The John Report: AEW Dynamite 04/12/23 Review
This week’s AEW Dynamite featured Chris Jericho facing Keith Lee, Powerhouse Hobbs and Orange Cassidy defending their titles, plus a whole lot more.
This was AEW Dynamite episode #184 at the UWM Panther Arena in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 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.
Darby Allin made his entrance with an 8-1 record in 2023. No skateboard for him. I guess he is more serious now. They showed Brian Cage attacking Allin to create a new group called The Mogul Embassy with Swerve and Prince Nana. Swerve Strickland made his entrance while his new buddies went to the back.
Darby Allin vs. Swerve Strickland
These guys are good and familiar opponents from the Washington state area. Allin started with a flipping Stunner, Swerve to the floor and Allin hit a suicide dive. Allin up top, he wanted a Coffin Drop in the ring, Swerve went to the floor and Allin hit a somersault dive onto a standing Swerve on the floor. Swerve tripped up Allin on the apron followed by a body slam on the floor. Allin tripped up Swerve on the guardrail. Allin sent Swerve into the barricade. Allin hit a running back splash into the barricade. Swerve tripped up Allin on the steel steps so that Allin’s back landed on the top of the steps. Swerve kicked Allin in the face and they went back into the ring with Swerve getting a two count. Swerve took off Allin’s belt and whipped him with it a bit. Allin used the belt to trip up Swerve, but Swerve came back with a kick to take control. Swerve used a small chain in Allin’s mouth and Swerve hit another jumping kick. Allin with punches and some head biting. Swerve tripped up Allin on the apron and hit a double foot stomp onto Allin off the apron onto the floor. Nice move leading to a break.
Swerve remained in control with a Flatliner. Swerve was favoring an ankle injury after doing a move earlier in the match, so Allin took Swerve’s shoe off and bit on Swerve’s foot. That looks gross. Swerve applied a kneebar submission while twisting the left foot. They got back up to exchange strikes, Swerve with a knee and a Swerve hit a German Suplex when Allin tried a leaping attack. Allin countered a move by Swerve into a reverse DDT. They showed Sammy Guevara & Tay Melo watching earlier while they just showed “Jungle Boy” Jack Perry watching backstage as well. Allin went up top, Swerve grabbed him there and had Allin on his shoulders, so Allin hit a Poison Rana (reverse hurricanrana) off the apron to the floor. That’s a great spot. Not easy to do. Back in the ring, Allin hit a Coffin Drop off the top and Nana put Swerve’s foot on the bottom rope for a two count. Allin chased after Nana on the apron, Brian Cage showed up, Allin back in the ring and Swerve hit a jumping kick. Swerve hit a double foot stomp off the top, slow to cover due to the foot issue and Allin kicked out at two. Cage tripped up Allin, so referee Aubrey Edwards ejected Cage and Nana from ringside. Swerve tried using a chair, but Allin kicked it out of his hand. Allin hit a Code Red for two. Allin tied up the legs into the Last Supper pin attempt for one…two…and three! It went 15 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Darby Allin
Analysis: ***3/4 That was a great match just like any time these two wrestle. I don’t think it was the right move to have Swerve lose a match after forming a new stable, but obviously, Darby was going to win since AEW is pushing him into the AEW World Title picture. They worked hard, had good chemistry and it was a typical Darby match where he took a lot of punishment before making the comeback to win. I liked the false finishes to make it look like Swerve might win, but Allin kept finding ways to make the comeback and get the win.
The AEW World Champion Maxwell Jacob Friedman showed up with a microphone in hand.
Let’s Hear from MJF and Darby Allin
Maxwell Jacob Friedman was in the ring with Allin and he told the crowd to shut up. MJF said that Allin had an incredible match while telling the fans to cheer for him, which led to a “Darby” chant. MJF said it was inspirational since his “daddy” Sting wasn’t out there. MJF admitted that their match at Full Gear 2021 was one of the greatest matches in the history of professional wrestling. MJF called him a “sh**ty little emo schmuck” and also one of the best people he stepped in the ring with. MJF yelled at the crowd for doing catchphrase. MJF mentioned “headlock takeover” saying that he beat Allin with a move so simple, yet Allin thinks he can beat the Triple B (MJF’s name for the AEW World Title) and MJF said that you are not on the level of “The Devil.”
