By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite (Episode 172)
Los Angeles, California at the Kia Forum
Aired live January 11, 2023 on TBS
[Hour One] The Dynamite opening aired and then pyro shot off on the stage. The broadcast team was Excalibur, Tony Schiavone, and Taz, and Justin Roberts was back as the ring announcer… Jon Moxley made his entrance through the crowd and then Hangman Page made a quick entrance…
1. “Hangman” Adam Page vs. Jon Moxley. Excalibur said it was the first time in 85 days that Page had wrestled in an AEW ring. Page and Moxley immediately traded punches. Page ducked an early lariat and then traded chops with Moxley.
A short time later, Moxley put Page on the ropes and bit his back before superplexing him from the middle rope. Moxley performed a pair of German suplexes. Page came back with a suplex of his own. Page set up on the apron for his finisher, but Moxley shoved him to ringside and then followed him to the floor.
Moxley ran Page into the barricade and tried to toss him into the ring. Page stopped on the apron, turned around, and blasted Moxley with a lariat. Back inside the ring, Moxley dropped Page with a lariat and covered him for a near fall heading into a picture-in-picture break. [C]
Powell’s POV: The ringside area has been updated with signage similar to the new look stage. I’m not sure if it wasn’t ready for the debut last week or if they just decided to make additional changes, but I like that they freshened up the overall look rather than just the stage area.
Page performed a fallaway slam, but Moxley got back to his feet first. Page kipped up and then clotheslined Moxley in the corner. Moments later, Page threw a wicked lariat at Moxley, who ended up on the apron. Page booted Moxley to the floor and then performed a top rope moonsault onto him.
Once Moxley was back inside the ring, Page went for his Buckshot Lariat finisher, but Moxley stuffed it with a kick and then hit the Death Rider for a near fall. Moxley threw elbows to the side of Page’s head while the crowd chanted “this is awesome.”
Moxley put Page down with a piledriver and went for a cover, but Page kicked out at one. A “Cowboy Shit” chant broke out. Moxley flipped off the crowd. Page stuffed a kick and set up for a Deadeye, but Moxley slipped out of it and applied a sleeper hold. Page escaped and hit the Deadeye, but Moxley got right up and put Page down with a Stomp. Both men stayed down while the broadcast team labeled Moxley popping right up to him being on autopilot.
Page and Moxley traded forearms. Moxley grabbed Page’s arms and then headbutted him a few times. Page dropped to the mat, but then headbutted Moxley once he stood up. Page and Moxley traded open hand strikes. Page put Moxley down with a lariat and then hit him with a Buckshot Lariat and pinned him…
“Hangman” Adam Page defeated Jon Moxley in 14:15.
Afterward, Moxley struggled to get up. Referee Paul Turner and trainer Doc Sampson checked on Moxley while Page watched from ringside and then headed to the back… [C]
Powell’s POV: A pay-per-view caliber match from Page and Moxley. I’m not a big fan of wrestlers no-selling of big moves, but I enjoyed the hell out of this match aside from those moments. And to be fair, Moxley did sell the Deadeye, only on delay. This was a great way to open the show and looking at the lineup, there are two matches with the potential to top it. By the way, Jake Barnett and I swapped coverage this week so that I can cover Impact Wrestling’s Hard To Kill pay-per-view on Friday. Jake will be covering WWE Smackdown the same night and then he should be back on Dynamite coverage next week.
Excalibur and Taz spoke about Moxley being walked to the back by the trainer. Taz said Moxley took a lot of shots to the head and he said he hopes that Moxley is okay…
Tony Schiavone stood in the ring and said he takes no pleasure in welcoming the next guest. Adam Cole made his surprise return to a great crowd reaction. Schiavone left the ring. The crowd chanted “welcome back.” Cole asked who was ready for story time. He said people have no idea how badly he’s wanted to say that line.
Cole said he had good news and bad news. He said that after everything that’s happened over the last few months, he has a new appreciation for pro wrestling and his life. He spoke about missing the fans and how he missed being at the shows. Cole said he had a shoulder that was torn to shreds and he suffered two back-to-back head injuries.
