The war between Swerve Strickland and “Hangman” Adam Page continued to rage on Wednesday night’s episode of AEW Dynamite, when they were each given the opportunity to choose an opponent for the other one. While both of their matches were good, it was the women’s match between Deonna Purrazzo and Taya Valkyrie that stole the whole f’n show.


Match 1: Jon Moxley vs. Jeff Hardy

During Moxley’s introduction, the announcers pointed out some of the CMLL stars sitting ringside. Stay tuned, as they might get involved in the show later on. #ChekhovsMask

Mox started off aggressively, even trying to yank Jeff’s earring holes, but then Hardy came back, choking Moxley with his bandana, as the announcers retconned that the rules had been relaxed for this one, even though this wasn’t announced as a No-DQ match.

They fought on the floor for a while where Mox took over. Back in the ring, Moxley locked on some submissions and bullied Hardy with some basic kicks and stomps and such. They went to the floor again where Hardy reversed a whip and that sent Moxley flying over the barricade and into the laps of the CMLL guys, and they got into a shoving match with Moxley. Hardy tried to capitalize on the distraction, but Moxley caught him with a punch when Hardy went for a running attack and Mox was in control yet again.

During the Picture-in-Picture, Moxley grabbed a pen from the commentary desk and stuck it into Hardy’s earlobe hole and started twisting it, which couldn’t have been pleasant.


Hardy tried to mount a comeback, but Moxley put him back down with a series of lousy-looking elbows and a Piledriver.

Moxley went for another Piledriver on the apron, but Hardy escaped and hit a Twist of Fate, which Moxley didn’t really sell, and then Hardy caught him with a Swanton. Moxley no-sold something else and then hit Hardy with a Superplex. They got up and exchanged some bad fists and worse forearms and then exchanged big moves and kickout attempts.

Moxley moved on a Swanton attempt, and Hardy crashed hard onto the mat. Moxley then locked on a Sleeper Hold and Hardy passed out.

If they wanted to make Hardy look completely ineffective, they did a pretty good job. The best thing he did was refuse to shake Moxley’s hand after the match and flip him the bird, instead.

Winner: Jon Moxley

After Hardy left, the masquerade of CMLL luchadores hopped the barrier and swarmed Moxley in the middle of the ring, beating him up until Christoper Daniels and the former JAS jobbers ran in for the save.


Match 2: “Hangman” Adam Page vs. Toa Liona

This was a Dealer’s Choice match, where Swerve Strickland and Page got to pick each other’s opponent.

The hits came hard early on from both men, but eventually the power of Liona let him take over. But it was only temporary, as Page outsmarted the big man and started to fight back. But Liona ended up chucking Page over the top rope and hard to the floor, and then flattened Page with a Cross Body off the apron to the floor – that looked good.

The fight continued for some time with the pace and power not diminishing. Hangman finally dropped the big one with a huge Clothesline and hit the Dead Eye. But before Page could get up and go for the cover, Liona zombied up and went back to beating up Page.

But Page moved when Liona went for a Moonsault off the apron, and Liona crashed hard. Page then hit a Moonsault off the top to the floor that flattened Liona. Page threw Liona back in the ring and went for the Buckshot, but Liona moved and then picked up Page and hit him with a big Samoan Drop. But on impact, Page cinched in and rolled up Liona for the surprise pin. After the match, Liona got right back up and looked to go after Page with a chair, but stupidly mishandled things and Page got the chair, and Liona decided to head to the back instead.

This was pretty good, though there was no real question as to who would win, given that this is all about advancing the feud between Page and Swerve. They’re building up Liona to be some kind of unstoppable monster, but one that always loses, so that’s a choice.

Winner: “Hangman” Adam Page

They showed a clip from earlier today when the Young Buck arrived. I normally change the channel any time those putzes are on the screen, and watching this segment, it confirms that’s the right choice.


Match 3: Wardlow (w/ the Undisputed Kingdom) vs. Komander (w/ Alex Abrahantes)

The ring announcer screwed up during the introduction, calling Wardlow Mr. Wardlow and then correcting herself, calling him Mr. Mayhem, Wardlow.

This was pretty much a mauling, with highlghts being Wardlow hitting a Pop-up Powerslam and then heaving Komander three quarters across the ring with a Beal Toss. Later, he hit a Spinning Border Toss that looked great.


Wardlow went for a Powerbomb on the floor, but Komander reversed it and hit a Hurancarana that saw Wardlow crash knee-first into the ring steps. Komander then hit a series of moves and did his Top Rope Highwire Walk into a Dropkick and a Phoenix Splash that saw his legs land right on Wardlow’s head and throat – ouch. But Wardlow recovered and hit a Powerslam, his Hanging Knee to the Face, and a Powerbomb for the pin. It wasn’t good to see Wardlow limping after the match – it seemed he may have legitimately tweaked his knee when getting Komander up for the Powerbomb.

This was the right outcome, but probably could have accomplished the same thing even better if it was shorter and more of a squash by Wardlow.

