By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite (Episode 227)
Phoenix, Arizona at Footprint Center
Aired live February 7, 2024 on TBS
[Hour One] Pyro shot off on the stage and then Excalibur checked in on commentary with Taz and Tony Schiavone. Hangman Page was shown walking up the steps backstage and then making his entrance. Ring announcer Justin Roberts handled the introductions. Swerve Strickland was shown walking backstage and then he made his entrance with Prince Nana…
1. Swerve Strickland (w/Prince Nana) vs. Hangman Page for a shot at the AEW World Championship at AEW Revolution. Swerve went for an octopus hold several minutes into the match. Page dropped to the mat and then Swerve tried to hook his arm behind him, but Page threw him off.
Swerve ended up on the apron and was hit from behind with a clothesline. Page ran Swerve into the turnbuckle and then Swerve tumbled to the floor. Page went to ringside and ran Swerve into the barricade. Page performed a fallaway slam on the floor.
Swerve rolled Page back inside the ring and then went to the middle rope and hit him with a flying strike to the back. Swerve performed a series of moves that he capped off with a suplex. Swerve went to the corner and asked, “Whose House” before hitting the Last Call kick for a near fall.
Swerve placed Page in a seated position on a top turnbuckle. Swerve went for a superplex, but Page punched him and then bit his forehead before slamming his head onto the top turnbuckle. Page went for a powerbomb from the ropes. Swerve appeared to land on his head while countering the move. Page followed up with a sit-out powerbomb for a near fall.
Page went to the apron and looked to the crowd, which drew some boos. Page went for a Buckshot Lariat, but Swerve avoided it and then hit the Buckshot Lariat on Page. Swerve went up top and performed a double stomp for a great near fall.
Page ended up on the floor. Swerve kicked him from the apron and then dropped to the floor. Swerve climbed onto the barricade and then pulled Page up with him. Swerve set up for a piledriver on the barricade, but Page avoided it and then drove Swerve’s head onto the top of the barricade. A “holy shit” chant broke out heading into a picture-in-picture break. [C]
There was a table set up at ringside coming out of the break. Excalibur noted that Page set up the table and also opted against taking a count-out victory. Swerve tied up Page in the ropes so that he was hanging over the apron and then stomped him. Page ended up on the table at ringside only to have it collapse.
Swerve pulled another table out from underneath the ring and set it up next to the collapsed table. Swerve through Page back inside the ring and went up top and went for a 450 splash, but Page put his knees up and covered him for a near fall. Nana distracted Page from the floor momentarily.
Swerve tossed Page over the top rope, but he skinned the cat and put Swerve down with a lariat. Page hit the Buckshot Lariat and turned Swerve inside out. Page covered Swerve and Excalibur said it was all over (so clearly it wasn’t) and then Swerve put his foot over the bottom rope.
Page performed a Deadeye on the ring apron. Swerve tumbled to the floor. Page told referee Paul Turner to start the count. Nana started doing his dance in a strange attempt to motivate Swerve, who barely beat the referee’s count. Page immediately kicked Swerve back to ringside.
Page grabbed a chair and teased hitting Swerve and instead slammed it over the back of Nana, which drew some boos. Swerve caught Page with a shot and then sent him back inside the ring and hit him with a top rope double stomp. Swerve came up holding his left ankle.
Swerve set up for the JML Driver, but Page avoided it and then wrenched the bad ankle. Page brought Swerve to the apron in front of the table on the floor, but Swerve caught him with a kick, shoved him into the ring post, and then performed a Deadeye from the apron and put Page through the table on the floor, which drew loud holy shit chants.
Swerve brought Page back inside the ring and then went up top and went for a double stomp that Page avoided. Swerve sold his ankle again. Page went to the apron and went for a Buckshot Lariat, but Swerve ducked it and countered into a JML Driver. Swerve covered Page and had him pinned, but the bell rang to end the match in a draw.
