This week’s AEW Dynamite saw Jon Moxley face Jeff Hardy, Swerve Strickland and Adam Page in Dealer’s Choice matches, plus Chris Jericho against Kyle Fletcher.
The crowd for this episode of Dynamite is around 2,000 people. That’s one of the weakest crowds they have ever had for a Dynamite. In the same building two years ago, they did nearly double that. I write all the time about how AEW needs better storylines. I’ve seen some people say they have too many storylines. No, they don’t. They have short-term angles. If you want to get fans to watch and get bigger, you need actual interesting storylines. They are not doing well in terms of their crowds and it needs to get better. I’m sure they will go to bigger markets to try to help the problem, but better stories would help too.
It’s Wednesday and you know what that means. The commentary team was Excalibur, Tony Schiavone and Taz.
Jon Moxley made his entrance for the first match. Jeff Hardy made his entrance with his brother Matt Hardy, but Matt went to the back. They have turned the lights off around a lot of the fans to minimize the appearance of a smaller crowd.
Jon Moxley vs. Jeff Hardy
This is a first-time-ever matchup. Moxley punched Jeff and tried to pull out his earring out. Jeff hit a back body drop sending Moxley to the floor. Excalibur said that the referee will take a relaxed approach so it sounds like there aren’t going to be countouts. Moxley sent Jeff out of the ring and hit a suicide dive. Tony Schiavone said the word “great” about five times in ten seconds as if he was Tony Khan. Moxley clotheslined Jeff while he was on the barricade. Back in the ring, Moxley hit a suplex into a slam. Moxley with a back body drop followed by a hard whip into the turnbuckle. They left the ring again with Moxley tossing Jeff into the barricade in front of CMLL wrestlers in the crowd. Jeff tossed Moxley over the barricade and there was some light shoving with Moxley along with the CMLL wrestlers. Jeff threw a chair at Moxley, which should be a DQ, but the referee doesn’t care about the rules in this match. Jeff jumped off the steel steps, but Moxley was waiting for it and punched Jeff. They went to a picture-in-picture break.
I should add that during the match, they mentioned Tony Khan has a big announcement next week on Dynamite. He loves announcements.
The match continued with Moxley using a pen to put in between Jeff’s earlobe. Jeff avoided whatever Moxley was doing to send Moxley out of the ring. Jeff hit a dropkick on the floor. Jeff did some of his usual offense with a double leg dropkick and a dropkick. Moxley was back up with elbow smashes along with a piledriver for a two count. They went to the apron with Jeff punching Moxley and Jeff hit a Twist of Fate, which is his own back hitting the apron. Jeff went up top and hit a Whisper in the Wind twisting body attack for two. Jeff hit the dropkick on Moxley against the turnbuckle. Jeff went up top, Moxley popped back up and did some dreaded back raking. Moxley hit a superplex from the middle ropes. Jeff came back with strikes, he wanted a Twist of Fate, but Moxley hit a Cutter. Jeff came back with a Russian legsweep and Jeff did the double leg drop pin attempt for two. Jeff hit a Stunner followed by a Twist of Fate. Jeff went up top and Jeff jumped with a Swanton Bomb, but Moxley avoided it. Moxley applied rear naked choke submission on the mat while trapping the arm. The referee checked on Jeff, who gave up I guess and Moxley got the win. It went 15 minutes.
Winner by submission: Jon Moxley
Analysis: ***1/2 A very good match between two veterans. This is the best singles match I’ve seen Jeff Hardy in AEW other than that crazy match with Darby Allin and that was more of a spotfest that was shorter. It was mentioned there would be relaxed rules by the referee, so why not just call it a Street Fight? Anyway, it was mostly entertaining for a random match between two former World Champions. It took a lot for Moxley to put away Jeff, which is good to see because it makes Jeff look like a tough opponent even in defeat. I don’t think anybody was surprised by that result since Moxley is always pushed in AEW.
After the match, Jon Moxley wanted a handshake, but Jeff Hardy didn’t shake his hand and instead did a gesture almost saying “FU” except with a Hardy hand signal.
Analysis: I don’t know if that means the Hardys are going heel or what. I don’t think they get that much TV time.