Darby Allin said that he met MJF six years ago wrestling in front of 30 people. Allin said in his first year in AEW, he checked himself into therapy because he refused to be happy on the outside and dying on the inside. Allin said that what matters is that his family and loved ones were living comfortable lives. Allin said he bought his parents a house, he helped his dad retire and Sting is not his dad, but he is Darby’s best friend in this entire company. Allin said he’s not like MJF, he’s not going to lower his morals to be somebody in this world, so if MJF has something else to say then keep talking. The fans were chanting “Darby” at Allin.
MJF called Allin an arrogant little boy. MJF said that his so sick of Allin, Jack and Sammy whining about MJF’s morals. MJF said that morals kill careers in this sport and that’s a fact. MJF said that Allin is a gutless coward that doesn’t have the balls to sacrifice what needs to be sacrificed. MJF knows that he is keenly aware that he may not go to a good place in the afterlife. MJF said he didn’t care as long as this title came with him. MJF said he’ll do whatever it takes to leave a legacy in this sport. MJF said that his legacy will be as follows: “MJF – the greatest of all time!” MJF said that Allin’s legacy is that he will be “Sting’s bitch!” And here comes Sting.
Sting made his entrance with Tony Schiavone screaming “It’s Sting” as usual. The fans popped for Sting making his way down to the ring for some promo time.
Sting got into the ring that all of Max’s talk about Sting offends him. Sting said he didn’t see himself as a daycare kind of guy and Sting said he was more like a teenager. MJF had pom poms in his jacket and threw them at MJF. There was even a “pom poms” chant. Sting said that MJF should stop talking about this “Cody daycare” stuff. Sting said he said Cody and the truth hurts. Sting said that Max had a support system with Cody, Sting is Darby’s support system and the young surfer Sting had a support system too by the name of Ric Flair. Loud “WOO” chants. Sting thanked Ric for putting him on the map and Sting said that he loved the Nature Boy. Sting talked about how he evolved into Crow Sting, Wolfpac Sting (“Love ya Kevin, Love ya Scott” – he looked up for Scott Hall) and said he had a little Joker left in him. That’s what he did in TNA. Sting said he doesn’t have a hunger and thirst for the AEW World Title. Sting admitted that “showtime is almost over” but “showtime” is just starting for Darby Allin. Sting said that Allin will become AEW’s World Heavyweight Champion, he said I promise you and “it is showtime.”
Darby Allin said that he is leaving the same person he came in. Allin said he is also leaving as the person that ends this reign of terror and becomes the AEW World Champion. MJF spit on Allin and left the ring before Allin could strike back.
Analysis: I liked those promos, especially by Sting. The way Sting brought the energy was so great to see, I loved how he mentioned Cody, who was a mentor to MJF in the early days of AEW and did his best to put over Allin as a threat to MJF as well. I also want to want to shout out Allin. for taking care of his parent with his money by buying them a house and helping his dad retire. Good for Allin. MJF knows how to get heat all the time, so it was more of the same from him. The ending was just right as well since it was MJF doing a disrespectful spit in the face before Allin could strike back, so it leaves the audience wanting to see MJF get his ass kicked. We still don’t know if they will go with MJF vs. Darby Allin vs. “Jungle Boy” Jack Perry vs. Sammy Guevara at Double or Nothing or maybe there’s an Allin-Perry-Sammy triple threat on TV leading to the winner facing MJF. I don’t know, but I think the four-way is most likely at this point.
TNT Championship: Powerhouse Hobbs (w/QT Marshall, Aaron Solo & Harley Cameron) vs. Silas Young
They showed Hobbs arriving in a new car that Marshall gifted him. Young is a veteran wrestler from Milwaukee. Hobbs with a clothesline and a spinebuster. Hobbs picked up Young on his back for a backbreaker into a Burning Hammer for the win after about 40 seconds.
