AEW Dynamite Preview For January 4th
It's a new year and with it comes an all-new look for DYNAMITE as well as a brand-new city playing host to AEW's flagship program, but still the best professional wrestling anywhere on the planet! The end of 2022 saw Darby Allin reinsert himself into Samoa Joe's world, The Acclaimed drop another verse on Lethal and Jarrett, and Bryan Danielson tear it up with Ethan Page! Plus Jon Moxley and Hangman Page seem destined for a California showdown if Page gets clearance, Swerve Strickland and his Mogul Associates got one up on The BCC's Wheeler Yuta, and there seems to be trouble within both The Best Friends and The Baddies!
Now we head into 2023 with AEW's debut in Seattle at the Climate Pledge Arena, and a debut in Portland, OR for a live RAMPAGE and live BATTLE OF THE BELTS V! This loaded week starts Wednesday in Seattle with a first-time collision between Chris Jericho and Ricky Starks, Jay Lethal and Jeff Jarrett challenging The Acclaimed for the AEW World Tag Team Championship, Bryan Danielson in action with Tony Nese, and Darby Allin trying to reclaim the TNT Championship in his hometown in a rematch with Samoa Joe!
It all 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 the first live All Elite Wrestling event of 2023!
Head over to the official AEW YouTube channel to get up to date for this loaded first week of AEW action in 2023! There you'll find 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!
“Absolute” Ricky Starks vs. Chris Jericho
If it wasn't for Maxwell Jacob Friedman's willingness to cheat his way to victory, there is a superb chance that “Absolute” Ricky Starks would be standing before the AEW faithful as both the World Champion and holder of the Dynamite Diamon. After going through a physical hell en route to winning the AEW World Championship Eliminator Tournament and earning his championship opportunity against MJF, he also survived the 2022 Dynamite Diamond Battle Royale to earn the right to fight Max for that prize as well. Two opportunities became one at WINTER IS COMING 2022, but MJF stooped to his typically unscrupulous tactics to maintain possession of both the ring and the championship.
But there is such thing as winning by losing and, for what it's worth, “Absolute” Ricky Starks did absolutely that through the work put in throughout the tournament and by the fight he gave MJF prior to the low blow. The fans, who had already been in the corner of Starks, were galvanized in their support of Ricky as he demonstrated beyond doubt that he is capable of being the flagbearer for All Elite Wrestling, and it wasn't just the fans who recognized this.
Enter: Chris Jericho...
Coming off a huge upset loss to Action Andretti at WINTER IS COMING 2022, Jericho interrupted Ricky's moment to offer him a place alongside The Jericho Appreciation Society, and Starks responded as only he can. A resounding no was the simple answer, although Ricky was quite a bit more colorful with how he refused the offer, and it led to Jericho, Daniel Garcia, and Sammy Guevara assaulting Starks in the middle of the ring. Thankfully Andretti was on the scene to even the score, although he would be rewarded with a fireball from “The Wizard” after the fact, and the match was set between the original AEW World Champion and “Absolute”!
It's the first DYNAMITE of a new year, a new look to the flagship of All Elite Wrestling, and it could be another night in which Ricky Starks solidifies his position as one of the top guys in all of AEW. Jericho, on the other hand, has hurt pride after that loss to Action and Starks' refusal, and he's going to be looking to take his frustrations out on Ricky this Wednesday in Seattle. And where Jericho walks, so too does The J.A.S. so it's not as if Starks is fighting just one man in this first-ever bout; can Ricky Starks overcome the numbers game that is the hallmark of The Jericho Appreciation Society?
TNT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH...
Samoa Joe(c) vs. Darby Allin
This isn't the first dance for Darby Allin and Samoa Joe where the TNT Championship is concerned; that happened a month ago when the longest reigning champion in the title's history met with “The King of Television” on the 12/7 edition of DYNAMITE. Darby threw everything he had, including his own body, at Joe but was unable to dethrone the monstrous Samoan. That loss didn't mean the drive to become a 2-Time champion had died within Allin, it just meant he would have to bide his time for another opportunity. That chance to make a statement came on the heels of Joe's victory over Wardlow, and subsequent humiliation of “The WarDog”, and can be seen in the video included above. Darby made it clear that he was not done with Samoa Joe even if Joe thought he was done with Darby.
So with those words from Sting, Darby heads back to his home, back to Seattle, and tries to find the key to ending the stranglehold Samoa Joe has on the TNT Championship. It would mean everything for Darby to leave AEW's debut in Seattle having reclaimed the championship he held for a record 186 days and defended a record eight times. Every man has a fighting chance, some more than others and Darby would absolutely be included in that consideration, but when it is Samoa Joe standing across the ring, one can't help but wonder what would even be left of Darby moving forward should he actually be victorious this Wednesday night.
AEW WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH...
The Acclaimed (Anthony Bowens & Max Caster)(c)
Jay Lethal & Jeff Jarrett
This one has been building up hot and heavy over the last few weeks, with Jarrett and Lethal adamant that they were deserving of a championship match despite their brief partnership in All Elite Wrestling. The situation escalated quickly from verbal jousting to Jarrett using his signature guitar to cave in the head of Max Caster, leaving Anthony Bowens to battle the pair with “Daddy Ass” Billy Gunn at his side instead of his usual partner.
Unfortunately that pairing did not result in success for Bowens and Billy, and has helped lead us to this AEW World Tag Team Championship match taking place in Seattle! And just in case there wasn't enough fuel for this fire, The Acclaimed decided to dump even more on it with their incendiary rhyme embedded above.
