By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
AEW Dynamite (Episode 170)
Broomfield, Colorado at 1stBank Center
Aired live December 28, 2022 on TBS
[Hour One] Excalibur, Taz, and Tony Schiavone opened the show at the commentary table. Bryan Danielson’s music hit and he headed to the ring for the opening match. Excalibur explained how Bryan called out MJF last week, but Ethan Page stepped out instead, leading to this match. Ethan Page then made his ring entrance accompanied by Stokely Hathaway. Because of Danielson’s bald insults last week, Hathaway wore an AEW baseball hat. After both men were in the ring, MJF’s music hit and he was shown with a woman in his luxury box. He told Bryan that he found the only hot chick in Colorado, and Ethan Page jumped him from behind.
1. Bryan Danielson vs. Ethan Page (w/Stokely Hathaway): An asshole chant rang out for MJF as Ethan Page continued his assault. Page choked Bryan in the corner with his boot, and then sent Bryan into the opposite corner. Bryan flipped out of the corner and landed a flying elbow strike to take over. He then landed a mix of kicks and chops. Page landed a chop of his own and brought Bryan to his knees, and followed up with another. Bryan returned fire with kicks in the corner, followed by a knee lift.
Danielson stomped on the back of Page’s knees, and then stomped on the Achilles tendon on his left leg. He followed up with more kicks, but Page was able to catch Bryan with a back elbow coming off the ropes. Page paced Bryan on the top turnbuckle and landed some strikes. He then lined up for a superplex, but Bryan landed a headbutt that sent him back into the ring. Bryan came off the top and landed a shotgun dropkick and kipped up.
Hathaway got up on the apron, and Bryan flipped his hat off. Page tried to surprise Bryan from behind, but Bryan sent him to the floor. He then followed up with a dive through the ropes. Hathaway distracted Bryan as he got back into the ring, and Page sent him back to the floor with a running forearm strike…[c]
Page controlled the action during the break and focused on strikes to the head. Bryan reversed a vertical suplex and landed a German Suplex of his own. Both men struggled to their feet and then traded uppercuts and forearms. Page raked the eyes of Bryan, but he fired back with kicks and chops in the corner. He then placed Page on the top rope and pulled him back into the ring with a huracanrana.
Danielson landed a series of kicks, but couldn’t connect with the final one to the head. Bryan low bridged Page out to the floor. He attempted a flying knee strike, but Stokely kind of moved him out of the way. Page then sent him into the ring steps and power slammed him onto the floor on the outside. He then sent Bryan into the ring and landed a cutter for a near fall.
Page went for another powerslam into the ring, but Bryan countered into a float over DDT. He then followed up with a kick to the head for a close near fall. Bryan transitioned into the LeBell Lock, but Page was able to get his leg over to the ropes. Bryan continued to sell his head as the announcers questioned whether his concussion history was a weakness. Bryan went to the top rope, but Page met him there. He wanted an Ego’s Edge, but settled for an avalanche powerslam for a close near fall.
Page struggled to his feet and pulled up Bryan for an Ego’s Edge, but Bryan slipped out and landed a running Busaiku Knee. He then stomped on the head of Page and applied the Regal Stretch, but Page was already passed out.
Bryan Danielson defeated Ethan Page at 17:39
After the match, Danielson pointed and stared at MJF, who didn’t react…
Samoa Joe vs. Wardlow is up later. They played a video package for that match that focused on their brief team together. Samoa Joe said he took his notes, but Joe doesn’t think Wardlow did his homework…
Backstage, Renee Paquette interviewed Wardlow, who said there had already been too much talk and not enough action. A wild Samoa Joe appeared and hit Wardlow in the knee with what looked like an aluminum tube of some sort. Trainers attended to Wardlow…[c]
My Take: I’m not a huge fan of concussion angles, or head trauma being used as somebody’s weakness, and I fear for what that means for the rest of the story with MJF. That said, Page and Bryan put on a very strong match and deserve praise for it. I think MJF’s appearance in the luxury box was a bit superfluous and unnecessary, but it wasn’t too much of a distraction thankfully.