Winner by pinfall: Powerhouse Hobbs
Analysis: 1/4* Match of the year. Hobbs should win in dominant fashion like that, so I’m fine with it.
After the match, Hobbs and Marshall tried taking Young up the ramp. Wardlow was shown in the parking lot area where he destroyed the new car that Hobbs was gifted by Marshall. Wardlow smashed the windows. Wardlow had a smaller forklift and flipped over the car. Hobbs teased a Powerbomb on Young, but Wardlow’s music hit and Wardlow showed up to fight Hobbs on the stage. A bunch of wrestlers, officials and others went out there to try to break it up. Wardlow slammed Aaron Solo on the apron. There were two tables beside the ramp, so Wardlow gave Solo a Powerbomb off the ramp through a table and missed the second table. Wardlow held up the TNT Title that he used to have.
Analysis: Good segment to give Wardlow some revenge against Hobbs. The car being shown arriving made it obvious that an angle was coming, so having Wardlow destroy the car made sense. Plus, it also fit the story that Wardlow had his car broken into by the QTV guys, so it was some revenge for Wardlow. The TNT Title rarely has good long-term storylines. I like this one, so that’s good to see.
Jay White and Juice Robinson were backstage for a promo. White talked about how they are top-shelf gunslingers. Juice said that Ricky Starks got another ass kicking while saying they were just getting started. White said that this is only the beginning. White said that they are taking over AEW and this is Bullet Club Gold.
Analysis: White probably got a nice payday to come to AEW since WWE was also interested, so it would make sense for AEW to use him very well upon his official arrival in the company. I don’t know if the Bullet Club Gold name is a great thing, but it’s another group/alliance in a company that has a lot of groups.
AEW International Championship: Orange Cassidy vs. Buddy Matthews (w/Julia Hart)
Buddy is a Trios Tag Team Champion with House of Black. They beat Best Friends and Orange last week in a Trios Tag Team match. Orange had his right hand taped up to sell some previous injuries while the “Orange Punch” is one of his signature moves.
Orange hit an impressive headscissors to send Buddy out of the ring, but Buddy was back in before Orange could hit a dive. Orange dropkicked Buddy out of the ring followed by a suicide dive. Orange jumped off the top, Buddy caught him, Orange sent Buddy into the ropes and Orange hit a DDT. Orange hit an Orange Punch and then he sold his right hand injury. The referee Bryce Remsburg made the doctor check Orange’s hand. Buddy stomped on Orange’s hand leading to a break.
Buddy was in full control working over Orange’s right hand repeatedly. They exchanged some holds, Orange sent Buddy to the apron and Orange drove Buddy face first into the turnbuckle two times. Orange went for a move on the apron, Buddy superkicked him and Orange hit a superkick in return. Buddy hit a rising knee to the head. Orange picked up Buddy leading to his Beach Break slam on the apron. The referee Bryce Remsburg counted them out and they got back in before ten. AEW does countout spots like that sometimes, but they don’t always count wrestlers out when they are on the floor. They exchanged strikes, Buddy stomped on the foot and stood on Orange’s right hand. Buddy mocked Orange’s comedy kicks, then Orange put his hands in his pockets and Buddy kneed him in the head. Buddy with a lift, but Orange hit a Stundog Millionaire. Buddy with a boot to the face, Orange came back with a forearm and Orange countered a move with a DDT off the ropes. Murphy to the floor, so Orange hit a dive leading to a DDT on the floor. Back in the ring, Orange hit a diving DDT for two. That’s three straight DDT moves. Buddy came back with a knee strike. Orange got a rollup pin for two. Orange hit an Orange Punch to the face for a two count. The fans chanted “this is awesome” for them. Buddy blocked a punch attempt, Buddy with another knee lift to the jaw and Orange was playing possum as he went for an Orange Punch, but Buddy managed to hit The Stomp for two. Orange hooked the arms leading to a Mouse Trap pin attempt for the win after 15 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Orange Cassidy
Analysis: ***1/2 A very good match with Orange selling the right hand injury for majority of the match. Buddy is a talented in-ring performer that isn’t getting pushed in singles, but he’s always going to have a good match if he gets time like this. Orange likes hitting DDT variation moves as much as anybody in this company. Orange usually wins with the Orange Punch, but due to the injury, he had to find another way and that’s what he did.
