Home AEW Dynamite TV report for 03/20/2024

Dynamite TV report for 03/20/2024

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Venue: Coca-Cola Coliseum, Toronto, Ontario, Ca

*****

They showed Copeland and Cage arriving.  Cheers for Copeland, only light boos for Cage. Okada pulled up in a very flashy sportscar.

Seems like the usual small crowd, especially in such a big arena, lights low and etc.

Right to the ring and to Schiavone who introduced Mercedes.  The chant doesn’t work quite as well when there aren’t nearly ten-thou in the house.  Crowd only joined the chant when it was playing over the speakers too.

Tony handed her the mic and left.

She asked the crowd to say hello to their new CEO.  She said she’d missed ‘all of this’ – ring, fans etc.  And is excited to be here.  A light ‘CEO’ chant started.  She started getting emotional and said ‘all of this’ nearly got taken away from her.  She got a potentially career-ending injury against Willow last year.

Which is a real story.  But they rushed through it as if you knew all the details.

She then sent to a video she’d ‘put together’ to tell us about her.  Voiced over by Renee – clips of her wrestling in Japan and appearing on red carpets.  This couldn’t have screamed ‘egotistical heel’ any more.  It included her telling Willow they had ‘unfinished business,’ last week.

Back to the ring, she said she was kicking butt all over the world and it nearly got taken away from her.  Now she’s here.  (Is this going to go somewhere anytime soon?)

She said she’s not here to lead an ‘evolution,’ she’s here to lead a ‘global revolution.’  She came here to face the best in AEW and from all over the world.  She talked about Skye Blue and Julia attacking Willow last week.  And said they were interfering in her business.  ‘There’s a price to pay when you mess with Mercedes Mone.’

Lights went out, Queen Spooky appeared in the aisle, Blue tried to attack from behind, Mone fought her off and was about to give Julia her finish when Blue pulled her to safety.  The heels bailed and were grabbing weapons when Willow and Statlander raced down with their own weapons.  Julia put her ‘I’m angry’ face on, then smiled ‘scarily’ as the lights went out again and they disappeared.

The lights came up and Willow looked like she’d planned to bash Mercedes with a chair from behind.  Mone noticed this and jawed with Willow as she left.

*****

‘Al Scoops’ (eugh) tried to get a word with the Elite earlier:

Nicholas approved of the way he pronounced Okada but then told him to say it Okada’s native tongue next time.  Matt said there’s an app called Duolingo, that Alex was trying and it was okay, then fawned over Okada’s presence and charisma.  They can’t come to ringside tonight but will be on headsets as his personal producers.

Okada spoke in Japanese then said in English – ‘Eddie, I’m coming for your title.’  Crowd cheered.

Matt asked if Marvez had understood the Japanese part and he said no.  Matt told him to ‘study-up dumbass’, then gave him a fist bump and told him he was killing it.  I love this character, it’s hilarious.

Kazuchika Okada vs Eddie Kingston (Continental Title)

Backstory: Okada pinned Kingston after a low blow in a tag last week

(They have not done a good job at all making it clear which belt is on the line here, or even making it clear that Kingston holds three but only one is being defended.)

Crowd went wild as the coin dropped and yelled along with Justin as he announced the Rainmaker.  Seemed to get a much bigger reaction than Mercedes.  Renee did like a live report from the ramp talking up the match as Kingston came out to a rapturous response.

Like the more sports-like things they add in for this title.

Dueling chant, plenty behind Okada as the bell rang.  Moving toward a majority.

Collar and elbow, Okada forced to the ropes, break.  He tried a fake-out punch, Kingston shrugged and blasted him down with a lariat, Okada fleeing outside and baiting Eddie into following then clubbing him as he re-entered, elbow to the back of the head, side headlock, crowd clapping as Eddie got free and they crashed shoulders.  Twice.  Neither budging, Okada rocking a bit then smashed down on a third.

Again, he bailed outside.

And started to flee up the ramp but was again suckering Kingston.  This time into a ddt on the ramp.  Okada came up smirking, they cut to the Bucks and Khan producing the match, the Bucks were giggling and pointing out to Tony how great Okada is.

LOUD dueling chant as Okada continued the assault with a neckbreaker and cocky pin back inside.  For one.  Kingston fought up put of a crossface but took a knee to the gut, Okada accelerating into a low dropkick to the head.

Ads.

Back to Okada aiming raking boots, Kingston on his knees, more loud dueling chants as Eddie fired up, big chops rocking Okada back until he landed another knee to the gut but was snatched into an abdominal stretch.  Kingston nailed an overhead throw then a back-heel trip, both down.

