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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (Oct. 18, 2023): MJF is the straw that stirs the drink

AEW Dynamite (Oct. 18, 2023) emanated from Fort Bend County Epicenter in Houston, TX. The show featured friends and enemies revolving around MJF, Juice Robinson pulling out a fugazi in the Dynamite Dozen Battle Royal, Sting with an important announcement, and more.

Get caught up on all the Dynamite details with the excellent play-by-play from Claire Elizabeth.

MJF is the straw that stirs the drink

There were a lot of story moves throughout the show, and MJF was a common denominator as the straw that stirred the drink. The Dynamite Dozen Battle Royal main event determined MJF’s next opponent, and he also had Bullet Club Gold sniping insults with the Triple B.

Jay White triumphed over Pentagon in the opening contest with a little help from the Bang Bang Gang. Afterward, White bragged about holding the AEW World Championship. Switchblade still offered MJF a chance at an 8-man to get back the Triple B, but he knew MJF has no friends.

Speaking of friends, Max Caster approached MJF once more to volunteer with Anthony Bowens and Billy Gunn to be his partners. MJF wanted no part of scissoring when Caster came too hard. Caster decided to join the battle royal to take out Juice Robinson and force a date with MJF, in the ring of course.

The story of MJF versus Bullet Club Gold appears to point toward The Acclaimed as allies, however, another group of friends might be throwing their hat in the ring.

Over to Adam Cole’s adventures with Roderick Strong. Roddy suggested they bond like the old days with Cole making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in a musical montage. Strong spit it out complaining about the crust. Cole had enough and left in a huff to finally get his surgery. Roddy realized he was too harsh and suggested to the Kingdom that they might need to help MJF in order to make right with Cole. Also, soak in Mike Bennett singing a tune playing the bongos.

Time for the 5th Annual Dynamite Dozen Battle Royal. The field included Juice Robinson, Max Caster, Dustin Rhodes, John Morrison, Jake Hager, Matt Hardy, Jeff Hardy, Matt Sydal, Daniel Garcia, Daddy Magic, Komander, and Trent Beretta. The prize was a shot at MJF next week for the Dynamite Diamond Ring.

The match had several fun moments, such as Johnny TV and Jeff Hardy dancing, Hardy Boys teamwork, MJF bribing Rhodes to attack Juice, and a Canadian Destroyer from Rhodes.

A side story in the match was Daddy Magic not allowing Daniel Garcia to dance. Teamwork backfired, and Rhodes sent Daddy Magic packing. Garcia dumped Rhodes and finally celebrated with a dance. Garcia lost focus in his exuberance to thrust his hips, and he paid the price being eliminated by Caster. Daddy Magic was not happy.

The final two came down to Caster and Robinson. They battled on the turnbuckles, and Caster landed the Mic Drop flying elbow. MJF was seated on commentary, and that’s when White attacked him. MJF gained the upper hand to retrieve the Triple B, but White struck with a low blow. Meanwhile, Juice pulled out his fugazi ring from TJ Maxx to punch Caster out cold. Rock Hard tossed Caster over the ropes like a sack of potatoes to win.

AEW provided a compelling mixture of scenes to deliver what was foreshadowed and also spice up the story with unexpected directions as well. Juice was the favorite to win, and that was the right call. The bad blood between MJF and Juice needs resolution in the form of furious fisticuffs. We’re going to get that next week, and it should be great.

The unexpected element came from Strong. His suggestion to help MJF caught me by surprise. That’s no guarantee though. Technically, Roddy said scumbag. The implication is MJF, however, it could be a funny swerve to help some other scumbag in Cole’s life. Where would that leave The Acclaimed? Aside from Caster’s skeeviness, they are building to a moment the people want to see. You know the reaction would pop huge for MJF to scissor Caster. In addition, Strong’s behavior lately does not feed into theories of him being one of the masked devil attackers. So, we still have that angle hanging on the line.

MJF is also in the crosshairs of Kenny Omega and Wardlow chasing the world title.

