WWE Replica Titles

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Dynamite TV report for 01/25/2023

Arena: Rupp Arena

City: Lexington, KY

Last Week’s Rating: 969,000 overall; 0.31 in 18-49 demo

It’s Wednesday night, it’s Dynamite.  Let’s go.

…..

Le Sex Gods vs Action Andretti & Ricky Starks

Backstory: Andretti upset Jericho, Starks turned down a spot in the JAS, leading to the faction targeting the two and vowing to chase Andretti out of the company

Jericho, Sammy and Daniel Garcia were already most of the way to the ring as the show began, Le Sex Gods in matching red; Garcia relegated to black.

The crowd were lukewarm for Andretti’s entrance, highlighted when Starks’ music hit and the crowd popped.  Schiavone talked about the faces having never teamed before and how motivated the JAS were to beat them.

Even the announcers got mixed up about Matt Menard’s moniker as Andretti grabbed a headlock.  Before he and Sammy worked a standing switch then transitioned into a ridiculously athletic sequence which drew ‘ooo’s’ from the crowd.  Culminating in Action missing a standing moonsault only for both to pop to one knee and face off.

Big applause from those in attendance.

Sammy offered a handshake but then blasted AA with a thrust kick, the crowd chanting that he ‘sucks’ as he worked over the youngster in the corner until being dispatched outside via tejeiras.

Action followed up with a Jericho-like springboard dropkick to knock Sammy off the apron and was preparing a dive when Sammy flew back inside to hit his patented flips into a dropkick.

Guevara then stopped to chat with Garcia, leading to the latter being tope’d by Andretti.  Sammy struck back with a spinning dive over the top then posed in the aisle.

A ‘we want Ricky’ chant was playing as Sammy took Andretti to the top, the youngster landed on his feet out of an avalanche hurracanrana then planted Guevara with a Spanish fly for two.

Starks and Jericho tagged in, big pop for the former.  The action, which’d been stop/start, sped up here as they brawled with chops and strikes, Ricky coming off the ropes with a diving lariat, catapulting Jericho into the corner, knocking Sammy off the apron then heading up top for a ropewalk until Sammy came off the top to hit a cutter with Starks still stood on the ropes.

It was a cool sequence.  But it made Starks look a goof and heelish to boot: him stopping to keep pointing at the crowd resulting in him being taken down.  ‘Waaay too cocky and it cost him’ was Schiavone’s analysis.

Jericho got two then one via his Cocky Pin after a belly to back.  He and Sammy tagging quickly in and out before striking their pose.

Guevara headed topside once more; Starks got his feet up, finally allowing the tag to Andretti who flew around with lariats before launching topes onto both heels.  Guevara was planted with a swinging ddt by Starks, leaving Andretti to hit an impressive double-jump moonsault for two.

He and Sammy then crashed in the middle with both thinking cross-body: Starks and Jericho back in, the two ducking and dodging until Ricky landed a Spear.  Guevara made the save, Jericho used the distraction to grab a roll-up using the tights; Starks kicked out.

Then caught Jericho mid-Code Breaker, planting him with a Liger Bomb for another two.

Andretti in as he and Jericho faced off for the first time.  He landed a gamengiri; Jericho got the knees up on a split-leg, tag to Sammy who setup the GTH.  Andretti slipped out, hit an enziguri, Jericho grabbed the leg, Starks took him out, Andretti blasted Sammy with a poisonrana then a neckbreaker off the shoulders for another close two.

Cut to Starks dropping Jericho onto the mats at ringside via Roshambeaux.  In the ring, Andretti was well on top until Garcia nailed him with Floyd, into the GTH, goodnight.

Glad Andretti didn’t kick out of that.  You don’t want the crowd to think he’s being forced on them and there’s certainly a danger of that.

Strange match.  Had some nice exchanges and great moments of athleticism but overall felt a little lackluster.

Nevertheless, it moved the story forward with two youngsters the company is trying to push.

An angry Starks was shaking his head as he watched the heels celebrate in the aisle.

WINNER: Le Sex Gods

Voice cracking, Excalibur then introduced a video package honoring the life of Jay Briscoe.  Who was not previously allowed to be shown on TBS/TNT due to past homophobic tweets.  The bit with his little girl calling her dad ‘crazy, but I love my daddy’ was heartbreaking.

Tonight, his brother Mark will main event against Jay Lethal.

