Arena: Total Mortgage Arena
City: Bridgeport, CT
Last Week’s Rating: 930,000 overall; 0.32 in 18-49 demo
It’s Wednesday night, it’s Dynamite. Let’s go.
Excalibur welcomed us alongside Taz, Tony & Ian Riccaboni. And you know what that means… Jericho’s opening.
Le Sex Gods vs Claudio Castagnoli & Bryan Danielson
Backstory: The 4 participants in Saturday’s ROH Title match; in addition to disliking the other side, both teams have teased infighting in recent weeks
All four flew at one another: Claudio took Jericho outside, the other two remained in the ring. The BCC started strong, culminating in double hammer and anvils right in the middle. Riccaboni was less than objective on comms.
With Sammy wrapped in a Romero Special, Danielson tagged Claudio for a boot to the face, Sammy responded by just about keeping his balance on his flips-into-a-dropkick as boos rained down. Claudio hauled Guevara up for a delaaaaaaayed suplex, down to one knee, before dropping first him, then Jericho as he ran in.
Danielson back in, Sammy still stuck in there, to the corner, stiff chops and kicks, until Sammy targeted the eye. Allowing the tag to Jericho, who fired off chops of his own before posing for the crowd, double-birding them as Riccaboni noted that ‘the feeling’s mutual’.
BD got the tag, Claudio forcing Sammy to watch as he worked over the arm of Jericho. Quick tag back to Danielson, quickly backed into the heel corner by Jericho, Sammy in, Danielson down, Le Sex Gods Pose.
Responding, BD flew at Sammy, who drop toe hold-ed him face first into the buckle, where Jericho continued to attack the injured eye as the break beckoned.
Both heels had Danielson up for a delayed suplex of their own as we came back, Jericho with his foot-on-chest pin for a quick kick out. More chops to the chest in the corner, Danielson in big trouble.
Fighting out, BD fired off chops, flipped off the buckle, duck under, flying elbow strike, both down in the middle. Tag to CC, who hauled-in Sammy like he was nothing, then flung him into Jericho, flurry of uppercuts to Le Champion, a good minute of them. Before running over Jericho with a shoulder for a two count.
As he was setting up the Ricola Bomb, Jericho flipped out, Claudio ducked a clothesline, hit another uppercut, another two. Then set up the swing but Guevara stopped it, Castagnoli into the Walls, Sammy took out Danielson with a flipping dive as Claudio struggled to the ropes, the hold finally broken via a Danielson shotgun dropkick off the top.
The Dragon the only man on his feet, tags to he and Sammy, the pair faced off in the middle – flurry of forearms from Sammy met with one discus elbow strike, knocking Guevara to his knees, open for yes! kicks, he again ducked the last, targeting the eye once more, jumping knee, Danielson slipped out of the GTH, between the legs, LeBell Lock, Sammy got his legs on the ropes.
Taking Sammy topside, Guevara again bit the injured head/eye, allowing him to hit a cutter from the top, tag to Jericho, Lionsault, Claudio broke it up at 2.5. An elevated uppercut blasted Sammy to the outside, Jericho shoved Claudio out there too, he and Danielson collided mid-ring, both down.
Castagnoli came back in, Dnaielson took out Sammy with a tope through the ropes, Jericho grabbed Floyd but Claudio swept the legs, into a big swing with more than enough rotations to make both nauseuous. The Swiss then got the Sharpshooter while resting the bat on his shoulder for the tap and the win.
Very good opener. They’re clearly trying hard to convince you Claudio has Jericho’s number.
WINNER: Claudio Castagnoli & Bryan Danielson
Moxley/MJF video package – the two and various others commenting on the upcoming title match. Short and effective.
Another of those weird videos Darby does. Soundclip at the start had the heels talking about bodybags. Darby emerged from one in the backeat, joining Sting as he drove. The vet noted that at Full Gear, ‘it’s showtime’.
Jarrett then stepped in front of the rest of his heel crew to say Sting’s match on Sat would be his last. Before again threatening the camera guy. Run! He’s trying to sell you Cash for Gold!
