AEW Dynamite Grades and Reactions for January 17, 2024

Samoa Joe versus Hook headlined AEW Dynamite in a major main event that helped establish Hook as a name to watch for the future.

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Christian Cage Def. Dustin Rhodes (TNT Championship)

After a verbal confrontation last week, Christian Cage put his title on the line against the veteran Dustin Rhodes. The match was a great way to kick off the show.  Cage continues to show he’s not whining down on his in-ring performances and that this run in AEW is arguably the best run of his career. 

Rhodes, on the other hand, seemed to have a bit of trouble keeping up. His age shows in competition with someone who’s still impressively sharp. During the match, there was predictable interference from Nick Wayne and Killswitch (FKA Luchasouras.) Regardless, the two competitors put on a solid match that ended with an obvious victory from Christian Cage, retaining his TNT championship and building dominance as one of the best heels in the company.

Grade: C+

Trent Beretta and Orange Cassidy Vs. Kommander and El Zero Miedo

Orange Cassidy stepped up as Berreta’s partner for this match after he was in need of a substitute. This match was the duo’s first time as a tag team after knowing each other for so long. Both teams showed great athleticism during the match. Watching Cassidy in the ring is never a disappointment. Even working in a brand new tag team, Cassidy showed no rust in this matchup. Ultimately Beretta and Cassidy picked up the win, not shocking many people. The AEW international champion is a high-profile competitor, and the Undisputed Kingdom took notice.

The Undisputed Kingdom made their way to the ring shortly after Beretta Cassidy’s victory. Roderick Strong confronts Cassidy and demands challenges for the International championship at AEW: Revolution, avoiding Cassidy’s challenge to fight at that very moment. The promo between them got tense from the start, followed by hostile chants from the crowd directed at Strong. This looks like the beginning of a feud that could end up with gold around Strong’s waste.

Grade: B

A Tribute to Jay Briscoe

Jay Briscoe tragically passed away one year ago. To commemorate his legacy, his brother, Mark came out to say a few words and remind everyone about the strength of his family. Following was a video package, showcasing Briscoe's best moments in the ring with his brother. The two were adored by pro wrestling and ROH fans all over. The loss still affects the AEW fanbase today, as fans in the building could be heard thunderously chanting for the Briscoe Boys.

 Young Bucks Interview

After Last week’s standoff, Matt and Nick Jackson sat down to discuss the rumors of challenging Sting and Darby Allin at Revolution. The Young Bucks explain that while they have respect for what Sting has done in his career, he’s the last of a dead age. The Bucks made it clear that they’re taking their affairs much more seriously and Sting is no exception.

Two months ago, Sting announced that his final match would be at Revolution. Since then, everyone has been wondering who would share the ring with him last. His retirement was the perfect opportunity for the Young Bucks to finally make an impression on the Icon. The interview did an amazing job of establishing this new attitude of the Young Bucks. The brothers could be seen throwing their weight around as EVPs and want to make it known they are worthy of respect from their employees. This tag match at Revolution is shaping up to be a memorable sendoff for the Icon,

Grade: B+

Bullet Club Gold Vs. Mogul Embassy (ROH Trios Championships)

Bullet Club Gold has taken a bit of a backseat since Jay White’s feud with MJF. However, They put themselves back on the map tonight, capturing the Trios Championships. The match contained great action by both teams, not surprising anybody. There weren't any dull moments and the match was suspenseful up until the end. It was a toss-up to see who was going to win, however, it’s clear that AEW looks to prop up Bullet Club Gold once again.

Grade: A

Deonna Purazzo Vs. Anna Jay

While it was a rather fast-paced match, the women’s vision match tonight delivered a solid match, plus a progressing story. Joined on commentary was the current champion, Toni Storm. Purazzo, showcasing her impressive in-ring ability, got the victory and issued a statement to Toni Storm. Purazzo claimed to be the best technical women’s wrestler. Tony of course challenged this notion, but then made her exit. This may be the beginning of a rivalry between the two, as Purazzo has begun to climb the ranks.

Grade: C+

Private Party Vs. Top Flight

Overview: Private Party put on another classic tag match against Top Flight. There was a sign of respect from both teams, and the athletic action was practically non-stop. The tag team division in AEW has been stale as of late. Tonight, Private Party showed that they are a viable contender for Ricky Stark’s and Big Bill’s AEW Tag Titles. 

Grade: B+

Samoa Joe Vs. Hook (AEW World Championship)

Hook was a surprising pick for Samoa Joe’s first challenger to say the least. Many anticipated this match to be a squash. However, Hook showed some resilience in the match. Joe attempted to pin the young challenger several times but had no luck. The match was pretty quick considering it was the main event and didn’t have many moments that stood out. It wasn’t as exciting as I had hoped for, and ended in a very predictable way with Joe choking out Hook.

Joe picked up the victory, showing the world that he has much more to accomplish. Suddenly, after the match, Hangman Adam Page ran out to save Hook from a post-match attack. Seconds later, Page was stopped in his tracks by Swerve Strickland. Strickland locked eyes with Page and then simply walked away. This seems to be setting up the atmosphere for the World Title picture. Both Page and Strickland have worked incredibly hard over the past year. Both competitors have a vested interest in the world title. Given that MJF is seemingly out, new competitors have to be lined up. However, It seems that going forward, The world title picture is looking highly competitive.

Grade: C

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