By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite (Episode 216)
Chicago, Illinois at Wintrust Arena
Aired live November 22, 2023 on TBS
[Hour One] The Dynamite opening aired… The broadcast team of Excalibur, Taz, and Tony Schiavone checked in from their desk. The big screen displayed Ric Flair energy drink logos, and there were four cans of it sitting on the broadcast desk. Excalibur hyped the Continental Classic and spoke about the scoring. He added to the rules by saying there would be point deductions for outside interference…
Ring announcer Justin Roberts delivered the introductions for the opening match. Swerve Strickland made his entrance while highlights of his Full Gear win over Hangman Page were shown. Jay Lethal’s entrance followed…
1. Swerve Strickland vs. Jay Lethal in a Continental Classic Gold League tournament match. Swerve had tape on his right shoulder. There were loud chants of “Swerve’s house.” Lethal targeted Swerve’s bad arm. Swerve kicked Lethal’s left knee and then taunted him. Swerve applied a leg lock and then flexed for the crowd.
Excalibur noted the signing of Will Ospreay and plugged the on-sale date for AEW All In. Lethal came back with a shoulder breaker. Both men were down heading into the first picture-in-picture break. [C]
Powell’s POV: The broadcast team has already pushed everything from the Continental Classic scoring to the All In on-sale date to Rampage airing on Saturday before Collision. They throw so much at viewers that it’s hard to imagine it all actually sticking. Of course it all needs to be mentioned, but I think they are being asked to lump too much in at once.
Swerve executed a superplex coming out of the break. Swerve kicked Lethal’s bad leg out from under him and then followed up with a series of punches and a Flatliner. Swerve followed up with what Excalibur called a brainbuster (it looked more like a suplex). Lethal came back and hit a top rope elbow drop for a near fall.
A short time later, Swerve applied a stretch muffler that Lethal broke by reaching the ropes. Lethal rolled Swerve into a pin for a two count. Lethal followed up with a crossface that Swerve rolled out of. Lethal blasted Swerve with a pump kick. Lethal set up for his Lethal Injection, but Swerve dropkicked him. Swerve followed up with a House Call and then hit a top rope double stomp and scored the clean pin…
Swerve Strickland defeated Jay Lethal in 13:45 to earn three points in the Continental Classic tournament.
Powell’s POV: A good match. It wasn’t the hottest match to open the tournament with, as I think most viewers see Lethal as a throwaway entrant. Yes, he can have good matches, but he’s been involved in so much campy comedy that no one sees him as a threat to win the tournament.
The Continental Classic’s Gold League leaderboard was shown…
Orange Cassidy, Hook, and Katsuyori Shibata were on the interview set with Renee Paquette, who noted that Cassidy had an announcement. Wheeler Yuta showed up and mockingly applauded Cassidy for beating Jon Moxley at Full Gear and then pointed out that it took 17 Orange Punches, a Beach Break, and an exposed turnbuckle. Yuta took a verbal jab at Hook and then told Shibata that he would take his (ROH Pure Rules) championship back. Once Yuta walked away, Cassidy said he did have an announcement, but they were out of time…
MJF and Adam Cole made their entrance. Cole sat on a chair once he was inside the ring. MJF limped while using a cane, and Cole used crutches and had his left foot in a walking boot. MJF boasted that he beat the previously unbeaten Jay White on one leg. He praised White for being one of the best wrestlers and said no one is on the level of the devil.
MJF boasted that he the greatest AEW World Champion of all-time. MJF said none of that is possible without his “brochacho for life.” Cole asked who was ready for story time. He said it was great to be back in Chicago and to still be one half of the ROH Tag Team Titles “with a little bit of help from Samoa Joe.”
Cole said that with the good news comes the bad news. He said he’s not ready to walk let alone wrestle yet. He said he would work his ass off every single day to get back in the ring. Cole said he would come back at 100 percent and be the best he’s ever been.
Cole told MJF that he’s worried about him. He said he wanted to be by his side every week, but he can’t do that. Cole mentioned so many people were coming after MJF, who then said he was coming after the Devil Mask character. They cut to the Devil Mask, who laughed before they cut back to the ring.
Samoa Joe made his entrance. Joe said it was a time for celebration due to MJF retaining two titles. Joe took a jab at Cole by calling him MJF’s “less adequate friend” while saying Cole couldn’t help MJF. Joe said he came to Chicago to make sure that honorable men honor their deals.
MJF was censored when he said Joe’s breath smelled like a skunk’s asshole. MJF was censored again when he responded to Joe’s title match challenge. Joe backed MJF up against the ropes. Cole pleaded with Joe to stop. Joe backed off. Cole said the new MJF can’t do this. He said Joe is a killer.
