AEW Dynamite Preview For January 18, 2023
Last week All Elite Wrestling returned to the fabulous KIA Forum for DYNAMITE and RAMPAGE, and with it came the top shelf professional wrestling fans have come to expect from AEW! Whether it was Hangman Page topping Jon Moxley, Darby Allin defeating Juice Robinson in a TNT Championship Match, or The Elite winning Escalera De La Muerte II to become 2-Time World Trios Champions, it was all pro wrestling at its finest!
This week, the action continues to emanate from the West Coast, this time from the Save Mart Center in Fresno, CA with a stacked edition of DYNAMITE that will feature Darby Allin defending his TNT Championship against Kushida, Jay Lethal challenging Orange Cassidy for the All-Atlantic Title, The Young Bucks and Top Flight clashing in tag team competition, and Willow Nightingale going head-to-head with Toni Storm! Plus, Ricky Starks will collide with Jake Hager, Bryan Danielson will continue his championship quest in a bout with Bandido, and we will hear from Hangman Page after his victory over Mox!
The best professional wrestling on the planet kicks off at 8pm ET/7pm CT on TBS, and at AEWPlus.com for international audiences, with the doors opening locally at 3pm PT to herald AEW's debut in Fresno, CA! Ahead of the action, visit the official AEW YouTube channel to get up to speed on last week's events from the fabulous Forum! The YouTube channel is home for the most recent episodes 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!
TNT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH...
Darby Allin(c) vs. KUSHIDA
The TNT Championship Open Challenge has resumed under the guidance of Darby Allin, and this week it has been answered by one of the definitive Junior Heavyweights of the last twenty years, New Japan Pro Wrestling's own KUSHIDA!
KUSHIDA, having returned to NJPW during the summer of 2022, has been in constant competition ever since, be it in NJPW proper, NJPW STRONG, or on IMPACT, he has been reminding the world why he's considered one of the premier athletes and why he's collected the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title on six occasions, and the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Titles on two outings with Alex Shelley as his partner. KUSHIDA even claimed the ROH World Television Championship for himself in 2017 and reigned for 131 days with five defenses to his resume.
Suffice to say, between the MMA background fighting in ZST and his pro wrestling pedigree, KUSHIDA is going to be one of the toughest challenges Darby Allin has faced inside the pro wrestling ring, and that's quite a statement given just who Allin bested to become a 2-Time Champion and who he has already defended the title against this time around. It would be a huge feather in the cap of KUSHIDA to dethrone Darby in his first AEW outing, further cementing his legacy as one of the best juniors of the last 20 years, but as he will soon experience, and as AEW fans have grown to know over the last several years, the lengths KUSHIDA will have to go do in order to put Darby Allin down for the count may not be a place he is ready to go...
ALL-ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH...
Orange Cassidy(c) vs. Jay Lethal
These two men are familiar foes, having fought in both Trios and singles bouts over the summer, but this time we've got a new wrinkle in the mix in the form of the All-Atlantic Championship! In less than 100 days as champion, “Freshly Squeezed” has successfully defended that title on nine occasions, two of them in Three Way bouts, and is on the precipice of becoming the most successful champion in the Men's Locker room should he top Lethal in Fresno. Jon Moxley made it through nine defense in his first AEW World Championship reign, Darby Allin did it nine times with his first TNT Championship run, and both The Young Bucks and Page/Omega retained nine times in their World Tag Team Championship stints. On the Women's side, Jade Cargill has blown that number out of the water with her TBS Championship reign, but for the men, that tenth defense seems to be a hurdle that no one has been able to overcome.
Can OC be the first man to get that 10th defense? Or will Jay Lethal bring Cassidy's All-Atlantic Championship reign to an end here in California?
TAG TEAM BOUT...
AEW World Trios Champions The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson)
Top Flight (Dante & Darius Martin)
Twice now Top Flight has been topped by The Young Bucks; the first took place in November 2020 and was one of the Martin brothers earliest matches here in All Elite Wrestling, really the bout that raised eyebrows to their potential. The second went down on the April 1, 2022 edition of RAMPAGE and would be one of the last bouts before the injury that put Darius back on the shelf seven months. Both outings were an absolute blast for the fans to experience, with the second showing the growth Top Flight had experienced in their time in AEW, but while giving the fans an experience is somewhat satisfying, it's not as satisfying as a victory over one of the premiere tag teams of the last 15 years.
That team, The Young Bucks, are heading into Fresno having gone through the physical torture that is Escalera De La Muerte, but at least are coming out of it as the 2-Time AEW World Trios Champions alongside Kenny Omega. It was a triumph for The Elite, reclaiming the titles they never lost and getting the opportunity to start anew representing that division, but jumping right back into competition after that ladder-filled experience is going to be painful for the brothers Jackson.
