AEW Dynamite Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights for January 18

Erik BeastonJanuary 19, 2023

AEW Dynamite Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights for January 18

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    AEW presented a wrestling-heavy episode of Dynamite Wednesday night.
    AEW presented a wrestling-heavy episode of Dynamite Wednesday night.Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    All Elite Wrestling presented one of the most loaded in-ring cards in recent memory Wednesday night, live from Fresno, California, headlined by the continuation of Bryan Danielson's quest for a world title shot at MJF.

    Was The American Dragon able to defeat former Ring of Honor world champion Bandido and take one step closer to getting his hands on the scarf-wearing Salt of the Earth?

    On the heels of a grueling victory with Kenny Omega over Death Triangle in Los Angeles a week ago, were The Young Bucks primed for an upset at the hands of the suddenly surging Top Flight?

    Those questions and more were answered on the January 18 TBS broadcast.

Match Card

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    • Bryan Danielson vs. Bandido
    • AEW All-Atlantic Championship Match: Orange Cassidy vs. Jay Lethal
    • TNT Championship Match: Darby Allin vs. Kushida
    • The Young Bucks vs. Top Flight
    • Willow Nightingale vs. Toni Storm
    • Ricky Starks vs. Jake Hager
    • Hangman Page promo with Renee Paquette

AEW All-Atlantic Championship Match: Orange Cassidy vs. Jay Lethal

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    Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    There are detractors of the comedic side of his character, but Orange Cassidy once again proved at the top of Wednesday's show that he could have a very good match against wrestlers of all styles, backgrounds and experience as he defended the All-Atlantic Championship against Jay Lethal.

    Satnam Singh, Jeff Jarrett and Sonjay Dutt were barred from ringside, with the threat of the latter being fired from the company if they did not heed the ruling from Tony Khan. That did not stop them from "buying tickets," only for it to be revealed that Best Friends' Chuck Taylor and Trent Beretta actually had those seats.

    Cassidy fought from underneath, as he typically does, firing off a flurry of offense late as he sought to defeat his challenger. He evaded a pinfall off the Lethal Injection, scored an Orange Punch moments after Danhausen broke up attempted interference from the heels and earned the victory.

    It was a good, entertaining match with a ton of effort from both competitors. Lethal and Cassidy have done this dance before, and their chemistry with one another remains strong. This is the perfect place for the heel faction rather than the higher-profile feud with Darby Allin and Sting, and it shows.

    Fans are more willing to accept Jarrett and Co. in this spot, and they have worked well with the babyfaces to this point. Who knows if the feud will carry on beyond tonight, but there are worse options for all involved.


    Result

    Cassidy defeated Lethal to retain


    Grade

    B


    Top Moments

    • Excalibur reminded the viewing audience of Lethal's victory over Cassidy from last August in a nice touch. 
    • Jarrett, Dutt and Singh made their way through the crowd, watching from the stands after they were barred from ringside by Tony Khan earlier in the afternoon.
    • Danhausen, dressed as an usher, demanded to see the heels' tickets. The Best Friends also popped up to even the odds.
    • Lethal wore an armband with "Briscoe" written on it, an ode to his Ring of Honor brethren.
    • An alert Cassidy rolled out of the ring seconds after enduring the Lethal Injection, preventing a pinfall attempt. 
    • Danhausen intercepted a guitar from Jarrett to Lethal, setting up the finish.

The Young Bucks vs. Top Flight

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    Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    The moment "Young Bucks vs. Top Flight" appeared on the lineup for Wednesday's show, there was every reason to believe the show could be stolen from whatever position on the card the match found itself.

    Two bouts in, and that appeared to be the case, thanks to a wild, energetic encounter that saw the Bucks establish dominance until a hot tag to Darius Martin from brother Dante sparked a comeback.

    Matt and Nick Jackson halted their momentum late on a few occasions, including a double superkick to a springboarding Dante, but it was Darius who scored a rollup on the former for the pinfall victory.

    Top Flight has been red-hot, thanks to their win in the trios gauntlet over the holidays and a series of matches with the Blackpool Combat Club, and this win will only continue their momentous roll.

    The story of the Bucks still feeling the effects of their ladder match from last week was well portrayed here, and it will be interesting to see how long that lingers.


    Result

    Top Flight defeated The Young Bucks


    Grade

    A


    Top Moments

    • Taz suggested Top Flight may be in over their heads against the Bucks, positioning the Martin brothers as the underdogs—a role they fill very well.
    • Martin delivered a running Spanish Fly to Matt, then added a low tope suicida to Nick.
    • Top Flight scored a great near-fall off a springboard moonsault/powerbomb combo on Matt, broken up at the very last second by Nick.
    • Nick paid homage to Jay Briscoe, pointing to the sky before delivering the Doomsday Device to Darius.
    • A stunned Matt looked at referee Rick Knox and motioned "three?" It helped put over the surprise of the upset.

