The John Report: AEW Dynamite 03/20/24 Review

AEW Dynamite March 20

This week’s AEW Dynamite was headlined by Christian Cage defending the TNT TItle against Adam Copland and Kazchika Okada challenging Eddie Kingston for the Continental Crown Title too.

It was a busy night for AEW with a live edition of Dynamite in Toronto followed by a live edition of Rampage as well. I don’t review Rampage any more. Sorry.

This was AEW Dynamite episode #233 from the Coca-Cola Coliseum in Toronto, Ontario. Follow me on Twitter/X @johnreport. Let’s get to it.

There were arrivals shown from earlier in the day of Adam Copeland, TNT Champion and Kazuchika Okada. Okada arrived in a red sports car.

It’s Wednesday and you know what that means. The commentary team was Excalibur, Tony Schiavone and Taz.

Let’s Hear from Mercedes Mone

Tony Schiavone introduced Mercedes Mone and the fans chanted “CEO” for her repetitive theme song. Tony left the ring when Mone got in there. Mone told Toronto to say hello to your new CEO. Mone said that she missed all of this and she’s excited to be there in AEW. Mone spoke about how all of this almost got taken away from her. Mone said that ten months ago she nearly had a career-ending injury in a match with Willow Nightingale for the NJPW Strong Women’s Title. Mone asked the production truck to play a video about who she was.

A video aired about Mercedes Mone. It featured clips of Mercedes in Hollywood, on the runways in Paris and wrestling for NJPW & Stardom before her injury. Mone said that she had a dream to be the greatest women’s wrestler of all time.

Mone said that she had to be here because minor setbacks lead to major comebacks. Mone said now she’s here as your CEO. Mone said that she was not here to lead a Women’s Evolution and claimed she was there to lead a Women’s Global Revolution. Mone said she’s there to face the best in AEW and around the world. Mone mentioned fighting off TBS Champion Julia Hart and Sky Blue last week. Mone spoke about how she had unfinished business with Willow Nightingale while claiming that there’s a price to pay when you mess with Mercedes Mone. It rhymed at least.

The lights went out in the arena. When the lights came back on, Skye Blue attacked Mone from behind, but Mone beat her up easily. TBS Champion Julia Hart tried to attack as well, Mone blocked her and Blue pulled Hart out of the ring. Willow Nightingale and Kris Statlander made the save. The lights went out again. When they came back on, Julia and Skye left. Willow thought about hitting Mone with the chair, but Willow dropped the chair instead and Mone yelled at her. Mone left as her song played again.

Analysis: It was okay. It seems like Mercedes Mone will probably face Willow Nightingale in Mone’s first match in the company.

The Elite’s Kazuchika Okada and The Young Bucks were interviewed earlier in the day with Alex Marvez. The Bucks wanted Marvez to speak to Okada in Japanese. Matthew Jackson said that Okada rises to the occasion. Nicholas Jackson said that Continental Crown rules meant they can’t be ringside. Matthew said that they would be Okada’s match producer. Okada spoke in Japanese and told Eddie Kingston that he was coming for his title. Matthew told Marvez to learn to speak in Japanese to understand what Okada said at the start.

Kazuchika Okada made his entrance for his first championship match in AEW. Okada pinned Continental Crown Champion Eddie Kingston last week on Dynamite. Before Eddie Kingston’s entrance, Renee Paquette said that Eddie was determined to dispel the myth that is Okada and Eddie made his entrance after that.

Continental Crown Championship: Eddie Kingston vs. Kazuchika Okada

Eddie did a chop and Okada took a break for a few moments. Eddie ran over Okada with a shoulder tackle, so Okada rolled out of the ring. Eddie followed Okada on the floor, which led to Okada kicking Eddie in the ribs and hitting a DDT on the floor. They showed The Young Bucks and Tony Khan watching on headsets backstage. The fans were chanting for both guys since we Canadians are like that. Tony called it a “gigantic” crowd. It’s in a different arena than Forbidden Door in Toronto and about half the crowd size, yet Tony’s calling it “gigantic” for some reason. It’s a solid 6,000 people crowd, which is better than AEW does in a lot of cities. Okada hit a running dropkick to the side of the head on a seated Eddie. Okada found the hard camera and stared into it with a smirk.


