Coming off a huge CHAMPIONSHIP FRIDAY edition of RAMPAGE, in which four different non-AEW titles were defended, and two exciting HOUSE RULES events in Tupelo and Huntsville, All Elite Wrestling is back this Wednesday night with another loaded-up edition of DYNAMITE! With FORBIDDEN DOOR 2023 just a few weeks away, the eyes of the wrestling world are falling on both AEW and New Japan Pro Wrestling to see what goes down between the two premiere wrestling companies! While his Blackpool Combat Club allies were trying to claim the NEVER Openweight Six Man Titles at NJPW DOMINION in Osaka-Jo Hall, we also heard what one particular individual had to share:
In addition the premiere of AEW COLLISION in Chicago is also just around the corner, and there is still so much to learn about what that will entail! Well, we shall see what unfolds this Wednesday when All Elite Wrestling returns to Colorado, and debuts in Colorado Springs at the Broadmoor World Arena!
With an International Championship Match going down, a Texas Tornado Tag, and Ricky Starks hopefully getting the fair shot at Jay White he deserves, we will also hear from the AEW World Champion MJF for the first time since his Four Pillars Four Way victory at DOUBLE OR NOTHING 2023, and AEW CEO Tony Khan has some news about the COLLISION debut! The fights begin at 8pm ET/7pm CT LIVE on TBS, as well as at AEWPlus.com for our international fans, so visit the official AEW YouTube channel to watch highlights from last week’s DYNAMITE and RAMPAGE, in addition this week’s editions of ROAD TO, THE CONTROL CENTER, and more!
AEW INTERNATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH…
Orange Cassidy(c) vs. Swerve Strickland
In the aftermath of the Blackjack Battle Royale at DON ’23, where Swerve Strickland and Orange Cassidy had a tremendous fight as the last two standing, both men went into DYNAMITE with another fight on their table. Swerve faced the threat of both Trent Beretta and Big Bill in a Three Way bout, and managed to overcome both men to score victory. Shortly thereafter, in a tag team match against Swerve’s allies in Gates of Agony, Orange and Darby Allin picked up a victory of their own, only to look up to see Swerve and “The Machine” Brian Cage slowly making their approach towards the ring.
There’s no doubt The Mogul Embassy intended to inflict pain on the AEW International Champion and the former 2-Time TNT Champion, but they never got to act on said intentions because “The Icon” Sting made his return to AEW to even up the odds! Rather than risk that battle, the Mogul Embassy chose discretion and abandoned their violent designs.
But this Wednesday night Swerve will get what he’s wanting when, for the very first time in the careers, he and Orange Cassidy will collide in a singles match with the AEW International Championship at stake! With 23 defenses under his belt, the most of any active champion and second in AEW history behind Jade Cargill’s 25 defenses of the TBS Championship, Cassidy has been the workhorse of 2023, and there is no doubt how it has been wearing on his body. Just look at that Orange Punch hand, not just how he has to consistently tape it up ever since Buddy Matthews struck it with his Trios Championship Title, but also the effectiveness of the maneuver has been reduced. What was once capable of felling a foe in a single shot now takes multiple blows to topple a challenger, and each punch is only making the situation worse.
Add in the fact that Cassidy competed on both HOUSE RULES events over this past weekend, while Swerve had the opportunity to rest his bones, and this may be the moment the AEW International Champion sees its way to a new waist. Plus, with the Prince Nana and the Mogul Embassy factor as part of the equation, and “Freshly Squeezed” could be looking at the end of his days as an AEW champion! It’s going to take everything he’s got to retain in this one, but if there’s anyone who can do it, it would be Orange Cassidy!
TBS CHAMPIONSHIP OPEN CHALLENGE…
Kris Statlander(c) vs. Anna Jay A.S.
At DOUBLE OR NOTHING 2023, Kris Statlander shocked the world when she returned to All Elite Wrestling following Jade Cargill’s victory over Taya Valkyrie, answering “Smart” Mark Sterling’s call for another challenger, and ending Cargill’s record-setting reign and undefeated streak.
It marked the finale of an arduous return from injury for Statlander, but the beginning of a whole new challenge for Kris as now she had to undertake the task of defending said championship, a challenge she did not hesitate to take on head-first! Just three days after defeating Jade, Kris took on the challenge of former AEW Women’s World Champion Nyla Rose, and overcame.
