AEW Dynamite Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from January 19
CM Punk's quest to get his hands on MJF inside an AEW ring continued Wednesday night on Dynamite as the Straight Edge Savior battled the latest obstacle in his path, the self-proclaimed "Chairman," Shawn Spears.
What did MJF have up his sleeve in an attempt to derail Punk and eliminate him from his journey to the AEW world title?
Find out now with this recap of a show that also featured the returns of Jon Moxley and Cody Rhodes, a huge mixed tag team match and The Acclaimed attempting to deal Sting and Darby Allin their first loss.
Jon Moxley Returns
For the first time since October 27, Jon Moxley returned to AEW Dynamite, drawing an enormous ovation from fans in Washington, DC.
The former world champion discussed scars, physical but mostly internal. "They are the scars that make us," he said, referencing his absence and the dark cloud hovering overhead. As he grew more fired up, he exclaimed, "I'm going to grab pro wrestling by the balls...because now more than ever, I'm free!"
Emotion pouring from him, he ended his promo by warning the rest of the wrestling world: "The only thing I drink now is blood!"
Moxley looked happy and healthy but brought that same razor-edge honesty that has long defined him. He was authentic, fired-up and had the crowd sitting silently, listening to every word before they replicated his own energy in time for the finale of the promo.
This was the perfect return for one of the marquee stars of AEW and creates genuine intrigue as to exactly what direction the character will head next, especially since he was very clearly headed for a heel turn last fall.
Orange Cassidy and Kris Statlander vs. Adam Cole and Dr. Britt Baker
The rivalry between Orange Cassidy and Adam Cole intensified a week ago with the introduction of Kris Statlander and AEW women's champion Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D. Wednesday, Baker and Cole joined forces against Cassidy and Statlander in a mixed tag match.
Early back-and-forth gave way to Freshly Squeezed delivering a big tornado DDT to Cole. After some good old-fashioned friendship from the babyfaces, Statlander delivered a pendulum moonsault to Baker while Cassidy jumped from the apron and wiped Cole out. Stopping to hug it out, the aggressors fell prey to stereo superkicks from the heels, who gained control heading into the break.
Cole controlled the pace during the break, but a hot tag to Statlander sparked the comeback for her team. Baker halted her momentum with a fisherman's neckbreaker. The men tagged back in and traded hard right hands.
The action broke down late in the match, with Baker delivering the Stomp to Cassidy. Statlander delivered Area 451 to the happy heel couple, and Cassidy followed up with Beach Break to Cole for two. He set up for the Orange Punch, but Cole rolled to the outside. Cassidy tried for a dive but ran right into the superkick. Cole set up for the Panama Sunrise on the ramp, but Statlander pushed her partner out of the way.
Baker rocked Statlander with a superkick and then added a Canadian Destroyer. Back inside, Cole delivered Panama Sunrise to Freshly Squeezed, but Cassidy kicked out at two. The women's champion joined her boyfriend at ringside, where they set up a table. Cassidy inadvertently sent Baker through said table, igniting rage in Cole, who delivered a low blow and put his opponent away with the Boom before checking on the good doctor.
Cole and Baker defeated Cassidy and Statlander
This was a hell of a match to kick things off.
Statlander is an elite talent and proves it every time she is in the ring. Her chemistry with Baker is strong, too, as we have witnessed in previous matches. Their work here was great, and never once did they look out of place sharing the stage with two legitimate stars in Cassidy and Cole.
Everything about this was great, and even though the crowd reactions were few and far between early, the action built and built before crescendoing, and the crowd's investment built right along with it.
The outcome was the right one, but Cassidy's involvement in Baker bumping through the table will almost certainly ensure we get one more match between Cole and Freshly Squeezed. Given what we saw here, that would hardly be a bad thing.
CM Punk vs. Shawn Spears
CM Punk faced the latest obstacle between him and MJF, the scarf-wearing heel's "accountabilibuddy," Shawn Spears.
Rather than an epic encounter between two stars who first crossed paths in Ohio Valley Wrestling, it was a definitive victory for Punk, who downed The Chairman in mere seconds in an embarrassing moment for both the competitor and his friend, MJF, who joined the commentary team for the match.
After the bell, MJF attempted to sneak attack Punk, only to be caught in the act. He escaped unscathed, but not without understanding his days of ducking his rival are drawing to a close.
Punk defeated Spears
Ironically enough, a week after Spears claimed to be the guy you don't see coming, it was Punk who dropped him early with the Go to Sleep for the emphatic and definitive win from out of nowhere.
The segment was fine, advancing the tale of Punk vs. MJF, but it wasn't anything we haven't seen before. It is clear the feud is being pushed to either Chicago or the Revolution pay-per-view.
With the former coming up sooner, it would probably be best to blow the feud off in Punk's hometown because the alternative might be too far away to continue booking fresh and interesting television now that the babyface has pushed through the obstacles.
Cody Rhodes Drops a Pipe Bomb
TNT champion Cody Rhodes returned Wednesday and proceeded to cut a promo he equated to CM Punk's pipe bomb from a decade ago. In it, he claimed to have created the Forbidden Door by following the path Punk laid out in said promo.
He said Tony Khan sent both him and Sammy Guevara a contract for a match to determine the undisputed TNT champion and ended by asking The Spanish God if he would accept.
