The John Report: AEW Dynamite 02/08/23 Review

aew dynamite feb 8

This week’s AEW Dynamite featured MJF in action against Konosuke Takeshita while The Acclaimed defended the AEW Tag Team Title against The Gunns.

This was AEW Dynamite episode #175 at El Paso County Coliseum in El Paso, Texas. 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. They are pushing this as “Championship Fight Night” since there are two titles matches, plus two “eliminator” matches meaning if the champions lose then their opponents would get a title shot.

Maxwell Jacob Friedman aka MJF made his entrance with Schiavone calling MJF a “prick” within the first 40 seconds of the show. It’s Konosuke Takeshita as the opponent in this non-title match.

Maxwell Jacob Friedman (MJF) vs. Konosuke Takeshita

This is MJF’s first match in 2023 that is an eliminator match meaning if Takeshita wins then he gets an AEW World Title shot.

MJF wanted a handshake, then pulled it back and Takeshita hit a jumping back elbow. MJF got an atomic drop, then off the ropes and Takeshita hit a jumping knee. MJF hid behind referee Paul Turner leading to MJF tacking Takeshita and hit knee drops to the left arm. MJF with an arm wringer into the turnbuckle. MJF hooked the arm in a hammerlock leading to a DDT for two. Takeshita hit an Exploder Suplex into the turnbuckle. Takeshita with running kicks, MJF avoided a kick and got a rollup for two. MJF went for handstand by the turnbuckle, Takeshita kicked him and hit a sheer drop brainbuster for two. Takeshita went up top, did an Eddie Guerrero shake to a big pop and hit a Frog Splash for two while Takeshita was selling the left arm injury. Loud “Eddie” chant. Takeshita hit a drop down slam onto his knee and hit a German Suplex leading to MJF bailing to the floor. Takeshita was selling the left arm injury a lot. Takeshita tried an attack over the top onto MJF, but MJF moved and Takeshita hit the floor. MJF left the ring, Takeshita sent MJF into the ring post and the fans chanted “you deserve it” to MJF. Takeshita went up top, took way too long and MJF hit the rope to knock him down. Takeshita did a clothesline off the top, MJF did a backflip to land on his feet, then they exchanged strikes and Takeshita hit a clothesline leading to both guys laying down to allow for the “AEW” chant. Takeshita tried a cover with the left arm pin attempt, but MJF applied an armbar and Takeshita countered for a rollup for two. MJF was out of the ring, so Takeshita hit a somersault dive over the top onto Takeshita on the floor. Takeshita went for a running knee attack, but MJF bailed to the floor to avoid it. Takeshita tried a grab, MJF used the ref to his advantage and MJF kicked the rope while Takeshita was between the ropes, so it’s like a low blow that the referee didn’t see. MJF missed a knee drop when Takeshita moved and Takeshita hit elbow strikes. MJF caught Takeshita and hit a Powerbomb onto his right knee. MJF screamed “oh shit” and was selling a right knee injury. Takeshita hit a Blue Thunder Bomb for two. Takeshita with a running knee for two because MJF got his foot on the bottom rope. Takeshita went to the top rope for a senton, MJF moved and Takeshita hit the mat. MJF applied the Salt of the Earth armbar on the left arm. MJF moved to a different position to pull on the arm and Takeshita tapped out to give MJF the win after 14 minutes.

Winner by submission: Maxwell Jacob Friedman (MJF)

Analysis: ***1/2 A very good match as expected in a matchup like this. Takeshita did a nice job of selling the left arm injury. Takeshita doesn’t get to beat the top guys in AEW even though he has great matches with them on a consistent basis. They put Takeshita over the other midcarders, but not the bigger names at this point and at some point, I hope they do put Takeshita over some of those guys. MJF winning was the obvious result here and also something good to see since we rarely get to see MJF wrestle in TV matches. It was a clean win to put over MJF as a talented in-ring performer along with a guy that has a big mouth.

Post match, MJF got the Dynamite Diamond Ring from referee Paul Turner, then he shoved Turner down and MJF punched Takeshita wit the ring on his hand. The camera showed MJF celebrating, which allowed Takeshita time to blade and he was bleeding. MJF punched Takeshita, then Bryan Danielson made the save and MJF retreated. The doctors went into the ring to check on Takeshita’s bloody head.

Analysis: It was a dastardly heel attack by MJF, which his what he’s known for and a way to get MJF more heat as the heel World Champion.

Samoa Joe did a promo as the TNT and ROH TV Champion after winning the TNT Title from Darby Allin last week on Dynamite. Joe also trash talked Wardlow saying he will be ready for him.

