Last week was another exciting one in the world of All Elite Wrestling, and it all began with AEW World Champion MJF teaming with AEW World Trios Champions Daddy Ass & The Acclaimed to take on BULLET CLUB GOLD in a wild eight-man tag! Unfortunately for the World Champ, the bout ended with Jay White pinning his shoulders to the mat, but at least it bonded the one Max with the other, and garnered the World Champ with some friends besides Adam Cole. Then on Saturday night at COLLISION, the World Trios Champs got to celebrate 69-Day in a fashion only they could, and capped off their 69th day as champions with a record-setting victory over Dalton Castle & The Boys!
We also saw FTR and LFI defeat the AEW World Tag Champions and The Gates of Agony in their own 8-Man Tag on COLLISION, watched Darby Allin and Lance Archer go to battle in a fight lost by Archer, but one in which he and Jake “The Snake” Roberts garnered new allies in The Righteous. Willow Nightingale defeated Emi Sakura, The Kingdom continued to deliver their #NeckStrong message with a “miracle” for Roderick Strong, and much more as AEW barrels towards the Fabulous Forum for FULL GEAR 2023!
AEW is returning to Portland, OR but this time it’s with DYNAMITE and marking our debut at the Moda Center, the home of the Portland Trailblazers! We’ve got MJF, with FULL GEAR 2023 getting closer, defending his AEW World Championship against Daniel Garcia as well as ROH World TV Champion Samoa Joe acecpting the challenge of “Limitless” Keith Lee! Plus Swerve versus Penta, Julia Hart versus Red Velvet, and Mark Briscoe battling Jay White; the action begins at at 8pm ET/7pm CT live on TBS, and at AEWPlus.com for international fans. Be sure to drop by the official AEW YouTube channel to watch highlights from last week’s DYNAMITE, RAMPAGE, and COLLISION, as well as this week’s CONTROL CENTER, plus so much more!
AEW WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH…
MJF(c) vs. Daniel Garcia
Prior to last Friday night’s edition of RAMPAGE, Daniel Garcia had not competed in an AEW match that wasn’t a tag, trios, or multi-man since the Four Way International Championship match at FORBIDDEN DOOR 2023, with his last one-on-one encounter being in a top-shelf fight with Dax Harwood only seen by those in attendance for HOUSE RULES: TUPELO on June 2, and his last televised being a loss to Roderick Strong on the May 24th edition of DYNAMITE. As a man whose AEW resume includes victories over Brody King, Ricky Starks, and Bryan Danielson, it has clearly been frustrating for the former ROH Pure Champion, and the interpersonal issues he and his friends have been experiencing since walking away from The Jericho Appreciation Society have not helped matters.
Perhaps that is why Garcia, after his victory over Trent Beretta, chose to grab the microphone and shoot his shot by challenging Maxwell Jacob Friedman to put his AEW World Championship on the line. Clearly Garcia is tired of fighting with his friends, both inside and outside the ring, and tired of feeling overlooked despite being one of the best technical wrestlers in the game today. In Daniel’s eyes this is a fight that should’ve happened a long time ago, not MJF specifically but rather a World Championship opportunity, and he just had to take it upon himself to breath it into existence.
To MJF’s credit (it still somewhat bristles to write that), despite coming off that COLLISION clash with Kenny Omega and the 8-Man bout on DYNAMITE that saw him pinned by Jay White, he still plans to face Daniel Garcia this Wednesday night and to put the AEW World Championship on the line! That means, by the end of DYNAMITE, fans could see the entire face of the FULL GEAR 2023 championship match change! We could end up with Mark Briscoe taking on MJF, or Mark Briscoe versus Daniel Garcia, as well as the possibility of Jay White versus Daniel Garcia, in addition to the scheduled White/MJF bout. There could be a shake-up on the horizon for All Elite Wrestling, but should MJF survive the night with the championship still…well…not in his possession…but at least attached to his name, then he will tie the 9-defense record set by Jon Moxley during his first reign, making FULL GEAR 2023 the night Maxwell could add “most successful” to the “longest reigning” credit in his championship bio.
Can Garcia step up to that next level of competition and conquer AEW’s own devil? Or will Maxwell Jacob Friedman survive another day as champion and be able focus his sights on the KIA Forum, Jay White, and FULL GEAR 2023? The challengers are circling all-around…
ROH WORLD TV CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH…
Samoa Joe(c) vs. Keith Lee
When the calendar turned from Wednesday November 1st to Saturday the 2nd, Samoa Joe officially became the longest-reigning World Television Champion in Ring of Honor history, surpassing Jay Lethal’s record that had stood since October 23, 2015, and with no seeming end in sight. When Samoa Joe walks into Portland on Wednesday night, he will stand with 575 days as champion to his resume, a number that actually puts the ROH Legend just 71 days away from breaking his own 645-day record as ROH World Champion, maintaining Joe’s status as the longest-reigning champion across all titles in ROH’s nearly 22-year history only now with the Television Championship rather than the World.