The match returned with Eddie getting some chops followed by an overhead suplex. Eddie hit a STO trip as both guys were down selling. Eddie nailed a German Suplex followed by a sliding elbow smash for two. Eddie did his chop routine as usual, then he bounced off the ropes and Okada nailed his picture-perfect dropkick that he does so well. Okada had Eddie on his back and drove his head/neck into the knee. Okada hit a body slam. Okada jumped off the top rope, Eddie avoided whatever he was going for and Eddie hit a spinning back fist for a two count because Okada got his right shoulder up. They did the “stand and throw strikes” spot that most AEW matches have. Okada went for the Rainmaker clothesline, but Eddie got his forearms up to block it. Okada charged, Eddie got a boot up and Eddie hit a lefty clothesline. Okada did an eye gouge, Eddie was back up with an enziguri kick to the head and Okada came back with a powerslam. Okada hit the Rainmaker clothesline for the pinfall win after 15 minutes.

Winner by pinfall AND NEW AEW Continental Champion: Kazuchika Okada

Analysis: ***1/2 It was a very good match. I don’t think it ever reached the point where I would call it great, but I thought it was done well. Eddie Kingston had to win a big tournament to win the Continental Crown Title, he got big wins over guys like Jon Moxley & Bryan Danielson, but this was the right time for a title change. I like the title change to put over Okada in a big way because the fans who know him well already knew he was an awesome wrestler and now you’re telling the other fans who didn’t know him that Okada is a legit top guy since he’s already a champion in his first full month with AEW.

Kazuchika Okada celebrated with the Continental Championship. The Young Bucks were shown watching backstage with their headsets on with Tony Khan beside them. There was an impressive pyro display that went off by the entrance.

There was an interruption from “The Bastard” Pac, who stared at Okada from a distance.

Analysis: That should be an awesome match when Okada faces Pac. Okada is always going to have outstanding matches and I do not doubt that he’ll get plenty of time for his matches as well. It’s not like he’s going to be in five minute matches very often in this company.

Swerve Strickland with Prince Nana were interviewed by Renee Paquette. Swerve talked about he’s focused on the AEW World Title. Swerve said that Samoa Joe tried to choke him out while Swerve has a history of choking people out and he claimed Joe was ducking him. Swerve said that he wants a fight, so he’s issuing an open challenge. Swerve said tonight we turn Toronto into Who’s House? The fans chanted “Swerve’s House” right on cue.

Analysis: An open challenge is a good idea. I like that. They like to announce nearly every match on the card beforehand, but I think it’s important to do some impromptu matches too.


The trio of Kris Statlander, Willow Nightingale and Stokely Hathaway were interviewed by Renee Paquette backstage. Willow talked bout how aggressive she is in a Street Fight when they have a tag team match later on Rampage. Kris Statlander said that this is the end of Julia Hart & Skye Blue. Mercedes Mone walked up to Kris Statlander thanking Kris for having her back out there. Mone shook Statlander’s hand. Willow spoke up to Mone, so Mone said that Willow had done enough and Mone left. Hathaway tried to introduce himself, but he was too late. Stokely reminded Willow she broke Mone’s ankle, so that frustrated Willow, who left.

Analysis: It was a respectful Mercedes Mone toward Kris Statlander, but she didn’t show that same sense of gratitude toward Willow.

Hook vs. “Lionheart” Chris Jericho

These two guys won a tag team match last week and now they are opponents because Jericho requested it. Jericho was in his “Lionheart” Chris Jericho look and the Lionheart music. I think fans were disappointed about not being able to sing the “Judas” song.

Big age difference here since Jericho is about 30 years older than Hook, who is Taz’s son. Hook gave Jericho a high-angle belly-to-back suplex that led to Jericho selling a head/neck injury for about 30 seconds. It looked like a normal suplex. Jericho came back with hard chops to the chest, but Hook came back with a T-Bone back suplex for two. Jericho hit some chops until Hook came back with a German Suplex. Hook hit a slower, bridging German Suplex. There was another slower German Suplex from Hook as the show went to a picture-in-picture break.


