By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite (Episode 164)
Bridgeport, Connecticut at Total Mortgage Arena
Aired live November 16, 2022 on TBS
[Hour One] The Dynamite opening aired and then pyro shot off on the stage. Excalibur checked in on commentary and said he was joined by Ian Riccaboni, Taz, and Tony Schiavone. They ran through the lineup for the show… Ring entrances took place for the opening tag team match with Chris Jericho and Sammy Guevara coming out to “Judas.” Justin Roberts was the ring announcer…
1. Bryan Danielson and Claudio Castagnoli vs. Chris Jericho and Sammy Guevara. William Regal came out with Danielson, but he did not accompany his team to the ring. The teams brawled to start the match. Danielson and Castagnoli got their opponents in a seated position and then threw elbows to their heads.
Castagnoli suplexed Guevara and Jericho and then performed a running splash on both men. Danielson tagged in and was isolated by the heel duo. Jericho flipped off the crowd and then flipped off Danielson, who fought back and then tagged out while selling his eye injury from the week before. A short time later, Jericho jabbed his baseball bat into the bad eye while Guevara distracted the referee heading into a picture-in-picture break. [C]
Danielson was isolated again until he put Jericho down with a flying elbow and then tagged out. Castagnoli worked over both opponents and tossed Guevara into Jericho in the corner. Castagnoli threw uppercuts at Jericho and then hit him with a running clothesline that resulted in a two count. Castagnoli hit Jericho with a springboard corkscrew uppercut for a near fall.
Castagnoli set up Jericho for The Spin, but Guevara returned to the ring and broke it up. Jericho put Castagnoli in the Walls of Jericho. Guevara pulled the bottom rope away from Castagnoli’s reach. Danielson ran Guevara into the ring post and then went up top and hit a missile dropkick on Jericho to break the hold. Danielson held his eye again.
Danielson and Guevara tagged into the match. Danielson dropped Guevera with a rolling elbow and then threw kicks at him. Guevara ducked the grand finale kick and then gouged Danielson’s bad eye. Guevara hit Danielson with a running knee and went for his finisher. Danielson escaped and tried to put Guevera in the LeBell Lock, but Guevara scrambled to reach the ropes.
Danielson placed Guevara on the top rope and set up for a superplex, but Guevara bit his forehead. Guevara performed a cutter off the ropes and then tagged in Jericho, who hit Danielson with a Lionsault. Jericho had the pin, but Castagnoli returned to break it up. Castagnoli took out Guevara with a popup uppercut. Danielson and Jericho went for the same move and collided.
Danielson tagged out and then ran across the ring and dove through the ropes to take out Guevara. Jericho grabbed his bat, but Castagnoli ended up giving him The Swing while Jericho held onto the bat. Jericho swung the bat once they stopped, but Castagnoli took it from him and applied a Sharpshooter for the win…
Bryan Danielson and Claudio Castagnoli defeated Chris Jericho and Sammy Guevara in 18:00.
Powell’s POV: A good opening tag team match that showcased the wrestlers in the four-way for the ROH Championship at Full Gear. The idea is that Castagnoli has momentum heading into the match, but it will be interesting to see how they incorporate Danielson’s eye injury into the match given how much he sold it tonight. By the way, I’m filling in for Jake Barnett tonight. Jake will cover WWE Smackdown on Friday, and I’ll have the live review of AEW Full Gear on Saturday.
A brief Jon Moxley and MJF video package aired… Excalibur said the champion and the challenger would both speak during the show, and then he hyped Swerve Strickland vs. Anthony Bowens. Excalibur plugged the daily fantasy sports sponsor… [C]
A black and white Darby Allin video was shown. It included footage of someone in a bodybag crowd surfing at a concert. They cut to a shot of the side of a road where Sting picked up the bodybag and put it in a car. Sting drove the car while Allin exited the bodybag. Sting said it would be showtime at Full Gear…
Jeff Jarrett cut off Jay Lethal, Sonjay Dutt, and Satnam Singh on the backstage interview set. Jarrett said Sting likes to say it’s showtime, but it will be his last time at Full Gear…
The Acclaimed made their entrance. Max Caster’s rap included a line about being burned by Jay Leno. Anthony Bowens delivered his usual line and then scissored with Billy Gunn. Bowens pointed to the big screen for the premiere of the latest Acclaimed video. It included footage of Paul Wight as Captain Insano being interviewed by The Acclaimed.
Two guys who were supposed to look like Keith Lee and Swerve Strickland were shown watching the interview on television. The Lee impersonator asked about the odds of Strickland and Lee winning at Full Gear. Wight and The Acclaimed laughed hysterically. The video aired with Caster rapping. The Lee and Strickland impersonators were in the video acting like goofballs.