Cole said he was visiting doctors multiple times each week. He spoke about having dizzy spells and said he would vomit if he was in a car for more than 15 minutes. He recalled getting up in the middle of the night and pacing back and forth. He said Britt Baker would wake up and ask him what was wrong. Cole said he told her with a tear in his eye that he didn’t know what was happening to him.
Cole said the fans didn’t know what was happening and yet they were there for him. He recalled reading positive messages from the fans. Cole said pro wrestling is a give and take situation. Cole said the wrestlers give everything they have in the ring and in return the fans give them appreciation. Cole said he’s given the fans nothing for six months and yet they were still there for him. Cole thanked the fans, who then chanted his name.
Cole said it was time for the bad news. “The thing is the bad news is not for me,” Cole said. “The bad news is for the AEW locker room because Adam Cole is back. I’m not going anywhere. My career was over. I thought for sure I was finished. Instead, I stand before you today saying no way, I ain’t done yet.”
Cole said he’s been one of the best wrestlers for fifteen years and he won’t stop until he’s the very best. Cole said he hasn’t scratched the surface of what he’s capable of in AEW. Cole told the fans to remember this day because it’s the day that the new Adam Cole was born. Cole promised that one day, no matter how long it takes, he will be at the top of the mountain in AEW…
Powell’s POV: A great moment. Cole delivered a terrific speech (was it really a promo?) and it’s so good to know that he’s healthy again and able to continue his career. Here’s hoping the plan is to keep him babyface. The crowds typically cheered him as a heel anyway and there’s plenty they can get out of his comeback story.
“The Acclaimed” Max Caster and Anthony Bowens delivered a backstage promo while Billy Gunn stood by. Caster said that on Friday, they will be among some of the biggest names in showbiz history. He listed Roseanne Barr, Alec Baldwin, and Donald Trump. Anthony Bowens cut him off and announced that they had been chosen to have their stars placed on the Hollywood Walk of Fame…
2. “Jungle Boy” Jack Perry and Hook vs. Big Bill and Lee Moriarty (w/Stokely Hathaway). The entrances for both teams were televised. Perry went for an early dive on Bill, who stuffed it and held him up for a chokeslam until Hook broke it up with a sliding kick. Bill knocked Perry off the apron and then Moriarty hit him with a flying knee heading into a PIP break. [C]
During the break, Bill worked over Perry in front of actor Ken Jeong, who was in the front row. Hook performed an impressive t-bone suplex on Bill, which got a big rise out of the crowd. Moriarty rolled up Perry and held the tights, but Perry reversed it and got a two count. Perry applied the Snare Trap and got the submission win…
“Jungle Boy” Jack Perry and Hook beat Big Bill and Lee Moriarty in 7:40.
Powell’s POV: A fun match that peaked with the impressive Hook suplex. I’m surprised they had Dr. Ken’s moment occur during the PIP break. Then again, he is a judge on “The Masked Singer” so perhaps they’ll have him do something with former show competitor Chris Jericho.
Renee Paquette interviewed Orange Cassidy, Danhausen, and actor Paul Walter Hauser. Hauser said he’s a big AEW fan and said he brought hardware (inside a case) from the Golden Globes, but he would wait to show it off on Rampage. Hauser asked Cassidy if everything was cool with Trent Beretta and Chuck Taylor, who walked onto the set. They all agreed they are good and then did a group hand thing…
Excalibur hyped upcoming segments heading into a break… [C] Paquette stood outside The Elite’s locker room and said the Forum hadn’t played host to a game seven since 1988 when the Lakers faced the Pistons. Excalibur hyped the AEW Trios Title match as the show’s main event…
Konosuke Takeshita made his entrance for his match against Bryan Danielson. MJF made his entrance and headed to the ring while dressed in a suit with the AEW World Championship belt around his waist. MJF received a loud mixed reaction with some fans chanting his name. MJF said he knew the fans in LA are not very bright, but “Daddy is holding a microphone, okay.”
MJF started by saying Konnichiwa to Takeshita, then asked if his name is “Take A Shita.” MJF told him to try not to take one in his pants because he needed him to win the match. MJF asked if he understood what he was saying. Takeshita spoke in Japanese. “Wow, and I thought Danielson was a bad public speaker,” MJF said.