Cole said people love MJF because when he says something will happen, it happens. Cole said MJF promised Joe a championship shot and then told him to be a man of his word. MJF said he wouldn’t be the first ROH legend he defeated in Chicago twice.
MJF called for a match with Joe tonight. “Absolutely not,” Joe said. Joe said MJF would bitch and complain online the next day that he wasn’t 100 percent. Joe said MJF should be “nice and chipper” to defend his title at Worlds End. MJF noted that the event would take place in “the most magical place in the world” in Long Island. Joe said that was correct. MJF told him that he had a deal.
MJF and Joe shook hands. Joe tried to leave, but MJF pulled him back. MJF said facing him on Long Island is as dangerous as copping head from an alligator. MJF said based on the way Joe is looking these days, he probably doesn’t have many options.
Joe said all the worrying that MJF is doing about the Devil Mask character goes away today. Joe said MJF is now his property and nobody touches his property without his say so. Joe said he would be a few steps behind MJF even if he didn’t know he was there. Joe said he would then choke out MJF in front of everyone he loves at Worlds End…
Powell’s POV: Is the network getting sensitive after all this time? I don’t remember them censoring so many things during a single segment. Anyway, I like that they wasted no time in establishing the Worlds End main event. They did a nice job of setting up the majority of the Full Gear card further in advance than usual, so hopefully this is a sign that they are making some changes to the way they build to their pay-per-view cards.
Orange Cassidy, Hook, and Katsuyori Shibata made their entrance while their opponents were already inside the ring. Cassidy went to ringside and grabbed a mic from the timekeepers table. Cassidy said he had a Thanksgiving surprise. Danhausen made his entrance to a good reaction from the live crowd…
2. Orange Cassidy, Hook, and Katsuyori Shibata (w/Danhausen) vs. Jake Hager, Angelo Parker, and Matt Menard. Menard jumped Hook while Danhausen was making his entrance to start the match. The heel trio isolated Hook heading into an early PIP break. [C]
Cassidy took a hot tag, but he was quickly slammed to the mat by Hager. Cassidy came right back with a Stundog Millionaire and then tagged out. Shibata ran into a couple of big boots from Hager and ducked a third before dropping Hager with one of his own.
Danhausen climbed onto the apron and put Hager’s purple hat on his head. Hager went after Danhausen, who cursed him. Shibata tagged in Hook and then he and Shibata put Menard and Parker in Redrum and a sleeper. Hook was the legal man and Excalibur pointed out that he didn’t have the right man locked in his hold, which led to Hook and Shibata swapping men. Hook forced Parker to submit to Redrum…
Orange Cassidy, Hook, and Katsuyori Shibata beat Jake Hager, Angelo Parker, and Matt Menard in 8:05.
Backstage, Paquette interviewed Adam Cole, who said he can’t wait to start physical therapy. He started to talk about how proud of MJF he is when he was interrupted. “Adam!” Roderick Strong was wheeled into the picture by Matt Taven and Mike Bennett. Strong asked Cole where he was on Friday when Action Andretti dropped him on his head. Cole told him to shut up and figure out that he’s not his best friend anymore. Cole told Strong to leave him alone and then left the area…
Powell’s POV: It’s good to see Strong is still in one piece after taking that nasty bump on Friday. It will be interesting to see how Strong’s character reacts now that he’s been scorned by Cole.
Excalibur touted the signing of Will Ospreay while footage aired of Ospreay beating Chris Jericho at All In. Additional footage aired of Ospreay appearing at Full Gear. Schiavone hyped the All In 2024…
TNT Champion Christian Cage made his entrance with Luchasaurus and Nick Wayne. Cage said he could say with his hand on his heart that he did not lose the six-man tag team match at Full Gear. Cage added that Wayne did not lose the match. Cage looked at Luchasaurus and said he lost the match.
Cage said that was unacceptable to him. He said he went home and thought about how to get rid of the stench of losing. Cage said it hit him like a ton of bricks. He said that since Wayne and Luchasaurus are his children, it was time to recreate them in his image.
Cage told Luchasaurus to take a knee. Luchasaurus stayed on his feet. Cage told him again. Luchasaurus didn’t budge. Cage called him a moron and ordered him to take a knee, which Luchasaurus then did. Cage said the name Luchasaurus will forever be associated with being a loser.
[Hour Two] Cage said Luchasaurus is his finisher and will be forever known form here on out as Killswitch. The newly named Killswitch looked upset. Cage said Wayne’s name, causing Wayne to immediately drop to one knee. Cage told Wayne to get on his feet. Cage told Wayne to never get on his knees for another person and said he’s special. Cage said Wayne is the son he always wanted and he’s his golden boy. Cage told Wayne he loves him.
