This week’s AEW Dynamite featured Sting & Darby Allin challenging Ricky Starks & Big Bill for the AEW Tag Team Titles, plus Adam Page vs. Swerve Strickland and more.
It’s a great lineup this week. Much better than the last few weeks. There are some weeks when I criticize what’s coming up on a show. Not this week. I’m looking forward to it.
It’s Wednesday and you know what that means. The commentary team was Excalibur, Tony Schiavone and Taz.
“Hangman” Adam Page vs. Swerve Strickland (w/Prince Nana)
The winner of this match gets to challenge Samoa Joe for the AEW World Title Revolution on March 3rd. Swerve is 2-0 against Page in this rivalry that has been amazing over the last few months.
It was slow-paced with some mat wrestling as they were trying to get the advantage. Page slapped Swerve in the face. Swerve tackled Page and they went tumbling out of the ring. Swerve sent Page over the barricade leading to Swerve jumping onto Page on the floor. Back in the ring, Swerve got a boot up and kicked Page in the face. Swerve stomped on Page repeatedly against the turnbuckle. Page came back with a fallaway slam and some fans were booing Page because this crowd liked Swerve a lot. Page wanted a move off the middle turnbuckle, but Page pulled the leg to knock Swerve down followed by Page punching Swerve. Swerve bit Page’s hand and Swerve locked Page in an arm submission on the mat. My TSN steam went out briefly and when it came back, Page was in control after sending Swerve into the barricade. Page hit a fallaway slam on Swerve on the floor. Back in the ring, Page worked over Swerve with chops until Swerve came back with his own chops. Page hit a running kick to the face for two. Page went for a rollup but Swerve got out of it and Page gave Swerve a back body drop over the top to the floor. Page went for a moonsault on the floor, Swerve avoided that and Swerve hit a flatliner on the floor. Swerve was back in the ring as he ran the ropes and did a backflip over the top onto Page on the floor. Back in the ring, Swerve hit an uppercut to Page’s back. Swerve hit a vertical suplex followed by a House Call kick for two. They went up top where Page bit Swerve’s head. Page hit a sunset flip Powerbomb off the top, but Swerve did a backflip to get out of it. Swerve tried a move coming out of that and Page hit a sitout Powerbomb for two. Page was booed as he set up on the apron and Swerve avoided a Buckshot Lariat. Swerve to the apron where he hit a Buckshot Lariat. The fans popped for that! The fans were strongly supporting Swerve, who went up top and Swerve hit a Swerve Stomp double foot stomp off the top rope for two. Swerve was on the apron where he kicked Page on the floor. They teased a move on the barricade and Page hit a DDT on the barricade. Ouch. It was about 17 minutes into the match when they went to a picture-in-picture break.
During the break, Page set up a table on the floor near the ring apron. Swerve and Page exchanged kicks to the face two times followed by each man hitting a boot to the face at the same time. Page worked over Swerve with punches while Swerve was laughing and Swerve came back with his own punches. Swerve countered a kick into a backbreaker for two. Page tried a move by the turnbuckle, but Swerve knocked him upside down and Swerve did a Swerve Stomp onto Page on the floor. Page laid on the table on the floor and the table collapsed under Page. Swerve must have really liked the table spot they had planned, so Swerve set up another table on the floor. Back in the ring, Swerve went for a 450 Splash, but Page got the knees up and Page did an inside cradle. It was announced that they were at the 25-minute mark. Swerve tried to send Page out of the ring, but Page pulled himself back in. Page hit a Buckshot Lariat for two because Swerve got his right foot on the bottom rope. Page hit the Deadeye on Swerve on the apron. Swerve was back in the ring before the ten count while Nana danced on the floor. Page kicked Swerve out of the ring. Page grabbed a chair and hit Nana in the back with it. Swerve kicked the chair into Page’s face. Back in the ring, Swerve hit a Swerve Stomp again, but Swerve grabbed his left ankle to sell an injury. Page countered a JML Driver attempt and Swerve twisted the injured left ankle. The referee was giving them time cues, so the guys went to the apron. Swerve sent Page into the ring post. Swerve hit a Deadeye slam off the apron through a table. That is not enough for a DQ I guess. Most of the bump was Swerve’s knees going through the table. Back in the ring, Swerve jumped off the top, but Page moved. Page went for a Buckshot Lariat. Swerve hit a JML Driver for one…two…and no because the bell rang before the referee counted to three. It was announced that the 30-minute time limit has expired.
