By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite (Episode 178)
San Francisco, California at the Cow Palace
Aired live March 1, 2023 on TBS
[Hour One] Excalibur, Tony Schiavone, and Taz were on commentary. They threw it to the ring where ring announcer Justin Roberts handled the introductions for the AEW All-Atlantic Championship match…
1. Orange Cassidy vs. Big Bill (w/Stokely Hathaway) for the AEW All-Atlantic Championship. The bell rang and then Cassidy removed his shades and passed them to referee Paul Turner. Cassidy ducked out of the ring to stall and then Big Bill followed, causing Cassidy to return to the ring.
Eventually, Cassidy approached Hathaway, removed his shades, and put them on his own head. Bill snuck up behind Cassidy, who moved, and then Bill stopped just shy of hitting Hathaway with a punch that was intended for Cassidy. Back inside the ring, Bill stuffed a DDT and put Cassidy down with a side slam.
Cassidy ended up on the apron and was knocked to the floor with a big boot. Bill followed Cassidy to ringside and worked him over with punches. Hathaway and Bill brought the timekeeper’s table to the bottom of the entrance ramp. Bill set up for a chokeslam, but Cassidy fought him off. Cassidy leapt from the ring steps at Bill, who caught him and chokeslammed him through the table heading into a picture-in-picture break. [C]
Bill caught Cassidy in a Full Nelson coming out of the break. Danhausen showed up at ringside. Once Cassidy was free, Bill went for big boots, but Cassidy dropped to the mat both times and then rolled to the floor. Danhausen set up to curse Hathaway, but Bill showed up. Danhausen wanted to curse Bill, but Bill grabbed him. Hathaway had Bill set Danhausen down and then hit him with the cast on his hand.
Cassidy performed a suicide dive onto Bill and Hathaway. Cassidy caught Will with a punch on the floor and got him down on the ringside mat. Cassidy returned to the ring and went for his finisher once Bill returned to the ring, but Bill stuffed it. Cassidy performed Stundog Millionaire and a DDT, then hit the Orange Punch. Cassidy followed up with a second, but Bill remained on his feet. Cassidy went up top and performed a top rope Orange Punch and then scored the pin…
Orange Cassidy defeated Big Bill in 12:20 to retain the AEW All-Atlantic Championship.
Powell’s POV: An entertaining match with Cassidy selling a lot for his larger opponent before putting him away in the end. It was nice to see Bill in something meaningful despite his ridiculously unimaginative name. I hope they find a way to get him more involved and it’s not just back to throwaway tag team matches for him.
Footage aired of a bloody Jon Moxley in a stairwell following last week’s show. Moxley said he is a sick man and he does this because he likes it. He said it’s not something to be proud of or to aspire to. Moxley reminded Hangman Page that he wanted the Texas Death Match. Moxley recapped their previous matches. Moxley said Page is a great wrestler and even a great man, “but you’re not the same animal as me.” Moxley said there’s only room for one animal like him in the AEW ecosystem…
The broadcast team hyped the Texas Death match and the AEW Trios Title match for Sunday’s AEW Revolution pay-per-view…
“The Elite” Kenny Omega, Matt Jackson, and Nick Jackson started to make their entrance, but the lights went out. When they turned on, “House of Black” members Malakai Black, Brody King, and Buddy Matthews were on the stage with them along with Julia Hart. The lights went out and some commotion could be heard. When the lights turned on, the House of Black members were standing over The Elite…
Excalibur hyped the Face of the Revolution ladder match and said the winner will get a TNT Title shot next week, and then hyped that MJF and Bryan Danielson would appear on Dynamite…
TNT Champion and ROH TV Champion Samoa Joe made his entrance to join the broadcast team for the next match… Excalibur set up an ad from AEW’s daily fantasy sports partner… [C]
2. Sammy Guevara vs. Action Andretti vs. Powerhouse Hobbs vs. Eddie Kingston vs. AR Fox vs. Konosuke Takeshita vs. Komander vs. Ortiz in the Face of the Revolution ladder match for a shot at the TNT Title. The wrestlers were in the ring coming out of the break. The brass ring was hanging above the ring as the prize. Kingston and Ortiz fought to the back early on.
