AEW Dynamite Recap & Review — 1.4.2023 — ALL ELITE WRESTLING YEAR 4 BEGINS
A NEW ERA OF AEW BEGINS! SAMOA JOE VS DARBY ALLIN II, CHRIS JERICHO VS RICKY STARKS, HANGMAN PAGE & JON MOXLEY
HAPPY NEW YEAR! It is January 4th, 2023, which means we are offically in the fourth year of All Elite Wrestling! It is crazy to think that it’s already been four years, but also crazy to think that this was not even a thing prior to 2019. Anyways, here we are, as AEW begins a new era, with new graphics, a new look, a new sound, and new stories to be told, with the first-ever Dynamite of 2023 taking place from Seattle, Washington, a new city & state for AEW. Tonight’s show featured Ricky Starks vs Chris Jericho, Kiera Hogan & Skye Blue vs Jade Cargill & Red Velvet, AR Fox vs Swerve Strickland, Tony Nese vs Bryan Danielson, The Acclaimed vs Jeff Jarrett & Jay Lethal for the AEW World Tag Team Championship, and Samoa Joe vs Darby Allin for the TNT Championship! How was the first show of the new year for AEW? Let’s talk about it!
So sit back, and enjoy this review of AEW Dynamite from December 28th, 2022! SPOILERS FOR THIS EPISODE OF AEW DYNAMITE AHEAD, YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
Before this review begins, if you are interested in New Japan Pro Wrestling and/or other wrestling in general, be sure to check out the latest review from The Deep Six Wrestling Podcast, covering NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 17:
Chris Jericho vs Ricky Starks
Kicking things off for the first AEW Dynamite of 2023, Chris Jericho and Ricky Starks would face off in a first-time match. This would also offer the first look at the new lighting, color scheme, and new stage set-up for AEW Dynamite, with it looking like a much bigger deal. The crowd would be electric, with both Jericho, and specifically Ricky Starks, coming off like megastars for this audience. The early portion of the match would see Ricky Starks control much of the affair, with the first commercial break coming as Jericho would comeback, suplexing Ricky off the apron in nasty fashion, down to the floor.
Back from break, Jericho would maintain control, beating down Starks with heavy blows to the head before laying the young, charismatic star out with a thick chop in the corner. Starks would fire back, scoring a last-ditch clothesline as both men would go down! Pretty Ricky would hit a big comeback sequence, scoring big with a dropkick and teasing his finish, though Jericho would get out, sending Ricky into the ropes before getting dropped by the younger man with a Liger Bomb for a two-count. I WOULD MISS THE END OF THE MATCH BECAUSE MY INTERNET WENT OUT BRIEFLY, BUT RICKY STARKS BEAT CHRIS JERICHO CLEAN!!! After the match, The Jericho Appreciation Society would beat down Starks, though Action Andretti would come out to make the save. The numbers would be too much, as Anna Jay and Tay Melo would take out Andretti, while Jake Hager would powerbomb Starks through a table.
Match Rating — I DO NOT HAVE ONE SINCE I MISSED A LOT OF THE SECOND HALF, BUT THE CROWD WAS HOT AND RICKY STARKS GOT A CLEAN WIN OVER CHRIS JERICHO!
Hangman Page Gives an Update/Jon Moxley Speaks
Being asked about his health, Hangman Page shares that as much as he wished that he was cleared to wrestle Jon Moxley, he is not yet… BUT, he hopes to be cleared by next week for The Forum! Whether it is in the ring, in catering, or anywhere, he will KNOCK HIS DICK IN THE DIRT! This prompts Jon Moxley to arrive to a monster reaction from the crowd. Moxley would begin to cut a promo, but his mic would die out, causing the crowd to chant “we can’t hear you”. Mox would get a second mic, only for that to die, causing him to repeatedly say “FUCK” on Live TV. NICE! Once working, he would get back to the promo, saying that Hangman has no write to play the victim, but Hangman says that he wasn’t upset with Moxley for knocking him out. It is an unfortunate part of what they do as wrestlers, and he would never be mad at him for that. Page is mad because of how Moxley called him out, and made a joke about his concussion before he could even speak out it. He says that Moxley felt threatened by Hanger, saying that he wasn’t out for revenge initially, but he is now. Hangman Page has had a month to sit on what Mox said to him, and has had two months to sit on the sidelines. He has two in the chamber with Moxley’s name on them, and he gets them… at The Forum.
Moxley struggles to hold back from fighting, as he says that next week, he makes sure that Hangman doesn’t get back up.
My Thoughts — This was a fantastic promo between the two men, with it really helping to cap off a feud that has been fiery since Hangman’s return. Next week, all eyes will be on AEW, with a loaded show, and yet, Hangman vs Moxley feels like it is a genuine PPV bout. This was great, and I am super-duper pumped for their meeting next week!
