Hello once again and welcome to the AEW Dynamite Recap, your weekly source for the rundown of the action on Wednesday nights. This week, we saw the returns of Jon Moxley and Cody Rhodes to the AEW ring, as well as the highly-anticipated debut of The Kings of the Black Throne. Meanwhile, the war between the Best Friends and The Elite took on another front in mixed-tag action, while Sting and Darby Allin settled their score with The Acclaimed. Let’s dive right in to all the Dynamite action.
Previously on All Elite Wrestling…
Last week on Dynamite, Sammy Guevara retained his interim TNT Championship against Daniel Garcia as tensions between Eddie Kingston and Chris Jericho intensified; Lance Archer made his return to AEW and set his sights on “Hangman” Adam Page and the AEW World Title; Brody King finally arrived as he and Malakai Black destroyed the Varsity Blonds; CM Punk barely survived an encounter with Wardlow; Dr. Britt Baker & Adam Cole officially became an on-screen couple.
Meanwhile on Rampage, Jungle Boy & Luchasaurus successfully defended their AEW World Tag Titles against the Dark Order’s Alex Reynolds and John Silver, while the bitterness between Kris Statlander & Leyla Hirsch ended up costing them the victory against the formidable team of Nyla Rose, The Bunny, and Penelope Ford.
It’s Wednesday Night. You Know What That Means.
From the Entertainment & Sports Arena in Washington, DC, it’s time for another edition of Dynamite. Jim Ross, Excalibur, and Tony Schiavone welcome us to the show as we get set to kick off the evening with a big return.
The Return of Jon Moxley
We open with the familiar chords of “Wild Thing”, signalling the return of the one and only Jon Moxley. To a massive reaction from the Washington DC crowd, Mox takes in the cheers for a bit before making his way through the crowd as only he can.
Before Moxley can start, a rude jerk in the crowd says “get this drunken piece of trash out of here!”, to which Mox responds by telling the jerk to fuck off and get the hell out of here. With that out of the way, Mox begins his story, recounting how he fell asleep on a plane a while back and woke up from a nightmare he had, where he was being accosted by a demon, the kind that “follows you around your whole life”. The demon was asking Mox if he was going to “make it out”, and he woke up before he could provide an answer.
“Nobody gets through life unscathed, we all carry scars,” says Moxley, noting that the scars we carry on the inside – the ones harder to see – are the important ones. We try to cover them up and pretend that they aren’t there, but those scars are the ones we should be proud of, as Moxley notes. Because those scars “are what make us the people that we are.”
Mox says that nobody’s perfect, and that we shouldn’t be afraid to stand up in front of the entire world and bare ourselves to everyone, to say that “hey, this is me”. He talks about the many people who want to doubt him, and that he’s only got one thing to say to them – the same thing told the demons and dark clouds from his dream: “take all of it and shove it up your ass!”
“I don’t run from demons, I just beat the shit out of them!” says Moxley. He shows appreciation for everyone who’s had his back thru thick and thin, before declaring that we’ll all be going for a wild ride in 2022. He’s out to grab the world of wrestling by its balls and do whatever he wants, because he is now truly free.
Mox concludes his promo with this: “I’m thirsty, and if you thought I was dangerous before… these days, all I drink is blood!” With that, Mox takes his leave to end the segment.
We get remarks from MJF, who’s standing backstage with Wardlow. He talks about how his birthday gift for the big man is an apology, but as he did put his hands on him after the loss to CM Punk last week, he’ll be docking his pay. However, if Wardlow were to win the impending Face of the Revolution Ladder Match and hand him the hard-earned title shot, he’ll restore Wardlow’s pay. Max puts his faith in Shawn Spears to get the job done, even saying that he’ll be on commentary for this match. He closes off with his “better than you” phrase as he puts his arm around Wardlow, eliciting a bit of an angry loook.