But she wasn’t done; during the HOUSE RULES: TUPELO and HOUSE RULES: HUNTSVILLE events over the weekend Statlander defended the belt on both nights. The first night she topped Anna Jay A.S. in singles competition, and then turned away the challenge of Lady Frost on the second, thus marking three successful title defenses in four days!
It was a tremendous start to Kris Statlander’s TBS Championship reign, and she apparently has no intention of letting up because this Wednesday night, she’s giving one of those HOUSE RULES challengers a second opportunity to win the title. Anna Jay A.S. will meet Statlander in a rematch of their awesome Tupelo battle, Kris’ four defense in a week, and try to bring gold into The Jericho Appreciation Society by winning her first AEW championship.
Despite being fresh back from injury, Statlander has taken on a kind of schedule reminiscent of her friend Orange Cassidy’s AEW International Championship reign, but will she also experience that kind of success or will Kris burn herself out with this intense championship drive?
THE WORDS OF THE DEVIL…
At DOUBLE OR NOTHING 2023 AEW World Champion Maxwell Jacob Friedman defied the odds to beat “Jungle Boy” Jack Perry, Darby Allin, and “The Spanish God” Sammy Guevara to retain his title. Regardless of how he’s gotten there, since beating Jon Moxley to begin the reign, Max has topped “Absolute” Ricky Starks, “The American Dragon” Bryan Danielson, and now those three Pillars to remain atop the AEW mountain.
It should come as no surprise that it’s only served to make the already bloated ego of the champion even more so, and now that he’s decided there is no one worth is time left in AEW, and has actually derided New Japan Pro Wrestling ahead of FORBIDDEN DOOR 2023, one has to wonder what else MJF has to say, and who else he can possibly insult in the process.
We will find out this Wednesday night when the champion graces the fans in Colorado Springs, and those watching worldwide, with his presence…
TEXAS TORNADO TAG TEAM MATCH…
JungleHOOK(“Jungle Boy” Jack Perry & FTW Champion HOOK)
La Faccion Ingobernable (Dralistico & Preston Vance)
It was just a few weeks ago that, prior to his AEW World Championship bid at DON ’23, “Jungle Boy” Jack Perry stepped into the ring with “El Toro Blanco” Rush and went through an absolute war that left Jack bloodied and battered. JB survived the fight with the former ROH World Champion, pinning Rush at the end, but his body certainly showed the scars of what it meant to battle the head of LIJ.
And perhaps Jack thought that was the end of LFI in his life, but when a jealous Jose the Assistant led Dralistico and Preston Vance towards an assault on FTW Champion HOOK, it brought Perry right back into their orbit to prevent the gang beatdown of his friend and occasional tag team partner. Jack wasn’t about to let HOOK suffer the fate of a 3-on-1 assault, and with chair in hand, came to the ring to even the odds.
Well this Wednesday night, when AEW returns to Colorado, it looks like a little bit of Texas is coming with them because DYNAMITE will host a Texas Tornado Tag pitting JungleHOOK against LFI representatives “Perro Pelligroso” Preston Vance and Dralistico! This means no tag are necessary, all four men can be in the ring simultaneously, and chaos is likely to ensue when the violent nature of LFI is unleashed.
Will JB show Rush’s lackeys what he learned about violence in their battle? Can HOOK sink the Redrum on one of them and continue his unbeaten streak? Or will Vance and Dralistico take what they’ve gained under the LFI banner, apply it to the rules of the fight, and decimate their foes?
“Absolute” Ricky Starks vs. “Switchblade” Jay White
***JUICE & FTR BANNED FROM RINGSIDE***
The bad blood between Ricky Starks and the BULLET CLUB GOLD duo of Jay White and Juice Robinson has only continued to worsen with each passing week of sneak attacks, double teams, and other chicanery by the pair. Whether it’s been in the ring or backstage, whether it’s Juice or Jay, Starks has found a way to win the fight but still end up on the losing end of of situation.
Even when FTR was there for him, it was only after BC GOLD perpetrated another assault on Starks following the Blackjack Battle Royale at DOUBLE OR NOTHING 2023, and it has directly led to this contest going down on Wednesday night! With both FTR and Juice Robinson banned from ringside, this is Ricky’s chance to get some revenge for everything that has been done to him, and unlike the last encounter with “King Switch” where Ricky looked like the winner with chair in hand but lost by DQ, this could be his chance to end battles with BC GOLD before it gets any worse.
Will Juice Robinson abide by the terms of the fight, or will he find a way to get involved in the situation despite the ban?