Back in the arena, Swerve Strickland made his entrance without Keith Lee. Billy Gunn tackled Strickland, apparently still upset over Strickland giving him lobster claws. Gunn and Caster were directed to the back by a group of referees. Bowens took advantage of the distraction and got Strickland inside the ring to start the match…
2. Swerve Strickland vs. Anthony Bowens. Schiavone noted that he worked with Jay Leno in the past and wished him the best as he recovers from severe burns. They fought to ringside. Strickland picked up Bowens and dropped him on the barricade, causing Bowens to tumble into the crowd heading into a PIP break. [C]
Strickland took offensive control and got Bowens on his knees. Strickland performed a leaping kick on Bowens and then covered him for a two count. Strickland had Bowens face down and then pulled his left arm back and stomped on it. Strickland followed up with a double stomp for a near fall. Bowens blocked a Strickland move, but Strickland came right back with a JML Driver and scored the pin…
Swerve Strickland beat Anthony Bowens in roughly 9:00.
Powell’s POV: A solid match that was more about telling the story of Strickland hurting Bowens heading into the tag title match at Full Gear than it was about the two of them trying to steal the show. Good for them. It’s the right approach to tell a story tonight and hopefully they will tear the house down on Saturday.
A brief video package aired on the Jade Cargill vs. Nyla Rose match for the TBS Championship at Full Gear…
Tony Schiavone introduced ROH TV Champion Samoa Joe for an in-ring interview. Joe said it was an honor to share the ring with Schiavone, then intimidated him by asking if he really thought it was shocking that he attacked Wardlow. Joe said Wardlow paid the ultimate price for running his mouth. Joe said he refuses to wait around to be a victim like most of the fans in the building. Joe said he saved himself. Joe said if Schiavone or anyone else has a problem with it, then can take it up with him.
Powerhouse Hobbs came out and said Joe was late to the party because he’s been the one kicking Wardlow’s ass. Hobbs said he would go to the ring and kick Joe’s ass. Hobbs made it to the ring apron and was about to enter when he was distracted.
Wardlow’s entrance music played. With Joe and Hobbs watching the stage, Wardlow entered through the crowd behind Joe. Once in the ring, Wardlow speared Joe. Hobbs joined in on the fight, which was quickly broken up by a large number of wrestlers. Wardlow fought some of the wrestlers off and the Dark Order members backed off. Wardlow performed a flip dive over the top rope and onto a group of wrestlers at ringside. Wardlow returned to the ring and played to the crowd…
Excalibur said the AEW Trios Title match would be up next… [C]
Britt Baker stood in front of the AEW backdrop backstage and took issue with Saraya telling her four times that she doesn’t have what it takes to be a star. Baker said Saraya reminded everyone that she’s only been on television for three years. Baker said she went from being a happy to be there girl to be a confident and tenacious face of the company. Baker said she became her own role model in three years.
Baker said she wasn’t handed anything that Saraya wasn’t handed – an opportunity. She said she ran with it and now every fan in the crowd says DMD along with her. Baker said she hasn’t wrestled at MSG, but she did wrestle at Daily’s Place during the pandemic. She said they kept the pro wrestling fire burning during that time and that’s something Saraya won’t know about it. Baker said she respects Saraya, but the business owes her nothing and has moved on.
Baker said she won’t let Saraya belittle her because she’s stuck in the past. She said that she’s the heart and soul, and pulse of AEW. “If you think you’re above that, you can get the hell out,” Baker said,. “This is my house”…
Powell’s POV: A very well delivered promo. Still, I’m baffled by Baker portraying herself as the babyface AEW original heading into Saraya’s long awaited return to the ring. I’m curious to see how Saraya responds and how the live crowd will respond to both wrestlers on Saturday.
Entrances for the AEW Trios Title match took place…
[Hour Two] Referee Rick Knox held the title belts up and then called for the bell to start the match.
3. “Death Triangle” Pac, Penta El Zero Miedo, and Rey Fenix (w/Alex Abrahantes) vs. AR Fox and “Top Flight” Dante Martin and Darius Martin for the AEW Trios Titles. Both entrances were televised. Fox got a nice reaction when he tagged into the match and played to the crowd. There was a cool spot where the Martins tossed Pac into a cutter from Fox. The challengers set up to run the ropes for dives, but the champions cut them off. Pac picked up a near fall on Fox heading into a PIP break. [C]
The challengers performed crowd-pleasing dives onto the champions at ringside. A “this is awesome” chant broke out. Fox hit a 450 splash on Fenix and went for the pin, but Pac broke it up. The champions took control. Fenix took out Top Flight with a dive and then Pac hit the Broken Arrow on Fox and pinned him…
“Death Triangle” Pac, Penta El Zero Miedo, and Rey Fenix defated AR Fox and “Top Flight” Dante Martin and Darius Martin in 11:35 to retain the AEW Trios Titles.