Hook remained in control with another German Suplex. There were more suplexes by Hook during the break. Tony said it was about eight suplexes. Jericho countered a suplex attempt, then he got a boot up and Jericho knocked down Hook with two shoulder tackles. Some fans were booing Jericho on offense. Jericho went for a leap off the top, but Hook caught him and hit an overhead suplex. Hook nailed Jericho with a running clothesline. Jericho nailed a running Hook with a boot to the jaw followed by a Lionsault off the ropes for a slow cover for two. Hook charged at Jericho, who caught him and tossed Hook across the ring, so Hook landed on his face. Jericho set up Hook for something on the ropes, but Hook countered him and applied a Red Rum submission. Hook was on Jericho’s back while Jericho was on his knees and then Jericho rolled to his back with Hook on his back. When Jericho broke the hold, the fans booed that. Jericho went for the Walls of Jericho, Hook got out of it with punches and Hook sat on top of Jericho while holding the legs. Hook got the pinfall win. It went about 11 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Hook

Analysis: *** It was longer than most Hook matches, so it’s good for him to be in a longer match with a veteran like Jericho. I like Jericho, but he’s starting to move a lot slower out there. I know the story was that Hook hit him with a bunch of suplexes in the match, but Jericho is also 53 years old and he is clearly slowing down. Anyway, it’s good for Jericho to put over younger talent like this. It was a close finish rather than a decisive win. The suplexes by Hook wore down Jericho and he was able to get the big win. I’m not sure why the fans were booing Jericho here.

After the match, Jericho touched knuckles with Hook as a sign of respect.

Adam Cole of The Undisputed Kingdom was featured in a promo sitting on a fancy chair. Cole was upset about Wardlow failing to beat Samoa Joe for the AEW World Title. Cole said that Wardlow is going to make sure that Taven & Bennett remain ROH Tag Team Champions and make sure that Roderick Strong remains International Champion. Cole said he wants Wardlow to reach his full potential, so don’t screw it up.

Analysis: I don’t think the Undisputed Kingdom has been booked that well even though they have some titles. Maybe when Cole is healthy again and when MJF is back they’ll get some momentum, but until then it doesn’t feel like a big deal.


Chris Jericho was interviewed backstage by Renee Paquette. Jericho said that Hook was a future World Champion and a bad man. Jericho said he had a proposition for Hook next week on Dynamite.

Will Ospreay Interview

It was 9 p.m. ET as Tony Schiavone interviewed Will Ospreay in the ring. I like Will but he needs to learn to wear his own merchandise as a shirt instead of a generic black shirt. At AEW Dynasty on April 21, Ospreay will face Bryan Danielson. Tony mentioned Will beat Kenny Omega in Toronto in a classic match.

Will said that the last time he was here, he was a naughty boy. Will spoke about how he has changed and apologized what he did in the past. Will told Canada he needed some of that maple syrup leading to “Bruv” chants. Will credited Danielson for his great match with Shibata on Collision. Will said that Danielson spoke about how he was grateful to be in the ring with Bryan and he couldn’t walk in Bryan’s shoes. Will revealed that he couldn’t fit in Bryan’s shoes because Bryan’s shoes were too small for him (me too, sorry Bryan). Will said in Japan, he elevated professional wrestling while bragging about all the titles he won in NJPW including the World Heavyweight Championship.

Will asked Bryan if he should prove that he can walk in Bryan’s shoes. Will mentioned Shibata. Will talked about how he’s a different man now than when he last faced Shibata seven years ago and he has a point to prove. Will wants Shibata to meet him in this ring so that Will can show him what the “Billy Goat” is all about.

It’s official for next week on Dynamite: Will Ospreay will face Katsuyori Shibata.

