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AEW Dynamite preview (Jan. 4, 2023): This Jarrett family drama is the last thing AEW needs

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Dynamite airs tonight (Jan. 4) with a live show from Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, Washington. AEW is setting the tone for the new year with a new look for its Seattle debut.

This Jarrett family drama is the last thing AEW needs

AEW Dynamite is kicking off the new year with a new look and a whole lot of Jarrett family drama.

Jeff Jarrett and Jay Lethal are teaming up tonight to challenge The Acclaimed for the AEW tag team titles. This rivalry heated up after Max Caster’s very personal rap last week brought Karen Jarrett’s presence into the story. Fans following along on social media have seen Karen go off, accusing former husband Kurt Angle of infidelity and threats, while naming specific women from Kurt’s past. Jeff has since defended his wife and implied that he may very well shoot on Max Caster during their match for crossing the line in his rap, while Anthony Bowens has warned Jarrett against “taking liberties” in the ring with his partner.

This nonsensical Jarrett family drama is the last thing AEW needs right now. The goal should be trying to establish a new look and identity at the start of the new year, rather than leaning into last year’s locker room drama and rehashing some TNA garbage from the past in a tag team championship storyline. AEW is blurring the lines of reality here, and sometimes that can be very effective, but in this case it just reeks of desperation. This is the kind of carny shit you sign up for when you bring Jeff Jarrett into your wrestling company, so a lot of the blame for this mess can be put at the feet of AEW President Tony Khan.

Could there be a title change tonight? I wouldn’t rule out AEW beginning its new era by putting championship gold around Jarrett’s waist. Khan should know better than to do that, but then again, everything about Jarrett being in AEW is a reminder than Khan doesn’t seem to know any better.

The rest of tonight’s lineup

Darby Allin challenges Samoa Joe for the TNT championship once again tonight. Darby was mauled by Joe last month, but things could be different this time because Allin is the hometown hero. This is the only title that Darby cares about in AEW, and I think there’s a pretty good chance we’ll see a title change tonight. Will Wardlow show up and cost Samoa the belt after Joe cut his hair last week?

Bryan Danielson goes one-on-one against Tony Nese tonight. Like Darby, Bryan is also from the state of Washington and will be a heavy crowd favorite. Nese is a lower card guy who should be an easy win for Danielson. Bryan has bigger fish to fry in the form of AEW World Champion MJF, who is contractually obligated to appear in Seattle. Given the lack of significance of Bryan’s opponent, there should be a bigger emphasis on whatever angle is brewing between Bryan and MJF in Danielson’s home state tonight.

AEW finishes off its slate of home state wrestlers in competition with a match between Swerve Strickland and AR Fox. There’s history here stemming back to their days in Lucha Underground. Swerve is from Washington state and will likely do very bad things to Fox in order to continue his heel push as part of Mogul Affiliates. Will Strickland’s big scary-looking tattooed stablemate finally receive a name? Will Keith Lee show up looking for cinder block revenge?

AEW is also advertising Ricky Starks vs. Chris Jericho in a singles match. Starks recently rejected an offer to join the Jericho Appreciation Society, and now finds himself fighting on the same side as Action Andretti against Jericho’s gang. Will Andretti be around to watch Ricky’s back after receiving a wizard’s fireball to the face a couple weeks ago?

The sixth and final match listed on the card for tonight is a tag team match pitting TBS Champion Jade Cargill & Red Velvet against Skye Blue & Kiera Hogan. I don’t know why Cargill and Velvet are teaming up given their history and Velvet seemingly turning her back on The Baddies last week, but I do know that Cargill’s team is favored to win due to her undefeated record.

In addition to all of the above action in the ring, AEW says we’ll receive a medical update on Hangman Page tonight, and we’ll also hear from Jon Moxley. I imagine these two segments will be intertwined, considering Moxley has challenged Page to a match next week in Los Angeles. Page has been advised to stay away from physicality to improve his odds of being cleared, but I think we’re heading for one more brawl between Mox and the cowboy tonight.

Finally, AEW is teasing some kind of new information on Saraya’s mystery tag team partner for next week’s Los Angeles show against Britt Baker & AEW Women’s World Champion Jamie Hayter. A lot of fans are hoping it will be Sasha Banks rather than Toni Storm or Thunder Rosa, so we’ll see if AEW makes the identity of Saraya’s partner a little more obvious tonight.

Other stuff to keep an eye on

- Jungle Boy and FTW Champion HOOK are one of the handsomest tag teams you will ever meet, assuming they actually have a tag team match soon as part of their conflict with The Firm’s Big Bill and Lee Moriarty.

- AEW All-Atlantic Champion Orange Cassidy will defend his title later this week on Battle of the Belts against Kip Sabian, but more title matches are needed to round out that card. Will AEW use tonight’s show to add a couple of ROH title matches to the mix, such as ROH World Champion Claudio Castagnoli vs. RUSH? A women’s title match will also be needed for Battle of the Belts. Could we see see Athena back on TV following her ROH women’s championship win at Final Battle?

- FTR isn’t expected to be in the building tonight due to their booking in Tokyo at Wrestle Kingdom 17. It sounds like the Ass Boys will take advantage of FTR’s absence by talking some trash about Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler.

- Powerhouse Hobbs wants to hurt people, so hopefully we’ll find out soon which target he has in mind.

- At Chris Jericho’s request, Daniel Garcia is reluctantly shadowing that douchebag Sammy Guevara. I don’t think this will end well for the Jericho Appreciation Society.

- House of Black wants to break up the friendship or Ortiz and Eddie Kingston. Will they use a new strategy to get there besides saying cryptic things and hoping their words come to fruition?

- Kenny Omega is away in Japan right now. Will Death Triangle find the Young Bucks tonight and send one final message / attack before next week’s ladder match that will conclude their best-of-seven series for the AEW world trios titles?

- Where the f*** is Miro?

What will you be looking for on Dynamite?

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