By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
AEW Dynamite (Episode 177)
Laredo, Texas at Sames Auto Arena
Aired live February 15, 2023 on TBS
[Hour One] The show began with a memorial graphic for the late Jerry Jarrett… The Dynamite opening aired…
Excalibur, Tony Schiavone, and Taz joined in from the commentary table while pyro shot off on the stage. Jeff Jarrett’s music hit and he walked to the ring with Jay Lethal, Sonjay Dutt, and Satnam Singh. The announce team mentioned the passing of Jerry Jarrett, and said that Jeff insisted upon competing tonight. Orange Cassidy’s music then hit and he walked out with Danhausen, who handed him some cash. They were joined by The Acclaimed. Caster insulted Jarrett but said his Father was a legend. He said their team should be called TNA Lockdown, and when they were done with them they were getting the Tag Titles back.
1. Jeff Jarrett, Jay Lethal, Sonjay Dutt and Satnam Singh vs. Billy Gunn, Orange Cassidy, Max Caster and Anthony Bowens: The heels dominated the early going by isolating Max Caster. He battled back and made a tag out to Billy Gunn, which was the cue for Austin and Colten Gunn to walk out onto the stage. Jarrett and Lethal worked over Gunn, who was distracted by his sons and lost focus.
The heels strutted around and taunted while Lethal and Jarrett continued the beat down of Billy Gunn. Satnam Singh tagged in and knocked the rest of the babyfaces off the apron. Gunn started a comeback on Singh, but was quickly cut down by lariat. The Acclaimed were cut down by a lariat a moment later, and Singh stuffed an Orange Punch. Gunn landed a Fameasser on Singh, but Lethal entered and hit him with a “Golden Globe”
Chaos reigned as Cassidy and Caster cleared the heels from the ring. Cassidy landed light kicks to the groin and teased Scissor Me Timbers on Dutt. Lethal tried to intervene, but was dumped to the floor. Bowens got back in the ring and finished off Scissor Me Timbers and pinned Sonjay Dutt.
Billy Gunn, Orange Cassidy, and The Acclaimed won via pinfall at 9:21
After the match, a video package aired that focused on Bryan Danielson. He said he felt great, nobody thinks MJF has more heart than him, and called himself the Boogeyman who was coming to take MJF’s championship. The announce team said that MJF was. contractually obligated to appear later…
Back in the arena, Jon Moxley made his entrance with Claudio Castagnoli. During their entrance, Rush and Preston Vance jumped Claudio and Moxley in the arena on the way to the ring and a brawl commenced…[c]
My Take: My condolences to the Jarrett family on the passing of wrestling legend Jerry Jarrett. This match felt a bit superfluous. There wasn’t much in the way of story development and the outcome seemed pretty obvious given the participants.
The brawl continued around the ringside area. The bell rang when Moxley and Vance got in the ring.
2. Jon Moxley and ROH Champion Claudio Castagnoli vs. Preston Vance and Rush (w/Jose) in a Texas Tornado match: Moxley delivered kicks to Vance in the corner until Rush entered the match and turned the tables. Vance and Rush took turns landing power moves on Moxley. Vance landed a nice spinebuster and Rush landed a seated dropkick to his back. Claudio rejoined the action and landed a springboard uppercut to take out Vance. Moxley and Rush continued brawling on the outside of the ring.
Claudio landed a Death Valley Driver on Vance and covered for a two count. Moxley and Claudio grabbed chairs. Moxley attempted a catapult on Rush on the floor but it didn’t really work. Claudio wedged a chair into the corner, and then he and Moxley tossed Vance into it at full speed. Rush entered the ring again, and Moxley sent him back to the floor. He then followed up with a suicide dive. Vance cleared Claudio to the floor. Moxley engaged with him on the apron, but Vance speared him and they crashed onto Rush and Claudio on the floor.