Jamie Hayter (w/Britt Baker & Rebel) vs. The Bunny (w/Penelope Ford)

The women’s match is usually midway through hour three, so they put it in a different spot this week. Hayter is the AEW Women’s Champion and is a babyface now along with her friends. This is an other “eliminator” match.

Hayter grabbed a side headlock takedown, then back up with multiple shoulder tackles and Bunny hit an elbow. Bunny did a leg scissors choke against the ropes. Hayter suplexed Bunny back into the ring. Bunny hit a neckbreaker across the middle rope followed by a suplex into the steps while they were on the floor. They went to a picture-in-picture break. First commercial was 24 minutes into the show.


There was a DDT on the apron. Baker had a Hayterade sign and Ford ripped it up. Hayter hit some sloppy slam that led to Bunny hitting the mat hard. Hayter hit the Hayterade clothesline for the pin. It went six minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Jamie Hayter

Analysis: *3/4 It was okay with half of the match shown in full screen with the rest in PIP. They could have gone to commercials during entrances and then shown the whole match instead of just half of it on the full screen. You go to a break, come back, have 30 seconds of action and then a finish? That’s poor planning. It also could have been because Bunny was legit hurt there. Anyway, Hayter winning was the obvious result since they book her as a strong champion all the time. The Bunny hasn’t been used well in AEW at all, but they barely feature her.

Jamie Hayter celebrated with the title and her friends while Taz tried to explain the botched move that took place. Good effort by Taz while they showed no replays of it. Meanwhile, The Bunny was being helped to the back by trainers because I think she got hurt. I hope she is okay.

Saraya and Toni Storm were interviewed by Renee Paquette with Saraya calling Hayter a loser. Saraya brought Leva Bates into the screen, said her name started with L and they bullied Leva. Saraya sprayed “L” on Leva.

Analysis: That was some bad acting. Just saying. I get that it’s trying to put over the Saraya/Storm heel act, but it was not a great segment.

The announcers talked about what was to come. That women’s match was likely going to go a few minutes longer because they were filling time here.


Let’s Hear from MJF

They showed Lexi Nair outside of MJF’s locker room and MJF invited her into the room. MJF did a seated promo saying Takeshita is no match for him. MJF had blood on his wrist tape after bloodying Takeshita. MJF said he doesn’t know if he is hated because is twisted. MJF told a story about junior year of high school saying he got speed ticket driving his Camaro. MJF told a story about his high school crush, then he said he was driving and she got to…hand/mouth motion…you can figure it out. MJF claimed that at 90 mph, he hit a telephone pole. MJF looked at his sweet “Liv” claiming she hit the windshield, then police sirens began to roar and he was the guy that told the cops that she was the one driving. MJF said tonight, he exposes Bryan Danielson while saying that Danielson will never come close to holding the AEW World Title. MJF: “Yes, Bryan, I am a scumbag and I am damn proud of it.” Excalibur said MJF the worst person in the world.

Analysis: An interesting, obviously fake story to get some more heat on MJF as a scumbag, which he admits he is.

Garcia-Guevara Gauntlet Match

Ricky Starks has to beat some Jericho Appreciation Society guys to try to get a match with Chris Jericho, who Starks beat in the past.

Ricky Starks vs. Angelo Parker

It’s rare to see a Parker match on Dynamite. Parker hit a forearm to knock down Starks. Parker got a rollup for two, Starks got out of that, Starks went for a slam, Parker did an eye gouge to get out of it and Starks hit a Spear to pin Parker easily.

Ricky Starks vs. Matt Menard

Menard into the ring, Starks avoided an attack and got a ROLLUP OF DEATH~! That was quick. That’s what she said.

Ricky Starks vs. Daniel Garcia (w/Sammy Guevara)

Sammy distracted Starks leading to Garcia hitting Starks with a forearm to the back. Garcia ran over Starks with a running elbow leading to a PIP break.


Starks countered a submission attempt into a pin attempt. Garcia got a Guillotine choke submission, but Starks managed to counter it into a sitout Powerbomb style move. Starks went up top, but Garcia hit a superplex and Starks countered with a slam like a Falcon Arrow for a two count. I guess they have been watching Seth Rollins matches. They battled on the apron, punches were exchanged and Starks hit a Spear on Garcia on the apron. Starks was by the apron and a masked person hit Starks with a Judas Effect elbow. Excalibur asked if that was a fan as if he can’t tell it was Chris Jericho.