Finally up, running lariat in the corner, machine guns, Okada fought off another suplex briefly but took a German and sliding lariat from Kingston, out at two.  Kingston returned the favor with raking boots, Okada smirking as he climbed to his feet, Kingston hit the ropes but ran into a big dropkick, crowd cheered.

Then hit his across the thigh neckbreaker for a near fall.  Scoop slam, to the top, Kingston to his feet, he ducked, Okada rolled through but came up into an Uriken (they chose this moment to zoom out so it wasn’t totally clear what happened).  Kingston was down himself briefly so got two with a late cover.

To their knees, slugging it out, Kingston rocked him with a headbutt, Okada dragged him to his feet but took a stinging chop, another pair, Okada slipped behind and hit a ripcord discus lariat (it wasn’t a Rainmaker but they called it one), Kingston got his hands up to partially block, they both crumpled.

Kingston boots up in the corner, racing out with a lariat, Okada down.  He went for half and half, Okada grabbing the ref to block then raking Kingston’s eyes.  Kingston hit back via enziguri, Okada ducked another Uriken and hit a landslide, Rainmaker, win.

Very anti-climactic ending for a match not at the level I was expecting.  Not that it was anywhere close to bad or anything.  Like that they’re protecting the lariat and wonder if this’ll lead to him being the champ on Collision to give that show some purpose.

Backstage, the Bucks went wild; Khan nodded, trying to remain impartial.  Fireworks went off and Okada held up the belt, when Pac’s music interrupted.  Crowd happy to see him.

(He did warn Khan on Collision that he would go ‘looking for trouble’ if Khan didn’t find him some.  Of course the announcers didn’t mention any of this.)  He stared at Okada – who held the belt up – then left.

That’s two killer ppv matches.

Winner: Kazuchika Okada

Backstage to Renee with Swerve and Nana.  Swerve had the chain again.  Two weeks ago Joe tried to humiliate him and choke him out.  Swerve has a history of choking people out himself, that’s why Joe’s running and ducking.

He played to the crowd and basically made an open challenge.  Then did the ‘Whose House?’ line.  Crowd reciprocated.

He’s still just not likeable to me.

*****

Renee now with Willow, Stat and Stokely.  They’re facing Skye and Julia in the Rampage main event (they keep pushing Rampage hard since it’s right after Dynamite.)

Willow said she’s usually all happy but has been in more street fights than anyone else.

Mercedes stomped up from behind.  Stat thanked her for having Willow’s back.  Mone said ‘That’s what a CEO does, stands up for what they believe in.’  Mone thanked her back for earlier and said it was nice to meet her, they shook hands.

Willow started trying to explain herself for the chair incident, Mercedes abruptly cut her off – ‘You’ve done enough.’  Stokely chose this moment to try to introduce himself like a fanboy, right as Mone left.  Dude knows how to show ass, nice heel work.

Liked the tension between Willow and Mone.  As noted last week, much more should’ve been done to build Willow up and explain that backstory.

Chris Jericho vs Hook

Backstory: Jericho wants to see his ninth tag partner this year prove himself or something

Jericho’s still insisting on being ‘Lionheart’.  The atmosphere not quite the same as at the outset of the prior match.

Hook immediately suplexed Jericho on his head after a duck under, the vet remained down and was wobbly in the ropes, crowd quiet and/or lightly booing.  Jericho finally said he could continue, Hook rushed him with rights until a stinging chop from the vet, Hook ducked and nailed another T-bone.  This time for two.

The assault continuing until Jericho landed a big right and another chop as Hook raced at him in the corner.  Jericho played to the crowd and got a cheer but took another suplex onto his head, this time a German.  And another, slow release with a big arch.  And again.

Ads.  Like that they’re playing to the story of Taz dumping Jericho on his head in their first ever match.  But it’s a little strange doing this in Jericho’s home country.

Back to another German, which we couldn’t see cause they’d again zoomed out.  Hook seeking another, the blueprint obvious to everyone as a very light ‘suplex city’ chant could be heard.  It hit but Jericho countered another, rolling through seeking the Walls.

Hook fought him off with rights but ran into a boot in the corner.  Shoulder block, a second, mixed response for the Ocho, as even Taz acknowledged.  Jericho headed upstairs for an axe handle but landed into yet another suplex.  Big diving lariat from Hook, Jericho hit back with a boot and the lionsault, which did get a pop.

Hook out at two.