Anthony Bowens vs Swerve Strickland
Backstory: One-half of the upcoming tag title match
Huuuge pop for the Acclaimed. Bowens introduced their new music video, which began with Paul Wight alongside the champs as Captain Insano. ‘Keith Lee’ & ‘Swerve’ called-in to speak to their hero. They asked what were their chances of winning on Saturday as the Captain & Acclaimed howled with laughter.
On the song itself: nice beat. Best line called Lee ‘Cleveland Jr.’
Daddy Ass attacked before the bell and was again sent backstage. In the intro rap, Caster made a Jay Leno/burns joke. As the match started, Schiavone felt the need to send out best wishes to Jay, so the Acclaimed might be in trouble for that one.
Rapid action started with Bowens delivering a thrust kick and a leaping legdrop to the back of the head. To the apron, Swerve fought Bowens off, snapping his arm cross the ropes, into a tejeiras, low dropkick, Bowens to the outside where Swerve launched himself with a dive, absolutely clocking Bowens with his feet, then launched a pump kick from the apron.
Aiming to drop Bowens on the barricade, Swerve dropped him into the crowd. Didn’t look planned. Nasty landing as the fans tried to help Bowens up. Unclear if he landed on somebody.
Bowens was bleeding from the mouth when we returned, Strickland continuing to work the arm, kick to the spine, Swerve poised on the top but Bowens swept the leg, avoided a diving punch, then hit a running back-elbow as the crowd chanted his name. They were silent while Swerve was in control.
Shoulder tackle, shots to the face and back, Swerve sent to the corner where Bowens struck again with an elbow, Olympic Slam, count of two.
After targeting the arm again, Swerve hit a brainbuster, Bowens down on his knees in the middle as Strickland hit a stomp to the head, kickout at two. Annoyed, Strickland went back to the arm with a sickening looking and sounding kick which looked like it dislocated the shoulder. Made you wince.
Another stomp attempt saw Strickland’s leg caught, but he again struck the injured arm to fight out into the JML Driver for the dominant victory.
Commentators wondered about the shape of Bowens’ shoulder for Saturday.
WINNER: Swerve Strickland
Nyla/Jade video package. Cargill has apparently bled, sweated and cried for AEW. Nyla said she’s Jade’s ‘wake-up call’.
Schiavone in the ring to talk to Samoa Joe, who still got his usual positive response, despite what the commentators said. Sparse ‘Wardlow’ chants from the crowd. Joe began by threatening Schiavone (that’s when you know they’re worried about someone being cheered).
Then asked if it was wrong to take action when someone threatened to take something from you? Wardlow didn’t recognize the most dangerous man in the room. He refuses to sit around and be a victim, like those in the audience. Here, he did draw boos. If anyone has a problem with that… they can take it up with him.
Cue Will Hobbs. He’s been the one kicking Wardlow’s ass, so why doesn’t he do the same to Joe? Just about to go at it, Wardlow joined them. The champ came through the crowd, hitting Joe from behind but quickly clobbered by Powerhouse. A bunch of wrestlers came out to separate them. Wardlow then hit a senton onto the majority of them.
Joe was great on the mic as usual. Hobbs too in his short time speaking. If this had been built a bit longer, and the TNT title better protected, this could’ve felt really big time.
Britt backstage promo. Solo. Saraya said she couldn’t be a superstar but in three years, she went from nervous and happy-to-be-there, to the top of the pile. She took her opportunity until she became undeniable, until every fan says here catchphrase with her. (She did it to illustrate the point) And no, she didn’t wrestle at MSG, but she did at Daily’s Place.
‘When the fans couldn’t come to us, we came to them.’
She respects various things about Saraya, but ‘this business owes you nothing’. ‘You’re not going to belittle me… or my accomplishments’. She’s the ‘heart and soul of AEW, if you don’t like that, you can get the hell out. This is my house.’
Very serious, almost emotional interview from Baker. An excellent promo. But it’s again a bit confusing that she seems to be cutting promos bound to receive cheers. Definitely made the match feel very personal.
Death Triangle vs Top Flight & AR Fox
Backstory: Pac has been trying to turn his teammates to the darkside
Should be a belter of a match. And is the last chance to build a trios match for the ppv if indeed they are going to.
Darius wasted no time, starting off against Rey, lots of quick-twitch mat-work and exchanges on the mat and in the grapple, Darius avoided Fenix’ rebound heelkick, Fenix did the same on an attempted legsweep. Stalemate. Excellent start. Refreshingly different. Needs to be seen to be truly appreciated.