Bryan Danielson faces Hechicero from CMLL on Collision, so Hechicero and three other guys went into the ring to beat up Moxley. Moxley tried to fight, but Moxley was overwhelmed. The announcers said none of the other Blackpool Combat Club guys were there. Some security guys went in there to get beat up. There were AEW guys Christopher Daniels, Matt Sydal, Matt Menard and Angelo Parker that ran out for the save.
Analysis: I don’t think 90% of the television audience knows the CMLL guys, so it feels very random to try to build up Danielson’s match on Collision. That’s hard to do when Danielson isn’t on Dynamite.
“Hangman” Adam Page vs. Toa Liona
This is a Dealer’s Choice match meaning Swerve Strickland picked Hangman’s opponent. Liona is in Swerve’s Mogul Embassy group. Toa is a tough guy, but he’s normally a tag team wrestler.
Page worked over Liona with punches. Liona came back with a knee to the ribs. Page hit a lariat, but Liona was back up with an uppercut punch. Page got an inside cradle on Liona and then Page sent Liona out of the ring. Page hit springboard lariats, Liona no sold them and Liona tossed Page over the top to the floor. That was a painful bump for Hangman landing back first on the floor. Liona hit a diving cross body block on Page on the floor. Back in the ring, Lion jumped on Page for a two count. Page blocked Liona with double knees. Liona got back up, ran the ropes and did a Pounce to knock Page over the top to the floor.
Liona was in control as he hit a diving headbutt on Page, who was upside down against the turnbuckle. Page knocked Liona out of the ring leading to a suicide dive. Back in the ring, Page jumped off the top with a cross body block for two. Page tried to do a lift, so Liona blocked that. Liona superkicked Page followed by a two count. Page came back with elbow smashes and multiple clotheslines. Page ducked a cross body block attempt by Liona and Page hit a huge lariat leading to Liona doing a flip bump to show his athleticism. Page hit Deadeye, but Liona no sold that and hit a headbutt. Liona hit a discus lariat for two. Liona hit a senton splash onto Page on the apron. Liona tried a moonsault onto Page on the floor, but Page moved and Liona hit the mat. Page went up top and hit a moonsault onto Liona. Back in the ring, Page went for a Buckshot Lariat, Liona avoided that and Liona hit a Samoan Drop. Page hit a crucifix pin on Liona for the pinfall win. It went 12 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: “Hangman” Adam Page
Analysis: *** A good match that was an obvious win for Hangman. It was a physical match. They worked hard and Hangman sold for Liona very well. Hangman took some nasty bumps including that flip bump over the top and landing back first onto the floor. I don’t know that much about Liona’s background, but he’s a very good athlete who moves around the ring well.
After the match, Liona tried to attack, but Page avoided it. Liona had a chair, he put it on the apron and Page sat on the chair in the ring.
The Young Bucks were shown arriving in a stretch limo earlier in the day. An AEW worker went up to them and called then Nick & Matt. Nick complained about how the guy didn’t call them Nicholas & Matthew. Nicholas fined the guy $500 for not using their correct names.
Wardlow (w/Adam Cole, Matt Taven, Mike Bennett & Roderick Strong) vs. Komander (w/Alex Abrahantes)
Adam Cole, who is in a wheelchair, was on commentary. Wardlow elbowed Komander in the head and tossed him across the ring by grabbing his foot. Komander hit some running dropkicks, but it didn’t have much effect as Wardlow launched Komander into the air leading to a powerslam. Wardlow tossed Komander across the ring. Wardlow hit his spinning F5 launch into the air. Wardlow admired himself posing while looking at the big screen. Komander left the ring, Wardlow tried a lift and Komander sent Wardlow into the steel steps. Back in the ring, Komander kicked the middle ropes while Wardlow was there and Wardlow kicked Wardlow. Komander walked the ropes leading to a dropkick. Komander jumped off the top with a Phoenix Splash for two. It looked like Komander’s knee hit Wardlow in the face/throat area. Komander up top, he jumped off and Wardlow caught him leading to a Wardlow powerslam. Wardlow delivered a knee to the jaw. Wardlow hit a Powerbomb and he was stumbling around the ring a bit. Wardlow may have hurt his right knee. It went about five minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Wardlow
Analysis: ** An extended squash match to give Wardlow a decisive win. It looked like Wardlow hurt his right knee doing a knee to the face before the finish. I hope Wardlow is okay.
UPDATE:Wardlow tweeted that his knee is fine, so that’s good to know.
