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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (Oct. 4, 2023): Rated R reunion

AEW Dynamite (Oct. 4, 2023) emanated from Stockton Arena in Stockton, CA. The 4th anniversary show featured Adam Copeland reuniting with Christian Cage for a shocking twist, MJF booking his next PPV match, Will Hobbs joining the Callis Family, the return of Wardlow, and more in the fallout to WrestleDream.

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

Rated R reunion

Reunited, and it feels so... Hold that thought.

Adam Copeland was in the house for his debut on Dynamite. The Rated R Superstar made a surprise appearance at WrestleDream for a shocking arrival in AEW. Naturally, he was granted time to speak on television. That moment was saved for the main event segment.

AEW warmed the fire by having Copeland on the opening segment of the show as well. He trotted in during a backstage interview with Chris Jericho and Kenny Omega. Canadian charm was thick as Copeland chatted with Renee Paquette and shook hands with Jericho. Omega was a little standoffish viewing Copeland as a future opponent, but he was still cordial nonetheless. They all agreed that Callis is a snake.

Fast forward to the main event scene. The Rated R Superstar entered to the masses cheering.

The man formerly known as Edge explained his motivation for coming to AEW. The world title would look nice around his waist. There are so many first-time matchups. Copeland mentioned Jon Moxley, Kenny Omega, Miro, Will Hobbs, Jay White, and Juice Robinson by name. The primary reason involved Christian Cage. When Copeland asked his young daughters for advice, they said he should go have fun with Uncle Jay (Christian).

Copeland called out Christian to the ring. The TNT champion obliged. Copeland explained his actions at WrestleDream to attack Luchasaurus and Nick Wayne. Sting was a childhood hero to Christian, and Copeland couldn’t stand to see him execute a conchairto to the Icon. He added that it is only a matter of time before Luchasaurus and Wayne dump Christian after soaking up all his knowledge. Copeland made his proposal. Reunite the tag team to show the world why they are one of the greatest of all-time.

Christian mulled it over. He hugged his best friend. Christian then delivered the line of the year. “Go fuck yourself.”

Oh, man. Christian’s response was coldly hilarious. The clip above contains a censored version. When I was watching of Fite TV, the line was raw. Gloriously raw and uncut. It was so impactful in its simplicity. In my view, this moment stands alongside other iconic instances, such as Mark Henry’s retirement swerve. I wasn’t expecting Christian to accept Copeland’s offer, however, the blatant disregard caught me by surprise. Plus, the curse word added shock value in a meaningful way. It didn’t feel cheap trying to gain heat or phony street cred. Christian’s delivery was perfect in that I didn’t hesitate one second to believe that’s what his character would do.

The show closed with Christian on stage as the crowd chanted, “Asshole!” He hyped next week’s match for Copeland to wrestle Luchasaurus.

This was a great start to the Rated R era of AEW. Copeland covered all the bases in his promo with a focus on now and the future. I don’t know how long he’s expected to continue wrestling, but we could be in store for one ‘dream match’ after another over the next two years. And you damn well know they wouldn’t tease a reunion with Christian without plans to follow through down the line. When that time comes, it will be magnificent. I already have my camera ready to capture a five-second pose.

Also of note, there was no follow-up explanation for Wayne’s betrayal of Darby Allin. I’m okay with that, since Christian delivered all the fireworks we needed. There’s no immediate rush to book Wayne versus Allin, so this can simmer for now. Wayne can have time to say his piece in the coming weeks.

Bay Bay drama

AEW offered a few updates on everybody’s favorite Bay Bay drama. MJF booked his next PPV match, while Adam Cole was busy rearranging furniture.

Cole visited Roderick Strong at home to tend to his injured friend. Cole even postponed his own surgery to pay his pal a special visit. Strong gifted Cole a scooter, and they zoomed around the house on wheels. The real reason Strong requested Cole’s presence was to assist with the feng shui of the living room. Even though the Kingdom was able-bodied, it was Cole who did all the heavy lifting with a broken foot. As Cole was about to leave, Roddy still needed his help. The scene cut to black as a cliffhanger.

Since Cole was busy being manipulated by Roddy, that meant MJF was all alone for the evening. Maxwell sure could have used the help of a friend.

The Bang Bang Gang called out MJF for the devil attack on Jay White. Switchblade was absent from the ring at first. MJF maintained his innocence. Juice Robinson and the Gunns exchanged insults with MJF. Tensions increased to threats of physicality.

The bad guys backed away, then White popped in to ambush MJF for a Blade Runner. White confiscated the world title belt to exit with the gold. Switchblade challenged MJF to defend the strap at Full Gear on November 18. MJF did not hesitate to accept.

While MJF was tended to by the trainer, he tried to call Cole. It went straight to voicemail. MJF was not happy. He was also freaked out when Max Caster rubbed him out on a massage.

Each piece in this story can be enjoyed on its own, but it reaches a greater level in totality. Strong and Cole added comedy in the vignette to milk that relationship along as Cole recovers from surgery. It also explains Cole’s absences from the arena, so MJF’s half can play out as a separate direction. I like how MJF has been more serious for world championship feuds and leaves room to flex his campy muscles on the ROH tag team scene. It provides two different experiences to enjoy out of MJF. White versus MJF should be an excellent match at Full Gear. That show is six weeks away, so MJF will likely be mixing it up with the Bang Bang Gang in the meantime. The rubdown from Caster teased a potential partnership to help MJF when the numbers are too much. I can’t wait for MJF to say, “Scissor me, Daddy Ass.”

