AEW Dynamite Preview For March 29, 2023
Last week All Elite Wrestling experienced a tremendous time in the Kansas City area, epitomized by the dream match between Kenny Omega and El Hijo del Vikingo! In what was truly a dream match, the former AEW World Champion and current IWGP U.S. Heavyweight Champion, bested Vikingo only to have his triumph ruined by The Blackpool Combat Club. That was on the heels of Jon Moxley defeating Stu Grayson, then The BCC attacking him backstage, all while under speculation for perpetrating an assault on The Young Bucks just before showtime.
The speculation became certainty with that attack on Omega, but it was shockingly Hangman Page who came to the assist of his former championship partner. On top of that, fans witnessed HOOK decimate Stokely Hathaway, Powerhouse Hobbs topple Penta El Zero Miedo in another TNT Championship defense, and Sting return to action as he teamed with Darby and Orange to defeat Kip Sabian, The Butcher, and The Blade! Plus Taya Valkyrie continued her quest to become a challenger for the TBS Championship, picking up another victory in AEW competition, just like The Outcast's Toni Storm did when she toppled Skye Blue in their one-on-one bout!
This Wednesday night will be another monumental night in DYNAMITE history as AEW returns to the Chaifetz Arena in St. Louis, MO for the first time in nearly a year!
Last time AEW was in town, fans witnessed The Young Bucks become 2-Time AEW World Tag Team Champions in a Ladder Match with Jurassic Express and Chris Jericho defeat Ortiz in a Hair versus Hair match! This time around, Kenny Omega will be putting his IWGP US Heavyweight Title on the line against The United Empire's Jeff Cobb, The Butcher will challenge Orange Cassidy for the AEW International Championship, and Adam Cole returns to the ring to face the self-proclaimed “greatest technical sports entertainer” Daniel Garcia! The show gets underway LIVE on TBS at 8pm ET/7pm CT, as well as at AEWPlus.com for our international audiences, so prior to that be sure to visit the official AEW YouTube channel for highlights from last week's episodes of DYNAMITE and RAMPAGE, as well as the latest from AEW DARK: ELEVATION, AEW DARK, ROAD TO, THE CONTROL CENTER, and so much more!
IWGP UNITED STATES HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH...
Kenny Omega (c) vs. Jeff Cobb
Kenny Omega, the reigning IWGP United States Heavyweight Champion, had his hands full last week on DYNAMITE when, after several years of anticipation, he finally stepped into the ring with AAA Mega Champion El Hijo del Vikingo. The resulting contest proved every bit as exhilarating as imagined, truly living up to its dream match moniker, and ending with “The Cleaner” having his hand raised. Sadly the joy was short-lived as The Blackpool Combat Club pounced upon the former AEW World Champion, thinking that without The Young Bucks in the house, and Hangman Page having traveled to the hospital with Matt and Nick, Kenny would be easy pickings for Moxley, Castagnoli, and Yuta. As seen in the video above, The BCC was quite mistaken as Hangman commandeered an ambulance to get back to the arena, and chased off the assailants with a nail-ridden 2x4. Unfortunately Don Callis ruined what should've been a reunion of championship partners, but hopefully Omega checked the tape to see what really happened.
Hopefully he also heard the words sent from Jeff Cobb following New Japan Pro Wrestling's event on March 19th after he and fellow United Empire member Kyle Fletcher were victorious in a tag team bout. Suffice to say, Cobb has made it his mission to bring the IWGP U.S. Heavyweight Championship back to Japan, and as such has put a target right between Kenny Omega's eyes:
In a night full of first-time matches, this is a huge one with tremendous stakes affecting two different promotions in two separate parts of the world, and certainly intriguing with the knowledge that AEW and NJPW will be presenting FORBIDDEN DOOR 2023 on June 25th in Toronto.
The only other interaction between the two men was back at NJPW'S NEW YEAR'S DASH 2023 on January 5th, a tag team bout when Omega united with IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada to defeat the United Empire combination of Jeff Cobb and Aaron Henare. Henare ate the deciding pinfall after a combination Rainmaker/V-Trigger, and clearly it has eaten at Cobb ever since, so much so that he made the decision to come to St. Louis in order to fight Kenny Omega.
