By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite (Episode 184)
Milwaukee, Wisconsin at Panther Arena
Aired live April 12, 2023 on TBS
[Hour One] The Dynamite opening aired… Excalibur, Tony Schiavone, and Taz were on commentary… Darby Allin was introduced by ring announcer Justin Roberts. Swerve Strickland’s entrance followed and he was joined on the stage by Prince Nana and Brian Cage…
1. Swerve Strickland vs. Darby Allin. Allin performed an early suicide dive and the battle continued at ringside. Back in the ring, Swerve removed Allin’s belt and whipped him with it while a split screen shot showed Sammy Guevara and Taya Melo watching on a backstage monitor.
Strickland also used Allin’s neck chain by hooking it in the mouth of Allin, who had some blood in his mouth. Strickland kicked Allin through the ropes. Allin held himself in position by hooking his feet on the middle rope and then Strickland hit him with a double stomp heading into a picture in picture break. [C]
Allin tied up Swerve in the tree of woe and then removed his left boot. Allin bit the left foot of Strickland, which elicited a “you sick f—” chant front the crowd. Allin applied a heel hook. Both men got to their feet and traded strikes. Allin went for a springboard trust fall, but Strickland countered into a suplex. “Jungle Boy” Jack Perry was shown watching the match on a backstage monitor.
Allin reapplied the heel hoo, but Strickland grabbed the bottom rope to break it. Allin went up top, but Swerve cut him off and then put him in the electric chair on the apron. Allin countered into a Poison Rana from the apron to the floor, which drew “holy shit” chants.
Allin tossed Strickland back in the ring and hit him with a Coffin Drop. Allin had the pin, but Prince Nana ran out and put Swerve’s foot on the bottom rope. Allin chased Nana up the ramp until Brian Cage walked out. Allin returned to the ring and was caught by a Strickland kick.
Strickland hit a top rope double stomp and then sold left ankle pain before making the cover, which resulted in him only getting a two count. Allin ran the ropes for a move and was tripped by Cage. Referee Aubrey Edwards ejected Cage and Nana. Allin hit a Destroyer for a near fall and followed up with the Last Supper for the win.
Darby Allin beat Swerve Strickland in 14:40.
AEW World Champion Maxwell Jacob Friedman made his entrance. Excalibur said MJF would speak after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: A strong opening match. The outcome felt predictable due to Allin being set up for the Four Pillars match, but there was still good back and forth action. By the way, Jake Barnett is on vacation this week, but he should be back in time to cover next week’s Dynamite.
MJF stood in the ring and told the fans to give it up for Allin, who was seated in a corner of the ring. MJF said he and Allin had one of the greatest matches in the history of pro wrestling at Full Gear 2021. MJF said Allin is one of the best he’s been in the ring with.
MJF claimed he beat Allin with a simple headlock takeover at Full Gear 2021. He assumed that Allin was “like everyone else in the arena in that you’ve suffered 30 concussions,” but he’s not on the level of The Devil.
Allin asked MJF if anything in his life has ever made him happy. Allin recalled MJF telling him that all of his problems would be washed away when he made it to national television. Allin said he checked himself into therapy during the first year of AEW and suggested that MJF do the same. Allin said he stopped caring about himself and started giving back.
Allin said he bought his parents a house and helped his father retire. Allin said Sting isn’t his father, but he is the best friend he has in the business. Allin approached MJF and said it’s all a 15-minute ride and he didn’t want to look back and wonder who are all the people he let in his personal life that he has nothing in common with. Allin said he wouldn’t lower his morals like MJF.
“You’re an arrogant little boy,” MJF told Allin. MJF said he’s sick and tired of Allin, Perry, and Guevara whining about his morals. “Morals kill careers in this sport, and that’s a fact,” said MJF. He said Allin acts like a daredevil, but he’s really a gutless coward who won’t sacrifice what he needs to sacrifice.
MJF said he’s not an idiot, he’s keenly aware that he might be alone on his deathbed and he might not go to heaven if the afterlife exists. MJF said he couldn’t give a shit as long as the title belt comes with him. MJF said the difference between him and the other Pillars is that he will do whatever it takes. MJF said his legacy will read as follows – MJF, the greatest of all-time. MJF said Allin’s legacy read – Darby Allin, Sting’s bitch.”
Sting made his entrance with a mic in hand and joined Allin and MJF inside the ring. A loud “Sting” chant broke out. Sting said he didn’t understand all of the Daddy Daycare talk because he doesn’t see himself as a daycare kind of guy. Sting said he sees himself as more of a cheerleader. He pulled out a pompom and shook it in MJF’s face. Sting said he had a fever and the only cure was more pompoms, which led to him pulling out additional pompoms.
