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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (Mar. 15, 2023): Fresh stories

AEW Dynamite (Mar. 15, 2023) emanated from Canada Life Centre in Winnipeg, MB. The show featured three title fights and fresh story directions galore for MJF, Jungle Boy, Darby Allin, Sammy Guevara, Jade Cargill, Hangman Page, Blackpool Combat Club, the Elite, and more.

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

One of the common critiques about AEW is feuds overstaying their welcome and being rubbed down to a nub. With Revolution in the rear-view mirror, AEW has branched out with fresh stories for a number of wrestlers. Some stories bled into others for a twist.

We’ll start with the world title scene.

Four Pillars

MJF was victorious over Bryan Danielson in a 60-minute Iron Man match to retain the AEW World Championship. So, who is next for MJF? It looks like one of the other Four Pillars, or maybe all of them.

MJF celebrated his birthday with a Re-Bar Mitzvah. He went from man to iron man by submitting Danielson to prove he is the best wrestler in the world. MJF’s fun was interrupted by Jungle Boy, Sammy Guevara, and Darby Allin. Each took their turn with a separate entrance to provide the shock value. When asked what they all want, they answered in unison, “I want a title match.” They also took turns speaking about paying their dues on the way up, unlike MJF who was handed everything. Anything MJF wasn’t handed, he cheated to earn. MJF wasn’t impressed and requested that they leave his party. After pie-facing JB, a melee broke out knocking MJF off the apron onto his cake.

Exciting opening segment. AEW gave the ball to the Four Pillars and let them loose. All four were given extended promo time to establish their motivation with tales of adversity. Jungle Boy was the weakest on the mic because of his drawl, but that’s not to say he was bad. JB has made vast improvements over the years. In this instance, he did well on changing the emotion of his tone during his speech. Sammy had a babyface promo, then he insulted the crowd to get back on track as a heel. Allin stayed true to himself. MJF teed off wisecracks and also showed he’s not afraid to be made the fool. As much ego was he portrays, he’s often ready in these types of situations to take one for the team to elevate others.

This was a great injection of excitement into the world title scene. It is the type of story that makes viewers want to tune in to see what happens. No matter who gets the call as the next challenger, the journey should be fun, and the final match should deliver strong.

Taya Valkyrie is All Elite

Jade Cargill called out the best Canada has to offer, and she got Taya Valkyrie. Well, sort of.

First up for Cargill was 17-year veteran Nicole Matthews. Yes, that was an underwhelming choice of opponent, but that acted as a swerve for the surprise of Taya. The TBS champion took care of business with ease for a pump kick and Jaded to beat Matthews. 54-0.

Jade bullied Canadian Renee Paquette after the match, then Taya’s music hit.

Taya and Jade went face to face. The Baddies tried to sucker La Wera Loca into an attack, but Taya was too keen to fall for it. Taya made a statement with the Road to Valhalla on Leila Grey. Jade was not happy about the disrespect.

Jaded and Road to Valhalla are the same move. So, who did it better? Here is Jade.

And here is Taya.

I have to admit that AEW suckered me on the Taya reveal by using Matthews as bait. I was underwhelmed that Matthews was the one chosen for the hype. That’s not a knock on Matthews personally. I don’t really know much about her, but she doesn’t fit for the best Canada has to offer. Then, Taya arrived and excitement exploded. Well played.

It seems like AEW will be building Taya as a proper challenger, rather than a quick title loss and back to the pack. Taya has her AEW in-ring debut on Rampage.

Hangman Page backed by the Elite

One example of a story being beaten into the ground is Hangman Page versus Jon Moxley. They fought for their lives in Texas Death, and yet the feud still carried on. All is not what it seems though. AEW mashed a few stories together splintering off in different directions. One direction appears to be Hangman reuniting with the Elite. There’s still plenty of work to do to reach that point, however, the path is there for the taking.

Hangman was in trios action alongside Evil Uno & Stu Grayson against Moxley, Claudio Castagnoli, & Wheeler Yuta of the Blackpool Combat Club. Grayson had a nice moment running wild on offense in front of the Canadian crowd.

