By Jake BarnettProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staff (@barnettjake)
AEW Dynamite (Episode 123)
Atlantic City, New Jersey at Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall
Aired live February 9, 2022 on TBS
Pyro lit up the arena as JR, Tony Schiavone, and Excalibur joined in on commentary. Wardlow walked out with some MJF and CM Punk cardboard standees. The entrance ramp was striped with a pattern like MJF’s Burberry scarf. Wardlow did not get music, and set up the standees in the ring and handed Justin Roberts a piece of paper. He announced FTR and Tully Blanchard, who came out to their full entrance in suits. Shawn Spears then made his entrance, and Roberts called him the greatest Accountabilibuddy of all time.
Roberts then announced MJF, named him as undefeated. He said he pins shoulders to mats, and bangs all the rats, and is the greatest of all time. There were a dozen other names. MJF then finally made his ring entrance, but was carried on a throne by six extras. Two women in dresses led him out to the ring. One of the women made out with him as he got to the ring in an exaggerated way.
MJF and the Pinnacle guys had a celebration, but Wardlow kept out of it. Some confetti fell from the rafters. He said it was hot in AC tonight. He tried to quiet the crowd, but they booed constantly. MJF said he made it clear last week that he was the best wrestler on the planet. Not Kenny Omega, Danielson, Cole, or Hangman, but MJF. He said he beat CM Punk twice in Chicago, so he’s better than the Best in the World.
He then said last week was bittersweet for him. After he beat the best in the world twice in Chicago, a guy he watched on TV as a kid, he decided to whisper two words to him afterwards, which were “YOU SUCK”. MJF then thanked Shawn Spears for all of his help warming him up for the match, and said he could not have gotten the win without him. Spears then introduced his new shirt about defeating the best in the world on the Tron.
MJF then went on to say he was better than Bret in Canada, Piper in Portland, and Punk in Chicago, and it was time he became the AEW Champion. CM Punk then walked out on the stage. Schiavone walked over and held a mic in front of him. Punk called his win in Chicago as a suspect as his spray tan. He said he does not like to ask for help, but he learned his lesson, and said today he had some friends. Darby and Sting then walked out on stage with baseball bats
Punk said it’s going to go one of two ways, he’s either going to get his rematch or he can come down to the ring and beat it out of him. MJF said he did not deserve a rematch, and Punk said he was not talking to him, he was talking to the guy who actually beat him, and that was Wardlow. He told Wardlow that he could either take a beating with these losers, or he could grow some balls and walk away from them.
MJF said he beat Punk fair and square, and Wardlow is with them because he’s their best friend. Dax Harwood then grabbed the mic and said they wanted a rematch, and Punk agreed on a rematch from Greensboro, because he’d get his hands on Max. MJF then offered a one on one rematch with MJF on the condition that Punk and a partner of his choosing could beat FTR, but his partner could not be Sting or Darby. He then told Wardlow he had a match later, so he should go get dressed….[c]
My Take: This felt a little more complicated than it needed to be with all the confusing challenges and rebuttals, but it worked for the most part. The long stretches in between PPV’s and the long programs that result from it end up leading to some awkwardness as they continue to extend the program with more gimmicks.
Backstage, Andrade got a meeting with Sting and Darby Allin. Andrade called Darby a kid, and offered him a deal. Sting told him he’s not a kid, and he made it clear a few weeks ago that he was not interested, and if he had a problem with him he should talk to him mano y mano. Darby reiterated that he was not interested, and told Andrade he was going to be the next TNT Champion. Andrade retorted that he would be next TNT Champion, and walked away.
The Blade made his entrance for the first match. He was followed by Wardlow, who did not have time to fully get taped up.
1. The Blade Vs. Wardlow: Wardlow posed in the corner as he got in the ring, and Blade went after him with a chop block. He continued on the attack until Wardlow cut him down with a lariat. Wardlow then continued on offense with an overhead suplex throw. He then threw him a second time, and a third. Blade escaped outside, and Wardlow picked up Blade and charged him into the ring post…[c]
Wardlow continued to dominate on offense, but also limped heavily on the knee that received the chop block earlier in the match. He drove Wardlow into the corner and landed a series of hard uppercuts. Blade countered with a knee strike. He then jumped up for a second knee, but Wardlow grabbed him and slammed him with a powerbomb. Wardlow then picked up Blade for a second and third for the win.