Backstage, Hangman Page was backstage being attended to by AEW doctors while Dark Order members stood by. Renee Paquette asked him for a status update, and he said it’s week to week and he doesn’t have any good answers. She asked if he was interested in the next match featuring Moxley, and he stood right up to go on the attack. He was calmed down by John Silver. The AEW doctor said he could get back in the ring in two weeks if he can keep himself from another setback, which perfectly aligns with the upcoming show in Los Angeles…
My Take: Again, not a fan of concussion stories, and this one is just dumb because nobody buys the idea that this guy is continually brought back to arenas every week in the concussion protocol when he’s attacked Moxley multiple times.
Jon Moxley and Claudio Castagnoli made their way out for the next match. They were then followed by Top Flight (Dante and Darius Martin). Top Flight attacked Moxley and Claudio before the bell, but it backfired immediately…
2. Jon Moxley and Claudio Castagnoli vs. “Top Flight” Dante and Darius Martin: Moxley and Claudio delivered punishment to Darius, and finally took off his zip up sweatshirt. Claudio landed a body slam and tagged into Moxley, who entered and kicked Darius in the gut. Darius managed to make a quick tag to Dante after breaking free, and he cleared Claudio from the apron and landed a springboard moonsault onto Moxley.
Moxley turned things around quickly with his power offense and delivered some elbow shots to Dante. Darius jumped into the ring and landed a chop block to Moxley’s knee…[c]
Darius worked over the knee of Moxley during the break. Moxley fired back with a vertical suplex toss and made the tag to Claudio. He entered the match and took out Dante with a series of European uppercuts and a double leg dropkick for a near fall. Top Flight managed to pull back into the match with a double team tornado DDT onto Claudio for a near fall.
There was a tag to Darius and they went for a double suplex, but Claudio reversed and brought both of them over. They then landed a sequence of superkicks and a flying STO. Moxley sent Dante into the pinfall attempt to break it up. Moxley sold his knee and was cleared from the ring. Claudio ate a double superkick and Dante dove on Moxley on the floor. Darius landed a standing Spanish Fly for a near fall.
Claudio went for an uppercut, but Darius slipped out. He then landed a Neutralizer and Darius kicked out for a good near fall. Claudio was stunned and questioned the referee. He then landed some elbows. Dante tried to break it up but Claudio wouldn’t budge. Moxley came back in and landed a King Kong Lariat on Dante. He then took him to the floor and landed a Double Arm DDT on the floor.
Darius fired back at Claudio with a hard punch. Claudio then uncorked a huge uppercut and got the win.
Claudio Castagnoli and Jon Moxley defeated “Top Flight” Dante Martin and Darius Martin at 13:55
After the match, Claudio and Moxley held up their arms in victory. Moxley mouthed to the camera that anybody else who has a problem can come get knocked out too…
Excalibur said they were still waiting on a medical update on Wardlow… Some footage was shown of Orange Cassidy and Kip Sabian from last week…
Backstage, Kip Sabian and Penelope Ford were standing opposite Best Friends. Kip rambled on with some nonsense, and said he deserved a title shot for eliminating Cassidy last week. Trent said by that logic, he deserves a title shot because he eliminated Kip. Cassidy agreed with that and said Trent gets a title shot before Kip, and it’ll happen on Rampage…
In the arena, Hook made his ring entrance for the next match. Baylum Lynx was already in the ring…
3. FTW Champion Hook vs. Baylum Lynx: Hook went on offense immediately and landed some hard shots followed by a Judo throw. He then landed an overhead suplex and applied Redrum for a quick tap out victory.