Vance then pressed the action with Claudio and grabbed a chair. Rush also grabbed one and they smashed Claudio on the shoulder with them…[c]
As is tradition, Jon Moxley was bloodied when the show returned from break. He cleared Vance to the floor and brawled with Rush in the ring. Vance returned to the ring with a chain and beat landed some punches to Moxley’s forehead with it. Claudio emerged from the timekeeper’s area and got a hold of the chain. He wrapped it around his fist and landed heavy blows to Rush and Vance with it.
Vance popped up busted open and Claudio leveled him with another chain punch. He then swung him around with a Giant Swing, but Rush was there to break up the cover attempt. Vance landed a discus lariat on Moxley and covered for a near fall. All four men were then down at this point. Claudio set up for a Gotch Piledriver on Rush, but Jose joined in and landed a chair shot to the back. Wheeler Yuta ran down and battered Jose away from the ring and up the ramp.
Rush fired up and set up for the a running dropkick in the corner, but Claudio intercepted him with a spear. Vance broke up the pinfall. Vance cleared Claudio from the ring. Rush attempted to dive onto him, but got intercepted with an uppercut. Moxley used the chain to knock down Vance, and then applied a choke with the chain to get the victory.
Jon Moxley and Claudio Castagnoli defeated Preston Vance and Rush at 11:32 in a Texas Tornado match
After the match, Hangman Page was shown being jumped by Kip Sabian, The Butcher and The Blade backstage. Dark Order ran them off, but the announce team wondered how it would affect their match that was scheduled for later…
In a pre-taped interview, Jim Ross spoke to Wardlow. JR brought up the relationship between Samoa Joe and Wardlow, and said it started as a mentorship. Wardlow shared a story about how his father wasn’t in his life from the time he was eight until he was a young adult, and shortly after they were reunited his Dad passed from cancer. He continued and said that Cancer had taken away his Father’s hair and beard, and he decided to grow out his own as a tribute. Joe knew that, and now Wardlow is looking to pay him back by putting an end to his career…
In the arena, Josh Woods was already in the ring. Mark Briscoe then made his ring entrance for the next match. Video was shown from Rampage of the match being made…
3. Mark Briscoe vs. Josh Woods (w/Mark Sterling, Tony Nese): The action spilled outside early, and Tony Nese and Ari Daivari got involved immediately. Penta and Fenix ran down to even the odds and clear out the advantage for Woods. Briscoe and Woods engaged on the apron, where Woods landed a twisting suplex of sorts out to the floor…[c]
My Take: Another crazy brawl from Moxley and Claudio. The Blood is now becoming a bit of a trope for him, and I hope he begins to use it more sparingly. The match was good, but the violence didn’t seem justified by the story. I’m interested to see how they continue Moxley vs. Hangman, which I assume is a PPV match.
Woods controlled the action during the break, but Mark made his comeback shortly afterward. He did some redneck kung fu and sent Woods to the floor. Mark then used a chair to perform a double jump dive to the outside on top of him. He then landed a powerbomb and covered for a close near fall. Mark called for the Jay Driller, but Woods blocked it and landed a rolling German Suplex for a near fall of his own.
Briscoe landed a Death Valley Driver after a bit of back and forth. He then went up top and landed the Froggy Bow and got the win.
Mark Briscoe defeated Josh Woods at 8:55
After the match Mark looked into the camera and told his brother he loved him and that he would carry on…
The announce team introduced an interview between Renee Paquette and Adam Cole. He spoke about how great he feels, but he’s still a little frustrated with the progress of his recovery. He spoke about not being able to move his right eye without his twitching, and feeling the need to vomit whenever he drove a car.
Cole put over the AEW Roster as the best it’s ever been, and spoke about how happy he is to be close to a return. He stopped short of announcing who he’d like to face when he came back, or exactly when that would be…
MJF made his entrance in the arena…[c]
My Take: Good to see Mark Briscoe again on AEW TV. He and Josh Woods had an entertaining match, and the crowd popped for all the high spots. There wasn’t much of a story here so the crowd was pretty cold when Woods was on offense.