It's not the first time the IWGP United States Championship has resided around the waist of an AEW combatant, Jon Moxley held it for 564 days before Lance Archer defeated him, only to have Tanahashi end that reign after three weeks and bring the title back to Japan. Now, in Cobb's eyes, history is repeating itself as the original IWGP U.S. Champion is creeping on 90 days in this second reign without defending the title. This is untenable to Jeff Cobb, and that's part of why he's forced this match into being; the only question is if he can have the success of Tanahashi in bringing the championship back, or if he will be like all those from Japan who came after Moxley during his reign and failed in their bid?
The Outcast's Ruby Soho vs. Willow Nightingale
It was only two months ago that Ruby Soho and Willow Nightingale stood side-by-side in a vicious, violent, bloody Street Fight, and emerged victorious against Jericho Appreciation Society members Anna Jay A.S. and Tay Melo. It was a triumphant moment for the two friends, one that seemed like it would be the impetus for their elevation in the Women's Division, but in retrospect instead seems like an outlier in the respective careers of Soho and Nightingale.
Instead of a bond forged in blood, that night seems a memory Ruby Soho has chosen to push aside, and a love from the crowd she's elected to forget because it forces her to face the flawed justifications for her actions. But the reality coming this Wednesday night in St. Louis is that Ruby Soho will have to face that moment once more when she fights Willow Nightingale in one-on-one competition.
It will be hard to look away from the recent past when Willow is standing mere feet away from “The Runaway”, hard to justify stabbing all of the AEW women in the back when the brightest light in the locker room is sharing the ring. As much as facing Dr. Britt Baker or AEW Women's World Champion Jamie Hayter would be punishment for Ruby's crimes, this bout and the actual relationship between the two women makes it far more personal an affair. Thankfully there are plenty of women willing to have Nightingale's back, chief among them original AEW Women's World Champion Riho, because Saraya and Toni Storm have shown no problem getting involved to sway the outcome of a match.
The Firm's Matt Hardy (w/Ethan Page) vs. Jack Perry
They've been on opposite sides of the fight many times over the last few years, most recently when JungleHOOK defeated Matt Hardy and Ethan Page in tag team competition two months ago, but this will mark the first time the two men have collided in a singles match! Although their earlier history consisted of a rather...addled...Hardy trying to lure Jack Perry away from his relationship with Christian Cage, this bout is more an outgrowth of issues between The Firm and “Jungle Boy”, the ones that briefly brought HOOK and JB together.
Hardy has been treated by Stokely Hathaway almost like a weapon sent out after individuals, but one he doesn't seem to care whether or not it returns intact. Hardy is simply a tool, one who's previously been thrown at HOOK by The Firm leader, and now he has to do the same with a man whose made it known his eyes are on the biggest prize in all of All Elite Wrestling: the AEW World Championship. So while Matt may be doing it to avenge Ethan Page's loss last January, to defend the honor of The Firm, Jack Perry is doing it to build his resume in pursuit of the title held by Maxwell Jacob Friedman. Jack doesn't care about Stokely and his ilk, not any more, his care is solely to prove himself deserving of the title opportunity, and then to claim that which MJF cherishes above all else.
Dalton Castle & The Boys (Brandon & Brent) vs. Blackpool Combat Club (Claudio Castagnoli, Jon Moxley & Wheeler Yuta)
Dalton Castle and The Boys are coming off a heartbreaking rematch with The Embassy on a recent episode of ROH ON HONOR CLUB, failing to reclaim their ROH World Six-Man Championship, and are looking to bounce back from that this week on DYNAMITE! In AEW competition, Dalton and The Tate Twins are undefeated, but in all fairness to the competitors they've faced, none were operating at the level of The Blackpool Combat Club.
As of late Claudio, Moxley, and Yuta have fully embraced their more violent tendencies, largely at the expense of The Dark Order, but so too have the members of The Elite felt their wrath. Last week started with The Young Bucks being assaulted and rushed to the hospital, and ended with a worn down Kenny Omega being laid out following his instant classic with El Hijo del Vikingo. Clearly the connective tissue between the two is Hangman Page, his current ties to The DO as well as his former(perhaps renewed) to The Elite, but it's reasonable to say none are safe from the wrath of The BCC, thus the former ROH World Champs best be prepared for less a wrestling match and something more akin to a fight.
With a huge championship match already on his slate for Wednesday, will Omega have eyes of vengeance on The BCC? Will Hangman have sights set on them as well? Will The Young Bucks be on hand for this? What about The Dark Order's role in this chaotic situation? The Blackpool Combat Club has amassed a great deal of enemies in a short period of time, and they may all be watching this trios bout waiting for their opportunity to return the favor!
