By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
AEW Dynamite (Episode 181)
Independence, Missouri at Cable Dahmer Arena
Aired live March 22, 2023 on TBS
[Hour One] The show opened with an Ambulance shown backstage. Hangman Page and Kenny Omega were shown pacing while Matt and Nick Jackson were loaded into an ambulance after being brutally attacked off prior to the show. Page opted to ride in the ambulance with them while Omega stayed behind due to his match with El Hijo del Vikingo later on in the show…
Excalibur, Taz, and Tony Schiavone were on commentary, and Justin Roberts was the ring announcer…
Orange Cassidy made his entrance to start the broadcast in the arena for a trios match. He was joined by Darby Allin and Sting. They were followed by Kip Sabian, The Butcher and The Blade. Footage was shown during the heel entrance of an attack on Darby Allin by The Butcher at the AEW House Rules show over the weekend…
1. Darby Allin, Sting, and Orange Cassidy vs. Kip Sabian, The Butcher, and The Blade (w/Penelope Ford): Orange Cassidy had some low effort face paint that had O and C written on his cheeks. Kip Sabian and Orange Cassidy started the match and cleverly avoided each other for a minute or so. The Butcher tagged in, which prompted Cassidy to bring in Sting. They battled back and forth or a moment, but Sting got the advantage with a lariat and set up for a Scorpion Deathlock.
This caused the match to break down as everyone jumped into the fight. Darby and The Blade fought on the floor, as did Butcher and Orange Cassidy. Sting slowly rolled away from a couple of splash attempts from Sabian to pay tribute to Orange Cassidy. Darby then tagged in and landed a Code Red on Kip for a near fall. With a distraction from Penelope Ford and interference from The Blade, Sabian took control on Darby and landed some kicks…[c]
The heels isolated Darby during the break. Sabian threw Darby into the corner, where he knocked Butcher and Blade off the apron.This led to a hot tag to Cassidy, who landed a slick tornado DDT on Sabian. Butcher and Blade got involved in a clumsy double team neckbreaker and powerbomb spot. Sting stared at this from the apron but did not intervene. Sabian made a cover for two, and then taunted the crowd. Cassidy made a tag to Sting behind Cassidy’s back as he was preoccupied by his taunt.
Sting landed some light kicks and then a hard chop to Sabian. He then locked in the Scorpion Deathlock. Butcher and Blade tried to knock him off of the hold, but he held on until the absolutely pummeled him. Darby landed a coffin splash on both Butcher and Blade. Cassidy then got involved and landed a stunner on Sabian and dove on The Blade on the floor. Allin landed a stunner on Sabian and dove onto the Butcher. Sting then got the pinfall after a Scorpion Death Drop.
Sting, Darby Allin, and Orange Cassidy defeated Kip Sabian, The Butcher, and The Blade at 11:18
Darby Allin stared at the Double or Nothing Banner in the arena after the match…
A video recapped MJF’s Re-Bar Mitzvah segment last week, and then a video package that highlighted Jack Perry, Darby Allin, and Sammy Guevara’s challenge towards MJF. Max told them they needed to earn their shots, and they all promised to do so… The Gunns vs. Top Flight is up next…[c]
My Take: A bit of a clunky opener that never got out of second gear. Cassidy, Sting, and Darby are super popular so in a lot of ways it didn’t matter because the crowd enjoyed everything they did offensively. There was essentially no heat on the heels as nobody had any reason to believe they stood a chance.
A brief video package aired that explained the long delayed El Hijo Del Vikingo and Kenny Omega match. It seemed like it was put together quickly as Excalibur’s voiceover was a bit muted, but it is appreciated…
The announce team provided an update from Brandon Cutler, where he accused Blackpool Combat Club of attacking the Young Bucks…
In the arena, Top Flight made their entrance, followed by AEW Tag Team Champions The Gunns…
2. Colten Gunn and Austin Gunn vs. “Top Flight” Dante Martin and Darius Martin for the AEW Tag Team Championship: Austin started the match with Dante Martin. After a brief faceoff, Dante used his athleticism to launch into a very high flying arm drag. Austin and Darius got involved, and Top Flight quickly clotheslined both Gunns to the floor. After the ref got control again, Dante was Guillotined over the top rope by Austin…[c]
Darius got a hot tag during picture in picture and cleaned house on both Gunns. He landed a German Suplex on Colten and a Spanish Fly on Austin for a near fall. Dante then tagged in and landed a Uranage of sorts on Austin for a near fall. Dante landed a double jump splash on Austin, but Colten jumped in to break it up. Mike Bennett and Matt Taven got involved and distracted Darius late in the match, which allowed The Gunns to hit 3:10 to Yuma for the win.
