By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite on TNT (Episode 23)
Aired live on March 11, 2020 from Salt Lake City, Utah at Maverik Center
[Hour One] The show opened with a recap of last week’s developments involving John Moxley and the Inner Circle… Highlights aired from earlier in the day of Tony Schiavone noting that Kenny Omega is out of action and asking Hangman Page who his partner will be. The Young Bucks showed up and asked Page if this is why he asked them to be around.
Page said he needs someone he knows and can trust, so he wouldn’t team with Matt Jackson if he were the last man on earth. Page left the door open to teaming with Nick Jackson, then said his partner is a mystery and walked away. Matt told his brother to tell him that he wasn’t even considering teaming with that prick…
The broadcast team of Jim Ross, Excalibur, and Tony Schiavone checked in after pyro shot off on the stage…
1. Cody (w/Arn Anderson, Brandi Rhodes) vs. Ortiz (w/Santana). Ross noted that it was a one fall match with a 20-minute time limit. Jake Roberts and Lance Archer walked out and took seats in the crowd while the broadcast team recalled Roberts telling Cody that he had a client. There was a “holy shit” chant from the crowd.
Cody knocked Ortiz down with ten punches in the corner, then removed his weight belt and tossed it into the crowd. Cody went to the top rope, but Ortiz recovered and tripped him up with Santana was bickering with referee Paul Turner. Santana interfered while Cody was back on the ropes. Brandi walked over and whipped him with her belt. Ortiz performed a superplex for a near fall.
Cody spotted Santana going after Anderson and performed a suicide dive onto him. Cody followed up by suplexing Ortiz on the ramp. Cody let out a primal scream. Archer teased climbing over the barricade, but Roberts talked him down and they left the ringside area together. A short time later, Cody applied a figure four and got the submission win.
Cody defeated Ortiz in 11:35.
After the match, Santana hit Cody from behind with the loaded sock. Anderson entered the ring and squared off. Matt Jackson and Kenny Omega ran to the ring, causing Santana to run away. The broadcast team noted that Omega had a cast or a brace on his right hand.
Chris Jericho called out to The Elite members via the big screen. Jake Hager and Sammy Guevara were at Jericho’s side. Jericho recalled saying the Inner Circle put all of AEW on notice. He said they would beat the hell out of “you pumpkin-headed dipshits” in the Blood & Guts match. Jericho noted that they ran into Nick Jackson. The camera panned down to show that Nick was bleeding and wedged under a garage door. After the heels left, Matt, Cody, Omega, Dustin, and others showed up to check on Nick. EMTs arrived as they cut to a picture in picture commercial break… [C]
Powell’s POV: A solid win for Cody in the opening match. I’ve grumbled about Santana and Ortiz coming off like henchmen at times, but in this case I don’t have an issue with a tag team wrestler losing to a top singles wrestler. By the way, I’m filling in for Jake Barnett again this week. Jake will be covering WWE Friday Night Smackdown this week while I cover the ROH 18th Anniversary pay-per-view. Jake should be back covering Dynamite in this slot next week, but you can hear him tonight on Wade Keller’s Pro Wrestling Post Show discussing this episode later tonight.
Footage aired of Nick being loaded into an ambulance while Cody and Matt followed behind in a car… The broadcast team ran through the list of previously advertised matches…
2. AEW Women’s Champion Nyla Rose and Bea Priestly vs. Kris Statlander and Hikaru Shida. Ross noted that Shida is the number one contender to the AEW Women’s Championship while Statlander is third in the same rankings. The heels attacked the babyfaces the moment the bell rang to start the match. Ross said he spoke with Jon Moxley earlier and he’s not allowed to be at the building due to medical reasons following the Inner Circle attack last week. Shida made a hot tag to Statlander going into a PIP break. [C]
Statlander placed Priestly over the second rope in her corner, then tagged in Shida and suplexed her onto Priestly. Later, Shida performed an impressive falcon arrow on Rose for a near fall. Rose came back and set up Shida in powerbomb position, but Shida performed a huracanrana. Shida performed a superplex on Priestly. Rose speared Shida and followed up with a sit-out powerbomb for the win.
Nyla Rose and Bea Priestly beat Kris Statlander and Hikaru Shida in 10:10.
After the match, Priestly attacked Rose and picked up the AEW Women’s Championship. Priestly tossed the belt back to Rose and left the ring…
Powell’s POV: I like that the champion didn’t automatically lose in a tag team match to set up a future challenger. Rose is a monster and she was taken care of in that regard. Priestly attacking Rose afterward was a surprise, but it didn’t do much for me because they haven’t done a good job of establishing who Priestly is and why we should care about her.