Cage said Wayne will forever be known as “The Prodigy” Nick Wayne. Cage and Wayne hugged. Nick Wayne’s mom entered the ring. Cage asked what she was doing there. Cage told her that she is a terrible mother. Cage said she makes $40,000 per year being a waitress and can’t provide for her son.
Cage said it’s a good thing that her husband is dead already because Nick would have disowned him anyway because he would have realized that his father was never as good of a wrestler as he is. Cage said things could have been different had Nick’s mom played her cards right. Cage told her to leave the ring and punch her card because her shift was about to start at Denny’s.
Killswitch moved between Cage and Nick’s mom. Cage told Killswitch to get on his knees. Killswitch didn’t budge. Cage told him twice to get on his knees, but he stayed standing. Cage slapped Killswitch, who started to get upset. Cage told him to get on his knees or he would make him show the world why he wears a mask.
Cage shoved Killswitch into Nick’s mom, who fell to the ground and stayed there while the broadcast team was finally identified her by her first name Shayna. Nick went to ringside and grabbed two chairs from underneath the ring. Cage placed Shayna’s head on one chair and then raised the other while Nick watched. Cage stopped and then handed one of the chairs to Killswitch and ordered him to do it. Killswitch wound up to give Shayna a Conchairto.
Adam Copleland’s entrance theme played and he ran to the ring while Cage scurried to ringside. Copeland speared Wayne and then booted Killswitch in the face. Cage returned with the TNT Title belt, but Copeland saw him coming. Killswitch reached inside the ring and pulled Cage to safety. Copeland waited for Wayne to stand up and then speared him. Cage watched the ramp and said “No” while Copeland put Wayne down with a Impaler DDT.
Copeland set up for a Conchairto. Shayna Wayne sat in the corner and indicated that she didn’t want Copeland to do it. Copeland hit Wayne with a Conchairto anyways. Shayna checked on Wayne while Copeland stood in the ring and glared Cage, who was on the stage will Killswitch…
Powell’s POV: A strong segment. I was hoping that Shayna was going to low blow Copeland to save her son. And now I’m hoping that Copeland hitting her son with a Conchairto will be enough to drive her into the arms of Cage. I’m sure the Luchasaurus name will return once Killswitch turns on Cage, but I won’t miss it in the meantime.
Paquette tried to interview Anna Jay on the backstage interview set while Matt Menard, Angelo Parker, and Jake Hager stood by. Menard freaked out. Hager asked what Danhausen was doing with his hat. Jay told them enough and told Paquette to focus on her. Paquette mentioned that Jay would face Ruby Soho and Skye Blue. Jay said she’s tired of the infighting and she would do this for herself. Parker had Soho’s face on his phone. Jay asked if he would be in her corner. Parker said of course and then started looking at his phone…
3. Rush vs. Jay White in a Continental Classic Gold League tournament match. The faction mates of both men came out, but headed to the back because they are not allowed at ringside during tournament matches. Rush did his Bull’s Horn’s tease and then struck his traqulio pose heading into an early PIP break. [C]
White performed a brainbuster that led to a two count. White taunted Rush with a matador pose. Rush fired back and eventually hit a knee strike. White put Rush down with a uranage slam for a near fall. White set up for his finisher, but Rush escaped and they traded more chops.
A short time later, Rush sent White into the corner with an overhead suplex. Rush followed up with a running elbow strike. Rush went for Bull’s Horns, but White got his feet. White went for his finisher, but Rush escaped and shoved White, who nearly collided with the referee. While the referee had his back turned, White kicked Rush in the balls and then hit the Bladerunner and scored the pin…
Jay White defeated Rush in roughly 14:00 to earn three points in the Continental Classic tournament.
Excalibur hyped Toni Storm for after the break… [C]
The broadcast team recapped highlights of Ricky Starks and Big Bill winning the four-way ladder match to retain the AEW Tag Titles at Full Gear. They also recapped footage of Kenny Omega and Chris Jericho beating The Young Bucks to earn a tag title shot. Footage was shown from the post show media scrum of a brief angle involving the champions and Jericho…
New footage was shown of Starks and Bill attacking Jericho after the scrum and running a production create into his already injured right arm…
Powell’s POV: A good match, but I may have saved this one for another night in favor of going with all clean finishes on night one of the tournament.
RJ City and Renee Paquette walked onto the stage where a microphone stand was set up. City said they were there to present the AEW Women’s Championship. City pulled an envelope out of his pocket and did an awards show announcement by saying “and the AEW Women’s Championship goes to”, complete with Paquette joining him while they said her name.
Storm was shown standing up from her seat with Luther and then going to the stage to accept. She tripped as she was getting there. Mariah May came out and presented Storm with the AEW Women’s Championship belt. Storm said it was embarrassing because she didn’t have anything prepared.
