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Dynamite recap & reactions: Ass champs

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AEW Dynamite (Feb. 8, 2023) emanated from El Paso County Coliseum in El Paso, TX. The show featured the Gunn sons winning tag team gold, Bryan Danielson foiling MJF’s nefarious plans, and much more.

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

Ass champs

There was a lot of ass in the main event. The Ass Boys wrestled the Acclaimed for the AEW World Tag Team Championship, Daddy Ass made an appearance, the crowd chanted variations of ass in Spanish, and the finish was ass.

Before the bout, Billy Gunn stated that he cared about all four of his boys. Daddy Ass would be staying in the back to let them handle business on their own. Billy shared a scissoring with the Acclaimed to close the promo.

This planted seeds for a Billy swerve. Rest assured that AEW did not break up the hottest act in the company. Billy did get involved, but he backed the Acclaimed.

When Anthony Bowens accidentally clobbered the referee, chaos ensued. Austin Gunn hit his Quick Draw finisher on Bowens. He grabbed the title belt to make certain Bowens would not rise. That’s when Billy hit the ring to protect Bowens. Colten Gunn came from the backside to hit his father with the other title belt.

Seeing Daddy Ass in pain fired up the Acclaimed. They hit the Mic Drop combo, but the referee was still down. Once Caster loaded the ref into the ring, Bowens scored a roll-up. The referee was still too groggy to count. Colten was the game-changer of the contest. He rammed Caster into the barricade. As Austin powered out of the roll-up, it sent Bowens crashing into the title belt held by Colten. That was enough for the Gunns to steal the win. The Ass Boys are on top of the world as ass champs.

Well, that finish stunk. Nobody takes the Gunns seriously, and now we are stuck with them as tag champs. This is also a case of the Gunns coming in cold. Sure, they have a win over FTR, but that was back in December. I don’t even remember off the top of my head how the Gunns won. It didn’t help matters that the Acclaimed scored two ‘victories’ while the referee was compromised. I don’t think the way this result played out did anything to get me excited for next week.

Bryan Danielson’s journey, part V

Bryan Danielson had one final hurdle to earn a 60-minute Iron Man match against MJF for the AEW World Championship at Revolution on March 5. He needed to win five singles matches in five weeks to fulfill obligations. Konosuke Takeshita, Bandido, Brian Cage, and Timothy Thatcher bit the dust at the hands of the American Dragon. All that remained to beat was two-time ROH world champion Rush.

This story spanned several segments throughout the show. It started with MJF versus Takeshita in the opener. A win from Takeshita would earn him a title shot as well. MJF cut corners for an edge as often as he could, such as pulling the referee in front as a shield to prevent a jumping knee from Takeshita. MJF focused on tenderizing Takeshita’s arm, and that paid dividends in the end. Takeshita missed a senton atomico, then MJF pounced for an armbar. Takeshita inched toward the ropes for the break, however, MJF pulled him back to the center and adjusted into a bridging armbar. Takeshita had no escape and tapped out.

Afterward, MJF made an example of Takeshita’s defiance, which sparked this match in the first place. MJF packed a punch with the Dynamite Diamond Ring to open a wound on Takeshita’s head. Danielson ran out for the save before more damage could be done.

This was a rousing bout to fire up excitement for the program. I like that MJF won fairly clean. He never wrestles fair and square, but he got the job done without cheating for the finish. The win puts MJF in strong company, since only AEW’s best have been able to knock off Takeshita. Despite being world champion, MJF needed to remind people why he is entertaining in the ring. He arrived in great shape heading into the one hour marathon. MJF even pulled the coolest moment of the match by flipping out of a super lariat off the turnbuckles.

On Takeshita’s end, he shined as usual. The Japanese star fought with fire and popped the crowd on a shoulder shimmy frog splash inspired by Eddie Guerrero. He almost won on a Blue Thunder Bomb until MJF placed his foot on the ropes for a break. Once AEW is ready to pull the trigger for Takeshita, all this work has laid a solid foundation for fans to cheerfully support his success.

If that performance in the ring made anybody want to cheer for MJF, he flushed that sentiment down the drain during a locker room interview. MJF recognized Takeshita’s skills, but it was no match for a generational talent. MJF turned his focus to Danielson. A man doesn’t truly know what he is made of until facing diversity. MJF regaled a tale of his high school sexcapades. He lured a lass into his sports car driving 90 mph crashing into a telephone pole. The girl smashed her head into the windshield, but thankfully she was still breathing. MJF heard the police sirens and did the sensible thing. He grabbed the unconscious body of his companion to switch seats, so he didn’t get busted as the driver. There are winners and losers in life. The history books don’t care how the job gets done.

Oh my gosh. That story was so hilariously evil. I couldn’t help but burst out laughing at the scumbag twist. Chalk that up as building MJF into a larger than life villain.