A video aired featuring Luchasaurus and Christian Cage. Christian spoke into the camera saying some things have changed. Luchasaurus has a different colored mask.
Best Friends were interviewed by Renee Paquette with Orange Cassidy icing his right hand. Best Friends challenged Aussie Open to a match on Rampage.
Let’s Hear from Ethan Page
They said Blackpool Combat Club was next, but Ethan Page was in the ring instead. Ethan complained about things being bad for The Firm while trashing disgusting Milwaukee hillbillies. Ethan said he needed to know why Matt Hardy did what he did and he wants answers.
Matt Hardy and Isiah Kassidy showed up with Kassidy saying that Ethan played himself. Matt said you have to read the fine print in any contract. Matt called Ethan the “biggest hole in the ass” that Matt has ever seen, so that’s why Matt worked Ethan into signing the contract. Matt said that the contract said that if Hook beat Ethan than Matt and Kassidy were no longer part of The Firm. Matt suggested some sort of match to really be free of the contract. Big Bill and Lee Moriarty showed up to attack Matt and Kassidy in a 3-on-2 situation. Hook, the FTW Champion, made the save for Matt and Kassidy with Hook getting a takedown on Lee, a clothesline on Ethan and punches to Bill. Ethan hit Hook in the back and The Firm was in control of the three faces.
It’s Jeff Hardy making his AEW return! Huge pop for Jeff coming back for the first time in nearly one year. Jeff ran out with a steel chair. The camera cut away and then back on Jeff. Jeff hit a bunch of chair shots to the body and back. Jeff threw a chair at Lee, then Jeff hit a Twist of Fate on Lee and Jeff jumped off the top with a Swanton Bomb on Lee. Jeff hugged brother Matt as well as the other faces in the ring.
Analysis: The promos explaining the story were good enough. It’s not a great storyline, but at least they gave it a few months before Matt and Kassidy broke free. I truly hope Jeff Hardy is in a good space mentally and physically. Last June he had a really bad DUI that led to him losing his driver’s license for ten years and several other restrictions. He is lucky he didn’t hit another drive or kill somebody while driving recklessly. Jeff went through rehab as well. I hope that he can finally overcome these demons that he has been dealing with for his entire adult life. I totally understand if any wrestling fan is tired of every Jeff Hardy comeback and thinking that he’s going to avoid the problems that have existed for so long. I just hope now that he’s in his mid-40s as a married father of two girls that he can avoid doing the things that caused him problems in the past. This isn’t just a second, third or fourth chance. It’s beyond that. There have been many chances for him. I’m glad he took a long time to come back until he was ready and I hope he stays on the right path moving forward. Good luck to Jeff.
Kenny Omega was featured in an “Earlier Today” promo thanking the fans for supporting The Elite the way they do. Kenny said he took the Blackpool Combat Club’s attack personally when they attacked Don Callis because to Kenny, Don is family. Kenny said what they do to the BCC next is much worse than blood for blood.
The Blackpool Combat Club made their entrance.
