By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite (Episode 171)
Seattle, Washington at Climate Pledge Arena
Aired live January 4, 2023 on TBS
[Hour One] The new Dynamite opening aired with the same theme song and a new logo (the usual logo is featured on the barricade and elsewhere). Pyro shot off on the new stage… The broadcast team was Excalibur, Tony Schiavone, and Taz checked in, and Dasha Gonzalez was the ring announcer…
Chris Jericho made his entrance to “Judas” and was accompanied by Matt Menard and Angelo Parker. Ricky Starks made his entrance…
1. Ricky Starks vs. Chris Jericho (w/Matt Menard, Angelo Parker). Jericho flipped off the crowd before the opening bell. Jericho slapped Starks early, and then Starks returned the favor and threw punches. Jericho rolled to ringside. Starks followed and sent Jericho into the ring steps before rolling him back inside the ring.
A short time later, Starks held the arm of Jericho while strutting as he walked across the top rope and then leapt off and struck Jericho. They ended up fighting onto the ring apron. Jericho suplexed Starks off the apron to the floor heading into a picture-in-picture break. [C]
Powell’s POV: The new stage looks good. It was time for a change. I think the new logo I mentioned was actually just a variation of the usual logo with some different colors, but the ring area looks the same, which is a little disappointing.
Starks set up for his Roshambo finisher, but Jericho countered into the Walls of Jericho. Starks crawled toward the ropes, but Jericho pulled him back to the middle of the ring. Starks reached the ropes, but Parker distracted the referee and Menard took a cheap shot at Starks with Jericho’s bat.
Referee Aubrey Edwards checked Starks’ arm and he showed signs of life and eventually escaped the hold. Starks caught Jericho in an inside cradle for a near fall. Starks followed up with a DDT. Starks knocked Menard and Parker off the apron, then ran the ropes and ducked a Jericho clothesline before spearing and pinning him.
Ricky Starks beat Chris Jericho in 12:10.
Sammy Guevara, Daniel Garcia, and Jake Hager ran out and put the boots to Starks while Anna Jay and Tay Melo came out watched from ringside. Action Andretti ran out with his eye made up to sell the fireball. Andretti brought a chair with him and worked over the heels until one of the women low-blowed him. Jericho used the chair as a weapon.
Parker and Menard set up a table on the floor. Hager picked up Starks in powerbomb position and dropped him through the table on the floor. Excalibur pointed out that Jericho lost two matches in a row. Schiavone said it may have been the first time in his career…
The broadcast team checked in from their desk and hyped upcoming segments… [C]
Powell’s POV: A fun match. They fooled me with the outside interference spot, as I thought they might use that to have Jericho go over. The only negative of Jericho losing again is that it makes the Andretti win feel a little less important. That said, Starks going over keeps his momentum going, and they are obviously telling a story with Jericho’s losses. I had to rewind to confirm that Excalibur said Jericho lost two in a row. Jericho has actually lost three matches in a row because he also lost to Claudio Castagnoli at ROH Final Battle. It may shock Schiavone, but it’s also not the first time that Jericho has lost three matches in a row during his career. Anyway, the live crowd is loud and hot for everything.
Tony Schiavone stood in the ring and introduced “Hangman” Adam Page, who made his entrance to a strong reaction. Schiavone asked if Page is medically cleared. Page said he is not. Page said that if he took the redeye home tonight and his brain scan comes back good then he’ll be cleared to face Moxley next week in Los Angeles. Page said he would knock Moxley’s “dick in the dirt.”
Jon Moxley made his entrance through the crowd. Moxley said he’s sick of the ongoing candlelight vigil that people are holding for Page. The live crowd chanted that they couldn’t hear Moxley, who got another mic. Moxley dropped an F-Bomb when he didn’t think the mic was working. The censors tried unsuccessfully to catch it. Moxley spoke about what he’s been through and said it makes him sick that Page is playing the victim.
Page said he’s not angry because Moxley knocked him out. He said he’s angry that Moxley didn’t let him get a word in and made a joke when he came back. Page said he knows that if Moxley were knocked out, he’d come back for revenge. Page said he didn’t come back that night seeking revenge but he is now.
Moxley acted like he had to stop himself from getting physical. He said it’s a joke that Page thinks next time will be any different. Moxley said he’ll make sure next time that Page doesn’t get back up. Moxley left the ring. Excalibur said Page has one more week to go before he can potentially face Moxley at the Forum in Los Angeles…
Powell’s POV: Are they going to announce the Moxley vs. Page match for the Forum on Friday’s live block of Rampage and Battle of the Belts? It feels like something they would be better off announcing in front of the larger Dynamite audience. I like that Page clarified that he’s not upset with Moxley about being knocked out by the clothesline, which was silly given that it’s a legal move that Moxley performed during a match. Meanwhile, I wonder what the network executives are thinking about the F-Bombs slipping through uncensored on Dynamite.