Though Samoa Joe felt he’d cleared out all challengers after putting down former TV Champion Rhett Titus on the October 28th COLLISION, and has thus devoted a good deal of his focus on MJF’s AEW World Championship, there was a man willing to step up to that challenge this past Saturday night, someone with a bit of ROH experience of their own, but who has never shared the ring with Samoa Joe: “Limitless” Keith Lee!
Though he’s only made one ROH appearance in the new era of honor, that being at FINAL BATTLE 2022, Keith Lee first competed in Ring of Honor, alongside Shane Taylor, on the May 29, 2015 event known as ROAD TO BEST IN THE WORLD 2015: NIGHT 1. Though never title holders, The Pretty Boy Killers (as Keith and Shane were known) did face top teams like The Briscoes, War Machine, and the All Night Express before Keith Lee left Shane Taylor in February 2017 following UNDISPUTED LEGACY. That’s a whole other issue, one Taylor and Lee still need to sort between each other, merely brought up to show that ROH is not unfamiliar territory to Keith Lee.
That bring multiple questions to bear regarding this fight set for Wednesday’s DYNAMITE: will we see Keith Lee return to Ring of Honor as a champion? Can Samoa Joe continue his run as the “King of Television” and press own towards breaking his own championship record come January 19, 2024? Though both men have issues beyond this title fight, Joe with MJF and Keith with Shane Taylor, they will no doubt be focused on the battle at hand, a battle pitting two of the biggest behemoths in All Elite Wrestling or Ring of Honor against one another!
Jay White vs. Mark Briscoe
***FULL GEAR 2023 TITLE SHOT ON THE LINE***
Once upon a time in 2016, a young lion named Jay White left the New Japan Pro Wrestling Dojo and traveled to the United States on excursion. This is a common happening among the young men coming out of the NJPW Dojo, though the destination is not always the same, and in the case of Jay White it was a year-long voyage to Ring of Honor. Yes he spent time in promotions like RevPro in the UK, fought in American indies like PWG, IWC, and House of Glory, but Ring of Honor was his home until October 28, 2017.
During that time, Jay White would find allies in a group known as Search and Destroy that consisted of White, The Motor City Machine Guns, Lio Rush, and Jonathan Gresham, and with that unit would end up in a several battles with two pillars of Ring of Honor: Jay and Mark Briscoe. One of White’s earliest matches in ROH was a 20-Minute draw with Jay Briscoe, and he would first collide with the brothers from Sandy Fork on the 9/3/16 edition of ROH WRESTLING with Lio Rush at his side. Though that S&D team was unsuccessful, Jay White would find success against The Briscoes at ALL-STAR EXTRAVGANZA VIII when he, ACH, and KUSHIDA defeated Jay, Mark, and Toru Yano in the inaugural World Six-Man Title Tournament and again when he, Lio, Sabin, and Shelley bested Jay, Mark, Silas Young, and Jay Lethal in an 8-Man tag.
As the young lion in those situations, Jay White took his beatings even in victory, and it all helped him prepare for the inevitable birth of “Switchblade” that came with his return to NJPW in November 2017. Jay and Mark would clash with White on one more occasion in May 2022, after “King Switch” had ascended to the head of BULLET CLUB and brought a young man named Chris Bey into the fold, but as it was in their only other straight-up tag match, The Briscoes claimed victory over Jay White and his partner.
All that being said, with that history lesson on the relationship between Mark Briscoe and Jay White, it’s a brand new day and both men are now members of the All Elite Wrestling family. Jay White and his BULLET CLUB GOLD brethren have absconded with MJF’s AEW World Championship title belt, leaving “Switchblade” to walk around AEW and claim himself the true champion. The old saying goes “possession is 9/10ths of the law”, but it’s tantamount to “finder’s keepers, losers weepers” here with Jay White, and Mark Briscoe has decided to put his foot down on the shenanigans he’s watched unfold over the last several weeks.
That is what has led the former 13-Time ROH World Tag Champion to challenge Jay White to this fight on DYNAMITE, a fight in which White’s FULL GEAR 2023 World Championship opportunity will also be on the line! Mark Briscoe’s got nothing to lose and everything to gain with this one, and in just his second match back from injury he could be the next challenger to either MJF or Daniel Garcia. Mark will likely have to contend with the full Bang Bang Gang contingent in Jay’s corner, but perhaps someone in the back with their own BC GOLD issues will be watching Briscoe’s back.
PARA LA FAMILIA…
Swerve Strickland vs. Penta El Zero Miedo
Alex Abrahantes could not have made it more clear; this fight is about something greater than just the match itself. Much like Mark Briscoe standing up for what he sees as wrong, this challenge made to Swerve Strickland on Penta El Zero Miedo’s behalf is also about what the latter sees being done wrong by the former.