Blackpool Combat Club – Jon Moxley & Claudio Castagnoli (w/Wheeler Yuta) vs. Brandon Cutler & Michael Nakazawa
I wonder who will win. Now that’s sarcasm. Moxley and Claudio attacked their opponents in the aisle before the bell rang. Claudio slammed Nakazawa’s head into the apron dozens of times, which looked silly since we could see the hand slapping the mat repeatedly. Nakazawa was bleeding from the forehead after doing a blade job. The referee rang the bell even though Nakazawa couldn’t even stand. That’s harsh. Nakazawa got a few strikes, but then Claudio hit a clothesline. Claudio did the Giant Swing on Nakazawa followed by a Sharpshooter submission. Cutler was bleeding too. Nakazawa hit a back body drop on Claudio. Moxley tagged in against Claudio, Moxley bit Cutler’s face and Cutler got some clotheslines. Moxley hit a king kong lariat and a Death Rider. Moxley with a Bulldog Choke, Nakazawa made the save and BCC guys kept on doing elbow strikes so the referee called for the bell. It went about four minutes.
Winners by referee’s stoppage: Blackpool Combat Club
Analysis: * Easy win by the BCC as accepted. I don’t think we really needed two guys bleeding in this match, but it’s a way to put over the violence of the BCC.
Jon Moxley did a promo wondering where The Elite, Hangman Page and Don Callis are. Moxley said that they put the “elite” in All Elite Wrestling. Kenny Omega made his entrance joined by The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson), who attacked from behind. Young Bucks hit double superkicks on Claudio and Yuta. Omega attacked Moxley with punches. Matt Jackson had a big brace on his left arm for his biceps injury. Young Bucks hit the BTE Trigger knee on Moxley. Omega brought the gear case into the ring, but Matt had a flathead screwdriver. Moxley dared Omega to do it, but then Claudio pulled Moxley out of the ring. The BCC guys left.
Analysis: It was finally some revenge against the BCC after the BCC dominated everybody for the last month to set up their heel turn. Since the BCC are established as heels now, we can see them get their asses kicked a bit. This is building to a multi-man tag team match at Double or Nothing next month and maybe a Blood & Guts match too.
Swerve Strickland and friends were interviewed by Tony Schiavone. Swerve said that the Mogul Embassy is still not complete. Swerve said they will leave here with something.
The Outcasts – Toni Storm & Ruby Soho (w/Saraya) vs. Riho & Skye Blue
This is the usual spot for the women’s match. Blue knocked down Storm with a kick to the head. Ruby tagged in against Riho with Ruby getting a kick to the back. Riho came back with a dropkick. Blue tagged in for a double team dropkick. Riho jumped off the top with a cross body block on the heels on the floor. They went to picture-in-picture break.
Ruby was in control into Riho got a rollup for two. Blue tagged in with a knee to the face, then a running knee, Storm made a blind tag and hit a kick to the chest. Storm went for a running attack, Blue moved and Blue kicked Ruby. Blue kicked Storm and Saraya followed by a hurricanrana on Storm on the floor. Blue hit a cross body block for two even though Ruby was slow to break it up. Ruby hit a belly to back suplex on Blue and Riho hit a double foot stomp on Ruby. Storm kicked Riho, Blue kicked Storm and Blue superkicked Ruby into Riho. They weren’t legal. Storm was legal with a German Suplex, hip attack and Storm Zero for the pinfall win after seven minutes.
Winners by pinfall: The Outcasts – Toni Storm & Ruby Soho
Analysis: *3/4 It was yet another win by The Outcasts group to further establish them as some of the top heels in the women’s division. They only got seven minutes and nearly half of it was on the picture-in-picture small screen, so that’s not much time for the match.
The trio of The Outcasts sprayed some spray paint on Riho and then did a Triple Powerbomb. That’s when AEW Women’s Champion Jamie Hayter made the save followed by Britt Baker. We need to hear two different theme songs for the save. Baker hit a clothesline and superkick. Britt and Saraya exchanged strikes that looked very gentle and Saraya’s friends saved her.
Analysis: This made Hayter look weak and Baker look strong. They stole from the NWO with the spray paint and from The Shield with the triple Powerbomb. I’m teasing a bit about the stealing. This was basically the same thing that happened in the segment right before it. The heels beat up the faces after the match, so then the other faces that are the main rivals made the save. They even did the heel retreat the same with the heels saving their ally. Where’s the originality? Let’s see something different.