After the match, Pac got a mic and asked the fans if they think Death Triangle are stupid. He said they’ve seen the (Elite) videos. Pac said that if there are certain individuals who think they can make their triumphant return at Full Gear and get the best of Death Triangle, then it’s ridiculous. Pac told them to bring the heat because Death Triangle doesn’t run from anybody.
A clock was shown counting down on the big screen. Death Triangle was shown in an AEW Trios Titles match listing and then the images of their opponents Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks appeared on the graphic. Pac said they’ve been waiting…
Powell’s POV: And there it is. The Elite graphic received favorable reaction from the live crowd. It was great to see Darius back following another long layoff. Here’s hoping that Top Flight are in for a strong push as a tag team. Fox executed his flashy offense and got over with the crowd. I’m guessing we haven’t seen the last of Fox in AEW.
Ricky Starks delivered a backstage promo and recalled being attacked by Lance Archer last week. Starks said he would face Archer on Rampage in a tournament match. Starks said he will beat Archer…
Powell’s POV: Does that mean they will also have the second semifinal match on Rampage or will they have the second semifinal match and the finals at Full Gear?
4. Ethan Page (w/Stokely Hathaway) vs. Bandido in an AEW World Championship Eliminator Tournament semifinal match. Both entrances were televised and Page spoke about winning the tournament while he walked to the ring. Hathaway reached in and grabbed the boot of Bandido. Page took advantage of the distraction and was in offensive control heading into another PIP break. [C]
Bandido performed a moonsault off the ring post onto Page on the floor, which drew a holy shit chant. Later, Bandido went up top, but Page hit the ropes to knock him down. Bandido sold knee pain. Page went up top and Bandido cut him off. Bandido went to the ropes, but Page grabbed him and slammed him from the ropes to the mat. Page performed a shoulder block from the ropes and then hit the Ego’s Edge and scored the pin.
Ethan Page defeated Bandido in 9:05 to advance to the finals of the AEW Eliminator Tournament.
Powell’s POV: As noted last week, Page has issues with Jon Moxley and MJF, so if he wins the tournament to earn the title shot, it won’t telegraph the outcome of the Full Gear main event. While I’m happy to see Page getting more camera time, I’m not a fan of the idea of putting Bandido in the tournament just to have him lose in the second round. I think the company would have been better off keeping him out of the tournament while giving him momentum building wins.
A brief video package aired on Jungle Boy vs. Luchasaurus…
Renee Paquette interviewed Saraya “earlier today” in the backstage area and noted that Saraya will be returning to the ring for the first time in five years. Saraya said she’s sick and tired of the back and forth with Britt Baker. She said she wanted to be in AEW to face the best and the best is Baker. Saraya said she would see Baker on Saturday…
Excalibur reminded viewers that they would hear from Jon Moxley and MJF, then hyped the Interim AEW Women’s Championship eliminator match for after the break… [C] A video package set up Eddie Kingston and Ortiz vs. Jun Akiyama and Konosuke Takeshita for Friday’s AEW Rampage…
5. Interim AEW Women’s Champion Toni Storm vs. Anna Jay in an eliminator match. Both wrestlers received televised entrances. Storm received a mild reaction, while the crowd was very quiet during Jay’s entrance. Taz took issue with Schiavone saying that Jay is part of the Jericho Appreciation Society and therefore wouldn’t hesitate to cheat to win. Storm went to the ropes and then Jay kicked her legs out. Jay performed a Backstabber and then rolled into a kick heading into a PIP break. [C]
The wrestlers traded forearms coming out of the break. Storm got the better of it and performed a Thesz Press. Storm clotheslined Jay and then performed a fisherman’s suplex for a near fall. Storm went for a Texas cloverleaf, but Jay reached the ropes. Storm hit Jay with a hip attack that send Jay to the floor. Storm followed and was run into the ring steps.
Back inside the ring, Jay threw a kick at Storm and then hooked her behind her back and fell backwards, causing Storm to land face first. Jay covered Storm for a near fall. Jay went for her Queen Slayer finisher, but Storm avoided it and dropkicked Jay into the corner. Storm performed another hip attack and then applied the Texas Cloverleaf for the win.
Interim AEW Women’s Champion Toni Storm defeated Anna Jay in 7:05 in an eliminator match.
After the match, Jamie Hayter made her entrance while Britt Baker and Rebel walked out behind her. Hayter entered the ring and indicated that she wanted to talk. Storm held up her title belt. Hayter shoved her and then left the ring…
Powell’s POV: The match really didn’t need to be more than a quick showcase for Storm heading into the pay-per-view. They made it mildly competitive even though the outcome was never in doubt. I wish they would have gone with a shorter match in favor of a better post match angle than that completely forgettable encounter between Storm and Hayter.
