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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (Sep. 13, 2023): Samoa Joe breaks necks

AEW Dynamite (Sep. 13, 2023) emanated from Heritage Bank Center in Cincinnati, OH. The show featured Samoa Joe punching his ticket for a showdown with MJF, Jon Moxley chopping down a giant, Toni Storm earning a title shot, and more.

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

Samoa Joe is coming to choke you

Samoa Joe had a sweet tooth for choking people out during Dynamite. He gave us a two-for-one special on Roderick Strong and Adam Cole to send a message to MJF.

Joe wrestled Strong in the main event as the Grand Slam World Title Eliminator Tournament final to earn a shot at MJF and the AEW World Championship at Grand Slam. MJF wasn’t concerned about his future challenger. He was more excited just to have a week off from wrestling. MJF lit up the fire of trash talk on Joe and Strong. It was clear that Cole was visibly annoyed at MJF’s verbal attacks toward Strong, but Cole was back on board with MJF’s Steiner math to describe his chances of beating Joe.

Strong didn’t back down despite his tender neck.

Strong should have been worried, because Joe steamrolled him for much of the match. Whenever Strong had a brief rally, Joe would explode with power to regain control. This STO slam is a perfect example. Listen to the thud of Strong hitting the mat with such force at Joe’s hand.

Strong was a mean motor scooter and used his speed to gain traction. Strong lived up to his last name by actually lifting Joe for an impressive Olympic slam. Joe kept his composure in the end. Strong charged forward and was obliterated by a battering lariat. Joe quickly slapped on the Coquina Clutch to choke out Strong.

Joe celebrated his victory with a stern warning for MJF. He is coming to take everything MJF has. Joe exited, but the drama continued. Strong didn’t want to put his neck brace back on, however, he took a flop on the mat as soon as he saw Cole coming down the ramp. Strong played into the ‘pain’ with screams of agony. The Kingdom blamed Cole as medics stretchered Strong out. Cole was alone on stage, then boom! Joe appeared out of nowhere to choke Cole into unconsciousness as a threat to MJF. Joe added a muscle flex atop Cole’s limp body to close the show.

Hot damn. That was a blazing way to finish the show. Joe’s return to choke Cole caught me by complete surprise. I was lulled into thinking the broadcast was over with a low energy escort of Strong, then intensity shot up to 100 with Joe back on stage. That was well done to create a memorable moment. It would be funny if Cole has a neck brace next week to sell the choke job. Joe ‘breaking necks’ is his new calling card.

That attack also adds extra spice to next week’s title bout. I’m curious to see how MJF handles Joe’s aggression. I’ve been waiting for MJF to be a badass in the ring. His career has never really called for it, since he has always been a scumbag heel. Now that he is our scumbag, MJF can tune up his toughness in a heroic way. I’m curious what that will look like.

As for the match between Joe and Strong, that was a decent battle. Joe was a beast, which helps create real doubt that MJF can win. Strong performed well to show he’ll be ready when it is his time to shine. Joe was the right choice to win. Strong’s story is more about playing on Cole. Joe is red hot at the moment. and this is the time to strike for his match with MJF.

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

AEW International Championship: Jon Moxley retained against Big Bill Morrissey. Ricky Starks interfered, so Bryan Danielson ran down to beat some booty. Bill took advantage of the distraction to goozle Moxley for a chokeslam. Mox kicked out. Bill reached down to goozle Mox again. This time, Moxley snatched the arm to execute a triangle choke. Bill tried to power his way out, but he couldn’t escape. Moxley earned the win via submission in his hometown.

That was a good, rugged fight. The open started interesting with Moxley using a few leg kicks, but he didn’t have the discipline to see that plan through. Moxley started windmilling punches within the first minute. I’m curious what would have happened if Mox did stick to working on the legs. Moxley showed neat technique in the end for a creative submission finish. It felt like a natural transition for Mox ingrained through the repetition of Blackpool Combat Club training. Bill looked strong using big man tactics. He was always going to lose this match at this particular moment in time, but he entertained well enough in the spot to deserve more frequent action on AEW television.

After the match, Starks and Bill attacked Moxley and Danielson. Claudio Castagnoli made the save for his teammates. Later backstage, Alex Marvez got the scoopz from the BCC for Danielson and Claudio to challenge Starks and Bill for a tag bout on Collision. Also of note, Moxley will defend the International title against Fenix next week at Grand Slam. In the background, Eddie Kingston and Claudio eyeballed each other in anticipation for their upcoming title versus title contest.

Don Callis’ next target. Callis explained his desire to punish Kenny Omega even more. Two wins by Konosuke Takeshita aren’t enough. They want to break Omega’s heart as well. Callis revealed the artwork targeting Kota Ibushi for WrestleDream. Also worth mentioning, Takeshita was given the Alpha nickname, because he is stronger than an Ace in the parlance of NJPW.

Fantastic segment to build heat on Takeshita versus Ibushi. It’s simple to explain it as Callis going after Omega’s friend, and leave it at that. Callis went the extra mile by adding a layer of emotion with his verbal imagery. It’s not just a regular singles match. Callis twisted the motivation into a personal attack on his quest to eradicate Omega. The little touches were amusing overall, such as Tony Schiavone slightly vomiting in his throat at saying Callis’ name, the crowd loudly booing the instant Callis grabbed the microphone, the beautiful artwork of a sword ready to strike Ibushi down, and so forth.