Winner by pinfall: Daniel Garcia

Analysis: **3/4 That’s my rating for the three matches. The first two falls were nothing and then Starks/Garcia was solid with the cheap finish. Starks doesn’t lose that often lately, but it was cheap.

The masked men went into the ring to reveal it was Chris Jericho while Garcia and Sammy acted shocked. The announcers reacting to it was pretty goofy too, but that’s how they are.

Analysis: It is obvious they are building to Starks vs. Jericho at Revolution next month, but they are not announcing it yet and are doing a slow build to it. We already saw Starks beat Jericho in the past, so it’s just a long time to build to the rematch.

The Acclaimed with Uncle Billy Gunn were interviewed by Renee Paquette. Billy said he’s going to stay in the back for their title match. Max Caster said that they can handle it, Anthony Bowens was a bit hesitant and then they did a “Scissor Me” thing to end it.

It’s Rush facing Bryan Danielson up next.


Bryan Danielson was backstage with Konosuke Takeshita in the trainer’s room and Renee Paquette was there for the interview. Somebody slammed the door and locked them in before Bryan could say anything with somebody shouting “perro” so it was probably Rush and his friends.

Rush made his entrance alone. Maxwell Jacob Friedman made his entrance a purple outfit with a long sleeve shirt and track pants. MJF had a brace on his right knee. MJF talked to referee Aubrey Edwards telling her to ring the bell to start the match since Danielson was advertised for the match.

They showed Bryan Danielson knocking the door down with his shoulder and Takeshita tackled Preston Vance, so Bryan ran down the hallway to get out to the ring. Edwards started the ten count very slowly as Bryan ran out there and got into the ring. The bell already rang to start the match.

Analysis: The story is that MJF tried to prevent Danielson from wrestling because if Bryan wins then he gets the Iron Man Match at Revolution.

Bryan Danielson vs. Rush

Bryan has to win this match to get the AEW World Title match at Revolution. Rush hit a corner clothesline followed by a running dropkick to the back. MJF joined commentary complaining about Edwards counting poorly. MJF trashed Tony Schiavone by calling him a worthless turd. Bryan tried to fight back with headbutts, but Rush hit a German Suplex along with a running knee. Bryan to the floor, so Rush sent Bryan’s left arm into the barricade multiple times. Rush hit a dropkick. Bryan was bleeding on the right side of his head as Rush sent Bryan into the barricade along with strikes. They were on the floor for several minutes with the referee Edwards not enforcing any kind of count. Bryan was bleeding heavily from the right side. Bryan and Rush exchanged strikes on the apron, then Bryan charged and Rush hit an overhead suplex off the apron to the floor. Ouch.


Rush was in control during the break. Bryan got a takedown leading to a LeBell Lock takedown, but Rush got to the ropes to break the hold. Rush to the floor, Bryan hit a suicide dive and sent Rush into the barricade. Bryan hit a running dropkick on Rush while they were on the floor. Back in the ring, Bryan jumped off the top with a missile dropkick. The fans were really into it as they exchanged strikes and chops. Lots of “si” chants for Bryan since “si” is “Yes” in Spanish. Rush beat down Bryan to the mat, but Bryan came back with a running dropkick, then another running dropkick and Rush hit a forearm smash. Rush hit a straight jacket piledriver. Safe landing on that one. Rush teased the Bull’s Horns attack, but Bryan hit him with a Busaiko Knee for a two count. MJF was clapping saying “we are fine” while telling Tony S he was wearing diapers because Tony is old. Rush with forearms, Bryan came back with his own forearms, then some headbutts by both guys and they headbutted eachother repeatedly (headbutting their hands) leading to the fans getting into it more. Rush dropped Bryan with a palm strike. Rush with a suplex, Bryan flipped over and Bryan hit a boot to the face. Bryan hit the Busaiko Knee on Rush for the pinfall win after 15 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Bryan Danielson

Analysis: ****1/4 It was an outstanding match. Bryan is the best and Rush was very aggressive throughout the match. It felt like a fight more than a random wrestling match. Bryan took a beating in this match, he sells so well all the time and it’s easy to root for him making the comeback. The massive blood loss by Bryan added to the story because it made his comeback even more impressive. Rush kicking out of the first Busaiko Knee really put over Rush as a threat while Bryan was able to come back to hit another Busaiko Knee to win. Rush is a guy they need to push in a significant feud moving forward.

The win by Danielson means he will challenge MJF for the AEW World Title in an Iron Man Match at AEW Revolution on March 5th.

