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AEW Dynamite - Homecoming: January 10, 2024
by Doc Allen
Live from Daily's Place in Jacksonville, Florida. Yeah, this place again. WrestleTix estimates attendance at 3,008. Tony Shiavone, Excalibur, and Taz are on commentary.
Hangman Adam Page vs. Claudio Castagnoli
They start with heated brawling. Claudio reverses a whip into the barricade. Hangman answers with a makeshift lariat from the apron. Claudio thumbs the eyes and takes control. He takes time to flex while standing on Hangman. Page doesn't like the disrespect and slugs his way back into the fight. Claudio grabs the hair and delivers the Giant Swing. Deep sharpshooter by Claudio, then a crossface. Page counters into a DVD. Fallaway slam by Hangman, followed by a springboard clothesline and slingshot plancha. Page pauses for a beer break, Claudio takes advantage with a press slam onto the stage! Back from commercials, the fight continues up and down the set. Page signals the Buckshot, but Claudio counters with the pop-up uppercut for a good nearfall. Page tires of Claudio's disrespectful slaps and returns fire. Hangman hurts himself while hitting a clothesline over the ropes. Claudio catches Page in a moonsault but Hangman reverses a DDT. Hangman scores a moonsault off of a wall. Claudio catches Hangman in midair again, but his Tombstone is reversed for a great kick out at 2. Fans chant “this is awesome!” Claudio recovers with a reverse powerbomb onto the buckles. Page reverses the Neutralizer into Dead Eye but Claudio kicks out! Claudio counters with a brutal uppercut, but Hangman reverses his avalanche Ricola bomb! Page hits two Buckshots in a row to win at 17:11! Top notch brawl, they maintained a high level of intensity from bell to bell. Also, while Daily's Place gives me unpleasant flashbacks, the environment provides lots of opportunities for fun stunts, ****.
Winner: Hangman Adam Page
Video highlights of Brodie Lee's short, but impactful, run in AEW, which happened almost exclusively at Daily's Place.
AEW International Champion Orange Cassidy, Preston Vance (with Jose the Assistant), Dustin Rhodes, and Adam Copeland vs. The Mogul Embassy (Brian Cage and the Gates of Agony) and Lance Archer (with Jake Roberts)
10 days in, this might be the most random tag match of the year. The babyfaces enjoy a hot start, the Daily's Place crowd is very happy to see Copeland. Cassidy foolishly tries a chokeslam on Cage, but his hand doesn't fit around the neck. OC recovers with Stundog Millionaire, and puts hands in pockets to try to make the Gates of Agony look foolish, but Toa Liona tackles him to the floor. Back from commercials, Archer is easily having his way with Cassidy. Jose grabs Lance's boot, so Jake knocks him over. Cassidy makes another comedic chokeslam attempt, but settles for sloth kicks. The mind games work, as Cassidy manages to surprise Archer with a tornado DDT. Hot tag to Vance, he pays tribute to Brodie Lee while running wild. The match breaks down. Cassidy finally hits a chokeslam on Kaun. The breakdown continues until Archer inadvertently boots Liona. Cage attacks Archer, allowing Copeland to hit a spear. Vance finishes Kaun with a lariat at 10:28. Perfectly adequate house show match right before an intermission, **½.
Winners: Preston Vance, Orange Cassidy, Adam Copeland, and Dustin Rhodes
Renee Paquette is standing by with Bullet Club Gold. They think they're better than the Undisputed Kingdom. The Acclaimed and Billy Gunn interrupt and propose an alliance. Jay White says they'll think about it.
AEW World Champion Samoa Joe comes to the ring to talk. The fans love him and chant "thank you, Joe."" The champ is making some changes around here. He won't tolerate challengers crying about their drama on the mic or making ho comments on social media. Joe demands his challengers step up to his face and better have the win/loss record to back it up. We're joined by Swerve Strickland (with the Mogul Embassy). Swerve doesn't make things personal, he just takes the things he wants. If Joe wants to make it personal, Swerve will be happy to let him. They're interrupted by Hangman Adam Page, who recently lost sound ground in the pecking order to Swerve. Page says that even though 2023 was a big year, he did take his eyes off the AEW title, and throws his name into contention. Joe isn't intimated and stands tall, at least until Hook arrives. They stand forehead to forehead and Hook calls his shot for next week. I like this, Joe feels right as champion, he's not taking any nonsense, and he's got credible challengers forming a line.
Renee Paquette chats with AEW Women's Champion Toni Storm (with Luther and Mariah May). Toni pretends to be unaware of Deonna Purrazzo's arrival. She MIGHT have heard of “Donna Pelatzo,” that name does sound kind of Italian. Toni is the epitome of confidence: chin up, t!ts out, watch out for the shoe! These interviews are gold.
Sammy Guevara vs. Ricky Starks
These guys are in the midst of a Tag Team Championship feud. They start with a lively exchange until Starks hits a shoulder block. Sammy answers with a dropkick. Sammy takes forever climbing for an outside moonsault but hits it anyway. Starks seems to injure his shoulder, can't hit Roshambo, but instead hits a double underhook slam on the ring frame! Back from commercials, Sammy makes the brave babyface comeback right on cue. Sammy takes a long time climbing again, this time Starks counters with his knees. Sitout powerbomb by Starks only gets 2. Starks misses a head of steam but blocks GTH. Sammy blasts a pair of superkicks and gets the surprising pinfall at 9:28. Hopefully that isn't a sign that Starks is really hurt. Good-ish match, but it's amazing how babyface Sammy is never as likable as heel Sammy, **¾.