Callis wasn’t done on the evening. He tried to recruit Daniel Garcia. Garcia shushed him and danced his hips to decline the pitch. Callis would not be deterred. He was frothy with excitement at the idea of making money with Garcia. This little scene was hilarious.

#1 contender: Toni Storm defeated Dr. Britt Baker DMD, Hikaru Shida, and Nyla Rose in a four-way. The story was the deteriorating relationship between Baker and Shida. Baker tried working as a team to their advantage, but Shida instigated discord. Baker eventually heard enough chirping and teased a superkick when Shida’s back was turned. The dentist didn’t pull the trigger in that moment, but she did blast Shida on a pinfall attempt from the Katana strike on Nyla. Baker’s kick landed flush to break the cover. Baker continued for a curb stomp to Shida. Storm swooped in for a roll-up on Baker to win. Storm advances to Grand Slam to challenge Saraya for the AEW Women’s World Championship.

This bout had a nice pace of action. The real appeal was the character interactions among wrestlers. The Native Beast had no use for Storm trying to be her pal. Tension flared between Baker and Shida throughout for an eruption. Shida shoved Baker after the match, so Baker stole Shida’s kendo stick. This rivalry has budded nicely toward a match. The key being toward a match. Either we need a promo explaining their thoughts about the situation or book the match already. The beef is hot. If AEW sits on it longer for another week of miscommunication in the ring between Baker and Shida, then my interest will start to cool.

Backstage, Saraya sarcastically praised Storm’s victory. The champ mocked her former pal for taking her spot with the title.

Le Sex Gods. Chris Jericho and Sammy Guevara cherished the ups and downs as friends with a video package.

They will meet next week in a singles bout at Grand Slam to work out their frustrations. Sammy stressed that he needs to win to break out of Jericho’s shadow and show the world he can be a top player. Jericho agreed with the notion, but he doesn’t think Sammy is ready yet. Jericho urged Sammy to be the best he’s ever been if he wants to earn the win.

This was a very effective promo segment to drive motivation to watch the match. Jericho and Sammy made it feel like a special moment could be on the horizon of student beating mentor. I like how they built each other up rather than tear each other down. It was a different take on exploding relationships we see so often in professional wrestling. As much as Jericho can be a conniving villain, I genuinely believe he would be proud to pass the torch to Sammy. Hopefully, this can build their bond stronger on the way to challenging for the tag titles down the line.

Hangman Page defeated Brian Cage. The cowboy had the buckshot lariat in his sights early, but Swerve Strickland entered on stage as a distraction. That allowed Cage time to recover and execute an awesome German suplex lifting Hangman over the ropes back into the ring.

The match progressed for a hard-fought affair and a nifty finish. Cage caught the buckshot, but Hangman countered out for an inside cradle. The Machine kicked out and charged for a discus lariat. The cowboy ducked to counter for the Deadeye piledriver to win.

Afterward, Hangman called out Swerve for a match. Strickland accepted to do the bout on his time for WrestleDream. Cage attacked Hangman again. Prince Nana danced his heart out. The Young Bucks made the save to superkick Cage. Nana was still dancing. Once Nana finally turned around, he ate sweet chin music as well.

That match delivered as advertised. Hangman and Cage have great chemistry as opponents. It was a rowdy display of action. Cage’s crazy German suplex was a thing of beauty. As was Prince Nana’s dancing in the aftermath. I wonder if he was thinking about shrimp cocktail. Swerve needs to take Nana to Sizzler. Hangman has his mojo back working up the ranks once again. From a story aspect, Swerve talks a big game, but he doesn’t have the wins to back it up. That’s the life of a quality heel, however, it feels weird that Hangman is allowing him to call the shots. Hangman should be the one with stroke as a former world champion.

Darby Allin & Nick Wayne defeated Daddy Magic & Cool Hand Ang. Hot tag to Allin to run wild. Wayne found his groove for a flying cutter on Cool Hand. Daddy Magic pulled Wayne off the pin outside. Allin landed a dive onto Daddy Magic. Tag back to Allin as the legal man for tandem leaping attacks. Wayne took out Daddy Magic on the outside, and Allin finished Cool Hand on the inside. Afterward, Christian Cage issued a challenge. Losing to Allin and Sting didn’t sit right with him, so he wanted a rematch with his real partner, Luchasaurus, at Grand Slam.

I don’t have much to add for analysis. Allin and Wayne handled business to entertain the crowd. The scene-stealer was Christian’s promo wickedly flirting for bikini photos from Wayne’s mother. Be sure to watch this clip for a saucy laugh.

Notes: Orange Cassidy interrupted Hook to exchange respect as great champions. There is no reason to book OC versus Hook right now, but it sure would be a match I’d like to see. The style clash would be intriguing.

Jade Cargill will challenge Kris Statlander for the TBS Championship on Rampage.

Stud of the Show: Samoa Joe

Joe is peaking as a monster. He is looking like the toughest SOB on the roster right in time for an epic showdown with MJF.

Match of the Night: Hangman Page vs. Brian Cage

Hangman and Cage put on a dandy of a fight. The action was athletic with feats of strength and a sweet finish.

Grade: B+

Dynamite delighted all night long. It had a good blend of unique matchups and contests with purpose. The segments had a smooth flow leading from one story to the next. There were several little moments adding humor to round out the viewing experience in a positive way.

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

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