Match 1: Adam Cole & Dr. Britt Baker, DMD vs. Orange Cassidy & Kris Statlander
The Story So Far
Representing another front in the continuing conflict between The Elite and the Best Friends, this war escalated last week, when Dr. Britt Baker joined her boyfriend and helped Adam Cole and the rest of the Elite leave the Best Friends laying in a wild opening brawl on Dynamite. Cole & Dr. Britt would later challenge Orange Cassidy and Kris Statlander to a mixed tag match for tonight to see who the true “power couple” of AEW really is.
Kris and Dr. Britt open the match for their respective teams, but we get both sides tagging each other until we end up with Orange Cassidy and Dr. Britt as the legal wrestlers in the match. Orange tries to do his slow kicks, but Britt stomps on his foot to stop it. Statlander steps in and slams Britt, giving her a boop for added insult to injury.
Double team move by OC and Kris, consisting of a stalling suplex from Statlander on Britt as Orange struts around and gives a gentle push. Another double team move elicits an attempted hug, but that’s stopped by Cole and Baker, who hit stereo superkicks. The power couple follow that up with a kiss as we head to picture-in-picture.
We get a double down between Orange and Cole as Dynamite returns to live action. The two men make the tag to their respective corners. Statlander unleashes her fury on Dr. Britt, but the Blue Thunder Bomb can’t get the job done. The two women lock horns, as Britt counters and hits a fisherman’s neckbreaker on Kris. OC and Cole get tagged in and Orange manages to get the advantage here. Stundog Millionaire connects, and OC looks to follow that up with the namesake move of next week’s Dynamite, the Beach Break. Dr. Britt Baker blind tags herself in and she hits the Stomp on Orange Cassidy.
Michinoku Driver on Britt by Statlander and she puts her in position for the Area 451 splash. Adam Cole puts himself in harm’s way to protect Britt, but Statlander ignores that and just hits Area 451 on the power couple! Tag to Orange… he hits the Beach Break for a very close near-fall.
Elbow pad thrown aside and Orange looks like he’s going to end this with the Orange Punch, but Adam Cole escapes to the safety of the ramp. Dive to the outside is cut off by a Cole superkick to OC. Cole’s thinking of hitting the Panama Sunrise on Orange right onto the ramp, but Statlander protects her friend from the attack. She gets superkicked by Dr. Britt, who follows that up with the Canadian Destroyer on the ramp!
Back in the ring, Cole manages to hit Orange with the Panama Sunrise… 1… 2… KICKOUT!
We get reaction shots from Cole and Baker, both of whom are shocked that this match is not over yet.
The two take the timekeeper’s table and set it up right outside the ring. Adam Cole avoids the Orange Punch, but Britt takes the worst of it and gets sent crashing through the table! With the referee distracted, Cole gets Orange with the Golotta Special, followed by The Boom for the victory.
Adam Cole & Dr. Britt Baker def. Orange Cassidy & Kris Statlander via pinfall – The Boom running knee (14:25)
Chris Jericho, and Santana & Ortiz are backstage. They talk about their match with 2point0 next week. Jericho says he doesn’t care about the injured Eddie Kingston and that he can “GFY”. Santana & Ortiz, however, take exception to Jericho’s remarks about Kingston, stating that maybe Eddie had a point about Jericho holding the two back from true success in AEW. The two walk off, stating that maybe they’ll just focus on themselves instead of “this” (i.e. The Inner Circle).
An apoplectic Adam Cole is backstage. He’s upset about Orange Cassidy putting Britt Baker through a table in the match earlier tonight. Cole talks about how he’s beaten Orange in singles and tag competition and that he wants nothing more but to end his career to be finally rid of him. To that end, Cole challenges Orange to a Lights Out match next week at Beach Break.