Darby Allin w/ Sting vs Buddy Matthews, TNT Title

Backstory: Allin said he has unfinished business with the House who repeatedly attacked him last year; chasing the ‘rush’ he felt when he beat Joe in his hometown, he wants to defeat each of them with his title on the line

On Rampage, they were at pains to emphasize Sting’s presence here.  Here’s hoping it’s a culmination of the staredowns he and Malakai had last summer.  Because the House really need a decent feud against some top stars.

Matthews came out with Julia.

They showed the past feud between Allin and the HOB, including Allin winning the match at All Out which led to them leaving for a few months.  Then footage of Darby in Great Muta’s last match, emphasizing his busy schedule in the lead-up to this match.  His right leg was wrapped.

Matthews finally removed the towel over his head to reveal his face, painted like Darby’s, then launched a vicious bicycle knee strike, immediately dropping Darby who rolled to ringside.

Matthews pursued him, beating him around ringside, back inside then back outside in quick succession.  Until Allin caught an attempted punt and dropped the Aussie on the apron.  Face first.

Whether real or not, Allin couldn’t run properly, leading to him being caught on a suicide and twice dropped spine-first against the apron.  Maintaining his grip, Matthews swung him into the barricades and was looking for a powerbomb when Allin countered into a hurracanrana.

Matthews used the ring apron to trip Darby, further injuring his leg.  Before launching a meteora off the top to the apron, bagging two in the process.

This match already has an intensity dwarfing the opener.

Allin fought back with a flipping stunner then launched a Coffin Drop from the top to the outside, positioning Matthews for another in the ring.  When the lights went out.

When they came back up, Malakai and Brody were stood in the aisle though Ortiz quickly flew in to strike from behind with a kendo stick.  He and Malakai brawled on the floor; Sting pursued King with his bat, and back inside Matthews had Allin up for a powerbomb.  A Liger Bomb with a high stack to be precise.  After hitting it with impact, he got two as we broke to break.

In trouble as we returned, Allin was perched atop Matthews’ shoulders, fired shots then hit a poisonrana to free himself.  Before heading up top.  Matthews rolled through a cross body for two; Allin responded with a beautiful crucifix bomb for two of his own.

Both down as the ref began to count.

Up at seven, Darby was favoring his leg, Matthews fired off a series of wicked kicks then avoided a code red to bag two via backslide.  Another hard spin kick to the chest was followed by a buckle bomb then a curb stomp for almost three.

Readying a pumphandle, Allin slipped through into a cradle for two then hit a code red before heading up top.  Matthews cut him off to setup a superplex which Allin countered into a Scorpion Death Drop to bag another two.

Before landing a Coffin Drop with Matthews dangling between the ropes to finally retain.

LOVED this.  Allin’s really won me over with his work lately.  And Matthews is like having two Pacs (no pun intended).  Which is about as high as praise gets.

Struggling to get up, the champ was joined in the ring by Schiavone.  Emphasizing Allin’s busy schedule as champ, he then recalled Darby’s memorable title win in his hometown over Samoa Joe.  You knew what was coming.

‘Dead boy, little dead boy’ He’s baaaack!  Joe appeared on the screen.

In the days of yore, theft would be punished by cutting off the offending hand.  But in his kingdom as the one true king of television, he’s going to take everything from Allin.  He’ll learn that winning the TNT title was the greatest mistake of his career.

‘The King… has spoken’.

With matches against Brody and Malakai coming and the continuation of the Darby/Joe feud, this is the best title division in the company at the moment.  It’s quite the turnaround.

WINNER: Darby Allin

Another Adam Cole package with him very honestly talking about how much he’s missed everything and showing him ostensibly getting back into the ring for the first time, running the ropes etc.  He’s not yet where he wants to be but he’s working his way back.  He doesn’t know when he’ll be back but ‘that day is coming soon’.  As he said this, they very deliberately cut to a banner for the ppv.

Jack Perry & Hook (JungleHook) vs Matt Hardy & Ethan Page

Backstory: Perry beat Page on Friday after a mistake by Hardy, Page challenged the faces to this match so Hardy could ‘make it up’ to him

Hardy’s music hit, the crowd cheered, he came out with Page, Stokely and Isiah Kassidy.  Page yelled that they played the wrong music; he’s the star.  Isiah disagreed.  Hathaway ordered him to put his chain on for him then Page forced them to play his music.