A brief video package aired on the TNT Title match with Samoa Joe recapping his issues with Darby Allin…
Entrances for the AEW Tag Team Title match took place. Max Caster’s rap included lines about Jarrett’s wife being dragged online and Dixie Carter…
2. “The Acclaimed” Max Caster and Anthony Bowens (w/Billy Gunn) vs. Jeff Jarrett and Jay Lethal (w/Sonjay Dutt, Satnam Singh) for the AEW Tag Team Titles. Lethal went to ringside and slapped Gunn. The referee spotted Gunn grabbing Lethal’s legs when he returned to the ring and ejected Gunn from ringside. They cut to a PIP break. [C]
Bowens was isolated, but he made a hot tag to Caster, who cleaned house for a bit. A short time later, Bowens tagged back in and was hit by a double team move that resulted in Lethal covering him for a near fall. At ringside, Singh threw Caster into the ring steps. The referee called for help. A group of referees ran out and ejected Singh from ringside.
In the ring, Lethal went for a Lethal Injection, but Bowens hit him. Jarrett hit Bowens with The Stroke. Bowens put his foot on the bottom rope, but Dutt pushed it off and referee Stephon Smith made the three count. Fellow referee Aubrey Edwards informed Smith what had transpired, and he ruled that the match would continue. Lethal tried to pin Bowens while using the ropes for leverage, but Caster shoved Lethal off the ropes and into a pin reversal, which led to the three count…
“The Acclaimed” Max Caster and Anthony Bowens defeated Jeff Jarrett and Jay Lethal to retain the AEW Tag Team Titles.
Schiavone conducted a sit-down interview with Jamie Hayter and Britt Baker and said everyone is wondering how Saraya’s mystery partner will be when they meet in a tag team match next week. Baker said Saraya had two of the best in the world in Toni Storm and Hikaru Shida standing right next to her… [C]
“Jungle Boy” Jack Perry delivered a promo on a new look backstage interview set. Perry spoke about his issues with Big Bill and Lee Moriarty. Perry spoke about next week’s show being held in his hometown. He suggested that for one night, he and Hook, who joined him on the set, take care of business…
3. Bryan Danielson vs. Tony Nese (w/Mark Sterling, Josh Woods). Danielson threw his series of kicks at a kneeling Nese, who blocked the finale. Nese powered up Danielson and slammed him into the corner. Nese tried to follow up with a running knee, but Danielson avoided it. Danielson hit his running knee on Nese and then played to his fired up hometown crowd. Danielson stomped Nese’s head and then put him in the LeBell Lock for the win…
Bryan Danielson defeated Tony Nese in 3:35.
After the match, Danielson told the crowd that it was great to be home. He said he as feeling a little froggy and was read for another fight. Danielson called out AEW World Champion MJF.
[Hour Two] MJF made his entrance and stopped on the stage. MJF referred to Danielson as “Braindead Bryan.” MJF declined to wrestle Danielson and said he gets a big check regardless of whether he wrestles or not. MJF said that if Lance Storm and Dean Malenko could procreate, the child would still be more charismatic than Danielson.
MJF cracked that Danielson’s mother was unable to find a human suitor. Danielson fired back that everyone in the back jokes about just how many human suitors MJF’s mother has had. MJF sold the joke and then took issue with Danielson thinking he’s the best wrestler in the world.
MJF said his title belt proves he’s the best. He mocked the idea of journalists and “these marks” for dubbing Danielson the best in the world. MJF said people such as Disco Inferno, Eric Bischoff, and his number one fan Jim Cornette sing his praises.
Danielson told him to shut up. Danielson said he made a mom joke and he’s okay with that, but he hates MJF and thinks it’s time for them to fight. MJF said that if Danielson wants a shot at the title, then he has to become No. 1 contender. The crowd chanted “Shut the f— up” (uncensored). “No,” MJF replied.
MJF said he spoke with Tony Khan, who determined that if Danielson won all of his matches between now and February 8, then he would become No. 1 contender. MJF said he’s known for making people jump through hoops. He said that if Danielson could pull it off, he would give him a shot at the title at AEW Revolution.
