AEW Dynamite results (1/3): Powell’s live review of Samoa Joe’s first appearance as AEW World Champion, Adam Cole explains why he turned on MJF, Orange Cassidy vs. Dante Martin for the AEW International Title

By Jason Powell, Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

AEW Dynamite (Episode 222)
Newark, New Jersey at Prudential Center
Aired live January 3, 2024 on TBS

[Hour One] Dynamite opened with footage from after the Worlds End pay-per-view featuring Samoa Joe talking about beating MJF for the AEW World Championship. Joe said MJF thought he would appreciate him like the rest of the New York scumbags do. Joe said MJF did everything he could to keep the title from him.

Joe said he took everything from MJF in front of MJF’s friends and family. He said that MJF might be a scumbag, but he’s a heartless son of a bitch. Joe said he will always take what is his. “I am Samoa Joe, I am the AEW World Champion, and I will take everything from anyone who tries to take this from me,” Joe said to close…

Excalibur checked in on commentary and said that Samoa Joe embarrassed MJF in his hometown by beating him for the AEW World Championship. He also narrated footage of Adam Cole revealing himself as The Devil while Matt Taven, Mike Bennett, Wardlow, and Roderick Strong were unveiled as his henchmen. Taz and Tony Schiavone were also on commentary…

Adam Cole used crutches to get to the ring and was accompanied by Taven, Bennett, Wardlow, and Strong. Once in the ring, Cole held up The Devil mask before taking a seat on a chair in the middle of the ring. Excalibur noted that Cole was coming off double ankle surgery.

Strong told the fans to shut up and listen to his best friend ADAM! Cole asked if the fans didn’t have sympathy for him. He said he finds it ironic that so many people were shocked and appalled by what happened at Worlds End. He said the people don’t know right from wrong and think that they are the bad guys for betraying MJF.

Cole said MJF has run his mouth and made enemies in the locker room. He said if this makes him the bad guy, then buy him a first class ticket straight to hell. Cole said MJF is a narcissist. He said most of the locker room, the fans, and even Tony Khan will eventually thank him.

“MJF is gone and he’s never coming back,” Cole declared. Cole asked how could he do it. He said MJF would have done the same to him and he just beat him to the punch. He said he never needed MJF, whereas MJF needed him. Cole said he sacrificed everything for their friendship and even broke his ankle. Cole said the fans wouldn’t even be cheering for MJF if it wasn’t for him.

Cole said he saved MJF’s championship reign and he even ended it. He said it started as being about the AEW World Champion and then became about destroying a man, ripping out his heart, and bringing him to his knees. A “shut the f— up” chant started and went uncensored.

Cole said The Undisputed Kingdom is very much alive. He said aside from their disdain for a guy who no longer works in AEW, they also have the desire to win championship gold in common. Cole introduced Taven and Bennett as the ROH Tag Team Champions. Cole said Strong would go after the AEW International Championship. Cole said Wardlow is finally with a group of people who respect him and he will go after the AEW World Championship.

Cole said that when the time is right and he’s one hundred percent healed, Wardlow will forfeit the AEW World Championship and give it to him. Wardlow nodded in approval. Cole said it was a pleasure to do business with Samoa Joe, but he hopes Joe isn’t the champion by the time Wardlow earns a title shot because it would suck to hurt a friend. Cole said The Undisputed Kingdom starts a new chapter in AEW. Cole held up The Devil mask and closed by saying, “The Devil is here to stay, bay-bay.”

Jay White’s entrance music played and he walked onto the stage with a microphone while the broadcast team recalled that he was the first victim of The Devil and his henchmen. White said he’s a big fan of what Cole did to MJF, but he also recalled Cole’s crew attacking him. White said he’s not alone and then Austin Gunn and Colten Gunn walked onto the stage.

Bullet Club Gold members White and The Gunns headed to the ring and fought The Undisputed Kingdom while Cole watched from ringside. The numbers game got to White and the broadcast team said that Wardlow was the difference maker in beating them down.