Winner: Wardlow

After the match, the Undisputed Kingdom rolled Komander back into the ring. They were going to beat him up, but Orange Cassidy and the Best Friends walked in for the save. Normally I would change the channel whenever Orange Cassidy is on screen because he sucks, but before I could, the Undisputed Kingdom left the ring and the show went to a break.


Face-to-Face: Sting and Darby Allin / Big Bill and Ricky Starks

Tony Schiavone moderated a sit-down interview between the two teams before their Tag Team Championship match next week. Starks said that Sting’s first win in AEW was against him, and while Starks respects Sting, he can’t forgive him for that loss.

Allin disputed Starks’ claim that he respects Sting, alleging that Starks is only looking to make Sting a stepping stone for himself. Allin got heated, but Schiavone reminded him that the terms of this session were for no contact.

Starks said he would get his win back next week and he will make sure Sting never even gets to his retirement match.

Big Bill said he was tired of hearing Sting and Allin praise one another, and was irritated that Sting and Allin seemed to be overlooking them as champs.

Next, Sting said his piece. He said that Starks needs to earn respect. He told Bill that the other big men he’s faced in the ring were killers, and he doesn’t know if Big Bill has that in him.

Allin said that he respects what Starks can do in the ring, but Starks should blame all his losses and regrets about those losses on himself.

Starks responded by throwing a glass of water into Allin’s face, which nearly turned things physical, with Starks egging Allin on to hit him. Sting calmed things down, but told Starks that Allin would hit him next week. And so would Sting.

This was good.


Match 4: Chris Jericho vs. Kyle Fletcher (w/ Don Callis and Powerhouse Hobbs)

The Neckbeard Choir was out in full force this week for this week’s rendition of “Judas”.


Fletcher nearly got a quick win with a Michinoku Driver, but Jericho kicked out, and then turned things around with some crafty veteran moves, including his Springboard Dropkick. But Jericho took his eyes off of Fletcher, opting instead to chase Don Callis around the ring, and Fletcher hit him from behind.

Jericho fought back, including hitting some bad-looking punches in the corner, but he got tripped up by Don Callis from the outside when going for a follow-up.

During the PiP, Jericho had to deal with interference from Callis and Hobbs from the floor, helping Fletcher maintain control. Jericho finally fired up and hit a series of chops, but Fletcher fired back with a Snap German Suplex and a big Brain Buster for a 2.5-count. Jericho recovered and had Fletcher prone for a Lionsault, but another cheap shot from Hobbs stopped Jericho cold.

Jericho was able to reverse a move and turn it over into a Walls of Jericho on Fletcher, but Fletcher got to the rope to force the break. Jericho hit a Codebreaker, but Fletcher kicked out.

Jericho went up top, but Fletcher caught him and tried for a Brainbuster but it was utterly botched and ended kind of being a sloppy-looking Spinning Snake Eyes.

After that, they had some more back-and-forth and an exchange of head kicks. Jericho went to the floor, and Fletcher tried for a Flying Dive, but Jericho hit him with a Judas Effect as Kyle was flying through the ropes and Kyle dropped hard. Jericho whipped Hobbs into the ring steps, and then threw Fletcher back into the ring. Jericho went to the top and as Fletcher got to his feet, Jericho hit a Super Judas Effect and got the pin.

After the match, Konosuke Takeshita came out to the entrance ramp and he and Jericho looked at each other menacingly. They face each other next week.

This felt like a series of moves, but didn’t really feel like it flowed. Again, with the larger story being Jericho going through the entire Callis Family until he faces Takeshita, there was little drama since the ending was inevitable. Fletcher has the charisma of a loaf of white bread, so that didn’t really help matters.

Winner: Chris Jericho

A video package aired for Deonna Purrazzo and she talked about her tattoos, including one of a duck that she and Toni Storm both got together. She said that while the duck meant nothing originally, it now reminds her of the journey of her career. She asked Toni to think about what it means to her.


Bang-Bang Scissor Gang promo segment

The Bang-Bang Scissor Gang (the Bullet Club Gold and the Acclaimed / Billy Gunn) came to the ring. No rap from Max Castor, unfortunately, because who wasn’t hoping to hear what he would say in light of all the news in the wrestling world this past week.

This was annoying and shouty and nothing of note. This was like a Tony Khan announcement with six people.


Match 7: Deonna Purrazzo vs. Taya Valkyrie (w/ Johnny TV)

“Timeless” Toni Storm joined the commentary desk for this one while Luther and Mariah May hovered nearby.

This was one of the better wrestling matches you’ll see all week, and not just in a women’s division. They told a good story in the ring, with Deonna looking to use her technical skills to control Taya and take away her more power-based offense. And then when Taya got control, she looked to beat up Deonna.


They did the requisite exchange of punches in the ring, because everyone has to do that now, but that didn’t last long, and usually ended with someone turning it into a big move that the other actually sold.

The action spilled to the floor, and Purrazzo threw Taya into Toni, which the Timeless One didn’t take a shine to. Purrazzo then threw Taya back into the ring and locked on a really tight modified Venus De Milo, which looked absolutely gross. Taya was trapped and had no choice but to tap out. Wow, that move looked awesome.