Rhodes teased his contractual situation with AEW ("not the contract I wanted") and really put over his impact on professional wrestling over the last decade. He said it was the fans who prevented him from turning heel because, when he most needs it, they cheer.
Who knows if all of that was a hint of things to come, a sign of the very heel turn he continues to denounce, or if it was a reminder to management as he continues to work without a contract, as reported by Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful Select.
What is for sure is that Rhodes cutting the promo in the ring, with a ladder set up, suggests The American Nightmare and Guevara will do battle in the iconic gimmick match to determine the real TNT champion.
The Varsity Blonds vs. Malakai Black and Brody King
The House of Black debuted in tag team action as Malakai Black and Brody King battled The Varsity Blonds' Griff Garrison and Brian Pillman Jr.
The match was short-lived, as Black and King steamrolled their competition, putting Pillman away with Dante's Inferno.
After the match, Pac appeared on the video screen and issued an ominous promo toward Black, warning of retribution for the black mist attack that blinded him a few weeks back.
House of Black defeated The Varsity Blonds
This was a total squash match of the best kind.
Varsity Blonds have enough equity built up with fans to suggest the match would be more competitive than it was. That also makes the dominance that much more impactful. Black and King are clear contenders for the tag titles and should probably continue to roll toward the gold, with a showdown against Pac and Penta El Zero Miedo along the way.
Frankie Kazarian vs. Lance Archer
One week after returning and making clear his intention to challenge AEW world champion "Hangman" Adam Page, Lance Archer battled Frankie Kazarian, his new associate Dan Lambert at ringside with him.
Archer sent a message loudly and clearly to Page, overwhelming Kazarian early and often. The former AEW tag team champion fought back, proving to be a tough out, but Archer ultimately put him away with the Blackout for the win.
After the match, Archer interrupted a promo by Lambert, offering to send a visual message. He teased delivering another Blackout, this time onto a steel chair. Page made the save, rocking Archer with his cowboy boot before trying for the Buckshot Lariat. Archer cut him off, but Page fought out of a choke and sent his top contender over the top rope.
The heels retreated as Page stood tall to close out the segment.
Archer defeated Kazarian
Archer has not been around for a while and Kazarian has been so intermittently utilized on Dynamite and Rampage that their match had a tough time getting the fans involved. Eventually, the crowd did warm up, and there was definitely some heat for Archer later in the match, but it still served as evidence that Tony Khan and AEW have some work to do in heating the heel up in time for a title match with Page.
Hangman remains super over with the fans, and a lot of that can be attributed to the attitude and energy he brings to his performance. The entire segment was elevated through his presence, something only genuine stars can claim.
That bodes well for Page and AEW moving forward.
Skye Blue vs. Serena Deeb
The Professor of Professional Wrestling returned to her home arena as Serena Deeb battled young Skye Blue in singles competition.
It was a short-lived match.
Deeb completely outclassed the overmatched opponent, repeatedly taking her down to the applause of the DC crowd before tapping her out to the Serenity Lock.
Deeb defeated Blue
Deeb has been extraordinary since turning heel, completely embracing the new persona and excelling as a dangerous, calculated villain in a way she never really did as an undefined babyface. Her aggression and intensity perfectly reflect the pinpoint accuracy of her in-ring game and help make her the sort of legitimate threat the women's division can use.
No one else wrestles like her or can convincingly match her grappling ability. That makes her fresh, interesting and a favorite of fans who appreciate her style.
Now that Hikaru Shida is out of action for a bit, it will be interesting to see where the professor goes from here.
Sting and Darby Allin vs. The Acclaimed
The Acclaimed jumped Sting and Darby Allin to start the night's main event, wrapping a chair around the latter's head and sending him throat-first into the ring post. With the former TNT champion sidelined, Sting wrestled the majority of the match for the babyfaces.
Fired-up, he shook off everything thrown at him until Anthony Bowens rocked him with a superkick, breaking up the Scorpion Deathlock he had applied to Max Caster. As the action spilled outside the ring, Allin flew into the picture, wiping out the heels and reintroducing himself to the match.
Back inside the ring, The Acclaimed delivered the Mic Drop to Allin, but Sting broke up the pin. He dumped the heels to the outside and then jumped off the stage and drove Caster through the timekeeper's table. Back inside, Allin drove Bowens into a turnbuckle the heel exposed earlier in the match and delivered the Coffin Drop for the come-from-behind win.
Sting and Allin defeated The Acclaimed
Sting returned to the city in which he defeated Hulk Hogan for the WCW Championship in the controversial main event of WCW Starrcade 1997 and proceeded to turn in a hell of a passionate performance. There has never been a single instance in the 62-year-old's WWE or AEW runs in which fans questioned his love for the industry.
He was excellent here, firing up at the right time, almost in defiance of the united front of Bowens and Caster. Allin exploding back onto the scene was a great touch, and his pinfall on Bowens seemingly puts an end to the feud.
So where does that leave Allin and Sting moving forward?
It's unclear, but that isn't a bad thing. That Allin was brought up in the vignette announcing the merger between Andrade and the Hardy Family Office suggests he and The Icon may find themselves targeted by Private Party, Butcher and Blade, or Hardy and El Idolo.