By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite (Episode 175)
Dayton, Ohio at Wright State University
Aired live February 1, 2023 on TBS
[Hour One] The Dynamite opening aired and then Excalibur, Tony Schiavone, and Taz checked in on commentary. Ring announcer Justin Roberts introduced Jon Moxley, who entered through the crowd with his father, Claudio Castagnoli, and Wheeler Yuta. The broadcast team noted that the show was being held roughly an hour away from Moxley’s hometown.
Hangman Page made his entrance. Moxley met Page at ringside and punched him. Moxley ran Page into the barricade and slammed his head off the ring steps. Moxley ran Page into the barricade again and then removed his own sweatshirt. Moxley tossed Page over the barricade. Moxley hopped off the barricade and hit Page, who then fought back while they brawled in the crowd.
Moxley and Page fought back to ringside. Moxley climbed onto the ring apron. Page threw a chair at Moxley. Page followed up by suplexing Moxley onto a chair and then rolled him inside the ring. Page threw the chair inside the ring, but referee Paul Turner kicked it out of the ring.
1. Jon Moxley vs. “Hangman” Adam Page. With both men finally in the ring, the referee called for the bell to start the match. Moxley bled from a cut above his right eye. Page targeted the cut with punches and was booed by the crowd. Page performed a fallaway slam that resulted in Moxley ended up on the apron.
Page leapt from the middle rope and was caught by Moxley clothesline. Moxley put Page in a sleeper hold while both men were on the apron, then released it and set up for a piledriver, which Page tried to reverse into the Deadeye. Eventually, Page hoisted up Moxley and dropped his head on the top of the ring post heading into a picture in picture break. [C]
Page performed a Death Valley Driver from the middle rope for a near fall coming out of the break. Page booted Moxley’s head. Moxley got back on his knees, slapped Page, and gave him the double bird. Moxley put Page down with a cutter. Page came back with a suplex, but Moxley no-sold it and fired back with a suplex of his own.
Moxley superplexed Page and then threw elbows at his head. Moxley applied a bulldog choke. He released the hold and then kicked Page several times. Moxley went for a Death Rider, but Page blocked it. Moxley rolled Page into an armbar, but Page reached the ropes with his foot to break it. Moxley stood up and made the throat slash gesture, but Page sent him to ringside.
Page went up top and went for a moonsault. Moxley avoided the moonsault and then Page landed on his feet. Moxley turned Page inside out with a lariat. Moxley and Page fought near a table and traded simultaneous clotheslines before Page performed a Popup Powerbomb that put Moxley through the table.
Moxley barely beat the referee’s count and was immediately hit with a lariat. Page performed a Deadeye for a good near fall. Page went to the corner and was booed. Moxley avoided a Page kick and then put him down with a big lariat. Moxley and Page stood up and traded forearm strikes.
Page superkicked Moxley and then performed a small package driver for a near fall. Page went to the apron and attempted a Buckshot Lariat that Moxley ducked. Page avoided whatever move Moxley was setting up for and then put him down with a tombstone piledriver. Page hit the Buckshot Lariat and got another close near fall. The crowd chanted for Moxley. Page applied a Bulldog Choke, but Moxley countered into a pin and got the three count.
Jon Moxley beat “Hangman” Adam Page in 16:40.
After the match, Page stood with his foot on the rope over Moxley, who was down on the mat. Claudio Castagnoli and Wheeler Yuta entered the ring. Page shoved Castagnoli. Moxley got to his feet and tried to go after Page, but Castagnoli held him back. Moxley flipped off Page and then laid down flat on his back. Castagnoli told Page to leave the ring, which he did…
A brief video package showcased the TNT Title match…
Powell’s POV: A helluva match to open the show. It felt like a WrestleMania style match in terms of the number of potential finishers that Moxley kicked out of. I assumed going in that this would end the feud because it was the rubber match, but the post match bickering left me thinking there’s more to come. If so, I’m not complaining. By the way, I’m filling in for Jake Barnett tonight due to the iffy power situation in his area of Texas. Jake will be covering Smackdown on Friday night instead.
Backstage, Renee Paquette interviewed AEW Women’s Champion Jamie Hayter and The Bunny, who was accompanied by The Butcher and The Blade. The Bunny challenged Hayter to an eliminator match for next week. Hayter accepted the challenge. Paquette said something was happening and asked for a feed to be shown on the video screen behind them. Footage aired of Saraya and Toni Storm attacking Britt Baker…
Max Caster rapped as he and Anthony Bowens and Billy Gunn made their entrance. Caster’s rap was a diss on how their opponents looked like they were from another era and compared them to the Beverly Brothers. Caster said The Acclaimed would make them quit like Tom Brady…
2. AEW Tag Team Champions “The Acclaimed” Max Caster and Anthony Bowens (w/Billy Gunn) vs. two local wrestlers. Before the match, the opponents mocked the scissoring routine. The locals were finished off with Caster’s Mic Drop top rope elbow.
