The John Report: AEW Dynamite 03/22/23 Review
This week’s AEW Dynamite featured Kenny Omega facing El Hijo Del Vikingo, Jon Moxley in action, The Gunns defending their AEW Tag Team Titles and more.
Earlier on Wednesday, I bought tickets for the AEW-NJPW Forbidden Door pay-per-view in Toronto on Sunday, June 25th. They are expensive and they went fast, but I got some solid seats. If you’re going to the show and want to meet up somewhere, please let me know.
This was AEW Dynamite episode #181 at the Cable Dahmer Arena in Independence, Missouri (Kansas City). 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, Taz and Tony Schiavone were on commentary.
There was a parking lot scene with The Young Bucks getting loaded into ambulances due to shocking attacks. Brandon Cutler went with Matt Jackson to the hospital and “Hangman” Adam Page went with Nick Jackson to the hospital. Meanwhile, Don Callis was talking to Kenny Omega telling him to focus on his match in the main event.
Analysis: A mystery attack to build drama. We are to assume it was by the Blackpool Combat Club, who are now more heelish. CM Punk’s face was covered on production trucks in the background for whatever that’s worth.
It was a tag team match to start the show. Sting got a huge pop for his entrance for his first match this year. Sting is undefeated in AEW and every match has been a tag team match with Darby Allin. The Butcher & The Blade attacked Allin and Orange during an AEW house show in the backstage area, so that led to this match being made. I like the red, white and blue ropes.
Sting, Darby Allin & Orange Cassidy vs. The Butcher, The Blade & Kip Sabian (w/Penelope Ford)
Orange has “OC” painted on his face, Tony couldn’t figure out what it meant (really?) and Taz told him it’s the initials of Orange Cassidy.
Orange and Sabian started it off with Sabian mocking some of Orange’s mannerisms. There wasn’t much going on between them. Butcher tagged in against Sting, who is wrestling in a sweater and pants. Butcher drove Sting into the turnbuckle, took way too long and of course Sting moved. Sting hit a Stinger Splash to the back. Butcher and Sabian into the ring illegally, Blade sent Allin out of the ring and Sabian tagged in after a double suplex by his teammates. Sabian took way too long up top, so Sting rolled out of the way a few times doing a Cassidy spot. Allin tagged in with strikes and Code Red got a two count. Ford distracted the referee, so Blade did a cheap shot to trip up Allin. That led to a picture-in-picture break.
Allin was still the face in peril until he broke free to bring in Orange. The Orange man hit a diving cross body block off the top and a DDT. Butcher went into the ring illegally with a clothesline on Orange, so Blade went into the ring with a neckbreaker for two. Sabian hit a running cannonball on Orange in the corner. Sabian celebrated like an idiot, Sting tagged in with comedy kicks, then Sting did a comedy chest beating. Sting decked Sabian with a clothesline, then punches for the partners and Sabian jumped off the top with nothing. Sting applied the Scorpion Deathlock on Sabian. Butcher and Blade in illegally again to punch Sting repeatedly. Allin in illegally with a double Coffin Drop off the middle ropes. Sabian kneed Allin in the head. Orange in illegally, Orange with a Stundog Millionaire and a suicide dive. Allin hit a Flipping Stunner on Sabian and Allin hit a dive on heels on the floor. Sting hit a Scorpion Death Drop for the pinfall win after 12 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Sting, Darby Allin & Orange Cassidy
Analysis: *** It was okay with a lot of illegal offense throughout the match. At one point, Butcher & Blade were both in there illegally to hit a double team move and that was the only good nearfall for their team, but nobody believed that the heels had a shot. The finish saw Sting’s partners hit their moves illegally leading to Sting easily winning. Sting remains undefeated in AEW although nobody says he’s undefeated as if it’s a big deal.
Post match, Orange Cassidy put some sunglasses on Sting while Allin was staring at the Double or Nothing sign like he’s possessed by it.
Analysis: I would be fine if Allin got an AEW World Title push for Double or Nothing. It’s weird that he wasn’t on the AEW Revolution card. Darby has earned my respect for the way he puts his body on the line to entertain us.
They showed a clip from after last week’s AEW Dynamite when MJF was confronted by Allin, Jack Perry and Sammy Guevara last week. MJF went crashing through a cake after it. MJF was shown after the segment saying you have to earn the shot and said you have to earn the spot. There were comments from Jack, Sammy and Darby saying they all deserve a title shot.
Analysis: No MJF on the show this week, so having him featured quickly like that is a way to get him on there with new content.
The Omega-Vikingo match is the main event with the AEW Tag Team Title match up next.
