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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (Nov. 8, 2023): MJF running out of friends

AEW Dynamite (Nov. 8, 2023) emanated from Moda Center in Portland, OR. The show featured MJF defending the world title, the devil’s brigade attacking Maxwell’s friends, Samoa Joe with a shocking announcement, and more.

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

MJF soap opera

The MJF saga had a lot of moving pieces once again from Adam Cole to Roderick Strong to Daniel Garcia to Jay White to Samoa Joe to the Acclaimed to the masked devil. It all started with MJF’s focus on defending the AEW World Championship against Garcia.

MJF opened with a call from Adam Cole suggesting the champ enlist help from Samoa Joe to keep the ROH tag titles. MJF still refused Joe’s trade. Enter Garcia, and MJF got in his head driving a wedge between Garcia’s pals demanding to know if he will be competing against a sports entertainer or a professional wrestler. Garcia promised pro wrestler for this occasion. Last but not least, Roderick Strong hammed it up in his wheelchair trying to convince Cole that MJF is the masked devil. Personalities flashed from everyone involved on screen for this scene.

MJF continued with the mind games by mocking Garcia’s dance. Garcia responded with classic wrestling. As the match wore on, MJF attacked Garcia’s arm, and Garcia damaged MJF’s knee. Despite the pain, Garcia managed to execute a one-armed piledriver.

That wasn’t enough to keep MJF down, so Garcia locked in a Sharpshooter. The mind games paid off when Garcia leaned too far back trying to dance to prove a point. MJF was able to snatch Garcia’s arm and counter the submission for the Salt of the Earth armbar. Garcia tapped out in defeat.

Afterward, MJF offered a handshake of respect to Garcia. Daddy Magic and Cool Hand Ang stepped in to prevent Garcia from accepting.

This was a solid opener with very good classic wrestling. The finish sort of made Garcia look like a goof, but it worked well in the larger picture as building blocks. MJF showed why nobody is on his level by swiftly taking advantage of Garcia’s mistake. MJF’s effort at rallying the crowd to cheer for Garcia will pay popping dividends for the moment when Garcia splits away from his pals. Garcia’s future is bright, and this helped set him up for future success.

The Gunns squashed the Bollywood Boyz with 3:10 to Yuma. They voiced a message to MJF about coming to claim the ROH tag titles at Full Gear. MJF watched that match on the monitor backstage with Joe looming over his shoulder.

This recent winning streak from the Gunns has been effective in portraying them as serious threats to defeat MJF at Full Gear. When viewers see a team on a consistent run, it enters the mind that they are winners. Each squash reinforces that idea.

The main event saw action from Jay White and Mark Briscoe with the stipulation of the Full Gear title shot on the line. Even though Bullet Club Gold was full force causing interference, Briscoe still managed to hit the froggy bow. White kicked out to continue the match.

The finish went down to the wire with escapes from the Blade Runner and the Jay Driller. Switchblade gained the edge in the end for a sleeper suplex, a straitjacket suplex, then the Blade Runner. White’s date with MJF for the AEW World Championship is official at Full Gear.

White and Briscoe put on a spirited affair. As is typical for a Switchblade match, the counter sequences were sweet. Briscoe is great in the babyface underdog role with rallies of hope to get the crowd on their feet. White faced a game challenger and came out on top to show he deserves the shot at MJF. On paper, Switchblade is delivering in the ring to be presented as a legitimate threat to take the gold from the champ. It’s just a matter if you can sell yourself into believing in an attempt to enhance the emotion of the PPV match.

The show didn’t end there. MJF tried a sneak attack to regain possession of the Triple B, but White was quick enough to split from the ring. MJF cut a passionate promo about defending the title for the people.

Lights out! The devil’s brigade was shown attacking the Acclaimed and Billy Gunn backstage. The goons threw Anthony Bowens through a window. MJF ran to the back to check on the carnage. Samoa Joe sauntered in with a laugh at MJF running out of friends.

Intrigue is sizzling. Not only is the mystery hot for the masked devil, but MJF’s dilemma in choosing allies is hot as well. It is a double whammy of conspiracy. The closing scene was a firecracker of entertainment by throwing Bowens through glass. It adds a dangerous edge to the ominous crew. Anybody can dish out a beatdown. It takes a real screw loose to toss people through windows. This was a great scene to build anticipation for the next chapter in the ongoing soap opera of MJF’s life.

Samoa Joe’s last stand as the king of television

Samoa Joe’s reign with the ROH World Television Championship took a shocking turn of events. It’s not because he lost. Joe actually won his hoss fight deluxe against Keith Lee. Instead, Joe decided to vacate his throne as the king of television.

Joe and Lee had a methodical showdown with explosions of hoss feats. The hits were heavy, and the chops were hard. Neither man backed down. Lee spiced up the action with a jumping jack flash leapfrog. Limitless used his athleticism to deliver a crossbody.

Lee also demonstrated tremendous strength to execute a pop-up powerbomb on Joe.

Joe worked over Lee’s knee throughout the match. In the end, Lee’s knee buckled on a lift. Joe wasted no time in capitalizing with a chokehold on the mat. Lee showed fighting spirit to last as long as could, but escape was not to be had. Lee passed out in defeat.