Now Dante and Penta – a ‘Zero Miedo’ preceded pushing Dante back to the ropes, where he avoided a rushing Penta with a flip, a run-up flip off the chest, another off the middle ropes, swinging ddt, dropkick, Penta to the outside. Incredible fluidity from Martin, it doesn’t seem like he’s moved and he’s halfway across the ring.
Lastly, Fox and Pac went face to face. Both exchanged flips and athletically avoided the other until a spinning boot to the midsection caught the newcomer. Who avoided a shot from Pac by matrixing, up into a dropkick, both rolled out of the corner at the same time, into a Fox cutter before Pac fled outside, where Fox vaulted into a moonsault (incredible), straight back in, senton atomico, Penta blasted him with a kick to break up the count as the ref got to two.
Top Flight then flung Pac into another cutter from Fox. Bringing all of DT in, thrust kicks, three way dropkick to the face, cazadora/moonsault combo, two slaps of the mat.
Darius had Pac down as we came back, kick to the face, brainbuster, very quick kick out.
A flipping ddt off his brother’s chest from Darius preceded a violent suicide dive, soaring springboard splash from Dante, Fox followed with something crazy which I missed, he and Fenix back in, Spanish Fly off the top, 450 splash, Pac saved the belts at 2.5.
Fenix hit his rebound heelkick on Fox, kick to the ribs by Penta, Fear Factor – Fenix wiped out Top Flight with a tope on the ramp – Black Arrow, that’ll get the job done everytime.
Schiavone mentioned ‘London 2023’. But that was about all he said re: AEW coming to England.
Post-match, Pac quickly got on the mic. ‘Do you think we haven’t seen the videos? Heard the rumors? If there are certain individuals who think they can make their triumphant return at Full Gear, mosey in and best the Death Triangle… that’s ridiculous. You know who you are… this Saturday, please bring the heat, cause Death Triangle runs from no-one, (Penta) Zero! Miedo!’
Screen then showed Death Triangle vs The Elite for the PPV, for the titles.
Pac said that they’ve ‘been waiting’ for them.
WINNER: Death Triangle
Ricky Starks promo – he wants Archer on Friday, and wants to start backstage. So presumably one of the semis will take place on the ppv pre-show? Probably to give Starks an excuse for losing on the show itself.
Ethan Page vs Bandido, Eliminator Tournament Semi
Backstory: Page has promised to win the tournament & defeat Mox for the title
Starks stopped on the ramp to heel on the crowd, promising to win the tournament and beat whoever wins the belt on Saturday.
Starting slow with Page working a headlock, he then worked the arm, Bandido flipped out then pointed his fingers like a pistol. Flip over the back of Page, headscissors, Page blocked the delayed suplex, but Bandido hit at the second attempt, though didn’t delay it long.
Hathaway grabbed the boot, giving Page the advantage as we went to break.
Up for the Ego’s Edge as we returned, Bandido slipped out, drop toe hold into the corner, running dropkick sending Page to the floor, thrust kick off the apron, to the top, moonsault to the floor. Took an age to set-up.
Back to the top, this time for a tornillo into the ring, buying a count of two. Setting up the 21-Plex, Page grabbed the ropes, then hit a cutter through them, before hoisting Bandido up top for the Avalanche Ego’s Edge. Bandido turned it into a hurracanrana mid-flight (breathtaking), military press, topside once more, killer frogsplash for a very close two.
Atop the ropes once more, Page crotched him, Bandido clutching his knee, though meeting Page atop the buckle, from where Page chucked him with a bodyslam, diving shoulder block off the top, up for the Ego’s Edge, dead centre, Page advances to the final.
Aside from a some of Bandido’s spectacular moves, the crowd were very quiet here. If Ethan Page is indeed going to main-event Winter’s Coming, they’ve got work to do.
WINNER: Ethan Page
Video package for Jungle Boy/Luchasaurus. Heavily featuring Renee talking about needing to settle their differences without interference. Hopefully that’s the case. Another really good package. They made this feel big-time.
Saraya with Renee from ‘earlier in the day’. Saraya counted herself very lucky to be able to wrestle again, she ‘chose to be here, I’m sick of this back and forth (with Britt), I’ll see you Saturday.’
Much better, making the newcomer seem humble and like she wanted to be in the company. Undoing much of last week’s promo.
Video package for the inter-promotional tag match on Friday. Ortiz said he was nervous to be facing a legend like Jun Akiyama. Kingston quoted a match from 1998 (think he said vs. Hase) which first made him want to face the vet.
Toni Storm vs Anna Jay, AEW Women’s Title
The Bunny’s ill, so Anna gets the shot.
On the subject, these are so frequent now that I either have to accept them or complain endlessly. So at least until the new tv deal’s sorted, I’m going to accept them as part of the show.
Anna avoided the champ for a bit but was clutched into a headlock, kick to the face, boot to the chest which knocked Anna on her ass, monkey flip out of the corner. Storm missed a very slow charge into the corner, allowing Jay to hit a kick from the floor (a bit like the really bad one Skye Blue does). Crowd absolutely silent.
Yay/boo punches somewhat woke them: Storm launched a Thesz Press, dragged Anna by the hair, hit a lariat, fisherman’s suplex for two. Sweet Cheeks Music sent Anna outside, where Anna flung her into the steps. Back inside, she hit a kick then planted Toni face-first off her back for two.
Jay started to ‘snap’ again, looking for the Queenslayer, Storm avoided it, then blasted Anna with the hip attack in the corner, into the Texas Cloverleaf. Tapout.
What it should’ve been. Dominant win for the champ. Whose victory brought Jamie Hayter storming (npi) to the ring, the two going face to face in the middle as the champ held up her belt.
WINNER: Toni Storm
They showed an image this time announcing ‘London 2023’. But no further info.
MJF/Moxley Face to Face
Mox brought Regal along, taking his time getting to the ring. It’s incredible how some fans still don’t understand that he’s not going to return a fist-bump. A few loud boos; mostly cheers.
‘They say the man makes the championship, so who is Jon Moxley?’ The best wrestler, the baddest SOB, ‘I have defined the AEW world championship. I’m sick in the head, I am addicted to the rush of adrenaline, the pain…’ inflicted on both himself and his opponent.
Last week he’d asked who MJF was. Mox had done some research. ‘A really good singer, one win in the last six months, took a summer vacation, someone handed him a poker chip in the worst ending to a ladder match I’ve ever seen,’ and now he has a title shot. ‘So excuse me if I’m not shaking in my boots’.
The fans see the man MJF wants them to see. Moxley sees someone ‘playing wrestler’, afraid to live up to the hype. MJF isn’t challenging him, he’s challenging MJF. ‘Show me somethin’.
At which point the Firm attacked, going after Regal too. MJF’s music hit: dressed in all black he ran through the Firm, though in a way that kinda looked like they were allowing him to do it. He then threatened to shove his boot up the ass of the group.
He only saved Moxley because he didn’t want excuses. ‘No Dynamite diamond ring necessary’. He knows hes in for the fight of his life, but he’s not the kid he was when they first fought. ‘I need that belt more than I need water, more than I need food, and more than I need oxygen’, because that belt ‘means you’re the best wrestler on God’s green earth’. Said the devil’s greatest trick line again, then went to say his catchphrase but Moxley snatched the mic away.
This weekend, they’ll find out what he’s made of, Mox will pull it out of him, ‘the training wheels come off’.
By the incredibly high standards of these two, this didn’t totally hit. Both are always good on the mic but this didn’t make the match feel bigger. Britt’s promo was the best on the show.
- Eddie Kingston & Ortiz vs Jun Akiyama & Konosuke Takeshita
- Athena vs Madison Rayne
- Hook vs Lee Moriarty
- Lance Archer vs Ricky Starks, 1st Round Eliminator Tourn.
Added to Full Gear:
- Death Triangle vs the Elite, Trios Titles
- Wardlow vs Samoa Joe vs Powerhouse Hobbs, TNT Title
An entertaining show refreshingly low on outside interference or refs looking dumb, which built several ppv matches really well (primarily through very good video packages) and had good action almost throughout.
- BCC vs JAS
- The trios six-man was a blur of cool spots
- Everything else but the women’s match was good without really grabbing me – depends on your taste – a cold/small crowd didn’t help
Thanks for reading.