A video aired with Excalibur narrating a video about Kenny Omega facing El Hijo Del Vikingo. It was going to happen in December 2021, but Omega was injured and now it’s happening.
The Gunns (Austin & Colten Gunn) vs. Top Flight (Darius & Dante Martin)
This was set up because Top Flight talked to The Gunns in a video outside the hotel last week. They are brother tag teams. Dante hit an impressive arm drag on Austin. Darius tagged in with a dropkick on Colten. Top Flight both hit clotheslines on The Gunns to knock them out of the ring. Austin sent Dante into the rope and Colten did a necksnap against the top rope.
Darius tagged in with an atomic drop, uppercut and Darius jumped up with a kick on Colten followed by a German Suplex on Austin. Darius hit a standing Spanish Fly on Colten for two. Austin tagged in against Dante, who hit a sitout slam for a two count. Darius hit a suicide dive on Colten on the floor. Dante hit the Nosedive moonsault off the top for a two count on Austin because Colten made the save. The Kingdom’s Mike Bennett and Matt Taven attacked Darius at ringside (the referee missed it). Dante went for a leaping attack, The Gunns avoided it and hit the 310 to Yuma double team flatliner for the pinfall win after about seven minutes.
Winners by pinfall: The Gunns (Austin & Colten Gunn)
Analysis: **1/4 It was okay for the time given. The Gunns benefited from the cheap attack by The Kingdom on the floor because Darius was unable to save Dante. The Gunns have improved and have no problem cheating to win like heels should do. It’s the right way to book them.
FTR made their entrance with Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler getting a huge ovation. Colten said nobody wanted to see them. Colten said they don’t like or respect FTR. Colten said that FTR lost three sets of belts and lost to The Gunns. Austin said there’s nothing you can offer them to get a match. Cash said that if you beat FTR again then FTR will never team up in AEW ever again. Austin said there’s nothing you can offer them. Harwood said if they can’t beat The Gunns for the AEW Tag Team Titles then they will quit AEW. Austin reminded them what they said and Dax said yes. Austin said: “Deal.” Colten and Austin spit in FTR’s faces and ran away.
Analysis: We know that FTR’s AEW deals are up in April since Dax Harwood has mentioned it many time on his podcast. This means that FTR could be leaving AEW with another loss to The Gunns. I feel like FTR will win the AEW Tag Team Titles, but if they don’t then I guess it’s back to WWE for them. My prediction is I think FTR wins the AEW Tag Team Titles and they have re-signed long-term with the company.
Jade Cargill, the TBS Champion, was interviewed by Renee Paquette to say “cut the shit.” Cargill claimed that Taya Valkyrie took her finisher. The “lawyer” Mark Sterling said that Taya can’t use her finisher because it is Jade’s move. Leila Grey said she’ll deliver the letter to Taya Valkyrie on Rampage.
No Disqualification Match: Hook vs. Stokely Hathaway
Hook is the FTW Champion and he’s 23-0. This was happening because Hook beat Matt Hardy. None of Hathaway’s friends were allowed at ringside. Hathaway claimed he was not medically cleared and he is retiring. Hathaway gave ring announcer Justin Roberts a doctor’s note. Roberts said it was receipt from Wingstop. The bell rang.
Hathaway ran away and into the crowd. Hook brought Hathaway back to ringside. Hathaway tried a running attack that did nothing. Hook suplexed Hathaway on the floor. Hook brought a guard rail from under the ring instead of a table. Hathaway’s guys Ethan Page, Matt Hardy, Big Bill, Isiah Kassidy & Lee Moriarty were watching on a TV. Hathaway used a fire extinguisher that he sprayed in Hook’s face. Hathaway had a chair. Hook with a kick to the chest followed by chair shots to the back, but it was really Hook hitting the mat and barely touching him. That’s fine being really safe with a non-wrestler. Hook with a suplex onto the guard rail for two because Hook picked him up. Hook applied the Redrum submission leading to Hathaway tapping out quickly. It went about three minutes.
Winner by submission: Hook
Analysis: 1/2* A squash match since Hathaway isn’t a wrestler. Hathaway’s only offense was the fire extinguisher usage and Hook kicked his ass after that. No doubt about that result.
Post match, Matt Hardy told Ethan Page that he’s the man to beat Hook. Ethan told him to write up the contract.
Adam Cole was up next.
They showed rapper Tech N9ne at ringside.
Let’s Hear from Adam Cole
It’s all about the “Boom” because Adam Cole is ready to step back into the ring for the first time since last June. There were “Adam Cole” chants before he started. Cole said in seven days he’ll make his in-ring return in AEW. Cole spoke about how he feels freakin’ great and never been more ready and prepared to get back into the ring to wrestle for AEW. Cole knows that people are wondering about who is his opponent on March 29th? Here comes Daniel Garcia.