AEW Tag Team Champions “The Acclaimed” Max Caster and Anthony Bowens beat two local wrestlers in 0:55.
After the match, Austin Gunn and Colten Gunn came to the ring. The Gunns recalled saying in last week’s therapy session that the AEW Tag Team Titles would make them happy. The Gunns asked for a title match. Bowens called them Rod and Todd Flanders. Caster asked the fans if the Gunns deserved a title shot. The fans were against it.
The Acclaimed and the Gunns started pushing and shoving. Billy got between them and said he was sick of it. Billy left the ring. Austin and Colten took issue with Billy leaving and one of them said Billy should do what he used to do by drowning himself in a pill bottle.
Billy returned to the ring and had an issue with a mic, but he quickly got a new one. Billy asked if they think they have what he does. Billy said we’d see next week because they were getting a tag team title shot. The broadcast team pointed out that Caster and Bowens seemed perplexed by Billy making the match…
Powell’s POV: I don’t know if the local tag team was ever introduced by name, but I missed it if they were. The match was a squash. This was more about setting up next week’s tag team title match and planting a seed of doubt as to where Billy’s allegiance lies.
“Jungle Boy” Jack Perry was interviewed by Alex Marvez, who asked what’s next for Perry and Hook as a tag team. Perry said he had a wonderful time teaming with Hook, but he’s done the tag team thing before and this year is all about him being on his own…
3. Konosuke Takeshita vs. Brian Cage (w/Prince Nana). Both entrances were televised. Takeshita performed an early Blue Thunder Bomb for a two count. Cage came back by powering up Takeshita onto the apron and suplexing him heading into a PIP break. [C]
Takeshita went for a jumping knee, but Cage stuffed it and tossed him into the corner. Takeshita came right back with a Ligerbomb for a near fall. Cage rebounded with a discus lariat that turned Takeshita inside out and then covered him for a near fall.
Cage went for his Drill Claw finisher, but Takeshita avoided it. Takeshita performed a brainbuster, but Cage no-sold it. Takeshita performed a second brainbuster for a near fall. Cage performed an F5. Nana told him not to take any prisoners. Cage placed Takeshita on the ropes and then climbed up the other side. Takeshita ended up performing a brainbuster from the ropes and then hit a running knee and scored the pin…
Konosuke Takeshita defeated Brian Cage.
Powell’s POV: A good match with a little too much no-selling for my taste. It was one thing to see Moxley kicking out after taking some big moves in the third match of his heated feud with Page, but it felt a little overboard to see Cage no-selling a brainbuster and then kicking out of another, even if the idea was that it set up the third brainbuster from the ropes.
Inner Circle members Chris Jericho, Sammy Guevara, Daniel Garcia. Angelo Parker, and Matt Menard were interviewed backstage. Jericho said Ricky Starks didn’t lose last week’s tag team match because of a baseball bat. Jericho said Starks wants another match with him.
Guevara said he and Garcia put their heads together and came up with the Garcia and Guevara Gauntlet. Garcia explained that Starks has to beat Parker, Menard, and then either him or Guevara, and only then would get another match with Jericho…
Powell’s POV: So Starks basically has to do the same thing that MJF is making Bryan Danielson do, only he has to work against Inner Circle members?
The broadcast team hyped upcoming matches and said Bryan Danielson vs. Timothy Thatcher was up next… [C]
Kenny Omega, Matt Jackson, Nick Jackson, Don Callis, and Michael Nakazawa were shown hanging out at a basketball court. Omega said Top Flight could bring their buddy AR Fox to face them. Omega said they could take their shot, but he added that The Elite never miss. Nick turned and made a basket. Matt Hardy, Ethan Page, Isiah Kassidy, and Stokely Hathaway showed up. It led to The Elite agreeing to face Hardy, Page, and Kassidy on Rampage…
[Hour Two] Bryan Danielson made his entrance while the broadcast team recapped highlights of his match with Brian Cage and the post match beating he took from MJF. Timothy Thatcher made his entrance while footage was shown of him using a Fujiwara armbar in a different match…
4. Bryan Danielson vs. Timothy Thatcher. Danielson had his left shoulder taped. Schiavone said he spoke with the AEW trainer, who cleared Danielson to wrestle. Danielson performed an early dragon screw leg whip and then put Thatcher in a hold, but Danielson cried out in pain when Thatcher wrenched on Danielson’s fingers to make him break the hold. Thatcher flashed a sinister grin. Thatcher was on the offensive heading into a PIP break. [C]
Thatcher targeted the injured left shoulder. Danielson eventually rallied and hit a missile dropkick, but he sold his shoulder while the broadcast team explained that he landed on it. Danielson avoided at the Fujiwara armbar a couple of times and hit Thatcher with a kick that led to a near fall. Danielson threw elbows and then applied a sleeper, which Thatcher broke by back into the corner, which bumped the referee. REF BUMP!!!