Match 2: CM Punk vs. Shawn Spears
The Story So Far
In the latest chapter of CM Punk’s war against MJF last week, he managed to defeat Wardlow by taking advantage of MJF admonishing Wardlow for not destroying Punk any further. Incensed by Wardlow’s loss, MJF would later make a personal vow to make CM Punk lose his first AEW match by any means necessary, sending out “The Chairman” Shawn Spears to face off against Punk this week.
MJF is out to join the commentary team as this match gets underway… and as it does, Punk immediately hits the GTS on Spears for the super-easy win.
CM Punk def. Shawn Spears via pinfall – GTS (:12)
As CM Punk celebrates his victory, MJF tries to sneak atack from behind when Punk’s back is turned, but the veteran manages to catch it at the last second. With nowhere to go, Punk grabs MJF by his Burberry scarf, but Max manages to escape with his life. Punk taunts MJF a bit more while wearing the Burberry scarf.
Attack of the Ass Boys
Billy Gunn has apparently taken one of the backstage cameras as he talks to Christian Cage at the parking lot/loading area. BIlly says that his sons Colten and Austin are ranked in the top five tag teams of AEW, which should give them consideration for a tag title opportunity against Jungle Boy & Luchasaurus. Cage says that the Ass Boys are talented, but they need to make a statement win, something that their father has never been able to do in his career. Cue the Gunn Club attacking Christian and throwing him into the loading dock door. The Ass Boys walk off, having made their statement.
Cody’s State of the Union
As Cody Rhodes makes his way to the ring, the commentators toss to a preview of The Go-Big Show. When we return to the show, Cody begins by asking the crowd what they want to talk about. He somehow parlays this into a reference to CM Punk’s famous Pipebomb promo before segueing into taking credit for doing everything that Punk said in that famous promo.
Cody says that this is the reason that he won’t ever turn heel, because the fans chanted for him when he needed it the most. He goes onto a variety of topics, like the Young Bucks supposedly trying to reignite the “Wednesday Night Wars” with reDRagon, his real-life friend Ricky Starks struggling against Jay Lethal, Malakai Black & Brody King (noting that AEW isn’t in the business of renaming people as “Gunther McGillibuddy”.
He concludes by saying that Tony Khan sent him a contract in the main, just not the one he wanted. Next week, however, he throws down the challenge to interim TNT Champion Sammy Guevara: Two belts, one ladder, one undisputed TNT Champion.
Match 3: The Kings of the Black Throne (Malakai Black & Brody King) vs. The Varsity Blonds (Brian Pillman Jr. & Griff Garrison)
The Story So Far
Malakai Black and his House of Black have been a thorn in the side of the Varsity Blonds ever since Black surprised Julia Hart with the black mist. Compounding matters is the arrival of Brody King, who made an immediate impact last week when he helped Black leave the Blonds and Penta El Zero M laying in a vicious attack.
Griff Garrison gets worked on early by the Kings, who just lay into him. The tag out to Brian Pillman Jr. and he gets a brief hope spot. He’s on the apron looking for Air Pillman, but fear takes over and Brian Jr. second-guesses himself. He and Griff have a brief argument, which allows Brody King to eliminate Griff with a pounce and a toss to the steel steps. From there, the Kings of the Black Throne feast upon Brian Jr. with a multitude of double team moves, ending with their Dante’s Inferno finisher (assisted suplex toss into powerslam combination) for the impressive debut victory.
The Kings of the Black Throne def. Varsity Blonds via pinfall — Dante’s Inferno (1:53)
Malakai Black has the mic, telling the House of Black to rise. Before he can go on, a video message from PAC interrupts.
PAC talks about how Malakai is just like every other “cretin” in AEW: self-obsessed and power-hungry, and how it’s all exhausting. PAC says that he’s beyond the reach of the House of Black – incorruptible. He says that Malakai expects this to be the moment that he bows before him and calls Malakai his “master”, but that just won’t happen. PAC vows that he’ll make a martyr out of Malakai, as he reveals his eyes, apparently untained by Black’s mist.