After the match, Roderick Strong told Komander he should have accepted a deal he was offered, but now he’ll pay a price. Orange Cassidy, Trent Beretta and Rocky Romero went into the ring to make the save. Strong thanked them for coming out there and said see ya later. Undisputed Kingdom left and you could see Wardlow limping again.
Analysis: That could set up a six-man tag team match at some point. Strong is against Cassidy at the Revolution PPV.
Interview with Sting & Darby Allin and Ricky Starks & Big Bil
There was a sitdown interview with AEW Tag Team Champions Ricky Starks & Big Bill along with Sting & Darby Allin. Tony Schiavone moderated the interview with no physicality.
Starks talked about Sting’s first match in AEW three years ago was a tag team match. Sting reminded Starks that Sting won that match. Allin said that Sting is not a stepping stone. Starks said that Allin is the one who has attached himself to somebody like Sting. Starks said they are going to retain the AEW Tag Team Titles and he’s going to make sure Sting doesn’t make it to his retirement match. Starks said he didn’t respect Allin. Big Bill trashed Sting & Allin for bragging about how they are going into Revolution as Tag Team Champions. Bill said that they would take out their frustrations on Sting & Allin.
Sting spoke about how he admired Starks for getting in Sting’s face and talking smack. Sting said that Starks has to earn respect. Sting said that Big Bill isn’t a killer like some of the big men that Sting has faced in the past. Allin said he respected Starks and said that Starks should blame himself rather than blaming others. Starks threw his drink on Allin and Allin got in Starks’ face daring Allin to hit him. Sting said that he always hated talk and said that Allin would hit you in Phoenix. Sting said he would hit you too.
Analysis: That was good. It only took a few minutes, it gave everybody a chance to talk and they made their points well. I think Sting & Allin winning the AEW Tag Team Titles next week is a lock.
Kyle Fletcher (w/Powerhouse Hobbs & Don Callis) vs. Chris Jericho
This was not for Fletcher’s ROH TV Title. Chris Jericho made his full entrance with the fans singing his song. Fletcher hit a Michinoku Driver for two. Jericho got some offense going with the springboard dropkick while Fletcher was on the floor. Jericho chased Callis, so Fletcher hit Jericho with a forearm to the back. Back in the ring, Fletcher hit an elbow strike followed by a kick to the spine onto a seated Jericho. They battled by the turnbuckle with Jericho hitting a hurricanrana from the middle ropes. Callis tripped up Jericho while Hobbs distracted the referee.
Fletcher delivered a kick to the chest followed by a half n half suplex. Fletcher hit a running kick to the jaw along with a brainbuster for two. Jericho ran over Fletcher with shoulder tackles and Jericho hit a double sledge off the top. They messed up a bulldog spot, but Jericho hit it in a decent enough way. Jericho went for a Lionsault, he had to wait for the referee distraction from Callis and Hobbs punched Jericho. That led to a two count from Fletcher. Jericho countered a Fletcher move and applied the Walls of Jericho submission. Fletcher was in the hold for a while and managed to get to the ropes to get out of it. Fletcher was back up and nailed Jericho with a superkick for two. Jericho was back up leading to a Codebreaker for two since it’s not his finisher. They got into a slugfest with some weak looking punches. Jericho slowly climbed the turnbuckle, so Fletcher nailed him with a jumping kick to the head. Fletcher tried a move off the turnbuckle and it was like a brainbuster onto the turnbuckle, but it looked weird. Fletcher got a two count. Fletcher hit a running kick to the back. Fletcher hit a superkick. Jericho got a boot up to the face. Fletcher hit a roundhouse kick to knock Jericho out of the ring. Fletcher went for a dive, but Jericho hit him with a Judas Effect on the floor. Jericho sent Hobbs into the steel steps. Jericho went up top and hit the Judas Effect elbow on Hobbs for the pinfall win after 15 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Chris Jericho
Analysis: **3/4 The match was okay. I think Jericho is starting to show his age at 53. You can tell he has put on weight compared to how he looked for most of last year. Jericho seemed off on a few spots in the match. I don’t know if it was his fault or Fletcher’s fault, but they had a few spots that just felt off. That one move off the turnbuckle didn’t look right. Anyway, I liked the Judas Effect on the floor followed by the Judas Effect off the top rope. Like every match on this show, the result was obvious in this match too.
After the match, Konosuke Takeshita stood at Jericho from the stage. They have a match on Dynamite next week.
