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Dynamite recap & reactions: Mark Briscoe reaches for the sky

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AEW Dynamite (Jan. 25, 2023) emanated from Rupp Arena in Lexington, KY. The show featured Mark Briscoe in the main event paying tribute to Jay Briscoe, Bryan Danielson feeling the pain of his quest at the hands of Brian Cage, Darby Allin slaying one TNT Championship challenger with the next on top, and much more.

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

Mark Briscoe reaches for the sky

Tragedy struck last week when Jay Briscoe died in a car accident. The wrestling world was shaken by the loss of the beloved veteran. AEW acknowledged Briscoe’s death on last week’s broadcast, however, many felt it didn’t do service to the man himself. AEW more than made up for it this week when Mark Briscoe debuted on Dynamite to wrestle Jay Lethal in the main event as a tribute to Jay.

AEW aired a tender video package with candid family footage and career highlights in honor of Jay.

Ian Riccaboni, Caprice Coleman, and Bobby Cruise joined the crew as ROH voices. Lethal entered first and shared a moment with Sonjay Dutt. Emotions were raw. Dutt exited to the back, so this bout could be one-on-one with no shenanigans. Mark Briscoe arrived for his walk to the ring. Reach for the sky!

Briscoe wrestled with full personality for cheeky sound effects and redneck kung fu. A rousing chop exchange got the blood flowing.

The big spot was a flying froggy elbow drop through a table.

Briscoe worked for the Jay Driller finisher throughout the contest. He was finally able to hit it after using a few lariats to soften Lethal for the finishing move in tribute to Jay Briscoe. Afterward, Mark spoke into the camera with a message of love for his family. The locker room emptied on stage to show support for the Briscoes.

Applause to AEW for pulling through with a showcase main event for Mark Briscoe to honor his brother. It was an emotional scene with a feel-good finish in a shitty situation. Seeing Mark execute the Jay Driller was a memorable moment that will stand the test of time.

Bryan Danielson’s journey continues

Bryan Danielson is on a quest to win five straight singles matches over five weeks on Dynamite. If Danielson accomplishes the task, then he earns a 60-minute Iron man match against MJF for the AEW World Championship at Revolution on March 5. The American Dragon is two down so far with wins over Konosuke Takeshita and Bandido. Next up was Brian Cage. The Machine had extra monetary motivation to injure Danielson in exchange for a fat wad of cash from MJF. Commentary also squeezed in the idea that a win from Cage would put him at #1 in the rankings.

Danielson had strategy on mind to handle Cage’s power. One problem though. That is easier said than done. Even though Danielson scored moments of success, Cage put a serious pounding on him. The attacks did major damage to Danielson’s shoulder. Danielson persevered for victory in the end by countering a powerbomb into a roll-up for the three-count.

It only got worse for Danielson after the match. Cage went back on the attack to dish out more punishment. MJF ran down to join the party of pain. They used a chair to further destroy Danielson’s shoulder joint. Thankfully for Danielson, Konosuke Takeshita ran in for the save.

The story didn’t end there. Danielson refused to acknowledge medical advice to rest his shoulder. Nobody will ever tell him to not wrestle. Danielson will expose MJF as a fraud.

MJF had a separate response. He threatened Danielson to abort his mission. Otherwise, MJF will have to resort to dabbling in mental pain. Those types of scars won’t heal. As for Danielson’s next opponent, Tony Khan put out an open contract. MJF persuaded Timothy Thatcher to accept.

The overall story for Danielson and MJF is strong and weak at the same time. The good is the physical story. Danielson is having interesting and entertaining matches each week. The results appear obvious, so AEW is doing their best to add doubt with an injury concern. Timothy Thatcher is a tough test considering Danielson’s current condition. If this were real life, I would actually bet money on Thatcher winning. I would have zero doubt that he could snap Danielson’s injured shoulder out of socket. In barbarian days, Thatcher would likely rip Danielson’s arm off and beat him with it. That’s how skilled and savage Thatcher can be. I’m very curious to see how Danielson squeaks by next week.

The bad is the verbal story. It’s just not interesting. Without William Regal nearby, the burning focus of personal revenge has been diminished. Danielson’s desire to expose MJF as a fraud falls flat as a talking point. Everybody already knows MJF is a fraud. He is a scoundrel winning through mischievous ways. Can MJF find a way to retain over Danielson? Absolutely. But if MJF does, I’m fairly confident that it won’t be in a way to prove his value in the ring. MJF doesn’t even care about that anyway. I do believe MJF has the skill to shine in match of the year contenders. However, in sticking to his act, he rarely takes us on the maximum ride. I’m not sold at all in the idea of sitting through a 60-minute Iron Man match.

On a bright spot, thumbs up for the star building on Takeshita. Just being opposite MJF has shot his stock up as a fan favorite. I did wonder why Wheeler Yuta was absent from assisting. Granted, he’s not on the best of terms with Danielson, but both are Blackpool Combat Club for life.

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

Le Sex Gods defeated Ricky Starks & Action Andretti. Non-stop pace of sports entertainment. Down the stretch, Starks hit Chris Jericho with a Roshambo on the floor. Sammy Guevara leaped for a cutter to Andretti, but Action caught it in a fireman’s carry. Sammy grabbed the top rope to escape. As Sammy distracted the referee, Daniel Garcia popped Andretti with the baseball bat. Sammy hit the GTH knee strike for victory.