Daniel Garcia said it was story time with him. Fans chanted “shut the f**k up” at Garcia, who said he’s a veteran and he’s respected locker room leader now. Garcia said it was his duty to welcome back Cole and put Cole in his place. Garcia trashed Cole for being home for nine months playing videos. Garcia bragged about Brody King, Ricky Starks, Bryan Danielson and said that he has main evented more AEW programming than anybody else on the roster? If so, that needs to change. Garcia accidentally said he was a pro wrestler, then he said “sports entertainer” and wondered what made Cole special.
Cole said when they ring the bell, that’s what makes him special. Cole said that some day Garcia will lead the charge in AEW. Cole trashed the Jericho Appreciation Society. Cole said that he is a multi-time World Champion while saying he’s fought and beaten some of the best. Cole said he has his second chance to wrestle again. Cole said this is not just his return match, but a statement to the locker room that one of the best pro wrestlers is back. The fans chanted “Adam Cole” for him. Cole told Garcia will be a great night for Cole and AEW fans, but not for Garcia. They went face to face to exchange words. No physicality as Garcia left.
Analysis: The promo exchange was fine. It will obviously be a win for Cole over Garcia next week. Cole also looked like he had too much spray tanner on his face and arms, but maybe I’m wrong about that.
Alex Marvez went into the locker room. Kenny Omega and Don Callis were in their locker room. They said that the Young Bucks were in an ambulance going to the hospital. Callis tried to give Omega a pep talk and hyped up the Omega/Vikingo match later as a huge match.
The Blackpool Combat Club’s Jon Moxley made his entrance with ROH World Champion Claudio Castagnoli and ROH Pure Champion Wheeler Yuta from the back part of the arena. They walked through the crowd on their way to the ring.
Analysis: If Moxley is going to be a heel, they should stop the babyface entrance.
Jon Moxley (w/Claudio Castagnoli & Wheeler Yuta) vs. Stu Grayson (w/Evil Uno, John Silver & Alex Reynolds)
Stu was re-signed by AEW last week after a good performance. Stu attacked with punches, Moxley came back with chops and Stu hit a big chop of his own. Moxley grabbed a side headlock, then they locked hands and Grayson sent Moxley out of the ring. Back in the ring, Moxley with a kick, Grayson with a hurricanrana and Moxley avoided a move leading to a belly-to-back suplex. Moxley with a shoulder tackle knocking Grayson off the apron into the barricade.
Moxley was in control with stomps to the head. Grayson came back with a clothesline followed by a spinning move where he landed on top of Moxley. Grayson hit Moxley with a uranage slam. Grayson hit a springboard senton off the ropes for a two count. That was heavy landing meaning most of his weight landed hard on Moxley. The friends on the floor were arguing, so Grayson hit a moonsault on Claudio and Yuta on the floor. Moxley hit a suicide dive on the floor. Grayson didn’t even sell it in the ring because he hit a jumping knee. Grayson up top and he hit a 450 Splash for a two count. It wasn’t that smooth since it was a long distance, but still a good move. Grayson went for a lifting move, but Moxley countered it into a choke. Grayson got back to his feet, then his hands were dropping and Grayson drove Moxley into the turnbuckle with a cannonball move. Grayson hit a back flipping kick to the head. Grayson went up top for nothing as Moxley went after him and hit an Avalanche Death Rider off the top for the pinfall win after 10 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Jon Moxley
Analysis: ***1/4 A good match with Moxley winning obviously. Grayson is fun to watch in terms of having a lot of moves in his arsenal. I think sometimes they could sell more because they always seem to be in a rush in AEW and I’d like to see more selling to make the moves matter more. The Avalanche Death Rider doesn’t look that much more impressive than a regular superplex, but it worked as a finish in this instance.
Ricky Starks was interviewed by Renee Paquette, who asked where Ricky stands with Juice Robinson. Starks said he came back from his vacation to say he didn’t like Juice attacking him two weeks ago. Starks issued an open challenge to Juice for Rampage and said he doesn’t give a damn anymore.
There was a QTV video with QT Marshall, the lovely Harley Cameron, Aaron Solo and we learned last week the other guy is Tony Schiavone’s son that works for AEW. Powerhouse Hobbs wasn’t there. They made some bad jokes about Rey Fenix, Wardlow and QT said on Rampage there’s an open challenge for Hobbs’ TNT Title.
Moments after that they announced Powerhouse Hobbs will defend the TNT Title against Penta El Zero Miedo this Saturday on TNT at 10pm ET. It got pushed one night later this week.
