AEW Dynamite Preview For January 11th
Seattle and Portland provided great kick-offs for All Elite Wrestling's 2023, and that energy is coming to the fabulous Forum this Wednesday night when AEW returns to Los Angeles for a loaded edition of DYNAMITE! Fans will bear witness to Hangman Page getting back inside the squared circle to fight Jon Moxley after their last outing put Page on the shelf for nearly three months! Plus, the final match in the AEW World Trios Championship Best of 7 Series will take place when Death Triangle defends their titles against The Elite in Escalera De La Muerte II!
But that's not all! Saraya and Toni Storm will unite to take on AEW Women's World Champion Jamie Hayter and Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D, while “The American Dragon” Bryan Danielson begins his gauntlet run for the AEW World Championship when he battles Konosuke Takeshita in singles action! And the unique duo of Jack Perry and FTW Champion HOOK, collectively called JungleHOOK, will take on The Firm's Big Bill and Lee Moriarty in a tag team bout! Plus The Jericho Appreciation Society will be in the house after having their own wild weekend in Los Angeles away from AEW after a couple devastating defeats being delivered to The J.A.S!
The excitement begins at 8pm ET/7pm CT on TBS, as well as at AEWPlus.com for international audiences, and doors open locally at 3pm PT for All Elite Wrestling's return to the fabulous Forum! Head over to the official AEW YouTube channel to get up to date on last week's AEW action! It's the home for the latest editions of AEW DARK, AEW DARK: ELEVATION, ROAD TO, and THE CONTROL CENTER with Tony Schiavone, as well as highlights from previous episodes of DYNAMITE, RAMPAGE, and more!
ESCALERA DE LA MUERTE II/WORLD TRIOS CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH...
Death Triangle(PAC, Penta El Zero Miedo, & Rey Fenix)(c)
The Elite (Kenny Omega, Matt Jackson, & Nick Jackson)
The first Escalera de la Muerte (Ladder of Death) took place at ALL OUT 2019 when The Young Bucks challenged The Lucha Brothers for the AAA World Tag Team Titles, resulting in one of the most unforgettable bouts in AEW's history. It would mark the first Ladder Match in AEW's history, and was the kind of violent spectacle that put some painful mileage on the bodies of all four men.
Since that day over three years ago, both The Young Bucks and The Lucha Brothers have experienced great successes in All Elite Wrestling. The brothers Jackson have reigned as AEW World Tag Team Champions on two occasions, the only team to accomplish that feat to date, with their first reign actually being ended by Penta and Fenix inside a Steel Cage at ALL OUT 2021. As if those successes weren't enough, The Young Bucks, with Kenny Omega as their partner, also became the first-ever AEW World Trios Champions at ALL OUT 2022, but were forced to vacate the titles just days later.
A match between Death Triangle and The Best Friends would be upgraded from a standard trios match to a bout filling the championship vacancy, and was ultimately won by PAC, Penta El Zero Miedo, and Rey Fenix. Of course that immediately brought up the question of if and when The Elite trio would get an opportunity to reclaim the titles they were never beaten for, and the answer would come at FULL GEAR 2022 when the wayward sons returned to the fold to challenge Death Triangle! It felt like destiny that Matt, Nick, and Kenny would reclaim the titles, and apropos that they'd be facing those three men to do so.
See, in addition to the aforementioned history between The Young Bucks and The Lucha Brothers, Kenny Omega and “The Bastard” PAC have their fair share of history dating back to the beginnings of All Elite Wrestling. In the early days it was reasonably assumed that Kenny Omega would run the table and become the first-ever AEW World Champion, but instead he was defeated by Chris Jericho at DOUBLE OR NOTHING 2019 in a bout to shape the first championship match, and then humbled by PAC at ALL OUT 2019 while Jericho went on to become the champion that night. “The Bastard” and “The Best Bout Machine” would have several other matches in AEW's first year, culminating in a 30 Minute Iron Man match won by Omega. Their paths would intertwine again during Kenny's AEW World Championship reign when PAC, along with Orange Cassidy, failed to unseat the champion at DOUBLE OR NOTHING 2021.
Suffice to say, there was already a great deal of history here before FULL GEAR 2022 began, and the fact that The Elite actually lost in their return to competition, especially given how it happened, only further amped up the animosity between the two trios. In fact, before that November night was even through, it was announced that the two trios would continue their rivalry in a Best of 7 Series, that pay-per-view collision marked as the first bout, with the ultimate winner walking away as AEW World Trios Champions.