The World Title Picture
We get a video package on Lance Archer’s attack on “Hangman” Adam Page last week, with remarks from Jake Roberts and the AEW World Champion.
Roppongi Vice’s Challenge
We go backstage to Brandon Cutler and the “Cutler Cam”, as he’s looking for the Young Bucks. Instead, he’s met by Trent Beretta and Rocky Romero of CHAOS. While Rocky threatens to beat up Cutler if he doesn’t keep the camera going, Trent decides to be nice to him, noting that the Elite bully him a bit too much. The duo known as Roppongi Vice talk about how much they’ve been losing to the Elite as of late, and of their past encounters with the Young Bucks in New Japan Pro-Wrestling. They note that they’ve beaten the Bucks in these encounters and that they can do it again Friday on Rampage. Rocky: “Turn the camera off, bro.”
Match 4: Frankie Kazarian vs. Lance Archer
The Story So Far
Last week on Dynamite, Lance Archer returned from injury, apparently having formed an alliance with loudmouth Dan Lambert. He made an impact by targeting AEW World Champion “Hangman” Page, leaving the cowboy laying with a Blackout onto an unfolded chair.
Lance doesn’t waste any time, hitting Kazarian with an elbow to the head before the bell can even ring. Kaz gets a brief hope spot, but Archer soon takes over here. He continues to punish Kaz with brutal strikes early on in this match. He tosses Kazarian to the outside to send us to the picture-in-picture break.
Dynamite resumes with Archer still dominating this match (and loudly shouting “fuck you!” at a fan), attacking Kaz in the corner with repeated chops to the chest. He sets Kaz up the top rope and looks like he’s going to hit the Blackout, but the former Elite Hunter counters with elbows strikes and a bite to Archer’s forehead to get out of the jam! Missile dropkick by Frankie gets a one-count.
Archer asserts control with the running knee, followed by the Chokeslam and the Hellacoaster. The Murderhawk Monster decides he’s not done just yet, prepping Kazarian for final doom with the Blackout and the 1-2-3.
Lance Archer def. Frankie Kazarian via pinfall – Blackout (10:02)
Dan Lambert gets on the mic and mocks Hangman Page’s childhood for a bit before Archer takes away the microphone and tells everyone he’s going to show them what he’s going to do to Hangman. Throwing a chair to the stage, Archer has Kaz in a choke and looks to be hitting a chokeslam onto the chair, but here comes the AEW World Champion for the save!
Adam Page squares up to Archer and slaps him in the face, which leads to clubbing blows between the two. Lance gets the upper hand and has the chair in hand, but he gets waylaid by a cowboy boot shot from the Hangman. Now on the apron, Hangman’s thinking Buckshot Lariat, but Archer has him in the goozle for a chokeslam! Page fights out of it with a rolling elbow, eventually sending Archer to the floor with a clothesline! Archer wants to fight some more, but Dan Lambert backs him off for now.
The Lines Are Drawn
In separate interviews, we get remarks from Dante Martin, Lee Moriarty, and Matt Sydal, who say that they’ll have each other’s backs against Team Taz. We also get remarks from Team Taz’s Ricky Starks & Powerhouse Hobbs, who warn Dante to watch his back because at Team Taz, they build assassins.
A New Attitude
Schiavone stands backstage with Red Velvet & Kris Statlander. Before the interview can start, Leyla Hirsch walks up to them and talks trash to Kris about not being as focused for their matches as she is with the Best Friends. Red Velvet won’t have any of that and she gets attacked by Hirsch for her troubles. Kris tries to calm things down, but Hirsch ends up attacking her and locking her in a cross armbreaker as officials attempt to cool the situation at hand.
Match 5: Serena Deeb vs. Skye Blue
The Story So Far
Last week on Dynamite, Part Four of Serena Deeb vs. Hikaru Shida took a turn nobody expectede when Serena brutalized Shida with a calculated assault on her rival’s injured knee, forcing a referee stoppage to end the match in under a minute. Deeb’s rampage would not stop there, as she continued to attack Shida’s injured knee with a kendo stick. Tonight’s match was made due to Skye Blue being one of the wrestlers who tended to Shida.