The Acclaimed’s entrance music hit. Max Caster, Anthony Bowens, and Billy Gunn came out while the broadcast team recalled them being victims of an attack by The Devil. The Undisputed Kingdom members ducked out to ringside. Bullet Club Gold got to their feet and looked at The Acclaimed and Gunn and then exited the ring…

Powell’s POV: The one time Adam Cole actually had a story to tell, he didn’t ask who was ready for story time with Adam Cole. Anyway, Cole did a really nice job with the first promo since he revealed himself as The Devil. He used good logic and while I chuckled over him not using the “story time” line, he was clearly avoiding anything that would make the fans side with him. I’m not crazy about the idea that Wardlow would even claim that he would hand over the championship given what his character went through with MJF, but I suppose things could change if and when they ever get to that point. Oh, and they really want viewers to believe that MJF is done with the company.

A highlight package recapped Eddie Kingston winning the Continental Classic tournament by defeating Jon Moxley at Worlds End to become the first AEW Triple Crown Champion…

Excalibur announced Trent Beretta, Brian Cage, Bryan Keith, and El Hijo del Vikingo in a four-way to determine Kingston’s first challenger, and said the AEW International Championship match would be the first match of the night. He ran through the rest of the lineup and said Swerve Strickland vs. Daniel Garcia would close the show…

A video package aired with Daniel Garcia talking about his match with Swerve. He said it’s a mission statement match and said it doesn’t matter how much pressure Swerve adds, he would not fold nor lose…

Orange Cassidy made his entrance with Hook and Danhausen, who accompanied him onto the stage and then headed to the back while he went to the ring. Dante Martin made his entrance alone…

1. Orange Cassidy vs. Dante Martin for the AEW International Championship. They went to ringside early. Cassidy ran Martin into the barricade a couple of times and then put his hands in his pockets. Cassidy dropkicked Martin while keeping his hands in his pockets. Cassidy set up for a suplex, but Martin reversed it on the floor heading into a picture-in-picture break. [C]

Martin performed a springboard crossbody block from the top rope and picked up a two count. Excalibur played up Martin’s lower back pain being an issue. Martin did the light leg kicks to Cassidy, who avoided his legit kick attempt and then superkicked him.

A short time later, Cassidy leaped from the ropes and spiked Martin with a nice DDT for a two count. Martin avoided the Orange Punch and then hoisted up Cassidy in powerbomb position. Martin stuffed Cassidy’s attempt to counter into a huracanrana, then popped him up and hit him with a knee strike to the face that led to a two count.

Martin went up top, but Cassidy slowly rolled away. Martin ran the ropes and then dove onto Cassidy and picked up another two count. Cassidy caught Martin in a crucifix pin for a two count. Martin came right back with a rollup for a two count. Cassidy ducked Martin’s dropkick attempt and then dropped him with the Orange Punch and pinned him.

Orange Cassidy defeated Dante Martin in 13:30 to retain the AEW International Championship.

Excalibur explained that Martin countered the Orange Punch with a dropkick during a six-man tag match on Rampage. Hook and Danhausen came to the ring to congratulate Cassidy, and Darius Martin and Action Andretti came out to check on Dante. Once Dante got to his feet, he and Cassidy shook hands.

Private Party’s entrance music played. A man on the stage opened a velvet rope and then Marq Quen and Isiah Kassidy made their entrance and hugged on the stage. Quen said they’ve been keeping tabs on the tag division and it’s been missing flavor, excitement, and Private Party.

Quen and Kassidy entered the ring and said they were putting every tag team on notice, including the teams that were in the ring with them. They also mentioned FTR, the Young Bucks, and even The Hardys. Kassidy played to the crowd for a moment and then their music played. Action Andretti did his water bottle trick and got in the face of Quen…

Powell’s POV: I’m not really sure why everyone else had to stand around while Private Party cut their promo, but it was good to see Quen back after a long layoff. Hopefully this means we’ve seen the last of Brother Zay. Meanwhile, the match was well worked. I appreciate the desire of the wrestlers to play off their Rampage match, but I wonder if it’s worth the trouble given that Rampage is watched by well under half of the Dynamite audience.