Prior to Omega’s match with Kyle Fletcher, Kenny talked about being the measuring stick in AEW. Omega plans on stacking some wins with possible plans to target the AEW World Championship. Enter MJF with respect. They shook hands, and MJF leaned in to whisper, “13 days, bitch.” The context for that surliness hasn’t been stated outright yet, but it could be in reference to MJF soon passing Omega as the longest reigning AEW world champion.

Oh man, MJF versus Omega is a hot tease. AEW has to deliver on that match before MJF’s reign ends, right? There’s only a handful of marquee matchups in AEW that scream PPV main event, and MJF versus Omega is one of them.

Wardlow trounced Ryan Nemeth in a quick match. Squash-a-palooza resumed with Nemeth as the latest victim. The Hollywood Hunk tried to get the jump on Wardlow, but that didn’t last very long. It only took one powerbomb for the referee to call for the bell. I like how they zigged on the standard Wardlow formula to sell death after only one powerbomb. Little things like that keep us guessing as viewers.

The plot thickened for Wardlow in the aftermath. He finally addressed his current motivation. Three letters were written on his wrist tape. MJF. Wardlow is coming for the AEW World Championship. Second, Wardlow bowled over Tony Schiavone on his way out of the ring to knock the interviewer on his ass. I can’t stop laughing at Schiavone going down.

A future clash between MJF and Wardlow has me salivating. How is MJF going to survive the powerbomb symphony this time? Wardlow slammed MJF five times in their previous battle at Double or Nothing in 2022. Wardlow won that bout and looked primed for greater success. It will be interesting to see how that feud evolves, since MJF is our scumbag and Wardlow just went heel by knocking Schiavone down, which was a hilarious tumble by the way. Nobody touches Schiavone and gets away with it. The crowd reacted accordingly by booing Wardlow.

MJF is a hot commodity. Drink it in while you can.

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

Jay White defeated Pentagon. The Bang Bang Gang was ringside, including Cardblade with a cardboard Belt. This was a nifty match to open the show. Pentagon had a slick spinning fireman’s carry powerslam. The luchador also chopped White into mincemeat. Take a listen to the lovely sounds of hand slapping chest.

White came back with a massive uranage. Penta weathered the storm of offense on a sleeper suplex to escape a Blade Runner and counter for a pumphandle driver. White kicked out, so Pentagon went for the kill on the Fear Factor package piledriver. The gang swarmed the ring as a distraction for Juice Robinson to sucker punch Penta with his cubic zirconia ring. White pounced for the Blade Runner to win.

In terms of the bigger picture of the Full Gear PPV main event world title fight, this match did no favors to build White. He was outclassed by design for much of the match, and he was saved by his jackals in the end. Pentagon has no direction right now, so he didn’t need to be protected in defeat. This could have been a quality win for White to make me believe in the idea of beating MJF without help, in case his boys are neutered.

Hikaru Shida defeated Emi Sakura. AEW hyped this title eliminator contest as teacher versus student. They produced a nice video package to put viewers in the mood.

The contest was competitive. Sakura executed a powerbomb, but she missed on a moonsault. Shida sprang up for the Katana knee strike. Sakura surprisingly kicked out. The action rumbled for a little while longer, then Shida finished with the Falcon Arrow to Katana 1-2 punch.

Solid match enhanced by sizzle added from the hype video. That brief explanation gave me a reason to care on a deeper level. Sakura wrestled strong as she always does. I never believed Shida was in serious trouble, but she still had to work for that win. It was an outing that makes both women increase their stock. The closing sequence was feisty and left me wanting more.

Rated R Rebuttal. Adam Copeland spoke with Renee Paquette about the snub from Christian Cage. Copeland is still confused about Christian’s dastardly reaction. After reflecting on their friendship since childhood, it was Copeland who often pushed Christian toward taking steps into this career. Christian didn’t have the confidence to do it himself. Copeland understands how their different paths could create jealousy. He still doesn’t want to fight Christian or go after the TNT Championship. Copeland believed it was only a matter of time before Christian crashes down, and he’ll be there to help his friend up.

Copeland is laying the valuable groundwork to establish their characters. For me, his half hasn’t been very interesting yet, but I think part is due to rehashing known history. It’s a necessary step though, because not all viewers, who are of different ages, already know the background. This promo felt like a turning point into new business for Copeland, once he figures out his goal. If they want to let this Christian beef simmer a bit, then it can be achieved by keeping Copeland on the periphery of that story while he works in the ring for fresh matchups on weekly TV. Or, Christian could say nuts to that and be so evil that he forces Copeland into one-on-one combat. I’m intrigued in either direction for Copeland.

