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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (Mar. 1, 2023): MJF buried himself

AEW Dynamite (Mar. 1, 2023) emanated from Cow Palace in San Francisco, CA. The show featured Jon Moxley with a promo of the year contender, Bryan Danielson dropping the F-bomb, a bonkers ladder match, and more for the go-home to Revolution.

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

Go-home highest of highs and lowest of lows

This episode of Dynamite was a very efficient go-home episode for Revolution. It touched on all the PPV matches and built up anticipation with tense encounters. Say what you want about the story development before Wednesday night. Not everything was smooth. On this evening, it did the job to provide lasting impressions to get in the mood for the PPV.

Nobody was better than Jon Moxley. He delivered a promo of the year contender in hyping up the Texas Death Match against Hangman Page. Hit play, sit back, and take it in.

The promo was filmed after last week’s bloody barbed wire encounter with Hangman. Moxley was a crimson mess, but he wouldn’t want it any other way living life to the fullest. Mox put over the cowboy as a great wrestler and a great man, but they are not the same animal. There is room for only one animal like Moxley in AEW, and he is willing to die to protect what is his.

Moxley’s passion burns through the screen. His motivation to kick Hangman’s ass is established crystal clear. The bloody visual sells the violence of Texas Death. This is the kind of promo that sells a PPV. For me, he talked his way into this being my most anticipated match for Revolution.

AEW hit the mark on most showdowns for the PPV, except one. It just so happens that the one is the most important one. MJF and Bryan Danielson were given the main event slot of Dynamite, and they delivered what qualifies on the short list of most underwhelming go-home main event segments ever. To make matters worse, MJF buried himself in the process.

Renee Paquette welcomed Danielson into the ring with about five minutes remaining in the broadcast. Danielson spoke about fighting for your dreams. MJF interrupted, but Danielson cut him off and took control on the mic. He pointed out how MJF thinks he deserves so much and yet he has done nothing to fight for them. MJF has taken every shortcut along the way. Danielson has a new dream to become AEW world champion. He’s going to kick MJF’s fucking head in to do it. MJF had a terrified expression on his face as the show went off the air.

Danielson had a strong promo. That’s not debatable. Dropping the F-bomb must have been AEW’s idea of the big pop to sell the PPV. I got the full effect of profanity watching uncensored on Fite TV. My reaction was more to wonder if TBS allowed that to air without edits rather than get pumped for the PPV. Nonetheless, the promo was delivered with fire in his belly.

MJF’s reaction was absolutely terrible. The fear in his eyes made me him look like a chump. How does that sell me on the PPV? It has the opposite effect and turns off my interest. This is the world champ we’re talking about. I understand the psychology of trying to expose MJF as a fraud, however, he shouldn’t be scared of Danielson. MJF has shown he can take a beating in wars with Jon Moxley and CM Punk. And if the idea is to show the realization that there is no way out, well, MJF has had weeks to plot and plan. He should be confident in having a variety of tricks up his sleeve if his skills aren’t good enough.

I have to say that the experiment of MJF carrying the AEW World Championship has been two thumbs down to this point. The story with Danielson has been entertaining in the small moments week to week. The larger picture is not so hot. My vote is to give the title to Danielson, and use that as a linchpin moment for MJF to evolve his character. He needs to finally back up his braggadocio with action. No more weasel shit. Cheat because he can, not because he has to. For that to work, he has to prove himself in the first place. Honestly, I think MJF could resurrect this run if he beats Danielson at his own game, but I fear AEW will proceed forth with business as usual.

Ladder match spectacle

Ladders and high-flyers are guaranteed fireworks. The Face of the Revolution ladder match delivered as an exciting spectacle with Sammy Guevara, Will Hobbs, Eddie Kingston, Ortiz, AR Fox, Konosuke Takeshita, Action Andretti, and Komander competing for a TNT title shot.

Eddie Kingston and Ortiz immediately took themselves out of contention by beelining for a brawl heading backstage. They rest of the competitors went bonkers with crazy spots. Komander was the standout with rope-walking leaps in his AEW debut.

The scariest spot was a Falcon Arrow from Andretti to Sammy off the high ladder crashing onto a different ladder. The point of impact was off-center and looked very dangerous. Both appeared to recover well enough and continue the action. A similar but smoother spot was Takeshita with a Blue Thunder Bomb to Komander off the ladder.