Page insisted on starting against Perry, was quickly overwhelmed, all four entered as Page shoved Hardy into the faces and ran away.  Hook pursued him to ringside where Page was about to eat a T-Bone until he countered by ramming the youngster’s face into the apron.

And was then about to drop him via Ego’s Edge until JB spotted it and made the save via tope, the two exchanging a brief nod before Perry tore back into the ring, avoided a side effect, hit a boot to the face but had his leg swept by Page.

The vets then hit a double-team suplex, seemingly on the same page as the ads arrived.  Very fast opening.

We returned to Jungle Boy in trouble until he ducked and dodged his way across the ring to tag Hook, the crowd roaring as he struck and suplexed his way around the ring, dropping Page with a T-Bone and briefly locking in the Redrum from the apron until Hardy swept the leg.

Hardy tagged himself in, dropping Perry with a side effect and about to finish him off with a Twist of Fate when Page demanded the tag.  And was promptly locked in the Snare Trap.  Hardy didn’t try very hard to help as Page tapped out.

Hardy was easily the most over here.  He and Page bickered after the loss.  If you don’t watch Rampage – and half the audience don’t – you probably wondered what the hell was going on.

WINNER: JungleHook

Family Therapy with the Acclaimed, the Gunns and Billy.  With a therapist.  Billy asked when his kids became spoiled brats.  His sons said they’d always come second; Billy was always on the road and now should’ve been helping them become champs.

Bowens said they were the biggest pieces of s*** he’d ever seen.

Gunn said he understood both sides.  One of his sons said their failures were his failures.  Billy asked what would make them happy.  ‘The belts’ was their reply.

The acting here from the Gunn boys was not good.  They shouldn’t be put in a position like this again because they’re clearly stronger cutting traditional promos.

While they need to stop throwing the Acclaimed onto tv just to get them there.  It’s watering them down.

…..

Renee with Hangman Page again.  She wanted more on his ‘vague response’ about what was next for him.  Hangman said that he couldn’t help but see backwards whenever he looked forwards.  Back to where things started with him and Mox in Ohio.  Next week, they’re in Ohio once again and he’d like to ‘knock out’ Moxley in his home state.

(Renee’s facials here were phenomenal, perfectly portraying ‘This SOB just said he wants to knock out my husband’ and ‘I’m a professional’.)

Wheeler Yuta just happened to hear this.  He said that Mox would be ready and ‘accepts your challenge’.  And since Page is running his mouth about people who aren’t cleared, why doesn’t he face him on Rampage?

A very cold Page accepted then asked Wheeler ‘Why do you think what happened to Jon… isn’t gonna happen to you too?’

Really like what they’re doing with Page’s character.  Don’t think he’s going heel but being knocked out and et cetera has hardened him.

Brian Cage vs Bryan Danielson

Backstory: Danielson must win every match in order to get his shot at MJF’s title

Not this again.  Excalibur noted that due to his ‘win/loss record’, Cage would become #1 contender if he wins here.  Are they doing records or not?  And if they are, they have to stop counting wins against Jimmy Fiddles, the Man with only Three Toes on Dark.

Cage quickly flung Danielson back to his corner.  A tentative Dragon asked for a lockup and was quickly brought to his knees.  Giving up on grappling, Danielson began to fire shots at the legs but was quickly overwhelmed once more.

Yes! kicks in the corner were brushed off; BD got two with a crucifix, landing into H&A elbows then right into the LeBell Lock.  Cage finally got the rope break but was immediately hit with a dropkick through the ropes before Danielson came off the top to the outside via cross body.  The vet taking risks against the bigger man.

Kicked back into the ring, Cage avoided another dive then hit snake eyes and his combination enziguri/German suplex.  He then dropped Danielson back-first against the apron to bring the break.

The announcers finally remembered that Cage was tasked by MJF with breaking Danielson’s arm.  Continuing the theme of these matches which is that they fail to emphasize the important point.  Namely that Danielson can’t lose.  So they lack drama.  A prime Jim Ross would be great here.

Thus Cage was working on the shoulder.  Danielson escaped and fired kicks to the chest, Cage quickly fired back and caught Danielson as he backflipped out of the corner right into a shoulder breaker.  Then hauled him in off the apron via suplex.