Jeff Jarrett & Jay Lethal vs The Acclaimed — AEW World Tag Team Championship Match
First off, I popped for My World, as I always do. Seriously, that theme song is iconic. Second, Max Caster’s rap was too, too good this week, from calling out Jeff Jarrett’s wife, Dixie Carter, Andrew Tate, and stating that TNA stands for Total Nonstop Acclaimed. Brilliant. Anyways, The Acclaimed, similar to Ricky Starks, felt like megastars here in front of Seattle. It was 1000000% the right call to make these guys champs when Tony Khan did, and so far, their run has been nothing but great. Out of the gate, Max & Anthony would control the match, scoring with Scissor Me Timbers on both Lethal & Double J, before Daddy Ass would get into the ring, with all three men mocking Jeff Jarrett’s strut for a scissoring party. Lethal would take things too far, sliding to the floor to slap Billy Gunn, which would cause DADDY ASS TO LOSE CONTROL OF HIS TEMPER! GUNN GETS EJECTED AFTER TRYING TO GET BACK IN THE RING, and we head into commercial break!
Back from break, the Seattle crowd would be very warm and welcoming with LOUD, “Fuck You Jarrett” chants, as Bowens would look to break free from Lethal’s control. Jay would look for the Elbow Drop, but Bowens would evade, looking for a Hot Tag to Caster, though JJ would yank him off the apron to prevent the tag. Caster would eventually come in, taking it hard to Jeff and Jay, diving out to the floor before flying off the top with a diving crossbody onto Lethal for a two count. Lethal and Jarrett would come so, so close to winning, scoring with a big tag-team maneuver on Bowens, with Satnam tossing Caster into the steps. This would have a CHAOTIC FINISH, as Jarrett and Lethal would cheat to win, though Aubrey Edwards would reverse the decision, causing to restart with The Acclaimed winning.
Match Rating — VERY GOOD. This was so, so much fun, and while I may be biased because I love both The Acclaimed and Jeff Jarrett, I just thought this was elevated by great performances and an electric crowd.
Jamie Hayter & Britt Baker have a sit-down interview, talking about how they are AEW Originals, and Britt questioning why Saraya hasn’t chosen Toni Storm or Hikaru Shida with both of them being great wrestlers. Regardless, Britt is the Pillar, Jamie is The Killer (they have new merch with this, it’s nice), and this is no longer Saraya’s house.
Jungle Boy would appear backstage, saying that over the last year, he thought he couldn’t count on anyone, but he might have been wrong. Next week, for one-time-only, HOOK and Jungle Boy want Big Bill and Lee Moriarty.
Bryan Danielson vs Tony Nese
Making a hero’s entrance in Seattle, Bryan Danielson would come out to an incredible reaction, as expected. Josh Woods would grab Danielson’s leg, allowing Nese to get control early, scoring with the Running Nese, as the crowd would go from screaming and losing their minds in joy for Bryan, to having to cheer for the hometown star as he mounted a comeback. Danielson would light up Nese with chops and kicks in the corner, flying off the corner and scoring with a running elbow strike. The Round Kicks would come out, with LOUD “Yes” Chants to follow. Nese would catch the final one, rolling up Bryan before deadlift powerbombing him in the corner! Running Nese gets looked for again, with the exposed knee, but Danielson gets out of the way and Nese flies into the exposed steel allowing Bryan to score the Busaiku Knee! The crowd comes unglued as Danielson shouts that he is going to “KICK HIS FUCKING HEAD IN!” and that he does, before locking in the submission, with it being called due to Ref Stoppage!
Match Rating — Good! This was never going to be a barnburner-all-time-classic, but it was a bunch of fun and a great babyface win for Bryan. Nese also looked quite good with his offense.
After the match, Danielson would say how good it is to be home, before saying that he feels froggy and is ready for another fight… so he calls out MJF!
Max arrives to a loud chorus of boos from Seattle, as he calls Danielson, “Brain Damage Bryan”, saying that he knows that he wants him to come to the ring and wrestle, but the answer is no. Unlike Bryan, MJF doesn’t get his rocks off by entertaining the fans, he doesn’t care about them at all. Whether he wrestles or not, he gets paid, and that’s what makes him a special attraction. The people of Seattle clearly love him, and he is pretty solid, but if Lance Storm & Dean Malenko had a child, they would still be more charismatic than Bryan. He then suggests that Bryan’s mother had sex with a literal goat to give birth to Danielson. Bryan would fire back, saying that if he wants to make jokes, we should talk about how all the boys in the back joke about how many human suitors have been inside of Max’s mom! MJF fires up questioning who dubbed Bryan the King of Wrestling, basement-dwelling journalists or parasitic fans? Unlike Danielson, MJF was dubbed the best in the world by top names in the business such as Disco Inferno, Eric Bischoff, and Jim Cornette!