Ricky Starks vs. Jake Hager and More

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    Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    The Acclaimed interrupted a promo from The Gunns, leading to a brief brawl that was broken up by Billy Gunn. Fed up with the disdain between them, ol' Daddy Ass demanded family therapy next week.

    All Elite Wrestling @AEW

    <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AEW?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#AEW</a> World Tag Team Champions <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TheAcclaimed?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TheAcclaimed</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/PlatinumMax?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@PlatinumMax</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/Bowens_Official?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@bowens_official</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/RealBillyGunn?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@RealBillyGunn</a> get in the face of <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TheGunns?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TheGunns</a>! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AEWDynamite?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#AEWDynamite</a> is LIVE on TBS! <a href="https://t.co/v7YCGLtl3Z">pic.twitter.com/v7YCGLtl3Z</a>

    Backstage, Hangman Page told Renee Paquette that he had fences to mend but kept it relatively vague. He asked Paquette to tell Jon Moxley something after their match last week but hesitated and brushed it off from there.

    All Elite Wrestling @AEW

    <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/HangmanAdamPage?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#HangmanAdamPage</a> is ready to mend some fences that have needed mending for a long time... but with who? 🤔<br><br>Tune in to <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AEWDynamite?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#AEWDynamite</a> LIVE on TBS right now! <a href="https://t.co/gzWo4I3OF1">pic.twitter.com/gzWo4I3OF1</a>

    Back in the arena, Ricky Starks continued his blossoming rivalry with the Jericho Appreciation Society via his one-on-one match-up against Jake Hager.

    Despite being seriously outnumbered, the odds totally against him, Starks scored the win to continue his frustration of the JAS.

    Starks is red-hot and has earned every bit of his recent push. He has lived up to the expectations of management and fans, first in his match with MJF in December and since then hanging with Chris Jericho and his cronies in promos and in-ring action.

    Hager is always an interesting worker to watch because one is never quite sure which guy they are going to get. Here, he was up to the challenge, delivering an inspired performance that went beyond purple hats and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia references.

    A Starks vs. Jericho rematch is obviously the endgame, and one can only hope two things happen: Starks goes over and the program does not run for too long.


    Result

    Starks pinned Hager


    Grade

    C+


    Top Moments

    • Starks attempted to slide under the bottom turnbuckle, catching his ankle and momentarily appearing to injure it. 
    • "Cool Hand" Angelo Parker slid across a table set up at ringside, which gave out underneath him in what could have been a scary moment. 
    • Starks took off through the crowd, not unwise enough to let himself suffer a beatdown at the hands of the heels again.

Bryan Danielson vs. Bandido

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    Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    Backstage, Chris Jericho issued a challenge to Ricky Starks for a tag team match next week. If Daniel Garcia beats Action Andretti Friday night on Rampage, he will team with The Ocho. Otherwise, it will be Sammy Guevara.

    In the arena, Bryan Danielson continued his quest for a shot at MJF's AEW World Championship by battling former Ring of Honor World champion Bandido.

    It was every bit as good as you would expect.

    Bandido countered Danielson's technical expertise with his power-based offense. On numerous occasions, it appeared as though the masked competitor may upset The American Dragon.

    Danielson absorbed everything thrown at him, including a late 21 Plex, and rocked Bandido with a Busaiku Knee for the win.

    The fans in Fresno were totally behind Bandido, proof of the connection he has made with the audience via his mesh of aerial athleticism and uncanny strength. He has a unique look and an even more unique in-ring style, and the crowds have flocked to him thus far.

    Delivering bangers like this one with Danielson and proving that he can hang with the best wrestler in the world will only help with that.

    The Danielson-MJF program has been solid so far, and the latter threatening to unleash the unmasked monster on his potential top contender was a nice tease of the escalation it will hopefully find in the coming weeks.