Swerve Strickland fought Hangman Page to a 30-minute draw (in 30:05).
After the match, Swerve took the mic and said he didn’t go through all of this for it to end like this. Swerve said he wasn’t let Page get away that easy. “You know how this goes,” Swerve said. “Five more minutes.”
Page laughed as he was leaning against the bottom rope. “Swerve, tonight you had to beat me to become the No. 1 contender. And Swerve you didn’t do it. You will not be the world champion, for you it is over.” Page rolled out of the ring.
Tony Schiavone stood up and spoke over the house mic and called for Page to stop. Schiavone said Tony Khan informed him that the match was not done. Schiavone said they have two No. 1 contenders, meaning Swerve and Page will challenge Samoa Joe in a three-way match at AEW Revolution. Page flipped out and yelled repeatedly that Swerve didn’t beat him as he headed to the back… [C]
Powell’s POV: Putting the finish aside, that was a blast. I realize they can’t give away pay-per-view caliber matches on television all the time, but Dynamite needs more of these matches that don’t feel so predictable on paper. The finish was along the lines of what I expected just in terms of getting to a three-way match at Revolution. But I don’t really understand why Page said Swerve had to beat him when Swerve is one and Page is two in the rankings. That said, I like that Page came off heelish. He’s a really good babyface, but it’s going to be tough for Page and Swerve to coexist as babyfaces given the nature of their feud.
AEW World Champion Samoa Joe was interviewed by Renee Paquette on the backstage interview set. Joe sarcastically said he was feeling joy and merriment over the finish of the match setting up the need for a three-way at Revolution. He said neither man won and therefore neither man deserves to be in the ring with him. Joe said no matter what they do, he will walk out of Revolution as the world champion. He said both men will suffer because of it…
Deonna Purrazzo made her entrance and joined the broadcast team. Toni Storm, Luther, and Mariah May made their entrance while the screen was black and white, and then it returned to color for Red Velvet’s entrance…
2. AEW Women’s Champion Toni Storm (w/Luther, Mariah May) vs. Red Velvet in an eliminator match. Purrazzo said she no longer knows who Storm is and said she is now a stranger to her. Velvet threw an early leg lariat and then set up Storm in the corner. Velvet charged for a move, but Storm cut her off and ended up performing Sky High for a two count heading into a PIP break. [C]
Velvet avoided a Storm punch and then threw several of them at the champion before putting her down with a kick. Velvet put Storm down with a bulldog. Storm leaned against the ropes. Velvet hit her with double knees and then followed up with a standing moonsault for a two count.
Velvet went for a move in the corner that Storm avoided. Storm hit the hip attack in the corner and then put Velvet down with a DDT. Storm went for the pin, but Velvet escaped at two. A short time later, Storm applied an ankle lock and looked at Purrazzo before Velvet tapped out.
AEW Women’s Champion Toni Storm defeated Red Velvet in 7:50 in an eliminator match.
After the match, Purrazzo entered the ring and went face to face with Storm, who appeared to smell her face. Luther separated both women and then pointed his finger at Purrazzo, who blew him off. Luther exited the ring and headed to the back with Storm and May. Excalibur hyped Storm vs. Purrazzo for the AEW Women’s Championship at AEW Revolution…
Powell’s POV: A solid television match. Um, watch where you put those hands while you are pushing women apart, Luther.
Paquette interviewed Orange Cassidy, who was accompanied by Trent Beretta and Rocky Romero. Paquette said Cassidy would defend his title against Tomohiro Ishii on Saturday after competing in a six-man tag match against The Undisputed Kingdom on Rampage.
Paquette asked if he was worried about the wear and tear of the six-man tag match before his title defense. Cassidy said yes, but it would be fine. She also noted that Chuck Taylor was injured. Cassidy said Taylor was being checked out and they were about to check out him being checked out. Paqutte had them all put their hands in and then they all raised them together… [C]
Bryan Danielson, Jon Moxley, and Claudio Castagnoli made their entrance to “Wild Thing” through the crowd.