Joe took the mic after savoring his handiwork. His next goal is to win the AEW World Championship. To keep the hunger burning, Joe vacated the ROH TV title.

Damn, that was an impressive performance from Joe and Lee. That finish was a genuine moment to remember. Joe put out a definitive statement of excellence by choking Lee out. Bearcat isn’t going down like that very often in his career. That cements how spectacular it was for Joe to achieve that method of victory. It also puts a rocket on his back with momentum toward the AEW World Championship. I don’t know if Joe will win the top prize, but AEW is hitting all the right notes to make me believe it. MJF’s reign has lasted long enough that a title switch is not out of the realm of possibility into the hands of Joe. If that happened, I wouldn’t bat an eye. That’s where all this work pays off. If MJF prevails, then his legend will rise thanks to the level of difficulty in facing Joe. Win-win for AEW no matter the result.

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

Sting & Darby Allin defeated the Outrunners. The Icon was the catalyst for victory. Sting pounded his chest and clobbered his opponents to win on a Scorpion Deathlock.

Its Sting! This was a quick match delivering fun. It gave the Portland crowd a chance to root for Sting one final time live. The Outrunners made an impression as comedic foils.

Swerve Strickland defeated Pentagon. The luchador scored a nifty Destroyer on the apron.

Swerve rallied in the end. He escaped a package piledriver to counter for a Death Valley Driver. Swerve dished out a taste of Penta’s own medicine by snapping the luchador’s arm. That left Pentagon prey to the flying double stomp to win.

Afterward, Swerve tried to take Pentagon’s mask. Hangman Page sprinted to the ring with a chair in hand for payback on Swerve. The cowboy unloaded shots on the mogul then executed a Deadeye piledriver off the stage through a table.

That was a nifty match with slick sequences, such as Swerve’s 450 splash countered into an armbar from Pentagon. The finishing flow was equally as creative. Sprinkle in a couple of dramatic nearfalls, and that was a recipe for entertainment. Hangman demonstrated a perfect level of anger for the moment, considering Swerve’s demented home invasion at the cowboy’s residence. Page was out for blood. I am fully sold for round two of their feud at Full Gear.

Julia Hart defeated Red Velvet. Hart turned the tide of the competitive bout when landing a head kick. The spooky girl finished with a moonsault.

Hart handled business as you would expect. Velvet moved well in her return from a knee injury. She should be able to fit right back into the mix. I thought Velvet was on the rise before taking a backseat as Jade Cargill’s flunky. Hopefully Velvet can regain her prior momentum.

Afterward, Hart slapped on a submission. Skye Blue entered the ring for a staredown. Kris Statlander and Willow Nightingale were late on the scene to restore order. Statlander butt in right in front of Blue. The idea was protecting her friend, but Blue flashed a look as if to say she doesn’t need help from Statlander.

Notes: Toni Storm and Hikaru Shida signed the contract for the women’s title fight at Full Gear. Storm blamed Shida for interfering with her grand plans to be champion. Storm couldn’t make history, so she became history. Shida may have the title, but she will never have the spotlight. Shida wasn’t taking any shit in the staredown.

Also relevant to Storm, AEW officially announced the signing of Mariah May. She shed light on being fond of Storm and following in her footsteps to wrestle around the world. RJ City proposed a meetup of her idol, and May was ecstatic.

The Callis Family meet Kenny Omega, Kota Ibushi, Chris Jericho, & Paul Wight in a street fight next week. The match was hyped with a video game tie-in for Like a Dragon. It was a pretty neat visual as Callis waxed poetic about the illusion of order. He is ready to bring violence, chaos, and revenge upon Omega.

The Young Bucks continued sniping in Omega’s ear about palling with Jericho. Le Champion proposed a tag team match for Full Gear. Stakes are the #1 contender spot from the Bucks put up against Omega ceasing this new partnership to be with the Elite again. Omega heard enough of the bickering. He put the brats in their place for their whiny attitudes. Don’t doubt the ability of Omega and Jericho rising to the occasion. Omega has beaten the Bucks before in similar circumstances with Hangman Page as his partner, and he will do it again at the PPV with Jericho by his side. Omega stole that scene with his confidence. His irritated bravado sold me on the match.

Orange Cassidy doesn’t feel right as international champion without beating Jon Moxley. That’s the goal OC needs to accomplish to be the true champion.

Moxley replied with vim and vigor to wreck Cassidy for stepping on his territory. This business is a jungle. Mox doesn’t want to wait, so he will be taking the fight to Cassidy upon sight. AEW announced Moxley & Wheeler Yuta versus Cassidy & Hook for next week.

Wardlow has his potential wasted by MJF. Payback is coming, and MJF won’t know when until it is too late.

Stud of the Show: Samoa Joe

Choking out Keith Lee was an exclamation mark on holding the ROH TV title.

Match of the Night: MJF vs. Daniel Garcia

Sports entertainers doing professional wrestling.

Grade: B

This episode of Dynamite showcased good matches throughout the night to satisfy the small picture and the big picture. The show closed with a crash to demand attention.

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

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