Fresno fans were treated to a tremendous edition of DYNAMITE last week with Darby Allin successfully defending the TNT Championship against NJPW’s KUSHIDA, Bryan Danielson continuing his World Championship quest with a victory over Bandido, and Orange Cassidy also retaining his All-Atlantic Title over Jay Lethal!
In a rather shocking turn of events, Toni Storm and Saraya brutally assaulted Willow Nightingale after Storm squeaked out a victory, bringing Ruby Soho out to save her ally, and we witnessed Top Flight pick up the biggest win of their career over The Young Bucks; and that was just on Wednesday night! RAMPAGE brought Jade Cargill one step closer to her 50th consecutive victory after her and Leila Grey’s tag team victory, while Jack Perry topped Ethan Page, Brian Cage defeated Willie Mack, and Action Andretti continued his streak against The J.A.S by beating Daniel Garcia!
After all that, what a night it is going to be in Lexington when AEW comes to town for the very first time! Bryan Danielson, with his hopes on an AEW World Championship match at REVOLUTION 2023, will be in action against “The Machine” Brian Cage! Darby Allin will be defending his TNT Championship against The House of Black’s Buddy Matthews! Two of the best in AEW’s Women’s Division will collide in a first-ever match, and JungleHOOK will unite once more to battle Ethan Page and Matt Hardy! “Daddy Ass” will be taking all four of his kids to family therapy, and The J.A.S. will be in tag team competition against two of the thorns in their side in Ricky Starks and Action Andretti!
The premier athletes of All Elite Wrestling kick off AEW’s flagship program at 8pm ET/7pm CT on TBS, and at AEWPlus.com for international audiences, with the doors opening in Lexington at 6pm ET! Prior to the action, visit the official AEW YouTube channel to catch up on the events of last week’s in Fresno, including the latest from 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!
REACH FOR THE SKY…
Mark Briscoe vs. Jay Lethal
A week ago the lives of so many were shook to their core by the tragic death of Jamin Pugh, professionally known as Jay Briscoe. Wrestlers from across the landscape and in locker rooms around the world took to social media to express their sorrow at the loss of this spectular athlete, this dear friend, this amazing son, this beloved brother, this special father, this cherished husband. Over his twenty-plus years competing inside the squared circle, Jay Briscoe touched the hearts of those with whom he shared locker rooms, as well as the fans who watched him in every promotion from CZW to ECWA, from Pro Wrestling NOAH to the NWA, from GCW to HOG to NEW, and to his home since the company’s 2002 founding, Ring of Honor Wrestling. He and brother Mark captured the attention of those watching them on VHS, DVD, PPV , and live in venues from St. Michael’s Parish Hall to Madison Square Garden. From the beginning, even before they had their first professional match and were merely training under Jim Kettner and Glen Osbourne, Jay and Mark just felt special, and that feeling grew to make them one of the most important tag teams in pro wrestling’s last twenty years.
They are the foundation of Ring of Honor, from the first official match to winning their 13th ROH World Tag Team Championship at FINAL BATTLE 2022, no two men have represented Ring of Honor more fervently than Jay and Mark Briscoe, and there are no two men as beloved by their peers as Dem Boyz from Sandy Fork. One of those men who has come to know and love The Briscoes over the last twenty years is Jay Lethal; from simply sharing locker rooms in ROH’s earliest days to building one of the great rivalries in the company’s history, Lethal bonded with Jay and Mark in the way wrestlers do best, through battles inside the ring over the ROH World Championship, the ROH World TV Title, and the ROH World Tag Team Titles, but also backstage in conversations about their lives and families.
That is why this Wednesday night, in honor of Jay Briscoe and in celebration of his 39th birthday, Mark Briscoe and Jay Lethal have requested to meet one another inside the AEW ring to pay tribute to their fallen brother. Now in their head-to-head bouts over the years, Lethal is 5-0-1 against Mark, including two World TV Title defenses in 2015, with that No Contest finish coming in their last collision at HONOR UNITED 2019: NIGHT ONE. That bout was a bit more of a violent affair, blood and whatnot being spilled, but this one is not about that animosity long buried, it is about the love for Jay Briscoe the wrestler, the love for Jamin Pugh the man, and paying tribute to him in front of the entire world.
Jay, Jamin, we all love you, we miss you dearly, and will cherish every moment; this one is for you…
THE TRIALS CONTINUE…
“The American Dragon” Bryan Danielson vs. “The Machine” Brian Cage
February 8th is getting closer, meaning “The American Dragon” Bryan Danielson is getting closer to earning his AEW World Championship Match against MJF at REVOLUTION 2023, and putting Maxwell through the ringer in a One Hour Iron Man Match. Thus far, as part of MJF’s gauntlet, Bryan has beaten both former ROH World Champion Bandido and Konosuke Takeshita, although both men tested The American Dragon’s measure during their respective battles. Still, Bryan survived; in fact one could say he thrived under that adversity, living up to The BCC’s “iron sharpens iron” adage, and now he just has to repeat those actions three more times in Lexington, Dayton, and finally in El Paso.