After watching what Swerve did at “Hangman” Adam Page’s home, that complete violation beyond the pale of professional wrestling, Penta was disgusted and as a man who cherishes his family, decided to do something about it. So for the first time in AEW, and for the first time since December 2018, Swerve Strickland and Penta El Zero Miedo will go one-on-one on DYNAMITE! History tilts in the favor of Strickland, three previous meetings and all won by the boss of The Mogul Embassy, but this week Penta fights with his family in mind, with Hangman’s family in mind, and that’s the kind of motivation that will push a man to some dark deeds.
Then again, Swerve seems to thrive in those dark deeds as well based on his invasions of both Nick Wayne’s and Hangman Page’s private spaces, and clearly has no issues about crossing the lines decent human beings won’t, and certainly not in the name of a professional wrestling contest. Whose darkness is going to win out in this one-on-one clash?
Julia Hart vs. Red Velvet
The last time Julia Hart was inside the squared circle was a month ago at WRESTLEDREAM 2023 after Kris Statlander bested her in their TBS Championship bout. Not only was that night a championship loss for The House of Black member, it was also the loss that snapped a 28-match win streak that Julia had built since May 2, 2022. The other night when The House of Black returned to the COLLISION stage in full force, so too did Julia Hart arrive, and with them the AEW landscape shuddered.
The last time Red Velvet appeared inside an AEW ring was on the February 1st edition of DYNAMITE when she fell to Jade Cargill in their TBS Championship bout, suffering an injury in the process that has kept her out of action for the last nine months.
That marks two things these women have in common, a TBS Championship loss in their last match, and some time off following that fight. Obviously for Velvet it was a far less of a choice to remain away from the ring, where as with Hart it was more of a regrouping alongside The House.
This Wednesday night the path of these two women will intertwine once more, the first time since their bout on the July 19, 2021 edition of DARK: ELEVATION, a match won by Red Velvet on her road to fighting Dr. Britt Baker for the AEW Women’s World Championship on the very first episode of RAMPAGE.
While Velvet has never contended with this dark, twisted version of Julia Hart, neither has Hart dealt with the Red Velvet of today who learned so much from her time as a Baddie, her challenges for the TBS and Women’s World Titles, and the motivation of long-term injury recovery. What will each bring to the table this Wednesday evening, and whose eyes will be watching it go down?
TAG TEAM TUSSLE..
Darby Allin & Sting vs. The Outrunners (Turbo Floyd & Truth Magnum)
Ahead of their COLLISION trios bout where Adam Copeland will join Darby Allin and Sting to fight Lance Archer and The Righteous, Darby and “The Icon” will be in tag team action against a team who’s been very impressive in their AEW outings to date: The Outrunners!
The Outrunners, Truth Magnum and Turbo Floyd, have been in the ring with The Acclaimed, Butcher & Blade, The Kings of The Black Throne, Aussie Open, and The Gunns, just to name a few of their AEW opponents, and they’ve managed to impress in their losses.
This Wednesday night they’ve got a huge opportunity when they square off with Darby Allin and Sting on the home stretch of The Icon’s career! This could be the biggest night in the lives of The Outrunners, can they take advantage of the situation, particularly all the damage done to Darby by Lance Archer?
HAVE A SEAT WITH TONY, TONI, & SHIDA..
Last week, following Hikaru Shida’s AEW Women’s World Championship defense against Willow Nightingale, Toni Storm made her way to the DYNAMITE stage and stole the spotlight from the champ for the third time. This time Shida had had enough, and as Storm rolled about on the stage, the 3-Time Champion came charging up the ramp, knocking down Luther, and delivering a solid knee strike to Toni’s face.
Storm went scurrying away with Shida in pursuit, but there will be no running this Wednesday night on DYNAMITE when both women, ahead of their FULL GEAR 2023 title fight, sit with Tony Schiavone for a chat! Will tempers flare up and turn this interview into a disaster not seen since THE ROOM?
AEW is back in Portland, OR this Wednesday night for DYNAMITE and our debut at the home of the Portland Trailblazers: the Moda Center! The AEW World Championship will be on the line, as well the ROH World Television Title, plus Swerve Strickland takes on Penta El Zero Miedo, Red Velvet is back in action for the first time in nine months to take on Julia Hart, Mark Briscoe and Jay White clash, and plenty more on top for AEW’s flagship! The night gets underway at 8pm ET/7pm CT live on TBS, and at AEWPlus.com for international fans so make a point to visit the official AEW YouTube channel to catch-up on highlights from recent episodes of DYNAMITE, RAMPAGE, and COLLISION, as well as this week’s CONTROL CENTER, and so much more!