Post match, MJF went into the ring with a limp while selling the right leg injury. MJF punched Bryan in the head with the Dynamite Diamond Ring on his hand. MJF beat up Bryan with punches along with the Salt of the Earth armbar. MJF beat up some security losers and put the Salt of the Earth armbar on Bryan again. They went to break with some security guys trying to pull MJF off of Bryan.

Analysis: Isn’t Bryan in the Blackpool Combat Club group? Why don’t they try to help the guy when he’s bloody, beat up and getting attacked after the match? It’s a logical question that won’t get answered. Anyway, MJF should beat Danielson at Revolution and if he doesn’t then I’ll be surprised.


They showed two of the Impractical Jokers with Tony Schiavone for a backstage interview. One of them had the official bat of Chris Jericho. They mentioned Jericho being on Impractical Jokers, so they stole his bat. They are allowing Jericho a chance to respond to it during Impractical Jokers tomorrow night. I don’t watch that show. I have no idea.

AEW Trios Tag Team Championships: The Elite (Kenny Omega, Mark Jackson & Nick Jackson) vs. Top Flight (Darius & Dante Martin) & AR Fox

This should be full of flippy stuff. Don Callis joined commentary. Don was more useful when Omega was a heel. As a face, they don’t really get much promo time at all.

Dante with a dropkick on Nick. It took about 20 seconds for them to ignore tag team rules as Matt and Omega were sent out of the ring. Matt made a tag against Darius with Matt/Nick hitting a combo neckbreaker. Dante in illegally, he got dropkicked, Fox and Omega into the ring illegally with Omega hitting a clothesline. Omega worked over Darius with chops, then a corner splash and the Bucks hit kicks at the same time. Omega hit a backbreaker on Darius leading to a break.


Matt was in the ring with Darius with Matt hitting a Spanish Fly. Nick tagged in going for a splash and Darius got the knees up. Omega was in the ring illegally, Fox tagged in and hit a senton on Nick. Fox hit a Cutter on Omega. Matt was in illegally with a clothesline, Fox hit him with a Cutter and Fox hit a Cutter on Nick as well. I guess Fox has been watching some Randy Orton matches lately. Fox hit a dive onto both Bucks on the floor and a dive onto Omega on the floor. Fox hit a somersault dive onto both Bucks on the floor. Fox hit a Senton Bomb off the top on Omega for a two count. Omega must have made the tag at some point. Omega got a boot up, but Fox hit a springboard Spanish Fly takedown off the ropes. Dante tagged in against Nick, then Matt tagged in and Dante got a headscissors takedown. Matt caught Dante with Matt hitting multiple Northern Lights suplexes. Darius tagged in and Fox went into the ring illegally so Matt could hit a double suplex and a pin attempt at the same time. Nick tagged in with a superkick, Darius came back with a kick and Darius hit a DDT on Nick while legal man Dante covered Nick for two. Fox hit a springboard attack onto a bunch of guys on the floor. Top Flight hit the Nose Dive double team neckbreaker on Nick for two. Fox hit a 450 Splash on Nick and Omega made the save barely although I don’t think Kenny was there in time, so Nick had to kick out. Omega hit Snapdragon Suplex on Fox, then some more moves hit by different guys and everybody was in the ring. Matt with a neckbreaker, Fox with an enziguri on Matt and Young Bucks didn’t do a good job of hitting a spike piledriver, but it’s the thought that counts. Nick hit a moonsault onto two guys on the floor. Fox avoided a knee by Omega and got a rollup for two. I didn’t know they were legal, but I guess so. Omega with a running knee on Fox, then a Doctor Bomb and a V-Trigger knee. Fox countered a One Winged Angel for a two count. Omega tried a pin on Fox, then a crucifix by Omega and that was enough for the win. It went about 14 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: The Elite (Kenny Omega, Mark Jackson & Nick Jackson)

Analysis: **** A title match with a lot of flipping going on as expected. There were a lot of nearfalls in the match and since Top Flight beat The Young Bucks recently, some people might have thought there could be a title change. I am sure some wrestling observers will rate this higher than me, but I actually care about wrestling psychology and having people randomly going into the ring at all times hurts the match in my opinion. With that said, The Elite are incredible performers and the opponents held their own. Fox and Top Flight got plenty of offense throughout the match. The fans were really into it too, so that always helps. I enjoyed it although maybe a bit too chaotic at times. I understand that they are given 15 minutes for a match like this and do whatever they want, but try to tell a story sometimes instead of just doing crazy spots the whole time.

After a match like that, they should have spent one minute showing replays. Instead, it was onto a video package about Hook. Why not show replays? It was great action. Replays are good.

