The John Report: AEW Dynamite 02/22/23 Review
This week’s AEW Dynamite featured Jon Moxley in action, a Tag Team Battle Royal, Orange Cassidy defending the All-Atlantic Title and more.
This was AEW Dynamite episode #177 at the Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona. 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.
All-Atlantic Championship: Orange Cassidy vs. Wheeler Yuta
This was not for Yuta’s ROH Pure Championship. Orange and Yuta each got multiple pin attempts in the first minute of the match. There were more pin attempts by both guys for another minute. To their credit, they were very creative with some of the moves. Claudio Castagnoli went down to the ring and motivated his friend Yuta by slapping him in the head. Back in the ring Yuta bit Orange and sent him out of the ring. Yuta hit a suicide dive onto Orange on the floor. Yuta tossed Orange into the barricade and over the ringside table. The referee Bryce Remsburg checked on Orange instead of count him out of the ring because it’s AEW. Claudio went to the back as Yuta sent Orange into the ring post. Yuta punched and chopped Orange, who then put his hands in his pockets and Yuta did some harder palm strikes to the face. Orange did his comedy kicks, Yuta with a forearm and Orange hit a dropkick. Orange sent Yuta face first into the turnbuckle. Yuta came back with a counter leading to a forearm off the top. A dropkick by Yuta sent Orange out of the ring leading to a picture-in-picture break.
Yuta remained in control with a clothesline against the turnbuckle. Yuta jumped off the top with a splash, Orange moved and Yuta hit the mat. They exchanged some holds, Yuta hit a brainbuster and a unique version of an Angle Slam for a two count. Orange kicked Yuta in the ribs a bit, then Orange hugged him like a dumbass and Yuta hit Orange in the head. Yuta with a German Suplex. Orange hit a German Suplex, which his rare for him. Orange countered a move into a pin attempt for two. Yuta did the mouse trap pin attempt for a two count. Yuta spit his gum on Orange’s head, then Orange spit at Yuta’s face and they did the forearm exchange sequence that AEW wrestlers love to do. Orange and Yuta did double clotheslines leading to a lay down spot. The referee Bryce Remsburg, who didn’t count Orange out of the ring earlier, was counting them down here, but of course the guys got back up. They went to the apron with Orange doing a back body drop on Yuta on the apron. Orange jumped off the apron and hit a diving DDT on the floor. Back in the ring, Orange hit a swinging DDT for two. Yuta basically no sold those DDTs and hit a piledriver for two. Yuta with elbow smashes, then Orange got his own elbow smashes and they exchanged pin attempts again with Yuta getting a two count. Orange hit the Orange Punch for two. Orange hit Beach Break for two. With Yuta on his knees, Orange hit a running Orange Punch for the pinfall win after 17 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Orange Cassidy
Analysis: ***3/4 They had a great match here with many pin attempts throughout the match with plenty of counter moves and nearfalls that could have been the finish. Yuta looked impressive in defeat because he put up a fight throughout the match. I liked the finish with Orange getting Orange Punch for two, then he did Beach Break and another Orange Punch (while Yuta was on his knees) for the pinfall. The fans were into it and they worked well together. I enjoyed it.
After the match, Orange wanted a hug from his former friend. Claudio Castagnoli walked back out and told Yuta to come to him, so there was no hug from Yuta.
Analysis: The Blackpool Combat Club are not huggers. AEW really hasn’t featured the four BCC guys (Bryan Danielson, Jon Moxley, Claudio & Yuta) together that much in several months, but I guess Claudio is in a mentor role for the younger Yuta.
There was a locker room interview by “Hangman” Adam Page and Evil Uno conducted by Evil Uno. Hangman spoke up, but Uno said he’s heard Hangman speak up about his friends. Uno said that no matter what happens, he doesn’t want Hangman to get involved. Uno said that Jon Moxley will find out exactly why his way is Evil Uno.
Ricky Starks made his entrance for a promo wearing a dress shirt in non-wrestling clothes.
Let’s Hear from Ricky Starks
Ricky Starks was cheered by the crowd. Starks talked about all the things he has been dealing with and the message is clear that Chris Jericho doesn’t want to have a rematch against Starks. Ricky said he accepts that, so he’s moving on against Jericho. Starks said that he had an open challenge for a match against him at Revolution while noting that his theme song is “the revolution will be televised.” Starks wanted somebody to come out there to sign it.