MJF told Takeshita that “around here, we speak American.” Takeshita translated his line from earlier as “kiss my ass.” Referee Aubrey Edwards had to get between MJF and Takeshita. MJF had Edwards take Takeshita to ringside and then delivered a promo. He said some fans don’t think he can go an hour. He told those fans to ask their mother, sister, and girlfriend just how long he can last.
MJF said he’s the real iron man of pro wrestling because he all about “pinning shoulders on mats and banging rats.” MJF asked if he offended the fans. He asked if they really like Bryan Danielson. MJF said it made sense because they are irrelevant just like Danielson.
MJF said there were celebrities in the house. He pointed out Ken Jeong, who gave him a mean face. MJF recalled Jeong’s role in “The Hangover” and noted that it came out twenty years earlier. He also brought up his “Dr. Ken” show on ABC and then acted like he just remembered it was cancelled.
MJF pointed out Freddie Prinze Jr. in the crowd and said he remembers him best for playing a supporting role to a CGI talking dog. “You ain’t nothing but a Scooby Dooby Douchebag,” MJF said. MJF said there won’t be a one-hour iron man match because Danielson would let the fans down. MJF set up his closing line, but Danielson made his entrance and MJF ran to the stage and then headed to the back…
Powell’s POV: A fun promo from MJF. He roasted the celebrities, but he was an all out heel while he dealt with Takeshita and Danielson. I like that the story is that MJF wants nothing to do with the iron man match.
3. Bryan Danielson vs. Konosuke Takeshita. Both men traded offense during the first couple minutes of the match and then traded forearm strikes and chops.
[Hour Two] Danielson invited Takeshita to bring it. Takeshita ran the ropes and put Danielson down with a diving clothesline. Danielson put Takeshita down with a running elbow strike. Danielson had some blood on his left shoulder as he and Takeshita traded chops heading into a PIP break. [C]
Danielson leapt from the apron and appeared to be going for a head-scissors takedown, but both men crashed on the floor. Danielson came up holding the back of his leg. Takeshita performed a brianbuster and then rolled Danielson back inside the ring.
Takeshita played to the crowd and then went for a senton from the middle of the top rope, but Danielson put his knees up. Danielson applied a LeBell Lock. Takeshita eventually reached the ropes to break the hold. Danielson threw kicks at Takeshita, who blocked the finale kick and then blasted him with an elbow.
Danielson and Takeshita traded elbow strikes in the middle of the ring. Takeshita dropped Danielson with a clothesline. A loud “AEW” chant broke out. Takeshita went for a knee strike that Danielson avoided. Danielson delivered elbows to the side of Takeshita’s head. Takeshita hoisted up Danielson, who tried to counter into a victory roll, but Takeshita blocked it and slammed him to the mat before picking him up and suplexing him for a near fall.
Takeshita blasted Danielson with a shot to the back of the neck. Takeshita suplexed Danielson, who landed on his feet. Danielson hit his running knee on Takeshita and got a near fall. Danielson fired up and the crowd was with him. Danielson grabbed the arms of Takeshita and stomped his head several times before applying the LeBell Lock. Referee Aubrey Edwards stepped in and called for the bell…
Bryan Danielson defeated Konosuke Takeshita in roughly 17:00.
MJF was shown looking bothered by Danielson’s win as he watched on a backstage monitor. Danielson raised Takeshita’s hand and then posed on the ropes once Takeshita exited the ring…
Powell’s POV: A good match despite the hiccup at ringside. Danielson seemed to be hurting when it happened, but then he seemed to be fine the rest of the match. I’d like to see these two meet again when the outcome isn’t as predictable as this was due to the story that Danielson must win all matches through February 8 in order to get his title shot.
Juice Robinson was interviewed by Paquette on a backstage interview set. He said he was in AEW to kick ass and win championships. Robinson challenged Darby Allin to a TNT Title match for Friday’s Rampage…
4. AEW Women’s Champion Jamie Hayter and Britt Baker (w/Rebel) vs. Saraya and Toni Storm. All of the entrances were televised. There was a loud chant for Hayter, who started the match with Storm. Saraya checked in and threw several knees at Hayter before yelling, “This is my house.” Hayter rallied by suplexing both opponents simultaneously.