MJF made his entrance and showed off the Dynamite Diamond Ring. Once MJF made it to ringside, Konosuke Takeshita appeared out of nowhere and dove onto him. Takeshita chased MJF to the back. In the ring, Thatcher put Danielson in the Fujiwara armbar. Danielson reached the bottom rope with his foot to break the hold.
Thatcher tossed Danielson across the ring. Danielson came right back with a German suplex. Danielson ducked a clothesline and then hit his running knee strike finisher and scored the pin…
Bryan Danielson defeated Timothy Thatcher in 13:40.
Cameras cut to the back where MJF threw a chair at Takeshita. MJF picked up a trash bucket and threw it at Takeshita. MJF tried to slam Takeshita’s head onto a table, but Takeshita reversed it. They traded punches until Adam Pearce, er, Pat Buck arrived with a group of people to pull them apart. Renee Paquette showed up and said she just received word from Tony Khan that MJF will face Takeshita in an eliminator match on next week’s Dynamite…
Taz acted bothered by Khan booking MJF in the match while Excalibur and Schiavone were pleased. They set up a brief video package on Swerve Strickland and Dustin Rhodes… Excalibur hyped the TNT Title match as the Dynamite main event, then said the TBS Title would be defended after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: A strong match with good storytelling between Danielson and Thatcher. The stipulation that Danielson has to win his matches in order to get his title match with MJF continues to make the outcome of his matches feel way too predictable. It was a nice touch to have Schiavone say that the trainer cleared Danielson, as it came off awkward last week when Danielson cut a promo on the trainer and said he couldn’t stop him from wrestling.
Excalibur announced Rush vs. Bryan Danielson for next week’s Dynamite…
Backstage, Lexi Nair tried to interview Rush, who was with Preston Vance and Jose. MJF interrupted by walking into the room with a briefcase. MJF opened the briefcase to show that it was filled with cash. MJF handed it to Jose and said the first one was free of charge. He said he had five more that he would give to Rush if he beat Danielson by any means necessary. Jose translated to Rush, who spoke in Spanish. Jose said they were good. MJF said Rush spoke longer than that, but added that Rush didn’t have to like him. MJF said it was a pleasure doing business with them and left the room…
5. Jade Cargill (w/Leila Grey) vs. Red Velvet for the TBS Championship. Both entrances were televised. Velvet attacked Cargill to start the match. Velvet dumped Cargill to ringside. Grey checked on Cargill. Velvet kicked Cargill through the ropes and then followed her to the floor and roughed her up before tossing her back inside the ring. Velvet rolled Cargill into a pin for a two count.
Cargill came back with a suplex and covered Velvet for a two count. Cargill was in offensive control heading into a PIP break. [C] Cargill was dominant through the break and impressively pressed Velvet over her head at ringside and then walked up the steps and tossed her inside the ring.
Cargill put Velvet down with a big kick for a two count. Kiera Hogan ran out and attacked Grey at ringside, which distracted referee Aubrey Edwards. Velvet caught Cargill with a kick and covered her, but the referee was still distracted and was late to count, so Velvet only got a two count.
Velvet caught Cargill in a short-arm scissors, which the broadcast team said got her a win on AEW Dark. Cargill powered up to her feet to break the hold. Cargill pulled up Velvet and then hit her with Jaded and got the pin…
Jade Cargill defeated Red Velvet in 7:15 to retain the TBS Championship.
After the match, Cargill pulled her daughter out of the front row and carried her to the back…
Powell’s POV: The broadcast team focused on Cargill winning and questioned who could stop her. They didn’t bother to play up Red Velvet’s visual pinfall coming out of the match, so it looks like they might be moving on.