Daniel Garcia made an appearance to pummel Andretti when he was close to victory. That led to Sammy landing a crazy senton cannonball onto Andretti. With everybody down, Garcia comically carried Guevara up the ladder toward the prize. Takeshita was there to push the ladder over.

In the end, Takeshita thought he had victory in his grasp. Not so fast, my friend. Hobbs charged in with a massive shoulder block into the ladder. The impact was so hard that it twisted the ladder all cockeyed. For whatever reason, that was the ladder Hobbs was forced to climb. The referees grouped together stabilizing the steel base, so Hobbs could claim the brass ring high above.

Next week, Hobbs will face the winner of Samoa Joe versus Wardlow for the TNT title. All three hosses teased hoss fight fever with a staredown on stage. Wardlow acted the punk beating up innocent security once again after they allowed Joe to vanish to the back. Wardlow powerbombed a dude off stage onto his co-workers below. Total jerk move but still amusing to witness.

Damn, that was everything a ladder match should be. Applause to everyone involved. The athleticism, daredevil attitude, and drama were in spades. There was even intentional and unintentional comedy, such as Hobbs’ broken ladder and Joe getting tangled in headset wires when rising from commentary. If there is one fight I want to see coming out of this, it is Hobbs versus Takeshita. Just check out this sequence to get pumped. Speakers on to hear the sounds of impact.

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

AEW All-Atlantic Championship: Orange Cassidy retained against Big Bill Morrissey. Cassidy played his mind games forcing Bill to chase him. Anger was rising, and then Bill finally caught the juice for a heavy side slam. Bill punished Cassidy and chokeslammed him through a table.

When Stokely Hathaway landed a few punches on OC, Danhausen made his way ringside. Hathaway ended up clobbering Danhausen with his casted forearm. Cassidy used that moment to turn the tide on Bill. It took a stunner, a DDT, and three superman punches, the last of which was a flying version, to keep Bill down for the three-count.

This was a very smart use of Cassidy’s antics. Seeing him do it to PAC always falls flat for me, because PAC is the superior athlete on every level. It was a different story against Big Bill. Those hijinks played perfectly into the story of powerful big man versus quick little man. I really enjoyed how Cassidy adapted his strategy throughout. His standard superman punches weren’t working early. Bill caught them with ease. Cassidy switched it up for a superman punch to the knee. We all know the way to beat a big man is to chop him down. Once Bill was sufficiently dazed, then Cassidy found the target for his superman punches. Still, Bill didn’t go down. That was an excellent setup for a super superman punch. Even though Bill lost, he was protected in defeat by looking tough. Bill tossed Cassidy around with ease and crushed him with emphatic strongman moves. Cassidy had to empty the kitchen sink of his offensive arsenal to finally win.

House of Black hooligans. The Elite were on stage. Lights out, lights on. House of Black were behind them. Lights out, noises of fisticuffs, lights on. House of Black were standing tall holding the trios titles. Later, Malakai Black explained that the greatest enemy of man is composed out of fear. The Elite have already lost the title belts.

These scenes didn’t do much for me. Elite versus House of Black on paper has me excited for the match itself. The story element was rushed, and I feel zero connection in that regard for the PPV contest.

Chris Jericho defeated Peter Avalon. Avalon shot in for a double-leg takedown as Jericho was taking off his jacket. Avalon kept on the pressure hitting a variety of moves. Avalon even scored near falls off a flying crossbody and flying DDT. The match turned in a split-second when Jericho hit a surprise Codebreaker to win.

Heck of a performance from Avalon. There is something inspirational to see a jabrone stand up for himself and then have the best match of his career (in AEW story world) taking a legend to the limit. Even though Avalon is a pompous ass, how can you not root for him on this occasion? Normally, I don’t think it would be a good look for Jericho to get smoked so close to his big PPV match, but it fits with his propensity to overlook opponents and his susceptibility to upsets. It’s clear that he won’t be fooling around across the ring from Ricky Starks.

Speaking of Starks, he was on the receiving end of a beatdown. Jericho bashed Avalon with a baseball bat post-match. Starks ran out for the save. Jericho had the trap set for JAS to attack. Jericho added a Judas Effect for good measure.

Hangman rebuttal. Page had an answer to Moxley’s promo. The cowboy has nothing left to lose. Not so for Mox. Hangman plans to take his spot and take his pride. The cowboy doesn’t enjoy violence, however, he will be a bloodthirsty son of a bitch.