[Hour Two] The Blackpool Combat Club trio made it to the ring and then Volador Jr., Mascara Dorada, and Hechicero made their entrance via the stage and didn’t get much of a reaction compared to the BCC…
3. “Blackpool Combat Club” Bryan Danielson, Jon Moxley, and Claudio Castagnoli vs. Volador Jr., Mascara Dorada, and Hechicero. Three luchadores were shown in the crowd. Danielson and Hechicero had an early exchange while the broadcast team raved about their Collision match.
Castagnoli and Dorada checked in. Castagnoli no-sold Dorada’s chops. Dorada avoided the giant swing and took Castagnoli down with a head-scissors move. Moxley and Volador tagged in and traded forearm strikes. Volador avoided a lariat and then sent Moxley to the floor with a head-scissors takedown. Volador hit Moxley with a suicide dive. The referee had to keep the tag partners apart on the floor.
Moxley and Volador went back to the ring. Taz said he wanted BCC to kick the CMLL trio’s asses because he sees them as invaders. They ended up at ringside and the tag team partners got involved again heading into a PIP break. [C]
Dorada went for a springboard move while Moxley and Danielson were holding his arms. He botched the move, but he didn’t miss a beat and popped the crowd with a nice huracanrana on Moxley.
All three BCC members were at ringside. Volador and Hechicero performed dives onto them, and then Dorada executed a shooting star press off the middle rope onto the pile on the floor. A “this is awesome” chant broke out.
Hechicero and Danielson returned to the ring. Hechicero applied a hammerlock and spun Danielson around. Volador hit Danielson with a 450 splash and had the pin until Moxley and Castagnoli broke it up. Dorada performed a Destroyer on Castagnoli and then Moxley broke up the pin.
There was a series of rapid fire spots by various wrestlers. Castagnoli and Hechicero squared off. Hechicero rolled Castagnoli into a pin for a two count. Hechicero put Castagnoli in a leg lock, but Danielson stomped Hechicero to break it. Hechicero put Danielson in a stretch muffler that Moxley broke up.
Volador launched Dorado into a dropkick on Danielson, but then Moxley put both men down with clotheslines. Hechicero performed a guillotine leg drop on Castagnoli and got a two count. Castangoli shoved Hechicero into the referee and then Castagnoli hit Hechicero with a low blow and then pinned him.
Bryan Danielson, Jon Moxley, and Claudio Castagnoli beat Volador Jr., Mascara Dorada, and Hechicero in 14:45.
After the match, the luchadores from ringside ran in. Christopher Danielson, Matt Sydal, Matt Menard, and Angelo Parker ran out to chase the luchadores to ringside…
Powell’s POV: An enjoyable match with nonstop action. It’s confusing to follow with Taz making out the CMLL wrestlers to be the heels, yet Castagnoli winning the match thanks to a low blow. I’m also not crazy about adding more masked luchadores to the mix at ringside before they fully establish the three masked luchadores they just started introducing last week.
Excalibur hyped the remaining matches and segments and then they cut to the back where Chuck Taylor had been laid out by Undisputed Kingdom’s Roderick Strong, Wardlow, Mike Bennett, and Matt Taven. Adam Cole looked at Taylor and mockingly told him to get well soon. “What is the meaning of this?” Excalibur asked… [C]
Tony Khan stood on the backstage interview set and said he is very excited about the big announcement. He noted that TD Garden had announced that AEW Dynamite will be held on March 13. Khan said the show would be called “AEW Big Business” and would take place five weeks from tonight. He said if you can’t be there in person, you want to watch the show. He said it would be one of the most important nights ever in AEW, and a night that the entire pro wrestling industry will remember…
Powell’s POV: Ticketmaster leaked the show details this morning. This all points to Mercedes Mone (f/k/a Sasha Banks) debuting, but I guess they want to take the same approach they took with CM Punk’s debut by not officially advertising her. Mone will be a great addition and the big announcement approach will probably be good for tonight’s ratings, but show announcements just don’t live up to the hype.