Paquette interviewed Britt Baker in her locker room while Jamie Hayter stood by. Baker said she was fine despite being attacked. Ruby Soho showed up and said she saw what happened and asked Baker if she was okay. Baker pointed out that Soho has known Saraya and Toni Storm for a long time and said she found it odd that she just showed up now…
Excalibur hyped the following matches for Friday’s AEW Rampage: Kenny Omega, Matt Jackson, and Nick Jackson vs. Ethan Page, Matt Hardy, and Isiah Kassidy for the AEW Trios Titles, Swerve Strickland vs. Brian Pillman Jr., Toni Storm and Saraya in tag team action, and Rush vs. Christopher Daniels.
Excalibur hyped the following matches for next week’s AEW Dynamite: Bryan Danielson vs. Rush, The Acclaimed vs. Austin Gunn and Colten Gunn for the AEW Tag Team Titles, AEW World Champion MJF vs. Konosuke Takeshita in an eliminator match, Ricky Starks must run the Garcia-Guevara Gauntlet, and and AEW Women’s Champion Jamie Hayter vs. The Bunny in an eliminator match…
Powell’s POV: So Starks has to do in one night what Danielson has had to do over the course of several weeks. Despite that difference, my earlier point stands about these scenarios being too similar for my liking. By the way, shouldn’t Jericho’s character be more anxious to get Starks or Action Andretti back in the ring for singles matches since he took pinfall losses to both men?
Excalibur hyped the TNT Title match for after the break… [C] Justin Roberts delivered the introductions for the main event. Samoa Joe came out first. Darby Allin came out without Sting. He removed a hoodie to reveal that he was wearing thumbtack hoodie…
6. Darby Allin vs. Samoa Joe in a No Holds Barred match for the TNT Championship. Joe attacked Allin and quickly removed the thumbtack hoodie to start the match. Joe pulled a table out from underneath the ring. Allin performed a suicide dive that drove the table at Joe, who came up bleeding hard way from the head. Joe and Allin fought into the crowd and up the steps. Joe slammed Allin’s head off the handrail, walked him up the stairs, and eventually picked him up and tossed him over the handrail heading into a PIP break. [C]
Joe remained in control of the match once both men returned to the ring. Joe went to ringside and told the fans in the front row to move, which they did, and then he leaned a table against the barricade. Joe returned to the ring and Allin hit him with some chops, but then Joe grabbed Allin and tossed him over the top tope to the floor.
Once Allin was back in the ring, Joe performed a brainbuster and then rolled to the floor and pulled several chairs out from under the ring and tossed them into it. Joe set up a coupe of chairs back to back and then picked up Allin and dropped him back first onto the chairs. A “Joe’s gonna kill you” chant broke out, which Joe played into for a moment.
Joe placed two chairs next to one another with the seats facing and set up for a move, but Allin threw powder in Joe’s eyes and put him down with a Code Red. Allin followed up with a Stunner. Allin put his thumbtack hoodie on and then went up top and hit a Coffin Drop for a near fall. Allin removed the hoodie and rolled to the floor.
Darby used a box cutter to cut the apron loose underneath the ring on two sides of the ring. Allin pulled the canvas and the padding off to expose the ring boards. Joe had rolled to ringside by the time Allin returned to the ring. Allin went for a suicide dive, but Joe casually stepped aside and then Allin crashed through the table that was set up by Joe earlier.
Back in the ring, Joe powerbombed Allin onto the thumbtack hoodie. Joe pulled the hoodie over Allin’s face. Allin reached up and thumbed Joe’s bloody eye. Allin hit Joe with a chair a few times and went up top, but Joe pushed the referee into the ropes, which crotched Allin. Joe performed a Muscle Buster onto the exposed boards and then got the three count…
Samoa Joe defeated Darby Allin in 16:25 in a No Holds Barred match to win the TNT Championship.
Wardlow made his entrance dressed in a suit. Wardlow ran to the ring and tackled Joe. Wardlow threw punches at Joe, then stood up and removed his jacket. Wardlow set up for a powerbomb, but Joe escaped and exited the ring. A group of security guards entered the ring and were beaten up by Wardlow. Joe backed up the ramp while Wardlow picked up one security guard and was about to powerbomb him out of the ring when the show concluded…
Powell’s POV: The Wardlow versus security guards feud lives on. Anyway, the main event the usual level of Darby Allin craziness. Joe and Allin work really well together and this was a strong brawl. The title change surprises me a little because Allin just won it and Joe has the ROH TV Title belt, but I guess they just wanted to give Darby a title win in his hometown. It was good to see Wardlow again for the first time since Joe cut his hair.
The opener, the main event, and the Danielson vs. Thatcher matches carried the show. I will have 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.