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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (Feb. 7, 2024): Sting is a champion

AEW Dynamite (Feb. 7, 2024) emanated from Footprint Center in Phoenix, AZ. The show featured Sting and Darby Allin winning tag team gold, the Young Bucks violently ruining the celebration, Swerve Strickland battling Hangman Page to a draw, the Blackpool Combat Club going low on CMLL luchadores, a Bo$$ of a big announcement, and more.

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

Sting & Darby Allin win AEW World Tag Team Championship

Sting and Darby Allin achieved their goal of winning gold. They took the AEW World Tag Team Championship from Ricky Starks and Big Bill Morrissey. As emotions were running high with happiness, the Young Bucks brought it to a screeching halt with bloody violence.

Texas Tornado rules in effect. The first big pop was Sting leaping off the balcony for a flying crossbody.

The most insane spot of the match was Bill catching Allin on a suicide dive for a spinning sidewalk slam. The impact was vicious. The trajectory was similar to a carnival ride.

The finish came down to Sting and Starks after Allin put Bill through a table. The setup was creative with Bill carrying Allin on his back trying to break a Scorpion Deathlock. Allin gouged Bill’s eyes to take a ride.

Starks was savvy to remove a turnbuckle pad as Sting collided into the steel on a Stinger splash. Starks struck with a spear, but that wasn’t enough to finish the Icon. When Starks went for a second spear, Sting was ready for the Scorpion Death Drop to win. New champions.

That main event was a roller coaster ride. The big spots were awesome, but there were also so many little details to observe. They really laid out the match so that actions justified the next move. Bill was awesome as a giant. Allin played his role as a daredevil. Starks shined with style. Sting did superhero stuff. The Icon’s last ride gets sweeter as we head into Revolution. Winning the titles creates a memorable moment.

The show didn’t end there. As Sting celebrated with his sons, the evil Young Bucks crashed the scene with baseball bats. The hit job was so ugly that their white suits were stained with blood.

Sometimes you can see stories developing a mile away. It was no surprise that the Jacksons would stoop to this level. However, it’s all about the execution. The Bucks pulled out their heinous attack in a way that shoulders so much heel heat. Who doesn’t want to see Sting kick their asses at this point? That sight is worth paying for. Icing on the cake was Excalibur signing off in a solemn voice musing that the Young Bucks destroyed their reputation. Even though the masked man’s vibe was cheesy for a laugh, it perfectly fits the story with over-the-top characters.

Swerve Strickland vs. Hangman Page result screws Samoa Joe

Swerve Strickland and Hangman Page engaged in round three of their feud. This time, the winner would earn a shot at Samoa Joe for the AEW World Championship at Revolution on March 3. One problem though. After thirty minutes of intense fisticuffs, there was no winner. Well, except for the fans enjoying a badass fight.

Swerve entered the arena cool, calm, and collected. Hangman was ornery. The cowboy wrestled with a permanent scowl on his face.

Aggression erupted from the opening bell. Swerve leaped over the barricade to tackle Hangman. The pace slowed in between high impact hits. Swerve scored the first close call after a tilt-a-whirl suplex, a vertical suplex, and a House Call kick.

The next sequences was super slick. Swerve sort of flipped out of an avalanche sunset flip powerbomb to land partially on his head. That part wasn’t so smooth, but the exchange transitioned to Hangman executing a Liger Bomb.

Swerve rebounded by diversifying his moves. He ducked a buckshot lariat to come back with a buckshot of his own then added the Swerve Stomp. Hangman barely kicked out on the cover.

The action never wavered from there. Hangman would eventually connect on the buckshot lariat. Prince Nana was creeping with an internal struggle to cheat for Swerve. On that buckshot pin, Hangman covered with his eyes out of position to Nana. The prince stayed true to his word not to interfere. Swerve was able to place his foot on the ropes to break the pin, but Hangman assumed Nana lent a helping hand. The cowboy cracked Nana with a chair.

Down the stretch, Swerve tweaked his ankle on a landing. That pain prevented him from making swift covers, but it didn’t stop him from executing a Deadeye piledriver through a table.

Victory appeared within Swerve’s reach countering a buckshot for a JML Driver. 1, 2, draw! Time conveniently ran out for storyline purposes.

Swerve righteously wanted five more minutes to prove himself. Hangman laughed and shockingly declined. The cowboy’s mission was to prevent Swerve from winning the world title. A draw means Swerve didn’t earn the shot. Mission accomplished, or so Hangman thought. Tony Khan overruled the strategic cowardice to book Joe versus Swerve versus Hangman in a three-way at Revolution.

I have conflicting feelings on this story. First, the match was excellent. The aggressive mood was appropriate given the depth of this rivalry. The near falls hooked drama. Swerve’s ankle injury shaded the idea of protecting him in defeat only to be a split-second away from winning. It was a well told story inside the ring.