This Wednesday night at the Rupp Arena, in the third trial of this series of matches, “The American Dragon” must face “The Machine” in their very first meeting inside the squared circle. Brian Cage, one-third of the ROH World Six Man Champions with Gates of Agony, has been thrown an added financial incentive by Maxwell Jacob Friedman, a bounty one might say, but not one contingent on Danielson being defeated. This cash prize will be Cage’s simply based on if he can break Danielson’s arm during the course of the match; MJF doesn’t care if “The Machine” wins or loses this contest, he just wants Bryan injured by the end of fight.
Just in case there was any doubt that MJF fears Bryan Danielson, this bounty essentially cemented that as fact no matter what Max may claim. Maybe he’s afraid of Bryan as an opponent, or maybe it’s more specific than that; maybe MJF is afraid he can’t hang for an hour with Danielson should Bryan make it through February 8th without a blemish. Whatever the case may be, the AEW World Champion is doing his financial best to make sure Danielson doesn’t make it to February 8th intact.
Will Cage manage to reap the financial rewards laid out by MJF? Or will Bryan continue to frustrate the best laid plans of AEW’s cowardly World Champion?
FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME…
Toni Storm vs. Ruby Soho
Originally slated as a Three Way match between Toni Storm, Ruby Soho, and Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D, that intriguing battle had to be changed as a result of an injury to the Good Doctor.
What will take its place will be the first-ever collision between Toni Storm and Ruby Soho! They’ve been allies in All Elite Wrestling before, but at no point in their career have they ever battled one another inside the squared circle, not until Wednesday night on TBS! And after the events of last week’s bout between Toni Storm and Willow Nightingale, how Ruby was pulled into the fray due to Saraya and Storm’s surprising actions, this is sure to have that extra bit of animosity pushing it to the next level.
The winner of this bout is sure to get boost in the title picture; a rematch with Hayter would certainly be an opportunity Storm would relish while Ruby hasn’t had an AEW Women’s World Championship bout since GRAND SLAM 2021 over 15 months ago and would certainly love to up her chances of being the next contender.
This is going to be quite the intriguing match-up with so many potential ramifications for the future of the AEW Women’s World Champion Jamie Hayter! And one has to imagine, given what we’ve seen the last couple weeks, Hikaru Shida may even have an eye on this one…
TAG TEAM GRUDGE MATCH…
Chris Jericho & Sammy Guevara vs. Action Andretti & Ricky Starks
Action Andretti and Ricky Starks have been thorns in the side of The Jericho Appreciation Society for the last month, and the only person to blame for it is Chris Jericho himself. Starks didn’t put his own name in Chris’ mouth when the original AEW World Champion called Ricky a “flash in the pan” just before his AEW World Championship match with MJF at WINTER IS COMING 2022. Starks didn’t go searching out The Jericho Appreciation Society for membership in Chris’ group of sycophants, it was “The Wizard” who came to him only to get shot down cold. But it was Starks who beat Chris Jericho in the middle of the squared circle on January 4th in Seattle, it was Starks who also put down Jake Hager last week in Fresno, and this tune is a rather familiar one in the case of Action Andretti as well.
It was Jericho’s arrogance and overconfidence that led to Action Andretti upsetting “Le Champion” on December 14th, just days after he lost the ROH World Championship at FINAL BATTLE 2022, and it was Chris’ need to have his stooges do his dirty work that led to Andretti beating Daniel Garcia on RAMPAGE just a few days ago. A fireball didn’t deter Action from fighting on against The J.A.S, nor did the massive numbers advantage held by Jericho’s crew; a fight so imbalanced even that Ricky Starks choosing to ally with Action doesn’t remotely level the playing field.
On one side there’s Jericho, Garcia, Hager, Sammy Guevera, Tay Melo, Anna Jay, Matt Menard, and Angelo Parker, while on the other there is Andretti and Starks…just Andretti and Starks…but that isn’t stopping the pair from entering into this tag team battle with Le Sex Gods. It could’ve been Garcicho (or however Chris would’ve spelled it), but Daniel dropped the ball on RAMPAGE when he lost to Andretti, thereby blowing his opportunity to take Guevara’s place in this tag team contest, and disappointing both Chris and Sammy in the process.
At least Garcia got leather pants out of the deal…
So now Starks and Andretti have the opportunity to once against frustrate The J.A.S. come Wednesday night on DYNAMITE, this time in a tag team contest, but the crew could be there in full force with an aim to insure Ricky and Action don’t repeat the successes they’ve experienced against Jericho and his ilk during the last month.
TAG TEAM CHALLENGE…
JungleHOOK (Jack Perry & HOOK) vs. Ethan Page & Matt Hardy
We all thought it would be a one-and-done situation when “Jungle Boy” Jack Perry and FTW Champion HOOK united in Los Angeles to best Big Bill and Lee Moriarty, but it looks like there will be a second-time around for JungleHOOK this week in Lexington!
After being frustrated by the former AEW World Tag Team Champion on RAMPAGE, as seen in the video embedded above, “All Ego” made the challenge for Jack and HOOK to meet him and Matt Hardy at the Rupp Arena. “Jungle Boy” and the FTW Champion have already proven they can successfully operate as a tag team, but the question is if Ethan and Matt Hardy can do the same?