The Gunns defeated Top Flight at 7:36 to retain the AEW Tag Team Titles
After the match, Top Flight chased away Bennett and Taven. “FTR” Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler walked out to challenge The Gunns. Colten told them they were losers that lost all of their belts, and there was nothing they had to offer them that would get them another title shot. Cash offered to never tag again in AEW if they lost, and that still wasn’t good enough. Dax then upped the ante and said they would quit AEW if they lost. Austin confirmed they would leave AEW forever, and Dax confirmed. The Gunns accepted and then spit in FTR’s face.
A video recap was shown of Taya Valkyrie’s debut in AEW…
Jade Cargill, Leila Grey, and Mark Sterling were interviewed backstage by Renee Paquette. Sterling had a cease and desist letter that barred Taya from using “Jaded” as a finisher. Grey said she would deliver it to her in person on Saturday, and then challenged her to a match…
Stokely Hathaway made his entrance wearing a Pan-African themed outfit. Hook then made his entrance with the FTW Title. Before the bell, Stokely broke the news that he is not medically cleared to compete, and then preemptively announced his retirement. He then handed Justin Roberts a Wingstop Receipt that said “He is sick”, who then revealed that to the crowd and rang the bell…
3. FTW Champion Hook vs. Stokely Hathaway in a No DQ match: Hathaway ran away into the crowd, but Hook chased him down and tossed him back to the ringside area. He then delivered an exploder suplex on the floor, and tossed Stokely back into the ring. Hook pulled a piece of barricade from under the ring and set it up against the ropes. Hathaway’s crew was shown watching from a Monitor backstage. Stokely used a fire extinguisher to get a shot in. He then grabbed a Chair, but Hook took it from him and cracked him across the back several times.
Hook then applied Redrum and Stokely was already unconscious.
FTW Champion Hook defeated Stokely Hathaway at 2:47 in a No DQ match
After the match, they scraped Stokely off the mat with a shovel. Adam Cole is up next…[c]
My Take: Well, let the speculation begin about FTR. Hook got his revenge on Stokely that the crowd enjoyed. Hopefully they can find something more interesting for him to do.
Rapper Tech N9ne was shown in the crowd. A graphic listed him as a Kansas City native and a “multimillion selling rapper”…
Adam Cole made his entrance to a great reaction from the live crowd. He then got a huge ovation and chants as he got in the ring to make his speech. He delivered his story time line and said we were seven days away from his in ring return and he feels great. Cole said he’s never been more ready to do what he loves to do and that’s wrestle for AEW. He posed the question of who his opponent is going to be, and that prompted an interruption from Daniel Garcia.
He said it was time for story time with Daniel Garcia, which prompted “Shut The F— Up” chants. He said he’s become respected in his absence and a locker room leader. Garcia said he was out there to welcome him back, but put him in place too. He said he’s beaten Starks, Brody King, and Bryan Danielson and main evented more AEW programming than anyone on the roster. He said he’s one of the best Professi…..Sports Entertainers on the planet and asked what made Cole special.
Cole responded that what makes him special is when the bell rings. He said he’s traveled the world and beaten the best and even with time off he’s still Adam Cole Bay Bay. He accepted Garcia’s challenge and said it’s not just a match, it’s a statement and he hopes Garcia realizes what he’s in for. Cole said next week it will be a great night for him and the AEW fans but not so much for Garcia. Cole finished with a “Boom” and both men jawed back and forth as Cole’s music played…
Backstage, Alex Marvez walked into a locker room with Kenny Omega and Don Callis. Omega insisted he should have gone to the hospital, but Callis told him this could be a blessing in disguise. He said the Bucks will be fine in a few months, and now Kenny can focus on singles competition. Callis said the God of Pro Wrestling is back and he and Vikingo would blow the roof off the place tonight…
[Hour Two] Jon Moxley made his entrance to “Wild Thing.” He was followed by Dark Order member Stu Grayson. Evil Uno, Jon Silver, and Alex Reynolds accompanied Grayson. Moxley was joined by Claudio Castagnoli and Wheeler Yuta…
4. Stu Grayson (w/Evil Uno, Jon Silver, Alex Reynolds) vs. Jon Moxley (w/Claudio Castagnoli, Wheeler Yuta): Moxley landed some hard chops, and Grayson turned the tables and fired back. The action spilled outside quickly. Moxley tossed a chair at Grayson, but it missed, and the announce team said that he would have been disqualified if it connected. Grayson ended up on the apron, and Moxley landed a shoulder block that sent him into the barricade on the floor…[c]
My Take: A solid promo from Cole and Garcia, and I was happy they got a chance to promote their match ahead of time. I think Cole would do well to dial back on the sing-songy way of speaking he has slightly. It undercuts some of the more serious content of his promos by making it seem like he’s somewhat unserious about it, even though I don’t think that’s the intent.