Backstage, Renee Paquette interviewed Toni Storm, who was accompanied by Luther. The picture was in black and white. Storm said she was excited to come to this show until she realized they were in New Jersey rather than New York. Paquette said Mariah May was making her debut and had been begging Storm to watch one of her matches. Storm said she doesn’t watch wrestling and asked how hard could it be. She said May had to pay her dues and what better way to do it than wrestle in New Jersey. Storm had Luther picked her up in his arms and then kicked off her shoe… [C]

A Malakai Black and Buddy Matthews video aired. They spoke about facing FTR on AEW Collision. They noted that it would be fought in North Carolina in front of FTR’s friends and family…

Swerve Strickland and Prince Nana were interviewed by Paquette on the backstage interview set. Nana said Daniel Garcia is a respected competitor, but he’s getting in the ring with the boss of the bosses. Swerve said he respects that Garcia was after championship gold like he was in 2023. Swerve said pressure isn’t about making diamonds for the Mogul Embassy, it’s about making pain. Swerve said he wants to accomplish something in 2024 that he was unable to do in 2023 by winning championship gold. He said it was up to Samoa Joe and said he would be coming after him…

Mariah May made her entrance while her opponent was already inside the ring…

2. Mariah May vs. Queen Aminata. May slapped Aminata to start the match. May threw a nice dropkick at Aminata and covered her for a one count. May tied up Aminata in the ropes facing away from the ring and then dropkicked her from behind heading into a PIP break. [C]

May placed Aminata in a seated position on the top rope and then double chopped her. May went for a handstand into a huracanrana, but Aminata shoved her off. Aminata slapped May three times and ducked when May tried to return the favor. Aminata took May down with a snape mare and then kicked her from behind and hit her with a running knee strike to the face.

Aminata hit May with an elbow strike in the corner. She hit another and went for a third, but May put her down with a sling blade clothesline. May followed up with her Mayday finisher and scored the pin.

Mariah May beat Queen Aminata in 6:40.

After the match, Paquette entered the ring and congratulated May, who said she couldn’t believe she won her AEW debut. May said she wanted to be a wrestler since she was a little kid and it was surreal to her to be in an AEW ring. She said she hoped Toni Storm was watching and proud of her. She said it’s the first Dynamite of the new year and it’s all about her. She said her only regret was that she had to do this in New Jersey.

Deonna Purrazzo made her entrance in non-wrestling attire. The broadcast team said Purrazzo is a former ROH Women’s World Champion and a hometown hero. Purrazzo entered the ring and received a nice ovation. Paquette introduced her as The Virtuosa. A “Deonna” chant broke out.

Purrazzo said she’s from New Jersey. She said that if Toni Storm didn’t want to be there, then “we all don’t want her here either.” Purrazzo told May to tell Storm that it doesn’t matter where she runs and hide, she will find her, because she is All Elite. Purrazzo said we’re in the age of The Virtuosa. A “New Jersey” chant broke out.

“I’m not the messenger, so tell her yourself, bitch,” May said. May slapped Purrazzo, who returned the favor. Purrazzo threw a kick at May, who rolled out of the ring. Purrazzo stood tall and played to the crowd…

Powell’s POV: The goal seemed to be getting both women over during the match as opposed to simply spotlighting May in her debut and it worked. However, introducing Purrazzo and having her get the better definitely upstaged May’s first match. Nevertheless, I’m happy to see the talented Purrazzo land in AEW. She’s a good addition to the women’s roster. It’s not the female debut that people have been predicting for this show, but the night is young.

[Hour Two] [C] TNT Champion Christian Cage made his entrance with Killswitch, Shayna Wayne, and Nick Wayne. Tony Schiavone was in the ring and tried to talk to Cage, but Shayna pulled the mic in front of her and scolded the crowd for booing her and then introduced Cage.

