The John Report: AEW Dynamite 02/15/23 Review
This week’s AEW Dynamite featured an eight-man tag team match, Blackpool Combat Club teaming up, a triple threat women’s match and more.
This was AEW Dynamite episode #176 at Sames Auto Arena in Laredo, Texas. Check out the AEW PPV listing archive only on TJRWrestling as well. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Let’s get to it.
There was a graphic that said: “In Memoriam Jerry Jarrett 1942-2023.”
It’s Wednesday night and you know what that means. Excalibur was on commentary with Tony Schiavone and Taz as usual.
They started off with eight-man tag team match to start the show. Max Caster trashed Jeff Jarrett in his pre-show rap even though Jeff’s dad Jerry Jarrett died yesterday. Max said that Jeff’s dad is a legend while Jeff is just a douchebag. Rest in Peace, Jerry. Jeff was wrestling on this show with a heavy heart, I’m sure.
Jeff Jarrett, Jay Lethal, Satnam Singh & Sonjay Dutt vs. Orange Cassidy, Billy Gunn & The Acclaimed – Max Caster & Anthony Bowens
Dutt had a pencil on along with a tie on his outfit. Bowens got some offense going against Lethal with a kick followed by a leg drop onto the back of the head sending Lethal to the mat. Caster tagged in leading to some tandem offense and Caster hit a powerslam. Jarrett tagged in, Caster with an arm drag and a dropkick. Jarrett slammed Caster down by the back of the head. Singh tagged in, so Orange tagged himself in. Dutt tagged in against Orange, nothing happened there and Billy tagged in against Jarrett. The Gunns appeared on the ramp with the AEW Tag Team Titles. Gunn and Jarrett faced off like they did at a WWE live event I was at over 25 years ago. Jarrett tripped Billy into the ropes, Jarrett with a splash onto the back and a clothesline. Lethal tagged in with a neckbreaker. More quick tags as the heels worked over Billy including Jeff doing a crotch chop at Caster. Jarrett with a legsweep on Billy, Lethal with some choking and Singh tagged in with a clothesline on Billy. Caster and Bowens into the ring, Singh knocked them down and Singh blocked an Orange punch leading to Singh tossing Orange down. Dutt tagged in while Billy hit a Fameasser on Singh. Jarrett hit Billy with a Golden Globe, then there were strikes by different people including Caster doing a slam off the shoulders. Orange with an Orange Punch on Dutt. Lethal saved Dutt briefly from a double team move, but then Billy knocked Lethal down. Jarrett knocked Billy down and Orange hit an Orange Punch on Jarrett. Orange gave Lethal a headscissors out of the ring. Caster had Dutt with his legs spread open for about a full minute leading to Bowens jumping off the ropes with a leg drop for the Scissor Me Timbers double team move. Bowens pinned Dutt to win. It went about ten minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Orange Cassidy, Billy Gunn & The Acclaimed – Max Caster & Anthony Bowens
Analysis: **3/4 It was a solid tag team match with some comedy thrown in there as well since Caster was holding Dutt’s legs apart for about one minute. Singh is still really limited in what he can do since he was barely in the match. The Acclaimed guys got some momentum back with the win after losing the AEW Tag Team Titles last week.
Post match, the winners did a four-way Scissoring party.
They aired a promo from Bryan Danielson last week when he was all bloody saying that MJF can’t go 60 minutes like him. Bryan said that MJF is scared and knows Bryan will take the AEW Championship from him at AEW Revolution in an Iron Man Match.
Jon Moxley and Claudio Castagnoli made their entrance in the crowd. They were attacked by their opponents Rush and Preston Vance during the entrance. That led to a brawl on the floor.
Tornado Tag Team Match: Jon Moxley & Claudio Castagnoli vs. Rush & Preston Vance (w/Jose The Assistant)
It’s a tornado tag team match meaning they don’t have to do tags and they can fight outside the ring legally with weapons allowed.