Danielson tells him to shut up, because we’ve heard the spiel a million times. Bryan hates him, and he thinks its time for them to fight. Max says that he needs to hold up. This ain’t play wrestling, it is pro wrestling. Wins and losses matter here, and if he wants a shot at MJF’s belt, he needs to become Number One Contender. He talked to Tony Khan, and if Bryan wrestles every week from now until February 8th, and wins, he becomes Number One Contender. If Bryan can do that, he’ll give him the title shot at AEW Revolution. Danielson says no, he’s just going to wrestle regularly and get a title shot another way. Max freaks out, but Bryan offers an alternative; he will do Max’s challenge, if Danielson gets to choose the stipulation for Revolution…
A ONE HOUR IRON MAN MATCH!
Bryan is going to expose MJF at Revolution, showing that he is not good enough to wrestle weekly like everyone else in AEW. After he’s exposed him, he is going to kick his damn head in.
My Thoughts — This was probably too long for some people, but my goodness this segment was incredible. The crowd was fully invested here, seeing Danielson try to goad MJF into a fight, with Max refusing and praising the likes of horrid people like Disco Inferno and Jim Cornette. In the end, we got to learn that Bryan Danielson will now wrestle weekly through February 4, and that the main event of AEW Revolution will be a one-hour IRON MAN MATCH between MJF and Bryan Danielson for the AEW World Championship. Finally, Danielson feels like a marquee star in AEW once again. Insane stuff and a great start to 2023!
Swerve Strickland vs AR Fox
While Mogul Affiliates may have gotten off to a weird start due to their debut segment, Swerve has quickly made things work. Following a strong main event on AEW Rampage against Wheeler Yuta, Strickland would arrive on Dynamite in his home area to a great reception, and a great new entrance with his faction. This would be fast-paced to start, with action spilling to the floor, as Fox would flip off the apron with Strickland following him out over the top for a great staredown. Fox would vault off the ring post for a cool spot, taking control here, taking Swerve’s legs out through the ropes, rolling through and nailing Strickland with a beautiful Corkscrew Brainbuster!
As someone who discovered both guys through Lucha Underground, I was happy to hear the commentary team bring up their feud from that show. Strickland would take control into the break, nailing Fox in the jaw on the apron. Back from break, Swerve would still keep control, though both men would begin trading quick shots, with lots of kicks coming out. Swerve would miss with a Discus Lariat, as Fox would level him with an Enzuigiri! Fox would roll for a cutter, but Swerve would roll next to him, knowing his moves as he would drop Fox with a German Suplex (this spot fucking rocked). Up top, Fox would bait Strickland in, nailing him with a low cutter, nailing the Iconoclasm and a second cutter before flying off the top rope with a 450 Splash for a nearfall!
Out to the apron, Fox would positiion Swerve onto the top turnbuckle, and as Painted Man Jones distracted the ref, Parker would slide Strickland an item to knock out Fox… BEFORE SWERVE WOULD KILL AR FOX WITH AN AVALANCHE DEATH VALLEY DRIVER ON THE APRON! Swerve would come off the top rope with a smirk, as he nailed a brutal Swerve Stomp to pick up the win.
Match Rating — VERY GOOD! I Love Swerve Strickland. I love AR Fox. This was super strong, and you should go out of your way to see it.
Renee Paquette is seen backstage with Toni Storm, Hikaru Shida, and Saraya, asking about what Britt’s thoughts. Saraya says that they are trying to advance the division, while Britt is trying to gatekeep. Toni says she was screwed out of her title, with Britt’s interference and getting her face broken. Saraya brings up the great matches that Shida and Toni had with Jamie… and she chooses Toni Storm as her partner! Shida and Renee look shocked, and Shida seems upset.
My Thoughts — I’m sure some will look way too into this, but my assumption is that Shida turns heel (much needed), attacks Toni Storm and sets up a great feud, and Mercedes Mone replaces Toni next week in LA.
The Gunns came out to host a funeral for FTR and their legacy. They would even have FTR’s theme song, teasing their entrance despite working Wrestle Kingdom today (which would have been insane). They state FTR will never work in AEW again and they are the new faces of the tag division.
Red Velvet & Jade Cargill vs Kiera Hogan & Skye Blue
Red Velvet would make her entrance alongside The Baddies, though she would brush off Jade and skip the choreography, playing up the dissension between the two here. Velvet and Skye would trade quick pin attempts out of the gate, though neither would be able to get it. The crowd would react pretty good to the spot though, as Kiera would tag in with a big hip attack to Velvet, nailing a running leg drop to the back of Velvet’s head. Enzuigiri from Skye to Red Velvet, before Skye spiked her with a piledriver for two, with Jade tagging herself in as the match would go to commercial break.
