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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (Nov. 9, 2022): One-eyed dragon

AEW Dynamite (Nov. 9, 2022) emanated from Agganis Arena in Boston, MA. The show featured Bryan Danielson besting Sammy Guevara in a 2-out-of-3 falls battle, Samoa Joe flushing his friendship with Wardlow, Saraya announcing her return to the ring, and much more.

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

Bryan Danielson wins war with wounded eye

Bryan Danielson had a heck of a fight on his hands in the main event against Sammy Guevara in 2-out-of-3 falls. Danielson showed his true grit, and he might be needing an eye patch like Rooster Cogburn to match.

Fall 1 saw Danielson gain momentum on offense. Tay Melo stepped in front to block a suicide dive. As Danielson stepped around Tay, Sammy threw a chair at Danielson’s face. The referee witnessed the incident and disqualified Sammy. Score 1-0 in Danielson’s favor.

Sammy added injury by gouging Danielson’s eye with a microphone. Commentary played up how Danielson suffered a detached retina earlier in his career. That damage done affected Danielson throughout the contest.

Fall 2 was a quick in Sammy’s favor. He played with the injured Danielson. Commentary put over Sammy using a smart gameplan with the intentional DQ, but Sammy lacked urgency to make that story believable. It wasn’t until Danielson landed a punch that Sammy exploded for a GTH finisher to even the score at 1-1.

Fall 3 was a rowdy ten-minute competitive affair. Sammy sprang for a double bouncing cutter, but Danielson caught him in the LeBell Lock. Later, Danielson rallied with a running knee strike, but Sammy rolled through on impact for a Liontamer. Tension was peaking down the stretch. It felt like anyone’s game to win.

Danielson secured position control to stomp Sammy’s head, but Sammy somehow countered for a springboard backflip DDT. Sammy went aerial for a senton atomico, however, Danielson got his knees up. Danielson uncorked vicious elbows to soften Sammy for the LeBell Lock. Sammy crawled valiantly to inch toward freedom. With a desperate reach from Sammy, Danielson snatched the free arm for double lockdown on the submission. Sammy passed out, and the referee called for the bell. Danielson bested Sammy, 2-1.

Danielson and Sammy were given a lot of time to work, and the action did not disappoint. Their flow of creative counters maximized Sammy’s athletic ability. The added wrinkle of the eye injury softened Danielson for Sammy to even the odds as an underdog. There’s always the question of if overcoming such terrible injuries en route to victory does the losers any favors, but that’s a common practice in professional wrestling.

In the larger context for the PPV, Danielson entered as the American Dragon, but he left as a one-eyed dragon. That should surely affect his performance in the four-way ROH world title fight at Full Gear.

Samoa Joe blindside attack on Wardlow

Drama alert! Samoa Joe and Wardlow are no longer allies. Frankly, Wardlow only has himself to blame.

Wardlow’s evening began with a challenge from Ari Daivari. In exchange for buying the TNT Championship, the Trustbuster sweetened the deal with VSK as Wardlow’s butler. Wardlow took the match but declined the offer. After ejecting VSK from the ring, a headbutt, windup lariat, and four powerbombs earned Wardlow a squash win.

After the match, Wardlow called out Will Hobbs. He’s finally found an opponent suitable for a title match. Wardlow kept jacking his gums with confidence about winning every title in the company. Joe heard enough and clocked Wardlow with a blindside attack. The ROH TV champ put Wardlow to sleep as Hobbs watched from the ramp talking smack to Joe too.

Well, it looks like we’re getting hossapalooza for Full Gear. In a nutshell, hell yeah, Wardlow versus Joe versus Hobbs is going to rule. In the larger picture, I think the trigger was pulled too soon to jam Joe on the PPV card. All this build for a one-on-one hoss showdown between Wardlow and Hoobs, and then AEW adds another ingredient before even delivering on the initial matchup. Maybe AEW will book this in reverse and give us a round robin of singles matchups amongst the three after the PPV.

I do like the execution of the Joe turn, especially the camera angle. Joe was positioned right over Wardlow’s shoulder for us to observe his reaction to the lack of respect. Wardlow has been taking Joe’s presence for granted and needed a chin check to recognize. This is what I imagine a fight with wild animals would be like as they challenge the pecking order in the pack. Old lion versus young lion to see who’s the boss.

Saraya official return to the ring

Saraya and Dr. Britt Baker DMD had a verbal showdown resulting in good news and bad news. The good news is that Saraya is cleared to wrestle. The bad news is that the content of Saraya’s promo made me want to root for Baker.

After Saraya revealed the positive news, she was near tears with emotion at returning to the ring. It was a fell-good moment to support Saraya’s journey. Baker took her turn to puff up how she built the AEW women’s division from the ground up. She did so well that it encouraged Saraya to jump ship and join AEW. Baker pointed out how Saraya claims AEW is her house and yet she never laid a single brick in the foundation.