Hook defeated Baylum Lynx at 0:51
After the match, Stokely Hathaway walked out with W. Morrissey and Lee Moriarty. He told Hook that his Dad likes to talk about how much of a badass he is, but in reality he’s the Southwest Airlines of AEW. “Jungle Boy” Jack Perry ran down and took out Moriarty. Hook had a comical staredown with “Big Bill”. Hook went for a T-Bone Suplex, but Bill stuffed it. Bill set up for a big Chokeslam, but Jungle Boy smashed Bill with a 2×4. He then hit him a couple more times and missed a shot to the head to clear him from the ring…
Excalibur threw to a video package that recapped Chris Jericho’s embarrassing couple of weeks…
Backstage, Jericho told Ricky Starks that he turned down the invitation of a lifetime, and chose to mock them as jobbers and JASholes instead. Jericho called Starks a flash in the pan and arrogant. He said he doesn’t have all the tools to be a star, and next week he would take him to the top of the mountain and back. He then told Ricky to check on his pal Action Andretti, who took a fireball to the face. Jericho told Andretti to stay on the indies and told Starks he would end his experiment next week…
The Elite vs. Death Triangle is up next…[c]
My Take: They really decided to cram in the content in between breaks here. The Moxley and Claudio match with Top Flight was very good. It seemed like it was the beginning of a double turn perhaps, with Moxley and Claudio showing frustration and heel tendencies, while Top Flight attacked before the bell but then came across like plucky underdogs. The Hook and Jungle Boy thing is definitely working for the Tiger Beat demographic.
Swerve Strickland and Mogul Affiliates stood backstage. Renee called his actions despicable, and Swerve responded that Keith Lee just didn’t believe in his vision. Swerve said everybody knows Parker Boudreaux, but we’ll know more about “this guy” real soon. Wheeler Yuta walked up and said he didn’t think he could like Swerve any less after Final Battle, but then last week happened. If he wanted to get violent, he should meet him in the ring on Rampage. Swerve said “say less” and the match was on…
The Falls Count anywhere between The Elite and Death Triangle was joined in progress in the backstage area…
4. “The Elite” Kenny Omega, Nick Jackson, and Matt Jackson (w/Brandon Cutler, Michael Nakazawa) vs. “Death Triangle” Pac, Penta El Zero Miedo, and Rey Fenix (w/Alex Abrahantes) in a Falls Count Anywhere Match in the sixth match of the best of seven series for the AEW Trios Titles: Don Callis sat in on commentary. Chaos reigned backstage. Pac suplexed Kenny Omega onto some wooden pallets. Fenix dove on the Young Bucks from a pile of stadium risers. Nick fired back with a dive off the risers onto Penta through a table for a near fall.
[Hour Two] Pac and Nick Jackson spilled into the production area backstage and then up the stairs into the arena. Nick Jackson and Penta were right there as well. Rey Fenix appeared on top of the stage. The Bucks landed superkicks to Pac and Penta. Fenix then dove onto everybody below with a tornillo. Omega then flew in out of nowhere with a V-Trigger, but for some reason didn’t make a cover. He then tried to pick up Pac, but it was rejected and Omega got German Suplexed onto the stage. Matt Jackson had to break up the pin.
Pac and Matt traded punches. Matt then pulled in Pac for downhill Northern Lights Suplexes. Nick Jackson flew over Matt and took out Penta behind him. Matt then landed a double Northern Lights onto Fenix and Penta for a near fall…[c]
In the ring, Pac placed a trash can over Omega’s head. The then delivered a triple dropkick to the can for a near fall. Fenix kept Omega isolated by knocking the Bucks from the apron. The Elite made a rapid comeback with a series of strikes from Omega and Nick Jackson. Omega placed the trash can on the head of Pac and delivered a V-Trigger knee to it. Omega then picked up Pac and delivered a Doctor Bomb on the trash can for a close near fall.
Omega then setup for the One Winged Angel, but Penta pulled him down and out of the ring. The Lucha Brothers then delivered the assisted Fear Factor piledriver on the floor. The Bucks were able to break up the fall on the floor. Fenix took out everybody with a huracanrana, a cutter, and a dive out to the floor onto Omega and Nakazawa. Penta attempted a Fear Factor on Nick Jackson on the apron, but Nick reversed out of it.