Before launching a German from outside to in, dropping the vet on his shoulder once more.  Cage then readied a powerbomb from the top, Danielson fought out with one arm, was shoved off but returned with a running dropkick then took Cage down via superplex.  The Dragon tried to fire himself up as he began to throw yes! kicks to the chest, dropping Cage with a final one to the skull to bag two.

BD looked for a triangle, Cage countered, Danielson countered back into an ankle lock, launching a German with the leg captured.  But Cage popped right up, the two exchanged lariats until Cage powerbombed Danielson against the ropes, against the mat, hauled him back up for a third where Danielson slipped out to grab a roll-up to snatch victory.

Post-match, Cage continued to attack the arm.  Until a huge cheer welcomed MJF to ringside as the crowd chanted his name.  Handing Cage a chair, the monster trapped Danielson’s arm in it then hurled him shoulder first into the ringpost.

Max then picked the bones in the ring, firing shots to the face, preparing to Pillman-ize the arm until Takeshita flew down to wallop Cage with a jumping knee as Max fled.

The refs checked on Danielson.

In a rare follow-up, they showed a replay of the attack on Danielson after we returned from break and Takeshita making the save.

Renee then got a report from the doctor.  Who said Danielson can’t wrestle.  An angry Danielson disagreed, firing up and saying that behind MJF’s mask was ‘fear’.  Fear that Danielson will take the AEW title from him.  He’s going to show the whole world that behind that mask is a fraud.

‘You, are not stopping me from wrestling, ever again’ he snorted at the doc as he left.  Probably quite a cathartic moment for him.

WINNER: Bryan Danielson

Toni Storm vs Ruby Soho (vs Britt Baker)

Backstory: Storm and Saraya continue their feud with the homegrown AEW girls

Was looking forward to this.  Possibly since triple threats are so rare in AEW.  But Britt is now injured and out of the match.  Had wondered if the other two were going to turn on her.

A cut-in from Storm asked Soho why she’d helped the ‘homegrown idiots’ last week.  We could barely hear the start as AEW’s audio problems continue.  A reply from Soho castigated Storm for looking down on the AEW roster.  ‘Everybody’s gotta start somewhere’ she said.  Admittedly she also noted it was the best company in the world but might’ve left that line out.

A stiff collar and elbow began things as the crowd chanted for Ruby.  Storm quickly bailed outside to compose herself then got into a shoving match which led into strikes until Storm stamped the foot – Bart Simpson style – then dropped Soho with a stiff boot to the mush.

Ruby came back with chops and strikes in the corner, Storm responded with a thumb to the eye then hip attacked her off the apron to crash down at ringside.  Would not fancy taking that.

Break.

Ruby planted Storm into the buckle as we retruned, hit a saito suplex, then another, slap to the face, kick to the gut, Storm slipped behind to grab the tights for two via roll-up.  Soho countered a piledriver with No Future then headed to the top.  After missing with a foot stomp she hit a knee to the face.  After which Storm went down and the ref intervened as the announcers referred back to her previously broken nose.

It was a ruse of course.  Storm launched a German then splattered her with a hip attack in the corner, tornado ddt, two only.  Readying Storm Zero, Britt’s music hit, Storm stood still for about three minutes, apparently mesmerized, allowing Soho to snatch the win.

Has Vince wormed his way onto AEW creative too?  Finish sucked.  Dragging down what was otherwise a good, intense match.

Ruby didn’t look all that pleased about what happened but could’ve just been expressing surprise at Baker helping her.

Storm works much better as a heel.  Vicious, more of an edge.

WINNER: Ruby Soho

MJF promo.  He’d locked himself in a room so Danielson couldn’t get to him but of course tried to play this off as the vet being unable to control his emotions.

‘I’m not the first Jew that had to hide from a man with blue eyes now am I?’

What a strange line for a despicable heel to use.  How do you boo someone after that?

He then addressed Takeshita.  Who he thinks is very talented in the ring but a bit light in the head.  He warned him to stay out of his business.

Before sarcastically asking the Dragon how his wing was.  He knows that deep down Danielson is obsessed with the world title, just like he is.  It’s the only thing MJF’s ever had that makes him feel whole.  ‘Just like me you got a hole in your soul and you’re tryna fill it’.

‘If you keep threatening to take away the one thing in this world that brings me happiness, you’re gonna find out that tonight was only physical pain’ but the mental pain MJF will inflict will leave scars.