Danielson shot it down. MJF said Khan and the EVP’s don’t run the company, he does. MJF said his lawyer would see to it that Danielson didn’t get a title shot. MJF said it’s his way or it’s no way. Danielson said Sterling is a horrible lawyer. Danielson said he would humor MJF by agreeing to his stipulations as long as MJF allowed him to pick the stipulation for their match at Revolution.
Danielson ended up announcing that his stipulation would be a one-hour Iron Man Match. MJF showed concern. Danielson asked MJF if he was scared. “Goddammit, you’re on,” MJF said. He told Danielson that he’s choked whenever he’s gotten a big opportunity in AEW. Danielson said he would run through every opponent that MJF puts in front of him and then he will expose MJF at Revolution and kick his head in… [C]
Powell’s POV: Wow, I didn’t expect the Iron Man match. MJF making an adversary beat a series of opponents to get a match with him has been done at least a couple of times before, but I don’t have an issue with it, especially since MJF is acknowledging that it’s what he does.
Excalibur set up a brief video package on the Orange Cassidy vs. Kip Sabian match for the AEW All-Atlantic Championship that will be held on Friday’s Battle of the Belts V special.
4. Swerve Strickland (w/Parker Boudreaux, other dude) vs. AR Fox. Excalibur chalked up the live crowd’s favorable reaction to Strickland being due to him being from nearby Tacoma, Washington and working for the local Defy independent promotion. Excalibur also acknowledged that Strickland and Fox had a memorable feud in Lucha Underground. Strickland hit Fox with leaping kick from the apron heading into a PIP break. [C]
Fox hit a 450 splash for a near fall. A “this is awesome” chant broke out. Fox placed Strickland on the top rope and then climbed up behind him. While one Strickland’s sidekicks distracted the referee, the other passed a weapon to Strickland, who hit Fox with it. Strickland performed a Death Valley Driver onto the apron and then rolled him back inside the ring. Strickland performed a top rope double stomp and scored the pin…
Swerve Strickland defeated AR Fox in 9:00.
Powell’s POV: A well worked match. They haven’t really established who Fox is since he arrived in AEW, so it was no surprise to see Strickland go over.
Renee Paquette conducted a sit-down interview with Saraya, Toni Storm, and Hikaru Shida. Paquette asked Saraya who her partner would be in Los Angeles. Saraya praised Storm and Shida and said they killed it in their matches against Jamie Hayter. Saraya said she knew she was sitting next to the best wrestler in the world. Saraya told Storm that she would be her partner. Shida was noticeably bothered by it. The broadcast team agreed that she was disrespected…
Austin Gunn and Colten Gunn walked in a non-wrestling gear. A graphic appeared on the screen and listed “FTRIP – May 27, 2020 – December 21, 2022.” They headed to the ring where photos of Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler were set up along with black wreathes. The Gunns held a funeral for the FTR duo and asked the crowd for a moment of silence.
The FTR music hit. Taz said he didn’t see FTR all day. The Gunns acted scared and then started laughing at the crowd for falling for it. They said FTR will never work in AEW again because they are the true living legends…
Schiavone narrated a video package that promoted the deciding match of Death Triangle vs. The Elite best of seven series for next week…
Entrances for the women’s tag team match took place. Schiavone noted that ring announcer Justin Roberts wasn’t at the show because his mother had been ill, but said he would return next week. Excalibur also offered condolences for the passing of Don West…
5. Jade Cargill and Red Velvet (w/Leila Grey) vs. Kiera Hogan and Skye Blue. Blue and Hogan got the better of Velvet to start the match. Cargill tagged in just as they cut to a partial PIP break. [C] Cargill dominated Hogan coming out of the break and the broadcast team pointed out that Velvet didn’t look very impressed.
Cargill jawed at Velvet and slapped her forehead to tag out. Hogan worked over Velvet and suplexed her. Cargill tagged in and took out Hogan with a kick and then knocked Skye off the apron with another. Cargill chokeslammed Hogan, then seemed to indicate that she wanted Velvet to take the pin.
Velvet dropped off the apron when Cargill tried to tag her. Hogan rolled up Cargill for a two count. Cargill got up and put Hogan down with another pump kick and then pinned her. After the match, Cargill stared down Velvet…
Jade Cargill and Red Velvet defeated Kiera Hogan and Skye Blue in 6:45.
Powell’s POV: If this is leading to Cargill vs. Velvet, I hope they’ll actually take the time to establish Velvet’s character. They never bothered to do that with Hogan when she was kicked out of The Baddies and it’s a shame because Hogan showed in Impact and WOW that she is a good talker who has a liable personality.