Cage gave over the top thanks to Shayna and Nick. “Lastly, I’d like to thank the man that sealed the victory at World’s End, the man that put the final nail in the coffin that is Adam Copeland,” Cage said. “I would like to thank myself.” Killswitch looked dejected and then a Luchasaurus chant broke out.

Cage said he felt it was his duty to address Copeland for the final time. Cage said he’s beaten Copeland twice and is 2-0 against him, so he has to go to the back of the line. Cage said he could talk about how Copeland grew up without a father or how his mother is no longer with us, but now he has to take up and look in the mirror every morning and realize that Cage is superior to Copeland.

Cage said he would like to think that they left a little of their souls in the ring, but the difference is that he has no soul and that’s why he’s still the TNT Champion. Cage said that what happened at Worlds End was just a glimmer of what he’s willing to do to hold on to his title. Cage said he didn’t want anyone to forget that the title was thrown on the scrapheap and he made it one of the most prestigious titles.

Another “Luchasaurus” chant broke out. Cage scolded the crowd and said his name is Killswitch. “We are The Patriarchy, we run AEW, we are the faces of AEW, and we run AEW now and forever,” Cage closed…

Powell’s POV: The usual strong mic work from Cage. The fans are really starting to get behind Killswitch/Luchasaurus. It should be a big moment when he finally has enough of Cage’s antics if they play it right.

Paquette interviewed Ruby Soho, Saraya, and Harley Cameron on the backstage interview set. Soho said she thought Cameron was another blonde who was out of her mind, but she had to admit that she helped her. Cameron said she was so excited to be part of The Outcasts and emphasized that she would do anything for either woman. After Soho left, Saraya told Cameron to play it cool and said she was making it obvious…

3. Konosuke Takeshita vs. Darby Allin. Both entrances were televised. Don Callis sat in on commentary. Takeshita was on the offensive early. Allin eventually sent him to ringside and tried to hit him with a suicide dive, but Takeshita caught him with a great knee strike, which drew “holy shit” chants. Allin crawled up the bottom of the ramp. Takeshita grabbed him from behind and performed a rolling German Suplex down the ramp heading into a PIP break. [C]

Allin hit a suicide dive coming out of the break. Back inside the ring, Takeshita performed a great inverted piledriver for a near fall. A “this is awesome” chant broke out. Takeshita went for a running knee strike, but Allin ducked out to the floor. Takeshita followed and went for the running knee, but Allin moved and then Takeshita’s knee hit the barricade before he tumbled over it.

Allin performed a Coffin Drop onto Takeshita on the floor in front of the broadcast desk. The referee started to count while Takeshita was down. Callis nudged Takeshita, who returned to the ring and was immediately hit with a Code Red for a close near fall. Allin went for a Coffin Drop, but Takeshita put his knees up. Takeshita sold his injured knee.

Takeshita grabbed Allin from behind, slapped his bad knee a few times, and then suplexed him. Takeshita limped as he approached Allin and performed another suplex. Takeshita indicated that he was about to end the match. Takeshita went for a vertical suplex, but Allin caught him in an inside cradle for a two count. Allin followed up with a crucifix for another two count.

Takeshita blasted Allin with a clothesline. Callis signaled to Takeshita to end the match. Takeshita hit Allin with a Helluva style kick in the corner. Takeshita placed Allin on the top rope in a seated position facing the crowd and then performed a German Suplex from the middle rope. Allin motioned for more and then Takeshita blasted him with a knee strike and pinned him.

Konosuke Takeshita defeated Darby Allin in 12:50.

After the match, Callis entered the ring and raised Takeshita’s arm. Excalibur said the four-way match was up next… [C]

Powell’s POV: That’s more like it. Takeshita inexplicably slipped into the background after scoring a pair of wins over Kenny Omega. This was his first major win since then and he looked great doing it. Here’s hoping that this is a sign that the company recognizes what they have in Takeshita and have a real plan to do more with him. My only knock is that this was the most appealing match on the card, yet AEW didn’t even bother to announce it until a few hours before the show.