For Danielson’s next opponent, he made a phone call to someone who loves inflicting pain.  Cut to a video of Timothy Thatcher, emphasizing his use of the Fujiwara Armbar.

This was an excellent promo.  Max finally felt like a champion here.  One who cares deeply about his title and will go to any lengths to keep it.

…..

Jamie Hayter video package putting over Emi Sakura as a legend.  She noted that they’ve wrestled before but warned Sakura that ‘I’m different now’.  Before closing with ‘Hayter.  Hits.  Hard’.  That one’s on Rampage.

Mark Briscoe vs Jay Lethal

Backstory: A match to honor Mark’s recently departed brother

Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman joined Excalibur on comms.  Lethal looked on the verge of tears as he made his way to the ring.

Big response for Mark Briscoe who was incredibly fired-up.  He brought both tag belts with him and got another huge response when he was announced by Bobby Cruise.

The two shook with Lethal already tear-ing up.

Starting fast with grappling, Mark hit a scoop slam, Lethal popped up, reset as the crowd applauded.

Jay backed him to the corner where they exchanged very stiff chops until Mark crushed him with a clothesline in the corner then a kick to the head with Lethal down.  Jay responded with his cartwheel into a dropkick; Mark came back with a neckbreaker for two slaps of the mat.

Break time.  Thus far this was very much a backdrop to the announcers talking about what had happened, what Jay Briscoe was as a person and meant to wrestling, to suggest people contact loved ones etc.  As it should be.

Mark went to the top, pointed to the sky then came off with a diving chop, or ‘redneck kung-fu’ as Caprice called it.  Like that.

Then struck with an enziguri, clothesline in the corner, iconoclasm off the top for another two as Mark got the crowd going again.  Then setup the Jay Driller, Lethal fought out to hit Lethal Combination for two of his own.

Then a pump kick, enziguri, face-first suplex before landing the Lethal Injection.  Mark rolled out of the ring to avoid the pin as the crowd cheered.

Lethal followed, placing Mark on the timekeeper’s table before heading up top.  Mark quickly ran back inside, hit a dropkick through the ropes then flew off the apron with a blockbuster.  Before placing Lethal onto the same table.

Launching himself off the top with an elbow as the crowd chanted ‘holy S’.  Lethal just kicked out after being returned to the ring.

Mark again setup the Jay Driller, Lethal turned it into a backslide for two, Mark popped up to blast him with a lariat.  Again searching for the Jay Driller, again Lethal slipped out but ate another clothesline.  Before Mark finally hit his brother’s finish to bag the win.

Fantastic story with a perfect ending.

A graphic appeared on the screen as the entire roster, including Tony Khan, came onto the stage to applaud.

Lethal and Mark hugged before the former vacated the ring to leave Mark to the crowd’s cheers.

‘We love you, Jay Briscoe’ were the closing words from Excalibur.

R.I.P.

WINNER: Mark Briscoe

 Overall impressions

An excellent show.  Enjoyable pretty much from start to finish.  The crowd were quiet through the body of most matches which ate away at them slightly, but were certainly ‘up’ for the main event.

…..

Next Rampage:

  • Hangman Adam Page vs Wheeler Yuta
  • Powerhouse Hobbs in action
  • Jamie Hayter vs Emi Sakura, Women’s Title Eliminator match

Next Dynamite:

  • Bryan Danielson vs Timothy Thatcher
  • Hangman Adam Page vs Jon Moxley (presumably Mox is all wobbly and they need to stop the match or something, surely they’ll save this for the ppv?)
  • Acclaimed in action
  • Darby Allin vs Samoa Joe, TNT Title, No Holds Barred (I’m sure Allin said he was going to go through the HOB one by one with his title on the line?)

…..

Conspiracy Corner

  • Ruby Soho joins the ex-WWE gals – 6/10
  • Mercedes Monet ends Jade Cargill’s run at the ppv 3/10

…..

Check Out

  • Mark Briscoe vs Jay Lethal (Emotional, great crowd involvement, great story)
  • Darby Allin vs Buddy Matthews

Thanks for reading.

Paul Hemming
Paul Hemminghttps://h00kedon.weebly.com/
Paul Hemming got into AEW during the pandemic, lives in Liverpool, England, and is a huge Liverpool fan, Playstation player and history lover.

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