The post-match angle reeked. Hangman turned heel when nobody was asking for it. Swerve has become a fan favorite despite being a despicable character, but that’s not a reason to alter Hangman’s alignment. It was actually funny for him to skip out on overtime, even though, AEW clearly framed it as a heel move. This attitude must be from the facial hair. Hangman isn’t far off from rejoining the Young Bucks as moody mustache men.

With all this focus on rankings to earn the shot, neither actually earned it and were ‘rewarded’ anyway. Talk about Joe getting screwed over. AEW has a habit of telegraphing their title stories. All signs point to Swerve losing but not being pinned as Joe retains at the PPV, then we await for Swerve to eventually dethrone Joe. AEW either needs to switch that formula or produce a match so awesome that it doesn’t matter. I get the idea of building to Swerve’s crowning glory, but a pet peeve is when it feels too manufactured trying to protect the star along the way.

So, how did Joe respond? The champ was livid. He chided AEW for celebrating mediocrity of a draw. Joe will make Swerve and Hangman suffer.

The emotion from Joe is so damn good. It fires me up rooting in his corner to rectify management’s bullshit.

Bo$$ announcement

Tony Khan’s big announcement was the Big Business special edition of Dynamite in Boston on March 13. TK put it over as a night that the entire professional wrestling industry will remember. That text doesn’t spark fireworks, however, it was more about observing the Big Business graphic. If you’re slow like me, the clear hint is the stylized Bo$$ton in the background. That can mean only one person. Mercedes Moné will be All Elite.

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

Toni Storm defeated Red Velvet. Title eliminator for a future shot at the AEW Women’s World Championship. Storm sent a timeless statement to Deonna Purrazzo by winning via technical skill. Storm ducked a spin kick to slap on an ankle lock. Storm refused to let go until Purrazzo left commentary to enter the ring for the save.

The question is if this match increased desire to see the Revolution showdown. My answer is not so much. Velvet put up a fight, and Storm handled business. Everything went as expected. Nothing new kindled fire.

Blackpool Combat Club defeated CMLL. The luchador team was represented by Hechicero, Volador Jr., and Mascara Dorada. BCC were in danger several times and had to be saved by teammates. The match broke down into moves all around. Hechicero struck with a guillotine leg drop, but Claudio kicked out on the cover. Claudio shoved his adversary toward the referee in the corner. As the official cowered, Claudio took advantage for a low blow to score the winning pin.

Mistico, Esfinge, and Star Jr. were seated in the front row cheering on their allies. They were not happy about the result and hopped the barricade to surround the ring. Daddy Magic, Cool Hand Ang, Christopher Daniels, and Matt Sydal arrived to even the odds. Tensions were high, but the violence stalled.

That was a feisty showcase from the luchadores. BCC took the back seat to let lucha libre moves shine. I thought the finish was funny, because that’s exactly how CMLL books matches to end on a consistent basis. Claudio is already ready to main event in Arena Mexico. All in all, this match left me wanting more of this feud. CMLL needs to score a win soon to keep it hot.

Konosuke Takeshita defeated Chris Jericho. The Alpha was flanked by Don Callis and Will Hobbs. Sammy Guevara ran in to hit Hobbs with a chair. Powerhouse shrugged it off, so Sammy executed a cutter off the steps. They brawled off screen.

Callis played a role in the finish. Jericho applied the Walls of Jericho submission to Takeshita. Callis tossed in a chair to distract the referee, so he could strike Jericho with a screwdriver. Takeshita slapped on the same submission. Jericho was out from the foreign object. When the referee checked consciousness, Jericho shocked the world to reach up before 3. Despite his Lionheart, there would be no comeback. Takeshita cranked harder to earn the tap out.

That was a fun match with Jericho keeping it competitive. Takeshita was just on a higher level of athleticism. Takeshita had some sweet moves with a variety of Blue Thunder Bombs and suplexes. Jericho took his lumps upon impact. It’s surprising that Jericho lost to his own signature submission, which was a smart way to keep us on our toes. This didn’t feel like the end of the feud. The finish did well to extend the shelf life. I wonder if the next round involves the Painmaker.

Notes: Orange Cassidy defends the AEW International Championship against Tomohiro Ishii on Collision. Trent Beretta thought that was weird. Cassidy will team with Trent and Rocky Romero against the Undisputed Kingdom on Rampage. Renee Paquette took charge of those slackers for a group cheer before they went to check on Chuck Taylor’s status.

Undisputed Kingdom ambushed Chuck for a beatdown. Adam Cole sat in his wheelchair like an evil Charles Xavier.

Stud of the Show: Sting

It’s Sting! The Icon threw caution to the wind for an electrifying performance en route to becoming a tag team champion.

Match of the Night: Swerve Strickland vs. Hangman Page

This fight delivered strong in every sense.

Grade: A-

Overall, Dynamite brought the ruckus for an exciting night of entertainment.

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

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