AEW Dynamite Preview For March 8, 2023
REVOLUTION 2023 was a historic night for All Elite Wrestling with a new TNT champion crowned in Wardlow, as well as new World Trios Champions in The House of Black, and highlighted by the indomitable 60 Minute Iron Man World Championship match between MJF and Bryan Danielson! Sadly “The American Dragon” was not able to wrest the title from Maxwell's hands during the regulation time, but it's not as if Max found his way to retention by aboveboard means during the Sudden Death overtime either.
In addition to MJF retaining his AEW World Championship, so too did Jamie Hayter retain her Women's World Title, although she paid the price for that when Ruby Soho made her choice after the match to align with Saraya and Toni Storm, and while The Gunns managed to escape San Francisco with the World Tag Team Championship still in their possession, they paid for their sins when FTR returned to the AEW stage! Plus, Ricky Starks put down Chris Jericho for a second time while Hangman Page survived Texas Death to claim victory over Jon Moxley, and Jack Perry finally buried his issues with Christian Cage!
The fallout from REVOLUTION 2023 begins this Wednesday when DYNAMITE comes to Sacramento for the very first time! On tap, there will be a TNT Championship Match when Wardlow faces Face of the Revolution Ladder Match winner Powerhouse Hobbs, and Orange Cassidy will put his All-Atlantic Championship on the line in a rubber match with Jay Lethal! We go LIVE on TBS at 8pm ET/7pm CT, and at AEWPlus.com for our international audiences, and be sure to visit the official AEW YouTube channel for the post-REVOLUTION Medi Scrum, highlights from previous episodes of DYNAMITE and RAMPAGE, as well as the latest editions of AEW DARK: ELEVATION, AEW DARK, and ROAD TO!
TNT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH...
Wardlow(c) vs. Powerhouse Hobbs
It was just one week ago that Powerhouse Hobbs ascended to the top of a broken ladder and grabbed the brass ring that marked him the winner of the Face of the Revolution Ladder Match, and tabbed him as the next challenger to the TNT Championship post-REVOLUTION 2023. All Hobbs had to do was wait to see if it was “The King of Television” Samoa Joe or “The War Dog” Wardlow who emerged from San Francisco as champion.
After a hard-hitting, smashmouth eleven minute battle, it was Wardlow who actually choked out Joe to reclaim the championship he was actually never beaten for back at FULL GEAR 2022. That night,Wardlow actually defended his championship against both Powerhouse Hobbs and Samoa Joe, and in fact had Hobbs beaten via Powerbomb Symphony when Joe struck “Mr. Mayhem” with the championship belt, and beat Hobbs himself.
That loss was what led Powerhouse to reach back into his roots, to open up his Book of Hobbs, and what has led Hobbs into the 8-match win streak he's been riding since that first match back on January 9th. The motivation that defeat at FULL GEAR '22 provided pushed Powerhouse up that ladder, it gave him the strength to survive a fight with seven other top-caliber athletes, and it's what he is bringing to this TNT Championship fight on Wednesday night so near to his home turf of East Palo Alto.
As for the newly crowned champion, Wardlow also faced his own self-imposed exile from AEW at the end of 2022. In his case, it followed a loss in his TNT Championship rematch with Samoa Joe on 12/28, and the humiliating haircut that was forced upon him by his former WarJoe partner to add insult to injury. After the former TNT Champion returned to the fold, we learned about the importance that hair carried, of its emotional ties to his father, and we all witnessed Joe get his comeuppance at REVOLUTION 2023 when Wardlow choked him out.
Now the paths of these two men, so different yet quite similar, each of them having had to step away from AEW in order to find their way, they will collide in Sacramento with the TNT Championship at stake! This will be Hobbs' first singles match for that championship, his first shot at any sanctioned singles title in AEW for that matter, and he's had a bit more time to rest since his last bout than “Mr. Mayhem”. For Hobbs it was that forty-two second mauling of Serpentico on Friday, for Wardlow it was 11 minutes of being hit harder than he's ever been hit before by Samoa Joe, yet surviving the onslaught to reclaim the TNT Championship. On Wednesday night, they finally collide one-on-one and it could be the most important night of Hobbs' professional career, the most heartbreaking of Wardlow's as he becomes the shortest-reigning TNT Champion since that title's inception, or it could go the other way around with Hobbs being disappointed on his home turf.
Either way, to use a classic Jim Ross-ism, this is going to be a slobberknocker!
ALL-ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH...
Orange Cassidy(c) vs. Jay Lethal
The AEW careers of these two men have been quite intertwined since the summer of 2022 when Lethal, Satnam Singh, and Sonjay Dutt were beaten by Orange Cassidy and The Best Friends on the 7/29 edition of RAMPAGE. Since that night they've done battle in an eight-man tag, in the World Tag Team Championship bout from REVOLUTION 2023, and most importantly for this contest, a pair of singles matches.