Analysis: It was a solid promo from Will Ospreay. I think he’s a better talker than some people give him credit for, but I wouldn’t rank him as high as MJF or anything close to that. I think Will has improved a lot as a talker in the last few years and I’m glad that’s the case because it makes him a more complete pro wrestler. Anyway, Will should be Shibata next week.

There was a video package about the TNT Championship match between the champion Christian Cage and the challenger Adam Copeland. They are best friends who grew up in the Toronto area, but the 40-year friendship has ended at least in the storyline.

Deonna Purrazzo & Thunder Rosa vs. “Timeless” Toni Storm & Mariah May (w/Luther)

Rosa & Purrazzo ran into the ring leading to a brawl. Purrazzo and May battled in the ring while Storm tackled Rosa into the barricade. May did a hair whip knockdown Purrazzo followed by a dropkick. After Storm aged in, Purrazzo clotheslined both opponents. Rosa was back in with a corner clothesline along with a hard chop to the chest. Rosa hit a running lariat on a seated Storm for a two. Luther got a hold of Rosa on the apron, so Storm knocked Rosa off the apron to the floor. They went to a break.


Rosa hit a cross body block off the top on both opponents. Purrazzo got the tag leading to a knee lift on May along with a boot to the face for two. Rosa tagged herself in and Purrazzo wasn’t thrilled about it. Purrazzo kicked Storm out of the ring. May headbutted Purrazzo out of the ring. Rosa hit a Death Valley Driver on the legal woman May. Storm hit a German Suplex followed by the running hip attack. Storm went for the piledriver, but Storm countered it into a jackknife cover pin on Storm for the pinfall. I never saw Storm make the tag to become the legal woman, but I guess she was. It went about eight minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Deonna Purrazzo & Thunder Rosa

Analysis: **1/2 It was just an average match. The point of the match was to have Rosa pin over Storm to move Rosa into the spot as the next title challenger. That will probably lead to a Storm/Rosa match at the Dynasty PPV next month I know Mercedes Mone said she was there to make a big impact in AEW, but this company loves giving women’s matches only about eight minutes on Dynamite and they did it again here. Just saying.

After the match, Thunder Rosa celebrated the win. Deonna Purrazzo wasn’t thrilled about Rosa tagging herself in like she did. Purrazzo eventually touched fists with Rosa to show that it was okay.


Swerve Strickland (w/Prince Nana) vs. The Butcher

I don’t remember the last time The Butcher had a match on Dynamite, but here he is. Swerve headbutted Butcher to start the match. Swerve did a snapmre leading to an uppercut to the back. Butcher hit Swerve with two forearms to the face. Swerve came back with kicks along with a punch to the jaw. Butcher nailed Swerve with a clothesline followed by Swerve doing a double foot stomp to the back. Swerve hit a running House Call kick to the head. Swerve went up top, Butcher was in a seated position and Swerve hit a Swerve Stomp off the top. Swerve grabbed the left arm of Butcher for a short arm scissors submission to work over Butcher and that was it. Excalibur said it might be Swerve’s first submission win in AEW. It was about three minutes.

Winner by submission: Swerve Strickland

Analysis: **1/4 A quick match to give Swerve a win. Nothing wrong with that. The Butcher is a tough guy, but he didn’t have a shot in a match like this.

Swerve Strickland did a promo saying he had the utmost respect for Samoa Joe, but then he became indifferent as he got to know Joe. Swerve said he stopped liking Joe and now Swerve is close to hating Joe. Swerve talked about how he doesn’t have enough chain to choke Joe’s big ass neck. Swerve said he’ll take out Joe’s security week after week until Joe gives him what he wants.

The AEW World Champion Samoa Joe made his entrance in dress clothes. Joe stood at the bottom of the ramp. Joe walked toward the ring while saying that he beat Swerve at Revolution and Swerve was shoved down the championship ladder. Joe actually beat Adam Page while Swerve was not beaten. Joe said that Swerve still believes that he can march with a God like Joe. That led to Joe saying that it makes the people believe they can be great and they can be a champion. Joe talked about how it’s sweet until somebody like Joe shows up and takes everything you have. Joe said he knows he needs to give Swerve exactly what he wants.