The Jericho Appreciation Society’s leader Chris Jericho made his entrance with the fans singing the “Judas” theme song. Jericho stayed on the ramp as the fans did their sing-along. Jericho said he knows Starks is trying to bait him into having another match. Jericho congratulated Starks for beating Jericho and said it would never happen again. Jericho claimed it is never going to happen because Starks is not at Jericho’s level. Jericho said he hopes the open challenge goes well for him.
Peter Avalon of The Wingmen tried to go down to the ring to answer the open challenge, but Jericho gave him a Judas Effect elbow with the spiked jacket he was wearing.
Jericho got into the ring and told a fan: “Shut your mouth, jackass.” Jericho said you can’t have Revolution without Jericho, so maybe he should sign the contract and embarrass Ricky’s ass. Starks wondered why Jericho needed JAS. Starks said he thought Jericho had it in him to get the job by himself. Starks mentioned Jericho beat two legends (Rock & Austin at Vengeance 2001) all by himself. It was not by himself at all because those matches both had cheap finishes, but they aren’t going to say that. Starks used reverse psychology by saying Jericho can beat Starks. Jericho said of course he can beat Starks. Jericho said he’ll sign the contract and even sign an addendum that the JAS stays in the back at Revolution…except Chris didn’t have a pen. Starks handed Jericho a pen. Jericho held the pen like he used to do “The List” and Jericho signed the contract. Jericho said that the JAS has to stay in the back. Jericho said you’ve got it: Jericho vs. “Absolute” Ricky Starks at Revolution. Jericho told him to be careful what you wish for and said nobody outsmarts him. Jericho left. Starks looked at the camera and smiled because he literally just outsmarted Jericho.
Analysis: Five minutes after Jericho said that the Revolution match with Starks was not going to happen…it literally happened. I guess Starks outsmarted Jericho with that one. It took a few minutes to make the obvious match, but now it’s official. Since Starks outsmarted Jericho, it makes Jericho look dumb, which is rare because he usually looks smarter than whoever he is feuding with. The crowd popped for Jericho pushing the button on the pen to sign the contract because they loved “The List” story in WWE over five years ago.
There were promos from some of the AEW tag teams that are in the battle royal about how they are going to win the match.
The Acclaimed (Max Caster & Anthony Bowens) (w/Billy Gunn) vs. Big Bill & Lee Moriarty (w/Stokely Hathaway)
Caster did a creative rap mocking the opponents as usual. Caster with an arm drag. Bill delivered a knee to the back of Caster while the fans were chanting “Scissor-Zona.” Bowens tagged in with a neckbreaker on Lee onto Caster’s knees for a two count. They went to a PIP break.
Bill was in the ring with a missed elbow drop and a missed corner splash. Bowens tagged in against Lee with strikes along with Bowens jumping up with a leg drop to the back of the head. Bowens with a spinning slam on Lee. Bowens hit Bill with a superkick, then Bowens did a “scissor” with Gunn, which was dumb and led to Bill knocking Billy down followed by a running kick on Bowens. Caster tackled Bill into the barricade. Colten and Austin Gunn, the AEW Tag Team Champions, attacked their dad Billy at ringside. Caster chased them away. Caster sent Bill into the ring pos and steps. Lee with a clothesline on Bowens and a lifting sitout slam for two. Bowens did a backslide pin for two. Bowens with the Arrival, Caster tagged in and hit the Mic Drop elbow no Lee for the pinfall win after eight minutes.
Winners by pinfall: The Acclaimed (Max Caster & Anthony Bowens)
Analysis: **1/2 Easy win for The Acclaimed. Big Bill isn’t booked well in AEW at all because he should be more of a force as a big guy that’s in great shape. They just don’t want to feature him much.
Christian Cage was announced by Tony Schiavone for an interview on the stage. However, “Jungle Boy” Jack Perry gave Christian Cage a Spear on the stage. Jack clotheslined Christian on the ramp. Jack brought out two steel chairs, the teased going for the Conchairto with two chairs, but then he was hesitant to do it. Christian delivered a low blow punch. Christian used a chair to hit Jack in the head or around the head. Christian rammed Jack’s head into the chair repeatedly although it was really Jack’s hands making the noise against the chair. The fans booed Christian loudly. The camera was on Christian, then he went back to Jack and Jack was bloody on the forehead, so he did a blade job while the camera was on Christian. There was some help that showed up to check on Jack and make Christian back away.
Analysis: This should set up the obvious match at Revolution between Christian Cage and Jack Perry. Christian is a terrific heel. Jack should get the win when they have a match.
Samoa Joe did a promo telling Wardlow that he’s going to beat him at Revolution. Joe said the biggest mistake that Wardlow ever made was stepping into the ring with Joe.