Deonna Purrazzo was featured in a video saying the tattoos on her body have a meaning in her life. Deonna said that she and Toni Storm got a duck tattoo on a whim because they were two women on a journey to become great pro wrestlers. Deonna asked Toni what that tattoo meant to her and that was it.
Let’s Hear from the Bang Bang Scissor Gang
The Bang Bang Scissor Gang were together as the AEW Trios (The Acclaimed & Billy Gun) and ROH Trios Champions (Jay White & The Gunns). Jay White of Bullet Club Gold said that he loves The Acclaimed’s thing. Max Caster said that they have dominated six-man tag team matches for years. Anthony Bowens got the Cardblade (cardboard White) from under the ring. Colten Gunn told Austin Gunn to get the Juiceboard for Juice Robinson. Tony Schiavone said AEW is so fun. Austin wanted to do the catchphrase, but “Daddy Ass” Billy Gunn said he was standing right there. Billy did the thing where he said if you are not down with them then they have two words for ya…and the fans chanted “suck it.” Then Billy said they had something new now and said “Gunns up.” That was all.
Analysis: I yawned during all of this. I think Bullet Club Gold are better as heels, but I guess they are faces now. It filled up about five minutes and accomplished nothing other than shouting catchphrases.
Deonna Purrazzo vs. Taya Valkyrie (w/Johnny TV)
This is the usual spot in the show for the lone women’s match. Toni Storm was on commentary joined by Luther & Mariah May. Taya was joined by her husband Johnny TV and her initials are TV too.
Taya and Deonna are two of the most successful TNA Knockouts ever and they wrestled many times over there. Taya with a chop while Purrazzo came back with an armbar. Taya slept the leg followed by a submission pulling back on the legs. Purrazzo did a headscissors on Taya, who rolled out of the ring. Purrazzo tried an attack on the floor, Taya avoided it and Taya hit a Spear after Johnny did a distraction. Taya sent Purrazzo into the steel steps. Taya got a kiss from Johnny as the show went to a picture-in-picture break.
Purrazzo with a clothesline and a knee lift while Storm said that these women were good, but they were no Wendi Richter. Purrazzo hit a pump kick for a two count. Taya hit a sitout Powerbomb for two. Purrazzo grabbed Purrazzo’s leg leading to a kneebar submission. Taya hit a sliding lariat for two. Purrazzo sent Taya out of the ring followed by a sliding dropkick on the floor. Purrazzo sent Taya crashing into Storm on commentary. Back in the ring, Purrazzo hit a pump kick to the face. Purrazzo sat on Taya’s back and pulled back on the arms. The director showed Storm while Taya was giving up. Purrazzo got the win after about nine minutes.
Winner by submission: Deonna Purrazzo
Analysis: **3/4 It was a decent match between two talented women. The camera was on Toni Storm so much during the match that they missed some of the action, including the finish. Valkyrie really didn’t look like much of a threat while Purrazzo got the easy win. Purrazzo has been built up for several weeks since signing with AEW, so seeing her get the win wasn’t a surprise.
Darby Allin was about to be interviewed by Renee Paquette, who asked Allin about his admiration for The Young Bucks. Matthew & Nicholas aka Young Bucks wondered why a 65-year-old leech like Sting is taking from Allin. Matt said he had a good gimmick idea for Allin. Nick said that Allin is dodging them and being unprofessional. Allin said that there is only one thing on his mind – the AEW Tag Team Championships. The Young Bucks said that they’ll have to get his attention in another way.
Analysis: We know the Revolution match will be Sting & Allin against The Young Bucks, so this is just a way to try to build up to that.
The AEW World Champion Samoa Joe made his entrance to join commentary for the main event.
Swerve Strickland entered for the main page. On Collision, Hangman Page said that Swerve had to wait the “whole f’n show” for the main event, so that meant it was Rob Van Dam. Excalibur literally asked: “Who’s it going to be?” This commentary team could be produced so much better. Anyway, Rob Van Dam made his entrance. RVD is in pretty good shape and the fans chanted “RVD” for him.
“Hangman” Adam Page appeared on the screen and said that Dealer’s Choice match means they got to pick the match stipulation. Page said that Swerve is facing RVD in a Hardcore Match.