There was an interruption from Don Callis, who was booed heavily in his home country of Canada. Callis complained about how Swerve thinks he can book himself into a World Title match. Callis said that Swerve and Konosuke Takeshita have the same amount of wins while Callis claimed that Takeshita is undefeated outside of the Don Callis Family. Callis said that this company is Swerve’s House because this is the Don Callis Family House. The fans kept on booing Callis during that promo.

Swerve said if he wasn’t distracted, he’d burn down the Don Callis Family House. Swerve agreed to a match with Konosuke Takeshita and then he’s coming for Samoa Joe again.

Next week on Dynamite has Swerve Strickland vs. Konosuke Takeshita, Will Ospreay vs. Katsuyori Shibata and The Young Bucks vs. Private Party.

Analysis: It was a good promo exchange by Swerve and Joe. Callis making the claim that Takeshita is in the title picture is fine, but he did lose to Will Ospreay. That’s why Callis said Takeshita is undefeated outside of the “Family” because Will is technically in Callis’ group even though Will’s clearly a face in AEW now. Anyway, it feels like Swerve will still be in the World Title picture against Samoa Joe and probably get the title match at the Dynasty PPV next month.


Adam Copeland got a big pop as usual and this time he was wrestling in front of the hometown Toronto crowd in AEW for the first time. Copeland is 5-0-1 in 2024 so far. Cope had on some Toronto Maples Leafs-inspired tights on, which I like a lot. After Cope’s song ended, the fans kept singing his song. Christian Cage was up next as the TNT Champion with a 2-0 record in 2024. That’s not necessarily a grueling schedule.

TNT Championship – I Quit Match: Christian Cage vs. Adam Copeland

The way to win this match is to have referee Bryce Remsburg ask the guys if they quit and the first man to quit loses the match. The fans chanted “holy shit” for this matchup of the Toronto boys who have been close friends for 40 years and now they are both 50 years old.

The action spilled to the floor within one minute. They fought in a penalty box. Adam took off a Boston Bruins jersey and put it on Cage. A Leafs fan gave his jersey to Adam, so that led to Adam and Cage having a hockey fight in the penalty box. That was funny. I liked that creativity. They went to a picture-in-picture break.


They were back at ringside where Adam took a ladder out from under the ring. Adam set up the ladder bridge from the commentary table to the barricade. Adam hit a sitout neckbreaker sending Cage’s back onto the ladder and Adam took that bump on his ass as well. The fans chanted “this is awesome” for them. Back in the ring, Adam suplexed Cage ribs first onto the ladder that was opened up so it hurt the ribs of Cage. They were out on the floor where Adam rammed Cage shoulder-first into the ring post. Adam got a table from under the ring, which got a big pop as usual any time a table was used. Adam set up a table against the barricade, Cage avoided it, Cage did an eye poke and Cage sent Adam into the ring post. I think it was more like Adam’s shoulder that hit the ring post, but Adam came up bleeding after that. Cage went up top and gave Adam a cross body block that sent Adam back-first through the table that was set up. Back in the ring, Cage gave Adam a catapult into a ladder. Cage went up top, he jumped off with a Frog Splash and missed because Adam moved. Adam applied a Crossface submission, so Cage did some eye gouging to break free. They were both back up to their feet as they ran the ropes leading to a double Spear collision spot.


The match continued with Adam doing a catapult of sorts to send Cage off the stage and sent Christian to floor about five feet below. Adam found a hockey net so he threw Cage into the crossbar and also sent Cage into the hockey net. They were going back toward the ring when Shayna Wayne showed up and used a hockey stick to hit Adam with a low blow shot. Cage hit Adam in the back with the hockey stick, which broke the stick. Cage hit Adam with the hockey stick to the body a few times. Cage brought two steel chairs into the ring. One of the chairs was a barbed wire steel chair. Cage teased doing a Conchairto for a long time, Adam moved out of the way and Cage hit the chair. Adam used the hockey stick to hit Christian in the head with the stick. Adam put Cage in a Crossface with the stick in Cage’s mouth. Adam choked Cage with a drawstring, so Nick Wayne & Killswitch saved Cage from the attack. Shayna Wayne slapped Adam in the face. Daniel Garcia & Matt Menard ran into the ring to fight off Killswitch and Nick. Adam gave Killswitch an Impaler DDT onto the barbed wire steel chair. Nick was tossed out of the ring. Adam jumped off near the top of the ladder onto Killswitch & Nick on the floor. That’s an impressive move for anybody, much less a 50-year-old man.

