Dynamite recap and reactions: Dud of the Year


AEW Dynamite (Mar. 8, 2023) emanated from Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, CA. The show featured Will Hobbs as the new TNT champion with a terrible swerve from QT Marshall, Bryan Danielson teasing retirement, Hangman Page rumbling with Jon Moxley once again, and more for the fallout from Revolution.

Get caught up on all the Dynamite details with the excellent play-by-play from Claire Elizabeth.

TNT Championship hoss fight marred by a dud

Wardlow was coming in strong after choking out Samoe Joe to win the TNT Championship at Revolution. Unfortunately, the champ’s car was ransacked, and the title belt was stolen. No matter. Next up was Will Hobbs, who earned the right by winning the Face of the Revolution ladder match. Wardlow and Hobbs went to war on Dynamite, but the surprise of QT Marshall ruined it all.

Wardlow decided to roll with the punches. Since the had no gear, he requested a Falls Count Anywhere contest. The main event erupted in a parking lot brawl. Wardlow hit a back body drop to send Hobbs crashing onto a windshield.

The behemoths brawled to the ring, and the action got even better. Chokeslam slam by Wardlow. Spinebuster by Hobbs. Neither man sold the damage. Hoss fight!

Wardlow hit an F10, but Hobbs kicked out on the cover. Hobbs hit a flurry of spinebsuters, but Wardlow kicked out on the cover. The action spilled outside, and Wardlow landed a swan dive through a table.

It was maximum awesomeness to this point, then it all unraveled with a garbage surprise. Wardlow was planning to powerbomb Hobbs off stage. Boom! QT hit Wardlow with a chair.

A few more blows, then QT helped Hobbs toss Wardlow off stage in a sort of teamwork powerbomb. Wardlow did not answer the ten-count to rise. Hobbs was declared the new TNT champion.

Yo. Yo, yo… What was that shit? QT Marshall as the big fallout angle? For real? Man, am I disappointed. And I say that as someone who appreciates what QT has to offer. This move here was not the one to make. Hobbs and Wardlow were putting on a hoss fight delight, and the screwjob finish flushed it down the drain. This QT surprise has a strong chance of ending as the Dud of the Year once the calendar is complete.

Using QT for this moment is like the equivalent of a sports team hiring a retread coach that has never won a playoff game. QT has value, but he is not needed by Hobbs. Powerhouse has shown that he can speak for himself. This wasn’t even a premeditated plan to make Hobbs look like an evil genius. Commentary explained it as QT proving his word is his bond, which dates back to Hobbs’ feud with Ricky Starks.

If AEW was dead set on this type of plan, the world was their oyster to make it interesting. My pie in the sky thought as the show unfolded was “Switchblade” Jay White and the Bullet Club. Once the TNT bout was changed with the stipulation, my senses were alerted that funny business was afoot. Wardlow wasn’t going to lose clean after winning the belt at the PPV. It would be a tough call for Hobbs to lose in the biggest match of his career in front of a hometown(ish) crowd. With the Juice Robinson Bullet Club music, I wondered if perhaps the band was getting back together in AEW and would add Hobbs. Granted, that is high expectations and not on AEW to deliver such a thing.

However, AEW could have been creative with it for a spicy swerve. Off the top of my head, send in Brian Pillman Jr. and Brock Anderson to help Hobbs. The link could be a shared love of spinebusters with Arn Anderson. The point is that AEW had a chance to create buzz, and they went with a milquetoast option.

Also, QT wore a QTV t-shirt, but who cares about that at this time.

What a way to deflate the room after an energetic PPV.

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite. The breakdown will be grouped by the fallout for each Revolution match.

MJF and Bryan Danielson. At Revolution, MJF outsmarted Danielson to retain the AEW World Championship in sudden death of the 60-minute Iron Man match.

AEW aired a brief promo from MJF shortly after the PPV main event. He gloated about victory. Next week is his birthday on March 15, so he’s going to celebrate on Dynamite.

The show will be in Winnipeg, so naturally the mind wandered to Kenny Omega as the next feud for MJF. We found out later that Omega will be occupied in trios action. So, the door is wide open as a surprise for the next man up. The door is also wide open for the five wrestlers the next challenger will have to beat to earn a world title shot against MJF.

Danielson was in tears explaining what went though his mind when tapping out in defeat to MJF. After being hit by the oxygen tank, he woke up in the LeBell Lock. His instinct was to fight. Then he realized that he couldn’t feel his arms, and the idea of family entered his thoughts. Perhaps MJF was right about Danielson being selfish by continuing to wrestle. Putting himself before his family made him more embarrassed than tapping out. Danielson concluded with a retirement tease that it is time to go home.

Damn, that promo was emotional. It hits hard and makes me wish Danielson never returns. Once a fighter loses that edge, it is hard to justify the sacrifices it takes to reach the top. He’s already done enough in his career. Hang it up. Wherever this story leads, AEW better not rush it. Coming back in two weeks would flush the whole thing down the drain, unless Danielson got a divorce and ditched his kids. How else could he explain his return to wrestling?