Both struggling to their feet, the vet aiming chops, Hook hit a very light punt but ran into an overhead throw, crashing into the ropes and buckle, nasty landing on his face.  Jericho threw more chops, went upstairs appealing to the crowd, getting mostly boos though they did count along with ten in the corner, man fans are fickle 😉.

Still up there, Hook blocked a shot, into Redrum, Jericho carrying his weight all the way back to the center of the ring, Jericho finally broke the grip, more boos at the lack of a tap.  Hook again fought off the Walls and rolled Jericho up to win.

Then looked at Jericho with a smile, like ‘I got you.’  Jericho looked shocked.  The announcers put this over as a major victory.  Jericho offered a fistbump, Hook reciprocated.

It was interesting and there was some good storytelling.  Certainly not your standard match.  Would’ve liked to see Hook win via tap but maybe they’re building to that?

Winner: Hook

We raced away to Adam Cole sitting in the same chair (leather-backed in like a Victorian reading room) he read the story from last week.  He ‘hate(s) being disappointed’, and Wardlow disappointed him.  He failed.  He had ‘one damn job,’ and he failed.  So his new goal is to make sure the UK hang onto the gold they have.

‘Then maybe we’ll forgive you’.

He’s not saying this out of anger, he’s saying it cause he cares, he wants Wardlow to reach his potential.  ‘So don’t screw it up’.

In the few places where this isn’t lame and rushed, it’s far too similar to what Christian Cage has been doing.  And basically promising interference in a lot of matches doesn’t sound like great fun.

Ads.

*****

Renee with Jericho.  He said Hook lived up to what he was hoping for.  He looked into the camera and told him he’s a future world champ and every bit as bad as people say he is.  Crowd cheered for this but were wary/lightly booed when Jericho said he had a proposal for him next week.

*****

They were not booing though as Will Ospreay bounced out after being introduced by Tony.  Crowd singing along to Elevated.

Ospreay celebrated and smiled at a ‘BRUV’ sign in the crowd harder than most guys do after a title win.  Dude’s so likeable.  So much energy.  Schiavone said he had a classic last year vs Omega and we’re on the cusp of another, him vs Danielson.

Ospreay said he’ll be honest, ‘last time I was here (in Canada), I was a little bit of a naughty boy*.’  He’s changed, ‘for the betterment of AEW’, he looked into the camera and apologized.  He’s here to give us classic wrestling ‘but in return Canada, I need some of that maple syrup’.

Crowd chanted ‘bruv!’.

He watched Danielson vs Shibata on Saturday.  He hopes everyone backstage studied it.  And he saw what Danielson said afterward, about not being able to walk in his shoes.

And maybe he’s right?  Because when Ospreay went to Japan – ‘the place where you wanted to be a big star’ (crowd ‘oohed’) – he couldn’t walk in Danielson’s shoes: ‘Do you wanna know why? (crowd yelled ‘Why?’) His shoes were too small for me bruv’.

Danielson did well in Japan but Ospreay elevated wrestling there, he listed all his titles.  Yet apparently can’t walk in Danielson’s shoes.  ‘Want me to prove it?’ he said with a cheeky smile.

He spoke a little Japanese to Shibata.  Seven years ago Shibata ‘beat the piss out of me’ when he was just a 23 year old kid.  Now he’s 30 with dogs, cats, kids, a ‘missus,’ and a mortgage to pay, so next week on Dynamite he challenged Shibata and asked Danielson to watch while he showed ‘what the Billy GOAT is all about’.

Crowd lightly booed that being next week and briefly threw Ospreay off, but this was more phenomenal work.  He’s just so damn likeable, so enthusiastic.

Also, I’m gonna do what you did, but better is one of my favorite, very simple ways to build a feud.

*Swerve should watch the way he said this and his body language, that’s how you make clear you’re a babyface.

*****

From wrestling’s cutting edge (NPI) to a feud we’ve seen a million times, they played a package pushing the main event.  Good package though if you’re into the match.

Toni Storm & Mariah May vs Thunder Rosa & Deonna Purrazzo

Backstory: Purrazzo sought a partner to balance the odds after losing a recent title match to Toni

May again came out again to Storm’s old theme, in her old look and doing her mannerisms.  Some middle-aged dude in the front row was giving them the double bird.  Hard.

The faces raced to the ring and took down both ‘heels’.  Rosa went after Storm and the announcers reminded us she’d never actually lost the belt, so seems that’s where we’re headed next.

They brawled outside as May aimed a running dropkick at Deonna then tagged Storm.  Purrazzo hit a double lariat to take both down, another in the corner on Storm, tag to Rosa, who hit a lariat after springing off Deonna’s back.

