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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (Nov. 23, 2022): 5-star Jericho main event

AEW Dynamite (Nov. 23, 2022) emanated from Wintrust Arena in Chicago, IL. The Thanksgiving Eve show featured Chris Jericho defending the ROH World Championship in a bloody chopfest with Tomohiro Ishii, Bryan Danielson saving William Regal from a thrashing by Jon Moxley, the return of the House of Black, and much more for the fallout to Full Gear.

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

5-star Jericho main event

Whoa, Nellie. Chris Jericho and Tomohiro Ishii put on a classic in the main event of Dynamite. 5-star match. If you don’t agree on a professional wrestling scale, then I’d kindly remind you that Jericho is a sports entertainer, and this was sports entertainment of epic proportions.

Jericho defended the ROH World Championship against NJPW’s Ishii. Bobby Cruise and Ian Riccaboni added the ROH sizzle as broadcasters.

Jericho opened by flipping the double bird. Ishii responded with a slap across the face. Jericho slapped right back. A slap fight erupted. That set the tone of craziness we were about to feast upon.

The match progressed into a firefight of forearm shivers, a stalemate of shoulder blocks, and an eruption of violent chops. The chops were so violent that Ishii busted open Jericho’s chest to bleed.

Jericho and Ishii did execute a few wrestling moves in the match. Ishii powerbombed Jericho out of the corner.

Jericho connected on a DDT on the apron to send both men crashing to the floor.

Jericho and Ishii resumed fisticuffs on the floor and barely beat the count to return to the ring, where they engaged in a striking exchange again. German suplexes were traded. Jericho executed a Lionsault and a Codebreaker, but neither signature move could keep Ishii down. The Stone Pitbull blocked the Judas Effect to counter for a ramming headbutt. Ishii was exhausted, but he let out a roar to clobber a sliding lariat. Jericho kicked out on the cover.

Ishii tried to finish with a brainbuster. Jericho countered for the Walls of Jericho, however, Ishii’s powerful neck allowed him to bridge out and escape. Ishii popped up to hit a Codebreaker. Jericho kicked out in dramatic fashion.

Down the stretch, Ishii tried to soften up Jericho with an enziguri. Jericho caught it to counter for the Walls of Jericho. Ishii crawled toward the ropes, so Jericho dragged it back for a high angle Liontamer. Ishii flashed the middle finger in an act of defiance before tapping out in defeat.

Holy shit, that was marvelous. I loved every second of the fight. I applaud the effort from both men to create such an insane slugfest. I was eager with anticipation once this bout was announced, and they exceeded expectation beyond my wildest imagination. It wasn’t the prettiest, it wasn’t the flashiest, but it damn sure was the most entertaining. I want to say they kept it simple, but nothing about taking those chops was simple. Ishii appeared to empty his gas tank throwing his full body into each chop. Anyway, the point is that they only used a handful of moves and had the arena in the palm of their hands. It was so rugged that Ishii appeared to have a believable chance at an upset victory. That shows how well Jericho and Ishii created drama throughout.

Afterward, Jericho had his eye on harming Riccaboni. Claudio Castagnoli arrived for a huge slap sending Jericho on his rump.

With the ROH Final Battle PPV approaching fast on December 10, it would appear that the main event direction is Jericho versus Claudio. To be honest, that matchup doesn’t get my motor moving. Jericho Appreciation Society versus Blackpool Combat Club is never-ending. Plus, Claudio doesn’t deserve another shot after losing clean in the Full Gear four-way. With that said, I know Jericho and Claudio will win me over quickly once the bell rings. They have good chemistry to rock the ring. This is a safe option with a high ceiling of quality.

Full Gear fallout bombshells

Part of the fun of fallout shows are the bombshells of activity. This episode of Dynamite had three items in particular that came as major surprises. Bryan Danielson saved William Regal, the House of Black is back, and Jamie Hayter received big news.

First on the list was Regal to open the show. He turned on Moxley at Full Gear sliding brass knuckles to MJF leading to victory. Regal informed the world that MJF was not in attendance on this evening. The AEW world champ is busy on a movie set and will address the masses next week. About Regal’s dirty dealings, he explained that he sent an email to MJF a few weeks ago, and we’ll learn more about that next week as well.