Chris Jericho made his entrance to “Judas” and carried his baseball bat to the ring with him. Some fans sang along with Jericho’s theme. Konosuke Takeshita made his entrance with Don Callis and Powerhouse Hobbs…
4. Konosuke Takeshita (w/Don Callis, Powerhouse Hobbs) vs. Chris Jericho. Jericho cleared Takeshita to ringside with a clothesline. Callis asked Takeshita what was going on and then slapped him across the face for motivation. Jericho hit Takeshita from behind, but Takeshita reversed a whip and sent Jericho into the barricade. Takeshita performed a brainbuster on the floor.
Back in the ring, Takeshita hit a middle rope senton. Jericho battled until he was tripped by Hobbs from the floor. Sammy Guevara ran out and hit Hobbs with a chair, which Hobbs didn’t sell. Guevara hit Hobbs with a cutter from the ring steps. Guevara slammed a chair over the head of Hobbs (disgusting) and followed him over the barricade.
Jericho sent Takeshita to the floor and then put on the mask that Takeshita wears to the ring. Jericho dove from the ropes and grazed Takeshita before crashing to the floor heading into a PIP break. [C]
Takeshita put Jericho down with some type of shots to the eyes and then hit him with a running knee strike. Jericho rolled to the floor. Takeshita performed a flip dive onto Jericho on the floor and then Excalibur gushed over Khan’s big announcement.
Back in the ring, Takeshita went for a top rope senton, but Jericho put his knees up. Takeshita returned the favor by putting his knees up when Jericho executed a Lionsault. Some fans chanted for Jericho, who set up for the Walls of Jericho before Takeshita countered into a pin for a two count.
Takeshita hoisted up Jericho, who tried to counter into something, which resulted in Takeshita falling on top of him. Takeshita powered up Jericho from the mat for an impressive suplex. Jericho hit the Codebreaker for a near fall.
Jericho performed a one-armed bulldog. Jericho went to the ropes for a Lionsault, but Takeshita cut him off and put him down with a Blue Thunder Bomb for a near fall. Jericho blocked a knee strike and then Takeshita blocked the Judas Effect. Takeshita landed on knee strike, but Jericho slapped him.
Jericho put Takeshita on the top rope in a seated position, but Takeshita slipped under him, causing Jericho’s face to hit the top turnbuckle. Takeshita climbed up behind Jericho and performed an avalanche version of a Blue Thunder Bomb for a near fall. The replay showed Jericho’s head bounce hard off the ring.
Jericho stuffed another knee strike and put Takeshita in the Walls of Jericho. Callis threw a chair inside the ring. The referee cleared it from the ring like an idiot, and then Callis hit Jericho with a screwdriver. Takeshita put Jericho in the Walls of Jericho and the referee checked on Jericho’s arm, which stayed up on the third try. Takeshita transitioned into the Liontamer and forced Jericho to tap out…
Konosuke Takeshita defeated Chris Jericho in 13:50.
Orange Cassidy, Kris Statlander, Austin Gunn, Colten Gunn, Anna Jay, Evil Uno, John Silver, and Alex Reynolds were featured in a promotional video for the Puppy Bowl and the TBS show “Stupid Pet Tricks”… [C]
Powell’s POV: There should be no place in pro wrestling for unprotected chair shots to the head. Shame on Tony Khan for allowing them in his promotion. The actual match was more competitive than I hoped even though the right man went over. The screwdriver spot sucked. Why do they continue to make the referees look like morons?