Match Result: Time-Limit Draw
Analysis: ****1/4 These guys are awesome and this was yet another excellent match between them. As soon as this match was announced last week, I figured they would do a draw so that both guys could challenge Samoa Joe at Revolution since it has felt like a triple threat feud. The finish was done in a way that made it look like Swerve had won until the bell rang for the time-limit draw at the last possible moment. Any time you can get a TV match that is as entertaining as that, it’s a hell of a way to start Dynamite. Swerve and Strickland match up so well together. The fans were totally behind Swerve, which might surprise some people, but I think it’s important for AEW to embrace it. Anyway, this was a tremendous match and a great way to start the show.
After the match, Swerve said he didn’t go through all this for it to end like this. Swerve said he’s not going to let Hangman get away with this that easily. Swerve said, “five more minutes” and Hangman was smiling in response to that. Page said that tonight, Swerve had to beat Page to become the number one contender and Page told Swerve he didn’t do it. Page told Swerve he won’t be the World Champion and said for Swerve, it is over.
Tony Schiavone stood up on commentary with a microphone. Tony said he heard from Tony Khan and we now have two number one contenders. At Revolution, it will be Samoa Joe defending the AEW World Title against Page and Strickland. Page was shouting that Swerve didn’t beat him while Swerve was smiling.
Analysis: Like I said above, it has felt like a triple threat feud the whole way, so now it’s official at the Revolution PPV. This company is seriously lacking in terms of top babyface and now Hangman is acting heelish after this match. Swerve might be a face, but he doesn’t act that way all the time. It’s a big reason why ticket sales are down in this company. You need top babyfaces that are easy to root for.
The graphic was shown. At AEW Revolution, the AEW World Champion Samoa Joe will defend against both “Hangman” Adam Page and Swerve Strickland in a triple threat match.
Samoa Joe, the AEW World Champion, was asked by Renee Paquette for his reaction. Joe said that this was a draw and none of those men deserved to be in this match. Joe said that despite your best efforts, come Revolution, he’ll walk out as the AEW World Champion. Joe said it’s a shame that both opponents will suffer because of it.
Analysis: Good point made by Samoa Joe saying that neither man won the match, so why should they get a title shot? It’s a valid point.
“Timeless” Toni Storm (w/Luther & Mariah May) vs. Red Velvet
This is not for Storm’s Women’s Title. Deonna Purrazzo was on commentary. She’s against Toni Storm at Revolution. Purrazzo is 3-0 in AEW and that’s enough to get a title shot apparently.
It started with some mat wrestling followed by Storm getting a shoulder tackle. Velvet delivered a spinning heel kick. Storm came back with a Thesz Press followed by punches. Storm hit a sitout spinebuster for two. They went to a PIP break.
Velvet got some offense going with punches followed by a jumping sidekick. Velvet hit a bulldog. Velvet hit a standing moonsault press onto Storm for two. Velvet charged, Storm with a trip and Velvet hit the turnbuckle. Storm hit a DDT for two. Velvet went for a corkscrew kick, Storm applied an Ankle Lock and Storm actually let go of it (oops), Storm re-applied it and then Velvet tapped out. It went about eight minutes.
Winner by submission: “Timeless” Toni Storm
Analysis: **1/2 It was just an average match with an obvious outcome since Storm winning was obvious and Velvet was just there to make Storm look good. Velvet has some talent for sure. They just don’t push Velvet much. It was the usual time for most AEW women’s matches where they get under ten minutes with a commercial in the middle. Storm winning with an Ankle Lock is different for her at least.
After the match, Deonna Purrazzo got into the ring to have a staredown with Storm, who blew kisses on Deonna’s cheek. Storm left.
Orange Cassidy and Best Friends Trent Berretta & Rocky Romero were interviewed by Renee Paquette. Orange faces Tomohiro Ishii on Collision and they are in a six-man tag team match on Rampage. Orange is ready for it. They were going to check on Chuck Taylor getting checked out for some injury. Whatever.
It was the top of hour two as the Blackpool Combat Club made their entrance to Moxley’s music from the back part of the arena. The fans love these guys.
Blackpool Combat Club – Bryan Danielson, Jon Moxley & Claudio Castagnoli vs. Hechicero, Volador Jr. & Mascara Dorada
The three masked guys are from CMLL. Bryan and Hechicero did some mat wrestling as they exchanged holds leading to a two count by Hechicero. Claudio used his size advantage to get control against Dorada but they didn’t do much during their brief period in the ring. Volador sent Moxley out of the ring and hit a suicide dive. Back in the ring, Volador charged, so Moxley sent him over the top to the floor. Moxley hit a suicide dive onto Volador on the floor. They went to a PIP break.