Saraya (w/Toni Storm) vs. Skye Blue
Saraya was joined by Toni Storm again. They did not show Blue’s entrance. Blue rocked Saraya with a punch to the face, Storm distracted Blue on the turnbuckle and Saraya slammed Blue down. Saraya tossed Blue out of the ring leading to Storm hitting a suplex on the floor. Back in the ring, Blue countered a move with a submission pulling on the arms. Saraya hit a quick back suplex for two. Blue hit a running knee and a dropkick, but Storm distracted referee Aubrey Edwards. Blue knocked Storm down with a punch. Saraya with a superkick and Saraya applied her submission move hooking the legs while pulling back on the upper body. Blue gave up. It went four minutes.
Winner by submission: Saraya
Analysis: *3/4 Easy win for Saraya as you would expect in a match like that. Blue is talented, but they don’t push her at this point. Storm’s distraction led to Saraya getting the win.
Post match, Saraya and Storm wanted to do their spray paint gimmick, but AEW Women’s Champion Jamie Hayter and Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D. showed up. Saraya and Storm left the ring. Ruby Soho appeared on the ramp making the belt motion towards Hayter. There was some long distance staring at that point.
Analysis: It seems like they are setting up Hayter vs. Saraya vs. Ruby for the AEW Women’s Title at Revolution. That’s fine if they go with that. Maybe Saraya will win even though Hayter is a good champion.
Let’s Hear from Bryan Danielson…and MJF
Bryan Danielson made his entrance as the graphic was shown to remind us he will challenge MJF for the AEW World Title in a 60-Minute Iron Man Match. Bryan was cheered heavily as he said it was great being back in Phoenix. Loud “yes” chants for him. Bryan said it seems as if they want him to win the AEW Championship at Revolution. Bryan said he’ll do everything in his power to beat MJF for that title. Bryan spoke about how MJF said last week that he hates Bryan Danielson. Bryan recapped that MJF tried to break his friend’s arm (Christopher Daniels), then Bryan mentioned MJF put a bounty on Bryan’s head and Bryan said that he took out Bryan’s mentor William Regal…and here comes MJF.
Maxwell Jacob Friedman, the AEW World Champion, was on the ramp saying he knows who Bryan is and he knows himself. MJF said that his dream girl convinced him that not everyone in this world is bad. MJF said he got down on one knee that he wanted to start a family with her, he wanted to have kids with her and MJF claimed that she left him. MJF said that the AEW World Championship is the only thing that is stopping him from grabbing some pills and calling it a day.
MJF said that everybody loves and respects Bryan while chanting “yes” at the top of their lungs. MJF said that Bryan has something MJF will never have. MJF said that Bryan has a smart, adoring wife and two happy, healthy children yet he takes all of it for granted. MJF said that on March 5th they’ll know that Bryan isn’t better than MJF. Max said that Bryan has had more concussions and head trauma than everybody else in this business while talking about how Bryan had seizures, yet he is still in MJF’s sport. MJF said when Bryan is in the ring, he is saying that wrestling is more important than his family and children. MJF said that Bryan is taking everything he would kill for…for granted. MJF ripped on Regal being a drug addict that MJF put in the hospital. MJF told Bryan he’s going to punish him in the Iron Man Match for trying to take the one thing MJF has in his life.
MJF turned to the camera saying he’ll speak to his children at home and Bryan told him not to mention his children or Bryan will “kick the shit” out of MJF. Max told Birdie and Buddy (Bryan’s kids) that he’ll make daddy pay for his selfishness and make sure daddy will never play with them again. Max said he’ll make sure dada can’t pick them up again. Max finally got into the ring with Bryan saying he’s going to give him a gift, he said it was “early onset CT…” (was going for CTE), but Bryan stopped that with punches. Bryan and MJF exchanged punches briefly until security showed up to pull them apart. Bryan broke free first, then MJF broke free after that and they continued to try to fight as more officials came out to try to break up MJF/Bryan. When Bryan broke free again, he nailed MJF with a running forearm on the floor. That looked like a nasty forearm. They were finally broken up leading to a break.
Analysis: I thought they did a great job with that promo exchange. This feud really needed that. Bryan was confident to start, but then MJF was his usual self by being an asshole that brought up Bryan’s family and wanting to hurt Bryan. MJF also bringing up that his fiancée broke up with him (it is true) was a very personal thing that he didn’t have to say, but he did. The fans chanting “you deserve it” after the girl broke up with him is pretty funny. MJF added that holding the AEW World Title is the only reason he has to keep living, so that puts over the importance of holding the title. I am definitely picking MJF to beat Bryan at Revolution when they have that match. I don’t think MJF has any chance of losing the title.