The crowd rallied behind hometown Hobbs as he had a moment to shine against multiple opponents early in the match. With ladder set up in two corners, Hobbs picked up Andretti in powerslam position and ran him into one of the ladders. Guevara thought better of returning to the ring when Hobbs spotted him. Takeshita didn’t back down and squared off with Hobbs.
Takeshita sidestepped Hobbs, who crashed into the other ladder. Takeshita performed a German suplex on Hobbs while Don Callis was shown watching on a backstage monitor. Komander did a crazy run across the top rope before diving into a pile of opponents at ringside as the show cut to a PIP break. [C]
There were some crazy ladder spots coming out of the break. Komander made his way to the ladder that was underneath the ring, but Takeshita came up behind him and performed a Blue Thunder Bomb from the ladder onto the mat. Ouch. Takeshita made a play for the ring, but Andretti springboarded onto the other side of the ladder.
Daniel Garcia entered the ring and pushed over the ladder with Takeshita and Andretti on it. Taz said it’s all legal in this type of match even though Garcia wasn’t actually entered. Garcia placed Andretti on a ladder leaning over two chairs on the floor. Guevara climbed to the top of a high ladder on the floor and performed a Swanton onto Andretti.
Garcia entered the ring and placed a ladder under the ring and then helped Guevara climb it. Takeshita returned to the ring and knocked over the ladder. Takeshita cleared Garcia from the ring and then blasted Guevara with a knee strike. Takeshita climbed the ladder, but Hobbs returned to knock the ladder over. Hobbs climbed the busted up ladder while three referees held it in place and then Hobbs unhooked the ring to get the win…
Powerhouse Hobbs beat Sammy Guevara, Action Andretti, Eddie Kingston, AR Fox, Konosuke Takeshita, Komander, and Ortiz in 13:50 to win the Face of the Revolution ladder match.
Afterward, Hobbs brought his ring up the entrance ramp. Samoa Joe got up from the broadcast table, but Wardlow came out. Security surrounded Wardlow, who destroyed them while Hobbs sat down and laughed. Wardlow powerbombed one security guard off the stage onto a pile of security guards below…
Powell’s POV: Joe is facing Wardlow for the TNT Title at Revolution, so they were playing up that Hobbs will challenge the winner on next week’s Dynamite. The ladder match featured the insanity one would expect from the wrestlers involved. I’m guessing that it was left off the Revolution card due to the main event going an hour, but it worked out nicely to have it on Dynamite this year. The presentation was underwhelming in that they just cut right to the match without entrances or any real buildup of the wrestlers involved. Hobbs winning in his hometown was a popular move with the live crowd and he’ll be an interesting opponent for Joe or Wardlow next week.
Renee Paquette stood backstage with Best Friends and announced that Trent Beretta and Chuck Taylor were not medically cleared to compete in the casino battle royale. Danhausen said the he and Cassidy could enter the match. Paquette asked Cassidy, who was being tended to by a trainer, if he was up for the match. “I don’t care,” Cassidy said…
Chris Jericho made his entrance… [C]
3. Chris Jericho vs. Peter Avalon. The Avalon entrance was not televised. Avalon was dominant to start and picked up a couple of near falls, including one off a DDT. Avalon stood up and looked to the crowd, and then Jericho put him down with a Codebreaker and scored the pin.
Chris Jericho beat Peter Avalon in 2:25.
After the match, Jericho grabbed the bat that he brought to the ring with him and hit Avalon with it. Jericho worked over Avalon with the bat until he was stopped in his tracks by entrance music. Ricky Starks ran out and checked on Avalon while Jericho fled the ring.
Jericho got a mic and told Starks that he would beat the hell out of him on Sunday at Revolution. Jericho said that just because the Jericho Appreciation Society was not allowed at ringside at the pay-per-view didn’t mean they weren’t present.