They finally went into the ring to start the match with Moxley fighting Vance in the ring with chops while Rush was battling Claudio on the floor. Rush went into the ring for some double team stomping. Vance hit a spinebuster on Moxley followed by Rush hitting a dropkick to the back. Claudio back in with a springboard uppercut on Vance. Claudio picked up Vance onto his shoulders for a slam. Moxley brought two chairs into the ring. Moxley knocked down Rush with a clothesline on the floor, plus a sloppy catapult into the barricade. Claudio with a bulldog on Vance onto a chair while “Hangman” Adam Page was shown watching the match. Claudio and Mox sent Vance into the steel chairs against the ropes two times in a row. Claudio and Mox with boots onto Rush followed by Mox hitting a suicide dive on Rush on the floor. Vance clotheslined Claudio out of the ring. Vance gave Moxley a Spear off the apron onto Claudio & Rush on the floor leading to a “holy shit” chant. Rush and Vance smashed a steel chair against the left shoulder of Claudio. They went to a picture-in-picture break.
Moxley was bleeding heavily by the forehead (of course he is), which is a regular occurrence for him. Moxley hit a charging Rush with a forearm to the head. Vance was back in with a chain punch on Moxley for a two count. Vance delivered some weak punches with the chain that Moxley was blocking. Claudio was back up after about five minutes with some chain punching of his own. Vance did his own blade job as Claudio punched him with the chain. Claudio did the Giant Swing on Vance leading to a two count because Rush made the save. Rush hit a spin kick on Claudio. Moxley with a Cutter on Rush. Vance with a discus lariat on Moxley for a two count. Rush with a suplex on Moxley while Claudio hit a suplex on Vance. Claudio faced off with Rush, Claudio wanted a move and Jose hit Claudio in the back with a steel chair. Jose celebrated that, then he moved towards the entrance side and Wheeler Yuta of the BCC punched Jose a few times as they went up the ramp to the back. Claudio was back up with an uppercut, but Rush hit a belly-to-belly suplex into the turnbuckle. Rush charged, but Claudio hit a Spear for two. Vance was slow to break it up so Rush just kicked out on his own. Rush hit Claudio with forearms to knock him out of the ring. Claudio hit an uppercut on Rush, who tried a dive to the floor. Moxley choked Vance with the chain along with elbows. Moxley applied an armbar with the chair and the referee called for the bell since Vance looked like he was passing out. It went 15 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Jon Moxley & Claudio Castagnoli
Analysis: ***3/4 A great match. Lots of action all over the place, two guys bleeding heavily, Claudio was a physical beast and Rush is outstanding at everything as well. Since it was a Tornado Tag Team Match, it made sense for them to use weapons throughout the match. The chain was a smart weapon to use since it came into play for the finish. I’m not surprised by the Moxley/Claudio team getting the win.
They showed “Hangman” Adam Page backstage getting beat up by Kip Sabian, The Butcher & The Blade since Page faces Sabian later. Some help quickly arrived to chase the heels away.
Wardlow was interviewed by Jim Ross in a pre-tape segment with JR talking about the rivalry with Samoa Joe. Wardlow spoke about being close to his dad, then he was out of his life for several years, then as a young adult his dad was a big part of his life again. Wardlow also shared that his father died of cancer just as Wardlow started his wrestling journey. Wardlow talked about wanting to do his late father proud as a wrestler. Wardlow said after cancer took his dad’s life, he grew out his hair and his beard. Joe knew that, so Jew cut some of Wardlow’s hair. Wardlow said that Joe took that from him. Wardlow told Joe that he will not survive Wardlow.
Analysis: A very personal story by Wardlow there. It makes it easier to root for him as well.
Mark Briscoe vs. Josh Woods (w/Smart Mark Sterling & Tony Nese & Ari Daivari)
Woods got some offense early, but Mark came back with a shoulder tackle. Sterling distracted the referee, so Daivari and Nese attacked Mark on the floor. Penta and Rey Fenix brawled with Nese and Daivari all the way to the back (the second match in a row with that spot). Woods gave Mark a neckbreaker off the apron onto the floor leading to a PIP break.