Matt Jackson picked up Penta, and he and Nick delivered an assisted Tombstone out on the floor. Pac had to break up the fall with a kick. Pac set up Matt Jackson for a black arrow, but Matt moved out of the way. Nick tossed a chair into Pac’s face, and then they delivered a BTE Trigger to Penta. Pac was able to recover and break up the fall.
The Bucks setup for another tombstone, but Pac knocked Nick from the apron. He then applied a Brutalizer on Matt Jackson. Elsewhere, Kenny landed a One Winged Angel on Fenix through a set of tables set up somewhere in the crowd. Kenny covered and got the three count before Matt Jackson tapped out in the Brutalizer.
The Elite defeated Death Triangle to force Match 7 at roughly 16:02
The Elite celebrated after the match while Pac looked absolutely disgusted…
We then got a music video from “The Acclaimed” Max Caster and Anthony Bowens where they called Jeff Jarrett a carny who steals money like he stole Kurt Angle’s wife. They also told Jay Lethal he’s best known for imitating other people, and that Max Caster’s elbow is better than his. They settled by saying they’d put their nuts on Lethal and Jarrett’s chin bone…
Back in the arena, Tay Melo and Anna Jay made their entrance as TayJay AS. They were followed by Willow Nightingale and Ruby Soho.
5. Ruby Soho and Willow Nightingale vs. “TayJay AS” Anna Jay and Tay Melo: Willow dumped Tay Melo into the mat and then taunted her. Ruby tagged herself in, which Willow didn’t seem to like. She attacked Tay Melo, but Anna quickly tagged herself in. Ruby took down Anna and landed rapid fire right hands to the head. Ruby and Willow made some rapid tags and they landed some double team offense. Ruby had made it obvious that she doesn’t want to tag out of the match.
Tay Melo snuck around the ring and pulled Ruby from the apron. Anna then took over on Willow and sent her into the turnbuckle. She then landed some back elbows in the corner, and tagged Tay into the match…[c]
My Take: The Elite vs. Death Triangle was very good. There was almost no selling and all the typical stylistic issues that grew out of that, but at least it was tornado format and the chaos played into the clever finish. Pac remains the MVP of the series as his facial expressions and timing have outclassed everybody else.
Willow landed a lariat on Anna to get a break in the match. Ruby and Tay Melo tagged in, and Ruby finally got the match up she wanted. She landed a series of forearms to the face and then drove her face first into the second turnbuckle with her knees. Anna caused a distraction, but Ruby was able to land No Future on Tay Melo for a near fall. Willow delivered a lariat to Anna, but Tay took her out with a pump kick.
Samoa Joe vs. Wardlow is still on and will be happening in the main event. Willow landed a lariat and a kick to Tay, and Ruby landed a back suplex. Anna broke up the cover. Tay managed to land a DDT on Ruby, but Willow shoved Anna into the cover to break it up. Willow took Anna to the floor and landed a DDT. Ruby and Tay traded headbutts, and both women collapsed. Ruby landed on her for a near fall.
There was a lot of clumsiness involving chairs. Anna tried to hit Willow with a chair on the floor, and the referee stole the chair away. Tay managed to grab a chair and toss it to Ruby so she could land a pump kick. She then landed the TayKO and got the win…
TayJay AS defeated Willow Nightingale and Ruby Soho at 5:03
After the match, Austin Gunn and Colten Gunn were interviewed as they were leaving the building. They said they would address their win over FTR next week…
Excalibur ran through a number of plugs for Rampage, including appearances from Jamie Hayter and Jon Moxley…
Renee Paquette interviewed Ricky Starks backstage and asked him about his match with Jericho next week. Starks said he would get revenge for Action Andretti, since he can’t get it for himself. He said there was no experiment to end, because he was here to stay. Starks said he has a big mouth and a bad attitude, and he will take Jericho down a couple of pegs just because can.