BCC snuffed him with a spike piledriver on the floor.

Eventually, Hangman and Moxley resumed their rivalry with a bout of fisticuffs.

Hangman knocked Mox silly again, but BCC had a trick in their bag this time. As Hangman geared up for the Buckshot Lariat, Moxley distracted the referee so Yuta could strike with a foreign object. Yuta smashed Hangman with the ring bell, and the cowboy was done for the rest of the match.

The Dark Order fought valiantly and were inches away from victory when they hit their Fatality finisher on Moxley. Yuta broke the pin for the save. BCC numbers took over in the end for Moxley to rear naked choke Grayson for victory. Moxley added a bulldog choke after the match. BCC skedaddled when Alex Reynolds and Jon Silver arrived as backup.

Very enjoyable match with rugged physicality, story elements, and near fall drama. Grayson was excellent in his appearance. AEW let him shine bright, and he delivered. The crowd was in a frenzy when Dark Order executed Fatality. The callbacks to Hangman and Moxley were exciting as well. Those two have good slobberknocking chemistry. Hangman proved he was the tougher man again, and BCC cemented their heel turn with cheap tricks. This heel behavior was much more effective than last week when Hangman muddied the picture with his odd behavior.

Hangman, the Dark Order, and the Blackpool Combat Club were also relevant for the main event match.

The House of Black defended the AEW World Trios Championship against the Elite and Chris Jericho, Sammy Guevara, & Daniel Garcia. Even though there were nine competitors, this contest boiled down to three men. Kenny Omega, Chris Jericho, and Brody King were the focus. All the others did their job bringing exciting action, but they were side players. King was the powerhouse monster of the match. Omega and Jericho were the hometown heroes for the Winnipeg crowd. The crowd went bonkers when Omega and Jericho stood across from each other ready to fight. House of Black rained on the party by attacking both men. Omega and Jericho did eventually have their moments to fight, and the crowd ate it up.

Omega and Jericho also teamed up temporarily to slay the monster in King, such as a teamwork superplex. In the end, JAS had two believable near falls. Jericho intercepted a Meltzer Driver for a Codebreaker on Nick Jackson in the air. Garcia planted Matt Jackson with a uranage, and Sammy landed a shooting star press. King broke the pin. Jericho was able to smash King with his trusty baseball bat, but Omega was there to break the pin. House of Black regrouped to clean house and pin Garcia on King’s Dante’s Inferno piledriver.

Standard trios bouts are pure chaos in AEW. Add in an extra team, and the chaos multiplied. It was basically a highlight reel match. I like how AEW embraced the hometown atmosphere to set up encounters between Omega and Jericho. The rowdy reaction made it feel special. I hope we get that singles match if AEW returns to Winnipeg.

Back to Hangman and the Elite. Hangman was shown brawling with BCC backstage during the main event. Evil Uno was sent to the hospital with Stu Grayson as support. Reynolds and Silver joined the cowboy for fisticuffs. After the trios match, Jake Hager entered the ring to fight House of Black. The Hangman brawl spilled out toward the ring. Once the bodies cleared, BCC surrounded Hangman. That’s when the Elite stepped in to have Hangman’s back. Moxley’s crew retreated. Hangman was unaware of the presence of his former pals. He turned around to see the Elite as the screen faded to black.

Damn, that was an emotional tease. I think the vast majority of AEW fans want to see Hangman reunite with the Elite. First, to get it over with already. (Please, don’t drag this out inch by inch over the next six months.) Second, it should lead to great times. All this faction warfare has Blood & Guts on my mind. BCC versus Elite & Hangman would be delightful. It adds sizzle to another round of Hangman fighting Moxley. One downside is that the Dark Order look like chumps if Hangman needs to upgrade to the Elite. It seems that House of Black and JAS aren’t done with each other. That also has potential for Blood & Guts with a new HoB member to even the odds. My prediction is that Daddy Magic’s nipples swerve hard siding with House of Black.

