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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (Nov. 16, 2022): Moxley & MJF go-home fizzle

AEW Dynamite (Nov. 16, 2022) emanated from Total Mortgage Arena in Bridgeport, CT. The show featured Jon Moxley and MJF fizzling in the main event segment, Samoa Joe bringing the thunder for Will Hobbs and Wardlow, Dr. Britt Baker DMD spitting fire, and much more for the go-home to Full Gear.

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

The go-home episode of Dynamite toward Full Gear featured a ton of material to hype the PPV, as a go-home show should. Two segments in particular were outstanding, however, the most important segment went from sizzle to fizzle.

Hoss triangle of awesomeness

What do you get when three of the baddest hosses in AEW run amok? Hossomeness.

Samoa Joe, Will Hobbs, and Wardlow collided for a triangle of fisticuffs in supreme hoss style. The scene began with Joe addressing why he turned on Wardlow last week. His logic was simple. Joe refuses to be a victim. When Wardlow spouted off about taking all the titles in AEW, Joe took that threat at face-value and went into action. Wardlow ran his mouth week after week, but he failed to recognize the most dangerous man in the room. For that mistake, Wardlow paid the ultimate price. Joe turned heel by insulting the audience. He’s not going to play the victim (like the fans do) and wait for someone to save him. Joe stepped up to save himself.

P-P-P-Powerhouse. Enter Hobbs on the scene with threats to kick Joe’s ass. Joe wanted to know if Hobbs bumps knuckles as well as he bumps his gums. Both behemoths sized up ready to throw down with punches.

Wardlow’s music hit. He took the cowardly approach to enter through the crowd and attack Joe from behind with a spear. All three hosses erupted. The locker room emptied trying to make peace. I hope Butcher and Blade were paid extra as mercenaries. Joe and Hobbs were separated on the outside of the ring. Wardlow was inside and smashed innocent security. The Dark Order didn’t want any static and stepped aside. Wardlow ran across the ring for a flipping cannonball onto the pile below.

Wardlow versus Hobbs versus Joe was made official for the TNT Championship at Full Gear.

Fantastic scene to set up the match. Holy moly, that was intense. This would qualify as my favorite part of the Dynamite program. The showdown between Joe and Hobbs was electric. Nobody radiates a badass aura better than Joe. He creates instant anticipation for a fight. Joe’s explanation was simple and made sense. Hobbs and Wardlow carried their share to ratchet up the slobberknocking goodness. I originally thought three hosses would be too much at one-time for Full Gear, but I’m glad I was wrong. That three-way instantly shot up the charts as my most-anticipated match for the PPV. Hoss fight!

Dr. Britt Baker DMD killer promo

Last week, Saraya and Dr. Britt Baker DMD battled in a promo exchange as Saraya revealed she was medically cleared to compete at Full Gear. Saraya’s portion didn’t go over so well. She came across entitled and dismissive of Baker’s accomplishments within AEW. This week, Baker shot back in an excellent rebuttal.

Baker ripped apart Saraya’s talking points. The dentist went from ‘happy to be there’ to the confident face of the company in a matter of three years. When handed opportunities, she ran with it to become undeniable. Baker respects the bricks laid by Saraya for women’s wrestling, but this business owes her nothing. It has moved on while Saraya was away. Baker won’t allow Saraya to belittle her. Baker is the heart, soul, and pulse of AEW.

How can AEW fans not cheer that promo from Baker? Yes, Baker lays it on a bit thick with ego of her own as a heel, however, it screamed babyface overall. It is debatable whether this is the right time for a promo like that from Baker when there’s no other hints at a hero turn. I’m okay with it, because it builds emotion to get invested in the match. The louder the fans are, the more memorable a moment it will create when Saraya fights Baker at Full Gear.

Saraya had a chance to respond later in the show. She walked back some criticism. Saraya came to AEW to face the best, which is Baker. Enough talk. It’s time for the... Oh, wait. That’s Mark Henry’s line.

Jon Moxley & MJF promo exchange fizzles

When it came time for the main event promo showdown between Jon Moxley and MJF, the segment went from sizzle to fizzle. And, no, I’m not speaking Snoop Dogg language. The scene started strong and nosedived real quick.