That was lackluster without hearing from the new world champion, but business was about to pick up in the form of Moxley. The former champ came down to the ring ready to wreck Regal. Danielson surprisingly ran down the ramp to ease tensions on Moxley.

Moxley shoved Danielson, but he did not advance. Danielson explained that he loves Regal. It was Regal who helped him understand and connect with his father despite his struggles. Those struggles were the same ones Moxley has faced. (I assume Danielson was referring to alcoholism.) Danielson pleaded with Moxley not to attack. Regal has a bad neck and two brain bleeds. The implication was that a violent assault could accidentally kill Regal. Danielson dropped to his knees to beg. Moxley backed away to tremble with anger.

Moxley relented, but he had a stern parting message for Regal. Run. Run as far away as possible and never come back. Regal exited the ring.

That was a heaping helpful of soap opera theater. It was a bit much on the melodramatic side for my taste. Moxley might have been angling for an Emmy award when shaking while holding the ropes. Mox’s closing line was very good and took the show back into badass territory. Overall, the scene worked as a stalling tactic in the absence of MJF, because we’re left with questions of intrigue. Will Regal come back to AEW? If Moxley puts Regal in the hospital, then how will Danielson react?

Commentary was excellent painting the picture. They addressed both sides of the coin and didn’t hesitate to call out bullshit. The way they riffed felt like real people rather than stuffy broadcasters, and that helped make the scene feel more genuine.

Second on the list is the return of the House of Black. After Orange Cassidy retained the AEW All-Atlantic Championship against Jake Hager, QT Marshall’s Factory surrounded the ring full of Best Friends. Lights out. Mood lighting on. Julia Hart was on stage. Malakai Black, Brody King, and Buddy Matthews were in the ring to maul the Best Friends. The Factory thought they were cool with HoB, but they clobbered those chumps as well. Black’s message to the audience was for House of Black members to rise.

That was a pleasant surprise. We all knew the House of Black would be returning soon, but there was a reason why this moment caught me so off guard. When the lights went dark, I thought for sure it would be very evil Danhausen. My mind was so focused on that assumption that I didn’t recognize Hart until a handful of seconds later. I was wondering why Danhausen was wearing a disguise, then I was thinking that the person doesn’t look like Danhausen at all. Once the light bulb turned on, so to speak, the House of Black was in the ring for an ass-kicking session to pump the crowd. An emphatic return indeed. That switcheroo added an extra layer of surprise.

Third on the list was bittersweet. AEW officially announced that Thunder Rosa is relinquishing the AEW Women’s World Championship. That means the interim tag is dumped, and Jamie Hayter is officially the full champion. No asterisks, qualifiers, or other notations. Hayter is queen of the division. Too bad for Hayter that Dr. Britt Baker DMD stepped in to overshadow and answer interview questions on the champ’s behalf.

It’s a bummer that Thunder Rosa had to drop the belt this way, but the show must go on. As for Hayter, it seems like seeds are being planted again for a split once she tires of Baker’s ego. Time will tell if AEW pulls the trigger or if this becomes yet another swerve to remain best friends forever.

CM Punk chants

One of the minor talking points of curiosity from this show was the audience reception for the first time back in Chicago after the CM Punk debacle. The fans worked up a Punk chant during the introduction of Dynamite. AEW wasn’t afraid to sass back. William Regal playfully forgot the name of the town and pooh-poohed their importance to encourage an uncouth reaction. Jade Cargill poked the bear calling them a whack crowd. The Elite received loud jeers, but it felt more performative than actual vitriol. The Elite leaned into it with taunts during the match. Overall, the Punk aspect from the crowd wasn’t unruly or overwhelming.

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

AEW All-Atlantic Championship: Orange Cassidy retained against Jake Hager. The story revolved around Hager’s hat. OC tried to snatch it several times. Whenever it fell off Hager’s head, he would stop wrestling and pick it up to place back upon his skull. That played to Cassidy’s tactical advantage for the finish. Hager secured an ankle lock. Cassidy knocked off the hat. Hager let go and retrieved his beloved possession. Cassidy struck with a superman punch. It didn’t knock Hager down, so OC used a roll-up for victory.

This bout was certainly on the goofy side. You have to ignore the obvious flaw that Hager cared more about his hat than winning the title. Since AEW decided to go full comedy, it should be judged that way. It was creative in its silliness and structure for action. This certainly fit the spots entertainer realm for Hager. In that sense, Hager won even when losing. And he does still have a nice hat.