Winner: Sammy Guevara
Sammy and Starks shake hands, but it's all a setup for a Big Bill ambush. Chris Jericho rushes in to save his little buddy and hits Bill with a Codebreaker. Everyone brawls into the stands as a hard sell for a Street Fight at the next Battle of the Belts special.
Willow Nightingale, Kris Statlander, Anna Jay, and Thunder Rosa vs. The Outcasts (Saraya and Ruby Soho, with Harley Cameron), Skye Blue, and TBS Champion Julia Hart
Anna is gradually turning babyface and whips Ruby into the buckles. The heroes make frequent tags to keep Ruby flustered. Hart gets a tag and looks pleased to confront Rosa, but Skye robs her of the moment with a blind tag. The heels try to cut the ring in half, but Rosa makes a quick comeback against Ruby. Willow tags, but Harley sweeps her feet for a rough head bump on the buckles. Back from commercials, Willow cartwheels past Saraya and Julia and hits double back elbows. Kris gets the hot tag and plants Saraya for 2. Everyone gathers for a wacky quadruple suplex by the babyfaces. The match continues to break down with everyone taking turns hitting drive-by attacks. Anna and Julia find themselves alone for a slugfest. Blind tag by Skye allows a superkick, but Anna reverses into the Queenslayer to win at 9:04! Another fun house show tag match. Anna picking up a big win adds some more life to the women's division, **½.
Winners: Anna Jay, Kris Statlander, Willow Nightingale, and Thunder Rosa
Video promo for "Mr. Rampage" ROH Pure Champion Wheeler Yuta. He's been destroying the competition of the C-shows and lays out a challenge to Continental Champion Eddie Kingston.
Roderick Strong (with The Undisputed Kingdom) vs. Bryan Keith
No entrance for Keith, so he's dead meat. They aggressively trade holds, Keith scores a running boot. They exchange stiff attacks on the ring frame until Roderick nails a mean power slam. They trade chops in the ring until Strong hits another slam. Keith blocks a superplex and delivers a somersault stunner. Strong blocks the Tiger Driver and hits a knee strike. The End of Heartache finishes Keith at 4:26. Nice short match. I always endorse this format for TV tapings, **.
Winner: Roderick Strong
The Devil Adam Cole takes a seat with a mic in hand. The Undisputed Kingdom are not worried about earning anyone's respect, but then whines that The Kingdom have never gotten the respect they've earned. Well, I suppose he is supposed to be a hypocrite. Cole promises that they will be around for a long time.
Renee Paquette interviews Deonna Purrazzo backstage. Deonna is on cloud nine to be in AEW and thinks it's funny that Toni Storm is pretending to not know her. Red Velvet interrupts to challenge Deonna to a match on Collision, maybe they can stir it up.
Falls Count Anywhere - Tornado Match:
Sting and Darby Allin vs. The Don Callis Family (Konosuke Takeshita and Powerhouse Hobbs, with Don Callis)
Jim Ross and Ric Flair are on hand for Sting's farewell tour. Darby and Takeshita tear into each other while Sting chases Hobbs with a chair. They spill into the stands for a good, old fashioned Daily's Place brawl, except now the building isn't empty. Takeshita reverses Darby's Coffin Drop into a rolling German suplex! Back from commercials, Sting tries and fails to save Darby from a 2 on 1 situation. Hobbs and Takeshita swing and toss Darby across the ring. Sting manages a Stinger Splash on Hobbs, but Takeshita knocks him down. Flair enters and thumbs Hobbs in the eyes! Sting removes Takeshita with a clothesline, and Darby hits a lighting tope. Sting gives Hobbs a spinebuster. Everyone gathers on the stage. It doesn't take long for Darby to climb the set for an extra dangerous Coffin Drop onto Takeshita! Fans chant “holy sh!t!” Takeshita did a poor job catching Darby, who took a hard bump on the floor. Meanwhile, Hobbs carries Sting away, but Sting reverses into a Scorpion Death Drop off the stage and through a table! Sting uses his last bit of energy to cover Hobbs to win at 9:53. Total smoke and mirrors match, built around stunt bumps and Darby's lack of interest in his own well-being. But it was fun, and that's why we're here, ***.
Winners: Sting and Darby Allin
Tony Shiavone hosts Sting, Darby, and Flair in the ring. Tony wants to know who Sting's final opponent will be. Before Sting can talk, they're interrupted by the previously MIA Young Bucks. No words are exchanged, but it's pretty clear that the Bucks are laying out a challenge to Sting and Darby.
Final Thoughts: This special Daily's Place episode of Dynamite set out to be a feelgood episode and they knocked it out of the park. Still, I'm so glad that we only see this venue once or twice a year. Maybe in a few years, I'll stop getting COVID flashbacks and learn to just bask in the good vibes. Anyways, some parts of this show were very slight, but the Joe segment and Sting developments did a lot to make this episode feel important in the grand scheme of things. Recommended.
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