After the fans were clapping because Luther was leading them to do so, Rosa tripped Toni into the ropes then crushed her against them, leapt to avoid a swipe from Luther and was knocked off the apron by Storm to bring the break.

That’s some muddled character stuff right there.

Back to Rosa taking both heels out via cross body off the top, Deonna in, nailing May: knee lift, legsweep, looking for VdM.  Mariah freed herself but was walloped with a great pumpkick, Rosa working the crowd from the apron.

Deonna again tried to take May down for the VdM, Rosa tagged herself in, Deonna wasn’t happy, Toni struck while they were bickering, May took out Deonna but took a DVD from Rosa, Toni snuck behind to nail a German, crowd cheering wildly as she prepared a hip attack.  And hit.

Rosa though popped up to snatch a jackknife pin.

Seems they might have stopped fighting the tide and be turning Deonna.  Who wasn’t happy after the match.

Solid while it lasted.  No slow sequences and/or daylight.

Winner: Thunder Rosa & Deonna Purrazzo

It’s so very weird that they’re spending way more time pushing Rampage than tonight’s main event.  Or in fact, most any Dynamite match we ever see.

*****

Swerve came out with Nana.  Still with the chain.  The Butcher is answering his challenge.  Forgot he existed.

Swerve Strickland vs The Butcher

Backstory: NONE

Swerve very over in T-dot.  He went right after Butcher with a headbutt then stomps in the corner.  Running back elbow, diving one from the top to the back of the neck, goofy dance, more crowd chants, led by Nana.

Butcher began targeting the shoulder with a wrench and punt, half nelson backbreaker, big forearm, another, Swerve hit back with a pair of boots after a weird delay.  Then just ignored a lariat and hit a stomp to the back.  Such a weird sequence.

Crowd didn’t care as he hit the house call.  Butcher then sat up straight, just like the teacher told him, so Swerve could hit the Stomp.  Strickland then applied a type of short-arm scissors for the tap.  The announcers made a thing of it being Swerve’s first submission win in AEW.

Submission match at Dynasty?

He grabbed the mic and said he used to have respect for Joe.  After knowing him a while, that turned to indifference and now he’s very close to ‘hating you’ (you’re chasing him with a chain dude, what would ‘hate’ look like?).  Crowd quiet for this, not really responding.

Everyday he thinks about putting the chain around his neck and pulling till Joe can’t respond.  Every week Joe will send security and he’ll take them out week after week until Joe gives him what he wants.  (Huh?  Security have come out once.)

Joe came out to the usual loud chant.  Suited and booted.  And mic’d.  He smirked then wondered what to do with someone like Swerve.  Logically, he should ignore him completely since he beat him at Revolution.

Swerve’s problem is he still believes the impossible is possible, that he can box with the god.  And even thinks he can inspire the people in doing so, which is cute until someone like Joe shows up, smashes him in the face and shows him reality.

So Joe knows exactly what to do, it’s to give him what he wants.  They were about to go at it when Don Callis interrupted.  Swarming boos.  He wondered why Swerve could just book himself into matches.  Since Takeshita has the same amount of wins.  And Takeshita’s loss was in house.  The company isn’t Swerve’s house, it’s the Callis Fams’.

Swerve said if he had more time and wasn’t distracted with the title, he’d ‘burn the Callis Fam to a crisp’.  He said he’d beat Takeshita then would be coming for Joe again.

Excalibur said Callis made ‘a compelling case’ (announcer credibility is important).  Admittedly I don’t watch Rampage, but I can remember a single Takeshita win – over Darby Allin – in like five months.

And this is what I mean about Swerve – Joe choked him out in a submission; Swerve wants to hang him with a chain.  Callis interrupts him; Swerve wants to burn the Family to a crisp.  For a guy who never truly turned, he’s threateningly menacing more than he’s likeable.  Not sure why he’s quite this angry.  And the promo didn’t make sense in a lot of places.

All that said, it leaves two good matches next week.

Joe was strong here as usual.

Winner: Swerve Strickland

Adam Copeland vs Christian Cage (TNT Title, I Quit)

Backstory: Cage turned on Copeland months ago then recently took him out via conchairto (which he’s just fine after btw, no need for concern!), leading to Copeland introducing a spiked bat for their I Quit match

Crowd sang Copeland’s theme for a bit after it ended.  Very into this as the bell rang.

Cage rushed him with rights, Copeland sent him to the buckle, looking for an early Spear but settling for a dropkick through the ropes after Cage bailed.  Then beat him into the crowd before taking a Bruins jersey from a fan and putting it on Cage, then putting a Leafs jersey on himself.