Hardcore Match: Swerve Strickland vs. Rob Van Dam
A Hardcore Match means anything goes. RVD threw a steel chair at Swerve as the match began. RVD whipped Swerve into the barricade. RVD hit a spinning leg lariat on Swerve. RVD hit another spinning kick to Swerve’s face. The fans chanted about wanting tables. RVD jumped over the top rope leading to a leg drop to the throat. The fans chanted “you still got it” at RVD. Van Dam brought Swerve out of the ring and put Swerve on the barricade. RVD jumped off the barricade leading to a spinning leg drop to the back. Amazingly, RVD can still do that move and it looked pretty good too.
Swerve threw RVD into a steel chair that was wedged against the turnbuckle. RVD came back with his own whip that sent Swerve into the chair against the turnbuckle. RVD hit the Rolling Thunder followed by the dropkick with the chair into Swerve’s face and RVD covered for a two count. RVD went for a monkey flip, but Swerve countered it and gave RVD a Powerbomb onto a steel chair. RVD placed Swerve so he was seated on the top rope, RVD kicked Swerve in the chest and RVD went up top, but Brian Cage shoved RVD off the top rope. That’s legal in a Hardcore Match. Hook went into the ring and hit Cage in the back with a steel chair two times. Swerve grabbed RVD, which led to RVD countering Swerve and used his legs for a rollup. RVD hit a spinning kick to the head. Swerve avoided a charging RVD attack and Swerve hit a jumping flatliner for two. They left the ring with Swerve kicking RVD onto a chair that was opened up on the floor. Swerve hit a double foot stomp on RVD onto the chair. Swerve was on the top rope, so RVD shoved him off the top and sent Swerve crashing through a table on the floor. RVD jumped off the top with a Frog Splash, but Swerve moved. Swerve threw a chair at RVD and hit a running knee into the chair that was in front of RVD’s head. Swerve rammed RVD face first into the turnbuckle. Swerve went up top, RVD was seated on the mat and Swerve jumped off the top with the Swerve Stomp for the pinfall win after about 15 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Swerve Strickland
Analysis: ***1/4 It was a fun match. It’s not like RVD is going to get a win against Swerve in this spot, but at least it was a competitive match. If it was me calling the shots maybe I wouldn’t have RVD get as much offense as he got because it makes Swerve look weak. However, I think it was fine and Swerve ended up getting the win anyway. It’s incredible to see how well RVD can do a lot of his usual spots at the age 53, but RVD did well in this match.
After the match, “Hangman” Adam Page got into the ring with Swerve Strickland. Page congratulated the evil bastard Swerve. Page said that they are both 4-0 so they can only assume they are at the top of the rankings that will come out later in the evening. Page said he will never let Swerve be the next World Champion and Page said he is the next World Champion. Swerve reminded Page that he beat him twice. Swerve said that Page is upset that he can’t beat Swerve. Page said that it took all of the Mogul Embassy for Swerve to beat Page. Swerve said that he’ll give Page what he wants – a one-on-one match for the third time. Swerve said when they are done, Swerve is going for the AEW World Championship. Page left the ring.
A graphic appeared on the screen letting us know that Swerve Strickland will face “Hangman” Adam Page on Dynamite next week. The winner of that match will challenge Samoa Joe for the AEW World Title at the Revolution PPV on March 3rd.
Analysis: Huge match for next week. They have some big matches for that show. A much better card than this week’s Dynamite episode was. I think Hangman will beat Swerve next week.
Three Stars of the Show
- Jon Moxley
- “Hangman” Adam Page
- Swerve Strickland
This Week: 7 out of 10
Last Week: 7.5
2024 Average: 7.25
Final Thoughts on AEW Dynamite
It came across as a good episode, but it certainly didn’t feel like an exciting show. Every week I sit here writing about how they book matches that are way too predictable and it’s just not that interesting. Most finishes are clean. It’s just never that exciting. It’s the same thing this week. It doesn’t help that they have to turn the lights off on the fans to hide how small the crowds are.
There were several matches above three stars, but nothing I would say that was really that great. If you want my thoughts on the two 53-year-olds, I thought RVD looked better than Jericho. The Jon Moxley-Jeff Hardy match was an entertaining opening match.
They have done a nice job of building up the Swerve Strickland story with “Hangman” Adam Page as two top contenders for Samoa Joe. Both guys won yet again, so now we get Swerve/Hangman next week. That should be awesome. Their lineup for next week is much better than this week.
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