I didn’t like this promo. We have one man who is a crazy lunatic that does this, because he likes it. We have another man in this fight, because he thinks he has nothing left to lose. If I have to pick between those two mentalities, my money is on Moxley. This is a lifestyle for him. Hangman has an air of desperation and bitterness. It’s false desperation at that. It’s not the end of the world if he loses. Hangman can get back in the saddle and climb the ladder of success over time. He’s done it before, and he can do it again. The only thing stopping him is self-doubt.

Christian Cage wants a fight. Christian Cage critiqued Jungle Boy’s mental approach for this business. Christian doesn’t see the killer instinct within JB. Christian wants a fight to finish this. No rules, no regulations. Jungle Boy answered with a vignette of digging Christian’s grave.

Christian had some excellent lines. I particularly liked the distinction between winning a championship compared to beating the champion down, breaking their will, and taking their title. That is cold but truthful for the fight game. Jungle Boy’s vignette was a creative way to answer without delivering a promo. The tear streaming down his cheek with flashback memories was very artistic.

FTW Championship: Hook retained against Matt Hardy. The Firm was ringside. Stokely Hathaway even took off his cast to hit Hook. El Diablo Guapo surprised Hardy in the end with a Redrum choke counter for the Twist of Fate. Since Hook won, he’ll get a match against Hathaway.

Hook generally has had an easy time with his opponents. This was Hook’s toughest test to date. It was the kind of match where you learn things about a fighter. See what they’re made of. I think a younger Hardy would have won this contest. His stiff old man knees were no match for the explosive athleticism of Hook. The Cold-Hearted Handsome Devil showed he has a variety of skillful tricks in his bag. The counter sleeper was slick.

Riho defeated Toni Storm. Saraya was a pest ringside, so Dr. Britt Baker DMD and Jamie Hayter came out to assist Riho. When Storm locked in a cloverleaf submission, Baker hopped onto the apron as a distraction. Storm took the bait, and Riho won via roll-up.

Afterward, Baker and Storm brawled on the outside. Hayter and Saraya brawled on the inside. Ruby Soho ran in to punch both Hayter and Saraya.

Fun match with Storm tossing Riho around like a powerhouse. Riho’s fighting spirit to rally is always on point. The post-match fisticuffs had the crowd hot. It truly should be every woman for herself in the PPV title fight.

Orange Cassidy & Danhausen win Casino Tag Team Battle Royal. OC and Danhausen were an injury replacement for the Best Friends. Even though Cassidy was in pain from his match earlier against Big Bill, he was game to compete. The order of entrance was Dark Order, Blackpool Combat Club, Los Ingobernables, Lucha Bros, Aussie Open, JAS Daddy Cool, Top Flight, the Kingdom, OC & Danhausen, and Butcher & Blade. The final two teams conveniently benefit when the 60-second timer turned into 4 minutes.

The nitty-gritty came down to OC, Danhausen, Butcher, and Blade. Cassidy clung onto the ropes as Butcher and Blade leaned over to pry him free. Danhausen swooped in from behind for the double dump. The winners advance to the tag title four-way at Revolution.

Afterward, the Gunns created a distraction for Jay Lethal and Jeff Jarrett to attack from behind. The Acclaimed made the save.

This was an interesting battle royal until the finish. The way it played out turned the contest into a joke. I can support Cassidy and Danhausen advancing, but make them earn it. This was just a cheap comedy spot. The fighting between Dark Order and Blackpool Combat Club was hot. That’s a match I want to see. Aussie Open surprised me by eliminating Top Flight. That’s a good way to upset the apple cart in the ‘rankings’ to give Top Flight a new feud.

Notes: Keith Lee and Dustin Rhodes are done playing games with the Mogul Affiliates. They will show Swerve Strickland on Rampage that they are naturally limitless.

Stud of the Show: Will Hobbs

Pick anyone from the ladder match. They all had cool spots and fought through pain. I’m going with Hobbs, since he was the winner. Plus, his shoulder tackle on the ladder was a career highlight reel moment given the stakes of the match.

Match of the Night: Orange Cassidy vs. Big Bill Morrissey

The classic tale of little man triumphing over big man is timeless when executed right.

Grade: B+

Strong episode ratcheting up the excitement for Revolution. I didn’t particularly care for the finish, but the rest of the show did its job.

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

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