There was a brief video that aired about Hook.

Stokely Hathaway was interviewed by Lexi Nair with Stokely complaining about Hook causing problems for his group. That led to Hook interrupting the interview, grabbed Stokely by the arm and issued a warning of sorts.

There was a rundown of Rampage matches with Excalibur screaming loudly. Stop yelling at me.


The Gunns entered as the challengers in the main. The Acclaimed entered as the AEW Tag Team Champions with Max Caster using a Chinese spy balloon reference and speaking in Spanish to pop the El Paso crowd.

AEW Tag Team Championships: The Acclaimed (Max Caster & Anthony Bowens) vs. The Gunns (Austin & Colten Gunn)

Billy Gunn was not at ringside to support The Acclaimed nor was he out there for his sons, The Gunns.

Caster took down Colten with an arm drag takedown. Quick tags by the champions leading to Bowens hitting a leg drop to the leg leading to the “scissor” spot. That led to a PIP break.


The Gunns isolated Caster with a knee lift/clothesline spot leading to Austin getting a two count. Caster avoided both Gunns trying to attack him and sent both Gunns out of the ring. Bowens got the tag with a clothesline, punches and elbows on both opponents. Bowens hit a leaping leg drop to the back of Austin’s head for a two count. They did a spot with multiple clotheslines so everybody could sell for a few moments. Bowens went for a rolling elbow, Austin pulled the referee in front of him and referee Stephon Smith bumped to the apron along with a bump to the floor. Austin grabbed a Tag Team Title, then Billy Gunn went out to the ring and checked on Bowens. Austin nearly hit Billy with the title belt, but then Colten went into the ring and hit Daddy Ass with another title belt to the head. There was still no referee as Bowens hit the Arrival slam and Caster hit a Mic Drop elbow off the top. Colten sent Caster into the barricade. Bowens tried a pin, the dazed referee did a slow count and Colten saved his brother. Austin kicked out of a Bowens pin, Colten hit Bowens in the head with a belt and Austin did a ROLLUP OF DEATH~! on Bowens for the pinfall win after 11 minutes.

Winners by pinfall AND NEW AEW Tag Team Champions: The Gunns (Austin & Colten Gunn)

Analysis: **1/2 That was a title change I didn’t expect. The action was okay although it felt like just an average match. This didn’t feel like a match that needed the title change although I guess it was done to try to legitimize The Gunns as a team since they were seen as jokes by the fans. It was a cheap win – about as cheap as you can get, so that’s fitting for a team like The Gunns that are hated by the fans. The ROLLUP OF DEATH~! strikes again.

The Gunns celebrated with their AEW Tag Team Championships as they showed replays of the key spots in the match including multiple belt shots. The babyface announcers trashed The Gunns for their actions while Taz gave them credit as the new champions. The Acclaimed were left in the ring with Billy to react to what happened. The Acclaimed’s music played even though they just lost the titles because I guess it was a way to end the show while Excalibur screamed at us about what’s to come.

Analysis: I don’t know if this will lead to Billy turning on The Acclaimed officially, but it might happen with Billy supporting his sons instead. I thought they would have Billy turn on The Acclaimed to have The Gunns win that way, but they went in a different way here.

Three Stars of the Show

  1. MJF
  2. Bryan Danielson
  3. The Elite

The Scoreboard

This Week: 8 out of 10

Last Week: 8.5

2023 Average: 8.08

Final Thoughts

I thought it was another great episode of Dynamite. It was the sixth Dynamite episode of the year and my average score for the show in 2023 is above 8 out of 10, so that’s impressive. The announcers also said “championship fight night” throughout the show, which was very annoying by the second hour. Repetitiveness is their job, as Bart Simpson might say.

Those back-to-back outstanding matches between Bryan Danielson & Rush along with The Elite having a chaotic flippy fest with Top Flight & AR Fox were fun to watch. The MJF match with Konosuke Takeshita to open the show was also outstanding as well a the story of MJF trying to stop Bryan from winning to prevent the Revolution match from happening was great. However, MJF will officially face Bryan Danielson in an Iron Man Match at Revolution.

It was the second straight week with a heel title change in the main event. I don’t think most people expected The Gunns to beat The Acclaimed for the AEW Tag Team Titles, but at least it was done in a very cheap way to build to a potential rematch.

The next AEW pay-per-view is Revolution on Sunday, March 5th.

AEW World Championship 60-Minute Iron Man Match: Maxwell Jacob Friedman (c) vs. Bryan Danielson

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

John Canton


Twitter: @johnreport