Purrazzo taunted Storm after the match and Storm seethed.

Match of the night. If they just had a best-of-infinity series between Purrazzo and Taya and had them wrestle each other every week – even on every show – forevermore, they’d be doing themselves a favour.

Winner: Deonna Purrazzo

In the back, Renee Paquette interviewed Darby Allin. She asked Allin about his admiration of the Young Bucks. They showed up and I fast-forwarded until they weren’t on the screen. I assume they said something douchey and not worth hearing.

AEW World Champion Samoa Joe was introduced before the next match, and he made his way out and to the commentary desk for this one.


Match 8: Swerve Strickland vs. Rob Van Dam

RVD was Hangman’s Dealer’s Choice opponent for Strickland in this one. RVD looked a lot better than he has in recent appearances, and the people were fully behind him.

Before the match, “Hangman” Page popped up on-screen and let Swerve know that in addition to his opponent, the Dealer’s Choice incudes picking the match stipulation. Page informed Swerve that the match was a Hardcore Match. Which makes it even more stupid that Moxley’s match was contested under those rules earlier. But Mox is gonna Mox, I guess.

After learning that, Swerve turned around and RVD threw a chair in his face, which had to have sucked.

Swerve rolled to the floor, but that wasn’t good for him either, as RVD threw him into the ringside barriers and kicked him in the head repeatedly, before hanging Swerve on top of the barrier and hitting his signature Spin Kick off the apron.

But Swerve came back and gave RVD some of his own medicine, hanging him on the barrier and then using the ring steps to launch himself to hit RVD with a kick of his won. WIth RVD hurt, Swerve used the time to get a table and set it up ringside. Look for this to be used later like it was a CMLL guy.

In the ring, Swerve used the chair to good effect against RVD. Until RVD reversed a whip that sent Swerve directly into the chair wedged in the corner. RVD then hit a chair-assisted Hesitation Dropkick. He went for another chair-based corner attack, but Swerve caught him and Powerbombed him onto a chair for a 2-count.

RVD crotched Swerve on the top rope, then climbed up to finish him off, but Brian Cage ran to the ring and shoved RVD who hit the mat hard. Cage went in to finish off RVD, but HOOK ran down to the ring and blasted Cage with a chair repeatedly. They brawled their way up the ramp.

As RVD watched this, Swerve sneaked up from behind, but RVD blocked the attack and knocked down Swerve. RVD went for Rolling Thunder, but Swerve countered with a roll of his own and hit a Flatliner for a very near fall.

Swerve set up a chair on the floor and positioned RVD into it. Swerve then hit a huge Stomp off the apron onto RVD who was immobile in the chair, and RVD took all of that impact. A hurt RVD rolled his way back into the ring.

Swerve, sensing it was close to being done, climbed up top to end things with a Super Swerve Stomp. But a desperate RVD grabbed a chair and threw it into Swerve’s face, sending Swerve falling backwards and he crashed through the table that had been set up on the floor earlier. That looked awesome.

RVD brought Swerve back into the ring and sandwiched him between two chairs. RVD went up top, but Swerve rolled out of the way of a Five-Star Frog Splash and RVD crashed and burned into the chair. Swerve then hit a modified Van Daminator on RVD for 1-2-NO! RVD kicked out!

Swerve went back up top and RVD tried to stop him, but got knocked back down to the mat for his trouble. After taking time to taunt RVD, Swerve hit him with a Swerve Stomp off the top and that was all she wrote.

This was good, though it went too long and the ending got a bit too much. Swerve is a superstar and definitely should be a future world champion – and preferably soon. RVD had a great showing and if they decided to make him a regular in lieu of many others on the roster, that would be a good thing.

Winner: Swerve Strickland

After the match, Hangman Page came to the ring. He said that since Swerve won, that means their 2024 records are both 4-and-0. And since the win-loss records will be used to rank contenders, it stands to reason that they will both be in the running to be Samoa Joe’s next challenger. Page said that he would never let Swerve get a title shot over him. Swerve reminded him that he’s beaten Page twice, and that Page needs to realize he can’t beat Swerve. Page said that without the Mogul Embassy’s help, Swerve wouldn’t have won those matches. He said Swerve could never beat him one-on-one. Swerve took the bait and agreed to have a third match. The announcers said that Tony Khan just informed them that they will compete next week, with the winner getting a title shot against Joe at Revolution.

Swerve and Page had a staredown as the show came to a close.




AEW Dynamite - January 31st, 2024

UNO Lakefront Arena - New Orleans, LA

This was a pretty typical episode of Dynamite, focused on lengthy (too-lengthy?) matches that all felt somewhat similar (jam-packed with too many moves, and frequently feeling too long as a result). That said, the stuff with Page and Swerve worked, and both Dealer’s Choice matches were strong, with the final confrontation being a fine payoff.

The best thing on the show, though, was the Purrazzo-Valkyrie match, and of anything on the show is the thing worth seeking out.