Woods hit a jawbreaker and an overhead suplex after Sterling provided a distraction. Mark blocked a punch, then an uppercut punch and Mark kicked Woods out of the ring. Mark got a chair that he used to jump over the top onto Woods on the floor. Mark with a corner clothesline, then Mark set up Woods on the top rope and hit a Powerbomb for a two count. Woods blocked Jay Driller attempt, then Woods rolled through and hit a Pure Chaos suplex for two. Woods with a Powerbomb, a knee to the face and Mark hit an enziguri kick to the face. Mark with a DVD driving Woods to the match. Mark went up top, pointed to the sky for late brother Jay and the Froggy Bow splash for the pinfall win after 10 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Mark Briscoe
Analysis: *** It was good with Mark having a lot of energy with a nice tribute to his late brother Jay at the end before he hit the Froggy Bow. I’m all for AEW using Mark more although they are taping ROH again soon, so maybe he’ll be featured on that more than AEW. Woods is technically skilled although he’s not getting pushed on the main AEW shows.
After the show, AEW announced that Mark Briscoe is All Elite. He’s in ROH too.
Mark Briscoe earned his second win on TBS on #AEWDynamite tonight, and now it's official:
Mark Briscoe is All Elite!
Congratulations @SussexCoChicken! pic.twitter.com/P9tyrJx1V3
— Tony Khan (@TonyKhan) February 16, 2023
Adam Cole Interview
Adam Cole did a seated pre-tape interview with Renee Paquette. Cole said he feels great while saying he has learned to have little victories. Cole talked about how his vision is better, he doesn’t have to throw up in the car and he’s very happy. Cole said he looks at the roster, it has never been better and it is absolutely stacked. Cole said he needs to be prepared as humanly possible. Cole said it will be good for AEW and good for him without naming any specific future opponents.
Analysis: It is good to see Cole doing well physically again. There wasn’t anything groundbreaking about the interview although I’m a big fan of his, so I’m happy he is in a good place in life.
Maxwell Jacob Friedman made his entrance as the AEW World Champion. They went to a PIP break. MJF teased doing a selfie with a fan and then smacked the phone down. That was hilarious.
Let’s Hear From MJF
The fans were booing AEW World Champion Maxwell Jacob Friedman loudly before he spoke. MJF said that these people love Bryan Danielson, but these people used to love him and be devil worshippers. MJF called the fans disgusting, fickle little monsters so he turned his back on them. MJF said he’s the devil while the fans chanted “shut the f**k up.” MJF said that the fans in real life, Bryan is a worthless sack of trash like the fans. MJF said that he hates Bryan because the people think Bryan is better than MJF leading to “yes” chants. MJF asked if they think Bryan is the best in the world and the fans cheered. MJF talked about why the fans like Bryan while MJF said that we get into this business to become World Champion. MJF said the only way you’re the best in the world is if you’re the man with the AEW World Championship. MJF said that is something Danielson has never been able to accomplish.
MJF said that for one hour, he knows Bryan will give him everything he has. MJF said he knows Bryan will use every trick he has learned all around the world, but MJF said when the clock strikes zero, he will be victorious. MJF said he’s the best wrestler in the world and at Revolution he’ll prove it. MJF did his catchphrase, the fans joined in and he told the fans to shut up. MJF said maybe you’ll listen to a man that has known Danielson his entire career – a man Bryan looks at as a mentor.
MJF introduced former ROH World Champion Christopher Daniels, who wrestled Bryan many times in their careers. MJF wanted Daniels to talk about the truth about Bryan Danielson.
Daniels said that MJF paid him an obscene amount of money to denigrate Bryan Danielson. Daniels had the envelope in his hand. Daniels said that Bryan is set to knock MJF’s dick in the dirt. Daniels said that 20-year-old Bryan hit him so hard that Daniels thought he might die and that’s when he knew that Bryan would be great. Daniels watched Bryan win the King of the Indies tournament in 2001, which led to Ring of Honor being launched (in 2002). Daniels said that they are the same type of fans that were ecstatic when AEW launched four years ago. Daniels said without ROH there would be no AEW and there would be no MJF.