MJF was booed heavily. He told the crowd he doesn’t speak Spanish. MJF acknowledged that the crowd loves Bryan Danielson, and that pisses him off, because they used to be devil worshippers just a few months ago. He said he turned his back on them before they could turn on him, because they are fickle bastards. MJF said he’s honest with himself and calls himself a devil. But Bryan lies about who he is, and is a worthless sack of trash just like the people in the crowd.
[Hour Two] MJF said that’s not why he hates him. He hates Danielson because he has convinced the crowd that he’s better than him. MJF polled the crowd and asked if they think Bryan Danielson is the best in the world. He then asked if he’s their favorite because he does all the best moves and has 5 star bangers. MJF continued and said that’s not why any of them get into the business, because everyone wants to be the AEW World Champion.
MJF said that’s something that Danielson has never accomplished. MJF said he wasn’t going to lie to himself and say Danielson isn’t going to give him a run for his money, but he doesn’t have the ability to do what it takes to win. He then said maybe the crowd would listen to someone that has known Bryan Danielson for his entire career.
Christopher Daniels was introduced by MJF and made his entrance in non-wrestling attire. MJF asked Chris to tell these people the truth about Bryan Danielson inside the squared circle. Daniels first pulled out a pile of money from his pocket and disclosed that MJF paid him an obscene amount of money to denigrate Bryan Danielson. He threw the money back and said Danielson is going to knock his dick in the dirt.
Daniels said he watched Danielson win a tournament for King of the Indies in APW, which was a tournament that formed the idea for Ring of Honor as a promotion. Daniels said that without Danielson there wouldn’t be an ROH, an AEW, and especially an MJF. He continued and said that Danielson is a sponge for knowledge, and learned something every time he was in the ring. He watched him become a World Champion, and now he’s on a path to be the AEW Champion. Daniels told MJF that Danielson was the best wrestler in the world and Danielson was going to expose him as a fraud.
MJF slapped the mic out of his hand, and Daniels slapped MJF in response. MJF then applied the Salt of the Earth armbar, and Danielson ran down to the ring to clear him. Toni Storm vs. Ruby Soho vs. Britt Baker was advertised for later. We then saw a video package for the Gunn Brothers where they celebrated their title win and refused to apologize for not going to the indies to collect the World Tag Titles…
Back in the arena, Jungle Boy made his entrance for the next match. Brian Cage was out next after him…
4. “Jungle Boy” Jack Perry vs. Brian Cage (w/Prince Nana): Perry landed a dropkick that sent Cage to the floor. He then followed with a series of dives. On the third one, Cage caught him and powerbombed him onto the ring apron…[c]
My Take: A good segment with MJF and Chris Daniels. I’m glad they pivoted away from last week’s controversial storytelling segment to a more straightforward promo about the match and its participants. It was a good idea to have someone else say Bryan Danielson is the best in the world, because it would be out of character for him to talk about it himself.
Cage continued the action and landed another stiff looking powerbomb. He then landed another one into the turnbuckles and covered for a near fall. Jungle Boy fired back with a double stomp and a top rope splash for a near fall of his own. Perry showed some impressive power and landed a Death Valley Driver. He then landed a crucifix bomb and a kick to the back of the head and got a win.
“Jungle Boy” Jack Perry defeated Brian Cage at 7:28
After the match, Perry signaled that he wanted singles gold. Christian Cage’s music hit and he stood on the ramp with his arm in a sling. Perry approached him, but got maced for his trouble. Christian smirked and took off the sling and the elbow brace. He then delivered the Killswitch on the ramp. Perry was left laying on the ramp…
Renee Paquette was shown backstage, and she announced that The Gunn’s would have their first title defense at Revolution in a Triple Threat Match, and there would be a series of Battle Royals over the next two weeks to determine their challengers. The Acclaimed then walked up and invoked their rematch clause, and said it would be a Fatal Four Way match…[c]
My Take: A good win for Jack Perry. Christian returning should allow them to have their long delayed match at Revolution. I can’t say I’m thrilled about a series of Battle Royals to introduce more Tag Team Challengers, but I assume FTR returns so that’s probably a net positive.