Storm pulled out a sheet of paper and thanked Mr. Anthony Khan and the people at Warner Discovery, especially Jack Warner. They started to play her off, but Storm said she wasn’t done. Storm thanked “the little Toni Storms out there who want to be me.” She said it’s her spot and they will not take it, which bothered May. Storm told the kids to stay in school. May went back to smiling and applauded once Storm’s speech was over.
Skye Blue made her entrance and looked at Storm before she headed to the ring for her three-way match… [C]
4. Skye Blue vs. Ruby Soho (w/Saraya) vs. Anna Jay (w/Angelo Parker, Matt Menard) in a three-way. Tony Schiavone announced that Tony Khan(!) informed him that they would stick with the main event as long as they needed to. Blue set up for an early move on the apron, but Parker grabbed her foot, which allowed Jay to knock her off the apron. Excalibur noted that there are no disqualifications in three-way matches. Jay was in offensive control heading into a PIP break. [C]
Soho ended up at ringside and graded smiles with Soho. Saraya and Menard weren’t happy and pulled them apart. Back inside the ring, Blue performed a crossbody block from the ropes onto both opponents. Blue went for her finisher on Jay, but Jay hooked her arms and then slammed Blue face first to the mat. Jay had the pin, but Parker broke it up.
Menard grabbed Soho’s foot from the floor to stop her from running the ropes. Saraya barked at Menard. Soho was knocked off the apron into the arms of Parker, who held her and they both smiled. Saraya pulled Soho away and scolded her. In the ring, Blue avoided Jay’s finisher and then superkicked her. Blue followed up with a cutter and got the pin because Soho was late to break it up.
Sky Blue beat Ruby Soho and Anna Jay in a three-way in 8:50.
Saraya and Soho continued to argue as they headed tot he back. Jay looked annoyed by Parker…
Powell’s POV: This was more about Parker and Soho than what was happening inside the ring. Here’s hoping that Jay is finally getting away from Chris Jericho’s former lackeys.
Paquette approached Wardlow backstage and asked what he was waiting for when it came to gaining revenge on MJF. Wardlow said the world doesn’t revolve around MJF and it will happen on his time. AR Fox showed up and said Wardlow was putting the blame on everybody else. He said he was doing the same to Darby Allin. Wardlow said he doesn’t need advice from anyone and then dropped Fox with a headbutt…
Powell’s POV: A justifiable headbutt. Mind your damn business, Fox. I now look forward to watching Wardlow destroy Fox in a future squash match.
Mark Briscoe made his entrance via the stage. Jon Moxley came out through his usual spot…
5. Jon Moxley vs. Mark Briscoe in a Continental Classic Gold League tournament match. Excalibur emphasized that they would stick with the match until the finish if it went past the top of the hour. Taz gave kudos to Tony Khan(!) and the network. Good lord.
Moxley and Briscoe traded strikes to start the match and there were dueling crowd chants for each wrestler. Excalibur hyped the previously advertised Continental Classic matches for Collision. Moxley booted Briscoe off the ring apron. Briscoe was down on the floor heading into the final PIP break. [C] Briscoe came up bleeding from the forehead.
[Overrun] Moxley put Briscoe down with a piledriver and covered him for a near fall. Briscoe came back with a suplex and got a two count. Moxley came right back with an ambar, but Briscoe got his foot on the rope to break the hold.
A short time later, Briscoe performed a rolling Death Valley Driver and then hit his Froggy Bow top rope elbow drop for a near fall. Briscoe set up for a Jay Driller. Moxley avoided the move and hit a lariat and a Death Rider for a good near fall. Moxley set up for a bulldog choke. Briscoe pushed off the ropes into a pin for a two count.
Moxley suplexed Briscoe, who shot right up. Both wrestlers traded strikes in the middle of the ring. Moxley put Briscoe down and performed a Stomp. Moxley executed another Death Rider and scored the clean pin…
Jon Moxley defeated Mark Briscoe in 11:35 to earn three points in the Continental Classic tournament.
The updated standings for the tournament’s Gold League were shown. They also cut to a shot of the NJPW Strong Openweight title belt, the ROH title belt, and the covered Continental Classic belt. Briscoe returned to the ring and shook hands with Moxley. The Blue League scoreboard was shown to display the wrestlers involved while Excalibur hyped Rampage and Collision for Saturday. Excalibur wished viewers “a Happy Thanksgiving for Thursday, if that’s how you get down”…
Powell’s POV: A good main event and my favorite of the three tournament matches. All three matches were fine, but I don’t think they wowed anyone with the start of this tournament by having two predictable match outcomes and then going with a low blow finish in the least predictable of the bunch. I was hoping that we’d see an upset in the main event to at least close the show with something memorable.
Overall, this was a solid fallout show from Full Gear with a decent start to the tournament. I will have a lot 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 the show below.