Backstage, Paquette interviewed Callis, Takeshita, Powerhouse Hobbs, and Kyle Fletcher. Callis said they would be back where it all started at Daily’s Place next week. Callis challenged Sting and Darby Allin to face Takeshita and Hobbs. Callis said they would make Sting’s record 25-1…

AEW Triple Crown Champion Eddie Kingston made his entrance and joined the broadcast team while Bryan Keith was already inside the ring. Trent Beretta made his entrance. Brian Cage came out with Prince Nana, who walked onto the stage and then went to the back. El Hijo del Vikingo made his entrance wearing the AAA Mega Championship and was accompanied by Alex Abrahantes…

4. El Hijo del Vikingo (w/Alex Abrahantes) vs. Trent Beretta vs. Bryan Keith vs. Brian Cage in a four-way for a shot at the AEW Triple Crown Championship. Vikingo cleared Cage from the ring with a kick and then hit him with a suicide dive in front of the broadcast table. “There goes your Coke Zero,” Kingston said while laughing. Taz said not this time. The match spilled to ringside. Beretta pointed at Danhausen, who was behind the barricade in the front row. Excalibur questioned who would be the first man to challenge Kingston for “the Continental Crown” heading into a PIP break. [C]

Vikingo went to the ropes while Cage was down. Keith ran over and headbutted Vikingo. Keith joined Vikingo on the ropes. Vikingo was sent to the floor. Cage got up and caught Keith with a kick, then joined him on the ropes. Cage set up for a move on the top rope, but Beretta ran up and performed a release German suplex on Cage.

Beretta performed a knee strike on Cage and had him pinned, but Vikingo flew into the picture to break it up. Keith put Vikingo down and then all four men were down for a moment. Kingston said he didn’t care who won and said he would see that person later. Cage performed an F5 on Keith, who rolled out of the ring.

Cage powerbomed Beretta and followed up with a sit-out powerbomb for a near fall. Danhausen was shown watching the match intently. He hopped the barricade and entered the ring. Cage released Beretta. Dahausen crused Cage, who was kicked by two of his opponents and ended up at ringside. Vikingo performed a moonsault onto Cage on the floor.

Keith hit Beretta with a Saito Suplex and a battering ram headbutt before covering him for a near fall. Beretta came right back with a tiger driver and scored the pin…

Trent Beretta defeated Bryan Keith, El Hijo del Vikingo, and Brian Cage in a four-way in 9:45 to earn at shot at the AEW Triple Crown Championship.

A graphic listed Kingston vs. Beretta for the “Continental Crown Championship” for Saturday’s AEW Collision…

Powell’s POV: The crowd seemed into the match and then became very quiet when Beretta won. He’s a very good wrestler, but fans have been conditioned not to take him as a serious threat to win meaningful singles championships. Sure, he’ll get a bunch of near falls like everyone else, but it’s tough to be excited about him earning the right to challenge for a championship.

Backstage, Paquette was about to interview Matt Menard when an angry Hangman Page showed up and vented about Samoa Joe having a bunch of goons put him through a car windshield. He said if he couldn’t find Joe, he would find Adam Cole and beat his ass. He dared someone to give him a reason and then stormed away… [C]

Ring announcer Justin Roberts introduced Swerve Strickland, who was accompanied by dancing Prince Nana. Daniel Garcia made his entrance and did his dance on the stage before heading to the ring…

5. Swerve Strickland (w/Prince Nana) vs. Daniel Garcia. Matt Menard sat in on commentary to continue to his strange streak of being the color commentator of Daniel Garcia matches. Schiavone told viewers they had a five-minute overrun, then said they would stick with the match as long as they needed to.