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

AEW International Championship: Orange Cassidy retained against Jeff Jarrett. The AEW All-Atlantic Championship leveled up into the AEW International Championship. The story was Cassidy’s weakened knee from last week’s guitar shot. OC’s leg buckled a few times, and Jarrett took advantage to mock with hands in pockets Al Bundy style.

Jarrett worked the injury with sharpshooter and figure-four submissions. Cassidy rallied, but Jarrett ducked a superman punch and shoved OC into referee Bryce Remsburg. Ref down! Guitar in the ring. Referee Aubrey Edwards ran in to restore order, but she grossly overstepped her bounds. Edwards snatched the guitar from Jarrett then argued with him. Cassidy picked up the guitar, and his intentions were clear. Satnam Singh grabbed the musical instrument from Cassidy, so OC flopped to frame Singh. Edwards fell for it and ejected Sonjay Dutt and Singh.

Jarrett always has a backup plan. Jay Lethal faked an injury to run in and bash Cassidy with the Golden Globe. Cassidy appeared to be out cold. 1, 2, new champ? Nope. Cassidy dramatically kicked out. He escaped the Stroke to land the superman punch for victory.

This was the maximum bullshit style that Jarrett embraces. Mileage will vary on personal entertainment. The Golden Globe kick out was a nice false finish. I was annoyed by the terrible involvement from Aubrey Edwards. It was stupid and biased. She should be fired (in the storyline sense, not real life). Edwards did the right thing taking the guitar from Jarrett, but it was downhill from there. She inexplicably got in Jarrett’s face after he kicked Cassidy in the knee. It was a completely legal thing to do. In addition to preventing Jarrett to proceed in a pivotal moment, she also unfairly ejected Dutt and Singh. I’m okay with the ejections as a bit of fun. I’m not okay with her basically stopping the match when Jarrett had the advantage.

QTV. QT Marshall mimicked TMZ with footage of breaking into Wardlow’s car. It was revealed that Aaron Solo was the culprit. He also stole Wardlow’s passport, so they were safe from reprisal in Canada. The crew yucked it up.

I’m trying to keep an open mind on new acts, but it’s hard so far with QTV. I can see potential for entertainment as the gimmick develops. My primary complaint is how it feels like Will Hobbs is in QT’s story rather than the other way around. This is Hobbs time to truly break out as TNT champion, and I have serious doubts that QTV will get him to the next level.

Outcasts speak. Saraya, Toni Storm, and Ruby Soho told more tales about the lack of fan appreciation for their presence in AEW. Dr. Britt Baker and Jamie Hayter ran out to fight, but the numbers game was too much. Riho, Willow Nightingale, and Skye Blue chased away the mean girls.

This was similar to Soho’s explanation, except with Storm as the focus. Effective material to get the story across. Next week needs to advance this saga through some form of match announcement to keep this from being repetitive and stale.

Notes: Chris Jericho was presented with the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal.

Juice Robinson attacked Ricky Starks last week. The question isn’t why. It is what Starks is going to do about it. Robinson answered that Starks isn’t going to do squat. Later, Starks responded with claims of jealousy. He challenged Juice to bring the fight any time, any place.

The Acclaimed debuted a rap video. Daddy Magic and Cool Hand love entertainment, and they have something in store for the Acclaimed on Rampage as a reminder to put respect on the JAS name.

Fenix answered Hobbs’ open challenge for the TNT Championship on Rampage.

Stud of the Show: Brody King

King showed he can be a main event player with his dominating sequences over Kenny Omega and Chris Jericho. I believe King is world champion material.

Honorable mention for Stu Grayson. His style adds legitimacy to the Dark Order.

Match of the Night: Hangman Page & Dark Order vs. Blackpool Combat Club

Hard-hitting and action-packed. Tag team chemistry was on point.

Grade: B

This episode gave a jolt of energy into storylines. There are a lot of moving parts building anticipation to see how things shake out.

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

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