Hangman Page and Jon Moxley. At Revolution, the cowboy forced Mox to tap out by hanging him in Texas Death.

Just when Hangman thought he was out, he dragged himself back in. Hangman had a backstage interview telling Renee Paquette that he is satisfied to close the chapter on his feud with Moxley. Hangman also came off like a jerk in an apology to Renee. How can one be a jerk when apologizing? I don’t know, but Hangman did it. It was some passive-aggressive bullshit. Hangman apologized that Renee had to see what he did to her husband in the death match. The jerk part came when he told her not to come his way when looking for someone to blame. Renee gave no inkling that she had ill will toward the cowboy, so his line was awkward and weird.

Moxley returned to action tagging with Claudio Castagnoli against the Dark Order duo of Alex Reynolds and John Silver. It was a meat and potatoes donnybrook. Blackpool Combat Club controlled the action setting up the Dark Order for rallies. Dark Order went for their rapid-fire combo attack on Moxley. Claudio blocked Silver from grabbing Mox for a German suplex. That allowed Moxley to take Reynolds’ back for a choke. Reynolds was forced to tap out.

Moxley was slow on the release after victory. Claudio prevented the referee from stepping in, and Mox choked Reynolds again. Evil Uno ran in to throw hands, but Wheeler Yuta clipped his knee. Hangman sprinted into the ring ignoring Moxley. BCC were on the inside with Hangman, and the Dark Order were on the outside. BCC tensions were deescalating. Claudio patted Hangman on the back to get his attention. There was no malice in Claudio’s motion. Hangman punched him in the face anyway. That reignited the fire, and BCC stomped Hangman.

This is more weird behavior from Hangman. Moxley was clearly out of line, so the cowboy’s arrival made sense. However, punching Claudio was a punk move. If Claudio wanted to fight, he would have just blindsided Hangman. It doesn’t help that commentary was portraying BCC as a heel turn. Hangman was no saint in this situation. I can’t tell if commentary was trying to manipulate the scene or if it was poor storytelling in the ring to illustrate the idea. Whatever the case, my takeaway is that we could be getting a new member of the Blackpool Combat Club. Without Danielson, the numbers are 3 versus 4.

AEW home grown versus outsiders. At Revolution, Jamie Hayter retained the AEW Women’s World Championship over Saraya and Ruby Soho. Afterward, Soho turned on Hayter and Dr. Britt Baker DMD to attack and join the outsiders.

AEW did what we all wanted to see by letting Soho speak her mind. And she knocked it out of the park with excellence. The big question was why turn her back on the home-grown team. Soho put the blame on us. We created this monster. She pointed to the crowd cheering when she lost her title fight to Baker. Soho also mentioned the crowd booing when she beat Kris Statlander in the Owen Hart tournament. When Hayter pinned her at Revolution and the crowd was happy, she realized that nobody was coming to her defense. Nobody in AEW appreciates her. Saraya and Toni Storm shared similar situations as Soho. A women’s division can’t be built on a broken foundation, so she wants to tear it down and start anew. Soho called out all the entitled little shits in the locker room.

Soho started the process by beating Skye Blue in a singles contest. Soho controlled the action. When Blue rallied, Soho pulled Blue’s hair for a transition into the Destination Unknown finisher. Afterward, Saraya and Storm had plans to spray paint. Willow ran in to talk sense to former friend Soho. The mean girls stomped Willow to the ground.

That was a great promo from Soho to explore her motivation. She tied in truths from the past to present a point of view that is hard to argue. Her heel turn really does make sense from her perspective. Shame on all of you who booed her! I’m kidding. Boo until your heart is content. Thinking of my personal pecking order in this story, I’d root for Soho over Baker but Baker over Saraya. That shows AEW still has work to do to present Baker and Hayter as quality babyface characters. Just because they get cheers doesn’t mean those steps can be skipped. The rest of the women babyfaces have no reason to join them other than the enemy of my enemy is my friend. As for this evening, Baker and Hayter did not appear on the show, and I didn’t catch any justification of their absence from commentary.

Ricky Starks and Chris Jericho. At Revolution, Starks beat Jericho clean.

Good news! It appears that AEW is moving on from the feud between Starks and Jericho. So, what’s next for Starks? Business with the B-B-B-Bullet Club. That music interrupted Starks, and Juice Robinson ambushed Absolute.

Alright! I’m not necessarily moved by Juice, but I’m excited for a fresh direction. And a complete surprise at that. Possibilities are salivating if Starks opens the Forbidden Door to rumble with more Bullet Club members. Even if Starks only sticks to Mr. Robinson, it will be another feather in his cap racking up wins.

As for Jericho, his next task applies to the trios division.

Trios title scene. At Revolution, the House of Black won the belts from the Elite fair and square.