A video package recapped recent developments with the Dark Order…
Christopher Daniels was featured in a spoof of a Dark Order recruiting video. He delivered the message “screw the Dark Order.” He said they were poised for success until they entered the ring with SCU. He mentioned the Exalted One and said the only people in the Dark Order who have had any success are Evil Uno and Stu Grayson. He said they tried to make it seem like he was the Exalted One as a smokescreen. Daniels said there’s actually not an Exalted One. Daniels challenged Uno and Grayson to face him in singles matches and when the Exalted One doesn’t come out to save them then he will prove that he doesn’t exist… [C]
3. MJF, The Butcher, and The Blade (w/Wardlow, The Bunny) vs. “Jurassic Express” Luchasaurus, Jungle Boy, and Marko Stunt. Excalibur noted that MJF is now ranked second in the AEW Title contenders rankings. MJF showed off his “I Pinned Cody” t-shirt to start the match. MJF tossed Stunt to the mat, then mugged for the crowd. Luchasaurus tagged in unbeknownst to MJF, who ducked into his corner when he spotted the big man. Butcher and Blade got involved and Luchasaurus’s knee was targeted during a PIP break. [C]
Luchasaurus struggled to walk to his corner MJF and The Blade holding onto his feet. He eventually broke free and made the tag to Jungle Boy, who had a burst of offense. The Butcher cut off Jungle Boy then noticeably looked and waited for Stunt to jump onto his back. Stunt ended up diving onto MJF and Blade at ringside, but they caught him, so Jungle Boy performed a suicide dive that took them out. Luchasaurus did a step-p dive onto the three heels.
[Hour Two] Back inside the ring, Luchasaurus performed a double chokeslam on Blade and MJF, then performed a standing moonsault on MJF. Luchasaurus had the pin and the referee had to wait for Butcher to throw Stunt into Jungle Boy, who then fell onto the pile. Ugh. A short time later, Bunny distracted the referee while Blade knocked Jungle Boy off the top rope and then Wardlow ran Luchasaurus into the ring steps. MJF put Stunt in his Salt of the Earth armbar finisher for the win…
MJF, The Butcher, and The Blade beat Luchasaurus, Jungle Boy, and Marko Stunt in 12:05.
Powell’s POV: The crowds continue to get behind Jurassic Express, but this was a rough match at times. The referee stopping her count even though Luchasaurus had the pin was especially bad.
Highlights aired from last week’s main event. A new black and white Darby Allin video aired. Allin wore a Jericho mask and then put someone wearing a Sammy Guevara mask inside a bodybag, which he then dragged with his truck through a field…
Tony Schiavone stood on the stage and introduced Britt Baker, who gave him a Starbucks coffee. She noted that caffeine is frowned upon, as is the idea of having a couple of cold ones. She said it’s not hard to find sugar in Utah because she sees a lot of high BMI and poor oral health. She said she can help because she’s a dentist. Baker encouraged the fans to be janitors, plumbers, dental assistants. She said we can all achieve greatness and she will be a role model for the fans.
Big Swole showed up and told Baker to keep talking. She Baker acts like she doesn’t watch the product. Baker hid behind Schiavone. Swole asked why since Schiavone doesn’t even like her. Baker said the only person in Swole’s house that anyone cares about is her boyfriend. “I am married, Bay-Bay,” Swole responded. Baker took the coffee cup she gave to Schiavone and tossed the contents at Swole before running to the back. A referee came out and tried to talk down Swole, who stormed backstage heading into a PIP break… [C]
Powell’s POV: A solid segment with Baker getting good heat for insulting the fans, which led to Swole being well received. This was good use of each character and I’m looking forward to their match.
4. “Death Triangle” Pac, Pentagon Jr., and Fenix vs. Joey Janela and “Private Party” Isiah Kassidy and Mark Quen. The babyfaces made their entrance during the PIP break. Janela performed a top rope dive onto the Death Triangle trio at ringside heading into a PIP break around 3:30. [C]
Quen had Fenix pinned, but Pentagon Jr. broke it up. Pentagon tagged in and performed a sling blade clothesline on Quen. Later, Janela tagged in and dumped Penta and Fenix to ringside before Pac cut him off. Janela caught Pac with a shot and then brought him to ringside and put him on his shoulders. Quen dove over them onto the Lucha Brothers, then Kassidy leapt off the back of Pac onto an opponent on the floor. Janela performed a top rope elbow drop on Pac for a near fall. A short time later, Penta and Fenix hit their finisher on Janela, then Pac followed up with the Black Arrow and scored the pin.