World title eliminator tournament final: Ricky Starks defeated Ethan Page. Starks torso was so heavily taped that it looked like a flak jacket. Page immediately attacked the sore spots to control the first half. Stokely Hathway was ejected after saving Page from a suicide dive. Starks rallied in the second half for a superplex. In the end, Starks picked his spot to land a spear. He followed with a second spear in a row, his third spear of the match, to cement victory. Starks will challenge MJF for the AEW World Championship at Winter is Coming on December 14.

The first half told strategy, but it was on the dull side with Page’s methodical dominance. Energy picked up in the second half of the match for Starks to make moments. In my mind, Starks was the heavy favorite to win for a babyface versus heel matchup against MJF. The injury aspect made the result much less predictable as it played out. Hopefully, Starks can make a speedy recovery to compete at full capability. In the mind of others, Page was the favorite due to a storyline reason for heat with MJF. I think AEW made the right call picking Starks. Just listen to the thunderous reaction to his victory.

AEW World Trios Championship Best-of-7 match 2: Death Triangle defeated the Elite. Chalk another highlight reel fight. No surprise here with these two teams sharing the ring. Top highlight for me was Fenix on a corkscrew dive. So many revolutions.

The story was twofold. PAC entered with a broken nose and wrestled in a protective face-mask. The Elite focused on striking PAC’s weak point and isolating him for teamwork offense. The other story was PAC’s illegal hammer. After Matt Jackson hit a low blow mule kick, he had the hammer in hand and milked it for the crowd. Pentagon came from behind and pulled out a hammer of his own to bop Matt in the head. PAC picked up the pin to win. Fenix was not pleased with that method of victory. Death Triangle leads the series 2-0.

This match was what was to be expected. Electric athleticism, hot tag moments, and hijinx. PAC’s broken nose added a new element to stand apart from their contest at Full Gear. It will be interesting to see how the third bout differentiates itself. I suspect Fenix will refuse to use the hammer, and that will cost Death Triangle.

Jamie Hayter & Dr. Britt Baker DMD defeated Tay Melo & Anna Jay and Willow Nightingale & Skye Blue. Three-way tag team action. Blue nailed a Code Red on Tay. Baker kicked Blue in the mush to break the cover. Hayter executed a backbreaker on Blue, and Baker added a curb stomp to earn victory.

Good flow of action with everyone having a piece of the pie to eat.

Notes: AEW aired ‘Road to’ segments for Jungle Boy and Wardlow. A slight difference was Wardlow still viewing himself as TNT champion.

Swerve Strickland approached Keith Lee. Swerve covered the camera, so we couldn’t see the interaction. It appeared that Lee was receptive despite his anger at being slapped.

Jade Cargill had a run-in with Bow Wow at a concert in Miami, and now she is done commenting about that whack ass rapper. Red Velvet was back with the Baddies, and Kiera Hogan was out. Mark Sterling broke the news to Kiera. She failed to live up to her duties as a Baddie, primarily failing to retrieve the TBS Championship from Nyla Rose.

Top Flight respectfully challenged FTR for the ROH tag titles on Rampage. Challenge accepted. FTR hopes Top Flight takes over the mantle as best tag team one day.

The Acclaimed have arrived. Max Caster rapped about breaking up Swerve in Our Glory, retaining the AEW tag titles, and slapping Jeff Jarrett in the nuts. Billy Gunn revealed his scissor fingers are healed. Jarrett and Jay Lethal interrupted on the big screen with a warning to watch their backs. They did not appreciate being the butt of the joke in Caster’s rap. The Acclaimed brushed that off and scissored with Daddy Ass.

Studs of the Show & Match of the Night: Chris Jericho vs. Tomohiro Ishii

Absolutely awesome display of slobberknocking goodness. I try to mix up the names of honor, but Jericho and Ishii deserve full recognition across the board. Ishii chopped Jericho’s chest until it was bleeding, for crying out loud. That was an act of supreme studliness in an effort to entertain. I hope Jericho posts a chest photo tomorrow. The bruises have to be gnarly.

Grade: B+

Productive fallout with surprises, news, priming the pump for stories, and a badass main event. Bottom line was that Dynamite was fun.

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

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