As shown above, this past weekend during NJPW’s DOMINION event, there were multiple incidents taking place that directly affected All Elite Wrestling. The first, in the opening bout of the night, Will Ospreay defeated Lance Archer to become the number one contender to the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship. How does that affect the landscape of AEW? Well the reigning champion is none other then “The Cleaner” Kenny Omega after beating Ospreay back at WRESTLE KINGDOM on January 4th! The leader of United Empire has wanted little more than the opportunity to reclaim the belt, and he has now earned that opportunity.
Also going down that evening in Osaka-Jo Hall, The Blackpool Combat Club of Claudio Castagnoli and Jon Moxley reunited with Mox’s favorite “Shooter” Shota Umino to challenge Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii, and Hiroshi Tanahashi for the NEVER Openweight Six-Man Championship. Marking Claudio’s debut in NJPW, the BCC trio were unfortunately not able to make it a triumphant one, but they certainly made an impression on three of New Japan’s finest, including “The Ace” Tanahashi and a man in Okada who many consider the best in the world.
Well, to the shock of all in attendance and those watching on NJPW WORLD, another man who many consider “The Best Wrestler in the World” appeared on the video screen with a little message of his own for “The Rainmaker” Kazuchika Okada! Though he wasn’t physically in the building, that video marked the first time Bryan Danielson had been part of a NJPW event since November 30, 2004 when he and James Gibson teamed to face Jushin “Thunder” Liger and Minoru Tanaka. Now “The American Dragon” is no stranger to NJPW, not by a longshot, not only did he spend time training in the Inoki Dojo earlier in his career, but Bryan was an IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Champion alongside Curry Man, competed in the 2002 Junior Triathlon Survivor Tournament, won the 2004 Best of American Super Junior Tournament hosted by Inoki Dojo, a victory that earned him a spot in NJPW’s Best of the Super Junior XI tournament in 2004, and was a participant in the infamous ROH-hosted Best of American Super Juniors tournament in 2005. Suffice to say, Danielson has some roots in New Japan Pro Wrestling, and clearly he aims to show “The Rainmaker” just who is the actual best wrestler in the world!
Well, based on that video embedded above, it looks like Kenny Omega, Bryan Danielson, and All Elite Wrestling have some answers pertaining to FORBIDDEN DOOR 2023! And in response to these major announcements comes…
The Blackpool Combat Club (Jon Moxley, ROH World Champion Claudio Castagnoli, & Wheeler Yuta)
CHAOS (Chuck Taylor, Rocky Romero, & Trent Beretta)
With Bryan Danielson on commentary, The Blackpool Combat Club will go into trios battle with Kazuchika Okada’s Stateside CHAOS stablemates of The Best Friends and Rocky Romero! This particular BCC trio has won seven straight matches, including over Chuck and Trent with Bandido as their third, and save The House of Black’s nine straight victories, no active trio has a better streak going.
Now this CHAOS unit is also undefeated, but in their case that means just three bouts since their first on the 11/7/22 edition of DARK: ELEVATION, and only one in 2023 just over a month ago. They have not been in constant combat together like this BCC group, but that doesn’t mean they are going to let Mox, Claudio, and Yuta use them as a message to “The Rainmaker” in advance of FORBIDDEN DOOR 2023. Chuck, Trent, and Rocky are not going to just lay down for their foes, and in turn likely aim to make this a message from Okada to “The American Dragon” as he sits with the commentary team.
Think of this as a preview of what’s to come in a few weeks when AEW arrives in Toronto on pay-per-view; who will be the ones with the advantage heading in?
This Wednesday night edition of DYNAMITE will emanate from the Broadmoor World in Colorado Springs, CO, and it’s full-steam towards the debut of COLLISION and AEWxNJPW presenting FORBIDDEN DOOR 2023! JungleHOOK will be in action as they take on LFI in a Texas Tornado Tag, plus Ricky Starks and Jay White will collide in a match where Juice and FTR are banned from the ringside area! In addition, Orange Cassidy will meet Swerve Strickland with the AEW International Championship at stake, we will learn more about the premiere episode of COLLISION, and unfortunately we will have to hear from AEW World Champion Maxwell Jacob Friedman!
DYNAMITE begins off at 8pm ET/7pm CT on TBS, as well as at AEWPlus.com for our international audiences, just be sure to visit the official AEW YouTube channel prior to showtime to catch DYNAMITE and RAMPAGE highlights, as well as this week’s editions of ROAD TO, THE CONTROL CENTER, and much more!