The first went down just a few days after their first RAMPAGE fight, prior to “Freshly Squeezed” becoming All-Atlantic Champion, and on that evening in Columbus, it was Lethal who scored victory over his foe. Round two wouldn't come until January when, in an All-Atlantic Championship fight, OC picked up the win during AEW's Fresno debut. That victory did not bring an end to their hostilities, as can clearly be seen during the above-embedded ROAD TO... episode, they've only gotten more intense and the events of REVOLUTION '23 did not help matters.
So in interest of equity, and likely also to finally bring this whole dynamic to an end, Orange Cassidy has agreed to a rubber match with Jay Lethal taking place this Wednesday night in Sacramento! It's essentially inarguable that “Freshly Squeezed” has been the workhorse of All Elite Wrestling every since defeating “The Bastard” PAC last October in Toronto. In just shy of 150 days, OC has defended that title on thirteen occasions, making him the most successful singles champion in the Men's Division since AEW's inception, and second only to Jade Cargill's 19 over her 420+ days as TBS Champion. By comparison, it took Jade 275 days to reach where Orange is at in less than 150, and he's fought in 24 matches since winning the All-Atlantic, as well as competed in 3 Battle Royales. It's reasonable to say that no current champion in AEW has kept the pace of “Freshly Squeezed”, and possibly no champion in AEW history. Cody's 8 TNT Championship defenses in 91 days is the closest, but Orange hit his 8th defense after just 79 days.
This is truly a historic run by Orange Cassidy, but Jay Lethal has a chance to bring it all crashing down come DYNAMITE this Wednesday night at the Golden1 Center! Lethal has already proven he can best Cassidy in singles competition, and with the entourage that surrounds him, Jay certainly has plenty of ammunition to fire at OC in his bid to finally claim a championship. Thankfully Cassidy has friends of his own to try and even the score, but it's hard to keep it even when one of those foes is the 7-foot tall “One in a Billion” Satnam Singh!
AR Fox & Top Flight (Dante & Darius Martin)
Jericho Appreciation Society (Chris Jericho, Daniel Garcia, & Sammy Guevara)
Last Wednesday night AR Fox had a huge opportunity as part of the Face of the Revolution Ladder Match just as Top Flight had theirs when they took part in the two Battle Royale matches that shaped the AEW World Tag Team Championship bout at REVOLUTION 2023. Unfortunately all three men were unsuccessful in their attempts to be part of history, leaving the Martin brothers to watch others challenge for the World Tag Team Titles last Sunday and AR Fox to watch Powerhouse Hobbs contend for the TNT Championship. Thankfully for all three men, they won't spend this Wednesday night's DYNAMITE sitting on the sidelines, instead the Three Kings Trios Battle Royale winners will in Six Man action against another group of disappointed individuals: The Jericho Appreciation Society!
As the world witnessed on Sunday night, Chris Jericho fell to Ricky Starks for the second time, with the interference of Sammy Guevara cut off at the pass by Action Andretti. Even a shot from Jericho's trusty baseball bat Floyd wasn't enough to keep Starks down, and the head of The J.A.S was left laying low by “Absolute”. Thus, just as Fox and Flight, the Jericho Appreciation Society is looking to rebound on Wednesday night in Sacramento, but their facing a trio with just a bit more experience as a unit than this particular J.A.S. iteration. AR Fox and Top Flight have united on four other occasions, and while they are just 1-3, all three of those losses came in AEW World Trios Championship bouts, one with Death Triangle and two with The Elite, and those bouts with Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks were near-upsets on both occasions.
To be fair, Jericho has more experience in his career than all three of his opponents combined, but this is not a one-on-one match, this is about working together as a trio, and it will be interesting to see if just being part of The J.A.S. together makes for a successful trio, or if the time spent in-ring fighting as a unit will lead AR Fox, Dante Martin, and Darius Martin to victory!
Skye Blue vs. Ruby Soho
On Sunday night, fans witnessed Ruby Soho finally make her choice, and to the disappointment of her fans, she chose to side with Saraya and Toni Storm. Maybe it was the frustration of being the one pinned by Jamie Hayter, perhaps it was having her potentially winning pinfall stolen by Dr. Britt Baker's distraction, or perhaps it was there all along and it just took Ruby until that very moment to realize with whom she stood.
And while there are a legion of fans disappointed with The Runaway's decision, there are also many wrestlers disappointed in Ruby's choice as well. One of those women, a competitor who has stood side-by-side with Soho in several bouts, is Skye Blue, and as an AEW original, one who looked up to Ruby as an example of how to conduct your business, Blue wants a fight this Wednesday night!
Skye is coming into this fight with several consecutive wins under her belt, and aims to make Ruby the next one while also making her pay for her crimes against the AEW Women's locker room. It's a huge night for Skye, but also one in which Ruby Soho needs to the win to prove to herself she made the right call in picking Saraya and Storm as her allies. Who will pick up the “W” in this first-time match?