What started as challenge for the World Tag Team Titles has become something much more personal in rapid fashion, and that is going to result in one wild championship bout on Wednesday night! Can Jarrett, Lethal, and their trusty entourage bring gold to their side of the table, or will The Acclaimed turn away their first challenge of 2023?
“The American Dragon” Bryan Danielson vs. “The Premier Athlete” Tony Nese
For the first time in his AEW career, Bryan Danielson is returning home to Washington state with his mind fixed on Maxwell Jacob Friedman and the AEW World Championship, but this Wednesday night is not about that grudge or the sins committed by MJF. This week on DYNAMITE, “The American Dragon” will have his hands full fighting one-half of The Varsity Athletes, “The Premier Athlete” Tony Nese!
Dragon heads into this fight coming off a victory over “All Ego” Ethan Page last week while Nese has won six of his last seven matches, albeit none of those in singles competition. This is going to be one of the biggest fights of Nese's AEW career, with the potential to skyrocket his profile should he find a way to emerge victorious over Bryan Danielson.
One question that has to be asked though, where will Maxwell Jacob Friedman be in the midst of this bout? After all...
THE AEW WORLD CHAMPION HAS TO DO HIS JOB...
Swerve Strickland vs. AR Fox
Swerve and his Mogul Affiliates certainly made an impact on AEW over last couple weeks, and specifically on Wheeler Yuta on the last RAMPAGE of 2022. Now this Wednesday night, as Swerve returns to his hometown stomping grounds, and old foe is stepping into his house to renew a decade old rivalry.
Over the last decade, Swerve Strickland and AR Fox have become quite familiar with one another. They've battled around the independent wrestling scene, from Florida to Minnesota and Philly to Dallas, and in every kind of match. Singles and tag, ladders and championships; Swerve and Fox have done it all with one another and now their rivalry is coming to the first DYNAMITE of 2023, right in Swerve's yard.
Now in terms of history, seven singles matches from 2012-2019 saw AR Fox win four straight battles while Swerve picked up the last three, culminating in their final fight just shy of four years ago on February 16, 2019. Now Fox, on the heels of his trio with Top Flight winning the Three Kings Battle Royale, steps back into the battle with this familiar foe but with some new faces surrounding the situation.
Fox has found allies in Dante and Darius Martin since he came to All Elite Wrestling, while Swerve has surrounded himself with associates like Rick Ross, Parker Boudreaux, and the still-unidentified tattooed man at their side. How will these new associations effect this singles bout on Wednesday night? Can AR Fox step into Swerve's house and scoop up another singles victory in their storied history, or will it be Swerve and his affiliates celebrating in Seattle?
TAG TEAM BOUT...
TBS Champion Jade Cargill & Red Velvet vs. Kiera Hogan & Skye Blue
Clearly all is not copacetic with The Baddies based on the video above from last Friday night's edition of RAMPAGE. Jade Cargill may have won her TBS Championship defense against Kiera Hogan, maintaining her undefeated streak, but Red Velvet clearly was not on the same page as the champ and Leila Grey.
That may not come as a surprise to some, given that the relationship between Red and Jade first started with the women as foes, only for the former to ultimately decide that joining the latter whom she could not beat was the better decision. Thus Red Velvet became a Baddie, betrayed those she was once close too, and spent months helping Jade Cargill maintain her status as the unbeaten TBS Champion.
So do the events of last Friday mean Red Velvet, after recovering from injury, once again has her eyes on the prize Jade Cargill has been carrying for almost one full year? Have the two women settled whatever popped up last week and gotten onto the same page for this tag team bout? If not, can they at least coexist as partners while Skye Blue now has to trust a former Baddie to be her partner? There's a great deal of tension and drama wrapped up between these four women, how will it explode on the first DYNAMITE of 2023?
HANGMAN UPDATE & WORDS FROM MOXLEY...
AEW's Los Angeles return to The Forum is a week away, and there are two men with a very vested interest in what happens that night, two men who want that night to provide their battleground. One of those men is “Hangman” Adam Page but for that possibility to become reality, he has to be given a doctor's clearance and this Wednesday night on the first DYNAMITE of 2023, we anticipate a medical update on the former AEW World Champion's status.
The other man with eyes on The Forum is former 3-Time AEW World Champion Jon Moxley but just as Page's future hinges on a doctor's clearance, so too does Mox's. In order for Moxley to get what he wants, Hangman has to get what he needs, and then we will all get the fight we desire. We expect to hear from Moxley this Wednesday night as well in response to what news comes from Hangman's medical update. Will we get our fight at The Forum next week in Los Angeles?
2023 begins with a loaded first week on AEW's calendar, and it all starts with our Seattle debut at the Climate Pledge Arena, followed by the Portland, OR debut with a live RAMPAGE and live BATTLE OF THE BELTS V! Wednesday night features two championship bouts as The Acclaimed defend the AEW World Tag Team Championship against Jay Lethal & Jeff Jarrett and Samoa Joe defends his TNT Championship in a rematch with Seattle's own Darby Allin! Plus TBS Champion Jade Cargill and Red Velvet unite after a troublesome Friday night in The Baddies to face Kiera Hogan and Skye Blue, and Swerve Strickland comes home to Seattle to face AR Fox! Plus, we anticipate a medical update on Hangman Page as well as comments from Jon Moxley, the AEW World Champion MJF will appear live in Seattle, and Washington's own Bryan Danielson will also be in action as he pursues Maxwell!
The action begins live on TBS starting at 8pm ET/7pm CT, as well as at AEWPlus.com for international audiences, and be sure to visit the official AEW YouTube channel 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!