5 Big Takeaways from AEW Dynamite - Jan 25, 2023
This week's AEW Dynamite was a three-hour fast break as it was broadcast LIVE from the hoops heaven of Lexington, Kentucky
This edition of AEW Dynamite emanated from Wildcat Country in the bluegrass state of Kentucky. And while it may be known as a haven for hoops, it was the stars of All Elite Wrestling that delivered a slam dunk on this night.
The playbook for this week's show must have included a fast break offense because AEW scored early and often in this three-hour jam fest. It started off hot and - despite a few expected lulls - provided three hours of great entertainment.
Although Tony Khan faced a lot of boo-birds in 2022 (and rightfully so), he's appeared to have gotten his team in order as the new year rolls on. This episode of Dynamite definitely added to the promotion's recent 'winning streak' and they will march toward Revolution in much better shape than they were in recent months.
Obviously, the headline of the night was the tribute match for Jay Briscoe, who died last week in a tragic automobile accident. So, without a doubt, the action was mixed with plenty of emotion at Rupp Arena on what will go down as a watershed evening.
Having said all that? Let's take a look at five big things moments that really stuck out about this week's terrific episode of AEW Dynamite:
#1 - Young stars Action Andretti & Ricky Starks opened the show by battling Sammy Guevara and some old dude named Jericho
Chris Jericho's critics will tell you that he's a step slower than he used to be and that the future WWE Hall of Famer is already halfway to the retirement home. Some of the more damning claims seem to imply that Jericho is washed up and relies on young stars carrying his jockstrap for him.
That certainly wasn't the case in this match, as it was easy to see the veteran acting as the ring general in this match. He worked with the three young performers (and Daniel Garcia, who was at ringside), to tell a great story. This match was certainly no fireworks session, but it still moved at a solid pace. Definitely a hot way to start the show.
Jericho may not move like the Y2J of 20 years ago, but he makes up for all of that with his wealth of ring savvy. He and Guevara took the win following outside interference from Garcia. A great way to kick the night off, and Chris Jericho was the conductor of this symphony the whole way.
#2 - Ass Family therapy doesn't appear to be working
The Gunn boys sat down with The Acclaimed and Daddy Ass for a therapy session very similar to the Daniel Bryan-Kane vignettes from WWE a decade ago. However, not nearly as funny.
Comedy wasn't what they were going for here, though, as it's leading to a tag team title confrontation between the two teams. Austin and Colten shared their resentment for Billy never being around for them when they were growing up, and how they felt betrayed by The Acclaimed.
They said that the only thing that would make them happy would be to win the belts from The Masters of Scissor-verse. With that, they stormed off.
Of course, there's always the chance that this is finally leading to the ultimate betrayal, where Billy Gunn rejoins his flesh and blood and screws The Acclaimed out of the gold. It's a shame, too, because their three-man combination makes for some of the most fun segments in all of pro wrestling today, not just AEW.
Unfortunately, it's bound to happen. While their scissoring act hasn't gotten dull, it may be put in the drawer for a little while. Billy Gunn is a natural heel, and it's inevitable that he will return to his roots - and to his family.
#4 - Even in a loss, Brian Cage getting quality TV time on AEW Dynamite is a positive thing
The Machine has been quite an enigma since signing with All Elite Wrestling in 20 . The former IMPACT Wrestling World Champion was one of the most high-profile free agents we have seen in years.
Brian Cage was earmarked to be a huge heavyweight star in either AEW or WWE. And possibly even their world champion, once he got established. Unfortunately, it hasn't worked out that way. The massively talented muscleman has been in a holding pattern during his tenure with the promotion.
That's changed lately, and it may due to the fact that Cage's contract is reportedly up in the next few months. It's been no secret that he hasn't been too pleased with his role in AEW, so hopefully, this is a 'make good' on Tony Khan's part to try and re-sign him.
Cage is an untapped resource that the company should either utilize now or just let go. He's been gaining a lot more wins in recent weeks and he is (for what it's worth) part of the Ring of Honor Six-Man Tag Team Champions.
He was defeated by Bryan Danielson in a great showing, which is a start, Following the match, he also attempted to live up to his arrangement with MJF by injuring The American Dragon.
THESE are the kind of angles and television segments that a blue-chipper like Cage should be involved in more often, He can still be a major name for Khan & Company if they continue to put him in the ring with high-caliber stars.
(On a side note: MJF cut a promo on Danielson later backstage, furthering the angle of injuring Danielson and announcing that his next roadblock, Timothy Thatcher, will be arriving next week.)
#5 - The AEW Women's Division continues to grow and get stronger, and that was especially evident this week
While WWE pulled a highly-advertised steel cage match between Becky Lynch and Bayley and hardly featured women at all on RAW XXX, that wasn't the case for All Elite Wrestling's females. Wednesday's program saw Ruby Soho grab an important win with help from a somewhat unlikely source, Dr. Britt Baker, DMD.
Ruby should be in the mix for the AEW Women's or the TBS Titles at some point this year. She's a tough-as-nails performer who has a unique look and star potential. The fans seem to really like her, so it's time to put her in a championship angle where she finally comes out on top. She's that good and that over.
Lots of movement is going on for the females of All Elite Wrestling right now, not the least of which appears to be a brimming war between AEW originals and 'invaders from the other side'. That angle could be a perfect shot in the arm for a division that has been criticized in the last couple of years. There has always been talent there, but not true star power. Now, the promotion has a little of both, and the opportunity to use those veteran performers to build a new generation of women's wrestling excellence.
#1 - The Jay Briscoe tribute was beautiful on every level
With the Ring of Honor crew of Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman on to help call the action, the main event honored the late Jay Briscoe. The reaction of the crowd to his brother was amazing, and the brotherly love shown by Mark and Jay Lethal was warm and genuine. Respect for each other and Jay was evident, much to the appreciation of the audience.
As an astonishing side note to this showdown, January 25th had even more special meaning.
It would have been Jay Briscoe's 39th birthday. So needless to say, there was an extra level of emotion in the air.
Even before the bell rang, this moment was already pulling at our collective heartstrings. And the action that followed was awesome. Mark rightfully picked up a hard-fought victory that has the crowd chanting 'this is awesome' on a few different occasions. Afterward, he and Lethal once again shared a moment, as the rest of the locker room emptied out on the stage.
They all applauded the team, as Mark's win was punctuated by the official decision on the match. It wasn't announced as just him. Instead, the winner of the match was declared simply, "The Briscoes", as if Jay was there with his brother on this night. In many ways, he was.
One thing is certain. The crowd was right: This match was awesome... and so was Jay Briscoe.