Jamie Hayter was backstage for an interview with Tony Schiavone while Dr. Bitt Baker D.M.D. was standing by as well. Hayter talked about how Saraya and Ruby Soho both deserve a title match, so she’s going to defend AEW Women’s Title against both of them.
Analysis: That was obvious based on the earlier segment.
Tag Team Battle Royal For AEW Revolution Title Match
It was a battle royal between the many AEW Tag Teams. The match at Revolution of will be The Gunns vs. The Acclaimed vs. two other teams.
There are ten tag teams in this match. There was a lot of standing around and punching. The JAS guys Menard and Parker stayed on the floor instead of going into the ring. Josh Woods grabbed Penta’s boot and Tony Nese tried to eliminate Penta, but Penta was able to hold on. Mark Briscoe ran around ringside to fight with Woods, so they went fighting to the back. Penta gave Nese a Fear Factor piledriver on the apron. Fenix superkicked Ari Daivari, who is Nese’s partner, so Ari got tossed out of the ring. They went to a PIP break.
They didn’t do any eliminations during the break. Butcher & Blade eliminated both Aussie Open guys, Darius Martin was eliminated and John Silver eliminated Blade. Butcher caught Alex Reynolds and tossed him onto the turnbuckle to send him over the top to the floor. Preston Vance did a pump kick to Penta, who sent Vance to the apron and a jumping kick eliminated Vance. Rush tossed Penta over the top to eliminate him (Rush was grabbing Penta too). Rush with a jumping knee to Rey Fenix, but Rey sent Rush to the apron followed by a running kick along the top rope. Butcher eliminated John Silver. Parker and Menard finally went into the ring. Danhausen illegally went into the ring and Menard/Parker eliminated them. Danhausen cursed the JAS losers as Trent and Taylor eliminated Menard/Parker. Jarrett and Lethal eliminated Chuck Taylor. They went to another PIP break.
There were six guys left: Jeff Jarrett, Jay Lethal, The Butcher, Trent Beretta, Dante Martin and Rey Fenix. Butcher was getting attacked by Fenix and Dante, but Butcher sent Fenix out of the ring. Butcher eliminated Dante, then Fenix was back in and eliminated Butcher. Lethal snuck up from behind and eliminated Fenix. The director totally missed it, so they replayed it. Lethal & Jarrett are a team that were left with Trent. Trent tossed Lethal to the apron, then Lethal fought back and while Jarrett/Lethal were nearly eliminated, Satnam Sing put them back in. Trent hit Lethal with a Tornado DDT. Jarrett gave Trent The Stroke and when Jarrett went for an elimination, Trent avoided it. Orange Cassidy appeared to put Trent on his shoulders for the save. Trent gave Lethal a back body drop over the top to the floor. Jarrett clothesline Trent. Jarrett was standing on the middle rope, then Trent knocked him out and Singh caught Jarrett again. Jarrett gave Trent The Stroke again. Jarrett tossed Trent over the top to eliminate him again. It went 19 minutes.
Winner: Jeff Jarrett (and Jay Lethal)
Analysis: *** It was a pretty good battle royal. A lot of outside of the ring shenanigans to make it a cheap win for Jarrett since Singh saved him a bunch of times. Jarrett is by far the oldest guy in the match, so it’s a bit strange to see them putting him over. That means Jarrett and Lethal get another title match. I was hoping for Lucha Bros to win this, but they really didn’t get to shine much.
The win means the AEW Revolution match for the Tag Team Titles will see The Gunns defend vs. The Acclaimed vs. Jeff Jarrett/Jay Lethal vs. the winners of the Casino Battle Royal next week.
A video aired featuring House of Black saying they wanted to talk to The Elite about their status as the AEW Tag Team Champions.
It’s a Tony Khan announcement up next.
Tony Khan Announcement Made By Adam Cole
Tony Khan, the AEW Owner/President/General Manager, was interviewed by Renee Paquette. Tony said that he thought this announcement should be made by a major star in AEW. It was Adam Cole. It was announced by Adam Cole that next month in March, there will be an unscripted/reality TV series following Dynamite that will be a one-hour weekly TV show. The new show is called All Access. Cole said he’ll get to show a lot of his story. Cole said that on the night that All Access debuts, Cole will make his in-ring return.
Analysis: I’m glad Cole is back. I don’t think I’ll watch much of the All-Access show even if it airs here in Canada. I’m just not into those kinds of shows.
There was a rundown of some Rampage, Dynamite and AEW Revolution PPV matches.