In my mind, this was a tough spot for both men. The match already sells itself. We’ve seen enough and heard enough. What more is there to say?

Well, Moxley brought the heat early. He described himself as the best pro wrestler on Earth and the baddest son of a bitch in the game. He talks shit and backs it up. Moxley loves to fight, because he’s sick in the head. He’s addicted to the rush and pain of being in firefights. MJF can’t hurt him, because he literally doesn’t care about pain.

That was a good start to demand attention. Mox continued with his scouting report of MJF. He sees a kid playing wrestler who fears not living up to the hype. Moxley challenged MJF to show his guts. Diminishing the talent of an opponent is usually not a smart selling point, however, Mox is creating the story for the bout.

Enter Stokely Hathaway, and that’s where the segment took a nosedive. The Firm attacked Moxley. MJF ran in to single-handedly clean house. That was a little far-fetched, but it keeps the con alive in viewers’ minds that MJF might still be working with the Firm.

MJF repeated his same talking points about making sure Moxley has no excuses in defeat and how he’ll show Mox the devil. Moxley snatched the mic, flubbed a few lines, and closed with insults and threats. We’ll find out if MJF is championship material at Full Gear.

This segment didn’t do zip to sell me. It was more of the same we’ve been seeing between these two. On the plus, the biggest draw for this bout remains. That would be the finish. There are so many ways I can envision it playing out. MJF winning clean, MJF cheating, MJF using the Firm, William Regal turning on Moxley, Mox winning clean. As far as I’m concerned, all of those options are still alive to create mystery for the finish.

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

Bryan Danielson & Claudio Castagnoli defeated Chris Jericho & Sammy Guevara. Tag team action as a tease for the four-way ROH World Championship match at Full Gear. The PPV-quality action was chaotic and always moving. For example, check out this cool setup for Jericho to apply the Walls of Jericho submission. There were several creative moments like this.

In the end, Jericho tried to cheat using his bat named Floyd. Claudio wasn’t having it and treated Le Champion to a ride on his giant swing. Claudio snatched the bat away and cinched in the Sharpshooter for victory.

In terms of story building for the PPV, there wasn’t much. Both teams were fully cohesive units. They were no teases of tension that could erupt when gold is on the line. One week after Sammy hurt Danielson’s eye, that ocular socket was mildly addressed. It was more attention to detail rather than a story point for the match. The way the action played out as professional wrestling makes me wonder if the PPV contest will be full-blown sports entertainment. I was shocked that Jericho tapped out. That’s two losses in a row to Claudio. It makes me think Jericho will pull out all the stops to retain now that he’s been proven vulnerable. In general, I’m not a fan of the champ losing non-title contests, but I can accept it with Jericho. His title run has been full of malarkey, so it’s not like he’s taking a knock on prestige in defeat.

Before moving on, it would be rude not to share this glorious pose from Le Sex Gods.

Swerve Strickland defeated Anthony Bowens. The Acclaimed debuted their special music video for the occasion with a cameo from Paul Wight as Captain Insano. The lyrics were about Swerve and Keith Lee having little dick energy. Eye for an eye, hand for a hand. The Acclaimed were confident that Swerve and Lee would never be champions again.

The singles duel was about Bowens getting personal revenge on Swerve for damaging Billy Gunn’s scissor fingers. Billy wanted a piece too and tackled Swerve on the floor prior to the bout. Officials escorted everyone out to proceed with a proper singles contest. The fighting was physical, and Swerve gained an edge by targeting Bowens’ shoulder. Bowens showed heart kicking out of Swerve’s running kick finisher and the Swerve Stomp finisher. Swerve tried for the kick again, but Bowens ducked. After a counter to a counter, Swerve struck with the JML driver for victory.

Another very good contest. In terms of building for the PPV, commentary spoke about Swerve viewing Bowens as injury-prone and letting Max Caster down. When Swerve started targeting the shoulder, that’s when he took control for victory. It could show there is truth behind Swerve’s words as part of the story and be a bit of foreshadowing for the tag title bout.

AEW World Trios Championship: Death Triangle retained against Top Flight & AR Fox. The athleticism was crazy in this contest. It was one highlight after another. Just look at this backward jump into a springboard flip from Dante Martin. Amazing!