Back from the break, the crowd would be pretty loud and energetic behind Cargill, as she was out-powering Skye and Velvet, nailing a crazy Tour of the Islands-type move on Kiera for a two count. Jade and Velvet would mouth off to each other, with Jade mocking Velvet and tagging her in. Hogan would fire up, scoring with a sliding kick in the corner for a two count. Jade would tag back in, nailing a nasty Pump Kick onto Kiera before taking out Skye on the apron. Chokeslam from Jade to Kiera, once again locking eyes with Velvet as she tries to tag her in again. Red Velvet jumps off the apron, as Kiera tries to roll-up her former leader for a nearfall. Pump Kick from Jade, Cargill remains undefeated.
Match Rating — Good! AEW’s women’s division has been on a hot streak for the past few months, and Jade Cargill is coming off a very solid match against Kiera Hogan recently. This tag match was actually quite fun and is building a story with Red Velvet and Jade Cargill that is vastly superior to most of her stories in the past.
AEW Rampage — Friday, January 6, 2023:
- Top Flight vs Bryan Danielson and Jon Moxley
- The Renegade Twins vs Britt Baker & Jamie Hayter
- Preston Vance Is In Action
- The House of Black Speak
AEW Battle of the Belts V — Friday, January 6, 2023:
- Orange Cassidy vs Kip Sabian — AEW All-Atlantic Championship Match
- Jeff Jarrett & Jay Lethal vs The Acclaimed — AEW World Tag Team Championship No Holds Barred Match
- Jade Cargill vs Skye Blue — TBS Championship Match
AEW Dynamite Returns to The KIA Forum — Wednesday, January 11, 2023:
- Britt Baker & Jamie Hayter vs Saraya & Toni Storm (probably replaced with Mercedes Mone)
- The Elite vs Death Triangle — Best of 7 Series, Match 7 — Ladder Match — AEW World Trios Championship Match
- Hangman Page vs Jon Moxley
- Bryan Danielson vs Konosuke Takeshita
- Jungle Boy & HOOK vs Big Bill & Lee Moriarty
Samoa Joe vs Darby Allin — TNT Championship Match
Nick Wayne would make his first on-screen appearance for AEW here, with Darby hugging him before the match, as similar to Danielson & Swerve, Darby is also from the area. Allin would feel like a huge deal here, as Samoa Joe would choke out Wayne, causing Darby to suicide dive out immediately, nailing Joe with his skateboard before grabbing a ladder, as he would fly off with a Swanton on the entrance ramp for a bonkers start!
Back from break, Joe would be dominating Darby back in the ring, with Allin’s leg injured from his ladder dive. Joe would sweep out the legs, with Seattle still alive as they were at the opening of the show, fully behind Darby. Double Kneebreaker from Samoa Joe would land, targeting the injured body parts of Darby as the crowd would once again come to life behind him. PK from Joe, following up with a Senton onto the knees! The Single Leg Boston Crab would get locked in, but somehow, Darby Allin would fight to the ropes. The Muscle Buster gets looked for, but Darby slides off and looks for a roll-up. Going to the corner, Darby and Joe fight to get control, with a corner pad getting ripped off. The Clutch gets locked in, but Darby gets out as he looks for the Stunner, only to get locked back in the sleeper hold as his body begins going limp… but he begins coming back to life, BEATING HIS CHEST LIKE STING AS HE SENDS JOE FACE FIRST INTO THE EXPOSED STEEL! CODE RED! COFFIN DROP ACROSS THE RING! A SECOND COFFIN DROP, AND DARBY ALLIN BECOMES TNT CHAMPION!!!!!!
Match Rating — GREAT! Samoa Joe and Darby Allin seriously have insane chemistry, like these two are electric in the ring together. Their first match was awesome, but this surpassed it, with the Seattle crowd elevating this beyond belief. The celebration for Darby’s win was even better, as was Sting coming out to celebrate with his protege. Just a fantastic end to a great show from AEW tonight.
Overall… THIS SHOW RULED. From top to bottom, this was a fantastic two hours of wrestling television. Stories were furthered with Danielson & MJF, Saraya/Jamie/Britt Baker, a set-up for Toni Storm vs Hikaru Shida, Jade Cargill vs Red Velvet. A trio of very strong matches were delivered with Swerve Strickland vs AR Fox, Jeff Jarrett & Jay Lethal vs The Acclaimed, and Darby Allin vs Samoa Joe. The new look and presentation of AEW Dynamtie feels like a major improvement over what we had grown used to. I am just at a loss for words right now. I’m tired, I’ve watched a ton of wrestling today (AEW Dynamite, TJPW 23, NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 17, and highlights from the DDT and NOAH shows) and am working on 5 hours of sleep, but this was an awesome show for AEW and has me fully invested out of the gate as we launch into the fourth year of All Elite Wrestling. Next week, the return to Los Angeles feels like it is going to be big. Let’s see how it goes.
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