The Gunns were shown backstage talking to Jeff Jarrett & Jay Lethal. I wasn’t really paying attention. I don’t think I missed much.
Jon Moxley made his entrance for the main event. Evil Uno was shown backstage telling “Hangman” Adam Page to stay in the back.
Jon Moxley vs. Evil Uno
The announcers kept crowing about Moxley going for his 100th win in AEW. The announcers also tried to talk about Uno winning matches. I don’t even remember the last time he wrestled on Dynamite and I review it every week. They had a slugfest leading to Uno hitting a running kick. Uno hit running splashes in the corner while the announcers were trying to put over Uno, who barely gets to wrestle on TV and is a main event match. Moxley ripped some of Uno’s mask and the fans were booing hat even though Moxley is a face. Uno kicked Moxley off the apron to the floor. The big man Uno went up top and did a somersault onto a standing Moxley on the floor. They went to the other side of the ring with Moxley whipping Uno into the steel steps. Moxley stomped on Uno’s head against the steps. Uno was bleeding on the left side of his head. Moxley worked over Uno with repeated forearms to the head. Uno came with two straight piledrivers for a two count. Moxley with elbows to the head followed by the Bulldog Choke submission. Uno was fighting it, Moxley jumped on his back with more of a rear naked choke and Uno was passing out, so the referee called for the bell. It went about seven minutes.
Winner by submission: Jon Moxley
Analysis: *** It was obvious who was going to win, so that was never in doubt, but I have to give Evil Uno credit for looking like he was ready to fight and hitting some big moves. Moxley ripping the mask was obviously done to make it easier for Evil Uno to do the blade job to put over Moxley being a violent guy. It was a shorter match although I still think it was very entertaining.
That was the 100th AEW win for Jon Moxley. He is the first wrestler to 100 wins in AEW.
Post match, John Silver and Alex Reynolds attacked Moxley to get him off Uno. Claudio Castagnoli and Wheeler Yuta fought with Silver and Reynolds. Hangman Page went into the ring to punch Moxley repeatedly. Hangman put some barbed wire on his right hand and punched Moxley in the head, so Moxley was bleeding as usual. Back in the ring, Page wanted the Buckshot Lariat, but Moxley dipped out of the ring and went to the aisle. Moxley was a bloody mess as usual. End show.
Analysis: Moxley waited until the last minute of the show for his weekly blade job. That’s nice of him. Anyway, the Page-Moxley match at Revolution should be outstanding. The Blackpool Combat Club guys in terms of Moxley, Claudio and Yuta came off as heelish a bit during this show.
Three Stars of the Show
- Orange Cassidy
- Jon Moxley
- MJF/Wheeler Yuta/Bryan Danielson
This Week: 6.75 out of 10
Last Week: 6
2023 Average: 7.66
I thought it was okay overall although just like last week, it’s not really what a great Dynamite episode feels like. The opener with Orange Cassidy and Wheeler Yuta was the best match on the show. Jon Moxley beating a bloody Evil Uno is one of the weaker main events AEW has ever done. Moxley bled with one minute left in the show when “Hangman” Adam Page attacked him, so at least Moxley got his weekly blood spot in just before the end of the broadcast.
Putting over Jeff Jarrett in a battle royal when he’s the oldest guy in the match isn’t that exciting. The women’s match was okay with Saraya picking up an easy win to set up a triple threat women’s match at Revolution with Jamie Hayter defending the AEW Women’s Title against Saraya and Ruby Soho. Chris Jericho went from saying he would not wrestle Ricky Starks again to Jericho agreeing to the match after Starks did reverse psychology on him to get it. At least Jericho got a big pop using a pen to remind us of “The List” days.
The MJF promo with Bryan Danielson was good as usual. MJF revealed that his fiancée left him, so the only thing he has to keep him going is the AEW World Title. MJF also made it personal by talking about Bryan’s family a lot. I thought the promo segment worked and was needed for the story between them. The fans chanting “you deserve it” at MJF when he mentioned his fiancée left him was pretty funny. Well played by the Phoenix crowd.
Lastly, the AEW “important announcement” is an unscripted/reality show called AEW All Access starting next month. I wouldn’t call it that big of a deal, but it’s more content if you need more AEW in your life.
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
* TNT Championship: Samoa Joe (c) vs. Wardlow
* Chris Jericho vs. Ricky Starks
* Fatal 4-Way Match for the AEW Tag Team Championships: The Gunns (c) vs. The Acclaimed vs. two more teams
* AEW Women’s Championship: Jamie Hayter (c) vs. Saraya vs. Ruby Soho
There will be more matches added.
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