Claudio tripped up Volador leading to the Giant Swing leading to Moxley tagging in for a two count. Bryan tagged in against Dorada, who tried a move off the ropes, slipped, and did an arm drag. Dorada did a hurricanrana followed by a corkscrew kick. Dorada did a headscissors sending Claudio out of the ring. There were two suicide dives from the CMLL guys. Dorada went to the middle turnbuckle leading to a Shooting Star Press onto the five guys on the floor. The fans chanted “this is awesome” for the action. Back in the ring, Hechicero did a spinning slam on Bryan and Dorada did a 450 Splash for two because his partners made the save. Claudio tagged in while Moxley was in the ring illegally. Dorada hit a Code Red on Claudio for two because Moxley broke it up. Bryan hit a flying knee on Volador. Hechicero hit a diving attack on Bryan. Claudio faced Hechicero as I tried to recall who was legal, but in AEW it doesn’t matter. Hechicero applied a submission move on the legs of Claudio, but Bryan was there to break it up with stomps. Hechicero trapped Bryan in a submission move, so Moxley broke that up with a kick to the gut. Dorada with a launching dropkick and Moxley clotheslined two guys. Hechicero knocked Moxley out of the ring. Claudio with an uppercut on Hechicero, who came back with a spinning slam for two. Claudio shoved Hechicero into the referee. Claudio hit a low blow on Hechicero, the referee “miraculously” received and counted the pinfall. It went 15 minutes.
Winners by pinfall:Blackpool Combat Club – Bryan Danielson, Jon Moxley & Claudio Castagnoli
Analysis: ***1/4 I thought it was pretty good, but I wouldn’t say great. I understand that these AEW guys want to sell for the CMLL guys and make it look competitive, but is there a single person watching who thinks the AEW guys could lose here? No. It’s just hard to get into the match sometimes. There is a lot of athleticism shown by Dorada, Hechicero is awesome technically and Volador is solid all around. I didn’t love the finish due to the low blow usage by guys that we think are babyfaces, but it’s AEW so who knows? I don’t know if there will be more matches in this “feud” that is one-sided.
After the match, three more CMLL guys went into the ring. Some AEW wrestlers ran out for the save, so the CMLL guys left.
There was a video shown of Undisputed Kingdome beating up Chuck Taylor backstage. Adam Cole in a wheelchair told Chuck to “get well soon.” Cole smiled about it.
Tony Khan’s Big Announcement
Tony Khan was backstage for a major announcement. Khan: “Thanks, Guys!” Tony mentioned that Wednesday, March 13th is when AEW Dynamite heads to Boston. Tony said it will be AEW Big Business live in Boston at TD Garden. Tony claimed it would be one of the most important nights in AEW history and a night that the entire pro wrestling business will never forget. That was it.
Analysis: It’s obviously the debut of Mercedes Mone in AEW, but they aren’t advertising it yet. The graphic for AEW Big Business says “BO$$TON” on it so obviously it’s for Mercedes. Is she really excited about working for the company that only puts women in eight-minute matches with a commercial in between every week? I mean, I don’t anticipate that changing that much. Look at where Saraya is in AEW. Not exactly a big name in the company right now. Just saying.
Konosuke Takeshita vs. Chris Jericho
Jericho and Takeshita exchanged strikes followed by Jericho clotheslining Takeshita out of the ring. Takeshita sent Jericho hard into the barricade. Takeshita hit a brainbuster on Jericho on the floor. It looked like a very safe brainbuster, but it’s still a big move. Back in the ring, Takeshita jumped off the top rope with a senton splash. Takeshita hit a leaping clothesline. Jericho ran over Takeshita with shoulder tackles. Jericho jumped off the top with a double axhandle. Hobbs tripped Jericho, so Takeshita nailed a clothesline. Sammy Guevara appeared at ringside and hit Hobbs with a chair to the back. Sammy hit a Cutter on Hobbs on the floor. Sammy hit Hobbs with a chair shot to send Hobbs over the barricade. Jericho came back with a springboard dropkick that he has used many times in his career. Jericho jumped off the top while wearing a devil mask and did an awkward-looking dive onto Takeshita on the floor. They went to a PIP break.