Saraya countered that Baker was handed opportunities and fed inferior talent. She believes Baker has no idea what it takes to make it in this business as a star. Saraya even called Baker an ungrateful bitch in taking Saraya’s sacrifices for granted. Saraya handed Baker another opportunity to be part of her comeback story in a match at Full Gear.

Baker was shocked then tried a cheapshot. Saraya anticipated that behavior and was ready to hit a cradle DDT to leave the dentist lying on the mat.

Three cheers for Saraya being cleared. Her return to the ring is an attraction alone for the PPV. Too bad her attitude in this promo sullied my desire to see her win. Saraya talks about ego, and she comes off as having the biggest ego of all. She’s been out a long time. The game’s changed since then. Respect to what Saraya accomplished, but pay respect forward to what others have done as well. Saraya comes across as entitled by proclaiming AEW as her house while brushing aside the work done by Baker. Even though it is true Baker has been handed opportunity, it is also true that Baker busted her ass week in and week out to make the most of those opportunities. It comes across as delusional to completely ignore that. Baker gets a pass for similar behavior, because she’s supposed to be full of herself as a heel. I never thought I’d be rooting for Baker in this feud, and yet here we are. I’m hoping Saraya gets served a slice of humble pie.

And since day one of Saraya’s arrival, it’s felt disrespectful to call this her house right in the face of other babyface champions. Toni Storm, Thunder Rosa, and Hikaru Shida should be having the same reaction Samoa Joe had towards Wardlow.

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

The Acclaimed & FTR defeated Swerve in Our Glory & Gunn sons. Max Caster’s rap dropped references to Tom Brady, Herschel Walker, and Kyrie Irving.

Keith Lee dissed Swerve Strickland on their entrance by purposely leaving his partner hanging on a fist bump. When Billy Gunn arrived with bandaged scissor fingers, he sprinted into the ring to tackle Swerve. Billy was escorted to the back.

There was slight tension in the air between FTR and the Acclaimed over the prospect of a future tag title showdown, but they kept emotions under control to work as a unit. The focus was minimizing Lee’s impact as powerhouse. That only worked so much. Lee caught a hurricanrana from Anthony Bowens to swing as a battering ram into Caster. Action spilled outside for a tornillo dive from Swerve onto a pile of bodies and a superplex from Dax Harwood onto the pile as well. In the end, the Acclaimed hit their Mic Drop combo on Colten Gunn. FTR landed the Big Rig on Austin Gunn. That cleared the way for Bowens to score the pin on Colten.

Fun 8-man action for what it was. I don’t think there were any takeaways to carry into the PPV. The high spots were a hoot. There was one moment in particular that may have been a play on recent news of Road Dogg proclaiming himself a better sports entertainer than Bret Hart. Austin performed a dancing clothesline reminiscent of Road Dogg, then Harwood promptly put him in a Sharpshooter. If that was indeed the intended reference, then it was a pretty funny shot to support Hart.

Full Gear main event hype. A clip aired from MJF on a podcast. After the brutal beating from the Firm, doctors advised that he shouldn’t be traveling if he wants to be 110% for the AEW World Championship match against Moxley. MJF put over the match as a generational moment when he wins the title. MJF respects Mox’s hustle to overachieve in his career, but now it is MJF’s rightful time to take the throne.

Moxley spoke about his path to proving himself. He challenged William Regal as a young hot shot and learned his place in defeat. Moxley realized he had to fight to get better, and that’s what he did. When Mox had another shot at Regal, he made the most of it. MJF is in a similar position challenging Moxley again. The question is will MJF have the guts to push through and endure the trials in the ring.

I feel that both these promos were rare misses from each man in an effort to hype the PPV main event. MJF continues to paint this picture of history, but it still comes off as shtick. I guess it will until he finally reaches the ultimate goal. It’s like doubting star sports players until they thrive in winning a championship. For Mox’s side, he talked down MJF more than talked him up. I suppose the combination of the two promos could be setting seeds to encourage fans that a new era will start at Full Gear with MJF as champion. The problem is that I don’t think many fans are actively rooting for MJF, so this idea of witnessing an epic moment falls flat.

AEW world title eliminator tournament quarterfinal: Ethan Page defeated Eddie Kingston. Page was trapped in a stretch plum submission, so Stokely Hathaway hopped onto the apron as a distraction. The referee took the bait and missed Page tapping out.

Kingston released the hold to address the situation. Ortiz chased Hathaway backstage. Page took control with head kicks to knock Kingston loopy. Page took way too long climbing the corner for a high-risk attack, and Kingston recovered to meet Page at the top. Page slide down and crotched Kingston in the corner. That set up a super Ego’s Edge for victory. Page advances to the semifinals.

Good golly, miss molly. That was a dangerous finish. Page struggled to lift Kingston to execute the move. Now that it’s over and everyone is presumably safe, hot damn, that impact was fire. Applause to both men for pulling it off.