Who wouldn’t stop to dress properly during a heated blood feud?

Ads.

Back to Copeland grabbing a ladder, ‘TLC’ chant.  Cage tried to hide in the women’s bathroom during the ads apparently.  That’s nice heel work.

They bridged the ladder across two announce tables, Copeland dragged Cage down onto it by the head like a reverse facebuster.  A TiA chant started, it’s generally overused but has never meant less than it did here after about three moves.

Copeland then crotched him on another ladder.  Cage leapfrogged a Spear, Copeland nearly ran through a propped table but put on the brakes.  Cage poked the eye, diving at Copeland off the top so that Copeland kinda-sorta broke a table, they made a big deal of it – ‘driven through,’ per Excalibur.

Ref asked if Copeland quit, he yelled ‘Screw you!’.  Cage then seesawed him into the buckle, ref asked again, Copeland couldn’t answer for a while but then said ‘No’.  Copeland countered into his crossface submission, Cage yelled ‘No,’ repeatedly then eventually broke the hold.  They both thought Spear and collided in mid-air.

Ads.  Slow and boring.  Not much drama.

Back to Copeland flinging Cage off the stage.  Cage said ‘No,’ when asked.  Copeland pulled out a hockey goal then flung Cage into it to ‘score’.  Geez, any more shtick?  Don’t you hate each other’s guts?

Shayna Wayne then hit Copeland in the nuts from behind with a hockey stick.  Cage wailed away with it.  Copeland’s been bleeding from the head for a while btw.  Cage choked him with the stick, so Copeland couldn’t answer the ref for ages, and didn’t say anything at all.  The announcers noted he ‘didn’t quit so the match continues.’

Cage then grabbed a chair clad in barbed wire.  Man this crowd’s quiet compared to the start.

He prepped a conchairto using the chair, Copeland moved.  Cage got his boots up in the corner, looking for Killswitch on the chair, Copeland countered then landed a shot with the hockey stick, then applied his crossface with the stick in Cage’s mouth.  So now Cage couldn’t answer the ref.

Copeland then took the drawstring out of his tights and used it like a garrote.  Cage going purple, about to quit, Killswitch and Nick Wayne ran in.

Shayna slapped Copeland, Garcia and Menard ran out to not much of a pop.  Killswitch took an impaler on the barbed chair, Nick Wayne was flung out by Garcia and Menard, Copeland climbed the ladder and dived onto both minions.

They cuffed both to the corners, Shayna stayed in the ring for some reason and got surrounded.  She fled up the ramp.  Cage now turned around into a three-on-one.  Crowd still quiet until a Copeland Spear.  His helpers cuffed Cage to the buckle, Copeland went for the barbed bat.  Cage refused to quit so Copeland punted him repeatedly in the balls.  If he has any, dude should be vomiting by now.

Copeland then nailed him in the balls with the bat, should def be vomiting.

The show ended and transitioned to Rampage, Copeland held the bat up to strike him again, Cage quit.

This was like Dynamite finished twenty minutes ago and they aired the ending to a Raw from 2002 but booked by Vince Russo.  I frequently go to write ‘Edge’ when talking about Copeland – which isn’t an issue with any other ex-WWE guys.  Because they haven’t come into AEW and solely worked with the wrestler(s) they were most frequently associated with twenty years ago.

It doesn’t seem like he’s really arrived yet.  Maybe now he can move on and freshen up his act by working with some different guys?

Winner: Adam Copeland

 ________________________________________________________________

No Collision due to NCAA.

Next Dynamite:

  • Jericho proposal for Hook
  • Ospreay vs Shibata
  • Takeshita vs Swerve
  • Bucks vs Private Party

Thumbs Up/Down

  • ‘Ospreay! Ospreay!’ (yes, I’m fanboy-ing)
  • Felt like lots of stars on the show, along with matches which could go either way (and a big show next week too)
  • They are finally having stars beat other stars, very important for building true ‘top guys’
  • They’re getting behind Okada, let’s hope that belt doesn’t weigh him down and they do something with it
  • I had no faith they’d follow up with Hook but they’ve done a pretty good job keeping him involved

 *****

  • Erm, there’s a tag tournament
  • Dumb rankings/contenders and using Takeshita as fodder
  • Lame main event, everything AEW shouldn’t be – aging ex-WWE wrestlers in a slow, shtick-y match, riddled with interference, in a feud months past its peak#
  • UK is dead

Appreciate you reading.  Hope you’re having a good week.

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