The following matches and events were announced for Friday’s Rampage: Jon Moxley and Bryan Danielson vs. Top Flight, House of Black speak, Preston Vance in action, Jamie Hayter and Britt Baker vs. The Renegade Sisters…
Paquette interviewed Jeff Jarrett, Jay Lethal, Sonjay Dutt, and Satnam Singh briefly. Jarrett complained about they way they lost earlier and said they would be the new champions on Friday…
The following matches and events were announced for Friday’s AEW Battle of the Belts V: The Acclaimed vs. Jeff Jarrett and Jay Lethal in a No Holds Barred match for the AEW Tag Team Titles, Jade Cargill vs. Skye Blue for the TBS Title, and Orange Cassidy vs. Kip Sabian for the AEW All-Atlantic Title…
The following matches were announced for next week’s Dynamite: Jon Moxley vs. Hangman Page, Jamie Hayter and Britt Baker vs. Saraya and Toni Storm, Bryan Danielson vs. Konosuke Takeshita, Jungle Boy and Hook vs. Big Bill vs. Lee Moriarty, and Death Triangle vs. Elite in a ladder match for the AEW Trios Titles…
A black and white Darby Allin video aired and then he made his entrance. Allin hugged independent wrestler Nick Wayne and a woman at ringside. Samoa Joe made his entrance and grabbed Wayne. Allin attacked Joe and slammed a skateboard over his back. Allin took Joe to the stage, climbed a ladder, and performed a senton dive onto him. Allin took Joe to the ring to start the match…
6. Samoa Joe vs. Darby Allin for the TNT Title. Allin dropkicked Joe, who rolled to ringside. Allin dove off the apron, but Joe caught him and slammed him onto the ring steps heading into another PIP break. [C] Joe was dominant coming out of the break. Excalibur said Tony Khan informed him that they would stick with the match if it goes past the top of the hour because there must be a winner.
Joe performed a senton onto Allin’s knees. Joe smiled and then covered Allin for a two count. Joe put Allin in a sleeper. Allin eventually pounded his chest in Sting fashion and broke free. Allin performed a Canadian Destroyer. Allin followed up with a pair of Coffin Drops and covered Joe for the three count.
Darby Allin defeated Samoa Joe in 8:45 to win the TNT Championship.
Allin’s hometown fans popped big and then confetti shot off. Sting walked to the ring while Allin’s entrance music played. Sting entered the ring and picked up Allin and hugged him. Allin and Sting celebrated while the crowd continued to cheer. Excalibur read through upcoming matches while graphics were shown to close out the episode…
Powell’s POV: Man, what a great live crowd tonight. It was tough to hear Excalibur plugging those matches at the end of the show because the fans were so loud. Allin winning the title in his hometown was a cool moment and it’s nice to see him get a meaningful win again. By the way, Nick Wayne is actually signed to an AEW contract and will wrestle for the company once he turns 18.
Overall, the show had its moments and the great live crowd made it feel better than it was. I will have more to say about Dynamite coming out later tonight in my weekly same night audio review for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons). Let me know what you thought of the show by grading it below.
That MJF/Danielson promo was terrible. Lot of yelling, cheap heat (“Maxi pad” what Is this 4th grade) and a retread of an angle that AEW has already done twice (get Erik Rowan on the line because I am sure he will be one of the “shocking opponents”)
Kahn has spent plenty of money to collect a roster of talented performers – why on earth wont he spend money on an actual booker!!??
Is it just me or does the new AEW set look like WWE Raw from 2018?
Ignoring the usual PG13 anti-AEW crap, in reference to the comment by Mr. Powell I had to rewind to confirm that Excalibur said Jericho lost two in a row. Jericho has actually lost three matches in a row because he also lost to Claudio Castagnoli at ROH Final Battle. It may shock Schiavone, but it’s also not the first time that Jericho has lost three matches in a row during his career.”, I took for granted Excalibur meant in AEW,not ROH. And I think the sarcastic comment about Tony was unneeded, but I understand why you have to make it, sadly.
Or, you know, Tony could have made it clear by saying “AEW career.” Stay angry, Mike.
I am equally critical of WWE. Please take a moment to read my NXT assessment on this weeks comment board. It’s very direct.
We have 10 hours a week of main wrestling programming. Both companies need to tighten up their shows if they are going to at least maintain current audience numbers. AEW resorting to yet another MJF gauntlet is lazy. So is the name calling (yes just as lazy as Miz’s tiny balls)
AEW needs a lot of work. A lot. But WWE also needs to find more stars in 2023 because 3 hours of raw is starting to feel like 3 DAYS.