoyable wrestling show. The wins by Bryan Danielson, Darby Allin and Chris Jericho/Sammy Guevara were all around the same in terms of best matches of the night.

Lastly, I am glad that AEW/ROH was able to honor Jay Briscoe. Yes, it would have been nice if they could have done it last week, but I doubt Mark would have wanted to wrestle last week since it was one day after Jay Briscoe’s death. I just think it was good for Mark Briscoe and his family to be able to pay tribute to Jay in front of wrestling fans like this. A classy thing to do, in my opinion.

Thanks for reading. Go Toronto Raptors and Toronto Maple Leafs. You can contact me using any of the methods below.

John Canton

Email: mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter: @johnreport