Deeb is relentless as this match gets underway. She takes down S.B. with a snapmare, followed by a knee to the back. Shoulder block by Deeb on Blue takes the rookie out. Guillotine choke soon follows, as Serena breaks the count at four. Neckbreaker on the middle rope by Serena. She drags her foe to the middle of the ring and connects with the Deeb-Tox. Serena’s not done there and she applies the Serenity Lock for the submission victory.
Serena Deeb def. Skye Blue via submission – Serenity Lock (2:51)
We’re backstage with Matt Hardy, Andrade el Idolo, and the rest of the Hardy Family Office. Matt talks about the breakthrough deal he and Andrade have reached, where 51% stake of the HFO now belongs to Andrade. Matt, in the meantime, will still hold majority seats alongside the Private Party, and remain the CEO of what is now known as the A.H.F.O.
Match 6: The Acclaimed (Max Caster & Anthony Bowens) vs. Sting & Darby Allin
The Story So Far
This match got its start after the Acclaimed laid out Darby & Sting following a match between the former and Anthony Bowens on the 1/2/22 edition of Rampage. The facepainted duo would get a measure of revenge on last week’s Dynamite when they took the fight to The Acclaimed after their match against Bear Country. Cue Tony Khan making this main event tag team match official.
Prior to The Acclaimed’s entrance, we get a video of them parodying Darby Allin’s black and white videos.
Caster and Bowens decide to play dirty before this match can even start, attacking Sting & Darby while they make their entrance. “Welcome to the Black Parade, bitch!” Bowens taunts loudly during this ambush. The Acclaimed wrap a chair around Darby’s neck and send him right into the ring post! AEW medical staff check up on Darby while Sting is asked if he still wants to compete in this main event.
We get a handicap match scenario due to Darby’s injury as Sting has to take on The Acclaimed by himself. Sting seems to be doing well early on, but a mistimed Stinger Splash onto an exposed turnbuckle allow for Caster and Bowens to take control of this match. Dynamite heads to its final commercial break with The Acclaimed seemingly having this match well in hand.
Back to our main event and Sting takes down both Acclaimed members with a double clothesline. He traps Max Caster in the Scorpion Deathlock, as Anthony Bowens tries to break it with an elbow, but to no avail. The knee eventually does the trick. With Sting sent to the outside, Caster causes a distraction to allow Bowens to flatten Stinger with the boombox shot at ringside.
The Acclaimed have the steel steps set up, clearly wanting to finish Sting off, perhaps for good. Before anything can happen though, Darby Allin suddenly flies in like a torpedo and takes out Caster with a splash! He sends Bowens crashing into the steel post before getting Sting out of harm’s way. As soon as he’s tagged in, Darby immediately launches himself at The Acclaimed with a Coffin Drop!
Back in the ring, Darby with the guillotine choke on Caster until Max tags in Anthony Bowens and the two hit the tandem combination. Mic Drop elbow by Caster on Darby… 1… 2… Sting breaks up the pin!
Bowens runs at Sting, but he’s sent to the elevated ramp! Stinger heads to the commentary area, with something dangerous in mind. He leaps off the stage and drives Caster through a table!
Back in the ring, Bowens runs at Darby, but ends up eating an exposed turnbuckle instead! Stundog by Darby, followed by the Coffin Drop right on target for the victory.
Sting & Darby Allin def. The Acclaimed via pinfall — Coffin Drop (9:22)
As the announcers run down what’s to come on Rampage and Dynamite next week, Sting and Darby celebrate their win as we go off the air.