Wardlow defeated The Blade at 8:36
After the match, Spears ran in and landed a chair shot to be annoying. Backstage, a Penta El Zero M video was shown. He dug up a mask in the graveyard, and said that Malakai Black spit into his soul, and it was time to bring back what looked like the mask he wore as Pentagon Dark.
Back in the arena, Chris Jericho made his entrance as a part of the Inner Circle Meetup Group. Santana and Ortiz did not walk out with the rest of the group. Jericho addressed them and said they had not seen Santana and Ortiz all day, but some music hit immediately and they walked out. Jericho said he understood that they wanted their own spotlight and they deserve it. He then said what was not cute was two weeks ago when they embarrassed him in their tag match against 2point0 and Garcia.
Jericho said it was disrespectful when they denied the fans a chance to see him wrestle. Santana said enough of the corny bullshit, and that he was struggling with a glass half full mindset. He continued and said Jericho only cared about himself, and when the entire group needed to shift focus, it was for his personal advancement. Every time they’ve gotten a little bit of spotlight, they had to put it aside to come to his rescue.
Santana said it was funny they were out there to tell him to his face that their days of playing second fiddle were over and done with. He then told Jericho to put the mic down. Santana said it was him who got in their way of the spotlight, but it was the fans who kept them going. He then pointed to Ortiz and told Jericho to thank him, because if it was not for him he would have dropped his ass a long time ago.
Jericho said he reminded him of Eddie Guererro, because he would get fired up and blame everybody for his shortcomings, even his close friends. He then said since he brought them in to AEW in 2019, he’s gotten them PPV Main Events, bigger paydays, and opportunities that they could not take advantage of. It was not his fault they could not defeat the Young Bucks, and maybe he invited the wrong members of LAX into the Inner Circle.
Jericho said he invited them in, and he could kick them out of the Inner Circle. He then asked Jake Hager to call Homicide and Hernandez and .and then Santana got in his face. Sammy Guevara separated them initially, and then told Jericho that if they could not figure their shit out, he was done. He dropped his vest in the ring and walked to the back.
Ortiz then got the mic and said Eddie Kingston is one of their brothers in arms. All this bickering would not resolve anything. Where they come from, they do not solve issues with their words, they solve it with their fists. He then challenged Jericho and Hager to a match next week, and he accepted. He told them they better be there, because attendance is mandatory.
Backstage, Roppongi Vice gave an interview, and said they would take on the Young Bucks on Friday. The Young Bucks walked up, and Adam Cole jumped Romero and Trent from behind. The Bucks then gave Romero a BTE Trigger. Adam Cole called out somebody walking into frame, who turned out to be Jay White. He threw Trent into a production trailer, and then told Nick Jackson he has nice earrings on. In the arena, Isaiah Kassidy made his entrance…[c]
My Take: A very good promo from Satana, which felt like a long time coming. Jericho came across a jackass here, so he’s definitely playing heel for this feud at least. Jay White coming into AEW is good news and should be a lot of fun, but it’s not one of those things that will go anywhere outside the wrestling bubble.
Keith Lee made his entrance and his AEW. He is using the moniker of Limitless. His song is ok, but not quite the banger his NXT theme was.
2. Keith Lee Vs. Isaiah Kassidy: Lee ate up the crowd reaction and then tossed Kassidy like a football across the ring. Kassidy tried to land some strikes, but Lee stuffed him and landed a cross body. Kassidy rolled to the outside, and Lee followed. Marq Quen threw Kassidy back into the ring, and then Lee slingshotted himself in for a splash. He then picked up Kassidy for a Powerbomb, but he escaped. Lee then pounced Kassidy to the outside with a big charge.
Hardy looked disgusted at ringside and left through the crowd. Lee got stung on the apron by a flying strike. Kassidy then splashed him with a tornillo on the floor. Lee then swatted Kassidy out of the sky and landed his formerly named Big Bang Catastrophe for the win.
Keith Lee defeated Isaiah Kassidy at 4:34
After the match, Private Party tried to jump Lee, but he caught their attempts at splashes on the outside, and powerbombed them into the apron. After the match, a promo package for Mercedes Martinez vs. Thunder Rosa’s match next week was shown. Both women were ready for the violence of the no DQ stipulation. Sammy Guevara walked out for his cue card bit…[c]
My Take: Great to see Keith Lee, as he’s a huge asset when used properly. This was a good debut match to show off his power, but I think Keith might benefit from trying to get back to the weight he was at a few years ago. He looked like he was a bit uncomfortable moving around at times, and that was not always the case during his NXT run.