In the end, Death Triangle took control. Fenix and Pentagon crushed Fox on the Fear Factor flying stomp package piledriver. PAC finished with the Black Arrow for victory. No hammer needed, as it should be in this scenario.

When this match was announced, explosive action was anticipated. They certainly exceeded expectations. There was so much creativity in execution. The best news of this match was Darius Martin looking smooth and agile. It was his return to the ring after a serious car crash. Darius was on the sideline for 204 days, and that was after a 13-month recovery from knee injury. As a fan of Lucha Underground, it put a smile of my face to see Fox thrive in the spotlight. He had his fair share of crazy moves. I hope Fox returns to AEW for feature bouts such as this.

After the match, a news bombshell dropped. PAC grabbed the mic to address the elephant. Death Triangle aren’t stupid. They see the videos and hear the rumors. The Bastard addressed the Elite without mentioning their names. The champs are ready for a fight at Full Gear if the Elite show up. That’s when a match graphic aired on screen revealing Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks to make the contest official.

World title eliminator tournament semifinal: Ethan Page defeated Bandido. The match started a little slow then excitement exploded when Bandido rocked the ring with high-flying. Bandido countering an avalanche Ego’s Edge into a super hurricanrana was insane.

Down the stretch, Page countered Bandido on the turnbuckles for a body slam down to the mat from high above. Page launched for a flying shoulder tackle and finished with the Ego’s Edge. Page advances to the tournament final at Full Gear.

Damn, Bandido is so dope. He had the fans at a fever pitch for his offense. One issue that bothered me during the contest was the disconnect between how commentary portrays Page and what we actually see on screen. They put him over hard as a favorite for the tournament. I have to say that Page as the favorite is poppycock. I would have favored Bandido in this particular match as a former ROH world champion. I’d also slot Page below Lance Archer and Brian Cage. Why does this matter? Because it shows a long-time issue with building talent in AEW. Page is no chump, but he’s hardly been built as a threat to win the world championship. He tapped out to Eddie Kingston in his last match. Don’t snow me. If AEW wants to make me believe in Page, then put the work in beforehand. That said, Page served a badass offensive flurry to win. That’s the kind of thing that makes me take him more seriously as world champion material.

Toni Storm defeated Anna Jay. A win from Anna would have earned a title shot. The Queen Slayer had momentum after a pair of Gory Special slams for a chokehold. Storm countered out to dropkick Anna into the corner. Storm charged for a running hip check and closed with the cloverleaf submission for victory. Afterward, Jamie Hayter arrived for a staredown.

Solid bout with both competitors looking good in the ring. Not much to say. It was a thrown together match, and it still entertained.

Notes: Full Gear hype packages ran for Jon Moxley versus MJF for the AEW World Championship, Jade Cargill versus Nyla Rose for the TBS Championship, and Jungle Boy versus Luchasaurus inside a steel cage. They also hyped a Rampage tag bout between Eddie Kingston & Ortiz versus Jun Akiyama & Konosuke Takeshita.

Sting went cruising in the desert to pick up Darby Allin inside a body bag. Sting loaded the bag into the backseat of his convertible. Allin unzipped and crawled out into the front seat. Blood was still on his head from Jeff Jarrett’s guitar shot. Sting said it’s showtime for Full Gear. This was a nifty little art film from Allin and Sting. Jarrett’s response was that this will be the last showtime for Sting.

Ricky Starks is coming for Lance Archer on Rampage. Their quarterfinals match is back on for the world title eliminator tournament. Commentary did recognize that the winner faces Brian Cage in the semifinal, but they didn’t say when. It looks like double duty will be pulled on Full Gear day.

Stud of the Show: Swerve Strickland

Swerve was strong in victory. Anthony Bowens is a tough out, but Swerve piled on the offense in an effective manner. It was the type of win that makes me want to see Swerve in the world title picture.

Match of the Night: Bryan Danielson & Claudio Castagnoli vs. Chris Jericho & Sammy Guevara

Tough choice with an abundance of high-quality contests. I’m giving Blackpool Combat Club versus Jericho Appreciation Society the nod for keeping a stale feud fresh in the ring, at least on this evening.

Grade: B+

There was a ton of excellent in-ring action to anchor the broadcast. Several matches were PPV quality in entertainment. The promo segments were a mixed bag.

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

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