Sting and Darby Allin made their entrance for the main event. Sting stopped at ringside and hugged his sons and daughter, who were in the front row. Ricky Starks and Big Bill made their entrance and pyro shot off once they were inside the ring…
5. Ricky Starks and Big Bill vs. Darby Allin and Sting in a tornado match for the AEW Tag Team Titles. The broadcast team explained that tags were not required in a tornado match. The referee held up the belts and then Sting and Allin went right at the heels to start the match. All four wrestlers ended up at ringside.
Bill ran Allin into the barricade, and then Sting worked over Starks in the crowd on the main floor. Sting slammed a plastic trashcan over Starks’s back. Starks raked Sting’s eyes. Sting walked up the steps off the floor.
The cameras cut to Bill working over Allin. Starks joined in. Sting appeared on the balcony above them and then dove onto the heels (a fun and pretty safe spot compared to some of Sting’s crazier dives) heading into a PIP break. [C]
Sting performed a Stinger Splash on Bill against the ringside barricade, but Bill turned around and clotheslined him. Allin went for a suicide dive, but Bill caught him and performed a Bossman Slam. Really cool spot.
Excalibur announced Jon Moxley and Claudio Castagnoli vs. Star Junior and another luchador (two guys who were in the crowd earlier apparently) for Saturday’s AEW Collision.
Bill pulled a table out from underneath the ring and then he and Starks set it up on the floor. The heels returned to the ring. Bill pressed Allin over his head, but Sting returned and broke up whatever he was going for. Bill went for a big boot, but Sting moved, and Bill ended up straddling the top rope. Sting raised the ropes into his groin.
Starks hit Sting with his own Scorpion Death Drop for a two count. Sting and Allin took turns hitting splashes on Bill and then Allin put him down with a Code Red. Bill rolled to the floor. Allin hit Bill with a Coffin Drop. Meanwhile, Sting put Starks in a Scorpion Death Lock.
Bill returned to the apron despite Allin holding onto his back. Allin eventually got in front of Bill and they both crashed through the table on the floor. Starks reached the ropes and pulled under the ropes and was able to break Sting’s hold. Sting went for a Stinger Splash, but Starks moved and pulled the turnbuckle pad away before Sting crashed and burned.
Sting fired up, but Starks speared him and covered him for a two count. Starks got to his feet and fired up before going for a spear that Sting stuffed. Sting countered into a Scorpion Death Drop and then pinned Starks clean.
Sting and Darby Allin defeated Ricky Starks and Big Bill in 13:20 in a tornado match to win the AEW Tag Team Titles.
[Overrun] Sting’s family members were shown smiling and applauding in the front row. Allin joined Sting in the ring and continued to sell while Sting celebrated. Sting’s sons hopped the barricade and hopped on the apron. Sting hugged his sons and then referee Bryce Remsburg presented him and Allin with the tag title belts and raised their arms. Confetti shot off.
Suddenly, “The Young Bucks” Matthew Jackson and Nicholas Jackson showed up dressed in all white and attacked Sting, Allin, and Sting’s sons with white baseball bats. Allin bled from the forehead and it got on the Bucks’ white suits. The Bucks hit Allin with a BTE Trigger and then threw punches at him and Sting. Nick put the boots to Sting’s sons. The Bucks picked up the tag title belts and dropped them onto Sting and Allin. Taz said the Bucks made a heavy statement. Matt buttoned up his bloody suit jacket. Excalibur said the reputations of the Bucks were destroyed and they would never recover after what they did…
Powell’s POV: A good main event with a really strong beatdown angle afterward. I’m happy they gave Sting and Allin enough time for a brief moment before the Bucks attacked. The Bucks had great heat and this was so much more effective than the backstage boss skits they have been doing. This was a necessary development to heat things up heading into Sting’s retirement match at Revolution.
Overall, this was the best edition of Dynamite in 2024. That may not be saying a lot if you felt as meh as I did about the January shows, but it was a strong episode with hot bookend segments. I will have a lot more to say about this episode in my weekly same night audio review of Dynamite for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons). Let me know what you thought of the show by grading it below.