The match spilled over to ringside. Garcia and Nana went face to face and then had a dance off. Swerve eventually broke it up, but Garcia fought him off and ran him into the ring post. Garcia set up for a move on the apron. Nana grabbed his foot in front of referee Paul Turner, who had to act like he didn’t see it. Swerve performed a Death Valley Driver on the apron heading into the final PIP break. [C]

Swerve ended up at ringside and taunted Menard by shoving him twice. Garcia attacked Swerve from behind. Swerve rolled onto the broadcast table. Garcia joined him on the table and tried to apply his Dragon Slayer, but he fell off the table and Swerve fell down with him. A “you f—ed up” chant broke out. Excalibur said the desk is obviously not the most stable surface.

[Overrun] Swerve and Garcia returned to the ring. Schiavone announced that Sting and Allin accepted the challenge to face Takeshita and Hobbs next week, and added that Sting and Allin will both be on AEW Collision. Garcia superplexed Swerve, who responded by suplexing Garcia. Garcia caught Swerve with a great ripcord knee. Garcia threw a kick and ran the ropes, but Swerve caught him with a Flatliner.

Swerve blasted Garcia with the House Call knee strike for a close near fall. Schiavone acknowledged Jim Ross’s birthday and said the match was a slobberknocker. Swerve followed up with the top rope double stomp for another good near fall. Garcia hooked him into a pin for a two count. Swerve caught him with another knee strike and then hit the JML Driver before pinning him…

Swerve Strickland defeated Daniel Garcia in 13:20.

Schiavone said Samoa Joe will appear live on Dynamite next week and it will be his first time at Daily’s Place. In the ring, Swerve teased a handshake with Garcia, but Nana snuck up behind Garcia and low-blowed him. Menard entered the ring and threw punches at Swerve, who kicked him in the balls. Nana had a mic and started to declare that Swerve would be the next AEW World Champion, but he was interrupted by entrance music.

Hangman Page made his entrance dressed in non-wrestling attire. Page went face to face with Swerve, who initially looked leery, but then he smiled. Page threw the first punch and they traded punches until a bunch of referees and security pulled them apart. There were boos followed by a “let them fight” chant. Page broke free and threw more punches at Swerve until he was pulled away. Swerve broke free and got a couple of shots in. Schiavone said that if this is any indication of how the new year will be it’s going to be wild. Excalibur hyped Collision to close the show…

Powell’s POV: A good match despite the table slip and the right guy went over. Swerve continues to feel like the rising star of the company. I’m a little surprised that they are sticking with him as a heel, but I suppose they could still turn him somewhere down the road. I like that Page went after Swerve despite not mentioning him during his backstage rant. Their last match was a war and I fear what they will do to top it, but it would have felt odd had Page simply moved on to working with others given how heated their feud has been.

Well, no Mercedes Mone (f/k/a Sasha Banks) tonight despite a lot of fan speculation. Nevertheless, it was a good show to kick off the new year. I will be back with my weekly same night audio review of AEW Dynamite for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons). Let me know what you thought of the show by grading it below.

Staying up late for NJPW Wrestle Kingdom? Check out my live review overnight.

AEW Dynamite Poll: Grade the January 3 edition free polls


Readers Comments (10)

  1. I still think Mercedes/Sasha comes back to WWE especially since Trinity/Naomi’s apparently coming back soon.Let’s face it in AEW who can she have a hot fued with besides maybe Saraya or Toni Storm or maybe Britt wheever she gets back?

  2. Wardlow was being sarcastic about giving the belt to cole. It was a condescending nod like yeah sure…

  3. Typical Powell AEW review

    I liked it

    I liked it

    I liked it

    I liked it

    set your watch by these reviews.

  4. I am sure they will get the moment when Luchasaurus turns on Cage right, it’s the follow-up to that moment that worries me (see: Wardlow). That was a really good promo from Cage as always, but they need to get Ms. Wayne off TV. She is absolutely atrocious.

    Takeshita is an absolute beast. I really hope he has a star-making year.

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