Excalibur listed the following matches for Friday’s live edition of AEW Rampage: Hook vs. Lee Moriarty for the FTW Title, Athena vs. Madison Rayne, Lance Archer vs. Ricky Starks in an AEW Eliminator tournament first-round match, and Eddie Kingston and Ortiz vs. Jun Akiyama and Konosuke Takeshita.
The broadcast team read through the AEW Full Gear lineup. They added Wardlow vs. Samoa Joe vs. Powerhouse Hobbs in a three-way for the TNT Championship, and reminded viewers of Death Triangle vs. The Elite for the AEW Trios Titles.
Excalibur hyped comments from Jon Moxley and MJF for after the break… [C] Excalibur hyped Hook vs. Lee Moriarty for the FTW Title for Rampage again…
AEW World Champion Jon Moxley and William Regal made their entrance through the crowd. Once in the ring, Moxley introduced himself as the AEW World Champion. Moxley said the championship doesn’t make the man, the man makes the championship. He asked who is Jon Moxley, then said he’s the best pro wrestler on earth. He said he talks shit and backs it up.
Moxley said he has taken on all comers and defined the AEW World Championship. Moxley said the announcers say he loves to fight like it’s a good thing. Moxley said it’s not. “I’m sick in the head, man,” Moxley said. He said he’s addicted to the adrenaline and the pain. He said no one can hurt him because he doesn’t care, and that’s who Jon Moxley is.
Moxley recalled asking last week who MJF is. Moxley said he scouts his opponents and he found out. Moxley said he learned that MJF is a really good singer and he has just one win in the ring over the last six months. Moxley said MJF took a summer vacation after doing Brian Pillman stuff, then returned wearing a mask and was handed a chip in what he said was the worst ending to a ladder match that he’s ever seen.
Moxley said MJF is dripping with insecurity and is a kid playing wrestler. He said he sees a man who fears that he won’t live up to the hype. Moxley said fans would see something really special at Full Gear. He said he was challenging MJF to show him that he has guts and to show him why everyone says MJF is the future of the industry.
Stokely Hathwaway walked out. Lee Moriarty hit the ring and was tossed out by Moxley. W Morrissey, Ethan Page, Austin Gunn, and Colten Gunn entered the ring and went after Moxley.
MJF’s entrance music played and he came out and clotheslined the Gunns and Moriarty when they went after him on his way to the ring. MJF entered the ring. Morrissey grabbed MJF by the throat. MJF kicked Morrissey in the balls. Page went for a kick that MJF sidestepped and ended up hitting Morrissey. MJF made comically quick work of Page.
MJF played to the crowd while Regal shot him a look and stood over Moxley, who was down under the ropes. MJF said he didn’t save Moxley because he likes him. MJF said he didn’t want anyone to make any excuses for Moxley when he knocks his lights clean out. MJF said the Dynamite Diamond Ring would not be necessary, then went face to face with Regal for a moment.
MJF said he knew he was in for the fight of his life. MJF said Moxley is a bad SOB, but he said he’s not the same kid he was when they first met. MJF said he needs the title belt more than he needs food, water, and oxygen. MJF said that holding the AEW World Championship makes you the best wrestler on earth and it’s his time.
MJF said he heard Moxley state last week that he’s not the devil. MJF laughed and then said the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world that he doesn’t exist. MJF said Moxley will find out at Full Gear that he is the devil himself. MJF started to deliver his catchphrase, but Moxley took the mic from him.
Moxley said he never saw what the big deal about MJF is. He said he would reach inside MJF and pull it out of him. Moxley caught himself saying Sunday rather than Saturday and then corrected himself. Moxley said the training wheels come off at Full Gear. Moxley and MJF jawed at one another while Regal stood next to them. Moxley bumped his shoulder into MJF while leaving the ring with Regal to close the show…
Powell’s POV: MJF disposing of The Firm so quickly makes the faction look like an absolute joke. Of course, it may play into the idea that MJF is still in cahoots with the faction, meaning he paid them to beat him up previously, and then paid them to look like buffoons here. God, I really hope that’s not the plan and they have something much better in mind. Moxley and MJF both cut good promos, but it’s hard to imagine they really moved anyone who was on the fence about ordering the pay-per-view.
Overall, the same can be said for most of the this episode. It was an entertaining two hours and yet it didn’t feel like a strong go-home week show. Adding The Elite to the lineup should get their fans onboard, but nothing else on this episode increased my level of interest in Full Gear the way I hoped it would. I will have more to say in my weekly same night AEW Dynamite review for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons).