Venue: Bell Centre, Montreal, Canada
They ran through the tournament standings.
Jon Moxley vs Rush (Gold League)
Backstory: Mox is 2-0; Rush 1-1
Excalibur talked about history between these two and their factions. Helpfully, without going into any details whatsoever. Rush’s mid-left leg was wrapped after seemingly legitimately injuring it last week.
As we all knew it was going to, this began with stiff knife edges, overhands and forearms until a weird-looking throw saw Mox land awkwardly on his shoulder and head outside to shake it off. Rush followed, hurling Mox into the crowd where they brawled. Excalibur had to talk about Paul Turner being ‘liberal with his count’ since Mox was out of the ring for ages.
After the latter briefly rolled back in, they brawled through fans on the other side as Excalibur talked about what’d happen if a double count out was called. Again, both guys went way past even a ‘liberal’ ten-count. Rush also used a beer can which Excalibur tried to explain a way. Guy has his work cut out here.
Finally back to the ring, the Mexican stomped Mox down in the corner, fake Bulls Horns, dismissive kick, into his pose, Mox wasn’t pleased. He rolled out into a double bird before both guys got to scrappin’ again. Crowd chanted for Mox to ‘F him up’ as Rush bagged two after a snap powerslam.
Then choked Mox in the ropes. It’s hard to tell whether fans are booing or chanting ‘Ruuuuuush’. On some Mr. Burns ish. Possibly a bit of both.
Rush took too long posing and ate a cutter. Mox lariat in the corner, five shots before a superplex. For two. Wrists captured, Rush blocked the first stomp then fought Mox to the apron where they went at it. Mox blocked the belly to belly to the floor but took it into the barricade instead.
Ads. Doesn’t seem like a tournament match, just feels like a wild brawl.
Back to Mox slipping under into a single-arm ddt, targeting the shoulder. He hasn’t sold the knee targeted by Lethal last week. Rush tried a straight jacket piledriver but settled for a stalling one. Mox out at two. Then placed atop the buckle. Superplex from Rush, another two.
But missed a charge, tumbling through the ropes, Mox followed via tope. Duelling chant from the crowd with both down at the foot of the ramp, mostly in Moxley’s favor. He was up first too, both barely made it back in. Went head-to-head as they pulled themselves up, Mox firing rights, Rush walking into them then firing back, pair of chops, Mox lariat which barely budged the Mexican who fired back via discus elbow.
Mox up to block Bulls Horns before they got back to fighting. Both colliding several times, Mox eventually staggering back to the corner only to pop-up and again counter Bull’s Horns via KKL, Death Rider, Rush kicked out, Mox snatched him right into the Bulldog, Rush went night night.
Only to immediately pop-up after the bell rang. Because who wants to sell a loss right? If this guy is this hard to work with, I don’t know why they bother.
Also seemed like they had to re-do that Bulls Horns/KKL sequence after it didn’t come off the first time.
Winner: Jon Moxley
Jay White promo putting over Lethal as one of the best, a guy he looked up to in ROH. Lethal said he has no points and needs the win. White that he, and they historically, are both 1-1.
This was very good. Wasted though for a match we all know the finish to.
Renee on the ramp to bring out Roderick Strong and the Kingdom. The crowd all yelled ‘ADAAAAAAM’. Strong said it’s tough preparing to watch his ‘best friend by proxy… SAMOOOOA’ heading into a setup tonight. But Joe’s a big boy.
Renee asked whether he was wrong about Max. Strong yelled her name. He said actions have consequences. He knows that because look what’s happened to him after his – he’s in a wheelchair. ‘Until now.’ He stood up and said he’s no longer going to suffer the consequences of his actions. Crowd were chanting something all the way through this. Not sure what.
Strong said this had been going on far too long then slammed the mic down. At one point I thought this was a relatively fun mid-card act who would be peripherally involved in the world title picture. How wrong I was on both counts.
Renee was waiting to talk to Max when Hangman Page walked by and asked ‘Am I in your frame? I don’t care.’ She decided to interview him instead. He said he hadn’t been able to fly for a few weeks after being hit in the head with a cinderblock (would that have been so f’ing hard to slip into the ten hours of tv they’ve had the past two weeks? Also though, how can an angle like that just be so casually mentioned? I wasn’t even aware that happened).
He had words for Strickland. He can concede and recognize when he’s lost. But he took something from Swerve that Swerve can never get back. He knows what Swerve wants more than anything and because of what he did to him, Page’ll make sure it never happens.
Max happened by, calling Page ‘Seabiscuit’. And started making fun of their match at Full Gear. Page said he didn’t have thirty minutes to stand here while Max talked. He started to leave. MJF said he needed to talk for thirty minutes to wake the crowd up after Page talked.
The Cowboy doubled back, Max said the last time they were face to face like this was when he embarrassed Page in front of Bret Hart. Page said that was when he Buckshotted Max out of a battle royal. Max said he’d won the diamond ring by beating Page. Page said he consoled himself by becoming world champ. Max said it was a cute six-month reign; he’s been champ a year.
Page said he’s sure that’ll console Max when he’s 70, alone and telling his ninth cat about it. Which was a nice line. MJF asked if Page wanted to get honest, he thinks Hangman’s the Devil. Page said MJF’s always been a manipulator. It’s probably him.
Things were heating up when ‘Dad’ Samoa Joe interrupted to tell Page Max was his responsibility and yell at Max for ignoring his responsibilities later. Those two left, Max said Page was lucky.
If I ignore all the context of them doing their usual suck ass job following up on major matches and angles, this was pretty good. These two, along with Swerve and Jay White, are who AEW should be preparing to lead the company.
Excalibur talked about Max saying Page was the Devil as if it had a shred of credibility.
Joe was more over than both btw.
Swerve Strickland vs Mark Briscoe (Gold League)
Backstory: Swerve’s 2-0; Briscoe the reverse
Swerve continues to be a babyface. Even against another.
Briscoe headlock takedown, into a front headlock on the mat, Swerve slipped behind working the arm, rested his body on Briscoe for a one count, to their feet, back to a Briscoe headlock, back to a headlock takedown.
Swerve countered, coming up with Mark in a headlock, whipped off, sunset flip attempt countered back into the headlock by Briscoe. Swerve headscissors to escape, Briscoe ducked a rushing Swerve then dropped him with a boot.
Before forcing him to the corner, choking him via boot, big chops mixed with more boots, suplex out, count of two. Back to the headlock, this time into a Russian leg sweep (love that move); Swerve reversed a whip, running back-elbow in the corner, to the top, diving elbow to the back. So smooth.
Big right dropping Briscoe before focusing on the kidneys, delayed neckbreaker for two. Briscoe blocked a rushing Swerve with a back elbow, flung him outside then landed a dropkick through the ropes, Swerve met him on the apron with a pump kick, chop battle, Briscoe enziguri saw him take over, beating Swerve ‘round ringside until being elevated into the front row. Then suplexed back over to ringside, Swerve performing the move while balanced on the barricade.
Ads. This is excellent. Such a refreshing change from chop, strike, bleed.
Back to Strickland firing rights, draping neckbreaker bringing Briscoe back in, now pinning one shoulder to the mat, exposing the other arm, Briscoe stopped the armbreaker by kicking free, redneck kung fu, knife edge, three of em, four even, diving forearm after rebounding off the ropes, crowd into this as he landed a running big boot in the corner, fisherman buster, 2.5.
Swerve tripped him into the buckle, half nelson, duelling chant as Briscoe slipped behind, Swerve got a funky leglock, twisting and transitioning through into a wheelbarrow German. To reiterate, so smooth.
As Tony Schiavone did his best Scott Steiner impression pushing the sales and figures for All In. ‘£3,000,’ at one point. Not been a good week for Tony.
Rolling flatliner, roundhouse kick, Briscoe just kicked out.
Swerve to the top, cut off but blocking a superplex only for Briscoe to land a big right which dropped Swerve to ringside then following up with a somersault dive and smacking lariat back inside for a near fall.
Jay Driller coming, Swerve blocked it, twice, rolling through to hit house call, 450 blocked as Briscoe got the knees up, Swerve kicked out at 2.999999. Swerve got his knees up on a Froggy Bow, crowd loving this. Fifteen minutes gone.
As they fought on the apron, Briscoe again thinking Jay Driller, Swerve countered to hit a DVD, Stomp from the top back into the ring for the win. This was excellent. The big difference between Briscoe and Lethal is that fans are into Briscoe. They know he’s going to lose but care about him because he’s given them reason to. So are more into his matches.
Winner: Swerve Strickland
Renee with Mariah May. She asked about her meeting with Tony Khan. May told us again that she wrestled in Stardom and that Khan ‘loves Japanese wrestling’.
They do know ‘being in Stardom’ isn’t a gimmick or a character right? And that probably half the people watching don’t know what the hell it is?
She and Khan planned her debut – when Renee asked who it was, May said it was none of her business then switched to fawning over Toni Storm and saying she was going to learn from watching her later.
Aka a waste of time.
MJF & Samoa Joe vs The Devil’s Goons
Backstory: the Devil challenged the pair to a tag last week after hijacking AEW’s audio & video – no, none of that is made up
Another example of AEW sucking at stories: they have barely mentioned this. No ‘Will the Devil reveal themself tonight? Who are the Devil’s goons? Will they be unmasked? Will Joe have MJF’s back as promised?’. Really not that hard.
Joe got his usual nice reaction but as he hit the ring the super lame flickering lights started, the Goons hit ringside as the crowd booed. The lights went out, the crowd booed some more – not in a heel heat way; when they came up, the Goons were gone and the Devil appeared on the screen, revealing Max laid out backstage. Joe sprinted up the ramp for some reason.
Max had been smacked with a bottle – there was broken glass everywhere. Very clearly meant to insinuate Hangman.
Crowd cannot be happy at that bait and switch. Did wonder how Max was going to wrestle given his injuries.
Winner: Match didn’t happen
Backstage to Moxley. He’s humble before god and his mom but he knows who he is. He expected to be 3-0, expects to be 5-0 because he’s ‘the Ace of the world’. Strickland rolled up to say he’s unbeaten too and showed in LA he’s prepared to do whatever it takes. Mox said, ‘Good, me too’, in a way only he can.
Turner Classic Movies’ Ben Mankiewicz introduced Toni Storm in a pre-done promo. He talked about her like an old-timey movie star, said some of her catchphrases but clearly refused the ‘tits out’ line.
‘Playing the part of AEW Women’s World Champion, this is Timeless Toni Storm’.
Dude. Playing the part… is a line that should never be said in wrestling in any context.
Skye Blue vs Toni Storm (Women’s Title)
Backstory: Blue wandered out through Toni’s speech or something
This is the second time they’ve faced off for Storm’s title in the past six months. In which time there’ve been five champions. It took the men from the company’s inception till May 2022 to have that many.
Storm worked a headlock down to the mat and back up, Blue worked the arm, a light ‘Holy S’ chant started – that was funny. Storm kicked free, Blue came back with a throw, Storm snapped and nailed her with a right. Crowd chanting for the champ here. At least those who are chanting.
Blue hit a tejeiras to send Storm outside but was nailed with a right through the ropes after politely stopping so Storm could do so. The announcers had to try to cover for this. Storm then climbed on Luther’s shoulders and dragged Blue off the apron by the hair. Crowd enjoyed that.
Mariah May’s out there btw.
Storm aggressively beat Blue against the barricade and announce desk. Then hit a hip attack against the barricade. Thankfully she didn’t put as much behind it as usual, otherwise Blue would be no more.
Blue ducked Toni’s why I oughta punch, knee strike in the ropes, snapmare, weak low enziguri, crowd didn’t care. Diving cross body for two. Storm switched behind into a release German, missed the hip attack which wasn’t surprising as Blue moved in 2022. Blue hit a thrust kick before a hip attack of her own, a brutal one, weak running boot, Code Blue which actually looked good, Storm kicked out. Not a single fan bought it as a finish.
Blue back upstairs, cut off, Storm superplex, Blue helpfully positioned herself in the opposite corner which Excalibur had to try to cover for, dude’s been patching holes all night. Storm hit a hip attack, Blue countered Storm Zero into a jackknife, Storm countered back to bag the win, though Blue’s shoulders weren’t on the mat.
Better than I expected. Storm seems to have decided on mixing character work with a more aggressive ring style instead of the goofy stuff in LA.
Riho’s music hit and Excalibur did his ‘oh ho ho’ laugh. Riho ducked a lariat, hit a dropkick, Luther rescued Storm off the apron. Is Storm a face or a heel? Please.
Winner: Toni Storm
Cage/Copeland package. Nice they remembered it’s on the show. This company misses on so many small, easy things.
Related: no updates, discussion or anything re: MJF, Joe, the Devil, the world title or Hangman and that beer bottle.
Jay White vs Jay Lethal (Gold League)
Backstory: White’s 1-1; Lethal 0-2
So don’t care about this match. Crowd amused themselves with a ‘Jay’ chant and ‘let’s go Jay’.
As they locked up stiffly, neither getting an advantage. They broke, switching to headlocks, Lethal got the better and White cowered in the ropes. Know he’s a heel but no-one serious should ever do that before Jay Lethal.
Lethal drop toe hold out of a cartwheel, magistral for two, hip toss into another cartwheel and low dropkick. It’s a good, smooth start; still don’t care.
‘Let’s go Jay/Jay you suck,’ is the latest chant. As the announcers talked about how into the matches the crowd had been. Would argue chants like that suggest the opposite.
Lethal countered a whip and a boot to the gut, White ducked under to land a ddt for barely two.
Ads. It’d be nice to mix things up and have a tournament match where a guy just smashes through somebody instead of them all being ‘good matches’. This’d be a good candidate – White’s already sold too much and been countered too often.
Back to the crowd chanting ‘O-Jay, O-Jay O-Jay O-Jay’ and ‘Holy Jay’. As Lethal landed Lethal combination. ‘Jay forever’ now. As Lethal again countered White and landed a lariat. Then a tope suicida into the desk.
Torture rack into an awkward fireman carry slam, elbow from the top for two. Lethal continued countering everything White tried until White snapped his leg, suplex into the corner, brainbuster, two.
Crowd quiet now they’ve run out of chants. As Lethal got right back on top with knife edges. Until White ducked under to land a sleeper suplex.
Bryan Danielson will face Daniel Garcia on Rampage btw to make up for the match he missed.
Bladerunner coming, Lethal fought it off, they both blocked each other’s finishers until White got a chop block to stop Lethal Injection, they wrestled in and out of pins until White just about managed to hook the pin.
He looked so weak here. His fans who complained about his portrayal at Full Gear won’t want to watch this.
They ran through the Winter is Coming lineup. 2020’s version this was not.
Winner: Jay White
Excalibur told us the main event was next – ‘You gotta see it’.
All ‘tell’ and no ‘show’.
Adam Copeland vs Christian Cage (TNT Title)
Backstory: Short version – Cage tried to take Copeland out after rejecting his offer to team again; Copeland took out Cage’s minions and now wants to take what he values most – his title
Cage was actually a heel here, zero cheers from his fellow Canadians.
They went face to face, jawing, ‘holy S’ chant from the crowd, Copeland smacked him and grabbed a body choke, Cage struggled to the ropes, an aggressive Copeland smashed him with ten beats then knocked him down to ringside with a running shoulder. Then repeatedly rammed his head into the desk.
Before flinging him back in, Cage begged off, tried a low blow which would’ve been a DQ, Copeland blocked it and stomped the hand. Then took things back outside, introducing the champ to the barricade.
Copeland broke the count as the crowd chanted ‘Who’s your daddy?’ at Cage. Before continuing the beating. Until Cage got a cheap shot and dragged Copeland throat-first into the ringpost.
You’ve GOT to have the heel on top as we go to break!
Back to Cage fish-hooking Copeland mid-ring, now working the chin, back elbow as Copeland came off the ropes – ‘F you Christian!’ from the crowd. Ten in the corner until Copeland bit the hand, Russian leg sweep from the second buckle, both down. Excalibur emphasized both guys’ neck injuries. As Cage hit a punt to the face from the apron but Copeland blocked the pendulum kick.
They interrupted to push All In for the millionth time all show. Schiavone was again all over the place.
As Copeland knocked Cage off the apron with a diving lariat from the top. Cage tripped him into the steps, frog splash back inside for two. Prepping a Spear, Copeland used the momentum to spin off the buckle into an Impaler ddt for two. Slightly awkward.
Cage crotched him up top, posed to boos, Copeland wrenched the fingers to land a running powerbomb out of the corner for two. Cage thinking Killswitch, Copeland wrenched the arm to block, hooked a cradle for two, countered another Killswitch by driving Cage’s head to the mat to bag another close count.
Right into a crossface, middle of the ring, Cage reversing to get the rope break with his feet. TiA from the crowd. Shots from the mount, Cage left lying flat, crowd behind Copeland as he readied a Spear, Cage leapfrogged, Killswitch, Copeland just kicked out.
Cage Spear coming, Copeland avoided it, kinda clipped the ref in so-doing, Cage then punted the ref in the balls from behind before heading outside to grab his belt. Schiavone said they should look at the video of that and punish Cage. Which they should, but won’t. Because it’d require attention to detail.
Cage missed a belt shot, both hit Spears at the same time, both down as Nick Wayne’s mom predictably came out. SWERVE BRO! time. The announcers of course oblivious, certain she’s going to paste Cage. She of course nailed Copeland in one of the most poorly performed swerve’s in a long line of them – she didn’t even really line Christian up.
Interesting choice. Undercuts all of Nick’s heel heat since all the bad things he’s done, he’s now done to another heel.
Ref still down after apparently one hell of a low blow, Cage hit Killswitch, positioned Copeland face down atop the belt then stomped his face, just as the ref recovered to count the fall and presumably send the crowd home very flat.
The announcers massively oversold how evil the situation was.
A poor show far too reliant on ‘good matches’.
Winner: Christian Cage
- Ethan Page vs Kenny Omega
- Andrade vs Bryan Danielson
- Claudio Castagnoli vs Eddie Kingston
- Willow Nightingale vs Mercedes Martinez
Next Dynamite (Winter is Coming):
- Jon Moxley vs Swerve Strickland
- Jay White vs Mark Briscoe
- Rush vs Jay Lethal
- Samoa Joe promo
- Von Erichs’ (it was Kevin and two younger dudes in the pic) return to Dallas (aka We Can’t Sell Tickets)
- Hangman Page vs Roderick Strong
- Swerve vs Briscoe
- There are so many basic things this company misses on with storytelling, building matches and enhancing feuds
- As a result, almost nothing tonight made any matches feel bigger or worth watching going forward
Appreciate you reading. Have a good week.