Grayson and Moxley traded heavy shots as the show returned. Grayson landed a diving elbow strike and a spinebuster of sorts. He then landed a springboard twisting senton and covered for a two count. Stu went up top, but the seconds all had a standoff on the floor. Grayson decided to wipe out Claudio and Wheeler on the floor, and Moxley dove on him through the ropes. Stu recovered and landed a 450 back in the ring, but Moxley kicked out.
Stu got to his feet and set up for his Moonfall finisher, but Moxley flipped out and turned it into a choke. After some position changes Stu powered to his feet and drove Moxley into the bottom turnbuckle with a somersault into the corner. He then avoided a Paradigm Shift and landed a Pele Kick. Grayson went up top again, and Moxley met up him there with an Avalanche Death Rider for the win.
Jon Moxley defeated Stu Grayson at 9:53
After the match, Dark Order entered the ring to prevent a post match attack. The BCC left through the crowd…
Backstage, Renee Paquette interviewed Ricky Starks. He challenged Juice Robinson to show up on Rampage and be a man, because was tired of all the talk without any action. Toni Storm vs. Skye Blue is up next…[c]
My Take: Grayson and Moxley worked hard but the outcome was never in doubt and there wasn’t a whole lot of character development here. I was hoping they might indicate whether the BCC had attacked the Bucks in some way through this match, but it didn’t get touched on.
QTV aired and showed some footage of the Rey Fenix vs Powerhouse Hobbs match from Rampage. They mocked Fenix because Penta didn’t help him. They then said Aaron Solo had locked Wardlow’s bank accounts and cost him his house, and then hacked Dave Meltzer’s twitter account to start a fight over hotels. Woof. QT then said there would be another Hobbs open challenge on Rampage this week…
In the arena, Sky Blue made her entrance, followed by Toni Storm. Ruby Soho and Saraya accompanied Storm to the ring.
5. Toni Storm (w/Ruby Soho, Saraya) vs. Skye Blue: Storm got an early advantage with some strikes and a stomps in the corner. Blue fired back and sent Storm to the floor, and then hit a flying head-scissors on Storm on the floor. Storm dropped Blue on the apron, and then delivered a hip attack that sent her to the floor. She then distracted the ref while Saraya and Soho stomped on Blue. Storm continued the attack with chops, but Blue avoided the third one and Storm’s hand hit the ring post.
Thanks to more distractions from Soho and Saraya, Storm quickly took back control…[c]
My Take: I have no idea what they are going for with QTV. Maybe they are thinking it’s one of those “so bad it circles around to being good” things? But then it circles back around to being bad again.
Blue landed a knee strike and a top rope body block on Storm. She then landed a rising knee, and an enzuigiri for a two count. Storm collected herself and landed a Thesz Press and some strikes. She then followed up with a DDT for a near fall. Blue recovered and managed to land Code Blue, but Soho provided a referee distraction. Storm fired back with a shotgun dropkick and a hip attack in the corner.
Storm followed up with a German Suplex and Storm Zero to get the win.
Toni Storm defeated Skye Blue at 7:54
After the match, Riho and Willow ran down to the ring. Riho carried a large steel pipe with her which cleared the heels from the ring…
The following matches were announced for the special Saturday edition of Rampage: Taya Valkyrie vs. Leila Grey, Brody King vs. Jake Hager, Powerhouse Hobbs vs. Penta El Zero Miedo, and “The Acclaimed” Max Caster and Anthony Bowens vs. “The Kingdom” Matt Taven and Mike Bennett…
Adam Cole vs. Daniel Garcia was also confirmed for next week’s Dynamite…
Backstage, Stu Grayson was checked on by AEW Medical Staff, when Moxley snuck up on him and choked him before smashing him into a shipping crate…[c]
My Take: The Outcasts seem to be treading water right now. I don’t dislike the direction, but the division doesn’t seem like it’s a priority at the moment from a story perspective.