Samoa Joe vs. Wardlow is up next…[c]
My Take: The women’s match was a bit clumsy, and I’m not sure if it was worth forestalling Ruby’s revenge victory over Tay Melo. The JAS is taking on water and Ruby could be a good opponent for Jamie Hayter if they get her some solid victories on TV.
Samoa Joe made his ring entrance for the main event. Tony Schiavone said he was unable to get an update on Wardlow, other than he wasn’t 100%. Wardlow’s music hit, but he didn’t immediately appear. Joe got on the microphone and announced himself as the one true king of television, and that Wardlow is suffering from a bit of stage fright. Joe said he offered to have the Denver Broncos send someone over, but they had already taken enough L’s this year. Wardlow eventually hobbled out and started to brawl with Joe…
6. Samoa Joe vs. Wardlow for the TNT Championship: Wardlow landed a spinebuster early on after landing a flurry of strikes. Joe was dazed, and Wardlow picked him up and slapped him across the face. He then slapped his knee to try and get some feeling back. Wardlow charged into the corner, but Joe caught him with a Uranage out of the corner. He then landed a few more right hands, but Wardlow fired back and cut him down with a lariat. Joe recovered and managed to pick up Wardlow and deliver a kneebreaker…[c]
Wardlow and Joe brawled wildly during the break, with Joe wrapping Wardlow’s bad knee around the second rope to wrench on it. Wardlow eventually spilled to ringside and was forced to recover and beat a ten count back to the ring. Joe continued to kick and stomp the knee, followed by a leg grapevine. He then drove his elbow into the knee while he had it trapped.
Joe placed Wardlow on the top rope and climbed up with him. Wardlow managed to battle back and shove Joe into the ring. He then followed with a Swanton, but was unable to make a cover due to the pain. He then landed some German Suplexes, and continued to grab at the bag leg. He even landed a jump up somersault senton, but he landed poorly on his knee.
Wardlow continued the pressure with a headbutt and a big lariat for a near fall. Joe managed to land a strike to the inside of Wardlow’s knee to slow him down. He then kicked him in the chest and chopped him in the corner. Joe placed Wardlow on the top rope, but he slipped underneath and delivered a powerbomb to Joe. He lined up for another powerbomb, but his knee gave out when he tried to pick him up.
Joe capitalized with another chop block and applied the Kokina Clutch. Wardlow passed out and the match was over.
Samoa Joe defeated Wardlow to retain the TNT Championship at 10:48
After the match, Joe held up his Championships and Wardlow woke up and realized he lost. He turned toward Joe, who blasted him immediately with the TNT Title belt. He then pulled a toolbox from under the ring, but couldn’t find what he wanted, and then went back to grab some scissors. Referee Paul Turner tried to stop him, and got headbutted by Joe, who then cut off Wardlow’s ponytail and waved it to the crowd.
Darby Allin’s music hit and Joe looked towards the ramp. He snuck up behind Joe and blasted him with his skateboard. Darby then grabbed the TNT Title belt and held it to close the show.
My Take: A solid match with a predictable outcome due to the attack earlier in the show. Will we see a Triple Threat between these three eventually? I’d guess so. There was a lot of quality in-ring action on this show, and the two hours went by pretty quickly. The booking still isn’t always my cup of tea, but the AEW talent shows out when they get the opportunity.
“The Elite vs. Death Triangle was very good. There was almost no selling”
6 boring midgets flipping for 15minutes and not selling anything is, by definition, not good pro wrestling. Especially not when the outcome was known because of how stunningly obvious the bad booking of the whole series has been.
Why did Wardlow go from being the hottest act AEW had earlier in the year to losing to Joe and needing to be “saved” by the skinny-marink skater boy? Does he have heat backstage?
Probably bc they realized Wardblow sucks on the mic, is sloppy and barely has any charisma. If only they had another big man that could be a main event player… oh wait, he’s been off tv for a year.