Sting said he would stop as long as MJF stopped talking about “this Cody daycare stuff.” Sting acted like he didn’t mean to say Cody, then said the truth hurts. Sting said MJF had his own cheerleader and a support system in Cody (Rhodes), just as he serves that role for Darby, and Ric Flair played that role for him. Sting thanked Flair for putting him on the map and said he loves him.
Sting recalled the Crow Sting and the Wolfpac Sting. “Love you Kevin, love you Scott,” Sting said. He added that it’s obvious that he still has a little Joker left in him. Sting said what he doesn’t have is a desire for the world title. Sting said he would be honest. “Showtime is almost over,” Sting said. “But Showtime is just starting for this man right here, Darby Allin.” Sting promised that Allin will become AEW World Champion. Sting put his arm around MJF’s neck and said it was Showtime.
Allin said he would leave the business the same man he came in, and he would also end MJF’s reign of terror by becoming the next AEW World Champion. MJF spat in the face of Allin and then rolled out of the ring… Excalibur hoped the TNT Title match for after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: I attended Full Gear 2021 in person and the MJF vs. Allin match opened the main card. It was a terrific match, but I’m surprised that Allin didn’t remind people that MJF cheated before he performed the “simple headlock takeover” and pinned him. This was a strong verbal segment. Allin continues to shine with the mic in hand, MJF is a gifted talker, and Sting took a fun stroll down memory lane while also endorsing Darby and needling MJF.
Powerhouse Hobbs made his entrance with QT Marshall, Aaron Solo, and Harley Cameron. His opponent Silas Young was already in the ring. Footage aired from earlier in the evening of Hobbs parking his car and tossing the keys to a security guard. Taz spoke about how much Hobbs loves his car…
2. Powerhouse Hobbs vs. Silas Young for the TNT Championship. Hobbs dominated the match and put Young down with a backbreaker slam…
Powerhouse Hobbs defeated Silas Young in 0:45 to retain the TNT Championship.
After the match, Hobbs tossed Young to ringside. Hobbs and Marshall started to drag Young up the ramp, but they stopped when Wardlow appeared on the big screen and said he loved Hobbs’s car. Wardlow used a pipe to batter Hobbs’s car. There just happened to be a forklift nearby with the keys in it. Wardlow used the forklift to tip the car over.
Wardlow’s entrance theme played. Wardlow came out and brawled with Hobbs. A group of wrestlers and producers ran out. Wardlow and most of his crew ended up backstage, but Solo was left behind. Wardlow powerbombed Solo off the stage and through some tables that just happened to be stacked near the stage…
Powell’s POV: A rushed and ridiculously contrived angle. Why not establish that the car means something to Hobbs for a few weeks before having Wardlow destroy it? Meanwhile, it was nice to see Young booked in his hometown even if it was a squash loss. Here’s hoping they do more with him in ROH.
A video package featured Jay White and Juice Robinson talking about Ricky Starks and talking about being Bullet Club being high rollers and taking over AEW…
Entrances for the AEW International Championship match took place. Trent Beretta and Chuck Taylor walked out with Cassidy, but they did not accompany him to the ring.
3. Orange Cassidy vs. Buddy Matthews (w/Julia Hart) for the AEW International Championship. Cassidy went for an early crossbody clock, but Matthews caught him. Cassidy escaped and ended up hitting an Orange Punch. Cassidy came up holding his already taped right hand. The doctor checked on Cassidy’s hand. Matthews ran over and stomped Cassidy’s hand heading into a PIP break. [C]
Matthews had Cassidy on his knees and taunted him by throwing light kicks. Cassidy stopped put his hands in his pockets, but Matthews blasted him with a knee to the face. Cassidy came back with Stundog Millionaire. Both men ended up righting on the ropes.
[Hour Two] Matthews went for a move, but Cassidy countered into a DDT. Matthews rolled to ringside. Cassidy dove through the ropes and hit a DDT on the floor. Cassidy sent Matthews back inside the ring and then performed a leap from the ropes into another DDT, which led to a near fall. Cassidy shook his bad hand and went for another Orange Punch, but Matthews ducked it.
Cassidy rolled Matthews into a pin for a near fall and then stood up and hit the Orange Punch for a near fall. Excalibur assumed that Cassidy’s hand injury prevented him from throwing the punch at full power. Cassidy threw another punch, but Matthews caught his fist and then blasted him with a knee to the face.