Daniels talked about how he shared the locker room with Bryan all over this plant. Daniels said that Bryan wanted to learn everything he could about pro wrestling. Daniels said he watched Bryan learn everything until he watched him become a World Champion. Daniels told Bryan is going to be a World Champion again. Daniels told MJF that Bryan is what MJF wishes he can be – the best wrestler in the world today. Daniels called MJF a fraud so MJF smacked the microphone out of Daniels’ hand. MJF said he’s the best in the world. Daniels tried to leave, MJF grabbed his arm and Daniels smacked MJF in the head. MJF with a low blow kick followed by the Salt of the Earth armbar. Bryan Danielson ran out for the save, so MJF left. Bryan checked on Daniels in the ring.
Analysis: The way this was done made it feel like Bryan Danielson wasn’t even there. It was just another way to get heat on MJF with the cheap attack while Daniels made good points about why Bryan is so liked and respected in the pro wrestling world.
The Toni Storm vs. Ruby Soho vs. Britt Baker match is the main event. A rare women’s main event in AEW.
The Gunns were featured in a pre-tape promo talking about their AEW Tag Team Title reign. Austin and Colten Gunn bragged about their title win. Colten said they’ve only teamed together for one year and only teamed together on TV about ten times. They said “welcome to the Gunn show” to end it.
“Jungle Boy” Jack Perry vs. Brian Cage (w/Prince Nana)
Jack with a boot to the face followed by a dropkick out of the ring. Jack hit two straight suicide dives onto Cage on the floor. Jack went for a dive over the top, but Cage caught him and hit a Powerbomb into the apron. They went to a PIP break.
Cage was in control with a boot to the face. Jack was back up with a dropkick. Cage went for a move, Jack countered it and Cage hit a sitout spinebuster for a two count. Jack got a pin attempt, but Cage was back up with a Powerbomb into the turnbuckle followed by Cage doing his own version of the F5 for a two count. Jack kicked Cage by the apron followed by a double foot stomp to the back. Jack hit a splash off the top for a two count. Jack with a Death Valley Driver for one, Cage no sold it and went for an attack. Jack hit a Crucifix Bomb, a kick and an elbow to the back for the pinfall win after about eight minutes.
Winner by pinfall: “Jungle Boy” Jack Perry
Analysis: **3/4 It was okay. I don’t know if I love Jack using a running forearm to the back of the head as a finish. He’s not a power guy. It doesn’t look that impressive. I think he should try something else, but it’s up to him. Cage is a good worker that looks impressive all the time although he never really gets significant wins even though the announcers try to put him over.
“Jungle Boy” Jack Perry celebrated the win by signaling for a title. Christian Cage’s music hit as Christian appeared with his right arm still in a sling after several months away. Jack tried to attack, but Christian sprayed some mace or something in Jack’s face. Christian took the arm brace off and Christian gave Jack the Killswitch on the ramp.
Analysis: Poor Jack had to deal with two guys named Cage on this show. Nicolas Cage was proud of them. Anyway, welcome back to Christian with the cheap attack after a long break. That should lead to them having a meaningful match at some point since Christian was hurt the last time they tried it.
Renee Paquette was shown on screen saying The Gunns will defend the AEW Tag Team Titles against two teams in a triple threat match at Revolution. Renee said there was going to a match and then a battle royal, but then The Acclaimed showed up. Bowens said it will be a Fatal 4-Way because they are using their rematch clause for a title shot at Revolution.
Analysis: A Fatal 4-Way for the Tag Team Titles at Revolution is fine with me. I don’t see The Gunns having a very long title reign.
The match between “Hangman” Adam Page facing Kip Sabian was up next depending on Page’s health.
The Elite were backstage with Don Callis and Michael Nakazawa. They were talking about the NBA All-Star Game. Top Flight and AR Fox challenged The Elite to a rematch. Darius said they like to play with balls, but actually don’t have any. Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks agreed to the rematch. There was also a brief House of Black image on the screen during the discussion, so that’s a future tease.