    Result

    Danielson defeated Bandido


    Grade

    A


    Top Moments

    • "Is that leather? Wow," Jericho said as Guevara gifted Garcia his new gear, cutting off his own promo. It was far funnier than it had any right to be.
    • Bandido sent Danielson scurrying to the floor, looking for a reprieve as the masked luchador outwrestled him early on. 
    • Bandido delivered an impressive delayed vertical suplex. He had to save it once, but it was another display of his raw power. 
    • Bandido delivered a moonsault slam to Danielson off the top rope and followed with a 21 Plex for a two-count.
    • MJF cut a post-match promo from backstage. He once again used "fickle," a throwback to Danielson's complaints about fans during his last heel run in WWE.
    All Elite Wrestling @AEW

    "You may think you're a dragon, but not even a dragon is any match for the monster behind the mask"<a href="https://twitter.com/The_MJF?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@The_MJF</a> has strong words for <a href="https://twitter.com/bryandanielson?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@bryandanielson</a>!<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AEWDynamite?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#AEWDynamite</a> is LIVE on TBS! <a href="https://t.co/THPBbLaaEk">pic.twitter.com/THPBbLaaEk</a>

    • "Not even a dragon is any match for the monster behind the mask," MJF warned.

Toni Storm vs. Willow Nightingale

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    Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    Backstage, MJF offered Brian Cage a payoff ahead of The Machine's match against Bryan Danielson next week.

    In the arena, Toni Storm and Willow Nightingale hit the ring for a kinda, sorta battle of babyfaces.

    Storm controlled the match through the commercial break, but Nightingale mounted a comeback and appeared to have victory in hand until Saraya jumped on the apron and provided a distraction.

    Storm capitalized, grabbed the tights and scored the win. A post-match beatdown sparked a save by Ruby Soho, all while Hikaru Shida watched from the entrance ramp, unsure of what to make of Saraya and Storm's actions.

    There is a lot to unpack here.

    The battle lines between the AEW originals and the WWE exports are being drawn, something clearly mentioned by Saraya in the prematch video package.

    Considering the fans' love for Jamie Hayter and the passionate mic work Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D. did ahead of her match with Saraya at Full Gear, it is probably for the best to make the turn now.

    With that said, why so abruptly?

    Saraya and Storm were literally babyfaces last week, with little or no indication of a major change of attitude or character on the horizon. This week, they were heels from the get-go, attacking Nightingale in a moment that flies in the face of everything they were about just seven days ago.

    It's the right call and a smart booking decision by Tony Khan to make the change before the fans demanded it, but there were ways to get there without just up and changing things without warning.

    Of course, the idea of Baker and Hayter turning full babyface could be an assumption. This could all be to introduce Soho and Nightingale into the equation while establishing them as the undisputed babyfaces.

    With Shida also involved, could the promotion be looking toward women's trios titles? It certainly has enough talent to do so.

    There are more questions than answers in the women's division, which is a refreshing change of pace.


    Result

    Storm pinned Nightingale


    Grade

    C+


    Top Moments

    • During a pre-match video package, Saraya and Storm insulted the home-grown AEW women, drawing the ire of Shida, who was standing right beside them.
    • Saraya demanded Shida stay backstage to prevent a similar situation to last week, where the former world women's champ accidentally cost her friends their tag team match.
    • Saraya beat down Nightingale after the bell, executing a sudden heel turn after weeks of being portrayed as the subject of an inspirational comeback.

TNT Championship Match: Darby Allin vs. Kushida

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    Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    New Japan Pro-Wrestling star Kushida answered Darby Allin's TNT Championship Open Challenge in the main event of Wednesday's show.

    He nearly took the title off of Allin, two weeks after an emotional homecoming win for the face-painted antihero of AEW, by targeting the arm and working toward his armbar and Hoverboard Lock finishers.

    Allin, proving to be the gutsy and resilient competitor he has been since the advent of the company, fought through the pain and caught his veteran opponent with the Last Supper rollup for victory.

    It was interesting to see this positioned as the main event this week when Danielson vs. Bandido was right there, but kudos to Tony Khan for continuing to shine a light on a young wrestler he and his team have been adamant about pushing as a breakout star from the beginning.

    Some like the car crash style of Allin, others do not, but there is no denying that he is over with audiences and has been a rare consistency from day one of the company.

    This was another really good match on a night of them. The right guy went over as Khan and Co. attempt to rebuild the credibility of a TNT Championship that has been hurt by the constant title changes of the last year.


    Result

    Allin defeated Kushida


    Grade

    B+


    Top Moments

    • Cameras caught a young fan with his face painted like Allin's, a testament to the connection the TNT champion has forged with the younger audience. It is something that has undoubtedly aided in his status as one of AEW's legit breakout stars. 
    • Kushida targeted the arm of his opponent, setting him up for the armbar. 
    • Allin launched himself off the top rope and to the floor, only to be caught by Kushida and trapped in the aforementioned armbar. 
    • Kushida applied the Hoverboard Lock, but Allin clasped his hands, taking some of the pressure off of it. 
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