Backstage, The Bucks and Kenny Omega did a plug for the NBA All-Star Game coming up this weekend. AR Fox and Top Flight challenged them to a Trios rematch on Rampage. After Dante accused them of not having any balls, they agreed. During the exchange, a House of Black image appeared on the screen very briefly…
Kip Sabian and Penelope Ford were already in the ring. Hangman Page made an angry entrance to the ring.
5. Kip Sabian (w/Penelope Ford) vs. Hangman Page: Sabian got an early advantage with some quick strikes and a stunner. Hangman caught an attempt at a Springboard Stunner, and threw him with a fallaway slam. Page pursued Sabian to the floor, but he was distracted by Penelope Ford, which allowed Kip to land a baseball slide…[c]
Page took Sabian to the floor with a lariat. He then tossed him into the barricade multiple times as the crowd chanted Cowboy Shit. Hangman landed a Pop-Up Sit Out Powerbomb in the ring for a close near fall. Sabian attempted a slam, but Hangman landed on his feet. He then landed a Lariat followed by Deadeye and got the win.
Hangman Page defeated Kip Sabian at 6:54
After the match, Jon Moxley walked out with Claudio Castagnoli and Wheeler Yuta. Moxley had a microphone and said that they no longer have unfinished business. He told Hangman he respects him, but he doesn’t fear him, and there is no chance that he will ever beat him again. He then told Hangman to let it go, and Page stole the microphone from his hand. Page said he was unhappy with their last match together, and it can’t end on the ball and chain roll up.
Page said it should end when both of them walk down a dark alley and only one of them walks out. Moxley said he was hoping he would say that, and he’s glad he doesn’t have any friends who will try and talk him out of it. Cue Dark Order with Evil Uno holding a microphone. Uno got in Moxley’s face and told him the only reason he hasn’t done this is because Hangman told him not to. Uno pie faced him, and Moxley ignored him. He looked past Uno to challenge Hangman to a Texas Death Match at Revolution…
Backstage, “Jericho Appreciation Society” members Chris Jericho, Sammy Guevara, Daniel Garcia, Jake Hager, Matt Menard, and Angelo Parker were interviewed by Tony Schiavone. Jericho addressed Ricky Starks and said he’s not on his level and he’ll never get another match with him. Daniel Garcia said he has a match with him on Rampage on Friday, and said he would show everyone that he is an absolute fraud…
Excalibur ran down the lineup for Rampage, and the announced matches for Revolution, including Hangman Page vs. Jon Moxley in a Texas Death Match. Moxley vs. Uno will happen next week on Dynamite. Ruby Soho vs. Britt Baker vs. Toni Storm is up next…[c]
My Take: Hangman and Sabian had an enjoyable match, but I didn’t remember a single thing about it by the time the promo was over. I think the promo could have used a little more time in the oven, because it seemed odd that Moxley suddenly wanted to put Page behind him after being clearly unhappy with the finish of their previous match.
Backstage, Stokely Hathaway was interviewed with Ethan Page, Matt Hardy, and Isiah Kassidy. He said Hook should be suspended or fired for his actions last week. He was dressed like a Black Panther, and Tony Schiavone asked him why. He said he was out for justice. Page said he agreed with his attempts at getting justice, but wondered where he was during their party last week. Stokely was bummed he missed the party because they had women there. Schiavone announced that Hook was suspended pending investigation, and they all laughed until they realized that they should be taking it seriously…
Toni Storm made her entrance with Saraya. They pulled a “fan” over the railing and were going to paint her with spray paint until Ruby Soho’s music hit. Britt Baker then made her entrance with Jamie Hayter..