This Friday on Rampage (1/21/22)
- Jon Moxley vs. Ethan Page
- Roppongi Vice (Rocky Romero & Trent Beretta) vs. The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson)
- HOOK vs. Serpentico
- TBS Championship Match: Jade Cargill vs. Anna Jay
Next Wednesday on Dynamite: Beach Break (1/26/22)
- TNT Championship Ladder Match: Cody Rhodes vs. Sammy Guevara
- Lights Out: Adam Cole vs. Orange Cassidy
- Chris Jericho, Santana, and Ortiz vs. 2point0 (Matt Lee & Jeff Parker) and Daniel Garcia
- Red Velvet vs. Leyla Hirsch
CM Punk’s shocking quick victory over Shawn Spears was certainly unexpected, but did provide a humorous twist on things. That being said, this feud with MJF seems to have stalled slightly, largely now overshadowed by the intensifying tension between Max and Wardlow. Not helping matters is that the feud has been largely one-sided in Punk’s favor, with MJF not really getting an upper hand at any point in this feud.
The two tag matches that bookended the in-ring action side of things were fun and entertaining in their own ways. Cole/Baker vs. Orange/Statlander provided entertaining spots that took advantage of the mixed tag nature of the match and allowed for a natural progression to next week’s Lights Out match between Cole and Orange through the Dr. Britt table spot.
Sting/Darby vs. The Acclaimed gave fans a nice, high-energy finish to the show with Sting even getting a chance to do a high spot with the stage dive onto Max Caster in the closing moments of the match. AEW has managed to use Sting so well in the position he’s been put in, and it’s amazing to think that it seemed like his career was done just seven years ago, and now here he is doing crazy spots for our entertainment.
Your mileage may vary on how you felt about Cody Rhodes’ lengthy promo, but I will say this: it certainly wasn’t a dull promo.
If there was a downside to this week’s Dynamite, it was the inexplicable need of Lance Archer vs. Frankie Kazarian going on for about 10:00 of match time (including a picture-in-picture break). If the idea is to establish Archer as a credible threat to Hangman Page, then having him in a lengthy match as opposed to a squash isn’t really the way to go about it.
On the other hand, the show’s three squash matches (the aforementioned Punk vs. Spears, Kings of the Black Throne vs. Varsity Blonds, and Serena Deeb vs. Skye Blue) did well in furthering their respective stories – Punk now more focused than ever to kick MJF’s ass; establishing Brody King and Malakai Black as a dominant tag team; and furthering Serena as a ruthless technician.
Last but not least, Jon Moxley’s return promo provided an emotional and emphatic start to the evening. Making his return to the ring for the first time in a couple of months due to taking time off to deal with alcohol abuse issues, Mox spoke from the heart in the only way that he could, which made the promo feel more authentic.
As someone who’s dealt with my own mental health issues over the years and having some “internal scars” of my own, Mox’s promo spoke to me on a personal level in a way that most other wrestling promos never did. The scars that I have inside me have come from years of being caught in those moments in life where things didn’t exactly turn out the way I had hoped, but they define who I am. I’ve experienced countless failures in my life — from not getting the jobs I hoped for to struggling in university — and I carry these scars within me in the hopes that having experienced rock bottom will help me fight my way out of it. I know that every day won’t be better days ahead, but through the words that Jon Moxley spoke in his promo, I’m more than inspired to take them on and beat the shit out of any demon or dark cloud that may say otherwise.
That being said, it’ll be interesting to see who (aside from the Ethan Page match on Rampage) will be Mox’s first feud in his return back to AEW. The Hangman title feud is probably a long way’s off, so a potential match with Bryan Danielson (who’s been absent for the past two weeks, oddly enough) could be a fantastic match for Mox to have.
Marc Quill is the editor of RingCrashers, GateCrashers’ home for all your All Elite Wrestling and indie wrestling needs. He’s also the web novelist behind Skye Emery: Bluebird, which you can read here. You can chat with him about wrestling, comics, and stuff in general on @MarcQuill on Twitter.