Jericho, Sammy Guevara, & Daniel Garcia triumphed over AR Fox & Top Flight. Or course, JAS cheated to win. After crazy dives to the outside, Jericho and Darius Martin were left alone in the ring. Darius had the upper hand due to the speed advantage, but Jericho pulled a wily veteran move. He distracted the referee, so Jake Hager could hit an unsuspecting Darius with the baseball bat. Judas Effect, 1, 2, 3.

The wrestling took second place to the sports entertainment in this match. The action was overshadowed by the silliness. It was all amusing but also a bit much. There was a team hug, Garcia dancing salsa on the apron, and a group sexy boy pose.

Business picked up after the match. JAS declared themselves the #1 contenders for the trios titles. Jericho called out the House of Black. Lights out, lights on. The Elite entered on stage. Tension reared over who should get the next shot. House of Black was on the big screen to say that Omega and Jericho are both equally deserving of getting humiliated in their hometown of Winnipeg. The implication was a three-way trios title defense. Lights out, lights on. House of Black was on the ramp between both factions. Malakai Black challenged them to take the gold. Nobody advanced. Lights out, lights on. House of Black was gone.

This feels a little bit of a retread from the PPV bout. I would be much more excited for Elite versus JAS with the backdrop of Winnipeg. Or even better, Omega versus Jericho. Those have my attention as fresh fights. AEW referees can barely contain two trios teams. It is going to be absolute chaos with three trios teams. That doesn’t fill me with confidence for a good match. Exciting? Sure, but likely to be overly hectic. I also felt that the showdown was weak. It needed a melee. House of Black threw down the gauntlet and nobody budged. They could have brawled briefly then vanished in the dark. That would have added more sizzle to the scene.

Tag title scene. At Revolution, the Gunns defeated Orange Cassidy & Danhausen, the Acclaimed, and Jay Lethal & Jeff Jarrett to retain the AEW World Tag Team Championship. FTR ran in afterward to kick Ass Boys.

FTR was given time to address the world. They had a few bad weeks losing all their championships then losing Jay Briscoe. For those reasons, FTR took time off. However, they couldn’t sit idly by and allow the Gunns to run their mouths. FTR is going to whip those spoiled Ass Boys to win the AEW tag titles.

Good hooray promo from a pair of babyfaces. Rankings are not as prevalent these days in AEW, but FTR needs to earn this shot. Their losing streak should put them in the back of the line. Granted, it would be a short line due to their career success. Still though, don’t just hand the title match to then. That’s the kind of thing that devalues the sport of professional wrestling.

The Acclaimed plans to get back in the title mix. Daddy Magic and Cool Hand interrupted with an offer to join JAS. The Acclaimed and Daddy Ass laughed in their face.

Cassidy and Lethal split off in a singles bout for the AEW All-Atlantic Championship. They wrestled in a clean affair with all pals unofficially being banned from ringside. Cassidy worked the arm, and Lethal worked the leg. That damage hindered the ability of both men to execute signature moves. Cassidy collapsed trying to run for his first attempt at a superman punch. For the finish, Lethal collapsed upside down when attempting a handspring for the Lethal Injection. Cassidy mustered the motion to strike for a superman punch to win.

Afterward, Jeff Jarrett ran in to hit the Stroke and smash his guitar into Cassidy’s knee. Cassidy versus Jarrett was announced for next week.

Very good match with emphasis on selling pain. The whole story inside the ring was cleverly put together leading to a splendid finish. It was a surprise to see Lethal unable to execute his finisher, and it made perfect sense why. Cassidy took advantage of the opening for a bing, bang, boom sequence.

Notes: Jade Cargill is 53-0. There is no more competition in the AEW locker room, so she challenged Canada to send their best for a match next week in Winnipeg. Step up to get stepped on. Yeah for the mystery opponent tease! I’m putting my money on Taya Valkyrie. Let’s go La Wera Loca.

Tony Khan leveled up the AEW All-Atlantic Championship to officially be called the AEW International Championship. Next week’s title bout between Cassidy and Jarrett will tie into promotion for the new Shazam film. I often get Shazam confused with Kazaam. I hope Shaquille O’Neal shows up.

Stud of the Show: Ruby Soho

Excellent promo with passion and sense.

Match of the Night: Orange Cassidy vs. Jay Lethal

The hoss fight main event was veering toward this honor, but the ending was the pits. That means it is three weeks in a row for a squeeze of Orange Cassidy. The world doesn’t make sense anymore. Seriously though, Cassidy has been doing less goofy stuff in the ring but still wrestling in his unique character.

Grade: B-

Interesting progression in the fallout for Revolution. The matches were decent but nothing epic. The TNT title fight could have been special. Alas, AEW mucked it up. Criticism over who didn’t show up live, such as MJF, is fair game in the grade. I’m only judging what was on screen.

Share your thoughts about Dynamite. How do you rate it? What were your favorite moments from the show?

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