Toni Storm (Ruby Soho & Saraya) vs. Skye Blue
They exchanged strikes early, Blue drove Storm’s face into the knee and Blue hit a dropkick. Blue hit a hurricanrana off the apron on Storm on the floor. Back in the ring, Blue went up top, Storm knocked her down and Storm hit a hip attack knocking Blue down to the floor. Storm with chops on the floor and then Blue moved, so Storm chopped the ring post. Blue hit Ruby with a forearm when Storm moved. Storm with another chop. They went to a picture-in-picture break.
Blue got some offense with a kick to the head along with a cross body block off the top. Blue with a rising knee followed by a spinning kick to the head for two. Storm blocked a move and hit a Thesz Press with punches. Blue charged and Storm hit a Tornado DDT for two. Storm jogged to the turnbuckle, so you knew Blue would counter and Blue hit her Code Blue slam, but Ruby distracted the referee to keep him from counting. Blue got a rollup for two. Storm countered a move and hit a dropkick. Blue sat against the turnbuckle so that Storm could hit her with the hip attack. Storm hit a German Suplex and Storm Zero piledriver for the pinfall win after eight minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Toni Storm
Analysis: ** It’s another match with an obvious result. I thought this would only get five minutes, but they got three more minutes due to the picture-in-picture spot in the middle of the match. Blue has potential for sure, but they don’t really give her wins in TV matches. Storm got the win to keep her heel turn momentum going.
Post match, Saraya and Ruby Soho joined Storm to attack Blue, but Willow Nightingale and Riho showed up for the save so the heels left.
Analysis: Logically, shouldn’t Willow and Riho be out there during the match for their friend Blue because they knew Storm had her friends there? Yes, but wrestling doesn’t follow logic.
There was a rundown of the AEW Rampage lineup for Saturday night’s show. It was taped after Dynamite.
They showed Stu Grayson getting checked on by trainers. Jon Moxley, Claudio Castagnoli and Wheeler Yuta showed up with Moxley choking out Grayson and sent him into an equipment case. No sign of the Dark Order nerds to help their friend Stu.
Analysis: More heelish actions by the Blackpool Combat Club.
It was main event time with Justin Roberts pushing that it was a Dream Match like AEW has been saying for the past week.
El Hijo Del Vikingo made his entrance as the AAA Mega Champion making his AEW debut. He is a great athlete that’s only 25 years old and a second generation wrestler. His father is King Viking and his name translates to Son of the Viking according to Excalibur. Vikingo is not a masked wrestler, but he had a mask on his way to the ring.
Kenny Omega made his entrance for a rare singles match for him with Justin Roberts reading an elaborate introduction off a sheet of paper.
Kenny Omega (w/Don Callis) vs. El Hijo Del Vikingo
Vikingo hit a suicide dive before Omega got into the ring. Vikingo hit a somersault plancha over the top onto Omega on the floor. Vikingo hit a springboard dropkick. Omega came back with punches, so the referee Paul Turner finally rang the bell. Omega with a charging corner attack, Vikingo with two kicks and a leaping hurricanrana off the top while Omega had to wait three seconds for it. Vikingo hit double knees to knock Omega out of the ring. Vikingo hit a Shooting Star Press off the apron onto Omega on the floor. Vikingo hit a springboard 450 Splash off the middle rope for two. I think he landed with his knees to the ribs, which looked painful. Omega knocked Vikingo down with punches followed by a backbreaker for two. Omega hit a cradle suplex for two. They left the ring with Omega sending Vikingo into the barricade. The referee left the ring instead of counting them out because…AEW? Sure. Omega pulled a table out of the ring. They went to a picture-in-picture break.