Chris Jericho (w/Daniel Garcia) vs. Keith Lee
Lee is rocking the grey beard and hair look. Excalibur referenced Lee and Adam Cole having a feud three years ago that Lee won. Yeah, it was in NXT. I liked it. Lee ran over Jericho with a shoulder tackle along with a kiss on the head leading to a shocked look on Jericho’s face. Lee was in control with a running splash on Jericho. Lee body-slammed Jericho. Lee did a very slow climb to the turnbuckle, Garcia with a distraction and Jericho pushed Lee to the apron. Jericho hit the springboard dropkick to knock Lee off the apron to the floor. They went to a picture-in-picture break.
Jericho with chops, Lee charged, Jericho with boots up and Jericho hit a dropkick. Jericho hit the Lionsault for a two count with Lee doing the power kickout. Lee came back with a clothesline followed by a shoulder tackle. Lee hit a corner splash, Garcia grabbed Lee to stop a move and the referee didn’t see it. Lee caught Jericho with a bearhug, Jericho punched and Lee hit a clothesline. Jericho countered a move leading to a rollup for two. Lee ran the ropes leading to a Pounce knocking Jericho down. Lee went up top, jumped off with a moonsault and Jericho blocked it with his knee, but Jericho was selling the knee after that. Lee hit a spinebuster for two. Jericho did a blatant eye gouge leading to the Walls of Jericho (more like a Boston Crab) submission, but Lee got to the bottom rope. Lee came back with a double chop along with a toss across the ring. Lee with a lift, Garcia got involved, so Lee brought Garcia into the ring and hit a double clothesline. Jericho tried a Codebreaker, Lee caught him and Lee hit a sitout Powerbomb, but Jericho rolled near the ropes. Garcia distracted the referee with Tony Schiavone screaming about it. Somebody showed up with a mask and jacket on and he hit Lee in the head with some object. Jericho rolled over the pinfall win after 14 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Chris Jericho
Analysis: **1/2 It was just an average match with the cheap ending that’s fitting for a heel like Jericho. Slow pacing to it and they just didn’t have a lot of chemistry. Sometimes some guys match up well the first time they have a match. In this case it just wasn’t that interesting. Lee got a lot of offense in the match, which told me he was going to lose because that’s why they book these kinds of matches to make somebody look impressive in defeat. The crowd reaction to the match wasn’t very strong either.
They showed Swerve Strickland laughing about what happened.
Adam Cole made his way down to the ring to check on Keith Lee. Cole said something to Lee and they touched knuckles as a sign of respect. Cole stopped and stared back toward Jericho like Jericho did in the past. Jericho and Garcia celebrated the win while Cole’s music was playing. Jericho was making angry faces in the ring. End show.
Analysis: They are obviously doing a Chris Jericho vs. Adam Cole match at Revolution next month, but there’s no rush to announce it.
Three Stars of the Show
- Darby Allin
- Orange Cassidy
- Swerve Strickland/Buddy Matthews/Sting
This Week: 7.25 out of 10
Last Week: 6.75
2023 Average: 7.48
A very good show in the first half and the first match into the second hour, but I thought the second hour was weak. The Jericho-Lee main event was just average. The two best matches were Darby Allin beating Swerve Strickland and Orange Cassidy beating Buddy Matthews. Both of those matches were great.
There was some weird booking in the second hour. The men’s tag team match followed by the women’s tag team match had the same booking. The heel teams (BCC and The Outcasts) won, then they attacked after the match and their main rivals (The Elite and Baker/Hayter) made the save. The heels ended up retreating to end it. Why book the same exact thing in back-to-back segments? It doesn’t feel very original.
I really liked the MJF promo exchange with Darby Allin, which also led to Sting showing up to support Allin. That was really cool and popped the crowd because of what Sting said. Sting mentioned Cody Rhodes is going to get a lot of attention of course, but I loved Sting mentioning Ric Flair helping him and Sting is doing that for Darby now. It’s a story that works.
Thanks for reading. Go Toronto Blue Jays and Toronto Maple Leafs. You can contact me using any of the methods below.