Storm was booed by some in the crowd when she put Hayter down and kicked her a couple of times. Baker ended up pulling Storm off the apron and into a neckbreaker. Hayter ran Saraya into the barricade. Hikaru Shida walked out with a kendo stick in hand while Baker worked over Storm inside the ring heading into a partial PIP break. [C]
Saraya escaped an Air Raid Crash attempt by Baker and then threw a knee at her head before covering her for a two count. Storm tagged in and performed a hip attack on Baker, which led to another two count. Storm put Baker in a Texas Cloverleaf. Baker ran in and broke it up by booting Storm in the head.
Later, Hayter and Storm traded elbow strikes in the middle of the ring and ended up hitting simultaneous strikes that put both down. Rebel climbed onto the apron and bickered with the referee. The production crew missed the shot of Shida tossing her kendo stick into the ring. Baker picked it up and hit Storm with it. Hayter put Storm down with a short-arm clothesline and pinned her.
AEW Women’s Champion Jamie Hayter and Britt Baker beat Saraya and Toni Storm in 11:20.
After the match, Shida sold it as if she didn’t intend to have Baker use the kendo stick. The heels celebrated in the ring…
Powell’s POV: Saraya’s first match on Dynamite should have felt bigger. It’s great that Hayter has connected with the fans, but I can’t help but wonder if they would have been better off turning her babyface when they teased it a while back. I felt bad for Storm being booed when she worked with Hayter. Hopefully they can straighten this out so that the wrestlers are getting the desired reaction. Oh, and no sign of Mercedes Mone/Sasha Banks. It begs the question of why Baker seemed to tease her appearing with the “boss” line from last week.
The following matches and segments were announced for Friday’s AEW Rampage: Anna Jay and Tay Melo vs. Ruby Soho and Willow Nightingale in a street fight, The Acclaimed speak, Eddie Kingston and Ortiz vs. Malakai Black and Brody King, and Darby Allin vs. Juice Robinson for the TNT Title, and actor Paul Walter Hauser will appear. Excalibur was interrupted at one point by a video package that included Kingston and Ortiz seeming to question one another’s loyalty…
The following matches were announced for next week’s Dynamite: Bryan Danielson vs. Bandido, and Ricky Starks vs. Jake Hager. Excalibur said more matches will be announced on Rampage…
“The Jericho Appreciation Society” Chris Jericho, Daniel Garcia, Sammy Guevara, Matt Menard, Angelo Parker, Jake Hager, Anna Jay, and Tay Melo made their entrance to “Judas” dressed in sparkling gold and black jackets. They all did a turn on the stage and then did another simultaneous move once they were in the ring together.
Parker said they are the Saints of Los Angeles. Menard asked the crowd if they want to know what makes his nipples hard. Menard recalled Hager powerbombing Ricky Starks through a table. Jericho said it’s one of the JAS’s biggest weeks.
Jericho said they invaded PWG’s Battle of Los Angeles, which received some applause. He said Melo and Jay would win their street fight. Jericho said Starks was powerbombed through a table and Action Andretti was sent back to the minor leagues. “We win again, the Ricky Starks experiment is over,” Jericho declared.
Ricky Starks made his entrance and was joined by Action Andretti. Both men stood on the stage with microphones. Starks said he was looking at a bunch of idiots who couldn’t get the job done when they put him through a table. Jericho told Andretti to go back to the minor leagues. “Chris, shut the hell up,” Andretti said. “Before I come take that baseball bat and shove it up your ass.”
Garcia told Andretti not to disrespect Jericho like that. Andretti said he didn’t know Garcia’s babysitter Sammy gave him permission to speak. Andretti questioned if Sammy is a good example when he can’t even keep control over his own wife or where her hands go. Andretti said Melo’s hands were between his legs. Garcia said he was once young like Andretti, but he’s on top of the world now that he’s a sports entertainer.
Starks said it’s not about JAS-hole 1 or JAS-hole 2. Starks told Jericho it’s not about him and told him to to the side. Starks called Hager “Gilligan” and said he has a stupid hat. Starks said Hager has become the village idiot since joining Jericho and then mocked his lisp. Starks said he wants Hager in a match on Dynamite. Excalibur jumped in and said the match was already signed.