Omega was working over Vikingo with punches, but then Vikingo got a hurricanrana. They battled on the apron with chops, Omega kicked Vikingo to the turnbuckle and Omega did a monkey flip on the apron. Omega teased a move off the apron onto the table below, but Vikingo got out of that and kicked Omega in the head. Vikingo jumped off the ring post with a hurricanrana onto Omega to send Omega to the floor. Wow, that was great! That’s incredibly difficult to do. Back in the ring, Vikingo hit a running forearm and a kick to the head while Omega was on the turnbuckle. Omega went for a Powerbomb off the turnbuckle, but Vikingo countered with a hurricanrana and Omega landed on his head/neck hard. Ouch. Vikingo did a springboard Phoenix Splash of the ropes for a two count. That was a rough landing onto Omega. Vikingo jumped off the top, Omega caught him and hit a Powerbomb. Omega hit a V-Trigger knee for two. Omega with a Snapdragon Suplex followed by another V-Trigger knee to the face. Vikingo hit an elbow to get out of move and Vikingo jumped off the ropes with a swan dive reverse rana spiking Omega into the mat! Wow. I didn’t like this next spot because Omega basically crawled onto the table beside the ring apron and had to lay there for five seconds while Vikingo set up the move. This is where Vikingo has to punch or kick Omega to wear him down a bit or else it looks too fake. Anyway, that led to Vikingo running the ropes, jumping off the middle rope from inside the ring and hitting a 630 Splash on Omega through the table. That was crazy! Amazing. The referee, who refused to count earlier in the match, did a countout tease spot so both guys could barely get back in before the ten count. Vikingo got a two count. They exchanged forearms, Omega hit a rising knee and Vikingo hit a sunset flip Powerbomb for two. That was probably the best nearfall of the match. Vikingo went up top with a 630 splash attempt, Omega moved and Omega hit a V-Trigger knee. Omega hit One Winged Angel for the pinfall win after 17 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Kenny Omega
Analysis: ****1/4 It was a great match, no doubt about it. Vikingo made the hardest moves look so easy at times and it’s impressive to watch if you’re into the video game style of wrestling with spot after spot. They need to do a better job of selling and trying to tell a story within the match instead of just doing spots. There are still flaws in the match like the referee not counting the guys out when they are out of the ring for over a minute. You can’t have referees count sometimes and then not count at other times with no explanation. I don’t really like table spots in regular matches. I get that it’s a cool move to watch and it pops the crowd, but make it a Street Fight if you want to do a spot like that. Anyway, it felt like Vikingo was on offense for about 70% of the match with Omega doing his best to make him shine even though Omega found a way to get the win. Considering Vikingo is only 25 years old, he should continue to improve and if he leaves AAA then I’m sure AEW or WWE will throw a lot of money his way some day in the near future.
Omega patted Viking on the chest as a sign of respect. There were a few minutes left in the show.
Omega was exhausted with Tony Schiavone telling him it was a match for the ages. Omega said as time goes by, he wonders if he can keep doing this kind of stuff. The Blackpool Combat Club’s Jon Moxley, Claudio Castagnoli and Wheeler Yuta showed up to attack Omega with stomps and kicks.
There was an ambulance that drove up to the building that was shown on the video screens. It was “Hangman” Adam Page making his way back to the arena. The BCC guys were stomping on Omega as Hangman made his entrance with a piece of wood with some nails in it. The BCC guys left the ring while Omega was face down on the mat. Callis grabbed Hangman’s arm and then Callis took a comedic bump onto the mat. Omega got back up and saw that Callis was knocked down, so Omega thought that Hangman did it. Hangman explained that he didn’t do it. Omega left with his manager Callis as the show ended there.
Analysis: They are clearly pushing the story of The Blackpool Combat Club as the top heel group in AEW now (sorry Jericho Appreciation Society) while The Elite are faces with “Hangman” Adam Page reunited with them. Hangman got to do the “Stone Cold” babyface spot by stealing an ambulance so that he can conveniently return to the show with two minutes left. The Callis bump at the end was comedic and I assume we have to think Kenny won’t watch a clip of what happened to see that Don faked it because pro wrestling is silly like that.
Three Stars of the Show
- Kenny Omega
- El Hijo Del Vikingo
- Jon Moxley
This Week: 7.75 out of 10
Last Week: 8
2023 Average: 7.58
It was a pretty good show overall. The Kenny Omega-El Hijo Del Vikingo match was an impressive display of athleticism. It felt like Vikingo got about 70% of the offense in the match with Omega just laying there to take some spots at times. I feel like they could do some little things better in the match, but Vikingo is an absolutely electrifying wrestler to watch. I don’t necessarily love table spots in regular matches and the refereeing was very inconsistent because that’s AEW. Still fun to watch.
The Blackpool Combat Club guys continued their heelish ways with cheap attacks throughout the show. For Jon Moxley, he really doesn’t have to change that much to be a heel although I think he should stop doing the babyface entrance from the back part of the arena. It’s slow building the “Hangman” Adam Page return to The Elite group, so that’s fine. They will probably have a Blood & Guts match at some point in the next few months as the rivalry continues. It’s nice to have a major storyline like this since AEW is lacking in that area sometimes.
Rest of the show was okay. FTR is putting their AEW careers on the line against The Gunns for a Tag Team Title match. I think FTR will win the Tag Team Titles and announce that they have re-signed with AEW. I know they could leave for a WWE return, but I think they will stay long term. The next PPV is two months away, so some of the rivalries aren’t that hot right now.
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