Cassidy motioned for Matthews to hit him again and then fell to the mat. Cassidy shot up, but Matthews put him down with a Stomp for a near fall. Cassidy hooked Matthews into the Mousetrap pin and got the three count.
Orange Cassidy beat Buddy Matthews in roughly 14:00 to retain the AEW International Championship.
Excalibur said Cassidy only uses the Mousetrap in emergency situations. A trainer escorted Cassidy to the back while Cassidy sold his hand injury…
A Christian Cage and Luchasaurus video aired. “Some things have changed,” Cage said… [C]
Powell’s POV: Another good Cassidy title defense. He’s doing everything he can to make the AEW International Championship matter. I continue to wish that the company would explain where the title fits in terms of whether it means more or less than the TNT Championship.
Renee Paquette interviewed Orange Cassidy, Trent Beretta, and Chuck Taylor on the backstage set. Paquette asked Cassidy for an update on his injured hand, which he was icing. Beretta boasted that Cassidy is defending his title on a weekly basis and it’s making them jealous. Taylor called for IWGP Tag Team Champions “Aussie Open” Mark Davis and Kyle Fletcher to come defend their titles against them on Friday’s AEW Rampage…
Ethan Page stood in the ring and delivered a promo. He complained about Matt Hardy costing him a match last week and noted that Stokely Hathaway was still injured. Page said Hardy still works for him and demanded to know what he put in their contract.
Matt Hardy and Isiah Kassidy walked out. Hardy said you have to read the fine print. Hardy said the contract let him and Private Party out of their deals if Hook beat Page. Hardy said the contract also let him choose the location and stipulation of their next match. Hardy said once he won it, then he and Private Party would be done with The Firm.
Page said The Firm consists of more than just him and Hathaway. Hardy and Kassidy walked toward the ring like idiots while Big Bill and Lee Moriarty attacked him from behind. Hook made his entrance and tried to help Hardy and Kassidy, but he was quickly outnumbered.
Jeff Hardy made his entrance and worked over The Firm members with a chair. Jeff hit a Twist of Fate on Moriarty, then went up top and executed a Swanton Bomb on Moriarty. Matt and Jeff shared a hug in the middle of the ring and then Jeff hugged Kassidy and Hook. Jeff went to the ropes and played to the cheering fans…
Powell’s POV: All you can really do is hope that Jeff is in a good place physically and mentally, and that returning to the ring won’t change that.
Highlights aired from two weeks earlier when the Blackpool Combat Club attacked Hangman Page, Don Callis, and others. They showed Callis having his nasty hard way cut tended to…
A taped Kenny Omega promo aired from Callis’s home. Omega said he and the Young Bucks agree that whatever problems exist with BCC will be handled in the ring. Omega said Callis isn’t the most likable guy and his room won’t be filled with flowers or get well cards, but he’s still family. Omega said it wouldn’t be blood for blood, it will be much worse the next time he sees the BCC…
Jon Moxley, Claudio Castagnoli, and Wheeler Yuta made their entrance through the crowd while “Wild Thing” played heading into a PIP break… [C]
Brandon Cutler and Michael Nakazawa made their entrance to the Being The Elite theme song. Moxley and Castagnoli attacked the duo on the entrance ramp. Castagnoli ran Nakazawa’s head into the ring post. Moxley worked over Cutler with a chair.
4. Jon Moxley and Claudio Castagnoli (w/Wheeler Yuta) vs. Brandon Cutler and Michael Nakazawa. The match started once a bloody Nakazawa was in the ring. There was a Nakazawa chant. He fired forearms to the head of Castagnoli, who then cut him off with a big clothesline. Castanoli performed The Swing on Nakazawa and then put him in a Sharpshooter.
A bloody Cutler entered the ring and threw light punches at Castagnoli, who released the hold and tossed Cutler back to ringside. Nakazawa performed a backdrop on Claudio, who tagged out. Moxley checked in while Cutler also tagged in. Moxley worked over Cutler and bit his nose. Cutler threw two clotheslines at Moxley, who stayed on his feet.
Moxley hit a lariat clothesline and then performed the Death Rider. Moxley applied the Bulldog Choke. Nakazawa ran in and broke it up. Castagnoli threw elbows to the head of Nakazawa while Moxley booted the head of Cutler until the referee called for the bell…
Jon Moxley and Claudio Castagnoli beat Brandon Cutler and Michael Nakazawa in 3:10.
After the match, Moxley got a mic and asked where various Elite members were. He said they were still at the hospital. Moxley said the BCC are truly the elite in pro wrestling.