El Hijo Del Vikingo made his entrance with the AAA Mega Championship. Justin Roberts made ring introductions. Kenny Omega was out next, and Roberts read a number of silly facts about like we were used to during his heel run…
6. Kenny Omega (w/Don Callis) vs. El Hijo Del Vikingo: Before Omega could complete his entrance, Vikingo hit him with two different dives to the floor. He then landed a shotgun dropkick, but Omega turned the tables and landed some hard punches as the bell finally rang. Vikingo flew through the ropes and avoided a splash in the corner. He then landed an Implosion Huracanrana from the corner and then sent Omega out to the floor with a Corkscrew Kick.
He then continued the attack with strikes on the floor, and landed a springboard 450 back in the ring for a near fall. Omega turned things around and landed an impressive suplex and then took the action back out to the floor. He tossed Vikingo into the barricade and then grabbed a table from under the ring. The referee admonished him for setting up the table at ringside…[c]
Omega largely controlled the action during the break and focused his attack on Vikingo’s neck and lower back. Vikingo got back into the match with a huracanrana, and then both men traded strikes on the apron. Omega then managed to land a monkey flip on the apron, and then smiled because he wanted to put Vikingo through the table setup below. He tried for a snap dragon suplex, but Vikingo avoided it. He quickly climbed up top and landed a Dragon Rana on Omega that took him from the apron to the floor.
Vikingo pressed the attack in the ring with strikes and kicks in the corner. Both men ended up on the top rope, and Omega set up for a top rope powerbomb. Vikingo reversed into a huracanrana but Omega took a gnarly looking bump. Vikingo followed up with a Phoenix Splash and got a close near fall. He attempted another springboard Dragon Rana, but Omega reversed into a powerbomb and followed up with a V-Trigger knee strike.
Omega landed a snap dragon suplex followed by another V-Trigger. He set up for a One Winged Angel, but Vikingo slipped away and jumped up top for a diving Poison Rana from the top rope. Omega rolled out to the table on the outside, where Vikingo landed a 630 senton that put Omega through the table. Both men were down and out on the floor and had to answer a ten count. They got to their feet at roughly the same time and got into the ring. Viking attempted a cover but only got a near fall.
The crowd fired up when Vikingo slapped his hand on the mat. He landed a Sunset Flip Bomb and got another close near fall. Vikingo went up top again, where he attempted another 630 and missed and bounced. Omega landed a V-Trigger and set up for the One Winged Angel. He landed it and got the win.
Kenny Omega defeated El Hijo Del Vikingo at 17:01
After the match, Omega patted Vikingo on the chest and celebrated his victory. Tony Schiavone headed to the ring to get an interview with Omega. Before he could get more than a few words out, Omega was jumped by the Blackpool Combat Club. Claudio, Wheeler, and Moxley beat down Omega for a bit until a siren was heard in the arena. Adam Page was shown getting out of an ambulance on the video screen, and eventually made his way into the arena. Hangman walked down with a board with some nails in it. The Blackpool Combat Club was ran off temporarily.
Callis walked behind Hangman and then threw himself to the mat. Kenny got up and was led to believe that Hangman had attacked Callis, who was pursuing his own motives.
My Take: An incredible athletic display from Vikingo there. I was surprised to see Omega get a clean victory, but I’m not going to complain either. I’m not sure why they had to rush away from the outcome of the main event back to the ambulance story, as I think it ended up taking away from the electric finish of the show. It moved the story forward a bit, but it also didn’t let the crowd breathe at all after the main event.
Why do they keep saying Rampage is on Friday when it’s on Saturday this week?
Anyone else thinking Daniel Garcia main eventing more shows than any other wrestler is a problem? I’m just thanking God Stu Grayson re-signed! 5 star match tonight (sarcasm)
For those who like this kind of thing, this is the kind of thing they like.
That main event was the epitome of AEW. No buildup, no real selling, no logic or psychology, a bunch of flips and dives, a table spot, a comically small guy fighting a grown adult, etc. The Meltzer marks and the chronic asthmatics that grade matches on Cagematch.net will cream themselves over it while the vast majority of wrestling fans will roll their eyes and move on. Tony needs to hire a booker asap.
They also need to change the name of the Blackpool Combat Club because Regal’s never coming back..