And that is the path that has led us to this Wednesday night in Los Angeles; Death Triangle scoring two straight victories thanks, in part, to a hammer, with The Elite avoiding a third straight loss after turning the tables, or rather the hammer, on the champions. Then things got really ugly: match four was won by Death Triangle and thus putting The Elite on the cusp of elimination for the remainder of the series. Yet The Young Bucks and Kenny Omega managed to stave it off through a No DQ fifth contest and a Falls Count Anywhere sixth bout, leaving only this Escalera de la Muerte to settle the question of who deserves to move on into 2023 as the AEW World Trios Champions!
Can The Elite regain the titles they never lost, titles they never even had an opportunity to defend, and actually begin the reign that was stillborn last fall? Or will Death Triangle firmly establish their dominance over the Trios division with a fifth consecutive championship defense? PAC, Penta, and Fenix are clearly fighting on the home turf of The Young Bucks with this bout taking place in Los Angeles, but will that home field advantage be a factor that handicaps the defending champions?
Jon Moxley vs. “Hangman” Adam Page
It has been almost three months since the last time Adam Page stepped into an AEW ring, at least in an official capacity, and the reason for that layoff is directly connected to the match on October 18th in Cincinnati. As fans witnessed in horror, Moxley knocked Hangman out in their AEW World Championship battle, necessitating a referee stoppage, and leading to Page being rushed to the hospital in an ambulance. It was a terrifying scene both in the ring and backstage, and Adam has detailed his own recollections of the night, what he remembers, what he does not, and just how scary it was for him in that moment.
Ultimately Hangman was okay, not “ready for competition” okay, certainly not cleared by doctors to get back in the ring, but okay enough to begin the process that could ultimately lead him to back to competition. In Hangman's absence, Jon Moxley continued to reign as AEW World Champion until that rather tainted FULL GEAR 2022 defeat at MJF's hands. Hangman was patient, watching it all unfold and jumping through whatever medical hoops he needed to get closer to clearance, but every man has their limits, and on November 30th in Indianapolis, Adam Page reached his. That night, without any clearance, Page returned to the AEW stage to attack Moxley, and that has been the story ever since; Page coming for Moxley at every opportunity, no longer caring about the medical clearance, but still desiring an official match with the man who not only put Hangman on the shelf, but also mocked Adam for getting hurt.
Finally, after weeks of testing the patience of AEW's medical staff and security, Hangman Page has gotten his clearance and in Los Angeles, he and Jon Moxley will have the freedom to officially beat the brakes off of each other inside The Forum! It's one of the most highly anticipated matches in All Elite Wrestling right now, a rematch between two of AEW's figureheads, both former World Champions, and each hungry for the fight. The last time proved quite unsatisfying for both individuals, but fans can be sure this time out nothing is going to stop Hangman Page and Jon Moxley from finishing their fight.
Who will be left standing when the final bell rings? Or perhaps a better question is, will anyone be left standing at the end?
A TRIAL SERIES...
“The American Dragon” Bryan Danielson vs. Konosuke Takeshita
Bryan Danielson loves competition, he loves to wrestle, and is just as content fighting it out in front of 15 people as he is 15,000 screaming fans, and yet making him wrestle is what Maxwell Jacob Friedman views as punishment in response to Danielson's pursuit of the AEW World Championship. “The American Dragon” said it himself in this week's ROAD TO..., pointing out the utter fallacy in MJF's thought process and projecting his own lack of desire to compete onto Danielson. He doesn't see how having Bryan fight is just keeping him ready for the potential championship challenge at REVOLUTION 2023, keeping him in fighting shape for a 60-Minute Iron Man Match (not that Bryan isn't perpetually ready for that), and not running him down.
And this gauntlet Danielson will run for the next month, it begins this Wednesday night with the supremely talented Konosuke Takeshita, returning to AEW action after a brief foray back to Japan. Takeshita's 2023 has already been quite busy, just 11 days into the year, having fought on December 31st, January 3rd, and January 5th for DDT Pro Wrestling, then coming back to Los Angeles for PWG's BATTLE OF LOS ANGELES tournament on the 7th and 8th, where he fought four matches in two days and made it to the finals where he lost to “Speedball” Mike Bailey.
Quite like Danielson, Takeshita is someone who seems fueled by the competition and who actually desires to fight as much as possible against as many varied opponents as possible. AEW has seen him battle Page, Moxley, Kingston, Kazarian, and Castagnoli, just to name a few, and in each bout Konosuke, whether win or loss, has given his opponent every bit of fight in his body.
This bout is the definition of The Blackpool Combat Club's favorite saying that “Iron Sharpens Iron”, but given that every bout for Danielson is must-win situation, there is another saying that could be applied, one about pressure creating diamonds. The path to REVOLUTION 2023 begins this Wednesday night for MJF and Bryan Danielson; will they both make it to the end of the road?