Despite having his hand smashed with bricks, having barbed wire raked across his back, and having a fork repeatedly jabbed into his skull, “Hangman” Adam Page managed to defeat Jon Moxley in their Texas Death Match at REVOLUTION 2023. Not only did he defeat Mox, Page made the former 3-Time AEW World Champion give up as “Hangman” lived up to his name, having Mox trapped dangling from the top rope with a steel chain around his throat.
After surviving such a physical, brutal, bloody battle of attrition, “Hangman” will be in the house at the Golden1 Center and likely to share with the world his thoughts on making it through that war, and what he may have in his mind for the future. Are his sights set on challenging MJF and becoming a 2-Time AEW World Champion? Is there something else Adam Page has his eyes on, like the TNT or All-Atlantic Championship? Perhaps there is a particular opponent he wants to face? This Wednesday night we may get a glimpse into what the future has in store for “Hangman” Adam Page; and speaking of the future...
WHO'S NEXT FOR MJF?
After defeating “The American Dragon” Bryan Danielson in the overtime portion of their AEW World Championship 60 Minute Iron Man last Sunday night at REVOLUTION 2023, Maxwell Jacob Friedman has a right to refer to himself as “The best wrestler in the world”. Whether or not he earned that, based on how he finally won the bout, that's up to an individual to decide, but suffice to say it was not the cleanest championship victory in AEW history. For that matter, two of MJF's falls came about because he was willing to sacrifice one to Bryan after striking his challenger with a low blow. Sound strategy yes, but not exactly the most honorable way to score falls, so exactly on par with who MJF is as a person. A supremely talented professional wrestler when he decides to put forth the effort, but one who would rather take the shortcuts when opportunity presents itself.
Still, Max's willingness to be a scumbag means he remains AEW World Champion while all eyes fall on Sacramento for the fallout from REVOLUTION 2023. There is little doubt the ego of MJF is bursting at the seams after that victory, but that part of being champion means he's got plenty of individuals lining up to be the next challenger. So just what does Maxwell's future look like now that he's survived “The American Dragon”? Will Hangman Page be the man to step up after that Texas Death Match? Will it be Ricky Starks coming off that victory over Chris Jericho, and still with plenty of unfinished business from how his WINTER IS COMING 2022 match with MJF ended last December? Perhaps it will even be the last man to beat Max who wants a piece of the World Championship action, a certain 2-Time TNT Champion by the name of Wardlow?
There are no shortage of individuals who want a piece of MJF, even without the World Championship in the picture, but with the most coveted prize in professional wrestling also in the mix, well the number of hungry challengers just continues to climb! He may be riding high on the hog for now, but MJF will soon have to face that the victory over Danielson was just the beginning of his fight to stay atop All Elite Wrestling!
TAG TEAM GRUDGE MATCH...
The Dark Order (Alex Reynolds & John Silver)
The Blackpool Combat Club (ROH World Champion Claudio Castagnoli & Jon Moxley)
These two units have been wrapped up in one another's business for several weeks now, initially stemming from The Dark Order's relationship with Hangman Page and the former AEW World Champion's battles with Jon Moxley, but it evolved beyond just that into a rivalry all its own! The Tag Team Casino Royale saw The BCC duo of Claudio and Yuta eliminate The Dark Order only for Reynolds and Silver to come back out and cause the distraction that got the two ROH champions eliminated as well. Then there's the violent fight between Evil Uno and Jon Moxley that took place prior to REVOLUTION 2023, that certainly amped the Dark Order/BCC rivalry up a few notches far beyond just Uno being their for his friend.
This Wednesday night, another chapter unfolds in this burgeoning rivalry as Alex Reynolds and John Silver face ROH World Champion Claudio Castagnoli and the man who just fell to Hangman Page last Sunday night, former 3-Time AEW World Champion Jon Moxley. Clearly Mox is in a mood after losing that Texas Death Match, and is likely to take it all out on anyone standing across the ring from him. Together, he and Claudio are 3-0 as a tag team, and they've done that against staunch competition in The Butcher & The Blade, Top Flight, and LFI. Forged in combat, diamonds formed from their internal pressure to be the best, everyone in the Blackpool Combat Club lives for the fight, but for The Dark Order this is also something quite personal.
Often viewed for their comedic elements, the fact of the matter is Reynolds and Silver are a top shelf tag team with impactful double-team maneuvers, and a true bond of friendship holding them together through all the opposition The Dark Order has faced. They need, they want, this victory as much as any other they've encountered, and after the brutal night Mox had Sunday, he may not be in the best state to jump right back into the fray. This could be the prime moment for Silver and Reynolds to snatch the victory away from The Blackpool Combat Club...
AEW's debut in Sacramento, CA gets underway at 4pm PT, with DYNAMITE kicking off on TBS starting at 8pm ET/7pm CT, and at AEWPlus.com for our international fans! Before the fights get started, head over to the official AEW YouTube channel for highlights from previous editions of DYNAMITE and RAMPAGE, as well as the latest offerings from AEW DARK: ELEVATION, AEW DARK, THE CONTROL CENTER, and ROAD TO, plus the REVOLUTION 2023 post-show media scrum!