Kenny Omega made his entrance and stood on the stage. The Young Bucks appeared inside the ring and then superkicked Moxley and Castagnoli once they turned around. Omega joined them in the ring and fired punches at Moxley’s head. The Bucks hit the BTE Trigger on Moxley.
Omega rolled a carrying case inside the ring. Omega picked up the case and was going to hit Moxley with it, but Matt Jackson stopped him. Matt handed Omega a screwdriver, which the broadcast team noted was the same type of screwdriver that Moxley used on the head of Hangman Page. Omega tried to stab Moxley with it, but Moxley escaped the ring. “Carry On Wayward Son” played while The Elite trio stood in the ring…
Powell’s POV: So Kenny and The Bucks let their hapless sidekicks take a vicious beating and then came out? I suppose they can cover that in retrospect by having Cutler and Nakazawa say that they insisted that they got to face Moxley and Castagnoli without help. Either way, the angle was well received by the live crowd.
Tony Schiavone interviewed Swerve Strickland, Prince Nana, and Brian Cage. Strickland said he created Darby Allin. Swerve said he had other scores in AEW and said they were going to leave with something…
5. Ruby Soho and Toni Storm (w/Saraya) vs. Skye Blue and Riho. The entrances of both teams were televised. Soho and Skye performed a double dropkick that sent Soho to ringside. Soho performed a dive onto both opponents heading into a PIP break. [C]
Late in the match, Riho performed a crucifix bomb on Soho after Blue dropkicked Soho into the move. Storm came back and hit a hip attack and Storm Zero on Blue before pinning her…
Ruby Soho and Toni Storm beat Skye Blue and Riho.
After the match, The Outcasts spray painted their opponents and then put Riho down with a Triple Powerbomb. Jamie Hayter ran out and was outnumbered Britt Baker made her entrance and took out Soho and Storm at ringside, then entered the ring and fought with Saraya. Baker set up for a Stomp, but Soho and Storm pulled Saraya to the floor…
Powell’s POV: More of the same. The female babyfaces continue to look like morons for always leaving themselves outnumbered against The Outcasts. And the spray paint gimmick continues to be flat.
Excalibur hyped Keith Lee vs. Chris Jericho as coming up next… [C]
Chris Jericho made his entrance to “Judas” and was accompanied by Daniel Garcia. Keith Lee’s entrance followed…
6. Chris Jericho (w/Daniel Garcia) vs. Keith Lee. Excalibur Jericho threw chops at Lee, who no-sold them and then put Jericho down. Lee walked over and kissed the top of a kneeling Jericho’s head. Jericho stood up and charged Lee, who shoved him back to the mat. Excalibur read through the Rampage and Dynamite lineups while graphics appeared on the screen.
Lee went to the ropes and was distracted by Garcia, which allowed Jericho to come back with a springboard dropkick heading into a PIP break. [C] Garcia provided another distraction, but this time Lee saw Jericho coming and put him in a bearhug for a moment. Lee followed up with a clothesline.
Lee powered up Jericho for a powerbomb, but Jericho slipped away and rolled him up for a two count. Lee ran through a Jericho clothesline and then knocked him over with a big shoulder block. Lee went for a second rope moonsault. Jericho put his knees up, but he sold knee pain more than Jericho sold being affected.
Lee went for a powerbomb, but Jericho slipped out and gouged his eyes. Jericho applied the Walls of Jericho. Lee eventually reached the ropes to break the hold. Lee tossed Jericho across the ring. Lee hoisted up Jericho, who grabbed the referee. Lee took a shot at Garcia, who had climbed onto the apron. Lee pulled Garcia into the ring and then clotheslined him and Jericho.
Jericho came right back with a Codebreaker attempt, but Lee stuffed it and then performed a sit-out powerbomb. Lee had Jericho beat, but the referee was focused on clearing Garcia from the ring. Swerve Strickland showed up and hit Lee with the ring bell. Jericho covered Lee and then the referee turned and made the three count.
Chris Jericho defeated Keith Lee in 14:20.
Adam Cole made his entrance and checked on Lee, who was down at ringside. Jericho and Garcia fumed in the ring as Cole and Lee turned and started to make their exit. Cole stopped and looked over his shoulder, just as Jericho did to him previously. Jericho was upset. Garcia told Jericho that Cole must not know who Jericho is…
Powell’s POV: So we’re back to Keith Lee feuding with Swerve Strickland after all this time. The main event was fine. Jericho did his best with the big man and the live crowd seemed to enjoy it. The post match scene with Cole returning the favor was a nice touch.
Overall, this episode was a mixed bag. I will have a lot more to say about it in my weekly same night AEW Dynamite audio review for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons). Let me know what you thought of the show by grading it below.