As for how the match played out, my initial reaction is inconclusive. If Page doesn’t win the tournament, then the shenanigans to protect Kingston were not a big deal. Life moves on. If Page does win the tournament, then I’d say the shenanigans were a poor choice. Kingston’s status is locked down at this point. He doesn’t need to be protected with a bullshit finish since there are no plans to push him into title contention at this moment. Page would have benefit greatly with a clean win to establish himself as a legit contender rather than a carny cheater. I also don’t like how we have yet another instance where Kingston is the victim. He’s supposed to be in a self-destructive story, and this gives fuel to his fire of lashing out. How can friends say Kingston is wrong when he continually gets screwed by scumbags?

Jay Lethal defeated Trent. This bout was made in a pre-show backstage segment edited down on air. Lethal clipped Trent’s knee from behind on stage. Lethal focused on working the leg, while Trent rallied with suplexes. Trent was in a groove on a half-and-half superplex and running knee strike. As Trent lifted for Strong Zero, Sonjay Dutt hopped onto the apron. Danhausen and Satnam Singh were also on the apron now. Danhausen cursed Dutt with a punch to the groin, Singh headbutt Danhausen, and Trent dropkicked the giant off the apron. Lethal took advantage of the distraction to pounce for the Lethal Injection to win.

Trent accused Lethal of being a scumbag, so it fit right that Lethal attacked using scumbag tactics to start the match. Ask and ye shall receive for poor Trent. The apron distractions felt overdone considering there was also an apron distraction between Kingston and Page earlier in the show.

Jeff Jarrett speaks. After Lethal’s win, he brought out Jarrett to address the slap nuts in attendance. Jarrett connected the dots for why he’s with Lethal’s crew, which are ties of friendship back to the TNA days. Jarrett called out Sting and Darby Allin for a tag team challenge at Full Gear. When Jarrett tried to address why he arrived in AEW, it wasn’t really clear. A production hand stepped in shot with motions to move it along. Jarrett was not pleased and threatened to kabong the person with his guitar.

This was a necessary promo to piece together background for viewers unfamiliar with Jarrett’s past connections to Lethal and Dutt. The finish with the stagehand felt awkward and dragged on. I guess the intention was to be a jerk, but we already knew that when he clobbered Allin last week. Earlier today, I wrote about how Jarrett will be a positive on screen for AEW. In the words of Jerry Seinfeld, “I think I may have made a big mistake.” I’m kidding. I still believe in Jarrett’s skill for entertainment, but this promo won’t help turn the doubters.

Jamie Hayter defeated Skye Blue. Baker and Rebel were ringside, so Blue brought Toni Storm. Blue fought tough, but Hayter was tougher. A ripcord lariat sealed the deal.

This was a good showcase for Blue. It was her best match to date in AEW. She went toe-to-toe with Hayter and almost won on a Code Red. The match filled me with optimism for Blue’s future. One problem though. The timing for Blue’s showcase was not ideal. The goal should be building Hayter to peak form so close to her title shot. Blue’s never been presented as more then a low level wrestler. It didn’t make Hayter look good before the biggest match of her career to have so much trouble with Blue.

Promo notes: Stokely Hathaway thought he was in unison with MJF about wanting the same things in life. Instead, MJF wanted a pat on the back and that disrupted their business relationship. Hathaway mocked MJF for riding Moxley’s jock. Whatever the case, they’ll both see each other in hell. AEW better be building Hathaway up to be the next Bobby Heenan, or else he’s getting too much face time as a non-wrestler.

Rush likes how 10 brings the fight and maintains his muscular figure in top condition. In an effort to encourage 10 to join Los Ingobernables, Rush plans on winning the world title eliminator tournament and championship belt then awarding 10 the first shot. None of the other Dark Order clowns will ever get a title match as long as Rush is champ.

Jade Cargill is coming to Rampage to get her TBS belt back from Nyla Rose. That title bout was officially announced for Full Gear.

Jungle Boy has a challenge for Christian Cage and wants to deliver it in person on Rampage.

Soak in the latest tease for the Elite to return at Full Gear.

Brian Cage versus Dante Martin in the tournament on Rampage. One small step for Cage onward to advance. Martin viewed it as the bigger they are then they harder they fall.

Lance Archer will wrestle Ricky Starks in the tournament on Friday’s show. The Murderhawk Monster made a physical statement by smashing Starks into the steel curtain. Ooh, that gave me instant sizzle to see Starks get payback. I’m curious to find out how he scores a way to win.

Stud of the Show: Eddie Kingston

That super Ego’s Edge was rough, but Kingston took it like a champ. Credit to Kingston for trusting Ethan Page after the awkward lift. The fall from high above must have felt like an eternity hoping for a safe landing.

Match of the Night: Bryan Danielson vs. Sammy Guevara

This bout gets the nod for the closing flow of the third fall. I was genuinely wondering who would win. Danielson was the heavy favorite, but they worked the action out in a way to make me think Sammy had a real shot at the upset.

Grade: B-

Productive show heading into Full Gear. The ring action was enjoyable. Even though, I had a few quibbles about the larger picture, it wasn’t enough to detract from overall entertainment.

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

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