Analysis: It was a great match last week, so a rematch is fine with me. It should be awesome again.
Kip Sabian (w/Penelope Ford) vs. “Hangman” Adam Page
Sabian hit a neckbreaker followed by a running cannonball in the corner. Page with a kick followed by a fallaway slam. They each went for spots on the floor, Sabian hit a sliding dropkick and Sabian hit a springboard moonsault onto a standing Moxley on the floor. That lead to a PIP break.
Page was in control with a hard whip that sent Sabian into the barricade. Back in the ring, Page hit a sitout Powerbomb for two. Page blocked a kick and hit a stiff clothesline. Page hit the Deadeye slam for the pinfall win after six minutes.
Winner by pinfall: “Hangman” Adam Page
Analysis: **1/2 It was just an average match with Hangman obviously getting the win. They got six minutes with half of it shown during the picture-in-picture. Sabian has talent for sure, but nobody thought he had a chance to win here.
Jon Moxley, Claudio Castagnoli and Wheeler Yuta of The Blackpool Combat Club entered the ring for a promo. Moxley told Page that his ass got pinned the last time they had a match. Moxley said he respects him, but zero fear. Moxley said there is no chance in hell that Page will ever beat Moxley again, so let it go. Page didn’t like how their last match ended with a cradle. Page said that this should end in a dark alley when there’s only one of them left standing. Page thinks that this ends at Revolution. Moxley called him the “Emo Cowboy” saying he ain’t got no friends.
The Dark Order’s Evil Uno, John Silver & Alex Reynolds made their way down to the ring. They still work there? Sorry. Evil Uno said they have had Page’s back for over two years. Uno said he wanted to do this, but he didn’t because Page kept them from doing it. Uno got into the ring saying Dark Order is not afraid of him and he is not afraid of Moxley. Uno shoved Moxley in the face. Moxley told Page that at Revolution it’s “Texas Death” taking place in San Francisco. Excalibur said we had no idea if that was official. Gee, I wonder.
Analysis: That should be an excellent match between Moxley and Page as usual. Good job by the Dark Order guys (they are barely on TV at this point) supporting Moxley there. I like the competitive rivalry between Moxley and Page as two former babyface World Champions that respect eachother, but also want to have a decisive winner in their rivalry.
Chris Jericho and the Jericho Appreciation Society were interviewed by Tony Schiavone. Jericho claimed Ricky Starks is not going to get a match with Jericho saying that Ricky is not at his level. Daniel Garcia said he’ll face Ricky on Rampage. They said that Starks is annoying, delusional and Jake Hager said he likes his hat. Garcia said he’ll prove that Ricky Starks is an absolute fraud.
Analysis: I think Jericho vs. Starks at Revolution is a lock at this point, but it’s just not announced yet.
Rampage this Friday has a special 7pm ET start time on TNT. These are the matches:
* AEW Trios Tag Team Championships: The Elite vs. Top Flight & AR Fox
* Daniel Garcia vs. Ricky Starks
* TBS Championship: Jade Cargill vs. Vertvixen
* Swerve Strickland vs. Dustin Rhodes
The lineup for AEW Revolution on March 5th so far:
* AEW World Championship 60-Minute Iron Man Match: MJF (c) vs. Bryan Danielson
* Fatal 4-Way Match for the AEW Tag Team Championships: The Gunns vs. The Acclaimed vs. two more teams
* TNT Championship: Samoa Joe (c) vs. Wardlow
* Texas Death Match: Jon Moxley vs. “Hangman” Adam Page
Jon Moxley will face Evil Uno next week on Dynamite as well.
The women’s triple threat match is the main event.
The group of Ethan Page, Stokely Hathaway (with a fake cast), Matt Hady and Isiah Kassidy were interviewed by Tony Schiavone. Stokely did a ridiculous promo about his arm. Tony said that Hook was suspended pending investigation because of the arm injury.
Analysis: It’s not a great storyline, but at least it’s something for Hook to do by having him feud with Stokely, so that could lead to a match with somebody in this group.