When it was time for Danielson’s match, he was in the training room hanging with Takeshita. The door slammed shut all of a sudden with Los Ingobernables heard cackling on the other side. Rush entered the ring as Danielson was trapped. MJF arrived to demand that the referee start a ten-count disqualifying Danielson for no-showing. Danielson barged through the door and sprinted to the ring. He had a little help from Takeshita taking care of Jose and Perro Peligroso along the way.

Good thing for us that Danielson beat the count, because he had an action-packed slugfest with Rush. El Toro Blanco turned Danielson’s face into a bloody mess. The American Dragon refused to lose. After an exchange of ramming headbutts, Rush executed a German suplex. Danielson rolled through the contact to explode for a Busaiku Knee and victory. Danielson versus MJF is official for Revolution.

Afterward, MJF attacked with the Dynamite Diamond Ring and an armbar with intentions to maim Danielson. Security eventually pried MJF off Danielson.

Danielson’s journey has concluded. Overall, it was a fun time. AEW produced unique matchups, and each one delivered the goods. The larger story made the results predictable, and I don’t think Danielson was ever in danger of losing. Nonetheless, it provided exposure for all five of his opponents. Rush looked like a star across from Danielson. Rush’s physical charisma was on full display with his aggressive offense. There are still three more weeks of TV before the PPV, so I’m curious how AEW paces this feud to keep it hot.

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

Jamie Hayter defeated Bunny. This was another title eliminator where Bunny could earn a championship opportunity with a win. Bunny was vicious, then Hayter overwhelmed her with a pair of exploder suplexes and a ripcord lariat to win.

Nice little match. Bunny scored a lot of offense to earn respect. Hayter lived up to her catchphrase by hitting hard. The closing sequence was more on the explosive side than a steady climb in control from Hayter. It felt like their time was up, and Hayter blitzed a few moves in succession to send it home.

The women’s division wasn’t done for the evening. Saraya and Toni Storm were backstage observing the previous bout. Their judgement was that Hayter is a loser, just like everyone else in AEW. Saraya insulted Leva Bates, Storm attacked from behind, then Saraya spray painted L on Bates’ white shirt.

So rude! And I appreciate them for it. Saraya and Storm are entertaining as cruel harpies, but they are so wicked that I am invested in rooting for comeuppance. This turn has been great so far.

Ricky Starks loses JAS gauntlet. If Starks could pass the test, then he would have a match against Chris Jericho on this same evening. Starks danced with Cool Hand for a few minutes then nailed a spear to win the first step. Daddy Magic tried a sneak attack. Starks ducked and rolled up Mr. Nipples to win the second step. Daniel Garcia was next. He controlled the action until Starks speared him on the apron. As Starks gathered himself at the barricades, a masked fan clobbered him. Garcia picked up an easy pin to win. The masked hooligan was revealed to be Jericho in disguise.

For a show with high predictability on paper, this was a surprise result to keep the drama spicy. It kept me on my toes for the rest of the matches. I did not expect Starks to fail against the JAS junior varsity, so Jericho’s cheap shot caught me off-guard. It was a creative way to crush Starks’ goal. AEW has my attention in how they justify the story of Starks finally getting hands on Jericho again. They’re going to need to develop a convincing motivation on Jericho’s behalf to accept.

AEW World Trios Championship: Kenny Omega & the Young Bucks retained against AR Fox & Top Flight. The challengers’ best shot at glory came on Top Flight nailing the Nosedive moonsault followed by a 450 splash from Fox. The Elite stormed back in the end. Omega set up a One Winged Angel, but Fox countered out for a roll-up. The two rolled back and forth on the mat with Omega securing a crucifix pin to win.

High-octane fireworks as expected. The aerial acrobatics were electric. Matt Jackson’s one-man double suplex is a cool concept, but I always laugh at him cosplaying the role of super Cena muscleman. I’m curious where Top Flight heads from here. This likely wraps up the mini feud with the Elite, however, the pin was sneaky enough to warrant a rematch. Perhaps Top Flight is in line to take the tag titles form the Ass Boys.

Notes: Samoa Joe claimed all is right in the universe with him as the king of television once again. Darby Allin was a worthy adversary. Wardlow is not. Joe took his title and his scalp. What more can he take from Wardlow?

Impractical Jokers stole Chris Jericho’s baseball bat. He was a diva as guest on the show, so this was revenge. They will allow Jericho to respond on the Impractical Jokers season premiere Thursday night. Corporate synergy!

Stokely Hathaway blamed Hook for the Firm’s problems. Hook walked up from behind hooking Hathaway’s arm with caution to watch his words. Hook reminded me of the Mark Wahlberg in his Marky Mark days. Feel it, feel it.

Stud of the Show: AR Fox

Fox had the breakout showcase of the evening by flashing his slick skills. He definitely left me wanting more.

Match of the Night: Bryan Danielson vs. Rush

Two stars doing battle for a slobberknocker.

Grade: B

Very entertaining action in the ring for the most part despite the sour note to close the show.

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

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