Takeshita was in control with a running dropkick that sent Jericho into the ring ropes. Takeshita hit a somersault dive over the top onto Jericho on the floor. Takeshita went up top, but Jericho got the knees up. Jericho went for a Lionsault off the ropes, but Takeshita got the knees up to block that. Jericho teased going for the Walls of Jericho and Takeshita got out of that. Jericho countered a move, then they collapsed to the mat and Takeshita did an impressive lift into a German Suplex-style move. Takeshita went for a charging attack, but Jericho hit the Codebreaker knees for a two count. Jericho tried for something and then Takeshita hit a Blue Thunder Bomb for two. That’s a two count spot for Takeshita. Jericho hit Takeshita with an elbow. They went to the turnbuckle where Takeshita went under Jericho and sent Jericho crashing into the turnbuckle. Takeshita hit an Avalanche Blue Thunder Bomb off the top for two. Jericho barely got his left arm up. Takeshita hit a knee strike. Jericho blocked a move leading to the Walls of Jericho submission. Callis threw a chair into the ring, the referee threw the chair out and Callis hit Jericho with a screwdriver to the head. Takeshita applied the Walls of Jericho and Jericho’s arm dropped twice, but Jericho fought it. Takeshita sat back in the Walls/Liontamer leading to Jericho tapping out to give Takeshita the win. It went 14 minutes.
Winner by submission: Konosuke Takeshita
Analysis: ***1/4 It wasn’t some epic match like we have seen from Takeshita in the past. Some spots didn’t look smooth. Jericho is 53 years old, looks like he has more weight on him than in the past couple of years and that probably affects his movements. Some of the spots they did made it seem like they were having trouble at times, but then they found a way to get through the spot before going to the next one. Cheap ending with Callis getting involved as you would expect. The dreaded screwdriver to the head didn’t lead to the finish, but then Takeshita finished off Jericho after that.
The announcers tried really hard to put this over as a big win for Takeshita. It was not a clean win considering Callis used a screwdriver before the finish. Callis told Takeshita that was phenomenal and said Takeshita made Jericho quit.
Analysis: The big wins that Takeshita had over Kenny Omega in 2023 were over five months ago now. They did nothing with him after that. They need to feature Takeshita more.
Sting & Darby Allin made their entrances for the main event. The graphic said they have a 14-0 AEW tag team record. That’s probably 2-on-2 tags since Sting is 27-0 in his AEW career going into this match. Sting’s two adult sons Garrett, Steve and daughter Grace were at ringside. Garrett and Steve are big dudes who are muscular. I remember one was a good Tight End in college football. What happened to Ric Flair supporting Sting at these shows? No sign of Ric here. Big Bill & Ricky Starks made their entrance as the AEW Tag Team Titles.
AEW Tag Team Championships: Ricky Starks & Big Bill vs. Sting & Darby Allin
This is a Tornado Tag Team Match with two referees on hand for it. A Tornado Tag Team Match means no tags and no rules essentially. Sting is 64 years old and retiring in less than a month at the Revolution PPV on March 3rd.
Sting and Starks went fighting into the crowd where Sting kept throwing Starks into barricades. Allin jumped on Big Bill’s back, so Bill walked them over to where Sting and Starks were. Starks did an eye gouge to Sting. Bill slapped Allin hard in the chest a couple of times. Sting was on top of one of the entrance areas in the arena that was about 15 feet high and Sting hit a cross body block on both opponents! That’s crazy.
Bill missed a splash on Sting, then Sting hit a splash to the back and Bill came back with a clothesline on the floor. Allin knocked Bill down on the floor. Allin went for a dive onto Bill on the floor, but Bill caught Allin and Bill hit a spinning slam on the floor. Bill continued his dominance by sending Sting throat first across the barricade on the floor. Bill used his power to choke Allin by the throat and slam Allin into the mat repeatedly. Bill gave Allin an overhead suplex across the ring. Bill grabbed a table from under the ring. Sting must have been taking a nap on the floor for a few minutes. Old people like naps. Sting was back on the apron resting/selling. Bill teased throwing Allin onto the table on the floor, but Sting saved his partner. Sting hit a lefty clothesline on Starks. Bill went for a kick, Sting avoided it and Bill crotched himself on the top rope. Starks hit a Scorpion Death Drop (reverse DDT) on Sting for two because Allin made the save. Allin went for a moonsault, but Allin avoided it. Allin threw Starks out of the ring. Allin and Sting took turns hitting splashes on Bill followed by Allin hitting a Code Red on the big man named Bill. Allin hit a Coffin Drop off the top onto Bill on the floor. Good job by Bill catching him. Sting caught Starks in a Scorpion Deathlock submission. Bill and Allin were on the apron above the table, which led to Allin using double knees to drive Bill back-first through the table. Ouch. That’s a rough bump for both guys. Starks got out of the Scorpion Deathlock. Sting went for a Stinger Splash, Ricky pulled the turnbuckle pad off and Starks looked hesitant to do another move. Sting was fired up so Starks hit a Spear for two. Starks went for a Spear, Sting caught him and Sting hit a Scorpion Death Drop for the pinfall win after 12 minutes.