This match was a blast of fun. It set the tone for a good time ahead despite the heavy cloud about Jay Briscoe. Andretti showed swagger and mocked Sammy’s sexy pose. And of course, Le Sex Gods hit their signature pose.

The best sports entertainment moment was Starks strutting on the top rope only for Sammy to fly in for a surprise cutter.

It wasn’t all silliness. The wrestling exchanges were exciting between Sammy and Andretti. The emotion was electric when Starks crossed paths with Jericho. Plenty of near falls had the crowd rocking. JAS needed the win after being smoked in the series so far. The victory celebration was a hoot as Sammy and Garcia lifted Jericho on their shoulders. Jericho’s expression was one of pain and confusion. He was still loopy from the Roshambo. What I liked most about that scene was Garcia slapping Sammy on the ass. That’s a very sports entertainment act of jubilation. There’s hope yet for Sammy and Danny to become best of friends. The gift of leathers pants forges a bond like no other.

TNT Championship: Darby Allin retained against Buddy Matthews. Sting and Julia Hart were ringside. When Allin had momentum after a Coffin Drop to the floor, Malakai Black and Brody King arrived in the darkness. Ortiz lent a helping hand with a kendo stick on the House of Black. Sting bashed with his baseball bat. All the outsiders exited in a brawl to leave Allin and Matthews fighting fair and square.

Allin turned the tide by countering a superplex into a Scorpion Death Drop. Allin added a Coffin Drop to Matthews leaning through the ropes to earn the victory.

Typical Allin match, which is physical action and creative moves. Allin never goes soft or phones it in. Matthews worked the leg hard, and that should be a future selling point in the story of Allin running himself into the ground as a fighting champion.

Afterward, Tony Schiavone interviewed Allin. Samoa Joe interrupted on the big screen with threats to take back his stolen gold. That rematch was made official as No Holds Barred for the TNT title next week.

The post-match scene felt weird to me. It was odd that Allin wasn’t concerned at all about the status of Sting. For all he knew, the House of Black could have been slicing and dicing the Icon into cold cuts. I put that more on AEW booking than on Allin.

Jungle Boy & Hook defeated Ethan Page & Matt Hardy. Good news for Hardy. Page gave him back the Twist of Fate move. Bad news for Hardy too. He will be blamed for the loss. Hardy was on a roll with a Side Effect to Jungle Boy. As Hardy set up for a Twist of Fate, Page demanded to be tagged in to take the glory. Hardy did as he was instructed. Page milked the moment, then JB escaped to slap on the Snare Trap submission. Hardy reached out for a tag rather than intruding to break the hold. Hook pulled Hardy off the apron, so Page was forced to tap out.

Both squads utilized solid teamwork. Page and Hardy had the isolation tactic down well. Jungle Boy and Hook flew around the ring making saves and watching each other’s back. JB and Hook have a strong bond brewing. Even though the tag team division is stacking with babyface duos, I’d be interested in a run up the ladder for JungleHook.

Ruby Soho defeated Toni Storm. Storm looked down on AEW’s homegrown idiots. Soho didn’t share that same bullshit attitude. If there was any doubt Storm hasn’t gone full heel, she erased any argument by faking a broken nose to earn sympathy for a sneak attack. Storm used the plot to hit a German suplex, running hip attack, and DDT. Soho kicked out, so Storm set up a piledriver. That’s when Dr. Britt Baker DMD arrived on stage as a distraction. Soho pounced for the Destination Unknown finisher to win.

Solid bout as a rugged duel of fisticuffs. With Baker’s involvement, it appears the sides are setting for the good, the bad, and the ugly. Soho and AEW homegrown babyfaces stand as the good. Baker, Jamie Hayter, and AEW homegrown heels stand as the bad. That leaves Saraya, Storm, and whoever else joins them as the ugly. That alignment provides a lot of leeway in interesting matchmaking.

Notes: Adam Cole is working toward his return to the ring. He doesn’t know yet when that will be, but the tease was for the Revolution PPV on March 5.

Ass family therapy. Top Gunns and The Acclaimed vented their frustrations in a therapy session. Billy Gunn had enough bickering. When asked what would make the Gunn sons happy, they pointed to the tag titles. The seeds have been planted for a ‘will he or won’t he’ Daddy Ass betrayal.

Renee Paquette pressed Hangman Page into clarifying his future plans. Hangman wants a another round with Jon Moxley next week. Wheeler Yuta stepped in to accept for Mox. Yuta also stepped up to challenge Hangman to a match on Rampage. Good little scene to set up heat between Hangman and Yuta.

Jamie Hayter will wrestle Emi Sakura in a women’s title eliminator on Rampage. Hayter put over Sakura as a legend. Sakura is the kind of women that Hayter needs to beat to be the best.

Stud of the Show: Mark Briscoe

Fitting tribute to Jay Briscoe.

Match of the Night: Chris Jericho & Sammy Guevara vs. Ricky Starks & Action Andretti

Action-packed with sports entertainment.

Grade: B+

Strong matches all night long with a special main event.

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

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