AEW INTERNATIONAL TITLE MATCH...
Orange Cassidy vs. The Butcher (w/The Blade)
These two men have been married to one another for the last couple weeks, doing battle at the HOUSE RULES event in Troy, OH in tag team action, and then fighting it out in Trios competition last Wednesday night. But those last few days are just the latest flare-up of their rivalry; as far back as September 2021, Orange Cassidy has done battle with The Butcher, then in a 12-Man Tag, but since then it's been tag team bouts, trios, even battle royales, yet never a singles match, not until this Wednesday night on DYNAMITE!
For the very first time ever, The Butcher will lock horns with Orange Cassidy and it will be with the AEW International Championship on the line! In the past, Butch has challenged Moxley for the AEW World Championship, Darby for the TNT Championship, while together he and The Blade have faced The Lucha Brothers and The Acclaimed for tag team supremacy, but this marks Butcher's first AEW International Championship challenge.
For Orange, from his beginning as All-Atlantic Champion to his transition into the first AEW International Champion, he's heading into a 15th defense in just under 170 days, his 13th match of 2023, and 125th fight overall. He's also second in the men's division with overall AEW wins, 94 to Mox's 104, and should be in consideration as the hardest-working man in AEW year-to-date. And that's certainly going to be put to the test when he steps into the ring with The Butcher for their first-ever singles outing this Wednesday night! With his number of successful defenses, OC is already the most successful champion in the history of the Men's Division, across all titles, and is rapidly approaching Jade Cargill's 20 TBS Championship defenses as well; will The Butcher be the man to end this epic run that “Freshly Squeezed” has been on?
Adam Cole vs. The J.A.S' Daniel Garcia
276 days; come bell time on Wednesday night it will be 276 days since Adam Cole last stepped into a professional wrestling ring to compete in a match. That night, FORBIDDEN DOOR 2022, he, Kazuchika Okada, and “Hangman” Adam Page all failed to capture the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship from Jay White, but it would mark just the beginning of Cole's very difficult road to March 26th.
A great deal of that journey will be detailed on AEW: ALL ACCESS at 10pm ET/9pm CT immediately following DYNAMITE, but suffice to say it has been an extremely difficult journey for Adam Cole, but one that will finally culminate in St. Louis, MO this Wednesday. But, for as rough as the road has been, the hardest part of this return to action may be that Cole has to contend with “Red Death” Daniel Garcia, a former ROH Pure Champion and member in good standing of the Jericho Appreciation Society, in this first match back.
This isn't a warm-up match, or easing one's way back into the mix, this is Cole jumping straight into the fire and putting his body to the test. Daniel Garcia isn't going to take it easy on Adam because it's his first match back in nearly 300 days, in fact it's probably a reason for Garcia to press Cole even harder than he might another man. This is Garcia wanting to make a statement at the expense of Adam Cole, ruining his highly-anticipated return, and perhaps even aiming to put Cole back on the shelf, all to further cement his name in the annals of history.
Will this be a triumphant return to action for Adam Cole in advance of ALL ACCESS or will Wednesday night be one of misery for the 2022 Owen Hart Foundation Tournament winner?
AEW is back at Chaifetz Arena in St. Louis, MO this Wednesday night for an jam-packed edition of DYNAMITE! After facing El Hijo del Vikingo last week, and being beaten down by The BCC, Kenny Omega will put his IWGP US Heavyweight Title up against The United Empire's Jeff Cobb! Plus, Orange Cassidy defends the International Championship against The Butcher, Adam Cole returns to action for the first time since June to face The JAS' Daniel Garcia, and Willow Nightingale takes on The Outcast's Ruby Soho! DYNAMITE begins at 8pm ET/7pm CT on TBS, and at AEWPlus.com for our international fans, so before the action begins, visit the official AEW YouTube channel for highlights from previous episodes of DYNAMITE and RAMPAGE, as well as the latest offerings from AEW DARK: ELEVATION, AEW DARK, THE CONTROL CENTER, and this week's edition of ROAD TO! Then, be sure to stick around after DYNAMITE for the premiere of AEW: ALL ACCESS on TBS; it will be All Elite Wrestling like you never thought you'd get to see it, a look behind-the-scenes unlike any other!