Pac, Pentagon Jr., and Fenix beat Joey Janela and Private Party in 11:35.
After the match, the Death Triangle trio put their opponents in holds until Best Friends ran them off. Orange Cassidy took his time walking to the ring and remained at ringside. Cassidy eventually entered the ring with Best Friends…
Backstage, Lexi interviewed Dustin Rhodes and noted that he was not scheduled to wrestle, yet he was in his gear. Rhodes said he’s tired of what the Inner Circle is doing to his friends and family. Rhodes said he will be Hangman Page whether he likes it or not. He said they will kick the Inner Circle’s ass and do some cowboy shit… [C] Cassidy had a moment in the ring during the PIP break, and Page was shown warming up…
Powell’s POV: The six-man tag felt like an even match more than real a showcase for the new Death Triangle trio even though they ultimately went over. Meanwhile, what if Page has another idea for a tag partner?
The broadcast team announced Death Triangle vs. Best Friends and Orange Cassidy and the reveal of the Exalted One for next week’s show. The Inner Circle will face The Elite in a six-man tag match for an advantage in the Blood & Guts match. Ross read through the rules of the Blood & Guts match, which is the old WarGames rules, including that the only way to win is via submission or surrender…
Footage aired from earlier in the day of Jim Ross conducting a sit-down interview with AEW Champion Jon Moxley. Ross noted that Moxley was not medically cleared to appear at the arena. Moxley spoke about being pissed off, but said he would not elaborate on his injuries. Moxley spoke of facing Jericho again, then brought up Hager and said, “Step into the batter’s box, bitch.” Moxley said he was hit harder by Hager than anyone in his life, but at the end of the day he’s just another guy in AEW.
Ross asked Moxley what his plans are for the new in Newark, which features the Blood & Guts match. Moxley said he wouldn’t miss it. He said the Inner Circle have their hands full with The Elite. Moxley said he’s in their blind spot and if they are as smart as they think they are then that should scare them… [C]
Ring announcer Justin Roberts introduced the main event and said it was for one fall or television time remaining…
5. Chris Jericho and Sammy Guevara (w/Jake Hager, Santana, Ortiz) vs. Hangman Page and Dustin Rhodes. Rhodes was accompanied onto the stage by QT Marshall and Brandi Rhodes, who headed backstage while he went to the ring. The broadcast team played up the lack of communication between Page and Rhodes going into the match and pointed out that they seemed to be bickering before the opening bell.
Rhodes was isolated heading into an early PIP break. [C] Late in the match, Page took out Jericho with a clunky discus lariat on the floor. In the ring, Rhodes performed a Canadian Destroyer on Guevara. Page followed up with a Buckshot Lariat and got the pin.
Hangman Page and Dustin Rhodes defeated Chris Jericho and Sammy Guevara in 10:20.
After the match, the Inner Circle members put the boots to the babyfaces. The broadcast team noted that Matt Jackson and Cody were at the hospital with Nick Jackson. They wondered who would come out to help. Kenny Omega came out and tried to help, but he was outnumbered. Jericho put Omega down with the Judas Effect.
Cody rushed to the ring while Excalibur noted that he was back from the hospital. Cody worked over Jericho before Hager put him down. Ortiz suplexed Cody on the entrance ramp while Excalibur noted that it was revenge for Cody doing the same to him earlier in the night. Hager grabbed Page by the neck and brought him to the stage.
The Inner Circle set up for another Shield-like powerbomb, but Matt Jackson came out and broke it up. Matt worked over each of the Inner Circle members, then flipped off Page. Jericho hit Matt with a chair to the head, then followed up with another chair to the head of Page, who at least held his hands up. The Inner Circle posed on the stage while the camera showed Omega down in the ring and Cody down at ringside. The broadcast team hyped next week’s six-man tag match to determine who would have the advantage in the Blood & Guts match…
Powell’s POV: I don’t know if Matt was late putting his hands up or they will claim the chair was gimmicked again, but that chair shot to the head looked brutal and unnecessary. Putting that aside, while Rhodes demanding to be Page’s partner was a logical way to insert him, it’s always underwhelming when a regular roster member turns out to be a mystery partner. Still, I like the strategy of putting tons of heat on Inner Circle heading into the Blood & Guts match. Overall, this was a decent episode, but it was not as hot as some of the recent Dynamite episodes. I will be back within the hour with my weekly AEW Dynamite audio review for Dot Net Members. Let us know what you thought of the show by assigning it a letter grade in our post show poll available on the main page.