Daniel Garcia and Jake Hager attacked Starks. Jericho entered the ring and watched as Hager slammed Starks to the mat. Garcia followed up with a uranage slam. Garcia and Hager threw Starks toward Jericho, who put him down with a Judas Effect. The heel trio posed over the fallen Starks and then Jericho talked smack…
Powell’s POV: The crowd didn’t buy into the possibility of Avalon going over, but they kept the match brief. The post match angle made Starks look foolish for falling into yet another trap set by Jericho Appreciation Society. Starks needs the win on Sunday. By the way, the interference in the ladder match was weak. I get that it’s a No DQ match and it didn’t lead to the finish, but I still wish AEW would be different by eliminating the annoying things that other companies do from their own product.
Hangman Page delivered what was labeled as a live promo from an outdoor location. Page said Moxley couldn’t take away his heart because he couldn’t hold it. Page said he would take Mox’s spot at the top of the food chain. Page said he hates violence, but he will be the most violent and blood thirsty SOB on Sunday because he knows that’s what he has to be in order to beat Moxley. Page said Moxley will never be the same after the Texas Death Match…
Renee Paquette stood in the ring and introduced Christian Cage, who then made his entrance. Cage spoke about his feud with “Jungle Boy” Jack Perry. Cage said the problem with Perry and his entire generation is that they treat the business like a video game. Cage said he treats the business like an ATM machine and said he’s not done milking it dry.
Cage challenged Perry to meet him in a fight at Revolution. Cage said there would be no rules or regulations. Cage said that if Perry chose not to show up, then he’d simply be his father’s son. Cage said Perry’s father was a Hollywood hack and said that Perry doesn’t have anything inside.
A “Jungle Boy” Jack Perry video package aired.
[Hour Two] The video showed Perry digging a grave while some of his highlights were shown. A Christian Cage tombstone was shown above the grave. They cut back to Cage, who didn’t have any comment and simply left the ring…
AEW Women’s Champion Jamie Hayter and Britt Baker were interviewed on the backstage interview set by Tony Schiavone. Hayter spoke about her AEW Women’s Title defense, while Baker said they would be watching the women’s match later in the show…
Entrances for the FTW Championship match took place…
4. Hook vs. Matt Hardy (w/Ethan Page, Isiah Kassidy, Stokely Hathaway) for the FTW Championship. The stipulation was that Hook would get a No DQ match with Hathaway with everyone banned from ringside if he beat Hardy. Hook applied an early kneebar, but Hardy rolled to the ropes. Hardy brought Hook to ringside, but Hook shoved him into the barricade and then tossed hims back inside the ring. Ethan Page shoved Hook into the ring post while the referee was focused on Hardy.
There was a spot where Hook and Hardy butted heads. Page hit Hook with Hathaway’s cast while the referee was distracted. Hardy covered Hook for a two count. Hardy went for a Twist of Fate, but Hook countered into his finisher and got the submission win.
Hook beat Matt Hardy in 4:20 to retain the FTW Championship and to earn a match against Stokely Hathaway.
Hathaway sat down at ringside and rocked back and forth while selling the idea that he has to face Hook in a match. Hardy was shown smiling…
Powell’s POV: I don’t think Hathaway’s character has done enough to get under the skin of fans to really get the most out of him facing Hook in a match. The story of Hardy and Private Party being forced to wrestle for Hathaway’s faction continues to feel really flat.
A House of Black video aired. Malakai Black, Brody King, and Buddy Matthews had the AEW Trios Titles, which they apparently stole from The Elite earlier. Black said the greatest enemy is composed out of fear. Black said they would leave the titles, but The Elite should know that they’ve already lost. The House of Black members set the title belts down and then Julia Hart said, “See you at Revolution”…
Toni Storm and Saraya made their entrance for Storm’s match against Riho… [C] Riho made her entrance coming out of the break…
5. Toni Storm (w/Saraya) vs. Riho. Riho was removing her jacket when Storm attacked her to start the match. Riho battled back and caught Storm in a submission hold, but Storm broke it by reaching the ropes. Saraya distracted Riho and then Storm took advantage of it. Storm hit a hip attack that knocked Riho off the apron. While the referee was busy with Storm, Saraya caught Riho with a running knee on the floor.