6. Toni Storm (w/Saraya) vs. Britt Baker (w/Jamie Hayter) vs. Ruby Soho in a three-way: There were a few roll ups early on. Toni Storm retreated to ringside almost immediately. She grabbed Baker’s legs as she hit the ropes a moment later and pulled her to the floor. Ruby and Toni battled back and forth for a short time. Baker attempted to get on the apron, but Storm landed a hip attack that sent her back to the floor. Ruby cleared Toni from the ring, and both Baker and Storm were in range for a suicide dive, but Soho was conflicted and didn’t jump on either of them…[c]
Baker controlled the action as the show returned. Storm was able to recover and land a German Suplex thanks to a distraction by Saraya. She then set up for a hip attack, but Ruby tripped her before she could pull it off. Baker then landed a rising knee on Ruby and all three women were down on the mat. Storm landed a German Suplex on Soho while Baker was rolling her up. Soho rolled out of the ring, and both Storm and Soho began trading heavy strikes. Baker then landed a neckbreaker and covered for a close near fall.
Soho climbed to the top rope. She attempted a flying nothing into a right hand from Toni Storm. Storm then applied a Texas Cloverleaf. Baker tried to apply the Lockjaw at the same time, but the match completely broke down. Saraya got involved and cleared Soho from the ring. Baker was down in the corner, and Saraya sprayed paint on Storms posterior to smear it on Baker with a hip attack. The hip attack succeeded, but Soho prevented a pin and threw Storm onto Saraya on the floor. She then rolled up Baker for the win.
Ruby Soho defeated Toni Storm and Britt Baker in a three-way at 10:01
After the match, Saraya and Hayter both attempted to get Soho to join their side of this silly feud, and she screamed enough and they both cleared the ring.
My Take: Man, this feud continues to be really underwhelming. There’s so much talent involved in this feud that it’s a bit exasperating that this is the direction they decided to take with all of them. I have to imagine some kind of Triple Threat is on tap for Revolution and it’s pretty hard to get excited about it at this point.
AEW has really lost its way. This is straight garbage and Tony is 100% at fault.
This was probably the worst episode of Dynamite so far. Aside from the Briscoe/Woods match and some nice verbal performances from Adam Cole and Christopher Daniels, this was really poor.
There’s currently more life in Jerry Jarrett’s body than Tony Khan’s booking.
It’s almost like they are making the point to not try any real compelling storylines that might make generate interest outisde of the 800 to 900k viewers they already have. Vince always wasted talent, but fantasy booker Tony was supposed to know better. And too many sites, including this one, refuse to write anything too negative about how truly terrible of an idea man he is. Why? so you can ask him a question at one his “scrums”?
I’m sorry you feel that way. I’ve been as critical as anyone in the pro wrestling media of the booking, not just in print, but also in hours of audio over the last few years. I always call it as I see it, good or bad. But the line about media access made me laugh. The last time they called on me was shortly after Cody Rhodes left the company. I sit in on all the media calls. I “raise my hand” virtually. I even submit written questions on top of that. Nothing. And I’m not even complaining. They do what they do. But the idea that I go light on them to protect my nonexistent access to Tony Khan is hilarious.
I apologize Jason. At least you allow my opinion to be heard, right or wrong. When ever I have expressed my opinion at the torch about Wade being soft on AEW(which I do really believe,) the comments either are never posted, or magically diasapear within hours. I don’t use bad language, or anything like that, so that is concerning. Anyways, I did not mean any disrespect, I just think AEW could stand more media to call out how shoddy their product is becoming.
I appreciate the apology. That’s big of you. While I don’t know anything about the Torch’s comment section policy, I also have to question the idea that Wade goes light on AEW. I do a podcast with him every three weeks. If you’ve listened to our shows and you still feel that way, then I think maybe your expectations for criticism might be pretty steep. It’s not all negative of course, but we don’t pull any punches when it comes to AEW or any other company. Wade’s a friend and my mentor. I worked side by side with him. He calls it as he sees it.
Morgan, Torch is basically useless when it comes to comments period. Positive comments don’t get posted or disappear too. I once answered a question someone had asked in a post about a wrestler and that comment never appeared either.