Hager said he likes his hat, but he wears lots of hats, including one that says undefeated MMA fighter. Hager said he was going to “slap your face off of your face.” Starks said he would help Hager with his speech impediment because he’d be in the ring with someone who is Absolute… [C]
Powell’s POV: A mixed bag of a segment. I’m not sure it’s a great idea in this day and age to have a babyface mocking someone’s speech impediment. I hope this didn’t run long because they’re only leaving roughly 15 minutes of match time for the main event if they don’t have an overrun.
Justin Roberts introduced the main event. The title belts were shown hanging above the ring. The Elite entered to “Carry On Wayward Son.”
5. “Death Triangle” Pac, Rey Fenix, and Penta El Zero Miedo (w/Alex Abrahantes) vs. “The Elite” Kenny Omega, Matt Jackson, and Nick Jackson (w/Brandon Cutler, Michael Nakazawa) in a ladder match in the deciding match of the best of seven series for the AEW Trios Titles. Don Callis came out with The Elite, but he sat in on commentary for the match. Omega performed a flip dive and crashed through a table on the floor when Pac moved. Matt went up top and dove onto Pac to put him through another table heading into a PIP break. [C]
The broadcast team said they would stick with the match no matter how long it took. Matt backdropped Penta onto a ladder that was leaning over the bottom rope. Fenix performed a huracanrana that pulled Nick off the top rope onto the same ladder. A “fight forever” chant broke out.
Omega reached for a ladder. Pac stomped the ladder with Omega’s hand between the two sides. Pac set up the ladder and made a play for the belts, but Omega returned to the ring and stopped him. Pac performed a Poison Rana on Omega. Penta and Fenix hit a spike Fear Factor on Matt. Fenix dove onto Nick on the floor.
Later, Matt performed a series of northern lights suplexes on Fenix and capped it off with one onto a ladder. Nick performed a 450 splash off the top rope and onto Penta to put him through a table on the floor. Matt made a play for the belts. Fenix tried to stop him, but Matt kicked him away. Abrahantes entered the ring and pushed the ladder over. Cutler ran in and sprayed Abrahantes with two cans of cold spray. Omega took out Abrahantes with a V-Trigger knee strike.
Omega set up the ladder and started to climb, but Pac showed up and hit his hand with a hammer (not again). They ended up at ringside where Pac performed a falcon arrow on the floor. Pac returned to the ring and made a play for the belts.
Matt followed up the other side. A ladder was wedged over the top rope and through the standing ladder. Penta climbed up and performed a piledriver on Matt on one of the ladders. Fenix went for the belts. Omega joined him and then performed a One Winged Angel off the second ladder.
[Overrun] Pac went for Broken Arrow, but Omega put his knees up. Omega climbed up the main ladder and pulled one belt down to win the match.
“The Elite” Kenny Omega, Matt Jackson, and Nick Jackson defeated “Death Triangle” Pac, Rey Fenix, and Penta El Zero Miedo in roughly 14:45 in a ladder match to win the best of seven series for the AEW Trios Titles.
Excalibur said we may never see another best of seven series like that one and then congratulated The Elite members. Highlights from the match were shown in a split-screen shot while Omega and the Jacksons posed with the title belts on the ladder to close the show…
Powell’s POV: All action and a lot of big ladder spots. The live crowd loved it and it was a good conclusion to the series. Here’s hoping the series puts an end to the use of the ring bell hammer since no one bothers to sell it. That negativity aside, it was a strong main event.
Overall, a terrific show with three great matches, a great return for Adam Cole, and another enthusiastic crowd. They still have Fresno to go next week, but I’ll this west coast run will be remembered for some of the hottest crowds that AEW has played to. I will have a lot more to say about Dynamite in my weekly same night audio review for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons). Let me know what you thought of Dynamite by grading it below.
Very enjoyable show this week with less “clunkage.” I’m sure at least a couple of the neckbeard commenters here will disagree.
I totally agree about Adam Cole – this was a fantastic, from-the-heart speech and this better not be another “swerve” that Cole has done a dozen times before anyway.
Takeshita is so good, but can we please see him win some matches? Him valiantly losing to the biggest babyfaces in AEW was done several times before he signed with the company, and now they are doing it again.