Jamie Hayter and Britt Baker walked to ringside heading into a PIP break. [C] Riho performed a top rope dive onto Storm on the floor. Riho rolled Storm back inside the ring and then performed a double stomp. A short time later, Storm cut off Riho on the ropes and went for her Storm Zero piledriver from the ropes but Riho stuffed it.
Riho went for a sunset bomb, but Storm held onto the ropes. Storm dropkicked Riho and then hit her with a hip attack in the corner for a near fall. Storm moved Baker’s DMD hand sign and then applied a Cloverleaf. Baker climbed onto the apron. Storm released the hold to lunge at Baker, who dropped off the apron. Riho caught Storm in a pin and got the three count.
Riho defeated Toni Storm in 10:00.
After the match, Hayter and Saraya ended up traded blows in the ring. Ruby Soho made her entrance and separated the wrestlers. Soho punched Saraya, then turned and hit Hayter with a forearm. Hayter, Saraya, and Soho fought until several referees and security guards ran out to separate them while Soho’s entrance theme played…
Powell’s POV: Riho winning felt like a minor upset simply because she doesn’t have a current program, whereas Storm has been featured in this ongoing story with Saraya, Hayter, Baker, and Soho. They double (or is it tripled?) down on Soho flying solo as opposed to being aligned with either side of the feud.
Keith Lee and Dustin Rhodes delivered a promo on the backstage set. Dustin said darkness had fallen over San Francisco. Rhodes issued a challenge to Mogul Affiliates. Rhodes dubbed he and Lee as Naturally Limitless and said Mogul Affiliates would remember their name…
Alex Reynolds and John Silver made their entrance for the battle royal. Claudio Castagnoli and Wheeler Yuta ran out and attacked them from behind heading into a PIP break… [C]
6. The Tag Team Casino Battle Royale for the final spot in the four-way tag team title match at AEW Revolution. The match started at some point during the PIP break. The third entrants were Rush and Preston Vance. The broadcast team emphasized that both team members needed to be eliminated in order to eliminate a team from the match.
The fourth entrants were Rey Fenix and Penta El Zero Miedo, who came out with Alex Abrahantes. Excalibur promoted ROH on HonorClub’s debut for Thursday while a graphic briefly appeared in a lower corner of the screen.
The fifth entrants were “Aussie Open” Mark Davis and Kyle Fletcher. Castagnoli and Yuta eliminated Silver and Reynolds heading into a PIP break. [C]
The sixth entrants were Matt Menard and Angelo Parker, who came out during the PIP break.
Coming out of the PIP break, the seventh entrants Dante Martin and Darius Martin made their entrance. The Martins eliminated Menard.
The eighth entrants were “The Kingdom” Matt Taven and Mike Bennett, who were accompanied by Maria Kanellis.
Josh Woods, Tony Nese, and Ari Daivari showed up with Mark Sterling and attacked Fenix and Penta. After roughing them on the floor, the heels threw them back inside the ring and then they were quickly eliminated by Rush and Vance. One of the Martins held the top rope down and then Vance basically eliminated himself by tumbling over to the floor. Rush was eliminated moments later.
Dante Martin set up for a top rope move on Fletcher, but Davis pushed Dante to the floor to eliminate him. Darius was eliminated moments later by the Aussie Open duo.
Following a long gap between entrances, the ninth entrants were Orange Cassidy and Danhausen. Parker dropped Danhausen with a punch, but Cassidy eliminated Parker.
The tenth entrants were The Butcher and The Blade. The Kingdom duo went for kicks on Aussie Open, who ducked, and the Kingdom duo accidentally kicked Kanellis. Both teams were eliminated moments later.
Silver and Reynolds returned to ringside and distracted Castagnoli and Yuta, which led to both men being eliminated. Butcher and Blade fought with Cassidy and Danhausen while Schiavone said the match was down to two teams.
AEW Tag Team Champions Austin Gunn and Colten Gunn walked onto the stage to watch the end of the battle royal. Butcher and Blade doubled up on Cassidy and got him on the apron. Danhausen snuck back inside the ring and then pushed Butcher and Blade over the top rope to eliminate them.