Kenny Omega defeated Kyle Fletcher. This story started with a promo from the Callis Family. Will Hobbs explained that his beef with Chris Jericho stemmed from Jericho being rude to young Powerhouse and Grandma Hobbs at a wrestling event. Hobbs served his payback by sending Jericho to the hospital last week.

Don Callis talked up the team’s winning record with Fletcher losing as the only blemish. Fletcher stormed to the ring to prove he can beat Omega without anyone’s help. Callis appreciated the confidence and proposed opportunities should Fletcher get the job done.

Fletcher did not get the job done. He wrestled a dandy of a match, but Omega was better in the end. Omega unleashed an offensive flurry with V-Triggers and suplexes. Fletcher escaped the One Winged Angel to counter for a dragon sleeper variation. That didn’t keep Omega down. Back to their feet running ropes, and Omega blasted a V-Trigger to set up a One Winged Angel for victory.

That was a mighty fine showcase match. Fletcher demonstrated once again he can hang with the best in the business. Omega reminded us of his greatness. There were several sequences that had my eyes moving like watching the ball in a ping pong contest.

It’s Sting! Stinger announced his retirement date for the Revolution PPV in 2024. Sting weaved a nice little tale reminiscing on his career. He played with the crowd to chant and worked up emotion for the finality of his decision.

The Sting segment loosely blended together with the story of Darby Allin fighting Christian Cage. Nick Wayne and Mama Wayne were interviewed by Jim Ross. She pleaded her case about Nick’s heinous betrayal of Allin. Nick did well portraying a teenage punk disrespecting his parents. His expression and fidgeting made him insufferable. Tensions escalated, insults were exchanged, mama slapped son, and son disowned mother. Wayne exited with father-figure Christian.

Boom! A commotion was heard behind the door, and it was Allin thumping both Christian and Wayne. The fighting led out to the ring with Luchasaurus in control. Sting arrived to handle the dino. Christian was saved from the Scorpion Deathlock, and Wayne was bleeding from the mouth due to a tooth issue.

That was a wild ride. The family strife was comical in an outrageous way, like watching a segment on Jerry Springer. It was cool how the scenes segued from location to location. Wayne is coming along nicely under the wing of Christian to develop real heel heat. Sometimes there are redeemable qualities to cheer for bad guys. That isn’t the case with Wayne in this story. I mean that as a good thing. He is developing a path as the villain’s understudy. Wayne is making me invested about seeing him get his ass beat.

Notes: Danhausen will return soon to curse everyone.

Lancer Archer squashed Barrett Brown with authority. Brown fought back a little, but he was no competition for the Murderhawk Monster. There’s not much to take away from this bout other than Archer is still a badass.

Swerve Strickland is debuting a music video on Friday. He should be celebrating with the TNT title, but Hangman Page cost him that gold. This feud wasn’t personal before for Swerve. Now, it is. Swerve threatened that it won’t always be Hangman who pays for his actions.

Enjoy Toni Storm’s latest silent film, Gone With The Wind.

Kris Statlander will defend the TBS Championship against Willow Nightingale at Battle of the Belts on Saturday. Orange Cassidy will defend the AEW International Championship also on Saturday against the winner of Jon Silver versus Kip Sabian versus Isiah Kassidy from Rampage. Losing the title made Cassidy realize how much he values the championship. He has something to prove. Also, Trent Beretta causally tossed orange peels on the floor like a slob.

Stud of the Show: Juice Robinson

Rock Hard deserves credit for two wins on the evening with his fugazi ring. That goes to show the value of frugal shopping. TJ Maxx better sign him to a sponsorship deal.

Match of the Night: Jay White vs. Pentagon

Crackerjack of a contest. The heavy moves hit hard. The flow of motion had extra oomph.

Grade: B

Quality matches, engaging humor, and story advances that arouse curiosity.

Share your thoughts about Dynamite. How do you rate it? What were your favorite moments from the show?

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