That being said, this Wednesday night may be the prime situation for Top Flight to seize their moment and finally conquer these men who belong on the tag team Mount Rushmore. The Young Bucks changed the game for tag team wrestling, they helped innovated a new style into the milieu, and everyone who has been in the ring with the former 2-Time AEW World Tag Team Champions has experienced that first-hand. With two previous outings under their belt, can Top Flight take those Young Buck experiences, combine them with everything they've experienced as a team, and make Fresno the spot where they ascend?
THE TRIAL SERIES CONTINUES...
“The American Dragon” Bryan Danielson vs. Bandido
Danielson loves him some competition, especially when it comes in the form of athletes he's never had the opportunity to face, and he certainly got it last week in that fight with Takeshita. But as a result of the stipulation MJF has attached to Bryan's championship pursuits, “The American Dragon” will get another round of this little Trial Series Wednesday night on DYNAMITE, but as he expressed in this week's ROAD TO..., Danielson wouldn't have it any other way!
This time the challenge comes in the form of a man who tread a similar path as “The American Dragon” did earlier in his career, he is another former ROH World Champion with a wealth of experience at just 27 years old, and he will be a superb test of Danielson's talents as he gets primed for REVOLUTION 2023 and a potential AEW World Championship bout with Maxwell Jacob Friedman.
All he has to do is make it past the former ROH World Champion, and continue piling up victories for the next several weeks, until The Hour becomes an official match. Where will MJF be while this battle of two of today's best takes place? Watching from a safe distance? Or trying to insert himself in the action to end Danielson's pursuits? We will see Wednesday night...
Willow Nightingale vs. Toni Storm
Both of these women had big week's last week in Los Angeles, but it was only a triumphant experience for one. Toni Storm, as Saraya's partner, was on the receiving end of a kendo stick shot from Dr. Britt Baker followed by a Hayter-ade Ripcord Lariat from the AEW Women's World Champion, leading to her team's pinfall defeat. The kendo stick, it should be noted, ended up in play as a result of Hikaru Shida inserting her presence at ringside...
On the other side of the coin, Willow Nightingale was a big winner on RAMPAGE, competing as Ruby Soho's partner in a bloody Street Fight against Anna Jay A.S. and Tay Melo. Willow and Ruby fought their hearts out, and it was intensely satisfying to see Ruby deliver that Destination Unknown to Melo straight into thumbtacks.
So this week on DYNAMITE, with each woman coming off their respective triumphs and tragedies, Willow Nightingale and Toni Storm will meet in their first-ever singles collision! These are two favorites of the AEW faithful, which one will take those cheers and use them as a boost to victory?
Ricky Starks vs. Jake Hager
Ricky Starks, as a result of beating Chris Jericho, has found himself embroiled in a vicious battle with members of The Jericho Appreciation Society, and even been dropped down through a table as consequence. And though he's found a bit of an ally in Action Andretti, this week on DYNAMITE, “Stroke Daddy” Starks will take on Jake Hager in one-on-one competition, not as some form of punishment doled out by Jericho, but rather by choice.
Starks is on fire right now, the loss to MJF at WINTER IS COMING 2022 only added fuel to it rather than douse it, and Jericho felt that first-hand. Will Hager suffer the same fate as the head of The J.A.S., or will Jake make Ricky express love for the hat?
HANGMAN AND RENEE...
Last week, Hangman Page returned to official in-ring competition for the first time since Jon Moxley knocked him out several months ago, and in that return to action, Adam Page showed Mox why he was the man who beat the man that ended Jon's first AEW World Championship reign. It wasn't an easy fight, Hangman certainly felt its effects over the last week, but it was all worth it when he hit that Buckshot Lariat and pinned Mox in front of the world. This week in Fresno, Adam Page will share his thoughts with Renee Paquette and look forward to see what the future has in store for the former AEW World Champion.
2023 is already in unforgettable year for All Elite Wrestling, and it continues this weeks when AEW debuts in Fresno, CA at the Save Mart Center for another exciting edition of DYNAMITE!
A week after winning the AEW World Trios Championship, The Young Bucks will be in tag team action with Top Flight, Bryan Danielson will continue his hunt for MJF with a bout against another former ROH World Champion in Bandido, and Hangman Page will share his thoughts with Renee Paquette after defeating Jon Moxley at The KIA Forum!
Plus, “Absolute” Ricky Starks will go head-to-hat with The J.A.S' Jake Hager, two fan faves will clash when Willow Nightingale and Toni Storm lock horns, and TWO championships will be at stake when Darby puts his TNT Title on the line against Kushida and Orange Cassidy defends the All-Atlantic Championship against Jay Lethal!
The excitement goes live on TBS starting at 8pm ET/7pm CT, as well as at AEWPlus.com for our international audiences, and the best place to prepare for the action is the official AEW YouTube channel, home for the latest action from DYNAMITE and RAMPAGE, as well as recent editions of AEW DARK: ELEVATION, AEW DARK, and ROAD TO!