Orange Cassidy and Danhausen won the Tag Team Casino Battle Royale to earn a spot in the four-way AEW Tag Team Title match at Revolution.
After the match, Jeff Jarrett and Jay Lethal attacked Cassidy and Danhausen while the Gunns posed on the apron. “The Acclaimed” Max Caster and Anthony Bowens ran out with Billy Gunn. Caster and Bowens quickly cleared the heels from the ring…
Powell’s POV: Well, no FTR return after all. Cassidy and Danhausen? This four-way tag title match just keeps getting stranger.
A video package showcased MJF vs. Bryan Danielson as the pay-per-view main event. It appeared to be footage plucked from the Countdown Special that will air Friday after Rampage… [C]
Renee Paquette introduced Bryan Danielson, who was making his entrance coming out of the break. Danielson high-fived Paquette once he was in the ring. She brought up MJF being inspired by Danielson when he dropped out of college to pursue his dream of becoming a pro wrestler. Danielson said he was forced to retire at one point and when he was allowed to return, he said that if you fight for your dreams, your dreams will fight for you.
AEW World Champion MJF made his entrance. MJF tried to speak, but Danielson told him to shut up. Danielson recalled MJF coming up with reasons why he hates him. Danielson said MJF hasn’t fought for his dreams, he’s taken shortcuts. Danielson said if there’s one thing MJF deserves, it was his fiancee leaving him.
MJF removed his jacket and started to walk toward the ring, but Danielson stopped him in his tracks while reciting MJF’s quote about pinning shoulders to mats and banging rats. Danielson said MJF isn’t the type of person he’d want his daughter to marry.
Danielson said MJF was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Danielson said he’s fought for everything throughout his career. Danielson said he had a job that would have paid him for the rest of his life, but he left and came to AEW because he wanted to fight. Danielson said he talks about dreams and his new dream is to become the AEW World Champion.
Danielson said he’s ready to fight for it. He told MJF that he better be ready to fight with everything he has for sixty full minutes. Danielson was censored as he dropped an F-Bomb while warning MJF what would happen if he didn’t show up right to fight. The crowd roared. MJF stormed to the back.
Danielson played to the crowd while Excalibur hyped Revolution and Friday’s Rampage. A graphic listed Keith Lee and Dustin Rhodes vs. Swerve Strickland and Parker Boudreaux for Rampage. Danielson slapped hands with fans at ringside as the show went off the air…
Powell’s POV: The final segment felt rushed. For a tag team battle royal? Ugh. Nevertheless, Danielson made the most of the limited time he was given and closed the night with a good promo. As much as this show was intended to drive viewers to the pay-per-view, the Danielson promo was the only one that really felt like it may have moved some viewers who were on the fence.
It was tough to keep up with the live coverage of this episode and add a lot of commentary, so I will have a lot to more say 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. Join me for my live review of AEW Revolution on Sunday night.
Why does every match have interference, a beat down or refs pulling it apart? Can Tony not think of anything else? He’s in over his head.
Cassidy and Danhausen winning… Just made FTR’s decision to go back to WWE a lot easier.
“It was nice to see Bill in something meaningful”
He wrestled the mascot. That’s not meaningful.
Any wrestling program that has Jeff Jarrett on it in 2023 automatically starts with a C-grade and can only go down from there.
The ladder match was definitely one of the better ones we have seen, the tag-team battle Royal was even worse than normal.
This is getting ridiculous with Orange Cassidy. I get that he has a cult following and he is not as bad in the ring as some people make out, but he is being booked stronger than anyone else in the company. As you Americans say, enough already!
Its amazing to read “Powell’s POV:” regarding any AEW show and know 99% of those sections will include a negative (sometimes veiled, sometimes not) comment.
You write the same thing about McGuire’s reviews of Rampage. If you want a gushing fanboy reviews of AEW shows or any other product, then find another website. We’re going to call it as we see it, good and bad. But you know this, Angry Mike. You’ve been complaining in the comment section for years and sending us weird ass emails before that.