TAG TEAM CHALLENGE...
AEW Women's World Champion Jamie Hayter & Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D
Saraya & Toni Storm
Well that was awkward, watching Saraya select Toni Storm as her partner, calling her the best wrestler in the world right in front of Hikaru Shida. To be fair, picking between Storm and Shida is a bit of a Sophie's choice, both are superb athletes, both are former Women's World Champions, but having Shida there to watch the selection...well the look on her face told that story. Only time will tell if there ends up being more to that moment, but for now the focus falls on the fabulous Forum and the tag team match that's been building ever since Saraya beat Dr. Baker at FULL GEAR 2022.
The selection of Storm makes sense for Saraya, as detailed in this week's ROAD TO..., both have history with The Killer and The Pillar, both have similar backgrounds in their pre-AEW wrestling careers, and both have a desire to continuing elevating the AEW Women's Division in spite of the gatekeeping. For Baker and Hayter, there's some idea of being “AEW originals” that they cling to, that justifies their actions, while Toni Storm and Saraya have made it clear they are in All Elite Wrestling because they know it is where the best competition takes place, and they want to prove they do belong in consideration as “the best”. It's also about Baker trying to even the score for her singles loss to Saraya back in November, and show the world it was a fluke.
Can the Good Doctor and the AEW Women's World Champion do just that with AEW's return to Los Angeles? Or will Saraya repeat her victory from FULL GEAR 2022 while Storm finds redemption for her championship loss that night to Jamie Hayter?
TAG TEAM GRUDGE MATCH...
JungleHOOK (“Jungle Boy” Jack Perry & HOOK)
The Firm (Big Bill & Lee Moriarty w/ Stokely Hathaway)
This started with Lee Moriarty's pursuit of the FTW Championship back in November, but through the Dynamite Diamond Battle Royale and actions taken since, it has escalated into this tag team battle taking place on “Jungle Boy” Jack Perry's turf! The FTW Champion and JB have become allies due to their mutual enemies, and while it has led to Jack being quite literally tossed in the trash by Big Bill, it has also demonstrated that neither HOOK nor Jungle Boy back down from any man. It doesn't matter the size or skill set, be it someone as massive as Big Bill or as technically brilliant as Moriarty, the FTW Champ and “Jungle Boy” are going to take the fight to their foes.
Big Bill and Moriarty will, of course, have Stokely Hathaway in their corner so there is also the necessity to factor in his presence, but both JB and HOOK know what it's like to have to struggle with outside influence in their matches. They will be ready, but can they gel enough as a team to deal fight this battle against The Firm?
THE JERICHO APPRECIATION SOCIETY WILL APPEAR...
The Jericho Appreciation Society had themselves a grand old night at The Globe on January 8th, not only taking part in Pro Wrestling Guerrilla's 2023 BATTLE OF LOS ANGELES event, but also winning a ten-man tag match. It was a good night for The J.A.S., the first one they'd had in quite awhile really, and one sorely needed after seeing both Chris Jericho and Daniel Garcia lose their respective ROH championships at FINAL BATTLE 2022, and “The Ocho” losing in a huge upset to Action Andretti, and then dropping another bout to “Absolute” Ricky Starks.
This Wednesday night on DYNAMITE, Jericho and his friends...allies...cronies...will be out in full force for AEW's return to The Forum! What will the original AEW World Champion have to say for himself and his J.A.S. and their future?
2023 started in wild fashion in Seattle and Portland, and the excitement continues this week when AEW returns to the fabulous Forum in Los Angeles for a huge edition of DYNAMITE! Hangman Page returns to competition and straight into the fight with Jon Moxley while The Elite and Death Triangle battle over the AEW World Trios Championship in Escalera De La Muerte II! Saraya steps back in the ring, this time in tag team competition with former AEW Women's World Champion Toni Storm at her side, to take on The Killer and The Pillar, and Bryan Danielson goes head-up with Konosuke Takeshita as “The American Dragon” pursues an AEW World Championship bid! The Jericho Appreciation Society will also be in the house, as the unlikely pairing of JungleHOOK takes on The Firm's Big Bill and Lee Moriarty!
The action kicks off live on TBS starting at 8pm ET/7pm CT, as well as at AEWPlus.com for international audiences, so make sure to visit the official AEW YouTube channel beforehand to get up to date with the latest action from DYNAMITE and RAMPAGE, as well as recent editions of AEW DARK: ELEVATION, AEW DARK, and ROAD TO!