Adam Copeland had handcuffs along with Garcia and Menard. Adam handcuffed Nick’s arms behind his back to the turnbuckle while Garcia & Menard handcuffed Killswitch’s two hands behind his arms. The trio of Adam, Garcia & Menard teased handcuffs for Shayna, but she didn’t want any of that, so she ran away. Garcia & Menard punched Cage a few times leading to Adam hitting a Spear. Cage was handcuffed with his arms behind his back by another turnbuckle. Adam brought out his bat with spikes called Spike from a case under the ring. Adam kicked Cage in the groin about six or seven times. That was a lot. Adam took out his weapon Spike and hit Cage with a low blow. The lights went out briefly and back on because now it was the start of Rampage. Adam teased using Spike again, so Christian said “I Quit” and that meant that Adam Copeland got the win. It went about 26 minutes.

Winner by pinfall AND NEW TNT Champion: Adam Copeland

That victory means that Copeland is now a two-time TNT Champion.

Analysis: ***3/4 It was a fun match. I’m not going over four stars because of all the interference that took place. I get why there was all that interference because of Christian’s stable while Copeland had the help from Garcia & Menard to even it up. The handcuffing guys to the turnbuckle spot was creative, but it wasn’t that exciting to watch necessarily because you’re just waiting for the handcuffing to be over. Anyway, I give them credit for some of the creative spots that they did because this was their hometown and they had a lot of fun doing spots that the fans really liked. Copeland winning the title is a fine way to put an end to this story if it’s actually finished. I think at some point these two will be on the same page again to be a tag team, but it will take some time to get there.

Adam Copeland celebrated with the TNT Title while confetti flew from the rafters and filled the ringside area. Copeland had middle finger salutes for Christian and his two friends. Copeland stared at the TNT Title while his face was a bloody mess. Copeland walked to the back. I guess that was the end of Dynamite since they moved on right to Rampage.

Analysis: I assume that Copeland will be a fighting babyface champion and will probably have more title defenses than Cage did.


Three Stars of the Show

  1. Adam Copeland/Christian Cage
  2. Kazuchika Okada/Eddie Kingston
  3. Mercedes Mone


The Scoreboard

This Week: 7.5 out of 10

Last Week: 8.5

2024 Average: 7.5


Final Thoughts on AEW Dynamite

A very good episode of Dynamite. Last week was better, but it still was a newsworthy show due to Kazuchika Okada and Adam Copeland winning their first singles titles in AEW. The Copeland/Christian Cage match was a lot of fun, but the heavy interference at the end kept it from being great. That seems like the end of the rivalry with Copeland as the TNT Champion. I liked the Okada win over Eddie Kingston although it didn’t feel like an amazing match. Okada has only been in AEW officially for three weeks and he’s already the Continental Crown Champion. It helps when they have so many titles.

Mercedes Mone opening the show with a promo again was a good call. I think people wanted to see her early. She is now in a story with some other women including Willow Nightingale, who I assume will be Mone’s first opponent in AEW. Good win by Hook over Chris Jericho, who has no problem losing and probably should be doing a bit more of that as one of the oldest guys in AEW.

I liked the Will Ospreay promo about his match at Dynasty against Bryan Danielson, but I think it would be better if Bryan was on the show too so that they could exchange some words. Swerve Strickland continues to do a nice job as a guy who is relentless about getting a shot at the AEW World Title again, so that makes Swerve easy to root for and support.


Thanks for reading. Go Toronto Blue Jays, Toronto Raptors & Toronto Maple Leafs. You can contact me using any of the methods below.

John Canton


Twitter/X: @johnreport