It was main event time with Toni Storm and Saraya beating up a woman fan at ringside that had a DMD sign. Congrats to that indy wrestler getting TV time. Ruby Soho was next. Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D. was last with AEW Women’s Champion Jamie Hayter. Britt is now a face while Storm and Saraya are heels.
Toni Storm (w/Saraya) vs. Ruby Soho vs. Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D. (w/Jami Hayter)
Storm was sent out of the ring and Baker hit Ruby with a neckbreaker. Storm knocked Baker down on the floor. Storm did a hip attack on Baker on the apron to knock her down again. Ruby hit a Saito Suplex on Storm. Baker back in with a forearm on Ruby. They went to a picture-in-picture break with about eight minutes left in the show.
Baker was in control with clotheslines on Storm, then a blockbuster neckbreaker and Ruby was back up. There was a neckbreaker/DDT combo spot. Saraya grabbed Baker’s foot, Storm with a German Suplex. There was a superkick and a knock down on Baker against the turnbuckle. Ruby with a trip on Storm. Baker hit a sitout slam on Ruby and Storm kicked Baker in the head to break it up. The three women laid on the mat to sell for about ten seconds. They did a German Suplex out of the corner with Storm on Ruby while Britt got a rollup on Storm for two. Britt and Storm exchanged elbows to the face, Baker with another forearm and a twisting neckbreaker by Britt got two on Storm. Ruby was back up with a trip on Baker. Ruby jumped off the top with nothing, Storm punched Ruby and Storm applied a Texas Cloverleaf submission. Baker went for a Lockjaw at the same time, but Saraya kicked Baker and hit a neckbreaker. Storm took out Hayter on the floor. Saraya did some green spray paint onto Storm’s ass leading to Storm hitting a hip attack on Baker in the corner. Ruby tossed Storm out of the ring onto Saraya on the floor. Ruby got a rollup on Baker for the pinfall win. It went about nine minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Ruby Soho
Analysis: **3/4 The match was fine as a triple threat with a lot of moves leading to nearfalls for all three women throughout the match. I thought Baker was going to win in order to give her some momentum as a face, but I guess it’s about giving Ruby a win to possibly put her in line for a title shot against Hayter.
Post match, Saraya and Hayter were on opposite sides of Ruby, who shouted “enough” because she didn’t want to choose a side. Hayter and Saraya left the ring while Ruby celebrated some more to end the show.
Analysis: The story is that Saraya and Storm want Ruby to be on their side since they are ex-WWE girls, but Ruby is a babyface on her own at this point.
Three Stars of the Show
- Jon Moxley & Claudio Castagnoli
- Mark Briscoe
This Week: 6 out of 10
Last Week: 8
2023 Average: 7.79
It is my lowest-rated episode of Dynamite this year. It doesn’t mean it’s a bad show because my rating isn’t that bad. This show just didn’t have the great matches that we have seen in the past. There was some solid storyline advancement while also making some Revolution matches official. I just felt like it was a bit below the high standards of Dynamite episodes we have seen this year.
The Tornado Tag Team Match was definitely the best of the night with Jon Moxley & Claudio Castagnoli beating Rush & Preston Vance. Lots of blood from Moxley (not a shock that he bled) and Vance during the match. Most of the other matches were good or average. There were nice wins for Mark Briscoe, Jack Perry (attacked by a returning Christian Cage post match), the babyfaces in the eight-man tag and Ruby Soho during the show.
I also enjoyed the MJF promo as usual. Using Christopher Daniels in the spot to support Bryan Danielson was a different way to build the MJF-Danielson feud, but also got some heat on MJF for doing a low blow to Daniels. I thought it was an effective segment in terms of building the MJF-Danielson match at Revolution. I’m also glad they announced more matches for Revolution on the show too.
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
* Texas Death Match: Jon Moxley vs. “Hangman” Adam Page
* Fatal 4-Way Match for the AEW Tag Team Championships: The Gunns vs. The Acclaimed vs. two more teams
* TNT Championship: Samoa Joe (c) vs. Wardlow
There will be more matches added.
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