One thing we don’t really have answers to is who attacked White. I was hoping that the devil crew might strike again while the iron is hot. We didn’t learn much to piece together any new theories. Excitement for the debut of Edge overshadowed any letdowns in that regard.

Newest member of the Callis Family

The Callis Family is stronger than ever. I mean that literally with the surprise addition of “Powerhouse” Will Hobbs.

Sammy Guevara & Konosuke Takeshita had been booked to compete against Chris Jericho & Kenny Omega, however, Sammy was not medically cleared to compete. At the suggestion of Will Ospreay, Callis invited Kyle Fletcher to fill in as a replacement for the Spanish God.

This tag bout was excellent. Everyone strut their stuff. We were treated to another showdown between Omega and Takeshita. Fletcher was fantastic as the newcomer inserted into the story. Callis heavily praised Fletcher’s performance throughout on commentary. Unfortunately, Fletcher ate the loss. Callis comically changed his tune to bash Fletcher for the defeat. Fletcher was victim to a Codebreaker and a One Winged Angel as Omega pinned him.


Hobbs entered the ring from the backside to put a beating on Jericho and Omega. Le Champion was busted on a spinebuster. Omega was taped to the ropes for Callis to hit on the head with a chair.

Hobbs joining the Callis Family is the type of surprise I love to see for a fallout show. It was completely unexpected, and it injects enthusiasm into Dynamite to see what happens next. Hobbs should be a good fit as the muscle man of the group. He had his moments as a lone wolf, but it felt like he was adrift at sea for the most part. This story gives Hobbs a focused purpose. Plus, we’ll get to see him on screen more often. It starts for Hobbs next week with a match against Jericho.

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

AEW International Championship: Fenix retained against Nick Jackson. Both rocked the ring despite being damaged goods. Fenix’s back was stiff, and Jackson’s leg was gimpy. Those injuries didn’t stop them from pulling off amazing maneuvers. Jackson executed an avalanche cutter. A short while later, he followed with a poison rana and a slingshot destroyer.

In the end, Fenix landed a frog splash and had momentum for a fire driver. Jackson escaped to counter for a roll-up, but Fenix leveraged position on top to trap Jackson for the three-count.

Banging match. The competition thrived with familiarity as opponents, then Fenix and Jackson stepped it up for crazy fresh moves. The AEW International Championship may be cursed. Cassidy fought all that time injured, then the title took a toll on Moxley, and now Fenix is banged up already. Beware to the owner of that belt in the future.

The next challenger for Fenix will be a rematch against Moxley next week on the Title Tuesday edition of Dynamite.

Wardlow defeated Griff Garrison. Five powerbomb squash. The referee ended the match on the mercy rule without a pinfall. Wardlow exited the ring with urgency.

That was a powerful return for Wardlow to get back on track. Out of sight, out of mind. This was an effective step to remind us of his dominance. Wardlow’s current motivation is unclear at the moment, so that leaves the lure of mystery about his next move.

AEW World Trios Championship: The Acclaimed & Billy Gunn defeated Butcher, Blade, & Kip Sabian. The bad guys jumped the gun before the bell for a brawl. The Acclaimed rallied to win via teamwork suplex on Sabian.

The Acclaimed handled business. The bout was done dirty by production cues with Excalibur reading off future matches and completely ignoring the finish until it was too late.

Toni Storm defeated Skye Blue. The final chapter of Portrait of a Star finalized Storm’s new character. After having a conniption about her age, she found solace in being timeless.

“Timeless” Toni Storm premiered with a black and white camera effect for her entrance. The star wrestled the same style, but she really leaned into her dramatic reactions as a diva. Storm thwarted Blue’s rally with a German suplex, a hip attack, and a piledriver.

Storm demonstrated a nice blend of character and wrestling in this match. It is an example of cranking her personality up to 11 for a larger than life version. Storm is probably the most must-see persona in the AEW women’s division right now as a character.

Notes: Orange Cassidy ate chips with Hook and lamented that Moxley was champ for three weeks and is getting his rematch, whereas Cassidy held the international title for 11 months without his rematch.

Samoa Joe was a boss champion smoking a cigar with a whiskey drink in hand. He is hungry for the world title. Joe’s business with MJF is not over. This is a badass little promo scene to keep Joe fresh in the picture.

Stokely Hathaway used his ROH powers to book Johnny TV, Komander, Lince Dorado, and Pentagon into a #1 contender bout on Rampage. The winner earns a shot at Eddie Kingston for the ROH World Championship. Big Stoke zinged Kingston about smelling like Burger King and Newports.

Stud of the Show: Kyle Fletcher

The young stud stepped up to shine against a pair of legends.

Match of the Night: Fenix vs. Nick Jackson

For how often Fenix and Jackson have wrestled each other in AEW, this match didn’t feel stale at all. It was funky fly fresh for maximum enjoyment.

Grade: B+

Good matches and epic moments were to be had. Even the fluff had purpose. Count me as fully satisfied.

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

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