Clearly there’s is a relationship built on control, Ethan (and Stokely) having it over Matt, rather than one built on shared interests, friendship, or even something as base as mutual enemies, and that does not make for the most cohesive of units. Matt’s willingness to operate with Ethan and Stokely stems from his care for Private Party, their well-being, and the persistent threats that have been made regarding Isiah and Marq should Matt not follow the lead of Ethan Page and Stokely Hathaway.
Can that dynamic lead to actual success for “All Ego” and Matt Hardy this week in Lexington? Or will JungleHOOK have another triumphant outing in their second outing as a duo?
TNT CHAMPIONSHIP BOUT…
Darby Allin(c) vs. Buddy Matthews
Darby Allin has had his fair share of issues with The House of Black over the last six months; from the Trios battle at ALL OUT 2022 where Allin, Sting, and Miro bested The HoB, to the tag that followed where Darby and Sting topped Brody King and Buddy Matthews, to the pair of matches (including a Coffin one) with Brody that preceded all of it, the 2-Time TNT Champion is no stranger to the darkness enveloping him, to the eerie arrival of The House that soon follows, nor to the psychological warfare they often use to their advantage.
Given that history between Darby and The House of Black, it feels appropriate that one of their number would step up to answer Allin’s TNT Championship Open Challenge for this week’s DYNAMITE in Lexington; but it will not be Brody nor Malakai facing down the Relentless One inside the Rupp Arena, but rather Buddy Matthews who attempts to claim his first singles title in All Elite Wrestling. A deadly striker in his own right, Matthews may be picking the perfect time to pounce on Darby as the defending champion not only heads into Kentucky for his fifth TNT Championship match in three weeks (three defenses and the victory over Samoa Joe), but is also returning from his first wrestling sojourn to Japan this past Saturday night. As part of Pro Wrestling NOAH’s GREAT MUTA FINAL “BYE-BYE” event, Darby was chosen to team with Sting and The Great Muta in Muta’s final match, with the face-painted trio scoring a victory over AKIRA, Hakushi, and Naomichi Marufuji to bring Great Muta’s in-ring career to a close.
So Darby will be returning to the United States only to head right back into the fray for this TNT Championship collision with Buddy Matthews, and the 2-Timer would likely not have it any other way. Darby seems hellbent on exceeding his previous record-setting championship reign, but he’s going to have to survive the deadly striking of Matthews to continue pursuing that dream.
“Daddy Ass” Billy Gunn may be enjoying himself accompanying the AEW World Tag Team Champions over the course of the last year since his actual sons and his adopted ones first teamed up on the January 25, 2022 edition of AEW DARK. Unfortunately for Billy, the fun has also come with its share of bumps and bruises and it ultimately drove a huge wedge in-between Colten, Austin, and their father as he obviously picked Max Caster and Anthony Bowens over his own flesh and blood.
Now on paper that sounds quite terrible, but in actuality Colten and Austin have demonstrably proven to be horrid, entitled kids who don’t actually want to fight if it can be avoided. Just look at their dynamic with FTR; after screwing them over in a #1 Contender’s Match with Swerve In Our Glory that would’ve put Dax and Cash in the AEW World Tag Team Championship match at FULL GEAR 2022, they turned to The Briscoes to end FTR’s ROH World Tag Team reign at FINAL BATTLE 2022, and in a Double Dog Collar Match no less!
Now they walk around, taking credit for ending the careers of FTR, but the reality is that Austin and Colten don’t want to do any of the work, but they sure want to reap some rewards. It’s rather surprising they aren’t best buddies with Maxwell Jacob Friedman given that mentality…
So suffice to say Austin and Colten have proven a disappointment to their father after spending a good chunk of their AEW careers experiencing success inside the ring, as a trio The Gunn Club is far-and-away the winningest in AEW history, but based on his words to The Acclaimed, it would seem “Daddy Ass” isn’t exactly keen on how Caster and Bowens have been handling their business either.
Which is why this week on DYNAMITE, exactly one year since their first televised match as a quartet, “Daddy Ass” is collecting all four of his kids and putting them into some sort of family therapy situation. This is going to be one ugly situation no matter how it cuts; dirty laundry, family dynamics, parental expectations, whatever comes out of this therapy session is going to ruffle some feathers, no doubt about it.
What a night it is going to be in Lexington when AEW comes to town for the very first time! Bryan Danielson, with his hopes on an AEW World Championship match at REVOLUTION 2023, will be in action against “The Machine” Brian Cage! Darby Allin will be defending his TNT Championship against The House of Black’s Buddy Matthews! Two of the best in AEW’s Women’s Division will collide in their first-ever bout, and JungleHOOK will unite once more to battle Ethan Page and Matt Hardy! “Daddy Ass” will be taking all four of his kids to family therapy, and The J.A.S. will be in tag team competition against two of the thorns in their side in Ricky Starks and Action Andretti!
The action begins live on TBS starting at 8pm ET/7pm CT, as well as at AEWPlus.com for our international audiences, and fans can prepare for the matches by visiting 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!
Article source: allelitewrestling.com