Winners by pinfall AND NEW AEW Tag Team Champions: Sting & Darby Allin
Analysis: ***1/2 It was an entertaining match. I think it was a good call making it a Tornado Tag Team Match where they could brawl all around the arena and get the fans into it even more. Sting doing that dive off the entrance area onto Starks & Bill was pretty crazy for a man his age, but that’s just what Sting does. That table bump by Allin & Bill was also brutal. It was a way to take them out of the match so that Sting could finish off Starks for the win. The time of the match felt just about right. It wasn’t too long and wasn’t too short. Obviously, the result was predictable because we know Sting & Allin win every match they have. Shoutout to Starks for being great as usual while Bill has been impressive over the last year in AEW. I’m happy Bill is doing well considering all that he has been through in his life.
Sting & Darby Allin were presented with the AEW Tag Team Titles. Sting invited his sons Garrett & Steve into the ring, so the muscular adult boys went into the ring with their father. Sting hugged his sons. Sting & Allin were presented with the AEW Tag Team Titles. Tony Schiavone was screaming like a child. Excalibur mentioned that it was Sting’s 25th championship in pro wrestling.
Analysis: That’s a cool moment, but it was ruined right after.
The Young Bucks duo of Matthew & Nicholas Jackson appeared in white suits and they used baseball bats to beat up Sting, Allin and Sting’s two sons. Allin did a blade job after a baseball bat shot, so Allin’s blood was all over Matt’s jacket. Tony and the other announcers were blasting the Bucks for being jerks. Young Bucks hit Allin with the BTE Trigger, but Excalibur said it’s now called the EVP Trigger (Executive Vice President Trigger). The Young Bucks kept on stomping and punching the guys in the ring. Nick hit Sting with some gentle bat shots to the gut. The key is stomping on the mat hard. Nick punted Sting in the head as well. Nick punched Sting some more. Excalibur said that The Young Bucks think they are above the law and Tony said “Bullshit” to that. The Young Bucks put the AEW Tag Team Titles on the statement. The Young Bucks posed while the announcers continued to trash The Young Bucks with Excalibur saying their reputation is destroyed. End show.
Analysis: That’s a great pro wrestling angle in terms of getting heat on some heels like The Young Bucks. It was executed very well. We know it will lead to Revolution where Sting & Allin will face The Young Bucks in a match that isn’t official yet, but it should be. Having The Young Bucks being pure heels going into that match is the perfect way to do it. The story can be about how The Young Bucks think they’re the best team in AEW and they want to take the spotlight from Sting in his last match. I think Sting & Allin will win at Revolution so that Sting retires as a champion. As an angle, this was very good. I liked it.
Three Stars of the Show
- Sting & Darby Allin just because I don’t know how many more TV matches Sting has left.
- Swerve Strickland & “Hangman” Adam Page.
- Ricky Starks & Big Bill. They did a good job in a losing effort.
This Week: 8.25 out of 10
Last Week: 7
2024 Average: 7.42
Final Thoughts on AEW Dynamite
This was easily the best Dynamite episode of the year. It felt that way going into it and there was a lot of in-ring action that delivered on this episode. I really liked the show, especially the Swerve/Hangman opener. I’m not bothered by the 30-minute draw because I expected it to set up the triple threat for them against Samoa Joe at Revolution. It was an excellent match between two of the best wrestlers in AEW.
Sting & Darby Allin winning the main event over Big Bill & Ricky Starks to become AEW Tag Team Champions was an obvious result. I don’t mind it because we can tell where it’s going with The Young Bucks doing the post match attack, so that sets up Sting & Allin against The Young Bucks at Revolution in Sting’s final match. Sting did a crazy leap in this match. It’s pretty amazing for a guy his age. I thought it was an entertaining main event.
Everything else on the show was okay with some predictable results as usual. The announcers tried to make a big deal out of Konosuke Takeshita beating Chris Jericho, but it was also due to Don Callis hitting Jericho in the head with a dreaded screwdriver. There wasn’t much talking on this episode at all, which some fans really like, but some fans want to see more promos too.
Here is what has been announced for AEW Revolution on March 3rd so far.
* AEW World Championship: Samoa Joe (c) vs. “Hangman” Adam Page vs. Swerve Strickland
* AEW Women’s World Championship: Toni Storm (c) vs. Deonna Purrazzo
* International Championship: Orange Cassidy (c) vs. Roderick Strong
There will be more matches to come.
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